If you tuned in to this week's State of the Union address, you heard the President make some outlandish and intentionally deceptive comments about abortion. So let’s set the record straight: there is no such thing as an abortion that happens up to the point a woman is giving birth, or while birth is happening. The truth is that these inflammatory claims are flat out false and downright offensive to women who face pregnancy complications. Real women and families like these.
So it was an especially proud moment for us here at Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates when a local champion for women’s health and rights was able to respond to those attacks and elevate patient voices to the national stage. In her rebuttal, Mississippi native and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said, “America achieved a measure of reproductive justice in Roe v. Wade, but we must never forget it is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda.” And while that’s exactly what our local lawmakers are trying to do during this Legislative Session, we’ll be there every step of the way, doing everything in our power to stop them. Will you join us?
Below are legislative updates from Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi and ways for YOU to get involved in the fight to protect reproductive rights!
In the final hours before the committee deadline, the Mississippi House and Senate Health committees met and passed dueling abortion bans, SB 2116 and HB 732. Both bans would prohibit abortions around 6 weeks, before most people know they are pregnant. Similar laws in North Dakota, Iowa, and Arkansas have been declared unconstitutional and Ohio's Governor vetoed a 6-week ban. In an election year and with a new Supreme Court makeup, Mississippi legislative leadership was not to be deterred.
Floor debates start today and these bills could come up at any time. For those of you in Mississippi, please contact your House and Senate member IMMEDIATELY and ask them to vote against these unconstitutional bans. Join us on next Tuesday at the Capitol for Pink Out the Halls, and if you can't make it then, join us for another date.
In a landmark move, last week, the women of Georgia’s Senate introduced bipartisan resolutions that called for the ratification and adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee legal gender equality. This week, a conservative lawmaker revoked his support for the measure, because he says it would expand abortion access, which is a blatant mischaracterization of the law. Simply, the Equal Rights Amendment seeks to ensure that women are treated as equals in the eyes of the law. Any claim beyond that is just a thinly veiled excuse for not standing up for women’s equal rights.
Contact your senators today and tell them you support the ERA and you expect them to do the same (you can look up your representatives at votesmart.org). Women's rights should be equal under the law - period. And if you're available, please join us next Tuesday, February 12th, for Pink Out the Halls, where you'll have the opportunity to lobby your lawmakers in person. Can’t make it next Tuesday? That’s okay - you can sign up for one of the other dates this Legislative Session!
In Alabama, the campaign to expand Medicaid has begun heating up in advance of Legislative Session, which begins this year on March 5th. Just this past week, Senator Jabo Waggoner - chair of the Senate Rules Committee - said that rural hospital closures and lack of access to care in our communities are compelling reasons to "take a closer look at" Medicaid Expansion.
According to a report by the Alabama Hospital Association, Medicaid Expansion would expand health care to 340,000 more Alabamians,bringing with it a huge opportunity to lower our maternal mortality, infant mortality, and cervical cancer mortality rates. You can learn more about the Alabama Health Matters campaign here or share your story about how Medicaid Expansion would impact you and your family here.
We would also like to introduce you to the newest member of our advocacy team - and someone you’ll be hearing from regularly - our new Chief External Affairs Officer, Simone Bell. Simone is a former Georgia State Representative and is the first Black, out lesbian to serve in a state legislature in the United States, serving in Georgia from 2009 until 2015. Most recently, Simone served as the Southern Regional Director for Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBT community and those with HIV. Access to health care is at stake across our service area and Simone is the perfect person to help us lift all voices across the South, build power, and hold our elected officials accountable.
As always, thank you for fighting for access to compassionate, nonjudgmental reproductive health care and thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood.