Results tagged “abortion access” from Blog for Choice
It's March, which means it's Women's History Month!
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis became a household name overnight when she took an epic stand against extreme anti-choice politicians in her state. There are so many pro-choice champions that few are ever recognized for their hard work and dedication to protecting women's reproductive freedom. That's why this year, we're recognizing some amazing heroines of the pro-choice movement that stood up to anti-choice attacks in their states, and work tirelessly to protect and expand women's access to reproductive-health care, birth control, and abortion services.
In New Mexico, we recognize Dolores Huerta, a worker's and women's right activist who was a key figure in battling the first city-wide abortion ban proposed in Albuquerque. In an ad produced by NARAL Pro-Choice America, Advocates for Youth, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Young Women United, Dolores said:
"I am Dolores Huerta, New Mexican, and Catholic mother of eleven. Women are the only ones who should make decisions about their bodies. We cannot allow others to interfere in our lives. Decisions about abortion belong with a woman, her family, and her doctor. I have fought for working people all of my life. Join me and defend the rights, dignity and the respect of all women and families."
Huerta has been fighting for civil rights for more than six decades. She recently received our Champion of Choice Award. Check out this video of her acceptance speech:
In Massachusetts, we recognize Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office defended the state's pro-choice buffer zone law at the Supreme Court, which NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts supported strongly. This law protects patients and medical professionals from being harassed and intimidated by anti-choice protestors who mob reproductive-health clinics.
Attorney General Coakley released a statement after the buffer zone oral arguments and said:
"I am proud that Massachusetts passed the buffer zone law to help people access reproductive health care free from harassment... I thought the justices asked insightful questions about the constitutional balance that this law must, and we believe does, strike. I am hopeful that they will conclude that the buffer zone statute appropriately protects speech, health care access, and public safety, and should remain law."
In Oklahoma, we're like to recognize Rep. Constance Johnson who led the charge against recent legislative attacks in her state.
When politicians in the Oklahoma state legislature pushed for extreme anti-choice "personhood" legislation that would ban abortion care with no exception for survivors of rape or incest and could also ban in-vitro fertilization, Sen. Johnson fought back.
"As a woman and a 31-year veteran of the legislative process in Oklahoma, I am increasingly offended by state law trends that solely focus on the female's role in the reproductive process. With Oklahoma's new, never-before-experienced Republican majority, we are seeing enactment of more and more measures that adversely affect women and their rights to access safe medical procedures when making reproductive-health care decisions."
In New Hampshire, we recognize former NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire board member and co-chair of the New Hampshire Reproductive Rights legislative caucus, state Rep. Candace White Bouchard.
Year after year, Rep. Bouchard stands up to legislative attacks on choice and received NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire's Champion of Choice award in 2012. Rep. Bouchard co-sponsored the New Hampshire buffer zone bill and was lauded by her pro-choice peers when she bravely refused to allow an anti-choice colleague to speak against abortion to the full House on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Over in Michigan, we must recognize Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer who took a stand and bravely shared her own personal story of sexual assault to fight the anti-choice "rape insurance" bill in Michigan. She spoke out against her extreme anti-choice colleagues, saying:
"As a legislator, a lawyer, a woman and the mother of two girls, I think the fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive, let alone the way it has been orchestrated and now shoved through the legislature."Those of you on the other side of the aisle are all too happy to be puppets in this offensive game impacting women's lives... This is by far one of the most misogynistic proposals I've ever seen in the Michigan legislature."
You can watch state Sen. Whitmer's testimony below:
In California, we recognize state Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, who authored a law in 2013 that expands access to safe abortion care in the Golden State.
This new law, which NARAL Pro-Choice California organized around to help pass, will increase the number of medical professionals, including midwives and nurses, who can provide early abortion care.
We honored Asm. Atkins in our 23rd edition of Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Choice in the States for her amazing work protecting and expanding women's reproductive rights in California.
We know that the brave work of these pro-choice heroines would have been possible without contributions from pioneers and advocates of women's reproductive rights. That's why we'd like to recognize former Missouri state Sen. Harriet Woods for being a trailblazer in politics. Sen. Woods' political career spanned more than three decades. She served in the Missouri legislature with just a handful of women in the 1980s and went on to become the first, and so far the only, female Lieutenant Governor of Missouri.
