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Results tagged “Harry Reid” from Blog for Choice

One Year Since Wendy

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It's been one year since Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' historic 13-hour filibuster to stop politicians from pushing through a draconian anti-choice bill during a special legislative session.

Ever since Wendy's epic stand, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has been working with allies on the ground to make sure women can continue to access abortion and reproductive-health care in the Lone Star state. But the energy we saw in Texas from activists standing up to join Wendy one year ago has spread far beyond Texas.

We've seen pro-choice champions in Congress and state legislatures across the country fight back against anti-choice politicians who will do whatever it takes - even breaking their own rules - to make it next to impossible for women and families to get the health care they need.

Anti-choice Sen. Lindsay Graham tried to use the anniversary of the conviction of the illegal back-alley butcher, Kermit Gosnell, to ramp up support for his national 20-week abortion ban. But Sen. Richard Blumenthal stood up to Sen. Graham and talked about how a ban would endanger women's lives and criminalize doctors.

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Sen. Barbara Boxer joined him and talked about how the bill would drive women to rogue doctors or leave women with no choice by to try to self-abort. (One study in Texas showed that 7 percent of women who seek abortion care have already tried.) Sen. Harry Reid also called out Sen. Graham for using the debate to win votes.

In Michigan, when anti-choice politicians pushed legislation that would require women to buy a separate insurance plan for abortion care, even women who have been raped, state Sen. Gretchen Widmer spoke out and bravely shared her personal story of sexual assault for the very first time in public.

In Oklahoma, Republican state Rep. Doug Cox had it when fellow Republicans tried to ban coverage for emergency contraception for people who rely on Medicaid for their insurance. He bravely wrote an editorial and asked, "What happened to the party that I joined?" When these same politicians tried to push Texas-style restrictions, he condemned them for being "prejudiced against women."

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Pro-choice lawmakers are not just speaking out and refusing to stay silent - they're pushing legislative strategies to expose the true agenda behind the flood of medically unnecessary anti-choice restrictions.

Oklahoma state Rep. Constance Johnson stood up to "personhood" legislation in her state.

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The legislation could ban abortion and common forms of birth control by introducing a measure to ban "non-procreative ejaculation." Constance said:

"As a woman and a 31-year veteran of the legislative process in Oklahoma, I am increasingly offended by state law trends that solely focus on the female's role in the reproductive process. With Oklahoma's new, never-before-experienced Republican majority, we are seeing enactment of more and more measures that adversely affect women and their rights to access safe medical procedures when making reproductive-health care decisions."

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner introduced legislation to require men to seek counseling before accessing Viagra to expose just how ridiculous it is for anti-choice politicians to assume that women who choose abortion haven't given that decision enough thought.

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But pro-choice elected officials aren't the only people standing up for women's reproductive freedom. Pro-choice activists across the country have taken to the streets and to state capitals in masses to protest legislative attacks.

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina helps organize rallies for "Moral Monday" to protest the GOP's extreme attacks, including laws to make it harder for people to vote, to weaken environmental protections, to cut funding for health care, and to close all but one of the state's reproductive-health clinics that provides abortion care. Thanks to thousands of progressive North Carolinians coming together week after week for months in different cities across the state, with hundreds arrested, these protests made national headlines.

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In Missouri, pro-choice people organized a 72-hour people's filibuster to protest an extreme anti-choice bill that would require women to wait three days and make multiple visits to the single abortion provider within the state in order to get abortion care.

Not only are our champions exposing hypocrisy and holding anti-choice politicians accountable for restricting women's access to health care, but they're protecting and expanding reproductive freedom. In Congress, they've introduced the Women's Health Protection Act to wipe away all the unnecessary obstacles that are designed to make it impossible for women to get the reproductive health care they need.

When we speak out, our voices become a roar that cannot be ignored. Sen. Wendy Davis showed the nation that there are hundreds of thousands of pro-choice people who won't put up with the anti-choice agenda any longer, and she, along with all of our pro-choice champions, inspired so many people to take a stand for reproductive freedom for the very first time.

How will you use your voice?

Extreme Right-Wing Senators Block Liu Nomination

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Disappointing news from the U.S. Senate today: right-wing senators blocked the nomination of Prof. Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Prof. Liu an "impressive legal scholar," and leading Republicans have also praised his commitment to fairness.

In addition, a majority of senators voted to advance Prof. Liu's nomination! Despite Prof. Liu's broad support and strong qualifications, a handful of right-wing senators were able to block his nomination. 


Several anti-choice lawmakers' refusal to confirm Goodwin Liu, a distinguished law professor and champion of the constitutional right to privacy, proves that they value their extreme, ideological agenda over the priorities of the American people. These politicians have taken their attacks on women's right to privacy to a new level by denying a highly qualified and respected judicial nominee his rightful place on the bench.

Over the last year, NARAL Pro-Choice America activists sent more than 20,000 messages to Congress urging Goodwin Liu's confirmation. We will continue to fight for judicial candidates who respect Roe v. Wade and the fundamental constitutional right to privacy. 

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U.S. Senate to Vote on Goodwin Liu Tomorrow

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The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Goodwin Liu's nomination has been held up in the Senate by a handful of far-right senators for well over a year. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said "We'll not confirm somebody like that."

So who is Goodwin Liu, and why does "somebody like that" make Sen. Sessions and other extreme right-wing senators so upset?

  • Goodwin Liu is a professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law.
  • He has a distinguished record of working to protect civil rights.
  • Prof. Liu received a "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.
  • In his scholarly writings, he has defended the right to privacy and reproductive choice. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called him an "impressive legal scholar." Leading Republicans have also praised his commitment to fairness. 
  • Prof. Liu criticized John Roberts' record when President Bush nominated him to the position of chief justice in 2005. 

Here's what Prof. Liu wrote about then-Judge Roberts:

What we already know from Roberts's record is cause for concern. His legal career is studded with activities unfriendly to civil rights, abortion rights, and the environment.

Right on all accounts!

Prof. Goodwin Liu is exactly the sort of judge we need on the federal bench to protect Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy for future generations.

But the ultra-right is hell-bent on stopping his nomination. Make sure your senators hear from you! Call on the Senate to confirm Prof. Liu.

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Tell the Senate to STOP the War on Women

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One week ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.3, the extreme "rape-audits" bill. This dangerous and far-reaching piece of legislation could prompt the Internal Revenue Service to audit sexual-assault survivors who choose abortion care.

The very same day that H.R.3 passed the House, anti-choice Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced an identical bill in the Senate. 

This Senate version of the "Stupak on Steroids" bill would manipulate the tax code to advance an extreme anti-choice agenda.  It's the same old attack on women's freedom and privacy.

Anti-choice activists are hell-bent on getting this bill through the Senate. We need Majority Leader Harry Reid to STOP this War on Women from advancing.

We can't take anything for granted in the Senate.  There are only 40 pro-choice senators, so it's critical that your senators hear from you.

We are calling on Majority Leader Reid to put a stop to this extreme bill now, just as he did when anti-choice senators tried to inject anti-abortion politics into the debate over health reform.

We're delivering petitions to Majority Leader Reid next week to show our Senate allies how strong the opposition to this anti-choice agenda is. Add your voice!

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A pro-choice vote was a vote to table the amendment. The Roll Call vote can be found here.

Tonight, the Senate voted by a 54-45 margin to table the amendment offered by anti-choice Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), essentially defeating the amendment.

NARAL Pro-Choice America thanks its activists for win over anti-choice Nelson-Hatch amendment. That is first and foremost what we here at NARAL Pro-Choice America want to say.

More later, but for now, our statement from Nancy Keenan:

...Keenan also called the Senate's action a victory for pro-choice activists. Hundreds of thousands of Americans flooded Senate offices with calls, email messages, and petition signatures calling on senators to reject efforts to add an amendment similar to the House-passed Stupak-Pitts amendment.

"My heartfelt appreciation goes to all the pro-choice Americans who joined us in calling on the Senate to reject anti-choice attacks in health reform," Keenan said. "We salute our pro-choice allies who worked so hard to stop this attack that could have caused women to lose coverage in the new health-care system. The bill already includes a ban on federal funding for abortion and a requirement that only women's personal funds may be used for abortion care. That's deeply disappointing to us, but the Nelson-Hatch proposal, like the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House, would have gone much further, making it virtually impossible for private insurance plans that participate in the new system to offer abortion coverage to women.

