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Results tagged “Arizona” from Blog for Choice

How Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks Endangers Women


Yesterday, a House subcommittee voted to expand Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' (R) bill which would ban abortion for women after 20 weeks nationwide.

We can't decide which is more disturbing: that anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks don't understand how dangerous banning abortion care is for women, or that they do understand and just don't care.

What anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks are refusing to accept is the reality that some families face the difficult decision whether to end a much-wanted pregnancy when a health crisis arises.

Anti-choice politicians want you to believe that there's no reason a woman would need abortion care after 20 weeks, but, in fact, some women do.

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. Hear her story:

Dana is not alone in her experience.

In El Salvador, a woman named Beatriz made international news when she found out that she was pregnant, but with her serious health conditions Beatriz would likely die if she carried the pregnancy to term. She was diagnosed with a severe fetal anomaly and told that the fetus would not survive. Beatriz was forced to choose between her life and illegal abortion care. Ultimately, Beatriz was allowed to terminate the pregnancy, but it took an intervention from the country's minister of health after Beatriz's appeal was rejected by the Salvadoran Supreme Court.

Anti-choice officials apparently can't be bothered to feel compassion for women in these tragic circumstances.

When a federal judge in Arizona challenged the state's 20-week abortion ban because it could forbid a woman from getting abortion care even if her doctor discovers a severe fetal anomaly, the solicitor general callously dismissed the argument, saying: "That's the woman's problem. She should have made that decision earlier."

Banning abortion after 20 weeks endangers women and ignores the reality that even a much-wanted pregnancy can go wrong. That is why it must be left to women, their families, and their doctors to make reproductive-health decisions - not anti-choice politicians like Rep. Trent Franks.

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Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R) is capitalizing on the trial of Kermit Gosnell by attempting to push a bill through Congress that would ban abortion after 20 weeks for women in Washington, D.C.. Rep. Frank's proposed abortion ban contains no exceptions to protect a woman's health or her future ability to have children.

Rep. Franks wants to make it even harder for low-income women to access abortion care in the most heartbreaking of circumstances. Restricting access for abortion doesn't actually change a woman's decision to end her pregnancy. The restrictions do, however, make it more likely that she'll consider taking desperate measures, or be forced to seek out unsafe providers like Kermit Gosnell.

Let's get this straight - Rep. Franks is trying to impose his anti-choice agenda on women in D.C. who did not elect him as their representative. But that doesn't matter, since Rep. Franks apparently thinks he's the one anti-choice politician to rule them all...

King Trent Franks.jpg

"King" Franks has tried this before, and we defeated that bill in 2012. His abortion ban would truly endanger the health and future of low-income women in D.C. by limiting their reproductive options.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how dangerous this proposed abortion ban would be for women and their families. And it completely contradicts efforts to protect women's health.

To make matters worse, anti-choice Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) jumped on the intrusive bandwagon and recently introduced his own Senate version of the 20-week abortion ban in D.C.

Last year, the District's only representation in Congress, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, was denied the right to testify in opposition to the bill.

It's going to take all of us speaking out to make sure Congress hears our opposition to these overreaching bans on abortion. Please help us protect women in D.C. and voice your pro-choice values to your lawmaker.

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Using Medicaid Expansions to Defund Planned Parenthood?


AZ sign_small.jpgJust when we thought we'd seen it all - anti-choice lobbyists in Arizona are trying to defund Planned Parenthood by exploiting the state's move to expand Medicaid through Obamacare.

Available as part of the Affordable Care Act, states can choose to expand Medicaid and provide health-care coverage to millions of uninsured low-income Americans.

These services include access to preventive-health services, including contraception, maternity care, and well-woman visits.

Unfortunately, rather than accept this opportunity to increase women's access to essential reproductive-health care, extreme anti-choice groups in Arizona are trying to change the Medicaid package so that it prohibits funds from going to Planned Parenthood.

These anti-choice tactics could torpedo the legislation all together since the bill needs bi-partisan support.

