Protect Social Security Medicare and Medicaid!

Please click here to sign the petition to Protect Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid:

Women, communities of color and allies call on  Congress and the President to protect Social Security, Medicare and  Medicaid

The Issues

As Congress reconvenes to address the budget, the first order of business  must be to protect the benefits we rely on through Social Security, Medicare and  Medicaid.

Congress failed for the last 2 years to agree on proposals to manage the  federal budget and the deficit, and now faces a “fiscal cliff:” without further  action, cuts to the military and social programs would be phased in starting in  January, 2013. The Bush-era tax cuts would also expire, meaning taxes would go  up both for wealthy and middle-income people, starting in January. To avoid  these consequences, Congress could just raise tax rates for the wealthiest 2% of  the population, but carve out middle-income people, who need the cash to  stimulate the economy. Failing that, groups associated with finance capital have  advocated for a “Grand Bargain,” first proposed by the failed Simpson-Bowles  commission, to cut benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as a  trade off for some tax increases.

Cutting benefits from Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid would be  especially harmful to the health of women, who live longer but have lower  incomes. Additionally, women of color, who already experience a host of health  disparities and difficulties in accessing critical health services, would be  disproportionately impacted by any erosion of Medicaid.

Raising the age of eligibility for Social Security income support, or  reducing benefits, would tip millions of elderly women into poverty,  including many without family or friends as caregivers, and who are people of  color. They would have to spend down their savings to become eligible for  Medicaid, and experience medically unnecessary confinement in nursing homes as a  result.

Medicare is the major source of payment for hospital and ambulatory care as  well as for rehabilitation services and considerable home health and nursing  home care. Forcing women to neglect necessary care at ages 65-67 would result in  greater risk of complications from chronic diseases as they grow older.

Medicaid provides essential support to pregnant women, their children and  people using long term care services at home, in their communities and in  skilled nursing facilities. Any reduction of these benefits would irretrievably  harm health and hasten death among women.

Further, the Social Security Trust Fund is entirely solvent through 2038,  requiring only minor tweaks in the interim to extend into the future. Medicare  and Medicaid are affected by health care cost increases, but cutting benefits  will not solve those problems.

Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

The text of the petition

On Nov. 6, women and communities of color gave the margin of victory to a  President and members of Congress who promised to fight for higher taxes on the  wealthy, for more public investment and for careful cuts in spending, while  revitalizing the economy.

As Congress begins to negotiate on the budget, the first order of business  must be to protect the benefits we rely on through Social Security, Medicare and  Medicaid. Cutting benefits from Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid would be  especially harmful to the health of women, who live longer but have lower  incomes. Additionally, women of color, who already experience a host of health  disparities and difficulties in accessing critical health services would be  disproportionately impacted by any erosion of Medicaid. These cuts would do  nothing to address the deficit. Such cuts would force women ages 65-67 to  neglect needed health care, worsening chronic conditions throughout their lives.  Reduced income support would force many elderly women without family or friends  as caregivers to spend down to qualify for Medicaid, and experience medically  unnecessary confinement in nursing homes as a result.

There is a ready solution to raise revenue: Let the Bush tax cuts expire for  the wealthiest 2% of Americans.

We urge you to fight for:

1. No cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits

2. Let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.

Click here to sign http://trustwomen.civicactions.org/twsilverribbon/protect_social_security_medicare_and_medicaid

National Online March – a Success!

The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign initiated a collaboration with MoveOn to conduct an online campaign during Jan. 20-27, 2012, to build solidarity and momentum for reproductive health, rights and justice.

The majority of Americans believe that women should have access to basic health care services and that decisions about reproductive health care including family planning and abortion should be left to each person.  But in 2011, rather than addressing the public’s pressing concerns about the economy, Congress and state legislatures declared a “War on Women.”

36 states enacted 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion.1 The U.S. House of Representatives held eight votes to limit reproductive health care. H.R.358 gives hospitals the right to refuse to provide a woman with emergency, lifesaving abortion care – even if she will die without it.

These measures restrict life choices for all women and families, with the most severe consequences for the most vulnerable. Low income women, younger women and women of color experience the highest rates of unintended pregnancies.

The National Online March aimed to begin 2012 with a powerful event that builds solidarity and momentum for reproductive justice.

We aimed to turn the tide on these policies in 2012.

Trust Women Week launched an affirmative campaign that marshalled support across the boundaries of age, ethnicity/race, and geography; that linked concerns about the economy and politics with issues of reproductive health; and that challenged mainstream thinking on these issues with a range of messages and approaches.

I trust women and I vote.
Reproductive rights are human rights.
Keep abortion safe and legal, and make it accessible and affordable.
Stand up and be counted for reproductive justice.
We are the 99%. Fix the economy, and stop the attacks on women’s health.
Contraception Is Prevention

(Please click here to read the entire evaluation.)

Background on Abortion for Trust Women Week

There will always be women who need access to abortions.
Abortion is basic health care for women.

  • 1 in 3 American women will have had an abortion by age 45.
  • About 50% of pregnancies in theU.S. are unintended.
  • 4 in 10 unintended pregnancies are terminated by abortion.[1]
  • In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed in US.

 

  • Teen pregnancy accounts for only 2 in 10 of all abortions
    performed in theUS.
  • Women in their twenties account for more than half of all
    abortions performed in the US.[2]
  • 88% of abortions occur in the 1st 12 weeks. Only
    1.5% occur later in the term.
  • 6 in 10 women having abortions already have one or more
    children.

    • These women often cite
      the need to care for their children as a primary reason for choosing to
      have   an abortion.
    • 66%
      of women having abortions intend to have children in the future.

 

  • 3 in 4 women who have abortions describe themselves as
    religiously affiliated.
  • Catholic women have an abortion rate 29% higher
    than Protestant women.
  • One in five women having an abortion is a
    born-again or Evangelical Christian.[3]

 

  • In 2008, more than 4 in 10 abortion patients had incomes
    below the federal poverty line.[4]

    • Women of color have much higher rates of unintended
      pregnancies and are disproportionately more likely to have an abortion, which
      points to widespread inequities in access to contraception and adequate health
      care.

 

  • 54% of women who have abortions used a contraceptive method
    (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among
    those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their
    method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report
    correct use.[5]

 

Abortion and Providers

 

  • In 2008, 87% of U.S. counties had no abortion provider.[6]
    • 1/3 of American women live in a county with no abortion
      provider, which meant they would have to travel outside their county to obtain
      an abortion. Of women obtaining abortions in 2006, nonhospital providers
      estimate that 27% traveled at least 50 miles.

 

Abortion is Safe

  • The risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than
    0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires
    hospitalization.[7]
  • Abortion is safer when and where it is legal.
    • Opponents have attempted to claim that abortion causes a
      number of complications.  There is no
      evidence for these claims, and research has systematically discredited each of
      them:
    • In repeated studies since the early 1980s, leading experts
      have concluded that abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.[8]
    • Abortion does not increase one’s risk of breast cancer as
      shown by several peer-reviewed and respected scientific studies.
    • Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no
      long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous
      abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight
      deliveries.[9]

 

Current
Threats to Abortion Access

Threats to legal abortion

  • In 1992, the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey
    significantly weakened the legal protections previously afforded women and
    physicians by giving states the right to enact restrictions that do not create
    an “undue burden” for women seeking abortion[10].
  • Since
    1976 via the Hyde Amendment (which has been renewed every year), Congress has
    barred the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions, except when the
    woman’s life would be endangered by a full-term pregnancy or in cases of rape
    or incest. http://youtu.be/zCmCcACrm6M
  • On May 4, 2011, HR3 passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a
    vote of 251 to 175 . (No action in  the
    Senate.)

    • Expands and makes permanent (as opposed to
      annual opportunity to strike it) that no federal funds can be spent on abortion
    • Uses personal and business tax policy to bar
      any insurance policy (including those paid with personal funds) from covering
      abortion, even to protect a woman’s health when threatened by complication with
      later term wanted pregnancies which could result in all private insurance
      dropping coverage of abortion. Currently 85% of private insurance plans cover
      abortion.
    • Redefines rape as only “forcible rape,”
      meaning those that are inebriated or drugged do not count as rapes. Women would
      have to prove that the rape was forced.

 

  • 36 state
    governments enacted 92 anti-choice regulations related to abortions in 2011, a
    new record.  The previous record was in
    2005, when about 34 regulations were enacted.

These measures:

Discourage and delay pregnant women from acting on decisions to obtain
an abortion.

Interfere with clinician practices in the name of safety.

Restrict the gestational period for when a fetus can be aborted.

Limit government funds to for abortion care and thus limits the choices
of poor women.

Criminalize
women’s decisions. 

 

Restrictive
proposals

  • Eliminating
    insurance coverage of abortion. Currently 85% of private insurance covers
    abortion. Laws passed by the House of Representatives and state governments are
    in effect banning private coverage of abortion
  • “Consicence
    Clauses” that allow women to die. 10/2011 the House of Representatives passed
    the “Protect
    Life Act”, known by women’s health advocates as the “Let
    Women Die
    ” bill. It allows hospitals that receive federal funds to reject
    any woman
    in need of an abortion procedure, even if it is necessary to save
    her life.
  • Requiring Ultrasounds before abortion. Some states require
    that women receive information about how to access an ultrasound while others
    require that a woman undergo an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion. An
    ultrasound is not medically necessary for first-trimester abortion and
    these types of laws appear to be attempts to personify the fetus and dissuade
    the woman from choosing an abortion, as well as significantly add to the cost
    of the procedure[11].
  • “Informed consent” a.k.a. misinformation/scare tactic
    requirements are often used to interfere with a woman’s easy access to a safe
    abortion. Many states require mandatory biased counseling and often at least a
    24-hour “waiting period” between counseling and an abortion procedure. Many
    states require certain information to be given during counseling such as
    information about fetal development, how to obtain an ultrasound, along with
    misleading or inaccurate information about the risks associated with abortion.
    This requirement, designed to deter women from seeking an abortion, causes an
    undue emotional and financial burden. In states that require a waiting period,
    women must make two trips to a health care provider in order to obtain an
    abortion, increasing the difficulty of accessing an abortion for low-income or
    working women[12] who have to find child
    care, transportation and coverage at their jobs to travel large distances to a
    provider twice.
  • Many clinics and health care facilities are targets of
    serious antiabortion violence including bombings, arson, and vandalism.
    Additionally, these facilities are often subject to violent protests and
    blockades. The federal government in 1994 enacted the Freedom of Access to
    Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act which prohibits intentional property damage, or the
    use of force or threat of force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with
    someone entering a health care facility[13].
  • Crisis pregnancy centers present themselves as “pregnancy
    clinics” or “medical clinicis” to persuade women to not have an abortion.
    Rather than present all the options (continue, continue and put up for
    adoption, or terminate) they present biased facts. Many receive taxpayers
    funds.

  • State initiatives to make the embryo a person. Colorado started this trend. Mississippi followed suit this year, in an
    initiative that was defeated by voters.

Some good
references:

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/12/27/395239/the-gops-10-most-extreme-attacks-on-a-womans-right-to-choose-an-abortion/

http://jezebel.com/5871360/the-year-in-your-uterus#

 

California Specific

  • In California, 897,700 of the 7,680,396 women of
    reproductive age became pregnant in 2008. 61% of these pregnancies resulted in
    live births and 24% in induced abortions.
  • In 2008, 214,190 women obtained abortions in California, producing a rate of 27.6 abortions
    per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states,
    and some California residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may
    not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate increased 2% since
    2005, when it was 27.1 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44. Abortions in California represent 17.7% of all abortions in
    theUnited States.
  • In 2008, 22% of California counties had no abortion provider.[14] 

Catholics support birth control and have abortions. 

  http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/news/op-eds/2011/OnfamilyplanningdoestheCatholicChurchrepresentCatholics.asp.asp 



[3]

http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/prabort2.html

[7]
Henshaw SK, Unintended pregnancy and abortion: a
public health perspective, in: Paul M et al., eds., A Clinician’s Guide to
Medical and Surgical Abortion
, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1999, pp.
11–22.

[8]
Major B et al., Report of the
Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, American Psychological Association,
Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, 2008, Washington, DC, <http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf>, accessed December
15, 2011.

[9]
Major B et al., Report of the
Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, American Psychological Association,
Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, 2008, Washington, DC, <http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf>, accessed December
15, 2011.

NOW! March Online for Repro Rights, Justice

From January 20 to 27,  join the first-ever “Trust Women Week,” an online mass mobilization for women’s lives and rights. The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign is the coordinating partner in this unique collaborative campaign, working with MoveOn.org and more than 50 organizations nationwide, to let legislators know that reproductive health, reproductive justice and reproductive rights are at the top of our agenda, and should be at the top of theirs.

In this collaborative national action, your messages as “virtual marchers”  will be packaged and delivered directly to members of Congress, governors and state legislators to underscore
that Americans trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.

Online participants may select up to six tailored messages:

1. “I trust women and I vote;”

2. “Reproductive rights are human rights;”

3. “Keep abortion safe and legal, and make it affordable and
accessible;”

4. “Stand up and be counted for reproductive justice;”

5. “We are the 99%. Fix the economy, and stop the attacks on
women’s health;”

6. “Contraception Is Prevention.”

Join in this virtual freedom march, and you’ll see your participation on a real-time online map. Your participation is essential to this effort, so thanks for your support!

Click here  to join the March!

Trust Women Week overlaps the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and reasserts our firm commitment to reclaiming the future of reproductive decision-making in 2012.

Thanks again for your support

 

 

 

Trust Women Week: A National Online March, Banners in the Street

Trust Women Week and SF Banners: Background

Trust Women Week and The Banner Project

The majority of Americans believe that women should have access to basic health care
services and that decisions about reproductive health care including family
planning and abortion should be left to each person.  But in 2011, extremist politicians elected with a mandate to fix the current economic crisis instead chose to divert the
public’s attention with policy battles about these private decisions. They have
declared a “War on Women.”  The U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures have particularly focused on eliminating access to basic health care services and contraception as well as abortion, with severe consequences for the most vulnerable .

 

We’re displaying banners on Market Street in San Francisco to spark conversations and to help build momentum and solidarity among supporters of women’s rights, equality and autonomy and access to comprehensive health care, including reproductive health care services.

During Trust Women Week, January 20-27, we will engage the public in a National Online March, with MoveOn, to express support online and in events around the country for reproductive health, rights and justice.  Watch this page for news about local events, including one in San Francisco on Jan. 20.

 

The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign is a coalition of 42 national and local
organizations. We include the groups represented on the banners: the Bay Area
Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR), Catholics for Choice, NARAL-ProChoice California, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, and SisterSong/Trust Black Women.

 

The main banner messages are:

  • Her Decision, Her Health

            Most women spend about 30 years trying not to become pregnant and only two years trying to become pregnant.  Whether and when to have a child is a personal decision that every individual has the right to make.  A healthy pregnancy is more likely for women who have access to basic health care services.

  • U.S. Out of My Uterus

In 2011, a record numbers of bills were introduced or passed by state legislatures and
the U.S. House of representatives restricting women’s access to basic health care services, family planning, and safe abortion care.  It has been called a “War on Women.” Many women are shocked and dismayed by these attacks and want to send a strong message to policy-makers: Government should stay out of making decisions about what happens in my womb.

  • Fix the Economy, Support My Autonomy

            Many people are suffering due to the downturn in the economy, and are looking to our elected officials for real solutions. Too many policy-makers focus on whipping up divisions on social issues such as restricting women’s rights, instead of creating jobs. Government has an important role in supporting and assuring the conditions for a healthy life. In these hard economic times, women’s ability to conduct productive, independent lives depends on government support for fixing the economy, and providing the education needed to secure rewarding jobs, and affordable health care, including reproductive health care.

  • Reproductive Rights are Human Rights 

If women do not have the ability to decide what goes on in their bodies, then they are second class citizens.  Human rights describe the obligations of governments to create the conditions for all people to be as healthy as possible.  This includes respecting
individual rights about our reproductive health and assuring access to affordable and comprehensive reproductive health care services.


San Francisco is Pro-Choice

The majority of this country supports reproductive rights and feels that the decision about abortion should be left to the individual.

Partner banners:

Catholics for Choice

Legal Abortion is a Human Right: United Nations – BACORR

Freedom, Privacy, Choice – NARAL California

San Francisco Supports Planned Parenthood Shasta/Pacific

We Trust Black Women, Do You? – Sistersong

see Background Information below or as a pdf:

Trust Women Week and SF Banners: Background

photos of the banners:

https://picasaweb.google.com/117112844015109646967/ReproductiveJusticeBannersInSanFrancisco#

 

 

Background Information:

 

 

 

Unintended
Pregnancies

 

  • Of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the U.S. in 2006, nearly half (49%) were unintended.  43% of these unintended pregnancies end in
    abortion.

 

  • Unintended pregnancy rates are elevated among low-income
    women, women aged 18–24, cohabiting women, and minority women.

 

 

The rate of unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15-44, 1994
– 2006

  • Rose by 50%  for
    low-income womenversus decreased by 29% for higher income women
    (at 200% + of the federal poverty level)

 

Unintended
Pregnancy: 5 Times Higher for Low-Income

UP for
Low-Income

DOWN for Higher-Income

Year 1994 2001 2006 Percent change
Below federal poverty 88 120 132 50% increase
200% +FPL 34 28 24 29% decline
Rate low
income
3 times +  4 times + 5 times +

Per 1,000 women age 15-44    http://bit.ly/oT1cJk
www.guttmacher.org

 

 

 

Women and Violence

  • Homicide is the 2nd-leading cause
    of injury-related death among pregnant women
  • 24% of U.S.
    women have experienced physical domestic abuse at some point in their lives, including threats, isolation,
    humiliation, unwanted sexual advances, limiting access to finances.

 

Unintended
pregnancy and Abortion Facts

There
will always be women who need access to abortions. Abortion is basic health
care for women.

  • ~50%
    of pregnancies in US are unintended.
  • 4 in
    10 unintended pregnancies are terminated by abortion.[1]
  • 22%
    of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.[2]
  • In
    2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed in US.
  • Teen
    pregnancy accounts for only 2 in 10 of all abortions performed in theUS (Guttmacher Institute).
  • 88%
    of abortions occur in the 1st 12 weeks. Only 1.5% occur later in the
    term.

 

Who gets abortions?

http://youtu.be/rY-bQ6UzhNI

 

  • Women
    in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions performed in the US.[3]
  • 6 in
    10 women having abortions already have one or more children.
  • These
    women cite the need to provide and care for their existinge children as a
    primary reason for choosing to have an abortion.
  • Approximately,
    on average, 1 in 3 US women will have had an abortion in the
    their lifetimes.
  • 75% of women
    who have abortions describe themselves as religiously affiliated.
  •  66% of women having abortions intend to have
    children in the future.
  •  Catholic women have an abortion rate 29%
    higher than Protestant women.
  • One in five women having an abortion is a
    born-again or Evangelical Christian.[4]
  • In
    2008, more than 4 in 10 abortion patients had incomes below the federal poverty
    line.[5]
  • 54% of women
    who have abortions used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill)
    during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and
    49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13%
    of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.[6]
  • Women
    of color have much higher rates of unintended pregnancies and are
    disproportionately more likely to have an abortion, which points to widespread inequities
    in access to contraception and adequate health care.

 

Abortion and Providers

 

  • In
    2008, 87% of U.S. counties had no abortion provider.[7]
  • 1/3
    of American women live in a county with no abortion provider, which meant they
    would have to travel outside their county to obtain an abortion. Of women
    obtaining abortions in 2006, nonhospital providers estimate that 27% traveled
    at least 50 miles.
  • In
    2009, the average amount paid for a non-hospital abortion with local anesthesia
    at 10 weeks’ gestation was $451. [8]

 

Abortion Law and Policy

  • In 1992, the Supreme in Planned Parenthood v. Casey significantly weakened the legal
    protections previously afforded women and physicians by giving states the right
    to enact restrictions that do not create an “undue burden” for women seeking
    abortion[9].
  • Since
    1976 via the Hyde Amendment (which has been renewed every year),Congress has
    barred the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions, except when the
    woman’s life would be endangered by a full-term pregnancy or in cases of rape
    or incest.

http://youtu.be/zCmCcACrm6M

  • On 5/4/11, Smith Bill HR3 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of
    251:175 . (No action in the Senate.)

    • Expands and makes permanent (as opposed to annual opportunity to strike
      it) that no federal funds can be spent on abortion
    • Uses personal and business tax policy to bar any insurance policy
      (including those paid with personal funds) from covering abortion, even to
      protect a woman’s health when threatened by complication with later term wanted
      pregnancies which could result in all private insurance dropping coverage of
      abortion. Currently 85% of private insurance plans cover abortion.
    • Redefines rape as only “forcible rape,” meaning those that are
      inebriated or drugged do not count as rapes. Women would have to prove that the
      rape was forced.

 

  • 19 state governments enacted 80 anti-choice regulations related to
    abortions in 2011, a new record.  The
    previous record was in 2005, when about 34 regulations were enacted.

These measures:

Discourage and delay
pregnant women from acting on decisions to obtain an abortion.

Interfere with clinician
practices in the name of safety .

Restrict the gestational
period for when a fetus can be aborted.

Limit government funds to
for abortion care and thus limits the choices of poor women.

Criminalize women’s
decisions.

 

Abortion is Safe

  • The
    risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients
    experience a complication that requires hospitalization.[10]
  • Abortion
    is safer when and where it is legal.
  • Opponents
    have attempted to claim that abortion causes a number of complications.  There is no evidence for these claims, and
    research has systematically discredited each of them:
  • Abortions
    performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such
    problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage)
    or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.[11]
  • In
    repeated studies since the early 1980s, leading experts have concluded that
    abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.[12]
  • Abortion
    does not increase one’s risk of breast cancer as shown by several peer-reviewed
    and respected scientific studies.

 

Contraception prevents unintended
pregnancy and abortion

  • In
    2006, publicly funded family planning services helped women avoid 1.94 million
    unintended pregnancies, which would likely have resulted in about 860,000
    unintended births and 810,000 abortions[13].

 

Current Threats
to Abortion Access

  • Eliminating insurance
    coverage of abortion.
     Currently 85% of private insurance covers
    abortion. Laws passed by the House of Representatives and state governments are
    in effect banning private coverage of abortion.
  • Requiring
    medically-unnecessary ultrasounds
    before abortion. Some states require
    that women receive information about how to access an ultrasound while others
    require that a woman undergo an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion. An
    ultrasound is not medically necessary for first-trimester abortion and
    these types of laws appear to be attempts to personify the fetus and dissuade
    the woman from choosing an abortion, as well as significantly add to the cost
    of the procedure[14].
  • Informed
    consent” a.k.a. misinformation/scare tactic
    requirements are often used to
    interfere with a woman’s easy access to a safe abortion. Many states require
    mandatory biased counseling and often at least a 24-hour “waiting period”
    between counseling and an abortion procedure. Many states require certain
    information to be given during counseling such as information about fetal
    development, how to obtain an ultrasound, along with misleading or inaccurate
    information about the risks associated with abortion. This requirement,
    designed to deter women from seeking an abortion, causes an undue emotional and
    financial burden. In states that require a waiting period, women must make two
    trips to a health care provider in order to obtain an abortion, increasing the
    difficulty of accessing an abortion for low-income or working women[15]
    who have to find child care, transportation and coverage at their jobs to
    travel large distances to a provider twice.
  • Many
    clinics and health care facilities are targets of serious antiabortion violence
    including bombings, arson, and vandalism. Additionally, these facilities are
    often subject to violent protests and blockades. The federal government in 1994
    enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act which prohibits
    intentional property damage, or the use of force or threat of force to injure,
    intimidate, or interfere with someone entering a health care facility[16].
  • The
    average cost of an abortion at 10 weeks gestation is $370. In 1977 the Hyde
    Amendment was implemented with banned federal funding for abortion
    except in extreme circumstances. Medicaid is one of the primary federal health
    care programs for low-income people, and under Hyde Medicaid cannot be used to
    pay for an abortion.
  • Crisis
    pregnancy centers

    present themselves as “pregnancy clinics” or “medical clinicis” to persuade
    women to not have an abortion. Rather than present all the options (continue,
    continue and put up for adoption, or terminate) they present biased facts. Many
    receive taxpayers funds.
  • State
    initiatives to make the embryo a person. Colorado started this trend. Mississippi followed suit this year, in an
    initiative that was defeated by voters.

 

 

 

California Specific

  • In California, 897,700 of the 7,680,396 women of
    reproductive age became pregnant in 2008. 61% of these pregnancies resulted in
    live births and 24% in induced abortions.
  • In
    2008, 214,190 women obtained abortions in California, producing a rate of 27.6 abortions per
    1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states,
    and some California residents had abortions in other states,
    so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate
    increased 2% since 2005, when it was 27.1 abortions per 1,000 women 15-44.
    Abortions inCalifornia represent 17.7% of all abortions in theUnited States.
  • In
    2008, 22% of California counties had no abortion provider.[17]

 

Catholics
support birth control and have abortions.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/on-family-planning-does-the-catholic-church-represent-catholics/2011/10/07/gIQAaNGnSL_blog.htm

 

Reproductive Justice

 

