Friday, November 20, 2009

Grassroots organizing to fight Stupak language

Where they were laying low before, pro-choice organizations are now speaking up. For a few months, they backed off health care reform so that abortion politics would not stall a movement that is so important for millions of Americans. But women across the nation were betrayed by the late-night vote for the Stupak-Pitts amendment, and now these organizations
are fighting back.

As part of their “Stop the Abortion-Coverage Ban” campaign, NARAL Pro-Choice America rallied supporters to sign a petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calling on him to keep the anti-choice language out of the Senate bill. Their goal was 72,000 signatures in 72 hours, but they far exceeded it, delivering a petition on Monday of over 97,000 signatures!

Other national organizations are mobilizing supporters online. National Organization for Women is asking the Senate to oppose “Hyde on Steroids.” Planned Parenthood Federation of America is sending letters to Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. The National Women’s Law Center says we need health care reform “that works for women”. The Feminist Majority Foundation is saying, “Women won’t go back!”

The Center of Reproductive Rights is even launching a commercial on cable television, reminding viewers that women losing their insurance coverage for abortion is “no joke”:

The movements against Stupak are not only from national organizations; local organizations across the country are mobilizing their most powerful force: constituents. It is important that the 64 House Democrats (especially the 20 “pro-choice” ones) who voted for the Stupak-Pitts amendment remember that it was the pro-choice community, women, and progressives that put them in office, NOT the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who pushed for the strict language.

"All politics are local. They've got to hear from their constituency at home," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "Those are the folks that elect them and re-elect them."

Speaking of local politics-Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, are both great pro-choice supporters. They are expected to stand with all Maryland Democrats in the House of Representatives, who voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

Maryland constituents have done a great job electing pro-choice officials! However, the need for activism is greater now than ever. Please continue to support women’s access to reproductive options by joining NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland at the National Day of Action in D.C. on December 2nd. Pro-choice activists from across the country are coming together to rally against the abortion coverage ban. Find more information at our website.

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