If the legislation is derailed or if it somehow survives with the Planned Parenthood defunding language intact, the outcome would be the reduction of essential reproductive-health care services for women across the state of Arizona. Blocking funds for Planned Parenthood in Arizona means fewer cancer screenings, STD testing and treatments and HIV tests - for low-income women and men - services that save lives and keep people healthy.

Sadly, these extreme anti-choice opponents never miss an opportunity to attack women's reproductive freedom, even at the expense of the thousands of women that could completely lose access to health-care if the Medicaid expansion doesn't go through.

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How to Enjoy Your Turkey *And* Talk to Your Family About Choice


Thanksgiving is one of those win-win holidays: your responsibilities are to eat, sleep, and enjoy family.

This year, the Thanksgiving conversation may focus on recent topics like...oh...let's say, the elections. Uncle Marvin can't help himself and he starts in on a few of your favorite lawmakers who defeated a few of his favorite candidates.

AwkwardThanksgiving.JPGFortunately, you know your stuff. You've checked out our info pages for the lowdown on how to talk about your pro-choice values in the face of "hostile interrogators."

Thanks to all our pro-choice supporters proudly talking about protecting women's access to birth control and abortion, we were able to defeat so many anti-choice candidates. You can tell Uncle Marvin about the anti-choice politicians who oppose abortion services even for survivors of rape or incest.

You can tell Uncle Marvin that voters broadly support the new contraceptive-coverage policy and don't want to see Planned Parenthood defunded.

You can let him know that on Election Day, voters rejected these extreme anti-choice positions. Not only did they re-elect our pro-choice president, they also voted 43 new pro-choice faces into Congress.

Also, you can let him know that pro-choice Americans still have some challenges ahead.

Anti-choice politicians in Ohio clearly didn't get the message, because they're pushing for legislation that could ban abortion services before a woman even knows she's pregnant.

And when a judge in the court case against Arizona's 20-week abortion ban asked about the tragic circumstances of a woman with a wanted pregnancy facing a severe fetal anomaly, the state's solicitor general showed his complete lack of compassion by saying, "With due respect, that's a woman's problem. She should have made that decision earlier."

Even if you and Uncle Marv have disagreed in the past, you never know...maybe you can share a point of view he hadn't considered before. And maybe your cousin in college, who overhears the discussion, will keep your conversation in mind and talk to her friends when she goes back to school.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Federal Court Hears Arguments for Extreme Abortion Ban


Last week, a federal court heard the case against Arizona's egregious new law that bans abortion after 20 weeks. The law, which is currently enjoined, outlaws abortion after 20 weeks and includes only a very narrow exception for when a woman's health is in danger and no exception in cases of rape or incest.

One judge challenged the law because it could prevent a woman from seeking abortion care even if her doctor discovers a severe fetal anomaly. He described the prognosis for such a pregnancy this way: "They're basically born into hell and then die."

What did Arizona's solicitor general, David Cole, have to say?

"With due respect, that's the woman's problem. She should have made that decision earlier."

Cole's utter lack of compassion is truly outrageous. Check out the graphic we made in response to the solicitor general's dismissive comment:


Abortion bans like this harm women with wanted pregnancies who experience heart-breaking complications, such as a fetal anomaly or a cancer diagnosis. Or what about a woman who could lose the ability to have children in the future?

It's not for politicians to decide under what circumstances a woman can access abortion care - such a decision should be left to a woman and her family.

The court's decision is pending. We hope that it will rule to protect women's freedom and privacy and not deny choice to women who may need it the most.

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Tell me if this sounds familiar.

This afternoon, a key subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on an anti-choice bill. The bill in question was introduced by anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, who's also the subcommittee's chairman.

When a pro-choice elected woman requested to testify at the hearing, Rep. Franks told her NO.

What am I talking about?

Is it the all-male birth-control panel that excluded Sandra Fluke?

Is it a hearing on the "Arrest Grandma Act"?

Nope. It's a brand-new attack on women's freedom and privacy that combines some of the "greatest hits" of the past three months.


Rep. Franks is pushing a bill to ban abortion care at 20 weeks in Washington, D.C., without consideration for the woman's situation, including cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomaly.

(Hear one family's tragic story that makes clear just how cruel this sort of law really is.)

Why does a representative from Arizona get to do this?

Because the District of Columbia is not a state, and opponents of choice have long used it as their anti-choice proving ground. Rep. Franks' bill is a top priority of the anti-choice National Right to Life Committee and continues the anti-choice legacy of undermining home rule in Washington, D.C.

And the pro-choice woman who wanted to testify at the hearing? That's Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, whom D.C. citizens elected with 89 percent of the vote.

Rep. Norton is not allowed to vote on the House floor, and now, thanks to Rep. Franks, she's not allowed to speak out on a bill that will affect the women in her district, either.

Rep. Franks, by the way, got exactly zero percent of the vote in D.C., since he's from Arizona. But I guess he thinks he knows what's best for D.C. women.

Tell your representative enough is enough: stop the War on D.C. Women.

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Arizona Lawmakers Try to Defund Planned Parenthood


AZ Welcome Sign.jpg

What is it with Arizona?

It's got the Grand Canyon, the saguaro cactus, and the red rocks of Sedona--but it also has some of the most extreme and outrageous anti-choice politicians in the nation.

Now, the state legislature passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and other women's health centers.

For many Arizona women, these health centers are the only place they can turn for birth control, cancer screenings, and Pap smears.

But I guess the Arizona legislature doesn't really care about that.

The bill now heads to the desk of anti-choice Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to decide whether to sign or veto it.

NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona is leading the fight against the multitude of extreme anti-choice measures moving through the Arizona legislature.

Have you had enough of politicians who bend over backwards to attack choice at every possible instant? Make your voice heard!

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Last week, I told you about two Arizona state legislators who could use a class on Manners 101.

State Reps. Terri Proud and Jack Harper wrote some nasty emails to pro-choice constituents who wrote in expressing their opposition to anti-choice bills moving forward in the Arizona legislature.

Now, NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona reports that Rep. Harper is at it again!

Jack W. Harper

Lana Schmitt-Kearney, a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, wrote to Rep. Harper about a bill that would allow bosses and corporations to deny their employees insurance coverage of birth control:

I am a married, 25-year-old, taxpaying citizen of Arizona who works for [a private, secular employer] after graduating from Arizona State in 2009. Please do not forget that as a state representative, you are supposed to represent ALL constituents, not just the ones who think the same way you might. I think it is despicable that H.B.2625 is even being considered- this bill invades the medical privacy of all women, undermines our capacity to make our own autonomous decisions, and thoroughly contradicts the notion that the GOP/right wing wants less government intervention into our lives.

If you must know, I use contraception for two reasons: to control the development of crippling, painful ovarian cysts that grow and burst every month when I ovulate, and also to postpone childbearing until my husband and I have both earned our master's degrees and are financially prepared for children.

Here's how Rep. Harper responded:

Your employer...has no religious objection to providing contraception. This bill doesn't affect you. If you worked for the Catholic Church, would you expect them to pay for an abortion for you? No, you wouldn't. Birth control pills are against the Catholics' religious beliefs, like abortion. Why would the government make them ignore their beliefs? Did our country's founders not come here for religious freedom?

I hope you are feeling better.

Rep. Harper is as misinformed as he is snippy, so let's clear up a few things about insurance coverage of birth control:

  1. H.B.2625, the bill making its way through the Arizona legislature would allow any employer in Arizona to deny employees contraception coverage.
  2. Arizona's contraceptive-equity law already allows churches to opt out of providing birth-control coverage.
  3. This law has been in force for a decade without controversy.

Rep. Harper's email reminds me of the old kindergarten saying, "If you don't have anything nice (or true) to say, don't say anything at all."

