The Appleton Planned Parenthood is one of the last remaining abortion providers in the entire state of Wisconsin - if anti-choice politicians succeed in shutting it down, women seeking abortion care could be forced to cross state lines into Minnesota.
Gov. Walker (R) has stated that he would sign the bill because he doesn't have "any problem" with forcing women to get an ultrasound, even if it's against her will and her doctor doesn't recommend one. And as a governor who slashed funding for women's health programs, Gov. Walker also doesn't seem to have "any problem" with leaving his own female constituents out in the cold when it comes to their reproductive health and safety.
I know how important it is for all women, and especially young women on college campuses, to be able to take care of their reproductive health without fear or shame. And absolutely no woman should have to overcome these outrageous roadblocks just to find basic reproductive-health care.
Wisconsinites deserve better than anti-choice politicians inserting themselves into private medical decisions. Women in Wisconsin rely on Planned Parenthood and other women's reproductive-health providers to keep them safe and healthy.
Keep up with NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin for ways you can stop politicians from shutting down the Appleton clinic and all clinics that provide women with the care they need.
Thirty-five politicians (and counting) are pushing this bill, which is so egregious that it will force providers to knowingly mislead pregnant women and in some cases even tell them that they do not need medical care at all.
Force women to undergo an ultrasound before she can get an abortion even if it's medically unnecessary - and then make her pay for it herself. In an especially outrageous twist, if the forced ultrasound does not show certain gestational markers that normally appear between four and six weeks, a woman's provider would be forced to tell her she will miscarry and therefore needs no further medical care at all.
Require a physician to swear under oath and under penalty of perjury that they've complied with every requirement of the bill or face up to 10 years in prison and pay a $1,000,000 fine.
Require doctors to lie to women about the "risks" of abortion care.
Extend Ohio's forced waiting period from 24 to 48 hours before a woman can get abortion care, even if she has a medical emergency. And with only one abortion clinic left in Ohio, the time it takes to schedule an appointment can amount to a day of a lot more than 48 hours.
Requires women to sign a "conflict of interest" statement that includes the physician or abortion facility's gross income, a percentage of that income that came from providing abortion care, and a statement explaining the financial loss if the woman decides not to get an abortion. It's clearly not about giving a woman information, it's about harassing and stigmatizing abortion providers.
Shocked yet? It gets worse: there is no exemption from any of these requirements if a woman is a survivor of rape, incest, or if her health depends on accessing abortion care sooner.
Politicians think lying, shaming, and even withholding care is medicine, and it's inexcusable. This bill demonstrates just how little regard anti-choice politicians have for women's safety - and how far they're willing to go to restrict a woman's right to choose in Ohio.
CPCs are anti-choice facilities that often set up next to legitimate reproductive-health clinics in order to trick women into thinking they're going to see staff who will be honest with them. Once they have confused a woman and gotten her into their doors, CPCs are likely to shame and intimidate her so that she's too scared to consider abortion. Sometimes CPC workers will flat out lie to women. That's the exact opposite of the quality, accurate reproductive-health care women need.
So let's get this straight: anti-choice politicians want to strip funding from effective programs that help low-income women and children and give those funds - taxpayer dollars - to anti-choice organizations that lie to women.
Are you outraged yet? Because that's not all...
The budget would also allow the director of the Ohio Department of Health to reject abortion providers from getting a transfer agreement with a local hospital for any reason at any time. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad. But, because of an anti-choice regulation already on the books in Ohio, every abortion provider must have such an agreement - or close their doors.
As if that isn't enough, language in the budget proposal also includes a ban on rape crisis counselors counseling about or referring for abortion care if the survivor seeking help is pregnant from the rape.
It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that anti-choice politicians in Ohio are unleashing an extreme anti-choice agenda that would really hurt the general well-being of tens of thousands of people.
Securing the ability to access EC over the counter without a prescription is a monumental win for women's reproductive freedom!
Not only does birth control prevent unplanned pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion care, it empowers women of any age to control when and whether to start a family. This essential right allows women to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, and advance their educational and career goals.
Emma Weinstein-Levey is the press intern at NARAL Pro-Choice America
June is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* (LGBT) pride month and, while the connection between reproductive rights and LGBT equality activism may not be immediately obvious, I've always known that the two are inextricably linked.
At their core, both issues are about privacy. A woman's right to reproductive-health care entitles her to decide whether, when, and with whom to have a family without politicians' interference. Similarly, the right to love who you want and be who you are entitles people to build a family in a way that will bring them the most joy, fulfillment, and freedom.
I was particularly struck by the connections between LGBT* and reproductive rights activism a few weeks ago when the organization Strong Families launched their Mama's Day campaign. This beautiful celebration of diverse families reminded me that the right to choose means so much more than just the availability of abortion.
