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Results tagged “abortion access” from Blog for Choice

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the world by storm, and pro-choice champions are raising the profile of their issue with the Taco and/or Beer Challenge!

It's a lot easier than dumping a bucket of ice water on your head. Just eat a taco and/or drink a beer, and then donate to any abortion fund.

Anti-choice politicians have made it harder and harder for women to access abortion care, and nobody has felt the impact more than low-income women. Many of their health-care programs don't include abortion coverage. And anti-choice laws that close clinics or require multiple visits mean that many women have to travel for hours and take days off work to have an abortion. All of this can have a big economic impact. Abortion funds help close the gap so women can afford the care they need.

A ton of pro-choice activists - including members of the NARAL Pro-Choice America family - have already taken part in the #TacoOrBeerChallenge. Check out some of our faves below then grab a taco and join in!

It's back-to-school school time for students and families across the country. And that means young people will be filing into classrooms to expand their minds and learn.

But when it comes to reproductive health, many students are censored from getting the facts to help them avoid unintended pregnancy until they're ready, prevent STIs, and have a positive self-image. That's because anti-choice politicians have forced teachers to teach "abstinence-only" programs in classrooms across the country, even though they're a huge disaster:

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Thankfully, cities and school districts are thinking twice about gambling with young people's futures and are putting a stop to the "abstinence-only" approach.

Just look at Baltimore. The city has developed a program that teaches students about reproductive health by having them create their own comic book about STIs and birth control. Talk about an innovative way to engage young people while also teaching them the facts!

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The school district of Lawrence, Kansas is ditching the state's "abstinence-only" programs and are instead following national standards, which include information about birth control and sexual orientation and teaches that sexual development is a natural and normal part of becoming an adult.

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And the second-largest school district in Oklahoma gave up on "abstinence-only" when it found that the state had the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate.

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It's time for even more states to stand up to anti-choice politicians who are pushing "abstinence-only" programs that jeopardize young people. Withholding information about their reproductive health is never the way to go.

Tax Dollars Wasted on "Discredited Expert"

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You've gotta be kidding me!

According to Mother Jones, anti-choice Republicans are falling all over themselves to defend their extreme abortion-blocking laws. That's what happens when you get sued for making it impossible for some women to access legal health care. And they're using your tax dollars to defend these terrible laws.

But what really boggles the mind is that Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin have hired a "discredited expert" to push their agenda to the tune of $192,505.50.

What is wrong with these anti-choice politicians? If they hate abortion so much, how about using these funds to support women's health programs that would help prevent unintended pregnancy?

Here's a better way to spend $192,000:

Cover a year of birth control for 1,200 women.

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Enroll 2,560 teens in a local comprehensive sex education program.

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Hand out 505,263 condoms.

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Screen 6,193 women for cervical cancer.

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But hey, when you're an anti-choice politician, what's hundreds of thousands of dollars to a quack to make sure women in your state don't have reproductive freedom and access to basic health care? At least they're making their priorities crystal clear.

Did you know that 7 in 10 Americans believe in a woman's right to choose? You might be shocked to learn that even though the majority of Americans are pro-choice, our values aren't represented in Congress.

Right now, only 4 in 10 members of Congress share our pro-choice values!

Imagine all of the ways we could improve access to reproductive-health care if anti-choice politicians weren't running the show.

Here are 7 things we could do if 7 out of 10 members of Congress were pro-choice:

  1. Protect and expand reproductive rights for all women and families - today and for future generations - by passing forward-looking, proactive legislation. If we had more pro-choice champions representing our values, we could make dangerous anti-choice restrictions a memory of the past.
  2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my personal hero. Wouldn't it be great if we had even more Supreme Court justices like her? Hobby Lobby bosses would have been told that women can't be denied birth control coverage. With 7 out of 10 pro-choice Congress members we'd be able to easily confirm Supreme Court nominees who we could count on to protect women's reproductive freedom and not rule to discriminate against women.
  3. The Supreme Court is important, but don't forget about the hundreds of judges who rule every day whether access to safe abortion care remains protected. Last year, we were so happy to hear about a federal judge in Indiana who prevented politicians in the state from withholding Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood. This decision goes a long way for thousands of women who many otherwise not be able to access health care. With more pro-choice champions in Congress, we could confirm more judges who would rule based on justice, not their personal agendas.
  4. Insurance should cover abortion. Period. That's why we'd fight to ensure that abortion care is covered for women who get their health care from the government. We could roll back bans on abortion care for women in the military, the Peace Corps, federal employees, and even women who live in D.C.
  5. We'd pass the Women's Health Protection Act into law to put a stop to anti-choice states that are closing clinics and making it impossible for some women to access abortion care.
  6. Support legislation that teaches the facts about sex - and how to stay safe and prevent pregnancy - to teens. It's time to put science back into sex education, stop with the shaming, and fund programs that work. With pro-choice elected officials fighting for pro-choice policy change, we could end ineffective, and often inaccurate, abstinence-only programs that do more harm than good for young people.
  7. And of course, we'd have no problem stopping extreme anti-choice measures, like the one that banned abortion coverage in Obamacare.

These victories would just be the beginning.

If we elect a Congress that looks like the rest of America, we'll have champions who will fight for a country where all women can have the freedom to decide their own destinies, including when, how, and with whom to start a family.

Look, this isn't going to be easy, but we can make this dream a reality if the pro-choice majority refuses to stay silent. Join the community of 7 in 10 pro-choice Americans to help us win. And share our graphic on Facebook to help get the word out:

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Race to Watch: Maine's 2nd Congressional District

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Erika West is the Political Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Right now, we're seeing anti-choice politicians launch some of the worst attacks on our reproductive freedom, including going after women's access to birth control, taking away insurance coverage of abortion and passing regulations that are closing clinics all over the country. If we're going to protect and even expand reproductive freedom, we have to win at the ballot box in November.

That's why we're posting a new blog series called "Races to Watch." We'll highlight competitive races across the country featuring pro-choice and anti-choice candidates. Please check back often for the latest on these key races, and share our posts with pro-choice friends who will support our candidates. When we know the stakes and we vote together, we change the game.


ME_EmilyCain_crop.jpgA couple of weeks ago, we scored a victory for reproductive freedom when NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC-endorsed candidate Emily Cain won in the Democratic primary in Maine's 2nd congressional district. She soundly defeated her anti-choice opponent Troy Jackson with 72 percent of the vote.

Cain's strong pro-choice values make her best positioned to advocate for Maine women and families in Washington and she has a track record that shows we can count on her to get the job done. She's the youngest woman to ever serve as Maine's House Minority Leader and knows the importance of breaking down barriers. Since she was elected to the State House in 2005, Cain has been dedicated to fighting to protect access to reproductive-health care. One of her biggest fights was to preserve funding for women's health care services, including cancer screenings, birth control and STI testing at Planned Parenthood, which benefit 10,000 Maine residents each year.

Cain is no stranger to working to stop anti-choice attacks - which is experience she is going to need when she goes to Washington. In 2011, she spoke out against a bill that would have created an unnecessary waiting period on women seeking abortion services. And at a town hall, Cain called for Maine politicians to stop interfering in reproductive health decisions and said politicians "should not hinder a woman's ability to make important choices about her body and her health."

While we are excited that she won her primary, she now faces anti-choice Bruce Poliquin in November. Poliquin has already been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee and was endorsed by both the anti-choice Christian Conservation League of Maine and Concerned Women for America in 2012 when he ran for the Senate. Poliquin stated that he believes that, "at conception, a life has begun, and that is a life that should be protected." His anti-choice position was a key factor in his primary win against mixed-choice Kevin Raye. Numerous church leaders rallied their congregations in support of Poliquin and his abortion stance during the primary.

