Abortion rights activists rally in front of the US Supreme Court

Abortion Advocacy Groups Are Changing Their Names to Use Inclusive Language & It’s a Trend We Can’t Get Enough Of

More of this in 2020, please!

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In 2019, a number of prominent abortion advocacy organizations changed their names to use more inclusive language. Because while the battle for full access to reproductive care is an ongoing one for many women, women are not the only ones in this fight. And it’s really cool to see organizations recognize that.

First, the Lady Parts Justice League announced that they were changing their name to the Abortion Access Front, appropriately abbreviated to Abortion AF.

Abortion AF was founded by The Daily Show’s Lizz Winstead and uses comedy to fight for reproductive justice. The name for the original organization came from a very “binders full of women” moment in state politics:

The name came from a mindblowing interaction between former Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown and her then-Speaker of the House back in 2012. While Lisa was fighting on the floor of the statehouse against a bill that would force patients to have medically unneccesary transvaginal ultrasounds before they could access abortion, the Speaker threw her off the floor for saying “vagina.” When she demanded to know what word she should use instead of vagina when talking about, err, vaginas, he suggested something “less offensive” like “lady parts.” Outraged that an extremist gynotician cringed at the word vagina but felt completely entitled to legislate them inspired us to take “Lady Parts” as our name as a tongue-in-cheek way to expose this kind of patriarchal hypocrisy.

“But regardless of this origin story and our best intentions, the name was narrow, alienating, and just plain hurtful to many,” Winstead wrote upon the change of name. “I want to apologize to all who felt excluded or othered by it.”

Then in November, the Gateway Women’s Access Fund, which provides financial assistance to people seeking abortion services in Missouri, changed their name to the Missouri Abortion Fund–also abbreviated to Missouri AF. Because abortion advocates across the country tend to be passionate AF.

“Since 2016, we’ve helped thousands of Missourians from every part of the state access abortion care – not just folks in St. Louis, and not just women,” they wrote in an email to supporters.

This is such a fantastic trend and here’s hoping that in 2020 even more organizations follow suit and jump on board the inclusivity train.

(image: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.