Category: Updates

Take Action Now – Senator Reid to Introduce Health Care Legislation This Week

Senator Reid is expected to introduce a health care reform bill this week in the Senate. We must demand that it be Stupak-Pitts Free.

# 1 Sign the attached letters to President Obama and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand telling them health care must be Stupak-Pitts free!
Click here to sign the letter to President Obama
Click here to sign the letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand

#2 Call or write an e-mail to President Obama telling him that health care reform isn’t reform if women lose the coverage they currently can have for abortion. For example, simple say or write:
“President Obama, you are on record saying that if we liked the health insurance we have, we could keep it. Tell Congress you meant it! Anti-choice extremists and religious zealots should not decide health insurance practices. We are not bargaining chips to mollify the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and anti-choice zealots in Congress who are committed to destroying our reproductive health!”
Click here to email:
Or call: Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414

# 3 Write Letters to the Editor of our local newspaper. Express your outrage at the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and call on the Senate and the President to keep new abortion restrictions out of health care reform.
Here is a sample: Get Religion Out of Health Care Reform
Some Local Newspapers:
The New York Times email to
The Wall Street Journal email to
The Journal News or email to
The Scarsdale Enquirer email to

#4 Pressure Stupak’s money sources
Here is a list of major PACs that contributed to Bart Stupak’s last election. If you’re a customer, tell the company you are outraged that their officers and employees contributed to Stupak’s re-election. Tell them you are considering withholding your business if they continue to support him.

#5 Thank the local New York House representatives (Congressmen Engel, Weiner and Hall, and Congresswomen Lowey and Slaughter) who stood with us and voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Tell them they to vote against any bill that includes Stupak-Pitts language.

In the Senate, our outrage is producing small signs of progress. Already, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has spoken out on the Senate floor and at a press conference to express our concerns. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas also voiced opposition to any further erosion of abortion coverage when she said that the House amendment goes too far by prohibiting what private plans can offer. We need to thank them!
For Senator Gillibrand:
For Senator Lincoln:

What Happened and What is the Stupak-Pitts Amendment?

On Saturday, November 7, 2009, the House of Representatives betrayed women by passing a Health Care Bill that included the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. This was in direct response to pressures exerted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who threatened to kill health care reform if the amendment was not included.

The Stupak-Pitts Amendment bans any abortion coverage completely from the insurance exchanges that would be established by health reform to provide affordable health coverage. This includes both the private plans in the exchange and the so-called “public option,” which would be the government-run alternative to costly private insurance plans. Even women buying insurance with their own private money will not be able to get a plan that covers abortion. Instead, they will have to buy a separate abortion “rider” to the plan at an extra cost.

This dangerous amendment undermines the ability of millions of women to purchase private health insurance that covers abortion, even if women pay for all or most of the premiums with their own money. This amendment reaches much further than the Hyde Amendment, which has prohibited public funding of abortion in most instances since 1977.

*Special thanks to Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

Election results

Most of our endorsed pro-choice candidates won their elections this year including:

COUNTY CLERK – Timothy Idoni
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 2 – Peter Harckham
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 3 – John Nonna
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 4 – Michael Kaplowitz
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 5 – William Ryan
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 6 – Martin Rogowsky
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 7 – Judy Meyers
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 8 – Alfreda Williams
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 9 – William Burton
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 10 – Vito Pinto
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 11 – James Maisano
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 12 – Thomas Abinanti
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 14 – Bernice Spreckman
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 16 – Ken Jenkins
COUNTY LEGISLATOR – District 17 – Jose Alvarado

We are sad to report that County Executive Andy Spano was unseated by anti-choice Robert Astorino. Andy Spano was a strong supporter of our organization and of choice. Another strong supporter of choice, Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick, was also unseated.

Official Board of Elections results can be found here.

Why Abortion Should Be Covered

Read in detail at Broadsheet

1. Abortion is legal medical care.

2. Abortion is common, mainstream medical care. It is one of the most common surgical procedures in America.

3. Abortion is already broadly covered. Between 50 and 85 percent of women who have private insurance, including employer-sponsored plans, have coverage for abortion care.

4. Covering abortion does not raise the abortion rate.

5. Covering abortion makes abortion safer. Out of pocket, abortion can be expensive, all the more so as the pregnancy progresses. Yet women who take time to “save up” only wind up paying more — and taking more risk.

6. Covering abortion is what the people want. According to a recent poll by the Mellman Group, voters oppose reform that would prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion.

7. Excluding abortion from coverage sends us down a slippery “moral” slope.

8. Let’s have insurance companies hold an annual poll of subscribers and decide on a majority basis what gets covered. Let’s especially ask if they want their premiums to pay for obesity-related diseases, smoking-related diseases, STDs, neonatal intensive care where the life expectancy is less than 5 percent and put a cap on care for people over 80.

9. Without coverage, there is no “choice.” Sex — a natural human drive for most — entails risks. Even with the best prevention measures, there will be unintended pregnancies.

10. Megan Carpentier, former Jezebel writer and current editor of News and Politics of Air America Radio, sums it up thusly: “Why should abortion be covered? Because sometimes abortion is medically necessary, and the government shouldn’t be writing regulations from Washington that tell a woman in Kansas when that is. Because exempting cases of rape and incest, as the Hyde Amendment does, means that women who are victims of rape and incest don’t get the coverage they’re supposed to have anyway, because there’s no way to police whether their pregnancies are the result of government-approved circumstances. Because there’s no actual government money that’s going to get spent on the so-called public option, so it’s a question of whether you, with your own money, can get insurance that covers what you choose to have it cover. And because eliminating coverage that currently exists through federal law is just another back-door way for the antiabortion movement to make it more difficult and expensive for women to get a legal medical procedure, since they can’t convince women not to have abortions on the ‘merits’ of their arguments.”

Maria Shriver Needs to Read “The Mismeasure of Woman”

Just last week Maria Shriver released, surprise, The Shriver Report. The report claims to be a portrait of today’s American Woman. The report is titled A Woman’s Nation. To pump up attention for the report, California’s First Lady has been making the rounds of the networks. This morning she was on CNN.

The portrait that Shriver paints is not the America I know or that in which most of the women I encounter live. It is sure not the America of the women who are most in need of a reform of health care that does away with gender ratings and age ratings. (Read more at: Raising Women’s Voices.)

Take the time to read the op-ed by Joanne Lipman that appeared in The New York Times, October 24, 2009, The Mismeasure of Woman. Meet the real lives of real American women.

Remembering Rosie Jiminez

Rosaura “Rosie” Jiménez was a single mother living in McAllen, Texas. In September 1977, upon discovering she was pregnant, and being told that medicaid would no longer pay for abortions she had an illegal abortion and died of an infection.

Rosie was the first known victim of the Hyde Amendment which, in 1977, cut off Medicaid funding for safe abortion care to women on public assistance. Rosie was 27 years old.

Rosie is the reason why our mission is to keep abortion legal and to ensure that all women, regardless of age, race, class, status, geography or ability to pay, have full, unimpeded access to reproductive health care. And the reason why it is so important to have pro-choice elected officials at all levels of government.

Activist and songwriter Sandy Rapp has written a moving song about Rosie Jiminez. Please listen in remembrance.

2009 ProChoice Voting Guide

prochoice Are you PRO-CHOICE in Westchester County, NY? Here is the WCLA-Choice Matters Voting Guide. It tells you who is pro-choice in local elections. This year we are voting for Supreme Court Justices, County Court Judge, County Executive, District Attorney, County Clerk, and Westchester County Legislators. We have also made an endorsement this year for Yonkers City Council President.

These are local elections and very important. Local government plays a very important role in Choice decisions. Just read the Guide and you’ll see how. Because many people do not bother to vote in local elections those of us who do have a far greater impact on the outcome.

If you need additional reasons to vote on November 3rd, please note: 1. There are more Right to Life endorsed candidates on the ballot this year than at any time during the Bush administration; and 2. Locally elected officials are the candidates for higher office tomorrow.

VOTE on Tuesday, November 3rd.

We ask for you to distribute this link far and wide to all of your pro-choice friends. It is your legal right to carry our voting guide into the voting booth with you.

Download the guide here (Adobe PDF)

A new Oklahoma law is set to go into effect Nov. 1 that would collect detailed data about each abortion performed — and post it all on a public Web site. The posts will not include the name, address or “any information specifically identifying the patient.” But opponents argue that the first eight questions alone would be enough to out any woman in a town of 200 or smaller.

“They’re really just trying to frighten women out of having abortions,” Keri Parks, director of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, told Broadsheet.

More information on’s Broadsheet.

Senate rejects new threat to abortion in health reform!

The Senate Finance Committee this morning rejected, by a 13 to 10 margin, a proposal by Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, that would have turned abortion coverage into an optional “rider” that women would have to buy separately when purchasing health insurance through the proposed insurance “exchange” that would be created under health reform. Hatch and his anti-choice colleagues said the purpose of the amendment was to make absolutely sure no public dollars would be used for abortion coverage, even though the Baucus health reform bill already does that in a different way by requiring that public funds be kept separate from private funds when abortion coverage is provided.

“As a woman, I find this offensive,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who was one of several Senators arguing vigorously against Stabenow called “an extreme amendment” in committee debate. “This is not about tax dollars,” she said, but rather “this is an unprecedented intrusion into what people can buy in the private marketplace.” She and a committee staffer said that the Hatch proposal would ban abortion entirely from all insurance plans offered in the insurance exchange, and thus remove that coverage from private insurance policies women now have and are paying for with their own money.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, said the Hatch proposal would move the health reform bill from one that maintains the status quo on abortion – by maintaining the current prohibition on use of federal funds for abortion – to one “that would change the status quo. ”Also arguing against the Hatch amendment was Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who elicited testimony from committee staff that states which now use their own dollars to fund abortions in the Medicaid program are able to successfully segregate those funds from federal Medicaid funding that cannot be used for abortions.

Please thank the Senators who voted against the outrageous Hatch abortion ban! They include Baucus, Bingaman, Menendez, Cantwell, Snowe, Stabenow, Nelson, Schumer, Rockefeller.

A few minutes later, another proposal by Senator Hatch to insert a new “conscience” or refusal clause was also defeated by 13 to 10!

Oppose Rockefeller’s Ban on Abortion in Public Plan!

Unfortunately, in an otherwise well-intended effort to get a public plan option back in health reform, West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller filed an amendment (#C6) that includes a ban on coverage of abortions (except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the woman) in the public plan.

This provision would go well beyond the current federal bans on use of federal funding for abortions, because it would mean that even women trying to purchase public- sponsored health insurance with their own money would be barred from having abortion coverage!

Remember, the public plan is simply a government-sponsored insurance option, which people could choose to select as their health insurance and pay for with their own premium dollars. Because it is likely to be cheaper than private insurance being offered through the proposed health insurance exchange, women may want to buy this public insurance. Any public subsidies women might use to supplement their private premium dollars in purchasing public or private health insurance through the exchange already would have a “no-abortion” condition attached to it, under the Baucus plan. Like the Capps amendment (attached to health reform in the House Energy and Commerce Committee reform bill), the Baucus plan would segregate public subsidy funds from private premium dollars to avoid having public money pay for abortions.

We Need Your Help!

Tell Senator Rockefeller and other members of the Senate Finance Committee to take the abortion ban out of any public plan option! Other anti-choice amendments that should be opposed include ones filed by Senator Orin Hatch (C10, C13 and C14) and Senator Michael Enzi (C13, C14, C15 and C21).

If your Senator is not a member of the Senate Finance Committee, ask him or her to contact Senator Rockefeller and the other senators on the Finance Committee to oppose the abortion ban and anti-choice amendments.