Ten Thousand Miles for Reproductive Justice

Kalpana Krishnamurthy, Policy Director, Forward TogetherBy Kalpana Krishnamurthy, Policy Director, Forward Together and All* Above All West Coast Tour Manager

Kicking off in Los Angeles, California on August 9th, the All* Above All Be Bold Road Trip began its month-long, cross-country journey through 12 cities and eight states. Covering 10,000 miles of the United States, the tour’s message is indeed a bold one: The time has come to end bans on abortion coverage for low-income women nationwide.

Be Bold Road Trip VehicleAs the bus made its way from state to state, supporters came out in droves to learn the harmful impact of these abortion coverage bans, and lend their voices to the call for change. From Los Angeles, to Minneapolis to Philadelphia, crowds of millennials, people of color, social justice advocates, religious leaders and community group members joined to stand tall against the avalanche of attempts to disenfranchise them and undermine their decision-making. It was a powerful sight to see.

Since passage of the Hyde amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld coverage for abortion services from women insured through the Medicaid program. Today, that means that nine million women of reproductive age are denied access to the full range of reproductive health care. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, policymakers in 25 states have enacted additional restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion in state marketplaces, and eight of those states have banned coverage in all private plans. Recently, federal and state politicians have doubled down on their efforts to restrict abortion, with many states passing laws that create even more barriers by overregulating clinics. The unnecessary regulations can make abortion unaffordable and unavailable.

Be Bold Road Trip ActivistsIf you were with us on the bus tour, however, you could see yourself that it’s a new day.

The undeniable energy and passion of the young people. The strong assertions of legislators who want to lead. The powerful voices of long-time advocates for women’s health. All of us who came together this summer, all of us who joined the Be Bold Road Trip shared a deep belief that decisions about health care should be left to a woman and her family, and that none of us deserve to be denied care simply because we don’t have enough money. No longer can we stand by while politicians trade away women’s health care to score political points. At each of the stops on the bus tour, enthusiastic supporters signed a petition calling on politicians to join our movement and declare their support for lifting the abortion coverage bans.

Decisions about our families and our health are ours to make — and we traveled 10,000 miles together to make the point.

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