Reproaction is proud to launch our new Stop Prosecuting Abortion campaign centered around raising awareness and educating about the ‘pro-life’ movement’s demands to not only make abortion illegal, but to punish those who seek, have, or perform abortions.
To kick off the campaign, Reproaction hosted a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the morning of January 18, a date specifically picked to coincide with the annual March for Life. We invited press and public to the event to hear speakers discuss the logical consequence of ‘pro-life’ abortion bans and policies – including the callous commitment of abortion opponents to sending women and people who have abortions to jail.
The event began with Reproaction co-founder/co-director Erin Matson giving introductory remarks on the state of abortion access, including criminalization of abortion, at this crucial moment in history when the protections of Roe v. Wade hang in the balance.
We then showed the first in a series of documentary videos Reproaction will continue to release around criminalization of abortion. This first video showcased disturbing truths about what ‘pro-life’ leaders and protesters have to say about punishing people who have abortions.
Next, Eleanor Smeal, president of Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), spoke about violence against abortion providers, specifically highlighting FMF’s recently released 2018 National Clinic Violence Survey. Her words reminded us that in our fight to protect those who have abortions from prosecution, we cannot forget about those who provide services and the dangers they currently face every day.
Indra Lusero staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, discussed the current criminalization and policing of pregnant women and people including examples of pregnant women forced to undergo drug treatment against their will and pregnant women forced into Cesarean-section surgery against their wishes.
Jennifer Wang, deputy director of programs at National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, focused the conversation on the criminalization of women of color, particularly the Purvi Patel case in which a woman in Indiana was sentenced to 20 years in prison for self-managing her own abortion before her sentence was ultimately reduced.
Renee Bracey Sherman, senior public affairs manager of National Network of Abortion Funds, concluded the speakers with a rousing discussion of the necessary changes we need to make to support all people who have abortions in any form from clinic-based care to self-managed abortion.
Approximately 20 people attended the kick-off press conference which was covered live by C-SPAN and PBS To The Contrary. It was clear from both the Q&A after the speaker presentations as well as the conversations that lingered after the press conference ended that people are hungry for this new campaign dedicated to decriminalizing abortion.
In a time when, across many states, women are already being sent to jail for self-managing their own abortions we are excited to be spearheading a movement that is not afraid to stand up to the hypocritical pro-life movement and demand anti-abortion lawmakers put down the handcuffs and stop putting women in jail.
Watch a video of the press conference here: