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Results tagged “abortion ban” from Blog for Choice

Anti-Choice Politicians Respond to State of the Union Address


Did you tune in last night for pro-choice President Barack Obama's State of the Union address?

small_2011_State_of_the_Union.jpgThe president outlined a pro-women strategy that included urging the House to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and an increase in the minimum wage, which would greatly help women and families.

Soon after he concluded his speech, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered their responses on behalf of the factions of the Republican party.

Want to know where these guys stand on choice?

Sen. Rubio certainly isn't shy about his extreme anti-choice views. He's called for the overturn of Roe v. Wade saying, "The right to life is a fundamental one that trumps virtually any other right I can imagine."

He also supported legislation that would allow bosses to deny their employees birth-control coverage under Obamacare. He even cast a vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act yesterday.

And in case there was any question about his position, Sen. Rubio began his response to the State of the Union address by restating his anti-choice views.

Can we get a glass of water with that?

Sen. Rand Paul also responded to the State of the Union address, and while he didn't touch on the state of women's reproductive freedom, we haven't forgotten his extreme anti-choice record.

Remember that time Sen. Paul tried to sneak a "personhood" amendment into a flood-insurance bill? And how could we forget when he threatened to permanently ban the District of Columbia from using its own funds to pay for abortion care for low-income women?

We're shaking our heads over here. These anti-choice politicians clearly didn't get the memo that the majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

We trust that President Obama will continue to protect a woman's fundamental right to make decisions regarding her reproductive health. And I think we can all agree with his closing statement:

"This country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story."
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Late Friday night, congressional leaders and the White House reached a budget agreement that keeps the government running.

Anti-choice leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives had threatened to shut down the U.S. government if their demands to defund Planned Parenthood and the Title X family-planning program were not met. 

This entire process has exposed just how far the anti-choice House leadership is willing to go to attack women's freedom and privacy. They are even willing to take our country to the brink of a government shutdown over issues that are unrelated to the budget deficit or other fiscal matters.

The good news from the budget deal is that funding for Planned Parenthood and other family-planning programs was saved. 

Special thanks go out to President Obama, pro-choice leaders in Congress, and, especially, the thousands pro-choice of Americans who lobbied their lawmakers on Thursday to stop the War on Women

It was your efforts that stopped a handful of anti-choice extremists from taking away millions of Americans' access to affordable contraceptive services, cancer screenings, and other basic health care.

NARAL Pro-Choice America worked hard to get this dangerous and unfair ban repealed in 2009. Now, Congress is back to telling D.C. taxpayers what they can and can't spend their own money on! 

Washington, D.C.'s elected officials expressed their outrage that D.C. women's health continues to be a target for anti-choice attacks. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray and other local leaders will be at a rally to protest the D.C. abortion ban. 

Meet outside the Hart Senate Office Building at 2nd & Constitution Avenues N.E. at 5 p.m. today to get your voices heard. Thanks to our friends at DC Vote for helping to organize this event.

We'll fight to change the choice-related composition of the House of Representatives so that we can repeal this discriminatory measure again.
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The anti-choice leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to wage its War on Women.

Less than two weeks after the House voted to eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood, the Judiciary Committee voted today to advance H.R.3, the "Stupak on Steroids" bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. The "Stupak on Steroids" bill is one of the farthest-reaching assaults on women's freedom and privacy that we've seen in years.  

Anti-choice politicians are trying their best to downplay just how extreme H.R.3 is, casting it as merely a continuation of existing policy. Their claim couldn't be further from the truth: the "Stupak on Steroids" bill is a radical new attack on women's access to abortion care.

Let's get to the facts: 
  • This bill is not about public funding. Federal law is clear: federal funding of abortion is forbidden, except in very narrow circumstances. 
  • The bill manipulates the tax code to advance an extreme anti-choice agenda. It would force millions of small businesses to pay taxes on their health-insurance benefits if their plan includes abortion. About 87 percent of insurance plans on the market currently offer abortion coverage.
  • The bill resurrects the core provisions of the failed Stupak-Pitts abortion-coverage ban, and jeopardizes the ability of private citizens to use their own dollars to purchase abortion coverage in the new health system.
These anti-choice politicians' chutzpah is astounding: after campaigning on an agenda of jobs and less government, they've now voted to impose tax penalties on small businesses that offer comprehensive health insurance!

