How Does Emergency Contraception Work?

Emergency Contraception: Controversies and Advocacy
The Fight for Fair and Science-based Regulation
Sarah Michelsen, Lisa Kernan Social Justice Fellow, and Ellen R. Shaffer, Co-Director,
Trust Women/ Silver Ribbon Campaign, a project of The Center for Policy Analysis

Transcribed from Sarah Michelsen’s Power Point presentation, San Francisco, July, 2013
What is Emergency Contraception?
Myths and Facts
What is Emergency Contraception?
A safe and effective birth control method used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy
If regular birth control was used incorrectly or fails, or after sex without birth control
“Morning-after” pill
Recommended for use after a more reliable method fails, or is not used


How Does Progestin-Only Emergency Contraception Work?
Progestin-only EC works by preventing ovulation (the egg cell leaving the ovary).
It used to be thought that progestin-only EC could also prevent fertilization (the sperm and egg joining) or the implantation of a fertilized egg (blastocyst) after ovulation, but that has now been debunked.
The newest studies show the progestin-only EC is only effective before ovulation-if an egg is already present in the fallopian tube, EC will not be effective.


Myths and Facts about Progestin-Only Forms of EC
Myth: Progestin-only forms of EC, including Plan-B One Step and Next Choice, can cause abortions.
Fact: Progestin-only forms of EC work by preventing ovulation. They have no effect on a fertilized blastocyst before or after implantation.
Myth: Progestin-only forms of EC will cause birth defects or otherwise harm an embryo if the woman is already pregnant.
Fact: Progestin-only forms of EC have no negative effects on developing embryos, either before or after implantation.

Other Types of EC
Combined progestin and estrogen pill –rarely used
Ulipristal acetate pill
Copper IUD
Combined Progestin and Estrogen Pills
The same as regular birth control pills, in a larger dose.
None currently marketed as EC, although several brands of regular birth control have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as EC.
Women in rural areas or situations where they cannot access regular EC may take larger doses of their regular birth control pills to act as EC, but this is not as effective as a progestin-only form of EC.

Ulipristal Acetate Pills
Marketed in the US as Ella
Available by prescription only, for women of all ages
Significantly more effective than other methods at preventing ovulation, especially between 72 and 120 hours.
May have some post-ovulation effect, including possibly preventing implantation after fertilization has occurred.
Not an abortifacient-does not meet medical definition of an abortion,which is interrupting an established pregnancy, after a fertilized blastocyst is successfully implanted in the uterus.

Copper IUD
Intrauterine Device
Must be prescribed and insderted by a doctor or other trained clinician
Reduces the risk of getting pregnantby more than 99%
Can be effectively inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex
Can keep it in place for up to 10 years.

Opposition and Barriers to Access

Who is the Opposition to EC? Misleading Quotes
“The secret best kept from the American public is that these drugs can cause abortions. The time for covering up this unpleasant reality is long past.”
“It can irritate the lining of the uterus so that if the first and second actions fail, and the woman does become pregnant, the tiny baby boy or girl will die before he or she can actually attach to the lining of the uterus.”
[NOTE: This is NOT the official AAP –it’s a separate anti-choice rump group.]
“Despite self-reports denying it, ‘ready access’ to EC apparently increases the sexual activity of adolescents which is a risk factor for depression and suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime

Abortifacient Myth
Anti-choice leaders choose to define abortion differently from the medical definition.
The medical definition: interrupting an established pregnancy, after implantation of the fertilized egg [c. 50% of fertilized eggs do not implant].
Anti-choice position: Abortion includes even interrupting the release of the egg into the fallopian tube (ovulation)
Also: Confusion about the mechanisms of action of different forms of EC, and many believe that OTC forms of EC, progestin only pills, cause abortions.
Belief that ulipristal acetate forms of EC cause abortions.
Protecting” Women and Girls
Opponents have painted EC as a dangerous drug, and fanned fears that young girls accessing it without parental notification would lead to promiscuity.
Studies show increased access to EC does not increase promiscuity or reduce use of other contraceptives.
Scare tactics-US Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson said expanding access “undermines parents’ ability to protect their daughters … from the adverse effects of the drug itself.””

Why do Barriers to Accessing EC Matter?
Need for ID is shaming and stigmatizing.
Need to find an open pharmacy, regardless of age.
Precludes immigrant women, young women, or others without ID from purchasing, regardless of age.
Creates a barrier for the trans* community.
Disproportionately affects low income women and women of color.
Confusion among the public and pharmacists about who can and can’t purchase leads to older teens and men being denied their right to purchase EC.
Young women under the age of 15 seeking EC are the most vulnerable, and yet have the highest barriers to purchase.
HIGH COST CAN REMAIN A BARRIER –Insurance should cover

The Long Fight for Fair Access
Over a decade of court battles and politically motivated decisions

The Fight for Fair Access
EC first approved by the FDA in 1999
2004: The non-partisan scientific committee assigned by FDA to review the evidence on safety and effectiveness voted 23 to 4 to approve an application to make EC available over the counter without any age restrictions.
Recommendation supported by 50+ medical/health organizations
2005: FDA commissioner overruled decision of the FDA scientific committee
Unprecedented action
Aug.2005: Dr. Susan Wood resigned as FDA Director of Women’s Health and Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health in protest political influence over science.

Science Vs. Politics
In 2006 EC was made available OTC for those over 18
In 2009 a court ordered the FDA to review that decision, calling it arbitrary and capricious, and to immediately lower the age to 17. FDA lowered age restriction but did not reconsider making it available to all women OTC.
In 2011 FDA Commissioner announced they were prepared to grant Teva’s application to remove all age restrictions on OTC sale-but this decision was blocked by HHS Secretary Sebelius.
Unprecedented for HHS Sec, to overrule her appointed FDA chief .

The Fight For Fair Access: 2013
April 5, 2013-U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered the FDA to make Plan B and generics of the two-pill medication available for OTC sale to people of all ages.
April 30 2013-FDA approves Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive without a prescription for women 15 years of age and older
May 1 2013-Department of Justice files appeal, and moves for a stay pending the appeal.
May 10 2013-Judge Korman refuses to grant the stay


Judge Korman Calls Out the Administration
“You made that announcement to sugar-coat this appeal.”
“The bottom line is that it’s not possible to provide the data on 11-and 12-year-olds,” Judge Korman said. “You’re using these 11-and 12-year-olds to place an undue burden on the ability of older women to get this contraceptive.”
“These emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over the counter.”
“If this were a voting rights case, you’d be here telling me this was voter suppression,” he said. “You’re disadvantaging poor people, young people, and African Americans. That’s the policy of the Obama administration?”
Victory? And What’s Next?
June 11, 2013-Obama administration announces in a letter to Judge Korman that they will accept court defeat, and no longer pursue an appeal.
June 12-Judge Korman approves administration’s plan to comply.

What Did We Win? The Who What and Where of EC SalesOnce this is all implemented…

The Who What and Where of EC SalesOnce this is all implemented… Product Who Can Purchase, OTC or Prescription Location Point of Sale Restrictions
Plan-B One Step Everyone Retail Shelf none
Next Choice One Dose (and any other generics) Age 17 and Older: OTCUnder 17: Prescription Only Behind Pharmacy Counter must ask pharmacist and show ID
Next Choice, Levonorgestrel Tablets, and other 2-pill generics Age 17 and Older: OTCUnder 17: Prescription Only Behind Pharmacy Counter must ask pharmacist and show ID
Ella and Ulipristal acetate generics Prescription only for all ages Behind Pharmacy Counter Must ask pharmacist to fill prescription



What Do Advocates Need to Be Aware Of?
Only makes Plan-B One Step available OTC with no age restrictions. Two-pill versions of the drug will still require a prescription if under age 17.
Gives marketing exclusivity to Teva, preventing generic forms from being available OTC for at least 3 years.
Administration says that the re-labeling process will happen “without delay.” Really?

What Should Advocates Do?
Hold the Administration accountable for sticking to their compliance plan in a timely manner
Keep the public informed and pressure the Administration and FDA to continue to make more forms of EC, and other types of birth control, widely available.
Propose ways to keep the cost of EC down, and prevent future marketing exclusivity that create monopolies
Inform the public about the decision and how their access to EC will change, as well as hold the administration accountable for doing the work to educate the public.


Works Cited

American College of Pediatricians. “Emergency Contraception Should Not Be Passed out like Candy.” LifeSiteNews. N.p., 4 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 June 2013.

Bapat, Sheila. “Justice Doesn’t Just Happen: Feminist Activists Were Essential to EC Ruling.” RH Reality Check. N.p., 24 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.

Boonstra, Heather. “Emergency Contraception: Steps Being Taken to Improve Access.” Emergency Contraception: Steps Being Taken to Improve Access. The GuttmacherReport on Public Policy, Dec. 2012. Web. 19 June 2013.

”Center for Reproductive Rights Reopens Lawsuit Against FDA Restrictions on

Emergency Contraception.” Center for Reproductive Rights. N.p., 8 Feb. 2012. Web. 19 June 2013.

“The Fight for Emergency Contraception: Every Second Counts.” Center for Reproductive Rights. N.p., n.d.Web. 19 June 2013.

Jacobson, Jodi. “Court Orders FDA to Make Emergency Contraception Available Over-the-Counter for All Ages.” RH Reality Check. N.p., 5 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.

Jacobson, Jodi. “Judge Approves Administration’s Strategy for EC Over-the-Counter …With Reservations.” RH Reality Check. N.p., 12 June 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Erica. “FDA Approves Plan B One-Step Emergency Contraceptive without a Prescription for Women 15 Years of Age and Older.” US Food and Drug Administration. US Food and Drug Administration Press Release, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.

Keenan, J. A. “Ulipristal Acetate: Contraceptive or Contragestive?” The Annals Of Pharmacotherapy45.6 (2011): 813-15. Print.

Kempner, Martha. “Http://” RH Reality Check. N.p., 17 June 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.

Mozzanego, Bruno. “Ulipristal Acetate in Emergency Contraception: Mechanism of Action.” Trends in PharmologicalSciences34.4 (2013): n. pag. Print.

Noé, Gabriela, HoracioB. Croxatto, Ana MaríaSalvatierra, VerónicaReyes, Claudio Villarroel, Carla Muñoz, Gabriela Morales, and Anita Retamales. “Contraceptive Efficacy of Emergency Contraception with Levonorgestrelgiven before or after Ovulation.” Contraception84.5 (2011): 486-92. Print.

Trussell, James, PhD, and Elizabeth Raymond, MPH, MD. “Emergency Contraception: A Last Chance to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy.” Princeton University, June 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.

Tumminov. Hamburg. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. 4 Apr. 2013. US District Court Eastern District of New York. N.p., 4 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.

Works Cited

United States Attorney, Eastern District of New York. “Re : Tummino v. Hamburg , No. 12 -CV -0763 (ERK/VVP).” Letter to Honorable Edward R. Korman. 10 June 2013. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2013.

Wills, Susan E., Esq. “Emergency Contraception -Boon or Bane?” Emergency Contraception -Boon or Bane?United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, n.d. Web. 19 June 2013.

Zaidi, Sidra. “Emergency Contraception and Moral Panic: Dissecting the Newest Misinformation Campaign.” RH RealityCheck. RH Reality Check, 9 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 June 2013.


For More Information

Princeton University Office of Population Research

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

TEDxBayArea Women -Sophia Yen -Cutting Edge Adolescent Medicine12/8/10

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women’s Health

Food and Drug Administration Birth Control Guide

Guttmacher Institute


Trust Women/Silver Ribbon CampaignPO Box 29586San Francisco, CA

REALLY??? The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party On Birth Control


Attacks on access to birth control and abortion are out of touch, and often off the deep end.

These attacks don’t make sense.

But they are damaging people.

On March 25, the Supreme Court will hear a case to decide whether a for-profit private corporation can deny employees health insurance coverage for contraception. It’s bad enough that the employers’ opposition in this case is based on fake science, putting public health and the well-being of millions of women at risk. In addition, they claim that the corporations they run have a religious conscience.

Sound like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?  Check out our short punchy video (click below).

Had enough of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?  You can make a difference! Join the Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign.   We’re speaking up and speaking out.  We are the people you’ve been waiting for! (and so are you.)

Together, we will safeguard reproductive health, rights, and justice, and reclaim common sense in public debate.


Don’t be stunned into silence on women’s abortion rights

Silence equals death.

California AIDS activists taught the world the power of plain and direct talk about gender bias and sexuality to save lives.

The ability to control whether and when to have a child are key to the physical, social and economic health of women and families, and access to legal, safe and affordable birth control and abortion are essential to guarantee that ability.

Currently, a barrage of extreme and punitive laws restricting these rights are streaming out of state legislatures and the House of Representatives.  These shockingly offensive departures from the American mainstream demand bolder leadership by our elected officials, and concerted organizing by pro-rights advocates that engages and mobilizes the majority of the American public who are appalled by these assaults but will otherwise remain stunned into silence.   Polling and politics as usual are not turning the tide.

Draconian restrictions on facilities that provide abortions in Texas have <a href=”” target=”_hplink”>reduced their number from 44 in 2011 to 24 today.</a> The number is expected to drop to 6 by September. Reports are already surfacing from Texas of women returning to desperate — and deadly — measures</a> of self-abortions, like coat hangers and bleach.

Part of the problem is that the health consequences of the attacks are graphically real but have been surgically isolated to the most vulnerable in our society, by income, race and education. Unintended pregnancies and unplanned births <a href=”” target=”_hplink”>are 5 to 6 times higher among women</a> with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and also higher for women of color and those without a high school degree.

<p>The odious Hyde Amendment, a congressional measure, prohibits federal funding for abortions. 35 states choose not to supplement Medicaid with state funds for abortions.</p> But its insidious effects extend to California. Although we use public funds to pay for abortions, and a range of family planning services, California’s rate of unintended pregnancy is among the highest in the nation, on par with Mississippi and New York.

We must fund abortions.  But we can’t just can’t just slip the money under the table. We need to inform and empower women and men to claim our rights to determine our futures.  That includes understanding both our biology and the language we need to stick up for ourselves. The reality is that gender bias has repercussions for all of us, and that procreation involves both sexes.

In case we needed further motivation, opponents are now using the club of funding sources to threaten coverage for everyone.  This year the House passed HR 7, that would prohibit private health insurance plans that get a drop of federal funds from covering abortions; this includes virtually all employers who get a tax break if they contribute to the cost of employees’ health insurance.

In California two Jesuit universities unilaterally cancelled coverage for abortions in 2013  for their faculty.

The Supreme Court will hear cases on March 25 that could authorize your boss to cut off covering your birth control.

Some are genuflecting to the strategic wisdom of keeping a low public profile on the subject. They  claim they can’t campaign on abortion and birth control in 2014 because it’s an election year. But 2015 will be the run-up to the presidential election. And then 2016 — well, you know.

In other words: Chances are 100 percent that if political leaders refrain from taking action on this issue in 2014, we are doomed to live in the present for the foreseeable future.

The fact is, voters have demonstrated solid support at the state and local levels for access to legal, affordable reproductive health care services.

  • Florida voters defeated a state ballot initiative to prohibit public funding for abortions.
  • Mississippi voters defeated a statewide initiative to declare a fertilized egg a person, with 80 percent of black make voters leading the opposition vote.
  • Voters in Albuquerque defeated a proposal to outlaw most late-term abortions.
  • Otherwise vulnerable Democrats won in 2012 against challengers who revealed their Mad Hatter theories about rape and incest.
  • Virginia voters chose a machine Democrat as governor, defeating state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, an originator of rules forcing women to get — and pay for — invasive ultrasounds before proceeding with an abortion they’ve already decided to have.

We have the chance to do a solid: unite all of us to defend both the funding for reproductive health care, and the rights of all of us to enjoy it if we choose.</p><p>    We can also prevent poor women from being forced by politicians who hate them to bear children they decide they don’t want and can’t afford, and then subjected to the further indignity of suffering cuts in their food stamps. Or worse, to die from self-induced abortions.</p>

Leaders. muster up your moxie and campaign on women’s rights and human rights.  Opposing the Hyde Amendment would be a good start. We’ll support you.  Chances are good, we’ll all win.


[Published in San Francisco Chronicle, March 12, 2014

San Francisco Supervisors Oppose False Claims About Abortion

San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution opposing  “anti-abortion banners” on January 28, 2014.  Click here for a short video of public testimony on the resolution, and a statement by lead sponsor Supervisor David Campos.  Other sponsors were Supervisors Chiu, Cohen, Weiner, Mar, Yee, Farrell, and Kim.

The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign presented petitions with hundreds of sharply worded comments from San Francisco and nationwide, who expressed outrage that the City posted banners with the false statement that “abortion hurts women.”

Elizabeth Creely:  Stating that a medical procedure is “hurtful” or damaging is wrong. There is plenty of evidence that a lack of medical care is what hurts women.

Dr. Ellen Shaffer, Director, Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign. This debate is both about reproductive rights and justice – and also about the ability of forces with an entirely different political and economic agenda to tie up our political system in knots, so that virtually nothing is accomplished. We are trying to figure out how to deal with an annual march by outsiders who don’t represent San Francisco’s views or values, their efforts to use our rules to post banners saying “Abortion hurts women,” and how we represent our own views in public.

Joe Brenner, Men Who Trust Women: I’ll read an excerpt from a joint statement from Dr. Harvey Cohen, Stanford Professor of Pediatrics, Peter Coyote, actor and writer, father to a grown daughter, grandfather to her young girl, political activist, and ordained Zen Priest, Steve Heilig, healthcare ethicist, and Stephen Keese, realtor in Palo Alto, all members of Men Who Trust Women.

“Abortion is safe. Access to legal abortion services is essential. Access to legal and affordable family planning health care services including abortion has been critical for expanding economic, educational and professional success and emotional satisfaction for women, the men and children in their lives and for communities as a whole. Denied abortion care can perpetuate poverty.

“San Francisco must preach what the City practices. Public pronouncements matter. By approving these banners for prominent display on public property on Market Street, the City has contributed to undermining women’s personal and private medical decisions, and undermining public health.

Cheryl Traverse:  I can’t think of five issues that are more not neutral than abortion in the United States of America right now.  It is hugely not neutral.

Professor Susan Englander: The display gives a false imprimatur of the City’s approval.. I believe that action on this issue should have been more immediate and decisive; these banners should never have seen the light of day.

Hene Kelly:  The truth is that abortion did hurt women.  The truth is that as I was growing up as a young girl, I lost one of my best friends.  She was raped.  She had nowhere to turn.  Her parents wouldn’t help her; nobody did.  She went and got an illegal abortion, and died from the infection.  I became a teacher.  I had a student who was raped, and got pregnant.  She didn’t know where to turn.  She went to Planned Parenthood.  She got an abortion.  Now’s she’s a social worker, working with young women.  She was saved by that abortion.

Justine Marcus:  Low income and women of color, who are disproportionately affected in terms of access to medical education, in terms of domestic violence, rape, abuse, and also who have escalating rates of teen pregnancy, are especially vulnerable to this kind of public health misinformation.

Supervisor David Campos:  I think it really is important for us to send a very clear message about how we in San Francisco do trust women and we respect their right to decide for themselves what to do with their bodies.  This is not about free speech, this is about misinformation that has been put out by fringe groups that have no backing for the claim that somehow abortion hurts women.  I think that the medical evidence and scientific evidence on this point is very clear. We need to carefully look at the policies and procedures that got us to this point, to make sure that there isn’t misinformation that is put out.

I especially was touched by the comment that these kinds of tactics are especially negative when it comes to the disproportionate impact on poor women, and I have seen that myself because of the work that we have done with Planned Parenthood in my District, where anti-choice extremists have come out to target poor, working class, middle income women, as they are trying to access reproductive rights.  I also hope that the City is proactive, not only in using whatever proceeds are coming in to educate women, but also in putting out the correct information about the safety of abortion as a procedure.  I think that if we allow these kinds of groups to put up this kind of misinformation, that we should also have our own information presented and that we make it clear by posting similar banners that clearly say that we trust women.

I think that what is happening is really sad, and it certainly does not reflect the values of San Francisco.



Ellen Shaffer on Roe v Wade Celebration, Jan. 22, 2014

Ellen Shaffer, Director and Co-Founder, Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women
Celebration of the 41st Anniversary of Roe v Wade
American Association of University Women – Los Altos/Mountain View Chapter; and the
Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women
Los Altos, CA Jan. 22, 2014

We’ve accomplished so much since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on Jan. 22, 1973!  We’ve won competence and independence, and kept our sense of humor. There have been tremendous changes in our professional, educational and personal opportunities. Women have entered professions that were virtually closed to us, including medicine, journalism, science and the law.  We’re catching up as engineers and members of Congress, though much progress remains ahead. We’ve continued to have children, and to build families and communities.

We still earn only 70 cents to the dollar earned by men.

We need support for employment, including child care, and paid family leave.

And we need to preserve and expand access to legal, affordable abortions and to birth control, as a fundamental human right.

The Trust Women/Silver Campaign aims to build visibility for this important agenda.

