Over 200 State Legislators Announce Commitment to Advance Abortion Rights and Reproductive Justice in State Capitals

January 2018

In advance of Roe v. Wade anniversary, State Innovation Exchange launches the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) announced the new Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC), a first-of-its-kind national network of state legislators committed to embracing leadership on reproductive rights. State capitals have been central to the fight over reproductive freedom in recent years, and now, over 200 state legislators from 40 states have joined the RFLC and committed to promoting a bold, unapologetic stance in favor of abortion rights and their role in state legislatures to protect and advance those rights. The launch of the council comes just days ahead of the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, on January 22.

“We know that we must keep building progressive power in the states, and move beyond just resistance into a new era of leadership, starting with state lawmakers” said Nick Rathod, SiX’s Executive Director. “These 200 legislators are a prime example of how the new national resistance has moved beyond the grassroots to the grasstops. These current and future leaders of the progressive movement are demonstrating the centrality of reproductive freedom to a true progressive agenda.”

Read the full SiX Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council Platform: Our Vision and Values

The complete list of 200+ legislators who have signed onto the platform can be found here.

In a video series released with the launch of the council, five state legislators, including Arizona Rep. Athena SalmanColorado Rep. Dafna Michaelson JenetGeorgia Rep. Renitta ShannonIllinois Rep. Elgie Sims, and Minnesota Rep. Erin Maye Quade share their personal views on reproductive rights and justice. In her testimonial, Rep. Shannon shares her personal abortion story publicly for the first time. Rep. Michaelson Jenet came forward with her abortion story for the first time in 2017.

“It’s never been clearer that state legislators play a critical role in protecting and advancing our rights,” said Kelly Baden, SiX’s Director of Reproductive Rights. “With 401 new abortion restrictions on the books since 2011, this is especially true for reproductive freedom. We have a lot to do to reverse this years-long trend and protect reproductive rights – and this is the moment and these are the leaders.”

The RFLC is coordinated by the State Innovation Exchange, a national resource and strategy center that supports the efforts of state lawmakers to strengthen democracy, fight for working families, defend civil rights and liberties, and protect the environment.