The Reproductive Freedom Fund
Reproductive justice has always been woven throughout National Crittenton’s mission. Without bodily autonomy and self-determination, social, economic, and political justice for girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people–especially those of color and system-impacted–cannot be realized.
We honor the definition of reproductive justice by SisterSong: the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive Justice as an organizing framework was coined in 1994 by Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice. It is grounded in the internationally-accepted United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and combines reproductive rights and social justice in recognition of the critical exclusionary impact of intersecting oppressions such as racism on the (in)ability of individuals to access these rights.
For more than a century, our reproductive justice work has focused on the rights of young women, and gender-expansive young people, centering those who are of color and system-impacted, to choose when to give birth and to parent. This advocacy includes fighting negative social stigma about young mothers, and ensuring that policies and systems provide the supports and services young families need in order to thrive.
IN OUR WORDS: THE IMPACT OF THE OVERTURNING OF ROE V. WADE ON GIRLS, YOUNG WOMEN AND GENDER-EXPANSIVE YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR
National Crittenton has a long history of addressing root causes in systems change, and centering the communities most impacted by systems doing harm. In Our Words curates the reproductive justice conversation among girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people of color who are already parenting, who are not yet ready to parent, who need healthcare simply because it is a necessity, and who will not remain silent as their most basic human rights are stripped away by people in positional power so far removed from the reality of their lives and the needs of their communities.
REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM FUND
Less than a week after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as settled law giving people the right to their own reproductive freedom—National Crittenton channeled rage into action by launching The Reproductive Freedom Fund (RFF). We are particularly alarmed by the potential harmful impact the overturn of Roe v. Wade may have on young people in foster care, involved with the youth legal system, and who are detained as unaccompanied minors.
National Crittenton unapologetically stands firm with the right for every person to access high-quality, gender-affirming sexual and reproductive health services. In the work that we do towards gender justice, and realizing a more just, free, and joyful world for girls, young women and gender-expansive young people, we know that reproductive autonomy is imperative. As such, the RFF has two goals:
1.Ensure that staff, board members, youth/young adult and consultant partners in the Crittenton community in 37 states have the financial resources and support needed to access reproductive gender affirming healthcare.
2. Advance collaborative strategies and networks of support that enables young people in foster care, involved with the youth legal system, and who are detained as unaccompanied minors across the country to access reproductive gender affirming healthcare.
Ensuring Access for the Crittenton Community
RFF ensures that current and future national staff and board members, staff of agencies who are part of the Crittenton family of agencies, youth/young adult partners in 25 states, and consultant partners continue to have access to reproductive gender affirming health care, including safe abortions. We realize that this is an evolving situation so if restrictions for receiving any and all forms of reproductive health care at the state level narrow, our support will broaden to provide access. This fund will provide critical resources and advocacy for those seeking reproductive care, including navigating or removing logistical, financial, caregiving, administrative, policy, and other barriers to accessing care.
The Fund resources will support the following, but is not limited to:
- Travel and lodging funds (including one support person) to travel to another state to seek a safe and legal abortion, and/or gender-affirming health care;
- Costs for by-mail FDA-approved abortion pills;
- Childcare costs associated with reproductive and gender affirming care travel;
- Emergency Contraception, including Plan B; and
- Post reproductive care, mental health services, and support.
To ensure that this fund is grounded in the expertise and lived experiences of young people at this moment, we will be hosting conversations with impacted young people of color across the country to learn more about the consequences of this decision on them–including their needs and ideas.
Reproductive Justice is essential to equity and freedom and we, like you, are not going to sit still or be silent while it is stripped away.
Networks of Support
The current dominant strategy for addressing the consequences of the Supreme Court decision in states is travel to another state. While we support this as a strategy, it has serious implications when it comes to youth who are in the care of a public agency in foster care, in the youth legal system, or being detained as an unaccompanied minor and it is simply not enough. Their ability to exercise their right to reproductive health care is based on access made possible by strong advocacy and a network of policies, support and services that are safe, affirming, and protects them against unintended serious consequences. This network does not currently exist. This is why RFF will support National Crittenton in working intergenerationally with young people as leaders and collaboratively with partners across systems to understand and address the complex web of barriers to their ability to access reproductive care and to build a network of support.
These supports and resources will not replace the access to reproductive care established in Roe v. Wade. Even under the protections of Roe, we know communities—particularly people of color and young people—have long faced barriers to affirming, high-quality, and accessible reproductive health care, and the ability to make informed, autonomous decisions about their own reproductive health, their families, and their futures. As we work alongside young people, organizations, and movement leaders to fight for reproductive justice for generations to come, we will do everything we can to ensure that everyone can exercise choice and control of their body to access safe care.