RJFP Rock Stars: Former Fellow Jamille Fields Makes Space for Repro Justice at Planned Parenthood

In law school, Jamille Fields knew she wanted to work on health disparities — she was also on her way to getting her master’s degree in public health — but it wasn’t clear there was space for what she wanted to do in the reproductive rights movement.

“I always thought repro work was a white woman’s thing,” says Jamille. “I didn’t know about the concept of reproductive justice.”

When she applied for If/When/How’s Reproductive Justice Fellowship in 2013, she looked it up: “I thought, ‘This really does encompass all the work I wanted to do. I knew it had to involve work outside the health care system — housing, criminalization — and I was like, ‘That’s exactly what I want to do.'”

Today, she’s a policy analyst at Planned Parenthood and marvels “to think that five years ago, this was not anywhere on my radar.”

“The fellowship really has obviously shaped my career, because now I work at the largest women’s health care provider,” says Jamille, who spent her fellowship at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), pairing her law and public health degrees from St. Louis University with policy analysis, working at the “cross-section.”

The fellowship is a great way to ease into professional work, because you also have some freedom to learn for the sake of learning and figure out your path,” says Jamille. At NHeLP, she got to go “deep into the weeds” combining law and policy” while attending conferences and workshops and “just being part of a cohort of people where we could learn from each other as we were growing together.”

Today, Jamille works on Planned Parenthood’s Affordable Care Act portfolio and health care reform in general, as well as singer-payer possibilities and issues around religious refusals. She keeps track of changing laws for Planned Parenthood affiliates and offers technical assistance to clinics by walking them through the nitty-gritty of health care legislation. Jamille also works on writing public comments and developing legislative recommendations for members of Congress.

Every day is different: “Never before has it been so true; I walk in, and I literally don’t know what’s going to happen that day.”

To help If/When/How empower even more lawyers like Jamille who are committed to bringing reproductive justice perspectives to reproductive rights work, make a recurring (tax-deductible!) donation