Jenna King-Shepherd

Jenna King-Shepherd is shown marching for women’s reproductive rights at an event earlier this year. She will be the featured speaker at the Democratic Club's August meeting.

Jenna King-Shepherd, the new Alabama State Director of Planned Parenthood, will be the featured speaker when the Marshall County Democratic Club holds its monthly meeting Tuesday, August 6, at 6 p.m. at the Guntersville Public Library. The public is welcome. 

"This is the sixth topic in a series of important issues the Democrats have tackled after the 2018 midterm elections where Democrats made sizable gains in the U.S. House of Representatives by winning 234 seats to Republicans' 198," club president Susan McKenney said. 

“Our 2019 strategy has been to educate voters on as many topics as possible so that they can make informed decisions at the next election and perhaps help to facilitate a similar ‘Blue Wave’ here”, said McKenney, who also chairs the Democrats’ Party’s county executive committee.

Past topics this year included education, the environment, marijuana legalization and the importance of expanding Medicaid, she said.

“Reproductive freedom affects us all and is tied to women’s economic security," McKenney continued. "With Alabama’s controversial, near-total abortion ban to go into effect in just a few months, our state will have the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973."

King-Shepard is a Marshall County native and was named the State Director of Planned Parenthood last month. She had an abortion as a senior in high school and kept her choice a secret for ten years. In 2018, she began her work in abortion advocacy during the fight against Alabama Amendment 2, a state policy that paved the way for the state’s ban on abortion without exception for rape or incest.

Since then, she has testified before the Alabama House Health and Senate Judiciary committees in opposition to the legislation — House Bill 314, "Human Life Protection Act" — which bans all abortions in the state except when "abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk" to the woman, according to the bill's text. It criminalizes the procedure, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors. Attempted abortions will be reclassified as a Class C penalty, McKenney said. 

King-Shepard will be speaking about the implications of HB314 and the importance of abortion access. She will also discuss the existing barriers to abortion access in the state and community, the stigma surrounding abortion, and the healthcare landscape in Alabama. She stated that attendees will leave with new knowledge of the state of women’s healthcare in Alabama and information on ways to get involved.

The meeting is at 6:00 p.m. at the Guntersville Public Library, 1240 Obrig Avenue, in the auditorium annex located behind the main building. Reservations are needed by Saturday, August 3. You can email or call 256-558-1927.

There will be a drawing for the newly released book “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump” by Tim Alberta. All who make a reservation by the deadline will be eligible for the drawing. No purchase necessary.

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