This is a webinar on how the fall of Roe v Wade directly impacts the disability community and what we can do to take action. It was a joint effort between Disability Lead, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)’s Institute on Disability & Human Development, UIC Disability Cultural Center, UIC Women’s Leadership & Resource Center, National Network of Abortion Funds, and Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition.
The webinar features:
>> HUGO: Close captions are available ASL interpretation and will be pinned as a presenter and for other access needs please email us. I want to introduce myself I am Hugo Trevino my pronouns are he/him/is I am a Latino, I'm Mexican, brown skin I have dark brown black hair,dark brown eyes I am a wheelchair user and I'm wearing a pink dress code, a maroon lapel and also wearing a floral shirt. I will be hosting this evening.
This evening was planned -- everything is being recorded and this event was planned by disability leaders from our sponsors and organization. University ofIllinois Institute on disability and human development UIC disability cultural center UIC women's and leadership resource Center, national network of abortion funds, the Chicagoland disabled people of color coalition and planned parenthood Illinois Action. We are excited and thankful to have you here and the fall of Roe versus Wade will have a disproportionate attack on disabled people yet we are in a committee that is often left out of the discussion.Today we will learn from experts and activists about the unique effects this issue will have on our community our rights in Illinois and how we can organize to take action. Before we get started are you a Senator from the state of Illinois? She has a few words for us in this upcoming video.
>> Sen. Duckworth: I wish I could be with you in person today but I want to thank you all for your work ensuring people vertically women with disabilities among women of color and black and brown women all have access to high-quality affordable healthcare including reproductive and prenatal care. This is work crucial for years with the Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade and states including our neighbors and banning abortion care the critical importance of the work you do will only continue to grow. We know people with disability are not only less likely to receive constant contraception counseling but at greater risk for adverse outcomes and all too often they like access to healthcare facilities that have providers trained on their unique and diverse needs. In Congress I have been pushing and prodding to ensure women with disabilities and all Americans can get the comprehensive empathetic healthcare they need and deserve. For example, I helped introduce equal access to abortion coverage in healthcare which would permanently reverse the Hydeamendment and left unjust abortion coverage restrictions for those who dependon Medicaid and other sponsored healthcare plans. Last month my colleagues Sen.Murray and I introduced the reproductive healthcare accessibility act to help ensure women with disabilities get the informed care they need to have control over their own bodies. If law our would find training from providing healthcare with people of disabilities increase representation of people withdisabilities in the medical workforce find education programs and focus on thesexual and reproductive health care needs of people with disabilities and establish a new technical assistance Center to provide recreations and best practices regarding sexual and reproductive health care for people with disabilities. I'm proud to help interests this bill to ensure all 61 million Americans are not left behind in getting the care we need when we need it. I voted to pass a women's health protection act to protect the right of all women including women with disabilities to make their own reproductive care decisionsby formally codifying Roe versus Wade. And portly Republicans blocked the lifesaving legislation and we know their efforts are not about protecting life if the anti-choice movement wanted to protect life they would be working non-stop to address discrimination and barriers to full healthcare access that women with disabilities have faced putting all their efforts into addressing the growing maternal mortality crisis that is taking a tragic number of black mothers' lies. They would be pushing for desperately needed policies that support parents like affordable childcare and paid parental leave but they are not. I'm proud that Illinois has some of the strongest protections for reproductive health in the country. Folks like you are here to help people from across the Midwest and our work continues and I refuse to let my daughters growup in a root world with fewer rights than I had. I won't stop working to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law and ensure reproductive freedoms are protected for all regardless of disability, skin color, ZIP Code. Thank you all again for pushing for better more inclusive America
>> HUGO: Thank you so much Sen. Duckworth for sending that video and for fighting for us in DC. We have a fantastic lineup and rather than introducing myself I will let them introduce each other. Panelist present back to back and we will have time for question answer from the audience at the end. Our first speakeris Dr. Robin Powell, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she -- she is also the principal author
>> DR POWELL: Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in this presentation. My name is Robin Powell. My pronouns are she/her and I am a white woman sitting in a power wheelchair, and I have brown hair and a green and white shirt.
Before I talk about the experiences of disabled people, and how we have heard the Dobbs decision will harm us, I want to bring us back and I encourage us when we think about these issues to really think about this from a reproductive justice perspective. And I think that is really critical as we move forward. And for those not familiar, reproductive justice is based on three key pillars, the first being the right to have a child the second being the right to not have a child, and the third being the right to be able to parent one's child safely and with dignity. I say this because all these issues are something that disabled people continue to experience oppression in. They are denied reproductive freedom across the board, while abortion is one area there are many.
When we think about Dobbs and what we do from here, we need to understand the historical context. To be sure, disabled people have been fighting for reproductive freedom for centuries. That is not an exaggeration, we can see that in the late 1800s the eugenics movement took off and eugenics movement was based on the notion that certain communities, including disabled people and other marginalized committees, should not be reproducing. Eugenics movement really affected disabled people in three critical ways, the first being his diffusional station, second being forced sterilization, which gained the blessing of the Supreme Court in the 1927 decision, which, I will note, has never been overturned. And the third is marriage restrictions, that is laws prohibiting certain disabled people from marrying or only allowing disabled people to marry after the age of 45, because that is generally considered the reproductive age.
When we think about how we got here and what the reproductive experiences are of people with disabilities, we need to remember history and how the history is really deeply present even today in 2022. Abortion rights are critical for people with disabilities for number of reasons, which I want to briefly outline. The first, as Sen. Duckworth alluded, disabled people particularly multiply marginalized experience pervasive reproductive health inequities. Significant rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, because pregnancy related, Cajun, also more likely to have pregnancy related competitions such as preeclampsia, early term delivery, and other kinds of things like that. Disabled people are experiencing really significant adverse maternal and child health outcomes. They also experience other health inequities and other areas related to reproduction. So for instance, disabled people are less likely to have regular Pap smears, or testing for sexually transmitted infections, less likely to get breast cancer screening, so really disabled people are already experiencing significant health inequities. I tell you this because rather than focus on taking more rights in healthcare away from people we need to be doing the opposite and try to improve our healthcare. Abortion rights can be particularly helpful for disabled people who have other unique medical needs. If you are on certain medications you typically have towe now have them before you go through a pregnancy and if you have an unplanned pregnancy which is fairly common among disabled people for a variety of reasons, then you have not had that opportunity to wean off and you are possibly, if you just stop taking them are in significant risk. We are putting people with disabilities in a very difficult and cruel position if we are forcing them to continue with unintended or unwanted pregnancies. The second reason why abortion rights particular important for disabled people is related to the first that disabled people have inadequate access to reproductive health services and information. People with disabilities cannot even access basic reproductive health care, OB/GYN offices are inaccessible, lacking physical access, do not provide any sort of sign language interpreters or communication access, they are completely inaccessible to people with disabilities. That also includes reproductive health information such as sex ed-- we know people are less likely to receive sexual education and also less likely to be provided contraception.
All these issues lead to poor outcomes for disabled people. And again we need to remember this. The third is that people with disabilities experience really extreme severe economic advantages. People with disabilities are far more likely to live in poverty, to be economically disadvantaged, to not have adequate resources, and importantly, we see the number one reason that people in general seek abortion care is because they feel they are not financially able to take on additional children or have any children. We are possibly, if we force people to continue with the pregnancy we are putting them in more extreme economic disadvantages. So we are worsening the situation.
The fourth reason that abortion rights are so critical for people with disabilities is they experience substantially higher rates of intimate partner violence and sexual violence than other people. We see that some studies have found that people with intellectual disabilities or seven times more likely to experience sexual violence than non-disabled people. This is a situation where people with disabilities are being violated and often that may result in unintended pregnancy. And we have to remember that those same people often the perpetrators of sexual violence are the ones that allow, that have control over whether people with disabilities are able to use contraception or really reproductive coercion where some people are forced to continue with the pregnancy they did not want by their perpetrator. We know these perpetrators of sexual violence are so often caregivers and family members.
The fifth and final reason I really believe in abortion rights are uniquely and critically important for people with disabilities is because of the challenges that disabled people have endured, leading to bodily autonomy and self-determination. We have been fighting for the right to just make basic decisions about ourselves and our lives in our bodies, we have fought this particular listing viewpoint that we are not the experts on our lives and we are finally getting somewhere with this and by taking these abortion right away, you are taking away our bodily autonomy and self-determination. So this is something people with disabilities have been fighting for Wade to achieve this not take away. I also do have some solutions but I think there are ways for. We need to disrupt intersecting oppressions. Every outcome I have mentioned is worse if you are a disabled person of color or a LGBTQI+ person with adisability, so multiply marginalized people are even more oppressed in this area and they are experiencing the most significant reproductive oppression and denial of a sick reproductive freedom and because of that we need to address these issues not just from a viewpoint of ableism looking at all types of oppression and how they intersect and cause these pretty significant and unique experiences.
The second is that people with disabilities need to be centered as leaders in the movement fighting for abortion freedom and reproductive freedom moving forward. For so long people with disabilities have been excluded from this discourse. There's a number of reasons, and one of which is we have a very difficult history between reproductive rights movement and disability rights movement, and there is a history that has caused really pervasive tension in many ways. And instead of addressing them the two different groups have avoided these issues, and we really need to bring disabled people to the table and that is bring them to the table as a token but promote them as leaders. They need to be included in all efforts moving forward.
The third thing to do is ensure we are protecting autonomy and self-determination. One of the ways we do this is by abolishing guardianship. For those not familiar with guardianship, we can look at the experiences of Brittany Spears, who had a conservator which is a guardian and while she was under the conservatorship for 13 years she was subjected to forced contraception. And what happened to Britney Spears is common among many people with disabilities who are subjected to guardianships. And unfortunately unlike Britney Spears do not have a platform that she did have. So it took Britney Spears 13 years to get rid of her conservatorship, guardianship, you can imagine it is more challenging for most people with disabilities, so we need to move forward with moving away from these restrictive policies and instead look at least restrictive policies such as supported decision-making, where people with disability are afforded the opportunity to make their own decisions and we do so in a way that supports them and instead of making decisions for them we help them so that they can ultimately make their own decisions.
The fourth thing to do is ensure accessible sexual and reproductive health services and information. Every part of sexual and reproductive health must be fully accessible to disabled people. This means complying with federal disability rights laws and this does include abortion providers. We also need to ensure that people with disabilities can access abortion if they need to travel out-of-state, and I have seen abortion funds start to look at how they are providing transportation to individuals and is it accessible and I encourage folks who think about these access barriers moving forward.
And finally we need to ensure and guarantee rights, justice and wellness for disabled people and their families. We need to ensure people with disabilities are in a better economic standpoint so they have ultimate joints but they don't feel pigeonholed into some decision. To ensure they have all their transportation needs met and all their other determinants of health met so they can make decisions that they believe are best for them while also having the right resources available to them. And we also need to do things like Sen.Duckworth mentioned, getting rid of the Hyde amendment, most people with disabilities are Medicaid beneficiaries and we know federal funding can not go towards abortion which means we are really limiting people's disability access to abortion services. Medicaid must include abortion services and pass legislation expanding access to abortion and other healthcare and ensuring disabled people receive sexual education contraception and everything else they need so they are able to make the best decisions for themselves. I will and and thank you all and I will pass this on to Ameri.
>>AMERI: I am Ameri, a white woman with short brown hair, brown eyes and a black jacket and a pattern type. I'm the director of the women's reproductive rights project for the ACLU of Illinois, and one of our core priority areas at the ACLU of Illinois is work to expand and protect access and reproductive rights and access to healthcare and reproductive rights in the state of Illinois. It is really my pleasure to be here to be able to paint a little broader picture and talk about where things stand in the state of Illinois.
If you are familiar with the maps that are depicted the 26 states that are poised to abolish abortion, Illinois is an island in a sea of states surrounding better very hostile to abortion rights and most of the states already have abortion bands that are in place. This was not always the case, in Illinois, for many decades we had terrible laws regarding abortion that were getting past and were on the books. For decades going back to the 70s and here at the ACLU we have been in court fighting and trying to block those bans from going into effect and try to keep abortion restrictions from hampering the healthcare that abortion providers are providing and making it very hard for people to get care. We have heard about the Hyde amendment, and Henry Hyde also hails from the state of Illinois. From decades of fighting back we actually were in a pretty good place. We had pretty good laws here in Illinois but as a result of all of these court orders, all of which turned in large part on the protections of Roe versus Wade and the199 92 case2 ) versus Casey. The 2016 election came upon us, and what did that mean for all these court orders we had that were holding back all these really terrible abortion restrictions in Illinois? At the same time the political climate change in Illinois, after the election of 2016 we were able to shift that approach from fighting in the court to hold off these abortion restrictions to working in the legislature in Illinois to get proactive legislation passed regarding reproductive rights.
I will walk through three pieces of recent legislation that helped us in Illinois prepare for the post-Roe versus Wade era so we can access healthcare and also for people who cannot access in their own state have a place they can come to get the reproductive health care. The first of the three measures was signed in 2017. It was a law signed by Governor Rauner and it removed a trigger language that was in Illinois that would have brought back old abortion bands if Roe fell. I'm sure people are familiar with trigger bans that have gone into effect in many states. With roe being overturned. And extending Medicaid coverage to abortion so the Hyde amendment prohibited federal funds being used for abortion care in most situations, here in Illinoisthe state uses its own funds to provide Medicaid covered for people seeking healthcare that has helped people in Illinois. We went back to the Gen. assembly in 2019 and went to Springfield and had the opportunity to go back and do a lot more comprehensive legislation with regard to reproductive rights. That was when we passed the Illinois reproductive health act and this was groundbreaking legislation, the only legislation of its kind in the Midwest and very few states have legislation that is this productive.
