Last week, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (D - Ca.), published a report documenting all of the anti-woman and anti-choice votes held by leaders of the U.S. House Representatives since January 2011.
The report details 55 votes - all shamelessly anti-woman.
Here are just a few highlights/lowlights:
Our own Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, was featured in the report:
"From the 'Let Women Die' bill to IRS rape audits to attempts to defund family-planning programs, Americans have seen an unprecedented number of attacks on women's health in recent months. Rep. Waxman's report documents the lengths to which this Congress has gone in trying to dismantle reproductive freedom - and will serve as a clarion call to every American woman who cares about her rights."
Rep. Waxman's report further exposes how anti-choice leaders in Congress are waging a War on Women.
We're not going to let these anti-woman politicians vote our rights away. On November 6, we'll show them that they won't get away with their anti-woman agenda.
Today, a key committee of the U.S. Senate was a supposed to consider a bill to give Washington, D.C. greater autonomy over its own budget.
But, the committee won't get a chance to because of...Sen. Rand Paul.
The junior senator from the commonwealth of Kentucky filed several amendments to the D.C. budget bill, including one that would permanently ban the District from using its own money to pay for abortion care for low-income women. Sen. Paul's anti-choice antics helped derail the entire bill.
This comes a day after the senator stuck a "personhood" amendment into a flood-insurance bill - delaying action just as hurricane season heats up.
Now, you may be thinking, for a guy who's supposed to be all libertarian and states' rights-y, this behavior sure looks like big-government overreach.
Here's what Sen. Paul had to say for himself, "We don't have [control] over the states, but we do for D.C."
So, there you have it: Sen. Rand Paul, or "why Congress can't get anything done."
There was a flurry of choice-related headlines from the states this week--some of them very, very good, some of them horrid.
Let's get the horrid news out of the way:
The commonwealth of Virginia has seen more than its fair share of extreme attacks on a woman's right to choose this year.
a state board voted to adopt politically motivated rules governing health centers that provide abortion care. The new regulations threaten to close 21 abortion providers. So, women lose access to abortion care as a result of the policies passed by anti-choice politicians. As Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated clearly, the personal is connected to the political:
These regulations, singling out women's health centers for burdensome and medically-unnecessary new requirements, remind us once again the importance of elections. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia will be working in the next few months to hold anti-choice elected officials accountable by mobilizing voters to elect candidates to the state General Assembly who will not play politics with women's health.
Let's cross the Potomac and get back to Washington, D.C., where a Senate committee passed a bill that does NOT include the D.C. abortion ban. You know, it's the ban that blocks the city's elected leaders from using local funds to provide abortion care to low-income women.
(Yes, I know D.C. is not a state. That's why Congress has control over the city's local affairs in the first place.)
Our activists flooded Senate offices with tons of messages, so it's good to see this bit of progress, even though the bill has a long, long way to go.
Now...are you ready for the straight-up good news of the weekend? I thought so.
For that, let's go to the Granite State. (You know, the place where Rep. Michele Bachmann thinks the Revolutionary War started.) You might recall that a state council in New Hampshire voted to end a contract with Planned Parenthood that threatened thousands of residents' access to contraception, cancer screenings, and other basic care.
You may also remember one council member, Raymond Wieczorek, who expressed his thoughts on women who use contraception:
If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?
Well, this week, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (a past recipient of NARAL Pro-Choice America's Champion of Choice award) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will ensure that residents of the state continue to have affordable access to these critical services.
NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire summed it up in this way:
We applaud Sen. Shaheen for her leadership in standing up for women's access to basic, affordable health care in our state. The Executive Council played politics with the health care of thousands of New Hampshire men and women. The public outrage, combined with Sen. Shaheen's persistence and the Obama administration's decision to ensure women's access to contraception and cancer screenings, made this important victory possible. But we encourage New Hampshire residents to continue to let their elected officials know that blatant political attacks on women's health are unacceptable.
As we told our good friend Felicity Huffman, it's best to end on a good note.
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Are you a pro-choice Millennial in the Washington, D.C.-area? Then there's an event next Thursday, September 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Local Sixteen that you won't want to miss!
NARAL Pro-Choice America's Future Direction Committee is holding a Shop for Choice! happy hour. The event will feature the who's-who of pro-choice Millennials, and include a brief discussion with Donna Crane, our policy director.
You'll also get the chance to shop for designer jeans at discount prices and jewelry by Stella & Dot while supporting reproductive rights!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
1602 U Street, N.W.
It'll be a great chance to mingle with other young, pro-choice Washingtonians. To R.S.V.P., or for more information, please email email@example.com.
Will I see you there?
We just got back from Capitol Hill, where the anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to target women's freedom and privacy. These politicians are currently meddling in Washington, D.C.'s local affairs by pushing to extend the unacceptable D.C. abortion ban
Our Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
, who represents D.C. in the House and is leading the fight to stand up for D.C. women. Del. Norton is a tireless champion both of a woman's right to choose and Washington, D.C.'s right to manage its own local affairs.
