And thanks to State Senate Bill 7, an included provision will be cutting off the use of local tax dollars to fund elective abortions (thank you Representative Wayne Christian of Nacogdoches). Of course, the only place in Texas where this funding is occurring is in Travis County, where patients of the county-established indigent healthcare system can obtain an elective termination of a first trimester pregnancy with a $25 copay.
At the last Central Health Board Meeting, this matter was discussed in a closed portion of the meeting.
So 40, 45 calls per night soon? The need is overwhelming...
The National Women's Law Center has a great advocacy kit for women's health care reform up on their site; it has specific suggestions for what to during the August congressional recess to further the fight for women's health care reform.
If you are interested in an easy way to make your voice heard for women's health care, join us at the N. Lamar Central Market on Wed. Aug 19th, 6:30pm for a letter writing party! Make sure your representative knows that you support their pro-choice and pro-women efforts, or let them know why the women of Texas need their support now during this critical health care debate.
After realizing their daughter had become sexually active, Trisha’s parents took her to a local clinic to begin birth control. Despite starting birth control, Trisha became pregnant. Her parents now think she was either pregnant at the time she started birth control or she got pregnant shortly thereafter. Trisha is 14 years old and 25 weeks pregnant. Trisha’s father recently became disabled and hasn’t started receiving his disability payments yet. He is unable to work because of his disability. Due to the stage of her pregnancy, there are only a few clinics in the country that can perform the three-day procedure. The estimated cost of her abortion is $10,000. Trisha’s family got loans from every friend, family member, and resource they could find and amazingly raised $8,000. A call for help went out from her home state abortion fund to all National Network Abortion Fund members and the Lilith Fund responded with a promise of $200. We wish Trisha and her family all the best with her procedure.
Mrs. Carter, a married woman in her thirties, immigrated with her husband to the U.S. a few years ago. She was taking birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, but she forgot her pills while traveling and subsequently became pregnant. Unfortunately, the Carters make very little money and they already have one child to support on their meager salary. They can’t afford to take care of another child right now. The Carters have been working hard to improve their lives in this country; Mrs. Carter is currently studying to take the licensing exam to become a practicing American physician. She doesn't want to sacrifice her career and her family’s future by having another child. The cost of terminating her pregnancy was $400 and because of the help of our generous donors, Lilith was able to offer financial assistance towards her abortion. Mrs. Carter was grateful for our help and she recently called our hotline to express her thanks and to report that her procedure went well.
delivered , Juanita asked to have her tubes tied. She has now learned that because the hospital a Catholic hospital, they did not perform the procedure AND they never told her. Juanita is pregnant again.
When I called the National Abortion Federation Hotline in January 2005 looking for help finding an abortion clinic in my area, I had never even heard of a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I was 23 years old and in college completing my biology degree when I found out I was pregnant. Although I was in a committed relationship and deeply in love with my partner, I was not ready for a child at that time and chose to seek an abortion. The NAF Hotline operator gave me the location of a women's health clinic in my area, which I promptly called and made an appointment for an exam.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) have a long history of intentionally misleading women to prevent them from accessing abortion care. The first CPCs were established in the 1960s after state legislatures repealed their laws criminalizing abortion. Today there are as many as 4,000 CPCs in the United States, compared to the less than 2,000 facilities that actually provide abortion care for women.
Many CPCs use deceptive advertising practices to fool women into thinking that they are legitimate medical clinics that provide a variety of reproductive health care services, including family planning and abortion care. In reality, most CPCs do not provide full options counseling and generally will not refer for abortion care or birth control.
These fake clinics use deceptive advertising practices such as intentionally placing advertisements under the "abortion services" heading of phone and Internet directories and choosing names that are similar to abortion clinics to confuse women about what types of services they provide. Many CPCs are connected with religious organizations, but few disclose that fact in their advertising. Additionally, CPCs often locate themselves in close proximity to legitimate reproductive health care facilities. We have heard from many patients who mistakenly visited a CPC because it was on the same street-or even next door-to the actual abortion provider where they had an appointment.
CPCs target young and low-income women. They lease buildings near colleges and universities, advertise in school newspapers, and lure women into their facilities with the offer of a free pregnancy test and options counseling.
Once they get women inside their doors, CPCs often force women to watch graphic, misleading videos; pressure women with religious sermons; and provide medically inaccurate information about a false link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, the effects of abortion on future fertility, and the mental health effects of abortion. Some CPCs further mislead women by giving them false pregnancy test results so that they will postpone obtaining abortion care. Others have been known to give women ultrasounds depicting gestational ages more advanced than their actual pregnancies in order to make them think that they are too far along to access abortion services. In some cases CPCs even promise to provide financial assistance to women if they carry their pregnancies to term, but this assistance usually doesn't last once a woman's pregnancy has advanced past the legal termination limit in her state. Even after women leave CPCs, they sometimes continue to be mistreated. In a clear violation of patient confidentiality, many CPCs call women and harass them about their decision to obtain abortion care for weeks after they visit the center.
Many CPCs even receive federal funding. Under the Bush Administration, CPCs have received more than $30 million in federal funding, and legislators frequently attempt to fund CPCs at the state level through state-sponsored programs, specific grants, or tax credits. In 2006, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a study, which found that 87% of the federally funded CPCs provided inaccurate and misleading information including the false link between abortion and breast cancer, the effects of abortion on future fertility, and the mental health effects of abortion. It is reprehensible that federal taxpayer dollars are being used to support fake clinics that deliberately deceive women with false medical information.
CPCs should not be allowed to threaten women's health through deception and mistreatment. Last year NAF worked with Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who introduced the "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act" in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, this legislation authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to regulate the deceptive advertising practices of CPCs, which regularly advertise that they provide abortion care when they in fact do not provide such care. We congratulate Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for taking the lead in the Senate to introduce companion legislation today on April Fool's Day-to prevent women from being further fooled and harmed by these fake clinics.
Today is a day of action, and we are calling on activists to contact their Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the "Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act." Members of Congress need to understand how women are harmed by fake clinics masquerading as reproductive health care facilities. To learn more about ways you can take action against CPCs and to find contact information for your elected officials, visit our website http://www.prochoice.org/.
Women facing an unplanned pregnancy deserve accurate and complete information. For unbiased information about pregnancy options, referrals to providers of quality abortion care, and funding assistance, contact the toll-free NAF Hotline at 1-800-772-9100.
BOSTON - February 29 - The National Network of Abortion Funds condemns passage of the Vitter Amendment (S.Amdt. 3896) as part of the Indian Health Services Act (S.1200). Passed by the Senate earlier this week, the amendment adds language to the Indian Health Services Act prohibiting the use of IHS funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. This legislation duplicates existing policy which already unfairly restricts coverage of abortion in the Indian Health Service. IHS is subject to the Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, which prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being used to pay for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the woman.For the more than 12 million women who depend on Medicaid and other federal programs, the impact of the Hyde Amendment and the funding bans enacted in 33 states is staggering. Prior to 1976, when Medicaid funds paid for abortion nationally, one-third of all abortions were fully covered. Since the Hyde Amendment took away abortion coverage, federal Medicaid has paid for less than one percent of abortions.
The restrictions in Vitter and Hyde unfairly discriminate against Native American women for whom the Indian Health Service is their primary healthcare provider. A survey conducted by the Native American Women’s Health Education Resources Center (NAWHERC) in 2002 found widespread non-compliance and confusion about the abortion restrictions. 85% of the service units contacted denied women services even in cases where they were legally entitled to coverage.
Historically, Native American women have faced other governmental policies restricting their reproductive lives. Native American children were removed from their communities and placed by the government in non-Indian boarding schools, foster homes and adoptive families. In the 1970s, involuntary sterilization by Indian Health Services was exposed as a civil rights violation in a lawsuit brought by Norma Jean Serena of the Creek-Shawnee. In the 1980s, although Depo Provera was banned by the FDA because of inadequate health and safety studies, it was administered to Native American women who were said to be “mentally impaired,” without their consent.
We oppose the Vitter and Hyde Amendments and all restrictive legislation that undermines a woman’s ability to make her own decisions about childbearing and her health. “All women must have the power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies and their families; it’s a matter of dignity and justice” said Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds.
The National Network of Abortion Funds is an association of more than 100 community-based groups in 43 states that provide financial assistance to low-income women seeking abortions. Each year, member groups of the Network raise over $2.5 million and help more than 20,000 women and girls nationwide. The Network provides support and training to its member Funds and advocates for a humane future where public funding of abortion – and all reproductive health care – is a reality. The Network coordinates The Hyde – 30 Years is Enough! Campaign, a national coalition of more than 70 social justice organizations, dedicated to repealing the Hyde Amendment.
Saporta: Because this bill does nothing to protect women and because its possible consequences include casting doubt over well-established Canadian law, NAF opposes C-484. We believe that the Canadian government should adopt a more reasoned approach that would protect women from violence and offer concrete solutions to the problem of violence against women.
Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) opposes C-484. On its face, this bill creates a new crime of causing injury to or the death of a foetus. The dangerous reality of the bill, however, is that it could elevate the legal status of the foetus to that of an adult human being. This is unprecedented in Canadian law. The involuntary loss of a pregnancy is a tragedy, but solutions should be real, not political. Bill C-484 is not the right solution.
This bill elevates the foetus - even an embryo only weeks old - to a status equal with that of the adult woman who suffers the primary injury to her body, along with the additional harm of losing or damaging her pregnancy.
By recognizing a developing foetus as a victim of a crime, this legislation could erode Canadian women's right to a safe and legal abortion by treading closer to the line of recognizing fetal personhood, a concept clearly at odds with existing Canadian law. Such a law could create tension with numerous Supreme Court rulings finding that a person must be born to have legal status in Canada.
The sponsor of this legislation claims that this bill is not about abortion because it exempts legal abortions, some medical treatment, and the conduct of women. But, it is impossible to separate this proposed legislation from its sponsor, a known opponent of legal abortion.
