Friday, January 30, 2009

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Via the great blog Feministe comes the story of the two most important women’s-rights-related bill-signings in the past few years:

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003:

And the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009:

Thanks Jill.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Gag Rule Reversed!

Our full statement will be up on Huffington Post soon, but I wanted to just celebrate the reversal of the Global Gag Rule! Joan Malin has to say:

Now, millions of women around the world will be able to access critical basic services including safe abortion and birth control. Thanks to President Obama, thousands of health care providers will once again be able to inform women of their full range of health care options, while others, such as many of our partners, will finally be eligible for international family planning funding. No longer will any health care provider be forced to choose between losing critical family planning funding and restricting the health care services and counseling they provide to women.

We look forward to President Obama’s reversal of other onerous regulations instituted by the Bush administration, such as the midnight HHS rule that prevents patients from receiving a full range of information and services.

Full piece will be up soon! Stay tuned...

I'm still getting used to this "I agree with the president" thing...

But via Salon, president Obama's talking about abortion, and well, as they say, it's best to just let his words speak for themselves:

"On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere."

My favorite part? He uses the same messaging we do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Note From Our Leader On Roe 36

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This year, the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade comes just two days after the historic inauguration of President Obama, a pro-choice president committed to protecting and strengthening women’s health. We look forward to working with our new president and our new Congress.

First, we expect that within days President Obama will rescind the "Global Gag Rule." The damage this policy has inflicted on women's health and rights is well-documented. But, it will take months for the change to be translated into real improvements in women's lives.

Next, we will urge swift action to dramatically increase U.S. funding for family planning services in poor countries -- the surest way to reduce both unintended pregnancy and abortion.

Third, and equally essential, is to work with Congress on Health Care Reform, so we can insure that women's preventive reproductive health care is an integrated part of all the initiatives to reform our health care system. We want to insure that any proposal includes, among other points, affordable and high quality care and direct access to trusted providers of choice.

And, lastly, as with so many critical domestic issues, the political landscape has changed for the benefit of women and their families here in the United States. We are going to be smart and strategic about our policy agenda so we can bring people together to get the most done on women’s health. Planned Parenthood fully supports the Freedom of Choice Act, as well as increasing access to affordable birth control, move funding for family planning, comprehensive sex education to keep our teens healthy and safe, and health care for all Americans.

Joan Malin

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

House Introduces Affordable Birth Control Legislation

The days of unaffordable birth control may be no longer!!

According to Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for the introduction of The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that will provide a no-cost technical fix to restore eligibility for college health centers and safety-net providers to obtain low-cost birth control, and pass the savings on to college students and low-income women. The bill (HR 398) was introduced by Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and has bipartisan support. Original sponsors of the bill include Representatives Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Charles Dent (R-PA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).

And it's not just the House that's taking action:

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced the Prevention First Act (S. 21), which also includes a provision to restore access to affordable birth control.

Since the 1970's college health care clinics as well as safety-net providers had been able to purchase birth control inexpensively, passing that savings onto their patents (mainly college students and low-income women) and enabling them to purchase birth control for as little as $5-$10 a month.

However, thanks to the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act, this amenity disappeared and birth control prices skyrocketed -- saddling college students and low income women with prices as high as $50 a month.

So if this passes, birth control would be affordable again! Which would make so much more sense than unaffordable, don't you think?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reactions to the NY Times and PPNYC Study

The New York Times has published several letters to the editor in response to last Monday's article on PPNYC's report on Dominican Women's reproductive health. They make for some interesting reading.

Among the reactions are those talking about mistrust of the health care system, a reminder that the cost of abortion still makes it unaccessible to some, talking about the Hyde amendment, and one woman who notes:

New York women do not have to live with 19th-century care. Poor women in other states may not have a choice.

Monday, January 5, 2009

NYTimes Article on PPNYC Study

A few months back, Planned Parenthood of New York City released a study (pdf) based on several focus groups we'd conducted with Dominican women living in New York City and Santo Domingo (DR). Among some of the key findings were that thanks to alienation from the U.S. healthcare system, women in both NYC and Santo Domingo were regularly self-inducing abortion.

Jennifer 8. Lee of the New York Times has written a beautiful piece on the study and the larger problem, which appeared in Sunday's paper. I highly recommend reading it.