Too many women—often for economic reasons—face significant obstacles to actually obtaining a safe and legal abortion. Today, public funding for international and domestic abortions is prohibited by the Helms and Hyde Amendments respectively (policy amendments to federal budget bills which have been added every year for almost 40 years), which single out low-income women and women of color in order to limit the decisions they can make about their bodies, their families, and their health. We should not allow politicians to deny health coverage from someone in need and qualified for Medicaid just to make it impossible for her to have an abortion.
If your state allows for Medicare coverage of abortion, consider working with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) on a national strategy to dismantle the Hyde Amendment. If your state does not yet permit Medicare funding of abortion…well, that’s a great advocacy goal for your congregation and community partners.
Priority UUA states for advocacy on abortion access:
- West Virginia
Resources for Education
Films and Videos
- Tanisha Humphrey, Advocates for Youth: Lift the bans on abortion coverage
- Shivana Jorawar, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Lift the bans on abortion coverage for women using Medicaid benefits
- Karen Law, Pro-Choice Resources, Lift the bans on abortion coverage for women using Medicaid
- Guttmacher Institute, Abortion in the United States
- Penny Lane, The Abortion Diaries
- SisterSong, Trust Black Women, We Always Resist: Trust Black Women
- Attie & Goldwater Productions, Motherless (with Discussion Guide)
- 1in2campaign.org, Advocates for Youth, 1 in 3: These Are Our Stories
- Jennifer Baumgardner, Abortion & Life
- Karen E. Bender and Nina de Gramont, Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion
- Carole Joffe, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars
- Carole Joffe, Doctors of Conscience
- Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body
- Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross, and Elena Gutierrez, Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice
- Susan Wicklund, This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor
Factsheets and Research
- Fund Abortion Now
- Does my state’s Medicaid cover abortion?
- Restoring Equity in Access to Abortion (PDF)
- At what cost? Payment for abortion care by U.S. Women (PDF, 22 pages)
- How the Hyde Amendment Discriminates Against Poor Women and Women of Color
- How do women pay for abortions?
- Abortion in the U.S. has become concentrated among poor women
- 36 Years of the Hyde Amendment (PDF)
Resources/Opportunities for Advocacy
Organizations with Local Affiliates
- Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
- National Council of Jewish Women
- National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
- National Network of Abortion Funds
Sample Letters to the Editor
- Check out these tips for submitting letters to the editor.
There are no easy answers for life’s complex questions, and sometimes that means abortion is the best decision a woman can make in her unique circumstances. That’s why I fully support public and private insurance coverage for abortion. To prevent a woman from making life-altering decisions merely because of how much money she makes goes against the principles I believe in. I believe in every woman’s moral agency – her sacred ability to make decisions for herself – and no woman should be forced into a decision about pregnancy and parenting because she is struggling to make ends meet.
I hope we can all begin to trust women to make the best decisions for their own lives, whether we agree with those decisions or not. Changing the law to allow Medicaid health insurance to cover abortion is the best answer I can see. (Words: 141)
I am [concerned/excited] about [pertinent article or current affair]. When a woman decides to end her pregnancy, it is important that she has access to safe medical care. The best way to do this is by providing insurance coverage—whether public or private—so she will be able to see a licensed, quality health provider and make the best decisions for herself and her family.
Everyone faces different circumstances in life. It is imperative that we safeguard women’s health and well-being no matter what the situation by ensuring that every woman has insurance coverage for maternity care and abortion care if she needs it without potentially harmful delay or interference. When it comes to the most important decisions in life, such as whether to become a parent, it is vital that a woman is able to consider all the options available to her, regardless of how she receives her health coverage.
It makes sense that health programs for women with low incomes cover birth control and abortion – not just childbirth – because when people can plan if and when to have children, it’s good for them and for society as a whole. (Words: 190)
Talking Points for Supportive State Lawmakers
- These talking points were strategically developed for the UUA with coalition partners. Note that they are only intended for meetings with or letters to supportive state lawmakers. If your state lawmaker is not supportive of abortion rights, another tactic—such as a letter to the editor or public witness—might be more appropriate. If you are interested in speaking with your federal representatives, please contact the UUA’s Witness team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Find out who your elected officials are.
- Get tips for your lobby visit or other legislative advocacy.
- Restoring Equity in Abortion Access: Talking Points and FAQs
- Messaging Toolkit. Please note! This toolkit is not to be reposted online or emailed to a wide audience. It is solely for viewing and use by Unitarian Universalists and other reproductive justice advocates.
Organizing within Unitarian Universalism
- Offer to help your UUA district/region or Unitarian Universalist state advocacy network work on restoring equity in abortion access.
- Join the UUs for Reproductive Justice Yahoo Group and Facebook Group.
Acts of Service/Charitable Giving
- Find local clinics near you or local affiliates of the above-named organizations. There may be a local reproductive justice organization(s) in your area. Search the internet or contact local clinics, women’s studies departments at local universities, or advocacy organizations to find them.
Resources for Reflection
- Small Group Ministry Session: Intersections of Economic and Reproductive Justice: This 45-minute reflection time was designed according to the standards of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Small Group Ministry Network but can be used by any group between 8-15 people for spiritual reflection.
UU Sermons on Reproductive Rights and Justice
- Find an index of sermons in the “For Clergy” section of the Congregational Resource Packet.