Category: News

A Head-Spinning Week – a recap

Over the last week we’ve witnessed:

  • The Supreme Court hear oral arguments against Texas’ extreme 6-week abortion  ban;
  • The Supreme Court side with the Albany Diocese AGAINST New York State, potentially overturning health insurance requirements concerning abortion;
  • Ohio’s introduction of HB 480 that is a total ban of all abortions and is structured like the Texas law, making citizens vigilante bounty hunters;
  • Anti-choice Republican candidates, including the gubernatorial one, win across Virginia; and
  • Close to home, in Nassau County, anti-choice Republicans win everything.But here in Westchester, it was different. WE WON!

    We couldn’t have done it without you.

    On Election Day, 90% of WCLA PAC’s endorsed candidates, rated 100% pro-choice by Choice Matters, WON! The “wins” for County Executive and County Clerk were overwhelming, in both cases 62% to 38%. The legislative races were tight, with our pro-choice voters making the key difference between winning and losing. (YEAH YOU!)

    Candidates who ran on a pro-choice platform won, and anti-choice ones lost.

    We proved again that abortion rights is a defining issue. Help us to continue to drive home this truth as we move forward into 2022. Contribute.

    And in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy proved that abortion rights is a core issue when he won re-election – the first Democratic governor in New Jersey to win a second term in 4 decades! And he won as proudly pro-choice, pounding the airwaves and mailings with ads that highlighted his opponent’s extreme anti-reproductive rights, anti-woman positions.

    This week must be a wake-up call for anyone concerned about reproductive freedom or access to abortion care. Our rights are under attack in Washington and in state-houses across the country. But that doesn’t mean we’re throwing in the towel.

    This is why Choice Matters, together with its two political action committees WCLA PAC and ProChoice Voter, is laser focused on electing pro-choice champions in our communities — locally, statewide and nationally. They are key to defending our reproductive freedoms.

    As we move forward, into 2022 and beyond, please know that we will stand with those who stand with us today and moving forward.

    Our champions must protect reproductive healthcare clinics, birth control, and science-based sex education. They must stand for access for all, not just some.

ALERT: Supreme Court Hears Texas Abortion Ban TODAY!

TODAY the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments against the most restrictive abortion ban in the country – Texas’ SB 8 law.

As the Court hears the two cases challenging Texas’ ban on almost all abortion, it has never been more clear, WE MUST ACT.

We – together with our allies across the country – are taking action, demanding a federal safeguard for abortion access – the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). The passage of the WHPA is the first step in ensuring equal access to abortion care—everywhere and for everyone.

We got it passed in the House of Representatives on September 24th – the first time in history, the House of Representatives voted on proactive legislation to protect abortion rights.

Now it is time for the Senate! 

Today’s Agenda
The first of the cases the Court will hear today is brought by Whole Woman’s Health and a broad coalition of providers and advocates, followed by a challenge brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Supreme Court will rule on whether federal courts even have the authority to block the law, and whether the U.S. Department of Justice has the power to challenge it. This question is raised because of the structure of SB 8 which relies on making bounty hunters out of average citizens for enforcement.

The Court will decide whether that doctors, clinic staff and others are able to sue in federal court to block this vigilante-structured law, and also whether to block the ban while litigation continues. They will not be deciding on the constitutionality of SB 8 when they hear these two cases today.

SB 8, now supported by SB 4, is a full-scale assault on privacy and reproductive health care. Bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right.

Choice Matters is pushing back against this massive assault and we are asking you to join us.

Florida state lawmakers are passing their own abortion ban legislation that copies Texas and lets private citizens, rather than the government, enforce the law. South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and North Dakota have indicated they intend to do the same.

We cannot sit idly by. We must take action.

TAKE ACTION: Women’s Health Protection Act VOTE THIS FRIDAY 9/24

TAKE ACTION

U.S. House to Vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act
THIS FRIDAY – 9/24

Texas’s extreme abortion ban makes clear: We need a federal law that protects the right to abortion in every state. Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) of 2021.

Equal access to abortion care—everywhere—is essential for social and economic equality, reproductive autonomy, and the right to determine our own lives.

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is federal legislation that works toward a future where all of us are free to make the personal decisions that shape our lives, our futures, and our families, without political interference.

It’s Time to Tell Congress: VOTE YES on WHPA!

FIRST:
ALL of New York’s Democratic Congressional Representatives are Co-Sponsors.
➤ THANK NYS’ DEMS NOW – BEFORE THE VOTE
Here is a list of the New York Democratic delegation. CLICK HERE.
Call them and/or send a tweet. Their phone numbers are available on the link.

➤ THANK EVERY OTHER CO-SPONSOR NOW – BEFORE THE VOTE
CLICK HERE for the names and contact information.

Here is a simple tweet to send:
“Thank you @TKTK, @TKTK, & @TKTKTK for co-sponsoring #WHPA. With your help, we are one step closer to ensuring equal access to abortion, everywhere. #ActforAbortionAccess #LegalChoiceMatters”

CONTACT YOUR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: CLICK HERE

STARTING NOW THROUGH THE VOTE WE MUST:
Tell our members of Congress to co-sponsor WHPA now.

THERE ARE FIVE (5) DEMOCRATIC  CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES WHO HAVE NOT SIGNED ON AS CO-SPONSORS.

Ask them to vote “YES” on Friday!

Here are their names and contact info:
Jared Golden (Maine) (202) 225-6306, (207) 249-7400  @RepGolden @golden4congress

Frank Pallone (New Jersey) (202) 225-4671, (732) 249-8892
@FrankPallone  @pallonefornj

Vincente Gonzalez (Texas) (202) 225-2531, (361) 209-3027
@RepGonzalez   @Vicentecongress

Henry Cuellar (Texas) (202) 225-1640, (210) 271-2851
@RepCuellar @cuellarcampaign

Filemon Vela (Texas)(202) 225-9901, (956) 544-8352
@RepFilemonVela @FilemonVela

We need to urge ALL representatives to VOTE YES to WHPA! Use these tweets to spread our message: 

Tweet #1 Option
Don’t let Texas’s draconian abortion ban #SB8 become the blueprint for other states. Congress must VOTE YES & PASS the Women’s Health Protection Act TODAY. #ActforAbortionAccess #legalchoicematters https://bit.ly/2PdwbzN

Tweet #2 Option
Abortion IS healthcare. Abortion IS essential. But in TX, abortion is now virtually inaccessible. It’s time for Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act #ActforAbortionAccess #legalchoicematters  https://bit.ly/2PdwbzN

Breaking: Supreme Court denies emergency request to block Texas’ 6-week abortion ban

In a 5-4 vote the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the request to block Texas’ Senate Bill 8 extreme abortion ban. S.B. 8 takes effect immediately and forces almost all legal abortion in Texas to stop.

The law bans abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy—before most women even know they’re pregnant, with no exception for rape or incest.

S.B. 8 is clearly unconstitutional. It effectively eliminates the guarantee in Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions that women have a right to end their pregnancies before viability, and that states may not impose undue burdens on that decision.

S.B. 8 also effectively deputizing private citizens to enforce this law. “Any private citizen — even if they don’t live in the state — can sue anyone they suspect of “aiding or abetting” abortion care in Texas and be rewarded with at least $10,000 if they win, with all their legal fees paid for by the other side.”* The law allows for anyone to be sued, including doctors, nurses, a friend or family member — or even an Uber driver. Already extremist groups have mounted a web campaign recruiting vigilantes to sue.

This is a full-scale assault on privacy and reproductive health care. Bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right.

Choice Matters is pushing back against this massive assault and we are asking you to join us.

Together we can win passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (EACH Woman) in Congress ensuring that all women across the country have full unimpeded access to abortion;

And

Together we will make New York State the Reproductive Rights Sanctuary we know it can be – making sure that all persons have full, equal and unimpeded access to comprehensive reproductive health care throughout the state regardless of their ability to pay or geographic location. We must make sexual education a part of our academic curriculum; medication abortion available on SUNY campuses; and emergency contraception available free of charge.

People’s fundamental freedoms depend on our strength and persistence. Thank you for your passionate support for reproductive freedom.

21st Century Abortion Wars

Opponents of abortion rights are using state legislatures to advance hundreds of extreme, unconstitutional and dangerous legislation – and we need Choice Matters supporters like you in the fight to push back.

Since Trump left office, more than 560 abortion restrictions have been introduced, including 165 bans. 

