Results tagged “Abortion” from Blog for Choice
"Only four out of 10 [teenagers] said they had been given information both on how to say no to sex and about birth control. And 83 percent of the boys and girls who had sex said they had not received any sex education before their first time."
Woah. That's just scary. No wonder the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed nation.
This is what the anti-choice movement is all about: keeping people from getting the facts and from making the health-care decisions that are right for them. That means a lot of teens aren't learning what they need to know to stay healthy.
Take a look at four ways the anti-choice movement's agenda is playing out across the country:
- "Abstinence-only" programs: Not only has the anti-choice movement made it their agenda to withhold information from young people across the country, "abstinence-only" programs actually promote misinformation and use shaming tactics to block teens from accessing birth control or their full range of reproductive options. Only 28 states require sex education that teaches about birth control.
- Anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs): The anti-choice movement's agenda of denying information and using shame isn't only happening in schools. Our opponents have created "crisis pregnancy centers" to stop women from choosing abortion. These fake clinics are meant to look like abortion providers to lure women facing an unintended pregnancy through their doors, but then they tell women lies like "abortion causes breast cancer," "Condoms are porous," and "abortions will ruin your chance of having children in the future."
- Attacks on contraceptive coverage: For the anti-choice movement, withholding information isn't extreme enough. They are also working to let bosses who oppose birth control refuse to cover it for their employees and two of their cases have gone all the way to the Supreme Court. One in three women struggles to afford birth control, so if these bosses win it's going to mean that a lot of women could lose access altogether.
- Laws that close abortion clinics: Anti-choice politicians in states like Texas close reproductive-health clinics, including ones that provide abortion. We're seeing this happen in Ohio where new restrictions are forcing clinics out of business because they cannot comply quickly enough with unnecessary transfer agreements with local hospitals. These Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws have one goal: shut down clinics where women can get safe and legal abortion care. And, sadly, in states that are dominated by anti-choice politicians, these laws are doing just that.
In one Mississippi classroom, students of an "abstinence-only" program were made to pass around an unwrapped piece of chocolate to show that sexual activity is dirty and shameful. A school district in Texas compared sexually active teens to "chewed up gum" that should be thrown away. Another program taught students that if they have sex they're like a "rose without petals." Education is supposed to encourage and inspire students, not shame them and make them feel worthless. The problem is these programs just don't work. Teens will still have sex, but they have no idea of the risks or consequences.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
But sometimes at the Thanksgiving table we can't avoid those political discussions that go from awkward to even more awkward if curmudgeonly "Uncle Marv" won't stop running his mouth about how we need to pass a 20-week abortion ban.
Uncle Marv may not realize how dangerous an abortion ban can be for women's health, but luckily you're armed with the facts. That's why you can help educate Uncle Marv about why voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, resoundingly voted down a proposed 20-week ban.
Here are some quick facts about later abortion care and later abortion bans you can use at Thanksgiving:
- Less than two percent of abortion care occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy .
- And many of those women who do choose later abortion must make the heartbreaking decision to end a much-wanted pregnancy after a tragic diagnosis. Dana is one of these women. Later into her pregnancy, Dana found out that her pregnancy had a severe fetal anomaly and decided to end her pregnancy - the decision her and her husband felt was best for their family. You can even show Uncle Marv this video of Dana telling her story.
- Many later abortion bans, including the failed ban in Albuquerque and those in a number of states, have no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
- Anti-choice groups are actually trying to ban abortion outright, regardless of a woman's health or circumstances. Later abortion bans are just one way they're trying to do this.
Even in Congress, politicians like Sen. Lindsey Graham, who introduced a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks for women nationwide, are spending taxpayer dollars push a bill that endangers women's lives instead of fixing real problems like education, the economy, or climate change.
Hopefully, talking about the dangers that real women face if later abortion bans are passed will open up Uncle Marv's mind to consider facts he hadn't been aware of before. You may not agree on everything, but you can help him understand why defeating these bans is essential to protecting women's health and safety.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Stephanie Budrus is the Development and Organizing Fellow at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri
"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.
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.
Today, 37 years ago, Congress passed the Hyde amendment. This measure has effectively taken the right to choose away from countless women who struggle financially. The Hyde amendment blocks federal funds from covering abortion services in almost all circumstances for women who get their health insurance through Medicaid.
A new report from The Guttmacher Institute shows the "dire consequences [of the Hyde amendment] for women and their families" when they've been denied assistance for abortion coverage.
The numbers are stark. One in four women on Medicaid who seek an abortion have been unable to get one. And right now, 33 states have similar bans in place - meaning that only 17 states provide low-income women access to abortion.
For a woman who already struggles financially, the Hyde amendment makes the road to accessing abortion care infinitely more challenging. The cost of the procedure increases over time, meaning that for low-income women it may double or triple because of how much longer it takes to save enough money to pay out of pocket. For 25 percent of these women without insurance coverage for abortion care, they end up with no choice.
And what becomes of the millions of women who are discriminated against under Hyde? According to an eye-opening "Turnaway" study, "when a woman is denied [an abortion], she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line."
The responsibility falls on our elected officials to look at the hard facts about what happens to women who are impacted by this horrible anti-choice policy. But until then, women and their families continue to pay the price.
Check out our graphic in solidarity with the millions of low-income women and families affected by Hyde and share it with your friends:
This week, our first annual event, Men For Choice - And the Women Who Love Them, was an amazing success! Pro-choice men from all walks of life joined us in celebrating pro-choice values and a woman's right to make her own personal and private decisions without shame or government intrusion.
To get the buzz going leading up to our event, we started tweeting with the hashtag #MenForChoice. Men (and women) from across the country tweeted their pro-choice support and their gratitude for all men who strongly stand with women - it was truly amazing.
The response from people who don't consider themselves to be part of #MenForChoice was also, well, quite something.
Take a look for yourself to see what happens when we celebrate these amazing pro-choice champions.
Anti-choice tweeters called pro-choice men "selfish" and "irresponsible:"
And even went as far as calling pro-choice men child rapists:
To these anti-choice trolls, standing up for a woman's reproductive rights falls in the same boat as abusing children. How offensive is that?!
Anti-choice extremists who fight against abortion rights are the same people who fight against equality and autonomy for women in general. And they definitely showed us exactly what "pro-life love and compassion" truly is.
Check out our post that was too "controversial" for Buzzfeed:
The race for governor is heating up in Virginia, which is why it's so important for pro-choice voters to know the facts.
Anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli claims that government legislation shouldn't touch birth control and that he has "never supported legislation that invades people's choices about contraception." We're calling blatant LIE on this one. Cuccinelli's extreme anti-choice record of restricting women's access to reproductive-health care and birth control truly speaks for itself.
1. Cuccinelli co-sponsored "personhood" legislation that would ban abortion in almost all cases, and could outlaw common forms of birth control - including the pill.
Because sponsoring legislation to ban birth control is the best way to show that you have no agenda...to ban birth control.
2. Cuccinelli doesn't even know what contraception is. He's called birth control and emergency contraception "abortion methods."
Newsflash Ken: The medical community disagrees with you there.
3. Ken is a big fan of anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women about their reproductive options.
CPC employees have been caught on tape telling women that birth control causes cancer and saying that birth control is "enslavement."
4. He also cosponsored legislation that would make it more difficult for young women to get birth control and force teens to notify their parents if they want information about STI prevention and emergency contraception.
5. Let's get real: Ken just doesn't want you to get birth control, and CERTAINLY not without a co-pay.
Cuccinelli has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act, which provides birth control coverage to countless women who may otherwise not be able to afford it.
Recap: Ken is "not going to touch contraception as governor"? Yeah right, he's not fooling anybody.
What other lies will Ken tell before pro-choice voters head to the polls in November and show him that his anti-choice agenda won't fly with women in Virginia?
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Have you ever seen signs that say "Pregnant? Scared?" and offer free counseling, pregnancy tests, or ultrasounds? Those are likely ads from anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lure women through their doors and then lie to, shame, and deceive women in order to talk them out of choosing abortion. Most people aren't even aware that these centers exist. And right now there are as many as 3,000 CPCs across the country.
Here are some of the lies you'll hear from CPC "counselors:"
CPC Lie #1: Abortion causes breast cancer.
Yeah, about that... the most respected scientific studies all show that abortion care does NOT increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. Just ask the National Cancer Institute.
CPC Lie #2: Abortion will ruin your chances of having children in the future.
Another scare tactic. The truth is: while any medical procedure can pose risks, research shows that early abortion care poses "virtually no risks" to long-term fertility.
CPC Lie #3: Abortion is extremely dangerous. You'll probably die if you get one.
Actually, legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the U.S. today and it's a lot safer than giving birth.
CPC Lie #4: Having an abortion will ruin all your future relationships - and your life.
The decision to end a pregnancy is never an easy one. But research shows that even though some women may feel sad after the procedure, many also feel relieved and grateful.
CPC Lie #5: Birth control is enslavement.
A CPC employee was caught on tape telling a woman that taking oral contraception every day is basically enslavement. Absurd, we know. By the way, hasn't she heard of the wonder that is Nuva Ring?
CPC Lie #6: Condoms don't work.
CPC Lie #7: By the way, we CPC employees aren't lying about any of this.
We can't think of anything more dangerous than pretending to give women actual medical facts or advice when CPCs are actually telling them blatant lies that could truly endanger their reproductive health.
Today is Women's Equality Day and the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.
While our country has made incredible strides to protect and expand women's rights, the celebration of women's equality feels bittersweet when 43 anti-choice measures that undermine a woman's right to decide when to start a family have already been enacted in 2013.
Whether it's mandating waiting periods before a woman can access abortion care, imposing unnecessary regulations on abortion providers in order to close their doors forever or supporting anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women about their reproductive health and options, these laws endanger women's health and safety by making it impossible for many women to get safe and honest health care. More than 50 abortion providers have been forced to close in the last three years.
If you've ever wondered what it would mean to have no access to abortion services, you only have to look abroad. The numbers show again and again: when abortion is illegal women die, and the number of abortion procedures doesn't decrease.
Take, for example, Kenya, where abortion is completely banned. A new report shows that more than 2,500 women die each year from illegal abortion, and thousands more face severe complications from unsafe abortion procedures. This is a frightening glimpse of what the U.S. could look like if extreme anti-choice laws continue to limit women's access to reproductive-health care.
Meanwhile, Ireland only recently expanded its laws after a young woman died from being denied safe abortion care. Her death sparked such an outrage that the Irish government was persuaded to grant access to abortion when a woman's life is threatened. The very first legal abortion was performed in Ireland this month, and it saved a woman's life.
That's why, on Women's Equality Day - and every day - we work to protect and expand a woman's right to choose by supporting pro-choice candidates and holding anti-choice groups accountable for endangering women's health and safety.
These volunteers represent our country by doing important work around the world, risking their health and safety to provide essential aid abroad. Sadly, these heroic volunteers don't even have the same health-care coverage as government employees have here at home. Right now, if a woman serving in the Peace Corps is raped and needs abortion care, she's on her own.
While women in the military have access to this essential service, abortion coverage is completely banned for women volunteers serving in the Peace Corps who become pregnant from rape or if they face life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
One Peace Corps volunteer, Mary Kate Shannon, had to confront this injustice after surviving her second sexual assault while serving abroad. The Peace Corps couldn't provide funding for abortion care, but they did offer to provide federally-funded parenting classes:
"I felt betrayed...I felt like it was a decision that was going to be made for me. I wasn't in a place financially where I felt like I could pay for it."
Nobody should be forced to go through what Mary Kate experienced. So we're getting the word out and working to secure essential reproductive freedoms for these women. Peace Corps volunteers deserve the same respect, support, and health coverage as other citizens serving our nation abroad.
The Peace Corps Equity Act would ensure that Peace Corps volunteers have the unconditional abortion coverage and support they deserve in the most difficult of circumstances.
Winning insurance coverage for abortion in these tragic circumstances is just the first step. We won't stop fighting until insurance plans cover abortion just like any other medical services - for all women.
In November, every pro-choice person in the country is going to wish they lived in Virginia just so they'd get the chance to vote against Ken Cuccinelli for governor. Don't get me wrong, they'd be happy to vote for Terry McAuliffe because he's a committed pro-choice supporter who will fight all the attacks coming out of Richmond. But Cuccinelli's devotion to "crisis pregnancy centers"(CPCs) that lie to women and his disturbing record as an anti-choice crusader makes him one of the worst politicians we've seen.
It's kind of a challenge even to narrow down the worst things he's done... but since we know it's hard for most people to keep track of all 228,431,970 anti-choice attacks he's launched, here are our top five:
- This is a no-brainer: Ken Cuccinelli wants to ban all abortion. Period. Even for women who have been raped. He opposes abortion so much he said he wants "to make abortion disappear in America." Really? Where's it going to go?
- But Ken Cuccinelli really outdid a lot of other anti-choice politicians when he compared abortion to slavery.
- Cuccinelli showed his true stripes when he threatened members of the Virginia Board of Health and threw a temper tantrum because he needed their compliance to shut down the majority of abortion providers in Virginia.
- But when the Board of Health agreed to the restrictions he wanted, he was like:
- Come on, Ken, the only thing more dangerous than closing clinics that provide actual health care to women is supporting fake clinics that lie to and shame women instead. Naturally, that's one more thing Ken Cuccinelli thinks is awesome.
Bad news for Ken: abortion and reproductive rights will be key issues for voters in the upcoming election. That means that every time a pro-choice voter finds out what Ken Cuccinelli has done to take away women's rights, they're more than ready to say:
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Have you ever seen advertisements that read "Pregnant? Scared?" or offer free pregnancy tests? Those are marketing tactics by anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) aimed at luring women through their doors in order to deceive and shame them out of choosing abortion.
Here are a few of the most egregious lies that CPCs tell women who believe they're getting honest medical advice, debunked:
CPC Lie #1: Abortion causes breast cancer.
Truth: This claim has been refuted by the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and the National Cancer Institute. The most respected scientific studies all show that abortion care does NOT increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.
CPC Lie #2: Abortion will ruin your chances of having children in the future.
Truth: Another unfounded claim. The Guttmacher Institute explains, "The preponderance of evidence from well-designed and well-executed studies shows no connection between abortion and future fertility problems." And according to the Mayo Clinic, abortion (both surgical and medical) does NOT harm a woman's chance of getting pregnant or having a healthy pregnancy in the future.CPC Lie #3: Abortion is extremely dangerous.
Truth: The National Abortion Federation reports that legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the U.S. today. Of the women who received early care - when the majority of women end their pregnancies - "97% percent of women report no complications, and less than 0.5% have more serious complications that require some additional surgical procedure and/or hospitalization." In fact, the complication rate of legal, medically supervised, first-trimester abortion in the United States is significantly lower than the complication rate of most other common outpatient procedures.CPC Lie #4: Having an abortion will ruin your life.
Truth: The decision to end a pregnancy is a deeply personal one and can elicit a wide variety of emotions, but research has found that "[w]hile some women may experience sensations of regret, sadness or guilt after an abortion, the overwhelming responses are relief and happiness." Another Guttmacher study found that most women do not feel regret after having an abortion procedure. In order to make the best decision for her and her family, a woman must have accurate and comprehensive information. If CPC employees really cared about women's mental health, they wouldn't subject them to coercion and shame.
These lies are designed to scare women out of choosing abortion care. When a woman doesn't have honest information about her options, it could endanger her reproductive health. And it's happening across the country. There are 34 states that currently support these dangerous centers with taxpayer dollars. Is your state one of them?
All I can say is: GROSS.
Minot Right to Life has been giving away tiny plastic fetuses in bags of candy to impose its anti-choice values on children.
These plastic figures are often used by anti-choice supporters to mislead and shame women who might be considering abortion care.
Executive director of North Dakota Right to Life claimed that these plastic figures "have nothing to do with abortion," which is pretty absurd considering that organizers at the booth were handing out "educational" pamphlets with the figures that said, "Week 1: conception; the baby is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the instructions are present for all that this person will ever become."
One mother who attended the fair expressed her outrage that anti-choice activists were imposing their views on her children:
"My kids can read, I shouldn't have to explain to five and six-year olds what abortion is at a family event. I doubt these people would be allowed to hand out condoms to little kids. But it's okay to talk to them about abortion without my permission?"
The whole story is deeply unsettling. And it goes to show that anti-choice activists have no problem crossing the line to impose their extreme anti-woman agenda on children.
In their efforts to ban abortion, anti-choice politicians in the Texas legislature recently passed an extreme bill that could close nearly 90 percent of abortion clinics across the state.
Once the bill goes into effect, the drastic reduction in clinics will eliminate family-planning services, reproductive-health care, and cancer screenings for many low-income families who may have no other options to access care. The bill will also have devastating consequences for women's access to abortion services.
Now, medical experts fear that women in Texas may desperately turn to unsafe options, including attempting abortion care themselves. Some may even cross into Mexico to obtain medication abortion, which could be very dangerous if taken without consultation from a doctor.
But some anti-choice public figures couldn't care less about women's safety. After the vote in Texas, Erick Erickson of Fox News tweeted that "liberals" should "bookmark" the website of a coat hanger production company!
It's disgusting that Erickson would make light of the real and tragic danger of unsafe abortion procedures.
Sorry, Erick, this is no joke.
Unsafe abortion care cost many young women their lives before Roe v. Wade, and women still die from unsafe abortion services all over the world.
We know that extreme anti-choice restrictions - like the ones in Texas - do not reduce the need for abortion, they only make it more dangerous. That's why it is so important for women to have safe, legal access to abortion without government intrusion, and to make clinics as safe as possible - not close them down.
Something truly extraordinary happened this week that electrified our community. Pro-choice Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) took an epic stand for women's reproductive freedom and refused to be bullied or silenced by anti-choice politicians in the legislature.
