Despite these challenges, we knew we had to respond quickly. We started by organizing a coalition of Atlanta-based organizations to expand our capacity and bring partners together who could rapidly work to develop our strategy and tactics. In addition to SisterSong, the coalition included: 

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! 

Feminist Women’s Health Center (Atlanta) 

Planned Parenthood of the Southeast Region

SisterLove, Inc. (a women’s HIV/AIDS organization) 

Raksha (an Asian-American women’s domestic violence organization) 

Each coalition partner played a unique role in the work. For example, SPARK did a great deal of work mobilizing young voices, organizing protests, and generating community conversations about eugenics, the role of abortion within the community, as well as how black women see themselves as providers. Paris Hatcher, SPARK’s executive director, led the campaign against CBS, challenging them to discontinue the billboards, and brought pressure to bear on this corporate giant through a national petition campaign. 

One of the main reasons why women of color were successful in defeating this bill is because we built a strong collaboration of organizations nationwide that have diverse capabilities. Local organizations in our coalition played different roles based on their strengths in various areas. Some of their contributions and strengths include: 

Feminist Women’s Health Center

• Provided a paid lobbyist to discuss our concerns with legislators through her long-standing relationships with legislators 

• Provided background information on Democrats and Republicans in the legislature 

• Helped organize a network of doctors willing to work with the coalition who testified against the bill 

• Located legal scholars to contest the constitutionality of the legislation 

Planned Parenthood of Southeast Region

• Has a large database, with 88 governed affiliates and 840 centers nationwide 

• Having been in operation for 90 years, Planned Parenthood offered a range of research that proved extremely helpful in providing citizens and legislators with the facts, such as the locations of clinics around the state 

• Planned Parenthood Federation of America also provided the expert testimony of Dr. Vanessa Cullins, their Medical Director 

• Provided media coaching for younger spokespersons 

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! 

• SPARK is agile and able to mobilize hundreds of young activists quickly for legislative advocacy through its Legislate This! annual campaign. This enabled them to organize people in the community, especially LGBTQ activists. 

• Mapped the billboard placements in Atlanta 

• Wrote press releases and talking points 

• Protested at the billboards to raise community awareness 

• Put pressure on CBS through calls to CBS Outdoor Vice President Jodi Senese to urge them not to renew the contract with the Radiance Foundation 

• Helped with research and testimony preparation, ensuring a wide diversity of voices who testified 

• Did national and local media interviews 

• Provided 30 activists to make legislative visits 

• Principal organizer for the “Trust Black Women” rally and protest against the Pro-Life Freedom Bus at the MLK King Center in July 

• Recruited anti-racist organizations such as the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement 


• SisterSong managed the local coalition 

• Activated our large national base of women of color for letter writing, phone calls, and statements of support 

• Provided knowledge and expertise on African Americans and abortion, which proved invaluable when constructing fact sheets, helping with testimonies, and organizing community members 

• Used our knowledge of and contacts with legislators, civil rights leaders, women’s rights leaders, and religious leaders to gain their support, especially assisted by Heidi Williamson of SisterSong and Nikema Williams of Planned Parenthood of the Southeast 

• Used our communications capacity to issue weekly updates to our base, write statements and fact sheets, and organize the press conference and media interviews 

• Helped women of color prepare testimonies and made sure that community members were speaking to the media to affirm that the public face of this campaign was women of color speaking for ourselves 


• Because Raksha is an Asian American organization, they provided a unique perspective on how the legislation would affect their communities through the sex-selection aspects of the bill. 

• Raksha provided testimony on the intersection of violence against women and reproductive oppression 

• Monitored and testified at committee hearings  


• Primarily an HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness organization, SisterLove has a strong relationship with medical professionals. As a result, they offered a wide network of doctors, including the Rebecca Lee Society of black female doctors, who provided knowledge about how this bill would inevitably affect their practices 

• Ensured that four HIV+ women testified, spoke at the press conference, and made legislative visits 

• Helped prepare testimony for HIV+ women on the intersection between sexual rights, HIV/AIDS and abortion rights 

• Participated in protests of the Pro-Life Freedom Bus 

• Broadcast interviews on their radio show on WRFG