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From the President

In 2013, once again, we saw a litany of attacks against reproductive freedom in state legislatures across the country. There were high-profile battles in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and other states where lawmakers passed bills that closed clinics, put new obstacles in the way of women seeking abortion care, and outright banned abortion after 20, 12, or as early as six weeks.

Passing these unpopular restrictions meant breaking their own rules, sometimes passing them literally under cover of darkness. In Ohio, they jammed restrictions into the budget. In North Carolina, it was a motorcycle safety bill. When they couldn't pass a draconian anti-choice bill in Texas, anti-choice lawmakers called a special session with new rules. When a state senator named Wendy Davis stopped them, they called another.

In an environment of constant attacks on reproductive freedom, we play a lot of defense. After all, the fundamental right to choose is enshrined in the Constitution, and our opponents are constantly developing innovative new strategies to chip away at that right. But a permanent defensive posture is a losing strategy. You win some battles, you lose others, but you're only ever ceding ground.

That's why we were so proud to be a part of the fight in California to expand abortion access by letting qualified medical professionals like midwives and nurse practitioners provide early abortion care. California's new measure should be a model for the rest of the country; making abortion more accessible means making it safer. More important, it should be a model for the entire pro-choice movement. We should be working every day to make it easier and safer for women to obtain abortion care.

I have been so honored to be chosen to lead NARAL Pro-Choice America. I'm so proud of this organization and our network of affiliates who together share such a rich history and powerful legacy of standing up for the freedom of women to make our own choices.

One thing I learned very quickly is how valuable Who Decides? is to the entire pro-choice community. This year, we've added a new section on anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers. Having a full accounting of the pro- and anti-choice landscape in every state right at your fingertips is a powerful advantage. It is a critical part of our work, and one that I plan not just to continue, but to expand and improve.

The anti-choice War on Women did not slow down in 2013. You can be sure it will only ramp up further in 2014 as the mid-term elections approach. As opponents of a woman's right to choose continue to chip away at our freedoms piece by piece, we'll be there to fight them every step of the way and reveal the shadowy organizations supporting them. But we'll work just as hard to expand our freedoms, so that every woman has not just the right, but the opportunity to make whatever choice is right for her.

I'm so proud to be a part of this movement.


Ilyse Hogue

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