AccessMatters’ Access Project, the advocacy arm of our organization, aims to preserve, protect, and expand access to sexual and reproductive health information and services through policy, education, and community mobilization.
From 2017-2019, the Access Project activities included:
- Building coalition through top leadership positions with the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, a bi-partisan, statewide advocacy effort;
- Collaborating with the PA Attorney General’s office in the lawsuit to block the dangerous Title X rule, signing an official declaration used in the case;
- Forming and leading a statewide coalition of advocates to advance comprehensive sex education legislation with State Representative Brian Sims, testifying at the PA House Democratic Policy Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1586 in support of comprehensive sex education in PA;
- Launching several targeted actions to mobilize AccessMatters’ supporters to act to: oppose the changes to Title X, oppose the Medicaid work requirement, and oppose family separation practices; support increases in funding for Title X; and weigh in on other important policy issues;
- Increasing collaboration and communication with 20+ key state and federal elected officials and their staff to advance sexual and reproductive health;
- Analyzing bill language and providing substantive edits on bills, including the contraceptive coverage guarantee, comprehensive sex education, Medicaid reimbursements for doula services, and more; and
- Launching a storytelling project for providers and supporters to share their stories about the impact of the Title X Family Planning Program.
In 2020, our advocacy work has expanded to include:
- Elevating our staff expertise and work on perinatal health issues among other critical policy issues. In August 2020, we were invited by the Joint Pennsylvania Senate & House Democratic Policy Committee to testify at a hearing, “Innovative Responses to Maternal Mortality,” where AccessMatters’ staff discussed the impact of implicit bias training in the delivery of health care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period health care delivery;
- Continuing to build a movement around the issue of comprehensive sex education through our leadership with the Pennsylvania Coalition for Sex Education. With AccessMatters’ leadership and support, the coalition launched a 7-week webinar series this fall to help raise awareness about the issue and mobilize people to join the advocacy efforts that would help pass PA House Bill 1586;
- Developing numerous toolkits on sexual and reproductive health topics aimed at educating and empowering people with the tools to make change. For example, we created a comprehensive advocacy toolkit for members of the Pennsylvania Perinatal Partnership (PPP) to use to advocate for the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020;
- Weighing in on local, state, and national issues of importance by submitted public comments with policy solutions and recommendations, including:
- Submitting comments to the City of Philadelphia AIDS Activities Coordinating Office’s plan to end the HIV epidemic in Philadelphia, including recommendations to engage in advocacy priorities like passing standards for comprehensive sex education and declaring racism a public health crisis;
- Submitting comments and feedback to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health regarding the Title V State Action Plan supporting maternal and child health work across the state; and
- Submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services providing feedback on the STI National Strategic Plan that addresses the rise in STI rates in the country;
- Joining with other Title X organizations across the country to advocate for $400 million for the program for FY2021 and support the language included in the funding bill that would block the dangerous Title X rule; and
- Developing resources for voter engagement and U.S. Census promotion. The resources were disseminated to our organization’s programs, on social media, our website, and to our listserv of supporters.
Read about our 2021 priorities here.