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State attacks on reproductive rights catalyze a new campaign

State reproductive rights legislation is at an all-time high, with more than 250 pieces of anti-choice legislation introduced this year alone.
Padma Lakshmi is seen in Hollywood, Aug. 25, 2014.
Padma Lakshmi is seen in Hollywood, Aug. 25, 2014.

The Center for Reproductive Rights on Wednesday launched  a new storytelling campaign amid recent legislative attacks on women’s access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare.

The initiative -- in which individuals are asked to share their personal stories on how reproductive healthcare has affected them via video, audio recording, or a written piece -- was  kicked off by model and Bravo “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi.

In a two-minute video, Lakshmi shares her years-long  struggle with endometriosis, a painful, chronic condition that often leads to infertility. 

Access to high-quality reproductive health care made a huge difference in her life, Lakshmi said, adding she had been very lucky to get pregnant.

“I had access to the best physicians and the best medical treatment. I think about my peers in other parts of the country who may not have access to all the resources that I have access to. I can’t imagine what starting motherhood under those circumstances would be like,” the 44-year-old says in the video.

Lakshmi adds, “I think what politicians and representatives need to remember is that they represent us. Their responsibility is to allow all of their constituents the right and access to good, sound healthcare, including reproductive healthcare.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo and singer Dee Dee Bridgewater also shared personal accounts.

According to CRR’s 2014 State of the State report, attacks on reproductive rights by state legislatures are at an all-time high with more than 250 pieces of anti-choice legislation being introduced since the beginning of the year. The report notes that more anti-choice legislation -- often spearheaded by the right -- has been passed in the previous three years in comparison with the previous decade.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of CRR -- a nonprofit, legal advocacy organization, said its time to “remind politicians that our reproductive health care is an essential part of our health, well-being, and lives. It’s time for each and every one of us to tell our elected officials: My word is the last word on my reproductive health.”