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Results tagged “Virginia” from Blog for Choice

Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Sandra Sanchez


Our Choice Out Loud - On Campus representatives have done amazing work to engage the community around the issue of reproductive rights. We asked our graduating class of activists from this academic year to tell us why they decided to become a campus representative, what they accomplished, and what they've learned. Here's the latest post in this series.


Meet Sandra Sanchez.

What was your major?
I am a Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies double major at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.

Why is choice important to you?
For me, being pro-choice is simply the idea that women have the right to choose and have control of their bodies and their sex lives. Being pro-choice is the belief that women have the right to have a child, to give up her child in an adoption, to have an abortion, or any other choice about her body. Also, an important part of being pro-choice is that it encompasses all of reproductive rights. This includes contraception, sex education, advocacy for sexual assault victims, and of course, choices made during the pregnancy. As human beings and as American citizens, rights are afforded to us that allow us to be free thinking, free living individuals - choice, in any way, but especially in a reproductive standpoint, fits in with all those values.

How did you get involved in the pro-choice movement? Do you intend to stay involved after you graduate?
I interned with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in the Spring of 2013 as their Advocacy and Communications Intern. After that, I became the campus representative for the University of Mary Washington. Working for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia got me to get heavily involved in the pro-choice movement, but, prior to that, I had attended various rallies and worked on pro-choice activities on UMW's campus, such as the Wear White for Women's Rights event. After I graduate, I plan on staying involved in the movement, although my current job is not in the realm of reproductive rights or even politics, I still plan on volunteering and spreading the word on what's going on.

What was your favorite event that you planned as a Campus Representative? My favorite event was when we held the 12th & Delaware documentary showing on campus! I had a good group of students that were engaged and interested in the documentary and afterwards the discussion that was facilitated was productive. After that event, many of the attendees wanted to work further to stop CPCs.

What is/are the greatest skill or skills that you've learned from being a Campus Representative?
The biggest skill I gained was engaging students and opening a dialogue. Especially since I am very passionate about reproductive rights, I wanted to really engage students so they could be just as passionate and potentially make a change. Engaging students and opening dialogue helped me not only as a campus rep but also in my current job where I'm engaging with clients about my company's product. I honestly believe that if you educate people then those lessons stick to them. It doesn't help to merely yell about being pro-choice, it's also important to engage people, to explain why this position is the right thing for society and for women.

What is your earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
My earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America was going to a women's rights rally my sophomore year of high school. To be honest, I went on a whim! I had a friend who lived in Richmond and she asked if I wanted to go to a rally that was against VA's TRAP bill, and I went. After that I just wanted to keep going to rallies, so, for the next one I went to, I spray-painted a sign that said "End the War on Women," and I was wearing a shirt I made. Then, a few months later, I was on the NARAL website!

Out of all the different ways to engage with this issue, why did you choose to engage with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
As a political science major, I think people getting together and protesting, rallying, and making noise are the best ways to make change. I wanted to engage with a group that did those things. I also think that NARAL Pro-Choice America does a good job of providing information about the issue and raising awareness. They have such a loyal volunteer base, and I really loved that about them.

What are your future plans?
After school, I actually got a job with a digital advertising start-up company. I will, of course, continue to spread the message of choice. I would like to eventually go back and get my masters and maybe a Ph.D! Who knows? The world is full of choices and I plan on keeping it that way!

February is Black History Month, and we'd like to acknowledge and honor a few amazing African-American pro-choice champions who've stood up for women's reproductive freedom, especially against recent anti-choice attacks in the states.

When anti-choice politicians in Ohio introduced legislation that would ban abortion as early as six weeks - before most women realize they're pregnant - State Sen. Nina Turner introduced a tongue-in-cheek bill that would require men to undergo psychological counseling before accessing Viagra.

A close ally of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, we recently honored Nina with our Champion of Choice Award for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of women's health.

We'd also like to recognize North Carolina state Rep. Alma Adams who spoke out against extreme anti-choice restrictions that could close reproductive-health clinics.

