Friday, July 29, 2011

Petition: stop the default

Click here to sign your name:
"No cuts. No deals. End this madness now and pass a clean debt ceiling increase so America doesn't default."

Sign the Petition!

This insanity has gone too far. In just four days, America could be forced into default for the first time in history.

With time running out and no compromise on the horizon, the best way to avoid default is to pass a "clean" bill that simply assures the rest of the world that America pays its bills.

Most Democrats in the House have already signed on to a bill that does just that.1 And more and more Senate Republicans are indicating that they agree that we can't let America default.2

But we have to seize this opening before it's too late. So we're joining with our friends at Rebuild the Dream to send Congress this emergency petition telling them to do the right thing. We'll deliver the signatures throughout the weekend. Will you sign?

Representative Peter Welch has already pulled together 139 Democratic Representatives to support a "clean" debt ceiling increase.3 And even Republican Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell has proposed a plan that would end this crisis without resolving the debate over spending cuts.4

We have a very small window where we may be able to resolve this hostage crisis peacefully. With more and more chatter in Washington about passing a "clean" debt ceiling plan to protect seniors' Social Security checks, soldiers' paychecks, and the good credit of the United States, we have to act now.

But we need a huge outcry if we're going to push this plan over the edge before it's too late. Click below to you add your name to the petition now so we can deliver it over the weekend.

Thanks for all you do.

Daniel, Elena, Adam Q., Michael, and the rest of the team


1. "America Pays its Bills; Don't Default," Peter Welch, July 27, 2011

2. "McCain criticizes some tea-party-linked lawmakers on debt ceiling," The Washington Post, July 28, 2011

"Republican Sen. Bob Corker Echoes President Obama On Debt, Pans John Boehner Plan," Huffington Post, July 27, 2011

3. "Happy Hour Roundup," The Washington Post, July 27, 2011

4. "McConnell unveils debt 'back up plan' that gives Obama more power," July 12, 2011

Judge orders circumcision ban off SF ballot

Now why is it that men--particularly misogynistic men who feel as if the empowerment of women is causing undue discrimination for them, will always come up with a way to inappropriately equate their cause with that of human/civil rights? To say that male circumcision reduces the man's pleasure in the same way female circumcision is ridiculous. How ANY MAN can equate the dangers of female circumcision with the dangers of male circumcision is insane.

(AP) — A judge on Thursday struck a measure from the city's November ballot that called for a ban on most circumcisions of male children, saying the proposed law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom and a California law that makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities.

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi confirmed a tentative decision she issued a day earlier and came after she heard arguments from proponents of the ban, which would have made San Francisco the first U.S. city to hold a public vote on whether to outlaw the circumcision of minors.

Michael Kinane, an attorney for the proponents, told Giorgi that circumcision was not usually performed as a medical procedure. He also said the ballot measure included an exception in cases where circumcision was needed for health reasons.

"If you bring in your son and say my custom, my religion requires circumcision of this little boy, the state hasn't said anything on the issue, so there is not a matter of pre-emption," Kinane argued.

Giorgi, while acknowledging that "there is legitimate debate on the benefits and harms of circumcision," was not swayed and ordered San Francisco's elections director to remove the measure from the ballot.

"I don't think there is any debate ... that this mater relates to issues of statewide concern," the judge said.

The ban's sponsor, anti-circumcision activist Lloyd Schofield, said afterward that he was considering an appeal.

"We will not stop until all men are protected from this damaging and harmful surgery," Schofield said.

The citizens' initiative, which qualified for the ballot in May, would have made the practice a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. The measure did not offer exemptions for religious rituals such as the Jewish bris or Muslim khitan.

The city attorney's office had joined several Jewish organizations and Muslim parents in challenging the ban in court.

"It is up to parents to make the choice whether or not to have their baby boys circumcised," said Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. "We did not want to have Mr. Schofield legislating our religious traditions."

Backers had argued the ban was necessary to prevent circumcisions from being forced on children. Kinane pointed out Thursday that the federal government bans female circumcision.

"The U.S. government has said when you are looking at little girls we don't care if it's a matter of custom or ritual, you can't circumcise them unless there's a matter of medical necessity," he said.

Critics contended the initiative posed a threat to families' privacy and to constitutionally protected religious freedoms. They cited comic books and trading cards distributed by the measure's proponents that carried images of a blonde, blue-eyed superhero and four evil Jewish characters.

Outside the courthouse, anti-circumcision activists carried signs with slogans like "I did not consent to male genital mutilation" and a leaflet claiming that circumcision diminishes men's sexual pleasure.

San Francisco parent Jenny Benjamin, a plaintiff in the lawsuit to overturn the ban, said seeing people compare circumcision to child abuse made "my stomach churn."

"I don't know about you, but some of the decisions my parents made for me I wasn't thrilled about, but I didn't take it to voters," Benjamin said. "It seems a little extreme. It seems a lot extreme."

Texas Planned Parenthood Clinic Attacked With Molotov Cocktail

So let me see if I, even if a clinic does NOT provide abortions, it will still be attacked by right-wing christian terrorists? This does not sound at all like people who care about the health and well being of the "unborn". Rather, it screams of individuals who want nothing more than to curb the rights of women to make decisions for themselves regarding their health--which is a very personal matter.

Planned Parenthood

A McKinney, Texas, Planned Parenthood clinic that does not provide abortions was attacked with a Molotov cocktail late Tuesday night, causing a small fire at the entrance of the building. The device, consisting of diesel fuel in a glass bottle with a lit rag fuse, did not cause any injuries, but a Planned Parenthood official said it did cause "serious damage" to the facility.

"It didn't penetrate the health center office and none of the staff or patients were there, which is great," Holly Morgan, director of media relations and communications for Planned Parenthood in Dallas, told Star Local News. "It scorched the outside of the door and I believe there was a little scorching to the retail locations on either side of it."

Tait Sye, spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America told HuffPost that, while this incident marks the first attack on the McKinney clinic, Planned Parenthood locations around the country have experienced similar attacks over the years because of the organization's association with abortion. A 37-year-old man threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Madera, Cali., in September 2010 that shut the clinic down for two days, and another clinic in Raleigh, N.C., was vandalized earlier this month with the spray-painted message, "you shall not murder."

According to the most recent statistics from the National Abortion Federation, there were a total of 96 incidences of violence -- including murder, death threats, vandalism, arson and bombing -- against U.S. and Canadian abortion clinics in 2010.

Despite the attack on the McKinney clinic, the police cleaned up the damage quickly enough that the Planned Parenthood staff were able to continue providing pap smears, STI screenings and contraceptives to patients the next morning.

"We’re open for business today in McKinney," Planned Parenthood of North Texas tweeted on Wednesday, "b/c our patients depend on us & our resolve to serve the community is strong as ever."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Speaker's New Proposal Could Produce Greatest Increase in Poverty of Any Law in Modern U.S. History

CBPP Statement: Speaker's New Proposal Could Produce Greatest Increase in Poverty of Any Law in Modern U.S. History

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

By Robert Greenstein

"House Speaker John Boehner's new budget proposal would require deep cuts in the years immediately ahead in Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees, the repeal of health reform's coverage expansions,or wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable Americans.

"The plan is, thus, tantamount to a form of 'class warfare.' If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.

"This may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. The mathematics are inexorable.

§  The Boehner plan calls for large cuts in discretionary programs of $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, and it then requires additional cuts that are large enough to produce another $1.8 trillion in savings to be enacted by the end of the year as a condition for raising the debt ceiling again at that time.

§  The Boehner plan contains no tax increases. The entire $1.8 trillion would come from budget cuts.

§  Because the first round of cuts will hit discretionary programs hard — through austere discretionary caps that Congress will struggle to meet — discretionary cuts will largely or entirely be off the table when it comes to achieving the further $1.8 trillion in budget reductions.

§  As a result, virtually all of that $1.8 trillion would come from entitlement programs. They would have to be cut more than $1.5 trillion in order to produce sufficient interest savings to achieve $1.8 trillion in total savings.

§  To secure $1.5 trillion in entitlement savingsover the next ten years would require draconian policy changes. Policymakers would essentially have three choices: 1) cut Social Security and Medicare benefits heavily forcurrent retirees, something that all budget plans from both parties (including House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan) have ruled out; 2) repeal the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansions while retaining its measures that cut Medicare payments and raise tax revenues, even though Republicans seek to repeal many of those measures as well; or 3) eviscerate the safety net for low-income children, parents, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. There is no other plausible way to get $1.5 trillion in entitlement cuts in the next ten years.

§  The evidence for this conclusion is abundant. 

§  The'Gang of Six' plan, with its very tough and controversial entitlement cuts, contains total entitlement reductions of $640 to $760 billion over the next ten years not counting Social Security, and $755 billion to $875 billion including Social Security. (That's before netting out $300 billion in entitlementcosts that the plan includes for a permanent fix to the scheduled cuts in Medicare physician payments that Congress regularly cancels; with these costs netted out, the Gang of Six entitlement savings come to $455 to $575 billion.)

§  The budget deal between President Obama and Speaker Boehner that fell apart last Friday, which included cuts in Social Security cost-of-living adjustments and Medicare benefits as well as an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, contained total entitlement cuts of $650 billion (under the last Obama offer) to $700 billion (under the last Boehner offer).

