Petition: San Francisco: Protect Women and Girls from Lies About Abortion!

Sign here:

Lies About Abortion SF Jan. 2014The Issues

Banners falsely claiming that “Abortion hurts women” are hanging from publicly managed lamp posts on Market Street in San Francisco. The banners are displayed in the City’s lowest-income communities, which experience the highest rates of low-weight births, and emergency room visits for pregnancy. (1)

The prominent display of this false anti-abortion statement on public property misinforms the public about our health. It undermines women’s personal and private medical decisions, and thereby undermines public health. It also misrepresents the City’s previous support for reproductive health, rights, and justice, particularly for our most vulnerable communities.

1. Abortion is safe.  Access to legal abortion services is essential.

Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. The risk of death is 12 times higher for carrying a pregnancy to term, compared with abortion. (2).

Many women routinely lost their lives from illegal abortions before the landmark Supreme Court Case, Roe v. Wade, legalized abortion in 1973.  Today, deaths from abortion have all but disappeared.

Women and girls have the right to decide whether and when to have children. Public policies and services must support that right.

Access to legal and affordable family planning health care services, including abortion care, has been integral to expanding opportunities for success and satisfaction by women and girls in the emotional, economic, educational and professional spheres, as well as for the men and children in their lives and for communities as a whole.

One in three American women will have an abortion by age 45, and 95% of heterosexually active couples have used birth control.

Denied abortion care perpetuates poverty, and women with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level are already five times more likely to have unintended pregnancies.

2. State and federal legislation increasingly aim to defund reproductive health care services and limit the rights of women and girls.

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

3. San Francisco must protect and advance the public’s health.

We are proud that San Francisco and California have strong policies to assure women’s reproductive health rights.  In January 2013, the City and County of San Francisco commemorated the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and commended the work of pro-choice advocates and service providers in the City.

But the public must be able to trust and rely on the City to provide accurate, credible information in order to safeguard our health.

(1) San Francisco Department of Public Health, Health Care Services Master Plan

(2) Women’s Health STATS & FACTS 2011. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. p. 2.

Sign here to oppose abortion stigma with public health facts:

We are shocked to see banners falsely claiming that “Abortion hurts women” hanging from the City’s publicly managed lamp posts on Market St. in San Francisco. This statement is false, and harmful to women and girls. The display contradicts City policies and practices.

The City should:

1. Publicly oppose the deliberately false anti-abortion messages on the banners hanging on Market Street, oppose the views of the rally to be held by anti-abortion groups in San Francisco on January 24, 2015, and advocate proactively for public health policies, services and messages that encourage the right of women and girls to choose the best course for their own reproductive health.

2. Review the permitting process for banners to require that public health statements are scientifically accurate or limit banners to the name, date and location of the event being advertised.

3. Devote all proceeds from the anti-abortion banners to a Department of Public Health campaign to educate vulnerable populations regarding accurate and scientifically verifiable information about reproductive health and rights, including accurate information about the safety of abortions.

Do Men Have Sex? A TWSR Book!

Are we really still fighting about birth control? Is this just a women’s problem? Do men have sex? With wit and compassion, timely commentaries inspire and provoke from Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign co-founder Ellen Shaffer, with comments by Dr. Sophia Yen. Click below to Buy Now! Only $3.99!


1. Do Men Have Sex? IOM To Study

2. The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign for Reproductive Rights- Why Now

3. On Abortion: Overturn Hyde

4. The House’s Budget Bill Is a Bully’s Snigger

5. Who’s Sticking Up for the Middle Class?

6. Birth Control? Really? (Yes, Really!)

7. Stand Up for Our Rights? (Repubs Flame Birth Control)

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

9. Trust Women Week and the San Francisco Banner Project

10. San Francisco Banners Highlight Trust Women Week

11. Why I’m “Marching” for Trust Women Week

12. Um, the Other Thing About Komen and Planned Parenthood…

13. Do Republicans Have Sex?

14. Who Won? We Will

15. Have Republicans Gone Bananas?

16. I Know It’s Only Birth Control, But I Like It — And So Do You

17. Paul Ryan: Marching Backwards on Medicare

18. Women, Choice and Power

Thanks to SF Bd of Supervisors: Celebration of Women & Roe v Wade, Jan. 26

The San Francisco  Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the following resolution on Dec, 11, 2012.  Thanks to the Board, and to Supervisors David Campos and Malia Cohen for introducing the resolution:

Resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and commending the work of pro-choice advocates and service providers in San Francisco.

WHEREAS, January of 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion; and

WHEREAS, Access to legal and affordable family planning health care services has been integral to expanding opportunities for success and satisfaction by women and girls in the emotional, economic, educational and professional spheres, as well as for the men and children in their lives and for communities as a whole; and

WHEREAS, Americans believe that women should be able to consult with their health care provider, family and faith about personal, private medical decisions; and

WHEREAS, One in three American women will have an abortion by age 45, and 99% of heterosexually active couples have used birth control; and

WHEREAS, Denied abortion care perpetuates poverty, while women of lower-income are already five times more likely to have unintended pregnancies.

WHEREAS, The number of people infected with sexually transmitted infections in California has steadily increased, reaffirming the importance of continued support for sexual health and family planning education and resources. And

WHEREAS, States enacted twice as many anti-choice laws in 2011 as they did in any recent previous year, including laws that force women who choose abortion care to undergo a forced ultrasound procedure against their will even if their doctors do not recommend one; and

WHEREAS, Many states are still shutting down crucial reproductive health and family planning services for women creating greater barriers in distance, insulting waiting periods, and psychological duress via biased counseling; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. House of Representatives voted in its most recent session to defund Title X, the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family-planning and reproductive-health care, and Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care for millions of Americans; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. House of Representatives also passed a bill that would allow hospitals to refuse emergency abortion care to women who could die without it; and

WHEREAS, Most voters recently rejected threats to women’s reproductive autonomy and rights, including offensive remarks about rape; and

WHEREAS, The United Nations has declared family planning an essential human right; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco was one of the first cities to pass an ordinance forbidding crisis pregnancy centers, that do not provide or refer for abortion care, from continuing to use deceptive advertising to take advantage of vulnerable pregnant women, and California passed bills to unshackle pregnant women and allow more health-care providers to administer first trimester abortions, and

WHEREAS, California and San Francisco have done an outstanding job of improving the accessibility and affordability of reproductive health care, including through two federal court blocks from decreasing Medi-Cal reimbursements to health care providers and improving coverage through programs such as Family Pact; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee co-sponsored a resolution approved by the U.S. Conference of  Mayors in 2012 affirming the importance of women’s reproductive rights; and

WHEREAS, It is essential that the Bay Area lead the way in mobilizing visible and vocal public support for reproductive health, rights and justice, which includes ready access to legal and affordable family planning services and the full range of conditions required to assure women’s physical and emotional health and the enjoyment of human rights;  and

WHEREAS, The Celebration of Women, Life and Liberty, scheduled for January 26, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza, in San Francisco, organized by a broad coalition of groups assembled by the Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, will begin the year with a mobilization in recognition of these facts and in support of the principles stated above and will include a display of related banners on Market Street,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors affirms the importance of reproductive health, rights  and justice, and women’s access to safe, comprehensive and affordable reproductive health care including the right to safe and accessible abortion services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors supports the work of pro-choice and reproductive justice advocates in commemorating and honoring the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this January of 2013.

Can We Turn Back the War on Women?

The Virginia woman’s hand-made sign summed it up: “I Can’t
Believe I’m Still Having to Protest This Shit!” The pro-choice majority is
astounded by the tidal wave of vitriolic attacks on reproductive health,
rights, justice, and on women’s dignity, that constitute the War on Women.
These include legislative proposals mandating intrusive and humiliating vaginal
ultrasounds with no therapeutic justification before permitting abortion; Rick
Santorum’s advice that rape victims should celebrate a resulting pregnancy as a
blessing; and debates on covering contraception, which is used almost
universally. Transforming outrage into decisive policy and political victories
requires understanding what is coming at us (and why), and new approaches to
seizing the initiative.

Right-wing corporate interests provide generous financial
support to organizations and candidates that advance their minority views
through powerful institutions, from judicial appointments to gerrymandered
state and federal legislative districts. The policy goal is to undermine the ability
of government and popular movements to constrain corporate power and profits.
Campaigns on so-called “social issues” divide people into competing and
hostile constituencies by gender or religion, although they may, in fact, share
economic interests. The campaigns also recast as “tyranny” government
actions that protect human rights and challenge corporate power. Fundamentalist
religious groups, allied with the Catholic Church, provide an institutional
base for crafting and disseminating policies that advance these divisive views,
which find fertile territory during economic and social transition.

Demonizing abortion has been a winning card for the
right, which has stated its intention to use abortion as a wedge issue in the
2012 election. Until now, mainstream women’s groups and progressive politicians
have struggled to find a winning constituency and effective messages, since
most voters say they care more about the economy than reproductive rights.
Changing the discourse will require intentional solidarity across age, class,
and race. Generations have come of age assuming the legal right to birth
control and abortion, and the related rights to self-determination, while
attacks on access have targeted vulnerable and disenfranchised women, who are
less likely voters. Absent an affirmative strategy, attacks on abortion from
strident opponents like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have achieved
incremental erosions in access to abortion. The 2010 Affordable Care Act was
both an example and a wake-up call. While offering women many benefits,
coverage for reproductive health care was compromised.

