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Announcement
October 11, 2022

SIDEBAR: Chicago Abortion Fund, Shaping Change

University of Chicago Arts

Photo: Ally Almore.

The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is pleased to welcome the Chicago Abortion Fund to our SIDEBAR conversation series for an evening dedicated to learning about their ground-breaking research project, "Shaping Change," a qualitative analysis of 99 callers experiences accessing abortion care in Illinois during the pandemic. Speakers will include the Chicago Abortion Fund Research Team: Aalap Bommaraju, Olivia Dockery, Joanna Preston, and Alexis Prewitta; along with the Executive Director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, Megan Jeyifo. The event is free and open to the public. Food & drinks will be served. Advanced registration is required here.

Please consider contributing a donation to the Chicago Abortion Fund here.

The Chicago Abortion Fund's mission
The mission of the Chicago Abortion Fund is to advance reproductive autonomy and justice for everyone by providing financial, logistical, and emotional support to people seeking abortion services and by building collective power and fostering partnerships for political and cultural change. The Chicago Abortion Fund envisions a world where everyone has the freedom and autonomy to create lives, families, and communities that are healthy, safe, and thriving and where the full range of reproductive choices, including abortion, are accessible and affirmed.

Direct service
In the first three months of 2022, over 80 percent of our grantees came from out-of-state. The Chicago Abortion Fund regularly hears from over 500 people a month seeking support accessing care and we return 100 percent of our calls. The Chicago Abortion Funds supports people through our relationships with over 55 clinics in seven states across the midwest. We provide funding for appointments, wrap-around, and practical support like gas, lodging, childcare, and food. The Chicago Abortion Fund supports through clinic selection, insurance counseling, and other logistical considerations. The Chicago Abortion Fund stays with our callers every step of the way. The Chicago Abortion Fund continues to see a majority of our callers based outside of Illinois. The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) supports people receiving care in Illinois from all 50 states and will support anyone who calls us with funding, case management, or a connection with their local abortion fund. State borders, bans, and restrictions should not limit one’s access to care—and we strive to break down these barriers. In addition to our commitment to people receiving care in Illinois, we also do case management and practical support provision in partnership with sibling funds around the region.

Research
CAF’s We-Search Department roots in CAF’s historical investments in Black feminist thought, intersectionality, and reproductive justice. We build knowledge infrastructures for people that can shape change to policy. CAF centers the experiences of our callers, who carry lived experience of barriers to abortion care, and believe that they should have compensated opportunities to shape the future of abortion access.

Movement building & advocacy
CAF understands that abortion access in Illinois is deeply connected to a larger vision of reproductive justice and bodily autonomy nationwide. CAF is in collaboration with regional and nationwide networks to support people who must travel between states for care, and strategize for a post-Roe reality since a wave of abortion bans in 2019. These existing networks hold deep expertise in abortion access—and will only become more crucial.


About the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry
The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is a forum at the University of Chicago for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars. Gray Center activities take place all over campus (encompassing various divisions, departments, and programs), across the community, throughout the city, and beyond. Through its various programs—including the Mellon Residential Fellowships for Arts Practice and Scholarship, exploratory research initiatives, Portable Gray (the center's journal published twice annually by the University of Chicago Press) the monthly Sidebar conversation series, Gray Sound, an experimental music and sound performance series, international conferences, and institutional collaborations—the Gray Center seeks to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation at the intersection of arts practice and scholarship.

Press contact: Zachary Cahill, Gray Center Director of Programs and Fellowships, at zcahill@uchicago.edu.

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