Policy Work

Atlanta, GA, Tuesday, May 8, 2019

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc. responds to the signing of HB481 in Atlanta, Georgia
[Click here for PDF version of this statement]

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


Atlanta, GA, Monday, April 1, 2019

Georgia General Assembly Passes Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Ban
[Click here for PDF version of this statement]

Leaders and members of reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and community-based initiatives and projects based in Georgia Vow to Continue Working to Advance Reproductive Justice for All Georgians

We are appalled by the actions of the Georgia legislators who voted to advance one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, effectively banning all abortion procedures after 6 weeks — before most people even know they are pregnant. These legislators have spent the last three weeks ignoring testimony from doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers, and midwives; queer, trans, and non-binary folks; parents, women, and young people; and countless others who have spoken out against this bill. They have ignored our voices, dodged us at the ropes and in the hallways of the Capitol, and failed to show up and be accountable to their constituents.

This bill is not only unconstitutional, but it is fiscally irresponsible and flies in the face of best medical practices. By passing this bill our legislators not only risk losing millions of dollars in revenue but have also committed our state to wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars — money that would be better spent decreasing our abysmal maternal and infant mortality rates, expanding access to healthcare, addressing food insecurity, and fostering wider educational opportunities — in pointless litigation that has been defeated time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.

Throughout our work at the Capitol we’ve been met with increased capitol police presence, last-minute changes to hearing times and room assignments, threats of arrest, and — on the day of the Senate floor vote — the largest police presence we have ever seen. If our legislators are so scared of facing their constituents, they should not have pushed through this bill.

We are saddened but resolved. All Georgians deserve access to quality health care, including access to abortion and other reproductive health services. We stand together working in coalition; with the legislators who worked with us against this bill; with the medical professionals, lawyers, and clergy who provided expert and compelling testimony; and with the brave Georgians who shared their own stories.

To our members, volunteers, and supporters —Thank you for your work. We see you and stand with you.

The fight is not over. Let’s take some time to center ourselves, organize, and resume our important work. HB 481 may have passed, but our partners are already moving forward with legal action against it. We look forward to advancing reproductive justice for all Georgians in the rest of this year, in 2020, and beyond.

Access Reproductive Care (ARC)-Southeast
American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
Feminist Women’s Health Center
NARAL Georgia
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Georgia Chapter
Planned Parenthood Southeast
SisterLove, Inc.
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc.
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Women Engaged


Atlanta, GA, Monday, April 1, 2019

Currently, SPARK is supporting the following:

HB 475 – This legislation is referred to as “Dignity Behind Bars” and would allow more access to menstrual care products for all incarcerated persons as well as more assistance with pumping for parents who have just given birth in order to get their breast milk to caregivers.
UPDATE: THIS BILL HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN A HEARING.

HB 345– This is anti-shackling legislation- currently incarcerated pregnant persons can be shackled during labor and this bill aims to end this practice.
UPDATE: THIS BILL HAS PASSED, WAITING ON A FINAL VOTE BEFORE IT GOES THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.

HB 188– This is the culmination of the work that SPARK has been doing throughout 2018 around Crisis Pregnancy Centers aka Fake Clinics. This legislation would end the $2 million dollar grant program that takes from our Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to give to Fake Clinics who are unregulated and give misinformation around abortion and reproductive healthcare such as claims that abortion causes breast cancer and that condoms don’t work. The money would go back to the Dept. of Health in order for them to do the great work around STI’s, HIV, and Maternal Mortality that is sorely needed at this time in Georgia. UPDATE: This bill has not been given a hearing.

SPARK is working with our partners to fight back against these anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ bills:

HB 546 – This legislation is known as a “trigger” ban and it means that if Roe vs. Wade (the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion) is overturned, then abortion would be immediately outlawed in Georgia.
UPDATE: THIS BILL HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN A HEARING

SB 221 – This legislation has been at the statehouse before, it’s an anti-LGBTQ bill masquerading as “Religious Freedom”. It would make it legal for public facing businesses to refuse service to people whom they do not agree with for Religious reasons.
UPDATE: THIS BILL DIED IN COMMITTEE

HB 481 – This legislation is known as the “heartbeat” bill and would make abortion illegal after a heartbeat can be detected which can be as early as 6 weeks; a time frame during which most people don’t know yet that they are pregnant.
UPDATE: THIS BILL HAS PASSED, WAITING ON A FINAL VOTE BEFORE IT GOES TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.

Please use www.legis.ga.gov to follow the legislation.

Please reach out to your State Representatives to praise them and encourage them to pass our proactive legislation and tell them to stop these anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ bill.
Go to openstates.org and put in your address to find out your State Representatives.


Atlanta, GA, Friday, March 1, 2019

HB – House Bill, meaning it originated in the State House of Representatives
SB- Senate Bill, meaning it originated in the State Senate

Bills have to pass both chambers before they are sent to the Governor.

Please use www.legis.ga.gov to follow the legislation!

Currently, SPARK is supporting the following:

HB 475– This legislation is referred to as “Dignity Behind Bars” and would allow more access to menstrual care products for all incarcerated persons as well as more assistance with pumping for parents who have just given birth in order to get their breast milk to caregivers.

HB 280– This is anti-shacking legislation. Currently incarcerated pregnant persons can be shackled during labor and this bill aims to end this practice.

HB 188 – This is the culmination of the work that SPARK has been doing throughout 2018 around Crisis Pregnancy Centers aka Fake Clinics. This legislation would end the $2 million dollar grant program that takes from our Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to give to Fake Clinics who are unregulated and give misinformation around abortion and reproductive healthcare such as claims that abortion causes breast cancer and that condoms don’t work. The money would go back to the Dept. of Health in order for them to do the great work around STI’s, HIV, and Maternal Mortality that is sorely needed at this time in Georgia.

SPARK is working with our partners to fight back against the following anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ bills:

HB 546 – This legislation is known as a “trigger” ban and it means that if Roe vs. Wade (the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion) is overturned, then abortion would be immediately outlawed in Georgia.

SB 221 – This legislation has been at the statehouse before, it’s an anti-LGBTQ bill masquerading as “Religious Freedom”. It would make it legal for public facing businesses to refuse service to people whom they do not agree with for Religious reasons

SB 218/HB 481 – This legislation is known as the “heartbeat” bill and would make abortion illegal after a heartbeat can be detected which can be as early as 6 weeks; a time frame during which most people don’t know yet that they are pregnant.

Please reach out to your State Representatives to praise them and encourage them to pass our proactive legislation and tell them to stop these anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ bills.
Go to openstates.org and put in your address to find out who your State Representatives are.


Atlanta, GA, Monday, February 11, 2019

SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Inc. is excited to announce that our work around Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs)—aka Fake clinics—is moving forward with HB 188; which will put an end to the grant program that gives 2 million dollars from our state budget to unregulated CPCs.

These clinics exist to shame people away from making the decision of obtaining an Abortion, as well as, give misleading information around Abortion, Sexual and Reproductive Health. State Representative Renitta Shannon —who is a Reproductive Justice champion—has sponsored the legislation and we look forward to working with her to move this piece of legislation forward.

A link to access HB188 is posted below.
http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/HB/188

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