September 23, 2014 — After nearly 40 years of fighting the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage restrictions "one by one, state by state," many reproductive-justice supporters are "ready to be proactive" to ensure every woman in the U.S. "can have coverage for a full range of pregnancy care, including abortion," Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity Executive Director Kierra Johnson writes in an opinion piece in the American Prospect.
The conventional strategy "is reactive and time-consuming," and it "puts reproductive justice advocates perpetually on the defensive," she argues.
Johnson writes that some advocates are joining "a new national effort to change the conversation from reactive to proactive" that has already "engaged hundreds of activists who are sick of politicians meddling in their health care decisions for cheap political points."
She details how earlier this month "hundreds of young people across the country" took part in the All* Above All Be Bold Road Trip, which spanned nearly 10,000 miles through "twelve cities [and] eight states." The road trip is just "one strategy to bring grassroots power and energy to cities across the nation," she adds.
In addition, Johnson notes, "Last year, more than fifteen organizations joined URGE ... to come together and made a commitment not just to defend against the tidal wave of restrictions, but to work together to actually move forward in securing support in favor of coverage of abortion by Medicaid, the health-care program funded by the federal government and the states for lower-income patients." She also praises cities that are leading on the issue, such as Seattle.
"[A]bortion access for low-income women is an issue where economic injustice, racism and gender oppression come together," Johnson continues, noting that advocates "realize that it will take a focused, concerted effort to make lasting cultural and policy change" (Johnson, American Prospect, 9/19).