Patch

Essex County Gets Visit From 'Lady Parts Justice League'

Essex County activists gathered to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and battle the stigma surrounding abortion.

Patch — January 29, 2019

By Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Fighting for reproductive rights is usually no laughing matter. Unless you're a member of the Lady Parts Justice League, of course.

In an effort to change the way society talks about abortion, members of the National Council of Jewish Women/Essex recently summoned the aid of the Lady Parts Justice League, a team of comedians, writers and producers who use humor to break down barriers in their efforts to protect reproductive rights.

During a NCJW/Essex lunch and learn event, the group spoke to more than 200 attendees about the stigma attached to abortion, as well as the "growing number of infringements on access to healthcare, the ways sexuality education is limited, and the dangers involved in being an abortion provider."

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show and founder of the group, was on hand to spearhead the forum, which was timed to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

"We talk about abortion in silence and secrecy and we are trying to change that," Winstead told attendees. "Abortion is safe and necessary and we shouldn't feel shamed by it."

Wondering what led to the group's uniquely titled moniker? According to their website:

"The name 'Lady Parts Justice League' came from an incident involving a former Michigan state representative and a tireless advocate for abortion rights named Lisa Brown. In 2012, Lisa was fighting against dozens of horrible regressive anti-abortion bills in Lansing. In one contentious battle, The Speaker of the House banned Lisa from the statehouse floor for using the word vagina when arguing against a transvaginal ultrasound bill- a bill that would have forced pregnant people to undergo a state mandated transvaginal probe before they could have an abortion. When she asked what she SHOULD use instead of vagina, the Speaker of the House suggested something less offensive like 'lady parts.' The actual offense - a politician who was offended by the word vagina yet felt an absolute entitlement to legislate it - inspired us to take Lisa Brown's fight and expose this kind of hypocrisy by choosing Lady Parts Justice League as our name."

Winstead was joined for a panel discussion by Jen Moore Conrow, who serves as the director of PEACE at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and oversees its Fellowship in Family Planning and the residency education program, and Solange Azor, a New York City-based comedian, writer and activist for reproductive justice.

The following organizations acted as co-sponsors to the event: ACLU-NJ, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Hadassah of Northern New Jersey, Jewish Women's Foundation, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey, League of Women Voters of New Jersey, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Institute for Reproductive Health, NCJW Bergen, NCJW West Morris, NCJW Union, Network for Responsible Public Policy, New Jersey Abortion Access Fund, New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Policy Perspective, NJ Drug Policy Alliance, NJ Sierra Club, NOW NJ, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ, Rachel Coalition, S.O.F.I.A.-Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates, Stanton Strong, The Reproductive Justice Committee of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, The Women's Centers, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action New Jersey.

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