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Results tagged “Kansas” from Blog for Choice

Sam Brownback_small.jpgThere's something happening in Kansas that's not making national headlines but should be. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is doubling down on his anti-choice agenda. It's extreme. And he's showing no sign of stopping.

Anti-choice Gov. Brownback already signed a bill that manipulates Kansas' tax code to limit abortion care, and now he's poised to sign two more bills that would severely restrict women's access to affordable health care in the Sunflower State.

One bill - the state budget bill - includes a provision that would effectively defund reproductive-health clinics, which many women and families rely on for a full range of reproductive-health services. For many low-income families, these clinics are their only means of accessing basic health care. The second bill would extend unnecessary tax penalties on reproductive-health clinics for making renovations or even holding fundraising events!

Don't be fooled, these bills and tax penalties are really just a way for extreme anti-choice politicians to further restrict access to reproductive-health care and force their personal beliefs on all Kansas families.

Gov. Brownback has never been shy about his extreme anti-choice record: "If a pro-life bill [comes] to my desk, I will sign it. I am not backing away from that."

If he signs these bills, Gov. Brownback will pile onto his already long anti-choice resume. Just last year, Gov. Brownback signed an extreme anti-choice bill into law to effectively ban abortion in almost all cases and could outlaw many common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in-vitro fertilization.

In 2012, Gov. Brownback signed a bill that allows doctors to withhold medical information if they think it will lead a woman to choose abortion or refuse treatment like chemotherapy for cancer patients if they think it would end a pregnancy. Even worse the same bill requires that doctors lie to women.

If these attacks to deny women control over the bodies and futures weren't bad enough, Gov. Brownback has spent roughly $1 million in taxpayer dollars to defend these unconstitutional laws in the courts.

Gov. Brownback has two more chances to stand up for women's freedom and privacy. It's time that he put his anti-choice, anti-woman agenda aside and prove that he's not going to punish working families and Kansan women just to score political points.

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Honoring the Memory of Dr. Tiller

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George_Tiller.jpgToday marks the four-year anniversary of the murder of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Dr. Tiller is an important figure for the pro-choice movement. His motto "Trust Women" has become a rallying cry for all of us who share his beliefs. And he refused to be intimidated by extreme anti-choice activists. Dr. Tiller was one of three doctors in the country that provided abortion service later in pregnancy, and that made him and his clinic the focus of anti-choice protests, harassment, and violence.

Ultimately, standing up for a woman's right to choose cost Dr. Tiller his life. He was murdered - in his church - by a radical anti-choice activist in 2009.

Since Dr. Tiller's death and the closure of his clinic in Wichita, women seeking access to abortion care in the area have been forced to drive more than 150 miles to visit an abortion clinic in Oklahoma City or Kansas City. That most certainly has made it more difficult and costly for many women to get the health care they need when they need it.

Thankfully in April, one of Dr. Tiller's former colleagues and director of the Trust Women Foundation, Julie Burkhart, re-opened Dr. Tiller's clinic, despite anti-choice efforts to keep the facility closed:

"First and foremost, we want to make sure that women who need to see us, want to come see us, are able to access care. We're looking at a few thousand women who now have to travel outside the area each year. Secondly, what it says is that no matter where you live in the United States of America, women will have access to reproductive health care."

Sadly, many abortion providers continue to live under constant threats of violence for providing necessary reproductive-health services.

Dr. Tiller gave his life to protect women from seeking unsafe abortion care, regardless of their circumstance. It's his courage that inspires so many of us to continue our work to protect and expand women's reproductive freedoms.

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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:

0414-kansas-check.jpg

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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Many states are finishing up their legislative sessions this week, and the results have been truly awful for women's freedom and privacy.

Anti-choice politicians' contempt for women's personal, private medical decisions is staggering: one Kansas legislator compared the right to choose to a spare tire; one Louisiana politician said it was like using heroin.

Yesterday, NARAL Pro-Choice America held a press webinar with reporters, bloggers, and key supporters to discuss this legislative session's unprecedented wave of attacks coming from the states. You can watch a video and check out the slides for yourself:


You'll see maps and graphs that break down the dire situation in the states:


You can also listen to an audio recording of the webinar (mp3, 19 MB), where you'll hear the voices of Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Donna Crane, our policy director, and Cristi Schwarcz, senior policy representative.

Here are some key take-away items:
  • We are tracking nearly three times as many anti-choice state bills as we did last year (470 to 175).
  • Thus far in 2011, states have enacted 49 anti-choice measures (compared to 34 in all of 2010), making 2011 one of the five worst years for choice since our organization started tracking state-level actions in 1995.

We'd love to get your feedback on the video and the webinar. Please leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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A quick update from the Sunflower State.

The Kansas legislative session is coming to a close, but anti-choice lawmakers made the most of an opportunity to send even more anti-choice legislation to Gov. Sam Brownback

One extreme bill makes it all but impossible for insurance plans to cover abortion care, thus forcing women to plan for an unplanned pregnancy. 

But that's not so bad, says one anti-choice legislator. After all, he keeps a spare tire in his car, which is totally the same thing:

During the House's debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told [pro-choice Rep. Barbara Bollier]: "We do need to plan ahead, don't we, in life?"

Bollier asked him, "And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?"

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, "I have a spare tire on my car."

"I also have life insurance," he added. "I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for."

Wow.

Comments like these might give one the impression that Rep. DeGraaf doesn't respect women very much.

If only we could keep a spare legislator around for such occasions!


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Kansas Enacts Far-Reaching Abortion Ban

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Yesterday, Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas signed extreme anti-choice measures into law


Like many politicians in other states, Kansas legislators have clearly abandoned their promise to focus on jobs and the economy to advance a ban that directly interferes in a woman's relationship with her doctor. Bans like this one could deny needed care to women with wanted pregnancies who experience heart-breaking complications, such as a fetal anomaly. This extreme bill is out of step with the values and priorities of Kansas voters.

Kansas is one of the 11 states in which an anti-choice governor replaced a pro-choice one after the 2010 elections. So, as we've said before, elections matter. 

From Washington to Topeka, anti-choice politicians are making government just small enough to fit in your bedroom or inside your medicine cabinet. 

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The Dangers of Anti-Choice Governors

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The 2010 elections that put anti-choice politicians in control of the U.S. House of Representatives also had dire consequences for the states. Just this month, 11 new anti-choice governors took over in Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Plus, there are also 15 states with fully anti-choice governments (both a majority of the legislature and the governor are anti-choice).

Many of these politicians campaigned on a platform of creating jobs and limiting government in our lives. But now that they're in office, they've switched gears and made attacking a woman's right to choose a top priority. It's only January, and already we're seeing the damage that the new anti-choice governors can do.

Let's start with Kansas, where anti-choice Sam Brownback recently replaced pro-choice Mark Parkinson as governor. Gov. Brownback outlined his priorities for 2011 in his state of the state address this month. While, on the one hand, he said it was time to rein in the reach of government, he also called for an anti-choice agenda that would allow politicians to interfere in a woman's right to choose. Gov. Brownback called for a "culture of life," but then proposed deep cuts to education programs that benefit children and families. Expect even more obstacles for women's access to abortion and birth control now that the Sunflower State has an anti-choice governor.

Moving north to Wisconsin, anti-choice Gov. Scott Walker recently succeeded retiring pro-choice Gov. Jim Doyle. For the last three years, Wisconsin has enacted Prevention First measures. Now, anti-choice Gov. Walker said he will seek to cut family-planning programs that serve thousands of women and men in his state. And with both houses of the legislature under anti-choice control, reproductive-health services in the Badger State could end up getting badgered.

Anti-choice governors can do damage to women's health and well-being even when the state legislature is under firm pro-choice control.  In New Jersey, both the Senate and the General Assembly have pro-choice majorities, and the state received an A- grade in this year's Who Decides?.

But in 2010, anti-choice Gov. Chris Christie replaced pro-choice Gov. Jon Corzine. Gov. Christie's first budget eliminated funding for family-planning clinics that provide birth control and reproductive-health screening to low-income women. When the legislature passed a bill to restore the funding, he vetoed it. 

We'll be monitoring legislation in the states closely and working with our network of state affiliates as the new anti-choice governors look to leave their mark. Find out whether your state's governor is a zero or a hero when it comes to protecting a woman's right to choose. 

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Update from the Sunflower State

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Some cheers and jeers out of Kansas today. 

First the cheers: 

Women in Wichita will once again have access to abortion care in their city. A reproductive-health clinic has confirmed that two doctors will begin to provide abortion care in Wichita sometime in mid-2011. This city of more than 300,000 has been without an abortion provider since Dr. George Tiller was murdered inside his church on May 31, 2009.

And now for the jeers:

A member of the Kansas state board of education is trying to cut off funds for a conference on HIV/AIDS. Why? Because the conference supports medically accurate sex education for teens, instead of "abstinence-only."

Luckily, other board members are standing up for teens' health and safety. Board member Walt Chappell of Wichita said that young people "are protected best, in my opinion, if they have knowledge."

Kudos to Chappell for making sure that, when it comes to sex ed, everything's up-to-date in Kansas!  


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Before the weekend comes, and the pending SCOTUS-palooza takes hold, I wanted to take advantage of the calm before the storm and keep you up-to-date with that latest goings on in the states. There's so much wackiness, craziness, and drama, all of which puts the health of women at risk. So much so, that the Center for American Progress Action Fund dedicated an entire Progress Report to the abortion wars stateside.

BTW - Fake bonus points and a virtual high-five will be rewarded to the first person who figures out the reason behind the ordering of the states in the update.

Florida: The Florida Legislature used all kinds of legislative shenanigans to pass an anti-choice bill, and it's now up to Gov. Charlie Crist to sign or veto it. Yep - that Gov. Crist. Naturally, Rep. Kendrick Meek and other pro-choice Florida state lawmakers encouraged Crist to veto the bill that basically trades women's dignity and privacy for a cheap election-year victory. We are mobilizing thousands of our supporters in the Sunshine State, so please take a moment to help us by sharing this news with your friends in Florida to help spread the word about why this bill is so bad for women.

Pro-Choice Progress in Pennsylvania: Looking for a sign of pro-choice progress? Who isn't? There's a bill moving forward in Pennsylvania that would ensure all public schools teach comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate and medically accurate.

Tennessee Can't Catch a Break: We're sad to report that, in addition to the horrific and devastating flooding going on in Nashville and surrounding areas, politicians have made this week even worse by taking away choices from women. This week, Tennessee became the second state to ban insurance coverage of abortion in the exchange that will be established under the new health-reform law. The law prohibits abortion coverage even in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. We're outraged by this unfortunate news, how about you?

Mighty Missouri: At least there's some great news coming from Missouri. The anti-choicers failed to get a so-called "personhood" measure on the November ballot. Our colleagues at NARAL Pro Choice Missouri worked hard to fight this:

Clearly, "personhood" provisions are much too extreme for Missourians. Voters in Missouri value privacy and each person's ability to make their own health decisions. Anti-choice tactics like this one would make drastic, unnecessary changes to current law. Pro-choice and pro-privacy Missourians wisely rejected this proposal and will do it again should any more outrageous attacks on women's health surface.

A huge round of applause goes out to our friends at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and their allies.

Oklahoma, Okay... Sorta: Oklahoma women caught a break this week... at least for now. A new anti-choice law is on hold pending the results of legal challenges in the courts. This is good news, because it sounds like the law was really traumatic for some women. Check out this article to learn more.

