Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Reproductive Rights UPDATE!!!

There is so much going on these days concerning reproductive rights in America.

1. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri are facing criminal charges as a consequence of providing abortion care. This has been three years in the making lead by then Attorney General, Phil Kline, who was defeated and replaced by pro-choice attorney, Paul Morrison last year.

“We cannot allow anti-choice politicians to harass and intimidate women or doctors in Kansas. Planned Parenthood operates in accord with state and Federal law and will continue to fight to protect access to safe, professional medical care, free from political or government intrusion,” Brownlie said.

“This attack on women’s rights must end,” concluded Brownlie. “Planned Parenthood will meet this attack head-on and we are certain we will be fully exonerated yet again. This matter is in the hands of the court, and Planned Parenthood has immense confidence in the integrity of an independent judiciary in Johnson County and the good judgment of the Kansas citizens. Meanwhile, we will continue to provide confidential health care and education to women and families across Kansas and Missouri.”

When the going gets tough, the tough get going...

2. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed two attacks on Planned Parenthood this week. Sen. Vitter offered one amendment to restrict Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funds and a second amendment to prohibit federal funding for all federal health programs that perform abortion services. Thankfully the amendment was voted down 54-41.

3. President Bush recently announced the appointment of anti-family planning, anti-sex education hardliner Susan Orr to the position of acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs (DASPA). Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), along with Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), joined Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards and Mary Jane Gallagher from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) to denounce the appointment.

They called on President Bush to replace Orr with someone qualified and committed to family planning. The DASPA oversees Title X, the nation's family planning program, which provides high-quality family planning and preventive health care services to more than five million low-income individuals annually, helping prevent more than one million unintended pregnancies each year.

4. Another attack on reproductive health in America may be introduced today in the form of several anti-choice amendments from Senators Brownback and DeMint. Possibly four amendments would eliminate teens' ability to access any form of contraception (including condoms and oral contraceptives) at school based health centers. The Brownback-DeMint amendment prohibits schools that receive federal education funds from distributing any form of contraception to students under the age of 16, even with parental involvement.

Please contact Senator Inhofe (R) at 1-202-224-4721 or 405-608-4381/918-748-5111 and Senator Coburn (R) at 202-224-5754 or 405-231-4941/918-581-7651 and encourage them to vote NO on these horrific amendments.

5. One good amendment we want Oklahoma Senators to vote YES is the Lautenberg-Snowe Medical Accuracy Amendment. The Lautenberg-Snowe amendment demands medical accuracy for abstinence-only programs. A vote in support of this amendment would protect teens’ health by ensuring that sex ed programs provide medically accurate information that will help teens make healthy choice s and prevent unintended pregnancies.

6. Catherine Roraback, the attorney who successfully argued Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1965 that legalized birth control for married couples in the United States, passed away this week. Below you'll find an excerpt from her obituary listed in the New York Times:

"Catherine Roraback, a lawyer who pressed the Connecticut case that eventually led the United States Supreme Court to rule that laws banning the use of contraceptives were unconstitutional, a precursor to its Roe v. Wade decision on abortions, died on Wednesday in Salisbury, Conn. She was 87.

In the early 1960s, Ms. Roraback represented Estelle Griswold, then the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut, and Dr. Charles Buxton, the chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University's School of Medicine, as their case rose through the state courts.
For years, Ms. Griswold and Dr. Buxton had fought to overturn an 1849 Connecticut law that prohibited the use and prescription of contraceptives.

In 1965, a noted First Amendment scholar, Thomas I. Emerson, argued the case of Griswold v. Connecticut before the Supreme Court. In a 7-to-2 decision, the court found that the ''statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy, which is within the penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights.''

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