To link it to our trust in science.

To build unity and momentum in our movement.

We face several threats this year.  And we have some encouraging signs, including the Women’s Health Protection Act, and a pending resolution at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

First, the assaults.  There has been a rash of measures enacted at the state and federal levels that are intended to reverse our progress, and specifically our access to abortion and contraception. As many of us have heard, states adopted more such restrictions in 2011-13 than in the previous decade.  The House of Representatives introduced the “right to let women die” bill,  that would authorize hospitals to withhold lifesaving abortion care, even if it meant the mother would die.  So far a slim majority in the Senate has kept these bills from becoming law.

At the state level, we’ve seen an explosion of “TRAP” laws, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.  As Dahlia Lithwack noted in Slate (11/13/13), “The anti-choice strategy has been to close as many clinics as possible and to sideline as many providers as possible by crafting … regulations that force women to view ultrasounds, listen to inaccurate medical scripts, and find time to undergo multiple appointments; that force doctors to attempt to obtain ever-elusive hospital admitting privileges, and that force clinics to widen hallways and rejigger broom closets” to meet standards intended for hospital surgery suites.  The requirement for MD licensing is a deliberate obstruction. Where abortions are under fire, some doctors who perform them may not reside in the area.  If they do practice locally, there have been campaigns to deny them hospital admitting privileges for that very reason. In the rare case of an emergency during or after an abortion, the woman would be admitted to a hospital, but often under another doctor’s care.

In California, it’s been impossible to pass restrictive legislation or ballot measures at the state level, and in most local areas, so the opposition acts as picadors, generating misinformation and promoting ignorance.  Flouting – and obscuring – state law, several Catholic universities have attempted to cancel covering abortions through the insurance provided to faculty and staff.

What is particularly galling about these campaigns is the occasional pretense that this assault is actually good for us, and motivated by a tender concern for the wellbeing of women and children.

In San Francisco, anti-abortion rights groups are this week displaying banners claiming that “Abortion hurts women.”

During a debate over the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” or HR 7, an anti-abortion bill currently advancing in Congress, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) suggested that Republicans support restricting access to abortion because it will ultimately benefit the economy if women have more children.  Goodlatte noted that carrying pregnancies to term “very much promotes job creation.” [Dara Culp, Think Progress, Jan. 15, 2014]

This has been going on for awhile.  And til now, women and our representatives have been somewhat stunned.
A new bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, is starting to turn this around.

Again, Dahlia Lithwick: “The bill is an effort to reaffirm Roe and Casey by pre-empting state efforts to enact measures like heartbeat bills, fetal pain legislation, and regulations that result in clinic closures, added expenses, and unnecessary delays.  It’s worth being perfectly clear that the bill will likely never pass the GOP-controlled House. But what’s important is that it represents Democrats—including male Democrats—taking a strong, long-overdue stand against state efforts to simply nullify Roe v. Wade with legislation that assumes Roe has already been overruled.

“The purpose of the new bill is to force states to prove that the dozens of measures ostensibly aimed at protecting women’s health actually do that. It would no longer be enough to simply assert that anything the state deems necessary to promote a woman’s health, does so. The law forces states to either find a meaningful connection between the regulations and a woman’s health, or openly admit they just want to end abortion.”

Not only that.  We expect to have legislation imminently that will challenge the Hyde Amendment, the notoriously destructive provision that prevents federal funding for abortions.  Low-income women are vastly more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy compared with women earning 200% or more over the federal poverty level – in fact, they’re 5 times more likely.  The Hyde Amendment has been both ideologically and directly responsible for this divide since it was first adopted in 1976, and never challenged.

This is a key year for us to become informed, to join together, to show that we Trust Women to make our own decisions about our health and our bodies.  We know that we all benefit when women can safely and effectively decide whether and when to have children, and to experience the social and economic support we all require to assure that we raise our families in safe and thriving communities.

Right now, Trust Women has three immediate opportunities for you to collaborate:
Sign the TWSR petition ( asking San Francisco City officials to take down the false and misleading banners stating “Abortion Hurts Women.”  It points out:

Campaigns to defund and stigmatize abortion, and impose repressive views about sexuality, disempower and subordinate women and girls, and prevent them from choosing and using the vital reproductive health care services they think best. In addition to legislation, tactics include violence against abortion providers, and harassment of patients at health centers. These actions hurt women and girls.

Next Tues., Jan 28, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution condemning the anti-abortion banners.  On Feb. 4, they’ll present an additional resolution supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act.  We’d welcome your visit up to see us in San Francisco.
A new development this year is the emergence of a solidarity group, Men Who Trust Women.  I’d like to invite Joe Brenner, Director of Men Who Trust Women, to say a few words.

And once again, thanks so much to the American Association of University Women for creating and maintaining this wonderful annual celebration of Roe v Wade, and for inviting the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women to enjoy this great day with you.



Men Who Trust Women: Jan. 22, 2014

Statement by Joe Brenner, Director, MWTW:

I’m proud to be here with you today for the commemoration and celebration of the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and women’s rights to make personal health decisions, including access to safe and legal abortion. 

It’s great to see everyone here, including the men. 

We know that the majority of people, women AND men, in the United States support reproductive choice. 

The minority of mostly pale male extremists in Congress and in state legislatures across the country who oppose women and reproductive choice do not represent the majority of the American people.  We should show them the door.

It’s time for the many men in the nation to stand up for their beliefs and be visible and vocal to trust, respect, and support women and women’s right to make decisions about their health, including access to contraception, and safe and legal abortion.  A new national network, called Men Who Trust Women, is aiming to do just that.  Tell your friends, your partners, your families. Our website is “”

While reproductive rights are women’s rights, they are also human rights.  An injury to women is an injury to us all.  So let’s celebrate, commemorate, and strengthen the rights enshrined in the historic Roe v. Wade decision today.  Thank you. 

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Oppose Anti-Abortion Banners

Introduced at SF Board of Supervisors on Jan. 14, 2014:

BoS resolution 1-14-13 opposing the anti-abortion banners on market street, urging the dedication of banner proceeds to the Department of Public Health for a campaign advancing accurate and scientifically verifiable education about women’s reproductive health, and requesting the review of banner regulations to assess whether the banners were issued in violation of City law.

ABC News Reports – Carolyn Tyler reports comments by Dr. Ellen Shaffer and SF Supervisor David Campos.

Click here to express your views



Public “Shocked” by Lie on Abortion Rights

Quotes from signers of the TWSR petition:

See more responses here:

Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign Petition: Lies About   Abortion Hurt Women  1-9-14
First Name Last Name Personal Message
Betsy Eudey Accurate information and   resources related to health is a necessity, and federal, state and local   governments must do all they can to ensure that misinformation is not overtly   or covertly supported. Individuals and organizations should not have the   opportunity to post misleading or medically false information on public   property, especially when doing so appears to have the blessing/support of   the government.
Tracy Sherman I have never visited San   Francisco, it has long been on my list of places I would like to go. I   assumed the culture was open and honest (you are famous for your Gay   community after all). But this has changed my mind. Any city foolish enough   to let a few idiots put up banners that are patently FALSE is no longer a   place I want to visit. I speak from the experience of 2 abortions for very   different reasons. One saved my life and the other saved my child from   suffering and dying right after birth. Not only did these not hurt – they   were blessings. Next time you decide to make stupid statements, perhaps you   will think about the tourist money you are losing.
Patricia Jackson A false, hate message should not   be displayed by the city.
Barbara Nielsen Abortion does not hurt women.   Abortion is legal. San Francisco City and County is displaying false   statements about women’s legal healthcare and reproductive rights options in   contradiction to City policies and practices. We call on the Mayor and   elected leaders to TAKE DOWN THE BANNERS as soon as possible.
Liz Newbury Abortion is safe and legal.   Let’s keep it that way. Disseminating deliberate misinformation to promote   particular religious ideologies is dangerous to women and their families. The great city of San Francisco can do better by its citizens   and guests than to use city property to promote misinformation for religious   purposes.
Louise Calabro Abortion is safe reproductive   health care for women — lies about this hurt women, rather than helping   them.
Lauren Schweizer Abortion   must be legal to be safe, illegal abortions hurt women. Take down the banners!
Michele Chandler Access = CHOICE!
John Fiore Appalled   that we are paying for lies on OUR lamp posts.   Will we do absolutely anything/everything for money?
Mary Ann Castle As a former resident of San   Francisco and an advocate for human rights, I am outraged at the medically inaccurate public health message that are   being displayed on SD City banners. I request that they be removed   immediately and that medically accurate information be provided to girls an   women.
shayna lewis As a former, and hopefully again   in the near future, resident of San Francisco, it is incredibly   disheartening to learn that the City is promoting   such blatant misinformation. I urge you to take down these banners as soon as   possible.
Carol Bailey As a frequent visitor to San   Francisco, I can not believe the signs posted along Market St. I expect   “the city” to be an eclectic mix of everything good – not a   messenger for untruths.
Trina Semorile As a native   San Franciscan, I am outraged this this has been   permitted and allowed to continue. I will shortly be in San Francisco for a   visit and trust these signs will be gone. Get them down. Hate speech is NOT   free speech. Hate speech kills.
Ann Boddum As a Nurse practitioner who has   worked in San Francisco Kaiser OB department. These banner goes beyond the   line ..they are false . And it is a very false statement to allow to put up   as if the city of San Francisco is saying this. You must have them removed.
Joan Edelstein As a nursing faculty in SF, and   past resident, I trust the administration will properly attend to this   violation of City regulations. These banners harm women!
Kathy King As a   physician I am outraged that the city would allow   these signs to be posted on city property. Freedom of speech – yes – but city   support of misinformation – NO!
Gene Bishop As a physician I find this a   poor public health message
diane gottlieb As a woman and a health   professional I am dismayed by this poor choice. This same mayor has also been   responsible for the increase in homeless mentally ill in sanfrancisco, which   is another preventable public health situation.
Thea Selby Attaching to the Snowflakes?   Really?
Bertha Mo Dear Mayor: As   a long time public health professional and advocate,   I request that you remove the incorrect information about abortion on the   City’s publicly managed lamp posts on Market St. in San Francisco. As a   public health professional, I am shocked that   these untruths are being spread on City managed banners. As a former City public health worker, I was proud that I   worked to support the health and well-being of families in the City;   particular the health and well-being of girls and women. San Francisco DPH   has always practiced what it preaches and support reproductive rights of   women. Please take these banners with incorrect messages down today. 
Larry Adelman Dear Mr. Mayor: I am a big believer in freedom of speech but not statements   which are lies and can harm others. For the City   to allow banners on its property which are outright falsehoods about women is   as alarming as it would be to see banners on City property promoting racist   or anti-Semitic remarks. Further, the statement that “abortion hurts   women” itself harms women. That’s not a public health message I believe   you or our other City leaders wish to propagate. Please promote accurate and   positive messages about reproductive health. Thank you. Larry Adelman
Claudine Torfs Did you know that public health   data show that maternal death from abortion are highest   where abortion is forbidden? Why? Because through   all ages and in all countries, women do abort, either safely or unsafely.   Abortion is and has has been done all over the world forever. It was even   allowed by the Catholic church for the first semester of pregancy until the   “ensoulment” –that is the time the church thought the   “soul” of the embryo entered the fetus– until the 13th or so   century. It is still the same rule for the present day Muslims until the   “quickening” or “ensoulment”. Check it out. Use only   scientific sources: they don’t lie or have a religious prejudice.
Virginia Anderson Don’t participate in sliding backward regarding truth   about reproductive health care services. In this era when many families with   children are forced to live on the streets because they’re not able to   provide decent lives for themselves and their children, it’s a troubling bent   to support limits to reproductive rights. Are we raising a caste of slaves?
Dena Bergstrom Don’t tell women what to do with   there bodies! Abortion is safe! I know!!
Yoana Corro Don’t treat women like children   that can’t take the truth and don’t treat them like if they’re idiots and   don’t know about their own body.
Dave Sweet Follow our lobby @USVetJOBs to   help stop these government scams!
z kastl Freedom of speech is not the   issue when one is lying.
steve heilig Hello – “Free speach”   does have limits when lies and inflammatory language is involved. Plus these   signs violate local policy. Thank you for your attention.
Ruby Kane Horrifying! I almost don’t   believe it, it’s so outrageous.
gene grabiner I am a former San Francisco   resident, and i am appalled at   this anti-abortion disinformation campaign proliferating from lampposts in   The City. These banners, with their public lies   and medical misinformation about the safety of abortion, should immediately be taken down. I urge the Mayor of San   Francisco to do right away.
Dr.   Martha Lincoln I am a medical anthropologist   and public health researcher residing in Oakland, California. San Francisco’s history as a progressive city supportive of   gender freedom is dishonored by the false and   politically motivated message that “abortion hurts women.” What   really hurts women is the limitation of their power to be informed and   exercise their autonomy in choosing safe medical options.
Krishanti Dharmaraj I am deeply disturbed by this   information. San Francisco became the first city in the   United States to pass legislation on the United Nations Convention on the   Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This legislation protects women’s right to family planning and   reproductive freedom. The banners in San Francisco is counter to this   legislation and women’s fundamental human rights. Please ensure women’s human   rights in San Francisco by removing the banners. Thank you.
Diana Madoshi I am so shocked that a city that   has been supportive of women’s right to choice would do such a thing.
Licita Fernandez I believe that women should have   the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, and misinformation   about the harm abortions do to women distorts the truth. Lies add another   barrier to choice.
Lorraine Honig I do not believe the city should   permit signs or banners which contain false information. Abortion should be a   choice for women and there is no evidence to show that it hurts them
Kathy Kramer I hope the City moves quickly to   remove the offensive “Abortion Hurts Women” signs on Market Street.   The message is incorrect, and inappropriate. (According   to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, abortion is one   of the safest medical procedures. The risk of death is 13 times higher for   carrying a pregnancy to term, compared with abortion, in the U.S.) It is also legal. A message like this does not belong on the
City’s light posts.
Elaine Butler I remember   when abortion was illegal and it did hurt women   when they were done under unsanitary conditions.
Carolyn Scarr I sign in honor and memory of my   mother who was a Planned Parenthood volunteer.
Helen Cagampang Illegal abortion hurts women.   Even though rarely needed, access to legal and affordable abortion is an   essential component of comprehensive women’s health care. The posters are   deceptive and part of a propaganda campaign that undermines women’s health. They   should be removed.
Caryl Gorska ILLEGAL abortions hurt women.   Keep abortion legal and safe!
Mary Swope I’m shocked. How did hey go up in the first place?
Debbie Mytels It’s shocking that the City of SF would put such provocative and untrue   banners on public light posts!
Chris Coombe I’ve always been so proud of the   Bay Area – my former home for over 25 years. How can the city allow this?   Would you allow banners advertising “Gay Sex Hurts Men” or a   “Walk for One-Man-One-Woman Marriage”??? Of course not. Shame on you!!
Charles Simons Just take ‘em down
Inge Horton Keep abortion legal!
Kathleen Kennedy Keep abortion safe, legal and   accessible. Women’s lives depend on it.
paul page Keep advertisements out of   public places.
Patricia Holcomb Keep womans health care safe….
Linda Ray Lack of reproductive choice is   what hurts women and girls who are old enough to become pregnant. Religious belief should not be announced as if it is medical   information.
James Paulson Mayor, Tell the truth….Stop   spreading HATE…The reality is women and women only are to be the ones who control their own bodies!
Leonore Tiefer Oh, for heaven’s sake – it’s   2014!!
M.L. Jones Please do not help in   perpetuating these lies. The city regulations that require accurate   information should not be violated. Thank you.
Caryl Hughan Please have signs removed.   Abortion is a woman’s choice and “Abortion hurts women” is not a   value position that SF should take. Many thanks.
Alyse Ceirante Please remove the banners. They   represent quite a significant step backwards for women’s rights. By allowing   these banners to remain in place, it is as if the city is condoning the lie   that is contained therein.
Jan Feldman Please stop giving access to   your lamp posts to groups who want to post misleading or false statements.
Sofia Balderas Please stop the misinformation!   What a shameful display in a   historically progressive city!
Marlene Aron Please take these banners down.   They are lies and will scare young people who don’t know   the difference. Abortion does not “hurt   women”. Abortion can be safely done. It is up to each woman,   individually, to make the choice as to whether she wants to have a child.   Take these banners down. They are lies and do not belong here. Marlene Aron
Eva Pettersson Please, no lies on public   places!
Michael Holland Promote the right message.   Abortion is safe.
Larisa Stevens Really San Francisco?!
Ann Hart Really? the forward thinking   west coast is not supporting women’s right to choose? I thought only the   midwest was backwards…please keep the west coast sane!
Paula Carder San Fran, I   thought you were BETTER than this. Seriously. This   is just shameful. Not having access to SAFE abortions, shaming women, flat   out LYING… THIS is what hurts women. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gail Xandy San Francisco is a beacon of   light compared to Texas. Don’t let your light go out!
Ellen Shaffer San Francisco should stand up   for women’s rights.
Kate Holum San Francisco women will defend   our rights to terminate pregnancy and control our own bodies. Forcing women   to bear children is what causes suffering-to overburdened moms and neglected,   unwanted kids.
Kathy Reed Shame on the city for displaying a false message on publicly managed   lamp posts! Take the message down now!
Deborah Chase Shameful!!
sheila goldmacher shocking to think that SF has allowed these lies to hang in its   streets! remove them please on behalf of the truth and womens’ and girls’   lives.
Marti Smith Standing in solidarity with you   from Sacramento.
Susan Stafford Stop spreading falsehoods about   abortion and reproductive rights.
Nancy Shand Stop spreading lies!
Lisa Diehl Stop with the bullshit lies, and   take the banners down. Why is abortion ANY of your business?
Renee Collins Tell the Truth.
Edith Bargoma That is a fear   tactic and it is not okay.
Andrea Jesse The “Abortion Hurts   Women” campaign goes against San Francisco’s long tradition of liberty   and progressive values.
Barbara Hokw The lies these banners tell are   against public health policy and should be removed.
Peter Van Coutren The Right to choose is the right   to freedom
Leeza vinogradov The right wingers are just   Non-Stop!!
Clare Feinson These banners must come down!   They perpetuate statements that have been proven wrong by research! Their placement on governmental property   is questionable, at best. Women deserve support, not more harassment.
Clare Feinson These banners must come down!   They perpetuate statements that have been proven wrong by research! Their   placement on governmental property is questionable, at best. Women deserve   support, not more harassment.
Sophia Yen MD MPH These lies are a public health   hazard to any woman contemplating this procedure. 1 in 3 women will have this   procedure in their life. Abortion is one of the safest procedures out there.   Abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy to term.
Margaret Spaulding These signs are absolutely outrageous. It may be true that   abortions hurt women; many things hurt women, including unwanted pregnancies,   abuse, poverty, poor health and ignorance to name but a few. Women must have   freedom to make choices about their health. TAKE DOWN THE SIGNS.
Kathryn Roberts This is hate   speech advocating that women be denied their right   to reproductive health. It doesn’t belong anywhere.
Catherine Pinkas This is not an appropriate use   on San Francisco public property
Mary Beth Brown This is not the sort of propagada I expect to see hanging   from lampposts in The City! My city, the place of my birth, the place I am   proud to say I’m from. Tax payer dollars should NOT be spent on displays of   scientifically inaccurate propaganda. PLEASE remove these banners!
Claire Brindis This is the wrong message to   give women…when it so distorts reality.
Elizabeth Krueger This on top of the obnoxious   billboards is abhorrent.
Susan Jakubiak Unbelievable that those banners   could be displayed on public property!
Melanie Grossman Unwanted pregnancies hurt women   and illegal abortions have hurt women tremendously.
Helynna Brooke We wouldn’t allow the Klu Klux   Clan to post signs so why these terroists?
sadja Greenwood What hurts women and drives them   to dangerous back-alley abortions is lack of reproductive choice.
Alex Pirie What?! On city property? What is   happening to San Francisco? For shame. Take them down now.
Sandra Schmaier Who paid for these banners? This   is as bad as the banners that went on SF buses criminalizing Palestinians   about a year ago…remember?. Who paid for these? Pro Life groups do not   provide economic support for unwed mothers or daycare for career woman who   accidentally get pregnant or woman are raped…..what is going on here? Once   the water breaks they are no where to be found……how does that help woman?
Diane Fenster women have the right to choose   for themselves.
Robin Brasso Women’s reproductive rights and   the attempts by the right to control women’s bodies are based on fear and lies. We will NOT allow   these lies to be posted on banners on the streets of San Francisco. We will   work to overturn the restrictive laws in the Republican held states. They   will NOT be allowed to stand.
Susan Englander Would San Francisco fly banners   that say Ed Lee is homophobic or San Francisco Police discriminate against   women? Free speech may be our highest right but public policy also has a   role.
Tina Ann you are my city- please   represent all of us
Lin Kaatz Chary You don’t have to live in San   Francisco to be shocked and upset by these banners. I have lived in San   Francisco and continue to have friends and family there – you can be sure   they will be hearing from me about this!