The convening stemmed from a letter the organizations sent to President Biden in July urging his administration to prioritize the protection of women’s health and reproductive rights after the Supreme Court made the overwhelming decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The nation’s top civil rights leaders, reproductive rights and justice organizations met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the harmful impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the ongoing threat to America’s democracy.
For nearly 50 years, women have had the freedom to choose what to do with their own bodies. The rollback on reproductive health access will undermine decades of progress for gender equity and reproductive freedom, disproportionately impacting Black women, other women of color, and vulnerable women, and will reverberate for generations.
Also at stake are democratic freedoms and imperatives such as equal rights, as Right wing politicians collude with extremist groups and launch a wave of anti-LGBTQ and women’s legislation. Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who was featured on Queer Forty’s cover this time last year, attended the meeting along with others.
“As leaders of several of the top civil rights, national reproductive rights, health, and justice organizations, we are incredibly grateful to Vice President Harris for meeting with us to discuss the dire situation unfolding across the country as abortion access hangs in the balance,” the coalition shared following the September 12 meeting.
“Abortion access is an economic and racial justice issue. The Supreme Court’s disastrous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade stripped women of the federal constitutional right to control their own bodies. The denial of that access cannot be separated from other social justice issues – voter disenfranchisement, policing abuse, criminal injustice, poverty, economic inequity, housing inequity, LGBTQ+ rights, the immigration crisis, food insecurity, medical bias, environmental injustice etc. – that disproportionately harm the communities we serve. Sixteen states so far have implemented abortion bans — and more will follow.
“Together, we are prepared for the long fight that lies ahead to safeguard reproductive rights, voting rights, and other freedoms – and we are grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for their continued work to protect these essential rights. We know that the survival and thriving of Black people and the other communities we serve depend on our success, and we need the continued leadership of the Biden-Harris administration to be successful.”
Who attended the meeting:
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Nancy Northup, President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights
Marcela Howell, President and CEO, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for Under Law
Jesselyn McCurdy, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Janai S. Nelson, President and Director-Counsel, Legal Defense Fund (LDF)
Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
Mini Timmaraju, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder, National Action Network
Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable
Dr. Thelma T. Daley, National President/Chair, National Council for Negro Women, Inc.
Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Shalondan Hollingshed, President, National Urban League Young Professionals
Fatima Goss Graves, President, National Women’s Law Center
Karen Finney, Co-Convener, Power Rising
Monica Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong
Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
About The NCLR
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding 45 years ago, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the most underrepresented in the LGBTQ community.