Fighting for reproductive rights is usually no laughing
matter, especially when it requires examining the growing number of infringements
on access to healthcare, the ways sexuality education is limited, and the
dangers involved in being an abortion provider.
But this year at the NCJW/Essex special Lunch and Learn, “Ending
the Stigma of Abortion,” more than 200 attendees learned how the Lady Parts
Justice League, a team of comedians, writers, and producers, use humor to break
down barriers in their efforts to protect reproductive rights. The group,
founded by Lizz Winstead, co-creator and head writer of The Daily Show, examined the stigma attached to abortion as too
often people are uncomfortable talking about the subject (even saying the
word!) and the challenges of obtaining care. This has made it tough to expose
myths, raise awareness and turn the tide on the attacks on access to care.
“We talk about abortion in silence and secrecy and we are
trying to change that,” said Winstead. “Abortion is safe and necessary and we
shouldn’t feel shamed by it.” Winstead was joined for a panel discussion by Jen
Moore Conrow, MFS, who serves as the Director of PEACE at the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania where she oversees the Fellowship in Family Planning
and the residency education program, training the next generation of abortion
providers; and Solange Azor, a New York City-based comedian, writer and
activist for reproductive justice.
This special event commemorated the 46th
anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade
decision that ensures a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. Attendees
participated in a “call to action,” sending letters to New Jersey legislators
in support of Bill A1861: Address
Confidentiality Program for Reproductive Health Services Employees and Clients.
This legislation would offer both staff and patients the option of
confidentiality of their address, thus granting them safety and security for
themselves and their families.
organizations were co-sponsors: ACLU-NJ, Catholics for Choice, Center for
Reproductive Rights, Hadassah of Northern New Jersey, Jewish Women’s
Foundation, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey, League of Women
Voters of New Jersey, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Institute
for Reproductive Health, NCJW Bergen, NCJW West Morris, NCJW Union, Network for
Responsible Public Policy, New Jersey Abortion Access Fund, New Jersey Citizen
Action, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ Drug Policy Alliance, NJ Sierra Club,
NOW NJ, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of
NJ, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ, Rachel Coalition, S.O.F.I.A.-Start
Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, Stanton Strong, The Reproductive Justice
Committee of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, The Women’s Centers, Unitarian
Universalist Faith Action New Jersey