Newsletter/ May 2017
The past few months have been an intense and busy time for us. We have readjusted some of our strategies in response to the new political landscape. Our organization can no longer just focus on expanding access to reproductive health care; we must now work just as hard to preserve the access we have.
We are resisting where we have to and moving forward where we can.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to sustaining and expanding our clinical training programs—the Miscarriage Care Initiative and the Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship—and we are gearing up to launch an initiative to train and support more primary care clinicians to provide medication abortion. By training and supporting clinicians to provide abortion and miscarriage care, we are pushing back against the socio-political forces that seek to restrict access to reproductive health care for people across the country.
While the past few months have been difficult, we are emboldened by the tremendous support we have received. Here is a snapshot of the amazing support we have received over the past six months:
- More than 300 people signed up to volunteer with us. We are working hard to create meaningful opportunities that take advantage of the skills and energy of our volunteers. Learn more about how to get involved with us here.
- Our national network of pro choice clinicians has grown by 35% since November 2016. We have been able to start local Clusters (our chapters) in ten new states, for a total of 17. We are working hard to strengthen our infrastructure so that we can develop even more state-based Clusters in the coming year. Our national and local network members are engaging in advocacy, training, and education all with the aim of mainstreaming abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care. This work is more important now than ever!
- The number of people donating to our organization, both big and small, has skyrocketed. Artists, actors, comedians, and musicians across the country are hosting fundraisers for us. This funding is allowing us to expand our on-the-ground work. We wouldn’t have been able to start working in ten new states without it.
So, yes, these first 100 days have been challenging. But together, with your support, we will resist with everything we have because what is at stake is everything we love.
On April 7-9th, RHAP (staff, interns, and fellows) attended the Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) Conference at Hampshire College. The conference’s theme, “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom,” allowed veterans in the movement to create safe spaces for rising activists to share experiences and grow together as the collective envisioned next steps towards a more inclusive and attainable society within reproductive health and justice. The RHAP team went to a variety of workshops, including Population Control: Reproductive Injustice Coming from the Right and Left, Black Lives Matter and Reproductive Justice, and Queering Reproductive Justice: Strength in our Differences, amongst other enriching panels that oftentimes made us step out of our comfort zones and hear stories about identities and politics that we are not often exposed to in our daily work.
Throughout the weekend, we reconnected with our allies and forged new relationships in the hopes of collaborating on future projects. It was a privilege to have access to all of these different ideas, which inspired us to get back to work and see how we could amplify these marginalized voices so our mission of making reproductive health care accessible to all continues to stand true.
RHAP was also invited back to present our signature session, Demystifying Manual Vacuum Aspiration Abortions: The Papaya Workshop! Presenters had a chance to engage with the audience, demonstrating a procedural abortion on a papaya as it represents a uterus at the early stages of a pregnancy. Participants were then given a hands-on opportunity with their own papayas. In addition, we discussed the importance of patient-centered language and answered the abundance of questions that our energized audience had throughout our workshop. We were so thankful for the large turnout and the feedback that we received. Our team enjoys helping people realize how safe abortions are, and how critically they are needed in basic health care.
We want to thank the CLPP team for 35 plus years of de-centering white supremacist and heteronormative dialogue as they continue to legitimize the voices of marginalized people of color of cis, trans, gender non-conforming, and queer identities. To learn more about the amazing work they do, visit clpp.hampshire.edu.
Olivia Breidenthal reached out to RHAP on December 19th with a hilariously exciting idea after reading Jezebel’s list of organizations to support after the election. EV2 is the comedy show in Chicago produced by Olivia, and she wanted to donate her time and half of the ticket sales revenue from the show!
“After the recent presidential election, I created a Facebook page called Chicago Grabs Back. On this page, members can post resources that make everyone feel empowered and capable to make change. One of these resources was a list of organizations that would need financial attention in the coming years. RHAP was on the list, so I did research into the organization and I was moved by how thoughtful the cause is. RHAP addresses the issue at the ROOT of reproductive health care, and that stood out to me.”
Olivia is fourth year undergraduate student at DePaul University School of Music. She’ll be graduating in June and will be attending graduate school at Bard College’s Longy School of Music MAT program in Los Angeles. She studies violin performance but also has a love for comedy– particularly writing and improv. Her primary job is teaching music, which is what she aspires to do for the rest her life.
“I love RHAP and its cause because of how focused it is on addressing the issue at hand. Yes, reproductive health needs to be legal and available, but what good is it if only a few can afford the costs? Class discrimination in health care is unacceptable and the Reproductive Health Access Project is working to eradicate it by making health care financially accessible. I’m currently supporting RHAP by producing a show that focuses on raising awareness about the organization. 50% of the show’s proceeds go to the organization. By May 22, we will have produced three of these shows. If people cannot attend, we encourage them to donate to the cause anyway.”
“I want to be involved with reproductive health because it directly involves me and every woman I know. There is not a person who is not affected by reproductive health in their lives at some point. I do not want politicians to be able to thwart something crucial to the welfare of women just because they do not feel it is important to them.”
Thank you Olivia for using your talent to showcase the need to make reproductive health accessible to all.
This month, we are highlighting Dr. Josh Steinberg, family medicine faculty member at UHS Wilson Family Medicine Residency in Binghamton, NY, who recently developed a Contraception Point-of-Care mobile app (iPhone and Android versions) that pulls together information and guidance from a variety of sources, including RHAP’s own clinical tools! This app is intended for clinicians and clinical trainees, making it easy for them to access critical information that will help them develop and practice prompt and skillful provision of contraception care to patients.
When he first started medical school in Syracuse, New York, Dr. Steinberg thought about becoming an ob/gyn because he really wanted to deliver babies. He then realized that as a generalist, he would not only get to deliver babies and offer pregnancy care but also treat whole people and their families. “Delivering babies and providing pregnancy care is part of primary care— so of course contraception and family planning are as well.” Dr. Steinberg says that offering contraception and family planning can make a huge difference for his patients, and allow them to have the lives and families that they want, when they want them. “If they want [family planning], we should give it to them.”
Dr. Steinberg says he created the app for two main reasons. “First, this app helps clinicians offer good care. Having this information at their fingertips the moment they need it helps improve our patient care.” For example, having RHAP’s Quick Start Algorithm available to a doctor while the patient is in the room helps make sure that they can offer contraception properly and immediately. He also uses his app as a teaching tool. “A lot of the materials that I pulled together are in the app because they help me teach about contraception. I built an app with the [content] that I like to refer to and cite when I teach.”
Here at RHAP, we love seeing how people use our materials in creative ways like Dr. Steinberg, and are very grateful for his work in helping make good reproductive health care information easily and readily available!
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