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.
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:
photos of the banners:
- Of the 6.7 million pregnancies in the U.S. in 2006, nearly half (49%) were unintended. 43% of these unintended pregnancies end in
- Unintended pregnancy rates are elevated among low-income
women, women aged 18–24, cohabiting women, and minority women.
- Poor women have high unintended pregnancy rates nearly
across the board, regardless of their education, race and ethnicity, marital
status or age. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/j.contraception.2011.07.13.pdf
The rate of unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15-44, 1994
- Rose by 50% for
low-income womenversus decreased by 29% for higher income women
(at 200% + of the federal poverty level)
Pregnancy: 5 Times Higher for Low-Income
DOWN for Higher-Income
|Below federal poverty||88||120||132||50% increase|
|200% +FPL||34||28||24||29% decline|
|3 times +||4 times +||5 times +|
Per 1,000 women age 15-44 http://bit.ly/oT1cJk
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.
pregnancy and Abortion Facts
will always be women who need access to abortions. Abortion is basic health
care for women.
of pregnancies in US are unintended.
- 4 in
10 unintended pregnancies are terminated by abortion.
of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed in US.
pregnancy accounts for only 2 in 10 of all abortions performed in theUS (Guttmacher Institute).
of abortions occur in the 1st 12 weeks. Only 1.5% occur later in the
Who gets abortions?
in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions performed in the US.
- 6 in
10 women having abortions already have one or more children.
women cite the need to provide and care for their existinge children as a
primary reason for choosing to have an abortion.
on average, 1 in 3 US women will have had an abortion in the
- 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.
2008, more than 4 in 10 abortion patients had incomes below the federal poverty
- 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.
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
2008, 87% of U.S. counties had no abortion provider.
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.
2009, the average amount paid for a non-hospital abortion with local anesthesia
at 10 weeks’ gestation was $451. 
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
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
- 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.
- Expands and makes permanent (as opposed to annual opportunity to strike
- 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.
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.
Abortion is Safe
risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients
experience a complication that requires hospitalization.
is safer when and where it is legal.
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:
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.
repeated studies since the early 1980s, leading experts have concluded that
abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
who have to find child care, transportation and coverage at their jobs to
travel large distances to a provider twice.
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.
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.
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.
initiatives to make the embryo a person. Colorado started this trend. Mississippi followed suit this year, in an
initiative that was defeated by voters.
- 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.
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.
2008, 22% of California counties had no abortion provider.
support birth control and have abortions.
- “ Sensus
fidelium —the graced and experience-fed wisdom of the faithful that has
always been one of the sources of truth in the Catholic tradition.”
- 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used a form of contraception banned by the Catholic Church.
- As recently as 1968, a majority of the Pope’s advisors agreed that there was no moral, theological or pastoral reason to ban Catholics from using contraception.
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. 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
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.”
oppression is the control
and regulation of our gender, bodies, and sexuality. This oppression manifests in many ways,
- 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
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.
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
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.
 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.
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.
Major B et al., Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,
American Psychological Association, Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion,
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,
Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, P.O. Box 29586, San Francisco, CA 94129 Phone: 415-922-6204 w fax : 415-885-4091 w email :email@example.com www.oursilverribbon.org