Strong Families Series Covers Roe’s Absence

About Malika Redmond

Malika Redmond, MA, former gender justice researcher at PRA, founded the International Black Youth Summit at age 14, has worked for Choice USA, National Center for Human Rights Education, and SisterSong, and was on the Board of the National Women's Health Network. She is currently the Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!

“There is no Roe anniversary for low-income women!” declared Carey Pope, Senior Policy Analyst at Ipas, a global organization dedicated to ending preventable deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion, in a blog the day prior to Roe‘s 40th anniversary.

In the decades since Roe v. Wade, the Right has advanced restrictions on abortion access that disproportionately impact poor women–especially those who are young, rural, and of color. Pope’s post appeared as part of a storm of original art and articles for the Still Wading on Roe series for Strong Families, a national collective of organizations, including Political Research Associates, that work on reproductive justice.

From Mississippi to Nepal, Pope draws a connection between the 1976 Hyde Amendment and the little known 1973 Helms Amendment—both laws that hold reproductive freedom hostage, here and abroad, respectively. Helms ended abortion funding in foreign aid, blocking abortion access for low-income women in countries like Nepal who rely on U.S.-funded clinics. Three years later, Hyde stripped the U.S. Medicaid program of abortion funding (except in case of rape incest, or life endangerment), and more than half the states passed Hyde-like provisions to their own Medicaid programs over the coming decades.

In a post about her home state of Mississippi, one of the states that opted to follow the federal government in refusing to cover abortion care, Jazmine Walker underscores five reasons why women there are losing access to abortion. Along with the attempted closing of the state’s last abortion-providing clinic, a travesty that has attracted media buzz, Walker highlights the ongoing fight against a personhood amendment, which would “give full legal rights at the moment of conception.” Rep. Andy Gipson (R), who introduced the bill, has already introduced three anti-choice bills in his short career in the Mississippi legislature, and is infamous for his homophobic Facebook rant preceding President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality.

Opponents of Roe are not satisfied with incremental wins against abortion access—they want to overturn Roe v Wade itself. Antichoice organizers are readying new assaults. My piece for the Strong Families campaign, published the day of the annual anti-abortion “March for Life,” highlights key racial wedge strategies used by antichoice leaders of color and sponsored by powerful conservative organizations. These campaigns use innovative imagery and messaging to pit African-American women against their community on the basis of abortion rates, dramatically declaring “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” 

Though the Right has long controlled the narrative of “family values,” using it as a weapon against abortion advocates, the very name of “Strong Families” undermines their rhetoric. We stand for the value and choices of all families.

Read all 20 blog posts from the campaign and learn more about Strong Families here: