Friday, January 30, 2009
>Learn more about the Global Gag Rule.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This decision has had a lasting impact on the legal landscape in Canada and would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of NAF member Dr. Henry Morgentaler. In 1969, Dr. Morgentaler defied the law and opened the first Canadian freestanding abortion clinic in Montreal. For the next 20 years he continued to fight the system and even served prison time for providing women with safe abortion care. At tremendous risk to his life and personal safety, Dr. Morgentaler remained committed to liberalizing Canada’s abortion law and continued to speak out for women’s reproductive freedom. Last year Dr. Morgentaler was appointed to the Order of Canada for his willingness to "put himself at risk in his determined drive to increase health care options for Canadian women."
While today is a day to celebrate the Morgentaler decision and the fact that Canada is one of only a few countries without a federal law restricting abortion, it is also a time to reflect on the barriers to access women continue to face 21 years later. Even though abortion is considered a safe, legal, and insured service, access is variable across the country. For example:
· Since the majority of abortion care is provided in urban centres, women living in rural communities often face challenges in accessing care. Prince Edward Island does not even have an abortion provider in the entire province.
· Unsound provincial policies in New Brunswick prevent a woman from obtaining a publicly funded abortion unless the abortion is provided by an obstetrician-gynecologist, in a hospital, and only after two doctors have approved that it is medically necessary.
· Throughout the country, abortion is the only time-sensitive and medically necessary procedure excluded from the list of services on the inter-provincial billing agreement.
Although we have great cause to celebrate today, now more than ever, it is important that we do not lose sight of the women who continue to face obstacles in order to obtain the abortion care they need.
>See my op/ed in the Toronto Star commemorating this landmark decision.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Today, President Barack Obama rescinded the Global Gag Rule. We commend President Obama for swiftly taking this important step toward expanding access to reproductive health care for millions of women around the world.
Originally authored during the Reagan Administration, the Global Gag Rule prohibits international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. government funds from using their own private funds to provide abortions. The policy also prevents NGOs from lobbying their own government for a change in abortion laws, conducting public education campaigns about abortion, referring women to safe abortion providers, or even providing medically accurate counseling about abortion to their clients.
The Global Gag Rule was rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, and then re-implemented by President G.W. Bush on his first day in office in 2001.
This draconian policy has been devastating for the millions of women in developing nations who rely upon NGOs for essential health care services. As a result of President Obama’s Executive Order, women and families around the world will once again be able to access the comprehensive health care they need.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Thirty-six years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the right to privacy found in the United States Constitution included the right of women to terminate a pregnancy. This landmark decision has protected the health and saved the lives of countless women.
Today’s important anniversary is just one of the reasons we have to celebrate this week. Tuesday, the world watched the inauguration of a pro-choice President. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion care. Although it’s been 36 years since abortion was legalized, women still face barriers to accessing the care they need and we urge President Obama to:
- Immediately rescind the Global Gag Rule, which prohibits international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. government funds from using their own private funds to provide abortions, lobbying their own government for a change in abortion laws, or even providing medically accurate counseling about abortion to their clients. Nearly 70,000 women in developing countries die each year from unsafe abortions. The policy was repealed by President Clinton in 1993, and then re-implemented by President G.W. Bush on his first day in office in 2001.
We also call on Congress and the Obama Administration to:
- Address barriers low-income women face when obtaining abortion care. Bans on public funding for abortion services have severely restricted access to safe abortion care for women, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority women.
- Ensure comprehensive health care coverage for women, which includes abortion care. This Administration must address the need for health care reform that guarantees equal access to comprehensive, high quality health care, including access to abortion care for women.
- Improve access to abortion care for women in the military. Current law forbids military hospitals from providing abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Federal funding is only available for abortions needed in cases of life endangerment. These policies significantly burden service women and military dependents around the world who rely on military hospitals for their health care needs.
We must also remain vigilant in protecting abortion providers. We urge the Department of Justice to:
- Reinvigorate the Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers to maximize the level of coordination among federal, state, and local agencies and to ensure that existing laws prohibiting clinic violence, including the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, are fully enforced.
As we enter this new era of American politics, we look forward to working with the Obama Administration, Congress, and the Department of Justice to ensure that abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to promote health and justice for women.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Throughout his distinguished career, Holder has consistently shown his commitment to protecting the legal rights of all Americans and established himself as an advocate for women. He has been outspoken on gender equality issues, worked to combat domestic violence, and taken a strong stand to ensure women have equal access to education and health care.
He is well-respected and has been selected by both Democrats and Republicans to serve in different posts. Holder was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for the position of Deputy Attorney General in 1997, and a number of Republican senators have recently expressed their support for Holder during these proceedings.
This is an important time in our nation’s history and it is crucial that we have the right leadership as we move forward. Holder has the commitment and experience necessary to lead the Department of Justice and should be swiftly confirmed.
“For every dollar spent on family planning services, it is estimated that almost four dollars is saved in public health spending,” Congresswoman Slaughter said.
The Prevention First Act aims to reduce unintended pregnancies through multiple channels, including increasing Title X funding, ensuring that all federal programs provide medically accurate information, and expanding Medicaid family planning services.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Canadian law requires that an individual have standing before bringing a case to court. This week’s appeal is a challenge to an August 2008 ruling, which granted Dr. Morgentaler standing to pursue his case against the New Brunswick government. Government prosecutors continue to challenge Dr. Morgentaler’s standing due to the fact that he is not a woman affected by this policy.
After hearing arguments on Tuesday, the three-judge panel reserved their decision until a later date.
>Learn more about access to abortion in Canada.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
These charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. As part of their plea agreement, one suspect’s sentence will be capped at 44 months and the other’s at 40 months. A sentencing date has not been set.
>Learn more about violence and disruption against abortion providers.
Monday, January 05, 2009
“This is just another attempt by Republicans to chink away at women’s rights in this state,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia). “We have a Senate that has no women and a House with very few women and we want to tell a woman what to do with her body.”
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) exist to dissuade women from having abortions, and often use false information to mislead women. South Carolina is already home to some of the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country, including parental consent for minors, state-mandated biased counseling and waiting periods, and required ultrasounds.
>Learn more about abortion rights in the states.
>Learn more about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs).