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Results tagged “Family planning” from Blog for Choice

Texas Lawmakers' Vote Will Close Most Abortion Clinics

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Texas_small.jpgIn Texas, anti-choice politicians are trying with all their might to pass new restrictions that will shut down reproductive-health clinics across the state.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been in the Capitol fighting back with hundreds of pro-choice activists from across the state. Yesterday, they were on the House floor with hundreds of activists in a "People's Filibuster" to show how dangerous this legislation would be for women's health and safety.

So far, over 700 people from all over the state have signed up to testify against the bill. Hundreds of these citizens' testimony was casually disregarded as "repetitive" by Rep. Byron Cook in an effort to rush a vote in his House committee. Despite this, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas' monumental effort to restore transparency to the democratic process has temporarily blocked the House from voting on the anti-choice package.

Anti-choice Gov. Rick Perry (R), who made headlines by proudly slashing critical family-planning funding in 2011, personally made sure these anti-choice restrictions were part of the agenda for a special session after legislators failed to pass them during the regular session.

If these restrictions become law, all but five abortion providers in the entire state will likely be forced to close. Low-income women and their families, already struggling to access quality care, will be forced to travel huge distances or not receive care at all.

Don't expect anti-choice politicians to stop at these restrictions - they are also scheming to ban abortion after 20 weeks.

Saturday Salute, Courtesy of Kansas and North Carolina

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Kansas and North Carolina both have a storied history in college basketball. Whether you're a Jayhawk or a Blue Devil or "bleed Carolina blue," you will like what we have to report.

Let's go first to the Sunflower State, where the Miami County Commission recently voted to reject any federal funds related to family planning. Well, about 100 citizens got together to raise $9,500. They then presented a check to the commission to ensure that people in their community who rely on family-planning services for contraception and other basic health care.

But, the residents behind this grassroots effort made it clear that this is a one-time deal, and that they expect their elected officials to change course on family-planning policy:

To be absolutely clear, this is an emergency gesture to provide for next fiscal year's contraception needs only. It is not a way to remove your responsibility as commissioners to reverse your position on contraception for the health department in the future," [Denise] German [who spoke for the group that presented the money] said. "Dismay at your decision is growing. At a time when so many people are struggling to make ends meet in a dismal job market, rejecting this grant was inexcusable. Miami County women deserve the same public health care options and support found in the rest of the counties of Kansas.

BTW, look at this picture from the check delivery:

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The other good news comes from NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. The organization is giving its Susan Hill Award to McCoy Faulkner, who for 27 years has provided security to abortion rights organizations, clinics, and high-profile advocates. NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina chose Faulkner for the award from nominations sent in by organizations across the state.

Carey Pope, the affiliate's executive director, told the Raleigh News-Observer, "It was an untraditional choice. Last year, we gave the award to an abortion provider, which is great, but now we're honoring someone who is literally on the front lines protecting women. This award is to honor someone who puts his life on the line every day for this movement."

So, we say thanks to these unsung heroes from Kansas and North Carolina.

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Romney Vows to "Get Rid of" Planned Parenthood

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Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) has vowed before to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate Title X, the nation's only dedicated family-planning program.

So it should come as no surprise that he had this to say yesterday:

Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that.

Birth control? Cancer screenings? Pap smears? Women's wellness visits?

"President" Romney would get rid of all that.

Romney was in Missouri yesterday, and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri gave him a warm, "show-me" welcome:

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Mitt, thanks for reminding us exactly where you stand on women's health.

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

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Setting the Record Straight on Santorum's Record on Birth Control

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Ted Miller is the director of communications and online advocacy strategies for NARAL Pro-Choice America

Former Sen. Rick SantorumIn advance of tonight's CNN debate, it's important to set the record straight on where Rick Santorum stands on birth control.

As Santorum continues to attack President Obama's contraceptive-coverage policy, the media should not let him describe himself as supportive of birth control and family-planning services.

Last week Santorum tried to distance himself from a billionaire supporter's suggestion that women put aspirin pills between their knees as a form of contraception. He also tried to distance himself from his own statements and votes on family planning.

Santorum recently told CNN, "My position is birth control can and should be available."

Others in the media have repeated this statement and similar claims in a way that gives voters the impression that Santorum supports contraception. 

That is not the case.

Santorum also has said, "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

[Source: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/10/19/348007/rick-santorum-pledges-to-defund-contraception-its-not-okay-its-a-license-to-do-things/]

Santorum Voted Against Family Planning Six Times While Serving in Congress

For instance, on two occasions in the Senate, Santorum voted against legislation that would have prevented unintended pregnancy by investing in insurance coverage for prescription birth control, promoting family-planning services, implementing teen-pregnancy-prevention programs, and improving awareness about emergency contraception.

[Source: Murray motion to waive Budget Act to allow vote on Murray/Reid prevention-package amendment to "Partial-Birth" Abortion Ban Act, S.3, 3/11/03; Clinton/Reid amendment to FY'06 Budget Resolution, S.Con.Res.18, 3/17/05.]

If Elected President, Santorum Vows to Defund Family-Planning Program

In June 2011, Sen. Santorum signed the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List's "Pro-Life Leadership Presidential Pledge," in which he pledges, among other things, to defund Planned Parenthood.

Pledge language: [To] advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

Effect: Anti-choice groups use the framework of public funding to conceal the even more far-reaching elements of their agenda. In anti-choice terms, "ending taxpayer funding of abortion" means: 

  • Defunding Planned Parenthood, thus cutting off funding for preventive services like contraception and cancer screening;

[Source: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/media/press-releases/2011/pr06202011_sba-pledge.html]


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

The Political Witch Hunt against Planned Parenthood

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Are anti-choice politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives obsessed with attacking birth control? Read, learn, and then take action!

Remember last spring, when House Speaker John Boehner and his anti-choice colleagues launched an all-out attack on Planned Parenthood and Title X, the nation's family-planning program?

Remember how these extremist politicians threatened to shut down the government over their demands to cut funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care?

Well, they failed in their attempt to end all funding for Planned Parenthood and the Title-X program. And the public told pollsters that attacking birth control was not something it wanted.

Now, anti-choice Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida's 6th Congressional District is demanding that Planned Parenthood turn over stacks of documents from every Planned Parenthood health center going as far back as 13 years!

The Boehner-Stearns political witch hunt begins--and it's time for Americans who value women's freedom and privacy to speak out once again.

This witch hunt has nothing to do with protecting women's health, and everything to do with harassing Planned Parenthood over the health care its centers provide to millions of Americans.

Yet again, politicians who campaigned on promises of limited government and a laser-like focus on jobs instead are devoting time and resources to attacking women's health care.

Enough is enough!

It's time to tell Speaker Boehner and Rep. Stearns to stop wasting our time and tax dollars on their political witch hunt.

Add your name to our letter telling them you've had it with these baseless and unending attacks on Planned Parenthood.

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Rick Perry's Texas: A Bad Place to Be a Woman

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We all know what Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) thinks of a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions--not much.

So, when the governor holds up Texas as a model for what America might look like under a Perry presidency, we're right to be alarmed.

NPR has a new story on the state of health care in the Lone Star State, and the numbers are pretty ugly--especially for women's health care:

  • More than a quarter of Texans lack health insurance--that's the highest rate in the nation.
  • For hundreds of thousands of Texan women, family-planning clinics are their only provider of cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care.
  • These same family-planning clinics are under siege from Gov. Perry and his anti-choice allies in the legislature.
  • This year, an estimated 300,000 women will lose access to family-planning services due to Gov. Perry's budget cuts.
  • More than $8 million that was cut from the family-planning budget will now be re-funneled to anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that mislead and deceive women.  

One anti-choice Texas legislator, Rep. Wayne Christian, said it was their goal to wage a war on birth control:

Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that's what family planning is supposed to be about. They're sitting here, referring women out to receive abortions. Those are the clinics, including Planned Parenthood, we were targeting.

Just consider this a special sneak preview of an America under President Perry's control.

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

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More on that Montana Birth-Control Battle

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On Tuesday, we reported that the commissioners of Ravalli County, Montana were threatening to reject Title-X funds, putting nearly 500 residents' access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at risk.

Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher summed up his thoughts on the matter:

In my mind, pregnancy is not a disease state. An unplanned pregnancy doesn't make it anymore so. You can say it's a social problem, and you can argue there is a role for government to take some action in that. I don't believe that's the case.

