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Results tagged “Oklahoma” from Blog for Choice

One Year Since Wendy


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.


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.

Nina Turner.jpg

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?

The Winners of February's Hall of Fame and Shame


If you like us on Facebook or Twitter, you know all too well that choice is in the news all day, every day.

Unfortunately, anti-choice politicians in the states keep taking big political gambles by continuing the War on Women. But, at the same time, we are amazed by lawmakers who refuse to play politics that threaten women's lives.

This month we were wowed by Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox (R).

It can take nerves of steel to speak out against bills designed to chip away at a woman's right to choose in an anti-choice state legislature.

cox with flags.jpgBut state Rep. Doug Cox, who is also a medical doctor, took a stand against an extreme anti-choice bill that would make it harder for survivors of sexual assault to get safe, legal abortion services.

He laid down the law for his anti-choice colleagues when he said:

"We keep passing stuff like this, they'll be done in back alleys with coat hangers, people.... [Abortions] are done in clinics inspected by the Health Department under sterile, medical conditions. This bill basically is trying to intimidate the providers who do those."

Rep. Cox's stance earned him a spot in our Hall of Fame this month. If you love this story as much as we do, share it on Facebook.

But for every pro-choice champion we find, there's always an anti-choice challenger close behind. Which brings us to the "winner" of our "Hall of Shame:"

mcclurkin_ms.jpegAlabama State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R): Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin is a sponsor of an extreme anti-choice bill that could close Alabama's five remaining abortion providers.

Somebody must've missed a biology class because she told reporters that she supports this bill because a fetus is "the largest organ in a body."

We created a graphic to give Rep. McClurkin a mini-anatomy lesson that you can check out on our Facebook page.

There are a lot of people who could have earned a spot in our Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame in February. Who caught your eye this month?

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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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Before we head out to the weekend (yipee!), we wanted to make sure we shared some must-know news from the choice front:

She Took Us to New Height(s): This week, millions of Americans - and the entire NARAL Pro-Choice America family - said goodbye to civil, human, and women's rights leader Dr. Dorothy I. Height, chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, who died this week at the age of 98. She was one of our nation's leading progressive figures who spent more than six decades working to improve the lives of all Americans. Many of you may remember that she was honored during the 2004 March for Women's Lives, and she voiced support for the Freedom of Choice Act as recently as December 2008. Read our statement, and be sure to check-out the Washington Post's excellent story about Dr. Height's many achievements for more information on her life and legacy.

You're Not OK, Oklahoma: As much as we love the great Sooner State, we really don't love the anti-choice lawmakers in Oklahoma who are moving forward on several outrageous bills. One would require doctors to perform an unnecessary, invasive medical procedure before any abortion. Please take a moment to read this important article, and if you have friends or family in Oklahoma, please share it with them. Oklahoma already has a grade of an F - who thought it could really get worse?

Virginia, Where Being Poor is a Pre-Existing Condition: Politicians like Bob McDonnell told women in Virginia that their health doesn't matter, especially if they're low-income women who need to access abortion if their health is threatened. Can you imagine if your doctor said you needed medical care to protect your health, but you then learned that the state legislature decided what you needed isn't important? Ridiculous! Apparently being poor really is a pre-existing condition that make your needs--and your right to choose--less important in Bob McDonnell's Virginia. It would seem like the new anti-choice leadership in Virginia never misses an opportunity to take away women's access to abortion and other reproductive-health care. Read more on NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia's blog.

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