Less than two weeks ago, the House leadership launched a full-scale assault on women's access to birth control, cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care. Now, they are waging a war on women in the private insurance market. This bill jeopardizes the ability of insurance companies to cover abortion care, even for women with wanted pregnancies who experience unanticipated health-related complications, such as breast cancer. Abortion may be the best option to protect their health and ensure they can have children in the future, yet this bill tells insurance companies they can't cover this care.

The anti-choice House leadership's plan is clear: to end insurance coverage for abortion and make it as difficult as possible for any woman -- under any circumstances, or in any situation -- to access abortion care.

Thanks for Tweeting @SenJohnMcCain


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Thanks to all the people who flooded Sen. John McCain's Twitter feed with calls to end the abortion ban for military women. We've never seen the senator's Twitter page look so good!

And there's still time to take action. Call on your senator to end this outrageous ban!
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Tweet @SenJohnMcCain for Women in the Military


Do you use Twitter? Help us flood Sen. John McCain's Twitter feed with messages from pro-choice Americans, telling him to end the abortion ban for military women. Here's a sample tweet you can use: 

Hey @SenJohnMcCain, I support the defense bill that lifts the abortion ban on women in the military. Stop blocking it. #p2 #fem2 #prochoice

Not a tweeter? Not a problem. You can still take action by calling on your senators to repeal this outrageous ban. 30,662 people have taken action in the past two weeks! Help us reach 35,000 messages by the end of this week. 

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Phew... What a week! Today marks the final night of Hanukkah and the one-week-away mark for Christmas... So NARAL Pro-Choice America sends greetings to all of our members who are marking these holidays and others.

Now, all of our eyes are on the Senate, where health reform continues to create news. I'll get to that in a moment, I promise. But, if you would like to read about choice-related news that doesn't include Sen. Ben Nelson's obstructionism, you're in the right place.

Make it Snowe, Make it Snowe, Make it Snowe: Here in the nation's capital, we're bracing for the so-called "snow of the season." But pro-choice Americans have a different reason to try and make it snow.

Look - I won't beat around the bush... we know that health-reform is in serious trouble. Anti-choice Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is refusing to vote to move the health-care bill forward - all because the bill doesn't include his outrageous Stupak-style ban on abortion coverage. We've all had enough of Sen. Nelson, so we've turned our attention to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

We need Sen. Snowe to step up and be the 60th vote for health-care reform. She's voted twice against a ban on abortion coverage. So, please sign our emergency petition asking Sen. Snow to vote to advance health-reform legislation that doesn't jeopardize women's abortion coverage in the new system. Our deadline is tomorrow at noon. Sign, and then share on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. (Yes, you. We know you tweet! It's ok, so do we.)

A Powerful Story from a Brave Maryland Woman: Last Friday's Baltimore Sun included a powerful story written by a woman who had an abortion after her doctors discovered serious health complications. It's incredibly poignant and a compelling addition to the health-care debate, and the ridiculousness of the so-called abortion rider. More than 500 of our Facebook friends read this story. Here's an excerpt that shows you why this struck a chord with so many people:

To say I am angered by those who are trying to prevent abortion coverage in the health care system is an understatement. I applaud our leaders, including Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, who are fighting to ensure women like me have access to the reproductive health care we need. Although the Senate defeated the Nelson-Hatch Amendment to the health care reform bill this week, the House's version of the bill still contains an amendment that could restrict women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market - even if they use their own money to purchase coverage.

I am writing today for all the women who are too fearful or made to feel ashamed to put a face on abortion. I'm writing today for all the women who, like me just five months ago, never imagined they would need the help of an abortion. And, I'm writing today on behalf of my child, who I know is in a much better place and no longer suffering.

I urge you to read this story in its entirety.

A New Pro-Choice Bill for the New Year: In the good-news department, we're proud to announce that Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) introduced the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act this week!

This bipartisan bill would guarantee that servicewomen stationed overseas have timely access to emergency contraception (EC). Sounds like a no-brainer, but servicewomen and providers alike have reported that they cannot obtain the medication when they need it. It's ridiculous.