Sen. Woods' loss in a tight race for U.S. Senate against incumbent John Danforth led to the creation of the pro-choice democratic non-profit EMILY's List. From 1991-1995, Sen. Woods served as the president of the Women's Political Caucus and continued her work fighting for women alongside NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri until she passed away in 2007.
As we recognize pro-choice heroines of the past we also look to the future and to up-and-coming pro-choice leaders who are just getting started on their paths to protecting women's freedom and privacy. New pro-choice supporters and activists pop up every day across the country. They're the ones who will lead the charge and make sure women continue to have access to comprehensive reproductive-health care and abortion access.
Fluke garnered national attention when she was denied the right to testify at the now-infamous all-male panel on birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Fluke has since dedicated her career to social justice and public advocacy. She recently attended NARAL Pro-Choice America's San Francisco Power of Choice Luncheon as a special guest and panelist.
We're so thankful to have pro-choice champions defending women's reproductive freedom in every state. These elected officials, along with countless others, work every day to make sure women have safe, legal, access to all of their reproductive options.
In honor of Women's History Month, we recognize and thank these elected officials for their service and for not backing down to anti-choice legislative attacks across the country.
Any woman who experiences an unintended pregnancy and chooses abortion deserves the same care and compassion as any other medical patient. That's why the role of abortion providers is essential to women's reproductive-health care.
Abortion providers across the country risk their lives to ensure women can access abortion care with compassion. Not only do they put their safety on the line, some also travel thousands of miles to make sure they can provide care in areas where there is no abortion provider on staff. That's why we work every day to protect women's reproductive freedom and abortion providers across the country.
We hear every day from women who are grateful for their provider's compassionate care and assistance when choosing the best reproductive-health option:
I never thought I would have an abortion. Last summer I made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate a very much wanted pregnancy. At our 12 week scan we discovered that our baby boy had an 11 mm cystic hygroma and further genetic tests confirmed that he had trisomy 18. Trisomy 18 is not compatible with life. Our baby had a less than 5% chance of even making it to term and if he did he would have died shortly after birth. We couldn't bear the emotional distress of knowing that each day could have been the day our baby would die in the womb and if we made it to birth it would only be to bury him shortly after. I still cry every day for our baby we lost but I know we made the right decision for us and I'm so thankful that we had the option to make that decision. I am also so thankful for the compassionate doctors and genetic counselors we met along the way.
KC, 30, Massachusetts:
At 35 weeks in a very wanted pregnancy, my baby was diagnosed with serious brain malformations. Her prognosis was grim. It was not known how long she would live, but it was certain that she would suffer for all of her brief life. My husband and I were devastated.
It was so late in my pregnancy that there was only one clinic in the entire country that could legally take us. We knew what our choice was and didn't need more time to think about it. We knew this was right. We scrambled for the money and hopped a plane the next business day to take us to our procedure. Our care was incredible. Everyone was so compassionate and very serious about keeping me safe. I miss my baby terribly, but I know that I did for her what I would want my parents to do for me. We saved her, and there is great peace in that.
I am so thankful to our clinic and caregivers for helping me and my baby, but at the same time I am angry that, had we found out only one day later, all doors would have been closed. I'm hurt that we had to leave our home and support network to get our care. I'm enraged that this option rested on fast access to $30,000 for trip and care. It is incredibly unjust that a family without contacts to such resources would have no choice at all. I am deeply saddened that being open about my loss might risk harassment or even violence against my family and clinic. I despair that something so close and personal and poignant be subjected to a raging war over women's rights. I am scared that other loving families in my place will run out of safe and humane options that they can live with.
Eve, 37, Alaska:
We were using birth control and it failed. I found out I was pregnant after I missed my period (at five weeks). I live in one of the larger cities in Alaska, but because the clinic does not have an abortion provider, they fly one in at regular intervals. I waited four weeks for a provider. The clinic was wonderful, caring and understanding (to the point of letting me make a backup appointment just in case the doctor was weathered out and could not fly in). I am lucky because I do not live off the road system and have a supportive family. I can only imagine what the wait might be like for someone with little support out in a village somewhere off the road system, especially with all the scary self-help advice out there on the internet. I am grateful for action groups working to keep access to abortion open and the procedure itself safe and legal. Finally, I cannot thank the clinic and the providers enough for their time and caring when I needed it.
Halina, 21, North Dakota:
While switching from different birth controls I became pregnant. I was not mentally or physically ready for a child. I chose to have an abortion. My husband and I are very grateful we had a choice in this decision. The clinic we went to was the only one available in North Dakota, they were very nice, very helpful, they made sure I was fully educated with my choice and I am very thankful for that. Banning abortion gives NO choice for women and to me, that's just wrong.
Erica, 32, Texas:
I thought I was doing everything right....
While I was certain that I was using the pill correctly, I did manage to get pregnant. I called him and we decided that we were far too young and not financially able to have a child together. I was working two jobs and I was a full time student. I was paying my way and helping pay bills for my parents.
In the end, the abortion was performed with a lot of guidance from the clinic. They made sure I was absolutely informed of my choices and I made the right one for myself and my body. Looking back, I never regret my decision for one second - other than getting pregnant in the first place. Now, I'm successful and married to a wonderful man and we are trying to have our first child. The panic I felt when I found out I was pregnant really made me understand the women who retreated to back alley abortions - I would have done ANYTHING to have my abortion and I am so thankful that I didn't have to make that kind of a decision.
Evie, 30, Texas :
My boyfriend knew before I did, and it was just a side comment from him about how beautiful I looked that made me even think to buy a pregnancy test. When I told him, he was his usual supportive and gentle self, and apologized. Then promised to support me however I wanted to proceed.
He did all the research, found me the best abortion clinic in the state...The doctors were a husband and wife team, a loving pair of caregivers who were so obviously in this practice for all of the kindest reasons.
The doctor who performed my exam apologized, seemingly humiliated, before using the vaginal ultrasound probe to show me the pea-sized [pregnancy].
About 48 hours later, my seemingly constant "morning" sickness was over and I was no longer pregnant. It was painless. I felt supported. I had an excellent team of medical professionals to support me and answer my questions.
Even though abortion care is a critical part of reproductive-health services and lets women's control their destinies - one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime - anti-choice forces work hard every day to close down clinics and force abortion providers out of business.
Anti-choice groups do whatever it takes, from passing laws like the one in Texas to close clinics, to using harassment, intimidation and even violence. As recently as last week, an anti-choice activist vandalized and forced a reproductive-health clinic in Montana to close in order to intimidate patients and providers. In 2009, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church by an anti-choice extremist.
We're honored to recognize some of our current and former NARAL Pro-Choice America board members who are also abortion providers, Dr. Sara Imershein, who provides care to women on the East Coast, and Dr. Susan Wicklund, a retired provider and author of "This Common Secret" about her experience as a provider in an extremely conservative part of the country.
We thank abortion providers across the country who risk their lives and safety to ensure that women have access to essential reproductive-health services and abortion care.
Happy National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
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.
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!
"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.
State Rep. Dawnna Duke rallied women in Texas and proposed amendments that would allow more options for women with unintended pregnancies.
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.
Yesterday, we hosted our first ever pro-choice #AskNARAL Google Hangout featuring Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Vice President for Policy Donna Crane, and Political Director Erika West. The hangout was moderated by our Director of Public Affairs and recent honoree of Planned Parenthood's Defenders of Choice, Samantha Gordon.
In case you missed the opportunity to tune in, watch our hangout below:
Our friends and activists submitted so many fantastic questions to #AskNARAL about choice-related issues and our strategy to go on offense - we didn't have time to answer them all!
Here are few questions we didn't have a chance to address in our live hangout:
We're working to expose anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) for lying to and shaming women who are seeking accurate information about their full range of reproductive-health options. We recently held an online week of action in partnership with the Feminist Majority Foundation to call out CPCs and we worked with our affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota to hold a CPC accountable for distributing misinformation and lashing out at a pro-choice student organizer who criticized it in Minnesota. Several of our state affiliates have produced top-notch reports analyzing CPCs. Be sure to check out our Exposing Fake Clinics Tumblr and website for more information on CPCs.
#AskNARAL Do you expect abortion rate to drop now that birth control has no co-pay on health insurance plans?-- American Spirit (@Mearthe) February 10, 2014
We all share the goal of preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion. Studies show time and again that when women have access to contraception, the rates of unintended pregnancies, and therefore demand for abortion care, decreases.
As a movement, we all need to do a better job of empowering pro-choice individuals from all ethnic and economic backgrounds. One way we're working to increase diversity in the pro-choice movement is by helping to elect pro-choice men and women of color who can bring their unique experiences and knowledge of diverse communities into the political sphere. We will continue to highlight a diverse set of voices so that, together, we can enact pro-choice policies that help protect and expand reproductive rights in all communities.
Visit our state affiliates' pages to learn more about work in the states and how you can get involved in protecting choice in your community.
#AskNARAL how do we engage the lgbt community in this issue? Though it may not affect their lives personally, this issues are related, no?-- Lalita Russ (@lalitachiarra) February 10, 2014
All people should have the right to decide when, whether and with whom to have children, so our issues relate very closely. We support marriage equality and we will fight with our LGBT allies to ensure politicians stay out of our private lives and decisions.
#AskNARAL Is there an rough estimate of amount of taxpayer money spent defending unconstitutional anti-choice bills at the state level?-- American Spirit (@Mearthe) February 10, 2014
Check out a great article published last month that breaks down the cost of defending anti-choice measures for five states.
We're working on expanding reproductive access both at the state and federal levels. We've celebrated a pro-choice win in California, where the governor signed legislation that increases the number of medical professionals who can provide early abortion care. And states like New York and Washington are making women's health and equality part of their agenda this year by introducing measures to protect and expand women's access.
As an organization, we don't litigate, but we do work closely with groups that do, including our coalition partners, and we support many national and local initiatives to stop anti-choice attacks in the states and protect women's reproductive freedom across the country.
We can't thank you enough for making our #AskNARAL hangout a great success and for submitting so many important questions about choice.
Today, the House of Representatives voted on H.R.7, which would take away abortion coverage from millions of American women.
Not only would H.R.7 permanently block abortion coverage for low-income women, civil servants, D.C. residents, and military women, it would also impose tax penalties on small businesses that choose private health plans with abortion coverage and effectively ban abortion coverage in the state health-insurance exchanges - a radical new restriction that could jeopardize the availability of private insurance coverage of abortion for all women in all private health plans nationwide.
Despite opposition from the public and pro-choice elected officials who trust women, anti-choice politicians advanced their extreme agenda to restrict women's reproductive freedom and passed this legislation in a 227-188 vote.
It's critical that we hold anti-choice members of Congress accountable for voting against reproductive rights and access to health care. Look below to see how your member of Congress voted on H.R.7, and then let them know what you think! If your lawmaker voted against H.R.7, send them a thank-you email, and if your lawmaker voted against H.R.7, tell them you're disappointed.
|Lawmakers who voted to pass H.R.7||Lawmakers who voted against H.R.7|
Rep. Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Andrews (D-NJ)
*Italicized names denote party crossovers
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to a law that protects women seeking reproductive-health care in Massachusetts - including checkups, birth control, and abortion care - from enduring violence, and harassment by anti-choice protesters outside of reproductive-health clinics.
Massachusetts has a 35-foot buffer zone (the distance of two parking spaces) that blocks anti-choice protesters from approaching women accessing health care. But anti-choice forces are fighting the buffer zone so that they can get even closer when shaming and harassing women entering these clinics.
Anti-choice protesters often hover around reproductive-health care clinics within a certain distance to protest, picket, and hand out anti-choice propaganda to women walking into the clinic - regardless of whether they're at the clinic to get an abortion or not.
These protesters are anything but harmless. Their tactics include screaming, using threats, taking photos, and even spitting on patients. In some of the more extreme cases, anti-choice protesters have been deadly. Most recently, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was murdered in his church by an anti-choice protester in 2009.
