Abortion is a common medical procedure sought by people of all racial, income, religious, geographic demographics. People of all genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and immigration statuses need access to abortion, every single day. Get the facts at We Testify, along with testimonials from abortion storytellers whose leadership is changing cultural and media narratives about abortion
These experiences, which funds hear every day on the phone, are the reason why one core part of NNAF’s political and cultural agenda is to overturn the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory piece of budget legislation passed each year that bans federal funding of abortion. It has one job: to restrict insurance from covering abortion care for people who are on Medicaid or who receive their insurance through the federal government. Abortion is the only medical procedure that has ever been banned from Medicaid, even though other reproductive health care needs are covered, including birth control and sterilization. Currently, nearly one in seven women of reproductive age (15-44) are insured through Medicaid.
NNAF’s political and cultural agenda alongside abortion funds also is to ensure living wages and worker protections; end criminalization of pregnancy, miscarriage, and abortion; end family caps in welfare policies; repeal parental involvement laws; increase accessibility of medication abortion; and eliminate public funding of crisis pregnancy centers.
UNDERSTANDING INTERSECTIONALITY & REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
As a facilitator in this campaign, you will be joining us in shifting and expanding the conversation about abortion to include an intersectional lens. This will allow for conversation about how our , one that understands that a person’s ability to self determine their own reproductive destiny is impacted by reproductive oppressions connected to race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, body ability, immigration status, criminalization status and other complex and compounded oppressions. We are all affected by a country ravaged by inequity. Prior to holding this conversation, we invite you to explore and interrogate the ways you have been socialized within an oppressive culture to center dominate social groups based on gender, class, age, sexuality, religion or a combination of these and more. How might this impact how you hold this conversation and whose voices you listen to?
At NNAF, we approach our work through a reproductive justice framework, with clear commitments to intersectionality and anti-racism. Reproductive justice is a framework and approach started and led by women of color, specifically Black women from SisterSong. It is an invitation and a call to action beyond the gender equality, abortion rights or pro-choice framework that often does not account for the many ways institutions, cultural norms, and systems of oppression exert control over people’s bodies and decisions, especially for people of color and people affected by economic injustice. SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as
“an intersectional theoretical analysis defined by the human rights framework applicable to everyone, and based on concepts of intersectionality and the practice of self-help. It is also a base-building strategy for our movement that requires multi-issue, cross-sector collaborations. It also offers a different perspective on human rights violations that challenge us in controlling our bodies and determining the destiny of our families and communities.”
We understand liberation and humanity, particularly for those who are marginalized, are impacted by white supremacy and anti-black racism. When we imagine freedom, we look beyond how the most privileged among us navigate systems safely and move us all towards a world that dismantles harmful systems and lifts up and centers the most marginalized among us. Kimberlé Crenshaw, scholar and civil rights activist who coined the term intersectionality, once described intersectionality as being “an analytic sensibility” and “a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power.” She also articulated how intersectionality helps us increase attentiveness to “identity based blind spots when it comes to aspects of unequal power dynamics we don’t ourselves experience.”
This syllabus is designed to help you learn, reflect, and grow wherever you feel most drawn.
Readings and viewings about intersectionality and reproductive justice:
- SisterSong: “What is Reproductive Justice?”
- Loretta Ross video: “Reproductive Justice 101”
- Audre Lorde: “The Master’s Tools will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”
- Audre Lorde: “There is no Hierarchy of Oppressions”
- ICAH Participatory Youth Action Research on Given & Chosen Families
- Brené Brown, video: TED Talk on Vulnerability (and/or animation about Empathy)
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs, video: “Revolutionary Mothering”
- bell hooks, longer read, “Feminism is for Everybody”
- Gloria Anzaldua, longer read, “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza” (1987)
- Marilyn Frye, longer read: The Politics of Reality (1983)
- Steven Universe, animated, child friendly musical video about difficult conversations: “Here Comes a Thought”
- Kimberle Crenshaw, longer read: “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”
- Catherine Gonzales’ Bitch Media Article: “For Undocumented Women Seeking Reproductive Healthcare, Policing and Politics Create a Maze of Barriers”
- Political Research Associates comprehensive report: “Defending Reproductive Justice”
- Angela Davis, free zine: “Lectures on Liberation”
- Abortion funds 101
- Toolkit: We are Brave: Race, Money, and Abortion Access
- Abortion fund leaders on How to talk with your family and friends about abortion!
- Reproductive Rights vs. Reproductive Health vs. Reproductive Justice
- Kimberlé Crenshaw’s TED talk on intersectionality
- Dorothy Roberts’ TED talk on health disparities and race-based medicine
- ICAH Youth Research Findings on Given & Chosen Families
- 2014 NNAF video on how abortion funds help remove barriers to abortion access
Ask the following questions after reading/watching:
- Name at least one key step that should individually and collectively be taken to ensure that groups of people do not fall through the cracks of our movements?
- What is one of the biggest distinctions between reproductive rights and health and reproductive justice?
- Identify some examples of how race-based medicine still exists today. What do these disparities lead to?
- Do you think that religion and science can exist in harmony? Why or why not?
- What are abortion funds practical role in the realization of true reproductive justice?
- What role does your family play when it comes to how you talk about abortion?