How You Can Help
April 22, 2013
U.S.: California: Support Medi-Cal ExpansionApril 22, 2013, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California has the chance to expand Medi-Cal coverage for low-income individuals throughout the state. Two bills, ABX1 1 and SBX1 1 would do just that.
These bills will expand coverage to many individuals who are newly eligible under the Affordable Care Act, and also will reach uninsured women of childbearing age, and extend coverage for pregnant women to include full scope Medi-Cal benefits.
Also they will enable people to determine their eligibility for Medi-Cal online.
Please call Governor Brown today at 916.445.2841 and support these two Medi-Cal expansion bills to ensure that low income women and families in California have access to health care and live the promise of health care reform.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) has just introduced an amendment to eliminate all U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has long been a target of the extreme Right because of its work to expand access to voluntary family planning in the poorest parts of the world. Working in 150 countries around the world, the UNFPA helps increase the availability of safe, effective, and affordable contraceptives; supports work to eliminate harmful practices like female genital cutting; prevents and treats maternal injuries and illnesses; and is quick to respond with lifesaving reproductive health supplies and personnel in the case of natural and man-made disasters.
Because its work is universally seen as important, it receives voluntary contributions from 180 nations, including all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. support is critically important to ensuring the sustained success of UNFPA's projects around the world.
Stop the Sequester. It's a Terrible Way to Govern and it Will Do Real Harm to People - Especially Women - at Home and Around the World.March 12, 2013, Population Connection
Our aid to international family planning programs is facing devastating cuts due to the sequester. A 5.3% cut to our international family planning programs would mean:
*1.68 million women denied access to contraceptive services & supplies,
*485,000 additional unintended pregnancies,
*226,000 additional abortions (of which 162,000 will be unsafe),
*1,292 maternal deaths, and
*6,460 children losing their mothers.
Instead of this kind of mindless slashing of funds, we need to increase our investment in family planning programs overseas. It will bring huge returns in terms of improved global health, expanded economic empowerment of women, increased educational opportunities for girls, protection of resources and greater political stability.
A group of House Republicans recently introduced a bill to repeal the birth control benefit. Two weeks ago, a group of 11 politicians chose to stand with companies that have sued for the right to deny employees birth control coverage. These businesses think that bosses should get to control the health care choices of their employees. These are part of an orchestrated attack on women's access to birth control, despite the fact that 70% of Americans support insurance companies covering birth control without co-pays.
No company, no boss, should get to control the health care choices of their employees. No woman should have to ask her boss for permission to use birth control. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies.
While you stand with the companies who want to take this coverage away, I stand with the 70% of Americans who agree with the law, and who believe insurance companies should cover this basic benefit. When women have the power to protect their health, to plan their families, to make their own medical decisions, we all benefit.
Guaranteeing access to affordable birth control means fewer unintended pregnancies, healthier families, and women more in control of their futures. So let's show these members of Congress we won't back down when it comes to protecting birth control access. Add your name today.
Every day, Melinda Gates and Susan Oregede and millions of other women dare to challenge the status quo for women.
Even if it isn't easy, Susan Oregede dares to stand up before community leaders in Uganda, and say that a woman should be able to choose how many children she has.
Nafis Sadik, formerly head of the UNFPA, spoke up even though she was told not to challenge society on women's rights issues like abortion.
Jill Sheffield, founder of Women Deliver, gets criticism for advocating for maternal health. But she does it anyway.
"Millions of people-men and women-stand by the conviction that empowered women are a source of progress, and they want to take action," said Melinda Gates on Womens Day March 8th.
You can show your support for these women and other daring women like them:
* Share stories by Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Robinson, and other "Women Who Dare" with at least five friends
What you do will help mount pressure for clean energy and climate protection. Spread the word to friends and networks.
• If you are in California: Utilities are launching a massive disinformation campaign to mislead the public, press, and decision-makers, in the hopes of halting the trend towards rooftop solar. First in their sights: programs that allow Californians to offset their energy bills with rooftop solar, and new innovative proposals to bring those programs to renters. California has a long way to go before everyone can use clean energy but if utilities succeed in ending new rooftop solar programs, we're never going to get there.
Tell your representatives in Sacramento: Don't buy the utility lies! We need more, not less rooftop solar in California.
• Tell President Obama to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and act to protect the climate. Send letters, e-mails, and phone calls to the White House. Sierra Club has been leading the charge against what may be "the death knell of climate protection" and a huge boon to dirty fuels and Big Oil. Sierra Club has supported large, vocal demonstrations in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities to voice opposition. Club leaders have engaged in civil disobedience for the first time in Club history.
Will you call the White House today and demand immediate climate action?
• President Obama may be considering Ernest Moniz, proponent of the dangerous process of hydrofracking, as his new Energy Secretary. Sierra Club has already expressed its concern. Better candidates are available. We're counting on you to help change Obama's mind about this nomination.
Can you tell President Obama to find a better choice for Secretary of Energy?
At the start of 2013, a Shell Oil rig, carrying over 150,000 gallons of petroleum products, broke free from its tugboat and ran aground near Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Last year, Shell showed it was completely unprepared for the reality of the stormy waters of the Arctic Ocean when it prepared to drill for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas -- home to 20% of the world's polar bear population. Shell's ships caught fire, the spill clean-up equipment was destroyed during testing, and at the last minute, Shell admitted it wouldn't be able to comply with its clean air permits.
Click to tell President Obama to immediately cancel Shell's drilling permits before it's too late.
The Polar Bear Seas are far too important and fragile to leave in the hands of Big Oil. They are home to walrus, endangered ice seals, hundreds of species of migratory birds, and bowhead and beluga whales. Shell's incompetence could lead to an irreversible disaster.
It has been one year since Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius overruled the expertise of FDA scientists and blocked increased access to emergency contraception. Don't you want leadership that listens to science and doesn't cave to political pressure? It's not too late for Secretary Sebelius to do the right thing. Tell her to revisit the scientific evidence and end restrictions now.
In days, Nigeria's Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell for a spill that devastated the lives of millions of people, and pass a law to hold all oil companies to account for polluting and plundering. This is a watershed moment, but unless we all speak out, oil giants will crush it.
Finally, Big Oil is having to pay for the wasteland and violence that they've created. President Jonathan supports the Shell fine, and progressive Senators are pushing for strong regulations, but oil companies are slick, and without huge international support MPs could buckle under the pressure.
Politicians are deciding their positions right now -- sign the urgent petition for the Nigerian Parliament to fine Shell and support the bill, and then forward this page to everyone -- when we hit a million signers we'll bring our unprecedented global call to the steps of Nigeria's Parliament.
Draw the line - Sign the bill - Spread the wordOctober 13, 2012, Center for Reproductive Rights
One powerful woman is threatening the future of millions of others. But if we all weigh in right now we can rescue the people-powered bank that's an inspiration to the world.
The Grameen Bank has enabled millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them tiny loans to buy animals or equipment to start earning money. But Bangladesh's jealous Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has fired its Nobel Prize winning founder Muhammad Yunus and now wants to seize control of the bank, all to silence a political rival. This takeover could break the bank and destroy millions of people's hope.
Hasina is already facing a series of scandals at home -- if we can add a giant global backlash to her list of worries, we can force her to back down. When 1 million of us come together, Avaaz will kick off a media firestorm in Bangladesh and around the world, shaming her into ending this vengeful attack.
U.S.: California: Governor Brown signed the Access to Birth Control Bill AB 2348!September 21 , 2012, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
California has a large unmet need for publicly funded family planning services, in some counties as high as 50%. Thousands of women struggle each month to access birth control and AB 2348 will help! AB 2348 will allow registered nurses to dispense birth control under a standardized procedure. Health organizations like Planned Parenthood, the California Family Health Council, American Nurses Association - California, and California Primary Care Association all support AB 2348 because it's common sense legislation. Ensuring women have timely access to birth control prevents unintended pregnancies and creates better health outcomes.
