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.


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Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch (9pm Eastern)

October 04, 2016 · 6 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

In Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
  • how to recruit new members
  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in.

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

Instructor:

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

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org 607-280-7649.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. You can participate in every webinar or just attend once in a while.
  7. Workshops will generally be on weekends or evenings.
  8. Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Sunday for Tuesday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

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DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 19, 2016 · 17 rsvps
DSA New Member Orientation

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.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

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