Faithful Voice for Choice, Summer 2018 Newsletter

RJ Founder Will Speak at NM RCRC 40th Anniversary   

In 1994, Toni Bond Leonard was one of the twelve Black women who gave birth to the concept of “Reproductive Justice,” creating a paradigm shift in how women of color would add their collective voices to the fight for reproductive autonomy and freedom. Reproductive justice was created to shed light on the combined forms of oppression that contribute to women of color’s reproductive oppression and as a systematic way to develop practical strategies of resistance and liberation.

Ms. Bond Leonard has become a recognized leader and expert on the intersection of religion and reproductive justice. A womanist theo-ethicist specializing in reproductive justice, in December, 2008, Ms. Bond Leonard was part of a group of reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates to give remarks to President Barack Obama’s transition team about advancing reproductive health and rights.   She has served on the boards and advisory committees of numerous organizations, including, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, the Trust Black Women Partnership, and the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Dark Days at SCOTUS

June was a deeply troubling month for justice and the future of civil and human rights. SCOTUS handed down decisions that hurt women, workers, voters, unions, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and religious minorities, leaving many of us stunned and unnerved.

To top it off, at the end of June we learned of the resignation of Justice Kennedy, a key swing vote on the Court, opening the door to another extremist conservative appointment by the Trump Administration and the very real possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Here’s what we’re doing to prepare and help protect New Mexicans in the face of this new and troubling reality:

  • Organizing with community partners to fight religious refusals of reproductive healthcare against women and LGBTQ people;
  • Increasing our Legal Observer presence at clinics to help safeguard providers, clients, and volunteers from increased aggression by anti-abortion protesters;
  • Meeting an increased demand for financial support from women across the country coming to New Mexico for abortion care; and
  • Preparing to reintroduce legislation in 2019 to protect all reproductive healthcare options, including abortion, no matter what happens in Washington.


Last month, Iowa’s Governor signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion measures into law, effectively banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. And recently we have received reports of heightened aggression by anti-abortion protesters at clinics here in Albuquerque.

We must safeguard our clinics, clients, and volunteers, and to do so we are organizing Legal Observers to watch for activity that violates local laws and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Legal observers do not have to be a lawyer, just familiar with the FACE Act.

Our first Legal Observer training was held on Saturday, June 2nd and legal observers have been successfully monitoring activity two-days a week.  But we need your help to

Legal observers are stationed in their vehicles in the parking lot at the clinic. The job is to monitor and record any violations of local law and/or the FACE Act. You need a mobile phone with picture and text messaging capability.

What happened in Iowa is extremely dangerous to women and families everywhere, including here in New Mexico. The impacts of Iowa’s drastic measure and widespread assaults on women’s autonomy from every level of government will continue to reverberate in our local communities. We need your help to protect reproductive health access for women and families. Please sign up to become a Legal Observer today.

About Joan Lamunyon Sanford

Executive Director of the NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
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