We must protect women’s reproductive rights

Christina Greer Ph.D. | 6/6/2019, 6:15 p.m.
Trying to lead a life that is void of outrage is increasingly difficult in these political times. Just as I ...
Pro-choice rally Larissa Puro photo/USC Institute for Global Health

Trying to lead a life that is void of outrage is increasingly difficult in these political times. Just as I think this president and his administration can’t sink lower into depravity, inequity and corruption, it seems like they find ways to make me disgusted and disappointed anew each day. As I watch state houses across the nation adopt restrictive abortion laws, I am reminded of the importance of paying attention to citywide and statewide elected officials, their policies and their priorities.

I am further reminded and inspired by the work of so many organizations who are on the ground fighting every day to protect and expand our rights. One such organization is the National Institute for Reproductive Health in NYC. Their current #FundAbortionNYC campaign is an effort to convince the NYC City Council for $250,000 in funding for the New York Abortion Access Fund. If passed, New York City would be the first city in the nation to directly fund abortion. As many know, a woman’s right to make the best decision for her body, her health and her future is of the utmost importance. It is truly insane to think that legislators in New York City, Albany or Washington, D.C. have the power to make decisions that will affect a woman’s life and future, while providing no additional emotional, financial or institutional support.

The NYAAF was founded in 1999, headquartered in New York City, and is the largest and longest standing abortion fund in the state. NYAAF provides funding and logistical support for those who face the greatest barriers to obtaining health care. According to their data, 72 percent of their clients are people of color (disproportionately Black, Latinx, immigrant and/or refugees), 47 percent of their clients are already parents, and 26 is the median age of their clients. The economic and logistic barriers to abortion access are substantially decreased with the assistance of the NYAAF. Many who seek to make this important decision lack insurance, are underinsured, and/or need assistance with expenses such as travel, unpaid time off of work and child care. These expenses can force many individuals to choose between basic necessities (such as rent and food) and paying for an abortion. In one of the wealthiest democracies in existence, no woman should have to be forced to make a decision that will alter her future and prospects for happiness and success based on laws made by legislators.

Roe v. Wade is under attack and it is imperative that we support organizations that provide strategic guidance as well as trained and qualified case workers to those who are doing the work on the ground to support women and families. NYAAF is connecting people to the services they need, and they must be supported in their efforts.

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC, and the host of The Aftermath and The Counter on Ozy.com.