Dear Friends and Allies,
NAPW knows that we can adhere to the recommendations for social distancing while still fighting for social justice. As we monitor the rapidly changing developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking every measure to protect the well-being of our staff while not wavering in our commitment to advocating for reproductive health, rights, and justice.
NAPW staff remains a team while working remotely. We are answering the phones. We are working on cases. And we are organizing and educating.
One thing we are not doing is being surprised by the lack of preparedness for COVID-19 from the Trump administration. The administration's response to COVID-19 revealed a dangerous disregard for science. We are familiar with this disregard - it reflects the same disdain for science that the administration has shown when it comes to reproductive health generally and abortion care specifically. In fact, in 2017, the Trump administration told top public health officials not to use certain words, including "fetus" and "diversity." There is no surprise in light of the slow and inadequate response to the current pandemic that "evidence-based" and "science-based" were also on that list.
But, as we all work together to follow health recommendations (we won't be offended if you break from reading this to wash your hands), many of us no doubt are dealing with disappointment for the many family, social, and work events that have been canceled or postponed. As we shift all communications to digital spaces for the time being, NAPW is disappointed that we will not see our peers in person at critical information-sharing and ally-building conferences and educational forums.
Of the many, one particularly heartbreaking cancellation is the Wisconsin Film Festival. We were thrilled to learn that "PERSONHOOD: Policing Pregnant Women in America" was selected for this festival. While the film has been accepted for a number of notable festivals that have already occurred, including DOC NYC and the Athena Film Festival, this excellent and moving documentary focuses on a Wisconsin case that NAPW helped bring to the federal courts. We were looking forward to working with the filmmakers and our allies at Reproactionto use the festival as an opportunity to build state-based knowledge and power that could be used to shut down Wisconsin's Unborn Child Protection Act. We know that the filmmakers will be thinking about how to distribute the film in these chaotic, no-social-gathering times. We look forward to supporting the film's distribution so as many people as possible can watch this must-see story exposing the impact of fetal personhood laws on the rights and health of all people.
NAPW will also be providing digital communications through webinars. This Friday, March 20, we have a planned webinar with the Birth Rights Bar Association "Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood" featuring Michele Goodwin, J.D. (please see graphic and registration information below). Follow our social media for updates on future webinars and actions we may ask you to take from home.
Despite the anxiety, disruption, and illness caused by COVID-19, we hope there will be positive lessons learned from this experience. Indeed, this story about the work of motherhood (that specifically mentions NAPW) is extremely relevant at a time when schools are shut down, and the unpaid essential work of childcare is literally driven home.
In the meantime, we urge you to follow the calls for social distancing and send our wishes for health and safety.
Lynn M. Paltrow
Founder and Executive Director
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
Join Our Webinar on 3/20/20. Register here