Category: News

The On-Going Attacks on Planned Parenthood

To anti-choice extremists. Planned Parenthood is the symbol of women’s reproductive freedom, which to them is unbearable.

In July, anti-choice zealots launched their war on women with a guerrilla-style attack on Planned Parenthood. Seemingly out of nowhere they hurled heavily edited videos at the media, that supposedly showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue for a profit. When the whole video was examined, however, the truth came out. It became clear that the real conversation being had was actually a discussion of legal forms of fetal tissue donation.

Unfortunately, it did not matter that the producers of the altered videos all had suspicious credentials and belonged to the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress (CMP)—led by 26-year-old activist David Daleiden who has a murky past at best. The feeding frenzy had begun.

“Roll Call found that some House Republicans had seen the videos weeks before they were released to the public without making any public comment, suggesting some degree of private coordination between the CMP and the GOP.” The Daily Beast

Despite the stench of fraud surrounding these altered videos, the federal government and some states began probes into Planned Parenthood.

In August, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota completed their probes and cleared Planned Parenthood of any alleged wrongdoing; and governors in Washington, New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Virginia have rejected calls for probes in their own states.

In addition, the attempt to get the Federal Government to defund Planned Parenthood failed-but only by seven votes in the Senate. That’s why they think they can make it happen this time around.

Anti-Choice Extremists have been Very Successful this Summer:
► Five (5) states – Alabama, Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Hampshire – have all defunded Planned Parenthood and other states are working toward the same end.
â–º There has been a dramatic increase in violence, including arson, against Planned Parenthood clinics around the country as a result of the hateful and false rhetoric spread by anti-choice legislators and activists.
â–ºThese anti-choice activists gained traction with candidates in search of an electoral base. They demand that their candidates staunchly oppose women and our right to comprehensive reproductive health care including abortion and contraception

Republican presidential candidates have weighed in:

● All of the candidates are on the record as opposing abortion, and want to ban it.

  • Some want to ban abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.
  • Mike Huckabee has said he would not rule out using the military to end abortion, and recently stated, as if to prove him point, that he would support denying an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim.
  • They have all vowed to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • Jeb Bush is famously on the record for saying “[He’s] not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”

► These extremists have also aided in the rise of severe abortion restrictions including Ohio’s new one, HB 131, which will make it a felony to perform an abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. As a candidate competing for the GOP presidential nomination, Gov. John Kasich will sign it into law. This law holds the doctor liable!

51 Abortion Restrictions & New York State

“Through the first six months of 2015, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions; this brings the number of restrictions enacted since 2010 to 282. Although only about a dozen state legislations remained in session as of July 1, these states may well enact additional restrictions before the end of the year.” RH Reality Check

It is a fact that state governments are well on their way to criminalizing abortion, and women are already dying. Just this year, a 33-year-old woman in Indiana was sentenced to 20 years in jail under that state’s fetal homicide law for supposedly self-aborting her pregnancy.

People incorrectly think that there is no problem for women in New York State. The reality, however, is quite different.
> In 2012, NY cut $2 million from the family planning budget and has still not restored those funds.
> Since January 1, 2015, nine anti-choice bills have been proposed in Albany.
> 53% of NY counties have no abortion clinics and the number of abortion providers is decreasing every year.
> In 2011 there were 225 abortion providers which is a 9% decline from 2008 when there were 249.
> For those living in NYC, abortion services are accessible. However, for those out of the City, to get an abortion past 16 weeks is significantly more difficult. Women generally have to travel to the City or Westchester to terminate. WCLA – Choice Matters and I have personally dealt with women coming from upstate to terminate at that point. It is a three-day procedure and the people require housing, etc. – not to mention they have to miss work, school and leave their families.

> After 24 weeks, it is virtually impossible to terminate in NY. NY’s law was written before Roe v. Wade and does not provide the full constitutional protection guaranteed by Roe. If a woman’s health is at risk or something goes wrong in her pregnancy after 24 weeks, she must seek care outside of NY because NY law does not allow a doctor to perform an abortion.

There are three truths:

  1. Abortion is an essential part of reproductive health care.
  2. Women will find a way to have abortions regardless of the laws and penalties implemented to stop them.
  3. Most women, by a vast majority and regardless of religion, support the right for all women to have unfettered access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion.

The vast majority of young people do not recognize – because we have not forced them to learn it – that the right to control our bodies is a civil right, just like the right to vote and to marry whomever you choose. Unless vigilantly defended, these rights can and will be lost.

WCLA – Choice Matters has established a strategy for fundamental grassroots advocacy of reaching out to all registered female voters to establish their position on reproductive rights and, if pro-choice, keeping them informed about candidates and the issues. Then we email to whom we can; and mail with a stamp to everyone. Despite the speed and ease of the internet, the reality is that paper materials mailed to a household are still far more effective than email, and, unfortunately, far more expensive.

This commitment and degree of outreach are the way a real grassroots organization works and why Choice Matters and WCLA PAC are so successful – and what sets us apart, and is the key to our phenomenal impact in elections every year. However, we can’t do it without your continued financial support.

Stand with us and the silent majority that votes with our WCLA PAC Yellow Voting Guide in hand. Your continued moral and financial support enables us to keep up the fight. Without you, we cannot exist.

 

Senate to Consider 20-Week Abortion

Plus
The Anti-Abortion Rights Strategy

“One state at a time – and then go national!”
That is the new anti-choice strategy and it’s working!

The 20-week abortion ban is the anti-choice extremists’ target right now.  They believe the ban will be their opening to challenge and, ultimately, overturn Roe v. Wade.

Over the course of the last 12 months, these strategic zealots have managed to get this ban – a prohibition of all abortions from 20 weeks on – passed into law in 15 states, with others including Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Ohio considering bans as well.

These bans are so extreme that a woman is prohibited from terminating a pregnancy even in cases of severe fetal anomalies.

By showing success in individual states, these anti-choice extremists gained leverage in Washington DC. They used it to convince their legislative partners in the House of Representatives to introduce the same ban in Congress – and it passed in the House on May 13, 2015.

Then on June 11, 2015, Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham introduced the bill in the Senate, and every single 2016 GOP presidential hopeful quickly endorsed it; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to get it to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

Maybe you think this doesn’t affect you because you live in New York.

Think again! If the 20-week ban is passed by Congress then it becomes New York’s law too.

For now, the Senate Democrats will hopefully block the ban; and if they fail, President Obama will likely veto it. But the legislation is gaining momentum.

BREAKING NEWS: The House Passes National Abortion Ban!

Abortion politics is trickling up. The U.S. House of Representatives took the 20-week abortion ban being pushed in individual states around the country and went NATIONAL with it – passing it today.

This ban is extremely dangerous for women’s health, and steps squarely between a woman and her health care provider.

This abortion ban is also unashamedly unconstitutional. In an attempt to punish women, this bill also establishes huge time-consuming hurdles for rape victims who choose to terminate their pregnancy. If passed into law, it would also establish criminal penalties, including five years in prison.

This bill is not about the fetus. It is about punishing and controlling women.

We will continue to see this “trickle up” anti-choice mentality make its way from the states to Congress. These attacks are and will continue to be relentless.

Together we must fight back. Please contribute to Choice Matters today, so that we can battle back. Let’s tell Congress: We. Won’t. Take. It. Anymore!

Together We Stand and Together We Win,
Catherine Lederer-Plaskett
PresidentTo read more: House GOP Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

BREAKING NEWS: Santorum Couldn’t Stop Glick

Guess who was in Albany on Tuesday?
Anti-choice extremist, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum!!!

You remember Rick –  he believes that the Supreme Court decisions allowing married and single women the right to birth control were wrong and should be overturned.

Why Albany? Santorum thinks New York is vulnerable. He was here joining with others to egg on anti-choice legislators to oppose bills protecting a woman’s right to choose.

But that didn’t stop Assemblywoman Deborah Glick who introduced a bill, A 6221, that would guarantee New York women the full constitutional protection of Roe v. Wade – a protection sorely missing from New York law.

We desperately need to protect New York women from the horrific attacks being waged against us in states across the country and in Washington D.C. The passage of A 6221 is the way to do that!

New York’s Assembly is leading the way.

Call your Assembly member and tell her/him that you support A 6221.

Then let’s make sure the Senate follows!

Tell Gov. Cuomo, “Words are NOT enough!”

Governor Cuomo is not abiding by his own campaign promises of standing up for equality for women!

In January 2013, Governor Cuomo announced a sweeping ten-point Women’s Equality Agenda (WEA) for New York that included protections for abortion rights, pay equity, against housing and pregnancy discrimination, and more.

The WEA never made it to the floor of the Senate for a vote because a group of five Democrats, led by Senator Jeff Klein, split with their party after it won a majority in the 2012 elections. These five rogue Democrats empowered the Republicans by creating a power-sharing deal that basically allowed the GOP to decide what bills should come to the floor for a vote. Republican leader Dean Skelos made it perfectly clear that the 10-point WEA would never to come to the floor for a vote.

According to RH Reality Check, 7/30/2014, “Gov. Cuomo gave his blessing to the deal that put two men in charge of the Senate, rather than the pro-choice [duly elected majority] leader of his own party, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first Black woman to lead a New York State legislative caucus.” But we don’t know that for sure!

