Planned Parenthood Launches Effort to Fight Anti-Abortion Policies in All 50 States

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood announced an major initiative
that aims to work with lawmakers and activists to expand
reproductive rights in every state across the country.

The family planning organization has thrived despite repeated
defunding attempts by Republicans, thanks in part to the
backlash against the Trump administration and its mission to

curb
abortion rights. “For over a year, we’ve been
organizing and rallying and resisting the dangerous policies
both from the Trump-Pence administration, as well as
congressional attacks, beating back bills that would have
blocked access to Planned Parenthood, taking away health
insurance from millions of people,” said executive vice
president Dawn Laguens on a press call. “That’s why today
Planned Parenthood is announcing the next phase of offense and
announcing a new initiative to fight forward, along with many
partners across the country. This sweeping initiative is going
to be actually trying to work in every single state, to find a
place even in the toughest places, to expand access.”

In partnership with state lawmakers, coalitions like Michigan’s
Progressive Women Caucus and local activist organizations like
west Tennessee’s Latino Memphis, the women’s health
organization will be pushing legislation across more than a
dozen states to expand insurance birth control coverage and
access to menstrual hygiene products, break barriers to
abortion access, and more.

Danielle Wells, Planned Parenthood’s assistant director of
state policy media, highlighted actions that are taking place
this week, in addition to recent actions that have culminated
due to previous efforts by Planned Parenthood and its partners:
Legislators in Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas—states that are

extremely hostile
to abortion rights—will be unveiling a
package of bills that expand reproductive rights and
contraceptive access. In Missouri, another red state, Planned
Parenthood is backing a bill to that would repeal unnecessary
mandatory waiting period for a woman seeking abortion.
Activists in Alaska are holding a lobby day to allow patients
to receive 12 months of birth control at one time, while in
Maine, petitioners are gathering signatures to expand Medicaid
and pushing a bill that would make medication abortion
accessible for women in rural areas. Activists in West Virginia
are working on a wide range of issues, including expanding
access to menstrual hygiene products and a sexual assault
victims bill of rights.

Planned Parenthood and its partners are pushing for reform even
in states that are supportive or less hostile towards abortion
rights. Wells noted successful efforts in California, which

just passed
a bill that would require public colleges to
offer the abortion pill at campus health centers. In New
Jersey, a bill restoring family planning center funding

cleared
the state Senate and hits the house floor for a
vote on Thursday. (New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has pledged to
sign it into law). In Hawaii, they hope to codify protection
for abortion access through the Affordable Care Act. In Rhode
Island, Rep. Edith Ajello has
reintroduced
the Reproductive Healthcare Act, which would
protect statewide abortion access against a Trump-Pence
administration. In the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel
Bowser recently
signed a law
pending Congressional review that would allow
pharmacists to dispense 12-months of birth control without a
doctor’s visit.

“What we’re seeing now is really the next phase of the
resistance,” Wells told Jezebel. “For the past year, people
have been marching and mobilizing and organizing, calling their
lawmakers, showing up to rallies, showing up to town halls. And
it’s thanks to that energy and activism that today we’re
channeling all that energy into real policy change.”

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