The reproductive health act of did three things, it codified Roe into state law so there's a right to an abortion clearly spelled out in Illinois law. The second thing it did was remove a lot of archaic language from our books. All these bans that I got into effect, these old provisions, spousal consent provision that was still on the books, they were still sitting out there, so they reproductive health act took all those off the books. And replaced it with a very modern law that ties regulation of abortion to medical standards and evidence-based practices. And establishes a fundamental right to make all decisions about reproductive healthcare. I will talk and finish going through the rest of the legislation and I will talk specifically about what the reproductive health act did and what that means in particular for disabled people.
The third thing reproductive health act it was require private insurance coverage of abortion care, so a plan in Illinois must cover abortion care as well. After the reproductive health act we had one remaining obstacle to abortion care that was still on the books that did not cleaned up with the reproductive health act in 2019, our Illinois parental notice of abortion law. In 2021, legislators went back to Springfield and repealed that law, through the youth health and safety act and people babies are familiar with the last couple of weeks there was a new store getting a lot of attention about a young woman in Florida where they had a Florida involvement law and had a judicial bypass to go ask a judge for a waiver to notify her parents and the judge denied judicial bypass because her grades were not good enough. That is something that could have happened in Illinois year ago had we not repealed the parental notice of abortion law, involving parents and their abortion decision and those who don't have very good reasons and the law is putting them people who are not a good family situations and safe home situations in danger with a lot. These health and safety, also established a working group to take a closer look at the needs of pregnant parenting youth. That is really what set the stage for the regulation, not just abortion but reproductive healthcare in the state of Illinois. It protects autonomous decision-making around reproductive healthcare. Reproductive health care is defined very broadly. It is not just the right to have an abortion, it is right not to have an abortion, it is right to refuse or use contraception. To give birth, to make one's own decisions about maternity care, about what childbirth looks like, these are all fundamental rights and if there is any sort of governmental interference with these rights governmental interference will be invalid under the reproductive health act. For it to be upheld it has to be consistent with accepted standards of clinical practice, has to be evidence-based it has to be narrowly tailored for a limited purpose of affecting the health of the person seeking reproductive health care and in a matter restrict their autonomous decision-making. It puts a lot of production around individual's ability to make their own decisions in conjunction with their healthcare provider.
As Dr. Powell talk about people with disability have long been denied control over their own bodies, some through paternalism and stereotypes including their ability to consent to reproductive health care, ability to understand medical information, and the act production decision-making from this kind of paternalistic governmental interference. We also know disability is a very broad term, that can mean a lot of things and by centering decision-making and accepted standards of medical practice, it allows people to make the best decisions for themselves with their healthcare team taking into account their own circumstances, their own needs, their own situations and again that would be the case for making decisions around contraception, abortion, medical care, during pregnancy. Disabilities may complicate pregnancy. As a result, bands and abortion that restrict where the decision could've been made can rush people into decisions about whether or not to terminate her pregnancy, often before they may be able to get a complete picture of the risks and challenges associated with a pregnancy. Under Illinois law abortion is protected until the point of viability which is around 24 weeks. And like states that may have abortion bands earlier in pregnancy, Illinois law protects the right to make a decision about abortion up until about 24 weeks. After that point abortion is still available if it is to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.
The reproductive health act would also extend to a situation where someone maybe coerced into a labor induction or a C-section. Reproductive health act prohibits the government from penalizing or punishing someone based on their conduct if the purpose of the punishment is to penalize the pregnancy outcome. That would apply in a case where someone was told they must have a C-section or you will be referred to DCFS or something like that. And the issue of forced sterilization the reproductive health act would protect autonomous decision-making as well, Illinois does have a forced sterilization law under the probate act of 1975, under that act a legal guardian can petition for sterilization of a ward but the court determines that the award is incapable of consent and it would be in the best interest of the Ward. There's a lot of tension between how that provision would be interpreted in conjunction with the reproductive health act, that would be an open legal question. There has only been one reported case under the law and the sterilization was denied because the court determined there were other contraceptive solutions available but that case was from 2008 which is not that far in the distant past.
That an overview of Illinois law, the thing I would like to close with is to say, it is really important that in Illinois we do not take for granted what we have, we are very fortunate we have lawmakers go to Springfield to get this legislation passed. And to get this work done to protect people in the state and demonstrate that in Illinois we trust people to make these decisions for themselves. But every time we have gestation passed in Illinois, the lawmakers who are ready and left immediately, on the other side ready to choose bills to overturn the legislation that we just passed. Every time we get a good bill passed we see challenges in court. The reproductive health impact has been challenged now in court. For example, this is an election year in Illinois as everyone knows the races up and down the ballot that includes two Illinois Supreme Court seats, and that is a good legislation gets passed it gets challenged in court it will go up to the same courts so it is really important for people to continue to engage and let your legislators know that you appreciate them and stand by the political process. Talk to your friends and family about who was on the Supreme Court who is all about so we can protect 2what we have done here in Illinois. Thank you so much for having me and I will now pass over to Christina.
>> CRISTINA: Hi everyone, thank you. I use she/her pronouns to describe myself. I'm a white woman wearing a black colored blouse, I have about the shoulder round length hair. Behind me is a gray background with a green star in the upper right corner of the screen, with the words equip for equality wrapped above and below it.
I am an attorney at equip for equality and we are a civil rights organization for people with disabilities in Illinois. We provide legal services, legal advocacy services to people with disabilities in many areas, including access to healthcare and self-determination which are very important to our discussion here today. People with disabilities are often excluded from these conversations about reproductive right and care and we find this exclusion is based on several false assumptions. Those include people with disabilities should not and should not have sexual lives and should not reproduce, and people with disabilities are often not able to make their decisions about their own bodies. And they need others to make those decisions for them. These assumptions show that people with disabilities really do need to be part of these conversations.
The clients we work with, they come to us with problems that show they are just like everyone else and they have the same concerns and wants and desires for their life. They have sex, have a desire for relationship, they want to have children and want to have abortions. Fortunately abortion is legal in Illinois but unfortunately as many speakers have talked about, people with disabilities in Illinois disproportionately experience disadvantages that may increase their need for abortion services even more than anyone else. I will focus on three different issues or areas that may increase or affect an individual's need for abortion services and some issues that clients come to us with and we work to address. The first is that individuals with disabilities face many different barriers in accessing and receiving healthcare. These barriers result in having on equal or inadequate access to healthcare services.
We have represented clients who are deaf, whose medical providers will not provide them sign language interpreters for appointments. As a result they are unable to communicate with their doctors and their available treatment. We have also seen individuals with physical disabilities will get to their appointments and find they cannot get on an exam table because it cannot be lowered far enough to a height where they can transfer from a wheelchair. We have also heard from clients who tell us they have been told they cannot bring service animal to a medical appointment. In addition many clients come to us who are denied access to treatment from their Medicaid MCOs. All these issues represent extra burdens on people with disabilities, which affect their health and access to care. In order to address these issues the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits medical providers from discriminating against people with disabilities and these need to been forced more and education in the medical field needs to be increased of these requirements.
