The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a devastating loss to everyone dedicated to human and reproductive rights. It's easy to create many scenarios in our minds on how her passing could be the end of Roe v. Wade but the truth is, we could have lost that with her still alive because if abortion isn't accessible, legal doesn't mean much if you can't get to the clinic.
As long as our metaphorical doors are open we are dedicated to continuing to make abortion access, truly accessible, to making sure our trans friends and family members are uplifted and supported and that folks seeking any form of reproductive healthcare are able to access that care.
This weekend we grieved, today we fight.
Kentucky Health Justice Network
“Justice is not achieved by trespassing on private property,” said KY’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Tuesday, July 14. This response followed the arrest of 87 protesters, who were demonstrating in front of Cameron’s home as part of the demands for the release of the long-awaited investigation into the wrongful-death of Breonna Taylor.
According to WHAS 11, the protesters were removed, arrested, and temporarily charged with felonies per the Attorney General’s request. On Friday, July 17, all felony charges to the protesters were dropped. This happened nearly two months after right-wing protesters hung Governor Andy Beshear in effigy, and demonstrated at the Governor’s house as an attempt to reopen the economy, enacting a very small police response. It also follows decades-long protests at Louisville’s independent abortion clinc, EMW Women’s Surgical Center.
The Black Lives Matter protesters are outraged by centuries of oppression to the Black community that has been manufactured by public systems. Following Breonna Taylor’s wrongful death by the hands of LMPD, and in conjunction with the response to George Floyd’s murder, protesters took to the streets to demand an end to sanctioned violence by the hands of the police.
After over a month of protests, two out of the three murderers that killed Breonna Taylor are still employed by the LMPD. In late- May, Mayor Greg Fischer turned over the Breonna Taylor investigation to Attorney General Daniel Cameron after Jefferson County Attorney, Mike O’Connell, recused himself from the case. Attorney General Cameron has not made the findings from the investigation public.
Protesters occupied Cameron’s front yard to demand the release of the Breonna Taylor investigation. It didn’t take long for 87 protesters to be removed from the property and arrested. To abortion clinic staff, escorts, and advocates; the response to this protest activity is baffling when considering the dangerous and violent environment posed outside of the clinic.
During the state-wide shut downs due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases, as many as 63 protesters crowded the sidewalk of EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Many people reported this crowd to Metro 311, in fear that patients may risk exposure to COVID-19. No action was taken by the police or any city official to disperse the crowd, or mandate social distancing practices take place among the protesters.
In Louisville, anti- abortion protesters regularly stalk, harass, and trespass on private property during hours of business. Patients are forced to face a traumatic experience and invasion of their privacy as they visit their doctor. On some days, LMPD cruisers are parked across the street, and sometimes around the corner, but even with their presence, they regularly ignore anti abortion protesters when they trespass, stalk, harass with contact, and more. There have been very few times where anti-abortion protesters have been arrested, where they are apprehended in a very gently by LMPD.
Furthermore, the gross negligence of the LMPD in front of EMW furthers more trauma and violence inflicted to patients, with a lot of that occurring because the anti- abortion protesters are trespassing on private property.
In response to the Attorney General’s position on protecting private party: where is that same consideration to the abortion clinic?
Certainly I am not advocating for the protesters at the clinic to be hauled away to an already overcrowded jail like the protesters at Cameron’s home were; but, it is extremely clear that the attitude towards these two different protests are staunchly different.
While protests addressing violence and brutality to Black and brown folks are met with militarized police in riot gear, tear gas, and pepper bullets: anti-abortion protesters continue business-as-usual unless something egregious enough happens to garner some response from LMPD.
Does the Attorney General believe that private property has tiers of importance to justify swift police intervention?
Where was that consideration when LMPD trespassed Breonna Taylor’s property, entered her apartment without consent or warning, and killed her while she was sleeping? If justice is not achieved by trespassing onto private property, like the Attorney General is asserting, the LMPD had no business to force themselves into Breonna Taylor’s home.
In light of the arrests made at the Attorney General’s home, he only exemplified what we already knew to be true: the police are targeting protests because of the content of their dissent rather than the actions they have made.
As we continue to see protest activity from different groups, with different goals, it's important to be aware of the implicit and explicit biases held by government officials. In comparing the response to protest activity, we can hold more of our officials accountable.
KHJN board member applications are open!
Please read over the board member expectations prior or applying!
Applications must be received by July 31, 2020. Apply here!
The mission of the Kentucky Health Justice Network is to build the power of Kentuckians to achieve reproductive justice. We support this mission through direct support, education and outreach.
