September is an important month for reproductive justice activism. Besides the fact that it’s my birth month, it also happens to be Abortion Access Month. This September also marks the 38th year of the dreadful piece of legislation called the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment makes it extremely hard for low income people to access abortion care. Roe is law of the land but you wouldn’t know it with all of the 1,100 abortion and reproductive health restrictions laws introduced all over the country in 2011 alone. 2011 was “The Year of Abortion Restrictions” but 2013 may end up with even more anti-choice laws on the books.
A recent Toledo closing of an abortion clinic is among the latest casualties I am seeing here in Ohio as a result the budget bill that was signed by our governor this summer. Shit is bad, but Reproductive Justice activists have been working since the passing of Roe v. Wade on making sure that all people, regardless of income, ability, race, sexual orientation have access to their right to abortion.
Here are five things you can do this month to help:
1. Education: First and foremost, you must educate yourself. It is important to stay up to date on policy measures concerning abortion rights and restrictions, especially policy in your state. Getting accurate, non-judgmental information on reproductive justice is important to combat people who seek to spread misinformation. Just knowing what exactly goes on at crisis pregnancy centers goes a long way. A few places to start: http://www.fundabortionnow.org/, http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/, http://www.plannedparenthood.org/, http://allaboveall.org/.
2. Volunteer: Now that you are armed with information, you can volunteer with organizations that work to support and expand reproductive justice.
3. Spread the word on Social Media: September is Abortion Access Month. The National Network of Abortion Fund encourages people to support Abortion Access Month this September by tweeting with the hashtag #ACCESS13. If facebook/tumblr/blogging is more your thing, you can link to their events this month on your page.
3. Donate: The National Network of Abortion Fund helps people who are unable to access abortion care because of financial barriers. Thanks to the Hyde Amendment, federal funds cannot be used to pay for abortion care, with a few exceptions. Low income people who rely on Medicaid for their health care cannot use their Medicaid insurance to cover abortion services, that’s where abortion funds come into play. However, not only people on Medicaid access abortion funds. Various people all over the United States(minors, people in abusive relationships, undocumented immigrants etc) can and do access abortion funds. The fund would not be available without donations from individuals.
4. Sign the petition to repeal Hyde: Did you know that Hyde is mostly still law when it comes to abortion and federal money even under The Affordable Care Act? It is my humble opinion that the Hyde Amendment is a terrible terrible law. Like epically bad, infact, go sign the petition to repeal the Hyde Amendment right now! Signing the petition is one step in opening up abortion access to all people.
5. Advocate!: Did you do the above four things and are still looking for ways to get involved? Well, don’t fret, there’s plenty more to do. Get involved with your state’s/town’s abortion fund here. Your town doesn’t have a fund?, here’s resource on how to start a fund in your area.
More ways to get involved!
Petitions: Sign these petitions to support comprehensive sex ed, access to Plan B, abortion coverage and putting a stop to the 20 week abortion ban.