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New report outlines action agenda for interlocking issues of reproductive, racial, criminal justice

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2017
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR / 212-255-2575

Report briefing puts human face to Black women’s reproductive justice challenges

WASHINGTON — Today, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda launched its groundbreaking new report on the state of Black women and reproductive justice. The report offers firsthand accounts of the lived experiences of Black women, giving voice to issues including abortion access, the Affordable Care Act, maternal health and equal access to contraception.

“We held listening sessions with Black women across the country,” said Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice. “This report documents the real-life barriers to reproductive health that Black women face and examines the impact of these barriers on our lives.”

The report, “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Voices: The State of Black Women and Reproductive Justice,” exposes how both political parties give short shrift to the needs of Black women. One party consistently fails to address police violence against Black people even as we witness yet another Black woman — Charleena Lyles — being murdered in front of her own children.

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Black Women Denounce Killing of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police

Statement of In Our Own Voice Founder and Executive Director Marcela Howell

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sunday, June 18, 2017, Charleena Lyles was shot dead, in her
own home, by two white, Seattle police officers, who responded to her report of a burglary.
Lyles was a 30-year-old Black woman. Her four children were in the apartment and may have
witnessed the shooting and her death. The officers report that Lyles, after calling them for help,
threatened them with a knife. Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own
Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement:

“Charleena Lyles called the police for help and ended up murdered by the very people she
looked to for protection. Her name is added to the seemingly endless list of Black women and
men killed by police violence. Like always, Black communities will await the results of an
investigation to determine whether anyone will be charged with her death.

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Black women call for more action to stop the attack on voting rights.

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2017
Contact: Amy Lebowitz, Camino PR / 212-255-2575

Statement from In Our Own Voice

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the decision of lower court in the North Carolina voting rights case, which ruled that the 2013 voting law discriminated against African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”  Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in response:

“The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the North Carolina voting rights case is a small step in the right direction for civil rights. Efforts to suppress Black voters have ramped up across the country and must be stopped.

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Black women denounce new Voting Commission

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2017
Contact: Loretta Kane (917-410-7242 or

Statement from In Our Own Voice


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, the White House announced the creation of a commission to investigate voter fraud, spurred by Trump’s unfounded claims of voting irregularities during the 2016 elections. Marcela Howell, Founder and Executive Director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement:

“The president has established a commission to investigate his own trumped up charges of voter fraud. He has appointed a known and proven enemy of voter rights, Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who — despite his allegations of widespread voting by noncitizens — has only prosecuted a small number of cases in his own state, to head this effort.

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Reproductive Justice Advocates Urge Senate Judiciary Panel to Block Confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch

For Immediate Release: March 15, 2017
For Interviews Contact:

Washington, D.C. — In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), along with 43 reproductive justice organizations, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to reject the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court because of his hostile record on women’s rights, which particularly impacts communities of color.

In the letter, reproductive justice groups stated, “Gorsuch’s record on human rights and justice issues is deplorable, and is especially detrimental and hostile towards women of color, youth, LGBTQ people and immigrants. It is clear that if nominated to the highest court in the land, he will take the country backwards not forward. As advocates for reproductive justice, we implore you to stand up for the rights of all people and block the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.”

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Women Win: U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

June 27 2016

Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her health, family and future— no matter where she lives. By striking down the Texas law, HB2, the Court kept current clinics open in Texas, and set a precedent so that more clinics can open or reopen in the future.

“This is a win not just for women in Texas, but for women across the country,” stated Marcela Howell, founder and executive director for In Our Own Voice:National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “This decision sends a clear message to politicians set on denying women’s constitutional right to an abortion that these baseless and deceptive laws are unacceptable.”

Black women, young women, immigrant women and low-income women in Texas stand to benefit the most from this decision. The 725,000 Black women of reproductive age in Texas, plus the 12.5 million Black women in the other 20+ states with similar sham laws, will potentially be saved from higher costs, longer delays and extra steps when seeking an abortion thanks to the SCOTUS action. 

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