Results tagged “Abortion” from Blog for Choice
We were outraged to hear about Kermit Gosnell and his unsafe treatment of women who trusted him with their reproductive health.
What the anti-choice movement doesn't want you to know is that low-income women can be driven to seek medical care from individuals like Gosnell because of unfair restrictions to abortion access.
Even today, rather than work to expand women's access and prevent women from turning to back-alley abortion providers, anti-choice politicians are pushing to make it harder for women to get abortion care.
In Iowa, the state House of Representatives passed legislation that would withhold Medicaid funding for abortion providers. Here's the scariest part: Medicaid funding in Iowa only covers abortion for survivors of rape or incest, and when the woman's life is in danger.
These anti-choice politicians are heartless for wanting to cut funding for abortion care when a woman's life depends on it.
That doesn't sound very "pro-life," does it?
If they get their way, anti-choice politicians will succeed at blocking low-income women from even getting birth control and cancer screenings.
We've seen what happens when ideology trumps women's health. Before Roe v. Wade, women still sought out abortion, but they often ended up in the hands of predators like Kermit Gosnell.
If anti-choice politicians succeed in promoting their agenda - blocking access to abortion care to women who have been raped, or cutting vital health programs that prevent pregnancy - then surely these zealots must bear some responsibility for the horrors from unsafe providers like Kermit Gosnell.
Sarah La Due is the assistant director of public affairs at NARAL Pro-Choice California
We've got some good news!
A new bill in California will break down some of the barriers that women face in accessing abortion care. By allowing trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician's assistants to provide first-trimester abortion care, the Abortion Access Bill will allow more women in California to get the care they need from local providers they know and trust.
But even in a pro-choice state like California, there are anti-choice opponents working to defeat this important bill.
In a recent committee hearing, Assemblymember Donald Wagner (R-Irvine) shocked us with some of his assumptions about women's access to abortion care:
"I would think we'd have here, in support of the bill, a whole lot of women with their kids in tow, like we had in opposition to the bill, saying, 'You know, I couldn't get access, so look what happened.'"
Apparently, Assemblymember Wagner needs women to parade their children as evidence that women need access to abortion. Wagner doesn't seem to understand what reality looks like for many working women and families in this state.
Good thing Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) was there to set him straight.
Watch the exchange for yourself:
California women are fortunate that pro-choice champions in the legislature - like Assemblymember Mitchell and Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the bill's sponsor - are pushing this important bill forward.
NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to be working on proactive, pro-choice legislation that aims to serve all women - rural or urban, rich or poor - because all women deserve access to comprehensive reproductive-health care.
To learn more about the Abortion Access Bill (AB 154) and to take action to support it, visit www.ProChoiceCalifornia.org.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, appeared on MSNBC's "Politics Nation with Al Sharpton" to discuss the trial of Kermit Gosnell:
"As a new president of a pro-choice organization, I want more media scrutiny on this case. Because that's the only way we're going to turn these anti-choice extremists' crocodile tears into policies that actually protect women by not throwing up obstacles for them getting safe, legal abortion care."
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, stopped by MSNBC this morning to talk with Thomas Roberts about the ongoing trial of Kermit Gosnell:
"I think the American people join me and [NARAL Pro-Choice America] in being outraged that this man was able to operate for years, preying on poor women who desperately needed safe and clean medical services...I get up and go to work every single day to make sure women get the care that they need and aren't driven into back alley abortion providers like Kermit Gosnell."
"There is no one more outraged than me personally, and certainly our organization works every single day to make certain that women are not victimized by people like Dr. Kermit Gosnell. What we need is safe and legal access to medical care for women seeking abortion. The thing that has allowed the people like Gosnell to continue is unnecessary restrictions on women going to the safe clinics with reputable medical care."
That's the decision women will be forced to make if anti-choice groups are successful in their goal to ban abortion regardless of a woman's personal situation or heartbreaking circumstance.
Anti-choice organizations across the country spend countless efforts and resources fighting for policies that would ban abortion without exceptions for rape, incest, and a woman's health and safety. And if they're successful, any woman could be forced to choose between her life and her freedom.
Policies that ban abortion care with no exceptions endanger women's lives and force them to make impossible decisions at the hands of extreme anti-choice politicians.
In El Salvador, where abortion is illegal in all cases, one woman will be forced to choose between life-saving abortion care and time in prison.
According to Salon:
"The 22-year-old mother of one, identified only as Beatriz, is four-and-a-half months pregnant, but her doctors have confirmed that the fetus has anencephaly (developing without a brain and certain parts of the skull) and that the pregnancy [may face a tragic outcome]. In addition to the diagnosis [of a fetal anomaly], Beatriz is experiencing critical health complications related to her lupus and kidney disease."
The hospital treating Beatriz has requested that the government grant permission for life-saving abortion care, but so far, no permission has been granted.
That's why it's so important to make sure all women have access to safe, legal reproductive-health care and abortion services. Our lives may depend on it.
- Kermit Gosnell Trial is a 'Peek Into the World Before Roe: NARAL President Ilyse Hogue' - Ryan Grim and Laura Bassett, Huffington Post
- Why We Need to Talk about the Horrifying Gosnell Abortion Trial - Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel
- There is No Gosnell Coverup - Irin Carmon, Salon
As we say again and again, anti-choice politicians clearly didn't learn their lesson from the 2012 War on Women. As a result, those politicians are launching wave after wave of legislative attacks on choice in the states this year.
These range from "personhood" legislation and unnecessary and burdensome TRAP regulations to unconstitutional outright abortion bans.
Far from chastened by their setbacks last fall, the anti-choice movement has redoubled its efforts and will clearly stop at nothing to take women's advancements in reproductive health back to the Middle Ages.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, stopped by MSNBC to talk with Thomas Roberts about current anti-choice attacks in the states:
"What we're seeing is a disturbing pattern. Women in America are living in two vastly different realities. Some places where they actually have the full range of reproductive choices that allow them the independence and autonomy that we define as uniquely American, and others where [anti-choice politicians] are saying 'No, you're a second-class citizen, and you're not allowed to make the choices that men would make between them and their doctors.' What we know as women, is that we are people and we will fight for our choices, and we'll fight to make these choices with our families and with our doctors."
What these anti-choice politicians try to forget is that advocates for women have the values of freedom and privacy on our side.
Seven in 10 Americans support Roe v. Wade, and when politicians try to get between women and their doctors, women will make their voices heard.
Thankfully, for every anti-choice opponent there is a choice champion who steps up to protect and expand reproductive freedom. That leads us to this month's Hall of Fame and Shame.
This month we were floored by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's (D) courage.
He stood up to anti-choice politicians in the Arkansas state legislature and vetoed not one, but two extreme abortion bans. In delivering his veto, Gov. Beebe pointed out that these bans are clearly unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, and defending the laws in court would be incredibly expensive for a state that's already struggling financially.
Unfortunately, the state legislature overrode his vetos anyway, and now the state will likely be forced to dip into already limited funds to defend these restrictive abortion bans. That means less money for health care, public safety, and education.
Arkansas isn't the only state to enact abortion bans this month, which brings us to our "Hall of Shame:"
The North Dakota state legislature won the race to the bottom when it approved anti-choice legislation that would ban abortion as early as six weeks - before many women even know they are pregnant.
What's worse, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) ignored the calls of many in his state and signed the abortion ban into law, earning North Dakota the dubious distinction of having the worst abortion ban in the country.
North Dakota anti-choice politicians could use a lesson in representing the needs of women in the state instead of attacking their fundamental right to reproductive freedom.
There were plenty of inspiring choice champions and anti-choice opponents who could've earned a spot in our Hall of Fame and Shame. Keep an eye out for them as we look for next month's winners.
This anti-choice law is so extreme that if it goes into effect, it will ban abortion before many women even know they're pregnant.
Ironically, Mother Jones reports that North Dakota was ranked number one in the Mercatus Center's annual report "Freedom in the 50 States:"
"The Center's rankings are quite thorough--you can see where each stands based on dozens of variables, including taxation, tort reform, fireworks laws, same-sex partnerships, happy hour regulations, the legality of raw milk, and whether or not the state bans salvia."
One thing is missing from the report: reproductive rights!
For now, Arkansas holds the title as the state with the earliest abortion ban. But that could change very soon.
North Dakota is poised to adopt an extreme law which would ban abortion even earlier - at six weeks!
The North Dakota state legislature has mounted numerous anti-choice attacks on women's reproductive freedoms before, but this so called "heartbeat" ban is the worst.
This legislation would ban abortion before most women even know they're pregnant, with no exceptions for rape or incest. It would effectively make abortion illegal in the state of North Dakota.
Lawmakers in North Dakota passed this anti-choice bill along with divisive legislation that criminalizes doctors for the reasons women seek abortion care. Both bills are on their way to Gov. Jack Dalrymple's (R) desk.
But that's not the end of the story.
Anti-choice politicians in the state are also pushing a "personhood" ballot initiative, a 20-week abortion ban, and - in case they hadn't driven the point home already - a TRAP bill aimed at closing the last remaining abortion provider in the state.
We cannot go back to the days before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal. Because when abortion is illegal, women are forced to seek unsafe abortion care that could have devastating effects.
We hope that Gov. Dalrymple will think long and hard about what these bills would mean for the reproductive health and well being of women in North Dakota before he signs this outrageous package of bills into law.
It's time for these anti-choice politicians to stop attacking choice, and start trusting women.
Unfortunately, anti-choice politicians in the states keep taking big political gambles by continuing the War on Women. But, at the same time, we are amazed by lawmakers who refuse to play politics that threaten women's lives.
This month we were wowed by Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox (R).
It can take nerves of steel to speak out against bills designed to chip away at a woman's right to choose in an anti-choice state legislature.
"We keep passing stuff like this, they'll be done in back alleys with coat hangers, people.... [Abortions] are done in clinics inspected by the Health Department under sterile, medical conditions. This bill basically is trying to intimidate the providers who do those."
Rep. Cox's stance earned him a spot in our Hall of Fame this month. If you love this story as much as we do, share it on Facebook.
But for every pro-choice champion we find, there's always an anti-choice challenger close behind. Which brings us to the "winner" of our "Hall of Shame:"
Somebody must've missed a biology class because she told reporters that she supports this bill because a fetus is "the largest organ in a body."
We created a graphic to give Rep. McClurkin a mini-anatomy lesson that you can check out on our Facebook page.
There are a lot of people who could have earned a spot in our Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame in February. Who caught your eye this month?
Sarah La Due is the assistant director of public affairs at NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"If we had asked 40 pro-choice photographers in 1973 to take photographs that represented 'choice,' what kinds of images do you think they would have given us?"
It's a question that I asked students at Stanford University and Mills College just a few weeks ago.
"Women marching in the streets," they said. "Coat hangers."
"Blood. Women dying."
Those are the images that have been handed down to my generation by our mothers and grandmothers. Those images are a reflection of their very real experiences before 1972, a time when Roe v. Wade didn't exist, where women died because they couldn't get safe, legal abortion.
I asked the students to keep our conversation in mind as we watched our new Choice Out Loud "40" film, a stop-motion compilation of the photos we received from 40 pro-choice photographers who were eager to show us what choice means to them today. What came back to us was not an assortment of images that warned of women dying, but rather a celebration of women living.
One student said to me that she liked the way that several photographers chose to use women's hair as a metaphor for the different choices that we make in our everyday lives.
Another said the images reminded her of her own friends, that it made her think about how being pro-choice is just a normal part of life for many people today.
I was born in 1984, 11 years after Roe v. Wade. But even so, the right to legal abortion has shaped my life and the lives of my peers in ways we often don't think about - it has given us the freedom to make decisions about our own lives, for ourselves.
For many women in my generation, choice is a celebration of our lives. I've never had to make the difficult decision about whether or not to have an abortion, but I was able to make decisions confidentially about what to do with my life because I knew that if I ever did have to make that decision, the choice would be mine - not the government's, not anyone else's.
I can't wait to visit more campuses and talk to more people about Choice Out Loud! To learn more or to join in the conversation, be sure to go like us on Facebook or give us a follow and a shout-out on Twitter!
"In the 1960s and early 1970s, the first generation of black women elected to statewide office put reforming abortion laws on the legislative agenda--even in red states. In 1967, Dr. Dorothy Brown of Tennessee--a surgeon who ran back and forth between the hospital and General Assembly--introduced an unsuccessful bill to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. While that initiative ultimately cost Brown her seat, Missouri Rep. DeVerne Calloway was elected in 1962, also co-sponsored a failed abortion reform but held office until 1982. Georgia's Rep. Grace Towns Hamilton also pushed measures to legalize abortions in the first trimester in 1970 and 1971.
Their voices echo today in the efforts of black women state legislators such as Virginia Delegate Charniele Herring, who led the charge against her state's proposal to require unnecessary 'transvaginal' ultrasounds before abortion. They also echo in the grassroots mobilization of historically black colleges in Mississippi, whose students' votes helped defeat the state's dangerously sweeping personhood amendment in 2011. And they echo in the work of black abortion providers who challenge new abortion restrictions and serve in remote and underserved locations."
You can check out the rest of this fantastic piece at the "Strong Families" Reproductive Justice Blog.
We know that the variety of women's reproductive-health needs is vast and diverse. And by working together, we can achieve our common goal of ensuring that all women, of any color or any culture, have access to safe and affordable reproductive-health care.
Happy Black History Month from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Extreme anti-choice politicians across the country work every day to undermine women's reproductive freedom - often employing bans based on arbitrary timelines that can sometimes make abortion illegal even before a woman knows she's pregnant.
We can never know every woman's circumstance. That is why it must be left to women, their families, and their doctors to make reproductive-health decisions - not anti-choice politicians on Capitol Hill on in the states.But unfortunately, some families must face the difficult decision to end a much-wanted pregnancy when a health tragedy arises. This is yet another reason why access to safe, legal abortion care remains essential.
Despite the fact that seven in 10 Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, politicians across the country continue to propose anti-choice legislation that chips away at women's reproductive rights.
In North and South Dakota, anti-choice politicians are mounting these attacks at an alarming rate.
From so-called "personhood" measures, to bills that ban abortion before most women even know they are pregnant, to unnecessary waiting periods for women who seek abortion care, women's access to reproductive-health care is becoming more and more restricted.
Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, commented on anti-choice lawmakers' recent attempts to extend the forced-waiting period for women seeking abortion care in the state:
"H.B.1237, if passed, will severely limit access to abortion in South Dakota, making it virtually impossible for women to access needed reproductive health-care. The measure could make it impossible for the state's only comprehensive women's health clinic to continue providing abortion services, effectively banning abortion in South Dakota."
And just like South Dakota, many of these anti-choice initiatives are being pushed forward in states which may only have one abortion clinic in the entire state. An upcoming film, "The Last Clinic", highlights the attacks on choice and the unknown fate of Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic.
Nick Wunder, a member of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department and a South Dakota native, worked on the ground with our affiliate in that state to stop these extreme anti-choice attacks to women's freedom and privacy.
Nick is a member of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department and a South Dakota native.
Anti-choice politicians in South Dakota gained notoriety in 2011 by passing an extreme measure that forces a woman to submit to a state-mandated in-person lecture at an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center (CPC), wait 72 hours, and make three trips before getting abortion care. Thankfully, a federal judge blocked the 2011 law from going into effect, but anti-choice state legislators keep trying to up the ante. In 2012, they amended the law to make it even worse: now the law forces doctors to probe women about deeply personal topics, including her religious beliefs--even if against her will. Fortunately, again the courts enjoined it.
I didn't think these anti-choice politicians could take it any further, but they proved me wrong. Last week, South Dakota state Rep. Jon Hansen introduced HB 1237, a bill that would redefine the 72-hour forced delay to apply only to business days, so that weekends and holidays wouldn't count toward the three-day waiting period. This demeaning bill assumes that women can make medical decisions that impact their lives only during business hours. Apparently, on weekends and holidays women just can't think for themselves. It's insulting.
This bill would put abortion care even further out of reach for women who already live in one of the most difficult states for reproductive-health services. South Dakota has only one abortion provider, and in many cases, women must travel long distances for care. It would have the worst effect on low-income women, rural women, and Native-American women, all of whom have the hardest time getting health-care services. Facing a mandatory delay and a two-trip requirement, women also may need to take time off from work or school, and arrange for child care, transportation, and overnight stays.
I did the math: in practice, this bill could mean delays of weeks. Such a long waiting period could have serious consequences for women's health. Apparently Rep. Hansen and his anti-choice allies don't feel that protecting the health of women in South Dakota is a priority.
As NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota executive director Alisha Sedor points out, HB 1237 perpetuates "antiquated and sexist views of women...by implying that they are unable to make decisions about their reproductive health-care if it isn't a business day."
This tone-deaf measure fundamentally misreads where South Dakotans stand on government interference in citizens' private lives. And I should know--I grew up on a third-generation family farm in the northwestern corner of the state. South Dakotans understand that politicians have no business interfering with a woman's private health-care decisions. But you don't have to take my word for it: South Dakota voters have twice rejected abortion bans at the ballot box. Anti-choice politicians just don't get it.
Maybe that's why the Rapid City Journal selected HB1237 as the "Odd Bill of the Week."
Recent polling shows that Americans continue to believe that it should be a woman's decision when and whether to start a family - and that abortion needs to remain an option.
When you think about a woman who chooses abortion, it's easy to assume it is due to an unintended pregnancy. But that's not the whole story.
