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Legislative Advocacy

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Our legislative advocacy and organizing work in 2019 and 2020 was hugely successful in ultimately combatting the 2019 abortion ban. In the face of our opposition, our efforts activated our community in unprecedented numbers. We built upon a foundation of partnership, deeper abilities and stronger infrasture. No one organization can claim credit for our shared victory. Our center worked with our coalition partners and turned strong working connections into an interdependent united impenetrable force– a movement that began long before 2019 and remains vibrant and active to this day. In 2019 the collective work here in Georgia became what is now the Georgia Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Coalition.  Our collective, often referred to as The Coalition includes: Access Reproductive Justice SoutheastACLU of Georgia, NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia,National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,  SisterSong, Sister Love, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Planned Parenthood SE and Women Engaged. Together we waged a sophisticated and multi-faceted campaign mobilizing advocates at a scale, consistency and ferocity never seen at the General Assembly.  This campaign included direct actions at the Capitol, Governor’s mansion and in the community during and after the 2019 legislative session; legislative education and advocacy trainings for our community, town halls and workshops across the state after the passage of HB 481. We fought in the streets and then we joined our partners to fight the battle in the courts—as one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the abortion ban.

Big Wins:

Activated the community in the fight against HB 481. Even though HB 481 passed, we were successful in organizing and advocating for reproductive rights and justice. Hundreds of volunteers at the Capitol instilled lasting fear in legislators.HB 481 was struck down as unconstitutional in July 2020 after a hard fought battle on the ground and in the court.
Anti-shackling law passed: We successfully advocated for the ban on shackling of incarcerated persons and placing new parents in solitary confinement after birth.The momentum of 2019 continued into 2020 with the passage of multiple bills protecting families, parents, women and low income folks. We worked closely with many local coalitions and partner organizations on these bills:

  • Pregnancy Medicaid extension (HB 1114)

  • Raising income threshold for hospital indigent care (SB 395)

  • Extending sunset on Family Care Act (SB 408)

  • Requiring insurers to cover early prescription refills during an emergency (SB 391)

Major Events:

Legislative Advocacy Workshop: We hosted our annual workshop teaching people about reproductive justice, the current state of abortion access, the legislative process, and how they can advocate for issues they care about.Legislative Advocacy Workshop: Annual workshop teaching people about the reproductive justice, the current state of abortion access, the legislative process, and how they can advocate for issues they care about.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand roundtable and press conference: We participated in a roundtable and press conference with then-candidate Kirsten Gillibrand on HB 481 and the national wave of abortion bans. Our executive director Kwajelyn Jackson and other local repro leaders were invited to share their comments about abortion access in Georgia with Senator Gillibrand.Hosted and helped facilitate a presentation and discussion on The Center for Reproductive Health Research in the Southeast (RISE) researchers’ findings about messaging tactics used by proponents of HB 481. One of the researchers is our board member, Dabney P. Evans PhD, MPH.
RJ Coalition Abortion, Brunch & Conversations: In the heart of the fight against our 6-week abortion ban, nearly 200 people attended our largest advocacy event of 2019. Together with the Georgia Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice Coalition we were able to bring in many new supporters, most of them under age 30, to learn about reproductiive justice, abortion and racial justice for our community. Reproductive Autonomy Act legislator training: We conducted a zoom training for 9 legislative champions introducing them to the Reproductive Autonomy Act, a proactive bill meant to repeal the current multiple barriers to accessing abortion care in Georgia. We offered tools and talking points for talking about reproductive justice issues with other elected officials.
Legislator training and clinic tour: We hosted a clinic tour and training for legislative allies explaining abortion procedures, the process of accessing abortion care, and how to talk about abortion. We offered tools for talking about abortion care with other elected officials. This one of its kind event helped de-stigmatize abortion and was deeply appreciated by the legislators. Reproductive Justice COVID accountability town hall: We worked with our partners to put on a town hall on COVID-19 and its implications for systemic inequalities. We covered multiple active bills that could support our communities’ needs during the pandemic and offered attendees ways to take action to support those bills.