Organizing for Reproductive Justice in the Southern US
In October 2019, the New Yorker’s Alexis Okeowo reported on the struggle for reproductive justice in Georgia. Okeowo described how use of the term ‘reproductive justice’ developed to highlight how black women’s health was impacted by “by poverty, unequal pay, lack of access to adequate housing and schools, and the abuses of the policing and criminal-justice systems.” Although abortion remains legal in Georgia (until the twentieth week of pregnancy), women there are organizing to obtain more freedoms and rights when it comes to their bodies and decisions about motherhood.
As the New Yorker reported, in 2014, Georgia was one of twenty-five states that enacted laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion under the Affordable Care Act, legislation that especially impacted low-income women who struggle with the cost of the procedure. In response, national organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and local organizations, including the Magnolia Fund, provided funds to help women who wanted abortions but could not afford them to pay for their procedures. (As the New Yorker reported, the Magnolia Fund closed in 2019.)
One of the women’s health activists profiled by the New Yorker, Oriaku Njoku, helped to open Access Reproductive Care-Southeast in 2015. The next year ARC-Southeast began providing funding and assistance to about fifty women per month, the New Yorker reported. Today it serves about 300 women per month. Beyond help with expenses, the care provided by ARC-Southeast includes help with booking travel and hotel rooms, taking women out for meals, and even putting them up for a night or two in their own homes. “We try to lead with love,” Njoku told the New Yorker.
Source: Alexis Okeowo, “Fighting for Abortion Access in the South” New Yorker, October 7, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/14/fighting-for-abortion-access-in-the-south.
Student Researcher: Isabel Sosa (College of Western Idaho)
Faculty Evaluator: Anna Gamboa (College of Western Idaho)
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