We Don’t Just Fund Abortion. We Build Power.
You don’t have to say much to convince me to rally against the Hyde Amendment, a ban in the federal budget against abortion care. When I was a pregnancy counselor, I met many people caught up in our sub-par and judgmental healthcare system as a result of the coverage gaps created by Hyde.
But Rep. Steve King said more than enough when he asked Kierra Johnson, executive director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity and steering committee member of the All* Above All campaign, to connect puppies to Black people. Black people and puppies are not the same. I can’t believe I live in a world where I have to write that.
He eventually said, after interrupting Johnson several times, that partial birth abortions on puppies are illegal, but are still allowed on human fetuses — and that the world cares more about puppies than humans.
King is wrong. Since 2003, the procedure most commonly known as dilation and extraction (which is not the same as the commonly used dilation and evacuation method) has had a federal ban except in cases threatening the life of the parent. As someone who has attended first and second trimester abortion procedures, I know how it’s done. It’s nothing like the terribly inaccurate puppy analogy King made up. He and many others continue to strike fear and shame into people with lies and false information.
Also, considering I haven’t heard him speak out against police brutality, I suppose he is one of the people he’s ridiculing. In fact, because Black Americans, as I type, are in Charlotte demanding that our lives matter and because we are surviving systematic attacks from our government, many of us choose not to parent.
And that is why I rally against Hyde and for abortion access — for bodily autonomy, for accurate information about people’s bodies and their choices.
This September marked the 40th year of Hyde taking power away from people who use Medicaid, who work in the military, folks connected to the Indian Health Service and others. This amendment is part of the reason the country has more than 60 organizations dedicated to fundraising and paying for people’s abortion procedures.
And we don’t just fund abortion. We build power. More than 20 abortion funds across the country, including the organization I co-founded in Atlanta, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast (ARC-Southeast), joined the National Network of Abortion Funds and other All* Above All partners for a week of action against Hyde and for abortion coverage.
We at ARC-Southeast weren’t interested in pleading with legislators for our dignity. It’s draining work that doesn’t always feel empowering. We wanted to instead nourish and love on our community, dismantle myths folks have about abortion and to remind ourselves and others just how much support there is for folks who choose this care option.
We set up at a community park with white shirts demanding an end to Hyde, with dyes, with water. We set up beside a young family hosting a three-year-old’s birthday party. We set up next to an annual church picnic with other 200 attendees. We set up where our community, Black folks loving in the South, was.
We talked to so many people about why the Hyde Amendment should die, and we dyed so many t-shirts, that we ran out of supplies and had to explain the sad news to pouting, excited people looking forward to the next chance to connect with us — about abortion! About community building! About honoring the genius, expertise and decision-making power of our folks. And that was just the first event this week. And we’re just one group.
All* Above All coalition member Forward Together, for example, has partnered with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United to connect abortion care with economic justice for restaurant employees.
Other members of the coalition and of the National Network of Abortion Funds have passed city resolutions on Philly, have held banner drops on highways, screened TRAPPED in rural areas that have little access to candid conversations about abortion, held community bike rides, hosted art shows and more. All of this just shortly after five cities hosted the largest simultaneous concert for abortion access in the country, All Access! We don’t stop! We can’t stop.
We’re a country of people of color who will not be compared to dogs, who will not be erased, and who will have a seat at the table. I am blown away by the efforts nationwide against Hyde and for us — by us! Now, that is what we mean by #BeBoldEndHyde!
Bianca Campbell is the National Network of Abortion Funds’ Georgia-based Movement Building Coordinator and co-founder of Access Reproductive Care-Southeast.