Review of Iliff’s Renewal Conference 2021 on Reproductive Rights & Justice

Like many academics I’ve been attending conferences for many years. Every year, Iliff School of Theology’s Renewal Conference centers around the current interest of faculty, staff, students, alumni, engaged neighbors and affiliates. Conferences like these don’t form my opinion they inform my opinion on pressing topics as they provide access to conversations with professionals and experts. The 2021 conference focused it’s conversations around the topic of Reproductive Rights & Justice as this is a particularly pressing issue for men and women. Even though many people are tired of continually conferencing and zoom calls these communications remain an important method for gathering information, and, like it or not, these conferences often result in policy writing and decision making by powerful people like you and I. That’s why I want to take a moment to share my takeaways from this meeting.

Sam Carwyn and Rev. Amanda Henderson presented, led, and illuminated that, beyond debating rights to life or choice, many angles are necessary to be able to ensure greater coverage and protections of the health and wellness for all aspects of our bodily care regardless of whether we are men, women, or transitioning. It is encouraging to know that what is needed is that everyone involved in this complex social organizing address these issues in their own way in their respective fields. I think it’s important to note that rather than focusing on making decisions for people about their bodies, these leaders emphasized ensuring safe medical care be provided at all levels of family planning.

The conference felt too brief and introductory to be the end of the compassionate conversation. In future discourse it would be interesting to speak more directly about particular aspects of Reproductive Rights and Justice for examples a) Consent at all levels of relationships b) how institutions & communities can support individuals and families more fully. c) Robust sex education. d) Realistic expectations between generations of needs for a households’ health and wellness plan. 

By the end of this Renewal Conference I heard, learned, and now think: Successful wellness and health planning is based on economic models of interdependency not dependency. Communities and institutions who build social networks to care for single individuals and parents in appropriate ways in combination with caring for children in appropriate ways can better meet for the needs of all households. Ensuring that barriers (that create dependence) are removed and systems are streamlined so that, regardless of where they are living or where they are transitioning to, individuals, parents, and children know where and how to access safe resources necessary for their health, wellness, education, and economic opportunity is to ensure that power rests with each person interdependently. 

What do you think communities can do to meet the health and wellness needs of each household?

Raise [your consciousness] peacefully,

P.S. Over the last year the increase of access to telecommunication and mail services have helped humanity achieve more comprehensive medical care for men and women.

>U.S. Supreme Court revives bar on abortion pill mail delivery in pandemic. Reuters. Andrew Chung. 1/12/21.

“U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Greenbelt, Maryland in July found that due to the health risks that COVID-19 poses, the in-person requirements “place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a medication abortion” and likely violate their constitutional rights.

Chuang’s injunction said the government had taken actions to effectively waive several in-person requirements for dispensing other drugs, including opioids.”

>FDA Action on Telemedicine Abortion is Just the First Step–It’s time the Biden Admin Let’s Pharmacists Dispense the Abortion Pill. 4/6/2021 by DANIEL GROSSMAN and SALLY RAFIE Updated April 13 at 11:30 a.m. PT.

“UPDATE: Late Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the in-person dispensing requirements on mifepristone—one of the medications used for medication abortion—until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision will allow providers in some states to prescribe the abortion pill via telemedicine and send pills via mail.”

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