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More of the Same?

More of the Same?

Will 2014 Be a Turning Point for Women?

As we’ve documented, the last few years have been very difficult for advocates of women’s reproductive freedom. From 2011-2013, more restrictions on abortion rights — a record-breaking 205 — were enacted by state legislatures than during the entire previous decade.


While we have kicked off 2014 with yet another conservative attack on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, advocates for women’s reproductive rights believe that this year will be a turning point:

“The momentum has shifted,” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told ThinkProgress in an interview. “Americans as a whole have had enough. We’re not just going to sit idly by and fight defensive fights and take these attacks on reproductive freedom sitting down. We’re starting to define what a new agenda for reproductive freedom looks like in the 21st century.” […]

“Abortion access is ground zero of reproductive freedom; without it, we don’t have autonomy and self-determination over our lives. But it’s not as though our reproductive lives start and end there,” Hogue noted. “There’s a whole landscape out there of policies that have lagged far behind.”

What does this new agenda look like?

Those policies include other health-related initiatives, like ensuring that women have access to family planning services and maternity care. They involve tackling violence by cracking down on domestic abuse and rape. But they also include economic policies to help ensure that women have the resources to direct the courses of their lives and provide for their families — like equal pay legislation, affordable child care services, and efforts to prevent workplace discrimination. Rather than framing reproductive rights as a women’s issue, groups like NARAL are working on making the point that they’re also inextricable from the nation’s economic agenda.

For much, much more on this, check out the rest of ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler’s deep dive HERE.

BOTTOM LINE: While conservatives are only interesting in dragging us back into the culture wars of the past, progressives are focused on a proactive agenda to make sure women and their families have a fair shot at getting ahead.