Google Hangout: Keeping Choice Alive at the State Level

Earlier today we hosted a live discussion with some of the people working on the front lines to “keep choice alive” at the state level. Viewers submitted questions here and tweeted them to us @MotherJones using the hashtag #KeepingChoiceAlive. Watch the discussion and read more below:

Recently, the Arkansas Legislature passed the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation. The legislation would ban abortion at 12 weeks if implemented, leading Gov. Mike Beebe to label it “blatantly unconstitutional.” Meanwhile, in Mississippi, advocates of “personhood” for zygotes are attempting to ban all abortions by giving fertilized eggs the same rights as adult humans, while the state’s last-remaining abortion clinic struggles to stay open. It’s been 40 years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, yet reproductive rights are being significantly restricted in numerous states across the country.

Joining us to discuss these topics and more were:

  • Dr. Willie Parker: Parker is an ob-gyn currently providing services in Chicago, Montgomery, Alabama, and the last remaining abortion care clinic in Mississippi. He serves on the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). More information on Parker can be found here.
  • Nancy Kohsin-Kintigh: As director of field operations for the National Clinic Access Project with the Feminist Majority Foundation for nearly 20 years, Kohsin-Kintigh worked with communities around the nation to protect women’s clinics through grassroots organizing, assisting with security assessments on clinics, and providing doctors and clinic staff with personal security trainings. Currently, director of programs at the ACLU of Mississippi, she is working with the last abortion clinic on repeated legislative attacks, and coordinated efforts to defeat the state’s personhood amendment in 2011. Nancy continues her grassroots activism and community organizing.
  • Michelle Movahed: Movahed is a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel in the federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s targeted regulations aimed at shuttering the state’s last abortion clinic. Since joining the Center in 2007, she has worked on a number of other critical cases, including serving as lead counsel in a recent victory challenging an Oklahoma law restricting doctors from offering medication as a surgical alternative to abortion and treating ectopic pregnancy. Before joining the Center, Michelle clerked for the Honorable James Orenstein, a US magistrate judge in the eastern district of New York. She earned a J.D. magna cum laude from the Fordham University School of Law, where she was a Stein Scholar in public interest law & ethics and a Crowley Scholar in international human rights.
  • Kate Sheppard: Sheppard is a Mother Jones staff reporter and author of “Inside Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic.”
  • Brett Brownell: Brownell is Mother Jones’ multimedia producer and host of the Google+ Hangout discussion.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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