We reached out to some of our allies who volunteer as clinic escorts. These courageous supporters walk women through mobs to make sure they can get health care safely. They told us what it's like to escort and sent us pictures - we so appreciate their willingness to share their experiences.
This history of violence, harassment, and ripping away patient privacy is why the Supreme Court must rule in favor of women's safety and uphold the buffer-zone law. Nobody should be subjected to harassment or violence when getting health care or making a deeply personal health decision.
We celebrated some great pro-choice wins in 2013, in large part because we have strong, pro-choice leaders who fight day in and day out for our rights. Here's our list of notable pro-choice state lawmakers to watch in 2014:
1) Texas gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis gained pro-choice political stardom last summer when she filibustered extreme anti-choice legislation that could shut down almost 90 percent of reproductive-health clinics that provide abortion care across the state of Texas, force women to get an ultrasound before they can have an abortion, and ban abortion after 20 weeks. We know that exciting things await Wendy and her colleague, Texas state Sen. Leticia van de Putte, in 2014. And we look forward to seeing NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and these pro-choice champions make magic this year.
2) Texas State Sen. Leticia van de Putte
During Sen. Davis' filibuster, Leticia raised the roof when she called out her anti-choice colleagues in the Texas state Senate, asking, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?" If you haven't seen it yet, the video is pretty incredible. You can hear the literal roar of pro-choice activists who showed up in solidarity with Texas women.
3) Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox
Republican state Rep. Doug Cox, a practicing physician, is part of the pro-choice minority in the Oklahoma state legislature. He caught our attention last year when he reprimanded his Republican colleagues for attempting to restrict women's access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. He got even more vocal in an op-ed, Doug wrote, "What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman's life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?" How will Rep. Cox fight for women in 2014? We can't wait to see.
4) North Carolina State Rep. Alma Adams
Alma has fought for women and families for nearly three decades, and in 2013 she, along with NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, was a leader in the fight against the "motorcycle safety" bill that politicians used to sneak in a dangerous anti-choice provision. Alma spoke out about the extreme legislation: "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." We're grateful that Rep. Adams continues to speak out for women's health in North Carolina and we're sure 2014 will be no exception.
5) California State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins
Toni wrote the new law in California to increase the number of medical providers who can provide abortion care in California. You can watch Toni talk about her bill in this video. We, along with NARAL Pro-Choice California, couldn't be more grateful for Asm. Atkins' pro-choice initiative in California. We're excited to see even more from her in 2014.
6) Michigan State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer
In December 2013, the anti-choice Michigan legislature bypassed Gov. Rick Snyder's signature to ban insurance coverage for abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. While Sen. Gretchen Whitmer bravely spoke out against this extreme legislation that essentially demands women to purchase additional coverage if they need an abortion after a sexual assault, she revealed that she too was a rape survivor. Here's part of her statement: "This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have thought ahead and planned for it. Make no mistake, this is anything but a citizens' initiative. It's a special interest group's perverted dream come true." Abortion coverage may be law, but not to worry, pro-choice politicians in Michigan are already planning their next move in 2014. And we are sure state Sen. Whitmer will be critical to this campaign.
7) Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner
Pro-choice Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner is a loud and proud advocate for reproductive rights. When anti-choice politicians introduced a bill that would ban abortion as early as six weeks - that's before most women even realize they're pregnant - Nina countered those attacks by introducing her own bill. Nina's legislation exposed her colleague's extremism toward women by turning the tables and proposing a tongue-in-cheek requirement that men attend psychological counseling to prove they are fit to get insurance coverage for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications. Her legislation would also require doctors to inform male patients about all of the potential risks of Viagra in writing. Oh snap, Nina! We can't wait to watch NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Sen. Turner fight for women's reproductive rights in 2014!
The reproductive rights spotlight has been on Michigan. Anti-choice groups and politicians bypassed the governor and banned insurance coverage for abortion - even in cases of rape and incest.
Basically, ladies, that means that you're expected to anticipate your own sexual assault - or for your birth control to fail - and purchase additional insurance coverage for abortion care.
Repeat after me: no one plans for an unplanned pregnancy.
This law is so extreme that when politicians in the Michigan state legislature passed the measure last year, even anti-choice Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed it because he found it inappropriate to "tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she [needs] to select elective insurance coverage."
But Michigan Right to Life couldn't care less about women's health and well-being and they continued to push their extreme anti-choice agenda to make abortion more difficult to access. Anti-choice activists collected more than 300,000 signatures in order to bypass Gov. Snyder and put this measure before the legislature a second time. Nearly four percent of the state has decided the fate of all women in Michigan.
Many pro-choice Michigan politicians are outraged by this misogynistic legislation that specifically targets women and survivors of rape or sexual assault. Michigan state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer made sure people understood what it is all about: "This tells women who were raped ... that they should have thought ahead and planned for it... Make no mistake, this is anything but a citizens' initiative. It's a special interest group's perverted dream come true."
As she cast her vote against the bill, Sen. Whitmer shared her own personal story of surviving sexual assault. You can watch it below:
Help us spread the world about how this extreme law in Michigan hurts all women and targets survivors of sexual assault in the most egregious way by sharing our graphic on Facebook.
Here's what the government is effectively saying:
Politicians in 22 states actually require you to buy additional coverage for abortion care. But good luck trying to actually buy it. There's little evidence they actually exist.
Changes under the Michigan law don't take effect until March, but with national upset and disgust over this horrific piece of legislation, it may not be the end of the story just yet. Stay tuned in 2014.
"Put on your big girl panties."
That's the response that was sent to a pro-choice student who wrote a letter to the editor telling his fellow students about anti-choice fake clinics known as "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs). These organizations - that often advertise themselves as comprehensive reproductive-health clinics - mislead and shame women to block them from choosing abortion and even birth control. Most people have never heard of a CPC.
Payne, a student organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, was inspired to write to his campus newspaper when he saw that a local CPC was advertising on his campus at St. Olaf College. Unbiased health care is an issue he's passionate about, so he wanted to warn his fellow students to steer clear of the center if they wanted unbiased and medically accurate information about their reproductive options.
Addressing him as "Ms. McMillan," the local CPC director wrote him a very hostile email that included this gem: "drop out of school and ask for a refund because clearly you've spent a lot of money on an education and you haven't learned a thing." And young women in crisis are supposed to turn to her organization for compassionate help and support? You've got to be kidding.
The CPC's co-director even tried to work damage control. She submitted her own LTE in an effort to make the organization's mission "transparent" without addressing their anti-choice agenda. She writes, "We believe that women need to be empowered to make their own decisions and that they should have resources and support available regardless of their decisions." Unless, of course, their decision is to choose abortion.
It's completely unacceptable that anti-choice fake clinics continue to distribute biased and medically inaccurate information to women on college campuses, including lies like most sexually transmitted diseases just go away on their own, emergency contraception causes abortion, and women who put their careers first will regret not having a family, to name just a few.
Help us fight back against these anti-choice fake clinics - add your name to our petition to call on the director of the CPC to stop distributing materials that mislead and lie about health care.
All in all, 2013 was a great year for getting the word out about anti-choice efforts to limit access to reproductive-health care and for the pro-choice community coming together to protect women's reproductive freedom.
Despite these anti-choice attacks, we won many pro-choice victories for women's reproductive rights in 2013. Who better to help us celebrate these pro-choice wins than the Muppets?
Have a safe and happy holiday from NARAL Pro-Choice America!
But sometimes at the Thanksgiving table we can't avoid those political discussions that go from awkward to even more awkward if curmudgeonly "Uncle Marv" won't stop running his mouth about how we need to pass a 20-week abortion ban.
Uncle Marv may not realize how dangerous an abortion ban can be for women's health, but luckily you're armed with the facts. That's why you can help educate Uncle Marv about why voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, resoundingly voted down a proposed 20-week ban.
Here are some quick facts about later abortion care and later abortion bans you can use at Thanksgiving:
- Less than two percent of abortion care occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy .
- And many of those women who do choose later abortion must make the heartbreaking decision to end a much-wanted pregnancy after a tragic diagnosis. Dana is one of these women. Later into her pregnancy, Dana found out that her pregnancy had a severe fetal anomaly and decided to end her pregnancy - the decision her and her husband felt was best for their family. You can even show Uncle Marv this video of Dana telling her story.
- Many later abortion bans, including the failed ban in Albuquerque and those in a number of states, have no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
- Anti-choice groups are actually trying to ban abortion outright, regardless of a woman's health or circumstances. Later abortion bans are just one way they're trying to do this.
Even in Congress, politicians like Sen. Lindsey Graham, who introduced a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks for women nationwide, are spending taxpayer dollars push a bill that endangers women's lives instead of fixing real problems like education, the economy, or climate change.
Hopefully, talking about the dangers that real women face if later abortion bans are passed will open up Uncle Marv's mind to consider facts he hadn't been aware of before. You may not agree on everything, but you can help him understand why defeating these bans is essential to protecting women's health and safety.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
It's that time of the year for giving thanks, and, for everyone in the pro-choice community, there is so much to be thankful for.
- We worked with NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico and a coalition on the ground to defeat a ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks in the city of Albuquerque - the first known on the municipal level. It was a victory for women's health.
- In Nebraska, a 16-year-old woman living in foster care was denied permission for an abortion because the judge deciding her case said it would "kill the child inside" her. That's when we sprang into action! We worked with a coalition of progressive partners to gather nearly 87,000 petition signatures to ask that Judge Peter Bataillon be sanctioned for putting his political beliefs above the rule of law and a young woman's welfare.
- 2013 was also the year of pro-choice Sen. Wendy Davis' (D-TX) epic filibuster against an anti-choice omnibus bill. We worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas to make sure that people heard about Wendy's brave stand that made her the face of women's reproductive freedom in Texas. Nearly 20,000 supporters thanked Wendy for protecting a woman's right to choose. You can see the card on our website!
- We also partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts to help elect pro-choice former Rep. Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate in June, and in November, we worked with our affiliate in Virginia to defeat anti-choice radical Ken Cuccinelli and elect pro-choice Terry McAuliffe governor.
- In California, we worked with NARAL Pro-Choice California to increase access to abortion for California women. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the legislation in October, improving access to early abortion care by allowing trained and qualified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide care to women in their own communities.
- But our work reached beyond anti-choice attacks in the states. When anti-choice groups launched an attack on insurance coverage of abortion for congressional staffers, we led a coalition to protect the benefit during a comment period, submitting more than eight pro-choice comments for each anti-choice one received. We won the fight and the administration preserved the right for congressional staff to purchase abortion coverage in their health plans!
Out-of-state anti-choice groups tried to influence local politics by overwhelming Albuquerque residents with anti-abortion propaganda. They even handed out inappropriate leaflets to children on Halloween.
But through canvassing, phone banks and an ad campaign, we communicated to voters how important politicians out of women's most personal decisions. Voters showed up and shut down the later abortion ban, which just goes to show that abortion bans are completely out of touch with real women and families.
We couldn't be more grateful for your support that helped us achieve these and so many other victories in the past year. Thank you for trusting women and supporting choice. What are you thankful for?
Did you see voters that in November Albuquerque gave the boot to a ballot measure that would have banned abortion care after 20 weeks? This win is a big deal: extreme anti-choice forces threw everything they had into the fight...and they lost big time.
Take a look at our Buzzfeed that explains how 20-week bans on abortion hurt women and what some pro-choice members of Congress are doing to stop them in their tracks.
Recently, there have been almost too many anti-choice sound bites to count on both hands. That's why when a pro-choice leader talks about why a woman's right to choose is essential for women's freedom and privacy, we want to make sure everyone hears about it.
NARAL Pro-Choice America was lucky enough to have R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and an outspoken voice in the pro-choice community, deliver the keynote address at our Peninsula Power of Choice Luncheon. Talk about insightful!
"The bottom line is that the effort to impede access to accurate information, or to safe and legal services, has not only had the effect of preventing us from having access to abortion services but the ancillary effect of preventing access to a whole variety of medical services that affect people of every age and every type across the country. So from my perspective and in my work, abortion is not only a woman's issue and it's not only a reproductive health issue: it's a human rights issue."
We couldn't agree more! Watch the rest of her awesome speech.
We can all agree that women never should be lied to when they need information about pregnancy - no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion. Well, anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) don't seem to be getting the message and keep spreading false information about reproductive health and shaming women for considering abortion.
Pro-choice activists across the country, including comedian Lizz Winstead, shared some of the egregious lies they've heard at CPCs. You wouldn't believe what these fake clinics tell women to try to stop them from choosing abortion.
In announcing his 20-week abortion ban bill, Sen. Lindsay Graham said, "Nothing bad is going to happen." But we know at least one thing will happen! Women will be robbed of the right to make decisions for themselves. Politicians have no place making decisions for women about why, how or when they have children.
This ban is part of a larger strategy to criminalize abortion. Twelve states have passed similar laws. And for the first time, a city may ban later abortion this month.
Anti-choice extremists aligned with Operation Rescue have moved into Albuquerque to ban abortion. This is the very same group that terrorized Dr. Tiller for years before he was murdered in his church in Wichita. When they arrived in New Mexico, they wasted no time targeting abortion providers outside of their homes for harassment.
When they couldn't stop these providers through intimidation, they moved to the next phase in their plan: passing an abortion ban. Unfortunately, they collected enough signatures, and on November 19, Operation Rescue's dangerous 20-week abortion ban will be on the ballot.
That's why we're fighting back against this dangerous measure on the ground in Albuquerque.
We deployed our staff to join with NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico to call and knock on doors to turn out voters now that early voting is underway.
And in partnership with National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Advocates For Youth, and Young Women United (YWU), a Respect ABQ Women partner, from today through Election Day, we're running radio ads to defeat the ban. Our ads featuring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta who hails from New Mexico, will reach 100,000 people in Albuquerque!
The more people hear this ad, the better chance we'll have of stopping these dangerous attacks on women's reproductive health and freedom in Albuquerque. Listen to our radio ads, and share it with your friends in Albuquerque:
Sponsored by Respect ABQ Women/Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. NARAL Pro-Choice America, 1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
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:
Today, an extreme anti-choice policy to make it even harder for young women to get an abortion in Oklahoma goes into effect.
This new law will impact women regardless of their personal, private circumstances.
Oklahoma already has several anti-choice laws on the books, including a 48-hour forced waiting period and a parental-notice mandate before a woman can get abortion care. With these new restrictions now in force, in order for a young woman to get an abortion in Oklahoma, her parents also must provide a government-issued ID and a notarized statement of consent.
That's not all. Young women who have good reason not to include a parent in their decision to have an abortion are forced to get permission from the government. If, for example, a young woman fears violence if she tells her parents about her pregnancy, in order to access abortion care without notifying her parents, a judge must determine through "clear and convincing evidence" that she is "mature and capable...based upon her experience level, perspective, and judgment."
Because a young woman may be too immature for an abortion, yet she's somehow mature enough for parenthood? That makes entirely no sense.
Anti-choice proponents of these laws may say a judicial bypass is a reasonable "alternative", but that couldn't be further from the truth. Not long ago in Nebraska a young woman was denied an abortion because the judge ruled she was "not mature enough," and that getting an abortion would "kill the child inside" her.
Check out our graphic of states that have laws requiring women to get permission from a judge before getting abortion care if she feels she cannot share her unplanned pregnancy with her parents:
While we sincerely hope that all young women are able to turn to their parents for support when facing an unplanned pregnancy, sadly, that's not always the case. We should protect those who feel they can't talk to their parents - not put them in a potentially dangerous situation. These types of laws are being passed across the country.
Not only do these horrible anti-choice policies block a woman's constitutional right to choose, they also put our young women in difficult situations right in harm's way.
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 StopKen.com 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 PilotOnline.com 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:
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, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Never heard of "personhood?"
Abortion opponents have been introducing "personhood" measures in Colorado and across the county to ban abortion and even ban some types of birth control and in vitro fertilization.
We have the whole story over at NARAL Pro-Choice America's Buzzfeed Community page.