There are also women who are happily pregnant and can't wait to welcome a child into the world. Sadly, even women with wanted pregnancies need the right to access abortion.
Dana is one of these women. When Dana went to her 29-week sonogram, she learned that there were grave complications with her pregnancy. The fetus suffered from multiple brain abnormalities and it was uncertain whether the pregnancy would survive to term.
Christy is also one of these women. Christy received a tragic diagnosis when she had a sonogram at 21 weeks pregnant when she learned the fetus she was carrying was suffering from multiple severe anomalies including a rare birth defect in which the central connecting structure of the brain is absent. Christy and her husband consulted medical experts around the world and were told that, if the fetus survived the pregnancy, which was uncertain, the baby would be in a state of near-constant seizures, requiring numerous surgeries to remove what little of the brain matter remained.
After discussing their circumstances with their families and their doctors, each woman chose abortion.
It's hard to imagine the grief Dana, Christy, and their families must have endured when they received a life-changing diagnosis.
Despite the fact that we can't know each woman's circumstances, anti-choice politicians continue working to take away a woman's right to choose what is best for her and her family in situations like this.
Who could be so heartless? Lawmakers in North Dakota, for starters. According to Buzzfeed, Americans United for Life - an anti-choice organization - is working with lawmakers in several states to block abortion access. One tactic is to criminalize doctors who provide abortion care to women facing tragic circumstances like Dana or Christy.
We will be doing all that we can to stop these bills. Please consider sharing your story so that women's voices aren't silenced in this debate.
Anti-choice protestors from far and wide flooded the streets of Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual anti-choice "March For Life."
Several anti-choice members of Congress spoke at the march this year. Do any of these names ring a bell for you?
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), among his many accomplishments, masterminded 10 votes on choice in the last Congress! Among them were the "Let Women Die" bill, and an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is infamous for trying to sneak a "personhood" amendment into a flood-insurance bill. Sen. Paul also filed several amendments to a bill that would have given the District of Columbia autonomy of its own budget, including one that would permanently ban the District from using its own funds to pay for abortion care for low-income women.
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) showed that pushing an anti-choice agenda is her top priority when she reintroduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood - just two days into the 113th Congress.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) co-chairs the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and recently criticized the Roe v. Wade - the Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman's right to safe, legal abortion care.
And Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who also sits on the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, voted to ban health-insurance coverage for abortion care. He also criticized President Obama for being the "abortion president" on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
All in all, this is a pretty spectacular roundup of the most extreme anti-choice politicians who work every day to block a woman's right to access reproductive-health care.
Let these extreme anti-choicers know that you believe a woman's right to safe, legal, abortion care should be protected.
Tarek Rizk is the communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America
My first week or so here as communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America has been amazing. I've been working with a great group of folks on the exciting Choice Out Loud campaign, we launched the Who Decides? report on the state of choice in America, and we announced Ilyse Hogue as the next president of the organization. All that as we mark 40 years since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman's right to choose.
In my position I'm honored to help NARAL Pro-Choice America think about the language we use to tell our story and engage our base of activists while reaching out to new people. This week, we're talking a lot about the word "choice" and how it helps us connect with different folks.
We believe the language of "choice" is a powerful tool to help people understand what is at risk and what we're fighting so hard to protect. I see the conversation about choice expanding as our community grows and changes. "Choice" isn't solely a political expression. "Choice" also points to the very personal and sometimes difficult decisions made by women who deserve privacy and respect.
As opponents of women exercising their reproductive rights have broadened their attack, I think it's important that NARAL Pro-Choice America also see "choice" in much broader terms. Choice means having access to birth control and choosing when to make the personal and financial commitment to bring a child into the world. It means taking steps to ensure you can provide for and protect that child to the best of your ability. It means you, and not the government, decide whether you become a parent.
Finally, it's worth noting that "pro-choice" is a term we use to describe ourselves and our work. We don't ask our friends and activists to wear a label. As a new generation of young people who support a woman's right to control her body and her life joins our ranks, the labels we use matter less. As we saw at the ballot box in 2012, attacks on this fundamental right drew a strong response from voters of all ages. Yesterday the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released data showing that 63 percent of respondents oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. This strong support for what we call pro-choice values has held at this level for decades.
So, in the 40 years since an energized group of passionate women and men marched and rallied and fought for the right to choose, the language has changed and will continue to change. But the values that support this intensely personal and important right have never wavered. And neither will we.