Reproductive Justice

“last night’s feminist party” was here

November 29, 2010

A little more than a week ago, a crowd of New York City-area activists as well as Third Wave staff, board members from across the country and local grant partners met up for a (friendly) takeover of happy hour at Lolita. There was drinking, some dancing, and posing for party photos! It was an evening full of generous acts of trouble-making to support of youth activists. Thanks to Lolita for providing drink specials for our evening, including a festive feminist cocktail we named "Intersectionality on the Beach." Hot party photo credits to Mary Ellen Hitt. [gallery orderby="rand"] Check out more photos at where you can sign up for notices about the next LNFP and be sure not to miss out on a good time! Here are the LNFP/NYC Facebook album and Flickr set as well.

Posted in: Blog, Community, Feminism Was Here, Movement Building, Philanthropy, Reproductive Justice

#whatitreallytakes: Reproductive Justice In Action

June 16, 2011

Yesterday we asked the Third Wave community: tell us #whatitreallytakes to get an abortion. Your responses are inspiring, overwhelming and powerful.

  • We hope you'll read, share, and add your own story, using the hashtag #whatitreallytakes.
  • You can also post our report and infographic on abortion access to your blog, or Facebook Wall, or send it to someone who needs it.
  • You can support a network of young feminist activists who are working across the United States to remove these barriers to access and ensure our reproductive freedom for generations to come by making a gift to Third Wave.

Posted in: Actions, Community, Reproductive Justice, What It Really Takes

Become a Third Wave grant partner

October 4, 2010

Our 2010 Request for Proposals and Application for grant partners is out now. Support is available for non-profit projects, organizations, and collaborations engaged in community-based work to achieve gender, racial, economic and social justice. In addition to reaching out to organizations that explicitly locate themselves within the reproductive justice movement, Third Wave also encourages applications from organizations that have not historically identified with reproductive health and rights movements, but that take an intersectional approach to their work. View our application, learn more about our funding priorities, and join us for a support call with your questions. Our deadline is November 5th, and we'll be making decisions in early December.

Posted in: Community, Movement Building, Reproductive Justice

Chicago Abortion Fund: Anti-Choice Billboards Shame Black Women

March 29, 2011

Chicago Abortion Fund Opposes Racist Anti-Choice Billboard Featuring Obama's Face, Chicago (anti-choice billboard image via Feministing) Third Wave grant partner Chicago Abortion Fund released this statement today, denouncing a new series of anti-choice billboards targeting communities of color -- this time, in their hometown Chicago:

Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) is against the billboard being unveiled at 58th and State Streets on the South Side of Chicago on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The ongoing anti-choice movement to target women of color in cities across the country is both despicable and deplorable. Not only is the ad attempting to shame black women but placing a picture of the President Obama alongside the message stoops to a new low. CAF demands that elected officials and community leaders immediately reject this racist billboard campaign. Life Always, the organization responsible for the billboard, is just one of the many anti-choice organizations seeking shock value through a message that many don’t believe. These organizations and their billboard campaigns fail to address the social conditions that create the need for abortions, including poverty and a lack of access to contraception and reproductive health care. Says Gaylon Alcaraz, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, “These people who insist on shoving down our throats their anti-women messages through lies and misleading information should be ashamed of themselves. Women have a legal right to access abortion services and should not be shamed regarding the personal choices they make. Abortion is a personal decision, not a political discussion. We will not be moved by this anti-choice attempt to hijack our communities. Only we, women of color, can speak for our communities. Only we, women of color, know what is best for our families.”
Last year, similar billboards first began to appear in Georgia. Third Wave grant partner SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW successfully mobilized their community and allies in Atlanta to denounce the billboards and speak to the truth of black women's fight for reproductive freedom. For more on the network of anti-choice organizations funding these billboards, check out Miriam Zoila Pérez's investigation at Colorlines. Update (March 30, 2011): Gaylon Alcaraz on NBC Chicago, at yesterday's protest against the billboards:

Posted in: Actions, Ads, Chicago Abortion Fund, Reproductive Justice

Double Standards: Congress Attacks Abortion and Families

May 12, 2011

In this segment from GRITtv, Paris Hatcher, Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, exposes the double standards at the heart of recent Congressional attacks on abortion and the rights of young people to parent:

"We're supposed to love life, right? And protect mothers and ban abortion because abortion is about ending babies lives, right? But then we see cuts to WIC, [Women, Infants & Children benefits], we know women are being chained to beds to give birth."

Posted in: Healthcare, Media, Reproductive Justice, SPARK

e-LOLA: Training a new generation of Latina activists nationwide

September 28, 2011

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health activists in Washington, D.C.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, a Third Wave grant partner, is training even more young activists through its new initiative, e-LOLA:

Our Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA) trainings have been carried out in 11 cities across the country since 2003, and the new e-LOLA has been designed to accommodate the lives of busy young adults by allowing them access to the materials presented at our traditional, rigorous two and a half day LOLA Reproductive Justice Institutes. This webinar training will provide Latina activists with sessions on: the history of the reproductive rights movement, community organizing models and specific skills building tools to prepare participants with the knowledge and resources for launching a campaign. After the training, e-LOLA graduates will continue to be part of NLIRH’s larger network of Latina advocates and become part of the Alumni Network as well as become leaders on reproductive health issues in their communities. The e-LOLA webinar series will occur on October 25th, October 27th, and November 1st at 7pm EST and is free of charge. More information on how to apply is here.
NLIRH's previous LOLA trainings were crucial to developing a reproductive justice network of young Latinas, whose work ranges from securing abortion access to reforming immigration policies. As NLIRH activist Diana Salas writes, “Past trainings provided by the Latina Institute have helped me frame the messages around reproductive health and have connected me with other NYC Latinas working on similar issues. These trainings have been instrumental for someone who does not work in the reproductive justice field.” Through e-LOLA, NLIRH is expanding this vital training to young activists nationwide and strengthening this critical activist coalition. To find out more, check out NLIRH's e-LOLA page and application.

Posted in: Leadership, Movement Building, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice, Youth Organizing

How Anti-Choice Billboards & Crisis Pregnancy Centers Target Women of Color

April 13, 2011

Writing at, Chicago Abortion Fund's executive director Gaylon Alcaraz describes the scene at a protest against the new anti-abortion billboards in Chicago:

As black women gathered to protest and demand the removal of those signs, which were posted up in the darkness from the night before, black preachers and other Life Always representatives stood at the microphone explaining why they chose this neighborhood and the president’s image for their tag line: “Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.”  These three identical billboards placed side by side on a building that face evidence of poverty, neglect and despair is ironic.  The lot in which the press conference was held is littered with broken glass and garbage, with grass nowhere to be found.  It is this scene that provided the backdrop for this Houston-based group to advocate for “Life Always.”  Yet, these outsiders fail to see the irony in telling black women in this depressed neighborhood not to abort their ‘babies.’ By coming into poor communities of color in an effort to regulate and attempt to control women’s decisions about reproduction and reproductive health, the group is spreading fear, myths and falsehoods not only about abortion (one lonely woman of color stood on stage and talked about breast cancer and abortion) but also about what these anti-choice organizations actually do.  For example, one preacher yelled from the podium that they advocate for more crisis pregnancy centers that would help women.  Yet, we all know that these centers do not help women but attempt to shame through various tactics, such as propaganda films and shoving mutilated dolls in front of women. One of the women that sought funding from the Chicago Abortion Fund, Nicole Goss, found a crisis pregnancy center before she found our information.  She had this type of experience.  In fact, she stated that the center she found herself in attempted to do everything to force her not to have an abortion, even telling her she was too far along to have a procedure – which was not true!  These centers are deceitful but very dangerous as well.  Nicole had a second- trimester procedure which proved to be not only more risky but drastically more expensive  than if she had access to an earlier first-trimester abortion.  This is a clear example of the deceptive work of these centers for which the preachers are advocating.
Over on Chicago Abortion Fund's blog, their members shared their reactions to the billboards:
What Life Always should have done was invested the time, energy and funds they used to put up those billboards into these neighborhoods and their schools. Fund and advocate for comprehensive sex education in the schools. Provide us with employment resources. - Brittany
Abortion is a choice and i know everyone is entitled to the own opinion however i still being this billboard should be removed. growing up in this community many would be surprise to know what goes on and what woman have to endure so i feel that attempting to alter someone minds and choice is wrong. Allow these woman to make there own choices who knows a few years down the road they too could be the next possible leader.... - Dominique Perry
You can keep connected with Chicago Abortion Fund's work in support of reproductive justice on their blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted in: Chicago Abortion Fund, Healthcare, Media, Reproductive Justice

