Local Partners Applaud Resolution Introduced by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
PORTLAND, Ore — Today, the Portland City Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution introduced by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in response to the 27 abortion bans enacted across 12 states so far in 2019. The resolution, co-sponsored by all city commissioners and Mayor Ted Wheeler, calls for City Attorneys to file amicus briefs supporting legal challenges to anti-abortion laws in Alabama and Ohio. The resolution also directs City Attorneys to build a coalition of city attorneys from throughout the country to tackle other already passed or forthcoming anti-abortion laws.
Commissioner Hardesty, former board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC, shared the following, “We’ve seen firsthand the devastation that comes when abortions are not legal, safe, and accessible. I’m calling on us as a city to hold the line here and ask other progressive cities to join us in defending reproductive rights throughout the country.”
APANO’s Legislative Coordinator Ivy Major-McDowall’s testimony drew from lived experience, “As a transnational adoptee, born in China, my biological parents did not have rights to reproductive justice and access to resources to help raise me, so they had to give me up. While I built a beautiful life in Oregon, the knowledge of my history and this reality inspires me to ensure that everyone has access to reproductive health care, and families are not forced to make such difficult choices. We must protect and ensure that all families have the power to choose; to make decisions about their own bodies and families here in Oregon and across the nation.”
Michele Ruffin, Oregon Advocacy Manager of Forward Together said, “In a world where Black women die at three to four times the rate of white women due to pregnancy-related issues and where 1 in 5 transgender people are refused health care services because of who they are, we know that more restrictive laws in accessing healthcare, especially reproductive services, is the wrong direction to go.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon’s Policy Director Kimberly Koops, partnered with Commissioner Hardesty’s office to craft the resolution, and shared her personal experiences with city commissioners, “[My] abortion was so much more than one procedure. It was a rallying cry and reinforced that I deserved to make my own decisions, to be economically stable, safe and to have children when and if I wanted to. That was the moment I realized my right to my own autonomy. I’m thankful the City of Portland has reaffirmed that abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a human right.”
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon Political Director An Do shared the following in her remarks, “After a decades-long strategy of chipping away at abortion access state-by-state, the abortion bans that are sweeping the country are an attempt to ban abortion outright. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, 1 in 3 women of reproductive age live in a state where abortion could be outlawed. That’s more than 25 million people. This is not just an attack on people who live in those states, this is an attack on all of us – on every single person who might or can get pregnant. Our bodies are our own. If they are not, we cannot be truly free or equal.”
Beth Vial, board member of the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, shared the direct impact abortion bans are having on the number of people served by the organization, “Last year we fielded over 2,000 calls from people who were facing logistical barriers to abortion access. We know that Portland and Seattle are beacons of reproductive healthcare access within the region: people travel from around the state and the country to receive abortion services in our city.”
Sahar Yarjani Muranovic, Oregon NOW’s new Executive Director said, “Anti-abortion laws directly and specifically target historically oppressed communities. These laws target people like Marshae Jones in Alabama, who was charged with manslaughter after being shot in the stomach while pregnant…[This is why] it is now more important than ever to take a stand. The world is watching.”
Finally, Marilou Carrera, RN, MPH, Community Health Equity Manager with the Oregon Health Equity Alliance shared an empowering message for all who have received abortion services, “I didn’t know then that my abortion would lead me to become a nurse, which led me to hospital care and outpatient abortion procedure care, or that even later, as a public health practitioner, this would lead me to advocate for racial and health equity as tools for reproductive justice…There is no reason we shouldn’t expect to have autonomy of our bodies today.”
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Forward Together, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, Northwest Abortion Access Fund, Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) and Oregon NOW provided public testimony and helped turn out supporters who bravely shared their personal stories with members of the council.
Today’s resolution comes at a critical juncture in the fight for reproductive freedom and justice, as anti-choice politicians push forward laws that infringe on the constitutional rights and personal healthcare decisions of individuals and compounded by Donald Trump’s stacking of the Supreme Court and federal judiciary with justices who are hostile to Roe v. Wade. The organizations at Portland City Hall stand in solidarity with national partners and applaud the passage of Resolution 680—a critical action and powerful sign of solidarity to support those impacted by abortion bans in Alabama and Ohio.