The Drama Continues in Kansas: Last week, anti-choice forces in the House fell two votes short of reversing the governor's veto of an anti-choice bill. As we all know, a lot can change over a weekend - and it did. The House voted again, and this time they managed to overturn the veto. The bill then went to the Kansas Senate, where the veto override failed by one vote. Stay tuned for more Sunflower-State drama, and check out this article for more info.

Montana Columnist Says What??: Yesterday, a really, really egregious opinion ran in the Helena Independent Record. In it, columnist Randy Rickman basically says that the recent anti-choice bill from Oklahoma (see above) is a good thing. Just how bad? Well, read this excerpt:

Will understanding the full impact of an abortion, up front, mean there will be more consultation and soul searching before making a decision? Probably so. And if that decision is made only after evaluating all the information, won't that be a better decision?

Look - we know that women accessing abortion care have thought about their decision. They have the thoughtfulness and the intelligence to make private medical decisions without a state-mandated script or a viewing of an ultrasound against their will. So clearly, this bill serves no other purpose than to shame and demean women for making a decision that some lawmakers in Oklahoma would like to take away from women altogether. It is not about informing women of their options. The law's intent is to intimidate women from exercising their right to choose while questioning their decision-making. NARAL Pro-Choice Montana is on the case, and is working on responding via letters and other options, like Twitter and Facebook.

That's all for this week. Rest up, pro-choice nation. Something tells me that next week will be a doozy!

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Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller last May, was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. From USA Today:

Scott Roeder has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Kansas abortion doctor in church. He won't be eligible for parole for 50 years, when he would be 102 years old.

NARAL Pro-Choice America honored Dr. Tiller's service to women at our 37th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade luncheon in February. Here's a video montage we showed in his honor:


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tiller.jpgThank you to all of you that sent me information about yesterday's vigils... it was incredibly helpful, and I know that a lot of people used this link as a resource to find events in their town.

With that in mind, I wanted to update yesterday's list with vigils happening tonight and through the rest of the week. As always, please be sure to let us know of events that you know of but don't see on our list. You can email us or leave it in the comments below. Thanks!

  • Atlanta, GA: 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Woodruff Park
  • Columbia, MO: 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Peace Park: Elm & 6th
  • Greensboro, NC: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the corner of N. Elm and W. Bessemer streets (in front of 917 N. Elm)
  • Minneapolis, MN: 9-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Loring Park (bring a candle)
  • Ottawa, Ontario: 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Human Rights Monument at Eglin & Lisgar
  • Hayward, CA: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a memorial will be set up at the Cal State University campus: 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. People are welcome to come bring balloons, poems, photos, rocks, candles, etc.
  • Northampton, MA: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, First Churches: 129 Main Street
  • Worcester, MA: 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester: 90 Holden Street, Worcester
  • Philadelphia, PA: 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Love Park, brief candlelight ceremony, sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Women's Medical Fund. 
  • Columbus, OH: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Broad Street Methodist Church, 501 East Broad Street, Columbus 43215
  • Concord, NH: 5 p.m. on Thursday, statehouse grounds in Concord, NH.  For more information, call NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire at 603-228-1224.
  • Cleveland, OH: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Pilgrim Congregational Church: 2592 West 14th Street (in Tremont), Cleveland, OH 44113
  • Bangor, ME: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Grace United Methodist Church on Union Street, Due to the short notice and lack of planning time, we ask that you consider BYOC -- "Bring Your Own Candle." A limited supply of vigil candles will be distributed.
  • Austin, TX: 8 p.m. on Thursday, The Hill at Butler Park: 903 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX, Located between Riverside Drive and Barton Springs.  Immediately west of Palmer Events Center.
  • Ithaca, NY: 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, in the middle pavillion on the Commons. For more information, call Planned Parenthood at 607-796-0220, extension 201.
  • Manhattan, KS: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Triangle Park in Aggieville, corner of North Manhattan and Anderson Avenue.
  • Springfield, MO: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Victims Memorial Garden at Phelps Grove Park: 920 E Bennett, Springfield, MO 65807. Email Crystal w/ questions or call 417-883-3800 ext 809.

