Jessica B. Fisher, MPP1, Lois Uttley, MPP2, Carol Petraitis3, Barbara Sheaffer, MA4, and Karla Vierthaler, MPA4. (1) Education Fund of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, 17 Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207, 518-436-8408, firstname.lastname@example.org, (2) Mergerwatch Project, Family Planning Advocates of NYS, 17 Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207, (3) The Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, 125 S. 9th Street Suite 708, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (4) Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, 123 N. Enola Drive, Enola, PA 17025
Across the United States, reproductive health advocates are proposing public policies that would require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. To their surprise, these proposals have not always been met with immediate support from anti-sexual assault groups serving rape victims. This paper, based on a year-long study, explores the reasons for these differences and presents models from three study states (Washington, New York and Pennsylvania) of how advocates have been able to overcome obstacles and form effective working partnerships between reproductive health and anti-sexual violence groups. Among the topics that will be addressed in this paper are: Recognizing and addressing differences in organizational culture; taking initial steps that build trust between organizations; arriving at compromises on proposed policies and dividing responsibilities in ways that are consistent with each organization’s mission, culture and area of expertise. Examples of innovative partnership strategies from the study states include framing emergency contraception for rape victims’ legislation as “crime victim” legislation instead of “pro-choice legislation” to attract support from law-and-order legislators who are aligned with rape crisis groups but usually do not support pro-choice measures. The paper explains that by reaching beyond their usual boundaries, each type of organization can offer the other new perspectives and sources of expertise, new avenues for disseminating information about their respective causes and new insights into the obstacles women face in obtaining health care. These success stories form excellent case examples of how reproductive health policy advocates can engage in coalition-building with other public health organizations.
Keywords: Reproductive Health, Sexual Assault
Related Web page: www.mergerwatch.org
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA