A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —HB 481 is now in effect

This past Wednesday, July 20th, the 11th Circuit ruled that HB 481 – Georgia’s 6 week abortion ban – would go into effect immediately. This law was extremely controversial when it was passed in 2019, leading courts to block its enforcement until now due to legal challenges. A regressively conservative three judge panel ruled that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, HB 481 should be immediately enforced in its entirety. 

This law is one of the most restrictive in the country, banning all abortion care after 6 weeks – before many people even know they are pregnant. Although there are exceptions for rape and incest, pregnant people must file a police report to qualify. Given that the “remedies” for sexual assault offered by the criminal legal system are often retraumatizing, inadequate, and focused on retributive punishment rather than what the survivor wants and needs, it’s not surprising that more than 65% of sexual assault survivors choose not to report. 

In addition to the ban itself, this law includes a fetal personhood provision that begins at fertilization. This is the first of its type to go into effect in the US, and the legal implications are expansive and unclear. This provision demands that starting at fertilization, an embryo can be counted on taxes, in the census, and for child support purposes. It also has the potential to impact and criminalize people who have IUDs and people using IVF to get pregnant. Due to racist over-policing and criminalization of Black communities, this provision is likely to be enforced in a way that disproportionately harms Black birthing people.

We are not surprised by this decision, and we are still deeply committed to unapologetically advocating to protect and increase access to abortion in Georgia. Here are some steps you can take today to support pregnant people on the ground and hold your elected officials accountable by demanding that they support pro-abortion policies: 

  • Donate to our local abortion fund, ARC Southeast, to support direct funding for abortion care and the additional travel, childcare, and other associated expenses 
  • Call or email your representatives in the state legislature and ask them to take proactive steps to expand access to abortion by supporting the Reproductive Freedom Act 
  • If you live or work in the Atlanta metro area, call your city council person and ask them to support the creation of the ATL abortion fund 
    • City Council is scheduled to vote on this on August 1st, so please make your calls before then
    • Sign onto this petition in support of the fund 
  • For people who live outside of Atlanta, call your local District Attorney and ask them not to prosecute people under this law

A Message from SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! —Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey

June 24, 2022

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down the official opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, making official what we expected following last month’s leaked draft. The Court has overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ignoring and invalidating over 50 years of precedent. This ruling nullifies the Constitutional right for birthing people to choose whether or not to end a pregnancy and opens the door for states to severely restrict and even ban access to abortion. 

This news is disheartening in a movement that holds bodily autonomy and empowered decision making at its core. We are all doing our best to honor our frustration, anger, and grief without losing the passion to continue fighting for liberation. As we sit with this challenge, we want to offer a brief meditation from Mariame Kaba on practicing hope as a discipline

“It’s work to be hopeful … You have to actually put in energy, time, and you have to be clear-eyed, and you have to hold fast to having a vision. It’s a hard thing to maintain. But it matters to have it, to believe that it’s possible, to change the world.” 

To be clear, this ruling does not make abortion illegal nationwide. Although many states can and will ban access in the wake of this opinion, options will still exist for people seeking to end a pregnancy, regardless of where they live. For example, those unable to access abortion care in their home state may be able to travel to a state where abortion is available in a clinical setting, and abortion funds can help cover the additional costs that entails. Additionally, self managed abortion with pills is becoming an increasingly accessible option, especially for those who would have to travel long distances or who face financial barriers to accessing in-person abortion care. 

The options that remain available may be more expensive, time consuming, or legally fraught than they otherwise would have been prior to this ruling. However, our movements and communities are committed to collecting and redistributing resources to get people access to care, regardless of their income or circumstance. If you are able, support people seeking abortion care by donating to your local fund, or a fund in an area that will be immediately impacted by the Dobbs decision. 

Although we were anticipating this outcome and are not surprised by the official opinion, we are still deeply disappointed. Moments like these force us to confront the reality of the political landscape we exist in – one that is often hostile to the project of Reproductive Justice and indifferent to the suffering of marginalized people. Engaging with this reality can be exhausting, but the practice of remaining hopeful and working towards positive change is an act of defiance and resilience. We invite you to join us in our Black Sanctuary spaces, FYRE camp, base member meetings, and other offerings as a way to build community, gain skills, and take care of each other as we all struggle to remain hopeful and continue fighting for our collective liberation. 

In Liberation,

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! Inc.