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Ariz. Legislators Go Off on Constituents


Our member activists are not ones to keep quiet when politicians attack women's freedom and privacy.

So when Adena Bank Lees of Tucson received a NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona alert about a far-reaching bill to ban abortion care moving forward in the Arizona legislature, she asked her lawmakers to oppose it.

You won't believe how her state representative responded.

Terri Proud

Arizona state Rep. Terri Proud used her state email account to send Adena a shocking and inappropriate note:

Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a "surgical procedure"... I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living - I will be voting YES.

When Adena wrote back to tell Rep. Proud how offensive it was for her to treat a constituent this way, Rep. Proud sent another email, stating:

You're kidding, right?

These personal attacks by some anti-choice Arizona legislators toward their own constituents are nothing to joke about.

Jack W. Harper

If Rep. Proud's actions weren't enough, another state representative, Jack Harper, sent an email to a pro-choice constituent from his state email address calling her a "baby killer."

In the face of unbelievable actions by elected officials, kudos to Adena Bank Lees and all pro-choice Arizonans with the courage to speak their minds.

As for Reps. Proud and Harper, they bring shame to their home state.

Meanwhile, a groundswell of activism is taking place on Facebook against politicians who are practicing medicine without a license.

We highlighted four "Gyno-Governors," and this morning, CNN picked up on it:

"In every generation there are moments when the activism reaches a new level, and I think we're seeing that because of the vile rhetoric from anti-choice politicians and radio show hosts," said NARAL Pro-Choice America spokesman Ted Miller.

"What they didn't count on, or what they may have underestimated, is just how out of touch this agenda is with the country's values and priorities."

Read the full story here.

Seems the politicians waging their War on Women didn't count on women fighting back.
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Study: Access to Abortion Care Becoming Even Scarcer


In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed American women's fundamental constitutional right to choose abortion. But for many women, the ability to exercise that right is far from a reality.

Now, a new study from the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology shows that access to abortion care is even more difficult to obtain than previously thought.

While 97 percent of OB-GYNs encounter women seeking abortion care, only 14 percent provide such care. And 87 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider.

The situation in the states has only gotten worse this year. Just last week, Planned Parenthood of Arizona had to stop providing abortion care at seven of its 10 locations.

It's just further evidence that the right to choose is not something we can take for granted.

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Bad Laws, Bad Consequences: A Lesson from Arizona


In 2009, anti-choice Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer replaced pro-choice Gov. Janet Napolitano. Since then, it's been a whole lot of ugly in the Grand Canyon State.

Gov. Napolitano had been a firewall against Arizona's extreme, anti-choice legislature, vetoing a number of bad bills during her tenure. With anti-choice Gov. Brewer in her place, the legislature has had free rein to enact a whole package of laws interfering with a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions. In just two years, Arizona's grade in our Who Decides? report has gone from a B- to a D.

Now, those anti-choice laws are taking their toll. Starting today, Planned Parenthood of Arizona will stop providing abortion care at seven of its ten locations in the state.

Planned Parenthood could not find enough trained doctors to provide abortion care in a state that has become so hostile to a woman's right to choose. 

The result is that a woman facing an unintended pregnancy will have to travel even further to find a women's health center that provides abortion care. (In a large, rural state like Arizona, this can mean hundreds of miles.) She will then be subjected to a state-mandated lecture and mandatory 24-hour delay before receiving care. This could mean a forced delay of days or even weeks, compelling her to undergo later abortion care that poses increased health risks.

NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona fought hard against these outrageous new restrictions, and will continue to stand up for Arizona women's freedom and privacy. 

According to the Arizona constitution, "the government shall not interfere in the private affairs of its citizens."

I guess Gov. Brewer and the anti-choice legislature don't think this applies to women's medical decisions.

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Making the Rounds


I just got back from putting some democracy into action!

I went with some colleagues to visit pro-choice representatives' offices in the Longworth House Office Building. We brought petitions signed by their constituents thanking these champions for their commitment to a woman's right to choose.