Well, we have some good news to report from Big Sky Country.

After an outpouring of public support for Title X, the county commissioners voted 3-2 yesterday to accept the federal funding and keep the clinic doors open for another year. (It may not surprise you that Commissioner Kanenwisher was one of the two voting against.)

Special props go out to NARAL Pro-Choice Montana for rallying the community to save family planning.

Julianna Crowley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, praised the vote:

The county commissioners' vote to accept federal family planning funds was a victory for the residents of Ravalli County. These funds provide medical services crucial to good health, especially for women who have no other access to medical care. For many women in the Bitterroot, this clinic may be their first point of entry into the health care system, thereby serving as a bridge to other services. The strength and collective will power of the women and men who turned out in large numbers to support their local health department and the services it provides has made it possible for the clinic to remain open.

Still, she noted that it's not a total victory: the county accepted Title-X funds for one year only. Next year, the clinic will be forced to find alternative sources of funding.

So, a couple of lessons from Ravalli County: elections matter. Even on the local level--anti-contraception politicians at all levels of government can do real damage.

And grassroots activism matters, too--as Julianna said, it was ordinary women and men speaking out who saved this clinic.

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Ninety-eight percent of American women use birth control at some point in their lives.

Think about that. Ninety-eight percent. There's no TV show that's watched by 98 percent of American women, no sports team that can count on 98 percent of the population as its fans. In an age of polarization, there is perhaps nothing so universally used and accepted as birth control.

This week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that, as medical experts advised, newly issued insurance plans must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraception without a copay. In a country where one in three women finds it difficult to pay for birth control, Secretary Sebelius' decision was a victory for women's health and common sense.

The reaction from right-wing politicians and commentators? You'll have to see (or read) it to believe it.

On Monday, Rep. Steve King of Iowa spoke out against birth control on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He called the new no-cost birth control regulations "bizarre," "Orwellian," and said that they would make us "a dying civilization":


Bill O'Reilly of Fox News doubted the importance of no-cost birth control, saying, "Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex. They're not going to use birth control anyway."


In June, New Hampshire's Executive Council voted to cut off state funding for family-planning services at Planned Parenthood, forcing the state's six clinics to stop providing birth control.

Councillor Raymond Wieczorek expressed his feelings on women who use contraception:

If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?

Not to be outdone, the commissioners of Ravalli County, Montana are threatening to reject Title-X funds, putting nearly 500 residents' access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at risk.

But no problem, according to Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher:

In my mind, pregnancy is not a disease state. An unplanned pregnancy doesn't make it anymore so. You can say it's a social problem, and you can argue there is a role for government to take some action in that. I don't believe that's the case.

Back in the world of "fair and balanced," Sandy Rios, vice president of Family PAC Federal and another Fox News contributor, had this to say:

Is the White House out of their mind? Does the West Wing not know what the left wing is doing? We're $14 trillion in debt and now we're going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse? Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well?


Let's review what they oppose...again.

Insurance plans will cover contraception without a copay--improving women's access to family-planning services and thereby reducing the need for abortion.

As more of these anti-contraception extremists speak, I'm confident it will spur even more Americans to side with us. Do you agree?

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Birth Control Battle in Big Sky Country

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Another state, another set of politicians trying to block women's access to birth control. 

Last month, it was New Hampshire, where a member of the state's Executive Council quipped, "If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?"

Now, NARAL Pro-Choice Montana tells us that the commissioners of Ravalli County, Montana are threatening to shut down the county's family-planning clinic, which women depend on for access to birth control, cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care. 

The clinic receives federal funding through Title X, the nation's family-planning program. If the county commissioners follow through on their threat to reject these funds, the program will probably be eliminated. 

But that's not a bad thing according to Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher

In my mind, pregnancy is not a disease state. An unplanned pregnancy doesn't make it anymore so. You can say it's a social problem, and you can argue there is a role for government to take some action in that. I don't believe that's the case.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) doesn't share Commissioner Kanenwisher's backwards views on women's health. Yesterday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that newly issued insurance plans must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraception without a copay starting next year.  

In the meantime, the Ravalli County commissioners will meet again on Thursday to discuss whether to reject the Title X funds. 

Politicians like Commissioner Kanenwisher remind us why no-cost birth control is so important for all American women. 


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Today's the day! Right now, thousands of activists - from Tempe to Boston - are pouring into Washington, D.C. They're coming by the busload to tell their representatives to STOP the War on Women at our pro-choice lobby day and rally.

 
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If you can't make it to our nation's capital today, we still need you to match our presence in the halls of Congress with hundreds of calls, posts, and tweets. Find out more about what you can do on our website.

Here are three steps to taking action:
  1. Call the Capitol switchboard at 443-503-4917. Tell them where you're from and ask to speak with your representative.
  2. Tell the staff person who answers the phone that you're a constituent, and say:

    As a constituent, I urge you to stop the War on Women by voting against H.R.3, H.R.358, and attacks on family planning.
  3. Then, tell your friends - and find out how you can spread the word about the War on Women.
  
Your calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts to Congress could not be happening at a more important time: tomorrow, a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on H.R.3, the "rape audits" bill.

We want to hear how you plan to get involved today. Leave a comment, and we'll choose 10 people at random to receive a free lobby day T-shirt!

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Keep up with Lobby Day here on BlogforChoice, on our Facebook page and on our Twitter feed. Check the hashtag #Rally4Health to follow the conversation. We'll be covering the lobby day and rally live from Capitol Hill throughout the day. 

We can't wait to see you (or read your posts and tweets). Together, we will end the War on Women! 

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Last month, while the U.S. House of Representatives debated cutting all funding for Planned Parenthood health centers, anti-choice Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey launched into a tirade over abortion.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California stood up to his anti-choice distortions by sharing her own, deeply personal story

Well yesterday, Rep. Speier joined hundreds of our pro-choice activists for a lobby-day mobilization call. She reminded all of us that this debate is not about abstract legislative deals. The policies behind the anti-choice attacks will have a negative effect on our sisters, our cousins, our friends, our neighbors--the women important to us.

Rep. Speier urged pro-choice Americans to come to Washington D.C. on April 7 for pro-choice lobby day to help stop the repeated attacks on our rights.

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In addition to hearing Rep. Speier's inspiring comments, participants also heard from Ted Miller, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America; Donna Crane, our policy director; and Elizabeth Shipp, our political director. 

Donna shared how the attacks we see now compare to the far-right's 35-year strategy to roll back our rights, and how women's lives would change for the worse. Elizabeth provided critical details about lobby day, including times.

To listen to the call and hear Rep. Speier's inspiring story and NARAL Pro-Choice America's speakers, right click this link and select "Save Target As..." to download and save it. 

We need to show Speaker Boehner that we are not going to stand for defunding Planned Parenthood. We are not going to stand for allowing hospitals to let women die at emergency rooms. We are not going to stand for forcing even more trauma on rape and incest survivors.

It is these attacks that compel us to unite in Washington on April 7. Join us to STOP the War on Women.

Thank you to Rep. Jackie Speier and all of the activists who joined us on this call. If you couldn't make it, we hope you listen to the call.

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Tell Us Why You're Coming to Lobby Day

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Pro-choice Americans from across the country will be gathering in Washington, D.C. on April 7 to STOP the War on Women.


Maybe there was a time when you visited a family-planning health center, such as Planned Parenthood, for basic health care, like a mammogram, birth-control counseling, or a Pap test.


Perhaps you or your spouse or partner relied on your insurance to cover abortion care, and you strongly oppose how House Speaker John Boehner and his allies want to take this option away from women. 


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Rep. Jackie Speier Stands Up to War on Contraception

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The anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to wage its war against contraception.

Late last night, the House debated an amendment introduced by anti-choice Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana that would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood

The same people who promised a jobs agenda are now focused on blocking women's access to contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic health care that family-planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood, provide to millions of American women and men.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California stood up to anti-choice distortions by sharing her own story


Thank you, Rep. Speier, for your bravery in sharing this deeply personal story.

Check back with Blog For Choice as more pro-choice representatives speak out against the war on contraception. Here's what Reps. Mike Quigley of Illinois and Louise Slaughter of New York are saying. 


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Rep. Jackie Speier Stands Up to War on Contraception

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The anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to wage its war against contraception.

Late last night, the House debated an amendment introduced by anti-choice Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana that would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood

The same people who promised a jobs agenda are now focused on blocking women's access to contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic health care that family-planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood, provide to millions of American women and men.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California stood up to anti-choice distortions by sharing her own story


Thank you, Rep. Speier, for your bravery in sharing this deeply personal story.

Check back with Blog For Choice as more pro-choice representatives speak out against the war on contraception. Here's what Reps. Mike Quigley of Illinois and Louise Slaughter of New York are saying. 


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Birth Control for Horses, Not for Women

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Which of these two would get birth control if the anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives gets its way?

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Politico and RH Reality Check are reporting that anti-choice Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana has introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would promote contraception--for wild horses.


Ted Miller, communications director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the move would be ridiculous if the stakes weren't so high:

House members fighting to preserve a horse's right to birth control would be laughable, if they weren't trying to block women from accessing contraception at the exact same time. What's next? An amendment that would allow veterinarians to refuse to provide birth control to a horse if the vet is personally opposed to contraception?

(Well, doesn't giving birth control to wild horses just encourage them to be even wilder?)


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America's pro-choice majority is not about to let these attacks go unanswered. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued a challenge to new House members:

Politicians who campaigned on the promise of focusing on jobs and the economy need to be held accountable if, at the first possible opportunity, they join with John Boehner to launch a full-fledged war on contraception. It is the height of hypocrisy for anti-choice politicians to seek to abolish a program that helps prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion.  How many jobs will be generated by eliminating women's access to birth control?

In particular, we're mobilizing our activist base in the following districts where anti- or mixed-choice representatives replaced pro-choice members after the 2010 elections:

Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.)
Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.)
Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)

(Rep. Gibson is my congressman, and you can be sure he'll be hearing a piece of my mind!)

The Huffington Post and DailyKos are already reporting on the grassroots pressure building up over the "war on contraception." 


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Tell Your Story

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We are sending stories to Congress to oppose the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and other local health centers. Have you ever had a hard time affording birth control?

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Virginia Del. Bob Marshall Said WHAT?

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Anti-choice Virginia Del. Bob Marshall took shame to a whole new level. What did he say? Well, why wait for me to tell you, when you can hear it here with your very own ears:

Maddow asks, "Who's Afraid of Virginia?" and I would ask, "Who elected this guy?"

Disgusting.

So, clearly Mr. Marshall is callous, but we also can tell you he's hypocritical. Mr. Marshall's egregious statement came during a press conference where he was calling for an end to family-planning services for thousands of women and men in Virginia - services like contraception that actually prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.

Let's get this straight: First, he said that disabled children are God's punishment to women who choose abortion:

"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children," said Marshall, a Republican.

"In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There's a special punishment Christians would suggest."

Then, he "dialed it back." Well his mea culpa didn't sit well with Virginians. Here are examples of what they said in response to Marshall's diatribe:

"I am amazed that someone has been able to slander my child, my wife and my God in one comment," said Brett Wills, 38, a Staunton paint salesman who is the father of an 8-year-old boy with autism. "To imply that someone's disabilities are an act of God to punish women in an immoral society is just the most outrageous thing I've ever heard."

Jennifer McMillen, whose 8-year-old son has autism and cerebral palsy, said she was outraged. "Quite honestly, I don't care what he intended to say," said McMillen, 37. "His comments were inappropriate and unacceptable, and something needs to be done."

One thing is clear - Del. Marshall's extreme views show just how much he disrespects women and their families. Mr. Marshall's so-called "statement of clarification" will NOT change that fact. Good thing that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is on top of it, and holding Mr. Marshall accountable.

We're still waiting to hear anti-choice politicians denounce Mr. Marshall's comments - and something tells me we could be waiting for a long time.

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Virginia Del. Bob Marshall Said WHAT?

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Anti-choice Virginia Del. Bob Marshall took shame to a whole new level. What did he say? Well, why wait for me to tell you, when you can hear it here with your very own ears:

Maddow asks, "Who's Afraid of Virginia?" and I would ask, "Who elected this guy?"

Disgusting.

So, clearly Mr. Marshall is callous, but we also can tell you he's hypocritical. Mr. Marshall's egregious statement came during a press conference where he was calling for an end to family-planning services for thousands of women and men in Virginia - services like contraception that actually prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.

Let's get this straight: First, he said that disabled children are God's punishment to women who choose abortion:

"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children," said Marshall, a Republican.

