Yesterday, NARAL Pro-Choice America gathered leaders, partners, and reproductive freedom allies at NARAL’s annual Power of Roe event. The event celebrated a year of defending, and even expanding, reproductive freedom, electing champions like Ralph Northam and Manka Dhingra, and NARAL’s endorsed 2018 candidates who will fight for reproductive freedom in red, blue, and purple districts across the country.
NARAL also proudly presented State Representative Cora Faith Walker (D-MO) with the Rising Star Award, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) with the Champion of Choice award.
“This is a time in our nation’s history unlike any other. People—many who recognize they’ve been on the sidelines for too long—are stepping forward and rising up in new, bold ways to advance the values central to helping women and families prosper,” said Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Because of that, change for women is happening in boardrooms, the halls of Congress, workplaces, and kitchen tables across America. That’s why we’re so proud to celebrate our work defending reproductive rights, the 2018 candidates who will push progress in districts nationwide, and two warriors who are leading the way for women and families: Kirsten Gillibrand and Cora Faith Walker.
“We need champions in 2018 to continue representing our shared values in order to advance the great strides we’ve made. We have our work cut out for us—to realize the promises enshrined in Roe v. Wade and to take on fights that lay ahead. Cora, Kirsten, and our 2018 candidates give me hope that our progress is just beginning.”
“I believe that each of us is called to make a difference in our own way, and 45 years after Roe v. Wade, when women’s rights are under near-constant attack from the President and Republicans in Congress, NARAL’s leadership and advocacy are more important than ever,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We all know that the threats to women’s health care and reproductive rights are very real and very urgent—and they aren’t going away unless we defeat them. My job right now is to speak out and to fight, and I hope each of you will join me in that fight.”
“Thank you, NARAL for this award, and thanks to all of you for continuing the fight so that we all may ultimately win. I know that the infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates in my state rival that of developing countries, and I know that the disparities of those rates for women and children of color is even worse,” said Cora Faith Walker. “I know that in some zip codes in my district, black mothers and black babies die at disproportionately higher rates than white women—in some cases 3-4 times as high, even when controlling for income and education. I know that access to reproductive health is fundamentally a matter of justice and equity, and I’ll keep fighting for our freedoms.”
This year, NARAL backed pro-choice candidates who share our values of freedom and equality, and will fight for reproductive rights. With our basic rights facing unprecedented attacks by Trump, his Republican Party, and Democrats at times, NARAL will support champions like Cora Faith Walker and Kirsten Gillibrand in 2018 who will never compromise our most fundamental values, and will defend women and families in the halls of Congress and state legislatures nationwide.
During the event Rachel Laser, Executive Director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued remarks. She was joined by Red to Blue Chair Rep. Denny Heck, as well as Andy Kim, Lauren Baer, Susie Lee, Angie Craig, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and others.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”