February 17, 2011
Dear New Yorker,
We are writing to you about an urgent issue of concern to those who want to protect reproductive rights and women's healthcare.
Forces ranging from congressional actions to organizations right here in New York City are mobilizing to take away basic freedoms from women.
There are three critically important issues at play here.
First, there are several pieces of federal legislation currently being pushed as priorities by the conservative leadership of Congress. You may have heard of HR3, also known as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. If passed by Congress, this bill will eliminate tax breaks for private employers who provide health coverage if their plans offer abortion services. It will also forbid women who use a flexible spending plan from using pre-tax dollars for abortions. At the moment, federal money is used to pay for abortions for fewer than 200 women a year who have been raped or are victims of incest.
In addition to HR3, there is the Protect Life Act and the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. If passed by Congress, the Protect Life Act will prevent women from using their own money to purchase health plans that offer abortion coverage, effectively stripping millions of women of the abortion coverage that they already have. But, even more appallingly, it will allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortions even when necessary to save the life of the mother. This ironically-named bill will not protect life at all. In fact, it could be fatal to both women and their fetuses.
The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act seeks to ban federal funding for organizations that perform abortions, including funding for non-abortion services. This expansion is specifically designed to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood nationwide.
Second, there is a great danger that misinformation will distort the debate on appropriate options for women when it comes to reproductive choices. For example, recent videos distributed by an anti-choice group, Live Action, allegedly misrepresent Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) as an organization that would help sex traffickers in order to make money. We believe that a campaign of misinformation is part of a larger effort to take away New Yorkers' access to affordable reproductive health care, and make abortion illegal.
Third, we have drafted Int. 371, a City Council bill that will require non-medical pregnancy care centers (including places known as crisis pregnancy centers) to clearly post what services they offer. Women often receive deceptive and confusing information at these facilities. This deception can lead to dangerous delays in women obtaining appropriate medical care. Int. 371 will also protect women's privacy by requiring that these centers to keep all personal information private – something they aren't currently required to do because they aren't medical offices!
We urge you to make your voice heard as loud and as often as you possibly can.
- Let Congress know where you stand on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Protect Life Act, and Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act here.
- Join us at a Rally for Women's Health. Make your voice heard!
- Saturday, February 26th
- 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Foley Square: Worth Street between Centre Street and Lafayette Street, in Lower Manhattan
- Click here to support Int. 371, the City Council's bill that would protect women seeking pregnancy related services by requiring clear information to be posted at reproductive health facilities.
Thank you in advance for taking a stand and weighing in on these critical issues.
Christine C. Quinn
Chair, Women's Issues Committee
Women's Caucus Co-Chair and Lead Sponsor of Int. 371
Women's Caucus Co-Chair
Marie del Carmen Arroyo
Chair, Health Committee
Helen Diane Foster
Chair, State and Federal Legislation Committee