As has been mentioned Medicaid coverage should be expanded. Access, the second issue to touch on, how access to abortion is also critical for people with disabilities because they sometimes have a higher need. Due to higher rates of maternal mortality and serious health risks they may experience for pregnancy, people with disabilities are more likely than not disabled people to experience sexual assault. This is according to statistics from the Bureau of Justice statistics, the likelihood is also increased for people who have multiple disabilities. In this can be linked to how people with disabilities lack access to information about reproductive health and healthy relationships. Information that should be provided includes the right to bodily integrity, their right to privacy, the right to personal choice. And right to treatment planning that supports their rights to sexual health, healthy sexual practices, and be free from sexual exploitation and abuse. There is a law in Illinois that was put in place in the last few years that requires residential and vocational service providers to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to provide appropriate sex education in these areas to their participants. We have yet to see evidence that this law is being implemented and adhered to. We think that this law needs to be followed and needs to be enforced further.
The third area I want to talk about is guardianship. This is another area that prevents people from disabilities from exercising their full reproductive freedom. In Illinois, a court appoint a guardian over an individual where it is shown that because of an individual's disability they are unable to make responsible decisions about their care or their finances. If an individual has a guardian over their healthcare decisions then that person can have the authority to make decisions about contraceptives, abortions, sexual education and who the individual indicates or interacts with. Under Illinois law, guardians are supposed to make decisions according to an individual's express preferences, unless that preference is likely to cause substantial harm to that person's welfare. Unfortunately we see many situations where guardians do not follow this requirement and really overstep their boundaries. We have seen guardians, after learning that an individual with a develop mental disability was in a relationship with their roommate in the home they lived in in the community, a solo home is a community integrated living regimen, the Guardian, after learning that the individual that they had guardianship over was in arelationship with a roommate and was having sex, they threatened to move the individual to a different home against their wishes even though they were informed that the relationship was consensual. And they wanted to be in this relationship with this individual. We have also seen a situation where a guardian attempted to obtain an order ofprotection against another resident after learning that they were in arelationship and having sex with the individual that they had guardianship over. If this would have been in place this would have had the effect of evicting the individual from their home. The effect of guardians overstepping their bounds can have a great effect on individuals lives in these areas.
In addition without access, if the situation became more access to abortion in Illinois was restricted, we would be concerned that guardians may become fearful that their wards will become pregnant and have not have access to abortion and they may try to get their wards sterilized or they will try to restrict intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As was mentioned, Illinois law does have strong procedural and substantive safeguards in place which requires a guardian to obtain permission from a court before authorizing sterilization. We would be concerned that sterilization is not a practice that we want to go back to using widely. Sterilization is an irreversible medical procedure in most women, it is pretty invasive, as one needs to be sedated and can have profound physical and psychological effects if it is performed against an individual's will.
In summary, and number of these topics, I could go on speaking all day about. We wanted to raise these stories from some of the barriers that individuals face that we worked on and the importance of protecting the right to abortion in Illinois and expanding access even to individuals with disabilities. Because of their increased need in some of these areas. Now I will turn it over to Keidra at the with disability and justice expert.
>> KEIDRA : Thank you for having me today. I am the digital engagement and accessibility manager at national network of abortion funds, NNAF. My pronouns are she/her and my visual description is I am a black woman wearing red cat-eye glasses, that Afro pop, and wearing a black shirt that says everyone loves someone who had an abortion. I'm sitting in my working space/kitchen.
Today I want to talk my perspective as a disabled black woman working in reproductive justice, especially since the weeks and months since the Dobbs decision, and talk about what some of the things that folks can do now to take action in this moment along those intersections. Right now with the fall of Roe and during a mass disabling pandemic, there's been a shift in perspective from the general public and also from the media who are experiencing and witnessing more barriers in their own healthcare--be it reproductive or other types of healthcare. We are witnessing experiences from their friends and loved ones and because of that the general public is able to talk about and acknowledge and identify barriers to health care that folks have not always been willing to acknowledge or feel comfortable with acknowledging publicly.
Dr. Powell outlined the pillars of reproductive justice, the right to have a child, the right to not have a child, the right to parent a child with dignity and in a safe environment. I want to connect those pillars of reproductive justice with disability justice because there's a lot of similarities. Both disability justice and reproductive justice are frameworks that highlight bodily autonomy and self-determination, and both disability justice and reproductive justice highlight how race, class, gender, and other segments of identity intersect in people's lives. And how access to healthcare is shaped by those different intersections, whether it is racial healthcare inequities, the healthcare inequities faced by LGBTQ plus people, bias from medical providers, sexual violence, poverty. When it comes to abortion care,state and federal restrictions on abortion that, like insurance coverage bands, crisis pregnancy centers that mislead people about reproductive care options, government mandates, all these things add to the delays that disabled people face when accessing abortion care and reproductive health care. The disability justice and reproductive justice acknowledge the limits of the law and legality in achieving true justice for all. You will hear a lot of people in reproductive justice movement talk about how Roe versus Wade is a floor-to-ceiling NEC similarly folks with disability justice talk about how theAmericans With Disabilities Act is the floor not the ceiling. Legal rights are the start. But they are the minimum of what people need for full access to healthcare and justice.
In my work at NNAF, I have seen a real desire from newer supporters who want to do a lot more on the groundwork in both reproductive justice and disability justice and not knowing where to start. I see more people want to work more directly in helping abortion seekers navigate the barriers, more than just writing a check or attending a protest or in addition to doing those things. In addition to political mobilization there is also a robust informal ecosystem of abortion access in this country support that have been preparing for this moment for decades now. I want to talk a bit about this ecosystem and outline some of the layers. You might've heard about abortion funds in the last few months. In the past post-Dobbs abortion funds have become the new hip thing. Many abortion funds have existed for decades now, abortion funds are a grassroots organization, mostly volunteer, and work to remove financial and logistical access and they do this in a few ways. Some funds work, to help pay for financing peoples abortion and other funds do something called practical support, in terms of offering and supporting transportation, childcare, language translation services, doula services, offering a place to stay for folks who have to travel to get their abortion.
Right now, there are over 90 organizations in NNAF network in several organizations that are not in the network, that we also work together across the country, even in states where have there are currently abortion restrictions and bans and many bans are still active but there are many who have had to shift or scale down their work in order to state abortion bans. What we do at NNAF's provide structural support such as helping with legal defense fees, resources, offering technical assistance, helping organizations deal with online harassment and data privacy issues, and a lot of the work is very state and local-based now and we more challenging more challenging than ever due to the threat of criminalization and it is a challenge time for us it s really important for people who do want to get involved, getting connected with the state abortion find is more important than ever because in many cases these are the folks that know what is best about what is going on and what is happening on the ground for people actively skip seeking abortion care in your state. You can find your local abortion firstname.lastname@example.org or go to I needand A .com and locate independent clinics and funds in your area which I highly recommend.
