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5 Advocacy Actions to Watch in 2016

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The Reproductive Health Access Project supports the reproductive health, rights, and justice work that our sister organizations do whenever we can, so that we can all move forward together in our allied mission to expand access to reproductive health care. One of the ways that we do this is by signing on to and participating in advocacy projects. This year, we look forward to participating in five major advocacy initiatives and coalitions. We will be updating you on the following five advocacy events in 2016, and hope that you will participate where you can.

1. EACH Woman Act
RHAP has been a member of the All* Above All coalition of 94 sister organizations working together to lift abortion restrictions and repeal the Hyde Amendment. On July 8, 2015, Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Diana DeGette (D-CO), in addition to over seventy Congressional Co-Sponsors, introduced the EACH Woman Act. With this bill, when a woman gets her care or insurance through the federal government, she will be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion. This will effectively restore abortion care coverage for women on Medicaid and Medicare. This bill also prevents federal, state, and local legislators from interfering with private insurance markets to block insurance companies from providing abortion coverage. Take action to support this bill with All* Above All.

2. Women’s Health Protection Act
Another coalition RHAP is involved in, Act for Women, has been working tirelessly to push the Women’s Health Protection Act through Congress. This federal bill would prohibit states from imposing restrictions on abortion that apply to no other medical care, interfere with a patient’s personal decision making, and block access to safe, legal abortion care. This act would protect women from the hundreds of TRAP laws that have been enacted in recent years. These laws place onerous, medically unnecessary restrictions on clinics providing abortion care and have resulted in women’s health care clinic closures across the country. Visit Act for Women to learn more.

3. Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt
In what is expected to be a landmark case for the reproductive rights movement, the Supreme Court will be hearing the case Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly known as Whole Women’s Health v. Cole). This case will determine whether the state of Texas can institute restrictions on women’s health clinics that are so onerous that nearly all abortion care providers in the state have to shut down. This historic case could overturn HB2 laws and would affect the hundreds of similar laws being passed in states across the country. This case has truly national implications for the health and rights of women. The arguments will be heard on March 2, 2016, and we look forward to hearing the judgement on this case in May. Visit the Center for Reproductive Rights to learn more.

4. Zubik v. Burwell
In 2016, the Supreme Court will hear Zubik v. Burwell, a case that comes on the heels of June 2014’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision. In Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that closely held for-profit corporations that object to birth control on religious grounds may refuse to cover contraception in employer-provided health plans. In reviewing Zubik, the Court will decide whether this religious objection rule would apply to all employers, including nonprofit organizations. As in Hobby Lobby, Zubik would upset the balance between supporting religious objection laws and ensuring that everyone has access to the health care and services they need. As part of the Coalition for Liberty and Justice, RHAP will be participating in Religious Freedom Day on January 2016 and following this case throughout the year.

5. Educate Yourself and Vote!
There is a lot more going on in 2016 than just the presidential election. Voters have an opportunity to support pro-choice legislators at the state and local levels as well. In some states there will also be reproductive rights ballot measures. In March 2016, RHAP will launch a new section on our website that will list resources to help voters educate themselves about their representatives’ stance on reproductive issues so that voters can make the best decisions in the primaries and the general election this fall.

RHAP looks forward to supporting our coalition partners as they drive the momentum of the EACH Woman Act, Women’s Health Protection Act, and Whole Women’s Health v. Cole in 2016. We hope you become advocates too! Join us in supporting these advocacy actions and vote in 2016!

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