Episode 5: Amy Irvin—Abortion Access, Reproductive Justice, & Story Sharing to End Stigma

EPISODE SUMMARY

Amy Irvin is the executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund and served as the first intake coordinator. She has worked at abortion clinics in New Orleans and Atlanta and earned her Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Louisville where she researched the impact of parental consent laws for minors at the ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project. We spoke about abortion access, reproductive justice, the importance of sharing stories about abortion, recent bans and proposed legislation in Louisiana and beyond, and the ongoing work and mission of the New Orleans Abortion Fund.

EPISODE NOTES

Amy Irvin is the executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund and served as the first intake coordinator. She has worked at abortion clinics in New Orleans and Atlanta, and was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by Planned Parenthood of Kentucky in 2006. She earned her Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Louisville where she researched the impact of parental consent laws for minors at the ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Agnes Scott College. After undergraduate school she taught English as a Second Language, coordinated World Refugee Day activities, and developed a refugee childcare program at the International Rescue Committee. She’s also a former union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers, organizing grocery store workers in Arizona and Indiana.

The New Orleans Abortion Fund challenges the inequalities of class, gender, race, and immigrant status by providing financial help to people who cannot afford the full cost of an abortion. NOAF affirms a person’s right to control their body and work to ensure that everyone has access to quality medical care.

Jessie Nieblas, co-founder of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Science and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Women’s Studies. In her 10 years of work on sexual violence prevention and intervention, reproductive health and rights, and health care access, Jessie has designed, implemented, and evaluated programs; conducted outreach and engagement efforts with diverse communities; and raised funds through direct appeals, grants, and events. She has served as co-chair of Take Back the Night at UCSB, volunteered on RAINN’s Online Hotline, and currently works at an anti-sexual violence organization.

The mission of Women With A Vision is to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. We accomplish this through relentless advocacy, health education, supportive services, and community-based participatory research.

The People’s Assembly

Protesters stage a ‘die-in’ over proposed abortion bill in Louisiana

Maternal Mortality in Louisiana

Sex Education in Louisiana

Shout Your Abortion is a decentralized network of individuals talking about abortion on our own terms and encouraging others to do the same. Following the U.S. Congress’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood in 2015, the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion became a viral conduit for abortion storytelling, receiving extensive media coverage and positioning real human experiences at the center of America’s abortion debate for the very first time. SYA quickly evolved into a grassroots movement, which has inspired countless individuals to share their abortion stories through art, media, and community events all over the country.

Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (2016, Hachette Books) as well as the upcoming essay collection The Witches Are Coming (2019, Hachette Books). In 2018 she adapted Shrill as a half-hour comedy for Hulu, set to air in 2019. Her work has also appeared in This American Life, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, The Stranger, and others. She is the founder of I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens, as well as the co-founder of the reproductive rights destigmatization campaign #ShoutYourAbortion.

Open Access is a bi-weekly web series produced by the New Orleans Abortion Fund, aims to engage advocates from local and statewide organizations about their work through casual conversation. Exploring the role of women in leadership, the possibility of collaboration between issue groups, and how reproductive rights fits into a larger framework, Open Access explores activism and advocacy in our community, and invites community members to become involved.

ProFrequency on WHIV

The New Orleans Abortion Fund’s OutLoud is a new initiative that seeks to amplify experiences with abortion. From patients who have undergone the procedure to clinic escorts on the frontlines of anti-choice propaganda, abortion stories are everywhere.NOAF OutLoud aims to bring these narratives to the surface and ignite discussion about abortion by sharing stories at small house parties of friends. These informal gatherings utilize video, writing and conversation to explore our personal and professional experiences with abortion, and enlighten our understanding of reproductive health, rights and justice.

Louisiana Abortion Stories Project: In conjunction with NOAF OutLoud, the Louisiana Abortion Stories Project seeks to address abortion stigma at the individual and community levels through recording first-person narratives. The project explores decision-making about abortion care; experiences with sex education; and the impact of community values and religious perspectives on reproductive health, education, and public policy, as well as a deeper examination of the social, logistical, and financial barriers in accessing abortion care.

“1 in 4 U.S. woman will have an abortion by age 45.”

Shrill is an American comedy web television series, based on the book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West and starring Aidy Bryant, that premiered on March 15, 2019, on Hulu.

*Our Bodies, Our Doctors* “tells the story of a rebellion in the field of medicine as a cohort of physicians faces abortion stigma within their own profession and confronts religious control over health care decisions. Their fight takes them into a larger struggle over the heart and soul of American medicine.”

 

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