Here in Chicago we have the amazing and mighty Chicago abortion find, it does amazing work in the Midwest access does at practical support work for folks that are traveling from neighboring states. For practical support, apiary is a place to go for people who work with client intake hosting and transportation. There are also abortion doulas, individuals who are trained to help provide emotional support for those navigating abortion. Product Mia.org here in Chicago is doing abortion doula training later this fall and also abortion doula training guide for anybody interested in abortion doula work overall. Clinic escorts help assist patients at abortion clinics, welcoming and helping them get in and out of clinics safely. Choice action team in Illinois is a great example of a place that trains clinic escorts. National abortion storytelling organizations such as We Testify and Shout Your Abortion, who want to publicly share their own abortion stories through the media or hearings to help counter misinformation, and Boston abortion Sigma, and also educate folks about their personal experiences in accessing care. Digital defense fund if you have a tech skill it is important now security and data privacy is crucial issue now for folks who are helping folks seek abortion care. If you are a lawyer, if when how is an organization you can plug into. These are organizations that work together in collaboration with each other and they all would benefit from expertise and voices of disabled people.
Dr. Powell have talked about the reproductive rights and justice opens have not been accessible or inclusive with disabled people. And I have experienced that firsthand as well. Still using eugenicist rhetoric or ableist language or assumptions in communications, ignoring access needs of abortion seekers and disabled folks within the movement as well. I think we need more voices to call out this entrenched ableism and more people within reproductive rights justice to directly address the challenges and barriers that disabled people face in abortion access. For example and this was mentioned by many speakers earlier, advocating for better physical access and clinics. Or people needing to travel out of state and use remote add telehealth services for medication abortion. Many of those remote and telehealth platforms are not accessible for folks with disabilities. issues of forced sterilization and conservatorships. It is crucial now for the program to abandon this ableist rhetoric and a language and stigma because it is further marginalizing disabled people who need care and disabled people within the movement and it is important for reproductive organizations clinics and people in them to prioritize and invest accessible information and services. I am stealing a lot more cross movement organizations organizing and collaboration especially among younger BIPOC activists and grassroots, advocates for youth, Gen Z for change, black feminist futures, a lot of, a lot of it is not happening publicly because increased threat of criminalization, people are taking that in different spaces, doing online. But it is happening and it is heartening for me.
I hope in this moment there is an opening that will really highlight and uplift disabled folks to be the center more in this movement. Because disabled people need and deserve access or affordable healthcare including reproductive healthcare and including abortion. And there are disabled people who already are leaders in the movement who can speak to these issues and be leaders and advocates.
Thank you everyone for hearing me. If you would like to hear more about abortion funds or any organizations I have mentioned shoot me an email at keidra@abortion funds.org and thank you so much.
Next up is Michelle Garcia at Access Living.
>> MICHELLE: Hi everyone, let me turn on my camera. I hope you can see me.
I'm in a hotel, dark room, I may Latinx woman in a wheelchair wearing a striped white and blue top. I have blondish brown hair and I'm happy to be here.
I am the manager of community organizing and development at Access Living. I've been organizing for Access living for 15 years but have been organizing for a bit longer than that. Today I want to touch a couple points with you around the work I been doing with Access Living and how this work relates to our discussion we are having tonight, and how to become allies and how we have been able to support the work we have been doing. And how important it is, how important allyship is to us and this work that we do, that we all do.
And I agree with the previous speakers, we all need to increase in this movement around working with reproductive justice. I have been working with Access living for 15 years or so, I used to be, as of last year I organized a group of Latinx and immigrant folks because I was the immigrant Latinx organizer but as of June of this year -- last year -- I've been promoted to manager and this has brought me even more into the work so I organized and oversee, organizing the issues of immigration, housing, racial justice, healthcare, all these areas I oversee but I also am very passionate of the work that I do so I am involved in all these areas.
I wanted to give you a couple of examples of the work in the things we are doing. For example one of the campaigns that has been really key for Access Living is the organizing work we have been working on is the emergency services and support act, maybe you have heard of it what it is intended to do, is to bring in mental health providers to situations if a person is having a mental health crisis instead of calling and police through nine and one they call a mental health provider to attend that crisis because we know more than likely that if they call the police the situation escalates to something we don't want. Which is a person in jail or worse, dead. Because we have seen it more than once -- once is one too many. CESSA has been implemented since last year, that is when it was signed into law, it is supposed to be implementation full-blown by January of next year, right now it is in the process of getting all the committees together that will be working on it throughout the state. Because we want it to be successful in making sure that everybody throughout Illinois as access to services and supports they need in the event they are going through a mental health crisis. We don't want police to be the ones called in these emergency. That is one of the things we have been working on quite a bit.
I want to start off, I went to full blown in, but I wanted to start off by letting you know there is a couple of pillars I wanted to touch base with you and. First what does Access Living do and how do we organize about organizing housing and healthcare and racial justice and immigration. And give you a couple of examples of what it is that we are working on. Which is the CESSA piece and also to some of the tactics that we have found useful in how we use these tactics to advance in our organizing. I say this because our organizing, as has been mentioned, I believe it was the colic from Equip for Equality, we go to Springfield and go to our legislators we will not get what we need or want so we need to be very diligent, so we strategize we have tactics, so just talking to you about how we do that, through Access Living, and of course there is always barriers to the work we do. Talking about that. And in terms of, in particular reproductive rights and justice. I also want to talk about that. And I want to talk about the barriers that we face and how we can remove those barriers and lastly of course the key to all this, talk about allyship and for me having allyship is key if we don't work together we have to all work together, we are all working on the same issue.
When we talk about organizing different spaces and how these tactics work, for example, we talk about when you organize different spaces you need to ensure there is attention to accessibility details. Ensuring there is attention to the space itself that folks understand that we as disabled folks also need to be included in the conversation how the action is done, what will happen, and I say this because we organize one spaces that are not mainly disability, they are not mainly disability focused. We have to educate. And let them know, we want to work together we have to understand where we come from that the disability community needs to make sure the space is accessible when you're planning a rally or planning a March, making sure the disability community is included. And how that will impact her change the overall set up or seen of what you are trying to get across. And making sure they don't see it as, here come these people, but thank you for letting us know and making sure that they know, not just for this time but for the future. And they will want to work with you again and they will not ask one or two or three times over, they will already be in their mindset of how they talk to them about setting aside a budget or something for their allies and having an accessibility budget, stuff like that. Talking about leveraging social media, how they do that, making sure it is accessible and how to engage their leaders. Disability leaders and others, more effectively. How to organize more effectively within the community.
