When it comes to reproductive rights, Amanda Patton isn't one to pussyfoot around. The cat-lover-turned pro-choice activist has made it her mission to raise awareness of the attack on women's rights that is going on in our country today. Patton is the founder of Prochoicecats.com, which advocates for reproductive rights and access. In March, Amanda successfully lobbied Columbus City Council to draft and pass a clinic protection ordinance.
A photo of women being bullied by pro-life protesters outside a Toledo clinic in 2014 was the match that lit the fire. The image prompted Patton and some friends to volunteer at the only remaining independent abortion clinic in Columbus, the Founder's Women's Health Center. There, they escorted frightened women through the gauntlet of hostile zealots. Before long, she left her tech job to take a patient-advocate position at the facility. Seeing firsthand the intimidation endured by women who were exercising their legal right to choose, Amanda became determined to do even more.
The clever fusion of two of her biggest passions, cats and pro-choice activism, led her to launch Prochoicecats.com in 2015. Her goal was to raise money to buy a pro-choice billboard ad downtown near the Ohio State House. She and other like-minded individuals produced t-shirts with pro-choice messages and other promotional items and sold enough of them through the website to finance the project. Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response that followed, Patton began working on a follow up effort to coincide with the 2016 Presidential election. The emergence of Donald Trump's recorded vulgarities regarding women from 2005 provided the inspiration for Patton's next ad campaign. The electronic billboards, seen downtown in October and early November, included feline-themed messages directed at the Donald himself.
With Trump's Electoral College victory and the accompanying conservative tsunami that has inundated our government, the reproductive rights of American women are on perilous ground. The 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S Supreme Court decision giving women the right to choose is under attack like never before, and the worst is surely yet to come. Now, more than ever, Amanda Patton and her courage, passion and boundless enthusiasm are needed. Her fearless commitment to pro-choice activism makes her our Freep Hero.