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Results tagged “California” from Blog for Choice

Honoring Our "Who Decides?" Dedicatees


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


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

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

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

  • Our final honoree is California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins.

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

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

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It's not just a Texas problem


Chelsea Gelbart is the millennial fellow at NARAL Pro-Choice California

"Forcible rape." "Masturbating" fetuses. Over the past few years, the anti-choice rhetoric coming out of politicians' mouths has gotten crazier and crazier.

Unfortunately, what many people in 'blue' states like New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, and California don't realize is that this isn't just a problem for places like Texas. It's everyone's problem -- in everyone's state.

Recently in California, State Assemblymember Donald Wagner (R-Irvine) wondered why women weren't showing up at hearings for a bill to expand abortion care, dragging their children behind as "evidence" that they weren't able to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. Unbelievable.

And he's not unique. Right now, an anti-choice candidate is running in a special election for California Senate District 16. His name is Andy Vidak, and he represents the same Tea Party views as politicians like Michele Bachmann and Todd Akin who support defunding family-planning services. Vidak wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate Obamacare's no-cost contraception coverage benefit.

His opponent, pro-choice candidate Leticia Perez, is dedicated to expanding access to local and affordable reproductive-health care. She stands with California women and families and supports a women's right to make personal medical decisions without government interference.

Even in traditionally 'blue' states like California, we must work tirelessly to keep anti-choice politicians out of our personal, private decisions. If you want to help, check out Leticia's website and like her on Facebook to find out ways that you can get involved.

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

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June 5: Vote Pro-Choice on a Big Primary Day


On Tuesday, June 5 voters in six states will head to the polls for congressional primaries.

If you live in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, or South Dakota, check out the NARAL Pro-Choice America primary voter guide for your state!


The Golden State is home to some of our greatest champions of choice in Congress. Let's send them back to Washington, and score some pro-choice pickups, too!

Californians are lucky to have many strong pro-choice candidates running.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein for re-election. She's been a consistent champion of choice, and we need her in the U.S. Senate!

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC also endorsed a number of candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:

Pete Aguilar in District 31
Ami Bera in District 7
State Rep. Julia Brownley in District 26
Rep. Lois Capps in District 24
Rep. Judy Chu in District 27
Jose Hernandez in District 10
Rep. Barbara Lee in District 13
Leader Nancy Pelosi in District 12
Rep. Jackie Speier in District 14
Rep. Henry Waxman in District 33

If you live in California, check out our voter guide so you can vote pro-choice down this line.

New Jersey

In the Garden State, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Rep. Steve Rothman in the Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

Rep. Rothman is a consistent champion of a woman's right to choose. Right now, he's locked in a primary battle with Rep. Bill Pascrell, who has cast 21 anti-choice votes during his time in Congress.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Rep. Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate. He's been fighting to stop the War on Women in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, we need him to bring his pro-choice values to the U.S. Senate!

Check out voter guide for your state, and if you live in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, or South Dakota, be sure to vote pro-choice on Tuesday, June 5!

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

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Celebrating the Power of Choice in L.A.


Next Thursday, September 15, NARAL Pro-Choice America will host the 2011 Los Angeles Power of Choice Summit and Reception at the Standard Hollywood Hotel.

Sponsors and guests will join Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and event co-chairs Felicity Huffman and Bettina Duval, to honor pro-choice champion and renowned jazz harpist, pianist, and vocalist Corky Hale Stoller.

In 2005, Corky and her husband, multiple Grammy Award-winning songwriter Mike Stoller, built the state-of-the art Dorothy Hecht Health Center in partnership with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. A former board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America and a founding board member of the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, Corky has devoted her life to ensuring that women have access to reproductive-health care.

We're also excited that the city of West Hollywood, Calif. voted to become an official co-sponsor of the event. At a time when politicians in Washington and across the country are waging a War on Women, it's refreshing to have a city council vote to stand up for the values of freedom and privacy. Events like the Power of Choice Summit and Reception help us preserve California's status as the nation's leading pro-choice state and fight back against the anti-choice attacks across the country.

The reception will follow the Power of Choice Summit, which will take place earlier in the day. The summit will bring together more than 150 students, activists, and community leaders for education and training on pro-choice issues. If you're in the Los Angeles area, come out to stand up for your pro-choice city and state.

Join us at the Power of Choice Summit and Reception next Thursday, September 15 at the Standard Hollywood Hotel.

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Pro-Choice Janice Hahn Elected to U.S. House


Some good news out of California: the voters in the 36th District elected pro-choice candidate Janice Hahn to the U.S. House of Representatives in yesterday's special election.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC proudly endorsed Rep.-elect Hahn. She defeated anti-choice candidate Craig Huey, who called Planned Parenthood a "murder mill" on a website he runs.

Rep.-elect Hahn succeeds former Rep. Jane Harman, thus keeping the seat in the pro-choice column.

Here's what Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, had to say about the victory in California:

Californians have made their choice in this race by rejecting an anti-choice candidate, Craig Huey, and sending Janice Hahn to Washington. Rep.-elect Hahn is a champion of the fundamental values of freedom and privacy. She will fight against those who take aim at women's reproductive health. Her win reflects the views of this pro-choice district.

Rep.-elect Hahn's victory comes on the heels of a special election in New York in May, in which pro-choice Rep. Kathy Hochul defeated an anti-choice opponent. 

These elections give us more allies to fight against the War on Women that the anti-choice House leadership is waging. 

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Janice Hahn for Congress


NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC has endorsed Janice Hahn for the U.S. House of Representatives in the special election in California's 36th Congressional District. 

Janice is proudly pro-choice, and expresses her support for a woman's right to choose on her campaign website. She faces off against anti-choice opponent Craig Huey in the special election on Tuesday, July 12.

The difference between these two candidates couldn't be starker: while Janice Hahn will stand up for women's freedom and privacy, Craig Huey calls Planned Parenthood a "murder mill" on a website he runs. 

Hahn's campaign produced a video contrasting the two candidates' views on choice: 

If you live in the 36th Congressional District of California, make sure you know where your polling place is because this election is too important to miss.

The seat was held by pro-choice former Rep. Jane Harman. Let's keep this district in the pro-choice column by sending Janice Hahn to Washington! If you live in California's 36th District, make sure you vote on Tuesday, July 12.

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

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On Thursday, NARAL Pro-Choice America will host our Roe v. Wade 38th Anniversary Luncheon. Felicity Huffman, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning star of ABC's Desperate Housewives, will serve as the event's mistress of ceremonies. 

Kamala Harris, California's new pro-choice attorney general, will deliver the luncheon's keynote address. If you haven't heard of Kamala Harris yet, don't worry: you will. Politico named her one of the Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2010. She was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice California PrivacyPAC during her 2010 campaign, and made history by becoming the first woman--and first African American and South Asian woman--to serve as California's attorney general. 

A graduate of Howard University and the U.C. Hastings College of Law, Kamala's innovative work as a prosecutor has earned her national acclaim. She made choice a key issue in her race for attorney general and spoke out against three anti-choice ballot measures that, fortunately, California voters rejected in 2005, 2006, and 2008.

At a time when so many lawmakers at the state and federal level are attacking a woman's right to choose, we rely more than ever on pro-choice heroes like Kamala Harris. 

State attorneys general have tremendous power, and we've seen how anti-choice extremists have abused this power to attack women's reproductive-health care. Californians are lucky to have an attorney general who will fight for their right to make personal, private medical decisions, not against it. 

Check back with Blog For Choice to hear more about this star-studded celebration of choice, and for highlights of Attorney General Kamala Harris' keynote address! 

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Demon sheep.

Yes, you read that right. Perhaps you might have heard about some demon sheep getting a little airtime? Or perhaps their own twitter account? That's right, folks... Only in California.

Well, NARAL Pro-Choice California is doing some really terrific work in anticipation of their big election season that doesn't involve sheep. Lucky for pro-choice Californians, they're hosting an event, Forum for Choice, that gives voters the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about their commitment to privacy and choice.

One election could change California's status as the nation's pro-choice leader. The next governor, attorney general, and insurance commissioner of California will have an enormous impact on a woman's right to choose through budget decisions, the people they appoint to run state services, and the potential implementation of health-insurance reform. Therefore, pro-choice Californians deserve to know where candidates stand on issues related to their reproductive rights.

Learn more about the Forum for Choice here and be sure to buy your ticket ASAP: $50 for an individual and $15 each for students.

But wait - there's more. And for this, we really need your help.

Think about it, Californians: Do you know where the candidates running for governor, attorney general and insurance commissioner stand on a woman's right to choose? Don't you want to ask them?

Now's your chance! Submit your question today to the candidates at our Forum for Choice event on April 10. So far nine candidates running for the top jobs in California are set to attend Forum for Choice, and we want to make sure we ask them the questions that matter to you. You can checkout the line up here.

Don't risk stepping into the voting booth, still having questions. Ask your questions now and find out the answers before you vote!

Submit your question today! Questions submitted by Friday, March 26 will be considered for inclusion by our moderator.

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What Happened to "Moderate Mary" (Bono) Mack?


Amy Everitt is Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.


Rep. Mary Bono Mack, who represents California's 45th Congressional District, portrays herself as a moderate who keeps the interests of her constituents in mind. Well, in the last month, these constituents have reason to ask, "What happened to 'Moderate Mary'?"

As the U.S. House prepares to break for the August recess, Rep. Bono Mack will be back home, giving her constituents an opportunity to ask some questions:

1) Rep. Bono Mack, why did you vote to deny the citizens of Washington, D.C. the right to decide how to spend locally raised revenue?

Molly blogged about this recently, but in case you missed it, a 15-year-old policy prohibits the District of Columbia from using locally raised funds to pay for abortion services. This is principally an issue of home rule - as Congress doesn't tell any other state how to use its local revenues. Even some anti-choice members of Congress joined with their pro-choice colleagues in voting to lift the ban on July 16. Rep. Bono Mack sided with anti-choice extremists and voted against local control.

Was this just a one-time lapse in judgment? Let's go to question two.

2) Rep. Bono Mack, why did you vote to cut off funding for birth control and cancer screenings for women?

On July 24, we celebrated a great victory when the House voted to approve a spending bill that zeroed-out funding for the failed "abstinence-only" programs (which, as we all know by now, just don't work). On the way to this win, we had to beat back an amendment offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) to cut off federal funding for family-planning services at Planned Parenthood. The Pence amendment really underscored the hypocrisy of anti-choice rhetoric: make abortion illegal but then deny women access to contraception. Doesn't make much sense, right? Several opponents of legal abortion ran away from Pence's extreme amendment, but not Rep. Bono Mack. She voted for it!

All of this leaves us wondering: Moderate Mary, where do you really stand on issues of choice? Because these two recent votes don't line up with the pro-choice constituents in your district. Email Rep. Bono Mack to let her know that you want answers to these questions. Or, better yet, if you see her while she's home, ask her in person.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC-endorsed Judy Chu was sworn in yesterday to represent California's 32nd district. Rep. Chu is also the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress.

H/t to The Gavel - Speaker Pelosi's blog - for providing footage of the actual swearing in. Take a look:


When endorsing Judy Chu, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said:

Judy Chu has a long record of protecting and defending a woman's right to choose and will be an outstanding advocate for the mainstream values of California's 32nd District...Chu will stand up for women's freedom and privacy in the same California tradition as Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and other prominent pro-choice leaders from the Golden State.

Congratulations, Rep. Chu!

Getting REAL about sex education


On Tuesday, I had the awesome opportunity to go to The Hill for a press conference for the reintroduction of the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act.

  one for blog for choice.jpgAs I'm sure you know, the REAL Act would fund honest, realistic sex education for young people in public schools around the country. From NARAL Pro-Choice America's press release:

This year, in a departure from years past, Congress heeded the public's call for a focus on commonsense solutions to prevent unintended pregnancies and to cut funding for failed "abstinence-only" programs of the Bush era by $14 million.

Currently, states and localities can only receive federal funding if they agree to teach "abstinence-only" programs in their schools. That means teachers must censor information about the health benefits of contraception. Under the REAL Act, states could apply for federal funding to teach honest and age appropriate sex-education classes in their schools.

For the first time in NARAL history, I tweeted a press conference, the results of which can be found on our twitter page. Here are some of the updates:

Which states rejected "ab-only" funding? AK AZ CA CO CT DE ID IA KS ME MA MN MT NJ NM NY OH PA RI VT VA WA DC WI WY
8:50 AM Mar 17th from Tweetburner

Wow! That was great! Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. Barbara Lee are awesome advocates for commonsense measures that reduce the need for abortion!
8:31 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

@LizScherer not sure if she's on twitter, but that's the one! D-CA
8:26 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

Rep. Lee just spoke about how her state, Calif, rejected fed funds bc they must be used for "ab-only" ed. Visit 4 othrs
8:24 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

w00t! We just got a shout out from Rep. Lee at the REAL Act press conference!
8:19 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

V. Cool. A NARAL staffer from NJ is standing behind her hometown senator as he introduces this important legislation. She's psyched!
8:17 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

"When resources are scarce, we must ask, what have we gotten from this investment?" Sen. Lautenberg on the years of "ab-only" funding.
8:14 AM Mar 17th from TwitterBerry

If you were checking out the tweets, I'd love to know what you thought!

Anyway, it was an all around exciting day, and we're so thankful for Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Lee (D-CA) for their leadership on this. Shelby Knox wrote about her experience for RH Reality Check, likening it to "watching a dream come true, for real!" saying:

My school district had a strict abstinence-only-until-marriage policy - and some of the highest rates of STI's and unwanted pregnancy in the nation. Not only did we skip the anatomy portion of biology in deference to the ab-only policy, our "sex education" didn't start until high school - FAR too late to do us much good. During freshman year we were herded into the auditorium to listen to a lecture from a local pastor on 'Love, Sex, and Dating.'

As the culmination of every presentation, the pastor pulled a girl up onstage, produced a dirty, dingy toothbrush from his pocket and asked if she would brush her teeth with it. When she invariably said no, he pulled out another toothbrush, this one in its original box, and repeated the question. When she said she said yes to that one, he brandished the rejected toothbrush above his head and announced to the audience, "If you have sex before marriage, you are the dirty toothbrush."

While this sounds extreme (and bizarre), abstinence-only-until-marriage programs commonly use degrading scare tactics like these, provide misinformation about condoms and contraception, forward generalizations about sexuality that are based on biases about gender and sexual orientation, and, as in my high school, contain religious messaging that violates the U.S. Constitution.

Honest, realistic sex-education has long been a priority for NARAL Pro-Choice America so please join us and urge Congress to make sex education a priority!

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