ICYMI: United State of Women, Planned Parenthood, and Reproductive Rights Advocates and Experts Call for Action to Support Abortion Access
The USOW town hall hosted two panels discussing grassroots efforts to navigate abortion restrictions and actions to support clinics and patients in communities across the country.
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, leading reproductive rights organizations joined the United State of Women for Our Post Roe World Explained, a virtual town hall to discuss the wide-ranging ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and its impact on abortion access across the country, including the disproportionate impact on people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, the disabled community, and young Americans.
The town hall opened with an introduction to the issues by Michelle Colón, Cofounder and Executive Director of SHERo Mississippi.
The first panel was moderated by New York Magazine’s Irin Carmon and focused on the legal landscape of abortion access. Participants included representatives from Whole Woman’s Health, Center for Reproductive Rights, University of California San Francisco Bixby Center, and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
The second panel was moderated by Sharmin Hossain, Campaign Director for Liberate Abortion, and focused on the larger implications of Roe v. Wade being overturned, especially for marginalized communities. Participants included representatives from Girls for Gender Equity, We Testify, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, If/When/How Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, and the Center for American Progress.
Kelley Robinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, wrapped up the evening with closing remarks and a call to action for the audience to do what they can to support their friends, neighbors, and family members seeking abortions and support the organizations that provide critical resources for these seeking reproductive care: “Here’s what we’ve got to do. Love one another enough to fight. We got to love each other enough to refuse to give up. To believe, to truly believe with every fiber of your being, we can and we will win but the only way to do it is together. We’re going to have to link arms with the providers and the funders and the Black and brown folks and the trans folks and the queer folks and the immigrants and low-income folks and differently-abled folks, we gotta stitch our kingdoms together to build something bigger and bolder than we’ve seen before. When we do that, we can get close canner to freedom than we’ve ever been before as a people.”
Jordan Brooks, Executive Director, United State of Women: “Whether you know it or not, you are a trusted messenger for the people in your life. You might be the only person who can reach someone in your community who is being swayed by disinformation or who is on the fence about what they support, or you may be a really important resource for getting someone access to care. Each of us has the ability to reach our communities online and offline. Having these conversations is the first step towards building the power we need to get the change we seek.”
Dr. Tania Basu Serna MD MPH, Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCSF Bixby Center: “We see that as abortion access has been decimated, the impacts on the health of communities continue to be devastating. This harmful decision is a cruel abusive power that is already causing irreparable damage, particularly to the millions of people already facing barriers, accessing care, and deepening the massive racial and economic inequities in our country. These bans are just proportionally impacting communities already harmed by overlapping systems of oppression, including people of color, people who are underpaid for their work, people living in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and trans, nonbinary and gender expansive people.”
Jeryl Hayes, Movement Building Director, If/When/How Lawyering for Reproductive Justice: “One of the things that we recognized is that even before this decision, the criminalization, we’ve seen an increase in people being criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes. And that is happening across the country and not just in states that are hostile to abortion rights, we’ve also seen this happening in states that are even more progressive towards abortion rights. We’re concerned about the ways that prosecutors have been utilizing different laws, even laws that were never meant to prosecute pregnant people for their pregnancy outcomes…criminalization is discriminatory, it’s discretionary and circumstantial. It discriminates against people based on race, their economic situations, their gender, their disability, their immigration status, and whether or not they are participating in informal economies.”
Cazembe Murphy Jackson, Storyteller, We Testify: “When I think about the connections between reproductive justice and trans rights, it’s really simple. It’s about bodily autonomy, or what we say in the movement sometimes is self-determination. Just the ability to be able to decide what choices I make for my life. And I believe that’s the same for abortion access as it is for trans rights. It’s not a coincidence that both are under attack right now, and they’re under attack by the same people.”
Lupe Rodriguez, Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice: “There are some really specific practical barriers that immigrants face right now that are holding them literally hostage in some of these border states, such as internal immigration checkpoints that are not at the border, but within states. Folks are having to face the choice between being separated from their families and getting the care they need. And that’s on top of the other barriers: the money, the travel, the childcare, all of the days off, all of the questions they already face.”
Mia Ives-Rublee, Director of Disability Justice Initiative, Center for American Progress: “The fight that the disability community has been forging for generations is the same fight that repro rights and justice folks have been fighting as well because we talk about bodily autonomy, and that’s a huge part of fighting for disability rights and disability justice… A lot of the time disabled people don’t have the ability or the right to control their own bodies in general, not even talking about the ability to have an abortion.”
Breya Johnson, Deputy Director of Organizing, Girls for Gender Equity: “Another thing that we are really paying a lot of attention to is femicide. We know pregnant people have a very high homicide rate. You’re four times more likely to die when you’re pregnant, and we know the reasons why that happens. So it’s important to understand that this fight for abortion rights, it’s also a fight against patriarchal violence and a fight against patriarchy in general. The consolidation of cis-het-male power goes hand in hand with why they want to control your bodily autonomy and, specifically, why they want to control the bodily autonomy of the upcoming generations. If we’re only talking about abortion and not patriarchy, we’re missing the mark on the type of organizing we’re going to have to do.”
For more information on abortion access and how you can take action, visit United State of Women’s abortion access hub at USOW.org/repro.