Collaboration Across Race in the Reproductive Movement: A Case Study of the Reproductive Health Equity Act in Oregon

This report explores the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), one of the most comprehensive reproductive health bills in the country. RHEA was signed into law on August 15, 2017 and while the bill itself is worthy of celebration, the people and organizations that worked together to bring about this success also deserve recognition.

Only a few years before the passage of RHEA, when the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon (PCCO) was predominantly white-led, they attempted to introduce a similar, though less inclusive, reproductive health bill. The defeat of this initial bill prompted PCCO to return to the drawing board not only to draft new legislation, but to build a collaborative, cross-movement effort. PCCO reassessed their organizational makeup to bring in the voices and experiences of people of color-led groups. The new coalition worked together to build trust, overcome internal conflict, and establish and protect reproductive rights.

Key Insights

  • People of color-led organizations and communities played a leading role in the success of RHEA. This challenges and disproves the common misconception that only middle-class white women are concerned about reproductive rights, health, and justice issues.
  • Long before RHEA was proposed and worked on, leaders of color were building relationships with one another and creating agendas that addressed reproductive justice.
  • Prior to actually working on the bill, PCCO members spent time building trust, developing shared values, and identifying key issues that needed to be included in RHEA

More About Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon (PCCO) Members

Steering Committee:

  • ACLU of Oregon is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities.
  • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) has worked for social justice for over 15 years, and continues to evolve as Oregon’s leading Asian and Pacific Islander grassroots advocacy organization.
  • Family Forward Oregon is a grassroots organization mobilizing parents to advocate for bold, universal policies that benefit ALL families.
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon develops and sustains a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every person who can become pregnant the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.
  • Oregon Latino Health Coalition is dedicated to eliminating health disparities affecting Oregon Latinas and Latinos through leadership, collaboration and advocacy.
  • Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the political arm of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon engages in educational and electoral activity including public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.
  • Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy so that all people can live, love, and work free from fear.

The full list of supporting members can be found here.

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