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Women of Color Come Together to Call on the Supreme Court to Halt Attacks on Bodily Autonomy

March 4, 2016 - 0 Comments

Women of Color Come Together to Call on the Supreme Court to Halt Attacks on Bodily Autonomy

Too often women of color have had to endure attacks on the ability to make our own decisions about our bodies and our families. Low-income women and women of color continue to face disparities in access to the health care and supports that women of color and our families need. This makes it harder to manage our sexual health, seek abortion care when we need it and have healthy pregnancies when we want to parent.


SisterSong organized a delegation of women of color and activists from the South to be in Washington, DC for a demonstration as part of the oral arguments in a case challenging restrictions that were passed in Texas that would result in the closing of more than half of the state’s clinics. We will be there to push back on sham laws that interfere with our access to abortion care. These policies are just another example of political games being played on the backs of our communities.

What is clear to us is that politicians who push these restrictions often do not have any genuine commitment to the health, safety or prosperity of women of color, our families or our community. Where are these groups when low-income women and women of color are struggling to access health care? Where are their programs to deal with the high rate of maternal mortality among women of color? Why aren’t they speaking out about the systemic racism that makes it harder for women of color to raise our children and care for ourselves? Where is the so-called prolife movement when it comes to mass incarceration or childhood poverty or police violence?

We must be able to determine when and if we want to parent, to build our families as we see fit and to be able to raise our children in a world where they are safe and they are treated with respect and dignity.

SisterSong organized a delegation from the South to attend the oral arguments. The group includes activists from TN, GA, NC, TX and MS.

“Time and again we have seen policies pushed to control the ability of Black women to make our own reproductive health decisions from when to become pregnant and raise children to dealing with obstacles to seeking abortion. It is clear that there is a political agenda to deny our bodily autonomy. Women of color from across the South are coming together to say ‘enough’. Black women will not stand by as lawmakers attack our rights, our health and our dignity.”

Monica Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong

“SisterLove stands with Whole Woman’s Health because women of color can no longer accept the attacks on abortion through sham legislation and the reproductive oppression of this country’s most marginalized communities. Access to full sexual and reproductive health is integral to maintain the dignity, bodily autonomy, and reproductive self-determination of all women – particularly those facing the burdens and barriers imposed by HIV stigma and racial injustice.”


Lisa Diane White, Deputy Director, SisterLove

“As of this month, Louisiana has one provider of safe and legal abortions in the state. This continued legacy of Reproductive Injustice in the South and beyond and its disproportionate effect on Black women, their families and communities is why the Reproductive Justice movement and the Movement for Black Lives have naturally converged. It is also no coincidence that both movements were started by and are currently led by Black women. This is what we mean when we say ‘Trust Black Women’. We know what is best for ourselves and our communities. We are experts of our own experience and realities.”


Mwende Katwiwa, co-chair BYP100-New Orleans and the Program Assistant for Women With A Vision

“ARC-Southeast envisions a world where all Southerners have full access to care and support around their reproductive health decisions without biases or barriers. This is exactly why we are supporting our communities by unapologetically funding abortions, providing practical support, and building power through advocacy, education, and leadership development. Anti-Choice legislation like HB2 directly impacts our work as we fight to create a cultural shift around the fear and stigma currently associated with one’s bodily autonomy. We hope SCOTUS recognizes the undue burden anti-choice legislation creates for individuals and their families in accessing the reproductive healthcare they want and need.”


Oriaku Njoku, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

“Because we are Southerners and women of color, we show up for our neighbors and go the distance to care for each other. Our communities need support in getting the care that’s right for each of us. What we don’t need is more obstacles, diminished options, or politicians making our families’ most intimate decisions.”


Roula AbiSamra, Board Chair, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

“Women of color will be at the Supreme Court because we know what it is like to have inaccessible or inadequate care. We know that banning abortion doesn’t end abortion. It just ends safe abortion– and we know that families of color and low-income people of all races will be disproportionately impacted, as we always are, by inadequate resources.”


Bianca Campbell, Movement Building Coordinator, National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF)

“What’s happening in Texas is all too familiar in Tennessee. We’ve seen restriction after restriction and road block after road block put into place that does nothing but push much needed reproductive healthcare out of reach and leave the most vulnerable folks without any options. That’s why we are standing in solidarity with Whole Woman’s Health and speaking out to protect access to abortion care.”


Katie Garcia, East TN Organizer, Healthy and Free TN

“As a clinic escort for Whole Woman’s Health in the Rio Grande Valley, I’ve had firsthand experience witnessing the effects of House Bill 2. If we lose our clinic in McAllen, folks will have to travel for about 4 hours to reach their nearest abortion care provider. This is simply not possible for many because our undocumented population cannot cross the border patrol checkpoints and because our border region is among the poorest in the country. We fight or our right to reproductive care and stand with Whole Woman’s Health. Mujeres luchando! El mundo va cambiando!”

Denni Arjona, South Texans for Reproductive Justice

“House Bill 2 limits access and for many women this eliminates choice, which can be especially true for many black women. This bill, while harmful for all women, it is particularly damaging for black and other marginalized women in this state. These women will continue to have fewer options which creates an even larger burden that can ultimately lead to women creating options for a legal medical procedure in a non-medical environment that can create a larger health crises or an unintended death. House Bill 2 completely negates the foundation of reproductive justice – the right to parent, the right to not parent, and the right to parent the children we have.”

Marsha Jones, Executive Director, The Afiya Center

“The Woodhull Freedom Foundation stands with SisterSong and all of our allies in the reproductive justice movement. Restrictions on access to abortion are a violation of our human rights. It is the right of every human being to decide when and if to become a parent. Woodhull supports individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and the right to family. We reject attempts to control personal decisions about when to bear children and with whom to raise them, choosing, rather, to support policies that care for our families.”

Ricci Joy Levy, Woodhull Freedom Foundation


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