Mayors from across the country have waded into the “war on women.”
At their annual meeting in Orlando, Florida over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution in support of funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s access to abortion services and contraception. The nonpartisan organization representing mayors from over 1,300 cities criticized both state governments and Congress for attempting to roll back women’s access to reproductive care.
In the resolution, the mayors pointed to anti-choice legislation in several states including the now-infamous mandatory ultrasound laws that caused an uproar earlier this year in Virginia, as well as state laws that ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy “regardless of the women’s situation, without exceptions to protect her health, and in violation of the right to privacy guaranteed under Roe v. Wade.” The mayors also chided Congress for voting to defund Title X and Planned Parenthood as well as several other anti-choice bills approved by the Republican-majority House of Representatives since 2010. “(The) U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress and the states to pursue a positive agenda that reaffirms fundamental rights and improves women’s access to safe and comprehensive reproductive-health care,” the resolution concludes.
“When it comes to reproductive health decisions, nobody knows better than an individual woman what is best for herself and her family,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the sponsors of the resolution. “New York City is committed to supporting a woman’s right to choose and ensuring that all New Yorkers have the information, and access to care, they need to make safe and healthy decisions.”
Other mayors who helped introduce the resolution included Sam Adams of Portland, Oregon., Ed Lee of San Francisco, Mike McGinn of Seattle, Pedro E. Segarra of Hartford and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.
With Washington beset by gridlock, mayors are playing a more visible role in national politics, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle. Some of the most prominent Democratic surrogates for President Obama include Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, chairman of the Democratic National Convention. As TPM reported in May, Obama worked hard to unite Democratic mayors behind him this cycle. “Maybe I’m putting that too strongly,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told TPM, “But mayors have a lot of credibility these days that you don’t find in Congress.”
NARAL-Pro Choice president Nancy Keenan praised the mayors’ resolution. “These mayors collectively represent millions of Americans in communities where the public-health programs and clinics under attack by members of Congress and state legislators provide basic care for their residents. We are inspired by the mayors who supported this resolution, and we salute them for stepping up in support of women’s freedom and privacy,” Keenan said.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.