In September, we spoke with Amanda Patton, a spunky, bright 28-year old reproductive health activist and founder of Pro-Choice Cats (www.prochoicecats.com), about her 2015 efforts to raise money to put pro-choice billboards near the state house in Columbus. Just a few days ago, Amanda’s billboards went back up, this time targeting the dangerous Trump campaign.
Cats and reproductive rights are Amanda’s two primary passions. Using the internet’s obsession with funny felines, she was able to combine the two and start a locally-minded social movement. Pro-Choice Cats is an advocacy group that raises awareness for abortion rights and access in Columbus, Ohio.
Through social media, sales of her products (t-shirts, cross-stitch art, stickers, etc.), and word of mouth, Amanda has raised enough money to support pro-choice billboards in Columbus. They are strategically placed along the only route to the state house. The billboards first made their appearance in November of 2015, receiving a lot of support – as well as a lot of backlash. Anti-choice groups would park their slogan-covered trailer under the billboard in protest.
“Our main point was to send the message to our state legislators that there are pro-choice people in the community paying attention and voting,” Amanda says.
In 2014, Amanda received a photo of anti-choice protesters harassing women outside of a Toledo abortion clinic. Shocked and outraged, she found herself inspired to protect women seeking reproductive healthcare. Soon after, Amanda began volunteering at the Founder’s Women’s Health Center—the last independent abortion provider in Columbus.
“My friends and I would walk patients from their cars to the front door of the clinic to help them feel safe in the face of the aggressive anti-choice protesters. After a few months, I quit my job in the tech industry and began working inside of Founder’s as a patient advocate.”
Whether it is through guiding women through prohibitive reproductive health laws, lobbying for laws to protect women from facing harassment while accessing health care, or putting up billboards that call out anti-choice politicians, Amanda is dedicated to continuing her valuable work.
“A big motivator is seeing people [who] want to take our rights away,” Amanda says determinedly. One of these people is Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has continue to support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, threatened to limit women’s rights, and bragged about his own sexual assault allegations.
With the support of her allies and fans of Pro-Choice Cats, Amanda continues to stand up for access to reproductive healthcare.