7:15 pm | documentary | Panel after the screening to discuss election impact on reproductive rights.
Although 59 percent of US adults say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, it remains one of the most divisive issues in America: Not a week passes without headlines chronicling attempts at every level of government to deny or defend women’s reproductive rights.
Over the past five years, hundreds of incremental changes in state laws have slowly chipped away at women’s reproductive rights. And with the election of Donald Trump and the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court, we are closer than ever to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Yet in the months since Trump was elected and Republicans took control of all three branches of government, women (and men) have stepped up to be heard, from the very day after the inauguration, when millions marched in protest, to the current #MeToo moment, in which thousands are breaking their silence and speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse.
So, too, have women vehemently demonstrated against the latest attempts by conservatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and legislate further restrictions. Which is why we’re posting a new video series, NO CHOICE, to remind us just what the United States was like before abortion was legal, when abortions were dangerous, traumatic and often deadly, and how Roe v. Wade made a difference. Here, women share their personal stories. They’re speaking up to combat the stigma that still surrounds their choice, to remind people of the way things used to be and to bring awareness to the barriers that still exist, especially for poor women and women of color.
Listen to these brave women — and one male doctor — tell their stories, and think about what America would be like for men and women if Roe v. Wade were no longer the law of the land: if there were NO CHOICE.
Ruth-Ellen Blodgett is the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley in New York State. She has been a Planned Parenthood CEO for 14 years and has been at PPMHV since 2008. Immediately prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Ms. Blodgett was Vice President for community-based outpatient services including primary care, women’s health, and behavioral health services at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, New York and served as interim-Executive Director of a Federally Qualified Health System.
Health system transformation has been a focus of much of her career. At Samaritan she facilitated merging private practice groups into the hospital’s evolving healthcare network. At Planned Parenthood she led the merger of PP Northern New York with another upstate New York affiliate. Currently she is co-facilitating the merger exploration process for six affiliates in New York State.
Ms. Blodgett’s thirty-year career in the New York health caresystem includes designing and implementing NYS Department of Health funded rural and women’s health networks for which she received an award from the New York State Perinatal Association.
Actively involved in policy-making in New York State, Ms. Blodgett served on the Women’s Health Advisory Committee to New York State Assembly Health Committee and was Co-Chair of the Governor’s New York State Division for Women. She also sat on the Governor’s Task Force to frame the first 1115 Medicaid Waiver for New York. Ms. Blodgett has served in leadership positions at Family Planning Advocates of New York State and most recently on the PAC Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, the New York State advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood. Ms. Blodgett holds a B.A. from Bard College and a Master’s in Health Policy from the State University of New York. In her spare time, Ms. Blodgett spends as much of it as possible with her seven sons and twelve grandchildren.
This is the last in the Social justice series produced by Sally Roy (Bill Moyers)