The Kentucky Health Justice Network invites applications for up to 4 new Board members to serve three-year terms beginning in September 2020. Successful applicants must demonstrate their commitment to KHJN’s mission and core programming. Our current core programming includes advocacy for trans health issues, abortion access, and access to contraceptives. We believe reproductive rights are human rights, and that all people should be able to decide if, when, and how to parent.
As an organization committed to reproductive justice, we have a responsibility to create a pipeline of leadership and development opportunities for young people, low-income people, people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, and others who are repeatedly and systematically affected by reproductive inequities. We believe people directly impacted by these issues are best positioned to design and lead solutions. People of color, young people, people who have had an abortion, and LGBTQIA people are strongly encouraged to apply. We are also particularly seeking individuals with financial and legal backgrounds. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply.
KHJN is a statewide organization, our current Board members are primarily located in the Louisville area so we are also interested in recruiting board members from other areas of Kentucky. Some of the additional skills we are looking for include financial management, fundraising skills, organizing experience, legal expertise.
The responsibilities of KHJN Board members include
Attending and actively participating in monthly or bi-monthly board meetings. Currently our meetings are via Zoom, however as circumstances permit we will resume quarterly in-person meetings. These are currently based in Louisville.
Participating in projects and decisions as needed between board meetings.
Overseeing KHJN’s internal policies and the statewide mission
Building networks and allies throughout the state
Reviewing the organization’s financial statements and overall health
Participating actively in the fundraising and donor engagement activities of the organization.
Board membership offers opportunities to support positive social change, develop new expertise and working relationships, and further reproductive justice in Kentucky. Board members serve as volunteers, but KHJN pays mileage and other costs for meetings, on request. Child care and accommodations for persons with differing abilities are also covered (ie: interpreters, etc.)
Job Title: Bookkeeper
Reports to: Executive Director
Position status: Part time 15-20 hours per week
Hourly wage: $18
Purpose: To support the growth and development of Kentucky Health Justice Network’s financial systems
Job Responsibilities and Duties
Part time employees will receive two (2) weeks (10 days) of PTO per year effective immediately
To apply, please send application and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with Bookkeeper application in the subject line.
It has been quite a year at KHJN, from a hectic legislative session full of anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ bills to wins and losses in courts from local to federal levels.
Your continued support through these ups and downs has made it possible for us to reduce barriers to Kentuckians seeking access to abortion care and fund more abortions than ever before! We've been able to increase our support for trans and gender non conforming Kentuckians to receive advocacy, support and gender affirming items to help them feel comfortable and validated in their lives. Through our partnership with Power to Decide and Appalshop our contraceptive access program All Access EKY has been able to provide knowledge and support about contraceptive options to Kentuckians across Eastern Kentucky.
Your support and donations mean so much to KHJN staff, volunteers, board members and folks all across the Commonwealth. If you would like to make an end of year donation you can do so online or mail it to us at PO Box 4761 Louisville, KY 40204.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
As many of us read yesterday the Supreme Court has refused to hear H.B 2, the narrated ultrasound law. This law requires doctors to describe in detail the ultrasound and play the sound of the fetal heartbeat even if it's against the patient's wishes. This law does not provide any improvements to abortion care in Kentucky, it's main purpose is to continue to shame and attempt to coerce people from having an abortion.
We urge you to read Kentucky’s Abortion Law Forces Me to Humiliate My Patients written by Dr. Ashlee Bergin from September where she explains the impact of this law on both doctors and patients in Kentucky.
While this ruling is disappointing to say the least, you CAN still get an abortion in Kentucky.
Thank you so much for your continued support for our mission
By Jerusha B., KHJN Board Member
On February 20th, I embarked on a 12 hour drive to Norman, Oklahoma with three other wonderful KHJN folks (Jhalak, Lindsay, and Meg). I say embarked rather loosely because I’m still too young to help drive a rental car. I did, however, engage in lots of supportive back seat sleeping and supportive road watching! We were traveling to meet up with other reproductive justice activists for the fifth annual Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice conference.
I was so excited for this conference, as Andrea Smith was speaking as the morning keynote. I was first introduced to Andrea Smith’s work in an introductory ethnic studies course. Her work completely changed my perspective and approach toward understanding and fighting against sexual violence. Aside from the opportunity to hear her speak, I was excited to learn more about how others organize across red states. I am fairly new to reproductive justice work (I focused on intimate partner violence and sexual assault work back in California - which is, of course, related). I’m also fairly new to the red state world. I moved to Kentucky from California for graduate school. I came away from this conference with a renewed passion and drive for this work. The organizing that is being done across the U.S. is inspiring. With over 500 in attendance, the support could be felt in every session.
