[vc_row][vc_column][dt_fancy_title title=”2021 Dignity to Decide Honorees” title_size=”h4″ title_color=”custom” separator_style=”thick” separator_color=”accent” custom_title_color=”#623393″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][vc_column_text]RCRC established our Dignity to Decide Award in 2019 to honor what we see as prophetic action and leadership that challenges the status quo in service of reproductive freedom and dignity.  

This year, we recognize the looming threat surrounding the future of Roe while also acknowledging that Roe has never been sufficient in ensuring that those who need abortion care are able to access it. While we prepare for the potentially devastating aftermath of the decision in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, we also hold the vision of the kind of world we wish to live in—one in which every person’s reproductive decisions are respected, supported with dignity, and trusted.

This is why it was more important than ever for us to honor and affirm the heroic and courageous efforts of the folks on the ground (like our Dignity to Decide recipients) who show up every day to create this reality for their communities.

We honor the physicians, nurses, social workers, and administrative and advocacy staff who put their lives on the line to provide abortion care services in an increasingly hostile and compassionless society. While abortion care services have always been vital, in this era of escalating legislative and religious oppression that has become the norm, they have become an even greater sacrifice of love and compassion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][dt_fancy_image image_id=”37278″ width=”200″ align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][dt_fancy_title title=”Desert Star Family Planning” title_size=”h4″ title_color=”custom” separator_style=”thick” separator_color=”accent” custom_title_color=”#623393″][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][vc_column_text]Desert Star Family Planning was established in 2013 by Dr. DeShawn Taylor, MD, a Gynecologist, Family Planning Specialist, Gender Affirming Care Provider, and Reproductive Justice Advocate. This holistic reproductive health medical practice envisions a world in which all reproductive decisions and goals are equally regarded with dignity.

Desert Star Family Planning serves 1,200 patients a year and with the increasing hostility against reproductive autonomy in Arizona they are very proud to still be able to serve the people in our community. All of the services provided at Desert Star Family Planning happen simultaneously on any given day. As Dr. Taylor is completing a patients annual well woman exam, a nurse is preparing a patient for their abortion procedure, a medical assistant is counseling a patient through their abortion by pill education, and the receptionist is checking in a patient who is here to pick up their three month supply of testosterone. On any given day the office is filled with patients and staff alike who believe in the dignity to decide on when and how they will start a family.

To further expand the holistic family planning service that Desert Star provides, in 2017, Dr. Taylor founded Desert Star Institute for Family Planning, a non-profit organization. Desert Star Institute has three key priorities: 1) train the next generation of abortion providers within a framework that focuses on the whole person and provides a unique understanding of the barriers historically marginalized people may encounter in medical communities where they’ve felt excluded, 2) deliver educational content and programs that foster cultural sensitivity and respect and 3) Engage, build relationships, and mobilize local justice advocates, the general community and policy makers to challenge and defeat policies that are harmful to the reproductive wellbeing.

The leading service of Dr. Taylor was recognized in 2020 by the Maricopa County NAACP naming her as a Trailblazer. Dr. Taylor is committed to preserving and advancing access to reproductive health care for people who can become pregnant through service provision, education and training, advocacy, and sharing her expertise with various national, state and local boards, committees, and programs.

Thank you, Dr. DeShawn Taylor and Desert Star Family Planning for your work to remove the stigma from reproductive health with patient-centered well-woman, family planning, and sexual health care. Thank you, Desert Star Family Planning for the difference you make directly in the lives of your patients and indirectly in the lives of countless in Arizona and across the US.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_media_grid element_width=”6″ initial_loading_animation=”none” grid_id=”vc_gid:1642780118694-3b361b85-dd42-6″ include=”38167,38168″][vc_column_text]Left: Dr. DeShawn Taylor & Desert Star Team; Dr. Taylor & Rev. Dr. Jackson (RCRC)[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_title title=”Jackson Women’s Health Organization” title_size=”h4″ title_color=”custom” separator_style=”thick” separator_color=”accent” custom_title_color=”#623393″][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][vc_column_text]For more than a decade, Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) has been the ONLY abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. In 2018, the State of Mississippi enacted a ban on abortions beyond 15 weeks. The challenge to Mississippi’s ban was brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the law firm Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and the Mississippi Center for Justice on behalf of JWHO. After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law in December 2019, the state of Mississippi asked the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to take this case (Jackson Women’s Health v Dobbs). Oral arguments in this case were heard by SCOTUS in November 2021 and the Court’s ruling is expected sometime Spring 2022. 

