Friday, December 18, 2009

Ask Sen. Snowe to Vote for Health Care Reform!

The AP reported yesterday that anti-choice Democratic Senator Ben Nelson refuses to vote to move the health-care bill forward unless it includes his outrageous Stupak-style ban on abortion coverage. No more compromises can be made with women’s health, so Senator Nelson’s vote is out! However, the Senate still needs 60 votes for health care reform.

That’s why Democrats are turning to Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine. She is the only Republican to cross party lines and vote for health care in committee, and she's the only Republican to vote twice against a ban on abortion-coverage.
Please take action TODAY by adding your name to NARAL Pro-Choice America's emergency petition. It asks Senator Snowe to vote to advance health reform that doesn't jeopardize women's insurance coverage for abortion in the new system.
The deadline is Saturday, December 19th, so make sure you sign this petition TODAY. And do not forget to email, tweet, post, and share it with everyone you know that supports health care reform. It is essential that this bill moves forward, and Senator Snowe is the key to that. That means that YOU are the key too. Spread the word!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Young Adults Think About Planning Pregnancies, But Don't Do It

CNN reports on a recent study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Although most of the young people (age 18-29) studied thought that it was best to plan pregnancy, many were not practicing contraception. About half of the young adults surveyed did not use contraception regularly. It seems as if this problem is rooted in education (or lack thereof). The misconceptions and lack of knowledge about contraceptive methods reported in this study are shocking (excerpts from the article):

“At the same time, 18 percent of men wrongly believe that having sex standing up reduces the chance that they will get a female partner pregnant.”
“Many of the people surveyed said they did not know much about contraception to begin with -- 63 percent said they knew little or nothing about birth control pills, and 30 percent said they had scant knowledge about condoms.”
“…about four in 10 respondents said it doesn't matter whether people use birth control, believing that people get pregnant when it's their ‘time.’”

Laura Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute says that abstinence-only curriculums may be to blame. “[These programs] have gone explicitly out of their way to teach misconceptions about contraception," she said. "This generation of 20-somethings have missed many opportunities to get medically accurate and correct information."
One in five survey participants said they never received any type of sex education in school. The survey calls for more efforts to educate adults on family planning and contraception.
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland supports honest, age-appropriate, and medically accurate sex education that promotes abstinence and provides young people with the information they need to protect themselves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Montgomery County Considers CPC Regulation

The good news about CPC legislation is not restricted to Baltimore. While Marylanders celebrate the signing of the Baltimore CPC regulation, another measure is also under consideration as the Montgomery County Council evaluates a Board of Health Regulation requiring a disclaimer for certain pregnancy resource centers.

This regulation will ensure that women visiting a Montgomery County CPC that is not a medical facility are informed that the information provided is not intended to be medical advice and that she should consult with a health care provider before proceeding on a course of action regarding her pregnancy. Women seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, or abortion should be able to make informed decisions about which facility will best meet her needs. Many CPCs are not medical facilities, though they can give the impression that they offer the full range of services.

Last week, Council held a public hearing on the proposed regulation. Several pro-choice supporters testified including NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, Maryland NOW, Montgomery County NOW, and the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force. A number of other organizations support this measure including Catholics for Choice, Equality Maryland, the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Women’s Law Center, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the DC Abortion Fund, the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Read why this legislation is necessary in Eric Luedtke’s post at Maryland Politics Watch. Laura Meyers, president of Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington, also wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post explaining the need for this legislation.

The Health and Human Services committee will deliberate the issue on January 21. Stay tuned in to the happenings with this bill and our other campaigns by following our blog, Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter account.

More Resources:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Economy is Affecting Family Planning Clinics and Clients

The Guttmacher Institute released today a study of the recession’s affect on family planning centers. They found that the providers are struggling to meet an increasing demand for subsidized contraceptive services. The majority of centers (67%) report an increase in clients overall, and even more centers report an increase in low-to-middle income and uninsured clients. The centers do not have the funds to keep up with the increased need in the community, and as a consequence, they are keeping clients waiting longer, cutting some of the products and services they offer, and laying-off staff. Unfortunately, this news comes on the heels of a September study from the Guttmacher Institute, which showed that a large portion of women want to delay childbearing in these tough economic times.

These findings suggest tragic consequences for many women and families in the United States. According to the Guttmacher study, “more women will be unable to get the contraceptive services and reproductive health care they need and want, and some will find themselves faced with an unintended pregnancy-- unfortunate at any time, but especially so during difficult economic times when families can least afford the added costs of a new baby.”
For a more in-depth look, read the study, “A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Publicly Funded Planning Centers” or the Guttmacher Institute’s news release on the study.

Congresswoman Capps Responds to Stupak's NYT Op-Ed

On Wednesday, December 9th, the New York Times published an op-ed by Congressman Bart Stupak in which he makes misleading claims about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the House Health Care Reform bill. Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA), author of the Capps Amendment, provides a reality check to the claims in that op-ed. Read it at RH Reality Check.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice America Launches TV Ad

View the next phase of the campaign against Stupak. NARAL Pro-Choice America has launched the following ad on cable television in selected regions around the country.

You can read the fact sheet or the press relsease for the ad.

Friday, December 4, 2009

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Applauds Signing of the Limited-Service PregnancyCenters Disclaimers Bill

Jennifer Blasdell, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, praised Mayor Sheila Dixon for signing the Limited-Service Pregnancy Disclaimers Bill into Baltimore law today. Introduced by Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and co-sponsored by ten other council members, this law is a common-sense measure that will ensure that women visiting a limited service pregnancy center in Baltimore are informed that they will not receive comprehensive birth control or abortion services or referrals.

Baltimore City is the first local jurisdiction in the United States to introduce a bill regulating limited service pregnancy centers and the first government in the country to pass a law. Limited service pregnancy centers are also known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).

“We thank Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for championing an issue so important to women’s health. This law will ensure truth in advertising, protecting consumers. Unfortunately, CPCs in Baltimore are not always up front about their services and frequently give women misinformation. For example, centers in Baltimore told women that abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer and that condoms did not prevent STDs,” stated Blasdell.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland investigated three centers in Baltimore, all of which gave misinformation about abortion or birth control and none of which would provide a referral, even for birth control. “This law will empower women by giving them full information up front about what to expect from a limited service pregnancy center. This provision does not ask a facility to provide any services they find objectionable, but only asks them to tell the truth about the nature of their services. We applaud Mayor Dixon for signing this important bill,” continued Blasdell.

A broad coalition of health care providers and women’s groups supported this measure including Planned Parenthood of Maryland, the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Baltimore NOW, the Maryland Chapter of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Catholics for Choice, Equality Maryland, Healthcare for the Homeless, Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc., University of Baltimore School of Law Center on Applied Feminism, and numerous physicians, nurses and social workers in the Baltimore community.