COUNCIL PRESIDENT PRO TEM THAO, CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE, NARAL, AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD RALLY IN SUPPORT OF REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 20th 2021
Oakland, California - Early Monday morning, Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, Dr. Jessica Hamilton from Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Shannon K. Olivieri Hovis from NARAL Pro-Choice California in support of House Reolsution 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 and a resolution introduced by Sheng Thao in support of this historic legislation.
HR 3755 was introduced by Representatives Judy Chu and Barbara Lee in response to the Supreme Court’s recent failure to uphold reproductive rights in Texas. The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 would codify Roe v. Wade into law and helped ensure everyone has safe access to reproductive care. Yesterday, President Joe Biden released a statement in support of the bill.
Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao recently introduced a resolution in support of this important measure, which will be heard and voted on by the Oakland City Council on Tuesday, September 21st at 1:00pm.
Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao States: “I’m so honored and energized to be standing here with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, our very own Congresswoman Barbara Lee, community leaders, and Oaklanders who care so deeply about protecting a woman’s right to choose. As a single mom, I can tell you from personal life experience, that the healthcare and family planning services provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood are a literal lifesaver for so many women in this country. And right now, a woman’s right to control her own body is under assault in America like never before. Laws like the one passed in Texas pose an existential threat to women’s health and reproductive freedom and we must fight back with everything we’ve got, and then some. As a female elected official, I also have to say that there has never been more urgency to elect pro-choice women to office, up and down the ballot, from city councils to the halls of Washington, women with an unwavering commitment to protecting this essential right. I am proud to co-sponsor the Oakland City Council’s resolution in support of Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Judy Chu’s bill guaranteeing the right to a safe and legal abortion in America, and I urge all of my colleagues to support it as well.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Co-Chair of the Pro Choice Caucus States: “As the Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I am proud to support my friend Congresswoman Judy Chu’s bill – the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA [WHIP-PA]). This bill will protect the right to access abortion and address the attacks on abortion rights happening throughout the country, and I look forward to voting to pass it in the House this week.
The right to reproductive freedom is essential and we have a long way to go around the world and in our own country to secure this right. Extreme and dangerous laws like SB 8 in Texas will harm people of low income and people of color the most. Restricting and banning abortion have made access near impossible – the right to abortion is not real if only some people can access it.
It is also clearly unconstitutional and un-American to create a vigilante system that encourages you to turn in your family members, your neighbors, or anyone at all if you suspect they have exercised their right to have an abortion. It’s time for Congress to protect abortion rights and access with the Women’s Health Protection Act. The support of cities like Oakland – cities that have been on the front lines of the fight for reproductive freedom – will help us to get this across the finish line. Passing WHPA is a critical step toward creating a world where every person—regardless of their income or zip code—is free to make the best health care decisions for themselves, their families, and their futures.
Thank you to Councilmember Thao, to NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and everyone else in the City of Oakland for your support of this critical bill.”
Dr. Jessica Hamilton, Associate Medical Director of Abortion Services Planned Parenthood Mar Monte states: “We are seeing a rash of abortion restrictions accross the country. State lawmakers emboldened by the new makeup of the Supreme Court are rushing to control patient’s rights to healthcare. At Planned Parenthood Mar Monte we are actively preparing for a post-Roe world. As this wave of abortion restirctions spreads through the country, California and the City of Oakland have remained a beacon of hope for those seeking abortion.”
Shannon Olivieri Hovis, Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California: “2021 has been the worst year for abortion rights on record. At the beginning of this month, the Supreme Court allowed Texas’ draconian ban on abortion to go into effect, putting abortion all but out of reach for millions of Texans. Later this year the Supreme Court is slated to take up Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade. The stakes could not be higher; if Roe v. Wade falls, in short order abortion could be outlawed in roughly half of the United States. Congress can and must take immediate action to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine a federal right to abortion and improve abortion acces across the country.”
Sheng Thao is a daughter of Hmong refugee parents, and is a mother to her 14 year old son. Sheng Thao was first elected to represent Oakland’s District 4 in November 2018 and took office in January of 2019.
Since being elected, Sheng has been elevated to Council leadership as President Pro Tem, is on the board of California Women Lead, and is the President of the League of California Cities API Caucus, where she works to elevate the voices of API women everywhere.