During ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice…
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
Jessica Pinckney, Vice President of Government Affairs
In Our Own Voice: The Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda along with Planned Parenthood Federation of America co-hosted an issue forum, “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Destiny” at the Congressional Black Caucus annual legislative conference. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) served as an honorary co-host of the event that explored the cultural and political consciousness around violence against Black women, girls, and femmes.
As the Vice President of Government Affairs, I was thrilled to serve as a panelist along with Alicia Sanchez Gill, from Collective Action for Safe Spaces, Dorianne Mason, from the National Women’s Law Center, Jenn Stowe, from Priorities USA, Chelsea Fuller from Blackbird Communications, and Chastity Bowick from the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts.
As panelists we discussed how violence against Black women extends beyond domestic violence and intimate partner violence, it permeates into all facets of our lives such as assaults on our reproductive rights, access to healthcare, immigration policies, and beyond. The connections are startling, for example 21 percent of all female Title X patients are Black women. The attacks on Title X will block access to quality healthcare and deny Black women complete information about their full range of reproductive healthcare options. While Roe vs. Wade is currently the law of the land, a right is only a right, if all people have access. The Hyde amendment, which has existed for more than 30 years, ensures that many low-income women, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals will not be able to access abortion care. Not only that, we continue to see access stripped away through countless abortion bans throughout the country.
It was a robust discussion and other panelists highlighted issues such as violence experienced by transgender women and gender non-conforming folks, access to affordable/free healthcare, the power of black women as an electorate, decriminalizing adult consensual sex work, and the role black women play in influencing the portrayal of our narratives in media and entertainment industry.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls.