Kate Just (b. 1974)
‘KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY,’
I am a visual artist best known for producing feminist art works that rely on the inventive and political use of knitting. In addition to my solo art practice, I often work socially and collaboratively within communities to create large scale public art projects that tackle significant social issues including sexual harassment and violence against women.
In response to the news that the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade on Friday June 24, 2022, I designed the Keep Your Laws Off My Body sweater. This wearable garment is an artwork, a form of political protest and a fundraising tool.
The words KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY wrap repeatedly around the front back and sleeves of the sweater, like a knitted fair isle pattern. The words reflect text first seen on pro-choice protest signs from the late 1960s. I chose green and white as the colours of the garment to pay homage to the ‘green wave’ – a colour now synonymous with the campaign for safe and legal abortion in Argentina, which has been revived in recent US abortion protests as a means of demonstrating global solidarity around this issue.
This sweater also has a personal dimension for me. I am producing it in honour of my great grandmother, Lena Mihalski, who died having a back-alley abortion when my grandmother was just a baby. Lena’s death tragically altered the trajectory of my grandmother's life, in turn affecting my mother’s life and upbringing. Laws preventing people who need abortions from getting them affect generations to come. We must wear our hearts and politics on our sleeve and work together in solidarity to support access to safe solutions.
By purchasing and wearing this sweater, we can raise funds for further action. All proceeds generated by this piece will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds (abortionfunds.org). - Kate Just, visual artist, June 2022
On the National Network of Abortion Funds
The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) works to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access for those that have or need abortions by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial economic, and reproductive justice. The NNAF was chosen for the value it places on intersectionality, autonomy, collective power and compassion – and its emphasis on supporting abortion access through providing decentralized support. NNAF is comprised of 80 member organizations across the United States. Member organizations may use funds provided to work with clinics to pay for abortions. Some may also use funds to cover the cost of transportation, childcare, translation, doula services, and somewhere to stay if the fund receipt must travel to receive an abortion.