Reproductive
justice is a framework that addresses the intersecting influences of racism,
sexism, xenophobia, and class on the health and daily lives of women and girls.[18] It goes beyond the issues of reproductive health services, and the law and policy approach of a reproductive rights framework, to
actively and inclusively represent the needs, challenges and daily experiences
of communities of color and low-income women. This integrated
approach is about a woman’s total reproductive health and its relationship to
her economic conditions and daily experiences. Its goal is not to single out
parts of a woman’s body but instead to see women’s lives and experiences as a
whole.[19]

 

According to the
Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, “Reproductive
Justice exists when all people have the social, political and economic power
and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, sexuality and
families for our selves and our communities.”[20]

 

Reproductive
oppression is the control
and regulation of our gender, bodies, and sexuality. This oppression manifests in many ways,
such as

  • the systematically toxic environment in many poor communities that expose women to toxins linked with
    infertility, infant mortality, miscarriage, birth defects, and cancer.
  • the criminalization of
    substance-dependent pregnant women and subsequent incarceration rather than
    rehabilitation.

 

Reproductive justice is a framework that recognizes that
women’s health, access to medical care
and economic justice are political issues that are all connected. Reproductive
options and self-determination for
women of color and poor women are restricted in many aspects because
reproductive health is directly tied to the economic conditions in a woman’s
community, including environmental factors and experiences of women of color with respect to
race, class, and gender.[21]

 

Though
the constitutional right to an abortion established by Roe v. Wade remains
technically intact, the majority of anti-choice and anti-women legislation
designed to chip away at Roe disproportionately affects poor women and women of
color. These include bans
on publicly funded abortion, cuts to women’s health clinics, and legally-imposed
waiting periods act to deny access safe and legal abortion for many
underprivileged women.

 

The Reproductive Justice agenda
includes but is not limited to some of the following: affordable child care and
housing for low income women; pre- and post-natal care accessible to all women;
child nutrition and pre-school programs, comprehensive school-based medically
accurate and age-appropriate sex education for our youth; family planning and
counseling; guaranteed job security for pregnant employees; paid family and

medical leave; access to birth control and emergency contraception; affordable
and accessible reproductive health care; treatment programs–not jail time–to
assist pregnant substance abusers; and, last but not least, universal health
care for all.[22]



 



[2]  Jones RK and Kooistra,
K., Abortion incidence and access to services in the United States, 2008,Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2011, 43(1):41-50.

[4] http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/prabort2.html

[10]
Henshaw SK,
Unintended pregnancy and abortion: a public health perspective, in: Paul M et
al., eds., A Clinician’s Guide to Medical
and Surgical Abortion
, New York:
Churchill Livingstone, 1999, pp. 11–22.

[11]
Major B et al., Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,
American Psychological Association, Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,
2008, Washington,
DC, <http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf>,
accessed December
15, 2011.

[12]
Major B et al., Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and
Abortion, American Psychological Association, Task Force on Mental Health and
Abortion, 2008, Washington,
DC, <http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf>,
accessed December
15, 2011.

[21]
http://www.now.org/nnt/fall-2006/reproductive_justice.html


 [SY1]alpha
order

Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, P.O. Box 29586, San Francisco, CA 94129  Phone: 415-922-6204 w fax : 415-885-4091 w email :ershaffer@gmail.com www.oursilverribbon.org

Reproductive Justice Banners Fly in San Francisco

To see them: Reproductive Justice Banners

For the first time in San Francisco’s history, banners advocating reproductive rights and justice began flying today on Market Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. The display was organized by the Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women, a coalition of 42 national and local organizations that aims to build the momentum and solidarity of the pro-choice majority.  During 2011, Congress and state legislatures proposed or enacted an unprecedented number of attacks on women’s reproductive health care services, including birth control as well as abortion, while slashing basic health services.

The banners kick off a national virtual online march in collaboration with MoveOn later in January.

“When the House of Representatives votes that it is okay for doctors to allow pregnant women to die in the emergency room rather than perform an abortion, it’s time for women to wake up and fight back,” said Sophia Yen, M.D., a co-founder of the Silver Ribbon Campaign. “As a mother and a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine, I want to insure that my patients and my own daughters continue to enjoy the right to plan their families and pursue their career goals. For women, that means protecting and expanding reproductive rights.”

Ellen R. Shaffer, Ph.D., co-director of the Silver Ribbon Campaign said,  “Many women are angry that our health is being used as a political football, in attempts to divert attention away from the troubled economy as we enter an election year. We need the government to fix the economy and to fund vital basic health services, that are especially critical for low-income women, and to quit interfering with our private decisions about our reproductive health.”

The Silver Ribbon banner slogans are:
Her Decision, Her Health
U.S. Out of My Uterus
Fix the Economy, Support My Autonomy
Reproductive Rights are Human Rights 
San Francisco is Pro-Choice

Partner banners:

We Trust Black Women, Do You? – Sistersong

Catholics for Choice

Legal Abortion is a Human Right: United Nations – BACORR

Freedom, Privacy, Choice – NARAL California

San Francisco Supports Planned Parenthood Shasta/Pacific

Other organizations that contributed a banner to the display commented: “Women of color are more likely to be adversely affected by policy and budget cuts to family planning,” said Loretta Ross, National Coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. “It is important for women of color to be trusted to make these private personal decisions for ourselves and our families. It is our human right to do so and we will not be shamed or silenced.”

