Our Top Five

In the face of ongoing, aggressive attacks on reproductive freedom in 2014, we continued to give our all to protect women’s fundamental rights—with big results. Keep up the momentum in 2015. Donate today.

Here are a few highlights:

1. Saving Mississippi’s lone clinic

It’s no secret that Mississippi politicians are on an obsessive mission to make the state “abortion free.” To that end, they have pushed a sham law under the pretext of protecting women—imposing medically unwarranted restrictions specifically designed to shutter Mississippi’s only remaining abortion provider. This July, we secured a key victory for the women of Mississippi when a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked enforcement of these restrictions. This November, the full Fifth Circuit court let that decision stand, keeping abortion legal and accessible in the state.

2. Holding Brazil accountable

For the first time in history, a nation acknowledged responsibility and paid reparations in a maternal death case this year. This groundbreaking development came as the result of more than a decade of the Center’s unremitting advocacy in human rights bodies and international courts on behalf of Alyne da Silva Pimentel, a young Afro-Brazilian mother who died in childbirth in 2002 after being repeatedly denied adequate medical care. Brazil’s action sets the stage for promoting maternal health measures and accountability in countries around the globe, where nearly 300,000 women die unnecessarily each year from pregnancy-related complications.

3. Securing a major Supreme Court ruling

Texas has a knack for going big, and the state’s supersized omnibus bill, HB2, did not disappoint in this respect: the sweeping anti-choice legislation included provisions aimed to shut down virtually every clinic in the state. Fortunately, the Center can go big, too. We fought the provision which would shutter all but eight clinics and have already taken that fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court—and the Court gave us what we asked for. As a result of that ruling, millions of women who would have been otherwise stranded without reproductive services now have access to essential care while our battle against the law continues.

4. Blocking the nation’s most extreme abortion bans

Apparently undeterred by the U.S. Constitution, anti-choice state legislators in both North Dakota and Arkansas attempted to push through laws that blatantly violate the guarantees of Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court decisions by banning pre-viability abortions. Arkansas’s law would ban abortions at 12 weeks with only narrow exceptions, and North Dakota’s ban—using the detection of a fetal heartbeat as a marker—would effectively ban abortion as early as six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. The Center and our partners challenged these laws and successfully blocked both of them. The courts found the laws to be—yes—unconstitutional.

5. Advancing the historic Women’s Health Protection Act

This is happening. In the span of a year, the Women’s Health Protection Act—federal legislation that aims to put a stop to the state-level assaults on women’s reproductive health—evolved from an ambitious vision of hope to a powerful, concrete measure with 166 congressional cosponsors and more than 300,000 grassroots supporters. Following an energized advocacy day on Capitol Hill and a high-profile hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Act has generated a national conversation around the urgent need for policies that genuinely protect women’s health and rights rather than ones that simply pretend to.