“We Will Fight Like Hell”: American Abortion Rights Leader Finds Hope in Times of Crisis | cancellation

B.A month after the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion, Mini Timmaraju has never lived in America without the rights enshrined in the landmark Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade.

Now she is helping to lead the reproductive rights movement into an uncertain, “frightening” future where federal abortion rights may no longer exist.

Just days after her new role as President of Naral Pro-Choice America, a Conservative Supreme Court will hear arguments on what many proponents fear will be the death knell for Roe v Wade.

“These are scary times for freedom of reproduction advocates – for all Americans,” she said in an interview. Nevertheless, Timmaraju sees reason for optimism.

“It can be the darkest time and it can be terribly scary,” she said. “It can also be an incredible opportunity.”

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court launched two separate challenges to a Texas law that effectively bans abortion in the nation’s second most populous state. But the more direct threat to Roe comes on December 1, when the court examines the constitutionality of a Mississippi bill that bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation – about two months earlier than Roe and subsequent rulings allow.

These are the first abortion cases to be considered by the expanded Conservative Majority of 6: 3, which includes three agents from Donald Trump, who promised to appoint only “pro-life” judges.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, if Roe is tipped, there are 26 states that “surely or probably” prohibit the process. The list includes nine states with abortion bans that were on the books before Roe, and 12 states with so-called “trigger” laws that would be enacted if Roe was lifted.

“With Scotus in mind and with the midterms at stake,” said Timmaraju, “we have a real chance to wake up a large majority of voters who we know support reproductive freedom and to redouble and reinforce this work, in order to fulfill the moment in which we I am just facing this moment of crisis. “

“We have a real chance of waking up a large majority of voters,” said Timmaraju. Photo: Karla Ann Cote / NurPhoto / REX / Shutterstock

Timmaraju, the daughter of immigrants from India, is the first black woman to lead the organization, which is one of the country’s oldest and most powerful advocacy groups on abortion.

Most recently she worked as a Senior Advisor for the Biden Administration on Diversity, Justice, Inclusion and Accessibility. In 2016, she led efforts to mobilize women voters as director of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. She also led diversity efforts at Comcast Corporation, held executive positions at Planned Parenthood, and was national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.

“I feel like I’ve been at the intersection of race and gender my entire career,” she said.

Timmaraju said it was time to “sound the alarm” about the “very organized, concerted efforts of the extremist right to reduce reproductive rights since Roe became the law of the country”.

She believes that exposing these tactics will help motivate voters, especially those who support the right to abortion but may not have recognized the extent to which access to abortion is at risk, especially at the state and local levels.

At the federal level, she called for the immediate passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would effectively codify Roe and counter abortion restrictions at the state level. The House of Representatives passed the bill in September, but chances are terrifying in the Senate, where a Republican filibuster is waiting for him.

Naral openly urged Democrats to get rid of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to pass most of the laws.

However, it is unclear whether the bill would pass by simple majority as two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Bob Casey, have not yet signed a Senate version of the bill. Neither do the two Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, who advocate abortion.

Mini Timmaraju.
Mini Timmaraju. Photo: Les Talusan / Naral Pro-Choice America

Nonetheless, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has promised to put the measure to a vote, a sign Democrats believe abortion could be a major issue in next year’s election.

In her new role, Timmaraju hopes to build on solidarity between progressive organizations and use their collective power to resist the barrage of abortion and voting rights restrictions while fighting for LGBTQ rights and climate justice.

“We know there is a continuous line of white supremacy everywhere,” she said. “These are not new playbooks.”

In addition, she said a Roe overthrow would have a disproportionate impact on people of color, low-income people and people living in rural communities, all of whom are already facing higher barriers to accessing reproductive and maternal health services.

Despite the myriad of political and legal setbacks, the reproductive rights movement had made decisive strides.

Abortion is no longer a “taboo” topic, Timmaraju said, recognizing the decades of work by activists and a new generation of female lawmakers who have publicly told the story of their choice to have an abortion.

“We don’t have to be afraid to talk about it if we’re afraid or uncomfortable with it,” she said. “Then we give our opponents all these opportunities to spread and spread misinformation.”

Timmaraju said abortion advocates should be ready to vigorously oppose attempts by anti-abortion activists to present the Roe case as “reasonable” by, for example, pointing out medical advances or the availability of birth control.

“You’re going to downplay it,” she said. “And we have to be very willing to say absolutely no.”

As the nation awaits a Supreme Court ruling next year, Timmaraju’s message to the movement is to keep the faith.

“We can have some short-term losses – and we will fight like hell to avoid them,” she said. “But we also have some really significant long-term gains, the seeds” [of which] are now being planted. “


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