"This important bill ensures that women who serve our country will have access to a safe, effective back-up form of birth control," Keenan said. "Sen. Franken's bill is based on the principle of fairness: Women in the military serving overseas should be able to access EC the same way women stateside do. This is especially important, given the increase in reports of sexual assaults in the military. It's a tragedy that women in uniform are denied such basic health care. We applaud Sens. Franken and Snowe and Rep. Michaud for protecting the reproductive health of our brave servicewomen."

A huge pro-choice thank you goes out to Sens. Franken and Snowe and Rep. Michaud.

The Greatest Gift of All - An End-of-the-Year Endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC: Our political department has been busy tying up the end-of-the-year PAC endorsements from some awesome pro-choice candidates. This week, we announced the PAC endorsements of pro-choice Rep. Kendrick Meek in his bid for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida, and three pro-choice House incumbents for the 2010 election cycle: Rep. John Adler in New Jersey's 3rd District, Rep. Tim Bishop in New York's 1st District, and Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio's 15th District. Additionally, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Ann McLane Kuster for New Hampshire's 2nd District, where she is seeking to succeed Rep. Paul Hodes, a NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC-endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate.

We got some press love from Rep. Meek - he tweeted his thanks, and it made The Hill's top tweets! - that really made us smile. SEE!? Everyone is in on the tweeting action! ;)

Putting Pen to Paper: It's official: President Obama signed legislation that includes a repeal of an onerous anti-choice policy in Washington, D.C. and eliminates funding for discredited Bush-era 'abstinence-only' programs. Nancy Keenan commented:

"I commend pro-choice leaders for putting sound science and teens' health before political ideology. This investment of funding signifies an important step toward ensuring teens receive the accurate information necessary to prevent unintended pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted disease."

Thanks, Mr. President!

So that about sums up our week!

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The Truth About Abortion and Health Reform


Many of you probably received an email yesterday from presidential adviser David Axelrod urging you to forward his message to friends and family as a way to combat false statements about health reform.

We think Mr. Axelrod had a good idea, so in this spirit of debunking myths with the facts, we urge you to make this message viral as well. You can push back against blatant attempts by right-wing groups to use anti-choice politics to derail the health-reform effort.

It is not enough for fact-checking groups to discredit these anti-choice groups' charges. They are using blogs and their extensive network of activists to spread distortions and outright lies. Many of your friends and family members might hear about or read these false claims. These statements may sound outlandish to many of us, but we all know that, if a lie goes unchecked, it can soon be interpreted as the truth.

Please help us spread the truth! Link to this blog post on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, or email the text below to your friends and family.


"Anti-abortion-rights groups either don't have the facts about health-care reform, or they're intentionally distorting them. They are opposing a 'public option' for health insurance, saying it would cover abortions. The Associated Press quoted Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, as saying the public plan 'pays for abortion.' Wrong." - Editorial from the Des Moines Register, August 11, 2009

During the congressional recess, opponents of health-care reform are using anti-abortion politics as a way to derail real health-care reform. The following includes many of the false claims and the facts that refute them.

FALSE CLAIM: The new health-care system would mandate abortion.

FACT: No. Nothing in any of the current health-care-reform bills mandates abortion coverage - or any other type of health-care service. Two independent sources have debunked these recent anti-choice distortions.

FALSE CLAIM: The new health-care system will expand coverage of abortion beyond its current scope.

FACT: Wrong. Currently, more than 80 percent of private insurance plans cover abortion care. (Source: The Guttmacher Institute (PDF), Table 1, page 75)

In the new system, consumers could choose a plan that does not offer abortion care if they like, just as they could choose a plan that does or does not offer dental or vision coverage.

FALSE CLAIM: Anti-choice members of Congress have not been allowed to change the bills to limit abortion coverage in the new system.

FACT: That's wrong. On July 30, lawmakers (from both sides of the abortion debate) who serve on a key House committee voted for a compromise that allows each insurance plan to decide whether to provide coverage for abortion. It also separates public tax dollars from private funds, thus keeping bans on public funding for abortion services in place. As pro-choice advocates, we find this action regrettable since it singles out abortion from other health-care services, but apparently it was necessary to stop anti-choice politicians from continuing to use health-care reform to attack a woman's right to choose.

