2019 Conference on Family Planning

MSFC’s Conference on Family Planning is renowned for providing medical students and students of other health professions the abortion and family planning education they will not receive during their formal schooling. From hands-on opportunities to learn techniques to thoughtful explorations of personal issues related to providing abortion, MSFC’s Conference on Family Planning provides a safe environment for learning and networking with fellow students and mentors.

More than 5,000 students have attended this conference over the past 20 years and many have returned as teaching faculty for this extraordinary conference.

Registration for the 2019 Conference on Family Planning is now closed. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

December 7 to 8
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Registration Information:

Registration opens on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Registration Price:

  • MSFC Members, Health Professional Students, and Resident Physicians: $175*
  • All other: $300 (For registration contact [email protected])

*For students and training physicians registration is subsidized by MFSC’s donors.

The Registration Deadline is Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

For more information, please contact the MSFC staff at 215-625-0800 or [email protected].

MSFC’s Conference on Family Planning is the leading conference for medical students interested in abortion and family planning education. In addition of being an outstanding educational experience, the Conference on Family Planning is an excellent opportunity to network with students, residents, physicians, and colleagues from MSFC’s global reproductive health community, and to build relationships with other MSFC chapters both nationally and internationally.

Below, you can download the Conference’s preliminary program and read more about each of the sessions we will be offering this year.


Why Choice Matters, by Dr. Dhammika Perera, MBBS, MPH, FFPH, PhD

Dr. Perera is the Global Medical Director of Marie Stopes International (MSI), the world’s largest provider of contraception and safe abortion services. He leads a team that assures clinical quality and governance across all MSI programs located in Africa, Asia, Latin America, UK/Europe and Australia. He is a medical doctor with 20 years of experience in public health and international health service management. He holds a medical degree from the University of Colombo, a Master’s degree from the University of Manchester, a PhD in Public Health from Walden University, and a Fellowship from the UK Faculty of Public Health. His passion lies in the provision of modern contraceptives and safe abortion services to all who need them.

Prior to joining MSI, Dr. Perera led the reproductive health services of the International Rescue Committee based in NYC, and worked in multiple countries with Doctors Without Borders over a seven-year period.

Dr. Perera will discuss the global epidemiology of abortion, how reproductive choice differs from clinical choice and the harmful global effects of US policies. He will describe what a post-Roe America might look like and identify the real risks associated with losing reproductive freedoms. He will identify strategies for reducing unsafe abortions and highlight the need for contraception within and beyond reproductive healthcare.

Options Counseling

This session introduces some practical skills you need to counsel your patients who are deciding what to do about being pregnant, and examines how to use a reproductive justice lens to have these conversations in a way that respects patient autonomy. This will be an interactive session, with small groups where participants can explore approaches to talk to patients and navigate the sometimes complex issues surrounding reproductive health counseling.

The Best Birth Control: Fact, Fiction & Finding the Method That Fits Your Patient’s Needs

This session will review everything you need to know to provide the best birth control to your patients. We will review what we learned from The Contraceptive Choice Project and how that caused a paradigm shift in contraception provision. We will look at the menu of birth control methods through the lens of effectiveness. Attendees will become familiar with all of the evidence-based tools available for medical screening, initiation and use of contraceptive methods. Finally, we will look at safety and risk in context and dispel common myths that often create unnecessary barriers to women receiving the best birth control.

Reproductive Justice In An International Context

Access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare is a basic human right. However, globally, many women and adolescents lack adequate access to such information and healthcare resources.  This session will explore reproductive justice framework through global comparative perspectives.

 Complicated Cases In Abortion

This session will use case studies to demonstrate the complexities of providing abortion care in the outpatient/health center and inpatient/hospital setting.  Participants will learn about how patients are triaged in order to reduce the risk of complications.  Specific clinical vignettes will be used to demonstrate how to recognize and manage complications that can occur during abortion care.

Participating In Abortion Services And Advocacy When Your Primary Employer Has Religious Or Moral Objections

Clinicians who want to participate in abortion services or advocacy often face hurdles and discrimination in employment, including having their jobs threatened when they want to advocate publicly about abortion or moonlight as abortion providers. Although this discrimination occurs in all kinds of health care settings, including public and private hospitals, religiously affiliated institutions and secular institutions, employers often use religious or moral objections to abortion to justify discriminating against employees. During this session, I will discuss the types of discrimination and barriers physicians face when employers try to prohibit them from participating in abortion services or advocacy. I will then present findings from a recent national survey of voters on opinions about health care institutions that refuse to provide abortion and other reproductive health services based on religious beliefs and that discriminate against employees who want to provide or support abortion. I will also discuss current ongoing work to support providers who are facing employment barriers to participating in abortion care or advocacy, including legal rights and remedies. Finally, the space will be opened for questions and discussion of ways physicians manage these kinds of situations.

1st Trimester Aspiration Abortion

This session will review the techniques for first trimester aspiration abortion, including pain management options, use of a trauma-informed approach, and complications.

Promoting Dignity And Supporting Decision-making Across The Pregnancy Spectrum

Reproductive justice is the recognition that people deserve dignity in their reproductive decision-making. Whether or not they ever become pregnant, through all decisions and outcomes related to their pregnancy, and as they parent their children, everyone has the human right to support and freedom from coercion. This requires that health care providers understand the histories of racist and sexist oppression — by the state and the medical profession — that create power imbalance between physicians and patients, factors that push people away from the health care system, and the punitive systems their patients navigate in their everyday lives.  This multi-disciplinary panel will illuminate the barriers to reproductive justice that patients face during and after pregnancy, and challenge future physicians to find their role in dismantling oppression and promoting reproductive justice by making health care a space of safety and trust, protecting patients from harm by the state, and supporting decisions throughout pregnancy.

 Physicians As Advocates

The current political climate demands now more than ever that student, resident, and physician voices are heard in local and national healthcare policy decision-making, particularly in the realm of reproductive health. Access to abortion and contraception services, and even training in comprehensive reproductive health, are in jeopardy. In this panel, we will present resources and strategies for training and participating in advocacy in your own community and throughout your career.

Intrauterine Device (IUD) Hands-on Training

Bayer Medical Affairs and Clinical Sales Specialists will facilitate these sessions by reviewing IUD placement steps using multiple pelvic models. The following Bayer IUDs will be available for simulation:

  • Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 52mg
  • Kyleena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 19.5mg

 Abortion Care Later In Pregnancy

My former colleague, Kalin Gregory-Davis, who is currently a second year medical student, and I will discuss abortion care later in pregnancy, as provided at our clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We will discuss who the women are that present in the third trimester and why.  This will be followed by a discussion of the physical and emotional care of these patients.

Fighting Back In The Courts And The Capitols: Litigation & Legislative Trends In The U.S.

In this session, students will receive an overview of current legal cases pending across the country, and state and federal legislative battles that affect patients’ access to reproductive health care. Topics will include mandatory ultrasound description laws, restrictions on medication abortion, abortion method bans, restrictions on insurance coverage and funding for entities that provide abortion care, and targeted regulation of abortion providers. Strategies for getting involved as physician-advocates will also be discussed.

 Access To Abortion As A Human Right

Access to abortion is a core feature of family planning and a human right.  Reproductive rights are increasingly respected and protected globally, but in the U.S., access to abortion services comes down to zip code and available resources.  The situation in the U.S. is not only unfortunate; it is considered discrimination and a violation of women’s rights.  Understanding the human rights framework is important for advocacy and collaborative efforts with the legal sector to improve access to abortion in the U.S. and around the world.

Faith And Choice – A Panel Of Religious Leaders Talk About How Reproductive Justice And Abortion Fit Into Their Faith

Sexual and reproductive health is one of the most heated issues of our time, with religion playing a key role – in some cases as genuinely held views, and in other cases as a tool for political power. In this session, a diverse panel of religious leaders will offer a nuanced analysis and positive perspective on the role of faith engagement in providing healthcare and creating culture change.

The Role Of Maternal Fetal Medicine In Pregnancy Termination

This session will address issues surrounding pregnancy termination for genetic or congenital abnormalities. The presenter will address counseling issues for these couples as well as the risks, benefits, advantages and disadvantages to the various methods of second trimester abortion. They will address how to help couples create pregnancy memories and how to help them cope with their loss. This discussion will also include the role of the MFM specialist in last second trimester pregnancy terminations.

Abortion Techniques: A Hands-on Training

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a safe and easy method of providing early surgical abortion. It is also used for miscarriage management, treatment of failed medical abortion, or endometrial biopsy. MVA provides a low-tech alternative to electric vacuum aspiration that is gentler, quieter and used throughout the world in low resource settings. The session provides a hands-on learning opportunity using papayas as a uterine model.     

Pro-choice Guide To Residency Panel

Applying for residency is a challenging process. If you want to be trained in the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, you face some additional hurdles in applying for residency. In this session you will hear MSFC alumni from a variety of specialties describe how they balanced all the issues that go into applying for residency and found the programs that fit their needs.

Reproductive Health For Patients Along The Gender Spectrum

A panel of experts will discuss the reproductive health issues that transgender and gender non-binary patients may experience, and participants will have an opportunity to learn and discuss practice approaches for providing the best care for their patients.

An Overview Of Second Trimester Abortion: The Science And The Medicine

This session will review the basics of second trimester abortion. This includes the discussion of available techniques and approaches, and minimizing risks and complications.

Investigating Non-Coercive LARC Policies And Practices

Reproductive coercion targeting incarcerated individuals, people with disabilities, low-income people, young people, and people of color has been documented well into the 21st century and actively shapes how vulnerable communities interact with public health initiatives today. In this session, presenters from Abortion Care Network, the National Women’s Health Network, and National Institute for Reproductive Health will place LARC policies and practices in the context of coercion past and present and will discuss strategies, partnerships, and resources to support non-coercive provision. This session will end with proactive calls to interrogate and change policies and practices–individually, in the clinic, and beyond.

Exploring Critical Contributions Beyond Provision

This panel of former Medical Students for Choice leaders will describe their practice and discuss the many ways, outside of abortion provision, that doctors can contribute to better reproductive health for their patients.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

MSFC is no longer accepting session proposals for the 2019 Conference on Family Planning. Please e-mail [email protected] with any questions.


Don’t miss your chance to exhibit in 2019 at the premier conference for students in the health professions interested in family planning.

We are looking for residency and fellowship programs and fellow pro-choice organizations to exhibit and interact with medical students during the weekend conference. This is an amazing opportunity to network with student, residents, physicians and colleagues from the global reproductive health community.

For questions or more information, please e-mail [email protected]

The Medical Students for Choice Conference on Family Planning is the premier conference for medical students interested in reproductive health and family planning!

We bring in expert faculty from around the world to cover a wide range of reproductive health topics. More often than not, these workshops and seminars cover subject matter excluded from the standard medical school curriculum. Lectures and interactive workshops incorporate:

  • abortion and family planning
  • hands-on training in reproductive health skills
  • international family planning
  • advocacy and activism

Who should attend? Any medical student, health professional student, or resident interested in family planning. You will join over 300 students and residents interested in all aspects of women’s reproductive health.

When is it? December 7-8, 2019

Where is it? Philadelphia, PA

How much does it cost?

  • $175 if registered by October 23rd, 2019.
  • Late/on-site registration is $200 per person. After October 27th, 2019, only on-site registrations will be accepted.
  • If you are planning to register on-site, please email [email protected].

The registration fee includes breakfast and lunch on both Saturday and Sunday, in addition to unbeatable educational content. MSFC heavily subsidizes the cost of this conference to bring you this experience for the lowest possible price.

Why should I attend? Expert faculty, high-quality education, hands-on training opportunities, the chance to be around hundreds of students and residents who are passionate about abortion and family planning – the list goes on and on. If you are at all interested in reproductive health, you won’t want to miss the Conference on Family Planning.

Travel: Attendees should plan to fly into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The hotel is easily accessible from the airport by public transportation RTD.


  • MSFC has reserved a room block with a rate of $149 (single/double occupancy), $159 (triple occupancy) and $169 (quad occupancy) per night plus applicable taxes.
  • All rooms have 2 double beds and can sleep up to 4 adults.
  • For security purposes, the location of the hotel will not be released until you have registered and been approved as an attendee.
  • If needed, we can help pair you with a roommate to save on hotel costs. E-mail [email protected].

Conference Start/End Times: The conference will start on Saturday, December 7th, 2019 at 7:30 AM (breakfast at 7:30 AM). The conference will end on Sunday, December 8th at 2:00 PM.

Dress Code: There is no dress code, but most students will dress in casual or business casual attire.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing on or before October 23rd, 2019 and are subject to a $25 processing fee. Please note that if you cancel your registration after October 23rd, 2019 we will NOT be able to refund your registration fees. No shows will NOT receive a refund of registration fees.