In a time when we hear about legislative attacks on birth control and abortion on every single news outlet, coalition building between reproductive rights activists and LGBT* activists is more important than ever. Just as we encourage lawmakers to trust women to make their own health-care choices, we must trust each other - partners in the struggle for full equality - to champion each others' causes and be allies in the fight for justice.
At NARAL Pro-Choice America, we fight to protect and expand the rights of women across the country. This proactive approach to advancing reproductive rights is one that necessitates and encourages inclusion of all people. That's why the staff at NARAL Pro-Choice America knew it was important to support federal marriage equality, as we have since 2004.
As an LGBT-identified individual working in the reproductive rights/reproductive justice movement, I owe a great debt of gratitude to those who create space in this movement for people of all identities. Leaders like Kierra Johnson of Choice USA and Miriam Perez inspire me daily with their devotion to bridging the perceived gap between issues.
Today is the 48th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court case that first identified the constitutional right to privacy and defeated a law that barred the use of birth control.
This ruling was monumental because it struck down a barrier that blocked women from controlling their futures. It gave them the power to choose whether and when to start and family.
Access to birth control is essential for millions of women and their families. Not only does birth control prevent unplanned pregnancy, it allows women to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, and advance their educational and career goals.
Studies show that using birth control is highly effective in reducing unintended pregnancies, and therefore the need for abortion care. Improving access to birth control is truly a win for everyone.
Gomez supports forced-waiting periods for women getting abortion care, saying "I don't think that's too much to ask." Tell that to women who have to drive hundreds or even thousands of miles to the nearest abortion provider, as well as pay for child care, a hotel room, and transportation costs.
Gomez said repeatedly that he wouldn't change laws around abortion. Doesn't he realize that U.S. senators vote on abortion-related issues all the time?
Last night's debate showed that Gabriel Gomez is completely out of touch with the very people he hopes to represent and cannot be trusted to protect their best interests. It's clear that Gomez would not work to protect and expand women's reproductive freedom. Instead, he could likely add unnecessary restrictions to burden women seeking reproductive-health services and abortion care.
NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC-endorsed Rep. Markey, on the other hand, trusts Massachusetts women and has a pro-choice record that spans more than three decades. That's why Rep. Markey is the only candidate women and their families in Massachusetts can trust to protect their freedom and privacy in the most personal of circumstances - not anti-choice politicians like Gabriel Gomez.
If you have friends in Massachusetts, make sure they know how dangerous Gabriel Gomez would be for women's reproductive freedom. When they head to the polls, they'll know who to vote into the Senate on June 25 - pro-choice Rep. Ed Markey.
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
We can't decide which is more disturbing: that anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks don't understand how dangerous banning abortion care is for women, or that they do understand and just don't care.
What anti-choice politicians like Rep. Franks are refusing to accept is the reality that some families face the difficult decision whether to end a much-wanted pregnancy when a health crisis arises.
Anti-choice politicians want you to believe that there's no reason a woman would need abortion care after 20 weeks, but, in fact, some women do.
Dana is one of these women. When Dana went to her 29-week sonogram, she learned that there were grave complications with her pregnancy. The fetus suffered from multiple brain abnormalities and it was uncertain whether the pregnancy would survive to term. Hear her story:
Dana is not alone in her experience.
In El Salvador, a woman named Beatriz made international news when she found out that she was pregnant, but with her serious health conditions Beatriz would likely die if she carried the pregnancy to term. She was diagnosed with a severe fetal anomaly and told that the fetus would not survive. Beatriz was forced to choose between her life and illegal abortion care. Ultimately, Beatriz was allowed to terminate the pregnancy, but it took an intervention from the country's minister of health after Beatriz's appeal was rejected by the Salvadoran Supreme Court.
Anti-choice officials apparently can't be bothered to feel compassion for women in these tragic circumstances.
When a federal judge in Arizona challenged the state's 20-week abortion ban because it could forbid a woman from getting abortion care even if her doctor discovers a severe fetal anomaly, the solicitor general callously dismissed the argument, saying: "That's the woman's problem. She should have made that decision earlier."
Banning abortion after 20 weeks endangers women and ignores the reality that even a much-wanted pregnancy can go wrong. That is why it must be left to women, their families, and their doctors to make reproductive-health decisions - not anti-choice politicians like Rep. Trent Franks.
"The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee-whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So, we've got to be very careful on our side."
Well, gee-whiz. So Sen. Chambliss is arguing that 26,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2012 is just a case of "boys will be boys."
What could be more offensive, to men and women alike, than claiming that rape and sexual assault are somehow natural?
Sen. Chambliss now joins Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, and Wisconsin state Rep. Roger "some girls just rape easy" Rivard (R), in sharing some of the most egregious and dangerous positions about rape and sexual assault survivors. But then again, we shouldn't be shocked.