Sen. Davis chose to filibuster a bill, S.B. 5, which would have banned abortion care after 20 weeks and shut down all but five abortion clinics across the state of Texas. She was not allowed to sit, drink, eat, or even lean on the podium at any time for the 13 hours she needed to run out the clock and prevent a vote before the special session ended.
Sen. Davis withstood numerous attempts by her anti-choice colleagues to silence her. Proponents of the bill also attempted to silence the voices of the hundreds of pro-choice supporters who filled the Texas Capitol. In the end, the bill was officially defeated when the session ended at midnight without a vote.
I tuned into the live-stream late Tuesday night, and was both mesmerized and horrified at how far anti-choice politicians would go to ram through such a dangerous measure for women's health. State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte (D) drove the point home when she said:
"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"
Sen. Van de Putte's question was like a match to a fuse. Pro-choice supporters in the Capitol immediately began to cheer with support. The cheer became a roar. And they didn't stop cheering until time ran out and the session ended without a vote on S.B. 5.
The defeat of S.B. 5 was a resounding victory for pro-choice women and men across the nation. Sen. Davis' efforts were nothing short of incredible, and her stand reminds us that elected officials can do more than just vote to fight back against the most extreme anti-choice politicians. Sign our Thank You note to Sen. Wendy Davis for not backing down to anti-choice bullies.
Showing just how far anti-choice politicians are willing to go, Gov. Rick Perry (R) has already called for a second special session to advance this bill again. He also showed his true colors and took it to a personal level by stating that Sen. Davis should "[learn] from her own example":
Sen. Wendy Davis and pro-choice supporters across the country are ready to fight back against his extreme agenda.
Who's with us?
In Texas, anti-choice politicians are trying with all their might to pass new restrictions that will shut down reproductive-health clinics across the state.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been in the Capitol fighting back with hundreds of pro-choice activists from across the state. Yesterday, they were on the House floor with hundreds of activists in a "People's Filibuster" to show how dangerous this legislation would be for women's health and safety.
So far, over 700 people from all over the state have signed up to testify against the bill. Hundreds of these citizens' testimony was casually disregarded as "repetitive" by Rep. Byron Cook in an effort to rush a vote in his House committee. Despite this, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas' monumental effort to restore transparency to the democratic process has temporarily blocked the House from voting on the anti-choice package.
Anti-choice Gov. Rick Perry (R), who made headlines by proudly slashing critical family-planning funding in 2011, personally made sure these anti-choice restrictions were part of the agenda for a special session after legislators failed to pass them during the regular session.
If these restrictions become law, all but five abortion providers in the entire state will likely be forced to close. Low-income women and their families, already struggling to access quality care, will be forced to travel huge distances or not receive care at all.
Don't expect anti-choice politicians to stop at these restrictions - they are also scheming to ban abortion after 20 weeks.
I was personally outraged and distressed when I found out that the local Planned Parenthood in my college town of Appleton, Wisconsin could face closure because of anti-choice bullies in the state legislature.
Anti-choice politicians in Wisconsin have already eliminated $1,000,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood from the state budget, meaning less money for reproductive-health care exams, STD testing, and cancer screenings. Now, they're pushing forced-ultrasound legislation and unnecessary regulations aimed at shutting down the clinic altogether.
The Appleton Planned Parenthood is one of the last remaining abortion providers in the entire state of Wisconsin - if anti-choice politicians succeed in shutting it down, women seeking abortion care could be forced to cross state lines into Minnesota.
This is just another case of anti-choice politicians pushing themselves between a woman and her doctor in order to take away her right to make private and personal choices. In fact, supporters of the anti-choice legislation wouldn't even allow pro-choice legislators to debate the repercussions of this dangerous measure before rushing it through the Wisconsin Senate and sending it to anti-choice Gov. Scott Walker's desk.
Gov. Walker (R) has stated that he would sign the bill because he doesn't have "any problem" with forcing women to get an ultrasound, even if it's against her will and her doctor doesn't recommend one. And as a governor who slashed funding for women's health programs, Gov. Walker also doesn't seem to have "any problem" with leaving his own female constituents out in the cold when it comes to their reproductive health and safety.
I know how important it is for all women, and especially young women on college campuses, to be able to take care of their reproductive health without fear or shame. And absolutely no woman should have to overcome these outrageous roadblocks just to find basic reproductive-health care.
Wisconsinites deserve better than anti-choice politicians inserting themselves into private medical decisions. Women in Wisconsin rely on Planned Parenthood and other women's reproductive-health providers to keep them safe and healthy.
Keep up with NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin for ways you can stop politicians from shutting down the Appleton clinic and all clinics that provide women with the care they need.