Women’s Rights Leaders Talk to Cosmo

Three prominent voices of the women’s reproductive rights movement knock it out of the park in a compelling interview over at Cosmopolitan.com this week. Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and NARAL president Ilyse Hogue answer writer Jill Filipovic’s questions regarding increased birth control restrictions, the pro-choice movement’s new strategy of playing offense, and most urgently what is at stake with the pending Women’s Health Protection Act, a piece of federal legislation that aims to prohibit states from passing laws that limit abortion access.

Discussing the need for the Women’s Health Protection Act, all three leaders underscore the increasingly dishonest strategies anti-choice politicians have employed to chip away at women’s reproductive freedom. Nancy Northup, testified about the bill in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 15, stresses the geographical inequality created by state measures that function to subvert the constitutional protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade:        

In the last three years there have been over 200 restrictions on access to abortion service enacted at the state level. This has created a crisis in the country, and it's hurling us toward returning to the landscape before Roe v. Wade, where women in some states have access and some don't. . . . The Women's Health Protection Act stops the kind of underhanded tactics that are being introduced in the states, where anti-choice politicians [are] trying to do by the back door what they can't do in the front, which is to make abortion illegal.

Ilyse Hogue notes that the anti-choice movement is out of sync with what American women want, citing that that seven in ten women in this country currently support Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion.

For this reason, women’s health advocates feel that the timing couldn’t be better to become more proactive. The Cosmo piece reflects the movement’s united resolve to go on offense. These underhanded state laws are often falsely paraded as measures to protect women’s health, but as all three women’s rights champions stress, abortion is extremely common and safe. Cecile Richards notes the importance of destigmatizing abortion, as well as setting “the record straight that this is a very safe procedure, and the legislation is driving it underground and behind closed doors and into the back alleys, where women will be dramatically less safe.”

The Women’s Health Protection Act currently has more than 160 sponsors in Congress. The July 15th hearing before the Judiciary Committee marks a significant step forward in the passage of this essential legislation.