Laphonza Butler Becomes First Black Woman To Lead Emily's List

Laphonza Butler

Photo: Getty Images

Laphonza Butler has made history as the first Black woman to lead Emily's List, an organization that backs women in politics who are pro-choice. Prior to taking this position, Butler worked as part of S.E.I.U. California for two decades. While there, she advocated for raising the minimum wage among other things. In her new position, she will have to use those tools as Emily's List navigates a challenging political climate.

“As someone who has spent her entire career empowering women, I am excited to continue that work as the leader of an organization that has changed the face of American politics at all levels. As the first woman of color and first mother in this role, I am proud to bring my lived experiences along with my organizing and political experiences to the job,” Butler said.

“I look forward to working with the organization’s talented and dedicated staff and partners to write EMILY’s List’s next chapter. That chapter will be about expanding our base even more, from our members and donors to our candidates and our voters. We want to ensure that more young women and women of color are bringing their political engagement to EMILY’s List and helping us do what we do best: WIN.”

Butler will take over the organization during a challenging time in politics. Recently, Greg Abbott signed a bill that would criminalize those seeking abortion in the state of Texas. After public outcry grew louder and louder, the Department of Justice stepped in and sued the state of Texas.

"The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent," the lawsuit states.

"Those precedents hold, in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that 'regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.'"

Elsewhere, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order that restricts access to abortion medication. Moving forward, residents will be required to get an examination from a state-licensed physician before getting medication. Furthermore, the executive order bars residents from receiving abortion medication by mail.

“I will continue working with the legislature and my Unborn Child Advocate to ensure that South Dakota remains a strong pro-life state," Noem stated.

As midterm election campaigns heat up, Butler says that Emily's List will push Republicans to clarify their stances on abortion while also energizing Democrats to vote.

“We think that every Republican running for office has to make their intentions known to voters about where they stand on a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and Roe v. Wade,” Butler told The New York Times.

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