On July 23rd, the state of Mississippi formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Mississippi Attorney General, Lynn Fitch, argued that Roe v. Wade and its subsequent decisions are “egregiously wrong”, and that “the conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.” (italics added)

In other words, according to Mississippi AG Fitch, the right to an abortion is not protected by the Constitution and respective decisions protecting abortion rights should all be overturned – AND that states must have the right to ban abortion outright.

This is Mississippi’s opening salvo. The US Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case about Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban this fall.

This will be the Court’s first abortion case with its new 6-3 extremist majority. The announcement explicitly said that the Court will use this case to reconsider whether laws that ban abortion are unconstitutional.

 

Mississippi Is Trying To Get The Supreme Court To Reverse Roe, NPR, 7/23/2021
Mississippi asks the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade , NYT, 7/22/2021

 

CM’s Catherine Lederer-Plaskett Named One of Westchester Power 100

“Catherine Lederer-Plaskett’s political action committee advocates for abortion rights, an issue that has come to the fore now that conservatives make up a 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Locally, however, Lederer-Plaskett played a role in two recent political victories – keeping former Independent Democratic Conference member David Carlucci out of Congress, and getting Suzanne Berger elected leader of the county’s Democratic Party.

RBG – May Her Memory be a Revolution*

Dear Friends and Allies,

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the perfect antidote for the time in which we are living; and when she died, the world seemed to stop.

She gave us hope, dreams and the belief we could win. Her life story was inspirational – like the movie we loved to watch, if we couldn’t live it. Married to the person of her dreams, coping with a new family, while going to Harvard and making Law Review – all as she began to change the world. We admired her indomitable spirit and sheer brilliance, packed into a pint-size body; and we drank from her strength to stand up for equal rights and protections for everyone – to speak truth to power.

She was groundbreaking. Women wouldn’t have the rights we have today, if not for RBG’s work. Winning five of the six cases she argued before the US Supreme Court, RBG’s legacy as the nation’s preeminent litigator for women’s rights is indisputable. Her dissenting opinions are legendary.

Let Justice Ginsburg’s words, [my] “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”, be our guiding light.

Once we have allowed ourselves to mourn, we must fight like never before. Our biggest take-away from her passing must be WE CAN DO THIS. We must dig down deeper, turning out voters for the November 3rd election, to vote early, in person or by mail.

Help Choice Matters and WCLA PAC put our bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide into the hands of over 90,000 voters.

According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began on Friday night, is a Tzadik, a person of great righteousness. The same is true for a person who dies on Shabbat. Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed to do both, amplifying the accuracy of the description and providing the final honor that she so deserved as she left us.

Remember, as we move forward and as RBG said, “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”

Instead: Take Action. Organize. Volunteer. And Donate.

Contributions do make a fundamental difference. Please donate what you can to help us turn out voters. With each dollar donated to Choice Matters and WCLA PAC, you help us get out the vote by putting a voting guide in the hands of a voter – making phone calls to voters, and rides to the polls possible. Every Vote Will Matter.

Join us because together we can move forward.

Thank you,

Enterprise News 

Medication Abortions Under Attack

By Charlotte Baron

Why is Senator Ted Cruz making fact-less attacks on women’s healthcare, again? Cruz is currently under fire from pro-choice advocates after tweeting, “Pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.” GOP senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to declare Mifeprex, the “abortion pill”, an “imminent hazard to public health”, and to remove it from the market.

Of all developed nations, the United States has the highest mortality rate for pregnant women. According to the CDC, “about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.” Further, more than 50,000 women have severe and life-threatening pregnancies each year.

In sharp contrast to these numbers, just 24 deaths are attributed to medication abortions in the 20 years since its FDA approval in 2000. That is out of the 3.7 million women in the US have used medication abortion since then. One study done in 2012 found that “women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth to a live baby than to die from complications of an abortion.” Medication abortions are not harmful and do not put a women’s life at risk.

GOP senators are using the pandemic as an excuse to advance their anti-reproductive healthcare agenda. There is no statistical or scientific evidence to support claims that medication abortions are dangerous. Actually, all data points to exactly the opposite conclusions.

Suzanne Berger – Making History

Dear Pro-Choice friends and allies,

On a typical day, in a typical week, WCLA – Choice Matters and its 2 political action committees would not get involved in party politics. Choice Matters, ProChoice Voter and WCLA PAC are proudly non-partisan.

But these are not typical times. AND, our mission is simple – to advance abortion rights.

Choice Matters and WCLA PAC are proud to support and endorse Suzanne Berger for Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Party Committee – no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts”.

The Chair of a committee steers the ship, determining tenor and course.

Suzanne Berger is literally the ONLY candidate in this race who has demonstrated a true and unwavering commitment to abortion rights and reproductive freedom.

Abortion rights is not just a bullet point on a list or a photo op.  It is not simply attending an event or having a photo snapped with elected officials. Quite the contrary.

Being an abortion rights advocate and an activist  is a fundamental commitment – one that Suzanne Berger has demonstrated over and over again.

Under Suzanne Berger’s leadership, ALL of Greenburgh candidates running for office have been interviewed by Choice Matters to determine whether they are truly committed to a woman’s right to make her own decisions. The interviews and Choice Matters’ respective pro-choice rating have been reported to Greenburgh’s Executive Committee.

Suzanne’s opponent has done none of this.

What does being “pro-choice” mean? It is a phrase thrown around by many because it helps candidates get elected – just like Jeannine Pirro and Robert Castelli did. For Choice Matters, a candidate cannot be “kind of” pro-choice. Just as you cannot be a little pregnant, you cannot be a little pro-choice.

Now, across this nation, we face a reckoning.  Our constitutional rights are being challenged and threatened. And sadly, today, the fight for women’s reproductive freedom is sinking to the bottom of that bushel basket of rights.

This week, Westchester’s Democratic District Leaders have the opportunity to make history by making Suzanne Berger the first elected Woman Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Party Committee.

Suzanne has proven herself a forceful voice for the rights of all – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, financial fortitude or gender identity.

Please join me in supporting Suzanne Berger for Westchester County Democratic Chair!

Together let’s make history.
Sincerely,
Catherine

Another Possible Victim of the COVID-19

By Charlotte Baron

Sexual Education in New York – another casualty.

New York State is one of the 21 states that do not mandate that sexuality education (sex ed) be part of the required academic curriculum. Despite New York State’s image as a progressive bastion, there are no state standards – not even regarding birth control, std’s or simply saying “no”.  2020 was supposed to be the year that changed, with the passage of comprehensive legislation requiring age-appropriate sexuality education for K-12. But, now, with the coronavirus, budgetary challenges, and the rest of the legislative session in question, the young people of New York State may very well be forced to wait again.

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union ,  “Many public schools across New York provide sex-ed curriculum that is inaccurate, incomplete, and stigmatizing.” Other schools provide nothing. Much of the current curriculum fails to include education on sexually transmitted disease and LGBTQ+ students are often stigmatized or ignored completely. However, New York does have mandated HIV education, which may seem like a good thing but, in reality, isn’t because it is not required to be medically accurate. This can end up being more harmful than helpful. For example, in a local Westchester middle school,  the gym teacher assigned to teach about HIV told students they could contract it from sweat. Not since 1991, when Magic Johnson announced that he had contracted HIV, has such absolute unscientific mis-information been on such public display – and this was in an academic institution students are required to attend.

Sexuality education is an extremely important and valuable subject that should be mandated in all schools. Research done by the Public Library of Science shows “that when sex education is comprehensive, students feel more informed, make safer choices and have healthier outcomes — resulting in fewer unplanned pregnancies and more protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infection.” Having sexuality education taught in school gives students the ability to get clear concise answers to any questions they may have. Instead, they are forced to rely on the internet which can provide incorrect and confusing information, or parents who may be too self-conscious or ill-informed. A curriculum, which the teachers must follow,  alleviates any discrepancies between medical facts and individual opinions.  The Journal of Adolescent Health published research that found “that when sex education included information about contraception, teens had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education.”

New York’s Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan have sponsored proposed legislation  S4884/A6512 respectively which would make age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education required teaching in NYS schools. The bill would require “comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12 which addresses age and developmentally appropriate physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of human sexuality and reflects the national sexuality education standards.” The bill was introduced to the New York State Senate in March of 2019 and since then has been moved to the Education Committee. It has yet to be passed by the Senate or the Assembly. The success of this legislation rests not only on its passage but also on adequate funding for implementation. Unfortunately, 2020 may not be the year that students in New York State receive quality and informative sex ed.