So we have done that quite successfully, and I will give you a quick example. Our Latinx and immigration group has done several actions with an organization in Illinois called the Illinois coalition of immigrant and refugee rights, and we have been very successful in working with them and it was not all easy it once but it got easier because we were, we will work with you if you work with us kind of thing. And making sure the spaces were accessible, but we had interpreters. We have been able to create that coalition and partnership a lot stronger. We continue to work a lot more cohesively together in our partnerships and in different areas like healthcare and others as well. We always say, we have the same within the disability community; if you want to have a seat at the table we need to make sure we are at the table and we cannot just pretend that nobody, just like anybody pretending they know what they are doing or saying about us. We have to be at the table. That's what we try to do with organizations or coalitions that are not necessarily disability specific. And even if they are, but more so if they are not, making sure they know about disability and how they can work with us!
Sorry if I talked about fast! Let me know if you need me to slow down!
Also, as I was saying, a lot of the times, and it happens a lot with our community, we are excluded from conversations about healthcare, talking about reproductive justice, and we heard from the previous speakers how they just want to manage our lives. She can have an abortion, or she should not. It is my body I decide what the heck I want to do with my own body. If I want to have an abortion, if I don't, it is my body, they should ask me, the individual. Because they have a deep-rooted ableism system, this translates to suppression of the voice in organizing spaces. Is very important now more than ever to take a step to amplify our voices and not stateside within our community of people with disabilities, and others of course. But as people with disabilities we need to elevate the voice and say no, I want to speak up. It is my body. I have the right to say yes or no.
And I want to give a quick example, having to do with culture, earlier when I was introducing myself, I come from a Latinx immigrant background, because I'm a immigrant woman with a disability I would not be able to have children but at the same time when I told my mother when I was 20 something years old, I was not having children and I decided for my own health that I was not having children. That super upset and said, you will damage your whole life if you go through with a procedure that will enable you to not have children. First, you don't want be to have children but when I tell you that I do not want to have children, then you are, all upset. Which one is it? It is because they were not deciding for me. They wanted that, to decide that for me whether I could have children or not. But again, whose choice was it, mine. And it is mine, nobody else's.
With that -- I want to talk to you more about what kind of steps can we take to support access to healthcare and services. Right now I know in Illinois they have given access to healthcare through Medicaid to undocumented individuals as well which is a great piece. I am ecstatic that we have it. But I don't -- even though they have the Medicaid piece they still don't have access to all healthcare. They still are not free to decide whether they can access reproductive health care for themselves. They are afraid, I friends of mine who are undocumented immigrants with disabilities and they are afraid of going to a doctor or hospital and saying, not just because they have a disability but because their status. I say this because it is very important to clarify, make sure that we understand that is, this is also a status kind of issue. Even though it should be for everybody, it is not. As of now for everybody. I want to let you all know that this is something we should constantly be fighting for as well.
Another thing I want to talk to you about, other types of supports, we need help with, and through Access living, is mutual aid, for example, is would enable better access to organizing healthcare in general. Is several mutual aid methods we can use, fundraising or whatever else we can use. People who want toally, organizes to consider providing support, providing grants or writing anaction --
can you hear me? Sorry my connection is unstable. Supporting access to abortions, of course we are here because we are in support but if you don't, or if you know somebody who doesn't, making sure you ally, or make them an ally, let's do an event support abortion our something. And show we must have community allyship around this issue and other issues that impact us all as part of our society. Be it abortion, healthcare, housing. These issues impactus all as people with disabilities. We definitely have to stick together in order you have that strong voice.
I really want to thank first of all the host
I am very honored for the invitation and thank you for your attention and listening to me. I want to take this opportunity, I will put my information in the chat!
I will -- you can connect with me via email or call me. And I will pass it onto Hugo
>> HUGO: Once again I am Hugo Trevino. Thank you so much to all the panelists and I really enjoyed it. We are now going to move over to Q&A. Group rules, weekly wanted to say, for anyone that wants to ask a question please make sure you use inclusive language or at least gender-neutral language, whenever possible. And so so you know you can submit questions through the Q&A box either below or above the screen, and I will read the questions out loud. And panelists can answer any of these questions.
I am going to go ahead and start off the questions, there are so many good was. The first question I will throw out, how can disabled people find accessible and disability aware abortion providers?
>> KEIDRA: It is quite a challenge actually that Planned Parenthood providers that they could have some of that information but is also independent abortion providers would likely have some of that information, I mentioned earlier reproductive rights and justice movement is very slow when it comes to integrating information about accessible care for abortion. This is something that in the past year or so clinics have been more aware of bringing to the forefront so I think in the coming months and years we will be seeing more direct information about providers that provide accessible care to disabled people. Ineed an A.org has very up-to-date and granular information about different providers. And what they offer and I think those are some places that you can start to get that information so also it is really important now to push a lot of these organizations to start to carry that information. That is really the key right now is more people demand that information as a part of the offerings at reproductive rights and justice organizations do more we will see it integrated and prioritize.
>> HUGO: Thank you so much.
>> AMERI: Abortion is really singled out in healthcare and other'd there is statement society and it happens in healthcare and that is why abortion occurs often in clinics that are separate from where people get the rest of their healthcare. I think this is where we see a really unfortunate ramification is that people already have healthcare providers that they see that are accessible to them and because of the way that abortion has been other'd or an exception to the rest of the healthcare system they cannot get that care there.
>> HUGO: Next question we have, what questions are important for disabled people to ask an abortion provider in order to find out if they are disability aware and accessible?
>> CRISTINA: I can talk about this, it depends on what the individual's needs are and if they want to, if they are in a wheelchair and they want to make sure that the building has an elevator, asking about that when making appointments. If they need ASL interpreter because they are deaf, notify the individual was making the appointment that that is what they need. It depends on what the individual needs in order to feel like they can effectively communicate.and get the physical access that they need. Unfortunately if they experience barriers during those conversations, somebody says, we can't provide that, knowing what your rights are and telling them they have an obligation to do so, asking to speak with a supervisor, the office manager, or doctor. Unfortunately if that does not get them anywhere then the home consider contacting a lawyer, contact us. Or look to filing a complaint with various agencies, with the hospital, internal complaint with the hospital. By bringing it to somebody's attention. But
>> HUGO: Somebody wanted to know, what about disabled people who are not pregnant but can become pregnant?
>> DR. Powell: One of the things that we have to emphasize is these issues of reproductive justice and reproductive health, they are not just women's issues and that is one of the flaws of our activism we need to ensure that we are being inclusive and intentional item pretty confident I said disabled people all the time, I think the only time I really ever talk about disabled women with regard to abortion and reproductive issues is some citing specific studies that were only limited to women but I think we do need to expand our horizons and recognize that there is a substantial LGBTQ population of people with disabilities so it is important we do this.
>> HUGO: Thank you or that answer, this question says, historical tension between disability movement and the reproductive rights movement, can you elaborate more on that and do you see that changing?