“We are delighted to join this initiative, raising awareness about continued threats to women’s reproductive rights. While Catholics have long rejected the bishops’ diktats when it comes to family planning, the bishops just don’t give up. The vast majority of sexually active Catholic women, 98 percent, use a method of family planning banned by the bishops. Now the bishops are trying to use Congress to force their will on all Americans. This is intolerable and we expect the Obama administration to reject the bishops’ demands,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice.

“BACORR is proud to partner with Trust Women and to bring strong grassroots support to this campaign,” Somer Loen from BACORR said. “Too many of the people who pass restrictive laws and service cuts aren’t affected by them. We hope the banners will help empower everyone to stand up publicly for their rights.”

The 70 banners will fly for several weeks through January, 2012. Local and national events are planned throughout the U.S. around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, celebrating Trust Women Week.

See photos of 8 of the banners here: https://picasaweb.google.com/117112844015109646967/ReproductiveJusticeBannersInSanFrancisco#

pdf of full set:

Trust Women Banners – Graphic

Take Action on Plan B Decision

From Raising Women’s Voices: We need to defend women’s health and hold the President to his commitment to scientific integrity and women’s health. Join us in calling the White House to urge them to defend contraceptive access and tell Secretary Sebelius that she must let the FDA do its job without interference. Please call the White House at 202-456-1111 to deliver this message or tweet with the hashtag #ECoutrage. 

 Ellen R. Shaffer on Huffington Post: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-r-shaffer/sebelius-plan-b_b_1135791.html

We Are All an 11-year-old Girl — And She Is Pissed

Women are the last remaining voting majority who are treated like a splinter group. It will stay that way until we stand up for ourselves, together, and demand power.

The Democrats drove us away from the polls in 2010, and they’re getting ready to do it again. It’s okay, though. They need to focus on creating jobs. We don’t want to disturb them with anything controversial.

The Republicans don’t care whether or not we experience regret after our abortions. They want to pump up the fanatic religious extremists who they hope will give them control of the Senate and the White House in 2012.

The pediatricians, gynecologists, and adolescent medicine doctors deplore the decision yesterday by the secretary of Health and Human Services to override:

“An evidence-based decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve an application for over-the-counter access without age restriction to the emergency contraception (EC) product Plan B One-Step. This move defies the strong data that EC is safe and effective for all females of reproductive age. As advocates for the health and well-being of all young people, the AAP recommends that adolescents postpone sexual activity until they are fully ready for the emotional, physical, and financial consequences of sex,” said Robert Block, MD, FAAP, American Academy of Pediatrics president.

 

“However, as physicians who care for our nation’s children, it is our responsibility to protect the health of our teenage patients, and an unintended pregnancy can have significant implications for adolescents’ physical and emotional health.”

Presumably Sec. Sebelius was following orders from her boss, already jittery because the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is offended that HHS has had the temerity to acknowledge that contraception is a preventive medical service, and should be covered without additional co-payments just like pap smears.

You can join lots of important efforts to call the White House or sign petitions, including sites for NARAL, the National Women’s Health Network, and the Feminist Majority.

Maybe, also, we can snatch some tactics from AIDS activists. Maybe we need to start bird-dogging policy-makers who have difficulty living up to their promises. And working in communities where people don’t have jobs are being convinced to turn their anger against women who don’t have rights.

Follow Ellen R. Shaffer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ershaffer

 

God to Congress: War on Women OK

“It is not our job as Catholics to tell God what he should do. It is our job to learn and follow his teachings. Conscience is not convenience. We must enforce the laws of God.” Rep. Tim Murphy, Republican of Pennsylvania, having ascertained that the supreme deity is male, explained why Congress should deprive the employees of Catholic schools, hospitals and charities of the right to purchase affordable birth control, regardless of the employees’ own beliefs or practices. The hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce took place on Wednesday, November 2, 2011.

Republicans in Congress are truly on the warpath against women’s rights, and in many cases against reason.

Just a few points here about women and contraception. For starters, while it usually takes two to conceive a child, only women get pregnant. The right and ability to make independent decisions about whether and when to become a parent are fundamental to every other aspect of a woman’s life: whether society recognizes women as autonomous, independent, responsible, and competent; and whether women themselves experience the same opportunities as men to acquire education and employment, and to construct a meaningful life based on loving relationships.

Cost is a barrier to purchasing birth control for lower-income women. More effective forms like new, safe intrauterine devices (IUDs) cost more than a year’s supply of birth control pills or devices like diaphragms which are cheaper overall but also are less reliable. The rate of unintended pregnancies is soaring among low-income women, and at 132 per thousand women ages 15 to 44 is five times higher than the rate for higher income women (those over 200 percent of poverty). Low income women are more likely to have unplanned births. The costs of contraception are minute compared to the costs of pregnancy and delivery, in dollars as well as in human health.

The new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), calls for covering preventive health care services without requiring co-payments, effective in 2010. Co-payments are fees individuals must pay when they go for care, in addition to their premiums, and are intended to discourage health care visits. The problem is that they discourage people from getting care they need, particularly low-income people. Preventive health care services like flu shots can protect health by avoiding illnesses entirely or catching them early, and also save money. The ACA eliminated these co-payments for prevention.

Except in the case of contraception.

In 1968, despite the recommendation of the majority of Catholic bishops, the Pope adopted the minority recommendation to declare that using birth control was inconsistent with the Church’s beliefs. Nevertheless, U.S. Catholics continue to use birth control at the same rate as other Americans.  Virtually all heterosexually active couples of child-bearing age in the United States use birth control.  Still, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has grown increasingly insistent on enforcing the birth control ban.

As of August, 2011, after a year of studying whether or not contraception is a preventive health care service, and therefore should be covered without co-payments and deductibles, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) arrived at an answer: Yes on all counts.

In covering contraception as a preventive service without co-payments, HHS granted an exception for actual churches who provide health insurance to their employees, but required all other religiously-sponsored institutions such as hospitals that offer health benefits to follow the rule.

Catholic organizations have gone to court in the past to avoid state rules that require including coverage for birth control in the health care plans they provide for employees, and failed every time. The Church sponsors large organizations that include health care providers, universities and social service agencies, as well as churches. They employ millions of Americans, many of whom are not Catholic. Their work generates the funds their employers use to pay for health insurance. Most economists assert that the costs of employee health benefits are reflected in lower pay; that is, employers calculate benefits as a form of compensation, and many reduce wages accordingly. In effect, the money that pays for health insurance is really money that employees generate, and belongs to them.

This evidence is not good enough for the USCCB and the extremist Republicans running Congress. While dire economic threats face many Americans, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), decided to change the subject. He called a hearing entitled “Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care?”

Now let’s be very clear here. The Republicans and the Bishops are claiming that institutions have a conscience. Not a policy. A conscience.

Here is Joe Pitts’ description of his concern:

“Many entities feel that it [the proposed policy] is inadequate and violates their conscience rights by forcing them to provide coverage for services for which they have a moral or ethical objection. The religious employer exemption allowed under the preventive services rule — at the discretion of the HRSA [Health Resources Services Agency] — is very narrow.

“And the definition offers no conscience protection to individuals, schools, hospitals, or  charities that hire or serve people of all faiths in their communities.  It is ironic that the proponents of the health care law talked about the  need to expand access to services but the administration issues rules  that could force providers to stop seeing patients because to do so  could violate the core tenants of their religion.”

In fact, there is no involvement of any individual employer in this matter, or   any issue of an individual’s conscience except that of employees   deciding to purchase and use contraceptives. The rule requires employers’ health plans to cover contraception without any additional co-payment. There are three parties involved here: employers, employees, and health plans. No provider or caregiver is involved, nor is any patient, student, or recipient of charity. At the most extreme, every Catholic institution could claim it will close their doors absent this exclusion. So far no such institution has done so where state requirements are in effect, and when Rep. Jan Schakowsky asked representatives of Catholic institutions at the hearing if they would close, they affirmed that they would not.

Rep. Gingrey (R-GA), opined: “Imposing the dictates of the state on the will of employers sounds un-American to me.”

And another gem: “Should we force religious employers to violate their consciences? To recognize same-sex marriage? Will we ethically neuter health care professionals?”

To a person, articulate Democrats on the committee–Henry Waxman (D-CA), Frank Pallone (R_NJ), John Dingell (D_MI), Lois Capps (D_CA), Tammy Baldwin (D_WI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Edolphus Towns (D_NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY)–challenged this tripe.

Tammy Baldwin: “This is a war on women.”

Lois Capps: “An employer is not a person. Your boss’ conscience is not your own.”

Witnesses Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice and Dr. Steve Hathaway were articulate and brilliant in defending the truth.

But Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist in his fifth term in the House, was on fire:

“Conscience is at the core of Catholic teachings… and it is not left up to individuals to decide, thank goodness. Father Anthony Fisher tells us that …there is an objective standard of moral conduct. Vatican II teaches us that the moral character of actions is determined by objective criteria, not merely by the sincerity of intentions or the goodness of motives. It is not, I repeat, it is not our duty as Catholics to tell God what he should do or what image he should adhere to, or what he should think, but it’s up to us to shape our conscience to conform with the teachings he’s given us.

“Conscience, sir,” Murphy continued, “is not convenience.”

“Conscience is formed through prayer, attention to the sacred and adherence to the teachings of the church, and the authority of Christ’s teachings in the church. So asking a group in a survey whether or not they have ever acted or thought of acting in a certain way that runs counter to the Church’s teachings is no more a moral code than asking people if they ever drove over the speed limit as a foundation for eliminating all traffic laws.

 

“I end with a quote from John Adams, in 1776,” said Murphy, “when he was writing our Declaration of Independence of the United States: ‘It is the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the creator and preserver of the universe, and no subject shall be hurt, molested or constrained from worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for religious profession or sentiments, provided he does not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.’ The foundation of our nation is not to impose laws that restrict a person’s ability to practice their faith, sir.”

Well, actually, Tim: Exactly.

To do something about it click here: http://action.prochoiceamerica.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=5059&s_src=2011_adv_bc4me_whitehouse_web

and here: http://emilyslist.org/20111117_accesspoll/

and here: http://www.capwiz.com/rcrc/issues/alert/?alertid=57035501#.TsdgpZd9fWs.facebook

Also published on RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/11/19/god-to-congress-wage-war-on-women