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When anti-choice politicians in her state tried to pass anti-choice restrictions using a "motorcycle safety" bill, Alma called out the anti-choice legislators for their cheating tactics:

"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."

Alma has been fighting for reproductive rights for nearly three decades, and we are so grateful for having her solidarity with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and being an ally to all women and families.

In the Cheesehead state, we'd like to recognize Wisconsin state Rep. LaTonya Johnson. She fought against a medically unnecessary forced ultrasound bill and spoke on the Wisconsin floor about the importance of access to comprehensive sex-education program.

LaTonya also spoke at the Stand with Wisconsin Women rally let by NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and their coalition. Check out the video below:

And in New York, we're giving a shout out to State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader and the first African-American woman to hold that position!

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Andrea, who was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice New York, led the charge for the Women's Equality Act (WEA) in the State Senate last year and continues to advocate for the full 10-point WEA. She said:

"No one would believe that in 2013 there were not enough Senators willing to vote to protect the health and equality of women. In 1970, when choice was first passed in New York, 12 Republican Senators joined a majority of their Democratic colleagues to support this landmark legislation. In our state, women's health has never been a Republican or Democratic issue. I find it shocking that 43 years later not one Senate Republican stood up for women's equality."

Andrea was the primary sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act in the 2011 session.

In Texas, where NARAL Pro-Choice Texas works on the ground to defend reproductive rights against huge challenges, we want to recognize some awesome leaders who were loud and proud about their pro-choice values during the heated legislative attacks that led to Wendy Davis' historic filibuster.

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson hung a wire hanger from the microphone while she spoke during the hearings to pay reverence and respect to the many women who were injured or died accessing illegal abortion.

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State Rep. Dawnna Duke rallied women in Texas and proposed amendments that would allow more options for women with unintended pregnancies.

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We're also giving a shout out to Virginia Delegate Charniele Herring, who has a 100% pro-choice voting record!


Charniele was the first African-American woman elected to represent Northern Virginia in the General Assembly. Charniele was also chair of the reproductive rights caucus in 2012 and was a huge player, along with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in the fight against forced ultrasound legislation in 2012.

The pro-choice movement is fortunate to have incredible champions from all backgrounds and walks of life but we couldn't be where we are today without the tenacious, smart, and courageous leadership of African-American state lawmakers.

We can't thank these pro-choice rock stars enough for standing up for women's reproductive freedom in all communities.

Happy Black History Month from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

A Win for Women in Virginia!


We did it! Last night, voters in Virginia proved that choice is a winning issue when they elected pro-choice Terry McAuliffe to become the next governor!

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded McAuliffe's gubernatorial win,

"I would like to congratulate Terry McAuliffe and his team on their victory. Terry ran an aggressive campaign, all the while holding true to his pro-choice values. Throughout this campaign, polls reflected Terry's growing lead with women voters as he connected with them on issues that matter most. NARAL Pro-Choice America and our member activists are proud to have played a role in this victory by getting the truth about the candidates in voters' hands."

McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli, who during his time as attorney general, personally donated thousands of dollars to "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women to talk them out of getting an abortion. Even worse, he cosponsored forced-ultrasound legislation and "personhood" legislation that would ban abortion in almost all cases, with no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, and could outlaw most common forms of birth control, including the pill.

Ken Cuccinelli's extreme anti-choice position is incredibly out of touch with women and families in Virginia. That's why we've been making phone calls, knocking on doors, and educating voters through mail and online ad campaigns about Cuccinelli's dangerous agenda leading up to Election Day. We couldn't be happier with the results for pro-choice Virginians.

Help us celebrate this pro-choice victory and share our graphic with your friends on Facebook:

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Next week, voters in Virginia will head to the polls to elect their next governor, and the choice couldn't be clearer. Terry McAuliffe is the only candidate Virginians can trust to protect women's reproductive freedom.

We've been working closely with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia to help ensure a win for McAuliffe. Right now, McAuliffe is leading the polls by 51 percent, and 24 points with female voters. Come Election Day, we'll need every one of these votes to turn out to make sure that Ken Cuccinelli doesn't take his extreme anti-choice agenda to the governor's mansion.

