New Day for Reproductive Justice Movement

By Guest Columnist Nov 06, 2008

by Samantha Erskine Millennials, immigrants, women and men of color, and pro-choice activists all came out in record numbers and decided this election. 96 percent of African-American women, 70 percent of Latinas, 70 percent of unmarried women (with and without children), and 66 percent of “under 30’s” voted for Obama. On November 4, Americans voted in the name of women’s health: Proposed Amendment 48 in Colorado: Failed 73% of Colorado citizens saw this amendment for what it was and voted against granting fertilized eggs full legal rights. This measure was designed to criminalize abortion and outlaw contraception. This measure also could have been used to block stem cell research and in vitro fertilization, among other reproductive health services. Measure 11 in South Dakota: Failed For the second time, South Dakota voters rejected a ban on abortion by 55 to 45 percent, finding inadequate its narrow exceptions for cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s health or life. This ballot initiative would have forced women in South Dakota to carry pregnancies to term against their will at the risk of their physical and psychological health. Proposition 4 in California: Failed California voters, for the third time, defeated an initiative that would have required teens either to inform their parents before having an abortion or would have charged the abortion-seeking teen’s parent with abuse. For the first time in eight years, America will have a pro-choice president. But the ability of women to determine their own reproductive destiny is linked directly to the conditions in their communities – and these conditions are not just a matter of individual choice and access. Obama’s platform resonates as pro-family and he has openly championed reproductive healthcare, abortion rights and comprehensive sexuality education. We hope that the new administration with make good on its promises particularly with regard to health care and the environment, both of which are intimately interconnected with the economy. Without economic security we cannot exercise our right to healthy pregnancies or adequately plan our families. Without clean air and quality affordable food options we cannot ensure the health of our children. Under President-elect Obama’s leadership, women of color will urge their elected officials to work towards: 1.tSupporting an affordable, equitable, comprehensive health care plan for all; 2.tRestoring women’s access to reproductive health, including access to affordable birth control; 3.tDeveloping survivor-centered anti-trafficking policies; 4.tRestoring the United States’ leadership position on women’s rights, international family planning and global development issues; 5.tEliminating abortion funding bans; 6.tEnsuring that insurance companies cover birth control; 7. Meeting national and international commitments to protect women’s health; 8.tRepealing the Hyde Amendment, which denies low-income women access to abortion services; 9.tStriking abstinence-only funding and ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education that teaches young people how to establish equality in relationships, respect the right to consent in both sex and marriage, and end violence and sexual coercion; The new Administration should restore the United States to the forefront of the global movement to promote women’s reproductive health and rights.