The leaders in Congress marked their return to session and President Trump’s first 100 days in office by trying once again to repeal the lifesaving coverage of Affordable Care Act. In response to the proposed bill, Physicians for Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper issued the following statement:
“President Trump will have spent his first 100 days in office attacking our nation’s health care. This new proposed ACA repeal bill has the same dangerous ingredients as the reckless bill that failed in Congress a month ago in the wake of vocal, widespread opposition from patients across the county. It will still put comprehensive reproductive health care out of reach for millions of women, especially low-income women, by attacking Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and abortion coverage. On top of that, this new bill goes further by allowing states to opt out of providing protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, making premiums impossibly out of reach for these patients. It’s reprehensible that any of our elected officials would vote to reduce Americans’ health care coverage, and it’s just bad leadership to keep trying to pass such flawed bills.”
In 2014, nearly a quarter of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States were among young people aged 13-24. Young people, particularly those in marginalized communities, face unique challenges when it comes to HIV and AIDS, and National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to talk about what we can do to improve health care services for at-risk youth.
One of the biggest recent developments in HIV prevention is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): a daily medication that is highly effective in preventing HIV infection. But because PrEP is relatively new, many physicians haven’t been trained in providing it – particularly to young patients. That’s why we’re excited to join with Dr. Vinny Chulani, an active faculty member in Physicians for Reproductive Health’s Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Program (ARSHEP) and a leading advocate for youth sexual and reproductive health, in marking National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day with two announcements on how we’re working to take on the challenge of youth HIV.
Dr. Chulani is an adolescent medicine specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. His work with homeless, LGBT, and commercially sexually exploited youth, who are particularly at risk for HIV, has made him deeply aware of the urgent need for HIV prevention services for young people in the local community. Today, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Section of Adolescent Medicine and Bill Holt Clinic HIV programs are announcing Phoenix PrEP Access Project, a new HIV PrEP service to provide at-risk youth with access to the preventive medication that will dramatically reduce their risk for HIV.
Physicians for Reproductive Health has also chosen this day to release the newest module in our ARSHEP curriculum, HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Adolescents, created in collaboration with Dr. Chulani as well as with the New York Promoting and Advancing Teen Health project at Columbia University. In this module, we’ve provided an overview of what PrEP is, how to determine when a patient is a good candidate to use it, and additional resources for more information on HIV and PrEP. We hope this module will help medical professionals who care for young people to add PrEP to their practice.
Physicians for Reproductive Health opposes the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ahead of the cloture vote in the Senate, Advocacy Fellow Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper issued the following statement:
“Judge Gorsuch’s record on reproductive health care is clear: he puts politics ahead of the health of American women. He has ruled in favor of allowing employers to interfere with employees’ private medical decisions about contraception, and he went out of his way to try to block patients in Utah from accessing health care at Planned Parenthood. With his alarming record, he cannot be trusted to uphold Roe v. Wade, the settled law of the land for 44 years, or respect medical evidence that shows the public health benefits of contraception and legal abortion.
It is outrageous that in 2017, patients have to worry about their ability to access a legal medical procedure, both now and in the future. Far too many people already encounter incredible difficulty accessing abortion care. We know that restrictions on abortion harm those who are already most vulnerable, including people of color, low-income families, and adolescents.
The Supreme Court must protect the health of all Americans, especially during a time when Congress is actively working to limit access to reproductive health care. President Trump promised his Supreme Court nominee would vote to overturn Roe, and Judge Gorsuch has not given any assurance that he would uphold Roe. His confirmation would be dangerous for women’s health. We continue to oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and ask the Senate to vote no.”
Ever since November’s election, many of us have been asking the same question: what can I do? Physicians for Reproductive Health has always believed in the power of advocacy: we work to shift the conversation by sharing both our medical expertise and our personal stories with the public and with policymakers. Whether you are a medical provider or a patient, your voice is an invaluable tool for making a difference. So, how do you go about using it? We’ve collected some of the best resources for getting engaged in this political moment so that you can pick the ones that are right for you.*
Hold your elected officials accountable
Your national, state, and local elected officials are supposed to represent you, and they know that to stay in office they need their actions to match their constituents’ values. Whether it’s by writing an email or a letter, making a phone call, scheduling an office visit, or attending a town hall meeting or another public event, get into the habit of making your opinion known.
We’ve already seen constituent action play a big role in protecting the Affordable Care Act—keep this momentum going and tell your legislators to oppose reproductive health threats like Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court and bills to defund Planned Parenthood.
Beat the Tea Party at their own game as part of your local Indivisible group.
Keep the spirit of unity from the Women’s March with 10 Actions 100 Days, actions ranging from postcards to strikes to getting educated on intersectional feminism.
Amplify your voice
Putting our own words out in the world connects us to others, and it can be the most effective means of changing minds. Whether it’s by blogging, getting published, or participating in storytelling, share your perspective.
Share your stories to ensure reproductive health access and safety for all with Physicians for Reproductive Health’s storytelling project Voices of Courage.
Contribute to the TEACH Blog, “Beyond Training: Pearls for Practice.” Be a voice for our community and share how you are continuing to provide despite the current adversity we face.
Write letters to the editor or op-eds, in your local paper or in national publications with help from the OpEd Project.
* These resources are intended to help you find ways to take action on the issues you believe in. This list is not necessarily an endorsement of every policy position taken by the above organizations.
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