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Posts tagged ‘birth control’

Birth Control Access

action-180Dear Gabriel,

The Obama Administration made every reasonable effort to compromise with religiously-affiliated employers when implementing rules on women’s access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

An update to the birth control benefit in the health care reform gives religious employers the ability to hand the responsibility to provide birth control coverage to a third party insurance company. But right-wing opponents led by the Conference of Catholic bishops are still balking at the plan.

President Obama did the right thing for women when he rejected the demands of rightwing activists and gave all women access to no-cost birth control through their insurance coverage. But before these new guidelines go into effect, his administration is holding a public comment period on the new rules. We know that anti-woman activists will flood President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services with comments urging the administration to overturn its historic decision.

President Obama needs to hear that the vast majority of Americans support his decision to ensure access to no-cost birth control for all women. Click here to submit a public comment in support of access to birth control.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the medical community agree that providing no-cost birth control is an essential part of preventive health care for women. And Kathleen Sebelius, the director of HHS, said that providing birth control at no cost to women should be like “covering flu shots.”4

However, before activists from CREDO and Planned Parenthood began petitioning President Obama, the New York Times reported that the president was dangerously close to caving to the demands of the anti-woman lobby by adding a giant loophole that would keep a large number of women from being able to access no-cost birth control.5

CREDO members sent over 160,000 petitions and made over 3,000 calls to the White House asking President Obama not to cave. In the end, President Obama listened to our call to protect women’s health. But that doesn’t mean our work is done.

Some right-wing organizations are already balking at the plan even though it allows religious employers to avoid providing birth control directly to their employees. These anti-woman extremists will surely use the public comment process to file reams of objections to the plan. So let’s make sure the president hears from those of us who want him to stand strong and protect access to contraception.

Make sure that President Obama hears that the vast majority of Americans support his decision to ensure access to no-cost birth control for all women. Click below to submit a comment in support of access to contraception:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=14177296&p=birthcontrol_hhs_aca&id=56364-266627-5bh0wMx&t=4

Thank you for standing up for women’s access to birth control.

Jordan Krueger, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Women’s Health Care

Gabriel

There’s no question about this.

The Republican War on Women is real, and it’s extremely dangerous.

If you agree, add your name to our petition: 1,000,000 strong against the Republican War on Women >>

House Republicans are pursuing the most comprehensive and radical assault on women’s health and reproductive freedom in our lifetime. Over just the last year, Republicans in Congress have voted repeatedly to limit women’s access to health care and reproductive services.

They voted to redefine rape in order to limit women’s access to health care. They held a panel on denying access to birth control coverage with five men and no women. They voted to give corporations the power to deny women access to contraception. And last year, they nearly shut down the government in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

As you know, Planned Parenthood is a critical provider of preventive services to millions of women in need of health care, including cancer screening, breast exams and HIV testing. Mitt Romney has already said, “Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that.”

On the state level, numerous Republican governors have already forced through radical anti-women legislation.

We cannot back down in this fight. We must stand strong for women’s health. Will you join us?

http://dccc.org/Stop-the-Republican-War-on-Women

Thank you,

Kelly

Kelly Ward
DCCC Political Director

Government Mandated Medicine

Gabriel —

Last week, I told you Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was getting ready to sign the “ultrasound bill,” an atrocious proposal that would force all women considering abortions to get ultrasounds and require their doctors to ask if they’d like a picture.

Well, he signed it.

We didn’t stop the bill this time, but we did make sure the entire country knew exactly what was going down in Virginia.

There are still 450 other bills on birth control and abortion in state legislatures across the country. With a far-right faction of the GOP holding a majority in many of them, it’s unclear how many we can stop. But let me just say this: We need to be prepared to win in November.

As long as women’s rights are being attacked, we’re going to keep fighting back — in Congress and in the states.

Say that you’re ready to stand with Democrats as we stand up for women. Add your name today.

We’re taking on this fight both nationally and in the states. In Virginia, that meant helping to fund the state party’s rapid response communications team — they pushed back on the ultrasound legislation, supported the Democrats who opposed it, and publicized peaceful protests of it at the capitol. That work helped put this bill on the national radar.

Right now, New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and many other states are considering similar legislation.

