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What We're Thankful For - Love, the Pro-Choice Community

It's that time of the year for giving thanks, and, for everyone in the pro-choice community, there is so much to be thankful for.

  • We worked with NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico and a coalition on the ground to defeat a ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks in the city of Albuquerque - the first known on the municipal level. It was a victory for women's health.
  • Out-of-state anti-choice groups tried to influence local politics by overwhelming Albuquerque residents with anti-abortion propaganda. They even handed out inappropriate leaflets to children on Halloween.

    But through canvassing, phone banks and an ad campaign, we communicated to voters how important politicians out of women's most personal decisions. Voters showed up and shut down the later abortion ban, which just goes to show that abortion bans are completely out of touch with real women and families.

  • In Nebraska, a 16-year-old woman living in foster care was denied permission for an abortion because the judge deciding her case said it would "kill the child inside" her. That's when we sprang into action! We worked with a coalition of progressive partners to gather nearly 87,000 petition signatures to ask that Judge Peter Bataillon be sanctioned for putting his political beliefs above the rule of law and a young woman's welfare.
  • 2013 was also the year of pro-choice Sen. Wendy Davis' (D-TX) epic filibuster against an anti-choice omnibus bill. We worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas to make sure that people heard about Wendy's brave stand that made her the face of women's reproductive freedom in Texas. Nearly 20,000 supporters thanked Wendy for protecting a woman's right to choose. You can see the card on our website!
  • We also partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts to help elect pro-choice former Rep. Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate in June, and in November, we worked with our affiliate in Virginia to defeat anti-choice radical Ken Cuccinelli and elect pro-choice Terry McAuliffe governor.
  • In California, we worked with NARAL Pro-Choice California to increase access to abortion for California women. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the legislation in October, improving access to early abortion care by allowing trained and qualified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide care to women in their own communities.
  • But our work reached beyond anti-choice attacks in the states. When anti-choice groups launched an attack on insurance coverage of abortion for congressional staffers, we led a coalition to protect the benefit during a comment period, submitting more than eight pro-choice comments for each anti-choice one received. We won the fight and the administration preserved the right for congressional staff to purchase abortion coverage in their health plans!

We couldn't be more grateful for your support that helped us achieve these and so many other victories in the past year. Thank you for trusting women and supporting choice. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Supporters Of The 20-Week Abortion Ban Just Don't Get It

Did you see voters that in November Albuquerque gave the boot to a ballot measure that would have banned abortion care after 20 weeks? This win is a big deal: extreme anti-choice forces threw everything they had into the fight...and they lost big time.

Take a look at our Buzzfeed that explains how 20-week bans on abortion hurt women and what some pro-choice members of Congress are doing to stop them in their tracks.

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One Professor's Take on A Woman's Right to Choose

Recently, there have been almost too many anti-choice sound bites to count on both hands. That's why when a pro-choice leader talks about why a woman's right to choose is essential for women's freedom and privacy, we want to make sure everyone hears about it.

NARAL Pro-Choice America was lucky enough to have R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and an outspoken voice in the pro-choice community, deliver the keynote address at our Peninsula Power of Choice Luncheon. Talk about insightful!

"The bottom line is that the effort to impede access to accurate information, or to safe and legal services, has not only had the effect of preventing us from having access to abortion services but the ancillary effect of preventing access to a whole variety of medical services that affect people of every age and every type across the country. So from my perspective and in my work, abortion is not only a woman's issue and it's not only a reproductive health issue: it's a human rights issue."

We couldn't agree more! Watch the rest of her awesome speech.

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CPC Action Week: Fighting Back Against Anti-Choice CPCs

Stephanie Budrus is the Development and Organizing Fellow at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri

CallOutCPCs condoms birth control.png"I was told that women's bodies were for having babies and that birth control was turning girls into guinea pigs for science." - Leah, CPC investigator

"I got a pamphlet telling me to be 'respectful but firm' in refusing my boyfriend sex - after all, he's just 'wired to want it.'" - Paige, CPC investigator

"I was locked in a room with a woman and a Bible and hit with the question: 'Honey do you know how to get to Heaven?'" - Stephanie, CPC investigator

These statements are something I would never hope to hear about anywhere outside of a bizarre episode of Leave it to Beaver or the Twilight Zone. But they were made in modern-day St. Louis, Missouri inside anti-choice facilities that are funded, in part, with taxpayer dollars.

Unfortunately, these sexist, medically inaccurate, and ideologically charged "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are not anomalies and they're not confined to historically conservative regions such as the Midwest - they're everywhere. Masquerading as medical offices that provide the full range of reproductive-health services, CPCs lurk behind compassionate billboards and friendly faces ready to subject women to scare tactics, deception, and humiliation.

Last week, we fought back.

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri's contributions to the CPC Week of Action have been exciting, innovative, and predominantly Missourian. Coming from the "Show Me" state - we showed CPCs a few things last week.

We showed CPCs that we've see the lies on their websites, that we've read the lies in their literature, and that we have heard the lies they tell women in person. We showed them that we're on to them, and that we aren't afraid to expose them.

Our Campus Reps have shown college students across the state the harmful impacts of CPCs through informational campaigns, tabling, chalking, and making noise on campuses. We've shown them 12th & Delaware, a documentary that shows how far anti-choice activists will go to push their agenda. Our student activists are taking a stand against policies that allow social-work students to fulfill their practicum hours at CPCs by showing university administrators the harm caused by these facilities. We're also working hard on college campuses to show school administrations that allowing CPCs to advertise in the student newspaper is not as "apolitical" or equitable across viewpoints as they believe it to be.

Amid all of the work we're doing to show the true colors of CPCs, we've set aside some time to show real health facilities how thankful we are for the work that they do. Our campus reps and student activists have revamped our clinic-escort program and are leading trainings at the end of the month to recruit new members to stand with us and to stand with women - by literally standing between them and anti-choice protestors.

We're very excited to have participated in all of the events last week - and we can't wait to show you what we've got up our sleeve in the coming months!

Learn more about NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri.

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You Heard *What* At A CPC?

We can all agree that women never should be lied to when they need information about pregnancy - no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion. Well, anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) don't seem to be getting the message and keep spreading false information about reproductive health and shaming women for considering abortion.

Pro-choice activists across the country, including comedian Lizz Winstead, shared some of the egregious lies they've heard at CPCs. You wouldn't believe what these fake clinics tell women to try to stop them from choosing abortion.

Check it out over at our Buzzfeed page.

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CPC Action Week: Who's Behind Anti-Choice CPCs?

The secret is out: CPCs pose as legitimate pro-health clinics, then lie to and shame women out of choosing abortion care. CPCs are essential to the anti-choice movement's strategy to block abortion access. The president of Ohio Right to Life even admitted:

"When we look at the overall strategy of ending abortion, not just in Ohio but nationwide, we have to have a strong federal strategy, a very strong state strategy, and then a local strategy to support our pregnancy centers."

This is the final day of our CPC week of action, where we've partnered with Feminist Majority Foundation to tell the truth about CPC lies. Today, we're pulling back the curtain on who keeps dangerous "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) in business.

There are a whole slew of anti-choice organizations with friendly-sounding names that keep CPCs up and running. Care Net and Heartbeat International are two powerful umbrella networks that provide support and training to thousands of CPCs across the country. Through this funding and training relationship, these groups teach new CPC "counselors" strategies to manipulate women.

You don't have to take our word for it. Just listen to Abby Johnson, an extreme anti-choice activist, train new CPC "counselors" on how to lure a woman through their doors and use coercion and lies to talk her out of choosing abortion.

Beyond anti-choice umbrella organizations, state governments directly fund CPCs with taxpayer dollars. The same legislators who passed the now infamous anti-choice omnibus bill in Texas, for example, voted to funnel millions of dollars to CPCs. And in Ohio, anti-choice politicians used the state budget to give funds meant to help low-income women and families to CPCs instead.

And of course, CPCs receive "charitable" contributions from anti-choice individuals. Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost the gubernatorial election in Virginia after female voters deemed his anti-choice policies too extreme, made thousands of dollars of personal contributions to CPCs over the last four years to make sure they continue to tell women lies like "abortion causes breast cancer" and "birth control is enslavement."

But shockingly, Cuccinelli isn't the worst of them. Very few people are aware that the Koch brothers have been donating millions CPCs as well.

The powerful politicians, organizations, and individuals like there aren't going to stop using CPCs to push their agenda. That's why we need your help to get the word out and protect women from CPCs' dangerous lies. Learn more about CPCs and find out how you can get involved.


Protecting Women's Personal Decisions in Albuquerque

Respect ABQ women_small.pngIn announcing his 20-week abortion ban bill, Sen. Lindsay Graham said, "Nothing bad is going to happen." But we know at least one thing will happen! Women will be robbed of the right to make decisions for themselves. Politicians have no place making decisions for women about why, how or when they have children.

This ban is part of a larger strategy to criminalize abortion. Twelve states have passed similar laws. And for the first time, a city may ban later abortion this month.

Anti-choice extremists aligned with Operation Rescue have moved into Albuquerque to ban abortion. This is the very same group that terrorized Dr. Tiller for years before he was murdered in his church in Wichita. When they arrived in New Mexico, they wasted no time targeting abortion providers outside of their homes for harassment.

When they couldn't stop these providers through intimidation, they moved to the next phase in their plan: passing an abortion ban. Unfortunately, they collected enough signatures, and on November 19, Operation Rescue's dangerous 20-week abortion ban will be on the ballot.

That's why we're fighting back against this dangerous measure on the ground in Albuquerque.

We deployed our staff to join with NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico to call and knock on doors to turn out voters now that early voting is underway.

And in partnership with National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Advocates For Youth, and Young Women United (YWU), a Respect ABQ Women partner, from today through Election Day, we're running radio ads to defeat the ban. Our ads featuring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta who hails from New Mexico, will reach 100,000 people in Albuquerque!

The more people hear this ad, the better chance we'll have of stopping these dangerous attacks on women's reproductive health and freedom in Albuquerque. Listen to our radio ads, and share it with your friends in Albuquerque:

Sponsored by Respect ABQ Women/Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. NARAL Pro-Choice America, 1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

A Win for Women in Virginia!

We did it! Last night, voters in Virginia proved that choice is a winning issue when they elected pro-choice Terry McAuliffe to become the next governor!

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded McAuliffe's gubernatorial win,

"I would like to congratulate Terry McAuliffe and his team on their victory. Terry ran an aggressive campaign, all the while holding true to his pro-choice values. Throughout this campaign, polls reflected Terry's growing lead with women voters as he connected with them on issues that matter most. NARAL Pro-Choice America and our member activists are proud to have played a role in this victory by getting the truth about the candidates in voters' hands."

McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli, who during his time as attorney general, personally donated thousands of dollars to "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women to talk them out of getting an abortion. Even worse, he cosponsored forced-ultrasound legislation and "personhood" legislation that would ban abortion in almost all cases, with no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, and could outlaw most common forms of birth control, including the pill.

Ken Cuccinelli's extreme anti-choice position is incredibly out of touch with women and families in Virginia. That's why we've been making phone calls, knocking on doors, and educating voters through mail and online ad campaigns about Cuccinelli's dangerous agenda leading up to Election Day. We couldn't be happier with the results for pro-choice Virginians.

Help us celebrate this pro-choice victory and share our graphic with your friends on Facebook:

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BuzzFeed: 7 Pro-Choice Pop Sensations From The 2000s

Who doesn't look back on the early 2000s with nostalgia and immense gratitude that those late 90s-early 2000s butterfly hair clips are no longer in style?

There were so many teen idols and pop sensations it was hard to keep track of them all. Check out some of our favorite pop stars from the last decade that you maybe didn't realize are also pro-choice!

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Is your favorite pop star on our list? Find out over at NARAL Pro-Choice America's BuzzFeed Community page.

Oklahoma's Extreme Parental Notification Law Goes into Effect

Today, an extreme anti-choice policy to make it even harder for young women to get an abortion in Oklahoma goes into effect.

This new law will impact women regardless of their personal, private circumstances.

Oklahoma already has several anti-choice laws on the books, including a 48-hour forced waiting period and a parental-notice mandate before a woman can get abortion care. With these new restrictions now in force, in order for a young woman to get an abortion in Oklahoma, her parents also must provide a government-issued ID and a notarized statement of consent.

That's not all. Young women who have good reason not to include a parent in their decision to have an abortion are forced to get permission from the government. If, for example, a young woman fears violence if she tells her parents about her pregnancy, in order to access abortion care without notifying her parents, a judge must determine through "clear and convincing evidence" that she is "mature and capable...based upon her experience level, perspective, and judgment."

Because a young woman may be too immature for an abortion, yet she's somehow mature enough for parenthood? That makes entirely no sense.

Anti-choice proponents of these laws may say a judicial bypass is a reasonable "alternative", but that couldn't be further from the truth. Not long ago in Nebraska a young woman was denied an abortion because the judge ruled she was "not mature enough," and that getting an abortion would "kill the child inside" her.

Check out our graphic of states that have laws requiring women to get permission from a judge before getting abortion care if she feels she cannot share her unplanned pregnancy with her parents:

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While we sincerely hope that all young women are able to turn to their parents for support when facing an unplanned pregnancy, sadly, that's not always the case. We should protect those who feel they can't talk to their parents - not put them in a potentially dangerous situation. These types of laws are being passed across the country.

Not only do these horrible anti-choice policies block a woman's constitutional right to choose, they also put our young women in difficult situations right in harm's way.

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