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is fondly known as “The Pink House” because of the bold color of the building. More than 80% of those served by JWHO live below the poverty line. According to Diane Derzis, owner of JWHO, “As the only abortion clinic left in Mississippi, we see patients who have spent weeks saving up the money to travel here [from across Mississipi and other states] and pay for childcare, for a place to stay, and everything else involved… Mississippi politicians have created countless barriers for people trying to access abortion, intentionally pushing them later into pregnancy. It’s all part of their strategy to eliminate abortion access entirely.” 

Despite the incredible obstacles of dealing with lawsuits, restrictive laws to scare away doctors, false adverstising of pregnacy crisis centers established in the same block as The Pink House, daily barrage of verbal assaults from anti-abortion vigilantes, the staff and volunteers remain committed to providing abortion care. 

Thank you, Diane Derzis, doctors who travel great distances to provide care, and all the amazing staff at Jackson Women’s Health Organization for the incredible difference you have made in the lives of thousands of people you have served over the years, even at great personal cost to your lives.[/vc_column_text][dt_fancy_title title=”Whole Woman’s Health” title_size=”h4″ title_color=”custom” separator_style=”thick” separator_color=”accent” custom_title_color=”#623393″][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][vc_column_text]In 2003, Amy Hagstrom Miller founded Whole Woman’s Health with the mission to provide fabulous abortion care, that is, excellent medicine for body and mind and compassionate, supportive care for heart and spirit. To that end, Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) clinics provide abortion and a range of gynecological care services.

The eight WWH clinics are operating in five states: Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia. Each state offers considerable distinctive challenges, most notably Texas. In the past several years, WWH has withstood egregious abortion bans, restrictions, and lawsuits and continued to provide highest quality services. WWH fought Texas anti-abortion legislation all the way to the US Supreme Court in the historic win, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). 

In 2020, while dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TX state legislature enacted another anti-abortion law (SB 8) banning abortions after six weeks in pregnancy. Once again, WWH was embroiled in a lawsuit, seeking an injunction. Despite the SCOTUS refusal to hear this case and allowance of this unjust law to remain, WWH has continued to provide aborttion canre and other reproductive services to the extent legally permissible.

In addition to providing quality and compassionate reproductive care, in 2014 Hagstrom Miller founded Whole Woman’s Health Alliance as a non-profit advocacy arm. WWH clinics work in states with the most regulations on abortion and endure continuous attacks from anti-abortion lawmakers, part of the work at WWH is to take bold action with advocacy and litigation. 

Recognizing the ongoing need shift the stigma around abortion, WWH developed Whole Woman’s Health “Abortion 101 Program.” This workshop is offered at WWH clinic sites as a way for advocates, activists, community partners, state legislators, media, and medical professionals to learn about what someone would experience when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. By deconstructing the nuanced conflicts, emotions, language and conversations surrounding abortion, WWH seeks to support the growth of empathy and help shift the way that people talk, think, and feel about abortion in our country.

We thank Amy Hagstrom Miller and all the medical, counseling, administrative and advocacy staff of WWH and WWHA for providing quality abortion care services, education, training, proactive strategy, and advocacy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”1″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ padding_top=”55″ padding_bottom=”55″ bg_repeat=”repeat” full_width_padding_left=”40″ full_width_padding_right=”40″ full_width_margin_top=”0″ full_width_margin_bottom=”0″ css=”.vc_custom_1477256289586{margin-bottom: 55px !important;}”][vc_column offset=”vc_col-lg-12 vc_col-md-12 vc_hidden-sm vc_hidden-xs”][vc_column_text]

RCRC’s Clergy and Laypeople Proudly Support:

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Stay connected to the movement for reproductive freedom!