FEBRUARY 1, 2017— The Public Leadership Institute today released the following statement regarding the recent nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“The nomination of Neil Gorsuch sends a clear signal that the Trump/Pence administration is making good on their promise to overturn Roe v. Wade. Given his record of siding with Hobby Lobby and challenging the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, as well as his work with Justice White, the architect for the decision that made same-sex activity illegal, there’s no doubt Gorsuch was nominated to fill the anti-woman, anti-LGBT shoes of Justice Scalia. We are prepared to work with advocates and policymakers to help vet Gorsuch on these critical issues and we expect a fair and transparent hearing of his views. And make no mistake—we will fight to ensure the rights and freedoms of women are protected in the process.” – Gloria Totten, founder and president of the Public Leadership Institute


Beth Cope, Executive Vice President, Public Leadership Institute


FEBRUARY 1, 2017– Today’s confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General is incredibly alarming considering the serious threat he poses to women’s reproductive rights nationwide. For decades, Mr. Sessions has worked to create hurdles for women to plan and control their reproductive and economic futures, including his support for a 20-week ban on abortion and measures to defund Planned Parenthood. In addition, he has on multiple occasions voted against policies that protect clinics from anti-abortion violence—this is particularly concerning given the Attorney General’s role in upholding the FACE Act and other measures to protect abortion clinic staff and facilities. Should Mr. Sessions continue his anti-abortion track record while at the helm of the Justice Department, the abortion rights movement is prepared to fight back at every turn to prevent violence against abortion providers and protect women’s constitutional right to abortion.” – Gloria Totten, founder and president of Public Leadership Institute


Beth Cope, Executive Vice President, Public Leadership Institute


With a wave of bills sweeping the country, abortion-rights policymakers signal they will not cede any ground to forces trying to restrict abortion

WASHINGTON, DC—Jan. 25, 2017—Elected officials from 18 states intend to jointly introduce legislation to protect or expand the right to abortion, standing together for reproductive freedoms in the face of the right wing’s anti-abortion agenda emboldened by Donald Trump’s election. The announcement was made today by the Public Leadership Institute (PLI), a policy organization that works with state and local legislators across the nation.

The coordinated bill announcements, introductions, and events are timed to coincide with the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Sunday, January 22, 2017. The states participating include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Bills are also being introduced in local municipalities in Austin and Travis County, Texas.

“Lawmakers and activists in the states are fighting back for abortion rights,” said Gloria Totten, founder and president of PLI. “Donald Trump may think he can steamroll anti-abortion policy at the federal level but legislators, councilmembers and commissioners—standing beside local activists—are going to fight him every step of the way.”

National polls have consistently shown that voters want to keep abortion legal and accessible. Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of Americans support the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade and only 28 percent want it overturned. A separate poll, commissioned by PLI and conducted by “the best pollster in politics” Ann Selzer during August 2016, confirmed that 69 percent favor Roe and, at the same time, found that at least 60 percent of Americans support ten different proactive abortion rights bills, and at least 75 percent support seven of those measures.

While the abortion rights bills and local ordinances being introduced differ from state-to-state, each one supports the majority opinion that abortion should be legal and accessible, and that reproductive health care should be medically accurate. Many of the bills are adopted from or modeled after legislation published by PLI in the Playbook for Abortion Rights – a unique resource for policymakers, advocates and the public that provides 29 model policies necessary for improving women’s access to abortion care and shifting the debate about abortion.

“With abortion rights now under attack at the federal and state levels, it is more critical than ever for lawmakers and advocates to champion proactive legislation that will reverse the tide of anti-abortion restrictions in the states and preserve a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about abortion,” said Totten.


The Public Leadership Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and leadership center organized to raise public awareness on key issues and to develop public leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. The organization conducts non-partisan research, policy development, education and organizing activities to increase public awareness of issues related to the economy, civil rights, education, health care, the environment and reproductive freedom and provides educational conferences, programs, trainings, materials and opportunities that enable individuals to learn and apply the skills required to be effective public leaders.