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Georgia Legislation Threatens Reproductive Rights

February 16, 2010

SISTERSONG HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE IN OPPOSITION
TO COLLECTIVE OPPOSES HB 1155
THE SEX AND RACE SELECTION BILL
WHO: SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective OPPOSES House Bill 1155 - The Sex and Race Selection Bill. Speakers will include reproductive justice organization leaders, civil rights leaders, faith-based leaders, local legislators, and local community members. SisterSong, headquartered in Atlanta, is a national coalition of 80 women of color organizations working together for reproductive justice.
WHAT: During the Trust Black Women Press Conference, SisterSong will detail the damaging effects of HB 1155 and how the public can advocate for reproductive justice, reproductive rights, and reproductive health of women of color. This event is sponsored by SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, during their Legislate THIS! Action Day.
WHEN: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm
WHERE: Georgia Capitol Hill Steps
206 Washington Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
WHY: HB 1155 seeks to ban the solicitation and targeting of women of color by abortion providers throughout the state. If implemented, this bill will adversely impact abortion providers by requiring them to prove that they are not targeting women of a certain race or ethnicity. HB 1155 comes on the heels of a controversial billboard campaign that targets Black women in Georgia. The statewide 80-billboard campaign is sponsored by The Endangered Species Project, a collaborative effort between the Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage.
A Georgia pro-life billboard campaign - approved and posted on CBS billboards - has generated considerable controversy in the reproductive justice movement in the last two weeks. The campaign claims to work on behalf of communities of color with the theme "Black Children Are an Endangered Species," when in fact, the purpose of the campaign is to take away women's reproductive rights. CBS approval of this campaign illustrates yet again that CBS is no friend to women as they make personal decisions regarding their health and when and how to have a family. According to NPR's report on the campaign: "About 60 billboards have gone up in Atlanta so far. An additional 20 are expected... They direct people to an anti-abortion Web site that calls abortion an assault on the black community — and says that Planned Parenthood and other clinics are targeting minorities to exterminate them.."  The alarmist messaging is an attempt to drive a wedge between reproductive and racial justice organizations and pro-choice advocates. This afternoon, Sistersong is holding a press conference on the Georgia Capitol Hill Steps in opposition to to proposed HB 1155 "Sex and Race Selection Bill." HB 1155 seeks to ban the solicitation and targeting of women of color by abortion providers throughout the state. If implemented, this bill will adversely impact abortion providers by requiring them to prove that they are not targeting women of a certain race or ethnicity. The statewide 80-billboard campaign is sponsored by The Endangered Species Project, a collaborative effort between the Radiance Foundation and Georgia’s Operation Outrage. While the anti-choice HB 1155 legislation might seem at first glance to be a positive step in preventing gender and race discrimination, SisterSong and other reproductive rights organizations believe that it is important to discourage sex selection while still protecting abortion rights. Abortion bans have not stopped sex selection and they are additionally harmful to women. Women's Media Center has signed onto the statement of solidarity with SisterSong on their campaign to protect women's reproductive rights and will be following this campaign closely.

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