Abortion access is a youth issue

The current attack on abortion rights in the House is an attempt to extend already despicable bans on funding for abortion, the only medical procedure explicitly excluded from federal funding, as far beyond their current scope as possible. Federal funding for abortion is obviously a class issue, as it is the poorest people in the US who most need help accessing medical care. The reproductive justice community has done a great job of emphasizing that this is a racial justice issue, pointing out the intersection between race and poverty in the US. Here’s another intersection that I think deserves our attention: abortion funding is a youth issue.

The majority of people in the US who need abortion care are young: 75% are under 30, with the majority, 57%, in their 20s. Young people are also the most likely to live in poverty, a problem that is only getting worse as the recession wears on. We’re also the least likely to be insured, because so many of us can’t afford insurance. And yes, there is absolutely a race/age/class intersection here: young people of color are much more impacted than young white folks.

So abortion funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, so-called Nelson “Compromise” and the Smith/Pitts bills have a disproportionate impact on young people, who obtain the majority of abortions and are in the most need of financial assistance for their health care, including abortion care. Young people are already disproportionately impacted by existing restrictions; new restrictions will only compound this problem while also expanding access issues to new groups of people.

The youth vote has become increasingly powerful over the past couple election cycles. And we’ve certainly got an agenda that needs action – we need jobs, we need education, and oh right, we need health care, which includes abortion care. Anti-choicers in Congress are increasingly out of touch with what people in this country actually need and want though, deciding instead to focus on an agenda that’s really about hating women and wanting to control our bodies at all costs.

But of course we’re not taking this lying down! Young people showed up to Stop Stupak and now we’re ready to stop an agenda that’s being called “Stupak on Steroids.” If you’re looking for a way to get involved click here. As young people this is our issue, and we’re damn well gonna do something about it!

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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