Thank you, Del. Norton!
Next, we had a message to pass on to some of the anti-choice politicians who have made attacking D.C. women's right to choose a priority.
Their constituents back at home are wondering why their representatives are focused on interfering in women's personal, private medical decisions, instead of creating jobs and growing our economy.
We delivered more than 5,800 petitions from pro-choice Americans in 27 targeted districts calling on the House to stop playing politics with D.C. women's health.
Anti-choice politicians may think they can tread on Washington, D.C., but Americans across the country are fighting back!
Donna Crane is Policy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America
Could you imagine if the residents of Washington, D.C. (or their elected leaders) were able to tell your state or local government how it could spend its money?
You'd be outraged, right? Who elected these folks to tell you how your community spends its locally raised funds or how to treat women in need of legal, essential medical care?
(Trust us. We will get to the irony of the very people who brought the federal government to the brink of a shutdown over budget negotiations taking issue with how D.C. manages its finances. But, we digress.)
So, when is all this going down?
On Thursday, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing titled "The District Of Columbia's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget: Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability." Members of Congress have called Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chair Kwame Brown, and Dr. Natwar Gandhi, chief financial officer of D.C., among others, to testify before the subcommittee, ostensibly on the financial state of the District.
Please, need we ask?
So who is the politician overseeing this hearing? It's Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. This newly elected lawmaker is one of those "small government" politicians who believe in local control in most cases, unless, of course, you're talking about D.C. or a woman's right to choose.
So, we have a plan to counter Rep. Gowdy and his "hearing."
Instead, of dragging city officials to Capitol Hill to explain themselves before Congress, we think it's time that anti-choice lawmakers provide some answers themselves. We think the table should be turned; the mayor of Washington, D.C. should be able to ask Congress a few questions. So, Mayor Gray, in preparation for your hearing, here ya go:
1) Anti-choice members of Congress, your unfair ban is denying options to women in D.C. and forcing some to go to desperate lengths to scrape together the money for an abortion. But, at the same time, you wanted to cut funding for WIC, Headstart, and other important programs that assist low-income families, refusing them the support they need to care for the children they have. How do you justify that?
2) Rep. Gowdy, you and your anti-choice colleagues left 28 low-income women without options and unable to secure the health care they needed. They are my constituents and their well-being is my responsibility.What would you have me do now? Are you ready to pony up the resources that these women - and women to come - will need because of the policy you imposed on us?
3) Rep. Gowdy, how would you like it if we came to your state and told county officials in your district how to spend their money? You were not elected to represent D.C. residents, yet you set the policy for what we can do with our own locally raised funds. If you want to carry out a policy, why don't you do it in your own district?
4) Residents of the District of Columbia are taxpaying citizens; why are we being targeted, singled out, and made to carry a different burden than all other Americans?
5) Anti-choice members of Congress, your obsession with attacking choice nearly shut down the federal government. This would have affected the daily lives of nearly 600,000 D.C. residents, and having to prepare for this possibility cost the city time and money. How can you call on District officials to account for our fiscal responsibility when you don't have your house in order? We passed our budget back in 2010 when we were supposed to. Did you?
Yesterday, the people spoke, and they sent their elected officials a clear message: STOP the War on Women.
If you were one of the 4,000 pro-choice Americans who came to Washington, D.C. for pro-choice lobby day, thank you!
It was your visits to pro-choice senators and representatives that will give them the strength to stand up against extreme attacks on a woman's right to choose.
It was your voices that let lawmakers--pro- and anti-choice alike--know that we, the people, will not stand for a War on Women that takes away millions of Americans' access to birth control, cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care.
And it was your actions--including more than 337,000 petitions sent since November--that let the anti-choice House leadership know that it had awakened a sleeping pro-choice giant.
As Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told all the citizen-lobbyists at yesterday's rally, "I stand on your shoulders. You are pro-choice America."
You are our inspiration! You are the ones who will STOP the War on Women!
Today's the day! Right now, thousands of activists - from Tempe to Boston - are pouring into Washington, D.C. They're coming by the busload to tell their representatives to STOP the War on Women at our pro-choice lobby day and rally.
If you can't make it to our nation's capital today, we still need you to match our presence in the halls of Congress with hundreds of calls, posts, and tweets. Find out more about what you can do
on our website.
Here are three steps to taking action:
Your calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts to Congress could not be happening at a more important time: tomorrow, a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on H.R.3, the "rape audits" bill
We want to hear how you plan to get involved today. Leave a comment, and we'll choose 10 people at random to receive a free lobby day T-shirt!
Keep up with Lobby Day here on BlogforChoice, on our Facebook page
and on our Twitter feed
. Check the hashtag #Rally4Health to follow the conversation. We'll be covering the lobby day and rally live from Capitol Hill throughout the day.
