AFJ Member Spotlight is a series where we highlight the great advocacy work of Alliance for Justice member organizations. AFJ is an alliance of 130 national, regional, and local organizations working for a wide range of progressive causes, united in our commitment to advancing justice and democracy. Click here for more information on becoming an AFJ member organization.

 


Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right


 

What is Center for Reproductive Rights’ mission?

The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.

Reproductive freedom lies at the heart of the promise of human dignity, self-determination and equality embodied in both the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Center works toward the time when that promise is enshrined in law in the United States and throughout the world. We envision a world where every woman is free to decide whether and when to have children; where every woman has access to the best reproductive healthcare available; where every woman can exercise her choices without coercion or discrimination. More simply put, we envision a world where every woman participates with full dignity as an equal member of society.

What is a campaign Center for Reproductive Rights is currently working on?

The Center for Reproductive Rights manages the Act for Women Campaign. Act for Women is a national campaign that unites organizations in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act—federal legislation designed to enforce and protect the right of every woman to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

A strong majority of adults in the U.S. (61%) support a bill like the Women’s Health Protection Act, noting in a survey that they would support “a federal law protecting a woman’s legal right to abortion by upholding Roe v. Wade and preventing restrictions that make it more expensive and difficult to access safe, legal abortion.” That’s just what the Women’s Health Protection Act does!

Act for Women is a critical effort to ensure our elected officials are doing their part to protect our constitutional rights from clinic shutdown laws, as well as a range of laws aimed at blocking women’s access to safe and legal abortion services and shaming women for their health care decisions.

Access to a constitutionally guaranteed right should not depend on one’s zip code. To secure quality reproductive health care for all, the Act for Women campaign:

  • Raises awareness among federal policymakers and committed supporters of reproductive health, rights, and justice of the assault on access to abortion care as a national crisis, and not one limited to a few states.
  • Positions the federal Women’s Health Protection Act as a critical policy response to the abortion access crisis in public discourse around reproductive health and rights.
  • Makes clear to federal and state lawmakers that the Women’s Health Protection Act is a top priority of the reproductive health, rights, and justice movements—and demonstrates our unity and broad-based support.

Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns?

Through the growth of this campaign we have learned about the importance of building a common vision and the importance of garnering buy-in from organizations committed to our issue. The Act for Women campaign came about due to the groundswell support for the Women’s Health Protection Act. Members of the coalition bring different levels of expertise and areas of work. This campaign was created to provide a unified platform for all the various stakeholders to amplify our common vision of secured quality reproductive health care for all. It gives a vehicle to strategize and mobilize. In the campaigns growth, we learned to have clarity around our goals and how to create unity around them. We wanted a brand that all of the members could get behind and that didn’t lift anyone particular member. Bringing all the various voices together and creating a brand for the campaign created a stronger coalition.

Is there a specific Bolder Advocacy resource, factsheet, training, or webinar that helped you in your advocacy?

Yes, as a 501(c)(3) we have engaged with staff on the Bolder Advocacy initiative to help answer questions about how we track our lobbying work. We also used the resource, “The Rules of the Game,” to help inform our work during the 2016 election cycle to ensure that we were following the rules. All of this guidance has always been very helpful.

Who inspires you?

The campaign recently published a report that presents the Women’s Health Protection Act as a critical federal solution and includes research about the impact of abortion restrictions. This report also features the stories of those impacted by the harms of abortion restrictions. The stories shared reflect the real experiences and obstacles women face when attempting to access abortion care. Many were featured in amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiff in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In addition to the burdens state restrictions place on women, those who share their story publicly are often subject to harassment and shame. Our work is consistently inspired by those who share their stories and speak out against abortion restrictions. We are also inspired by the members of our coalition who push our work forward. Our members are some of the best in the movement. They are creative and steadfast in their commitment to secure reproductive health care for all.