Choice is shaping up to be the top issue for Virginians when it comes to choosing their next governor. That's why we've been knocking on doors, calling voters, and getting the word out about how the next governor of Virginia will determine the future of reproductive rights and privacy in the state - rights that don't fit with anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli's extreme agenda.

So far we've already spoken with nearly 4,000 Virginians and handed out thousands of flyers and notices, educating voters about how this election is crucial to protecting a woman's right to choose. We launched and have graphics and facts about Ken Cuccinelli's record that voters can easily share with their friends.

This week, we began a massive phone-banking drive, making more than 1,000 calls on our first night in solidarity with pro-choice women and families in Virginia to get out the vote for Terry. And our ad campaign to reach voters in the Commonwealth is well underway. We took over the with ads for an entire day to make sure Virginia voters could learn more about Ken Cuccinelli's dangerous anti-choice agenda.

Check out our graphic and share it with your friends on Facebook:

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If you live in Virginia, make sure to head to the polls on November 5 and vote for Terry McAuliffe and candidates down the ballot who are dedicated to protecting women's personal and private decisions.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Chuck Todd: A Few Questions for Ken Cuccinelli


Ken Cuccinelli_small.jpg Anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli
Election Day in Virginia is fast approaching. This Wednesday, gubernatorial candidates pro-choice Terry McAuliffe and extreme anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli will go head to head in a debate over important issues for Virginia voters.

If Ken Cuccinelli uses the same strategy we've been seeing for weeks, then we can expect him to hide his true position on reproductive-health care. He has a mile-long record opposing birth control and abortion access, but now he's campaigning like a moderate to win back women voters.

That's why we need debate moderator Chuck Todd to make sure Cuccinelli doesn't get away with misrepresenting his record. It's his job to ask the important follow-up questions and hold the candidates accountable for their past actions and statements on an issue that would critically impact women and families in the Commonwealth.

Send Chuck Todd a tweet to urge him to ask Ken Cuccinelli some key clarifying questions about his views on reproductive rights for Virginians. Feel free to borrow our examples below, or make up your own questions:

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: If elected governor, would Cuccinelli sign a "personhood" bill to ban abortion and types of #birthcontrol?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: How have Cuccinelli's #antichoice policies grown Virginia's economy?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: How does Cuccinelli claim he supports rape survivors if he opposes abortion?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: Does Cuccinelli support no-cost #birthcontrol coverage?

#QuestionforKen @ChuckTodd: Does Cuccinelli support Koch bros Creepy Uncle Sam ad talking college students out of #Obamacare?

We know that reproductive freedom will be a defining issue in this election and the outcome will determine whether women and families in Virginia have access to reproductive-health care and abortion services. That's why it's so important that Chuck Todd asks these critical follow-up questions so Ken Cuccinelli doesn't get away with misleading voters on his position on a women's right to choose.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Check out our post that was too "controversial" for Buzzfeed:

The race for governor is heating up in Virginia, which is why it's so important for pro-choice voters to know the facts.

Anti-choice Ken Cuccinelli claims that government legislation shouldn't touch birth control and that he has "never supported legislation that invades people's choices about contraception." We're calling blatant LIE on this one. Cuccinelli's extreme anti-choice record of restricting women's access to reproductive-health care and birth control truly speaks for itself.

1. Cuccinelli co-sponsored "personhood" legislation that would ban abortion in almost all cases, and could outlaw common forms of birth control - including the pill.

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Because sponsoring legislation to ban birth control is the best way to show that you have no ban birth control.

2. Cuccinelli doesn't even know what contraception is. He's called birth control and emergency contraception "abortion methods."

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Newsflash Ken: The medical community disagrees with you there.

3. Ken is a big fan of anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women about their reproductive options.

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CPC employees have been caught on tape telling women that birth control causes cancer and saying that birth control is "enslavement."

4. He also cosponsored legislation that would make it more difficult for young women to get birth control and force teens to notify their parents if they want information about STI prevention and emergency contraception.

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5. Let's get real: Ken just doesn't want you to get birth control, and CERTAINLY not without a co-pay.

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Cuccinelli has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act, which provides birth control coverage to countless women who may otherwise not be able to afford it.

Recap: Ken is "not going to touch contraception as governor"? Yeah right, he's not fooling anybody.


What other lies will Ken tell before pro-choice voters head to the polls in November and show him that his anti-choice agenda won't fly with women in Virginia?

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Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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5 Reasons Ken Cuccinelli is Dangerous for Women


In November, every pro-choice person in the country is going to wish they lived in Virginia just so they'd get the chance to vote against Ken Cuccinelli for governor. Don't get me wrong,  they'd be happy to vote for Terry McAuliffe because he's a committed pro-choice supporter who will fight all the attacks coming out of Richmond. But Cuccinelli's devotion to "crisis pregnancy centers"(CPCs) that lie to women and his disturbing record as an anti-choice crusader makes him one of the worst politicians we've seen.

It's kind of a challenge even to narrow down the worst things he's done... but since we know it's hard for most people to keep track of all 228,431,970 anti-choice attacks he's launched, here are our top five:

  1. This is a no-brainer: Ken Cuccinelli wants to ban all abortion. Period. Even for women who have been raped. He opposes abortion so much he said he wants "to make abortion disappear in America." Really? Where's it going to go?
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  3. But Ken Cuccinelli really outdid a lot of other anti-choice politicians when he compared abortion to slavery.
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  5. Cuccinelli showed his true stripes when he threatened members of the Virginia Board of Health and threw a temper tantrum because he needed their compliance to shut down the majority of abortion providers in Virginia.
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  7. But when the Board of Health agreed to the restrictions he wanted, he was like:
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  9. Come on, Ken, the only thing more dangerous than closing clinics that provide actual health care to women is supporting fake clinics that lie to and shame women instead. Naturally, that's one more thing Ken Cuccinelli thinks is awesome.


Bad news for Ken: abortion and reproductive rights will be key issues for voters in the upcoming election. That means that every time a pro-choice voter finds out what Ken Cuccinelli has done to take away women's rights, they're more than ready to say:

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Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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SBA List: Their Anti-Choice Election Strategy


SBA List is a radical anti-choice group that is actively working to ban abortion nationwide and that supported some of the most outrageous candidates in the 2012 elections. We're working to expose their extreme agenda so that people know what an SBA List-endorsed candidate could do to women's rights.

So what are their plans for the next election cycle?

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List, has talked about their agenda to enact anti-choice provisions state by state:

"We've identified 12 strategic states where we believe the SBA List can advance the pro-life cause even further. In eight of these states, we're ready to launch field offices if we can raise the resources we need."

SBA List has set their sights on Virginia where they are going all-in to elect a radical anti-choice ally for governor: Ken Cuccinelli.

Ken_Cuccinelli_small.jpgSBA List has called this year's race for governor of Virginia their "proving ground" for an anti-choice takeover strategy in 2014, supporting candidates even former Republican lawmakers say are focused on "intruding into Virginian's personal lives."

SBA List-endorsed Ken Cuccinelli supports "personhood" bills that could not only outlaw abortion, but most common forms of birth control. He led the charge of state suits against Obamacare (and lost). He championed TRAP laws to close abortion clinics in Virginia. And, of course, he opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

SBA List has lauded Cuccinelli's anti-choice efforts as "an extension of who he is." They even helped establish a terribly ironic group, "Women for Ken," whose members - we can only guess - don't believe in their own right to reproductive freedom and privacy.

Learning critical lessons from 2012, SBA List has established "Project Lifeline," a training program complete with practice techniques and online video lessons to teach politicians how to hide their own offensive positions on survivors of rape.

Voters weren't fooled the first time, and we certainly won't be fooled by SBA List's attempt to mislead women and trick them out of their own reproductive rights.

This blog post is part of a series that exposes SBA List's radical anti-choice agenda. Check back for our next post on SBA List's flagrant misuse of pro-woman activist's Susan B. Anthony's name.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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The Fight for Choice Continues in the States


Voters sent a resounding pro-choice message this year when they rejected anti-choice politicians who opposed everything from birth-control coverage to abortion exceptions for rape survivors.

Unfortunately, some anti-choice politicians clearly didn't get the message.

In Texas, anti-choice politicians are pushing legislation that would make it more difficult for women to access medical abortion care, a safe way for women to terminate an early pregnancy. Anti-choice politicians and organizations also are trying to ban abortion late in a pregnancy, a tactic especially harmful to women who face heart-breaking complications.

The state is also continuing its fight in the courts to defund family-planning providers, including Planned Parenthood.

Fortunately, anti-choice politicians in two other states backtracked —for now— on their legislative attacks.

We celebrated a victory when Ohio Senate President Niehaus announced that the legislature would not vote on bills aiming to effectively ban abortion before most women even know they are pregnant and defund Planned Parenthood during the lame duck session.

And in Virginia, overwhelming opposition to a proposed "personhood" measure helped convince Sen. Steve Martin, Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, to pull the bill from the committee's agenda. It's good news, but it's not the end. In fact, anti-choice politicians in that state have already pre-filed bills for 2013, including one that would slash insurance coverage of birth control.

Don't expect this to be the last thing we hear about choice in Ohio and Virginia. But, when politicians continue to push their extreme anti-choice agenda, pro-choice women and their allies will push back even harder.

Personal, private medical decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor - not by politicians.

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Virginia TRAP Scheme Continues to Take its Toll


Karen_Remley.jpegLeslie and Kate are members of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department.

For those of you following what seems like a never-ending battle against Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) in Virginia, last week we saw a sad footnote to the year-long saga.

After serving for five years as Virginia's health commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley resigned from her position. She pointed to the political process surrounding the state's new TRAP regulations as the reason.

A dedicated public servant first appointed by then-Gov. Tim Kaine (D), and reappointed by current Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)--Dr. Remley had clearly prioritized public health over politics in carrying out her duties, serving ably under two different administrations. However, she could no longer abide by the political meddling and the departure from sound science the TRAP scheme represented.

After we reported on the pro-choice victory this summer, anti-choice politicians forced the hand of the board of health, and it approved the TRAP regulations on September 26. Anti-choice Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certified them immediately. The regulations are currently with Gov. McDonnell, who is certain to approve them.

In her letter to the governor, Dr. Remley said:

I personally committed to you when I accepted your appointment that I would lower abortion rates in our state by both the application of evidence based approaches and also the thoughtful implementation of abortion regulations if authorized to do so by the General Assembly and signed into law by yourself. I have honored those commitments on both accounts...Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith I can no longer serve in my role.

Despite claims that the TRAP regulations were motivated by concern for women's health and safety, this latest event proves that TRAP regulations are in no way related to public health.

Anti-choice politicians' attempts to close abortion providers in Virginia has been so overtly political that they ultimately drove out a dedicated public servant with an impeccable record for fairness and commitment to sound science.

Photo Credit: Virginia Department of Health
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Who Will Represent Romney at the Republican National Convention?


Mitt_Romney_at_2012_CPAC.jpgMitt Romney is only a few days away from accepting the Republican nomination for president.

Starting today, voters will hear from speakers who were selected to send a message about the kind of president Romney would be - and about the vision the Republican Party has for America.

The Republican Party had a chance to distance itself from Rep. Todd Akin's recent outrageous and offensive comment that survivors of "legitimate" rape rarely become pregnant.

Instead, the party put forward an extreme anti-choice platform that would support denying women access to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a slate of extreme anti-choice politicians will join Mitt Romney to represent what kind of president he'll be.

Tonight, you can catch "Transvaginal" Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va.), chairman of the party's platform committee. Gov. McDonnell signed a forced-ultrasound measure into law earlier this year. That means that women in Virginia will be forced to get an ultrasound before they can access abortion care, even if it's medically unnecessary and even if it's against the woman's will.

Tomorrow, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will speak. In June, Sen. Paul tried to sneak a "personhood" amendment into a flood-insurance bill.

That's right - flood insurance.

Don't forget that "personhood" measures would outlaw abortion in almost all circumstances. They could ban several of the most common forms of birth control, restrict fertility treatments, and put an end to stem-cell research.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) will introduce Mitt Romney on Thursday night.

Sen. Rubio recently stated that banning abortion "is not an issue about denying anyone rights. This is an issue about protecting the rights of a human being to live - irrespective of what stage in development they may be."

Oh, the hypocrisy. Sen. Rubio was a driving force behind anti-choice senators' attempt to allow bosses to deny employees from receiving birth-control coverage - you know, so they can prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place.

These are just a handful of the politicians who will sing Romney's praises and send a message to American voters. Why don't you send a message back? Tell Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan that you don't agree with their extreme anti-choice agenda.

They'll see just how out of touch they are with American women and their families on November 6.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Celebrating No-Cost Birth Control for Women Across America


The first phase of President Obama's contraceptive-coverage policy is in effect!

What does this mean for women? One in three women struggles with the cost of birth control - but all that is about to come to an end. Preventive-health services -including birth control, breastfeeding support, and screening for gestational diabetes- are now available without a copay.

This is a huge step forward in women's health. But we aren't sitting back and relaxing.

Why? Because this important policy is under attack in Congress and across the country.

Yesterday, anti-choice politicians compared Obama's contraceptive-coverage policy to the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. That's outrageous!

Yesterday, in celebration of this huge advancement for women, and to counter attacks on this fantastic policy, our affiliates hosted local events in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, and Virginia.

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In Minneapolis, Minnesota, our fabulous activists held a visibility event thanking President Obama for making this important advancement for women possible. Linnea House, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, stood up for women during a TV appearance.

In Concord, New Hampshire, birth-control supporters gathered outside Rep. Charles Bass' office to trumpet the new policy. Bass has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its birth-control policy.

In Columbus, Ohio, activists gathered outside of anti-choice Sen. Rob Portman's office to show him that his constituents support the contraceptive-coverage policy. Sen. Portman has been a high-profile opponent of birth control.

Our pro-choice activists must have been loud, because Ohio News Network and Progress Ohio covered the event.

Activists in Portland, Oregon gathered for a "Walk for Women's Health." Special guests included Senate Majority Speaker Diane Rosenbaum, state Representative Lew Frederick, and state Representative Elisa Kenny-Geyer.

In Richmond, Virginia, birth-control advocates took to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office. Cuccinelli unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the health-reform law - including the important birth-control policy - in court.

Watch our activists and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in this great TV interview.

Let's have a big round of applause for these star activists, and especially for pro-choice President Obama who made this historic improvement for women possible.

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Last week, Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, wrote a post on the proposed Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers, or TRAP requirements that anti-choice Gov. Bob McDonnell was pushing.

Well, we have an update from the Old Dominion, and it has some good news for Virginia women, but the issue is far from resolved.

Late Friday afternoon, the Virginia Board of Health amended a key provision of the draft TRAP requirements.

The amendment means that existing women's health care centers that provide safe, legal first-trimester abortion care will be "grandfathered in," rather than being subjected to onerous and unnecessary forced building requirements. This is a vote on the side of women's health and wellbeing in Virginia.

Special thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and its allies in the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women's Health for fighting against restrictive and unnecessary TRAP requirements.

They won an important round in this fight for women's health, but stay tuned for additional opportunities to take action.

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Stop McDonnell & Cuccinelli's TRAP scheme


Tarina Keene is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.

Sanity seems to have left the commonwealth of Virginia.

Earlier this year, the country watched with shock and awe as Virginia passed a mandatory ultrasound bill that forces a woman to undergo an ultrasound procedure before receiving an abortion - even if she does not want an ultrasound and even if her doctor thinks it is unnecessary. Now, the Old Dominion - Thomas Jefferson's commonwealth - is again poised to humiliate women and doctors by shutting off access to safe, legal abortion.

Since the McDonnell Administration and an activist attorney general came into power two and half years ago, the policy making process has been wrought with duplicitous backroom deals and contrived regulations in an effort to ban abortion... and even birth control. So far, they've gotten away with it.