This compromise, offered by Rep. Lois Capps of California, includes the following provisions:

  • The health-benefits committee (or HHS secretary) may neither mandate nor ban abortion coverage in health-insurance plans in the exchange. Plans can choose whether or not to cover abortion, as they do now.
  • No tax dollars may be spent on abortion services in the exchange - even in private plans. The new system would require plans to create separate accounts, one for public funds (subsidies for low-income people) and one for private funds (which individuals will pay as premiums). Plans could use only private funds to pay for abortion services.
  • In every coverage area, there must be at least one plan that includes abortion services and one plan that does not. On top of the separation-of-funds provision (above), this is an added assurance that individuals who feel very strongly against joining a plan that offers abortion can choose a plan that does not.
  • Says explicitly that state laws restricting abortion, such as those mandating parental consent for minors, are not affected by the legislation.
  • Says explicitly that federal laws pertaining to "conscience" are not affected by the legislation.
  • The amendment was adopted, 30-28, by lawmakers who are pro-choice, pro-life, and mixed-choice.

Anti-choice members of Congress aren't satisfied with the Capps compromise. They want to impose a new nationwide abortion ban in the private health-insurance market by prohibiting such coverage in the new health-care system--thus taking away coverage from women who already have it. 

For more information about these issues, please visit our action center:

Please, remember to share this message.

Yesterday, we blogged about the House Appropriations Committee rejecting an anti-choice amendment to reinsert the D.C. Abortion ban and now we have even more good news. Yesterday evening, the Senate Appropriations Committee rejected an anti-choice amendment to reinsert the ban in their bill!

A lot of pro-choice allies stepped up and delivered (especially since these votes were really, really close). Special props go to Sen. Durbin and Rep. Jose Serrano of New York for their phenomenal leadership at the committee level. If you're looking to thank your Senator, check and see if she/he is on the list of those that voted the right way:

Sen. Inouye (Hawaii)
Sen. Byrd (West Virginia)
Sen. Leahy (Vermont)
Sen. Harkin (Iowa)
Sen. Mikulski (Maryland)
Sen. Kohl (Wisconsin)
Sen. Murray (Washington)
Sen. Feinstein (California)
Sen. Johnson (South Dakota)
Sen. Reed (Rhode Island)
Sen. Lautenberg (New Jersey)
Sen. Tester (Montana)
Sen. Specter (Pennsylvania)
Sen. Collins (Maine)

In case you were wondering which anti-choice members of Congress offered the anti-choice amendments, it's none other than the usual suspects: Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Reps. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.). And just know they won't give up once these bills go the floor in the House and Senate, so stay tuned...

Some more good pro-choice news involves the anti-choice Global Gag Rule. Remember when we celebrated, during the first week President Obama was in office, his repeal of the onerous Global Gag Rule, which blocked the world's poorest women's access to basic health care, including birth control?

Well, the same Senate Committee approved a proposal that provides a more permanent fix to the global gag rule. Special thanks certainly go out to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for leading the way on this front.

Other Senators voting with us include:

Sen. Inouye (Hawaii)
Sen. Byrd (West Virginia)
Sen. Leahy (Vermont)
Sen. Harkin (Iowa)
Sen. Mikulski (Maryland)
Sen. Kohl (Wisconsin)
Sen. Murray (Washington)
Sen. Dorgan (South Dakota)
Sen. Feinstein (California)
Sen. Durbin (Illinois)
Sen. Johnson (South Dakota)
Sen. Reed (Rhode Island)
Sen. Pryor (Arkansas)
Sen. Tester (Montana)
Sen. Specter (Pennsylvania)
Sen. Collins (Maine)

Excellent news to end a busy, choice-filled week. We'll see you back here on Monday... for the start of the Sotomayor hearings!

Quick Update on the D.C. Abortion Ban


On Monday, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan co-authored a blog post on RH Reality Check with Tiffany Reed, president of the D.C. Abortion Fund. In it, Keenan and Reed discussed recent action to remove - and then reinstate - an onerous obstacle to a woman's ability to access safe, legal abortion:

The House Appropriations Committee is taking action on a bill tonight that allocates funds for Washington, D.C.--and there is good news for America's pro-choice majority.

The bill follows President Obama's lead (and NARAL Pro-Choice America's recommendation) to lift the ban on D.C.'s ability to use locally raised funds for abortion services. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's elected representative in Congress, fully supports this measure.

As the D.C. Abortion Fund can attest, this ban's effect on women is devastating. Women have had to sell their cars, get high-interest predatory loans (not even an option anymore), pawn wedding rings or other jewelry, sell their children's toys, go without electricity, or even risk eviction--all to pay for the abortion care they need.