We can't wait to see you (or read your posts and tweets). Together, we will end the War on Women!
If you're joining us in Washington, D.C. for pro-choice lobby day (and I certainly hope you are), you can use social media to share your experiences.
We'll also be live-tweeting
and live-blogging the events here on Blog for Choice.
If you're on Twitter
, you can follow and add to the conversation by using the hashtag #Rally4Health.
Tomorrow, we, the people, will tell our elected representatives to STOP the War on Women.
And in case you needed another reason to start counting down the hours, we're pleased to announce that some of our best allies within the entertainment community will join the rally on Thursday:
- Amy Madigan, Oscar-nominated star of Twice in a Lifetime, Golden-Globe winning star of Roe v. Wade, also seen on Grey's Anatomy and Fringe, board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
- Ed Harris, Oscar-nominated star of Apollo 13, Pollack, and The Hours, Golden-Globe winning star of The Truman Show, and husband of Amy Madigan.
- David Eigenberg, star of movies, stage, and television, including Sex and the City, Justified, and Criminal Minds, advocate for Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Thanks to Amy, Ed, and David for coming to Washington, D.C. to speak out against the ongoing attacks on women's freedom and privacy.
Pro-choice Lobby Day is this Thursday, April 7!
I hope you're as excited about it as I am. Pro-choice Americans will be coming to Washington, D.C. from points far and wide to STOP the War on Women. It's going to be legendary!
As we begin the final countdown to lobby day, here are some logistical nuts and bolts to help you plan your trip:
We'll be meeting Thursday morning at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50, located at First and C Streets, N.E.:
Take the Metro
, our public-transit subway system. It is walking distance from the Union Station stop on the Red line and Capitol South Station on the Blue and Orange lines.
We will hold lobbying trainings on the half-hour between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
"But Thomas, what should I bring? What should I wear?"
As for dress, you can wear casual clothes, but please leave your jeans with holes at home. Wear comfortable shoes, as it is a 15-minute walk to the rally location. And, of course, don't forget to purchase your official lobby day t-shirt
And don't forget to tell us why you're coming
. Everyone has a reason for speaking out for a woman's right to choose. We want to know yours
Well yesterday, Rep. Speier joined hundreds of our pro-choice activists for a lobby-day mobilization call. She reminded all of us that this debate is not about abstract legislative deals. The policies behind the anti-choice attacks will have a negative effect on our sisters, our cousins, our friends, our neighbors--the women important to us.
In addition to hearing Rep. Speier's inspiring comments, participants also heard from Ted Miller, communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America; Donna Crane, our policy director; and Elizabeth Shipp, our political director.
To listen to the call and hear Rep. Speier's inspiring story and NARAL Pro-Choice America's speakers, right click this link
and select "Save Target As..." to download and save it.
Thank you to Rep. Jackie Speier and all of the activists who joined us on this call. If you couldn't make it, we hope you listen to the call
Maybe there was a time when you visited a family-planning health center, such as Planned Parenthood, for basic health care, like a mammogram, birth-control counseling, or a Pap test.
Perhaps you or your spouse or partner relied on your insurance to cover abortion care, and you strongly oppose how House Speaker John Boehner and his allies want to take this option away from women.
Now, this progress is at risk--and we're joining forces with our friends at DC Vote
in standing up for the women in a community where many NARAL Pro-Choice America employees live.
Here's the background: Congress has the authority to overrule the decisions of the District of Columbia's locally elected city council.
And the people of D.C. don't even have a say in what goes on in Congress: they have no senators, and their lone voice in the U.S. House of Representatives, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
, doesn't get a vote. Talk about taxation without representation!
With the House under anti-choice control, these limitations on their rights have severe consequences for D.C. women's freedom and privacy.
The House has passed a budget bill that would prohibit D.C. from spending its own locally raised funds to help low-income women access abortion care.
That's right: Congress is telling D.C. taxpayers what they can and can't spend their money on!
We must make sure our friends in the Senate do not allow the House's attack on women in D.C. to stand.
They're meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Capitol Hill to send the Senate a message: don't tread on D.C.! Sign up to join them.
If you can't make it, please call your senators.
If you haven't signed up for lobby day yet, be sure to do so now
! We are already scheduling lobby visits, so we want to make sure we know that you plan on joining us.
They're the perfect apparel for people who wear their pro-choice values on their sleeve. Literally.
With the anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives ramping up its War on Women, the whole pro-choice movement is standing together and saying STOP. So if you haven't signed up yet, be sure to do so now!
We'll meet with our representatives--pro- and anti-choice members alike--to let them know what we, the people, think of these extreme, anti-choice attacks. It's going to be epic!
But now you're probably saying, "Thomas, I'm fired up and ready to go, but where do I go?"
If you're taking Amtrak, Union Station is only a few blocks from the Capitol.
If you're taking the Washington Metro
, go to the Union Station stop on the Red line or Capitol South stop on the Blue and Orange lines.
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