This February, the National Network of Abortion Funds is featuring Black leaders in Reproductive Justice who have organized at the intersections of Reproductive Justice and Black liberation, including Black leaders in abortion funds!
We invite you to spend Black History Month envisioning a world that dismantles harmful systems, lifting up and centering those who are marginalized, and strengthening our movements through dialogue, storytelling, and intentional conversations. This campaign for Black Reproductive Justice leaders also connects to the Heart-to-Heart Abortion Conversations we’re having during February that will be a catalyst towards making our vision for abortion access possible.
Black and Bold Expansion Pack for our Heart-to-Heart Abortion Cards
Download, print, and use these cards with friends and groups who want to explore topics of Black liberation and Reproductive Justice! The cards will help build some knowledge and open up important questions about what we can do to lift up Black leadership.
Black RJ Leader Spotlights
Anise Simon lives in Florida and is a gardener, landlord, and aspiring electrician. She also works as the Member Systems Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds, where she helps build power with local abortion funds. Anise loves hip hop, all things vitamix, and impromptu adventures.
What Black organizations have shaped what we you know about Reproductive Justice?’
Answering this question makes me proud to be from the South! Organizations like Southerners on New Ground, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, and of course SisterSong have all informed how I was able grow as a Black femme in the world- with my community, with my family, and with other organizers. I’ve done multiple trainings with all three of those organizations and I learn something new and beautiful every time.
Amanda Lamm serves as the Leadership Development Coordinator at the National Network of Abortion Funds. She is a writer, organizer, and anarchist activist focused on Black liberation, fat liberation, mental health advocacy, and abortion access. She active in solidarity and cross-movement work at those intersections. Her organizing framework is pro-Black, pro-hoe, and anti-respectability. In her free time, you can find Amanda making herbal medicine and conjure oils, reading and writing Afro-futurist literature, listening to underground hip hop, and playing with her dog, Millie. She was born and raised in Hampton Roads, VA and currently resides in Indianapolis, IN.
How does medical fatphobia lead to Black people not getting reproductive care?
Because of shame and stigma fat folks are often uncomfortable even going to the doctor. As a fat Black woman, that discomfort feels doubled – my authority and expertise of my own body is often questioned as a Black woman and many if not more of my health care providers throughout my life have chalked every single one of my health concerns up to my weight as a fat person. The same applies to all kinds of reproductive health care. when emergency contraception and abortion care carry weight restrictions, how are fat folks supposed to be able to access certain kinds of medical care? Just as with abortion, the shame, stigma, and lack of compassion around fatness is much more dangerous than fatness in itself. Shame keeps us out of the doctor’s office, and thus creates serious impacts on our health, including our reproductive health.
Malia Luarkie (Laguna Pueblo/African American) is the proud daughter of Kari Ray and Richard Luarkie. She is an organizer and a Birth Doula for Indigenous Women Rising. She is a woman who has always had an interest in contributing to society in positive ways: she has always sought ways to connect with community movements and organizing. Malia cares about Indigenous communities and wants to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
How can we center the voices and experiences of people most impacted by abortion in the abortion access movement?
In our abortion care journey we’ve not only been able to help people from numerous Indigenous communities but also within our collective. Giving our undivided support to patients is essential, but so is giving the correct education and the necessary tools.
In our community – like most communities of color – a majority of our youth are being raised by their grandparents and other family members (i.e. not their parents) Because of this it’s caused our people to become discouraged. However, with a little bit of magic and a lot of hard work, we’ve managed to not only get our youth involved but a few elders as well.
Allowing our elders to see how important reproductive care is to our youth slowly convinces them to also get involved. As easy as that sounds, the work is never done. Support, consistency and hard work have been a major part in getting us this far.
Brooke A. Butler is a reproductive justice organizer. Her aim is to help build a deeper and more active reproductive health, rights, and justice movement in the District of Columbia. Currently, she is the Movement Building Director for the DC Abortion Fund. She works to build with and center people disproportionately impacted by barriers to abortion access in outreach, communications, and leadership development of the organization. Brooke resides in Washington D.C.
What laws, policies, practices around Reproduce Justice impact the self determination and bodily autonomy of Black people?
Far too many. Since America’s inception, Black people’s reproductive autonomy has been restricted. We have had our children stolen, been forced into destitute living conditions, sterilized without consent, and people were tortured and experimented on in order to produce the gynecological practices used today. Over and over, policies and practices have told us that Black people do not know what we need and that we cannot build lives without others’ approval. This drives current anti-abortion laws like the Hyde Amendment, the Dornan Amendment, bans from 6-20 weeks, it leads to prisoners being forced to exchange sterilization and vasectomies for freedom.
We can’t all do everything, but we can all do something. What is one thing you can do, or would like to see others do, to be in solidarity with Black people accessing reproductive justice?
Become an abolitionist. The carceral system is inherently anti-reproductive justice. It takes people away from their families and cuts families off from resources — it limits the ability to parent, to reproduce, to thrive and it targets Black people especially.
Obtaining an abortion has increasingly become difficult for low income Black people Which societal barriers do you see impacting this reality?
The cost of housing, lack of transportation and infrastructure investment, and inability to get child care are HUGE barriers, particularly in the District. If people are unable to get to an appointment, to find child care so they can go, or pay so much for rent that they cannot — how can they afford abortion care?