Nowhere in the bill is the harm to the woman resulting from an involuntary termination of her pregnancy mentioned. Violence against women continues to be a significant problem in Canada, and violence often increases when a woman is pregnant. Instead of focusing on real solutions to violence against women, the bill deliberately shifts the focus away from the women who are truly the victims of these heinous crimes.
NAF fully supports a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Because this bill does nothing to protect women and because its possible consequences include casting doubt over well-established Canadian law, NAF opposes C-484. We believe that the Canadian government should adopt a more reasoned approach that would protect women from violence and offer concrete solutions to the problem of violence against women.
Therefore, NAF calls on the Federal Government to increase funding to programs for the prevention of violence against women. We further ask the Government to eliminate the restrictions they have put in place on research and advocacy groups requesting funding for issues relating to violence against women.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in Canada and the United States. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org.
Reproductive justice advocates need to reach out to communities of color in order to fight rumors and battle racisms past and present.
What would you expect to pop up on your computer screen if you Googled the words black genocide? Probably several web sites detailing the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, right? Not quite. Google black genocide and a multitude of web sites indicting Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health service providers for perpetrating genocide on black people fill the computer screen. Most of these web sites claim that service providers are on a racist crusade to kill off black people through abortion and sterilization.
It's tempting to scoff at such claims as the delusional ranting of the lunatic fringe, but that wouldn't be wise. The black genocide charge has shown a staying power not unlike the rumor that drinking carbonated soda laced with Pop Rocks killed that kid from the Life cereal commercials. Unchallenged, claims of genocide become accepted as fact and achieve their goal of discouraging women from seek counseling or treatment from legitimate healthcare providers.
I first encountered the black genocide charge when I began volunteering at a women's shelter that serves homeless pregnant women. My work includes providing information about family planning and reproductive health resources. Almost from the beginning some of my students expressed distrust towards well-known reproductive health service providers. Eventually these students shared that their concerns revolved around rumors that certain service providers aggressively push patients to have abortions or take medicine that results in permanent sterilization. Through family, friends, church and the word on the street these women had been warned that well-known reproductive health service providers in America are organized to perpetrate black genocide.
Motivated more by my student's response than curiosity over the actual charge of black genocide, I did some research and found information on efforts like the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The Genocide Awareness Project, which is sponsored by the anti-choice Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, tours college campuses with photos comparing abortion with recognized images of genocide. GAP attempts to link abortion with genocide through the use of visual images and the manipulation of language, challenging the legitimacy of reproductive choice by comparing it to slavery. In this way, GAP reaches out to black communities through a campaign dressed up to look like a black empowerment movement.
In many ways supporters of GAP and like organizations are attempting to reap what others sowed years ago. The American eugenics movement of the 1930s and 1940s claimed to better society by preventing carriers of defective genetic traits from reproducing. Family planning was often code for the compulsory sterilization of so-called lesser people, many from poor disenfranchised groups. It is estimated that some 64,000 Americans were sterilized between 1900 and 1970. Forced sterilization of black women reached its height in the 1950s and 1960s. A trip to the hospital to give birth often resulted in sterilization without consent or the patient's knowledge.
Groups like The Genocide Awareness Project hope to build upon a pre-existing foundation of mistrust. On their web site and through college tours, GAP promotes a Sanctity of Life Curriculum for black churches and encourages the study of the history of eugenics to further "document" their claims of an organized genocide against black people.
Books and articles exploring the potential benefits of abortion in lowering crime rates also fuels mistrust. While critics laud the intellectual "courage" demonstrated by exploring the potential decrease in crime rates through an increase in black abortions, many cringe at the seemingly callous discussion of what is still not-so-distant black history.
That brings me back to my students and rumors that should not be ignored.
Charges that reproductive health service providers are conspiring to commit black genocide are a kind of intellectual mold that flourishes in the absence of the facts. Either by design or circumstance, legislation seeking to restrict access to clinics and end educational outreach programs often acts in concert with campaigns like The Genocide Awareness Project to cultivate fear of abortion providers and resentment. Constant harassment by anti-choice groups and the very real threat of violence also prevent clinics from being visible within the communities they serve, exacerbating the sense that they are not true partners and perpetuating mistrust.
Reproductive health service providers and pro-choice volunteers must continue our outreach into communities of color to prevent such claims from being accepted as the truth. In keeping with that goal, the history of eugenics and sterilization abuse in America requires that claims like those of black genocide made against reproductive service providers not be met with casual disregard. Such claims must be challenged head on even as we acknowledge a tragic history and work to insure that such acts never happen again.
Pamela Merritt is a staff writer for RH Reality Check, a contributor to the Shakespeare's Sister blog, and a featured contributor on National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. Her work has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times, on Salon.com and featured in Salon.com's Broadsheet. Pamela serves as PAC Chair for PROMO (Missouri’s Statewide LGBT Equality Rights Group), is a mentor through Big Sisters and teaches various classes at several shelters in St. Louis, Missouri. She also writes and maintains her personal blog.