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Results tagged “Reproductive rights” from Blog for Choice

Honoring Our "Who Decides?" Dedicatees

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

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

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

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

  • Our final honoree is California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins.

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

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

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A Huge Victory for Emergency Contraception!

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bc-access-write-futures-red.pngThis week, the Obama administration announced that it would comply with a federal judge's ruling that emergency contraception (EC) be made available over the counter to all women without age restrictions.

Securing the ability to access EC over the counter without a prescription is a monumental win for women's reproductive freedom!

Not only does birth control prevent unplanned pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion care, it empowers women of any age to control when and whether to start a family. This essential right allows women to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, and advance their educational and career goals.

The medical community has long supported efforts to make EC available to women without a prescription. And many women's reproductive-health doctors have recognized that EC is a safe medication to be sold over the counter.

And it's certainly been a long time coming.

Unlike past presidencies, the Obama administration's decision shows that it is standing on the side of sound science. We're pleased to see that in the end, the administration recognized women's access to reproductive-health care should not be determined by politicians, but rather driven by science.

We couldn't be more thrilled that EC will finally be available to women of all ages.

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On Having Pride and Working for Reproductive Rights

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Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America

June is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* (LGBT) pride month and, while the connection between reproductive rights and LGBT equality activism may not be immediately obvious, I've always known that the two are inextricably linked.

At their core, both issues are about privacy. A woman's right to reproductive-health care entitles her to decide whether, when, and with whom to have a family without politicians' interference. Similarly, the right to love who you want and be who you are entitles people to build a family in a way that will bring them the most joy, fulfillment, and freedom.

I was particularly struck by the connections between LGBT* and reproductive rights activism a few weeks ago when the organization Strong Families launched their Mama's Day campaign. This beautiful celebration of diverse families reminded me that the right to choose means so much more than just the availability of abortion.

In a time when we hear about legislative attacks on birth control and abortion on every single news outlet, coalition building between reproductive rights activists and LGBT* activists is more important than ever. Just as we encourage lawmakers to trust women to make their own health-care choices, we must trust each other - partners in the struggle for full equality - to champion each others' causes and be allies in the fight for justice.

At NARAL Pro-Choice America, we fight to protect and expand the rights of women across the country. This proactive approach to advancing reproductive rights is one that necessitates and encourages inclusion of all people. That's why the staff at NARAL Pro-Choice America knew it was important to support federal marriage equality, as we have since 2004.

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As an LGBT-identified individual working in the reproductive rights/reproductive justice movement, I owe a great debt of gratitude to those who create space in this movement for people of all identities. Leaders like Kierra Johnson of Choice USA and Miriam Perez inspire me daily with their devotion to bridging the perceived gap between issues.

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SBA List: What's in a Name?

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NSRW_Susan_Anthony.pngRadical anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List continues to shock and appall people when they learn about the organization's agenda to ban abortion nationwide.

Susan B. Anthony is best known for her work to strengthen women's rights, including suffrage, education, and even property ownership.

So when people hear that her name is being used to further an anti-woman agenda, they're usually outraged. It's probably safe to say Susan B. Anthony would be irate if she knew how SBA List is tarnishing her legacy and using her name to help elect anti-choice politicians.

According to Deborah Hughes, the president and CEO of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House:

"One of the most common quotes used [by SBA List] is 'I deplore the ... crime of child murder.' But if you read the quote in its context, it's talking about a prior editorial that was for the criminalization of abortion, and this article is essentially a rebuttal. It's actually making the point that we need to look at all the reasons why a woman might choose to have an abortion -- economic reasons, health reasons, pressure from family or society, fear about her ability to take care of the child -- and says we shouldn't criminalize the practice of abortion."

If that wasn't evidence enough, Ernestine Glossbrenner, a Susan B. Anthony biographer, said she was "furious" over SBA List's "hate literature," and the use of Anthony's name to elect anti-choice politicians who want to roll back women's reproductive freedom.

We've heard enough, and that's why we're calling them out!

Help us fight back against this egregious anti-choice organization. Take the pledge to stop SBA List and read our full report on their radical anti-choice agenda.

This blog post is part of a series that exposes SBA List's radical anti-choice agenda. Read our past posts on SBA List's support for a nationwide abortion ban, their support for outspoken anti-choice candidates in 2012, and their upcoming election strategy.

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Why Young Women Need Access to Plan B

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Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America

PlanB_teens_small.jpgPicture this: Your best friend calls you. She and her boyfriend practiced safe sex last night, but the condom broke. She's freaking out and doesn't know what to do. She isn't on birth control, she can't afford an unplanned pregnancy and isn't ready to become a parent, and she's afraid to tell her parents.

You tell her not to worry because she can get emergency contraception at her local pharmacy. Your friend and her boyfriend go to the pharmacy together and pick up some emergency contraception (EC) or Plan B®. Without the fear of unplanned pregnancy, she can go on with her life.

This is how it should be, right? Accidents happen, even when you're careful. So it makes sense that there should be a backup method available for when things don't go according to plan.

