More

These 7 images beautifully explain why reproductive justice affects all of us.

Why talking about abortion access also means talking about parenting, unique families, and domestic violence.

These 7 images beautifully explain why reproductive justice affects all of us.

In 2011, an artist and activist named Megan Smith launched the Repeal Hyde Art Project.

"I had been working in abortion access and I wanted to try and find a way to create more dialogue around unaffordable and inaccessible abortion care,” Megan told Upworthy. "In addition to that, as an artist, I was searching for related feminist images but couldn't find any that mirrored the resistance and resilience of people who overcome barriers to care everyday."

Megan's images appear all over the Internet, for free. They're used here with her permission.


The Hyde Amendment is a little-known law that bans the government from using federal funds to cover abortion. Passed in 1976, it's a provision on the annual appropriations bill, not a permanent law. This means that every year, there’s an opportunity to not include the Hyde Amendment. But every year, it gets passed again. Combining her art with some activism seemed to make sense.

The Hyde Amendment has the biggest effect on low-income families, Megan explained, many of whom use Medicaid health insurance.

If someone on Medicaid becomes pregnant and decides to terminate the pregnancy, for example, they won’t have insurance coverage for the procedure because of the Hyde Amendment.

"For each barrier that politicians put in place, there are hundreds of people fighting past them,” Megan said. "I wanted to have that conversation and to honor those experiences.”

Megan's art isn't just about abortion access though. And there's a reason for that.

Her art also tackles issues like mental illness, sexuality, and immigration and how they affect our reproductive lives.

"We can't talk about abortion access without talking about poverty, or violence, or food security, or who is deemed by society ‘fit’ and ‘unfit’ parents. When someone makes a decision to have an abortion, there are so many other factors in their lives, factors that are influenced by structural forces, that come into play.”

Intersectional oppression is the idea that forms of oppression are linked and influence each other. This is central to reproductive justice, and to the Repeal Hyde Art Project. In many cases, the struggle to access abortion and the struggle to parent on one’s own terms go hand-in-hand.

"It's because of feminists of color like Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Patricia Hill Collins, among many others, that we are talking about how issues are related instead of siloing ourselves. We owe them a great deal,” Megan said.

Megan's art is meant to remind us that reproductive justice affects all of us. It includes environmental justice.

It includes paid family leave.

It includes respecting the parenting decisions of other parents, no matter their gender, situation, abilities, or age.


Reproductive justice is also about feeling safe from racial violence.

Megan’s art is shareable for a reason.

She posts it for free on Facebook to help create new conversations about reproductive justice, and she even encourages people to make their own art for the Repeal Hyde Art Project.

To help spread the word about the project, she also created a bird template, symbolizing self-determination and resilience, so that the message to Repeal Hyde can be publicly visible all over the world.

Since its creation, Megan's project has grown and spread, creating more awareness about the Hyde Amendment’s effects on low-income communities.

"I've continued to experiment with different ways to spur conversation around abortion access and interconnected issues using art as a tool,” Megan said.

And while the Project will continue to evolve, Megan said that one thing remains at the heart of every image that she makes:

"I create each image and message to mirror a person back to themselves, to let them know that they are beautiful, worthy, and seen.”

Photo courtesy of Capital One
True

Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

As it turns out, underdog stories can have cats as the main character.

Purrington Cat Lounge, where "adoptable cats roam freely and await your visit" and patrons can pay a small entry fee for the chance to sip coffee alongside feline friends, boasted legendary adoption rates since its conception in January 2015.


Keep Reading Show less