The “Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women” brings together progressive groups supporting reproductive health, rights and justice, and respect for women.
Here is a Ms. Blog about how it all started:
We welcome non-profit groups to become partners of the Silver Ribbon Campaign to TRUST WOMEN as long as they support our ideals:
We who proudly wear the Silver Ribbon pin:
- Support reproductive rights.
- Support free access to birth control.
- Support keeping abortion legal and accessible.
The Center for Policy Analysis is the nonprofit sponsor for the Silver Ribbon Campaign.
Thanks to ISIS for their critical contributions to the initial design and implementation of the website.
Most people need & use reproductive health care
Half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended. No method of birth control is 100% effective. At least 30% of U.S. women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
Legal restrictions on abortion do not affect the number of abortions, but do influence whether women who have abortions survive in good health. Where abortion is legal and permitted on broad grounds, it is generally safe. Where it is legally restricted, it is more likely to be unsafe.
Ready access to contraceptives is an important part of preventive health care services.
Health care reform & reproductive health
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides many benefits for women. See nwlc.org, equalhealth.info, rwv.org for details on improvements in access, quality, cost and coverage for health care.
Unfortunately, the new health care reform law treats contraceptives and abortion care — key components of reproductive health care — differently from all other health care services. The new law requires individuals and health care plans to follow certain administrative requirements if they want to offer or purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion. This is an extraordinary and unique treatment of a legal medical procedure. Measures we need to change include:
- The Affordable Care Act establishes Health Insurance Exchanges, due to start in 2014 and to offer coverage to uninsured individuals and small businesses. Some of these enrollees will be eligible for federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. Anti-choice members of Congress forced a provision that requires enrollees to pay separately for abortion coverage. This unfairly asks women to plan for an unplanned pregnancy. It also imposes administrative complications on insurance plans, which could then drop coverage for abortions generally.
- An executive order extends this limit also to Community Health Centers.
- New Federal rules exclude coverage for abortion in new temporary health insurance programs known as pre-existing condition insurance plans (PCIPs). These plans are available until 2014 during the transition to creating the Heath Insurance Exchanges, to help cover certain uninsured people who have been turned down for coverage because they have a health condition. These could include, for example, epilepsy or diabetes. The PCIPs are administered by states, and some states may find ways to extend coverage for reproductive health care services to this population.
- The ACA covers preventive health service, without copayments or deductibles. However prescription contraceptives are not included. An expert panel is studying whether contraceptives should be included as preventive health care services. If they determine that they are, contraceptives could be covered without additional charges in 2012.
Five states have already passed laws to ban abortion coverage in their state Exchanges and other states have introduced similar bills. The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives has pledged to increase these restrictions.
For details, please read “What Women Need to Know About Health Care Reform: Abortion” (PDF) by the National Women’s Law Center.
Background on abortion
From Our Bodies Ourselves:
History of Abortion in the U.S.
Abortion has been used to control fertility in every society we know about, regardless of its legality. It was practiced legally in the United States until about 1880, by which time most states had banned it except to save the life of the woman. Anti-abortion legislation was part of a backlash to the growing movements for suffrage and birth control — an effort to control women and confine them to their traditional childbearing role. It was also a way for the medical profession to tighten its control over women’s health care. Midwives, who performed abortions, were a threat to the male medical establishment. Finally, with the declining birth rate among whites in the late 1800s, the U.S. government and the eugenics movement were concerned about “race suicide” and wanted white U.S.-born women to reproduce. More than most other medical procedures, abortion is linked to women’s status and political power, as well as to the population objectives of the society.
When Abortion Was a Crime
I had an illegal abortion, which led to infection, and I was close to death. I ended up in a legal hospital with a real doctor who managed to pull me through. Thank god the pregnancy was terminated. All this rubbish about guilt feelings is just that. Ask me if I would do it again knowing the risks — YES — absolutely. Thank heaven it’s legal now, so women don’t have to endure life-threatening situations.
Abortion was widely practiced during the entire period when it was illegal. In the 1890s, there were an estimated 2 million abortions per year and 1 to 2 million annually during the 1920s and ’30s (compared with 1.3 million today). Whether a woman could obtain an abortion at all, let alone one that was safe, depended upon her economic situation, her race, and where she lived. Women with money could leave the country or find pricey doctors. Poor women, for the most part, were at the mercy of incompetent practitioners with questionable motivations; or they tried dangerous self-abortions, such as inserting knitting needles or coat hangers into the vagina and uterus, douching with dangerous solutions like lye, or swallowing strong drugs or chemicals. All women were subject to the desperation, shame, and fear created by the criminalization of abortion.
When I was 15 and pregnant, abortion was illegal. I was denied any choice — I had a baby that I gave up for adoption. This experience has been a driving force in my life. I became an OB/GYN; I do abortions because I am totally committed to making sure that other women have the options that I didn’t have.
Laws prohibiting abortion took a heavy toll on women’s lives and health. Because many deaths were not officially attributed to unsafe, illegal abortion, we can never really know the exact number. However, scholars estimate that approximately five thousand women died annually in the U.S. because of unsafe abortions. Several hundred thousand women a year were treated for health complications due to botched, unsanitary, or self-induced abortions; many were left infertile or with chronic illness and pain. Poor women and women of color were at the greatest risk. Nearly four times as many women of color as white women died as a result of illegal abortion.
Presently eighty-nine percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider.