Amid congressional gridlock and mounting threats, new analysis serves as blueprint for protecting and advancing women’s rights
Washington, D.C. – Today, Supermajority Education Fund and State Innovation Exchange (SiX) published a new analysis that shines a spotlight on state legislation from the past two years that protects, secures, and extends freedoms to all women.
Women are the majority of people and voters in this country, yet their freedoms continue to be attacked at all levels of government. It is clear that the essential work to advance equality, including protecting the freedom to vote, abortion access, and other women’s rights, is taking place in state legislatures.
In Making The Majority Rules Real Through State Legislation, Supermajority and SiX find that state legislative action, largely led by women of color legislators and informed by their lived experiences, embodies the values-based agenda that thousands of women in the United States support. From protecting bodily autonomy and expanding meaningful access to abortion care, to leveling the playing field for women in the workforce and for caregivers, these legislators have championed bold policy that centers women and families.
“Women across the country are working to protect so much more than the right to access abortion. We are demanding justice for ourselves, our families, and our communities as we all face devastating consequences at every turn,” said Amanda Brown Lierman, Executive Director of Supermajority Education Fund. “Women are the supermajority in America, and as such, we have the power to call the shots. We will continue fighting for women every single day so that we can be in full control of our lives, bodies and futures.”
States are offsetting extreme restrictions on reproductive freedom by codifying the fundamental right to abortion, securing coverage for abortion care under state Medicaid programs, and safeguarding against anti-abortion tactics that endanger and deceive people seeking care. Additionally, to ensure women can access the education, resources, and care they need for their health and well-being, state legislators have also sustained efforts to reduce gaps in contraceptive care, require comprehensive sex education, improve equitable access to menstrual products, and address racial disparity in maternal health.
“State legislatures are not only ‘laboratories of democracy’ but also key drivers of domestic policy, including women’s rights. State legislators, particularly women of color, are working with citizen activists to enact bold reforms to protect and expand rights for their communities,” said Kelly Baden, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the State Innovation Exchange (SiX). “Even with a Supreme Court gutting our civil and human rights, and some extremist legislatures taking us backwards, we can and must join with our allies in statehouses across the nation to build the America that we want to see: one that is inclusive and values the liberation of all people.”
“I’m proud to have been a part of critical legislation in my state that advances equal rights for home care workers and people and women of color in school and the workplace,” said Senator Dina Neal of Clark County, Nevada. “I’m encouraged that my counterparts across the country are similarly stepping up to prioritize the issues that matter to their communities. Amid uncertainty about federal protections for our fundamental rights, I remain deeply committed to upholding the freedoms of all women and Nevadans.”
State legislators are primed to lead in this moment in order to defend against attacks on women’s human rights and to advance freedom for all women. This analysis of legislation that builds a future where gender equality is a reality should serve as a guide for the women and allies leading critical reforms and exploring state-level policy options.