Get Involved in the Reproductive Justice Movement: Tips from a NY Advocate

By Maryam

The strategic efforts dedicated to ripping away our reproductive rights are fully fledged and relentless. When we filter out the anger, confusion and helplessness, the only thing that remains is the pressing question:

What can we do?

Well, we chatted with Emily Kadar from the National Institute for Reproductive Health who gave us strategies for plugging into the reproductive justice movement.

During a time with major impending threats to our reproductive rights, how can we get involved?

EK: “I would urge everyone to get involved in the fight for reproductive rights, health, and justice at the local and state level. Federal issues are important, but there is so much we need to do in our own backyards to protect abortion rights, guarantee birth control access, and get comprehensive sexuality education into every school.

I personally work with activists in New York State who are trying to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act through the NYS legislature. There are amazing local organizations in every state that are working to push back on bad laws and to pass proactive, pro-choice policies.

I also encourage everyone to donate to their local abortion fund. In most states, people on public insurance plans like Medicaid have to pay for an abortion out of pocket. Abortion funds give grants to people who need help paying for abortions, addressing this really terrible health care inequity.”

Who inspired you the most in the reproductive justice field and why?

EK: “The first person who leaps to mind is Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in 2009 by an anti-choice zealot. Dr. Tiller was not just a brave abortion provider but also a model of compassion. In the immediate aftermath of his death, I attended multiple vigils where former staff and patients spoke of the extraordinary kindness with which he treated his patients and the sense of humor with which he led his staff.

He is also the source of two of my favorite quotes about this work. The first is:

‘Until you understand the heart of a woman, nothing about abortion makes any sense at all.’

Dr. Tiller always emphasized the individual needs and feelings of his patients, and never cast his own morals upon them. I wish lawmakers would follow his philosophy. The second:’“When the going gets tough, the tough go to Dairy Queen.’

In times like these, I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream.”



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