"In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There's a special punishment Christians would suggest."

Then, he "dialed it back." Well his mea culpa didn't sit well with Virginians. Here are examples of what they said in response to Marshall's diatribe:

"I am amazed that someone has been able to slander my child, my wife and my God in one comment," said Brett Wills, 38, a Staunton paint salesman who is the father of an 8-year-old boy with autism. "To imply that someone's disabilities are an act of God to punish women in an immoral society is just the most outrageous thing I've ever heard."

Jennifer McMillen, whose 8-year-old son has autism and cerebral palsy, said she was outraged. "Quite honestly, I don't care what he intended to say," said McMillen, 37. "His comments were inappropriate and unacceptable, and something needs to be done."

One thing is clear - Del. Marshall's extreme views show just how much he disrespects women and their families. Mr. Marshall's so-called "statement of clarification" will NOT change that fact. Good thing that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is on top of it, and holding Mr. Marshall accountable.

We're still waiting to hear anti-choice politicians denounce Mr. Marshall's comments - and something tells me we could be waiting for a long time.

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Baltimore Finds A Common Sense Solution to Crisis Pregnancy Centers

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Jenny Blasdell is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and John W. Nugent is CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. This blog post originally appeared on RH Reality Check.

Imagine a friend of yours, a pregnant woman, walks into an office seeking information about her pregnancy. Only, it's not a doctor's office and they're not going to tell her the truth. Unfortunately, this happens every day across the United States.

Everyone can agree that women seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, or sexually transmitted diseases should receive timely and accurate information, not false political propaganda. But there are facilities out there that spread misinformation about abortion and birth control in an effort to dissuade women from exploring those options. These are known as limited service pregnancy centers or crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).

In Baltimore and around the country, many facilities have neutral sounding names like "Center for Pregnancy Concerns." Sounds like a place you could get information or services for your pregnancy concerns, right? Wrong. Volunteers who visited these centers were told falsehoods like abortion increases your risk of breast cancer, that natural family planning is as effective as the pill, and that condoms do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). CPCs are concerned alright, but not about what's in the best interest of women's health. They're concerned with preventing women from exploring their full range of options to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STDs.

CPCs do not always disclose information about the limitations of services or their anti-choice agendas in their advertising, particularly their beliefs about birth control. Low-cost birth control has been proven to be the most effective way to decrease the need for abortion, yet CPCs give false information about the safety and effectiveness of contraceptives. Moreover, not a single CPC in Baltimore City contacted by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Fund volunteers would provide a referral for comprehensive birth control.

That's why this week Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake introduced the Limited-Service Pregnancy Centers Disclaimer Bill. Co-sponsored by ten other council members, this bill is a common sense measure that will ensure that women visiting a Baltimore CPC are informed that they will not receive comprehensive birth control or abortion services or referrals. The measure does not ask CPCs to provide services they find objectionable. It only asks them to be honest and straightforward with the women, so that they know up front whether the facility will suit their needs. Having a more complete picture about the services that are and are not offered will also help provide a context for information they do receive. The goal of this bill is to empower women to make decisions about their care, and decide if a so-called "Center for Pregnancy Concern" is, well, concerned about the same things as they are.

This bill is an exciting step in Maryland. Although Maryland introduced a statewide bill to regulate CPCs in 2008, the bill, like all pro-choice bills in the last eleven years in our state, did not move forward. But localities around the country have been enacting laws and policies to strengthen the reproductive rights of women. For example, Pittsburgh enacted a buffer zone protecting patients entering reproductive health care facilities. And Madison, Wisconsin created an ordinance requiring pharmacies to let customers know when emergency contraception is not available.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and Planned Parenthood of Maryland are committed to ensuring that every woman has the best medical care possible - from birth control to prenatal vitamins, from pre-conception care to labor and delivery. We have no objection to a center that offers women who have decided to carry their pregnancies to term any help they like. But lines are crossed when a CPC is not up front about their services, or when a center misleads women.

The Limited Service Pregnancy Centers Disclaimers Bill simply asks that Baltimore CPCs disclose what is true - that they do not provide or refer for comprehensive birth control services or abortion so that women know up front whether the facility suits their needs. We believe this bill to be a common sense approach to a goal we all share - getting women the care they need. 

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