Opponents of abortion are once again backing a "human life" amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This amendment would give a fertilized human egg "a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed" and is really an absolute ban on abortion, many forms of contraception and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization -- and the abolition of a woman's right to choose whether or when to have children.
In El Salvador, for example, where a fertilized egg has the same legal rights as a person, it is not uncommon to see police officers patrolling hospital corridors, "investigating" premature endings to pregnancies. Emergency rooms become courtrooms of blind persecution, and women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths are presumed guilty by judge and family alike, tossed into prison, and disowned.
U.S.: Weakening California's Environmental Act for Fracking
August 15, 2012, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity has learned of sneak-attack plan on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), possibly by gutting and amending an unrelated bill to include language that would hamstring or eliminate CEQA review as we know it.
If successful, this would have severe repercussions for cities and counties seeking to limit fracking in their jurisdiction, and for residents seeking to prevent, or even just obtain information about, fracking in their communities.
Legislators could release the bill next week or the week after and move immediately for a vote, before the public can find out.
Time is extremely short, and we need to move fast to make our voices heard by the legislative leadership.
Please encourage your members and supporters to call their state senators and assembly members today to urge them to defend the California Environmental Quality Act against the fracking industry and others who want to gut our landmark environmental law.
We also need to generate calls, emails, and office visits to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg at (916-651-4006) and Speaker of the Assembly John Perez at (916-319-2046). Please encourage our legislative leadership to stand up for CEQA
August 09 , 2012, Center for Biological Diversity
If the Southern Nevada Water Authority has its way, a pipeline would take more than 37 billion gallons of water a year from Great Basin aquifers and transport it over 300 miles to Las Vegas sprawl to fuel unsustainable growth in the driest desert in North America.
Water tables would drop up to 200 feet, and 137,000 acres of prime Great Basin shrub land would dry up along with more than 3,600 acres of wetlands. More than 70 springs and 140 miles of perennial streams would be reduced to a trickle, in some cases disappearing completely. 14 desert fishes, such as Moapa dace and least chubs, and 25 species of rare Great Basin springsnails would almost certainly go extinct. Imperiled greater sage grouse, pronghorns and elk would also face widespread suffering. Click on the link to tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stand up to Las Vegas interests, stop this irresponsible water grab and protect the fragile life of the Great Basin.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, beginning today, all newly-issued insurance plans must now cover with no co-pay:
*All FDA approved birth control and birth control counseling
*Annual well-woman visits
*Screening for gestational diabetes
*Domestic and interpersonal violence and screening
*Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
*Testing for HPV (human papillomavirus)
*Counseling for sexually transmitted infections
*Counseling and screening for HIV
U.S.: The Assault on Contraception and Reproductive Health Resumes in the House Appropriations CommitteeJuly 18, 2012, Population Institute
In another attack on low-income women, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies approved a funding bil - the Labor-HHS FY2013 appropriations billl - that would
* Eliminate funding for Title X, which supports family planning clinics serving low-income women. Provide only $20 million for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, $89 million below the President's request.
* Put in $20 million for "abstinence only" education programs that have been shown to be ineffective in lowering teen pregnancy rates.
* Prohibit any funding to Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates, unless the organizations certify that they will not perform abortions or provide any funds to any other entity that does.
* Permit employers to deny health insurance coverage of any medical services (like birth control), if they object on grounds of religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Just two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), House leaders have pledged to vote on a bill to repeal the law on Wednesday, July 11th.
There is a lot on the line with this vote, especially for women. Under the ACA women can't be denied coverage for "pre-existing conditions" like previous pregnancies or C-sections, and they can't be charged higher insurance premiums than men. Heathcare plans are also required to include well-woman visits, maternity care, and coverage of contraceptives without co-pays. The law offers a significant step forward in the effort to finally make universal access to affordable birth control a reality.
Its repeal would be a devastating blow for women. Urge your representative to vote against this legislation on Wednesday. Please take a moment to tell the House to stand firm against this right-wing assault on women's health and contraception!
by Melinda Gates
Over 1 billion people currently use birth control. For the most part, they do it without hesitation. They do it because they want the power to plan their own lives—and to raise healthy, happy families when they are ready to do so. There is no controversy around this routine fact of everyday life.
If you agree there is no controversy in contraceptives, you are encouraged to go to No-Controversy.com and take the pledge:
"I believe that every girl and woman deserves the opportunity to determine her own future."
Of the more than 200 million women around the world who don't want to get pregnant and don't have access to contraceptives, over 100,000 will die in childbirth. For some reason the uncontroversial idea of deciding when to have a child has somehow become shrouded in controversy. And the victims of this paralysis are the poorest people in the world.
On July 11 the Gates Foundation, the UK government, and other partners will host the London Summit on Family Planning. The goal is to mobilize global policy, funding, and delivery commitments to an additional 120 million women in the world's poorest countries to provide them access to contraceptive information, services, and supplies by 2020.
Baaba Maal is a Senegalese musician pleaing for help for the 18 million people are on the brink of disaster in Africa's drought-struck Sahel region.
"Our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly."
"The UN says $1.5 billion in aid is needed immediately, but governments have pledged less than half the required sum. The countries who can make all the difference are the US, Japan, France and Germany, but they're stalling -- that's why I started a petition on Avaaz's Community Petitions website to appeal to the world for help."
In days, world leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss the Sahel -- if they decide right there and then to pledge their fair share, we can avert disaster. Sign this urgent petition (click on the link) now and Oxfam will deliver it in a coordinated stunt when we reach 1 million signatures.
Title X supports family planning clinics serving low-income households. Every year more than 5 million women and men obtain family planning and related services through Title X funded clinics. In 2008, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Title X clinics helped to prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies, 432,600 unintended births and 406,200 abortions.
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the part of the budget for FY2013 that includes Title X. Funding for the program was reduced slightly from last year's funding level of $296.8 million to $293.9 million.
However the House Appropriations Committee version of the bill is coming up. Last year the Subcommittee voted to eliminate all funding for Title X, defunded Planned Parenthood, and slashed funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives, while boosting support for failed "abstinence only" education programs.
While the House version was mostly blocked by the Senate last year, but this year's legislative battle could turn out differently. It's time to halt the assault on contraception and reproductive health. http to tell your Representative to support increased funding for Title X.
The End Polluter Welfare Act would end fossil fuel subsidies, and save over $10 billion a year and more than $110 billion over 10 years. The bill would specifically end tax breaks for fossil fuel companies, plus eliminate special financing, end taxpayer funded R&D, and set fair royalties policies.
Senator Bernie Sanders said that the Act "ends all the tax breaks, the special financing arrangements, and the federal research and development funding."
A fact sheet by 350.org lists the money that would be saved by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies:
$14 billion saved by eliminating the intangible drilling deduction $12 billion saved by repealing a 2004 law that allows fossil fuel corporations to take deductions aimed at helping American manufacturers by claiming they are manufacturers $6.8 billion saved by closing the loophole that allows corporations like BP to deduct money they spend cleaning up their own oil spills and paying damages $2.4 billion saved by stopping fossil fuel companies from investing through Master Limited Partnerships, an option not available to clean energy businesses $3.7 billion saved by shutting the federal Office of Fossil Energy $10.6 billion saved by recouping lost royalties for offshore drilling in public waters
Fossil fuels are subsidized at almost six times the rate of renewable energy.
