PPLM and its political arm, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF), pursued their shared goal of advancing equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, for all.
Passing the ROE Act
One of PPAF’s major accomplishments in FY21 was the historic passage of key provisions of the ROE Act into law, improving access to abortion in Massachusetts. PPAF led a broad coalition of social justice groups, health advocacy organizations, and grassroots activists to modernize state laws and dismantle discriminatory and medically unnecessary barriers to abortion. Now, the law trusts young people aged 16 and 17 to make their own decisions about abortion without being required to go before a judge and allows remote hearings for those under 16. With this reform, Massachusetts has become the first state to legislatively ease burdensome restrictions on young people’s access to abortion. In addition, people can now obtain abortion later in pregnancy in cases of a fatal fetal diagnosis – without having to travel out of state —as they did previously.
Solidarity in Action
PPAF launched a bold legislative agenda that trains a public health and intersectional lens on urgent social and economic issues affecting PPLM patients and their communities. Following the principles of reproductive justice, the agenda supports a dozen bills that directly confront oppression and aim to reduce inequities in health care access and the dangerous disparities they cause. These policies include improving access to affordable pregnancy-related care, including midwifery and doula care, investing in community solutions to reduce police violence, setting a basic standard for comprehensive sex education, investing in high-quality childcare, and ensuring immigrants can fully participate in their communities without fear PPAF worked closely with several coalitions to advocate for these bills. Leveraging PPAF’s unique perspective, President Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak and staff testified at public hearings, educated supporters, and mobilized volunteers to take action.
PPAF worked with PPLM educators and providers on programs to improve health equity, reduce disparities, with an emphasis on providing resources and information to the Latino/a/x and Black communities and young people. The Black Organizing Program hosted public discussions with Black women about the unique barriers to true reproductive freedom they face. Raíz, a program designed to build power among everyone in the Latinx community, organized in the Worcester community to build support for comprehensive sex education. This work paid off when the Worcester School Committee voted to adopt a comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education curriculum for the city’s public schools. This victory was the result of multiyear efforts by PPLM/PPAF in collaboration with community partners, including Worcester parents, teachers, faith leaders, health care providers, community organizations, and local advocates.
“Caring for Planned Parenthood patients extends beyond the exam room. We are advocating for their entire well-being and their communities by prioritizing unapologetically intersectional policies that address the ways all forms of oppression impact their reproductive lives.”
Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, PPAF President
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