Poliquin's position is clearly out of touch with the values held by the constituents of Maine's 2nd congressional district.

Cain and Poliquin are vying for the open seat created when pro-choice Rep. Michael Michaud announced his run for governor this year. We're lucky to have another pro-choice leader on the ballot to fill his shoes and we need every pro-choice voter engaged in order to win in November. Today, our pro-choice allies in the U.S. House are outnumbered - and with Boehner at the helm, the House has moved bill after bill aimed at making it impossible for women to get the reproductive-health care they need. The people of Maine's 2nd district deserve a pro-choice leader who shares their values and Emily Cain has proven that she can deliver. Now, let's deliver the pro-choice vote in November for Cain and secure another win for reproductive freedom!

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

Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Sandra Sanchez

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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.

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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!

Jindal's Devastating "Health Care" Plan for Women

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Lydia Paver is an intern in the political department at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

In the coming days, Gov. Bobby Jindal is preparing to strike several blows to reproductive freedom in Louisiana. Three bills that will compromise the health, safety and rights of women are before him awaiting signature. Since assuming office in 2008, Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed 13 pieces of legislation curtailing women's reproductive freedoms, making Louisiana the most anti-choice state in the United States.

HB 388, or "The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act," is modeled on a 2013 Texas law, which resulted in the closure of a third of the state's abortion clinics. Sources on the ground say the Jindal-backed bill is "likely to shutter most clinics," forcing women in southern Louisiana to drive up to 400 miles each way to obtain an abortion.

The bill requires physicians who provide abortion services to have active admitting privileges at a hospital that provides obstetrical-gynecological services within 30 miles of their clinic. But of course, nothing in the bill requires hospitals to grant admitting privileges to doctors - and many anti-choice hospitals routinely deny - or simply ignore - the requests. Currently, only two of Louisiana's five abortion clinics meet such harsh regulations, meaning that the remaining three face immediate closure. While supporters of such anti-choice measures claim that further regulation works to protect women, it is clear that that these anti-choice laws are strategic attempts to reduce women's access to reproductive services by creating unnecessary requirements that few abortion clinics can actually meet. In fact, abortions are already a very safe procedure, with clinics under regulation by both federal and state laws, as any other health care facility.

Last week Jindal took to his Twitter page to publicly express his enthusiasm to complete the passage of the bill:

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But, this isn't the only extremist anti-choice measure that Jindal is seems overjoyed to force upon the women of Louisiana...

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This second bill, HB 305, would prevent staff and volunteers of, or organizations affiliated with, abortion providers from distributing materials on any health topic in all public and charter schools that receive state funding. This means that organizations with the most expertise on women's health, such as Planned Parenthood, would be prohibited from guiding necessary discussions on "human sexuality or family planning" throughout the state. Louisiana teens - like many young people across the country - are in desperate need of basic, unbiased, comprehensive sex education; this bill would make a bad situation even worse.

Louisiana's legislature hasn't stopped there. A third bill that would force anti-choice propaganda on every woman seeking abortion in the state, HB 1261, is now also before Governor Jindal. The bill would require that a woman seeking abortion care be isolated in a private room where she must read counseling materials created by a governor's task force, including a pamphlet about the "alleged psychological effects of abortion."

About that task force: it's looking like Gov. Jindal is packing it with anti-choice state politicians and advocates, including two counselors from crisis pregnancy centers, which are fake clinics that are known for lying to women. If that wasn't sketchy enough, according to the Times-Picayune, "no abortion providers or mental health professionals that recommend abortions would be allowed on the panel." What are the chances that this task force is going to produce unbiased, fact-based information? Probably zero. These measures in Louisiana mirror laws enacted throughout several Southern states in recent legislative sessions. Together, these measures have nearly created a no-access zone that limits women's access to abortion and reproductive health facilities under the cover of heightening safety and protecting women's health. Since they have been unsuccessful banning abortion outright, anti-choice groups have turned to these tactics to virtually ban abortion by making it almost completely unavailable in regions of the country. What region will they focus on next?

