Tag: abortion

Is IDC behavior back in style?

After the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) we all swore not to be fooled again. No matter whether there was a “D”,  “R” or “WFP” after the name, we were going to watch the actions, instead of simply listening to the words.

Choice Matters has been doing exactly that – and, unfortunately, our findings are not good.

1. Westchester County Government solicited and accepted a Trump Administration HHS grant for abstinence-only education targeted at the most vulnerable – teens – mostly of color, living below the poverty line & designated as “high risk.”  That’s a huge problem. We are balancing our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable, and we are doing it with lies and half-truths.

Choice Matters successfully got the County to reject the abstinence-only, anti-gay intervention curriculum provider but they are still taking the grant money. Choice Matters will work with the County to find a viable curriculum provider who will provide comprehensive sex education. If we cannot, we must demand that the County return the grant.

3.  Another man – this time a Westchester County Democratic leader – told a room full of Democratic committee chairs to ignore whether Choice Matters rates a candidate as pro-choice or anti-choice. Why? Because he does not want his Democratic candidates who are anti-choice to be adversely impacted. He clearly thinks the “D” is more important than women’s constitutional rights.

4. A male candidate for County Court judge lambasted Choice Matters for rating him anti-choice, after all he said he was “pro-choice.” Then he went on to make our point for us by coming out in total opposition to minors’ rights. This candidate has no place on the Bench.

There is no more important an office than that of judge. Choice Matters is the only organization that interviews and rates judicial candidates.

Choice Matters is your feet on the ground. Please contribute today.

Oh, and fyi – let’s not forget the male presidential contender who entered the Democratic field two weeks ago. He thinks campaigning for anti-choice candidates is fine – even those who have a track record of co-sponsoring bills to restrict abortion rights. According to this presidential candidate, “…you can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”

Really??? Women’s reproductive right is just one issue?? According to the Roe v. Wade decision, that one issue is a woman’s constitutional right. Maybe this candidate is willing to forfeit other constitutional rights, maybe those protecting People of Color or LGBTQ folks. Or is it only women’s rights that are expendable?

When you are playing fast and loose with constitutional rights, you never know what might go next! 

It’s official – the Reproductive Health Act is Law!

Today, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade,the NYS Assembly and Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act sending it to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law. AND HE DID!

(Please remember that this Trump Administration and Supreme Court are overtly and outspokenly committed to overturning Roe.)

New York – as of today – finally has legislation that takes abortion out of the penal code, that means no longer legislating abortion as homicide, and instead providing women with 21st century medical reproductive health care.

This could not have happened without YOU!

Choice Matters has been working tirelessly to pass this bill since 2006.

However, not until you voted in 2018 to give NYS a pro-choice Senate with a Democratic majority could we make this pro-woman healthcare, pro-woman’s civil rights law a reality.

We thank you for your support and ask you to recognize that we work day in and day out to pass pro-choice legislation to protect your right to Choose. Now we will focus our attention on making sure that NYS has a budget that enables women who live on the financial borderline to actually be able to use this law!

Sincerely,
Choice Matters Staff

40 NYS-Based Organizations Join Choice Matters Demanding Passage of RHA

Groups Call For Immediate Passage Of The RHA
January 2019

We, the undersigned, ask that you vote for the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) of 2019 during this legislative session. The RHA secures and protects our health and reproductive rights by updating New York’s outdated abortion law passed back in 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade.

According to current state law, New York regulates abortion as a homicide in the penal code. The law as it stands fails to meet the constitutional standard of Roe and is out of step with modern medicine. With the Trump administration determined to limit abortion access and a new anti-Roe majority on the Supreme Court, time is of the utmost importance. This is why we ask that you pass the RHA NOW.

The Reproductive Health Act is important because it:

Updates our laws, securing and protecting the right to abortion in New York. The RHA enshrines in state law the constitutional standard of Roe, affirms reproductive freedoms, and allows New Yorkers to get safe and legal abortions.

Protects health care professionals who provide vital care. The RHA ensures that qualified health care providers with appropriate training and expertise can provide abortion services. This improves access to health care, especially for low income women, women of color and women in rural areas.

Treats abortion as health care, not a crime. The RHA moves the regulation of abortion from the penal code into public health law and repeals a Civil War-era law that criminalizes women who terminate a pregnancy without a medical provider.

Nearly eight out of 10 New Yorkers support protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion. Additionally, one in four women will access abortion care in their lifetime. We want to make sure that New York offers the fullest protections when it comes to reproductive health care.

The policies of the Trump administration and the new Supreme Court make it unsafe and irresponsible for New York to rely on federal protections to ensure our basic rights. ​We need state protections, and we expect our elected officials to show real leadership in defending abortion access.

With your support, New York State can be a national leader when it comes to abortion access and the reproductive rights of women. We strongly urge members of both houses of the legislature to support the Reproductive Health Act of 2019.

WCLA – Choice Matters, the oldest ongoing pro-choice advocacy organization in the nation, proudly joins with the following forty (40) New York State-based organizations, together representing thousands upon thousands of NYS residents, to ask NYS Governor Cuomo, the NYS Senate and the NYS Assembly to pass the Reproductive Health Act into law NOW.

WCLA – Choice Matters stands with the following 40 NYS-based Organizations
Action Together – Northern Westchester
American Muslims Indivisible
Briarcliff Ossining Indivisible
CCoHope Indivisible (Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill)
CD17Indivisible
Coalition New York
Concerned Citizens for Change
Cortlandt Democratic Committee
Croton Democratic Committee
Croton in Action
Greenburgh Democratic Town Committee
Indivisible New Rochelle
Indivisible Pawling
Indivisible Districts 6 & 7
Indivisible New York
Indivisible Rivertowns
Indivisible Scarsdale
Indivisible Westchester
Indivisible Yorktown NY
Irvington Activists
LarchForward
Left of Main Street
Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network
March on Peekskill
New York Progressive Action Network
Northern Westchester Indivisible
Philipstown Women Are Watching
Progressive Women of New York
Progressive Women of Pelham
Putnam Progressives
Rockland Citizens Action Network
Rockland United
Up2Us
Uptown Progressive Action
WE PERSIST
Westchester Black Political Conference
Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus
Westchester for Change
Westchester Young Democrats
Westchester Women’s Democratic Alliance

The Hypocrisy of the Anti-Choice Zealots’ Zero Tolerance Policy

By: Jane Forman, Guest Blogger

Children are being torn from their families, put in cages, and left uncertain if and when they’ll see their parents again. This is the reality for over 2,000 immigrant children as a result of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy which began in May, and for months before as a part of a “pilot” program. Not only is the policy inhumane, but it also exposes a real hypocrisy among many politicians. How is it that the very elected officials who champion the rights of the fetus are ready to throw the “born” into concentration camps?

Many of these politicians who refuse to support a comprehensive reunification program of children with their parents are also the politicians who rally behind the message that “every life” has value and should be protected by society. According to the anti-woman Pro-Life Action League, “Every child, regardless of the circumstances of his or her conception, will be welcomed and loved.” – unless that child happens to be non-white. Many of the same people who’ve been silent or indifferent to the crisis produced by Trump’s zero-tolerance policy profess support for the anti-choice “right to life” stance. This message – touted by mostly white male representatives – apparently does not apply to the lives of immigrants who are not in-utero, and are coming to this country from non-white nations.

Every Democrat in the Senate signed a bill that would have prioritized connecting the State department with various countries’ governments to facilitate immediate family reunification. The bill would have also addressed some of the issues affecting immigrant men, women, and children such as rape, sex-trafficking, femicide, and violence. But not one single Senate Republicans has supported the bill – without which it cannot pass the Senate!

Separating these children from their parents, most of them below the age of 12, is a complete rejection of their emotional and physical well-being. Doctors and child welfare advocates not only cite the damaging effect of the short-term anxiety experienced by the separated children, but also that it puts them at a higher risk of PTSD, depression, and attention deficit disorder. These care facilities, regardless of their good intentions, cannot provide the concentrated love and comfort that shape children during their early developmental stages. Further, the longer the period of separation, the longer the recovery will take.

As one contract worker wrote, “They’re in crisis. They’re just crying uncontrollably.” “We’ve seen young kids having panic attacks, they can’t sleep, they’re wetting the bed. They regress developmentally, where they may have been verbal but now they can no longer talk.”

In addition, because there has been no tracking of the children, the reunification process will take months.

This kind of major governmental failure is not uncommon when it comes to immigrants of colors. As a nation, we’ve systematically shut out non-white immigrants throughout our history. Whether it was the Chinese Exclusion Act, The Immigration Act of 1924, or trying to stop immigrants from “shithole countries,” racial identity plays a major role in one’s ability to come to the U.S.

Trump’s own wife is a recipient of this privilege. Melania is a recipient of the Einstein Visa (for a reason no one is quite sure of,) and was able to sponsor her parents’ immigration as well. But this familial sponsorship is now considered to be “chain-migration” by her husband and he’s working to dismantle it.

It becomes more important as Trump destroys the lives of so many immigrant families to call out the hypocrisy that infects his government, and his family. Anything less than reunification must be called out so our country can finally treat every immigrant, regardless of their skin color, as human beings.

Why do anti-choice fanatics think the rights and well-being of “born” children are less important than the rights of fetuses? Because their position is based on controlling women. The separation and division of immigrant families are about control and humiliation – just like their anti-choice one is about doing the same to women.

The Practices of Anti-Choice Crisis Centers Aren’t Just Misleading, They’re Unconstitutional

The existence of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers that disguise themselves as real clinics is already deeply unsettling. However, a recent Rewire article sheds light on something even more appalling: some of these centers in North Carolina are using federal money to buy programs that spread misinformation about abortion and promote Christianity.[1]

The program in question is the “Earn While You Learn” program, which is comprised of a series of videos that claims to educate women on reproductive health, but actually spreads false information about abortion, postpartum depression, and pregnancy as a whole.

As a reward for watching these videos and completing worksheets over them, women can earn essentials for childcare, such as diapers and car seats. Not only is this blatantly incentivizing women to avoid exercising their right to obtain an abortion, it is also disparaging of lower income women. Dinah Monahan, the founder of the program, described her motivation to start the program as being to counteract “entitlement culture.”[2] She blames lower income women for their struggles to obtain materials necessary for childcare and claims that they have grown up manipulating the system. Her program, in her mind, is an effort to correct this behavior— and also to “share Christ”. Women involved in the program have said that they are able to earn points to redeem on diapers and other essentials by attending Bible study and church services.[3] This goes well beyond using federal funding to promote religiously biased videos. This amounts to federal funding being used to promote Christianity to women in crisis. This type of activity tramples on the Constitution’s guarantee of a separation of church and state. Unfortunately, this is truly a snowball rolling down hill. Under Trump and the present Senate and House leadership, every day leads to ever-greater destruction of women’s civil rights. The more organizations like these crisis pregnancy centers are able to get away with, the greater the risk to unfettered access to reproductive health care.

[1] Littlefield, A. (2018, May 03). Anti-Choice Centers in North Carolina Use Federal Funds to Buy Programs Crafted to ‘Share Christ’. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://rewire.news/article/2018/04/26/anti-choice-centers-north-carolina-used-federal-funds-buy-programs-crafted-share-christ/

[2] Littlefield, A. (2018, May 03). Anti-Choice Centers in North Carolina Use Federal Funds to Buy Programs Crafted to ‘Share Christ’. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://rewire.news/article/2018/04/26/anti-choice-centers-north-carolina-used-federal-funds-buy-programs-crafted-share-christ/

[3]Littlefield, A. (2018, May 03). Anti-Choice Centers in North Carolina Use Federal Funds to Buy Programs Crafted to ‘Share Christ’. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://rewire.news/article/2018/04/26/anti-choice-centers-north-carolina-used-federal-funds-buy-programs-crafted-share-christ/

20-Week Abortion Ban – No Big Deal? THINK AGAIN!

If you’re a woman in your 30s or 40s, beware – the 20-week abortion ban is aimed at you.
Even though it was beaten back in the Senate in September, the 20-week abortion ban will be back. It’s been passed in the House and is already the law in 13 states. Anti-choice extremists in Congress want to make it the law everywhere.
These zealots are targeting your right to decide whether or not to have a healthy child. They want to force you to give birth to a child who is suffering from chromosome abnormalities and/or genetic disorders – whether you want to or not.
Those of us who get pregnant in our 30s and in our 40s are at a greater risk of giving birth to a child with a birth defect, because of our age. We know this.
I knew this so I had three Amniocenteses, one in each of my pregnancies. It’s the most accurate and the safest test you can have. An Amnio tests for chromosome abnormalities and genetic disorders, and also detects neural tube defects which are birth defects of the brain, spine, and spinal cord – the two most common of which are spina bifida and anencephaly.
But you can’t get it until the second trimester.
An Amnio is performed at 17-19 weeks, and it takes another 2-3 weeks to get the results. That will take you to 19 to 22 weeks.
You’ll be out of time to get an abortion if anti-choice extremists in Congress and in states
across the country have their way.
That means all of us women, who want to have children, will no longer be able to have accurate testing for chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders, or neural tube defects,
and do something with the results.
The possible loss of this right is very real – and this is not to even mention, what if your life is at stake.

The Bastion of White Male Privilege

I confess. I read the obituaries regularly. I like to. They are a great glimpse into history. You read about people you may never have heard about and about accomplishments you may never have known occurred.

But, truthfully, what is omitted is more striking. With rare exception, there are no women – and the few people of color mentioned are men.

Some might argue that men generally die before their female spouses, and, therefore, there is no one left to write the obituary for the wife when she goes. Really??

The truth is that the men who inspire long obits and thanks from different boards did not reap their accomplishments on their own, but rather just did not share the public glory. This speaks to “behind every great man is a woman.”

I have had the pleasure of meeting many of these women, the wives who have outlived their successful husbands, and are still here providing the funds necessary for the not-for-profit world to survive. They recognize what abortion rights means, and what not having them also means. When we speak, I do not have to navigate the artificial obstacles – minors’ rights, emergency contraception, waiting periods, sonograms. Abortion is abortion – a necessary medical procedure that must be available to all regardless of age, race, religion or ability to pay. These women know and understand.

They are older now, and often rely on another woman, a housekeeper or an aide who is usually of color. Together these two women navigate their way. This is a relationship not to be romanticized but to be recognized.

Sometimes one or the other will share a story with me. They’ve usually been together a long time, and rely on one another. Their lives and station in society are without doubt very different, but they do have one thing in common: neither will be highlighted in The New York Times obituaries. The widow will, at most, be described as “Mrs. Joe Smith, the wife of the great…” The aide won’t even receive that mention.

This power to erase women’s accomplishments has not changed with time. In contrast to the chronicling of the deaths of younger men, when younger women die we are told the cause of death rather than what they did.

Perhaps, the true measure of how far we have, or have not, come and the thickness of the glass ceiling is found in the obituary column.

Dorothy Height – The Irony of It All

Dorothy Height – “The godmother to the Civil Rights Movement”
President Barack Obama

A portrait of Dorothy Height is on the Black Heritage forever stamp this month. She was an amazing woman with more credits to her name than most of us could ever dream of. She spent almost 50 years of her life fighting for race and gender equality.

She helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, and was the only woman to stand on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  But, despite being a march organizer and representing the National Council of Negro Women, she was not asked to speak.

Dorothy Height recognized a fundamental truth – a truth that we must embrace today. Women’s rights, including the right to choose – the very right to control your own body – encompasses all women and must, therefore, include all women on the front lines.

Height and other black women leaders sought to empower the black community to fight restrictions on abortion. The African-American Women for Reproductive Rights, an influential black political, social and grass-roots organization, gave voice to that.

We will include Dorothy Height on our 45th anniversary wall Recognizing the Pro-Choice Voter.

The irony that it took until Trump was in the White House for her image to appear on our 1st class postage stamp cannot be overlooked. Trump and his administration seek to  destroy all we have fought for, for  so many years – including birth control and abortion rights. Dorothy Height’s portrait stands as a reminder that we can neither stand idly by nor can we isolate ourselves in groups as we wage this battle.

The 8 IDC = LIARS

The IDC* Mantra: When all else fails, LIE
(Sounds like Trump, doesn’t it?)

Clearly Choice Matters’ expose of the IDC’s anti-choice actions as well as their tactics of obstruction of all progressive legislation is taking its toll. 

They just sent out a mailing  implying that their 8 rogue members were endorsed by Planned Parenthood — NOT!

The truth is:
1. Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with the mailer.
2. The 8 IDC members stopped the Reproductive Health Act & the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act from coming to the floor for a vote.
3. The  IDC members did nothing to advance the Reproductive Health Act and Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act to the floor, despite these bills having bipartisan sponsorship and support – BUT the mailer falsely implies that IDC members successfully passed both bills.
4. In addition, the IDC members REFUSED to support a bill that would have provided contingency funding to Planned Parenthood.

Call All 8 IDC members & tell them to stop lying!  
Click 8 NYS Democrats for their names & telephone numbers!

fyi: The IDC  is blocking all progressive legislation including the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and  Contingency funding for Planned Parenthood from coming to the floor of the NYS Senate, INCLUDING a New York State bill that would force Trump to disclose his taxes.