The Yale Project on Climate Change's November 2011 survey found that 70% of Americans opposed federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, including 67% of registered Republicans.
Tell your elected representatives in Congress that it is time to halt the assault on contraceptives and reproductive rights. Tell them that you: 1) support the President's Budget request for international family planning assistance; 2) want full funding for UNFPA; and 3) oppose a legislative re-imposition of the global gag rule.
The natural gas industry thinks it's fair to frack up our federal lands and tell us about it later -- 30 days after the drilling has taken place! The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the largest manager of oil and gas resources in the country, just released a set a rules for fracking on our federal lands with plenty of room for improvement. Right now, the natural gas industry is lobbying to weaken safeguards, and we need you to tell BLM they can do better.
The improvements are common sense -- people should know what chemicals are used in fracking before drilling takes place, diesel fuel (a known carcinogen) should be banned from use in fracking, open pits of toxic chemicals are not safe, and fracking should not take place on our most sensitive lands.
Twenty percent of the world's oxygen comes from the magnificent Amazon rainforest, and it plays a key role in mitigating global climate change. While there Brazil has achieved a 78% decline in deforestation rates between 2004 and 2011, due to a world-acclaimed forestry law, strong enforcement and satellite monitoring this dangerous new bill would open up an area the size of France and Britain together to clear-cutting and gives loggers amnesty for all past deforestation crimes. This would set a bad precedent for other countries.
Brazil rapidly developing, battling to lift tens of millions out of poverty. Despite evidence that growth does not require deforestation, a powerful agriculture lobby pressuring President Dilma . Activists are being murdered, intimidated and silenced. Ex-Environmental Ministers and people across Brazil have sent a clear message to Dilma that they want to save the Amazon. We can bring the global force of people power to get a win for our planet!
Two Bills - HB 2625 and HB 2800 - Before Gov. Jan Brewer Would Directly Restrict Arizonans' Ability to Make Private and Personal Medical Decisions. Brewer Should Veto Both.April 27, 2012, Arizona Daily Star
HB 2625 would allow organizations to declare themselves "a religiously affiliated employer" and refuse to include contraception in their health-insurance plans. The "religiously affiliated" distinction is a step back from the original version, which allowed any employer to declare a religious objection. However it still allows employers to impose their personal religious beliefs on another.
HB 2800, would strip any public funding from any organization that provides abortion services, even though it is already illegal for agencies to use public money to pay for those services. Health-care organizations such as Planned Parenthood would be prohibited from receiving taxpayer money to provide any type of family planning services.
HB 2625 would allow employers to refuse to cover "any prescribed drug or device" used as a contraceptive, as well as "consultations, examinations, procedures and medical services provided on an outpatient basis and related to prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies."
There is no exemption for surgical procedures - such as a vasectomy - that are intended specifically to prevent a man from inseminating a woman and causing a pregnancy. So it's not only women's bodies that Arizona Republican lawmakers want to control - they want to interfere with men's private medical decisions, too.
While HB 2800 names abortion services as the determining factor in taking away medical agencies' public funding, the result would directly affect men as well. Planned Parenthood, for example, provides testing for HIV, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases as well as urinary-tract infections.
Taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services. This bill would deprive Arizonans of needed medical care, because organizations like Planned Parenthood also provide cancer screenings, pregnancy testing and family-planning services.
These bills affect all Arizonans who want to make medical decisions with the guidance of their doctors rather than Republicans in the Legislature.
Just as a woman has myriad reasons to decide to prevent a pregnancy, so does a man. And he has just as much right to make his own personal health-care decisions as a woman does.
Brewer should protect all Arizonans' ability to make their own private and personal health-care decisions and veto both bills.
Without swift, national action to protect the ocean's vast diversity of life from acidifying waters corals, shellfish, salmon and a whole host of beautiful creatures will be lost.
We need your help to ask President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to get working on a bold plan to curb ocean acidification.
Carbon dioxide pollution is also being absorbed by the ocean, causing its chemistry to change and become more acidic. This spells trouble for marine animals that are now having difficulty building shells, growing and sometimes even surviving in increasingly corrosive waters.
The Honduran Congress is about to vote on a proposal that would send women to jail if they use the morning-after pill -- even for rape victims. But the President of the Honduran Congress can stop this. He's concerned about his international image and his future in politics, so our massive outcry can shame him and stop this attack on women. http to sign the petition:/?cl=1718679404&v=13635 . The vote could happen any day.
Some Congress members agree that this law -- which would also jail doctors or anyone who sells the pill -- is excessive, but they are bowing to the powerful religious lobby that wrongly claims the morning-after pill constitutes an abortion.
Avaaz will work with local women's groups to personally deliver our outcry.
The emergency contraceptive pill delays ovulation and prevents pregnancy - like ordinary birth control pills. But if this new bill passes, Honduras will be the only state in the world to punish the use or sale of emergency contraception with a jail term.
Emergency contraception is vital for women everywhere, but especially where sexual violence against women is rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and access to regular birth control is limited.
For more information see: Honduras, most sweeping ban on emergency contraception anywhere (RH Reality Check): http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/14/honduran-supreme-court-upholds-complete-ban-on-emergency-contraception-0
Despite overwhelming local opposition, foreign mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto are pressing forward with plans to build a gargantuan, open-pit gold and copper mine above Alaska's Bristol Bay -- threatening the world's greatest sockeye salmon runs and the very last 284 beluga whales of Cook Inlet.
Today, nearly 100 Population Connection activists are on the Hill urging congressional support for international family planning.
They are asking Congress to:
*Increase U.S. investment in international family planning to one billion dollars.
*Pass the Global Democracy Promotion Act (HR 4879/S 311) to prevent a future president from re-instating the Global Gag Rule.
*Support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Please take just a minute to add your voice to theirs by sending a quick email to your representative and senators. https to take action. Tell them that family planning is critical to building a safe, stable and healthy world.
The Center for Biological Diversity will mark this year's Earth Day by distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms around the country. The Center collaborated with artist Roger Peet to create a special edition of the colorful condom packages featuring a suite of species — from the dwarf seahorse to the polar bear — threatened by the world's growing human population.
Last Friday, the Obama administration issued an official policy that will fulfill the promise of ensuring that women, regardless of where they work, will receive insurance coverage for birth control with no co-pays, no additional hurdles — and no interference from their employers. And that's not all: under these rules, college and university students will be eligible for birth control coverage with no co-pays as well.
But we're not at the finish line yet. The Department of Health and Human Services will accept public comments on these new rules for the next 90 days.
You don't need me to tell you that the Obama administration is going to be hearing from a lot of anti-birth control, anti-women's health voices in the coming weeks. From state lawmakers to members of Congress, from presidential candidates to Rush Limbaugh, they've proven that they'll say and do anything to deny women access to affordable birth control.
Doonesbury Takes on Ultrasound Laws - Sign Our Petition Letting Editors Know That Censorship in UnacceptableMarch 12, 2012, Center for Reproductive Rights
The much-loved political cartoon "Doonesbury" is running an entire week of comic strips focusing on mandatory ultrasound laws beginning on March 12. More than 60 newspapers have refused to run "Doonesbury" cartoons even though they are simply trying to humanize the struggles of women under Texas's demeaning law.
Cecile Richards was a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. They discussed the most unbelievable statements and legislation of late.
She says: "Thanks for holding legislators and the media accountable for their hateful actions and statements over the last few months. Thanks for pointing out — with much-needed humor — just how ridiculous some of these attacks have been. And, in doing so, thanks for standing with women everywhere. If you agree, join me in thanking Jon Stewart for holding Rush Limbaugh, legislators, and the media accountable. Sign our thank you card!"
