This July, the country celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But this is a complex moment for disabled people as we assess what it means to fully participate in society and live in a country where certain rights and access may no longer be guaranteed.  

The conversation surrounding reproductive rights and health and abortion access must not just include disabled perspectives, but also intersectional disabled voices. Black disabled women and femmes who have been a part of the fight for reproductive access, or who understand intimately what overturning of Roe vs. Wade means for multiply-marginalized members of the disabled community, must not just be heard, but be in position to lead the charge to protect the people most impacted.  

Join us on Thursday, July 21 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM ET as we bring together individuals with lived and professional experiences whose viewpoints will add the much-needed nuance to the fight for our rights in this moment, and in the long term.

Live captions and ASL interpretation will be available.

Please register to obtain the online viewing link.

Featured Remarks:

  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)


  • Vilissa Thompson, LMSW, fellow, The Century Foundation


  • Laurie Bertram Roberts, founder and executive director, Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund
  • Dr. Jamila Taylor, director of health care reform and senior fellow, The Century Foundation 
  • Heather Watkins, disability rights activist 

Presented by The Century Foundation.

Please note: this event may include pre-recorded content.

Speaker Bios

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) is Washington state’s senior Senator and a member of Senate Democratic leadership since 2007. Patty has a proven track record of fighting for Washington state families and breaking through partisan gridlock to solve problems, fight for progressive policies, and help workers, families, and communities. In addition to being the first female Senator from Washington state, Patty served as the first female Chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee during the 112th Congress and served as the first female Chair of the Senate Budget Committee during the 113th Congress. She is currently Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Vilissa Thompson is a fellow at The Century Foundation, where her work focuses on the intersection of race, gender, and disability justice. She is also the founder and CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization focused on promoting self-advocacy and strengthening empowerment among disabled people. Being a disability rights consultant, writer, and activist affords Vilissa the opportunity to be a prominent leader and expert in addressing and educating the public and political figures about the plight of disabled people, especially disabled Black women and femmes. She also was a consultant for the Senator Elizabeth Warren 2020 presidential campaign, where she assisted in the development of their disability rights and equality policy plan. Everything she does revolves around being unapologetically herself—Black, disabled, and making good trouble to shake up the status quo. She received her BA in psychology and her master’s degree in social work from Winthrop University.

Laurie Bertram Roberts, founder and Executive Director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund (MRFF) a reproductive justice organization that reduces barriers for access to abortion care.

Dr. Jamila Taylor is director of health care reform and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where she leads TCF’s work to build on the Affordable Care Act and develop the next generation of health reform to achieve high-quality, affordable, and universal coverage in America. A renowned health policy expert, Taylor also works on issues related to reproductive rights and justice, focusing on the structural barriers to access to health care, racial and gender disparities in health outcomes, and the intersections between health care and economic justice. Before TCF, Taylor served as senior fellow and director of Women’s Health and Rights at the Center for American Progress (CAP), where she led CAP’s efforts to advance policies that ensure that women have an equal opportunity to live healthy and economically secure lives.

Heather Watkins is a disability advocate, author, blogger, mother, speaker, consultant, graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Mass Communications. Born with Muscular Dystrophy, loves reading, daydreaming, chocolate, and serves on a handful disability-related boards and a former Chair of Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board. Heather is also a founding member of Harriet Tubman Collective, composed of Black Deaf and Black Disabled activists, artists, and organizers. Her publishing experience includes articles in Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Quest magazine, Mass Rehab Commission’s Consumer Voice newsletter and has blogged for sites such as Our Ability, Art of Living Guide, Disabled Parenting, Grubstreet, Rooted In Rights, Women’s Media Center, Medium, and Thank God I. Heather’s short story, “Thank God I have Muscular Dystrophy” published in 2013 as part of compilation in the Thank God I…Am an Empowered Woman ® book series. Her blog Slow Walkers See More includes reflections and insight from her life with disability.