This month, we’re celebrating the blog’s first year as a resource for reproductive justice advocates and a place for feminist-minded Oklahomans to engage in conversation and investigation. The OK4RJ community has expanded to include voices from close-by midwestern, southern, and southwestern red states, so we’re devoting a series of posts to those perspectives. Today: Kansas!
How long have you been living/working in Kansas?
Immediately after graduation, I took a quickie vacation and moved to Kansas 5 days after I got back. So since the end of May.
What is the current state of activism around reproductive justice there?
I feel like RJ, like in Oklahoma (and most of the world), is a concept that many don’t understand. It is used interchangeably with reproductive rights when they aren’t the same. It’s hard for me to bite my tongue and say “What you’re describing is not reproductive justice, you’re referring to reproductive rights.” because it always ends in a nasty conversation. We’ve had some meetings with a Social Justice group here in town who help with voting rights, immigration, etc and they were excited to work with us because they were surprised that when they spoke to a client, they needed help with more than the issue they were meeting about. Intersectionality! Not to say there aren’t reproductive justice activists here, I just haven’t met many! I’m new! Give me time!
How does working in Kansas differ from working in Oklahoma? How is it similar?
Well, Kansas is definitely the mid-west and it feels like it. We have Republicans that vote with us on reproductive health issues! I thought they were like unicorns, some fantasy being but no! They totally exist but are close to becoming extinct.
While some organizations in Oklahoma may not be BFF’s, they understand that sometimes we just HAVE to work together to achieve a goal. Some organizations in Kansas straight up do not like each other. They actively work against each other to stall progress in one area or another. From what I’ve been told, the divide became noticeable after Dr. Tiller was murdered. I work in Wichita, a city called “The abortion capital of the World” by sewer rats like Troy Newman, a city plagued with over 20 years of protesters screaming in the streets EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. After he was murdered, there was nobody left to provide abortions here, nobody wanted to and the city wanted to just be a city again (Y’all need to up your bloody mary game, tho). People don’t like to talk about abortion, period. But they REALLY don’t like to talk about abortion here.
What are the obstacles that reproductive justice advocates and other activists in Kansas must overcome moving forward?
Like I said, I don’t know many RJ activists (YET!) but those working for Reproductive Rights really need to suck it up. Do you care about reproductive health access or not? People need help and shitty attitudes are just getting in the way of progress. For me, it’s hard to tell the difference in language used by anti-choice and pro-’choice’ folks. We have what I would describe as the most abhorrent governor in the US, the Koch Brothers have bought and paid for most of our legislators (they’re coming for yours too!) and we’re out here whining about each other. It has to stop. No really.
Molly has come to terms with the fact that trollin’ on people makes her feel better. Just check out her twitter.
- .@COHIntl are distributing dignity kits (hygiene products, underwear, & flashlights) today to women displaced by the storm in #Moore #okhelp 1 day ago
- #Tulsa area folks, here's a chance to help and heal with your community! #okhelp facebook.com/events/5217295… 1 day ago
- Spread the word! If you know someone in #Moore who needs vegan, gluten free, & nut free lunch, they can go to First Baptist on 27th #okhelp 1 day ago
- RT @OUSoonerAlly: OU Housing and Food has taken in about 100 displaced families from Moore. If you want to help, drop off any... http://t.… 2 days ago
- RT @prettyrickyroo: kaylee hawkins, 9, is from moore and at norman regional healthplex on i-35 and tecumseh. her parents aren't with her. c… 3 days ago
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