This Friday, the Virginia Board of Health will again meet to consider proposed permanent regulations for women's health centers - what we call "TRAP," targeted regulations on abortion providers. But don't be fooled. These proposed regulations have nothing to do with patient care or safety despite what McDonnell and Cuccinelli may purport. They want to force doctors' offices that provide first trimester abortion - and have been doing so safely for nearly 40 years - to now convert themselves overnight into mini-hospitals, which you may agree is nearly impossible to do! The Board of Health literally is imposing new 2010 hospital construction guidelines on doctors' offices that have been open and operating for four decades! What this means is that women's health centers must spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars adding additional toilets, expanding the size of their doors and hallways, increasing treatment rooms to the size of your car garage, making sure there are as many parking spaces as there are beds (even though there are no overnight stays), and expensive, very specific ventilation systems. All this for one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States today, which generally takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete.

Simply put - if regulations are passed as written with these forced building construction requirements, the majority of the state's abortion providers may be forced to close putting women's health and safety at risk.

What does this mean for women? Under the proposed permanent regulations, the 20 women's health centers that provide safe, affordable early abortion care in Virginia will be forced by the government to comply with overly burdensome, medically unnecessary regulations to just keep their doors open - costs that could be so high that health centers are forced to close their doors entirely. This has a detrimental impact on women's access to affordable healthcare, especially for young, low-income, uninsured or underinsured, rural and minority women who count on women's health centers around the state for their primary care. If even one health center closes, that could mean higher costs for women who already struggle to access and pay for healthcare.

We need to bring sanity back to the commonwealth of Virginia and end attacks on women's health and privacy. Without public action or legislative oversight, Gov. McDonnell and AG Cuccinell will have a free pass to implement the most aggressive laws in the country to impede access to women's health care and abortion. This overreach of power is unconscionable! But it's not too late.

The regulations are before the Virginia Board of Health this Friday June 15. If approved through the next stages of the regulatory process, these regulations will become law in early 2013. Please ask each of the 15 BOH members to use their medical expertise - not politics- to make the logical decision to stop this insane attempt to impose politically motivated regulations onto abortion providers. The women of Virginia are counting on them.

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Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, talks with Rachel Maddow about the awkward position anti-choice politicians like Virginia's "Governor Ultrasound," Bob McDonnell, are in, having taken extremist positions on abortion and women's health and now desperately trying to spin their way back to acceptability.

Watch as Nancy spells out the reasons voters can't trust politicians like McDonnell, who is on the list of possible vice-presidential running mates for Mitt Romney:

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is on many people's short list of potential Republican vice-presidential candidates this year.

He certainly has a record that's extreme enough on abortion to match whoever ends up winning the nomination.

Just last week, he signed Virginia's forced-ultrasound bill into law. This is the measure that forces a woman to have an ultrasound before she can get abortion care--even if she doesn't want one and even if her doctor doesn't recommend one.

Now, Virginia's Democratic Party has put together a video highlighting McDonnell's anti-woman record:

Moving over to Pennsylvania, anti-choice Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is not about to let Gov. McDonnell corner the market on outrageous attacks on women's freedom and privacy.

He's pushing a forced-ultrasound bill in the Keystone State, and had this to say about women who don't want one:

I don't know how you make anybody watch. You just have to close your eyes.

Oh. Is that all?

New polling shows that politicians supporting these types of attack on women are losing support...among women.

With guys like Bob McDonnell and Tom Corbett speaking about the issue, it's no wonder why.

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"Doonesbury" Takes on Mandatory Ultrasounds


Mandatory-ultrasound laws have gotten a lot of attention of late.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed one of these intrusive measures into law last week. And a mandatory-ultrasound law was allowed to go into effect in Texas in January, when a temporary stay was overturned by the courts.

Now, Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" is taking on this attack on women's freedom and privacy.

Doonesbury 3-12.gif

Each "Doonesbury" this week will be about Texas' mandatory-ultrasound law. But not everyone will get to see it in their hometown paper--apparently, the topic was too controversial for some publications.