What we do know is that in the 2014 New York gubernatorial election, Cuomo unveiled a brand-new Women’s Equality Party complete with a commercial starring himself and his family. The commercial made clear that the passage of the WEA was of utmost importance to Governor Cuomo. Women deserved nothing less. But then the Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, and Klein and his buddies, despite pre-election promises, joined forces with the Republicans, again, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the New York State Senate Minority Leader.

Fast forward to today. It is budget time in Albany. Sheldon Silver is no longer Assembly Speaker. The Governor and everyone else in Albany has declared it a time for transparency.

Governor Cuomo has the opportunity to make his championing of Women’s Equality mean something. After all, that is what he ran on: equality for women.

Instead, Cuomo invited into the behind-closed-doors budget negotiations Senate Leader Republican Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Democrat Carl Heastie and JEFF KLEIN. WHERE IS SENATE MINORITY LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS? WHY WASN’T SHE INVITED IN?

Cuomo invited Jeff Klein who represents 5 Senators in but left Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins who represents 25 Senators outside. That is not equality and this is disrespectful. Klein has no business in the room. He does not represent any recognized political party, while Andrea Stewart-Cousins represents the Democratic Caucus.

Sign this petition and let Governor Cuomo know what you think: Let Her In!
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-her-in.fb52?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=5603782

Remember, it’s Women’s History Month! Let’s make some Good Herstory!

Congress Set to Cut Your Abortion Rights This Thursday

This Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US House of Representatives will vote to ban 20-week abortion nationally.

The symbolism of the day can’t be missed.

The 114th Congress’ anti-choice politicians are using the Roe v. Wade anniversary to send a clear message: They are gunning for women and our reproductive rights.

In the Senate, the new Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, made the passage of this ban a campaign promise when running for re-election last fall!

Just hours after being sworn in, the right-wing controlled Congress introduced this 20-week abortion ban.

If the 20-week abortion ban becomes law, it will effect women in every state in the country – jeopardize women’s health everywhere. The bill is unconstitutional and would institute criminal penalties, including up to five years in prison for health care providers for delivering safe medical care to women who need it. [1]

The bill, HR 36, deceptively named the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”, is based on lies and junk science claims that:
*fetuses are viable and can feel pain at 20 weeks (both false),
*abortion at that stage is too risky for women (it is still safer than childbirth), and
*the public supports a ban (in truth, the overwhelming majority wants pre-viability abortions, including at and after 20 weeks, to remain safe and legal).[2]

With women’s rights supporters now in the minority in Congress, we need to fight harder than ever against attacks on our reproductive rights. We need to reach out to Congress and to President Obama. If the bill passes Congress, we will need President Obama to stand up for all women and veto this bill.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION
(This will take you to the National Partnership for Women and Families to facilitate contacting Congress.)

We Must Speak Out!

[1] National Partnership for Women and Families
[2] National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill

Westchester vs. Every Other County in the Country

There is no question that the November 4th Elections were horrific for women nationally and in states across the country including New York. Extremists with their anti-woman agendas took control of both houses of Congress, state governments, and, here in New York, the State Senate. Politicians who have pledged to enact sweeping abortion bans, take away women’s right to birth control coverage, and do away with equal pay legislation have taken control.

But here in Westchester, things were different. Why? Because of WCLA – PAC, WCLA – Choice Matters, our bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide – and YOU.Where an estimated four billion dollars was spent nationally on campaigns, we managed to take our meager funds and change elections. We madetens of thousands of phone calls to our database, got over 54,000 copies of our yellow ProChoice Voting Guide into mailboxes reaching over 85,000 pro-choice voters, and emailed (more than some of you liked). And we got out the vote! As a result, 95% of our candidates were elected, including Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and State Senator George Latimer who were both under targeted assault. Plus we elected a terrific Supreme Court Justice, James Hubert, to his first term representing the 9th District which is made up of 5 counties. In addition, our strong advocacy for the re-election of our phenomenal pro-choice Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, resulted in a very strong win for him here in Westchester, the county that decided this year’s elections. We decisively defeated Westchester’s own anti-choice extremist County Executive in favor of our pro-choice Governor. Our pro-choice actions dramatically impacted Election Day outcomes here in New York State.

2014 stands in sharp contrast to 2013 when due to insufficient fundswe were unable to mail out our Voting Guide, and pro-choice candidates lost in astonishing numbers. In 2013, they lost by small margins, and this year they won by those same margins. These races – decided by just a few percentage points – are where our ProChoice Voting Guide makes the difference between winning and losing.

Women vote at higher rates than their male peers, and that gap increases with age. And women are our base. Our database demographic is not comprised of your typical internet and social media users. Reaching this target population, the one that can change elections, requires more traditional avenues of communication – the telephone, and yes, snail mail – the U.S. Postal Service. And the postage rate just keeps going up.

But our work is not limited to election time. We work all year long – advocating, organizing, reviewing proposed legislation, writing op-eds, making sure we have input in policies and programs – while every week we are calling new voters to identify whether they are pro-choice and can be added to our database. We are on the frontlines and the cutting edge. For example, immediately following the Hobby Lobby decision, Choice Matters approached Attorney General Schneiderman’s office with a simple straight-forward idea: Create legislation that requires employers to disclose whether or not they provide contraceptive coverage, and if they change the coverage, require that the company disclose the change. This, the Reproductive Rights Disclosure Act, was our brainchild and made New York the first state in the nation to take action in response to the U. S. Supreme Court’s horrendous decision. It was so impressive that President Obama enacted a version of our bill.

Unfortunately, this all costs money. Your support today is essential to our ability to function. Without your financial contribution, there will be no ProChoice Voting Guide or people building our database, or staff to hold New York policies in check. We scare some candidates and elected officials, and reward others, because we hold them accountable for their actions.

Choice Matters has been standing strong since 1972! That’s 42+ years! Choice Matters has interviewed hundreds of thousands of female voters, identified those who are pro-choice, and added them to our database. It’s our amazing staff, database and mailed ProChoice Voting Guide that make us victorious. We’ve always understood this.  We don’t need massive SUPER PAC money, but we do need your contributions. As we’ve clearly demonstrated, we spend our funds wisely.  The more you invest in us, the greater our impact will be on New York State and federal politics. It starts with a donation from you. Make no mistake about it, we are now in the fight of our lives as extremists in Congress, followed by those in our state governments, including in Albany, are committed to rolling back women’s rights. For example, a Personhood Bill – giving a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a human being, and thereby banning abortion and most birth control – has already passed the House of Representatives. After this election, they have enough votes to bring the bill to the Senate floor! Limitations imposed by Congress will affect New York.

Can you chip in to help us fight to defend the right to choose against this new anti-choice majority? Your generous contribution of $25, $100, $250 or more will help Choice Matters’ ProChoice campaign continue to identify and educate pro-choice voters across the county and state, and change elections. We kept Congressman Maloney in office despite horrendous attacks, and with your support we will continue to do more.

Please say, “Yes, I’ll make a donation to help defend abortion rights against this new anti-choice majority.”  Consider making a contribution in someone’s name, as a holiday gift!

Choice Matters is a mighty pro-choice organization with a proven strategy. When you, our donors, provide us with the funding needed, we are able to do extraordinary things. Now more than ever, we need your support. Your contribution, whatever you can afford – large or small – will make a difference.  Every dollar truly counts.

Please mail your contribution today or you may securely contribute on line at www.choicematters.org.

Supporting Choice Matters is the most valuable action an advocate for Choice can take.

Do They Really Think They Can Fool Women?

Candidates’ OTC Birth Control Plans are a Raw Deal

This election season, many candidates, particularly Republicans, from Virginia to Colorado, are trying to run from their war on women voting records by coming out in support of over-the-counter (OTC) birth control. Make no mistake, they are targeting middle and low income women – people who would not vote for them anyway!

Their proposal might seem like they suddenly understand the need for increasing contraceptive access, but don’t be fooled!

These candidates just want women to pay for the full cost of their birth control, with no help from insurance coverage.These candidates are helping insurance companies, not women. (Note, they are not suggesting doing away with insurance coverage for Viagra.)

These candidates aren’t supporting women’s reproductive health — they’re attacking it.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), out-of-pocket costs prevent many women from consistently accessing birth control, and the most effective – and most expensive – methods, such as the intrauterine device (IUD), always require a visit to a health care provider. (So what about a doctor’s visit is OTC?)

Just to make this point even clearer, not one birth control manufacturer has sought FDA approval for OTC birth control — so these so-called improvements would result in middle and low income earning women being without contraceptive access because they can’t afford it!

This OTC proposal comes from the same candidates who have pushed to restrict access to comprehensive reproductive health care. These same politicians have placed repealing the Affordable Care Act which would cover contraception as preventative care and cutting back on public clinic funding at the top of their agendas. These candidates want: NO preventative care coverage for annual exams, Pap smears, or contraception. 

OTC contraception has a place in efforts to expand reproductive choice. People need access to services like emergency contraception on demand. But putting birth control in front of the counter is only the first step to ensuring comprehensive access. Women need policy makers who support a full spectrum of reproductive health decisions. Instead of doing away with insurance coverage for contraceptives, we need to expand it to cover Plan B, a very expensive OTC emergency contraceptive.

Women, don’t be fooled. Don’t let these candidates stick women with the bill!

by Olivia Cappello