.. http to see the video
Perhaps as early as today, the Senate will vote on a proposal to allow any employer to deny insurance coverage for any service--for any reason whatsoever. Introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the amendment would erase critical protections in the Affordable Care Act and completely undermine a fundamental principle of the health care law—that everyone in this country deserves a basic standard of health insurance coverage.
Senator Blunt and his allies on the Right continue to cynically hide behind arguments about religious liberty while their attacks on the contraceptive requirement are based on nothing more than contempt for women's health care needs. Every American woman and couple has the fundamental right to make their own decision about whether and when to have children. And that every American woman deserves coverage of preventive health services regardless of where they work.
Recently President Obama changed the policy in what would seem to be a good-faith negotiation with a rational opponent.. Under the amended rule, religiously affiliated employers will not have to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees, but their health insurance companies will be required to provide the coverage directly to women at no charge. Women will still get access to the care they need, and institutions with religious objections will not have to provide it.
Unfortunately, birth control opponents have, once again, proved themselves to be anything but rational.
There are a couple of new fronts in the War on Women. Breast exams for poor women? Why, that's an opportunity to attack Planned Parenthood. Birth control coverage without co-pays? That's their chance to brand the Obama administration as an enemy of religious freedom.
The fight over contraceptive coverage continues, and we can't afford to relax yet. Opponents frame their objections to the requirement as coming from concerns over religious liberty, rather than as overt opposition to birth control. But in doing so, they have made statements that are offensive, dismissive, and grotesquely out of touch with the real needs and day to day lives of women.
One pundit dismissed women's need for birth control as "beside the point." Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R/NE-1) said that birth control was "unrelated to the basic needs of health care." And the Bishop of Phoenix said that the decision is an attempt to turn Catholics into "second-class citizens."
Women's health is not beside the point: it is the central point. Every American woman should have the same access to affordable contraceptives. The current rule will save the average American woman some $600 in out-of-pocket health care costs. For families living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay for day care or get their car fixed, this could make all the difference.
In a respectfully balanced compromise: explicitly religious employers are exempt from the new requirement. Some 335,000 churches are exempt, but the White House is still receiving a ceaseless barrage of criticism from opponents of family planning. Opponents of birth control have introduced legislation in Congress to rescind the policy.
The Obama administration and our allies in Congress need to know that you see though this ploy. Please take a moment, go to https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/stand-strong-support-new-no-cost-birth-control-policy/HM8jg7Y4 to sign a White House petition in support of the coverage requirement and to send an email to your members of Congress. Tell them not to back down in the fight to protect women's access to health care.
Do you trust women to make their own medical decisions? Join the Trust Women Week National Online March today. I hope you'll pick up a virtual sign and march with me today! Click on the link in the arrows or the headline to take action.
The last year has seen unprecedented attacks on women's access to care and on the fundamental right of every woman to make her own medical decisions — not just in Washington, but in states around the country. Just last year, 36 states enacted a record 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund has joined 70 other organizations in the National Online March for Trust Women Week to show just how many of us are willing to stand up for women's health.
Despite the setbacks, 2011 also proved that we can achieve tremendous victories when we stand together and speak with one voice. Not only did we secure no-cost birth control for women, but we're seeing some of the effects of the Affordable Care Act take hold.
39 years ago the courts recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions, to control their bodies, their reproductive health, and their lives.
Planned Parenthood has set up a website - www.SinceRoe.com - to show the world exactly what Roe has meant in the past and still means today. We've got a lot to fight for, and a lot to lose. Please, take a look and share it far and wide. Even better, add your own comment about how Roe v. Wade has made a difference in your life.
"The state has a right to [ban contraception], I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that." .. Rick Santorum
"Mitt Romney is pro-life and... supportive of efforts to ensure recognition that life begins at conception." .. Romney spokespersons
Candidates for office need to know that women (and men) like you and me are paying attention to what's happening concerning women's health and rights at the state and local level. Candidates are hoping they can say whatever it takes to get the Republication nomination for president and get away with it. They're hoping that because they're making outrageous statements in small gatherings designed to reach their own supporters, that we won't know.
I'm watching. So are hundreds of thousands of others. Our Women are Watching campaign is our best bet to stand up against anti-choice, anti-women's health candidates, and it takes all of us, working together.
There is a full slate of presidential candidates vowing to prevent Planned Parenthood health centers from providing health care to the millions of women who rely on them. They are pandering to an extreme base that is determined to roll back the clock on women's right to make their own medical decisions.
They're counting on the media to ignore their most dangerous policies as just campaign rhetoric. They are hoping that you are so exhausted by the constant attacks on Planned Parenthood and women's health that you just give up.
It's so important to keep tuning in, keep speaking out, keep fighting back. Start by signing the Women are Watching letter to all the 2012 candidates (click on the link in the red arrows or headline). Tell lawmakers and candidates for office that we will not sit quietly by while they attack our health and our rights.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently overruled the experts at the Food and Drug Administration and kept the Plan B emergency contraceptive from being available over-the-counter to all women. So, girls under 16 will still need a prescription.
There was never any scientific or medical reason for the age restriction, and the FDA commissioner was poised to remove it - see http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/ucm282805.htm . Not only will young women - under the age of 17 - still need a prescription for this important medication, but all women will still need to ask a pharmacist for it, ensuring that the medication will be kept behind the pharmacy counter, not on the shelves. This undermines all women's access to a safe, effective way to help avoid an unintended pregnancy.
Greater availability of emergency contraception has the potential to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy among young women. Since this was a decision made by the administration, it is a decision they can choose to reverse. Please take just a moment and ask President Obama to reconsider the decision on Plan B by clicking on the link in the headline above.
Earlier this year, an expert panel recommended that all forms of prescription birth control should be covered without co-pays under all new health insurance plans. The Obama administration accepted this recommendation but included an exemption for certain religious employers. That wasn't enough for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Catholic Health Association (CHA). The USCCB is calling the birth control provision a violation of their religious liberty and demanding a vast expansion of the refusal clause. If they have their way, experts estimate that at least a million women across the country will not have access to this new and valuable benefit.
The proposed rule is only a draft and a final decision will be made soon. It's time that the White House heard from those of us who support contraceptive coverage for everyone. Tell President Obama that this benefit is critical to the health and well-being of all American families and that nobody should be denied this important coverage because of the "conscience" of another.
Protect Our Waterways From PesticidesNovember 16, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity
Pesticides in our waters are linked to higher cancer rates, hormone disruption and other serious health effects in people. Fish and amphibian populations have been devastated by these toxics, which can be the last straw for endangered species already in crisis.
Right now chemical and agribusiness lobbyists are pushing a radical revision of our clean-water laws - H.R. 872 - that has already passed in the right-wing-dominated House of Representatives but we may be able to stop this disastrous polluter bill from passing in the Senate.
Our water supply is too precious to poison. Please take five minutes to call your senators and tell them to protect the Clean Water Act. Senate Bill 718 is a hazard to all life in the United States, and should be rejected, along with any companion bill to House Resolution 872, proposed by Sen. Pat Roberts. Tell them to support the EPA's safeguards against pesticides through the "pesticide general permit" process. This protects our environment and public health.
Click here to find the number for your senator: http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/getLocal.jsp Let us know you were able to get through by clicking here: http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=6391
Presidential candidates are vowing to defund Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice lawmakers in state after state are putting harsh new restrictions on women's right to make their own medical decisions. There has been a constant, relentless, vicious effort to deny women access to basic health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings and STD testing and treatment.
The majority of voters are women, and no politician in the country can win without our support. That means that the future of women's health is up to us. As always, protecting women's health will take courage, determination, and a massive, coordinated effort.
