With 2.5+ million members, representing every state, NARAL is on the front lines organizing and mobilizing to preserve and expand reproductive freedom and abortion access.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation
NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation was established in 1977 to provide a policy and educational complement to sister organization NARAL Pro-Choice America’s work fighting for a woman’s right to choose if and when to have children. Mindful of the horrors of back-alley abortion and fueled by a strong conviction that women’s personal reproductive health decisions are theirs alone, NARAL’s foundation gives voice to the 7 in 10 Americans who believe abortion should remain legal and accessible. With more than 2.5 million members representing every state in the union, we are on the front lines of the fight to preserve and expand reproductive freedom and abortion access in the 21st century. We believe in the power of people to make a difference, and we help to drive that change by educating Americans about the threats to reproductive freedom and holding bad actors accountable at every level. Together, we can ensure an environment that guarantees everybody the right to informed and empowered choices.
We work at the national and state level, using our grassroots power, communication strategies, and policy prowess to push government to protect and advance reproductive freedom and abortion access. NARAL has a network of mobilized, organized supporters ready to take action at a moment’s notice.
What we do:
- Fight against anti-choice attacks and hold bad actors accountable at the national and local levels, while working to protect and expand reproductive freedom and abortion access across the country.
- Educate people about the issues affecting our reproductive freedom, and the impact they have on the lives of women and families. This includes our annual flagship publication, “Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States.”
- Shift the cultural discourse around abortion access specifically, and reproductive freedom generally, to end the stigma and shame that some place on basic health services and that hinder women from accessing the care they need.
- Mobilize our members to expand access in their communities so that a person’s ability to access abortion care isn’t subject to their ZIP code, income level, or race.
- Create a vocal resistance against anti-choice attacks and hold opponents accountable at the national and state level, while advocating to protect and expand reproductive freedom and abortion access in our country.
- Educate and increase awareness of reproductive freedom issues, and how they affect women and families, through campaigns such as Reality of Roe.
- Organize, mobilize, and grow our base at the local and national level, leveraging our voices to make sure officials and the courts hear from the people they represent.
- Our Government Relations Department tracks policies that affect abortion access, including tracking several hundred bills each year and anti-choice restrictions on reproductive healthcare throughout the U.S.
- Pioneer innovative research that is uncovering new ways to reach all of the people we need in this fight; NARAL is a leader in messaging and opposition research within the broader progressive movement.
NARAL California continues to educate and engage its 295,000 members in California on the opportunities and threats to reproductive freedom in California and beyond.
Due to education and organizing work, NARAL California members have continued to turn out time and again for events, with over 500 members and supporters showing up for 34 events from August 2020 - August 2021 in order to learn, organize, and be in community with each other. We use these events to empower our members with the tools to champion reproductive freedom in their own communities, including:
- Disinformation Trainings: NARAL is the movement leader on anti-choice opposition research, and in this moment—with the Radical Right using disinformation to exert an agenda of control—we have leveraged our research to arm our members with the tools to spot disinformation and combat it in their own lives and communities. This spring, NARAL California partnered with Indivisible SF and Indivisible 48 to host a disinformation training to equip 52 of our California members and supporters to combat anti-choice disinformation.
- Storytelling Trainings: Personal stories are one of the best drivers of information, so we have hosted four “Storytelling Trainings” for our members in California, teaching them to maximize their impact as storytellers and changemakers. This series covered the history of abortion storytelling, and context for how stories are used today to push for progress. We also encouraged our supporters to write op-eds and letters to the editor, such as Dr. Dan Grossman, who recounted one of our members' stories in “UC betrays its values when it partners with Catholic hospitals that restrict care,” published in the Los Angeles Times.
- Educating our members about the history and context of reproductive justice: NARAL California partnered with URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity to host, “My Body is an Autonomous Zone” to educate our members on the history of the reproductive justice movement. This event recognized and honored those who came before us, who made sacrifices for our freedoms, and gave an opportunity to reflect on how past events have led us to the current state of reproductive freedom.
- Leveraging our Network of Action Councils and Volunteer-Leaders NARAL has also continued to build on our cutting-edge strategy to deepen member engagement— training over 100 volunteer-leaders, who are using their skills to start and grow Action Councils across the country. In California, we are shifting focus to deepen and grow our Action Councils in strategic geographic locations across the state. We are also helping to coordinate collaboration across regional Action Councils so they can utilize each other as resources, coordinate campaigns that engage communities across the state, and act more efficiently in rapid response moments. Engagement in the Action Councils has been high, with new volunteer-leaders joining our teams in the Bay Area and Orange County. Our California Action Councils have planned and led 11 postcard parties, and hosted text banks that sent over 45,000 texts to mobilize members across the state. These Action Councils are full of dedicated volunteer-leaders who leverage their support in unique, creative ways. This year, several of our volunteer-leaders leveraged NARAL’s social media, creating this video to promote our advocacy.
Recent victories in California demonstrate the power of long-term organizing, and are the result of the tireless work of our members and partners. Over the past year, NARAL California mobilized our members to support key issues surrounding reproductive freedom, including:
Fighting to reduce maternal mortality with policies to remove medically unnecessary and outdated restrictions requiring physician supervision for certified nurse-midwives to practice. Despite being a leader on reproductive freedom and healthcare innovation, California was an outlier in access to nurse-midwifery care, as one of only four states that still required physician supervision in order for nurse-midwives to practice. After fighting for years, this year we finally saw the passage of the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act, increasing access to midwifery care and improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
Mobilizing to expand access to paid family leave. Paid leave is integral to the fight for reproductive freedom, and was made even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a decade of workers’ rights advocates pushing to reform paid leave policies, this year the Ensuring Job Protection for Paid Family Leave Act was passed, expanding job-protected paid family leave to an additional six million Californians.
Organizing to remove cost-sharing for abortion care so that no one in California is unable to access care because of the cost of the service. The Abortion Accessibility Act, which is currently moving through the California Assembly, will ensure that California continues to lead the fight for reproductive freedom by eliminating the financial barrier to abortion.
Highlighting the dangers of denials of care. Religious liberty is both the origin of the Radical Right—they first invoked the term in the late 60s to fight school desegregation—and their next big play. They deliberately misuse religion as a tool to justify discrimination, and healthcare denials are core to this—e.g. hospital contracts or consolidation with Catholic health systems, resulting in increased denials of access to reproductive and LGBTQ+ inclusive care. Nationally, NARAL has launched the first phase of a multi-year strategy to tackle healthcare denials. In California, NARAL is focused on University of California (UC) Health, which has entered into contracts with healthcare facilities that subject UC medical providers, students, and patients to restrictions on reproductive and LGBTQ+-inclusive care. Not only do patients in these facilities not receive the care they need, but providers working or training in these facilities cannot provide, or be trained on these life-saving procedures. We have been mobilizing to ensure that UC Health contracts are explicit in ensuring that patients can receive inclusive and comprehensive services at all facilities where UC providers practice. And on July 22, the University of California (UC) Regents adopted a policy on their affiliations with restrictive hospitals that takes a much stronger stance to protect patients from discrimination.
On June 1, 2021, thanks to NARAL NV and our 44,000 members across the state, Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law SB 364, which will ensure that survivors of sexual assault can access time-sensitive emergency contraception (EC) in Nevada emergency rooms.
An estimated 25,000 women in the United States become pregnant as a result of sexual assault each year, and statistics suggest that 22,000 of those pregnancies could be prevented if every sexual assault victim had timely access to EC.
Emergency rooms often serve as an entry point into the healthcare system for people who have been sexually assaulted. It is essential that emergency rooms provide access to time-sensitive emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault. Survivors should not need to seek this care from other providers and there are some who may not be able to see their primary care doctor for the care they need.
NARAL statement post bill signing
Republicans in Arizona kicked off the 2021 session by introducing over a dozen bills attacking reproductive freedom. NARAL and our fellow advocates for reproductive health, rights, and justice rallied to defeat as many of these extreme and dangerous bills as possible.
One of these bills would have made seeking care punishable by death, and another would have banned abortion before many people know they are pregnant.
Ultimately, one bill attacking reproductive freedom from multiple angles (SB 1457) narrowly passed the legislature on a party-line vote where Republicans hold a one-vote majority in each chamber and was signed into law by Gov. Ducey.
SB 1457 is a sweeping bill that threatens doctors who provide abortion care with jail time; locks into law ideological language defining when “life” begins that could lead to criminalizing people who seek abortion care; bans abortion based on the perceived reason a person is seeking care; and bans public education institutions from providing abortion care, among other restrictions.
After SB 1457 was pushed through the state legislature in the eleventh hour, thanks to NARAL AZ and our coalition partners on the ground, nearly 3,000 concerned Arizonans signed on to a petition calling on Ducey to veto it, building on the nearly 13,000 emails and phone calls made by Arizona residents to Gov. Ducey and Republican state legislators in opposition to the extreme and dangerous bill.
NARAL has been a steady presence in Georgia for over 10 years, adding members and growing influence in the state.
NARAL has supported the fights of our partners against voter suppression, organzed against the deeply unpopular abortion ban in 2019, and exacting political accountability in the state and federal legislature in 2020.
In the lead up to the critical Georgia run-off in 2020, NARAL embedded a member of our staff into c3Fair Count, one of Stacey Abrams organizations, to manage voter education work.
NARAL is now is supporting the development of a proactive abortion rights bill in Georgia. We are following the lead of our in-state allies in the reproductive justice movement to help develop this bill and campaign, which gives our members in Georgia the chance to mobilize for something that clearly reflects their values, and provides a long-term strategy for reproductive freedom.
NARAL has a strong organizing presence in Michigan with a robust Action Council that has been comprised of, on average, between 12-15 active members and strong relationships with reproductive freedom champions/legislators as well as with a plethora of coalition & organizational partners.
We have developed a leader-driven Michigan Action Council that meets biweekly with an average of 12-15 active leader-members and this year, we ran a participatory process to select co-chairs and have fully transitioned the leadership/facilitation of the Action Council to NARAL members Elizabeth Tripp and Abigail Kendal, who are the current co-chairs.
We organized members in Michigan around one of NARAL’s campaign priorities—passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). Congresswoman Haley Stevens signed on as a co-sponsor due to the advocacy and lobbying efforts of the Michigan Action Council. Congresswoman Slotkin also signed on as a co-sponsor after Michigan Action Council leaders had lobbied her office and sent emails to her staffers over the period of several weeks.
We trained 5+ Michigan Action Council leaders on how to lobby and conduct a legislative meeting. We organized a leader-driven legislative meeting with one of Congresswoman Slotkin’s staffers and we had 5 Action Council leaders in attendance.
In December 2020, we launched the NARAL Disinformation Public Education Campaign in Michigan, which consisted of 6 virtual disinformation trainings across the state w/ 543 people in attendance and 1,034 people having RSVPed (53% show rate)
Partnered with State Rep. Kuppa, State Senator Moss, State Rep. Regina Weiss, Fems for Democracy, Midland Coalition for Choice, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Troy Indivisible, Oakland County Commissioner Charlie Cavell, SWIM (Statewide Indivisible in Michigan), Indivisible Fighting 9, and many others to coordinate a disinformation public education campaign across Michigan and train 300+ people on how to combat disinformation
One of our reproductive freedom champions, Rep. Padma Kuppa, who we endorsed in 2020, worked with our Comms Team to write/publish an op-ed around disinformation. Rep. Kuppa also headlined a NARAL disinformation event in February of 2021 and worked with the Midwest Organizing Team to register 379 people with 185 people in attendance for the event.
We have hosted or co-sponsored events with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan (PPAM); Democrats Abroad; National Association of Social Workers—MI; Michigan Voices; Fems for Democracy; Congregation of Humanistic Judaism; Troy Indivisible; Indivisible Fighting 9; Mothering Justice; Human Rights Campaign—MI; Organizing Together 2020; Oakland/Macomb County—NOW.
We were on a panel and presented a workshop session called “Black Reproductive Health Experiences” with MI Voices and the Black Organizing Program of PPAM at the 2021 LEAD (Legislative Education & Advocacy Day) Conference that was hosted by the National Association of Social Workers—MI.
We were invited by and have given the 11th Congressional Democratic Club, the Troy Democratic Club, the Congregation of Humanistic Judaism, Midland Coalition for Choice, and the Interfaith Reproductive Justice Coalition to give presentations about NARAL and our campaign priorities (i.e. WHPA, SB8, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization).
We are a member of the Progressive Women’s Caucus led by Rep. Laurie Pohutsky; Michigan Voices Reproductive Justice Workgroup; the Interfaith Reproductive Justice Coalition led by the Michigan Universalist Unitarian Social Justice Network (MUUSJN); and Michigan Paid Family Leave Coalition.
Kicking off organizing in Wisconsin this year, we have launched organizing efforts to build up our membership base.
In October, we hosted a WI Action Council General Meeting with 12 engaged members.
In November, we hosted a Wisconsin Lunch & Learn Disinformation Training with 20 members in attendance.
We have met with two community partner organizations including Wisconsin Working Families Party and Shawn at Main Street Alliance (who works on issues of paid leave in Wisconsin).
In November, we engaged 23 members to call Governor Evers urging him to veto four pieces of anti-choice legislation heading to his desk.
Overall on Volunteer Development/ Action Councils
NARAL’s 2021 Activist Summit took place on Saturday, July 31 & Sunday, August 1 from 1:30pm-6pm ET. The Summit was an incredible showing of people power, and the urgency of defending reproductive rights in the face of state restrictions, federal attacks on abortion with the upcoming Supreme Court case. The Summit was attended by close to 150 NARAL volunteer leaders. Attendees heard from reproductive rights champions, participated in critical sessions on disinformation, were trained on how to use social media as an advocacy tool, and heard from partners on the roadmap to the Supreme Court and how to advocate for abortion rights, plus engaged in storytelling and lobbying 101 training.
NARAL Action Council development
We’re working with our members to form leader-driven Action Councils across the country to build long-term, collective power for reproductive freedom. Action Councils develop and execute events and campaigns to make sure we’re electing reproductive freedom champions to office, passing proactive legislation, and advancing reproductive freedom for every body.
In 2021 we developed key materials to support the development and sustainability of leader-driven Action Councils. NARAL Action Council are now up and running in: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, and California.
The National Mobilization Team is adding capacity to our organizing efforts! Every month the Organizing Department, along with volunteer leaders from across the country, will be facilitating a set cycle of fundamental organizing skills for our volunteers and volunteer leaders. From strategies for relational organizing to winning the revolution through tracking data, completing the cycle of trainings means the mobilization of even more well-rounded and skilled NARAL members.
NARAL has played a leading role educating our members about the threats of the Supreme Court to reproductive freedom and the abortion bans sweeping the nation. As part of ongoing education work, NARAL hosted an event in Sept 2021 so that our members could learn about the practical and national implications of the most extreme abortion ban in the country (TX SB 8), what’s at stake with the Supreme Court's inaction in this case and the upcoming abortion case (Jackson Women's Health Organization v. Dobbs), and how the Women's Health Protection Act would safeguard the legal right to abortion throughout the country.
To help our members understand these issues, we were joined by two amazing speakers, Michelle Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, and Rebecca Traister, writer at large for New York magazine and author of New York Times best-selling books Good and Mad and All the Single Ladies.
With the backdrop of both the SCOTUS case and with the FDA undertaking a review of the medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion--which NARAL education and advocyc work helped make happen--NARAL expanded work to engage our members and educate the public about medication abortion.
As part of this work, NARAL held an event in July 2021 with the goal of dispelling misinformation about medication abortion (i.e., people think it’s unsafe; think that it’s the same as Plan B) and emphasizing importance of people being able to access medication abortion in the way that makes the most sense for them.
To help us unpack issues around medication abortion we had two fabulous speakers: our long-time partners Kirsten Moore, Director of the EMAA Project and Jessy Rosales, Southern California State Organizer with URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity.
This event alone reached nearly 2,000 people.
This event was part of a broader campaign to education our members and the public about medication abortion. We have been emailing and texting our members with information; sharing information on social media, and more.
Ending the Hyde Amendment
Abortion coverage bans like the discriminatory Hyde Amendment prevents those who get their health insurance through the federal government from having insurance coverage for abortion care. The bans disproportionately hurt people already facing the greatest barriers to accessing care thanks to systemic racism and inequities, especially Black, Indigenous, and other women of color, transgender and non-binary people, and those with lower incomes.
For years NARAL has supported the work of reproductive justice partners to end the Hyde Amendment.
As an example of this work, NARAL hosted an event and were joined by our partners at All* Above All and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA): Expand Abortion Access: End Hyde. The goal was to educate members about the harmful impacts of racist and discriminatory abortion coverage bans such as the Hyde Amendment.
Over 200 people joined us live
Over 4.7K people viewed and engaged on Facebook (and growing!)
In a poll following the event, 96% of respondents said they learned something new about the discriminatory Hyde Amendment.
In part because of the education work of NARAL and our partners, Hyde was not included in the proposed fiscal year 2022 appropriations budgets.
