Tuesday, February 28, 2006
JUST IN FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD -
Guttmacher Institute Study Documents Major Lags In Contraceptive Access Across the Nation
Planned Parenthood Calls on Legislators to Adopt Sound Public Health Policies
February 28, 2006 — Reacting to a newly released Guttmacher Institute ranking of state-level efforts to ensure access to family planning, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today called on state legislators to adopt policies that support family planning services and ensure access to contraception. Such policies, PPFA noted, would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. The Guttmacher study ranked Nebraska, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, and Utah lowest among the 50 states, finding they lag significantly in providing adequate access to contraceptive services.
“Access to family planning promotes healthy families, in which children are wanted and loved. It enables people to decide responsibly when to become parents — that is why funding for family planning is so important,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Unfortunately, too many states fail women and their communities by contributing to the number of unintended pregnancies by enacting policies that hinder access to contraception.”
The independent Guttmacher study assessed each state’s commitment to helping women avoid unintended pregnancy by measuring access to contraception; laws and policies that either facilitate or hinder access to birth control and family planning information; and public funding for family planning and services between 1994 and 2001.
The report cites several states, including Alaska, California, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina, that have made the most progress. PPFA applauded states that commit resources to family planning to ensure women have access to contraception and the information they need to use it correctly. Contraception is basic health care used by ninety-eight percent of American women during their lifetimes.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Pregnancies can occur when birth control methods fail or are used improperly, inconsistently, or not at all.
Numerous studies show that improved contraceptive access and availability would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. With more than 850 affiliate health centers nationwide, Planned Parenthood is committed to working to ensure access to family planning and other reproductive health services for all who need it.
To find out where your state ranks, please visit www.guttmacher.org.
Friday, February 24, 2006
OUTRAGE in South Dakota
Legislators pass abortion ban
The international mainstream press is awash in coverage of the abomination that is occurring in South Dakota. The Boston Herald, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and the Hartford Courant top the list when I Google for articles related to the South Dakota legislature's passage of an outright ban on abortion.
We have stepped back in time and are going headlong down a slippery slope of restrictions on women's reproductive freedoms that I never expected to see in my lifetime. I grossly underestimated the forces that surrounded me in my childhood here in East Tennessee in a small town completely dominated by two Southern Baptist churches. I thought that after I left and moved to live in other areas of the country that I had left behind the misery that the imposition of their rigid lifestyle imposes on everyone in the community.
I feel as if I am awakening now to a nightmare in my 50s in which that same emotional and cultural straitjacket that was the burden of my childhood and adolescence is suddenly going to be imposed on the entire country. This is an outrage.
Do I hear the drumbeat of fascism closing in? Will our freedoms erode so slowly that there is no real resistance? Is there an echo in the room that originated in Europe in the 30s?
I do not believe I am overreacting.
The thought of incest and rape victims forced into pregnancies brought on by the rampant violence against women in our country moves me to rage and action. We must stop this monster before it consumes our reproductive freedom from border to border and coast to coast. The ethnocentric bigots who are pushing these bonds of reproductive slavery on the women of the United States need to know that we will not submit without an all-consuming struggle.
While we have been complacent in our professional services that stand in for political movements these days, we have allowed the opposing forces to move ahead incrementally until we have arrived at this scenario in South Dakota. We need to fire the social workers and the grant writers and get some activists with fire in their bellies to move this movement forward in the tradition of Alice Paul and others like her who would stand in the rain and the cold enduring all manner of cruelty, knowing that women's lives were at stake.
Women's lives are at stake now. Where are the women and supportive men with fire in their bellies? We need you now.
Prepare for the battle in your state. It is coming.