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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Rally

February 25, 2011

On the heels of the debate and vote on the Pence Amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives last week it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Although I am a veteran of the battles of the Bush years this is different.   Pence is, after all, a direct ideological attack on Planned Parenthood – the trusted provider that 1 in 5 American women (including me) have counted on for care during their lifetime.  It’s an attack on Planned Parenthood because we provide abortion care.

From Pence, to my views about other anti-choice, anti-woman bills, to my appearance yesterday on Views from the Pews, (a local cable access program hosted by the Rev. Melanie Miller) and even to my growing excitement about the Rally for Women’s Health in Manhattan tomorrow (Saturday, February 26th) there is no shortage of topics for blog posts.  And, when it comes to great opinion essays about women’s health, Planned Parenthood, or the legislative attacks on reproductive freedom in Congress and in state legislatures, there are plenty of sources to draw from and  ideas to expand on.  What I am short on is time. 

Keeping up with the reading can be a full-time job.  So here are 10 thoughts, observations, and quotes from the past 10 days:

10. Many friends share both my commitment to reproductive rights and addiction to CSPAN.  Exchanging facebook wall posts and comments while watching CSPAN during the House debate on the Pence Amendment added a dimension I had not expected.  I also added a few new “likes”– Congresswoman  Jackie Speier (D-CA), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), and Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ). 

9. Why would people who are completely opposed to abortion cut family planning and birth control?  The war on women and family planning has consequences.  As noted by Ruth Marcus, “Title X helps prevent nearly 1 million unintended pregnancies annually. The [Guttmacher] institute says these pregnancies would otherwise result in 433,000 unintended births and 406,000 abortions.”

8. Because it’s not about abortion – it’s about birth control.  The vote on the Pence Amendment unmasks the true nature of the agenda: “the attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on the very symbol of women’s access to contraceptive services as part of the passage into responsible adulthood.”  

7.  It’s not about the economy or creating jobs either.  It is time to stop pretending that this “immoral attack on the nation’s women, particularly low-income women who depend on these services to have healthy families”  is about fiscal responsibility.

6.  You can’t help but ask, like Susan Yolen does: “What is it about women as moral decision makers that so infuriates members of the US House?”

5.  Because when you really think about it, there is no escaping that this about making sure women can’t make their own private, personal decisions about when, whether, or how many children to have.  When we can’t control our reproductive destinies, we can’t control our lives.  Simply put “…the ugly truth —that this is and always was about sex and women’s roles—can no longer be denied.  And especially not when the same conservatives who support a forced birth ideology also wish to destroy any policy that makes it easier for women to have paid employment, explicitly on the grounds that women shouldn’t be financially independent.”  

4.  It’s not about your party, it’s about what you stand for.  10 Democrats voted for the Pence Amendment and 7 Republicans voted against it. Find out how your member of Congress voted  and make sure to hold him or her accountable.

3. When it comes to the members of Congress who represent Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties, 4 members voted against Pence — Representatives Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, Tim Bishop, and Steve Israel.  2 voted for Pence– Reprsentatives Nan Hayworth and Peter King,  Call Congresswoman Hayworth at (202) 225-5441 and Congressman King at 202-225-7896 to let them know you are outraged that she/he supported this ideological attack on Planned Parenthood and women’s health.

2. Elections Matter.  We need more women – make that more pro-choice women in Congress. 

1.  We must take a stand.  Rally for Women’s Health in Foley Square on Saturday February 26.  RSVP at (or not).   But come.  If you can’t make it, then you can:

  1. Remember MTV’s “No Easy Decision?”  Two of the cast members spoke about their decisions to speak out as teens who had abortions at local Planned Parenthood events in Wisconsin.
  2. PPFA President Cecile Richards with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
  3. Congressman Anthony Wiener on “taxpayer funding for abortion” – I’m sure we’ll be writing more about this in the future.
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