CLICK HERE to download the full statement


Resources: 

Information on the legal status of abortion by state: https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/06/13-states-have-abortion-trigger-bans-heres-what-happens-when-roe-overturned 

Information on accessing self managed abortion with pills https://www.plancpills.org/

Abortion funding for folks in Georgia: https://arc-southeast.org/

Abortion funding nationally: https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion/

Repro Legal Helpline https://www.reprolegalhelpline.org/

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. 

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.

SPARK has a billboard!!

We have a huge announcement…

At SPARK we believe that Reproductive Justice goes beyond the concept of birth — it means that our communities have access to education, housing, resources, and healthcare, in order to make liberated decisions about their own bodies and chosen families.

SPARK is committed to fighting for reproductive justice for all bodies — this means freedom for Queer, Intersex, Trans and non-binary people, accurate sex education, and access to abortion. We recognize reproductive justice as a social justice movement rooted in the belief that all individuals and communities must have the resources and power to make liberatory decisions about their bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives.

SPARK has decided to elevate this message with six billboards throughout the state of Georgia! Find the beautiful image (above) in Atlanta, Macon and Calhoun! 

If you see these billboards, please take a picture and post it on your social media! Be sure to tag @SPARKRJNOW on your tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook posts!

Special shout out to the amazing artist, organizer, community member and friend of SPARK, Ayeola (Ayeola.org and IG:@ayeolaomolara) for her amazing work on this billboard art! Please show her support!

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc. responds to the signing of HB481 in Atlanta, Georgia

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc. responds to the signing of HB481 in Atlanta, Georgia

Tuesday, May 7, 2019:

In considering GA’s extremely inferior and detrimental health crisis, especially amongst Black women and Queer, Trans and nonbinary folks, SPARK is dedicated to pursuing  proactive ways of advancing our healthcare systems, practices and outcomes. Unfortunately, our legislators have decided to play politics with Georgians and we are now here to discuss how the government has inserted itself in our personal and private life decisions by enforcing an abortion ban. To be clear, this abortion ban is a ban on health care.

It is forced pregnancy bill that denies a person their right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. This is a critical public health issue and if this ban is put in place, it will become an injurious public health crisis for this state. We can not afford this! Georgia already has the worst maternal health outcomes and maternal morbidity AND mortality rates in our nation, comparable to the maternal health outcomes of underdeveloped countries.

Georgians deserve policies and laws that eliminate systemic and structural barriers to adequate reproductive and comprehensive care, and provide universal and meaningful access to quality healthcare.

Put simply, when people lack access to safe abortion services, they die. Period. History, our current stories, and public health research/data proves that. Complications of unsafe abortions are among the leading causes of maternal illness and death. Lack of access –and now restriction of access — will not result in people not having abortions. This will only result in an increased amount of unsafe abortions. This is a critical reproductive justice and public health issue specifically for Black, brown, indigenous, Trans and Queer folks who already have severe limitations to access to affordable and affirming reproductive and sexual health services and healthcare coverage.

SPARK and our partners will continue to do the work of ending white supremacy, patriarchy and attacks on bodily autonomy. Please do not be discouraged, stay engaged and stay vigilant! We will continue to work with our legislative champions, as well as, community leaders to put forth a proactive Reproductive Justice agenda that aims to save lives and uplift our shared liberation.

For more information on SPARK and how to stay civically engaged contact:

Dr. Krystal Redman
Executive Director
SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc
info@sparkrj.org
www.sparkrj.org

SPARK was featured, again!

Activists shifting abortion debate to focus on human rights
USA Today, March 5, 2019

With the future of abortion rights on the verge of changing like no time since before Roe v. Wade, advocates are presenting new arguments to plead their cases.

Both sides have amped up messaging in an effort to intertwine human rights and abortion since the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the precarious health and potential retirement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In addition, abortion proponents and opponents have strongly reacted to President Trump’s changes to Title X, a federal grant program that provides reproductive health care and birth control to low-income Americans. The new rule would block federal grant funding to family planning facilities, such as Planned Parenthood, which provide abortions. [KEEP READING BY CLICKING HERE]

SPARK was featured!

How generations born after Roe v. Wade are leading the country’s abortion debate
USA Today, March 5, 2019

 Younger generations of pro and anti-abortion advocates are digging in their heels and preparing for a long, drawn-out legal battle as President Trump alters access to reproductive care and courts across the country continue to rule on abortion.

This past week Trump released proposed changes to Title X, a federal grant program that allocates funding for reproductive health care and contraceptives to low-income populations. The rule change would cut federal funding to family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood that provide referrals for abortions.  [KEEP READING BY CLICKING HERE]