Sadly, that's just not the reality. Women often face shame and judgment when they try to buy Plan B® from the pharmacy, and some pharmacists refuse to sell Plan B® altogether!

Medical professionals agree that emergency contraception should be available to all women, but it's currently only available without a prescription to women over 17.

A federal judge ruled that emergency contraception should be available over-the-counter without age restrictions. But since then, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice have made matters more complicated by prioritizing politics over science.

The struggle for wider availability of emergency contraception is an integral part of choice. EC empowers young women (and men!) to take charge of their reproductive health and allows them to decide when, how, and with whom to start a family.

That's the definition of reproductive freedom.

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The Story Anti-Choice Politicians Don't Want You to Hear

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Extreme anti-choice politicians across the country work every day to undermine women's reproductive freedom - often employing bans based on arbitrary timelines that can sometimes make abortion illegal even before a woman knows she's pregnant.

Anti-choicers have even gone so far as to claim that health exceptions are loopholes contrived for convenience.

We can never know every woman's circumstance. That is why it must be left to women, their families, and their doctors to make reproductive-health decisions - not anti-choice politicians on Capitol Hill or in the states.

But unfortunately, some families must face the difficult decision to end a much-wanted pregnancy when a health tragedy arises. This is yet another reason why access to safe, legal abortion care remains essential.

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See Martha Plimpton Speak Out for Women's Rights

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Actress Martha Plimpton, whom you may have seen on Fox's "Raising Hope" or CBS' "The Good Wife," is certainly not one to hold her tongue. Watch her speak out about how important it is to fight for women's reproductive rights--especially during an election year.


Thanks, Martha--we couldn't agree with you more.

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More Reflections on SisterSong's Conference

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Last month, I shared some of my reflections on SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective's annual conference. I was touched to have so many allies among so many diverse and dedicated communities fighting for reproductive justice.

Some of my colleagues from NARAL Pro-Choice America wanted to share their thoughts, reflections, and take-aways from the conference.

Tina called the conference "fabulous":

From Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who's always inspiring, to the amazing stories from some very fierce women. I was pretty amazed to see so many teenagers speak on reproductive justice, reproductive rights, and AIDS--just outstanding!

Vanessa:

The SisterSong conference didn't get all the advocates in the reproductive justice movement together to sit in a room and pull together a set of talking points for a memo to bring back to our respective lives and recite. It got all the advocates in the reproductive justice movement together to see and hear firsthand that it's rich, complex, and nuanced, and--gasp!--it's okay to disagree with your allies. It's good to disagree with them. Sometimes allies even contradict each other! In each session I got to hear more perspectives than I've heard takes on what Lost's smoke monster was.

Kim:

According to an informative yet astonishing workshop presented at the 2011 SisterSong Let's Talk About Sex: Love, Legislation and Leadership conference in July, women of color have to literally be broke to take advantage of the expansion of coverage under health-care reform! As part of the effect to keep state advocates informed, they discussed strategies and best practices from states around the U.S. that emphasized the importance of the reform as it particularly affects women and immigrants, and its impact on communities of color.

Harmony:

SisterSong's Let's Talk About Sex: Love, Legislation and Leadership conference was very inspiring. The conference provided me with a special opportunity to witness so many women of color brought together to discuss women's reproductive health. I was very pleased to be in a space where many women spoke about their unique experiences in the reproductive justice field and the social injustice faced by many in communities of color. From workshops on reproductive rights, sexuality and spirituality to plenary discussions on how to get more young people involved in the movement to listening to Dr. Joycelyn Elders talk about the importance of reproductive justice and women's health for communities of color, I could sense SisterSong's desire to ensure that each woman's voice was heard. SisterSong exceeded my expectations providing learning opportunities and stimulating a diverse range of emotions for all participants. I was glad to have attended.

Kate:

SisterSong provided an important (and beautiful!) forum for pro-choice groups like ours to reflect on ways to partner with reproductive-justice organizations for the advancement of women's reproductive health and wellbeing. However, the sessions weren't all about academic contemplation of theory and waxing philosophic (though that was certainly a welcome change from the policy work I do on a day-to-day basis); there was also a directly politically relevant element.   
One of my favorite parts was the keynote speech offered by Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General. Dr. Elders' firecracker wit and no-nonsense attitude toward sex and sex education was incredibly refreshing given the tempered and even timid tenor from other political appointees I've witnessed. She used stories, jokes, and clever adages while giving us the cold hard facts about the way we've failed our young people in terms of sexual health information and access to services. It's this kind of candor and creativity that we need from all involved in the movement--including those in government--to move in the right direction for reproductive rights and justice.

Well done, SisterSong, for an energizing and inspiring conference!

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Demon sheep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he will take down health-care reform if his abortion-coverage ban isn't included. Watch Stupak sound off:


Check the transcript here:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), author of anti-abortion language in the House health-care bill, tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" that he's willing to bring down the final bill if abortion language isn't changed: "[T]he bill that they are using as a vehicle is the Senate bill. If you go to page 2069 through page 2078, you would find in there the federal government would directly subsidize abortions, plus every enrollee in the Office of Personnel management plan, every enrollee has to pay a minimum of $1 per month toward reproductive rights which includes abortion. ... [W]e're not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language in there." ...

STEPHANOPOULOS: "Let me be clear here. If the president doesn't change the language, if your language is not accepted, you and your 11 colleagues who voted yes the last time will vote no this time. Does that mean you're prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"

STUPAK: "Yes, we're prepared to take responsibility. I mean, I've been catching it ever since last fall. Let's face it, I want to see health care. But we're not going to bypass some principles and beliefs that we feel strongly about."

Wow. Just wow.


UPDATE: Want to channel your anger and support our tremendous pro-choice champions in Congress (like Rep. DeGette)? Excellent.

Please sign this letter to pro-choice leaders in Congress by midnight Sunday. Your signature today will help give our leaders an even more powerful voice to persuade colleagues to change votes as they go into a major showdown in the House in the days ahead.  
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Announcing Blog for Choice Day 2010!

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It's January again, and I'm gaga for January. Why? First - it's my birthday month... and I'm celebrating a big one this year. Second - It's the beginning of a new year which always leaves me renewed and refreshed and ready to fight even harder to protect women's reproductive rights. Third - it's the anniversary month of Roe v. Wade, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you why that date is important to someone who works for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

But - do you know what else is in January? NARAL Pro-Choice America's 5th annual Blog for Choice Day 2010! And boy am I excited...

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As you might remember from Blog for Choice Days past, NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to bloggers before the anniversary, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22. Last year more than 500 people participated in this effort. We'd love to beat that record this year, so we hope you will join us.

So what's this year's question? Oh, I am so glad you asked!

In honor of Dr. George Tiller, who often wore a button that simply read, "Trust Women," this year's Blog for Choice Day question is: What does Trust Women mean to you?

Maybe you were one of the thousands who wears a Trust Women wristband to pay tribute to Dr. Tiller's legacy and demonstrate that you won't let those who use violent and hateful rhetoric win. Whether it's Dr. Tiller's tragic murder or another issue altogether, you can write from your heart about what Trust Women means in your daily life. The possibilities are endless and your support is critical.

Please take a moment to sign up using the form below (or use this link if you prefer). While signing up, you can also download a Blog for Choice Day graphic to let your readers know that you're participating.

Once you sign up below, a link to your blog's URL will appear on the sign-up page. And for the forgetful folks out there, we'll send you a reminder about the date! So it really couldn't be easier. Just be sure to tag your post "Blog for Choice" so that we can track it that day.

Please consider signing-up using the form below and join us so that we can ensure that the blogosphere is positively flooded with pro-choice blog posts on the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade!

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Advocating with SisterSong

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Sarah Rich is a Policy Representative for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

SisterSong Event (2)

This year, as the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective annual membership conference approached, SisterSong asked NARAL Pro-Choice America for our assistance in planning an advocacy day following the conference - the first time that SisterSong has organized such an event. We had sponsored the Sistersong conference in the past and were excited about the prospect of working together again.

We partnered with Sistersong to prepare many of the conference participants to lobby members of Congres s. Most people at the conference had never lobbied before. As we went over the details of preparing for the visits, it was a great experience to be a part of this kind of grassroots lobbying--and it turned out to be even more interesting than we originally had thought.

Coincidentally, the first day of the conference fell on the very day that the House debated and voted on the health reform bill, including the Stupak amendment. Eager to take action - with more than 300 conference participants, largely representing women of color reproductive-justice organizations, just blocks from Capitol Hill - SisterSong and other key contributors marshaled the group to lobby House members hours before the Stupak vote. As NARAL is located in DC and therefore our staff are familiar with the layout of the House office buildings, as well as with lobbying tactics, NARAL staff at the conference helped direct a group of participants to several offices. The women and men in this group found themselves in discussions with a few Congress members themselves.

On Monday, with some lobbying experience under their belts, as well as a more formal training held the day before, approximately 70 conference participants attended at least 40 meetings with their House members and senators for the advocacy day. Seventy percent of these individuals had never done a lobbying visit before; they represented newly heard voices from women of color advocating for expanded reproductive freedom.

We were particularly excited that we were able to contribute to SisterSong's conference in this way. We think this work will set the stage for future collaboration with SisterSong and other women-of-color choice groups.

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I know I promised to chill-out on the Netroots Nation stuff, or maybe I didn't promise - but I meant to. Still, this RH Reality Check video on reproductive-rights issues at Netroots Nation was pretty cool, so I just had to share:

 

 

Sure, it's a little long, but one of the things I like the best about it is that while it was filmed at a progressive conference (duh), many of these are activists that do not specifically work or blog on reproductive-rights issues... and yet, as Amanda Marcotte mentioned, they all seem to draw from the same messaging framwork when describing their positions and their ideas. Which, I agree, is great fun to watch.

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