‘Leadership’ Program Uses Young People to Increase Demand for Abortion

Abortion Stories
Courtesy of Youth Testify

A new “leadership” program is hoping to use the abortion stories of young people to normalize the procedure and increase easy access to it.

We Testify– created by the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) – never addresses the concept of young people abstaining from sex.

Instead, it says it is “dedicated to increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere and shifting the way the media understands the context and complexity of accessing abortion care.”

In a feature story about the new program, Teen Vogue focuses on the case of Jordyn Close, a young black woman and “abortion storyteller from Ohio” who is “especially passionate about dispelling the myth that finding out you’re pregnant and proceeding to get an abortion must be a harrowing or debilitating experience.”

Teen Vogue continues:

For Jordyn, who went in and out, made casual conversation with her doctors while they performed the procedure, and then treated herself to Raising Cane’s for chicken before returning home to once again watch TV and relax, it was a mostly normal day. Although Jordyn recognizes that the way her abortion story panned out is not always the norm, the ease she experienced is what she ultimately wants every person to have the opportunity to have.

“I just want there to be accessibility and intersectional accessibility,” Close said, adding:

If we’re talking about access, that means something completely different to me, or another black woman. If there are more clinics, that’s great, but how are people paying? How are people getting to those? How are people taking care of their kids if they already have kids waiting at home? There’s just so many other aspects that people don’t think about.

The new abortion story-telling program hopes to “reframe the narrative around abortion by giving platform to some of the most vulnerable abortion storytellers — particularly people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with varying abilities and citizenship statuses,” states Teen Vogue.

“The goal of the program, according to the NNAF, is to show that young people who have had abortions are the experts on reproductive rights as well as the experts of their own experiences, and must be trusted with making decisions without anyone else’s permission,” the article says.

In another “story,” Jessy, 22 – president of the Planned Parenthood Generation Action chapter at the University of California, Riverside – told Teen Vogue she was “shocked” to discover she was pregnant.

“I just didn’t know what to do for myself even though I knew what I would always tell others,” she said. “Knowing that what was inside me kept growing as time progressed really did take an emotional toll on me, my grades, my social life… it wasn’t until after I got my abortion that I got some sort of relief.”

Jessy said young people need an abortion clinic on or near college campuses that offer drugs that induce abortion, so that students won’t have to travel far from school to obtain abortions.

We Testify says its mission is to “build the power and leadership of abortion storytellers, particularly those of color, those from rural and conservative communities, those who are queer identified, those with varying abilities and citizenship statuses, and those who needed support when navigating barriers while accessing abortion care.”

Teen Vogue notes the program is launched as the abortion industry views federal protection to legal abortion in danger due to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Deb Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth– another sponsor of the youth abortion storytelling program – said getting young people to speak out about the need for more abortion services is key.

“With this Administration’s unrelenting assault on everything we value, we need youth activists more than ever,” Hauser said in a press statement announcing the new program.

“Young people are leading the way on every fight worth having,” she also told Teen Vogue. “Whether they are marching for gun control, police reform, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ health and rights, racial justice or reproductive justice, young people are mobilizing for a more just and equitable world. Our job is to provide them with the tools and support they need to make their vision a reality.”

NNAF also launched the George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund – named for the murdered abortionist – and created the Tiller Fund Report, which promotes the idea that no one should have to pay for their own abortion.

“The results of this research suggest a need for repeal of discriminatory abortion policies and for abortion to be fully covered by all health insurance, both public and private,” NNAF states.

“Restrictions like parental consent laws make abortion care even harder for young people to obtain than for adults seeking the same or similar procedures,” adds Teen Vogue.


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