Denver, Colo. – 326 state legislators from 46 states have signed a letter boldly standing up for reproductive freedom and commemorating the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“We can’t depend on Washington or the Supreme Court to protect abortion rights, so taking action at the state level is critical,” said Kelly Baden, Director of Reproductive Rights at State Innovation Exchange (SiX). “Fortunately, hundreds of state legislators across the country recognize the urgency of the role they must play to ensure abortion remains not just legal on paper but actually accessible in reality.”
The statement, also excerpted below, can be found here.
“As a cohort of 326 state legislators from 46 states, we recognize the urgency of this moment and the obligation we have to protect our constitutional right to abortion, to recognize where the rights established under Roe v. Wade have fallen short for many of our communities, and to take action to ensure all people can access the reproductive health care they need with dignity and respect. Where some see a political opportunity to erode or dismantle Roe v. Wade, we see a duty to fight back against the ongoing assaults on our rights and a chance to re-envision what reproductive health, rights, and justice should look like in the United States.”
Under a hostile federal government and a highly-politicized judiciary, the role state legislators play is more important now more than ever. Despite new polling showing that 76 percent of voters do not want the Roe v. Wade decision overturned, the more than 400 abortion restrictions passed at the state level in the last decade have created a labyrinth of barriers to access legal abortion care, pushing Roe out of reach for many.
The letter was coordinated by the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC), a first-of-its-kind national network of over 300 state legislators from across the country committed to embracing leadership on reproductive rights including access to abortion care. The RFLC’s vision and values platform can be found here.
On the heels of the “women’s wave” election and the Kavanaugh nomination, state legislators are leading a new set of policy initiatives across the country to protect and expand abortion rights, including:
- MA, MI, NV, NM, NY, RI, and VT to codify Roe into law or remove pre-Roe bans on abortion from the books;
- FL and NJ to ensure abortion clinic safety;
- AZ, MA, and VA to repeal existing abortion restrictions;
- CO, ME, and WA to increase insurance coverage for the full range of reproductive health care;
- CA and MA to expand access to medication abortion.