Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is anyone else sick?

Created by: Jillian

The NY Times published an article detailing the debate over abortion in health care reform at the United States Capitol and I am just sick. I find it outrageous that individual lawmakers, both Republican and moderate Democrat, think that their time is well spent arguing over subsidies that would help people afford health insurance that includes abortion.

You know what else that health insurance would cover...preventative reproductive health care and maternal health care to women who are currently uninsured!

But once again, abortion, as some abstract concept, is being used to divide the health care debate. Even the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who has apparently been lobbying for universal health care for decades, was quoted as saying, "We have said to the White House and various Senate offices that we could be the best friends to this bill if our concerns are met,” “But the concerns are kind of intractable.”

Really? This group who pledges to care so much about universal health care would give up on it that easy...because the federal government is going to provide plans that both offer abortion coverage and those that do not? That is ridiculous and extremely shortsighted.

For those of us who care about women's reproductive health care, which includes the right to access abortion, health care reform is so much bigger than debating one medical procedure. First of all, preventing access to abortion doesn't prevent abortion, it only puts women in danger by delaying abortion or by having them seek illegal care. And secondly, abortion should be and is a decision made by a woman not a politician.

The opponents of abortion refuse to discuss the underlying reasons why women seek abortion and the fact that proactive preventative reproductive health care could have a positive impact on the health care system as a whole. They would rather put their feet in the sand and demand abortion care be removed. The truth is, that if the religious right has their way, the health care reform package that passes will actually cause women who already have access to abortion care to lose it.

It's all about winning the "abortion debate" not about women's reproductive health care. Abortion Rights/Reproductive rights advocates have nothing to "win" in the health care debate. Even with the package that is favored by reproductive rights advocates, low income women will still not have access to abortion care unless their state provides medicaid funds.

Pro-Choice advocates see this as an injustice and believe that all women deserve access to all of their reproductive healthcare options, but none the less, we are supportive of healthcare reform because we understand that providing people with something is better than nothing.

I am sick and tired of anti-choicers who paint their position as "right" and moral, when in reality it's a sneaky attempt to push an anti-choice agenda on the American people. Stop focusing on winning and start thinking about people's health.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tickets Still Available!

Our 17th Annual Auction & Gala is happening next Friday, October 2nd at The New Haven Lawn Club from 6PM-9:30PM. We have some fabulous items this year and local celebrity guest, Susan Campbell will be doing the honors of being our Auctioneer again this year!

This year's event centers around the theme of "celebrating choices". We will celebrate education, motherhood, prevention, and the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

We have four outstanding Catherine Roraback Award winners who have demonstrated leadership, courage and activism in the struggle to protect privacy rights, the legal right to obtain an abortion and access to reproductive health for all women.
2009 Awardees:
State Representative Deborah Heinrich
Clarice Begemann
Kate Mitcheom
Maria LaSala

I hope you will join us at this very important event and celebration!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Health Care Reform Doesn't Require Federal Funding of Abortion Services

Created by: Jillian

This weekend, Kathleen Parker's Column on Abortion and Health Care Reform appeared in the Washington Post.

While she acknowledged that the bills in Congress don't require federal funding of abortion services, she abandoned the facts and repeated baseless anti-choice talking points.

The truth is that pro-choice, pro-life and mixed-choice members of Congress supported a compromise offered by Rep. Lois Capps of California that gives people who oppose abortion the option of selecting a plan in the new system that does not include abortion care. It also keeps in place state-level abortion restrictions and federal laws allowing health professionals to refuse to provide abortion services.

Parker is wrong when she implies that the Capps' compromise separating public and private funds is a new concept. Currently, some hospitals that receive tax dollars through Medicaid also provide abortion care that's paid for with private funds. It has worked that way since the late 1970's, it is not new.

Currently, more than 80% of private plans include abortion coverage, so the real issue in this debate is that women could lose coverage they already have!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Budget also Includes Family Planning Dollars

Created by: Jillian

This year, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut testified before numerous committees at the Connecticut General Assembly in favor of a Family Planning Waiver, Medicaid coverage for family planning services to individuals in households with income up to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid. Currently, in order to be eligible for medicaid you must already have children or be expecting a child.

When states put money toward a Family Planning Waiver, they receive a 90% federal Medicaid match—when the state’s normal federal medicaid match is 50%.

The objectives of the family planning waiver are to:

· Increase the availability and proper use of effective contraceptive methods,

· Increase the spacing between pregnancies,

· Decrease the number of unintended pregnancies,

· Decrease the number of Medicaid paid pregnancies and deliveries, and

· Improve reproductive health.

In the recently passed Democratic Budget, $2 million dollars was allocated for the Family Planning Waiver in the first year and $4 million in the second. We are once again so thankful and appreciative to the Connecticut General Assembly for passing a budget that recognizes the importance of investing in women's preventative reproductive health.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Democratic Budget is Pro "Choices"

Created by: Jillian

Late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, the House and Senate respectively passed a budget which includes funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs and the fetal & infant mortality review that the Governor's budget had proposed to eliminate completely.

The funding for teen pregnancy prevention block grants supports programs around the state that work directly with youth to reduce unintended teen pregnancy. The Governor's proposed elimination of this funding and essentially these programs was extremely short sighted. The budget that was passed last night allocated over $2 million to teen pregnancy prevention programs--a long term investment that will benefit the state.

In addition to teen pregnancy prevention programs, the budget that passed both houses last night also funded the state's Fetal & Infant Mortality Review. Fetal & infant mortality review is an important public health strategy for identifying risk factors for perinatal morbidity and mortality and for obtaining information that can be used to design community interventions to improve the health of women and infants.

The overall goal of the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review is to enhance the health and well-being of women, infants and families by improving the community resources and service delivery systems. The Governor's proposed elimination of this program would have been a huge disservice to our state, in particular, our state's racial and ethnic minorities who experience greater numbers of fetal and infant death.

So...thank you to the democratic leadership for passing a budget that supports reproductive choices, recognizing the importance of a woman's right to prevent an unintended pregnancy or to bear a healthy child.

The Governor's office has five days to either sign or veto the budget bill or it will automatically become law.