Willie Parker, nationally renowned OB/GYN and abortion access advocate, will address hundreds of Southern Californians for “Roe at 45: When Rights ≠ Access” on Sunday, Jan. 14.
Hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles, and co-sponsored by over 20 local, state and national organizations, this event marks the 45th anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that protects a woman’s decision to have an abortion, with a call to tackle barriers to abortion access in California and nationwide.
Parker is the physician plaintiff in the federal lawsuit preventing the closure of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, a case currently in request for hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a reproductive justice advocate and was honored by the United Nations Office of Human Rights as one of 12 Women’s Human Rights Defenders, and received Planned Parenthood’s 2015 Margaret Sanger Award. He is also the author of the book “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice,” in which he tells a deeply personal and thought-provoking narrative. The book illuminates the complex societal, political, religious, and personal realities of abortion in the United States from the perspective of someone who performs them and defends the right to do so every day. He looks at how a new wave of anti-abortion activism, aimed at making incremental changes in laws and regulations state by state, is slowly chipping away at the rights of women to control their own lives. In revealing his daily battle against mandatory waiting periods and bogus rules governing the width of hallways, Parker uncovers the growing number of strings attached to the right to choose and makes a compelling case for championing reproductive rights.
In addition to Parker’s appearance, the evening will feature an interactive program that powerfully illustrates the experiences of women seeking abortions and the legal, financial and personal barriers they face together with the consequences of these obstacles. Participants will be invited to discuss their experiences and how to take action to ensure abortion access following the program.
Participants will also have access to “Across the Line,” an immersive virtual reality experience that combines 360-degree video and computer-generated imaging to put viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion.
“Our constitutional right to safe and legal abortion hangs by a thread while the ability of women in vulnerable communities to realistically access abortion is being constantly eroded,” said Sandra Fluke, Voices for Progress, California State director. “We must all educate ourselves about these threats and how to take action now.”
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