MomsRising leads new bill to protect reproductive rights

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MomsRising, a base organization dedicated to achieving economic security for mothers and women, leads the fight against recent legislative roadblocks to reproductive freedom. MomsRising found that people who need access to abortions are often mothers. As a result of these abortion bans, we could see an increase in maternal morbidity, a disproportionate impact on women of color and LGBTQ+ people, and an increased risk of families experiencing poverty.

As of March, 529 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 41 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. They have been effectively enacted in Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas. The ban was also recently passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, according to Reuters.

MomsRising created a petition urge the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure the reproductive rights. Diarra Diouf, campaign manager for maternal justice, reproductive justice and juvenile justice at MomsRising, spoke to The Root about why the bill is important and why reproductive rights are vital for women of color.

The Root: How will recent abortion bans affect women of color, especially as we recover from the pandemic?

When we lose access to abortion, we will see an increase in maternal morbidity rates across the board. According to the CDC, about 700 women in the US die annually as a result of pregnancy or related complications and at least 50,000 women each year experience life-threatening complications in childbirth that can have serious and lifelong consequences for women and men. your families. Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.

The act of abortion will not simply go away when bans are enacted. More people will die from unsafe abortions, and because racial disparities and social, health, environmental, and economic determinants already exist, the largest number of people who will die annually from unsafe abortions will be Black women and women of color. There’s no nice way to put it, our literal lives are at stake.

We have the data and what is clear is that the people most harmed by abortion restrictions are those who already face barriers to accessing health care, including women and mothers, Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous and people of color, those who work to make it to the weekend. Meet, members of the TGNCI (Transgender, Intersex, and Gender Non-Conforming) and LGBTQI community, immigrants, youth, people living in rural communities, and/or people with disabilities.

The fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures is essential to the pursuit of not only racial and reproductive justice, but also economic justice.

TR: What is your target number of signatures on the petition?

As many signatures as possible! In September 2021, MomsRising safely delivered over 300,000 signatures along with organizations like SHERO Mississippi, MS in Action, UltraViolet, MoveOn, NARAL, Catholics for Choice and the National Council of Jewish Women to our members of Congress on Capitol Hill, to both legislators. who support WHPA and those who don’t. We are not going to give up any time soon. This number is growing every day and we look forward to raising more awareness of WHPA and reproductive rights in the future, gaining additional signatures and inspiring more people to take action.

TR: What are the next steps after collecting everyone’s signatures?

We won (not the victory we wanted) but our actions and defense worked! On September 24, 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the US House of Representatives took an essential step to protect our health, rights, dignity, and autonomy by passing the Health Protection Act. Act of 2021 (WHPA). While the WHPA did not pass the Senate after passing the House, many of our Senators showed up and showed up once it was time to take the final vote to the Senate.

This moment comes after decades of advocacy by Black women, queer activists, and feminist reproductive rights leaders who paved the way and brought us here. We must recognize not only their activism but also their bravery and courage. They risked their own lives to protect the honor of today’s justice.

And while we didn’t get the number of votes in the Senate we needed to make the WHPA into federal law, we strive to thank our representatives for listening, acknowledging the activism of those who came before us, and taking the lead. when it mattered most.

We must keep up the pressure on our US Senators to make sure they introduce this bill and PASS it.

TR: Why is the approval of this bill important to you?

The most extreme abortion ban bill (SB 8) Texas has ever seen went into effect last spring and is now law. I live in Houston and when I had to write about the unfortunate news I felt angry, disappointed, unprotected. Knowing that the US Supreme Court had the power to block the law and protect our reproductive rights, but made the decision not to, was terrifying.

The Court was presented with three separate opportunities to block the Texas law and denied each and every request, sending a clear message to me, to Texans who look like me, and to Americans across the country: our rights. reproductive and our lives, simply put, do not matter. .

All people should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies, including whether to have an abortion, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers. Our elected officials and appointed judges must understand that abortion is essential health care and respect the dignity, autonomy and rights of individuals. All families deserve to determine if, when, and how they will build their families.

If there’s one thing the global pandemic has taught me, it’s that none of us live single-issue lives. All of us, especially now, are living complex lives and experiencing unique circumstances. No matter where you stand on abortion and what your opinion is, what matters is that we come together to protect our human rights and access to health care. Our reproductive rights are unequivocally essential to our lives and well-being.

TR: Besides signing the petition, are there any other action items we can share with our audience to help this initiative?

follow our Instagram, FacebookY Twitter pages for more information on ways to act and experience reproductive justice events. Stay tuned for #MaternalJustice live chats every month on our platforms.

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