The opening plenary on Friday highlighted the diversity of issues covered within reproductive justice, from the impact of Ferguson on Black women’s health to the importance of giving young women of color a space to develop and share their personal narratives; from understanding the need to support trans and gender creative youth to the need to pick up each others issues - such as fighting against the harmful and racist Native American mascots. Deborah Small ended the panel with an important hope - that Take Root 6 will see more people of color with no money than people with degrees. These are all reproductive justice issues, all deserving of our attention and intentional commitment. As Deborah Small stated:
“All of us, or none.”
Saturday began with a powerful speech by Andrea Smith. Smith discussed the harms of relying on the non profit system to achieve our goals, the dangers of framing those against us as eternal enemies, and the importance of building our own movement. I found the discussion of “eternal enemies” to be especially important. In a red state is is easy to assume that most people are against our goals and our movements. If we want to see change, we need to talk with our “enemies.” If we want to see change, they need to become our friends. We need to engage in discussion, we need to reframe the issue - find common ground. If the current discussion (ex. pro choice vs pro life) isn’t working, we can create our own movement and our own discussions that fit our needs.
As I was able to see in a later panel titled “RJ & Civic Engagement” this idea of engaging in one on one conversation with individuals and families was already occurring and leaving an impact. Cristina Aguilar, the executive director of Color (Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights), discussed her organizations’ use of small coffee gatherings with families to discuss reproductive rights. They were able to see the biggest Latin@ voter turnout in years, defeating a personhood amendment, as a result of their outreach efforts.
The conference was full of similarly inspiring speakers and organizations. Lindsay and Jhalak were a part of a Trans Health Matters panel and presented research findings from the KHJN sponsored study on trans folks access to healthcare in Kentucky. This panel brought forth the much needed discussion of how to make reproductive justice spaces safe and inclusive for trans people. While this point was brought up by an audience member and not fully explored, it was an important contribution that I hope will be considered as we move forward. From my own experience at the conference - when I checked in and was given my conference materials I was encouraged to write my pronouns on my name tag. Less than 30 seconds after that encouragement I was misgendered by a person who was figuring out my payment. Gender neutral restrooms were available but they were in a separate building. Only a few speakers were intentional in their language around pregnancy and “womanhood.” Change comes slow, but these conversations need to be had.
Overall, the conference was a whirlwind of excitement and inspiration. I hope I am able to attend again next year. I barely touched the surface of the conversations and panels that went on during the day, but I encourage you to explore the #takeroot15 tag on Twitter to learn more. Below I have linked a few reproductive justice organizations you should check out!
Making Herstory OKC
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center
It's that time of year again...Time to rock, roll, and raise for abortion access in Kentucky! Register today!
Hey friends, join us for Kentucky Support Network's third annual Bowl-a-Thon! This fundraiser helps make our work possible throughout the year. Last year we raised over $7,000 to provide financial assistance, transportation, and interpretation to people seeking abortion care. This year we want to raise $10,000 so we can provide even more support to our callers. Are you in?
What is Bowl-a-Thon, you ask?
Bowl-a-Thon = doing good + having a blast! It's a crowd-sourced fundraiser: you sign up ahead of time with a team or as an individual, set your fundraising goal, and ask your community to donate and help you reach your goal. Then, you join us at the event itself on April 24 for bowling, snacks, drinks, and awesomeness!
Fundraising through Bowl-a-Thon is quick and easy! When you register, you'll get a secure team and/or personal page where you can make your pitch, share it easily via email and social media, and accept contributions. Also, remember that even if you're busy on April 24, or if you're not into bowling, you can still participate, since you do pretty much all of your fundraising ahead of time!
Why bowl for abortion access?
KSN is a group of dedicated volunteers that, since our launch in 2013, have accompanied over 500 Kentuckians through the process of accessing abortion. The money we raise helps pay for an abortion, travel to a clinic, or for overnight lodging near a clinic. Your donation also funds our hotline service, where we talk with callers from across the region to accompany them as they navigate the process of accessing abortion: from accessing all-options counseling, to making an appointment, to applying to other funds for assistance, to accessing further social services after their procedure, and more. We also provide phone and in-clinic language interpretation so patients with limited English proficiency can communicate with providers. By leading your own team or by participating, you'll be making a direct and immediate impact in our community.
What do team captains do? Team captains lead the charge. Captains choose a team fundraising goal, recruit bowling buddies for their team, and make sure all their bowling buddies meet their personal fundraising goals. Captains will be the primary contact for the event.
Sounds awesome! How do I captain a team? Just register at our website! Once you register, you can use our online system to send emails to friends and family asking them to support your team by pledging to increase access to abortion. It's so easy!
I still have questions. Where can I find answers? Hop on over to our fund page for more information, or feel free to contact us with any questions. See you on the lanes!
UPDATE, JANUARY 2015:
Whether you're on Medicaid or an insurance plan you purchased through Kynect, the Affordable Care Act makes all FDA-approved contraceptives available to you without a co-pay. If you've been charged a co-pay for any contraceptives, you should file a complaint! If you're a Medicaid patient, call Member Services at 1-800-635-2570. If your insurance is through Kynect, call the Kentucky Dept. of Insurance at 1-800-595-6053.
by Clare Gervasi, KHJN volunteer
This little essay is intended to inform you about the Kentucky health exchange, called Kynect (pronounced “connect”), and how we Kentuckians can access health insurance through the system and even find out if we are eligible for Medicaid. Furthermore, this piece includes information about how to get the kinds of reproductive and contraceptive care we need through Kynect and Medicaid. This essay also includes my own reflections on the Affordable Care Act and how it affects individual Kentuckians, especially women, from a first-person perspective.
To begin, here is a little about me and the US health care system: I am a white cis woman in her early 30s. I live in Louisville and am a life-long US citizen. I have a graduate degree and come from an educated, middle class background. I am a birth doula and have long experience dealing with the health care system (especially reproductive health) as an advocate as well as a patient. I have been interacting continuously with Medicaid since 2010, when I became pregnant and subsequently became a mother to a child who has health insurance through Medicaid. I have been interacting with the Kynect Exchange system since March of this year, when I first signed up for health care under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA).
So when I tell you this next part, I want you to understand the full frustration of what I mean: accessing health insurance information through Medicaid, its managed care organizations, and Kynect is like trying to break into Fort Knox. If neither my educational, racial, or class privilege, nor my professional experience, can save me confusion or time or money in navigating our health care exchange and managed care companies, what is required to succeed in getting the information an insurance user needs to be healthy?
As someone who lived most of her 20s without health insurance, except for a brief period when I had insurance through my graduate school program, I was very excited about the passage of the ACA (commonly called Obamacare). The concept of the “health insurance exchange,” the centerpiece of Obama’s legislation, promised essentially a free market shopping experience, and rendered all of us who need health care (read: every living human) “consumers” in a “health care marketplace.” Through this state-run marketplace, called Kynect in Kentucky, we consumers could “shop” for the best health insurance plan for us. Obamacare provided free benefits agents, called “Kynectors,” to help us if we desired professional consultation in making our choice. We were supposed to access this marketplace online or by phone and to shop around as pleasantly as if we were surfing amazon.com or walking through the grocery, comparing prices and contents and making the best selection for ourselves and our families.
Yeah, that all sounds like an improvement over the pre-Obamacare days... But the ease and pleasantness so touted by Governor Beshear and even the Obama administration, as they hold up Kentucky’s state exchange as a model for the nation, have not been my experience as a user or an investigator. If the appeal of state-run exchanges is greater transparency in shopping for options, Kynect and Obamacare have a long way to go. An ideal free market shopping experience includes clear pricing among competitors, so that consumers can make the best decision in their own best interest. It also guarantees privacy and freedom while shopping. I don’t have to tell Amazon my personal information to see how much it costs to order lightbulbs from them, for example. The Kynect exchange and the companies I dealt with in doing this research, Anthem and Humana, were anything but transparent or respectful of privacy. I spent many hours on the phone with both corporations, who refused to tell me almost any concrete, financial information unless I gave them my name, birth date, social security number, and phone number. That is a far cry from the free market.
In sum, although attempting to access information about contraceptive care was a time-consuming, murky, and generally user-unfriendly experience for me, here is a run-down of some of what I did manage to find out for Medicaid users seeking contraceptive care:
Here are some important notes to remember when deciding what care and coverage are best for you:
1. To find out whether or not a drug is covered, you can refer to this formulary, which is occasionally updated. Here is the most recent one as of the date of publication of this chart: http://www.anthem.com/Exchangedruglist4.pdf. You can always find the updated forumlary by clicking on the form “Anthem Select Drug List (4-Tier)” in the forms library on Anthem’s website: https://www.anthem.com/health-insurance/customer-care/forms-library
2. To find out whether or not a drug is covered, you can use this search tool on the Humana website. It will tell you which Tier the drug falls under if it is covered, and will also tell any dispensing limits associated with the drug. Here is the link to the search: http://apps.humana.com/UnsecuredDrugListSearch/Search.aspx
3. With the pill (“oral contraceptives”), there are so many different brand names and generics that these copays may or may not apply to your specific choice of drug. Look up your prescription in the formularies listed above to see if your drugs are covered. If they are listed as “Tier 1” drugs, then the copays listed above are true. If not, they may cost more or not be covered at all.
If you are looking for more information, here are some useful tools:
Friends of KHJN.