I am excited about the release of the 22nd edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States. While this report details the fights we faced as anti-choice politicians waged a War on Women in 2012, it also highlights the progress that we achieved thanks to a pro-choice administration and pro-choice legislators who courageously advanced women's health and reproductive rights.
This edition of Who Decides? coincides with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This also is my last letter to you all as my tenure here at NARAL comes to an end. So, I'd like to share with you a personal story that serves as my inspiration. I grew up in Anaconda, Montana, where my dad worked at the copper smelter – a tough and dangerous place where copper would boil at 1,200 degrees. He had a brass tag, and on it was his number: 720. Workers like my dad would throw their number in a bucket as they arrived for their shift, and at the end of the day, they'd hang them on a pegboard so their buddies would know they'd made it out safely. Every day, my dad threw his number in that bucket – and he did it for his family, for his co-workers, for his community, and for his country. He passed away when I was in my early 20s, before I decided to run for public office. I carried his brass tag with me during all of my campaigns in Montana and during my time as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. To me, his tag symbolizes the value of hard work and opportunity – and the importance of sticking together.
We started 2012 with a major victory when the Obama administration announced that birth control would be covered by insurance plans without a copay. When faced with the Blunt amendment, which would have let bosses deny their employees birth control, our pro-choice senators and president stood as a firewall against its passage. This past year we saw that if, when faced with challenges, we stick together, stand up to our opponents, and do the hard work, we can fight the War on Women and win.
Unfortunately, our opponents show no signs of slowing down. Women continue to face legislative hostility in states dominated by anti-choice politicians. Alongside our gains, we saw anti-choice lawmakers enact 40 anti-choice measures in 23 states across the country. We need to keep making sure that anti-choice politicians know that they will be held accountable for their actions. As NARAL begins a new chapter, let's remember to stick together. Let's work hard. Let us all throw our numbers into the bucket.
Let me close by saying it has been a great honor and privilege to work with our one-million member activists, our affiliates across the country, and our staff and volunteers. We will continue to move forward.
NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation