March 3- March 5th, GitHub generously hosted the second Abortion Access Hackathon event. Over 200 ciswomen, genderqueer and cismen of all colors and ages worked for three days to improve abortion access. Over 80% identified as female. The goal of the Abortion Access Hackathon - San Francisco was to support and further the work of non-profit abortion providers and abortion funds. Teams continue to develop projects. Team Visualize Access' mapping project was recently used by the National Network of Abortion Funds to illustrate the difference in access between legitimate abortion providers, and fake clinics.
Independent Abortion Providers take care of most abortion clients (2/3). As non-profits, they operate on tight budgets, navigating a complex and costly policy landscape. They continue to offer care in their local communities.
Abortion Funds are member based non-profits that act as a safety network to remove barriers to abortion, through financial assistance, practical support and political organizing. Folks receive help with transportation, childcare, and hotel stays, as well as help planning their services in a hostile political climate.
Partners gave a 5 minute lightning round talk on Saturday, highlighting the intersections in reproductive health and justice.
Women’s Health Specialists demystified what an abortion is. The umbrella group for funds, National Network of Abortion Funds, highlighted urgency of support. National Organization for Women - San Francisco encouraged people to export equality back to their offices. Counseling line and drop-in center, All-Options, reiterated the importance of all options, without judgment. Teen parent support #NoTeenShame Campaign shared how Planned Parenthood empowered her to make her own decision, she educates us all to stop shaming young parents. Leading reproductive health researcher Ibis Reproductive Health provided insight into trends. A speaker with both the National LGBTQ Taskforce and the Transgender Law Center illuminated the reproductive impositions on trans and queer folks, and reminded us that queer pregnancies are not always planned.
ACCESS Women's Health Justice, a Bay Area abortion fund, highlighted their work to establish reproductive justice principles in policy, and social awareness. EmergeCA helps women run a campaign, and win. The coalition to repeal federal abortion healthcare restrictions, All Above All spoke. San Francisco Sex Information broke the ice, uttering the word, “Vagina,” and shared about their free sex heath line and health education services.
The event was volunteer led,with support from sponsors The Flex Company, an innovative tampon replacement, and telemedicine startup, NURX, that provides home delivery of birth control, the morning after pill, and Truvada (Prep) via app.
The Flex Company.’s Founder and CEO Lauren Schulte rallied the crowd, “Who here is coding on their period?” Amidst cheers and laughter, she offered to help participants start their own company.
Hans Gangeskaar, co-founder of the NURX telemedicine app and Norwegian native, revealed his perplexion with America’s obsession with abortion. In Norway, the procedure is both uncomplicated by politics, and easy to access for patients.
Teams worked for three days, revealing projects on Sunday’s demo day. Projects were created with abortion providers and funds in mind. Most of the 16 teams are continuing development.
Projects ranged from crowdfunding platforms for abortion, to thoughtful conversational platforms where people can tell their abortion stories. Teams addressed stigma, created political engagement tools, eased abortion fund case management, and developed direct navigation services for potential clients. Some took a whimsical approach, like the app that offered talking points for conversations with anti-abortion family, by way of a cartoon uterus. Others offered a burst of developmental support for established projects at funds and abortion training non-profits.
Due to the spread of misinformation by anti-abortion advocates, teams are working closely with Abortion Access Hackathon partners to ensure products released are helpful, accurate and well maintained.
The Hackathon has been featured in a number of publications.