Photo essay by Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
The presser puts the urgency to the need for promotion:
“Shocked at the Supreme Court’s decisions against birth control coverage and buffer zones? “Frustrated with states meddling with abortion care? “Tired of watching politicians interfere with YOUR personal health decisions?”
The agency issuing the press release, All* Above All, set out on a nationwide road trip called Be Bold with a kick-off event in West Hollywood Saturday.
The goal? Simple, really; stop another 11 times across the country to gather support for women’s rights generally and one law’s repeal, specifically – the Hyde Amendment.
That law bans federal Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortions, causing low-income women in need of an abortion distress, anguish and sometimes, no other choice but to have an illegal abortion they can afford instead of a legal one they cannot.
Be Bold came to their right place to kick off their nationwide road trip to raise awareness about abortion cutbacks and to fend off new legislation directed at halting abortions – West Hollywood is the nation’s first, and premier, pro-choice city.
West Hollywood residents, commissioners, board members, pols and activists greeted the expensively decked out set up, which included a van sided with a 50 inch television to play so-called “abortion stories” at events, and alongside that on the “media wall,” a pair of 26 inch monitors and keyboards for accessing their site, writing your own abortion story, making a donation or passing along the info about the organization on social media.
West Hollywood has been on the forefront of the fight to hold onto women’s rights, especially that over birth control, since inception.
One organization that operates almost hand-in-hand with the city of WeHo is the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles on women’s issues, was well represented at the event, with Ruth Williams present.
Even a republican activist from Long Beach made the journey to show his support for women’s rights, saying, “It’s only right that women should make their own mind up.”
The event consisted of a pair of readings of about 10 “abortion stories” each that outlined how difficult it is to get an abortion when low-income and relying on Medicaid.
Following that, a rally with speakers took place to close out the event.
At each rally along the way, the group will meet with “with local and national leaders as they learn more about the issues, sign a wall of support, snap selfies, and hear abortion stories that bring the issues to life,” says their press release.
Since the passage of the Hyde amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld coverage for abortion services from women insured through the Medicaid program—now numbering nine million women of reproductive age.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act, policymakers in 25 states have enacted additional restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion in state marketplaces, with eight of those states banning coverage even in all private plans.
Recently, federal and state politicians have ramped up their efforts to restrict abortion, creating even more barriers like over regulating clinics that can make abortion increasingly un-affordable and unavailable.
One case in point is the recent attempted closing of the last women’s health clinic in the state of Alabama, which only through a federal judge’s ruling was saved from having to close.
The tour will proceed through 12 cities in 8 state attempting to “mobilize Millennials, people of color, and other diverse groups to stand up to the avalanche of attempts to disenfranchise them and their decision-making.”
In addition, the group says their tour will educate people across the country about the harmful impact of abortion and contraceptive bans on low-income women, young women and women of color.
The Be Bold Road Trip Schedule:
8/9 Los Angeles, CA
8/12 San Jose, CA
8/13 San Francisco, CA
8/14 Oakland, CA
8/19 Portland, OR
8/26 Minneapolis, MN
TBA Chicago, IL
TBA Boston, MA
TBA Middletown, CT
TBA Rochester, NY
TBA Philadelphia, PA
TBA Washington, DC