In December 2016, after the presidential election, a group of nine mothers came together to discuss their rising concerns with the current political situation.
We came from neighboring towns, had children of all different ages, vastly different careers, and backgrounds, some were American born, others foreign, some were friends and some were meeting for the first time. We came from different points on the political spectrum, but one deep connection that we shared was our growing concern over the increasing restriction of reproductive rights across our country. We wanted to protect a person’s right to choose and improve access to reproductive health care for all people, especially those with less economic privilege. Based upon this powerful unifying concern, we created our agenda and formed Stanton Strong.
Our organization was named in honor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pre-eminent suffragist who lived and worked in our local area of Tenafly, New Jersey, where many of our co-founders live today. Her house still stands today as a national historic landmark. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a trailblazer in so many ways: she was a main author of the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, the first woman to run for Congress, and an outspoken figure for women’s suffrage. While Stanton was an inspiring figure, we recognize that she was not perfect. She made many comments over her life suggesting that she did not advocate for all women. We at Stanton Strong strive to represent and fight for all people, no matter their color, class, religion, or identity, and we are constantly learning and bettering ourselves. Stanton Strong is non-partisan, and our focus is always on educating, advocating, and fundraising to empower all people.
There has been an ongoing attack on women – mostly poor women and women of color – by government policies to restrict women’s reproductive health care rights across the country. Going back to the passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1974, in response to Roe v Wade, it has always been a slow, steady, and deliberate plan that has more recently turned into a full-fledged assault on reproductive healthcare. From cutting “family planning” funding at state and federal levels to the proliferation of state TRAP laws designed to restrict a woman’s access to safe abortion and to appointing anti-choice judges across the country, lawmakers have been whittling away women’s reproductive rights.
We are angry at this ongoing assault on low-income and people of color, but we are also inspired by the growing number of advocates and activists who are fighting back and succeeding in increasing access in some states across the country.
The mission we are on is critical; we must stand together with other advocates to educate and mobilize, to defend reproductive rights, and to increase access to reproductive healthcare for all people, regardless of zip code.