The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign (TW/SR) is one of
several groups that have emerged to increase the visibility and voice of
advocates for reproductive health, rights, and justice. TW/SR organized a
display of banners with pro-choice messages that flew proudly along San
Francisco’s main street in January, 2012, designed to project solidarity and
power through visibility, and to commemorate Roe v. Wade’s anniversary. TW/SR
also brought together 81 groups (including NWHN) to send pro-choice messages to
Congress via a massive online virtual “march” from January 20-27. The
banner messages ranged in tone and generational appeal and included: San Francisco
is Pro-Choice
, Her Health Her Decision, Fix the
Economy, Support My Autonomy,
and US Out of My Uterus.
Online messages with links to background information included: I trust women
and I vote
, Contraception Is Prevention, Keep abortion safe and legal,
and make it accessible and affordable
, and We are the
99%. Fix the economy, and stop the war on women.

The base-building has burst into action. In January,
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) revealed that the Susan G.
Komen Foundation would no longer fund PPFA’s breast cancer services, due to
Komen officials’ opposition to PPFA’s abortion services. The dam broke, as
women erupted in outrage. Finally, women elected officials are now campaigning
openly for and with women. While the bewildered right wing continues to march
backwards on auto-pilot, we stand a good chance of hastening its path to

Online and virtual advocacy are proving to be powerful
tools for spreading news, articulating opinions, and generating unity. We’re
still exploring how to use these tools to create and sustain connectedness and
engagement among organizations and their members, and to motivate effective
action. Recognizing that organizations will continue to compete for media,
resources, and policy influence, we must aim to develop better collaborative

Going forward, we can claim our democratic heritage of
freedom from religious persecution. The Bishops are campaigning for the power
of Catholic-owned corporations to deny contraceptive coverage to millions of
employees in its hospitals, schools, and charities. Giving the Church and state
legislatures the right to invade couples’ privacy and women’s bodies is
offensive to many. The link to oppressive and anti-democratic maneuvers like
voter suppression rules is notable, including by its intended victims.
Mississippi’s fetal personhood ballot initiative lost decisively by 42% to 58%,
and the highest percent of “no” votes came from Black men and
pro-choice voters at 80%, followed by Black women at 70%. This suggests the
possibilities for cross-cutting alliances in the interest of freedom.

While the opposition has a game plan, it’s the wrong one.
It doesn’t represent the majority, and it’s on the wrong side of history. As
younger generations shed social prejudices and constraints, the influence of
attack dogs like Limbaugh is destined to shrivel. In response, pro-choice
advocates can build power by increasing our ability to mobilize our majority
base and collaborate with allies for social and economic justice.

Ellen Shaffer is the Co-Director of the Trust
Women/Silver Ribbon campaign, which is
towards the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January 2013. The banners and
related information can be viewed at

See this article
also in The Women’s Health Activist, May 2012:

Video: Nancy Pelosi and Women Fight for Affordable Health Care

Women’s History Month Rally Celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with Honored Guest Leader Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and women’s health leaders celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act at a rally at the San Francisco Women’s Building on March 23.  See a short clip here:

Speakers:  Amiee Allison, SF Dept. on the Status of Women; Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD, Co-Director, EQUAL Health Network; Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Founder, Center for Youth Wellness,    Janet Clyde, Owner, Vesuvio & past San Francisco Small Business Commission member; Amanda Selich, Student, City College of San Francisco

Affordable Care Act benefits available NOW:

«    Preventive care without co-pays or deductibles.

«    End of lifetime limits on insurance coverage.

«    Covers children with pre-existing conditions.

«    Young adults under age 26 remain on parents’ health insurance policy.

«    Rebate from Medicare for prescription drugs’ “doughnut hole”.

«    Tax break for small business owners buying health insurance.


  • Coverage for women’s preventive care services without co-pays or deductibles for:

«    Contraception and well-woman visits.

«    Screening  counseling for HIV, domestic violence, sexually-transmitted infections &  breastfeeding.


«    Coverage for over 8 million uninsured women through expanded Medicaid.

«    11 million women with family income to $88,000/yr eligible for substantial health insurance subsidies.

«    Women can’t be turned away for pre-existing conditions or charged more because they are women.

Her editorial on the topic appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle last Friday. Click here to read it.

Event Sponsors: EQUAL Health Network, Access/Raising Women’s Voices, Alliance for Retired Americans, Breast Cancer Action, CA Family Health Council, CA Pan Ethnic Health Network, CPHA-N, CA Women’s Agenda, Children Now, City College of SF/Women’s Studies, Democratic Women’s Forum, Glide Health Services, Health Access, Healthy SF, Hospital Council of Northern & Central CA, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, MomsRising, National Physicians Alliance, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Planning for Elders, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, SF Breastfeeding Promotion Coalition, SF Community Clinic Consortium, SF Democratic Women in Action, SF Dept. of Public Health, SF Dept. on the Status of Women, SF Health Plan, SF NOW, SF Older Women’s League, SF Small Business Commission, SF Women’s Political Committee, Senior Action Network, Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women, Women’s Intercultural Network, U.S. Positive Women’s Network/WORLD, Women’s Building of SF       Contact:

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 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

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




Target: Abortion Clinics

Why isn’t pro-life terrorism treated as…terrorism, asks Kaili Joy Gray in the Daily Kos under the headline “Another day, another ‘pro-life’ terrorist bombs an abortion clinic”.

“It’s almost hard to get worked up about stories like this, when they’re so damned common. Bombs thrown, buildings burned, car tires slashed, patients stalked, doctors assassinated … You can look at the statistics. You can read about the thousands of acts of violence and tens of thousands of acts of “non-violent” terrorism against health care providers and their staff and their patients and their landlords and their landlords’ children. It’s all part of the “pro-life” movement to save the fetuses. And hey, if some property, or some people, have to get hurt, well, that’s a fair price to pay.”


Sadly, those attacks are common. The National Abortion Federation has published a sobering chart about these acts of violence in the past decades and the killings of doctors who perform abortions.

Andrea Stone raises in The Huffington Post another reason for concern: Attacks against abortion clinics are not included in the Government’s main terrorism database.

“[…] missing among the [terrorism] statistics are numerous cases of anti-abortion violence in the United States, an omission that raises questions about what defines terrorism and underscores how sensitive the issue of reproductive rights remains — even when dealing with statistics. A search of “abortion” in the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, a database created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks by the National Counterterrorism Center, brings up just two abortion-related incidents — one of them in Nepal. Though the database includes the 2009 murder of prominent abortion doctor George Tiller by an anti-abortion extremist, it is effectively whitewashed, making no reference to abortion in the entire entry. In the summary, Tiller is described merely as a “medical doctor,” even though he and his clinic had been a target of anti-abortion activists for years.”

What the Anti-Choice Movement Will Do Next

Here is a list of the “5 Dirty Tricks Right-Wing Zealots Will Likely Try Next in Their Battle to Control Women” by Amanda Marcotte (via AlterNet), and she concludes that there hasn’t been “a more sustained assault on women’s rights in recent memory as what we saw in 2011.”

“The anti-choice movement showed its true face in 2011. No longer can liberals believe that anti-choicers are just goofy but well-meaning fetus worshippers. Now it’s undeniable that they are mainly an anti-feminist movement that attacks women’s rights because they want to roll back all of the gains women have made in recent decades. Showing their true face has helped educate and mobilize people who were pro-choice but unaware of how serious the situation really is. Now that we know, perhaps 2012 can be the year we double down on fighting back.”

Tanya Somanader writes in Thinkprogress Health about  The GOP’s 10 Most Extreme Attacks On A Woman’s Right To Choose An Abortion, which include the redefinition of rape, abortion audits and forced ultrasounds to name just a few:

“2011 marked a banner year in the Republican war on woman’s health. Close to 1,000 anti-abortion bills sped through state legislatures as the GOP-led House led a “comprehensive and radical assault” on a federal level. But in surveying their arsenal this year, 10 bills stood out as particularly perturbing and far-reaching efforts to stymie women’s access to abortion services, birth control, and vital health services like breast cancer screenings.” 


Healthcare Coverage and Abortions…

In case you needed a reminder how bleak the situation regarding women’s reproductive rights across the United States really is, ACLU provides this interactive map about bans on insurance coverage of abortion in various states.

“In several states, lawmakers are singling out abortion and prohibiting insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their policies. The trend is fast-moving and startling: since 2010, 4 states passed bans on abortion coverage and another 9 banned coverage in their soon-to-be-active exchanges. While alarming, this trend represents a renewed effort to deny women insurance coverage for abortion care. “


We Are All An 11-Year Old Girl – And She Is Pissed!

My commentary from The Huffington Post, “We Are All an 11-year-old Girl — And She Is Pissed” by Ellen R. Shaffer, about Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius ‘ decision to veto the FDA’s approval for the over-the-counter emergency contraception (EC) product Plan B One-Step , commonly referred to as “the m0rning-after-pill”, without age restriction:

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.