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Results tagged “Birth control” from Blog for Choice

Chalkboard_small.jpgThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new report out on teen pregnancy, and called out how ineffective "abstinence-only" programs really are:

"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:

  1. "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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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."
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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Do You Know Where the Candidates Stand on Choice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Pro-Choice State Lawmakers to Watch in 2014

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

1) Texas gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis

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

2) Texas State Sen. Leticia van de Putte

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

3) Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox

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

4) North Carolina State Rep. Alma Adams

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

5) California State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins

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

6) Michigan State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

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

7) Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner

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

"Put on your big girl panties."

That's the response that was sent to a pro-choice student who wrote a letter to the editor telling his fellow students about anti-choice fake clinics known as "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs). These organizations - that often advertise themselves as comprehensive reproductive-health clinics - mislead and shame women to block them from choosing abortion and even birth control. Most people have never heard of a CPC.

Payne, a student organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, was inspired to write to his campus newspaper when he saw that a local CPC was advertising on his campus at St. Olaf College. Unbiased health care is an issue he's passionate about, so he wanted to warn his fellow students to steer clear of the center if they wanted unbiased and medically accurate information about their reproductive options.

Addressing him as "Ms. McMillan," the local CPC director wrote him a very hostile email that included this gem: "drop out of school and ask for a refund because clearly you've spent a lot of money on an education and you haven't learned a thing." And young women in crisis are supposed to turn to her organization for compassionate help and support? You've got to be kidding.

You can read the whole email below with our helpful annotations:

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The CPC's co-director even tried to work damage control. She submitted her own LTE in an effort to make the organization's mission "transparent" without addressing their anti-choice agenda. She writes, "We believe that women need to be empowered to make their own decisions and that they should have resources and support available regardless of their decisions." Unless, of course, their decision is to choose abortion.

It's completely unacceptable that anti-choice fake clinics continue to distribute biased and medically inaccurate information to women on college campuses, including lies like most sexually transmitted diseases just go away on their own, emergency contraception causes abortion, and women who put their careers first will regret not having a family, to name just a few.

Help us fight back against these anti-choice fake clinics - add your name to our petition to call on the director of the CPC to stop distributing materials that mislead and lie about health care.

The Supreme Court announced that it would take up two cases concerning the no-cost birth-control policy that's part of the Affordable Care Act. We can all agree that medical decisions belong between you and your doctor, not your boss.

Yet, the bosses in these cases and dozens more have filed suits arguing that it's their right to deny their employees birth-control coverage. Totally ridiculous, right?

Check out our Buzzfeed list of seven bosses you would never want in charge of your reproductive-health care and access to birth control.

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Next week, voters in Virginia will head to the polls to elect their next governor, and the choice couldn't be clearer. Terry McAuliffe is the only candidate Virginians can trust to protect women's reproductive freedom.

We've been working closely with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to help ensure a win for McAuliffe. Right now, McAuliffe is leading the polls by 51 percent, and 24 points with female voters. Come Election Day, we'll need every one of these votes to turn out to make sure that Ken Cuccinelli doesn't take his extreme anti-choice agenda to the governor's mansion.

Choice is shaping up to be the top issue for Virginians when it comes to choosing their next governor. That's why we've been knocking on doors, calling voters, and getting the word out about how the next governor of Virginia will determine the future of reproductive rights and privacy in the state - rights that don't fit with anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli's extreme agenda.

So far we've already spoken with nearly 4,000 Virginians and handed out thousands of flyers and notices, educating voters about how this election is crucial to protecting a woman's right to choose. We launched StopKen.com and have graphics and facts about Ken Cuccinelli's record that voters can easily share with their friends.

This week, we began a massive phone-banking drive, making more than 1,000 calls on our first night in solidarity with pro-choice women and families in Virginia to get out the vote for Terry. And our ad campaign to reach voters in the Commonwealth is well underway. We took over the PilotOnline.com with ads for an entire day to make sure Virginia voters could learn more about Ken Cuccinelli's dangerous anti-choice agenda.

Check out our graphic and share it with your friends on Facebook:

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If you live in Virginia, make sure to head to the polls on November 5 and vote for Terry McAuliffe and candidates down the ballot who are dedicated to protecting women's personal and private decisions.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

House Republicans have rightly been taking a lot of heat in polls and the media lately for the government shutdown.

What you might not have heard is that these same anti-choice leaders tried to use the budget negotiations to give bosses authority to deny their female employees birth control coverage. Even when we were like 48 hours away from defaulting on our nation's debt and on the brink of a financial collapse, House Republicans had birth control on their brains.

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Read more about these ridiculous antics on NARAL Pro-Choice America's Buzzfeed Community page.

Chuck Todd: A Few Questions for Ken Cuccinelli

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Ken Cuccinelli_small.jpg Anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli
Election Day in Virginia is fast approaching. This Wednesday, gubernatorial candidates pro-choice Terry McAuliffe and extreme anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli will go head to head in a debate over important issues for Virginia voters.

If Ken Cuccinelli uses the same strategy we've been seeing for weeks, then we can expect him to hide his true position on reproductive-health care. He has a mile-long record opposing birth control and abortion access, but now he's campaigning like a moderate to win back women voters.

That's why we need debate moderator Chuck Todd to make sure Cuccinelli doesn't get away with misrepresenting his record. It's his job to ask the important follow-up questions and hold the candidates accountable for their past actions and statements on an issue that would critically impact women and families in the Commonwealth.

Send Chuck Todd a tweet to urge him to ask Ken Cuccinelli some key clarifying questions about his views on reproductive rights for Virginians. Feel free to borrow our examples below, or make up your own questions:

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: If elected governor, would Cuccinelli sign a "personhood" bill to ban abortion and types of #birthcontrol?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: How have Cuccinelli's #antichoice policies grown Virginia's economy?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: How does Cuccinelli claim he supports rape survivors if he opposes abortion?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: Does Cuccinelli support no-cost #birthcontrol coverage?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: Does Cuccinelli support Koch bros Creepy Uncle Sam ad talking college students out of #Obamacare?

We know that reproductive freedom will be a defining issue in this election and the outcome will determine whether women and families in Virginia have access to reproductive-health care and abortion services. That's why it's so important that Chuck Todd asks these critical follow-up questions so Ken Cuccinelli doesn't get away with misleading voters on his position on a women's right to choose.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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5. Let's get real: Ken just doesn't want you to get birth control, and CERTAINLY not without a co-pay.

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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.

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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?

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Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Just over one year ago, Obamacare made contraceptive services available to women at no out-of-pocket cost, thanks in large part to your hard work. Under the new health-care law, prescription birth control, mammograms, STI counseling and treatment, and other services are now available without a co-pay. This is huge. Because over half of women 18-34 have struggled to afford prescription birth control, ensuring access to affordable birth control marks the greatest advancement for women's health in a generation. And already it's helped more than 27 million women. But even as we celebrate the benefit's first anniversary, many women are still footing the bill for their birth control. And they want to know why.

If this has happened to you, you're not alone. Since the birth-control policy first went into effect on August 1, 2012, women's health advocates have heard similar stories--those of women facing co-pays at the pharmacy counter and insurance companies falling short of delivering on the law's full promise. 

Here's what we know and what you can do if this is happening to you:


First, remember that Obamacare requires that all "new" health plans must comply with the contraceptive coverage requirement. "New" means plans that were created or purchased after Obamacare was enacted. Old plans--called "grandfathered" plans--don't have to comply. But keep in mind that "grandfathered" plans won't be grandfathered forever--if they change their plans in a substantial way, they lose that status. In fact, we expect 90% of grandfathered plans to lose their status in the next year or so, at which point they will be required to comply and provide birth control without a co-pay. So if your plan is grandfathered, that might be the reason you're still being charged a co-pay. Ask your benefits administrator if your health plan is grandfathered.

But if you're being charged a co-pay, it could also be because your insurance company believes that Obamacare allows it to pick and choose the contraceptives they cover cost-free. They have some wiggle room, to be sure. But even so, the birth-control policy is stronger than some companies think it is. Here's the skinny.

Some insurance companies are interpreting a section of the law that lets them control costs to also allow them to charge a co-pay for some forms of birth control but not others. This is why some women are being told that they can't get the Nuva Ring without co-pay, or that only generics are covered without a co-pay. Our allies raised concerns about this, and here's what the government said in reply:

  • Your insurance company can charge you a co-pay for a name-brand contraceptive, but only if there's also a generic version available. If there isn't a generic version, they have to cover the name-brand drug without a co-pay.
  • And if your doctor determines that the name-brand drug is "medically appropriate" for you, then your insurance company must provide a waiver process that will let you get your name-brand birth control without a co-pay (see question 14 of the FAQs: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-aca12.html). (Keep in mind, this is different than the typical appeal consumers file when they're denied coverage for a service.)

If you're one of the women experiencing problems here, head over to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) website--they've built a toolkit to help you fight for the coverage Obamacare says you should have. Its got answers to the questions women are asking, a fantastic script to use when you call your insurance company for answers, and sample letters to send your insurance company if they charge a co-pay for your specific type of birth control.

You can also call NWLC at 1-866-PILL4US. They may have already received complaints like yours and can more quickly point you to a solution.

The bottom line is, don't give up! It may take some work, but we fought too hard for birth-control coverage to give up easily! Not only that, but the work you do to educate your insurance company could make all the difference in the world for other women in your plan who may be missing out on the birth-control benefit.

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A Huge Victory for Emergency Contraception!

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bc-access-write-futures-red.pngThis week, the Obama administration announced that it would comply with a federal judge's ruling that emergency contraception (EC) be made available over the counter to all women without age restrictions.

Securing the ability to access EC over the counter without a prescription is a monumental win for women's reproductive freedom!

Not only does birth control prevent unplanned pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion care, it empowers women of any age to control when and whether to start a family. This essential right allows women to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, and advance their educational and career goals.

The medical community has long supported efforts to make EC available to women without a prescription. And many women's reproductive-health doctors have recognized that EC is a safe medication to be sold over the counter.

And it's certainly been a long time coming.

Unlike past presidencies, the Obama administration's decision shows that it is standing on the side of sound science. We're pleased to see that in the end, the administration recognized women's access to reproductive-health care should not be determined by politicians, but rather driven by science.

We couldn't be more thrilled that EC will finally be available to women of all ages.

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On Having Pride and Working for Reproductive Rights

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Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America

June is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* (LGBT) pride month and, while the connection between reproductive rights and LGBT equality activism may not be immediately obvious, I've always known that the two are inextricably linked.

At their core, both issues are about privacy. A woman's right to reproductive-health care entitles her to decide whether, when, and with whom to have a family without politicians' interference. Similarly, the right to love who you want and be who you are entitles people to build a family in a way that will bring them the most joy, fulfillment, and freedom.

I was particularly struck by the connections between LGBT* and reproductive rights activism a few weeks ago when the organization Strong Families launched their Mama's Day campaign. This beautiful celebration of diverse families reminded me that the right to choose means so much more than just the availability of abortion.

In a time when we hear about legislative attacks on birth control and abortion on every single news outlet, coalition building between reproductive rights activists and LGBT* activists is more important than ever. Just as we encourage lawmakers to trust women to make their own health-care choices, we must trust each other - partners in the struggle for full equality - to champion each others' causes and be allies in the fight for justice.

At NARAL Pro-Choice America, we fight to protect and expand the rights of women across the country. This proactive approach to advancing reproductive rights is one that necessitates and encourages inclusion of all people. That's why the staff at NARAL Pro-Choice America knew it was important to support federal marriage equality, as we have since 2004.

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As an LGBT-identified individual working in the reproductive rights/reproductive justice movement, I owe a great debt of gratitude to those who create space in this movement for people of all identities. Leaders like Kierra Johnson of Choice USA and Miriam Perez inspire me daily with their devotion to bridging the perceived gap between issues.

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Happy Anniversary to Legal Birth Control!

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Today is the 48th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court case that first identified the constitutional right to privacy and defeated a law that barred the use of birth control.

This ruling was monumental because it struck down a barrier that blocked women from controlling their futures. It gave them the power to choose whether and when to start and family.

Access to birth control is essential for millions of women and their families. Not only does birth control prevent unplanned pregnancy, it allows women to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, and advance their educational and career goals.

Studies show that using birth control is highly effective in reducing unintended pregnancies, and therefore the need for abortion care. Improving access to birth control is truly a win for everyone.

That's why we're so excited about the no-cost birth control policy under Obamacare, and the recent ruling that made some emergency contraception available over the counter without age restrictions for all women!

Want to show your support for this monumental ruling for women and their families? Head over to Facebook and share our graphic:

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Last night, pro-choice U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) debated anti-choice opponent Gabriel Gomez in the lead up to the general election on June 25.

Voters learned three critical new facts about Gabriel Gomez's anti-choice position:

  1. Gomez would vote for anti-choice Supreme Court nominees that could set the wheels in motion for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
  2. Gomez's campaign dismissed women's contraceptive coverage as just "inside baseball." That's a quaint way off laughing off one of the most important and hotly-debated women's issue of the last year.
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  4. Gomez supports forced-waiting periods for women getting abortion care, saying "I don't think that's too much to ask." Tell that to women who have to drive hundreds or even thousands of miles to the nearest abortion provider, as well as pay for child care, a hotel room, and transportation costs.

Gomez said repeatedly that he wouldn't change laws around abortion. Doesn't he realize that U.S. senators vote on abortion-related issues all the time?

Last night's debate showed that Gabriel Gomez is completely out of touch with the very people he hopes to represent and cannot be trusted to protect their best interests. It's clear that Gomez would not work to protect and expand women's reproductive freedom. Instead, he could likely add unnecessary restrictions to burden women seeking reproductive-health services and abortion care.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC-endorsed Rep. Markey, on the other hand, trusts Massachusetts women and has a pro-choice record that spans more than three decades. That's why Rep. Markey is the only candidate women and their families in Massachusetts can trust to protect their freedom and privacy in the most personal of circumstances - not anti-choice politicians like Gabriel Gomez.

If you have friends in Massachusetts, make sure they know how dangerous Gabriel Gomez would be for women's reproductive freedom. When they head to the polls, they'll know who to vote into the Senate on June 25 - pro-choice Rep. Ed Markey.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Fox News: More Women Breadwinners Will Increase Abortion

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After the release of a new study showing that an increasing number of women are becoming the main breadwinner in their families, Fox News commentator Eric Bolling made the outlandish claim that more single female breadwinners will increase the demand for abortion care.

Leave it to Fox News to be the only major news outlet to feature an (ahem, sexist) all-male panel to conclude that the increase in working women who support their families is "terribly wrong" and is "society dissolving around us."

If that wasn't enough reason to pull your hair out, Bolling brought it back to - you guessed it - abortion:

"American family is breaking down. Women are forced to go out, be the breadwinners for families. That's why the number's skewed higher now. Here's another offshoot of that: If you are a single mom, breadwinner of the family, and you get pregnant, aren't we pushing towards more abortions? It seems like we are."

Eric Bolling and the men of Fox News clearly don't understand that better access to reproductive-health services, birth control, and abortion allows women to decide their own futures. Women can better provide for their loved ones and make the best decisions about when to start and how to nurture or grow their families.

It's absurd to think that women who are breadwinners will suddenly be getting abortion care left and right.

Women as breadwinners isn't about the breakdown of some dated notion of the nuclear family. Women as breadwinners is an achievement America should be proud of, for the women of today and the generations of young women to come. This higher percentage of women as breadwinners is partially the result of protecting opportunity for women - opportunities to chart their own course, start a family on their own schedule, and take on the career they want to have.

The lesson to be learned from Fox News' anti-choice "caveman central" is that people who share these outrageous anti-woman positions give cover to politicians who want to strip away a woman's right to make personal health-care decisions.

It goes to follow that when women can't decide whether and when to start a family, they have a much harder time earning a good salary. Sorry, Fox News, but I don't think you'll find a whole lot of women who are ready to accept a smaller paycheck just to fit into your extremely narrow worldview.

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Why Young Women Need Access to Plan B

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Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America

PlanB_teens_small.jpgPicture this: Your best friend calls you. She and her boyfriend practiced safe sex last night, but the condom broke. She's freaking out and doesn't know what to do. She isn't on birth control, she can't afford an unplanned pregnancy and isn't ready to become a parent, and she's afraid to tell her parents.

You tell her not to worry because she can get emergency contraception at her local pharmacy. Your friend and her boyfriend go to the pharmacy together and pick up some emergency contraception (EC) or Plan B®. Without the fear of unplanned pregnancy, she can go on with her life.

This is how it should be, right? Accidents happen, even when you're careful. So it makes sense that there should be a backup method available for when things don't go according to plan.

Sadly, that's just not the reality. Women often face shame and judgment when they try to buy Plan B® from the pharmacy, and some pharmacists refuse to sell Plan B® altogether!

Medical professionals agree that emergency contraception should be available to all women, but it's currently only available without a prescription to women over 17.

A federal judge ruled that emergency contraception should be available over-the-counter without age restrictions. But since then, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice have made matters more complicated by prioritizing politics over science.

The struggle for wider availability of emergency contraception is an integral part of choice. EC empowers young women (and men!) to take charge of their reproductive health and allows them to decide when, how, and with whom to start a family.

That's the definition of reproductive freedom.

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Ilyse Hogue On "NOW with Alex Wagner": Why Women Need Plan B

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Today, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, stopped by "NOW with Alex Wagner" on MSNBC to talk about continued efforts to block access to emergency contraception:

"I'm sympathetic to the idea that we all want our kids to come talk to us if they get into trouble. Unfortunately, that's not the job of the administration right now. The real question is whether we're going to have the science-based policy that we were promised by this administration. What we know and what's got this judge so up in arms is that Plan B and other 'morning-after' pills are safe. They've been tested extensively. They're safe for all women."

Elizabeth Smart caught the nation's attention when she was kidnapped for nine months. She survived horrible trauma - and is now working to protect and educate children about violent and sexual crimes.

When she spoke at a forum on human trafficking, Smart shared that she "felt so dirty and so filthy" after being raped by her kidnapper. She attributes feeling worthless to growing up with "abstinence-only" programs:

"I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.' And that's how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value."

Dangerous "abstinence-only" programs withhold information about reproductive health and often tell students that birth control, including condoms, is ineffective for preventing pregnancy or protecting against STDs. Even worse, these programs use shame to dissuade teens from having sex, and often use comparisons like the "chewed gum" metaphor to make them feel bad for becoming sexually active.

Clearly, shaming teens has consequences. That's why Elizabeth is speaking out through her foundation to send the message that "you will always have value and nothing can change that."

Even now, anti-choice politicians across the country are fighting to defund and block comprehensive sex-education programs that help teens protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and disease and give them the confidence to make the decisions that are right for them.

We're grateful for Smart's courage to speak openly about such a personal chapter in her life. And we hope that her message will not be lost on deaf anti-choice ears in Congress and in state legislatures across the country.

Check out our graphic and share it with your friends on Facebook:

ElizabethSmart.png

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Ilyse Hogue Debates Anti-Choicer on "PBS NewsHour"

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Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, debated Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, on "PBS NewsHour." They talked about anti-choice legislative attacks in the states and the trial of Kermit Gosnell. Here are a few of Ilyse's points - be sure to watch the whole interview:

"We are already seeing a number of court cases, including ones that Americans United for Life, I think, support, that go far beyond Roe, far beyond women's ability to decide about abortion with their doctors.

[Anti-choice groups] are supporting rollbacks of contraception. They actually have model legislation on their website that would limit IVF, as we have seen in the "personhood" amendment. This is a radical agenda and this is the antithesis of common sense. Americans believe that women and their families and their doctors can make these personal decisions, not meddling politicians."

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