Centering Women of Color through Intersectional Policymaking: Let’s Start with Abortion Access

“Intersectional feminism, as opposed to mainstream feminism, examines how gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic status, physical and mental ability, and immigration status (among other experiences) overlap. Mainstream feminists of the 1960s and 1970s, who were mostly White, middle-class women, fought tirelessly for anti-discrimination policies in the workplace and for abortion rights. However, their platforms often ignored the experiences of low-income women, transgender and gender non-conforming people, women of color, and disabled women. The legacy of this erasure is embedded in the limits of abortion access today” (Matos 119).

Sum: Although 1973 decision was monumental for the reproductive rights movement by legalizing abortion but it failed to sustain intersectional policy when the H. A 1976 blocked federal fund for abortion.

“Currently, one in six women are on Medicaid insurance. Due to the Hyde Amendment and restrictive state policies, approximately one in four women denied abortion funding through Medicaid carry unintended pregnancies to full term …Low-income women who are denied abortion access are more likely to fall deeper into poverty”(Matos 120 ).

“Reproductive justice, as a human-rights framework, further acknowledges that although individuals are guaranteed rights, they do not always have the ability to exercise them. This lens directly maps onto America’s abortion landscape; while Roe v. Wade and the Hyde Amendment grant abortion as a legal right, they make it too costly for many to exercise.” (Mastos 120).

“understanding the diverse experiences of woman lead to holistic change” All above All: intersectional feminist organization that worked to pass Reproductive Health Equity
Act (RHEA):

RHEA expands state-funded sexual and reproductive health care coverage for individuals excluded from Medicaid coverage because of immigration status, codifies no-cost abortion coverage, and bans discrimination against trans and gender nonconforming individuals from health services” (Matos 121).

“The problem is that when sole responsibility lands on the disadvantaged and oppressed group, systemic change will never happen; individuals in positions of power can advance their careers without the need to challenge their own internalized racism and sexism. In turn, the structural status quo persists”(Matos 122).

Citation: Matos, Amanda R. “Centering Women of Color through Intersectional Policymaking: Let’s Start with Abortion Access.” Harvard Kennedy School Review, vol. 18, Jan. 2018, pp. 118–124.

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