Standing Up for Reproductive Rights in Pittsburgh

Standing Up for Reproductive Rights in Pittsburgh by Carly Cooper, Board Member, NCJW Pittsburgh Section

Those of us in the Pittsburgh section didn’t take recent attacks on women’s reproductive health care sitting down. Instead we joined with Planned Parenthood to march and rally in downtown Pittsburgh in support of women’s health and reproductive choices, and we delivered 20,000 local signatures to Senator Bob Casey to show constituent support to keep the funding of Title X public family planning program.

Recognizing that outreach and education are vital components of advocacy, we took further action by co-sponsoring a community event to inform our neighbors on what the availability of reproductive health services means to the average woman. Many women — I included — don’t realize how many women and families rely on clinics like Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, basic health care, affordable contraceptives, STD and HIV testing, and, of course, safe abortions. Though many of us are privileged to have access to consistent, comprehensive health care at our fingertips, our mission as an organization is to engage in the community to advocate for others.

Our efforts succeeded in garnering media coverage for both the rally and a press conference we co-sponsored that highlighted the real effects of deep cuts in the federal budget. In addition, we ran a powerful print ad in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle that included a quiz designed to challenge assumptions and to provide action steps that each reader could take.

We were so excited with the launch of NCJW’s nationwide Voices for Reproductive Choices initiative in March; it dovetailed so naturally with the efforts our section had already started. We expanded our influence beyond the state, sending a delegation from Pittsburgh to join NCJW members from across the country at the April 7 Stand Up for Women’s Health Rally and Lobby Day in Washington, DC.

In the end, this process helped remind Pittsburgh section members of NCJW’s mission and impact in the community. From education to advocacy to activism, an unfortunate potential shift in policies in our country has given me the opportunity to become a more competent and impassioned advocate.

Thank you NCJW!

Photo courtesy of Anna Lee Fields.

Related Content: Advocacy & Coalition Work, Reproductive Health & Rights