§  The Ryan budget that the House passed in April contained no savings in Social Security over the next ten years and $279 billion in Medicare cuts.

"To be sure, the House-passed Ryan budget included much larger overall entitlement cuts over the next 10 years. But that was largely because it eviscerated the safety net and repealed health reform's coverage expansions. The Ryan plan included cuts in Medicaid and health reform of a remarkable $2.2 trillion, from severely slashing Medicaid and killing health reform's coverage expansions. The Ryan plan also included stunning cuts of $127 billion in the SNAP program (formerly known as food stamps) and $126 billion in Pell Grants and other student financial assistance.

"That House Republicans would likely seek to reach the Boehner budget's $1.8 trillion target in substantial part by cutting programs for the poorest and most vulnerable Americans is given strong credence by the 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' bill that the House recently approved. That bill would establish global spending caps and enforce them with across-the-board budget cuts —exemptingMedicare and Social Security from the across-the-board cuts while subjecting programs for the poor to the across-the-board axe. This would turn a quarter century of bipartisan budget legislation on its head; starting with the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law, all federal laws of the last 26 years that have set budget targets enforced by across-the-board cuts have exemptedthe core assistance programs for the poor from those cuts whileincluding Medicare among programs subject to the cuts. This component of the 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' bill strongly suggests that, especially in the face of an approaching election, House Republicans looking for entitlement cuts would heavily target means-tested programs for people of lesser means (and less political power).

"In short, the Boehner plan would force policymakers to choose among cutting the incomes and health benefits of ordinary retirees, repealing the guts of health reform and leaving an estimated 34 million more Americans uninsured, and savaging the safety net for the poor. It would do so even as it shielded all tax breaks, including the many lucrative tax breaks for the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and corporations.

"President Obama has said that, while we must reduce looming deficits, we must take a balanced approach. The Boehner proposal badly fails this test of basic decency. The President should veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Congress should find a fairer, more decent way to avoid a default."

View the full statement: 2pp.


Shannon Spillane
Deputy Director of Communications
for Strategic Initiatives
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
820 First Street, NE, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002



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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Defend Abortion Rights. Support Dr. Carhart!

NOW Action Alert

Defend Abortion Rights. Support Dr. Carhart!

take action

Anti-abortion rights terrorists are coming to the Washington, D.C. metro area to besiege the clinic of heroic abortion provider Dr. LeRoy Carhart this Saturday, July 30, through Sunday, August 7. We need as many NOW activists and allies as possible to stand proudly and peacefully for women's fundamental right to choose abortion as part of the Summer Celebration of Choice.

Here's how you can help:

  1. Attend a peaceful presence training.
    Our allies at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice are sponsoring two peaceful presence trainings: Tuesday, July 26, at 6:30pm at 1901 L Street, NW, Suite 300 in Washington, D.C. and Sunday, July 31, at 4:00pm at the Marriot Courtyard Washingtonian Center in Salon C, 204 Broadwalk Place, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. If you would like to attend training, please send an RVSP to NOW Field Organizer Anita Lederer at
  2. Sign up to work some shifts outside Dr. Carhart's clinic in Germantown, MD.
    During the entire week, activists will be needed from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. outside of Dr. Carhart's clinic, located at 13233 Executive Park Drive in Germantown, Maryland. These shifts will kick off with the Summer Celebration of Choice Kick-Off Walk on Sunday, July 31 and continue through the evening of Sunday, August 7. To sign up for a shift, please go to or contact NOW Field Organizer Anita Lederer at
    Have a car? We would love anyone who has a car and is willing to carpool activists to please contact the NOW's Field Organizer Anita Lederer at Anita is also available to help you with directions and other questions you may have.
    Bring water and snacks to every shift. We also encourage you to be friendly and buy local for your meals – local businesses in Germantown have been dealing with a steady load of anti-abortion rights protesters.
  3. Join NOW and allies on Capitol Hill.
    On Thursday, August 4 at 11:45 a.m. NOW and allies will have a press conference sponsored by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) on Capitol Hill in support of abortion rights. Plan to join us in the House Triangle.

Questions? Contact Anita Lederer, NOW Field Organizer at or 202-628-8669 x134.

take action and then donate

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Monday, July 25, 2011

EMERGENCY: Stop Cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid -- and a Disastrous Debt Deal!

National Organization for Women


TODAY: Email and Phone Congress to Stop Social Security Cuts (Click to find your elected officials)

TUESDAY, July 26, NOON (local time): "Don't Destroy the American Dream"
Protests at Every Congressional Office


July 25, 2011

Dear NOW Leaders,

We are living in unprecedented and scary times. Negotiations over raising the debt ceiling collapsed over the weekend and the country is coming close to defaulting on its financial obligations. Conservatives in Congress are refusing to agree to lift the debt ceiling unless drastic cuts are made in federal spending, including those programs that disproportionately serve and employ women.