"We had an important win today, but the fight is far from over. We will mobilize our activists and work with our allies in Congress to stop additional attacks in the Senate and work to ensure that the final health bill does not include the dangerous and divisive Stupak-Pitts language that's currently in the House bill."

Read the full release here and by all means, leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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NARAL Pro-Choice America released the following statement in response to the Senate health-care bill:

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said she is encouraged that the Senate bill does not include the extreme new anti-choice restrictions adopted by the U.S. House. However, the legislation includes a compromise that continues existing laws that unfairly single out abortion care, including a ban on federal funding.

On Monday, Keenan delivered a petition with 97,218 signatures to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, calling on the Senate to keep the egregious Stupak-Pitts language in the House bill out of the Senate version. Keenan vowed to continue to mobilize her organization's members to fight anti-choice senators' plans to push additional anti-choice attacks as the legislation moves forward.

"America's pro-choice majority is speaking up loudly and clearly," Keenan said. "Our goal is to ensure that women do not lose ground in the new health-care system and that attempts to expand existing restrictions on abortion are defeated. Some anti-choice politicians, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), will follow Rep. Bart Stupak's example and inject anti-abortion politics into health reform. However, we believe that senators understand that the Stupak amendment in the House bill goes far beyond the status quo and prohibits women from using their own money to buy the insurance coverage they want in the new system. Our activists will continue to remind senators that we're expecting cooler heads to prevail at this stage of the process and that means the Stupak language is not an option."

In addition to the petition delivery, the media have reported on NARAL Pro-Choice America's other mobilization efforts, including automated calls and volunteer-led phone banks. As a result of strong member support, the organization now is conducting this mobilization in 20 states.

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Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America activists, along with our state affiliates and another progressive partner, People for the American Way, delivered a petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that calls on him to resist pressure from anti-choice groups to insert the extreme anti-choice Stupak-Pitts language in the Senate's version of health-reform legislation.

Our goal was to collect 72,000 signatures in 72 hours ... but, thanks to our amazing activists, we exceeded that goal and collected 97,218 signatures in 72 hours!! AMAZING!

From NARAL Pro-Choice America's release, Nancy Keenan said:

"America's pro-choice majority is speaking up loudly and clearly," Keenan said. "As the fight for health reform moves forward, we are making sure Sen. Reid and his colleagues understand that adding the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts language to the Senate bill is not an option...This is a critical time for American women. Since the House passed a bill that included the Stupak-Pitts amendment, our supporters have channeled their outrage into action--and they're ready to go the distance to defeat the Stupak-Pitts abortion-coverage ban in the Senate."

You can read the full release here.

Naturally, we tweeted, twitpic'd, and otherwise documented the entire adventure... be sure to check out our slideshow below and also our microsite: www.StopAbortionBan.com!



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Attention Michigan residents: Rep. Stupak, he of the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts amendment "fame," is holding a townhall today.

Here are the details:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM (EST)
Bay de Noc Community College
Besse Center
2001 North Lincoln Rd
Escanaba, MI

(Map It)

From Rep. Stupak's press release:

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) will host a town hall meeting in Escanaba on Wednesday, November 11, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. (EST) at Bay de Noc Community College's Besse Center.  The meeting is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for constituents to ask Stupak questions on a range of issues, including health care and the economy.  Stupak will also provide an update on his work in Congress.

The Besse Center is located at 2001 North Lincoln Rd, Escanaba, Mich.

 

"This is an opportunity to speak with constituents, answer their questions, and address their concerns about the critical issues currently impacting Northern Michigan, including the health care bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this past weekend," Stupak said.  "I look forward to engaging in a respectful, civil dialogue on a broad range of issues.  I enjoy hearing from constituents and the ideas and feedback I receive at town hall meetings, and through the letters, emails, faxes and telephone calls to my offices is valuable to me personally and is critical to the work I do in Congress."

 

Out of respect for all those wishing to attend the town hall meeting only credentialed media will be permitted to record the event.  Signs, banners and posters will not be allowed inside the center.

If you live near Escanaba, Michigan... this would be a good opportunity for you to tell Rep. Stupak what you think about his anti-choice amendment.


And might I also suggest you sign our petition calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to stand firm against a ban on abortion coverage for women in the new health system? Thanks!

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