Breaking news! We are thrilled to share that the FDA has announced that a review of the restrictions on mifepristone (also known as the REMS) is underway! Mifepristone, one of the medications used in a medication abortion and to manage miscarriage care, has long been proven to be safe and effective; however, the REMS have placed medically unnecessary burdens on patients and clinicians. The announcement follows a court ruling in Chelius v. Becerra, an ACLU lawsuit challenging the REMS.
We are grateful to all of our partner organizations, the ACLU, the plaintiffs, and all of those who have made this a priority ask of the Biden-Harris Administration. We are hopeful that this is the beginning of making medication abortion care significantly more accessible to people across the country.
RHAP has been making changes to our contraception resources. This project started with our Birth Control Choices Fact Sheet. We moved away from using efficacy as our organizing principle and focused on presenting the critical information, using unbiased language, and organizing the methods alphabetically. You will start to notice these changes in all of our contraception fact sheets in the coming months. However, today, you will find that we have made similar changes to our Birth Control Poster. The poster still features all of the birth control methods, but now organizes methods alphabetically. We have included information on how to use each method, things people should know, and how well each method works to prevent pregnancy. You can begin ordering the updated poster in the next few weeks. We hope you and your patients will enjoy the updated content and format.
The Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) is in solidarity with trans* communities, including trans* and gender-expansive leaders and members of the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement. We strongly condemn the spate of anti-trans legislation that is advancing through state legislatures across the country, and the unrelenting discrimination, marginalization, and stigmatization of trans* people. As an organization that seeks to expand access to health care, we are horrified by efforts to prohibit essential, evidence-based, gender-affirming health care for transgender people, especially young folks, as well as criminalize the clinicians who provide this important, life-saving care.
As of March 24, 2021, there were 127 pieces of anti-trans legislation being considered in over 35 states and this number continues to rise. Of these, at least 66 are intended to ban trans* youth, especially trans* girls, from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity, and at least 36 of these bills seek to deny trans* youth from receiving evidence-based medical care. Recently, legislators in Arkansas, overriding a veto by the Governor, passed HB 1570, which bans gender-affirming care for minors and criminalizes clinicians who provide this care. Senate Bill 2021 in Florida, though not expected to pass this legislative session, would ban trans* girls and women from playing school sports for females. And last month, Governor Kay Ivery of Alabama signed House Bill 391, which bans transgender youth from participating in school sports.
Laws that ban the medical provision of gender-affirming care go so far as to criminalize clinicians who provide gender-affirming care to young people. Much like laws that punish clinicians who provide abortion care, not only are legislators interfering in confidential patient-clinician relationships, they are also disrupting the evidence-based practice of dignified, compassionate, and high-quality health care provision. Most importantly, trans* bans actively cause harm to trans* communities. Evidence shows that access to gender-affirming care only serves to improve the overall health and wellbeing of trans* people, and can be life-saving.
We know that anti-trans bills are not based on science or evidence, but are rather harmful tools being used by conservative politicians to win political clout. In fact, many of the politicians pushing forward anti-trans* bills are the same ones who have been passing laws that reduce and restrict access to reproductive health care, especially abortion care. The fight for trans* liberation is inextricably tied to the reproductive freedom movement. Ultimately, our vision is the same: creating a world where everyone, everywhere has the right to self-determination, bodily autonomy, and the freedom to live their authentic lives.
Resources & Actions:
“This was my second NCCL. NCCL is a wonderful opportunity to learn how the AAFP legislative process works, and also had some great speakers and sessions. It is so exciting to engage with this new generation of constituency advocates! I felt like my concerns were validated. I plan to attend future NCCL events– NCCL leaves me hopeful and energized.”
Cynthia Heckman-Davis MD FAAFP | AAFP Liaison for the Indiana Cluster
Last month, a cohort of network advocates attended the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Constituency Leaders (NCCL). NCCL is an annual policy and leadership development meeting designed to amplify the voices of underrepresented constituencies within the Academy. During NCCL, family physicians who are part of member constituencies (women, minorities, new physicians, international medical graduates, and LGBT physicians) run for national leadership positions and have the opportunity to author and present resolutions. Traditionally held in Kansas City, this year’s meeting was virtual and had a record-high number of registrants, 361, which included 207 first-time attendees.
Over 20 Network members attended this year and advocated for a range of reproductive health, rights, and social justice-related resolutions including: Advocating for Informed Consent for Drug Screening in Pregnancy; Oppose Restrictions on Funding for Abortion; Support Gender Diverse Athletes’ Participation in Team Sports; Promote Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine for People Detained in ICE, and more! The ten resolutions our advocates prioritized for testimony were all adopted or reaffirmed as current policy.
Additionally, six network members ran for national leadership positions! The four Network members who were elected will help organize next year’s NCCL meeting and will be alternate representatives within the AAFP’s policy-making body, the Congress of Delegates (COD). Mobilizing within NCCL provides a great opportunity for Network members to learn the ropes of the AAFP policy-making process and to push the Academy to start taking action on reproductive health and justice issues ahead of the fall Congress of Delegates meeting. Transforming the AAFP, one of the largest national medical organizations in the US, to support reproductive health, rights, and social justice, takes a movement. It is amazing to see our Network members continue to organize as a community, build momentum, and harness the Academy as a powerful platform to advocate on behalf of patients and colleagues.
Did you know that fewer than 6% of family medicine residency programs provide training in comprehensive reproductive health care? This means most people can’t see their primary care provider for basic health services like contraception and early pregnancy loss care. RHAP’s Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship helps fill this gap in clinical education. The fellowship is a year-long intensive clinical training program that develops family medicine leaders who provide, teach, and advocate for comprehensive reproductive health care.
Launched in 2007, the fellowship program has trained 33 family physicians so far. Fellows are chosen because of their commitment to providing abortion care in an area that is currently experiencing a shortage of such providers, developing new abortion training programs, and speaking openly about being an abortion provider.
Jiana Menendez, MD, a 2020 RHAP Fellow, says, “I am so grateful for my fellowship experience with RHAP. As a family physician, I think it is critically important that I offer full-spectrum reproductive health care to my diverse panel of patients. My patients know that I can offer anything from routine contraception management to prenatal care to abortion care and everything in between. RHAP made it possible for me to provide that care. The RHAP curriculum goes beyond the individual exam room and teaches doctors how to advocate for their patients in the broader health system.”
This spring, it’s our goal to raise $30,000 for this important program. Thanks to the support of people like you, over the years we’ve been able to expand our capacity from training one fellow per year to six. Each fellow trained goes on to teach these skills to other clinicians, greatly expanding access to comprehensive reproductive health care across the country. Any amount, be it $10, $50, $100, or more, helps us reach our goal. Will you donate today?
Make a donation
Your gift allows us to train and support health care providers across the United States so they can offer patients compassionate and comprehensive care.