Monday, November 9, 2009

Stop the Abortion Coverage Ban! - Take Action for Equal Marriage in NYS!


Take Action!
1)  Fight the Abortion Coverage Ban Passed in the House Health Care Reform Bill
2)  Support Equal Marriage: Vote in New York State Tomorrow-November 10

3)  View "Journey": Human Trafficking Art Installation Visits NYC
3)  Learn About Our Upcoming Events & Meetings...Scroll Down for Details
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House Bill for Health Care Reform Includes Sweeping Ban on Abortion Coverage
If there has ever been a time where we need you to act, it is NOW.  The Affordable Health Care for America Act that passed the House late Saturday evening includes a last minute amendment—the Stupak-Pitts Amendment--that prohibits both private insurance companies participating in the federal program and any government plan or "public option" from providing coverage for abortion.  That's right.  Abortion coverage will become unavailable for millions of women if the final version of health care reform includes this amendment, and one of the largest restriction on women's access to abortion since Roe will be enacted at the national level.   Read More in NOW-NYC's Statement
 
We need you to take action NOW!  
Flood the White House and Senate Offices with pro-choice voices.  This is not a compromise women should be forced to make. 
1)  Call or email the White House.  (202.456.1111) Our pro-choice community helped get Obama elected, and he needs to stand with us.  Ask that he refuse to support any health care reform that denies women insurance coverage for abortion.  Sample letter below.
 
2) Call or email Senator Schumer (212.486.4430) and Senator Gillibrand (212.688.6262). The fight now moves to the Senate, where a single bill is expected to be introduced for debate and a vote.  Urge your Senators to ensure that the Senate bill will include access to insurance coverage for abortion services. Sample letter below.
 
3) Join our Reproductive Rights Action Committee for a meeting and phone-banking session tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 10, at 6:00 pm  Call 212.627.9895 or email contact@nownyc.org to RSVP.
 
 
Sample Letter
Dear   [      ]
The passage of a health care bill that includes greatly expanded prohibitions on insurance coverage for abortion is absolutely unacceptable.  Abortion is a legal medical procedure and to force women to pay for a "rider" or any type of supplemental health insurance to cover this procedure is discriminatory.  I am outraged that the Stupak-Pitts amendment was passed in the House health care bill and I urge you to ensure that the final health care reform bill contains comprehensive reproductive health care for women. 
 
Over 85% of private insurance companies currently cover abortion, and this amendment would put such coverage in jeopardy, particularly for the low- and middle-income women who will only be able to obtain insurance through the public health insurance exchange where abortion coverage would be prohibited.  Millions of women's lives will be put in danger.  The Stupak-Pitts amendment is purely ideological and political—it does not take the reality of women's lives into consideration. 

I urge you to stand up for the pro-choice community that supports you and ensure that women will be able to receive comprehensive health care coverage.
 
Sincerely,
[Your Name and Address]
 
Background
The Stupak-Pitts Amendment goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federal funding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment, if incorporated into the final version of health insurance reform legislation, will:
                *Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
                *Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
                *Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.
 
A compromise measure on abortion coverage—the Capps Amendment—which was already included in the House Bill took a more balanced approach:
                *Stated that at least one of the private insurance options in every premium rating level must include, and one must exclude, coverage of abortion beyond rape, incest, or life;
                *Ensured that in each region of the country, there is at least one plan in the Health Exchange that offers abortion services, but also one plan in the Health Exchange that does not offer abortion coverage;
                *Did not interfere with State laws regarding abortion coverage, funding, and referrals;
                *Protected the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman's life. Insurers would guarantee that only non-federal dollars would go toward covering abortion. 
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Take Action Today!  Equal Marriage Vote in New York State
Governor Paterson has put Equal Marriage on the agenda for a special session of the New York State Senate as early as tomorrow, November 10.  If the bill is passed, same-sex couples in New York will have access to the more than 1,000 rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage in the state, including the ability to gain health insurance coverage through their spouse, the right to visit each other in hospitals, and the many other family protections provided under New York State Law. 
1) Contact your State Senator today www.nysenate.gov and tell them to vote YES on equal marriage.
2) Join the Queer Advocacy Project for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 10th at 6:30 pm.  Call 212.627.9895 or email contact@nownyc.org to RSVP.
3) Join Empire State Pride Agenda's phone banking session tonight: 4-10 @ Pride Agenda headquarters, 16 West 22 Street, 2nd Floor Please RSVP to  212.627.0305 x113 or email Wzondon@prideagenda.org
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"Journey" Comes to NYC
Monday, November 9 to Sunday, November 15, between 12 and 8pm
In support of the Helen Bamber Foundation, Mayor Bloomberg, Oscar winning actor and human rights campaigner Emma Thompson, guest artists and curators are launching a provocative installation depicting the "Journey" of trafficked women across the globe into the sex industry. Journey will be located on Washington Place, off Washington Square Park from Journey's arrival in Manhattan is a major stop on its world tour against human trafficking.
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More NOW-NYC Upcoming Meetings & Events
Divorce Legal Clinic (6 pm) & Divorce Financial Clinic (7 pm) - Tonight, Monday, November 9
Trafficking Action Network 6:30 pm – Tuesday, November 17
NOW-NYC Member Night and Meet & Greet 6:00 pm – Thursday, November 19

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For more programs, volunteer opportunities, and legal resources and other resources,
please visit our website at
www.nownyc.org
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Not a member?  Join NOW-NYC Online & Advance Women!
We need your support more than ever!  Become a member of NOW-NYC today and ensure that our numbers are strong and our voices powerful.  ..........................................................................................................................................................
The National Organization for Women is the nation's largest organization working to advance women's rights and improve women's lives. NOW-NYC advocates for the women and girls of New York City by working to promote reproductive health, achieve economic empowerment, and end discrimination and violence against women.

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