>> DR. Powell: And others have also alluded to this but one of the biggest criticisms from disability rights activists of the movement is the way in which they use ableism/eugenics based arguments to support the right to access to abortion and I can give you a few examples, one of which is a few years ago, many reproductive rights groups really used the argument that we need to ensure abortion is fully available for a long period of time because what if there is a disability diagnosis. What if there is a fetal disability diagnosis and we need to ensure everyone can't terminate the pregnancy and that gives a message that if you have a fetal disability diagnosis that abortion is the right thing because having a child with a disability would be tragic in something you should try to avoid and you can get these issues in a way that supports autonomy while not being ableist. We saw this again with the Zikavirus, we would not want to have additional children born with disabilities. Those are some of the tensions that have existed over time, abortions to prevent disability. I think we are seeing a lot of movement, this event is just one of countless examples where we are bringing their communities together. There has been great work around the Center for reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood has done great work, the list goes on and. And also for disability rights amenity has to address these issues because disability rights groups have traditionally avoided these issues because they are on comfortable. Unfortunately that has left people with disability is upon in all this and thinking about abortions for down syndrome and how anti-choice activists push this, this is a disability rights issue we care about disabled people we do want people terminating pregnancy because the baby has down syndrome or some other disability, and that is very disingenuous because they don't care about disability support once someone is born. If they were genuinely concerned they would be paying additional family supported special education etc. Is a disingenuous target that has used disabled people as a pawn in disabled rights groups have avoided that because that does require us to really respond to these issues in a way that respects disability rights and also reproductive rights and there is a way forward but we all need to get together and do that.
>> HUGO: Thank you so much for that question. I also see it in the Q&A someone asked, do centers for independent living receive information about practitioners who have high standards of accessible healthcare including abortion and other reproductive health care? Can people turn to their independent centers for living for this information?
Maybe that would've been a question for Michelle that but she's out of the chat at the moment. Maybe it will be answered in chat. For our next question, we had
though Illinois is a sanctuary state how can service providers and medical places either begin or continue to provide equitable resource to people with disabilities who engage in ethical consensual non-monogamy or for sex workers without shaming?
>> AMERI: You again you see the effect of abortion -related care, singled out done somewhere apart from where people get the best of their healthcare. People may already have healthcare providers who they feel are respectful. And accommodate their needs. Abortion care has been so regulated in this country and people have to go elsewhere to get it away from healthcare providers so they already are comfortable with so that is one of the unfortunate ways that we have seen this play out. From a legal perspective.
>> HUGO: Thank you. Another question, will overturning Roe versus Wade make it easier to put someone with a disability into guardianship, guardianship removes many choices such as forcing people to have abortions or will it force people into parenthood?
>> DR. Powell: I think there are some connections and it is way too soon to know the answer but I would say there is going to be more effort to really restrict disabled people's freedom and I say that because we can see if we look at court decisions around allowing forced sterilization of a disabled person sometimes court will reject it, there is an abortion available should this person become pregnant. In some court, that is the backup plan because of course we want people with disabilities to reproduce because that is the belief, or we don't want people with disabilities to make the decision so from a paternalistic standpoint that has been the view that at least abortion was available, you could maybe force on someone or not, so I think there is that potential whether through increased guardianship's or increased court-authorized sterilizations. And I would note, we should understand that sterilization occur in a very coercive way even if they are not coerced through the court, and as a disabled woman I can tell you personally that I have an offer to hysterectomy more times than I can ever count on two hands. And when I responded that I may have children someday, that a hysterectomy would not be the thing, doctors are often shocked by the idea that I would even think about having children and I say this because I am someone with a lot of privilege, highly educated, income, white, and a number rights and most people with disabilities are not as privileged and I will over worry that people with disabilities are talking to these sterilization procedures -- or -- not allowed to have them because there are concerns they may be don't understand the decision.
>> HUGO: Thank you so much. A follow-up question, someone want to know, in regard to guardianship can someone who is in a guardianship seek support to access an abortion considering they are sometimes time limits for when you can have an abortion and court proceedings -- is that something that can also seek access to and how?
>> DR. Powell: I was waiting to see if anybody else -- I think that there are, if you have a guardian who has control over your medical decision-making, typically if the guardian and the individual are in some sort of disagreement they would need to seek a court authorization and you can get emergency orders but things are still slow/an attorney-client relationship it is also really hard to get legal representation if you are under guardianship because. there's a lot of confusion and uncertainty among legal professionals whether a Guardian can enter into so a lot of people might not even want to take on this issue because of all that uncertainty.
>> Cristina: In Illinois there are certain areas where an individual has a right to an attorney, if they are at the outset of the case, where they are seeking to avoid having a guardian in place, they have a right to an attorney if they are seeking to modify the guardianship or terminate. They also have a right to an attorney in addition, and a sterilization, in response to a sterilization petition if they have a position that is adverse to the guardian, they also have a right to an attorney. We also get involved in guardianship cases and other circumstances. And in some counties maybe we do face some opposition at times to getting involved and representing the individual under guardianship. There is also in -- judges will appoint somebody called a guardian ad litem who does not represent the person that they represent their best interest and they are supposed to do an investigation for the court, be there eyes and ears and make a recommendation to the court. Sometimes their positionis adverse to the person with the disability. We do have to argue sometimes that both are needed if the court thanks that our roles are the same and they don't need both of us involved. But if, I can't think of a situation where we have seen this, but if a guardian and an individual's the individual was to get a guardian and the guardian will not consent, that issue needs to be brought before the court. I can also imagine if the individual and the guardian disagree on this issue there might be a lot of, many other areas that and choices that these two disagree with. And the guardian is not following the decision-making mandate and their duty to help the individual leader the most independent life they can. We often argue for the court that that guardian might need to be, needs to be removed, if they are not respecting the individuals choices and those choices are reasonable, and not likely to lead to substantial harm, that is really not a good match-up. An individual does have a right to inform the court about who their preference for a guardian is and thecourt should take that into account.I would argue that if a guardian is notrespecting individuals wishes on this issue, there are probably many other issues that are not, as well and the court should explore that.
And you are always welcome to contact the Equip for Equality to see if that is the case we need to get involved is ordered five advisor individuals what the rights are.
>> DR. Powell: This question is multifaceted and although I have not from Massachusetts, but from a state that has very abortion-rights and in our Constitution, until now I was fortunate but I bring that up because there was a case in Massachusetts about 10 years ago where there was a woman with psychiatric disabilities who was pregnant and the state Department of mental health encouraged her parents to seek guardianship for the entire purpose of forcing her to terminate her pregnancy. She was adamant, opposed to abortion, highly religious, explaining very much it was not a question of what she wanted, she was very outspoken about what she wanted and did not want and the court, the lower court approved her guardianship and they said, they approved the abortion and they said, you might as well sterilize this woman also saw this on fortunate thing does not happen again. Fortunately, on appeal this was reversed and the appeal process, the pregnancy process was only nine months but the fact that that could happen state like Massachusetts did worry people because we have some of the stronger abortion rights laws and disability rights laws in general so it is something to consider on both sides because that was a very highly publicized case where the family sought guardianship for the sole purpose of forcing an abortion.
