Defending Abortion Access in Statehouses
Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council
Reproductive freedom consistently tops the list of fundamental rights under attack nationwide, especially affecting low-income people and people of color.
This rings even more true now – one year after the U.S. Supreme Court unraveled 50 years of precedent by gutting Roe v. Wade and leaving the fate of abortion access up to states. Overnight, extremist elected officials wasted no time enacting draconian abortion bans, with over a dozen states outlawing abortion altogether. Meanwhile, in Texas, a single federal judge could determine the availability of mifepristone, a safe and effective abortion pill that has been used by over 5 million people. People in power are doing everything they can to fly in the face of what their constituents want, despite voters in all states where abortion was on the ballot in 2022 making it clear that they want abortion access to stay in place.
Now, with clinics across the nation closed, the fate of people’s health care in balance, and the fight intensifying even further, it’s more crucial than ever to invest in those who can change the course of this fight: state legislators who care about progress. Enter the State Innovation Exchange’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council, who came to Fenton to raise the voices of legislators in key states where the threats are most dire.
Ahead of SCOTUS’ Dobbs decision, Fenton worked with legislators across state lines to lift up one crucial message: reproductive freedom is a fundamental right, and state legislators who care about progressive change won’t stop until this right is protected. Through a messaging framework shared across states, rapid response outreach around breaking news and proactive media outreach to new journalists, we created new opportunities for legislators to shape the narrative and generate pressure on extremist lawmakers.
We also laid the groundwork for an upcoming campaign to reclaim the narrative around faith and abortion access. This involved conducting deep research to produce a unique, multi-religion messaging framework to empower faith leaders and legislators with religious beliefs to mobilize allies on the issue.
As Roe fell, we continued our rapid response and proactive media relations work while creating and producing Fractured, a five-episode documentary series featuring state legislators in pro- and anti-abortion states.
Fenton began our work with SiX securing an exclusive story in NBC News to raise attention to the largest showing of state legislators ever in support of legal abortion. Since then, we have secured over 120 press hits in top-tier local, national, and affinity media outlets, from MSNBC’s Ali Velshi to the Zerlina Maxwell Show, to NBC News Mississippi and CBS News in Texas. We even ensured the voices of three Michigan state legislators were front and center in a New York Magazine feature: Abortion Wins Elections.
As history is being made in the abortion fight, we are proud to work with state legislators — the first line of defense — to defend access.