Currently we do not have anyone but me on this committee. My work here has most often been directed to the research and communications with Health Access & Privacy Advocates (HAPA, who recently changed its name from to call us advocates instead of an alliance), toward lawmakers and representatives surrounding health policies pertaining to Hoosiers having access to reproductive health services.
Since this year's session began, HAPA has been meeting weekly, in addition to our work for our respective organizations and our work together. After the 2021 session ended, HAPA leaders reduced our meetings to monthly. I'm learning the art of personal withdrawing after heavy advocacy efforts from these wise and experienced advocates. During the Summer months we are refreshing ourselves with family and rest so we will be ready to resume our efforts this fall with renewed vision and strength. In the meantime, we have begun the work of updating our website to reflect the language and focus of what has become known as “Reproductive Justice.”
Reproductive Justice (RJ) is a framework which encompasses much more specific needs regarding family planning and actual, literal access to these services, in the privacy of the conversations between an individual and their physician -- which is the right of every person according to Roe v Wade in the USA. RJ is a response to systemic barriers to the poor, people of color, LGBTQ, etc. that prevent these individuals from accessing the services they need. This very year our state - and many other states - signed into law legislation that denies access to even more people, causing many more Americans to be unsuccessful in exercising their right to obtain abortion services. RJ is the framework we need for this time in history. As the growing mindset within advocacy surrounding what we know as "women's health," RJ is the framework we need for this time in history. In summary, the focus is not on rights but on access. One may have the right to see their doctor, but may not have money or transportation to actually go and see the doctor. RJ goes much further, however, advocating for the needs of children as they grow, for families to live in safety, with provisions for all needs, education, and health care for each person. This framework is fascinating, and encompasses BIPOC, the poor, and every person. For further information (which I suggest we all become familiar), please go to www.sistersong.net.
As we comb through each page on the website, we are updating the language to be more inclusive for BIPOC, as well. I am designing new imagery that includes lesbian couples with children, people in wheelchairs with children, and a wide array of skin colors in a public park setting. We are actively updating the very “feel” of the topic of abortion to be one that is supportive of families as much as it is supportive of individuals, considering the high numbers of people seeking abortion services are already parents.
Over many years HAPA has accumulated some money from dues paid by organizations such as ours. And while we do not receive donations, we are currently in talks regarding where we can place some of these funds to assist and underwrite abortion services, hotel stays, post-abortion care packets, etc. Some women in prison need these items and services, and we will be deciding how much to give to this and various other services for Hoosiers.
BLOG & OTHER ART
From time to time I write in our blog under Women's Health. Along the way I make art and share it there, or have it as something we may use along the way in our social media campaigns, and sometimes it is simply inspired by legislative decisions that grieve, well, a lot of us. I'm sharing some of that here.
LWV FOCUS in INDIANA
Our LWV-Indiana Women’s Health Advocate Pam Locker is organizing some chairpersons in various local chapters to begin meeting to decide and take actions going into the next session. I will be attending these meetings. Our first meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, and I will provide updates to you guys about that as well going forward.