Reproductive Health in Nursing (RhN) recently attended the Abortion Care Network (ACN) conference in New Orleans. For me, the Program Coordinator for RhN, it was my first time attending this conference, and I was blown away by the breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and all the extra networking and laughter that happened during every minute of this conference.
Of course, the conference break out sessions were packed with the best content from experts in the field. I learned about abortion clinics in Memphis and Buffalo that are adding birthing centers to their facilities, which has increased the sustainability of these centers. While I understand that the idea of pairing birthing centers and abortion clinics is revolutionary, it also makes so much sense. Instead of separating abortion from other parts of maternal healthcare, these clinics have become thought leaders in keeping birthing and abortion services together, thus increasing sustainability and reducing stigma surrounding abortion care.
Amy Levi, CNM, WHNP-BC, PhD, and Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, two RhN leaders, along with Dr. Taida Wolfe with the Philadelphia Women’s Center presented a session titled “Beginning a Dialogue: Centering Reproductive Justice in Reproductive Health, An Inter-professional and Inter-organizational Approach.” As someone who is new to the professional world of reproductive health, I am really glad to see reproductive justice being talked about at professional meetings. We have a long way to go to integrate reproductive justice principles into our clinics and other healthcare settings, but seeing the strong presence of reproductive justice voices and organizations like Sister Song at ACN encouraged me to believe we are on the path to a reproductive justice framework within our professional organizations.
The highlight of ACN was dancing at the ResistDance Gala and watching Lea Delaria sing during the lunchtime keynote. It seems that everyone in attendance, i.e. abortion providers, social workers, and other healthcare providers and staff members who work in independent abortion clinics, was ready to let loose, dance, and laugh with their friends and colleagues. ACN really knows how to throw a party, and I think that’s what makes it stand out from other conferences I have attended. If you ever have the chance to attend, I highly recommend taking that opportunity.
RhN loves independent abortion clinics, their staff, and their providers! We support and advocate for the nurses who work at these clinics. We hope to provide a sense of community, create opportunity, and cultivate nursing leaders who are part of indie clinics across the U.S.