Statement read by NWPC LA Westside Board Member, Barbi Appelquist for the May 21, 2019 #StopTheBan Rally in West Hollywood. Full video below.
I am Barbi Appelquist and I have served on the board of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Los Angeles Westside chapter since 2014.
Thank you to Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Horvath and the City of West Hollywood for organizing today’s press conference.
As my fellow NWPC leaders have mentioned, we are a multi-partisan, grassroots, membership organization dedicated to identifying, training, recruiting, and supporting pro-choice women running for local and state elected or appointed positions. The LA Westside chapter focuses on supporting pro-choice women from the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Malibu, as well as unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County. Within our region, our LA Westside chapter endorses for City Council districts, School Board, and other boards and local office - as well as providing support for those State and City wide endorsed candidates.
I am here to share our local chapter support of the City of West Hollywood, America's first pro-choice city, to denounce the restrictive unconstitutional anti-choice legislation sweeping across state legislatures.
This is personal. I was born and raised on military bases, from Fort Gordon, Georgia to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. My childhood peers risk lack of proper medical care or jail time merely because of where they live. Most Americans agree that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is for the woman to decide. A woman should be able to obtain a medical or surgical abortion, especially to save her life or in cases of rape and incest. However, too many legislators have become gynecologists, psychologists, and pediatricians almost overnight, declaring when life begins without looking at data. Too many lawmakers have decided they are medical experts with lifetime sentences for doctors who perform the procedure or the women who terminate a pregnancy. That is why these restrictive abortion bans punishing women and doctors is unconscionable.
Who we elect matters from City Council and School Board all the way up to the President of the United States. When we look at those who passed into law these restrictive anti-choice bills, they are overwhelmingly older white lawmakers who are neither prochoice nor women.
In Alabama the majority of Republican men who voted for this law won their seats in uncontested elections, regardless if they were incumbents or first time candidates.
As we have seen in California when our local elected and state leaders are women, we have more progressive legislation that supports equality, like the expansion of paid family leave and early childhood education or the end of the tampon tax.
It is important to note, that women have signed into law or drafted many of these anti choice bills. But we must remember that not all women are pro choice. Too often, party trumps what is right for your constituents.
Our elected officials must see every person as an equal member in our community, whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, intersex, cis-female, cis-male, born in this country, or a dreamer. I am raising my daughter to know that women’s rights are human rights. And every person deserves safe and affordable reproductive health care. I am proud to be part of an organization that supports leaders like Mayor Pro Tem who recognize this truth.
This is why our local chapter of the NWPC stands with the City of West Hollywood, America's first pro-choice city, to denounce Georgia’s HB 481, Alabama’s HB314 and similar legislation in Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana and legislation introduced in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Texas.
I ask the other cities in Los Angeles County to follow West Hollywood’s leadership. Stop the abortion bans. Support women. Support reproductive health care.