The Texas legislature is in the midst of a bitter fight to eliminate state support for a wide range of women’s health services. They’ve already eliminated two-thirds of their funding for women’s health, closing more than half of the state’s Planned Parenthood and other clinics. And now they’re voting to reject aid for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. They claim they’re doing this to fight abortion, but what they’re actually doing is denying hundreds of thousands of women access to basic health care.

Clearly, this fight is about more than abortion and birth control.

I won’t stop speaking out across the country about a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and Democrats in the states won’t stop pushing back against these bills.

I hope you won’t stop fighting either.

Support the fight state by state and nationwide. Stand with the Democrats today:

http://my.democrats.org/Stand-for-Women

Thanks,

Debbie

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

Religious Freedom?

From Nation of Change
by Bill Moyers
18 February 2012

Freedom of and From Religion

The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free.

The Catholic bishops had cast the president’s intended policy as an infringement on their religious freedom; they hold birth control to be a mortal sin, and were incensed that the government might coerce them to treat it otherwise. The president in effect said: No quarrel there; no one’s going to force you to violate your doctrine. But Catholics are also Americans, and if an individual Catholic worker wants coverage, she should have access to it – just like any other American citizen. Under the new plan, she will. She can go directly to the insurer, and the religious institution is off the hook.

When the president announced his new plan, the bishops were caught flat-footed. It was so … so reasonable. In fact, leaders of several large, Catholic organizations have now said yes to the idea. But the bishops have since regrouped, and are now opposing any mandate to provide contraceptives even if their institutions are not required to pay for them. And for their own reasons, Republican leaders in Congress have weighed in on the bishops’ side. They’re demanding, and will get, a vote in the Senate.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says:

The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion. It’s right there in the First Amendment. You can’t miss it, right there in the very First Amendment to our Constitution. And the government doesn’t get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are. They get to decide that.

But here’s what Republicans don’t get, or won’t tell you. And what Obama manifestly does get. First, the war’s already lost: 98 percent of Catholic women of child-bearing age have used contraceptives. Second, on many major issues, the bishops are on Obama’s side – not least on extending unemployment benefits, which they call “a moral obligation.” Truth to tell, on economic issues, the bishops are often to the left of some leading Democrats, even if both sides are loathe to admit it. Furthermore – and shhh, don’t repeat this, even if the president already has – the Catholic Church funded Obama’s first community organizing, back in Chicago.

Ah, politics.

So the battle over contraception no longer seems apocalyptic. No heavenly hosts pitted against the forces of Satan. It’s a political brawl, not a crusade of believers or infidels. The president skillfully negotiated the line between respect for the religious sphere and protection of the spiritual dignity and freedom of individuals. If you had listened carefully to the speech Barack Obama made in 2009 at the University of Notre Dame, you could have seen it coming:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem-cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships might be relieved. The question then is, “How do we work through these conflicts?

Read entire essay at Nation of Change.

Free Love & Free Clinics

Excerpt from biography of Dr. Arnold Leff.
Paging Dr. Leff: Pride, Patriotism & Protest.

Free Love & Free Clinics

By the time Captain Leff arrived at Wright Patterson Air Base for his last year of military service, he was a changed man. He didn’t continue fighting city hall on base, but slowly worked his way into creating an alternative city hall in the way medicine was provided in the public sector. In addition to working in the outpatient clinic from 8 to 5 at Wright Patterson, he also jumped in feet first with the fledgling Cincinnati Free Clinic in the evening. That involvement turned him around to wearing longer hair and becoming more enmeshed in the counterculture of the time.

The Cincinnati Free Clinic provided a 24 hour suicide prevention line and support for people dealing with issues of drug abuse, V.D., and birth control. It ws based on the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco that had been started by Dr. Dave Smith.

The Cincinnati clinic was instrumental in changing the laws concerning parental consent so that young people could get the confidential treatment and health education they needed. All the docs working at the free clinics were volunteers. They provided countless hours to public health services that most communities now take for granted with their county hospitals and clinics.

Dr. Leff lived in a commune on McCormick Place in Cincinnati and commuted to the base to work during the day. He grew long hair and a beard and hung out with all his old friends to listen to music at the Family Owl. He was welcomed back into the fold, a composite of musicians, hippies and anti-war activists. Few of them realized the risks he had taken to stop the illegal bombing in Laos and his battles within the military for truth and accountability.

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