Jul 19th 2020

In this cross-generational conversation about the ongoing fight for reproductive justice in America, Qudsiyyah and Judith will discuss stories of abortion activism, from Judith’s recently published collection of short stories based on her experience as a Jane in Chicago’s pre-Roe abortion underground, and from Qudsiyyah’s current work at CAF, advancing reproductive autonomy and justice in a nation where access to safe, affordable reproductive health care is still very much at risk.


QUDSIYYAH SHARIYF (she/they) is a fierce advocate for reproductive justice and an aspiring birth worker. At the core of Qudsiyyah’s passion for reproductive justice is an understanding of all people’s inherent worth and a sense of duty to ensure dignity, respect, and empathy for all. Her reproductive justice journey began in the summer of 2016 when she served as an Access Counselor with Women’s Medical Fund in Philadelphia, PA. During her undergraduate career at the University of Chicago, Qudsiyyah founded Project Reproductive Freedom, a student advocacy organization dedicated to raising awareness about reproductive justice issues and supporting local reproductive justice organizations in the Chicagoland area. Now as Program Coordinator at Chicago Abortion Fund, Qudsiyyah is funding abortion and building power, striving each day to embody an unapologetically Black, queer, feminist, and anti-capitalist politic.

JUDITH ARCANA is a Jane, a member of Chicago’s pre-Roe underground abortion service, and has been writing and teaching from the roots of that experience ever since. She writes poems, stories, essays and books, including a much-loved biography of Grace Paley (Grace Paley’s Life Stories) and the poetry collections What if your mother, 4th Period English, The Parachute Jump Effect, Announcements from the Planetarium, and Here From Somewhere Else, which received the Editor’s Choice Chapbook Award from Turtle Island Quarterly. She hosts a monthly poetry show on KBOO community radio in Oregon (listen online anywhere/anytime). Born and raised in the Great Lakes region, Judith has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1995. For more about — and examples of — her work, visit JudithArcana.com.

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