We visited the office of Rep. Jim McDermott, who represents the seventh House district of Washington. We let his staff know that 1,906 people in his district had taken action calling for an end to the War on Women. That's the highest action-taking House district in the country.

We also visited the office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who represents the seventh House district of Arizona--and got a huge and awesome surprise. As we were thanking his staff, the representative himself came out of his office and thanked us for standing up for a woman's right to choose!

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It felt great to meet directly with our pro-choice lawmakers and let them know that we appreciate all they do.

Pro-choice people power! Together, we can stop the War on Women.

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If you needed a reminder that anti-choicers are really working to ban abortion no matter what, look no further. From an article in The Arizona Republic:

A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.

The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was "automatically excommunicated" because of the action....

The patient had a rare and often fatal condition in which a pregnancy can cause the death of the mother.

That's right: The nun, Sister Margaret McBride, was excommunicated after participating in a decision to save a woman's life. I know. I was shocked, too.

Dr. John Garvie, who worked with Sister McBride at the hospital, offers his perspective on the story:

I am very disappointed to read that Sister Margaret's role at the hospital has been reassigned. This leaves the impression that she did something wrong.

What she did was something very few are asked to do; namely, to make a life-and-death decision with the full recognition that in order to save one life, another life must be sacrificed.

Try to imagine the agony involved in such a decision. People not involved in these situations should reflect and not criticize.

As pro-choice people, we understand that personal decisions are complex, and when outsiders get involved, women's health or lives can be put at risk. This story is a reminder of our need to make sure that women are able to make the decisions that are best for them and their families.

Choice News Round-Up: September 24, 2009


It's been a while since I've done a news round-up, and since things are a bit busy around here, I thought that the least I could do would be to share with you some stories of interest:

NARAL Pro-Choice America Comments on Health-Reform Strategy: a primer on where we are and what we might be able to expect from the next few weeks months of the health-care debate.

The Republicans' Deaf Ear Is a Preexisting Condition: a disheartening look at the health-reform process where "[o]ne by one Tuesday, Republicans delivered the same thanks-but-no-thanks message" on the Senate Finance Committee's health-reform bill.

Tight schedule on move to block Ariz. abortion law: "Judges considering newly filed lawsuits face tight deadlines to decide whether parts of a new Arizona law that imposes restrictions on abortions will take effect next week as scheduled... At issue in both cases are requests to block implementation of a provision requiring abortion providers to provide women with specific information 24 hours before getting an abortion."

State Legislatures and Choice


The actions of state legislators around the country have some of the biggest effects on women's access to safe reproductive health care.

In the Albany Times Union, NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Kelli Conlin explains how political actions that seem completely unrelated to choice--like the chaos in the New York State Senate--can have a devastating effect. New York had been close to passing the Reproductive Rights Act:

 "While you saw two men cross the aisle, I sat in the New York Senate chamber and saw three years of hard work and real coalition-building in the service of women's health go up in smoke. While you watched the lights go out in the Senate chamber, I watched the state go dark on reproductive rights."

If you live in New York, you can still take action. Tell your senators that they should still support the Reproductive Rights Act.


On the other side of the country, Arizona legislators are considering bills with a number of anti-choice provisions. In this op-ed from The Arizona Republic, an Arizona native shares a personal story and calls on lawmakers to take a difference approach:

"Shouldn't we be focused on reducing the number of unintended pregnancies instead of judging women who make the painful decision to terminate them? All of these factors in the proposed bills simply will add up to more pregnant women who cannot obtain reliable medical care.

Reducing the number of abortions in Arizona must start with honest sex education, access to contraception and comprehensive prenatal care. That would be a bill I could enthusiastically support.

In 2012, the state of Arizona will celebrate its 100th birthday. Do we want our centennial to be recognition of how far we've come in providing medical care to all Arizonans, or a sad realization of how far we have yet to go?"

Contact NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona for more information on the bills and to find out what you can do.

A look at Arizona and Bob Lord AZ-03


Elizabeth Shipp is political director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

There are so many great pro-choice candidates and so little time left before Election Day! With late-breaking races emerging at lightning speed, I asked Molly to give me a shot at one that's worth watching in the last six days.

Polls are indicating that the race for president is tightening Arizona. John McCain's home state. Polls are showing what had been a seven point lead now anywhere from two to four points. While I don't think anyone believes that McCain will lose his home state (but how awesome would it be for him to only win by a couple of points?), this does bode well for some of the down-ballot races -- especially congressional races. In 2006, NARAL Pro-Choice America worked hard to help elect Reps. Harry Mitchell (AZ-05) and Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), adding two pro-choice pick-ups to the total of 23 pro-choice pick-ups in the U.S. House that year.

This year, we have a chance to do it again. Pro-choice candidate Bob Lord is running against virulently anti-choice Rep. John Shadegg in AZ-03. You may remember that Shadegg was the guy who said he wasn't going to run, dropped out of the race, and then magnanimously returned to the race when his fellow anti-choicers in Congress begged him to return. (Notice, it was members of Congress that begged...not his constituents.) Just like AZ-05 and AZ-08, Arizona's Third Congressional District leans Republican. And just like these two districts, AZ-03 has moderate pro-choice Independent and Republican women voters who could be the key to victory for Bob Lord.

In fact, polling conducted in the district earlier this month shows Lord with the lead. An Anzalone Liszt poll of 400 likely voters conducted October 6 - 8, 2008 showed Lord leading Shadegg 45% to 44%. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

So, why should AZ-03 voters support Lord and oust Shadegg? From a pro-choice point of view, the differences between the candidates couldn't be more clear. Shadegg routinely receives a "0" from NARAL Pro-Choice America when it comes to voting on a wide-range of reproductive rights issues in Congress.

We all know that there are some Members of Congress who are anti-choice and vote against any pro-choice legislation. THEN, there are the guys like John Shadegg who not only vote anti-choice, but sponsor some of the most anti-choice pieces of legislation seen of the floor of the House of Representatives. Let's take a look at some of the legislation Shadegg has co-sponsored over the years:

  • Twice co-sponsored legislation to override the Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone (RU 486), a safe and effective early abortion medication. [H.R.3453, 108th Cong. (2003); H.R.1079, 109th Cong. (2005)]
  • Twice co-sponsored legislation crafted establishing "personhood" at the moment of fertilization. [H.R.552, 109th Cong. (2005); H.R.618, 110th Cong. (2007)]
  • Co-sponsored legislation forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before receiving abortion care. [H.R.5032, 110th Cong. (2008)]

Now, we all know it doesn't end there. Not only does Shadegg co-sponsor these extreme, out-of-the-mainstream pieces of legislation, he REFUSES TO SUPPORT ANY LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HELP PREVENT UNINTENDED PREGNANCY AND THEREBY REDUCE THE NEED FOR ABORTION.

Here are just a few stellar examples:

  • Voted to de-fund Title X, the nation's only federal program dedicated exclusively to family planning and reproductive-health services. [House vote #614 (8/2/95)]
  • Voted five times to deny federal employees the right to choose a health plan that covers abortion care. [House vote #526 (7/19/95); House vote #320 (7/17/96); House vote #288 (7/16/98); House vote #301 (7/15/99); House vote #422 (7/20/00)]
  • Voted against contraceptive equity for federal employees - a provision of law that ensures health plans cover birth control equally with other prescription medications. [House vote #493 (10/7/98)]
  • Voted twice to eliminate funding completely for all international family-planning programs. [House vote #358 (9/4/97); House vote #360 (8/3/99)]

Okay, so by now you know the drill: Tell your friends and family about Bob Lord, the pro-choice candidate running against one of the most anti-choice politicians in Congress. Visit Bob Lord's website and watch his latest ad -- Republicans supporting Bob Lord! Get involved, get active and get out the vote for Bob Lord.

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