“We must focus on state-by-state work to build regional blocks for abortion access,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, president of Reproductive Equity Now. “This work will begin in New England.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Massachusetts-based Reproductive Equity Now, formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, announced an expansion of its work into Connecticut and New Hampshire to create a regional organization to strengthen abortion access across New England. As more states ban abortion, advocates hope this regional strategy will ensure abortion healthcare for New Englanders and patients traveling to the region for care.
“Reproductive Equity Now’s expansion reflects the urgency we face as a region in demanding, protecting, and expanding abortion access and reproductive equity for all,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, president of Reproductive Equity Now. “As 20 states have moved to restrict or ban abortion, wiping out access to care in broad regions of our country, we must focus on state-by-state work to build regional blocks for abortion access. This work will begin in New England, and we hope that this model can be replicated to advance reproductive freedom nationwide.”
Over the last three years in Massachusetts, Reproductive Equity Now and others have worked to secure the right to abortion care in state law through the ROE Act, pass legislation to protect providers and patients following the fall of Roe and secure nearly $20 million to support abortion access and infrastructure. The organization has also created a New England Abortion Care Guide and launched an Abortion Legal Hotline in partnership with the Massachusetts attorney general’s office and partners.
“Reproductive Equity Now’s expansion reflects the urgency we face as a region in demanding, protecting and expanding abortion access and reproductive equity for all,” said Hart Holder. “In New England, what impacts one state impacts us all, and that’s why Reproductive Equity Now is focused on leading these grassroots fights in Massachusetts, and now across our region.”
Pro-Choice Connecticut’s former state director Liz Gustafson will join Reproductive Equity Now as its Connecticut state director. “We’re growing our team and our footprint to expand the capacity of advocates in the state and build a regional powerhouse for abortion access,” said Gustafson.
Connecticut has elected pro-choice majorities in the House and Senate, which has passed laws that expand access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare and protect patients and providers, such as a 2021 law prohibiting anti-abortion fake clinics from using false, misleading or deceptive language about the services they provide.
New Hampshire, by contrast, is the only state in New England that has not codified the right to abortion into state law. In 2021, the legislature restricted abortion access. New Hampshire’s executive council has voted repeatedly to defund the state’s family planning contracts. Reproductive Equity Now’s New Hampshire state director will be Christina Warriner.
“Granite Staters share a deep commitment to reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy and dignity in healthcare. But following decades of attacks on these values from New Hampshire executive and legislative leaders—including the state’s first abortion ban passed in just 2021—there is work to do to protect and expand access to reproductive healthcare in the state,” said Warriner.
Advocates hope that by joining together, they can pool their resources and knowledge to expand abortion access across the region.
“We have seen time and time again that New England states are most effective in passing bold policy when we work together, share strategies and collaborate across state lines,” said Hart Holder. “We look forward to bringing our expertise and support to a coalition of incredible advocates in Connecticut and New Hampshire who are building movement power, electing champions for reproductive freedom, and lobbying the legislature on pro-repro policy.”
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