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Statement by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda Founder and President Marcela Howell
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that will provide $2 trillion to address the coronavirus crisis. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda Founder and President Marcela Howell issued the following statement:
“While we applaud the swift, bipartisan action to pass the COVID-19 relief bill, we are appalled that Congress and the Trump administration used the bill to continue to target the rights of those who are already disenfranchised, especially women of color. Opponents of women’s reproductive health and rights added anti-abortion language to the bill — using a national tragedy to promote their misogynist agenda. The health and lives of undocumented immigrants remain at risk, as the bill makes no provisions to provide for them. The bill also lacks adequate funding for childcare, which is urgently needed by so many low-wage workers who have been deemed essential while their children have been sent home from school.
“As lawmakers continue to address the pandemic, we call on them to address the needs of undocumented immigrants to ensure that their health and the health of their families are also protected. Finally, we demand that lawmakers act to protect our voting rights, which already have been curtailed by the necessary social distancing.
”Black women and our families are always disparately impacted. We already face barriers to accessing health care, including birth control and abortion. We are paid less than white men and white women. Our communities are overpoliced and underserved — often lacking adequate housing, transportation and even access to grocery stores. We demand that Congress and the president implement policies and programs to support us during this national crisis.”
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 Black women, femmes, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, and youth. Our strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.