Saturday, July 30, 2011

We've Had Enough!

Across the country, women’s reproductive rights are being attacked. In some cases it’s shouting and harassment when a woman seeks treatment at a women’s health clinic for either an abortion or for other reproductive health services. In other instances, it’s legislative attacks that attempt to deny a woman access to all forms of reproductive health services, including screenings, contraception, and abortion services.
In some states and at the Federal level, this has taken the form of funding restrictions on Planned Parenthood. The federal effort fortunately failed in the US Senate. Some states, including Indiana, New Hampshire, and Texas, have unfortunately restricted this funding.

Other states, including Pennsylvania, have attacked women’s reproductive health by passing TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) laws which require extensive renovations that may be physically impossible in existing facilities and which are different and more burdensome than for other medical facilities; they also often include unannounced inspections. SB 732 has passed the PA Senate and the House Health Committee. A full House vote is expected in September or early October. This bill, if and when it becomes law (the Governor has said he will sign it) will shut down the 22 free-standing abortion clinics throughout PA. This amendment requires all free-standing abortion clinics to meet the standards for the Ambulatory Surgical Centers in addition (and in some cases, in contradiction) to the Abortion Control Act, the Ambulatory Gynaecological Surgery Facility Regulations, and the MCARE Act which they already have to follow. Take a moment and go to the Pennsylvania NOW blog to compare what the current abortion clinic regulations are and what this TRAP law would do.
Other legislative attacks occurring across the country—e.g.,in Tennessee and Missouri as well as here in Pennsylvania—are attempting to pass “Stupak on Steroids” bills that will, starting in 2014, prohibit women who purchase health insurance through the new federal health insurance exchanges, from purchasing, WITH THEIR OWN MONEY, coverage for abortion services and, depending on how it is interpreted, possibly even the purchase of contraceptives. Specifically Senate Bill 3 will deny insurance plans participating in the insurance exchange from covering abortion services except in the cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or where the life of the woman is in danger. Note that this legislation is not necessary. The question of whether abortion will be covered in federally subsidized insurance exchanges has already been settled. In response to concerns raised by US Senator Ben Nelson, a staunch opponent of abortion, women who want to use their own money to purchase a health insurance plan that covers abortion services must send a separate payment so the funding for abortion coverage is completely separate and paid entirely by the individual.
And against the backdrop of this wave of anti-abortion legislative assaults previously mentioned, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America are targeting abortion clinics in Orlando, FL and Germanantown, MD, in an attempt to shut these clinics down via efforts to block clinic entrances and harassment of women attempting to receive treatment at abortion facilities in these two cities. In Orlando, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America attempted, but failed to shut down six clinics during the week of July 22. In Germantown, Operation Rescue has announced plans for a “Summer of Mercy 2.0″ targeting the brave and outspoken Dr. LeRoy Carhart in Germantown, MD, July 31-August 7. Operation Rescue is the same organization that hounded Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, KS, for years (until he was assassinated by one of their associates in May ’09). Their original “Summer of Mercy” in 1991 shut down access to the Dr. Tiller’s clinic for six weeks and resulted in 3,400 arrests, they are invoking this alarming history again in their “Summer of Mercy 2.0” event.


You can show your support for women seeking abortion services by helping out in Germantown this week. Between July 31 and August 7, activists will be needed from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. outside of Dr. Carhart’s clinic, located at 13233 Executive Park Drive in Germantown, Maryland. These shifts will kick off with the Summer Celebration of Choice Kick-Off Walk on Sunday, July 31 and continue through the evening of Sunday, August 7. To sign up for a shift, please go to or contact NOW Field Organizer Anita Lederer at
You can also speak out against the legislation winding its way through the Pennsylvania General Assembly by participating in Pennsylvanian’s for ChoiceWe’ve Had Enough” rally on September 27 in Harrisburg in the Capital Rotunda. Join us in telling the PA Legislature to STOP the attacks on women’s health in Pennsylvania! You can sign up at to join in our effort to stop this legislation. Help us fight these dangerous bills and join us in declaring that…


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