A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —Supreme Court Leak of Draft Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson

May 3, 2022

Last night, Politico leaked a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, a case that challenges Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban. In the 98 page draft, author Samuel Alito indicates that the court is poised to wholly overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that Constitutionally protects the right to an abortion in the US. The draft would also overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case that reaffirmed but narrowed the right announced in Roe.

This leaked draft is NOT the official court ruling and will NOT be binding until released as a final opinion. For the time being, abortion is still legal and Constitutionally protected across the country. A leak of this nature is unprecedented, and while it appears to confirm what we feared the Supreme Court would do this summer, it also allows the movement for abortion access time to build support and strengthen our strategy before the official opinion is announced. 

Things will likely get worse before they improve. As written, the leaked draft would make it much more difficult to access abortion and will likely lead to increased surveillance, criminalization and policing of those who choose to end a pregnancy with a disproportionate impact and focus on the most marginalized among us. This draft demonstrates a very extreme view on the liberties granted under the 14th amendment. Most notably, the opinion explicitly states its intended implications for contraception access and marriage rights. In light of these threats, we refuse to back down in our advocacy for a vision of Reproductive Justice where reproductive care, which includes abortion services and care, is accessible to everyone who wants or needs it.  More specifically, we imagine a future where marginalized people have the autonomy to make decisions about their lives, bodies, sexuality, and reproduction free from fear, stigma and shame. We envision a world where our people get to be their and their ancestors’ wildest dreams.

The fight does not end with this leak or with the pending final opinion. As we continue our on-the-ground work, we call on our current political leaders to affirm the protection of our Constitutional right to abortion. In this election year, we also strive to elect decision makers who seek to protect and expand access to equitable comprehensive sexual and reproductive care that includes abortion care. In the midst of this election season, make sure your voter registration status is up to date. You can cast your vote for primary elections in Georgia by May 24, 2022. Make sure you’re registered to vote for the November 8, 2022 general election by October 11, 2022!

We must continue our fight to protect our right to abortion and the full range of reproductive health care. With that, we must also honor our own wellness and community care in this time of action. SPARK will be hosting a Black Sanctuary wellness space on Tuesday, May 10th 6-8PM EST. Use this link to register. 

Resources: 
Repro Legal Helpline https://www.reprolegalhelpline.org/
Information on accessing self managed abortion with pills https://www.plancpills.org/
Donate to Abortion Funds: https://fundathon.nnaf.org

To support SPARK’s ongoing advocacy for Reproductive Justice in Georgia and around the country, visit http://www.sparkrj.org/donate/

In Solidarity,

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, Inc. 

A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —UPDATE ON SB 435

This week the Senate Education and Youth Committee voted in favor of SB 435, a bill that would prevent trans and gender expansive children and young adults from participating in school sports on teams that correspond with their gender identity. If passed into law, this bill would harm all young people – cis, trans, intersex, and gender expansive alike – with particularly troubling implications for Black girls and young women. For more detailed information on how this bill would negatively impact students in Georgia schools, please see our detailed statement

We unapologetically oppose this transphobic and misogynistic piece of legislation. We are deeply disappointed, although not particularly surprised, that the committee voted in its favor. However, this committee is only one set of decision makers that the bill needs to go through before it becomes a binding law. We invite all of our base to join us in continuing to fight it as it goes through the next steps in the legislative process, whether that be through contacting your legislators, giving committee testimony, or educating others in community about the bill. 

To gain advocacy skills and have opportunities to speak directly to your legislators, please register to attend our Legislate This! advocacy day on March 3, 2022. 

A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —SB 435

On Monday, February 1st, a group of Senators in the Georgia Legislature introduced SB 435, a bill that denies the existence of trans and gender expansive students in Georgia schools and actively excludes them from full participation in school athletics. 

If passed, SB 435  would require K-12 schools to discriminate against trans and gender expansive student athletes. Hyperbolic and unsupported claims of unfair competition are no justification for systematically excluding children as young as 5 years old from participation in sports. This bill serves no legitimate purpose and is yet another thinly veiled attempt to advance a bigoted, transphobic agenda.

Trans and gender expansive students experience significantly higher rates of depression and anxiety than their cisgender peers. However, when their families and communities accept and reflect back their names, pronouns, and identities, these students have better mental health outcomes across all measures. Requiring schools to discriminate against their trans and gender expansive students will make it impossible for educators to create environments that foster community acceptance and support. We need legislation that will protect the mental wellbeing of all students, not a bill that will exacerbate existing disparities. 

Trans and gender expansive folks, even when they are young, know themselves. They deserve space to explore their identity and self expression without having to sacrifice opportunities to participate on teams that affirm and respect who they are. Trans and gender expansive children and young adults exist and have always existed, and they are valuable members of our communities. We demand that the Georgia Legislature treat them as such. 

Join us for our annual SPARK Organizing Intensive

New to organizing? Want to develop your leadership while building community with other advocates? What does liberation look like to you?

Leading up to our annual Legislate THIS! Advocacy Day. Join SPARK as we discuss the issues that impact our communities the most and learn how we can build the power needed for us to live our most liberated lives. This training is for new and seasoned organizers and advocates who want to learn about the issues facing Georgia today and gain the valuable skills necessary to build power and effect change.

You will gain:

  • Concrete organizing and campaign development skills
  • Tools and tips for organizing & advocacy
  • Useful information about the 2022 legislative session
  • The confidence to speak truth to power
  • The opportunity to build community with fellow RJ leaders

The SPARK Organizing Intensive is a space that centers Black queer, trans, and nonbinary young people. We invite all to register, but we are amplifying the issues that impact those that exist at the margins.

