To our friends, colleagues, partners, and supporters,
I’m reaching out to you personally with important news. As you read this, know that I’m here to tell you that NARAL Virginia will continue to do the work that we do best and isn’t going anywhere.
The national board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America (NPCA) has made a unilateral decision to implement a five year strategic plan that nationalizes their work and will not include state affiliates.
We have and always will be an independent, grassroots driven, reproductive rights organization. We are committed to working with you in partnership to eradicate shame and stigma surrounding abortion care, transformational culture change, electing pro-choice champions, holding them accountable, and protecting and advancing reproductive freedom and access for each and every Virginian no matter who they are, where they live, who they love, income, age, race, immigration status, or gender identity.
As you know, state-based organizations are connected and accountable to the communities they work for, and the fight for reproductive freedom is in the states. In fact, 2021 is now the worst legislative year on record for abortion restrictions passed – 90 so far – in states across the country. While we are disappointed that NPCA has chosen a path forward that doesn’t include state-based affiliates, we see this as an opportunity to continue our critical work unencumbered by a national head and to expand our coalition and network under a different banner.
You know our work. We’ve helped to elect and protect a pro-choice trifecta in Richmond by establishing a pro-choice majority in the House of Delegates, state Senate and the three statewide offices. And we’ve delivered amazing victories, including most recently the Reproductive Health Protection Act in 2020 and repealing the ban on abortion coverage on the state healthcare exchange in 2021. These tremendous victories came after years of constant grassroots organizing, collaborative coalition building, tenacious policy advocacy, and strategic electoral fieldwork on the ground in the Commonwealth
But there is more work to be done. With the Supreme Court poised to dismantle Roe within the coming months, we are committed more than ever to make Virginia a safe haven for abortion access and ensure that the reproductive health, rights and justice movement along with our partners in the racial justice, civil rights, and labor movements are united for the fights ahead.
As always, thank you for your friendship, partnership, and support. Please feel free to reach out with questions/concerns you may have in the coming days. Meanwhile, I will keep you updated on our next steps.
Tarina D. Keene, MPA
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia