Results tagged “United States” from Blog for Choice
This year's elections proved that Americans won't tolerate politicians who turn their back on rape survivors. No matter where you stand on the issue of legal abortion, it's just wrong to deny a woman who endured sexual violence access to reproductive-health care.
Under current law, military women are banned from using their military health-insurance plans to cover abortion care if they become pregnant as a result of sexual assault.
Today, the U.S. Senate took a big step toward finally paying military women the respect they deserve by adopting the language known as the Shaheen amendment in the FY '13 Department of Defense (DoD) authorization bill to lift this discriminatory policy.
"Today, women in the military have come one step closer to winning protections they deserve for reproductive freedom and privacy. Denying our heroes access to complete reproductive-health care coverage not only discriminates against them but also endangers their health. Congress has an opportunity to protect and support those who selflessly serve our country. Now it's up to John Boehner to step up to this task."
But nobody has worked harder for military women than the author and namesake of the language, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.).
Sen. Shaheen has been leading the charge to correct the current policy, which places an undue burden on the servicewomen who dedicate their lives to serving our country.
We thank Sen. Shaheen for her tireless work to end this unjust policy, and we're thrilled that the Senate stood with military women.
Now, the U.S. House of Representatives has the opportunity to end this cruel policy when they work with the Senate to approve the final version of the DoD authorization bill.
We need your help - send a strong message to Speaker John Boehner and anti-choice members of the House: We owe it to our military women to provide them with the health care they need in the tragic circumstance of sexual assault.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, has a new guest post over at Latinovations' La Plaza blog.
She writes about the new no-cost birth control regulations--especially, about how this new policy will benefit Latinas:
Ninety-eight percent of American women use birth control during their lifetime.
Yet for many women, it's simply too expensive. One in three women has struggled with the high cost of prescription birth control. And 50 percent of Latinas say there has been a time when the high cost of prescription contraception meant they couldn't use it consistently.
The consequences are staggering. Young adults ages 18-24 have the highest rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States -and nearly one-third of female teenagers become pregnant before reaching the age of 20. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended.
Thankfully, the days of unaffordable birth control will end soon. In July, a panel of medical experts recommended that prescription birth control be considered preventive care under the new health-care law.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius accepted the panel's recommendations. This means that newly issued insurance plans must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraception without a copay...
- As speaker of the House, he has led the War on Women.
Despite campaigning with promises to focus on jobs and the economy, Boehner started off his term with legislation that tried to "redefine rape." He's also tried to defund Planned Parenthood and family planning services, ban coverage of abortion in the new health-care system, and impose tax penalties on millions of Americans whose private insurance plans include abortion coverage. Thankfully, our state's insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, wrote a letter opposing one bill that, if enacted, would jeopardize insurance coverage of abortion for millions of women in our state and across the country.
- He has a long anti-choice record.
Even before becoming speaker, Boehner cast 142 votes on abortion and other reproductive-rights issues, and voted anti-choice every time. That includes voting twice to deny federal funding of abortion care to survivors of rape and incest.
- He has worked to revive the failed policies of the Bush era.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, summed it up this way:
The message from our members to the Obama administration is clear: At a time when the country is on the cusp of implementing nationwide health-insurance coverage, it is unacceptable to treat abortion care differently in the new high-risk pools.
The administration's decision puts in place a three-year restriction that is similar to the proposal from anti-choice Rep. Bart Stupak that was rejected during the legislative debate on health reform.
is the text of the statement sent to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and
We oppose the administration's decision to exclude abortion coverage for women who will be covered by the new high-risk pools. This policy means that women who are part of these pools because they have significant health problems, such as diabetes or cancer, will not be able to access abortion care for the next three years, even if their health is at further risk.
Abortion is the most common surgical procedure women receive. At a time when the country is on the cusp of implementing nationwide health-insurance coverage, it is unacceptable to treat abortion care differently in the new high-risk pools.
- Signed by 47,858 pro-choice Americans
NARAL Pro-Choice California's release of an undercover investigative report on anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) has revealed a host of disturbing information on how these organizations manipulate and misinform women. Over the last two years, NARAL Pro-Choice California sent undercover volunteers to 14 CPCs and called 200 CPCs statewide to confirm anecdotal reports about their deceptive practices.
Their report is making major headlines. On August 16, NBC Bay Area aired an interview with NARAL Pro-Choice California's Meghan Doran about the findings. Our favorite quote: "We found systematic approaches of manipulation, intimidation and false advertising." Watch the full interview:
The majority of CPCs that NARAL Pro-Choice California contacted provided shockingly false information to promote their anti-choice agenda and block women from choosing abortion:
- Sixty percent advised that condoms are ineffective in reducing pregnancy and the transmission of certain STDs
- Seventy percent advised that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer
- Eighty-five percent advised that abortion increases the risk of infertility and
- Eighty-five percent of CPCs in our study advised that abortion leads to mental health problems
Let's be clear: all of these statements are false.
Despite being one of the most pro-choice states in the country, CPCs in California outnumber legitimate clinics five to one, and can be found in 91 percent of counties. They often place themselves near legitimate health clinics to intentionally confuse women seeking abortion.
What is even more disturbing is that 69 percent of these CPCs advertised their counseling as "unbiased," despite the fact that they usually had no medical certification, provided false information, and never even mentioned abortion as an option. Only 21 percent of investigators actually saw a nurse or doctor. The rest went to unlicensed clinics that, by exploiting a loophole, continue to legally operate as long as women read their own pregnancy tests. One NARAL Pro-Choice California volunteer was horrified when asked to administer her own urine test, while a volunteer with no medical training watched.
Every year around three million American women find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy. These women deserve unbiased and medically accurate information that will help them to make an informed choice.
Hopefully the hard work of NARAL Pro-Choice California to expose CPCs will result in more local regulation on their deceptive practices. After a similar investigative report conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland last year, Baltimore passed a law requiring CPCs to advertise in both Spanish and English that they do not provide or make referrals for abortion services or birth control.
And Congress can do get involved to protect women as well. There's a bill that would stop CPCs from using deceptive advertising that misleads women. Ask your lawmakers to support this bill, because women deserve the truth.
I originally posted this on Huffington Post. You can view that entry here.
Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America foundation released the 19th edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States, the nation's most comprehensive report with analysis of choice-related legislation and court decisions. This report arrives as Congress continues to debate abortion coverage in health-care reform and thus reflects a mix of progress and setbacks for choice across the country.
On the federal level, President Obama has done much to reverse the anti-choice policies enacted by the previous administration (he who shall not be named) including the nomination of individuals with strong pro-choice records to key federal positions. Further, we've worked with our pro-choice allies in Congress to:
- lift a ban on Washington, D.C.'s ability to use locally-raised funds to provide abortion services for low-income women
- eliminate funding for two discredited "abstinence-only" programs
- and increase funding for domestic and international family-planning programs.
Still, much of that progress is overshadowed by provisions in health-reform bills that make it more difficult or impossible for women to buy insurance with abortion coverage in the new system.
In other words... 2009 has been a major roller-coaster ride for pro-choice Americans.
On the state level, this report shows a similar combination of progress marked with setbacks:
- In 2009, 14 states and Washington, D.C. enacted 21 pro-choice measures.
- Wisconsin enacted a law that requires health-insurance plans that provide prescription-medication benefits to cover contraceptives and required pharmacists to fill valid birth-control prescriptions.
- Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington enacted laws that improve sex education in schools.
- Utah and D.C. enacted laws to ensure that sexual-assault survivors receive information about and access to emergency contraception in emergency rooms.
- In 2009, 14 states enacted 29 anti-choice measures, increasing the number of anti-choice measures enacted in states since 1995 to 610.
- Virginia enacted a law that establishes "Choose Life" license plates. A portion of the proceeds from these plates funds anti-choice organizations known as "crisis pregnancy centers" that target women considering abortion and often mislead, coerce, and intimidate them.
- Arizona enacted a far-reaching law that includes a litany of anti-choice provisions that, among other things, subject women to state-mandated lectures and waiting periods that delay access to abortion care. The law also allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services and to refuse to provide or dispense contraceptives.
A roller-coaster ride, indeed.
What's the most important lesson we can glean from all of this? I say it all the time, but here it is again: elections matter.
Despite our success in changing the choice-related composition of Congress and the addition of a pro-choice White House, anti-choice lawmakers still outnumber our pro-choice allies. Every time we take a step forward we will face unrelenting resistance from anti-choice politicians who will sink to new lows to undermine women's freedom and privacy, so we must remain vigilant.
I hope you'll take a moment to see how your state fared.
A pro-choice vote was a vote to table the amendment. The Roll Call vote can be found here.
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!
NARAL Pro-Choice America's ad about anti-choice politics in health-care reform is running on cable TV stations in Richmond, Va., Raleigh, N.C., the Bangor and Portland markets in Maine, and in multiple markets in Michigan and other state markets that air in Rep. Stupak's congressional district.
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.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, wrote a joint op-ed for the Politico.
Here is an excerpt:
Most notably, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its allies in the House distorted the facts about the health reform proposal by claiming that the proposed system would have used federal dollars to cover abortion care. They're wrong.
The original House bill included a compromise that required all plans to separate public and private dollars in the new system -- ensuring that no tax dollars would ever cover abortion services.
In fact, the bishops should be familiar with this arrangement because it reflects the same principle of separation that guides their financial interaction with the federal government. The bishops have a long history of almost unlimited access to enormous quantities of federal funding. When it comes to funding for Catholic schools and hospitals or programs run by Catholic Charities, they accept federal funding with open arms. The bishops never question their own ability to lawfully manage funds from separate sources to ensure that tax dollars don't finance religious practices.
Yet they reject the idea that others could do the same. This is the very definition of hypocrisy.
Please take a moment to read this op-ed its entirety, and share it with your friends, co-workers, and family. It has never been more important than it is right now.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, released this statement upon the passage of a stunning last-minute anti-choice amendment to health reform: :
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called House passage of a stunning last-minute anti-choice amendment to health reform an outrageous blow to women's freedom and privacy -- and she vowed to fight to remove this provision as the process goes to the Senate.
The amendment, offered by anti-choice Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Penn.), was adopted late tonight by a margin of 240-194.
The Stupak-Pitts amendment makes it virtually impossible for private insurance companies that participate in the new system to offer abortion coverage to women. This would have the effect of denying women the right to use their own personal private funds to purchase an insurance plan with abortion coverage in the new health system -- a radical departure from the status quo. Presently, more than 85 percent of private-insurance plans cover abortion services.
"This vote is a reminder to America's pro-choice majority that, despite our gains in the last two election cycles, anti-choice members of Congress still outnumber our pro-choice allies," Keenan said. "It is unconscionable that anti-choice lawmakers would use health reform to attack women's health and privacy, but that's exactly what happened on the House floor tonight. Even though the bill already included a ban on federal funding for abortion and a requirement that only women's personal funds could pay for abortion care, Reps. Stupak and Pitts took their obsession with attacking a woman's right to choose to a whole new level. We will hold those lawmakers who sided with the extreme Stupak-Pitts amendment accountable for abandoning women and capitulating to the most extreme fringe of the anti-choice movement. In short, the fight is not over. That's why we will continue to mobilize our activists and work with our allies in Congress to remove this dangerous provision from the health-care bill and stop additional attacks as the process moves to the Senate."
Keenan said anti-choice members of Congress and their allies distorted key elements of the Stupak-Pitts amendment to make the proposal appear less extreme. Here are rebuttals to these distortions, including the myth of an abortion "rider" that they say women could purchase in addition to their insurance plan:
- The Stupak-Pitts amendment forbids any plan offering abortion coverage in the new system from accepting even one subsidized customer. Since more than 80 percent of the participants in the exchange will be subsidized, it seems certain that all health plans will seek and accept these individuals. In other words, the Stupak-Pitts amendment forces plans in the exchange to make a difficult choice: either offer their product to 80 percent of consumers in the marketplace or offer abortion services in their benefits package. It seems clear which choice they will make.
- Stupak-Pitts supporters claim that women who require subsidies to help pay for their insurance plan will have abortion access through the option of purchasing a "rider," but this is a false promise. According to the respected National Women's Law Center, the five states that require a separate rider for abortion coverage, there is no evidence that plans offer these riders. In fact, in North Dakota, which has this policy, the private plan that holds the state's overwhelming share of the health-insurance market (91 percent) does not offer such a rider. Furthermore, the state insurance department has no record of abortion riders from any of the five leading individual insurance plans from at least the past decade. Nothing in this amendment would ensure that rider policies are available or affordable to the more than 80 percent of individuals who will receive federal subsidies in order to help purchase coverage in the new exchange.
The release can be read online here.
I'm sure you're as shocked as I am... but did you know that the madness described below has been going on since... oh April?! Yep, April. Nancy was blogging about it on Huffington Post and right here on our blog. The health-care reform and the Sotomayor confirmation drowned out the anti-choice objections, but only temporarily. So please, read the language below - excerpted from an email alert we sent out - and then take action. We need all the help we can get!
Right-wing senators are blocking Judge David Hamilton's confirmation to a position on the federal court because he has issued pro-choice rulings.
We can't let anti-choice politicians win this fight.
The Senate could take action as early as tomorrow. Help us confirm this highly qualified nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals -- please contact your senators today.
The right wing has turned Judge Hamilton's nomination into a circus. He's widely respected, earning praise from the New York Times editorial board and garnering the bipartisan support of his homestate senators.
But anti-choice senators boycotted Hamilton's first committee hearing, and anti-choice Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has threatened to filibuster him.
Their stall tactics have worked! Judge Hamilton is President Obama's very first nominee to the federal courts, but his nomination has been held up since June.
We need to urge the Senate to bring Judge David Hamilton's nomination to a floor vote. Even if you have contacted your senators before in favor of Judge Hamilton, please send them an email again.
After you take action, please forward this blog post to your friends and ask them to get involved.
From 3 p.m. EST Monday, November 2 until 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 3, your $10 donation to our Facebook Cause can help NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation win $1000 through America's Giving Challenge.
The NARAL Pro-Choice America Cause is competing with hundreds of other Causes to win a daily challenge with a $1,000 prize.
We want to win the daily challenge for Friday, but need your help! To win, we need more people to donate to us on in 24 hours than any other Cause.
One of the top Causes in America's Giving Challenge right now is anti-choice! As Facebook users, we can't let an organization that brings its anti-choice agenda to campuses across the United States end up at the top of the list.
Please donate $10 or more between 3 p.m. EST Monday, November 2 and 3 p.m. EST Tuesday, November 3.
Then spread the word by posting the link on your Facebook or MySpace page, tweet it, or just email it to your family and friends (Yes, people who aren't on Facebook can contribute, too!) Check our Cause page throughout the day to see how we're doing.
All donations to our Cause will benefit NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation's important work. Our foundation protects access to abortion and reproductive-health choices. For example, we convinced two major national corporations, Wal-Mart and the Kroger Co., to stop blocking women's access to emergency contraception. With your help, we can achieve even more wins for women.
Elizabeth Shipp is the Political Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Okay, my Virginia and New Jersey pro-choice peeps, you only have a limited time to apply to vote absentee (in VA) or actually vote by mail (for the cool kids in NJ) because the deadline is October 27 in both states! And trust me, we need every vote in both Commonwealths - yes, they are both commonwealths, my historically inquisitive friends - if we're going to make a difference in the lives of millions of women who live in both states. But hey, no pressure right?
Click here to get information about vote-by-mail in New Jersey. What's cool about the Garden State (other than the movie with the same title, real honest-to-goodness diners throughout the state, and BRUCE!!!!)? In New Jersey, you don't need a reason - read excuse - to vote by mail. Plan to be out of town that day? Vote by mail! Afraid you'll be stuck in line for hours on Election Day? Vote by mail! It's so easy and yet, so important. You have until October 27 to request an early-mail ballot, so if you haven't done so already, get crackin'!
For my fellow Virginians, well, let's just say that Bob McDonnell's thesis isn't the only thing stuck in the past. Unfortunately, we aren't as lucky as our friends in New Jersey, so no vote by mail for us! (Seriously, Virginia General Assembly - is it that hard to make it easier to allow people to vote? I know; I digress.) So, even though our voting laws are stuck in the dark ages with McDonnell's thesis, you can still vote absentee, but you have to register to do so by October 27. And, unlike New Jersey, you actually need a reason for having to vote absentee. Here's a nifty link to help you figure out if you qualify.
One thing that is cool about voting in Virginia is that you can show up to vote absentee usually beginning 45 days before the general election and ending the Saturday before the general election. (Pop quiz without looking at a calendar: What day would that be? If you answered Oct. 31, come by my condo and I'll give you a piece of candy on Halloween. Okay, not really because I don't know you well enough yet.) If you want to find out if your local election office is offering in-person absentee voting, click here and then call or email your city/county registrar to find hours and locations for in-person absentee voting.
Okay, that's it. Now, just don't stand there...vote! Seriously...go vote. Right now. I'll wait.
Oh, wait...before you go: remember to vote ONLY for pro-choice candidates!
- VA voters: Vote Deeds, Wagner and Shannon
- NJ voters: Vote Corzine/Weinberg
Okay, I'm done now. I'll just wait here nice and quiet like while you go participate in democracy.
Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett spoke at NARAL Pro-Choice America's 18th National Power of Choice Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City last Wednesday, October 14.
We were thrilled to have Ms. Jarrett as our special guest, since she is at the forefront in a White House that already has made significant advances in protecting women's freedom and privacy. You can watch her remarks below:
In addition to these speeches, Emmy-Award winning actress Susan Saint James Ebersol served as the event's mistress of ceremonies and she presented the Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice Award to playwright, journalist, and author Cindy Cooper for her steadfast support and work for women's reproductive freedom.
To read more about the event, check out this post by Odile Weissenborn on Huffington Post.