>> HUGO: Thank you. The next question, do you see the precedent set by Dobbs infringing on the rights of disabled folks in other ways?
>> AMERI: I think Dobbs is going to lead to infringements on all sorts of rights besides abortion. The language in the decision, is based on the originalist approach, the court does not see the abortion rate in their in the words, and so the next question is, was a right to abortion part of the nations history and tradition when the 14th amendment was ratified? And the court says,no because the 14th amendment was ratified, none of the people ratifying it were women, the court goes through a historical analysis. That is how the court concludes and dabbed there is no right for abortion. The court says that it is not, abortion is different, this does not mean that LGBTQ rights are an issue, that other right around contraception our initial, if you follow the reasoning and their analysis, all these very personal rights, the decisions people have, the decisions people make about the rights, about who they marry, about their sexual partners, all these sort of things we would consider part of a right to privacy, it was right that somebody had in 1868, those may be on the table and I think we will see continuing battles how we see how this plays out with LGBTQ rights probably next on the chopping block Dobbs leaves a lot of rights at risk for a lot of people
>> DR. Powell: I just talked about this in my family law class 4 hours ago, this whole case was based on the unenumerated rights and that has been expanded to contraception, same-sex marriage, privacy, areas of family formation, the list goes on and on, and you can -- and medical decision-making-- your right to medical decision-making. If we start to chip away at one piece of that, who knows how far this can go. I think there could be a domino effect, and the self-advocacy network issue this reef a few months ago outlining the implications of Dobbs being overturned in Roe and how that could affect people with disabilities people I think it does an excellent job highlighting exactly these issues and I would also say that from a legal perspective, Dobbs throughout the idea of stare decisis and people expect to know the law and know your own individual rights and plan your life and what does laws are and staredecisis is important that the courts are not supposed to throw away rights and they have shown a complete disregard for stare decisis where they overthrew almost 50 years of legal precedent in the right to abortion. Huge legal implication.
>> HUGO: Thank you once again. The next question, we want to ask, do abortion find support access needs like securing an ASL interpreter, transportation, help to get needed accommodations for disabled people or other general accommodations?
>> I heard abortion funds but not the rest of his -- I am having some sound issues. Could somebody put the question in again --
>> HUGO: I will punch the question into the chat so you can see. There goes.
>> KEIDRA: Two answer that question, all abortion funds across the country are independent based in what capacity they have to offer those accommodations and support those accommodations but the role of practical support organizations which many abortion funds are is to offer support and advocacy for accommodations so transportation, ASL translation, language translation all that falls under the purview of practical support organizations, that many abortion funds are so depends on defined themselves and whether they have the capacity and since most funds are volunteer a volunteer support to be able to do that work.
>> ROBIN: Dr. Powell, Mississippi has a band for this issue and am sure there's other examples but I would say the lawyer in me will remind people that abortion providers also have to provide accommodations so they do not have to provide your transportation they have to provide physical access and interpretation so while we know abortion funds of limited resources we should make sure healthcare providers are also following their legal obligation.
>> HUGO: Perfect. There is a question in the Q&A, and we only have nine for disabled people in states with the most restrictive anti-abortion laws, what can we do to take care of ourselves during this time? Is there something we can do to prepare for the worst case scenarios, to guardians in the states have power to disregard self-determination or is it in Illinois or other states?
>> DR. Powell: Since I'm in one of the most restrictive states, in general, whether you are disabled or not, people are very proactively ensuring they have contraception access, and Plan B and trying to make the most of the terrible situation. And also, I am volunteering for abortion funds trying to help people navigate if they need to travel so a person having your ducks in a row and I hate to even think that way but unfortunately and I want to remind people to vote. One of the biggest solutions is go to the polls and vote because the only way to turn this entire nightmare around is to vote.
>> KEIDRA: Another important thing in this moment, I worked digital, and that is really not something that you want to do in a time during criminalization and surveillance on social media. One of the things we see a lot with abortion funds is people putting personal information online, in order to get advice, care, many of these abortion laws are meant to punish folks for putting personal information out about how far along they are in their pregnancy, where they go for help, and in some cases criminalizing those who seek to support those who are looking for care. We tend in a very digital focused environment we want to put as much information out there to help awareness and in this case do not necessarily lean towards putting informationout on social media, even email in some cases can be kind of risky, the more you can find in person ways to communicate with folks and that is harder for disabled folks on so many levels. We depend on digital to communicate with each other. But that is what makes it especially dangerous, the same digital networks that we rely on to support each other to get information are the same sources for potential criminalization and surveillance that might harm us and being very aware of that now and understanding what information you are putting out and to whom, this is why it is so important to be included two networks of support that understand this and will protect you and understand the law and what to share and what not to share. Be careful about the information putting at information on apps and different online platforms.
>> Cristina Those are really great points and I want to also recommend any new tool we have in Illinois, supportive decision-making past about a year ago and went into effect earlier this year. It has been passed in a growing number of states, I think under 20, but in this model, unlike guardianship, there is not a substitute decision-maker in place, the individual still retains the rights to make their own decisions. And identifies a supporter who is one to turn to either for access to information or healthcare or help them access benefits. In Illinois it is only available to individuals with a development or intellectual disability but my understanding is that Illinois is unique in this regard and in other states that is not the case. It might be expanded to other populations. But that is not the case now. But if someone else look to see if, in your if that is available in your state. At least here in Illinois, I don't need a guardian I have the support and services in place that I need if I need help making decisions were gathering information. And things like that. Or lookup with the legislative efforts are in your state to try to get that past.
>> HUGO: We have two more minutes, hopefully we can entities quickly, I will combine them. Is abortion covered by Medicare and are abortion providers also covered by the ADA for excess ability?
>> Abortion providers are covered by the ADA.
>> Is been a few other states that allow for state funds but from most states no, because the Hyde amendment prohibits federal funding to go towards wedding except for very rare instances. You are muted
>> HUGO: We still have two more minutes -- what can disabled people do if an abortion provider refuses care due to their disability?
>> DR. Powell: Called their production and access agency like equip for equality and other organizations -- or Kristina after
>> CRISTINA: I was going to say the same thing, contact us, contact another disability rights lawyer, contact the Center for Independent living. If you need help, trying to connect with legal services.
>> HUGO: I think we are almost out of time, we have one more minute. One final question, or we are out of time -- I do want to let people know we will be sending out resources and all the information mentioned during the event meeting a follow-up email so look out for that. I want to thank everyone for their conversations that are super important especially for the disability community, it is definitely something that, nothing about us without us, I appreciate the information today thank you everyone joining us on the call we had a really amazing attendance so thank you all on the panel for your information is just invaluable.
>> Thanks everyone
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