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These actresses have a really important message about abortion rights.

The actresses share the stories of the 1 in 3 women who have had abortions.

Friday marks the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The ruling established that access to an abortion is a constitutionally-protected right. Even so, more than four decades later, politicians and activists continue to fight that established law, doing what they can to find loopholes in the decision.

Whether it's making abortion an unrealistic option for low-income women, as 1976's Hyde Amendment did by preventing Medicaid from covering the cost of abortion, or placing state-level restrictions in place, such as the hundreds that have been enacted in just the past few years, it's clear this fight is, sadly, far from over.


A pro-choice protester outside the Supreme Court in 2005. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

On March 2, the Supreme Court is taking up another abortion rights case — and this could change everything.

The case, Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, stems from a 2013 Texas law that, if allowed to go into effect, would lead to the shuttering of more than 75% of the state's abortion-providing women's health clinics.

This case could be the setup for a challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision sometime in the coming years. (If you wonder why this presidential election is so important, keep in mind that the next president may nominate up to four Supreme Court justices during their time in office.)

To draw attention to Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, one organization enlisted the help of some celebrities.

The Center for Reproductive Rights teamed up with actresses Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, Dascha Polanco, Retta, and Bellamy Young to help tell the stories of real women who've had abortions over the years.

The campaign, titled Draw the Line, has the actresses sharing the emotional stories of what other women have gone through in the process of getting an abortion.

For some, the stories centered around unplanned pregnancies or the health of the woman:


Bellamy Young, from "Scandal," shared Faith's story. GIFs via the Center for Reproductive Rights.


"Orange Is the New Black" star Dascha Polanco shared Kayleigh's story, about a woman who simply didn't have the emotional or financial resources to care for a child.

Other stories touched on some of the tough truths about planned pregnancies that went awry:

Retta of "Parks and Rec" told the story of Rosario, a woman who had undergone years of fertility treatments only to learn her pregnancy wasn't viable.


Amy Brenneman, from "The Leftovers," told Whitney's story, about a woman who learned at 19 weeks that her fetus either wouldn't survive birth or would die soon after. Her story has a happy ending, however: she gave birth exactly one year after her abortion.

And some stories show the effect of laws meant to deter women from having abortions and the stigma that goes along with it:

Mary McCormack told Susanne's story, about a woman forced to drive out of state in order to receive medical care.


Elizabeth Banks told Rebecca's story, which actually has a happy ending: her friend who had been vocally anti-choice showed her support in the end.

The reality is that 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will have an abortion at some point in their lifetime.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, explains the motivation behind the videos in a press release:

“The stories highlighted by these incredible actresses tell the important and moving story of women who face many obstacles to access their constitutionally-protected right to an abortion. We’re so grateful to Amy, Bellamy, Dascha, Elizabeth, Mary, Mercedes, and Retta for using their talent and voice to help amplify these incredible stories.

The reality is that one in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion at some point in her lifetime. And for the last 43 years, our constitutional rights have protected each of those women’s decisions.

As we prepare to argue for women’s access to safe, legal abortion services before the U.S. Supreme Court, we need to make it clear to politicians exactly what’s at stake when they attack our reproductive freedom and fundamental rights.

This is about real women’s lives, health, and families. It’s time to stand up and be heard. It’s time to say that enough is enough, and that we are drawing the line.”





You can help by amplifying their stories and using the hashtag #drawtheline on social media.

The videos can be found on the Center for Reproductive Rights' website, and they're asking everybody to tag tweets and other social media posts to #drawtheline against attacks on safe, affordable, and accessible abortion.

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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