Bad Bill Alert: “Admitting Privileges” Coming to PA

Admitting privilege legislation is the latest trick deployed nationally by opponents of abortion rights to shrink the (already inadequate) number of abortion providers. That’s why it’s been all over the news for months. Recently, we learned the admitting privilege controversy is coming to Pennsylvania. The bill will be co-sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp. You may recall Rapp, a member of the Susan B. Anthony National Pro-life Caucus, as a sponsor of Pennsylvania’s mandatory ultrasound bill–an idea ridiculed by professional medical associations. (Then former Governor Corbett advised women endure the medically unnecessary procedure by just closing their eyes, and the entire country wondered what was wrong with Pennsylvania.) The other sponsor is Rep. Bryan Barbin, the Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania House Pro-Life Caucus.   What are admitting privileges? Admitting privileges refer to a specific type of contractual arrangement between hospitals and doctors. It is not required for a doctor to send patients to a hospital.   So why suddenly require an unnecessary new contract? What’s the trick here? As usual, proponents of the bill claim they want to protect women. In reality, admitting privileges have nothing do with medical safety and everything to do with creating an opportunity to force doctors who provide abortion care to stop working and abortion clinics to shut down. Hospitals are not required to provide admitting privileges to qualified doctors because they aren’t necessary. Because admitting privileges are unnecessary, many hospitals deny granting them to a doctor unless he or she sends them a certain number of patients per year. So ironically, one reason doctors who perform abortions are often not granted admitting privileges is because abortion is safe. Hospital administrators can deny doctors admitting privileges if the doctor doesn’t live within a certain number of miles of the hospital. But really, hospital administrators don’t need any reason at all to deny admitting privileges. Catholic hospitals, for example, are required to follow health care directiveshanded down by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops—they aren’t exactly handing out admitting privileges to doctors who provide abortion care and contraception. Meanwhile, the number of Catholic hospitals continues to grow. All that suddenly and randomly requiring doctors and hospitals draw up an “admitting privileges” contract does is give administrators of hospitals that don’t provide abortion care the power to veto abortion from happening at any clinic or office within a 30-mile radius of their hospital. It just doesn’t make sense. While always unnecessary, the concept of admitting privileges is particularly absurd in Pennsylvania, one of the few states where facilities providing abortion care have, by law, already maintained transfer agreements with hospitals for decades. Under the new law,...

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Women’s Law Project Heads to the PA Progressive Summit

by Tara Murtha, WLP Staff As a non-profit Pennsylvania-based organization dedicated to advancing the legal status of women and girls, we are, of course, heading up to Harrisburg for the Progressive Summit today. These are a few of the panels that you will not want to miss: At 11AM on Saturday, Senior Staff Attorney Sue Frietsche—a well-recognized expert in policy and regulations relating to reproductive healthcare in Pennsylvania–will co-host a session called “Abortion in the U.S.: The Good and the Bad, and the Local.” This panel will describe the state of abortion rights after the 2014 state legislative session, including both harmful and progressive laws, implications for abortion care and law in Pennsylvania, and how the way we talk about abortion can change the way people think and legislators act. The panel will also discuss opportunities to change abortion access and the culture around abortion in your local community, regardless of the politics in Harrisburg. Frietsche is co-hosting the panel with Jordan Goldberg, Senior Counsel for the National Institute for Reproductive Health; Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood PA Advocates; and Ravina Daphtary, Senior State Strategies Manager at All Above All. Right after that session, we’re heading over to “The Agenda for Women’s Health: Where This Groundbreaking Package of Bills is Heading in 2015.” The Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health is a bipartisan, pro-choice package of bills that is changing the conversation around reproductive healthcare in the Capitol and the public sphere. Since it was introduced last legislative session, Pennsylvania has been lauded as a model for developing proactive legislation to protect women’s reproductive freedom and economic security amid unprecedented anti-choice legislative attacks. With a pro-women’s health governor at the helm, will we see the attacks on reproductive health diminish and efforts to strengthen women and families flourish? This session will explore this, and other pertinent questions. At 5:00PM, Associate Director of Strategic Communications Tara Murtha will co-host Media Training 101 with Keystone Progress Communications Director John Neurohr. This session will detail what to expect when talking to reporters, strategies to keep in mind when trying to get “earned media” for your organization, and how to use all available media platforms to get your message out. Participants will learn about building relationships with journalists and outlets, about proactive and reactive media outreach and how to think about media from the perspective of a journalist, not just from your perspective. We are also looking forward to attending a slew of workshops and panels that address eliminating discrimination and securing economic prosperity in Pennsylvania. In particular, we are interested in “Building the Movement for Reproductive Justice,” co-hosted by Jasmine Burnett and Julia...