The anti-choice movement relies on disinformation to mislead people about abortion care in the U.S. Though they pioneered key disinformation strategies decades ago, they increasingly deliberately use false information -- especially online -- to attempt to skew public opinion and lay the groundwork for abortion bans.
Website - theliethatbinds.com
Disinformation trainings -- have trained over 1000 NARAL members in 2021 alone, on how to spot and respond to anti-choice disinformation
Conducted research to understand how anti-choice disinformation reaches people online, how and where people are most vulnerable to disinfo, and how to best inoculate people against disinformation (link to abortiondisinfo.org)
Worked with the WDDP (women’s disinfo defense project), a coalition of organizations working to address gendered and racialized disinformation, to raise awareness around disinformation, collaborate to address key disinfo narratives, and hold tech platforms accountable for letting disinformation spread
Anti-Racism Education Work:
Hosted a conversation with MoveOn with Karundi Williams, Executive Director of re:power, discussing why it's necessary to center the voices and experiences and leadership of BIPOC communities, specifically women of color, in political movements. We also had scholar, speaker, and strategist Marcia Chatelain covering how systemic racism has been historically built into the foundation of our country. See more here.
Hosted a 6-part series with Women's March, Mom's Rising, UltraViolet, and PPFA: The Long Haul: Making a Lifetime Commitment to Anti-Racist Work. NARAL also led work to add Spanish language to all videos, making them more accessible to a wider audience. All the videos are here. (Note: You have to turn on the CC - closed captioning button on the bottom right of the screen to see the subtitles.)
- 7/30: Feminism Beyond White Supremacy: Where We Have Been and Where We Need to Go
- 8/06: Using Your Power: Privilege, Organizing, and Action
- 8/13: Respect, Principals, and Solidarity: Concrete Tools for White Women to Dismantle Racist Systems
- 8/20: Pro-Blackness for People of Color: What It Means to Affirm Black Life as a Person of Color
- 8/27: Healing Justice: How It Can Be a Transformative Force
- 9/03: The Long Haul: Making a Lifetime Commitment to Anti-Racist Work
- The State of California demonstrate the power of long-term organizing, and are the result of the tireless work of our members and partners. Over the past year, NARAL California mobilized our members to support key issues surrounding reproductive freedom, including:
- Fighting to reduce maternal mortality with policies to remove medically unnecessary and outdated restrictions requiring physician supervision for certified nurse-midwives to practice. Despite being a leader on reproductive freedom and healthcare innovation, California was an outlier in access to nurse-midwifery care, as one of only four states that still required physician supervision in order for nurse-midwives to practice. After fighting for years, this year we finally saw the passage of the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act, increasing access to midwifery care and improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
- Mobilizing to expand access to paid family leave. Paid leave is integral to the fight for reproductive freedom, and was made even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a decade of workers’ rights advocates pushing to reform paid leave policies, this year the Ensuring Job Protection for Paid Family Leave Act was passed, expanding job-protected paid family leave to an additional six million Californians.
- Organizing to remove cost-sharing for abortion care so that no one in California is unable to access care because of the cost of the service. The Abortion Accessibility Act, which is currently moving through the California Assembly, will ensure that California continues to lead the fight for reproductive freedom by eliminating the financial barrier to abortion.
- Highlighting the dangers of denials of care. Religious liberty is both the origin of the Radical Right—they first invoked the term in the late 60s to fight school desegregation—and their next big play. They deliberately misuse religion as a tool to justify discrimination, and healthcare denials are core to this—e.g. hospital contracts or consolidation with Catholic health systems, resulting in increased denials of access to reproductive and LGBTQ+ inclusive care. Nationally, NARAL has launched the first phase of a multi-year strategy to tackle healthcare denials. In California, NARAL is focused on University of California (UC) Health, which has entered into contracts with healthcare facilities that subject UC medical providers, students, and patients to restrictions on reproductive and LGBTQ+-inclusive care. Not only do patients in these facilities not receive the care they need, but providers working or training in these facilities cannot provide, or be trained on these life-saving procedures. We have been mobilizing to ensure that UC Health contracts are explicit in ensuring that patients can receive inclusive and comprehensive services at all facilities where UC providers practice. And on July 22, the University of California (UC) Regents adopted a policy on their affiliations with restrictive hospitals that takes a much stronger stance to protect patients from discrimination.