Not Your Wedge Issue: The State of Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice

Not Your Wedge Issue: The State of Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice

Session Type(s): Plenary

Starts: Saturday, Jul. 16 11:30 AM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Jul. 16 12:45 PM (Eastern)

Abortion is not a wedge issue. Abortion is health care, a constitutionally guaranteed right that for far too many people in far too many states is now a right in name only. Join us for a plenary session to explore the state of abortion access and reproductive justice. Hear from reproductive justice and abortion rights activists about their work, what’s at stake, and how move from celebrating compromise as victory to winning.

Check out highlights from the session, as told by Netroots Nation attendees.


Pamela Merritt

Pamela Merritt

Pamela Merritt is executive director of Medical Students for Choice, a global non-profit working in over 30 countries to ensure that medical students and residents are educated about all aspects of reproductive health care, including abortion. Prior to joining MSFC, Pamela co-founded and served as the co-director of Reproaction, a national organization formed to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice. Pamela was a 2017 Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice Fellow at the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She is chair of the Guttmacher Institute Board of Directors and honorary chair of Reproaction’s Advisory Council. Pamela also serves on the Our Bodies Ourselves Today Leadership Council and chairs its Abortion and Contraception vertical. A longtime writer and progressive thought leader, Pamela’s personal blog ( was named one of the world’s 50 most powerful blogs in 2008 by The Guardian. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and the Rewire News Group.

my website

Rep. Jan Schakowsky


Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent Illinois’ 9th Congressional District in 1998, after serving for eight years in the Illinois State Assembly. Schakowsky serves in the House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and is a member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

A longtime grassroots organizer and consumer advocate, Schakowsky began her leadership career in 1969 when she led the fight that put freshness dates on products sold in the supermarket. In Congress, Schakowsky has been a leading advocate on senior issues, health care, women’s issues and creating jobs to strengthen and expand the middle class. Schakowsky has also been a leader in re-affirming Congress’ war-making authority, supporting refugees, and advocating for diplomatic solutions. She worked with Congressmen Lloyd Doggett (TX) and David Price (NC) to lead a letter from 151 members of Congress to the President to demonstrate support for the framework of the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran, an effort which played a crucial role in laying the foundation for securing enough votes to protect the Iran deal from congressional sabotage.

She lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband Robert Creamer and their two rescue dogs Eleanor and Franklin.

Other sessions: Ending the Endless War and Advancing a Progressive Global Vision

Aimee Thorne-Thompson


AIMEE THORNE-THOMSEN is a long-time activist whose work has focused on supporting young people to develop their skills and leadership around the reproductive health, rights and justice issues that most affect their lives. Currently, she is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships of Advocates for Youth, where she oversees and coordinates the development, implementation and evaluation of Advocates’ strategic partnerships with youth activists and organizations in allied social justice movements.  Prior to joining the Advocates staff, she was Interim Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and Executive Director of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP). She is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and Chair of the Board of Directors for Power California. 

Lizz Winstead


As co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and co-founder of Air America Radio, Lizz Winstead has helped changed the very landscape of how people get their news. Winstead also brought her political wit to The Daily Show as a correspondent and later to the radio waves co-hosting Unfiltered, Air America Radio’s mid-morning show, with Chuck D and Rachel Maddow. Lizz continues doing stand-up, but spends most of her time at the helm of Abortion Access Front (formerly Lady Parts Justice League), a NYC- based reproductive rights organization that she founded in 2015, which uses humor and outrage to expose anti-choice hypocrisy and mobilizes people to take action in all 50 states. Known as one of the top political satirists in America, Winstead has been recognized by all the major media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, O Magazine, Newsweek, Forbes, Now This, and as Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Most Creative People. Winstead’s first book, Lizz Free Or Die: Essays, was released in 2012 to incredible reviews, with Ms. Magazine saying, “Lizz Winstead is a sharp-witted truth-teller, and Lizz Free or Die will inspire anyone who has ever talked back to the television or wished they could come up with satire as insightful as The Daily Show.” To keep up with Lizz, follow her on Twitter @lizzwinstead or like her on Facebook

my website