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Mermell Unveils Comprehensive Reproductive Rights Agenda

Feb 03, 2020

February 3, 2019

Mermell Unveils Comprehensive Reproductive Rights Agenda

Former Planned Parenthood Leader Prioritizes Abortion Rights In “Bold” Plan

ATTLEBORO – Jesse Mermell today unveiled an aggressive agenda for protecting reproductive rights and expanding access to reproductive health care for all. This is her first policy proposal of the campaign and highlights her career fighting for, and winning, on reproductive rights issues. 

Mermell, a former Planned Parenthood staffer during the heart of the Affordable Care Act debate, has spent her career championing reproductive rights and has put protecting them at the center of her campaign. She is the first candidate in the race for Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District to release a comprehensive reproductive rights plan.

Reproductive rights are under serious threat in 2020. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case since the addition of two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The case being heard could deliver an existential blow to Roe v. Wade and upend our nation’s reproductive health care system. The Court also recently agreed to hear a case that could severely limit contraceptive coverage across the country.

In addition to working to ensure that reproductive care was covered as preventative care under the Affordable Care Act while serving as Vice President of External Affairs of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Mermell has worked to protect the right to choose in a number of roles. She organized progressive business leaders to fight for the ACCESS Bill and the ROE Act in Massachusetts as the President of the Alliance for Business Leadership, she fought to elect pro-choice women to office up and down the ballot as the head of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, and she worked to increase the number of weeks that abortion care is covered under Medicare in Massachusetts while serving in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration.

“At a time when an extremist anti-choice movement is determined to decimate Roe v. Wade and upend our reproductive health system, and at a time when Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have stacked the Supreme Court with conservative anti-choice justices, it is essential that we send candidates to Washington who will champion reproductive freedom,” said Mermell

“This plan is the culmination of the 20-year career I’ve built fighting on the frontlines to ensure that reproductive health care is inclusive, accessible, and affordable for all. I am uniquely equipped to lead on this issue for the people of Massachusetts’ Fourth District, with the personal passion and the professional experience that will be necessary as we face the toughest battle in the fight to protect the right to choose since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. ”

Mermell’s plan outlines six legislative actions she will introduce on day one in Congress:

  1. Codify Roe v. Wade in federal law to ensure Americans are protected in the event of a Supreme Court ruling that rolls back the rights and protections of Roe. This legislation must protect both the rights of providers and patients.
  2. Repeal the Hyde Amendment to remove barriers to accessing care, particularly for low-income people and people of color.
  3. Rescue Title X from the Trump Administration and fully fund the program. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, there are three Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the Fourth District– in Attleboro, Fall River, and Taunton.
  4. Keep federal money out of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are fake health centers that aim to prevent people considering abortion care from receiving that care.
  5. Fund comprehensive sex education programs, such as the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program.
  6. End the global gag rule by supporting the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act and seek to restore American leadership on free speech and women’s health throughout the world.

Mermell’s plan won acclaim from abortion rights activists:

“Jesse Mermell’s reproductive rights agenda is what every pro-choice politician should be advocating for in Congress, ” said Naomi Aberly, former chair of the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Her plan is comprehensive, equitable, and achievable. We are well past the time when it is simply enough to say that you support abortion rights– we need leaders who will prioritize them and fight tirelessly for them. Jesse Mermell is that candidate.”

“It comes as no surprise to me that Jesse Mermell has a bold, comprehensive plan to protect and expand reproductive rights,” said Michael Falcone, who spent close to a decade as NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts’ Political Director and the Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. “With her deep experience on this critical work, she understands the small details that make a big difference. At a time when Roe is under attack from all angles, we need people like Jesse in Congress who have the drive to champion reproductive freedom.”