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As a reproductive justice advocate and a staff member at the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF), last month’s election was a stark reminder of the important and necessary work that lies ahead for our intersecting movements.

PPAF experienced an unprecedented outpour of support in the days following the election.  And now, as an organizer with PPAF, I jumped on a unique opportunity to bring folks together and turn this support into action. 

That’s why last week, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts convened our supporters together for a 2016 Action Forum event in downtown Boston to provide advocates an opportunity to learn what they can do to get more involved in the fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice right here in Massachusetts. Here’s what went down.

Sharing our stories

The event began with a patient advocate sharing her story about receiving high-quality health care at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts – and how that experience inspired her to get involved with the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund’s electoral and advocacy work.  

Next, PPLM and PPAF President Jen Childs-Roshak took to the stage and shared her own reaction to the recent presidential outcome. Despite the national landscape becoming increasingly hostile with folks like Tom Price being appointed to lead HHS, Jen reminded the room that PPLM’s doors will stay open – and PPAF will work tirelessly to turn Massachusetts into a national leader for health care access, equal rights, and reproductive freedom.

Advocating for health care access, reproductive freedom, and equal rights

The Advocacy Fund’s Government Relations Manager Leda Anderson explained what that work looks like by breaking down our state agenda for the upcoming legislative session in Massachusetts.

First and foremost, PPAF will advocate for contraceptive equity legislation to ensure that all people in Massachusetts can access affordable birth control with no co-pay, regardless of what happens on a national level.

Then, she explained how PPAF will work to repeal unconstitutional and archaic laws still on the books in Massachusetts regarding abortion and birth control. Repealing these laws will show a clear and unwavering commitment to safeguarding sexual and reproductive health care here in the Commonwealth.

We will also prioritize a number of bills that improve access to LGBTQ-inclusive sex education, confidential health care, paid family and medical leave, and telemedicine services. Now, more than ever, PPAF recognizes the importance of having a diversified and broadened legislative agenda that addresses and reflects the intersecting issues that impact Massachusetts families and communities.

On a national level, we will work closely with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to oppose any attacks that block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood and restrict health care access.

Taking Action

Before the Action forum concluded, participants heard from PPAF’s community partners - the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, Showing Up for Racial Justice Boston, and the Boston Doula Project - about concrete steps they could take to get involved in this work.  

From supporting your local abortion fund to showing up for racial justice, centering a diverse range of community partners and voices in our advocacy and organizing work is essential.   

Couldn’t make it to the 2016 Action Forum but still hope to get involved?

Here a few ways you can do just that: