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Honoring America's Dedicated Abortion Providers

Doctors office_small.jpgToday is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day!

Any woman who experiences an unintended pregnancy and chooses abortion deserves the same care and compassion as any other medical patient. That's why the role of abortion providers is essential to women's reproductive-health care.

Abortion providers across the country risk their lives to ensure women can access abortion care with compassion. Not only do they put their safety on the line, some also travel thousands of miles to make sure they can provide care in areas where there is no abortion provider on staff. That's why we work every day to protect women's reproductive freedom and abortion providers across the country.

We hear every day from women who are grateful for their provider's compassionate care and assistance when choosing the best reproductive-health option:

Nicole, 32:

I never thought I would have an abortion. Last summer I made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate a very much wanted pregnancy. At our 12 week scan we discovered that our baby boy had an 11 mm cystic hygroma and further genetic tests confirmed that he had trisomy 18. Trisomy 18 is not compatible with life. Our baby had a less than 5% chance of even making it to term and if he did he would have died shortly after birth. We couldn't bear the emotional distress of knowing that each day could have been the day our baby would die in the womb and if we made it to birth it would only be to bury him shortly after. I still cry every day for our baby we lost but I know we made the right decision for us and I'm so thankful that we had the option to make that decision. I am also so thankful for the compassionate doctors and genetic counselors we met along the way.

KC, 30, Massachusetts:

At 35 weeks in a very wanted pregnancy, my baby was diagnosed with serious brain malformations. Her prognosis was grim. It was not known how long she would live, but it was certain that she would suffer for all of her brief life. My husband and I were devastated.

It was so late in my pregnancy that there was only one clinic in the entire country that could legally take us. We knew what our choice was and didn't need more time to think about it. We knew this was right. We scrambled for the money and hopped a plane the next business day to take us to our procedure. Our care was incredible. Everyone was so compassionate and very serious about keeping me safe. I miss my baby terribly, but I know that I did for her what I would want my parents to do for me. We saved her, and there is great peace in that.

I am so thankful to our clinic and caregivers for helping me and my baby, but at the same time I am angry that, had we found out only one day later, all doors would have been closed. I'm hurt that we had to leave our home and support network to get our care. I'm enraged that this option rested on fast access to $30,000 for trip and care. It is incredibly unjust that a family without contacts to such resources would have no choice at all. I am deeply saddened that being open about my loss might risk harassment or even violence against my family and clinic. I despair that something so close and personal and poignant be subjected to a raging war over women's rights. I am scared that other loving families in my place will run out of safe and humane options that they can live with.

Eve, 37, Alaska:

We were using birth control and it failed. I found out I was pregnant after I missed my period (at five weeks). I live in one of the larger cities in Alaska, but because the clinic does not have an abortion provider, they fly one in at regular intervals. I waited four weeks for a provider. The clinic was wonderful, caring and understanding (to the point of letting me make a backup appointment just in case the doctor was weathered out and could not fly in). I am lucky because I do not live off the road system and have a supportive family. I can only imagine what the wait might be like for someone with little support out in a village somewhere off the road system, especially with all the scary self-help advice out there on the internet. I am grateful for action groups working to keep access to abortion open and the procedure itself safe and legal. Finally, I cannot thank the clinic and the providers enough for their time and caring when I needed it.

Halina, 21, North Dakota:

While switching from different birth controls I became pregnant. I was not mentally or physically ready for a child. I chose to have an abortion. My husband and I are very grateful we had a choice in this decision. The clinic we went to was the only one available in North Dakota, they were very nice, very helpful, they made sure I was fully educated with my choice and I am very thankful for that. Banning abortion gives NO choice for women and to me, that's just wrong.

Erica, 32, Texas:

I thought I was doing everything right....

While I was certain that I was using the pill correctly, I did manage to get pregnant. I called him and we decided that we were far too young and not financially able to have a child together. I was working two jobs and I was a full time student. I was paying my way and helping pay bills for my parents.

In the end, the abortion was performed with a lot of guidance from the clinic. They made sure I was absolutely informed of my choices and I made the right one for myself and my body. Looking back, I never regret my decision for one second - other than getting pregnant in the first place. Now, I'm successful and married to a wonderful man and we are trying to have our first child. The panic I felt when I found out I was pregnant really made me understand the women who retreated to back alley abortions - I would have done ANYTHING to have my abortion and I am so thankful that I didn't have to make that kind of a decision.

Evie, 30, Texas :

My boyfriend knew before I did, and it was just a side comment from him about how beautiful I looked that made me even think to buy a pregnancy test. When I told him, he was his usual supportive and gentle self, and apologized. Then promised to support me however I wanted to proceed.

He did all the research, found me the best abortion clinic in the state...The doctors were a husband and wife team, a loving pair of caregivers who were so obviously in this practice for all of the kindest reasons.

The doctor who performed my exam apologized, seemingly humiliated, before using the vaginal ultrasound probe to show me the pea-sized [pregnancy].

About 48 hours later, my seemingly constant "morning" sickness was over and I was no longer pregnant. It was painless. I felt supported. I had an excellent team of medical professionals to support me and answer my questions.

Even though abortion care is a critical part of reproductive-health services and lets women's control their destinies - one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime - anti-choice forces work hard every day to close down clinics and force abortion providers out of business.

Anti-choice groups do whatever it takes, from passing laws like the one in Texas to close clinics, to using harassment, intimidation and even violence. As recently as last week, an anti-choice activist vandalized and forced a reproductive-health clinic in Montana to close in order to intimidate patients and providers. In 2009, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church by an anti-choice extremist.

We're honored to recognize some of our current and former NARAL Pro-Choice America board members who are also abortion providers, Dr. Sara Imershein, who provides care to women on the East Coast, and Dr. Susan Wicklund, a retired provider and author of "This Common Secret" about her experience as a provider in an extremely conservative part of the country.

We thank abortion providers across the country who risk their lives and safety to ensure that women have access to essential reproductive-health services and abortion care.

Happy National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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Do You Know Where the Candidates Stand on Choice?

Today, we launched our 2014 Voter Guide, a breakdown of choice ratings for candidates running in every federal primary elections across the country.

Imagine what we could do if politicians across the country knew voters would only support candidates who believe in a woman's right to comprehensive reproductive-health care and abortion access.

Despite the fact that seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should remain safe and legal, 53 anti-choice measures were enacted in 24 states in 2013 alone. Those restrictions included bans on abortion throughout pregnancy, legislation aimed at shutting down reproductive-health care clinics and providers, and measures to block access to birth control.

In 2014, a year with 36 senate races and 36 governors seats on the ballot, it's more important than ever that voters are aware of a candidate's position on choice and whether they would protect or restrict women's rights if elected. That's why we're holding them accountable.

Every voter needs to know who is making the pro-choice grade and who is failing.

We've seen it over and over. When voters know where candidates stand on choice, they vote pro-choice.

Not only does our 2014 Voter Guide include choice ratings on candidates, we also include voter registration deadlines in every state and easy ways to find your voting precinct location. The Voter Guide also has information on key ballot initiatives that endanger a woman's right to choose and information on how you can connect with a NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliate in your state.

Do you and your friends and family know where your representatives stand on choice?

Make sure they do. Show that you're a pro-choice voter and encourage them to find out where the candidates stand by sharing this graphic:

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The Daily Reporter: Critics Question Boggs' 'Bias'

We're calling on our senators to reject the nomination of anti-choice, anti-marriage equality Michael Boggs to federal court! Check out a fantastic article about our work by Robin McDonald over at The Daily Reporter:

When federal judicial nominee Michael Boggs recounted bills he had sponsored as a Georgia legislator in a questionnaire for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, he sounded earnest and, occasionally, even a little dull.

But his list of legislation--which included strengthening the state's child pornography laws, rewriting the state Probate Code and requiring criminal background checks for bail bondsmen--didn't mention his sponsorship of far more controversial measures reflecting a conservative political agenda at odds with the president who has nominated him to the U.S. District Court.

Boggs, who served as a Democrat from 2001 to 2004 in the Georgia House of Representatives, made no mention of a resolution he introduced in the House in 2004 calling for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Speaking on the floor of the House, Boggs said the amendment was "premised on good conservative Christian values" and intended to guard against rulings by "activist judges" who might overturn a state law that already barred gay marriage.

Now a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, Boggs also failed to mention his sponsorship of bills that remain anathema to progressive Democrats--enacting more limits on abortion and placing the Ten Commandments in Georgia's 159 county courthouses--and his vote to retain the Confederate battle emblem on the state flag.

A lawyer from the southeast Georgia district Boggs used to represent said Boggs was merely reflecting his conservative, "Bible Belt" constituency by promoting those legislative efforts. She and another attorney who also tried cases before Boggs when he was a Superior Court judge in Waycross said Boggs would have no trouble separating his advocacy role as a legislator from his mandate as a judge to fairly and impartially administer the law.

But Boggs' legislative record has provided fodder for more than two dozen national progressive and civil rights organizations that are urging the Democratic-controlled Senate to reject his nomination.

Boggs could not be reached for comment and--like other federal judicial nominees--has avoided comment on issues associated with his nomination.

Package deal

Boggs' nomination is part of a package deal that the White House cut with Georgia's two Republican senators last year. That deal allowed U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to name one nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and three of four nominees to the district court.

In return, Isakson and Chambliss have reportedly agreed to lift their objections to Atlanta litigator Jill Pryor, whose nomination to the Eleventh Circuit they have stalled for two years. Pryor's nomination has been championed by her longtime law partner, Emmet Bondurant, the former chairman of Georgia Common Cause who has challenged Republican-sponsored measures such as Georgia's voter photo ID law.

The deal also has Georgia's senators agreeing to the nomination of Leigh Martin May, whose candidacy for the federal bench they first rejected in 2009. May, a co-founder of the Red Clay Democrats, is a law partner of James Butler Jr., one of the state's most prominent plaintiffs attorneys.

A spokesman for the progressive group Democracy for America dismissed the idea that Boggs' nomination was a necessary compromise.

"We understand there are times you do some kind of horse-trading in politics," said Neil Sroka. "But there is a difference in horse-trading and caving on core values. This is an example of the White House caving and giving far too much to the right in a lifetime judicial appointment."

"From everything we have learned about him," Sroka continued, "he [Boggs] is a candidate that the right wing has been desperate to have on the federal judiciary."

Abortion, religion and race

Among the bills Boggs sponsored as a legislator but omitted from his Senate Judiciary questionnaire was one establishing a "pro-life" license plate that would have generated funds for crisis pregnancy centers that didn't provide abortion counseling or abortion-related procedures. Other bills he sponsored would have required minors to seek permission of a parent or guardian before they could obtain an abortion, even in cases of incest and rape, and required that a minor seeking an abortion also must be accompanied by a parent or guardian with a state-issued photo identification.

Last week, NARAL Pro-Choice America launched a campaign to stop Boggs' confirmation. "We look to our judicial branch to protect and uphold our values and freedoms," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Daily Report. Boggs' legislative record, she added, "shows that he will push his personal agenda instead of listening to the cases in front of him without bias."

UniteWomen.org Action this week launched a Twitter campaign, #No2Boggs, to defeat his confirmation. In conjunction with the Twitter campaign, the organization posted on its website an open letter to President Barack Obama, calling Boggs' nomination "an extreme step backwards" and asking the president to withdraw it.

Another bill that is generating concern is one he sponsored with then-House Minority Leader Glenn Richardson and four other lawmakers, calling for the display of the Ten Commandments in all of Georgia's 159 county courthouses. The bill, which said the display was also to include copies of the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence, authorized the state attorney general to defend the counties against federal lawsuits challenging the practice as unconstitutional. That bill included language that "Biblical literacy contributed importantly in the development of American law and constitutionalism."

A spokeswoman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State said what the organization has uncovered so far about Boggs has already caused "great concern."

Along with the Ten Commandments bill, Maggie Garrett noted that Boggs backed a measure asking the U.S. Congress to affirm that the U.S. is a Judeo-Christian nation and a resolution in support of "In God We Trust" as the national motto.

Those bills show "a fundamental misreading of the U.S. Constitution, which is not really a trait you want in a federal judge," said Garrett, a former lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. "At this point, we have reservations and concerns, but we are still examining the record."

Boggs' civil rights record and his 2001 vote to retain the Confederate battle emblem as part of Georgia's state flag have also drawn the ire of the NAACP, Georgia's Democratic congressmen, and a coalition of the state's minority bar associations. At a Dec. 23 news conference in Atlanta, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, said that the NAACP's examination of Boggs' legislative record "shows that Michael Boggs is on the wrong side of history. The votes we have looked at tell us that Michael Boggs does not understand the idea of inclusion, the idea of diversity, the idea of simple justice."

'Conservative judicial philosophy'

A 1990 graduate of Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law, Boggs was in private practice from 1990 until 2004, first at McKenzie & McPhail and its successor, McKenzie, Martin, Taylor & McConnaughey in Atlanta, then at Thomas & Settle in Waycross, Landers & Boggs in Waycross, and as a sole practitioner.

After he was appointed to the Waycross Circuit Superior Court by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2005, Boggs founded the circuit's drug court and served until 2012, when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. For the past two years, Boggs has served as co-chairman of Deal's Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

When Boggs was applying for his state appellate seat, he told the Judicial Nominating Commission in a questionnaire that his conservative judicial philosophy rested on a limited role for the judiciary in favor of "a duly elected citizen legislature."

Boggs also wrote in his application about "the limited role of the appellate court," the need for an understanding of "the proper delineation in roles between the legislative and judicial branches of government," and a desire to "re-establish our courts as protectors of the Constitution, not partisan refuges for policy makers." He also cited a requirement that any law clerk he hired should "share my conservative judicial philosophy."

"The judiciary continues to endure criticism, fairly earned in some cases, of abrogating their constitutionally created authority by issuing decisions that venture into policy making," Boggs wrote. "Partisan political campaigns are increasingly politicizing our judiciary, in part because of judicial decisions that have ignored or violated the basic tenets of the judiciary, that policy making is the sole province of a duly elected citizen legislature."

Blackshear attorney John Thigpen, who told the Daily Report this week that he probably has tried more cases, both criminal and civil, in front of Boggs than any other lawyer, said Boggs' political stances while a state legislator would not affect his ability to be fair on the bench. "I don't think that would interfere one bit with him doing the right thing," Thigpen said. "He's a man's man, OK? He knows what to do and how to do it. I've been practicing law 35 years. As far as I'm concerned, he's top of the line."

Thigpen said that Boggs represented his district while he was a Georgia legislator and that he thought highly of him in that role as well. "He was conscientious. He knew what his constituents wanted," Thigpen said. "We're in the Bible Belt down here. ... I think he was doing what his constituency wanted him to do. And that was his job."

Thigpen also dismissed criticism that legislation Boggs had sponsored might signal he would entertain a bias should those matters be litigated in his courtroom. "He will look way beyond that," Thigpen said.

Brunswick attorney James Durham, a former member of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission and former president of the State Bar of Georgia, also defended Boggs. He told the Daily Report this week that he has tried cases in front of Boggs in the Waycross Judicial Circuit, saying, "I have never seen anything but complete fairness from Mike Boggs in a courtroom."

"I don't know that you can equate what somebody did as a representative," with his role as a judge, Durham said. "That's a different job. That's representing a constituency. I assume, in most cases, people try to represent their constituencies as they think they would vote."

Durham added: "It doesn't have anything to do with how somebody would be on the bench as a judge and how they would apply the law. I have never seen anything that would indicate to me that Judge Boggs would have a personal opinion in his rulings."

Doesn't reflect 'Obama's values'

State Rep. Karla Drenner, the first openly lesbian woman elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, served with Boggs during his four years there. She told the Daily Report, "He doesn't depict any of the values the Obama administration stands for. ... I don't know why we would want to appoint someone for life who doesn't share the visions, the values that this current president has."

Drenner described Boggs as "a vocal opponent" of same-sex marriage and identified him as "the first Democrat to come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban it in Georgia. At the time, the state already had a law on the books barring same-sex marriage, and Drenner called the constitutional amendment "one of the most contentious issues" the legislature has faced.

Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, recorded the resulting debate on the resolution in February 2004, including Boggs' introductory speech, which she supplied to the Daily Report. In that speech, Boggs said, "It's my opinion, both as a Christian, as a lawyer and as a member of this House, that it's our opportunity to stand up in support of this resolution."

"I think it's important to recognize the dangers that we face with respect to activist judges, with respect to mayors who are operating in derogation of current state law," he continued. "I submit to you that proposing a constitutional amendment that, in fact, mirrors the language, for the most part, that is ... codified in Georgia's Defense of Marriage Act will give us an additional safeguard," Boggs said, according to a transcript of Drenner's recording. "It will, in fact, prohibit state constitutional challenges to the proposition ... that is outlined in Georgia law already. ... I submit to you that whether you're a Democrat or whether you're a Republican, whether you're rural from a rural area, like myself, or whether you represent an urban area, we have opportunities seldom [seen] in my short tenure in the legislature to stand up for things that are commonsensical; things that are premised on good conservative Christian values, and, in this instance in particular, to support the sanctity of marriage. I'm going to ask all of you like me to support this proposition."

In recalling that debate, Drenner said, "I don't think that Judge Boggs, in this new capacity, would be any friend to the gay community or any other progressive agenda that the Obama administration has supported. ... He's going to be part and parcel of the reason why the South won't move forward. Look at his history: no on same-sex marriage, no on a woman's right to choose, no on changing the flag."

That Boggs omitted from his Senate questionnaire his sponsorship of the socially conservative legislation "shows that he knew they are points of contention, and he has probably not changed his opinion," she said. "Either by omission or commission, it is still a lie."

At the December news conference, Fort said the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was part of a nationwide, and largely successful, push by "the far right of the Republican Party" to turn out the vote in 2004.

Last October, after the Daily Report identified Boggs as one of the possible nominees for the federal bench in Atlanta, Fort and representatives of several civil rights organizations in Georgia--including the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, the NAACP, and Georgia Women's Action for New Directions--voiced their objections to Boggs because in 2001 he had cast a vote to retain Georgia's old state flag, emblazoned with the Confederate battle emblem.

Boggs was one of 82 legislators, including current state Democratic Party chairman Dubose Porter, who voted not to strip the flag of its Confederate symbol.

At a news conference, Fort said, "We are very concerned that a judge, while a legislator, in the 21st century voted for the Confederate flag. It is reasonable for the public to be concerned about whether he is committed to fairness."

A coalition of African-American lawyers and bar associations in Georgia which also is opposed to Boggs has asked Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., for permission to testify in opposition to the slate of nominees at their confirmation hearings.

A committee spokeswoman told the Daily Report this week that those hearings have not been scheduled because neither Isakson or Chambliss have returned blue slips to the committee signaling their willingness to support the president's nominees and because committee Republicans are still reviewing background materials on the Georgia nominees. Spokeswomen for both Chambliss and Isakson could not be reached for comment.

U.S. Rep. David Scott, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Fayette and Henry counties, also has sought permission to testify at the Senate judicial confirmation hearings, and at a meeting earlier this month with the Congressional Black Caucus and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett challenged Jarrett and the White House to have Boggs' name withdrawn.

"Why should we have judges nominated for life who have such biases in their backgrounds," Scott said. "Sometimes it's better to have these positions vacant than to put these people in with prejudiced opinions against African-Americans, against gay people, against women's reproductive rights. ... It can't stand. Georgia is better than that."

Thanking Our Pro-Choice Champions in Honor of Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we'd like to acknowledge and honor a few amazing African-American pro-choice champions who've stood up for women's reproductive freedom, especially against recent anti-choice attacks in the states.

When anti-choice politicians in Ohio introduced legislation that would ban abortion as early as six weeks - before most women realize they're pregnant - State Sen. Nina Turner introduced a tongue-in-cheek bill that would require men to undergo psychological counseling before accessing Viagra.

A close ally of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, we recently honored Nina with our Champion of Choice Award for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of women's health.

We'd also like to recognize North Carolina state Rep. Alma Adams who spoke out against extreme anti-choice restrictions that could close reproductive-health clinics.

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When anti-choice politicians in her state tried to pass anti-choice restrictions using a "motorcycle safety" bill, Alma called out the anti-choice legislators for their cheating tactics:

"It's about politics. It's not about women's health. It's not about safety...As a woman, I am personally insulted by the maneuvers around getting this bill to the floor. We've made a mockery of women's health and safety."

Alma has been fighting for reproductive rights for nearly three decades, and we are so grateful for having her solidarity with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and being an ally to all women and families.

In the Cheesehead state, we'd like to recognize Wisconsin state Rep. LaTonya Johnson. She fought against a medically unnecessary forced ultrasound bill and spoke on the Wisconsin floor about the importance of access to comprehensive sex-education program.

LaTonya also spoke at the Stand with Wisconsin Women rally let by NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and their coalition. Check out the video below:

And in New York, we're giving a shout out to State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader and the first African-American woman to hold that position!

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Andrea, who was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice New York, led the charge for the Women's Equality Act (WEA) in the State Senate last year and continues to advocate for the full 10-point WEA. She said:

"No one would believe that in 2013 there were not enough Senators willing to vote to protect the health and equality of women. In 1970, when choice was first passed in New York, 12 Republican Senators joined a majority of their Democratic colleagues to support this landmark legislation. In our state, women's health has never been a Republican or Democratic issue. I find it shocking that 43 years later not one Senate Republican stood up for women's equality."

Andrea was the primary sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act in the 2011 session.

In Texas, where NARAL Pro-Choice Texas works on the ground to defend reproductive rights against huge challenges, we want to recognize some awesome leaders who were loud and proud about their pro-choice values during the heated legislative attacks that led to Wendy Davis' historic filibuster.

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson hung a wire hanger from the microphone while she spoke during the hearings to pay reverence and respect to the many women who were injured or died accessing illegal abortion.

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State Rep. Dawnna Duke rallied women in Texas and proposed amendments that would allow more options for women with unintended pregnancies.

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We're also giving a shout out to Virginia Delegate Charniele Herring, who has a 100% pro-choice voting record!

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Charniele was the first African-American woman elected to represent Northern Virginia in the General Assembly. Charniele was also chair of the reproductive rights caucus in 2012 and was a huge player, along with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in the fight against forced ultrasound legislation in 2012.

The pro-choice movement is fortunate to have incredible champions from all backgrounds and walks of life but we couldn't be where we are today without the tenacious, smart, and courageous leadership of African-American state lawmakers.

We can't thank these pro-choice rock stars enough for standing up for women's reproductive freedom in all communities.

Happy Black History Month from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Thanks for Making Our First Google Hangout a Great Success!

Yesterday, we hosted our first ever pro-choice #AskNARAL Google Hangout featuring Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Vice President for Policy Donna Crane, and Political Director Erika West. The hangout was moderated by our Director of Public Affairs and recent honoree of Planned Parenthood's Defenders of Choice, Samantha Gordon.

In case you missed the opportunity to tune in, watch our hangout below:

Our friends and activists submitted so many fantastic questions to #AskNARAL about choice-related issues and our strategy to go on offense - we didn't have time to answer them all!

Here are few questions we didn't have a chance to address in our live hangout:

We're working to expose anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) for lying to and shaming women who are seeking accurate information about their full range of reproductive-health options. We recently held an online week of action in partnership with the Feminist Majority Foundation to call out CPCs and we worked with our affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota to hold a CPC accountable for distributing misinformation and lashing out at a pro-choice student organizer who criticized it in Minnesota. Several of our state affiliates have produced top-notch reports analyzing CPCs. Be sure to check out our Exposing Fake Clinics Tumblr and website for more information on CPCs.

We all share the goal of preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion. Studies show time and again that when women have access to contraception, the rates of unintended pregnancies, and therefore demand for abortion care, decreases.

As a movement, we all need to do a better job of empowering pro-choice individuals from all ethnic and economic backgrounds. One way we're working to increase diversity in the pro-choice movement is by helping to elect pro-choice men and women of color who can bring their unique experiences and knowledge of diverse communities into the political sphere. We will continue to highlight a diverse set of voices so that, together, we can enact pro-choice policies that help protect and expand reproductive rights in all communities.

Visit our state affiliates' pages to learn more about work in the states and how you can get involved in protecting choice in your community.

All people should have the right to decide when, whether and with whom to have children, so our issues relate very closely. We support marriage equality and we will fight with our LGBT allies to ensure politicians stay out of our private lives and decisions.

Check out a great article published last month that breaks down the cost of defending anti-choice measures for five states.

We're working on expanding reproductive access both at the state and federal levels. We've celebrated a pro-choice win in California, where the governor signed legislation that increases the number of medical professionals who can provide early abortion care. And states like New York and Washington are making women's health and equality part of their agenda this year by introducing measures to protect and expand women's access.

As an organization, we don't litigate, but we do work closely with groups that do, including our coalition partners, and we support many national and local initiatives to stop anti-choice attacks in the states and protect women's reproductive freedom across the country.

We can't thank you enough for making our #AskNARAL hangout a great success and for submitting so many important questions about choice.

How Did Your Lawmaker Vote on Extreme Anti-Choice Bill H.R.7?

Today, the House of Representatives voted on H.R.7, which would take away abortion coverage from millions of American women.

Not only would H.R.7 permanently block abortion coverage for low-income women, civil servants, D.C. residents, and military women, it would also impose tax penalties on small businesses that choose private health plans with abortion coverage and effectively ban abortion coverage in the state health-insurance exchanges - a radical new restriction that could jeopardize the availability of private insurance coverage of abortion for all women in all private health plans nationwide.

Despite opposition from the public and pro-choice elected officials who trust women, anti-choice politicians advanced their extreme agenda to restrict women's reproductive freedom and passed this legislation in a 227-188 vote.

It's critical that we hold anti-choice members of Congress accountable for voting against reproductive rights and access to health care. Look below to see how your member of Congress voted on H.R.7, and then let them know what you think! If your lawmaker voted against H.R.7, send them a thank-you email, and if your lawmaker voted against H.R.7, tell them you're disappointed

Lawmakers who voted to pass H.R.7 Lawmakers who voted against H.R.7

Rep. Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Amash (R-MI)
Rep. Bachmann (R-MN)
Rep. Bachus (R-AL)
Rep. Barletta (R-PA)
Rep. Barr (R-KY)
Rep. Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Benishek (R-MI)
Rep. Bentivolio (R-MI)
Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Black (R-TN)
Rep. Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Boustany (R-LA)
Rep. Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK)
Rep. Brooks (R-AL)
Rep. Brooks (R-IN)
Rep. Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Bucshon (R-IN)
Rep. Burgess (R-TX)
Rep. Byrne (R-AL)
Rep. Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Cantor (R-VA)
Rep. Capito (R-WV)
Rep. Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Cassidy (R-LA)
Rep. Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT)
Rep. Coble (R-NC)
Rep. Coffman (R-CO)
Rep. Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Collins (R-NY)
Rep. Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Cook (R-CA)
Rep. Cotton (R-AR)
Rep. Cramer (R-ND)
Rep. Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL)
Rep. Cuellar (D-TX)
Rep. Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Daines (R-MT)
Rep. Davis (R-IL)
Rep. Denham (R-CA)
Rep. Dent (R-PA)
Rep. DeSantis (R-FL)
Rep. DesJarlais (R-TN)
Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Rep. Duffy (R-WI)
Rep. Duncan (R-SC)
Rep. Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Ellmers (R-NC)
Rep. Farenthold (R-TX)
Rep. Fincher (R-TN)
Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN)
Rep. Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Flores (R-TX)
Rep. Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rep. Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Rep. Gardner (R-CO)
Rep. Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Gerlach (R-PA)
Rep. Gibbs (R-OH)
Rep. Gibson (R-NY)
Rep. Gingrey (R-GA)
Rep. Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Gosar (R-AZ)
Rep. Gowdy (R-SC)
Rep. Granger (R-TX)
Rep. Graves (R-GA)
Rep. Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Griffin (R-AR)
Rep. Griffith (R-VA)
Rep. Grimm (R-NY)
Rep. Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Hall (R-TX)
Rep. Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Harris (R-MD)
Rep. Hartzler (R-MO)
Rep. Hastings (R-WA)
Rep. Heck (R-NV)
Rep. Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Holding (R-NC)
Rep. Hudson (R-NC)
Rep. Huelskamp (R-KS)
Rep. Huizenga (R-MI)
Rep. Hultgren (R-IL)
Rep. Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Hurt (R-VA)
Rep. Issa (R-CA)
Rep. Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Johnson (R-OH)
Rep. Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Joyce (R-OH)
Rep. Kelly (R-PA)
Rep. King (R-IA)
Rep. King (R-NY)
Rep. Kingston (R-GA)
Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL)
Rep. Kline (R-MN)
Rep. Labrador (R-ID)
Rep. LaMalfa (R-CA)
Rep. Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Lance (R-NJ)
Rep. Lankford (R-OK)
Rep. Latham (R-IA)
Rep. Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Lipinski (D-IL)
Rep. LoBiondo
Rep. Long (R-MO)
Rep. Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Luetkemeyer (R MO)
Rep. Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Marchant (RTX)
Rep. Marino (R-PA)
Rep. Massie (R-KY)
Rep. Matheson (D-UT)
Rep. McAllister (R-LA)
Rep. McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. McIntyre (D-NC)
Rep. McKeon (R-CA)
Rep. McKinley (R-WV)
Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Meadows (R-NC)
Rep. Meehan (R-PA)
Rep. Messer (R-IN)
Rep. Mica (R-FL)
Rep. Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Mullin (R-OK)
Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC)
Rep. Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Noem (R-SD)
Rep. Nugent (R-FL)
Rep. Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Nunnelee (R-MS)
Rep. Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Palazzo (R-MS)
Rep. Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Perry (R-PA)
Rep. Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Pittenger (R-NC)
Rep. Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Price (R-GA)
Rep. Rahall (D-WV)
Rep. Reed (R-NY)
Rep. Reichert (R-WA)
Rep. Renacci (R-OH)
Rep. Ribble (R-WI)
Rep. Rice (R-SC)
Rep. Rigell (R-VA)
Rep. Roby (R-AL)
Rep. Roe (R-TN)
Rep. Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Rogers (R-MI)
Rep. Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Rokita (R-IN)
Rep. Rooney (R-FL)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Ross (R-FL)
Rep. Rothfus (R-PA)
Rep. Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Salmon (R-AZ)
Rep. Sanford (R-SC)
Rep. Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Schock (R-IL)
Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ)
Rep. Scott (R-GA)
Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Smith (R-MO)
Rep. Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Southerland (R-FL)
Rep. Stewart (R-UT)
Rep. Stivers (R-OH)
Rep. Stockman (R-TX)
Rep. Stutzman (R-IN)
Rep. Terry (R-NE)
Rep. Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Valadao (R-CA)
Rep. Wagner (R-MO)
Rep. Walberg (R-MI)
Rep. Walden (R-OR)
Rep. Walorski (R-IN)
Rep. Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Webster (R-FL)
Rep. Wenstrup (R-OH)
Rep. Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. Williams (R-TX)
Rep. Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Wolf (R-VA)
Rep. Womack (R-AR)
Rep. Yoder (R-K)
Rep. Yoho (R-FL)
Rep. Young (R-AK)
Rep. Young (R-IN)

Rep. Andrews (D-NJ)
Rep. Barber (D-AZ)
Rep. Barrow (D-GA)
Rep. Bass (D-CA)
Rep. Beatty (D-OH)
Rep. Becerra (D-CA)
Rep. Bera (D-CA)
Rep. Bishop (D-GA)
Rep. Bishop (D-NY)
Rep. Bonamici (D-OR)
Rep. Brady (D-PA)
Rep. Braley (D-IA)
Rep. Brown (D-FL)
Rep. Brownley (D-CA)
Rep. Bustos (D-IL)
Rep. Butterfield (D-NC)
Rep. Capps (D-CA)
Rep. Capuano (D-MA)
Rep. Cárdenas (D-CA)
Rep. Carney (D-DE)
Rep. Carson (D-IN)
Rep. Cartwright (D-PA)
Rep. Castor (D-FL)
Rep. Castro (D-TX)
Rep. Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Cicilline (D-RI)
Rep. Clarke (D-NY)
Rep. Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Connolly (D-VA)
Rep. Conyers (D-MI)
Rep. Cooper (D-TN)
Rep. Costa (D-CA)
Rep. Courtney (D-CT)
Rep. Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Cummings (D-MD)
Rep. Davis (D-CA)
Rep. Davis (D-IL)
Rep. DeFazio (D-OR)
Rep. DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Delaney (D-MD)
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT)
Rep. DelBene (D-WA)
Rep. Deutch (D-FL)
Rep. Dingell (D-MI)
Rep. Doggett (D-TX)
Rep. Doyle (D-PA)
Rep. Duckworth (D-IL)
Rep. Edwards (D-MD)
Rep. Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Engel (D-NY)
Rep. Enyart (D-IL)
Rep. Eshoo (D-CA)
Rep. Esty (D-CT)
Rep. Farr (D-CA)
Rep. Fattah (D-PA)
Rep. Foster (D-IL)
Rep. Frankel (D-FL)
Rep. Fudge (D-OH)
Rep. Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Gallego (D-TX)
Rep. Garamendi (D-CA)
Rep. Garcia (D-FL)
Rep. Grayson (D-Fl)
Rep. Green, Al (D-TX)
Rep. Green, Gene (D-TX)
Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL)
Rep. Hahn (D-CA)
Rep. Hanabusa (D-HI)
Rep. Hanna (R-NY)
Rep. Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Heck (D-WA)
Rep. Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. Honda (D-CA)
Rep. Horsford (D-NV)
Rep. Hoyer (D-MD)
Rep. Huffman (D-CA)
Rep. Israel (D-NY)
Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Jeffries (D-NY)
Rep. Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Johnson, E. B. (D-TX)
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH)
Rep. Keating (D-MA)
Rep. Kelly (D-IL)
Rep. Kennedy (D-MA)
Rep. Kildee (D-MI)
Rep. Kilmer (D-WA)
Rep. Kind (D-WI)
Rep. Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
Rep. Kuster (D-NH)
Rep. Langevin (D-RI)
Rep. Larsen (D-WA)
Rep. Larson (D-CT)
Rep. Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Levin (D-MI)
Rep. Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Loebsack (D-IA)
Rep. Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA)
Rep. Lowey (D-NY)
Rep. Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Rep. Luján, Ben Ray (D-NM)
Rep. Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Maffei (D-NY)
Rep. Maloney, Carolyn (D-NY)
Rep. Maloney, Sean (D-NY)
Rep. Matsui (D-CA)
Rep. McCollum (D-MN)
Rep. McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. McNerney (D-CA)
Rep. Meeks (D-CA)
Rep. Meng (D-NY)
Rep. Michaud (D-ME)
Rep. Miller, George (D-CA)
Rep. Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Moran (D-VA)
Rep. Murphy (D-FL)
Rep. Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Neal (D-MA)
Rep. Negrete McLeod (D-CA)
Rep. Nolan (D-MN)
Rep. O'Rourke (D-TX)
Rep. Owens (D-NY)
Rep. Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Rep. Pastor (D-AZ)
Rep. Payne (D-NJ)
Rep. Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO)
Rep. Peters (D-CA)
Rep. Peters (D-MI)
Rep. Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. Pocan (D-WI)
Rep. Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Price (D-NC)
Rep. Quigley (D-IL)
Rep. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Richmond (D-LA)
Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Rep. Ruiz (D-CA)
Rep. Ryan (D-OH)
Rep. Sánchez, Linda T.(D-CA)
Rep. Sarbanes (D-MD)
Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Schiff (D-CA)
Rep. Schneider (D-IL)
Rep. Schrader (D-OR)
Rep. Schwartz (D-PA)
Rep. Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Scott, David (D-GA)
Rep. Serrano (D-NJ)
Rep. Sewell (D-AL)
Rep. Shea-Porter (D-NH)
Rep. Sherman (D-CA)
Rep. Sinema (D-AZ)
Rep. Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Slaughter 9D-NY)
Rep. Smith (D-WA)
Rep. Speier (D-CA)
Rep. Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. Takano (D-CA)
Rep. Thompson (D-CA)
Rep. Thompson (D-MS)
Rep. Tierney (D-MA)
Rep. Titus (D-NV)
Rep. Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Tsongas (D-MA)
Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD)
Rep. Vargas (D-CA)
Rep. Veasey (D-TX)
Rep. Vela (D-TX)
Rep. Velázquez (D-NY)
Rep. Visclosky (D-IN)
Rep. Walz (D-MN)
Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Rep. Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Waxman (D-CA)
Rep. Welch (D-VT)
Rep. Wilson (D-FL)
Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY)

Not Voting
Rep. Amodei (R-NV)
Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. Clay (D-MO)
Rep. Hinojosa (D-TX)
Rep. Jones (R-NC)
Rep. McCarthy (D-NY)
Rep. Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Petri (R-WI)
Rep. Runyan (R-NJ)
Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Rep. Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA)
Rep. Tipton (R-CO)
Rep. Westmoreland (R-GA)

*Italicized names denote party crossovers

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House to Vote on Bill That Would Take Away Abortion Coverage for Millions of American Women

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on H.R.7, an extreme anti-choice bill that would take away abortion coverage from millions of American women.

Thanks to a huge outcry from the public and pro-choice elected officials, anti-choice members of the House committee had already revised this bill to drop a provision that would have redefined rape. Last week, they revised the bill a second time to drop a provision that would have forced women to prove to the IRS that they'd been raped. Not only that, but they snuck in new provisions that have never been discussed or debated in committee.

We've seen anti-choice politicians in Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio cheat to force their extreme anti-choice agenda on the public. Now, they're using these same backhanded tactics in Congress!

As of today, here's what H.R.7 would do:

  • Impose tax penalties on small businesses that offer abortion coverage in employee insurance plans.
  • Ban abortion coverage entirely in the new health-insurance exchanges.
  • Permanently ban abortion coverage for women who get their health care through the government, including servicewomen and low-income women.
  • Require health plans to make biased, one-sided "disclosures" of abortion coverage.

You can learn more about the harmful effects of H.R.7 on our website.

If you are as outraged as we are about this, please share our graphic on Facebook so that we can get the word out far and wide about how anti-choice politicians will stop at nothing, including cheating, to block reproductive-health care for women and families who may need it the most.

HR7-bullets-final.jpg

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Honoring Our "Who Decides?" Dedicatees

We're delighted to honor some notable state lawmakers who have fought back against extreme anti-choice legislation against all odds in the 23rd edition of our annual report Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Rights in the States. These state lawmakers truly represent the pro-choice majority, and they champion women's reproductive rights in some states that may need them the most.

2014-who-decides-dedication.jpg

  • One honoree we're highlighting this year is Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis.
Sen. Davis' 13-hour filibuster of an extreme, anti-choice omnibus bill captivated the nation, and she quickly became the face of women's struggle to access safe, legal abortion, especially in states with extreme anti-choice legislatures, like Texas. Thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, we organized to support Sen. Davis' efforts to block the bill from going into effect and activated thousands of pro-choice Texans who will #StandWithWendy as she continues to fight for choice in 2014.

  • Another honoree in this year's edition of Who Decides? is North Carolina state Rep. Alma Adams.

Rep. Adams has spent nearly three decades fighting for women and families and, alongside NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, she helped lead the fight against the now-infamous "motorcycle safety" anti-abortion bill which the anti-choice North Carolina legislature rushed through at the last minute to bypass any opposition from pro-choice elected officials. Alma had this to say about the bill she tried to stop: "It's about politics. It's not about women's health. It's not about safety...As a woman, I am personally insulted by the maneuvers around getting this bill to the floor. We've made a mockery of women's health and safety."

  • Our final honoree is California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins.

Asm. Atkins authored the 2013 law that expands access to safe abortion care in the Golden State, which NARAL Pro-Choice California organized around to help pass. This new law will increase the number of medical professionals who can provide early abortion care like midwives and nurses. Now, women in parts of California where there are only a few doctors will have the ability to access abortion care from someone they know and trust.

Check out our latest edition of Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Choice in the States for more information on choice-related laws in your state and learn about how state legislatures can have a deep impact on women's reproductive freedom.

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Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Buffer-Zone Law that Protects Against Dangerous Anti-Choice Protesters

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to a law that protects women seeking reproductive-health care in Massachusetts - including checkups, birth control, and abortion care - from enduring violence, and harassment by anti-choice protesters outside of reproductive-health clinics.

Massachusetts has a 35-foot buffer zone (the distance of two parking spaces) that blocks anti-choice protesters from approaching women accessing health care. But anti-choice forces are fighting the buffer zone so that they can get even closer when shaming and harassing women entering these clinics.

Anti-choice protesters often hover around reproductive-health care clinics within a certain distance to protest, picket, and hand out anti-choice propaganda to women walking into the clinic - regardless of whether they're at the clinic to get an abortion or not.

These protesters are anything but harmless. Their tactics include screaming, using threats, taking photos, and even spitting on patients. In some of the more extreme cases, anti-choice protesters have been deadly. Most recently, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was murdered in his church by an anti-choice protester in 2009.

We reached out to some of our allies who volunteer as clinic escorts. These courageous supporters walk women through mobs to make sure they can get health care safely. They told us what it's like to escort and sent us pictures - we so appreciate their willingness to share their experiences.

This history of violence, harassment, and ripping away patient privacy is why the Supreme Court must rule in favor of women's safety and uphold the buffer-zone law. Nobody should be subjected to harassment or violence when getting health care or making a deeply personal health decision.

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7 Pro-Choice State Lawmakers to Watch in 2014

We celebrated some great pro-choice wins in 2013, in large part because we have strong, pro-choice leaders who fight day in and day out for our rights. Here's our list of notable pro-choice state lawmakers to watch in 2014:

1) Texas gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis.jpg

Wendy Davis gained pro-choice political stardom last summer when she filibustered extreme anti-choice legislation that could shut down almost 90 percent of reproductive-health clinics that provide abortion care across the state of Texas, force women to get an ultrasound before they can have an abortion, and ban abortion after 20 weeks. We know that exciting things await Wendy and her colleague, Texas state Sen. Leticia van de Putte, in 2014. And we look forward to seeing NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and these pro-choice champions make magic this year.

2) Texas State Sen. Leticia van de Putte

Leticia-Van-de-Putte.jpg

During Sen. Davis' filibuster, Leticia raised the roof when she called out her anti-choice colleagues in the Texas state Senate, asking, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?" If you haven't seen it yet, the video is pretty incredible. You can hear the literal roar of pro-choice activists who showed up in solidarity with Texas women.

3) Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox

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Republican state Rep. Doug Cox, a practicing physician, is part of the pro-choice minority in the Oklahoma state legislature. He caught our attention last year when he reprimanded his Republican colleagues for attempting to restrict women's access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. He got even more vocal in an op-ed, Doug wrote, "What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman's life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?" How will Rep. Cox fight for women in 2014? We can't wait to see.

4) North Carolina State Rep. Alma Adams

Alma Adams.jpg

Alma has fought for women and families for nearly three decades, and in 2013 she, along with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, was a leader in the fight against the "motorcycle safety" bill that politicians used to sneak in a dangerous anti-choice provision. Alma spoke out about the extreme legislation: "It's about politics. It's not about women's health. It's not about safety...As a woman, I am personally insulted by the maneuvers around getting this bill to the floor. We've made a mockery of women's health and safety." We're grateful that Rep. Adams continues to speak out for women's health in North Carolina and we're sure 2014 will be no exception.

5) California State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins

Toni_AtkinsX390.jpg

Toni wrote the new law in California to increase the number of medical providers who can provide abortion care in California. You can watch Toni talk about her bill in this video. We, along with NARAL Pro-Choice California, couldn't be more grateful for Asm. Atkins' pro-choice initiative in California. We're excited to see even more from her in 2014.

6) Michigan State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

whitmer-crop.jpg In December 2013, the anti-choice Michigan legislature bypassed Gov. Rick Snyder's signature to ban insurance coverage for abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. While Sen. Gretchen Whitmer bravely spoke out against this extreme legislation that essentially demands women to purchase additional coverage if they need an abortion after a sexual assault, she revealed that she too was a rape survivor. Here's part of her statement: "This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have thought ahead and planned for it. Make no mistake, this is anything but a citizens' initiative. It's a special interest group's perverted dream come true." Abortion coverage may be law, but not to worry, pro-choice politicians in Michigan are already planning their next move in 2014. And we are sure state Sen. Whitmer will be critical to this campaign.

7) Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner

Nina Turner.jpg

Pro-choice Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner is a loud and proud advocate for reproductive rights. When anti-choice politicians introduced a bill that would ban abortion as early as six weeks - that's before most women even realize they're pregnant - Nina countered those attacks by introducing her own bill. Nina's legislation exposed her colleague's extremism toward women by turning the tables and proposing a tongue-in-cheek requirement that men attend psychological counseling to prove they are fit to get insurance coverage for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications. Her legislation would also require doctors to inform male patients about all of the potential risks of Viagra in writing. Oh snap, Nina! We can't wait to watch NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Sen. Turner fight for women's reproductive rights in 2014!

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