NAPW engages in both local grassroots organizing and national grasstops organizing. Two principles guide all NAPW activities: to build bridges and align agendas across diverse public health and social justice movements, and to leverage and connect local organizing and activism with national advocacy and policy work.
NAPW staff person Allison Guttu with Tina Renolds (from Women on the Rise Telling Her Story) and Rosetta Kelly (Parent Advocate from The Rebecca Project for Human Rights) at the 2009 Mom's Off Meth conference in Iowa.
NAPW has a national network of over 2000 local and national activists and resource contacts engaged in organizing, public education, political action and media outreach. NAPW organizes grassroots women's health activists, women in recovery, local healthcare providers, and state policymakers to mobilize around a shift from a criminal justice to a public health approach to the intersecting issues of pregnancy, drug use, risk of HIV infection and transmission and unaddressed mental health issues.
NAPW recognizes that if the criminalization of pregnant women is to be stopped, the impetus has to come from the women and communities most affected by it - women of color, poor women, women who use drugs or are in recovery and women and families who need reproductive health services.
Examples of local organizing include providing advocacy and training to local healthcare providers and women in recovery in South Carolina; bringing together pro-choice, drug policy, mental health and social justice activists in Utah to collaborate in challenges to the Rowland case; co-sponsoring a coalition of grassroots women's health activists in South Carolina; and sending our National Educator to Utah, Kansas and other states to help build and support locally-based reproductive justice collaborations.
On the national level NAPW mobilizes scores of legal, public health and social justice groups nationwide to challenge punitive drug war and anti-abortion and pregnancy related laws and practices. For example, NAPW mobilized over 50 national and state public health leaders to write a public letter to a local prosecutor challenging the arrest of a pregnant woman who drank alcohol and was charged with child endangerment for "feeding her blood" to her "unborn child." Over the years we have organized more than 100 organizations and experts to join amicus briefs in federal and state court cases and to sign on to public letters that help explain why anti-abortion claims of fetal rights hurt pregnant women and children, challenge the dehumanization of pregnant women and drug exposed children, and call attention to the dangers of costly, counterproductive punitive drug war approaches.
Eve Ensler - author of the Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day: A Global Activist Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls - wrote a statement to be read at the rally in support of Bei Bei Shuai. Download and read her statement here.
The fight is not over, and we must keep the pressure on! Urge Indiana to drop the charges against Bei Bei Shuai, sign the online petition here, and sign up for our newsletters to keep following the action.
Below read about NAPW and local activists's pre-rally organizing efforts, preparation, and materials:
Join us in Indianapolis, IN at City Market (222 E. Market Street) at 2pm for a Rally in Support of Bei Bei Shuai and All Pregnant Women!
On April 6th and before, here are 3 important ways you can support this effort:
- Show up! Join NAPW's ED Lynn Paltrow and encourage all of your friends, family, students, or local organizations/chapters to come too!
- Spread the word! Visit and Share the Facebook event! Share the flyers and posters! Blog about it! Send an email blast to supporters! Sign the online petition!
- Speak out! Just as NAPW Board President, Jeanne Flavin, and ED, Lynn Paltrow, have done in this piece.
NAPW supports, attends, and speaks at 3rd Annual Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference in Oklahoma
NAPW continued to support the organization and planning of the Third Annual Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference.
The successful conference took place from February 15-16, 2013 in Norman, Oklahoma, with over 250 "red state" activists advocating for Reproductive Justice. NAPW attended and spoke at the conference and supported first-time "red state" advocates to also attend.
Read media about the event's success and impact. We look forward to next year's fourth annual - February 21-22, 2014!
While the South Dakota Governor's decision to sign into law a ban on virtually all abortions is horrifying to many, it should not come as a much of a surprise.
Anti-abortion and conservative forces have spent the last 30 years working at the grassroots to inspire and mobilize activists and to elect anti-choice policymakers who can pass ever more restrictive abortion laws. While pro-choice and progressive activists have been very good at stopping those laws once enacted, relatively few resources have been invested in grassroots and state based activism that would prevent these laws from passing in the first place.