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Bad Bills Alert: Dangerous Legislation on the Horizon in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania already has several laws on the books that enable physicians and other healthcare employees to refuse to provide certain health care services they find personally objectionable. Such provisions are found within the Religious Freedom Protection Act, the Human Relations Act, and the Abortion Control Act. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania Senator John Eichelberger plans to re-introduce yet another “conscientious objection” refusal bill. As with all legislation that seemingly duplicates existing law, you have to wonder what this one would really do. In a memo, Eichelberger explicitly mentions contraception, abortifacients and “chemical” abortion, also known as medical abortion. But Women’s Law Project senior attorney Sue Frietsche says that the bill lacks clear boundaries. “It would free the hospital janitor from having to clean the hallways leading to the operating room in which an abortion is scheduled to occur,” says Frietsche. Another example: In the event of an abortion covered by Medicaid—which by law would mean the patient was either a rape survivor or in fatal danger–a billing coordinator could refuse to transmit the paperwork to the appropriate department. As written, Senate Bill 292 eliminates the right of patients to sue for negligent, reckless, or malicious malpractice in the event of damage or death resulting from a provider’s refusal to provide care. For example, a doctor could refuse to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with a life-threatening condition, or to immediately transfer her to a doctor who will provide industry-standard care. Eichelberger’s legislation appears to be taken directly from the “recommendations” posted for Pennsylvania by Americans United for Life. (AUL). AUL is a bill factory that drafts much of the anti-choice state legislation popping up simultaneously in state legislatures across the country. “Founded in 1971 … AUL first focused on reversing Roe v. Wade flat out, but in the 1990s it turned its attention to rolling back reproductive rights incrementally at the state level.” In Pennsylvania, we see more of these “incremental” state bills on the horizon in 2015. While tactics vary, they’re designed to make it impossible for working and poor women to access safe, affordable abortion by forcing clinics to close and driving up the cost of the procedure in a clinic setting. Wealthy women can obtain abortions from private physicians in a hospital setting. By focusing on over-regulating clinics and driving up clinic costs, the incremental strategy makes the fact that abortion is legal irrelevant to working and poor women who can’t afford to obtain one. Another tactic to reserve constitutional rights for the wealthy is to sever funding streams, real and imagined. In fact, Senator Eichelberger is the sponsor of another bill (Senate Bill 291) that would forbid municipalities...

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Roe at 42: the U.S. House Set to Vote on Discriminatory Abortion Restriction

by Tara Murtha, WLP Staff On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court decided the landmark abortion case Roe V. Wade. Forty-two years later, women’s reproductive rights are being chiseled away as national and state anti-choice lawmakers are proposing, and in many cases passing, abortion restrictions at record levels. To get a sense of the current climate, the 114th Congress introduced a 20-week ban on their first day in session, and then decided to hold a vote on the bill the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That plan was scuttled last night after several Republican women withdrew support. Twenty-week abortion bans are unconstitutional, dangerous to women’s health and based on fake science. The Congresswomen who backed out of supporting the ban, though, reportedly expressed concern that revealing contempt for women this early in the session would “alienate young female voters.” They also expressed concern about the bill’s narrow exception for rape victims, which requires that a rape victim impregnated by her assailant report the assault to the police to “earn” her right to abortion, though this right is established by Roe V. Wade. With the 20-week ban temporarily shelved, House Republicans plan to vote for the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” The Hyde Amendment already prohibits tax dollars from funding abortion; the misleading title is to gin up support among people who will not bother to read the actual contents of the bill. What HR 7 actually does is tinker with the free market by prohibiting insurance companies from selling policies that cover abortion through the state exchanges. HR 7 regulates private business to leverage a woman’s constitutional right against her income by forcing working women—women earning approximately $46,000 a year and under—who may need or want an abortion to pay out of pocket for it. Here in Pennsylvania, a similar bill (HB 818) already passed into law in 2013. The Pennsylvania law prohibits private insurance companies from selling healthcare plans through the state exchange from covering abortion, even in cases of medical emergency, health of the mother, and severe fetal anomaly. Pennsylvania lawmakers explicitly rejected an amendment to add health of the woman. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, 29 states currently prohibit insurance plans from covering abortion services for all or some residents. Constitutional rights are not only for the wealthy. Tell the House of Representatives to stop discriminating against working women, stop misleading the public and vote NO on HR...

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Anti-abortion activists exploit civil rights messages while omitting King’s family planning legacy

Guest Blogger:  La’Tasha D. Mayes, executive director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, an organization building a social change movement in Pennsylvania and Ohio dedicated to the health and well-being of black women and girls. An anti-abortion group calling themselves “Created Equal” is in Philadelphia today with the sole purpose of blitzing tourists and residents with what the Philadelphia Inquirer described as a “high-tech assault.” They have a 10-foot-tall screen on Independence Mall where they are broadcasting a video that opens with black-and-white footage of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for equal rights at the 1963 March on Washington, then cuts to full-color “gruesome close-ups of the bloody remnants of abortions.” Willing or not, tourists, residents, children and families will be forced to view these images. Created Equal takes a specific jab at the African-American community by co-opting the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This tactic shamelessly exploits the political struggle of black Americans to achieve their human rights and fully manifest that noble ideal of being “created equal.” In doing that, they omit the important legacy of Dr. King’s support for family planning. When he received the Margaret Sanger award in 1966, Dr. King said, “There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.” For the last several years, the anti-abortion movement has stigmatized and shamed black women in particular through unsuccessful attempts to filter their abortion-restricting agenda through the legacy of the Civil Right movement. It is imperative for black communities, women and abortion providers, who are the targets of these tactics, to understand the deceptive nature of this cultural and political attack. On their website, the Columbus, Ohio-based group explicitly advocates against “consensual” communication. On Facebook, the group revealed they intend to broadcast not only pictures, but also footage of “abortions in progress.” Assaulting passersby with (sometimes doctored) bloody imagery is nothing new for anti-abortion groups, while at the same time shouting racially motivated epithets to women of color exercising their human right to abortion care. An incoherent message Relevant history and public health data persuasively highlights the need for women to have access to safe abortion services; lacking a rational argument, anti-abortion advocates have long relied on communication styles designed to incite emotions, rather than appeal to logic. Over the years, the...

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AllAboveAll

By Tara Murtha, WLP Staff This week, we saw a glimpse of the tragic consequences of the misguided effort to “end abortion” by forcing healthcare clinics that provide abortion services to shut down. A 39-year-old mother in Montour County—the smallest county in Pennsylvania–was sent to jail after ordering abortion-inducing pills for her teenage daughter. The woman, a professional nurse’s aid, told police she couldn’t find any abortion clinics nearby, and her daughter lacked health insurance. The news underscored the need to expand access to safe and legal abortion care in Pennsylvania, a goal shared by All Above All, a national group that stopped in Philadelphia Wednesday to host a rally in Love Park. All Above All is a movement to build support for equal access to abortion care by repealing abortion coverage bans. Their vision is “to restore public insurance coverage so that every woman, however much she makes, can get affordable, safe abortion care when she needs it.” Since the passage of the Hyde amendment in 1976, Congress has withheld coverage for abortion services from women insured through the Medicaid program. Currently, nearly 1 in 7 women of reproductive age (15-44) is insured through the Medicaid. The percentage of women insured through the program is rising, as more states expand Medicaid with federal funds provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The problem isn’t just the Hyde Amendment. Last year, Pennsylvania lawmakers made it impossible for a woman to buy an insurance plan that covers abortion through the online marketplace. An exception to protect the health of the mother was explicitly rejected. Now, a woman with a health insurance plan purchased through the marketplace has to pay out of pocket to end a pregnancy, even if she faces a serious health risk like cancer. Wealth should not be a prerequisite to exercise constitutional rights. The advocates who gathered in Love Park know this all too well. From CBS Philly: Jessica Arons, of the Reproductive Health Technology Project, says it takes bravery to take on the issue of abortion funding at this time, when abortion opponents have succeeded at curbing access to abortion across the country, but she says the issues are related. “Not having insurance coverage for abortion care, not being able to afford an abortion procedure just compounds the problem so let’s say she finally gets to the clinic, she still has to pay for it so that’s why we’re working on both,” Arons said. Another way to try to make abortion unaffordable for poor women is to shut down providers. In 2012, Pennsylvania Legislature targeted abortion providers with new regulations, despite the opposition of relevant medical...