SPARK will provide $25 Uber meal codes to all participants.

Register by visiting: bit.ly/soi-2022

Support SPARK this month during “SPARK’s Giving Month”!

SPARK’s Giving Month 
[November 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021]

To celebrate Giving Tuesday this year, SPARK is taking the entire month of November as an opportunity to raise funds and support for some of our unique programming and organizational needs!!
 

We are calling this campaign, SPARK’s Giving Month!

Watch the following video for a quick message from SPARK’s Executive Director about SPARK’s Giving Month!


Throughout the month we are asking donors to support the following unique programs and organizational needs:

On our donation form you will be able to specify which programs you would like your donation to benefit! 

We are also thanking our supporters by sending out new SPARK SWAG! 


For more information about these donation opportunities AND to donate, please visit www.sparkrj.org/givingtuesday.

Happy Latinx Heritage Month

Today marks the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month! Recognized nationally as starting on September 15 in celebration of the independence anniversaries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. These independence anniversaries are followed by Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16 and Chile’s on September 18.

Join SPARK in celebrating, uplifting and advocating for our Latinx communities during this heritage month and every month.

A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —Texas Abortion Ban

September 3, 2021

As a Reproductive Justice organization that fiercely and unapologetically advocates for unrestricted access to abortion for anyone who wants it, SPARK strongly opposes the six-week abortion ban that went into effect in Texas earlier this week. This ban is an unconstitutional affront to reproductive autonomy, and will force many people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. 

Like all barriers to abortion access, the Texas ban will have a disproportionate impact on People of Color – particularly Black and Indigenous folks – as well as queer and trans people, low income individuals, people with disabilities, and those who experience multiple forms of marginalization due to systemic and interpersonal hierarchies of oppression. Where you live, who you are, or the amount of money you make should never determine whether or not you get to make the significant and life-changing choices about your body and reproductive future. 

The Supreme Court had the opportunity to intervene and block the ban from going into effect, but they chose to blatantly ignore existing constitutional precedent and do nothing. In our overwhelmingly conservative judicial system, we can no longer rely on the rights promised by Roe v. Wade. In Georgia and the entire Southeast, we need to continue to fight tirelessly in our communities and state legislatures to protect and increase abortion access. Although the Texas ban going into effect is a significant step in the wrong direction, we cannot let it lead to discouragement and inaction. Instead, we need to use our anger and solidarity with people in Texas as a tool to strengthen the Reproductive Justice movement. 

SPARK will continue to advocate against all barriers to abortion access that are introduced in Georgia, and create opportunities for our base members to make their voices heard. We urge you to directly support people in your community by donating to your local abortion fund, or to funds in Texas that continue to provide vital resources to people seeking abortion care there. When the government fails to provide the things we need to thrive, we need to take care of each other. 

 

In solidarity, 

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!

SPARK Statement on the Atlanta Homeless Union Demands and City Response

July 9, 2021

SPARK stands in solidarity with the Atlanta Homeless Union in their demand for housing, healthcare, water, and a seat at the table. These demands represent central tenets of Reproductive Justice – we all need access to safe places to live, clean water, comprehensive healthcare, and a say in the policies that govern us in order to make liberatory decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures. 

Due to systemic and interpersonal structures of oppression, economic insecurity is correlated along lines of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogynoir. Our base members in particular face a heightened risk of experiencing housing insecurity, especially at a time where access to affordable housing has reached the point of crisis in Atlanta. We demand that our city leadership use taxpayer funds to address the tangible outcomes of structural inequality by increasing access to necessary resources – including creating long term housing options. 

We strongly oppose the Atlanta Police Department’s decision to sweep the Atlanta Homeless Union’s encampment and make a series of arrests on Monday. The criminalization of housing insecurity does nothing to address the root of the problem, but is instead an attempt to hide the existence and humanity of unhoused people. Arresting people for the circumstances of housing insecurity does not keep our communities safe. Instead, we need access to resources, safety from police violence, and decreased surveillance in order to thrive. The Union deserves a platform to safely exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of being further victimized by APD and the criminal legal system. 

A Message From SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! – The Equality Act

The Equality Act
February 25, 2021

Today, Thursday, February 25, 2021, the United States House of Representatives is set to vote on the Equality Act. The Equality Act is a bill that would legally ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill would be an amendment to the already existing federal civil rights laws to include the aforementioned protections as well as prohibiting such discrimination in public places, on transportation and in government-funded programs.

Although many states have established anti-discrimination legislation, many of these laws have left the queer, Trans and gender diverse communities vulnerable to discrimination. This long overdue legislation is a necessity in the protection of our folks’ basic human services. The Reproductive Justice movement is rooted in the belief that all individuals and communities should have the resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about their lives. If passed, The Equality Act will bring us one step closer to a reality in which this is possible.

In Georgia we are currently facing HB 276 — “a bill that would make it illegal for Trans girls and women to participate on sports teams with their cisgender peers. This is one of many similar bills filed in state legislatures across the country as part of a coordinated attack on the rights of Trans and gender diverse people in the U.S.” (SPARK HB 276 Statement). The passing of The Equality Act could potentially put a halt to bills such as Georgia’s HB 276, guaranteeing through law that these blatantly Transphobic bills do not have a standing in our society. 

The full text of The Equality Act is available here.