I started my art project after working at an abortion fund, where I learned firsthand how abortion restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, which blocks people from using Medicaid to pay for abortions, can impact people. There were and are so many politicians who will stop at nothing to erode reproductive rights. Working in abortion care made me realize that the act of having an abortion, especially having an abortion in the context of politicians trying to deliberately make it impossible, and in the face of so many intersecting oppression (like poverty, racism, etc), is a revolutionary act. I felt like I wanted to do more to further dialogue about abortion access, and also wanted to create something that talked about abortion in a way that honored peoples’ experiences and their resistance.
The Hyde Amendment is so connected to many parts of our lives. Sometimes when I describe my project to people for the first time, they ask me, “Wait, your whole project is about one amendment?” And I have to explain to them that yes, it’s one amendment with giant consequences, and its reach doesn’t just extend to denying poor folks reproductive autonomy. Hyde means that people put off paying rent and bills and buying food to come up the money for an abortion. Hyde is food security. Hyde is devaluing women of color. Hyde is making value judgments and dictating the reproductive futures for poor people. After I say that they start to realize the connections that abortion restrictions have to people’s lives. I try to do that with my art too – to make people think about abortion not just as a singular event in people’s lives – because that’s not what politicians are saying when they try to stop us from having abortions.
I hope that (through the project) people feel welcomed into a conversation about what abortion access is and conceptualize things differently. I also hope that people see messages that affirm their value and self-worth. I make this work for people I love. I try to reflect that love back into the universe for others to receive. That’s the way we will win.