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Supreme Court Rules That For-Profit Employers Can Refuse to Cover Birth Control

Pennsylvania Women’s Advocates Cry Foul June 30, 2014 – In a sharply divided 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., two for-profit businesses employing thousands of women of diverse faiths, could refuse to include coverage of FDA approved contraceptive methods by invoking the companies’ religious opposition to birth control. “Faced with the choice of protecting the religious exercise rights of thousands of women workers or that of private businesses, the Supreme Court sided with the businesses,” said Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project. “Contraception is an essential part of women’s health care, and today’s ruling is a dramatic setback to the cause of women’s health and economic security.” Kate Michelman, Co-Chair of WomenVote PA stated, “As an advocate for women’s equality, I was dismayed to see that the majority took pains to make it clear that today’s ruling only applies to health care needed by women.” The Affordable Care Act and its implementing regulations require that all new health insurance plans cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods without cost-sharing. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, for-profit corporations that assert religious objections to certain methods of contraception, claimed that corporations have a right to practice religion, and that this right is being illegally infringed by the contraceptive coverage rule. Today’s majority opinion from Associate Justice Samuel Alito did not dispute that the government’s interest in ensuring that women had access to contraception was compelling, but held that other means were available to advance that interest. The Court cited the accommodation already established for religious employers and suggested that the cost of coverage could be paid by with public funding. “We urge HHS to act quickly to fill the coverage gap created by today’s ruling,” said Susan Frietsche, senior staff attorney in the Women’s Law Project’s Western Pennsylvania office in Pittsburgh. “In both this case and last week’s buffer zone ruling, the Court has shown little concern for the health, safety and rights of America’s women,” continued Tracy. “They are sadly out of touch with women’s experiences, struggles, and needs. It’s my hope that these rulings energize every woman and lead to a surge in activism and civic engagement by all supporters of women’s equality and gender...

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Women’s Law Project Denounces Supreme Court Ruling In Abortion Clinic ‘Buffer Zone’ Case

Statement by Carol E. Tracy and Kate Michelman June 26, 2014, Philadelphia, PA – The Women’s Law Project and its civic engagement action arm, WomenVote PA, expressed disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous  decision in Eleanor McCullen v. Martha Coakley, which struck down a 35-foot buffer zone at reproductive health clinics in Massachusetts.  “Today’s Supreme Court decision, though disturbing, was not sweeping.  The decision is narrow and nuanced,” said Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project.  “Sadly, the decision also was all but silent about the harassment, intimidation and violence that women entering clinics for constitutionally protected health services face, nor did it take note at all that two women were murdered and five others injured at Massachusetts clinics” said Kate Michelman, co-chair of WomenVote PA. “Significantly, however, it did not declare that all fixed buffer zones are unconstitutional nor did it overrule Hill v. Colorado or even discuss it, so floating 8-foot bubble zones within 100 feet of clinic entrances are presumably constitutional today as they were previously” said Susan Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Law Project. Justice Scalia, though concurring in the judgment, was highly critical of the majority opinion’s reasoning, stating that the specific problems with the Massachusetts law could be easily overcome: “With a dart here and a pleat there, such regulations are sure to satisfy the tailoring standards. . . .” Pennsylvania has two fixed buffer zone ordinances:  One in Pittsburgh that is 15 feet and one in Harrisburg that is 20 feet. “Both ordinances affect significantly smaller areas than the Massachusetts statute. Both were enacted after a history of obstructive and violent conduct that other measures failed to remedy. And both are limited to municipalities. For these and other reasons, these ordinances are different from the Massachusetts law and, we believe, withstand the constitutional test,” added Susan Frietsche. “The Women’s Law Project will continue to work with abortion providers and local law enforcement, advocates, and legislators to ensure that Pennsylvania women have access to safe, legal abortion care,”  added Carol Tracy...

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Long Road Since “Roe”

Kate Michelman, President Emeritus, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Co-Chair of WomenVote PA For me and millions of other women, inequality before the law has been the story of our lives. Most recently, advocates on both sides of the equal-pay issue seem to forget that personal stories are more compelling than statistics. They also ignore the fact that equal pay will not be resolved until we confront other issues inextricably linked with it. My story begins in 1969, when my husband abruptly left my three very young daughters and me, stranding us without financial support. A few weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant. I knew it was impossible to give a new baby what it deserved while also giving my daughters what they needed. I made the difficult decision to have an abortion. Because state law radically restricted access to the procedure, I had two choices: a back-alley abortion or humiliation before a hospital review board to obtain permission for a “therapeutic abortion.” Ironically, in order to grant me permission to do what was best for me and my daughters, the board would have to diagnose me as emotionally unfit to be a parent. To top it off, I also was required to get written permission from the husband who deserted us. This situation changed everything for me and fast. I had a college degree, but suddenly I had no car, no income, and few alternatives. To keep our family going, I was forced onto welfare and relied on food stamps to keep food on the table. In the blink of an eye, my aspirations for achieving a comfortable middle-class life for my family were shattered. That experience sparked a lifetime of activism that eventually took me to the front ranks of the national pro-choice movement, driven by a powerful desire to give women real choices to control their lives, choices denied to women of my generation. It also awakened in me a clear sense of the centrality of reproductive freedom as an indispensable human right – a right that underpins every woman’s ability to live in dignity, to enjoy full and equal citizenship, and to pursue a healthy and fulfilling life. This principle became a powerful and defining force for me and guided my professional work over my lifetime. What most do not appreciate – even today – is that if women are not allowed to control something as fundamental as when they will and will not bear children, there is little hope that they will have an equal chance in the workforce or at the pay window. Demanding “equal pay” may seem less controversial than abortion, but...

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History in the Making in Pennsylvania

On December 11, 2013, the Women’s Health Caucus of the Pennsylvania legislature announced the first phase of a comprehensive Agenda for Women’s Health. It is a groundbreaking approach to addressing the unique health needs and concerns of women that could serve as a model for other states who seek to improve the lives of women. Historically, Pennsylvania legislature has spent unprecedented time and energy on creating barriers to contraception and abortion, rather than enacting legislation that would improve the health of women, including, ironically, pregnant women and nursing mothers. But the Women’s Health Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral caucus of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, led by Representative Dan Frankel and Senators Judy Schwank and Chuck McIlhinney, made history last week. They took a proactive, positive approach by addressing a wide range of legal and policy barriers to women’s health and equality, and in recognizing that women’s reproductive rights and reproductive health are the keystone. The agenda is not born of ideology, but reflects the very real struggles of real women and families throughout Pennsylvania. The first phase of the agenda is seven pieces of legislation, including protecting pregnant women in the workplace, filling gaps in protection for nursing mothers at work, ensuring unimpeded and safe access to women’s health centers, strengthening the equal pay law and prohibiting wage secrecy, extending health screenings to more women, stopping intimate partner harassment, and ensuring that domestic violence victims are not punished for contacting law enforcement. One of the key pieces of legislation is a 15-foot buffer zone to protect women’s clinics. The prime sponsor of this bill is a former clinic escort who has seen first-hand the violence and harassment that women seeking abortion at these clinics experience. This unprecedented focus on improving the condition of women’s lives comes on the heels of Pennsylvania’s “C-” grade on women’s issues given by the Center for American Progress, putting it 28th out of the 50 states in the treatment of women. We say “given” because those of us who toil in these fields know that the C- grade was generous. It would be tempting for advocates of women’s rights and equality to fall back to the defensive posture we so often find ourselves in or to just be outraged that we need legislation to address matters as basic as permitting a pregnant woman to take a bathroom break or carry a bottle of water. But this positive vision presents an opportunity to make things better for the women of Pennsylvania, who encounter numerous barriers to good health and full equality. And it’s something we can do right now. The Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health offers...

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Reproductive Freedom is at the Heart of Equality

Reproductive freedom is an indispensable human right – a right that underpins every woman’s ability to live in dignity, to enjoy full and equal citizenship, and to pursue a healthy and fulfilling life.  The right to control matters of reproductive health including, pregnancy, childbirth, contraception and abortion, enables a woman to take personal responsibility for her own life as well as her family’s well-being and security.  In order to effectuate these life shaping decisions she must be able to have access to affordable health care. Simply put, reproductive freedom lies at the heart of the promise of human dignity, self-determination, and equality. When a woman is denied these rights – including birth control, safe and legal abortion, as women once were, she is denied the means to protect her health and direct her own life.   Kate Michelman and Carol Tracy Women have the potential to become pregnant for over thirty years of their lives, and most spend a significant amount of that time trying to avoid pregnancy. Fast Facts 99% of women ages 15-44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime In 2008, only 47.6% of the need for subsidized contraceptive care services in PA was met Surveys found that women would use different, often more effective & longer-lasting contraception if they didn’t have to worry about cost Because emergency contraception doesn’t end a pregnancy but only prevents one, it is not a form of abortion. Emergency contraception prevents abortions A majority of teens will have sex at or before age 19 and studies show that abstinence-only programs do not stop or delay...

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Reproductive Rights & Access to Abortion

A third of women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

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Keep Abortion Safe & Accessible!

87% of counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider. 75% of women who have abortions cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals as a factor in their decision. Most abortion procedures are performed in 7-15 minutes & carry less risk of death than a penicillin injection. Foes of abortion rights perpetuate myths about abortion to dissuade women…

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87% of counties

87% of counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider Lack of access to abortion care is a national problem. 87% of counties in the U.S., where over 35% of women live, have no abortion provider. This reality is dangerous for women’s health because when legal abortion is unavailable, some women turn to illegal procedures which can be lethal. In fact, before abortion was legal, illegal abortions accounted for 17% of all deaths attribute to pregnancy and childbirths in 1965. The bottom line is that abortion is legal and it must be accessible. Women will turn to unsafe and cheaper alternatives in the absence of accessible abortion care. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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A Woman’s Autonomy to Determine Her Life’s Course

Making abortion care inaccessible directly interferes with a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course & enjoy equal status as a citizen. At current rates, 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion by the time she is 45 years old. Inability to access safe abortion care has grave effects on women’s lives. Making abortion care inaccessible directly interferes with a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course and enjoy equal status as a citizen. Abortion care permits women to direct their own lives by determining their reproductive futures. Control of one’s reproductive future is essential to equal participation in economic and social life. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Myths About Abortion to Dissuade Women

Foes of abortion rights perpetuate myths about abortion to dissuade women from obtaining reproductive health care. There is a lot of information in circulation by anti-abortion groups and crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) incorrectly linking abortion to various health problems, including breast cancer, mental health problems and future pregnancy complications. This false promotion is done in service of a religiously-motivated and politically-charged agenda, that is, to discourage women from choosing abortion. These connections have been proven to be nonexistent by the most up-to-date medical research and affirmed by organizations including, The American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Psychological Association. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Less Risk of Death than a Penicillin Injection

Most abortion procedures are performed in 7-15 minutes & carry less risk of death than a penicillin injection. Did you know that most abortion procedures are performed in 7 to 15 minutes and carry less risk of death than a penicillin injection? Even though abortion is a procedure safer than childbirth, in Pennsylvania, over 90% of abortion care is delivered by a network of 14 non-hospital-based freestanding abortion providers. These providers face unrelenting efforts by abortion rights opponents to close clinics’ doors to women seeking abortion care. Between 2000 and 2008, there was a 23% decline in the number of abortion providers in Pennsylvania. In the first six months of 2011, the PA General Assembly spent one third of its voting session days advancing anti-abortion bills. State legislative agendas nationwide are no different. In the first half of 2013, states across the country enacted 43 abortion restrictions, as many as were enacted in the entire year of 2012. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Solutions for Abortion Rights

Abortion care must be affordable for all women who need it. Medicaid should fund all medically necessary abortion care for low-income women. Congress should repeal Hyde Amendment limits on Medicaid funding for abortions. Pennsylvania should repeal funding restrictions in the Abortion Control Act….

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75% of Women Who Have Abortions Cite Concern

75% of women who have abortions cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals as a factor in their decision. Often, women bear the brunt of childrearing and caretaking responsibilities. These responsibilities weigh heavily on women’s choices about their reproductive futures. In fact, 75% of women who have abortions cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals as a factor in their decision. Furthermore, these responsibilities highlight the stakes for each individual woman’s right to determine her reproductive future. In order for this right to be realized, women must have access to a full range of reproductive health care, including abortion care. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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99% of women ages 15-44

99% of women ages 15-44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime. Contraception prevents unintended pregnancies, allows women with pre-existing conditions to better maintain their health, and reduces the risk of STIs. Contraception is essential to family planning, which has significant benefits for the health of women and their children. Women who plan their pregnancies are able to make behavioral changes that lead to better birth outcomes, including seeking prenatal care during their first trimester and maintaining care throughout their pregnancies. In addition, mothers who are able to delay the conception of their next child for some time after giving birth lower their risk of adverse outcomes, including low birth weight and preterm birth. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on the Healthcare Marketplace and contraceptive coverage. Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Only 47.6% of the Need

In 2008, only 47.6% of the need for subsidized contraceptive care services in PA was met. Public funding is a major source of support for family planning services for low income women. In 2008, only 47.6% of the need for subsidized contraceptive coverage care services in PA was met. Women without adequate contraceptive coverage either pay high out-of-pocket costs or go without contraception. In addition, surveys have found that women would use different, often more effective, or longer-lasting methods if they did not have to worry about cost. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on the Healthcare Marketplace and contraceptive coverage. Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Worry About Cost

Surveys found that women would use different, often more effective & longer-lasting contraception if they didn’t have to worry about cost. Under Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover contraceptive methods and counseling for all women as prescribed by a health care provider. These plans must cover the services without charging a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible when they are provided by an in-network provider! Covered contraceptive methods: All Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods prescribed by a woman’s doctor are covered, including: Barrier methods (used during intercourse), like diaphragms and sponges. Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings. Implanted devices, luike intrauterine devices (IUDs). Emergency contraception, like Plan B® and ella®. Sterilization procedures. Patient education and counseling. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative – click here Find your congressional representative – click here Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on the Healthcare Marketplace and contraceptive coverage. Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Emergency Contraception Prevents Abortions

Because emergency contraception doesn’t end a pregnancy but only prevents one, it is not a form of abortion. Emergency contraception prevents abortions. Emergency contraception (EC) is taken shortly after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. EC prevents the ovary from releasing an egg and does not disturb a fertilized egg implanted in the uterus. Because it does not end a pregnancy but only prevents one, EC is not a form of abortion. Rather, EC prevents abortions because it prevents unwanted pregnancies. Nonetheless, access to EC in pharmacies and hospitals nationally and in PA remains uneven. SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative – click here Find your congressional representative – click here Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on the Healthcare Marketplace and contraceptive coverage. Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Sex at or Before Age 19

A majority of teens will have sex at or before age 19 and studies show that abstinence-only programs do not stop or delay this. Teens rely heavily on school as a source of information about contraception and other sexual health issues. Nonetheless, federal funding continues to support abstinence-only programs. Abstinence-only programs teach that abstaining from extramarital sexual activity is the only way to avoid STIs or unintended pregnancies. They provide no information about contraception, abortion or the transmission of infectious diseases. Pennsylvania schools are not required to teach about contraception, but they must teach about STIs, specifically HIV.   SOLUTIONS Take Action Contact Your Elected Representatives Pressure on politicians matters. Find your state representative Find your congressional representative Become a County Leader Take the lead in your community. Check out these resources to learn more about abortion rights and women’s reproductive healthcare: Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on the Healthcare Marketplace and contraceptive coverage. Through the Lens of Equality: Eliminating Sex Bias to Improve the Health of Pennsylvania’s Women (2012) The Women’s Law Project...

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Solutions for Reproductive Rights: Contraception

Family planning services should be cost-free for patients who cannot afford to pay for them and more accessible to women of all socio-economic classes. Family planning funding programs should be reauthorized and fully funded. Family planning services should be available to all, including undocumented immigrants. PA schools should replace abstinence-only education with comprehensive, evidence-based sexuality education. Funding of abstinence-only programs should be discontinued. Emergency contraception should be available at all hospitals that treat sexual assault survivors. Emergency contraception should be readily available at all state-licensed pharmacies and available without prescription for all females of child-bearing potential. PA should withdraw state funding from crisis pregnancy centers that disseminate misinformation on contraception, pregnancy, or...

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