  • San Francisco, CA: 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, at the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Polk & McAllister. Bring signs, your voice, your sorrow and outrage.
      

 

** All times are local times.

List of Vigils for Dr. George Tiller

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There are so many vigils sprouting out across the country that we wanted to make sure we were tracking them all for you. We will update the information as we learn more, so check back often. Oh - and many thanks to the fabulous team over at feministing for their running list of vigils.

Washington, DC: 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Monday, Lafayette Park, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (in front of White House)

St. Louis, MO: 6:30 p.m. on Monday, St. John's Episcopal Church (across from Tower Grove Park), 3664 Arsenal St., St. Louis, 63116

Boston, MA: 6-8 p.m. on Monday, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral,138 Tremont St.

Portland, OR: 8 p.m. on Monday, Pioneer Courthouse Square - We just learned the vigil was cancelled because they couldn't get a permit. Pass it on, please

Seattle, WA: 6pm on Monday, Cal Anderson Park - South End of the Reflecting Pool: 1635 11th Ave. (Follow @ProChoiceWA on Twitter for details.)

Kansas City, MO: 8 p.m. on Monday, JC Nichols Fountain (near the Plaza)

Yakima, WA: 6 p.m. on Monday, Millennium Arts Plaza, South 3rd Street

New York, NY: 6 p.m. on Monday, Judson Memorial Church on W 4th Street in Washington Square changed to south end of Union Square, Accessible by the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R trains (Follow @ShelbyKnox on Twitter for more details.)

Chicago, IL: 4 p.m. on Monday, State of Illinois Building/Thompson Center @ Randolph & Clark in the Loop

Manhattan, KS: 8-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Triangle Park

Dallas, TX: 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Robert E. Lee Park

San Francisco, CA: 7-9 p.m. on Monday, San Francisco City Hall, Polk Street Steps

Albuquerque, NM: 7 p.m. on Monday, St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church: 425 University NE

Columbia, MO: 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Peace Park: Elm & 6th

Atlanta, GA: 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Woodruff Park

Ottawa, Ontario: 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Human Rights Monument at Eglin & Lisgar

Minneapolis, MN: 9-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Loring Park (bring a candle)

Northampton, MA: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, First Churches: 129 Main Street

Worcester, MA: 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester: 90 Holden Street, Worcester

Philadelphia, PA: 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Love Park, brief candlelight ceremony, sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Women's Medical Fund.

Columbus, OH: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Broad Street Methodist Church, 501 East Broad Street, Columbus 43215

Greensboro, NC: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the corner of N. Elm and W. Bessemer streets (in front of 917 N. Elm)

Hayward, CA: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a memorial will be set up at the Cal State University campus: 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. People are welcome to come bring balloons, poems, photos, rocks, candles, etc.

Concord, NH: 5 p.m. on Thursday, statehouse grounds in Concord, NH.  For more information, call NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire at 603-228-1224.

Cleveland, OH: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Pilgrim Congregational Church: 2592 West 14th Street (in Tremont), Cleveland, OH 44113

Bangor, ME: 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Grace United Methodist Church on Union Street, Due to the short notice and lack of planning time, we ask that you consider BYOC -- "Bring Your Own Candle." A limited supply of vigil candles will be distributed.

Austin, TX: 8 p.m. on Thursday, The Hill at Butler Park: 903 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX, Located between Riverside Drive and Barton Springs.  Immediately west of Palmer Events Center.

Ithaca, NY: 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, in the middle pavillion on the Commons. For more information, call Planned Parenthood at 607-796-0220, extension 201.

Manhattan, KS: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Triangle Park in Aggieville, corner of North Manhattan and Anderson Avenue.

Springfield, MO: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Victims Memorial Garden at Phelps Grove Park: 920 E Bennett, Springfield, MO 65807. Email Crystal w/ questions or call 417-883-3800 ext 809.

San Francisco, CA: 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, at the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Polk & McAllister. Bring signs, your voice, your sorrow and outrage.

New Haven, CT: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, First Presbyterian Church of New Haven: 704 Whitney Avenue, New Haven CT 06511, For more information, email Gretchen

Houston, TX: 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, Planned Parenthood on Fannin in Midtown

Bozeman, MT: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, the steps of the Bozeman Courthouse, it will end at dusk with the lighting of candles in his memory. Please bring signs supporting a woman's right to choose, and in support of the brave doctors who risk their lives to provide abortion services to women who need them. And of course, bring candles.

West Hollywood, CA: 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, Vigil at Congregation Kol Ami: 1200 N. La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90038

Richmond, VA: 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, Richmond First Unitarian Church: 1000 Blanton Avenue

Madison, WI: 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, Lisa Link Peace Park: 400 State Street, Madison, WI, please direct any questions to the NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin office at (608) 287-0016 or via email

Milwaukee, WI: 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee: 1342 Astor Street, more information on the NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin website. 

Denver, CO: 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, location TBD, please direct any questions to the NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado office at (303) 394-1973. RSVP for confirmation of details to denvervigil@prochoicecolorado.org

Chicago, IL: 8:15-9:15 p.m. on Friday, June 5, Churchill Field Playlot Park (c/o Holstein Park): 1825 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, For more information, send an email here.

San Marcos, TX: 8 p.m. on Friday, June 5, Courthouse Square, San Marcos, TX

Washington, DC: 6 pm.m on Monday, June 8, Remembrance and Celebration of Dr. George Tiller, The National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle, N.W., Washington DC

Gainesville, FL: 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, Planned Parenthood clinic: 914 NW 13th St. Please park in the Office Depot parking lot.

Tallahassee, FL: 6 p.m. on Friday, June 5, on the steps of the new Capitol at Waller Park. This side of the Capitol is right across from the Supreme Court on Duval Street.

Jacksonville, FL: 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, Planned Parenthood clinic:  3850 Beach Blvd.

Rochester, NY: 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, First Unitarian Church: 220 South Winton Road, Rochester, NY

Portland, OR: 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, 3727 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. (NE MLK & Beech, one block north of Fremont, Planned Parenthood health center construction site, enter from NE Garfield Street.), please bring Candles. More information on the NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon website

Allentown, PA: 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley: 930 N. Fourth St., Allentown. Anyone who wishes to share a story at Sunday's memorial is asked to call Jennifer Boulanger at 610-770-9077, ext. 11.

Santa Monica, CA: 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, Santa Monica Promenade: Third and Arizona

Baltimore, MD: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, an evening of reflection and conversation at Windup Space in Baltimore. To RSVP, or for more information, email Melissa Kleder  

Virginia Beach, VA: 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, the community center of Lynnhaven Colony Congregational Church, United Church of Christ: 2217 West Greatneck Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
 

Please be sure to let us know of events that you know of but don't see on our list. You can email us or leave it in the comments below. Thanks all.

UPDATE: The Portland, OR vigil was cancelled because they couldn't get a permit. Please pass it on.


** All times are in local time.

In the nearly 24-hours that have transpired since the tragic murder of Dr. George Tiller, the choice community - and NARAL Pro-Choice America in particular - have seen an incredible outpouring of support and words of sympathy from our members, activists, and concerned citizens. If you'd like to share your thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below, on our previous post, or our Facebook page.

Here are a few updates from today's news:

From The Wichita Eagle, "Suspect in shooting death of abortion provider George Tiller may be charged today":

With one bullet, a gunman ended the life and the controversial career of abortion doctor George Tiller, killing him as he stood in the foyer of his church Sunday.

Today, a 51-year-old Johnson County man could be charged with murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Tiller, who had been shot before by an anti-abortion foe.

The crime has drawn condemnation and outrage from the president and stirred strong emotions across the nation.

Tiller, 67, was shot once just after 10 a.m. Sunday as he stood in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church, 7601 E. 13th St., where he was serving as an usher. The gunman threatened to shoot two men who tried to apprehend him.

Wichita police said that the suspect was arrested without incident on I-35 in Johnson County about three hours after the shooting, following a statewide broadcast describing the suspect and his car.

Although Wichita police would not name the suspect, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office identified him as Scott P. Roeder, according to the Associated Press.

Wichita police said it appeared that the suspect had acted alone but that they are investigating whether he had any connection to anti-abortion groups.

Police on Sunday said they expected the man to be charged with murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

In a news conference at Wichita City Hall, Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said police will "investigate this suspect to the Nth degree, his history, his family, his associates, and we're just in the beginning stages of that."

The entire article, including a timeline, more community reactions and video is available at Kansas.com.

The Washington Post is reporting:

Acting on orders from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who said the Obama administration will take "appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring," the U.S. Marshals Service announced that it will begin protecting certain abortion clinics and doctors.

We're collecting information on vigils occurring across the country and will update you as soon as we get all of the details.

In what has been a news cycle full of interesting and important stories - swine flu and Sen. Specter's party switch - the hardworking staff at NARAL Pro-Choice America wanted to make sure that you didn't miss out on our first Three-for-Three campaign victory... the U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as our next secretary of Health and Human Services!

Here's the official statement from Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:

We applaud the Senate's vote to confirm the eminently-qualified Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to serve in this critical position. Anti-choice advocates tried every desperate trick in the book to derail her confirmation, but this vote shows that a majority of senators understand that Americans are tired of the antagonistic politics of the past. As our country faces challenges on a number of fronts, especially on the issue of affordable health care, we look forward to ensuring that women's health and sound science are a priority, rather than the failed political maneuvering that damaged this agency during the previous Bush administration.

Do you know that more than 22,000 activists sent messages to the Senate in support of Sebelius' nomination? Yep. We totally did, and we couldn't have done it without you. So a big huge thank you for those of you who helped make this first win possible.

And now of course, as is the nature of a campaign you name "Three-for-Three" - it's full-steam ahead to the next Obama nominees: Judge David Hamilton and Prof. Dawn Johnsen. One down, two to go. So take action, and let's make it happen!

Pro-choice Americans, if we ever needed your help, it's now. Via WaPo's 44 blog, we learned that anti-choice Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just "stymied" a vote today on the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to lead Health and Human Services (HHS):

At the start of the session today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed taking a vote after five hours of debate. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected, arguing that lawmakers needed more time to consider her "fairly contentious" selection.

Readers may remember that the Finance Committee voted to confirm Sebelius on Tuesday with bipartisan support. Even anti-choice Sen. John Cornyn told Politico that he thinks Sebelius will ultimately be confirmed.

It's clear this vote was delayed simply because anti-choice senators were afraid to stand up to anti-choice activists that object to Sebelius' nomination SIMPLY BECAUSE SHE IS PRO-CHOICE. It's ridiculous, as Sebelius is eminently qualified for this position. She has spent the last 20 years in public service, ensuring that Kansans are healthy and safe, first as a state representative and then as insurance commissioner. Further, as governor, Sebelius has a strong record of protecting women's access to reproductive-health services and information. Her experience, extensive public service, and record protecting women's reproductive rights makes Gov. Sebelius a highly qualified nominee to serve as HHS secretary.

Please stand up for Gov. Sebelius: take action immediately to put an end to distortions and obstructive tactics. You can also call your senators and send a strong message to the Senate that it needs to confirm Gov. Sebelius, without delay:

  1. Call the Senate at (202) 224-3121. Let the operator know which Senate office you wish to speak to. If you're not sure who your senators are, let the operator know what state you live in.
  2. Use this message when speaking with the senator's staff person: "I'm calling to ask the senator to oppose any delays on Gov. Sebelius' nomination to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services, and I ask the senator to vote to confirm her nomination."
  3. Let us know you called by sending an email. Help us keep track of our progress!

Thanks for your help.

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