Read many more heart-breaking stories for examples of what can happen when access to affordable reproductive health care is out of reach for women.

Historians will note that an anti-choice Congress imposed the ban 15 years ago--and anti-abortion politicians are not going to let this symbol of interference in D.C.'s local affairs go down without a fight.

Anti-choice members of the committee (Reps. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), we are talking about you) are trying to reinsert the ban as this bill moves forward--and they could make their first attempt when the committee meets this Tuesday night.

Tiahrt and Davis' allies on anti-choice blogs and news sites already are manufacturing outrage over this positive development for women's health and safety in the nation's capital.

Well, good news! The House Appropriations Committee defeated this anti-choice attempt to reinsert the D.C. abortion ban. Keenan said:

We cleared an important hurdle, thanks to the leadership of subcommittee chairman Rep. Jose Serrano and our pro-choice allies on the House Appropriations Committee. As this bill moves to the full House, our activists are ready to work to ensure that Congress upholds the committee's action and thus removes this discriminatory policy that blocks women's access to safe, legal abortion in our nation's capital.

Read more on our website.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on Colorado's rejection of Colorado's extreme anti-ahoice ballot measure:

"Tonight's victory belongs to the vast majority of Coloradans who acted on their pro-choice values and rejected this extreme abortion ban," Keenan said. "Coloradans' common sense prevailed. Voters understood that this proposal would open the door to more government interference in personal, private decisions. In the spirit of this tremendous grassroots victory in the Rocky Mountain West, we will take the valuable lessons learned in Colorado to combat similar attacks on privacy that we are likely to see in other states. Anti-choice extremists refuse to take no for an answer, even when they lose by wide margins. We will work at every turn to stand up against copycat attacks on privacy and freedom in other parts of the country and achieve more resounding pro-choice victories like the one Colorado voters delivered tonight."

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado was an early leader in the state-based coalition that successfully defeated Amendment 48. Emilie C. Ailts, executive director of the Denver-based organization, said, "We knew Colorado was a pro-choice state before Amendment 48; the defeat of this dangerous amendment simply reinforces the mainstream Colorado belief that personal, private health-care decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors and families and in keeping with their own religious beliefs. Coloradans have sent a clear message to anti-choice extremists: Divisive attacks on a woman's right to choose are unacceptable in our state; instead, Coloradans want policymakers to focus on commonsense, common-ground strategies to reduce the need for abortion by preventing unintended pregnancy. That's why NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado will continue its work to promote policies to ensure all Colorado women maintain access to the full range of reproductive health-care services."

It's all from our release, but I wanted to put it on our blog.

Casey Murschel - executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, former Republican legislator, and key leader in the coordinated effort to defeat the ban - said the proposal's second consecutive loss hopefully will stop future attacks on a woman's right to choose:

South Dakotans faced long odds against a dangerous and deceptive abortion ban backed by a misleading anti-choice marketing scheme. We never wavered in talking to our neighbors at church or at the grocery store about the need to stop this abortion ban. Tonight, the message to South Dakota's anti-choice groups is clear: Enough is enough--stop trying to make our state the testing ground for efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Let's give a hand to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. Y'all knocked it out of the park on this one.

Launching campaign against the South Dakota ban



South Dakota has an abortion ban on the ballot this I having déjà vu?


Unfortunately not. But South Dakotans rejected a version of it in 2006, and we're going to do all we can to make sure that happens again this fall.


To launch this effort, NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota Executive Director Casey Murschel flew to DC and came together today with NARAL Pro-Choice America and several wonderful partners: South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.


As Nancy Keenan said this afternoon, this effort threatens the entire country, because those behind the ban want to see it lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Today's Wall Street Journal article echoes Nancy's sentiments:


"Ban proponents hope it would be challenged in court and eventually entice the Supreme Court to revisit Roe. That is where the presidential race comes in. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has said abortion should remain legal and wants to preserve Roe, while Republican Sen. John McCain wants Roe to be overturned."


There's a lot of great organizations fighting this ban, but that doesn't mean they don't need help. Make sure you check out NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families to see what you can do to get involved and spread the word.


Let's have good déjà vu this year - South Dakota firmly rejecting the ban.

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