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From the fall of Roe v. Wade to the Ballot Box

Battling attacks on women’s rights and preparing for 2024

By Julie Castro Abrams

One year ago, in June 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned.

What has happened in that year?

FACT: States all over the country have issued abortion bans at different levels, and abortion clinics have faced rising legal battles and threats.

FACT: In some states, healthcare providers have been threatened with suspension of their license or criminal prosecution if they refer patients to out-of-state providers.

FACT: Lawmakers have started fighting to reduce access to or completely ban abortion pills.

FACT: Women are facing criminal prosecution at increased rates over abortion across the country.

What can we do?

What world are we leaving to our daughters? Will we leave a legacy where politicians are allowed to strip away bodily autonomy? Where doctors fear using their last names because performing routine and normal medical procedures might cost them their license? Where women are prosecuted for making difficult decisions about their health and future? What is the legacy YOU want to leave?

We want to move the needle and leave things in a better place for the next generation AND we want you to join us. Make no mistake, even amongst all of the challenging news and events, there is still reason to be hopeful. Just look at the work being done by some of our Women Leaders for the World fellows:

Erica Chong, Executive Director of RHEDI (Reproductive Health Education in Family Medicine), is fighting to mainstream abortion care and to increase access by training and supporting family medicine abortion providers. RHEDI recently added three new residency programs to their national network, increasing opportunities for residents to get trained in abortion care. Their research paper was just published examining differences in abortion training, intentions and post-residency among physicians who are underrepresented minorities in medicine and those who are not.

Stephanie Toti, Senior Counsel and Project Director at the Lawyering Project, has been litigating cases in federal and state courts throughout the country to improve access to reproductive healthcare and strengthen legal norms concerning liberty and equality. Stephanie achieved a huge victory in Minnesota when a district court not only reaffirmed state constitutional protections for abortion, but permanently blocked numerous restrictions.

Kelly Cleland, Executive Director at the American Society for Emergency Contraception, has been working fiercely to make abortion pills accessible at university campuses around the country. She is fearlessly resisting the current efforts to ban abortion pills. Kelly had a big win in April when the Supreme Court, in a preliminary order, preserved the US FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

Twenty-six clinics closed down in the 100 days after Roe was struck down on June 24, 2022. But Feminist Women's Health Center, an independent abortion clinic with a long history in Atlanta, is expanding. Kwajelyn Jackson, Feminist’s first black woman executive director, saw both an opportunity to make an impact, and a necessary business strategy. In addition to their existing exams and testing, Feminist started to offer telemedicine, tubal ligation, trans hormone treatments, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). And Kwajelyn has been leading conversations nationwide, tirelessly demanding fundamental rights for all people and that funding be directed to organizations working to secure and defend those rights.

These leaders and others like them are doing incredible work in the face of huge challenges. Here are ways we can rally together to get behind them and take immediate action:

  1. August 22 @ 8am PT - Our Bodies, Our Power: Taking Action in Today’s Climate. LEARN MORE AND REGISTER TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION AND TAKE ACTION.

  2. Use your skills and experience to support and advise women like Erika, Stephanie, Kelly, and Kwajelyn as a Global Advisor for the Fall 2023 Reproductive Health and Justice fellowship. Email for more information.

  3. Recommend a leader who is working in reproductive health, rights, and justice to join our fall 2023 Women Leaders for the World fellowship program at this link. Or reach out to to sponsor an impactful leader.

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