This crucial moment in the early days of the fat acceptance movement often garners scant mention in the historical record.
We have been feeling, raging, and reeling since Roe vs Wade was overturned last Friday. The unelected and opportunistic Supreme Court has chipped away at what is most central and essential to sovereignty – agency and choice. Denying basic rights to people to self-direct is unnecessary and oppressive – a tool that does not protect “the unborn” as much as it chips away at the individuation of a population of people. It is a sick move of white supremacy and patriarchy.
Abortion is a necessary and normal part of reproductive healthcare. Reproductive health is only a small piece of the larger movement that is reproductive justice. Reproductive justice is the deepest and clearest embodiment of intersectional feminism. Reproductive justice imagines safety for children and their families throughout their lives from the violence of white supremacy, inequity, and violence. Reproductive justice is abolition. It calls for gun control, defunding the police, and making life liveable for marginalized people while uplifting sovereignty. Reproductive justice is access to the basics of food, transportation and healthcare that meets the most essential requirements of living. Reproductive justice also prizes bodily autonomy and freedom from reproductive oppression. Remember that eugenics has not gone away. It has shifted forms while keeping reproductive injustices at its core. We can not forget a history that has always supported upper and middle class white birth while forcing sterilization in others.
The connections around race and size are critical here because so much of the abortion conversation is coded around race. Size discrimination is also coded by race. Reproductive health has always been at odds with fatness. The general issues around fat folks receiving adequate and equitable healthcare are rareified in the context of reproductive health and abortion. Unfortunately, as with other areas of healthcare, there is minimal liberatory analysis in reproductive health. Having adequately sized equipment and gowns is the tip of the iceberg. There are issues with size regarding sedation in surgical abortion. Research on emergency contraception has not included fat folks so there are many questions about how effective emergency contraception is above weights that were included in the research (<165 lbs). There are similar issues around certain forms of birth control. And let’s not forget about the potential for provider bias. And even so, our intersectional analysis reminds us that fat folks with other marginalized identities will experience – or continue to experience – increased barriers to care and bodily autonomy.
In an article written in May titled Abortion is a Fat Rights Issue, Virginia Sole-Smith writes, “The intersection of anti-fat bias and anti-choice ideology already controls the lives of too many people. When we lose Roe, in addition to the thousands of other ways that human rights will suffer, healthcare for fat people with uteruses will degrade to a new low.”
Grassroots efforts, such as the Fat Abortion Fund (which is just getting started), are stepping in to fill some gaps. And Reproductive Justice organizations like SisterSong have long been leaders in this fight. And of course, your local abortion fund (the National Network of Abortion Funds can help you find it), abortion provider (if there are any left where you are), Planned Parenthood, or reproductive justice organization could use your support at this pivotal moment.
At the Center for Body Trust, we envision a world where people can seek healthcare that privileges an individual’s embodied knowledge about what their body needs. Where people are believed and the system rises to meet that person, inclusively.
Sirius, Hilary & Dana
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It was 17 years ago that co-founders Dana Sturtevant and Hilary Kinavey met, not really knowing each other or much about the work they wanted to do beyond a deep craving for new language and a far more real and healing conversation about bodies, eating disorders, fatness and food.
To our friends and colleagues, We are grateful to Marquisele Mercedes (Mikey), Lindley Ashline, Veronica Garnett, The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), and others who are sharing...