Impossible Choices: Observations from the Emergency Abortion Fund

August 8, 2011

My name is Marianna Luna and this summer I am interning at the Third Wave Foundation through the RRASC program. The Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) internship is a ten week internship that places undergraduate students from ten Western Massachusetts colleges at organizations that focus on reproductive rights and social justice. I am currently entering my second year at Hampshire College, and I have recently been introduced to the world of reproductive justice with the help of Civil Liberties and Public Policy program located in Hampshire College's own campus. This summer I have been running the Emergency Abortion Fund here at Third Wave. Let me just start by saying exactly why I became interested in reproductive justice. I am a Latina, 18 years old, and queer identified, so as a young woman from a low income area, I have seen and been affected by many things which many people would consider an injustice. I have always worked closely with my community in the Bronx and being a part of a very deprived area I’ve seen what people with no money have had to do in order to feed their families and receive certain “benefits” that other people easily take for granted. Now, I know plenty of women who have had abortions but I was never really able to grasp how difficult a process it was to actually pay for the procedure. Reproductive health affects everybody and so does abortion access, and it took me a while to actually understand why. Reproductive justice is largely affected by and tied to racial, economic, queer, and immigrant rights, as well as many other things; these are all things I feel personally connected to. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to get an insight on women’s personal stories and talking to a lot of these women has made my frustrations on abortion access even stronger than they were before. All the women who call the fund deserve every penny available for their procedure but unfortunately they don’t get every penny of it. Health insurance doesn’t cover people, other people don’t have any health insurance, some are impoverished, others undocumented immigrants, and some just don’t have anything and found out too late and have to pay thousands of dollars for a procedure that they can only cover $100 of. The abortion fund helps alleviate some of the costs which is essential at this time because there are more and more attacks on reproductive health everyday. I do however believe that funds do not solve the structural problems with abortion access. Funds are band aids on a cut and though I do believe that they are helpful, they can’t help everybody. It’s hard to be on the phone with women you know deserve funds just as much as anybody else but because there is a budget to work around, certain people just can’t be funded. Then you get asked why. Why can’t you fund me? And the answer is almost always the same: because we are looking for women that are further along. Well, to a lot of people that doesn’t make sense. The further along a woman is, the more expensive it is. So why not fund people in their early trimesters rather than their late trimesters? I don’t even have an answer for this, though I do understand why people further along are prioritized. Somebody who is 25 weeks can have to pay up to eight thousand dollars if not more for their procedure while somebody who is 10 weeks or less may only have to pay $600. For me personally $600 is a lot and I can imagine that it is a lot to other people who may only have about $50 for their procedure. See, it’s not easy coming up with reasons because the truth is, that we shouldn’t be coming up with reasons, these women should have their abortions covered by their insurance and if women don’t have insurance (though this is another issue around healthcare), they should not be turned away because of costs, and be forced into carrying their fetus to full term.

Posted in: Blog, Reproductive Justice


March 2, 2011

Thanks to everyone for coming out last Thursday to our second ever last night's feminist party! Ever seen a Reproductive Justice photobooth?

Check out your great photos on Facebook and on Flickr. We look forward to more silly radicalism with you all in the future! If you'd like to share them with friends who couldn't make it, you can direct them to the slideshow at Many thanks again and hope to see you in a few months for the next "last night's feminist party."

Posted in: Blog, Community, Reproductive Justice

Medicaid Is No Band-Aid: When Hospitals Discriminate

October 25, 2010

We're excited to have this guest post from Dashaya Craig of Chicago Abortion Fund, a 3W grant partner. There is a real scarcity of clinics in my community that are available to provide reproductive health care to poor people. The City of Chicago does have public health clinics that were designed to serve people that can't afford health care and don't have a private insurance or Medicaid. There are three public health centers on the south side of Chicago, but it usually takes months for someone to get an appointment. When a person does get an appointment it takes an entire day to get seen which could possibly be a day that they have to miss at work. Those conditions cause poor people to not utilize the public health centers and just not go to see a doctor. Now due to the current economical situation the City of Chicago is "cutting the budget" and two of those three clinics are going to close. So they are referring people to just one clinic and because they can't accommodate the overflow of people they are just turning people around. Other than the public health clinics there are no other in our community to provide health care for the poor and uninsured. This is one of the main reasons that poor communities are plagued with high rates of STI's, HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancies. People in poor communities are not properly educated about sexual health, and they don't have equal access to reproductive health care. Until there is access to reproductive health care available in poor communities there will be a continuous increase in sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. I know a young single mother of two who was pregnant with her third child. She was reliant on Medicaid because she lost her job. The hospital in her neighborhood was a very prestigious and well known hospital in Chicago. It was blocks away from her house -- she had both of her older children there, and it was a great facility. When she made her first appointment they were under the assumption that she still had private insurance. However, when she arrived at her appointment and presented her state Medicaid card she was refused service, and referred to another hospital that wasn't nearly as prestigious and far away from her house. This hospital in particular is constantly turning women away that don't have private insurance. It's not that they don't have any insurance at all -- it's just not private insurance. That is another form of discrimination, because the only people that have Medicaid insurance are poor people. So this could lead you to believe that particular hospital didn't want to serve the people in the community they’re in. Regardless if a person is poor or don't have insurance they shouldn't be refused health care in their own community, especially when they are pregnant. This young mother with two children ended up not even getting proper health care, because she couldn't make it to her appointments. This isn't just her story -- this is the story of many poor women of color.

Posted in: Chicago Abortion Fund, Community, Healthcare, Reproductive Justice