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10 Reasons to #StopBoggs as told by Star Wars

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It's hard to believe: anti-choice, anti-civil rights, anti-LGBT judicial nominee, Michael Boggs, could get a vote in committee at any time for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

When you think about what makes a good judge, a few qualities probably come to mind: fair, unbiased, and committed to protecting the rights of all Americans. That's why judicial nominee Michael Boggs is the wrong man for the job. In honor of the much-buzzed about upcoming film, check out 10 reasons why we must #StopBoggs as told by Star Wars:

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For 1) Michael Boggs voted to endanger abortion providers by putting detailed information about them on the Internet, including how often they provided abortion services.

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2) Boggs said that when he took this vote, he had no idea that this measure could've put the health and lives of women and abortion providers at risk. That's pretty hard to believe. Just before he voted, lawmakers had a heated discussion about this very topic.

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3) Boggs cosponsored a bill to create "Choose Life" license plates to funnel state funds - aka taxpayer dollars - to "crisis pregnancy centers" that lie to and shame women out of choosing abortion.

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4) Boggs also pushed to make parental consent laws more extreme.

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Not only does Boggs have a clear record of undermining and restricting a woman's right to choose, he also voted to suppress LGBT rights:

5) Michael Boggs voted for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in his home state of Georgia.

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6) He called his vote against LGBT rights a matter of "common sense."

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7) Even the Boy Scouts weren't safe from Boggs' prejudice - he pledged to oppose Boy Scout leaders who also happen to be gay.

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But Boggs isn't just politically opposed to women's reproductive freedom and equality for LGBT people.

8) Boggs voted to keep the confederate symbol, a symbol of racial oppression, on Georgia's state flag.

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This guy is bad news all around. Boggs' disturbing record regarding civil rights and reproductive freedom isn't the end of it. You should also take this serious allegation into account:

9) Boggs potentially violated Georgia's ethics rules while he was a judge by contributing to a political organization.

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10) Michael Boggs said that we should look to his legislative record to see what kind of judge he'd be - and we're doing just that!

Does Michael Boggs sound like a person who deserves a lifetime appointment to the federal bench? Nope, we don't think so either.

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Help us #StopBoggs from reaching the federal bench by sharing our graphic on Facebook.

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Benita Ulisano is a co-chair of the Illinois Choice Action Team, a committed group of volunteers advancing NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission, based in Chicago.

Did you hear about NARAL Pro-Choice America's recent victories with Yahoo and Google? Both search engines agreed to enforce their truth in advertising policies and removed a slew of deceptive ads from crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that come up if you search for "abortion clinic" - even though CPCs don't provide abortion care and actively dissuade women from choosing abortion.

I'm particularly thrilled about this change because I know firsthand how dangerous CPCs are.

One of the CPCs we caught lying in a Yahoo ad is actually right around the corner from the women's health clinic here in Chicago where I run an escort program. Check out the ad - you'd never know this is for a CPC!

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(Last time we checked, the CPC website referenced in this ad is down, too.)

One of CPCs' common tactics is to purposely situate themselves near real reproductive-health clinics to confuse women. This CPC is no different.

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For women who figure out where the real clinic is, anti-choice activists aggressively try to prevent women from going to their appointments. They stalk around outside the clinic, hold offensive signs, and harass women as they head in for an appointment, even if it's for a birth control prescription. The staff at the reproductive-health clinic has asked me to increase the days we're organizing escorts from one day a week to four. It's that bad.

I've seen anti-choice activists approach women in their cars to intimidate and shame them. CPC activists will yell at anyone of reproductive age who just happens to walk by! The harassment is so unbelievable that some of my current clinic escorts told me they decided to volunteer because they live in the neighborhood and are sick of being harassed for walking down the street.


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This is what's happening outside the clinic. What's happening inside the CPC is even more disturbing.

One woman told us that she was tricked into going to this CPC instead of the reproductive-health clinic by finding the CPC online. Mid-way during the appointment, when she realized she wasn't at the real clinic and tried to leave, CPC staff physically restrained her. We've also heard reports that inside the CPC there are photos of our pro-choice escorts posted on the wall. We provide a lot of training to our escorts so they know how to handle this kind of pressure, but of course it's intimidating to know that you've been targeted so personally.

Women who are looking for an abortion provider shouldn't have to endure the harassment and intimidation that I've witnessed firsthand - and a lot of that starts with what's happening on Internet search engines. Women deserve the truth when trying to find abortion providers or other reproductive-health services. Every day I hear about women who have to encounter anti-choice protesters from the CPC, and you wouldn't believe the lies they've been told.

I'm happy that Yahoo is reporting that it's going to do the right thing. We'll review the deceptive ads we found to verify Yahoo's claims, and we'll hold them accountable if our results don't match what they're telling the press. Enforcing their policies and taking down ads that deceive women will go a long way toward protecting women from deception.

Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Payne McMillan

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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.

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Meet Payne McMillan:

What was your major?
I am an English major at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Why is choice important to you?
Choice is important to me because I believe that pregnancy is personal. It's nobody's business what a woman chooses to do once she is pregnant, but there needs to be structures that support her, regardless of what her decisions are. The ability to be in control of your own reproductive health is a fundamental right, as is all health care.

How did you get involved in the pro-choice movement?
I got involved in the pro-choice movement when I signed up for Students for Reproductive Health and Choice at the St. Olaf College co-curricular fair. Going to the meetings gave me insight into how important the protection of choice is and how opponents have been chipping away at reproductive rights, especially recently. It's important that men are allies and advocates; these issues don't just affect women, but they affect families and the well-being of all people. Now I will be an informed voter that makes sure to elect legislators that protect reproductive rights.

What was your favorite event that you planned as a Campus Representative?
We hosted a Faith and Choice event, where we brought in Rev. Kelli Clement from the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice as a speaker. She addressed how interconnected choice is with other areas of social justice. Her perspective showed that religion and abortion rights don't need to be pitted against each other, which is something most people don't realize.

What is/are the greatest skill or skills that you've learned from being a Campus Representative?
I've learned how to talk about these issues in an informed and respectful manner. I feel that I am well informed and can stand my ground in defending reproductive rights and educating people on the issue.

What is your earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
I went to pro-choice lobby day in the spring of 2013 at the Minnesota Capitol. I also worked with them this fall in putting pressure on the "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC) in the town I live, Northfield.

Out of all the different ways to engage with this issue, why did you choose to engage with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
Through the campus representative program, they already had a presence at St. Olaf, which made it easy to get involved. I like NARAL because it is a powerful, established organization that works efficiently and effectively in not only protecting but expanding reproductive rights.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sen. Johnson introduced her own tongue-in-cheek bill to ban "non-procreative ejaculation" and expose the hypocrisy of anti-choice politicians who would endanger women's health:

"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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

That's why we're also we recognizing NARAL Pro-Choice California PrivacyPAC-endorsed California state senate candidate Sandra Fluke.

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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.

Honoring America's Dedicated Abortion Providers

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Doctors office_small.jpgToday is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day!

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:

Nicole, 32:

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.

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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.

Alma Adams speaking.jpg

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!

Andrea Stewart Cousins Small.jpg

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.

Senfronia Thompson.jpg

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

Dawnna Dukes.jpg

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

CharnieleHerring.jpg

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.

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.

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.

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. Amash (R-MI)
Rep. Bachmann (R-MN)
Rep. Bachus (R-AL)
Rep. Barletta (R-PA)
Rep. Barr (R-KY)
Rep. Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Benishek (R-MI)
Rep. Bentivolio (R-MI)
Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Black (R-TN)
Rep. Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Boustany (R-LA)
Rep. Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK)
Rep. Brooks (R-AL)
Rep. Brooks (R-IN)
Rep. Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Bucshon (R-IN)
Rep. Burgess (R-TX)
Rep. Byrne (R-AL)
Rep. Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Cantor (R-VA)
Rep. Capito (R-WV)
Rep. Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Cassidy (R-LA)
Rep. Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT)
Rep. Coble (R-NC)
Rep. Coffman (R-CO)
Rep. Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Collins (R-NY)
Rep. Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Cook (R-CA)
Rep. Cotton (R-AR)
Rep. Cramer (R-ND)
Rep. Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL)
Rep. Cuellar (D-TX)
Rep. Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Daines (R-MT)
Rep. Davis (R-IL)
Rep. Denham (R-CA)
Rep. Dent (R-PA)
Rep. DeSantis (R-FL)
Rep. DesJarlais (R-TN)
Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Rep. Duffy (R-WI)
Rep. Duncan (R-SC)
Rep. Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Ellmers (R-NC)
Rep. Farenthold (R-TX)
Rep. Fincher (R-TN)
Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN)
Rep. Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Flores (R-TX)
Rep. Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rep. Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Rep. Gardner (R-CO)
Rep. Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Gerlach (R-PA)
Rep. Gibbs (R-OH)
Rep. Gibson (R-NY)
Rep. Gingrey (R-GA)
Rep. Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Gosar (R-AZ)
Rep. Gowdy (R-SC)
Rep. Granger (R-TX)
Rep. Graves (R-GA)
Rep. Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Griffin (R-AR)
Rep. Griffith (R-VA)
Rep. Grimm (R-NY)
Rep. Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Hall (R-TX)
Rep. Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Harris (R-MD)
Rep. Hartzler (R-MO)
Rep. Hastings (R-WA)
Rep. Heck (R-NV)
Rep. Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Holding (R-NC)
Rep. Hudson (R-NC)
Rep. Huelskamp (R-KS)
Rep. Huizenga (R-MI)
Rep. Hultgren (R-IL)
Rep. Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Hurt (R-VA)
Rep. Issa (R-CA)
Rep. Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Johnson (R-OH)
Rep. Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Joyce (R-OH)
Rep. Kelly (R-PA)
Rep. King (R-IA)
Rep. King (R-NY)
Rep. Kingston (R-GA)
Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL)
Rep. Kline (R-MN)
Rep. Labrador (R-ID)
Rep. LaMalfa (R-CA)
Rep. Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Lance (R-NJ)
Rep. Lankford (R-OK)
Rep. Latham (R-IA)
Rep. Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Lipinski (D-IL)
Rep. LoBiondo
Rep. Long (R-MO)
Rep. Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Luetkemeyer (R MO)
Rep. Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Marchant (RTX)
Rep. Marino (R-PA)
Rep. Massie (R-KY)
Rep. Matheson (D-UT)
Rep. McAllister (R-LA)
Rep. McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. McIntyre (D-NC)
Rep. McKeon (R-CA)
Rep. McKinley (R-WV)
Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Meadows (R-NC)
Rep. Meehan (R-PA)
Rep. Messer (R-IN)
Rep. Mica (R-FL)
Rep. Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Mullin (R-OK)
Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC)
Rep. Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Noem (R-SD)
Rep. Nugent (R-FL)
Rep. Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Nunnelee (R-MS)
Rep. Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Palazzo (R-MS)
Rep. Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Perry (R-PA)
Rep. Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Pittenger (R-NC)
Rep. Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Price (R-GA)
Rep. Rahall (D-WV)
Rep. Reed (R-NY)
Rep. Reichert (R-WA)
Rep. Renacci (R-OH)
Rep. Ribble (R-WI)
Rep. Rice (R-SC)
Rep. Rigell (R-VA)
Rep. Roby (R-AL)
Rep. Roe (R-TN)
Rep. Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Rogers (R-MI)
Rep. Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Rokita (R-IN)
Rep. Rooney (R-FL)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Ross (R-FL)
Rep. Rothfus (R-PA)
Rep. Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Salmon (R-AZ)
Rep. Sanford (R-SC)
Rep. Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Schock (R-IL)
Rep. Schweikert (R-AZ)
Rep. Scott (R-GA)
Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Smith (R-MO)
Rep. Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Southerland (R-FL)
Rep. Stewart (R-UT)
Rep. Stivers (R-OH)
Rep. Stockman (R-TX)
Rep. Stutzman (R-IN)
Rep. Terry (R-NE)
Rep. Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Valadao (R-CA)
Rep. Wagner (R-MO)
Rep. Walberg (R-MI)
Rep. Walden (R-OR)
Rep. Walorski (R-IN)
Rep. Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Webster (R-FL)
Rep. Wenstrup (R-OH)
Rep. Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. Williams (R-TX)
Rep. Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Wolf (R-VA)
Rep. Womack (R-AR)
Rep. Yoder (R-K)
Rep. Yoho (R-FL)
Rep. Young (R-AK)
Rep. Young (R-IN)

Rep. Andrews (D-NJ)
Rep. Barber (D-AZ)
Rep. Barrow (D-GA)
Rep. Bass (D-CA)
Rep. Beatty (D-OH)
Rep. Becerra (D-CA)
Rep. Bera (D-CA)
Rep. Bishop (D-GA)
Rep. Bishop (D-NY)
Rep. Bonamici (D-OR)
Rep. Brady (D-PA)
Rep. Braley (D-IA)
Rep. Brown (D-FL)
Rep. Brownley (D-CA)
Rep. Bustos (D-IL)
Rep. Butterfield (D-NC)
Rep. Capps (D-CA)
Rep. Capuano (D-MA)
Rep. Cárdenas (D-CA)
Rep. Carney (D-DE)
Rep. Carson (D-IN)
Rep. Cartwright (D-PA)
Rep. Castor (D-FL)
Rep. Castro (D-TX)
Rep. Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Cicilline (D-RI)
Rep. Clarke (D-NY)
Rep. Cleaver (D-MO)
Rep. Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Connolly (D-VA)
Rep. Conyers (D-MI)
Rep. Cooper (D-TN)
Rep. Costa (D-CA)
Rep. Courtney (D-CT)
Rep. Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Cummings (D-MD)
Rep. Davis (D-CA)
Rep. Davis (D-IL)
Rep. DeFazio (D-OR)
Rep. DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Delaney (D-MD)
Rep. DeLauro (D-CT)
Rep. DelBene (D-WA)
Rep. Deutch (D-FL)
Rep. Dingell (D-MI)
Rep. Doggett (D-TX)
Rep. Doyle (D-PA)
Rep. Duckworth (D-IL)
Rep. Edwards (D-MD)
Rep. Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Engel (D-NY)
Rep. Enyart (D-IL)
Rep. Eshoo (D-CA)
Rep. Esty (D-CT)
Rep. Farr (D-CA)
Rep. Fattah (D-PA)
Rep. Foster (D-IL)
Rep. Frankel (D-FL)
Rep. Fudge (D-OH)
Rep. Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Gallego (D-TX)
Rep. Garamendi (D-CA)
Rep. Garcia (D-FL)
Rep. Grayson (D-Fl)
Rep. Green, Al (D-TX)
Rep. Green, Gene (D-TX)
Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL)
Rep. Hahn (D-CA)
Rep. Hanabusa (D-HI)
Rep. Hanna (R-NY)
Rep. Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Heck (D-WA)
Rep. Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. Honda (D-CA)
Rep. Horsford (D-NV)
Rep. Hoyer (D-MD)
Rep. Huffman (D-CA)
Rep. Israel (D-NY)
Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Jeffries (D-NY)
Rep. Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Johnson, E. B. (D-TX)
Rep. Kaptur (D-OH)
Rep. Keating (D-MA)
Rep. Kelly (D-IL)
Rep. Kennedy (D-MA)
Rep. Kildee (D-MI)
Rep. Kilmer (D-WA)
Rep. Kind (D-WI)
Rep. Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
Rep. Kuster (D-NH)
Rep. Langevin (D-RI)
Rep. Larsen (D-WA)
Rep. Larson (D-CT)
Rep. Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Levin (D-MI)
Rep. Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Loebsack (D-IA)
Rep. Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA)
Rep. Lowey (D-NY)
Rep. Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Rep. Luján, Ben Ray (D-NM)
Rep. Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Maffei (D-NY)
Rep. Maloney, Carolyn (D-NY)
Rep. Maloney, Sean (D-NY)
Rep. Matsui (D-CA)
Rep. McCollum (D-MN)
Rep. McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. McNerney (D-CA)
Rep. Meeks (D-CA)
Rep. Meng (D-NY)
Rep. Michaud (D-ME)
Rep. Miller, George (D-CA)
Rep. Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Moran (D-VA)
Rep. Murphy (D-FL)
Rep. Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Neal (D-MA)
Rep. Negrete McLeod (D-CA)
Rep. Nolan (D-MN)
Rep. O'Rourke (D-TX)
Rep. Owens (D-NY)
Rep. Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ)
Rep. Pastor (D-AZ)
Rep. Payne (D-NJ)
Rep. Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO)
Rep. Peters (D-CA)
Rep. Peters (D-MI)
Rep. Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. Pocan (D-WI)
Rep. Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Price (D-NC)
Rep. Quigley (D-IL)
Rep. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Richmond (D-LA)
Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Rep. Ruiz (D-CA)
Rep. Ryan (D-OH)
Rep. Sánchez, Linda T.(D-CA)
Rep. Sarbanes (D-MD)
Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Schiff (D-CA)
Rep. Schneider (D-IL)
Rep. Schrader (D-OR)
Rep. Schwartz (D-PA)
Rep. Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Scott, David (D-GA)
Rep. Serrano (D-NJ)
Rep. Sewell (D-AL)
Rep. Shea-Porter (D-NH)
Rep. Sherman (D-CA)
Rep. Sinema (D-AZ)
Rep. Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Slaughter 9D-NY)
Rep. Smith (D-WA)
Rep. Speier (D-CA)
Rep. Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. Takano (D-CA)
Rep. Thompson (D-CA)
Rep. Thompson (D-MS)
Rep. Tierney (D-MA)
Rep. Titus (D-NV)
Rep. Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Tsongas (D-MA)
Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD)
Rep. Vargas (D-CA)
Rep. Veasey (D-TX)
Rep. Vela (D-TX)
Rep. Velázquez (D-NY)
Rep. Visclosky (D-IN)
Rep. Walz (D-MN)
Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Rep. Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Waxman (D-CA)
Rep. Welch (D-VT)
Rep. Wilson (D-FL)
Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY)

Not Voting
Rep. Amodei (R-NV)
Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. Clay (D-MO)
Rep. Hinojosa (D-TX)
Rep. Jones (R-NC)
Rep. McCarthy (D-NY)
Rep. Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Petri (R-WI)
Rep. Runyan (R-NJ)
Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Rep. Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA)
Rep. Tipton (R-CO)
Rep. Westmoreland (R-GA)

*Italicized names denote party crossovers

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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.

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7 Pro-Choice State Lawmakers to Watch in 2014

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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.jpg

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

Leticia-Van-de-Putte.jpg

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

Cox, Doug.jpg

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 Adams.jpg

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

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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

whitmer-crop.jpg 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

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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:

Rape Insurane_small.png

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.

You can read the whole email below with our helpful annotations:

MN CPC email_small.jpg

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.

Pro-Choice Wins Of 2013 As Told By The Muppets

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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!

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