There is one year left to Election Day. Click the headline or the arrow to sign the Women are Watching letter to all the 2012 candidates. Tell lawmakers and candidates for office that we will not sit quietly by while they attack our health and rights.
Call Your Senator About An Upcoming Battle in the War on WomenNovember 10, 2011, Population Institute
As early as today the Senate will be debating a "minibus" appropriations bill. It contains funding for the State Department and various foreign assistance programs, including international family planning and reproductive health.
The Senate Appropriations Committee version was a victory for women. 1) It increases the current funding level for international family planning assistance for the 2012 Fiscal Year to $700 million, including $40 million for the United Nations Population Fund. 2) It makes permanent an executive order issued by President Obama that repealed the "
Unfortunately, next week a number of amendments are expected that would most likely reduce the amount of money for international family planning and reproductive health, eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund, and block the language that would permanently repeal the global gag rule.
According to research from the Guttmacher Institute, for every $10 million cut from the international family planning and reproductive health program:
* 610,000 fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies;
* 190,000 more unintended pregnancies, and 82,000 more unplanned births, would occur;
* 83,000 more abortions would take place (of which 60,000 would be unsafe);
* 500 more maternal deaths would occur;
* 2,300 more children would lose their mothers.
To help, call (202) 224-3121, tell the operator what state you are from, and ask to be connected to one or both of your U.S. Senators. Tell your Senators that you support full funding for international family planning and a permanent repeal of the "global gag rule."
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health - led by Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania (author of the bill dubbed "Let Women Die") - is holding a hearing on the no-cost birth-control policy going into effect as a result of the health-reform law signed by President Obama in 2010. Anti-choice lawmakers think employers who oppose contraception should be allowed to deny their employees a health plan that covers contraception due to the so-called "conscience" of corporations.
Ninety-eight percent of women--of all faiths and backgrounds--use birth control at some point in their lives.
NARAL Pro-Choice America submitted testimony to the subcommittee in opposition to an expansive refusal clause.
7 billion people is a big milestone for our planet. It can seem overwhelming—what can we do in the face of such growth? But now is the time that we must take action.
There has never been a more critical time to raise awareness, build support, and advocate for the importance of universal access to contraception. Please take a stand now:
* Go to the link in the headline above to sign the pledge to support universal access to contraception
U.S.: Californians: Stand Up for the Health of Our Teens!October 06, 2011, Planned Parenthood
Your 30-second call to SUPPORT AB 499 is critical!
AB 499 would provide teens with the ability to protect themselves against STDs and cancer. Current California law allows teens to consent to the testing and treatment of STDs, but not to preventive measures that could protect them from contracting these diseases in the first place.
Opponents have made it a priority to kill this bill and are working hard to flood the phone lines, we need to fight back.
Call Governor Brown: (916) 445-2841 or 1-855-468-2796
* Select 1 for English or 2 for Spanish * Press 2 to voice opinion on a piece of legislation * Press 2 to voice opinion about AB 499 * Press 1 to show you are calling in SUPPORT of AB 499
Key Budget Battle Looms for International Family PlanningSeptember 26, 2011, Population Institute
In late July when the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved a 25% cut in international family planning assistance for FY2012 and voted for a ban on any support for the UNFPA, and reinstatement of the global gag rule that President Obama repealed by executive order during his first month in office.
More recently the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012 that would provide $700 million for international family planning assistance, including $40 million for the UNFPA. The Senate action would boost funding by $85 million over this year's appropriation level ($615 million). The Committee rejected the gag rule, and voted to make President Obama's repeal of the gag rule permanent.
House-Senate negotiations on the budget bill will begin soon, probably after October 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. In the meantime a "continuing resolution" to provide temporary funding for federal programs until agreement can be reached will likely be passed.
The result of this battle will have profound impacts on the lives of women around the world. The Guttmacher Institute has calculated that cutting U.S. family planning assistance by 25% would result in:
*9.4 million fewer women and couples receiving contraceptive services
*Almost 3 million more unintended pregnancies
*1.3 million more abortions (mostly unsafe)
*1.3 million more unplanned births
*7,700 more maternal deaths
There is still time to tell Congress that family planning and reproductive health care services are vital to the health and well-being of women and their families in the developing world. Make your voices heard…before it's too late.
Yesterday Population Connection asked you to email your Senators about the important vote on the Global Gag Rule expected today in the Senate Appropriations Committee - and over 1200 of you responded.
We won. Today, the Appropriations Committee voted on the Lautenberg Amendment, which passed 18-12. Every Democrat on the committee, with the lone exception of Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted in favor, along with three Republicans: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The Global Gag Rule is a United States government policy - instated or reinstated by conservative presidents and rescinded by liberal presidents - that requires all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries. Critics of the policy say that, in addition to reducing the overall funding provided to particular NGOs, it closes off their access to USAID-supplied condoms and other forms of contraception. This, they argue, negatively impacts the ability of these NGOs to distribute birth control, leading to a downturn in contraceptive use and from there to an increase in the rates of unintended pregnancies and abortion. Critics also argue that the ban promotes restrictions on free speech as well as restrictions on accurate medical information.
Now Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) plans to offer an amendment to the bill that would prevent a future president from unilaterally reinstating the Global Gag Rule.
If your senator is a member of the Appropriations Committee, we need you to help make sure he or she votes the right way. Tomorrow afternoon, the Senate Appropriations Committee will meet to consider the Fiscal Year 2012 State Department/Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, including the Lautenberg amendment.
The committee vote is especially important this year, when family planning has been under attack from what seems like every direction. A successful vote on the Lautenberg Amendment would be both a counterweight to recent House votes in favor of the Gag Rule and also a bold affirmation that there are still champions on the Hill who will stand up for family planning.
The Global Gag Rule is a matter of life and death for many women in the developing world. Please take just a moment to remind your Senator of the importance of family planning, and tell him or her to support the Lautenberg Amendment.
U.S.: Don't Let Governor Perry Do This to Texas WomenSeptember 02, 2011, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature have launched an assault on Planned Parenthood and women's health that is a true threat to women in Texas and beyond. They have passed a bill that would force women seeking abortion care to view a sonogram. It would also require doctors to read an anti-choice script written by the anti-choice legislature. The only way to avoid these burdens would be for women to certify in writing that they are pregnant due to rape or incest.
Thankfully, a federal judge stopped enforcement of the worst parts of the new law just two days before they went into effect. His ruling pointed out that this law "compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen."
Governor Perry immediately vowed to appeal the bill.
Texas has more uninsured residents than any other state. But Governor Perry recently cut family planning funding by two-thirds - which could cut off health care to more than 300,000 Texas women.Women in Texas struggle to find affordable health care, but Governor Perry is trying to shut down the Planned Parenthood health centers that provide it.
Current California law allows teens to consent to sensitive medical care for the testing and treatment of sexual transmitted infections. However, currently teens are not allowed to consent to preventative measures that can protect their health and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
AB 499 would update the existing law to reflect new and ongoing developments in sexually transmitted disease prevention and remove barriers to minors in accessing these important preventative measures.
Young people should not be denied access to preventative methods when they are available, especially for sexually transmitted viruses that currently cannot be cured, only treated.
While most teens involve their parents in medical decisions, even those involving sensitive subjects, we need to allow for those minors who cannot include their parents.
On the heels of Vice President Biden's recent trip to China, the leadership of the House of Representatives issued a misguided ultimatum to President Obama: defund UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, or else.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data to develop policies and programs to reduce poverty, to strengthen reproductive health programs, and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. In a world where 215 million want access to family planning services but do not have it, in which women make up the majority of those infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, and in which complications of pregnancy remain the leading cause of deaths among women in many countries, UNFPA is needed more than ever before.
This is not a controversial agenda. In fact, it is one shown to be supported by the vast majority of Americans.
But as a result of misguided ideology and politics, and at a time when women's most fundamental rights are under assault, we have been thrust into a dangerous game of falsehoods versus reality- and the stakes are high. What is the life of one woman worth? When reproductive rights are politicized, the health and safety of every woman hangs in the balance.
Each year, over 150 countries around the world contribute to helping UNFPA carry out the vital tasks it has been assigned by members of the United Nations, including the United States of America. As a global leader, the U.S. should continue to show the way. U.S. financial support to UNFPA affirms the United States long-held commitment to save lives, slow the spread of HIV and encourage gender equality. Yet partisan politics continues to play a leading role in U.S. contributions to UNFPA. Despite systematic attempts in past Administrations to link UNFPAs promotion of voluntary family planning services to China's one child policy, no such connection exists. In 2002, both a UK parliamentary delegation as well as an independent blue-ribbon delegation sent to China by the U.S. State Department found no evidence that UNFPA supported China's coercive birth policies. Indeed, the delegation reported that UNFPA advocated against and was a force for changing those policies. Still, UNFPA received no contribution from the U.S. from 2001 to 2007.
To be clear, UNFPA does not support coercion in family planning, coercive abortions or forced sterilizations anywhere. The rejection of these practices is a fundamental principle of UNFPAs mandate from members of the United Nations members, and as part of the mandate of the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the development of which the U.S. played a critical leadership role.
In reality, UNFPA promotes voluntary family planning and opposes all forms of coercion, targets or quotas. Americans support the work of UNFPA and recognize that the ability to make important decisions about childbearing is one of the most basic human rights. Supporting voluntary family planning and reproductive health care programs is a critical step toward improving the status of women and upholding these basic human rights around the world. As about one fifth of the world's population, Chinese men and women have the same right as peoples elsewhere to learn about and gain from the voluntary approach family planning. And this is exactly what Americans want UNFPA to continue doing on the ground.
Claims attempting to link UNFPA with a gender imbalance resulting from son preference in China are equally unfounded. The UN and UNFPA in particular have made strong declarations against gender imbalance. In fact, UNFPA broke the taboo on this issue and became the first international agency to highlight the problem to Chinese authorities. Along with other UN agencies, UNFPA is coordinating an initiative on joint work to tackle the root causes of son preference. UNFPAs 2008-2013 Strategic Plan calls for issues around sex preference and sex-selection to be included in analyses of efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, in reproductive health-care studies, and in international forums. Today, UNFPA continues to promote gender equality in China and leads efforts to reduce discrimination and violence against women.
UNFPAs core programs help mothers survive pregnancy and childbirth, and deliver healthy newborns. The programs also encourage and enable couples to determine the number and spacing of their children and reduce the incident of HIV/AIDS. When U.S. funding is withheld, UNFPAs lifesaving work will unquestionably dwindle, making women the pawns in this dangerous game. We simply cannot allow this to happen in the spirit of ideological demagoguery.
The world is closing in on a scary milestone: 7 billion people. Our population explosion has already had devastating consequences on the planet: loss of pristine landscapes, scarcity of natural resources, and the acceleration of extinction for plants and animals around the globe.
We urgently need your help today to get the word out to millions of people about the global population crisis. We need to raise $20,000 in the next week to begin running a powerful new public service ad in one of the most crowded places on the planet: New York City's Times Square.
The PSA will run on a 520-square-foot LED screen in the heart of Times Square. More than 1 million people will see it every day.
Please make a generous gift today to support the Center's efforts to bring the human overpopulation and overconsumption problem into the public eye and develop policy solutions to tackle its complexities. We've been ranked a four-star charity by Charity Navigator for the fifth year in a row, and every tax-deductible dollar you give will be used efficiently and effectively to tackle the threats to species from human overpopulation.
On July 27 - a week after the Institute for Medicine recommended adding birth control to a list of preventative care services to be covered without co-payments in health care insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act - the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House and Senate by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Maloney said that the institute's recommendation "marks an important first step toward near-universal contraceptive coverage in America, but if women are denied the actual contraceptives when they go to their pharmacist, having no-cost contraceptives is rendered meaningless."
The ABC Act would make it illegal for a pharmacist to refuse to return birth control prescription or for a pharmacist to intimidate, threaten or harass customers or intentionally breach or threaten to breach medical confidentiality.
NARAL Pro-Choice America said that "federal action is especially necessary since rogue pharmacists who are opposed to contraception are refusing to fill women's prescriptions, and only six states have laws that require pharmacies to fill women's birth-control prescriptions."
Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to legislatively reinstate the notorious Global Gag Rule, which would bar U.S. funding from going to any overseas family planning organization that uses its own money to provide abortions or to offer counseling and referral for abortion, even in countries where it is legal.
Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA) offered an amendment to strike the Gag Rule language from the bill, but all Republican members, along with Democrat Ben Chandler (KY), voted against the Berman amendment.
It's time for us to come together to make contraceptives available in every new insurance plan and without a co-pay or out-of-pocket costs.
Women know the preventive health benefits of birth control, such as determining the timing and spacing of pregnancies to improve their health and the health of their children. And, thanks to the health care law, contraceptives, with its many preventive health benefits, could soon be covered in all new health insurance plans without a co-pay.
Next week, the House Foreign Affairs committee, on which your representative serves, will be proposing amendments to ban funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and reinstate the Global Gag Rule, effectively barring funding to some of the most experienced, effective and respected providers of family planning around the globe. The Global Gag Rule is, for all intents and purposes, an international version of the Planned Parenthood ban.
Already family planning opponents are attacking domestic programs like Planned Parenthood.
Cutting the measly 40 million to UNFPA won't make a dent in the deficit, but it will ensure that millions of women in the over 150 countries that UNFPA operates in (twice as many as the US bilateral program) won't have access to family planning services.
The gag rule won't reduce abortions—it will only ensure that the most experienced providers with the pre-existing networks to help women globally won't receive funding and hinder women's ability to receive critical family planning services in underdeveloped countries.
The Department of Health and Human Services is deciding which preventive services should be covered by the new health insurance plans without a co-pay or other out-of-pocket costs.
Women know the preventive health benefits that prescription birth control provides, like determining the timing and spacing of pregnancies to improve their health and the health of their children. Couples who want to delay having a child because of uncertain economic times, college students who decide to graduate before starting families, and women across the United States trying to prevent an unintended pregnancy all need access to birth control.
U.S.: Urgent House Vote on Eliminating US Contribution to UN Population FundMay 27, 2011, Population Institute
Within the next week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would eliminate the entire U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Currently, the U.S. gives UNFPA $40 million a year to support a wide range of programs benefiting women in the developing world, including family planning, obstetric care, and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
This would have a catastrophic effect on the health and survival of women in the developing world and would only increase the number of unsafe abortions. Call your U.S. Representative and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and urge them to defeat any effort to cut funding for UNFPA. The House switchboard number is (202)225-3121.
Around the world, 215 million women want to prevent or delay pregnancy but are not using a modern method of contraception. UNFPA helps fulfill this unmet need by increasing access to modern contraceptives.
UNFPA's core programs expand access to reproductive health care for the poor and other hard to reach groups, including refugees and displaced persons, help mothers survive pregnancy and childbirth, deliver healthy newborns, enable couples to determine the number and spacing of their children and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS. UNFPA also supports data collection and research to encourage appropriate population and development policies, activities to improve the status of women, and advocacy to galvanize political and financial backing for reproductive health care and development. UNFPA also plays an important leadership role in global efforts to prevent and repair obstetric fistula, to eradicate female genital mutilation, and to improve access to reproductive health supplies, including contraceptives and condoms.
Editor's note: For a look at some of the lies being propagated on this issue, look at http://www.pop.org/content/urgent-action-item-letter-to-congress-oppose-forced-abortion-defend-kemp-kasten-565 ... while a counterargument is provided at http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/fact-v-fiction/fiction-unfpa-supports-coerced-abortion-and-forced-sterilization-china
Budget Cuts - it Could Have Been WorseApril 12, 2011, Population Connection
The final budget plan is almost resolved. International and domestic family planning programs are being reduced. Global funding is being cut by $33 million to $615 million. The UN Population Fund will get $40 million. Domestic funding is being cut by $17 million to $300 million. No new restrictions are being imposed. The shortsightedness on this issue is distressing.
Maryland's House of Delegates recently approved a bill that would allow Maryland women who are at or below 200% of the poverty level to be eligible for Medicaid family planning services. The vote was 122-14.
Currently family planning under Medicaid is available for women after they have their first baby. Maryland ranks 42nd in the nation in infant mortality and 38th in the nation for low birth weight babies.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates that expanding eligibility could reduce unintended pregnancies by about 4,000 each year. Delegate Heather Mizeur said "Every Medicaid pregnancy costs the state $19,000 per birth, so if you remove a little over 4,000 of those each year we could save as much as $40 million a year for this very small investment in empowering women's lives."
The additional Medicaid expenditure would be $6.5 million, with $1.4 million coming from the state's general fund, and 80% from the federal government. The state Senate has a similar bill pending.
Family planning services would include pelvic exams, screenings for breast and reproductive cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, counseling and prescriptions for contraception.
Please urge your senators to protect funding for international family planning and other global health programs that are vital to improving and saving women's lives.
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make devastating cuts to international family planning programs, which are essential to giving women in developing countries the means to better plan their futures. Family planning is among the best investments in women's health. The returns include millions of lives improved and saved, along with important progress in economic growth and social stability.
The Senate is currently debating its version of the fiscal year 2011 spending bill. Ask your senators to preserve funding for family planning and women's health. Fill out the Action Alert form on our web site to send a letter directly to your senators.
Urgent: Take Action to Prevent Harmful Cuts to Family Planning Around the WorldFebruary 16, 2011, Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program
Today, March 8, the Senate is slated to vote on H.R. 1, a bill that blatantly attacks the rights of women around the world.
Recently, House Republicans proposed a FY 2011 Continuing Resolution that would result in huge cuts to international voluntary family planning programs around the world. The proposed budget would eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as reimpose the Global Gag Rule, thus cutting off funding to clinics and healthcare centers around the world that provide women with comprehensive reproductive health services and access to contraception. The proposal would even cut funding for domestic programs that ensure access to family planning for low-income women and young people.
The ability to plan the timing and spacing of one's children is not only a human right, but also has positive ramifications for women, communities, and our planet. When women have access to family planning services, they tend to have smaller, healthier, better-educated families, and are better able to participate in sustainable resource management within communities. When children are healthier and families are healthier, our earth is healthier. In a year when the world's population is slated to hit 7 billion people, we can not afford to cut off contraceptive access and voluntary family planning services to women anywhere.
Ensuring access to voluntary family planning is the best way to slow population growth. Call or write your Congress people and encourage them to reject these devastating funding cuts. To speak with your representative in Washington, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Just give your zip code if you do not know your representative.
Million Signatures Needed for a Billion More in Dollars for International Family Planning and Reproductive Health CareFebruary 2011, MillionForaBillion.us
1,000,000 people are needed to tell Congress: Access to contraceptives and reproductive health care is an essential right.
Sign this petition to boost U.S. and international support for family planning and reproductive health care. Your action will help to save lives, promote healthy families, fight poverty, and save the environment. You can help by contacting all your friends and asking them to join this petition campaign.
Let us help the 215 million women who lack access to family planning, like Georgette, a mother in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who, before she finally found access to contraception, had already been pregnant 20 times, and lost 7 of her babies to starvation because nursing was cut short by another pregnancy. With the help of the Pathfinder-trained community health worker, Georgette chose a contraceptive method and is now happy and healthy.
Click here to donate.
$25 can provide 4 doctors with infection prevention training manuals.
$50 can give a woman in Peru a year of contraception and counseling.
$100 can train a community health worker in India to provide basic family planning services.
$250 can train 10 midwives to recognize the signs of high risk pregnancies, enabling them to refer a woman to a health facility.
Center for Biological Diversity Overpopulation Public Service Ad in Times Square on a 520-square-foot Screen for One MonthSeptember 08, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity launched a new national campaign, 7 Billion and Counting, to highlight the devastating effects of the world's exploding human population on wildlife around the globe. The PSA in Times Square will reach a million people every day over the next month. Check out the powerful ad by clicking on the headline link above -- now running hourly in one of the most crowded places on the planet.
The 7 Billion and Counting campaign is timed to raise public awareness of the world hitting its 7 billionth human being at the end of October and the impacts of that benchmark on global biodiversity and endangered plant and animal species.
Book Signing Set for Redlands Author; Jane Roberts Says Her Grass-roots Fundraising Has Been 'an Incredible Adventure'November 03, 2005, Press Enterprise (US)
Jane Roberts was mad that the Bush administration had refused to release the funds Congress had approved for UNFPA and she set out to raise the $34 million - she would ask 34 million Americans to send $1 each to UNFPA. Lois Abraham came up with a similar idea, the U.N. agency put the two in contact and they joined forces. Together they gave birth to 34 Million Friends of the Women of the World. By May 1, 2003, the organization had raised $ 1 million and a recent tally puts the total at nearly $ 2.75 million. UNFPA has been using the money for family-planning supplies and the prevention and repair of obstetric fistula. Ted Turner's U.N. Foundation has donated grant funds and support. A first-hand account of her experiences, published by Ladybug Press is titled "34 Million Friends of the Women of the World." After co-founding the organization, Roberts began speaking around the world about the fundraising effort. Roberts and Abraham were nominated, along with 998 other women, for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. They did not win, but their nomination brought attention to their efforts. For years she believed herself to be the lay person best informed and most passionate about women's reproductive issues and problems. "I am living in a dream world, doing what I want to do most in the latter years of my life."
We can all agree about the importance of providing voluntary family planning to women. Please take a moment to learn about an amazing organization, Peruvian Amazon Conservation, which supplies women who live along a section of the Amazon with an exceptional contraceptive service.
PAC (www.peruvianamazon.org) is based in a small village where there are no roads'all travel is along the waterways. It was a real eye-opener for me when I visited there a few years ago. The people are universally poor - too poor to afford any medical care in most cases. Although Peru has a family planning program, people would have to go to Iquitos (the nearest city) to participate; this is a journey that few of the people in this area can afford. Although population density seems low, all people live along rivers, and they are making significant changes to the rain forest by cutting down trees and "development". PAC provides basic medical care, health and environmental education as well as family planning.
The PAC family planning program is based on depo-medroxyprogesterone (Depo Provera, or DMPA). Women come to the clinic for their shots every three months. All women receive their shots during the same week so they can "carpool". (Actually, people arrive at the clinic by dugout canoe.) If a woman wants to start contraception at a time different from the shot week, she is given enough birth control pills to last until the next time shots are given.
It has been difficult and expensive to get a reliable supply of DMPA. People from my hometown, Durango, Colorado, gave over a thousand dollars last year to help pay for the medication and to support PAC. (Please note that PAC is not a slick organization with paid staff. You need to mail them a check rather than making a donation by internet). PAC is a nonprofit 501c3 tax-exempt organization, so all donations are tax deductible. The contact information is:
Peruvian Amazon Conservation 1759 Dyson Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 Phone: 404-378-9800 www.peruvianamazon.org
The organization is run out of the home of Eleanor Smithwick, the founder and executive director. She is often in Peru, so her husband, Ron, will answer the phone if she is not at home. Note that none of the contributions go to support Eleanor or the other USA staff.
Letter and Article Writing
U.S.: How You Can Help Improve News Media Coverage of PopulationMay 11, 2011, Population Media Center
While it seems the volume of news media coverage of population issues has increased significantly in the last few years, still a lot of inaccurate and biased coverage of population issues, both by the media and by institutions that favor continued population growth.
With food and energy crises, political instability, continuing loss of the biodiversity, and a growing volume of material coming from population activists, awareness has been raised among journalists that we may have overgrown the capacity of the planet to sustain our numbers and lifestyles.
An example of this problem is when the US Census Bureau characterized the US population 9% growth rate in the last decade as, "The percentage growth this last decade...is thus the second lowest of the past century," and failed to mention that the total population growth 1990's and the 2000's (60 million) was bigger than the Baby Boom of 1945 to 1965 (54 million), as reported by researcher Mark Powell of Vermonters for Sustainable Population.
Newspapers picked up on the slow growth idea and published inaccurate stories.
Population Media Center is managing a project called the Population News Strategy that seeks to educate the public about population issues both in the United States and abroad, in order to help the public understand the importance of slowing down and eventually halting both domestic and international population growth.
How you can help:
If you see a news-story which explicitly covers a population issue - accurately or inaccurately - and the email of the reporter is available, please send the hyperlink of the story to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Stories where the reporter's email is not available may be interesting, but will not help us build our database.
If you see a blogger covering population issues, please send the blog url to: email@example.com
If you personally know and can easily contact a credible and well-credentialed researcher, writer, advocate, politician, scientist, activist, etc., who is interested in sustainable population issues who you think deserves consideration for being placed on-air, please contact Joe Bish at: firstname.lastname@example.org . In your message please identify the individual and provide back-ground information on them if possible (e.g. bio or url to website).
If you have something to say about population and wish to contribute an Op-Ed to be considered for syndicated publishing, please do not hesitate to send drafts for consideration to: email@example.com
Please note these general Op-Ed guidelines: Columns should be provocative: identify a problem and identify a specific culprit (e.g. Congress, a specific person, a corporation). Aim for no more than six hundred words. Please indicate if the piece has been run in another publication before you sent it to us.
Appreciate your Lawmakers Who Support Family Planning and Women's ChoiceJanuary 2011, WOA!! website
This letter was received by one of the activists in our local population group. She had written a letter of concern to her congress person. The next step would be for several activists to send letters of appreciation and support to this lawmaker.
Dear Ms. xxx:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about family planning and a woman's right to choose. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue.
As you know, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade allowed for legal abortions in the United States. In the thirty-six years following this decision, the question over the legality and morality of abortion rights has continued. The Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart on April 18, 2007, upheld a law banning so-called partial birth abortions and reignited this emotional debate.
I am committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in the United States. Additionally, I am especially concerned about the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies, particularly in the Central Valley where our teens are becoming pregnant at a much higher rate than the rest of the county. However, I believe that education, a streamlined adoption process, and an improved health care system are better means of achieving this goal than prohibiting abortion by law. In my opinion, intervention into such a personal decision is an inappropriate role for government. I have consistently supported a woman's right to choose throughout my career in public service, and will keep your views in mind as debate on this issue continues in the 112th Congress.
To keep informed of the work I do here in Congress, please visit my website at www.xxx.house.gov and sign up for my newsletter. If I may be of any further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The availability, use, and funding of family planning worldwide has seen a revolution in the last 50 years, dramatically reducing fertility levels and slowing population growth in developing countries. But contraceptive use is still low and need for it high in some of the world's poorest and most populous places.
In the 1970s and 1980s family planning was in the spotlight, but recently not so much recently as as issues such as HIV/AIDS and poverty alleviation. Perhaps its success has led to its recent loss of visibility.
Recently key informants - developing-country program managers, senior staff members of nongovernmental and donor organizations, and prominent researchers - were surveyed in a study supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute of Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University. One key informant in the study said: "When you hesitate to say the words 'family planning,' something is happening. When you say 'reproductive health' and have to be careful, something is happening."
There is a declining sense of urgency about population growth and its consequences; competing health and development priorities; rising political conservatism (especially in the United States); and a lack of international and local leadership. Poverty reduction was cited as the primary focus of current development efforts.
The agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) meeting in Cairo in 1994 emphasized the welfare of individual women, the achievement of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equity. This redefinition of the social problem of population growth in terms of reproductive health, particularly for women, has caused popular consciousness about the problem to ebb, since reproductive health does not carry the same political vitality as a developmental disaster or disease epidemic.
"When reproductive health becomes too big, family planning gets lost. The trouble is that it's no longer a focused program. It's difficult for donors to see, to manage and implement." In 1995, family planning received 55% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while basic research and reproductive health received 18% each and HIV/STIs received 9%. In 2003, HIV/STIs received 47% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while reproductive health received 25%, basic research 15%, and family planning 13%. Compared to the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, preventing unintended pregnancies is now perceived internationally as much less compelling and less urgent.
While there was general agreement that collaboration between family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs was appropriate, there seemed to be distinct lack of collaboration between the fields. Young people who used to be attracted to the family planning field when it was seen as a critical social need are reportedly going into fields that are perceived to be more urgent today, such as HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood, and poverty alleviation, while some older, experienced leaders who formerly worked in family planning have moved on. That and lack of funding for advanced training means that leadership in family planning is aging or lacking.
Strong opposition from abortion opponents is also a disincentive to work in the family planning field. Some respondents felt that the international family planning movement was in it's demise, but others felt that the movement would continue with the locus of action shifiting to the developing world in those countries that have major contraceptive needs, a rapidly growing population, and a policy commitment to slowing growth. Others felt that women's motivation to control fertility is so strong (and the social norm of family planning so well established) that contraceptive use will continue to rise no matter what happens to family planning programs.
Some felt the message of family planning could be recast (1) addressing an unfinished agenda of unmet contraceptive need, unwanted fertility, stalled fertility decline, and shortages of contraceptive supplies; (2) highlighting family planning's benefits for reducing abortion and improving women's status and health; and (3) demonstrating family planning's relevance in reducing social inequity. Many saw the risks of increased poverty, poor health, and higher mortality as a result of high fertility and population growth rates.
U.S.: Izaak Walton League: Outdoors Journalists Key to New Education Campaign Linking Impact of Population Growth on Conservation Resources2005, Izaak Walton League
Human population growth has potentially explosive consequences for natural resources and the Izaak Walton League has released a pair of publications intended to inspire, engage, and assist outdoor journalists to reacquaint themselves with this issue. The first is a collection of essays by five prominent journalists on the effects of population growth on outdoor recreation. The second gives background information and tips on writing stories about population growth and getting them published. Chuck Clayton, national president, said that outdoor recreation enthusiasts will understand more fully the consequences of human population growth on their pursuits when a broader spectrum of journalists start addressing the issue as a matter of course. Jim Baird, director of the League's Sustainability Education Project said "Every major threat to outdoor recreation-from climate change to hunting access, from habitat loss to dying fisheries - is, at its base, an issue about how people can continue to thrive while maintaining a livable world." Outdoor journalists should embrace this topic more aggressively." In 1970 the League's members enacted a policy on carrying capacity - an evaluation of how human needs and numbers affect wildlife, their habitat and all forms of recreation that depend on the outdoors. Follow the headline link to read the two publications.