Bowl a Strike for Reproductive Freedom

By David Anderson 

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Everybody knows abortion became legal for all women with the “Roe v. Wade” Supreme Court decision in 1973. Fewer people know that in 1976, poor women lost that fundamental right to determine whether or when to have children. That is the year that the Hyde Amendment (named after Illinois Republican congressman Henry Hyde) was passed, which barred the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions. It ended the provision of abortions for poor women through Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for low-income Americans. The amendment inspired the passage of other similar provisions applying to a number of other federal health care programs (for government employees, U.S. military personnel and their families, Peace Corps volunteers, Indian Health Service clients and federal prisoners).

It is not a permanent law but a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. President Clinton got an exception for rape and incest into the amendment in the 1990s.

President Obama has chosen to include the abortion coverage restrictions in his 2015 budget proposal. Earlier, he had agreed to extend the Hyde Amendment to the Affordable Care Act in order to secure conservative Democratic votes to pass Obamacare.

Jill Filipovic, writing in Britain’s Guardian, notes that these days, ”outside of the civil liberties organizations and women’s advocacy groups that are still pointing out the harms wrought by Hyde, there’s little mainstream political will to seriously challenge the law, even within the Democratic party. That Democrats so easily backed down on the Hyde amendment is a real shame, because that cowardice handed the GOP an effective road map for denying healthcare coverage for people or procedures they dislike.”

This is disturbing, since the Hyde Amendment has screwed up the lives of many poor women. Fortunately, activists in many communities around the country have intervened to create funds to pay for an abortion and for travel to a clinic or for an overnight stay in a motel near a clinic (for women who have to travel a great distance). Some activists provide a place to stay in their own homes.

For 20 years, these funds were largely isolated from each other. In 1993, 50 abortion fund activists from 22 funds in 14 different states came together to found the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF). The group also works to repeal the Hyde Amendment and similar laws on the national and state level. Today, the group represents 100 funds in the United States as well as Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. Some abortion funds have dozens of volunteers and some paid staff, while others are just run by one or two people.

This is crucial work because hundreds of thousands of women can’t come up with the money for the procedure. Abortions cost an average of $451 in the first trimester and can sometimes cost up to $3,000.

The National NNAF has a unique form of fund raising—a “National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon” held for many years throughout the month of April in dozens of cities. Participants sometimes dress up in weird outfits with team names like the “Ovary-chievers,” “At Your Cervix,” “Lara Croft’s Womb Raiders” and Texas’ “Puck Ferrys.” This whimsical attitude is refreshing because it challenges the slut-shaming stigma surrounding abortion.

This is a dangerous time for abortion rights. Since the major Republican gains in the 2010 elections, the Guttmacher Institute reports that there have been more than 200 anti-abortion measures passed in 30 states over the last three years.

The November elections are crucial. Will access to abortion be dramatically inhibited or will there be a pushback? It is time to demand that reproductive healthcare is a right, no matter how much money you make.

Join us on a DSA or YDS Bowlathon team, or organize your own: http://www.dsausa.org/bowl2014


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Dave Anderson is a member of Colorado DSA.

 

 

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 36 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 6 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
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  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
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You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 68 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 17 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.