Here at Blog for Choice, we believe a comic strip that draws attention to intrusive government mandates should be shared far and wide.

Keep checking back here every day this week for more "Doonesbury"!

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Kristin Koch is the deputy director of communications for online advocacy strategies for NARAL Pro-Choice America

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, appeared on PBS's "NewsHour" with Judy Woodruff to speak out against the extreme mandatory-ultrasound measure in Virginia.

The legislation originally would have forced a woman seeking abortion care to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. After that become the bane of jokes on shows like "The Daily Show" and "Saturday Night Live," anti-choice Gov. McDonnell backed off. However, if the new bill passes, a woman would still be forced to undergo a different ultrasound method, even if she does not want it and even if her doctor does not recommend it.

Nancy pointed out that no woman should be forced to undergo a medical procedure against her will.

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is working hard to defeat this and several other anti-choice bills right now. Keep up with them on Facebook for the latest developments.

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Virginia Lawmaker Calls Abortion a "Lifestyle Convenience"


Ted Miller is the director of communications and online advocacy strategies for NARAL Pro-Choice America

As anti-choice presidential candidates' supporters make offensive jokes about birth control and lawmakers in Congress refuse to allow a pro-choice woman to testify at hearings on contraception, lest we forget that this War on Women is unfolding in state legislatures as well.

Let's cross the Potomac River and address what is going in the Old Dominion.

Legislators in Virginia are advancing two egregious bills. One measure called "personhood" would ban abortion and common forms of contraception; the other would mandate that a woman seeking abortion care undergo an ultrasound, even if she doesn't ask for one or if her doctor doesn't recommend it.

The Los Angeles Times reported this about the debate on the "personhood" bill:

Thursday's debate included a notable comment from delegate Todd Gilbert about the decision to have an abortion.

"We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples," said Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). "But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience."

At those words, a murmur rippled through the House chamber, the Associated Press said. 

The comment, [Tarina] Keene [of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia] said in a phone interview, demonstrates the antiabortion lawmakers' views' of women's reproductive rights.

"It doesn't matter why a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy," she said. "That's a very private and personal decision to make. For these legislators to make these sweeping allegations and judgments of women just goes to show that this is not just about women's health. It's about curtailing abortions and punishing women."

As you can see, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is on it, leading the fight in the media and channeling tons of calls and messages to the Virginia General Assembly.

If you're a Virginian or know any Virginians, please share this information from our affiliate.

The Latest on the Push for "Personhood" Measures


About two weeks ago, Mississippi voters decisively rejected Initiative 26, the extreme "personhood" measure. Initiative 26 would have banned abortion care without exception, and could also have outlawed in vitro fertilization and most types of birth control.

The defeat of a radical, anti-choice measure in one of the most conservative states in the Union is further evidence that the American people simply do not want attacks on a woman's right to make private medical decisions with her doctor.

But it seems the people behind these "personhood" measures didn't get the memo.

In Virginia, a "personhood" bill will be the very first order of business for the anti-choice state legislature in January.

Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said to expect this legislative session to be heavy on anti-choice attacks, light on job creation:

We have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an all-out series of legislative attacks on women's freedom and privacy.

People didn't see campaign literature or TV ads about advancing abortion bans, because voters were under the impression that creating jobs was the top priority. This agenda is out of touch with our commonwealth's values and priorities--and we will fight it every step of the way.

Moving west, yet another "personhood" measure could be on the ballot in Colorado in 2012. Voters in the Centennial State have already defeated such measures--twice!--by lopsided margins, but in the words of one "personhood" backer, "Now is not the time for quitting."

No, these extremists aren't quitting, and neither are we. Here's how Emilie Ailts, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, put it:

I think the voters have spoken out emphatically that they believe this is a personal choice.

I think that [the latest effort] is flying in the face of the wishes of the voters in this state.

I believe that it's very unfortunate that they spend every day of their lives working very hard to restrict the rights of women and their families.

Unfortunate, indeed.

We'll be working equally hard to meet these extreme attacks with force and determination everywhere they arise.

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