We are concerned that programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be slashed.

Why? In order to protect huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and for companies making record profits, many of which are shipping U.S. jobs overseas.

Things are happening so fast that it is hard to keep up, but we know one thing for sure: Our allies in Congress must hear us loud and clear. Please send your message of opposition to cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and essential services. Call or email your Senators and Representative and recruit your friends, family and neighbors to attend rallies taking place in many Congressional districts.

See NOW's press release from last Friday, Debt Deal Could Disproportionately Harm Women, and to follow events visit The Hill.

To stop this madness we are asking you to do two things in the next few days:

TODAY, Call and email your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to stop cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and essential services. (Click to find your elected officials.)

TOMORROW, Tuesday, July 26, noon local time, protest at the district office of your U.S. House Representative (click here to find your Representative's local offices).

  • Demand that Republicans in Congress stop holding the United States and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid hostage to protect tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.
  • Show your full support for the Democrats who've stood up in defense of vital programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

What to Say in Your Email to Congress

Subject: Stop Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Cuts and a Disastrous Debt Deal

Dear [Insert your Rep. here],

I am writing to let you know that I am opposed to Congress considering a budget deal that would cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and essential programs, such as family planning, food stamps, prenatal care and dozens of other domestic programs, while letting the wealthy and corporations off the hook from paying their fair share.

These programs should not be raided and used as a piggybank to continue lower tax rates for the wealthy and tax breaks for corporations. Social Security and Medicare belong to people like me who contribute to it – not to politicians in Washington. And virtually all of the programs threatened with cuts disproportionately employ and serve women.

I will be watching how you vote on this absolutely critical issue.

[insert your name]

Phone Script

Please call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators TODAY

Tell them:
Social Security did not cause the deficit and should not be cut as part of a budget deal. Essential programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security should not be raided and used as a piggybank to continue tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. These vital programs provide important benefits to women, seniors, children as well as low- and middle-income families.


© 2011 National Organization for Women

Support NOW's Work

Friday, July 22, 2011

Debt Deal Could Disproportionately Harm Women

NOW Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Latoya Veal, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

Debt Deal Could Disproportionately Harm Women
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill

July 22, 2011

The National Organization for Women is concerned that President Obama is about to agree to a deficit reduction package that disproportionately harms women -- without even bothering to consult with women leaders in Congress.

Rumors indicate that a deficit reduction deal is being finalized that will slash trillions over 10 years in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in addition to cuts to family planning, prenatal care, food stamps, women/infant nutrition, student loans, child care subsidies and dozens other important domestic programs -- while extending tax cuts for the rich.

Women will not be the only ones who lose out as a result of a so-called "grand bargain" that trades away the economic security of seniors, children, people of color, persons with disabilities and millions of low-income families in exchange for continued tax breaks for the wealthiest. Elected officials, including the president and Democrats, who have claimed to embrace the values represented by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, will surely lose out as well.

The 11th hour budget negotiations reportedly include agreements on a variety of changes to critical programs, such as a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) change that would reduce Social Security benefits across the board, dramatically cutting benefits for the oldest seniors -- who are mostly women. This reduction in Social Security income would most egregiously harm persons with disabilities who often depend exclusively on their Disability Income check.

Most reprehensible are reports of reductions in federal funding of Medicaid, placing more of the burden on states that are already experiencing extreme fiscal challenges. Deep cuts would result in the closing of literally thousands of nursing homes around the country, as Medicaid is a key funder of those facilities. Women are 76 percent of nursing home residents and are the overwhelming majority of nursing home staff. Medicaid is also the largest government program providing reproductive health care for women. More than one in seven persons receive health care through Medicaid and more than eight in 10 children (about 2.9 million) with autism, cancer and other special health care needs rely on Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program as a primary source of coverage.

NOW has long insisted that any deficit reduction plan must require corporations and multi-millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes. I hope that President Obama will do the right thing -- which the vast majority of people in this country support -- leave Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other essential programs alone and out of the debt deal.


URGENT: Bad deal imminent for women & the poor

Looks like a terrible deal is taking shape on the debt ceiling. Can you call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and urge them to stand strong against any deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, and any deal without real revenue increases?

Senator Charles Schumer
Phone: 202-224-6542

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Phone: 202-224-4451

Report Your Call!

If you've been tuning out the fight in Washington over the "debt ceiling," it's time to tune in. Right now. 

The New York Times reports that President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are close to reaching a secret agreement that includes deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but have no immediate plan to make millionaires and corporations pay their fair share.1, 2

This is an absolutely critical moment for MoveOn members to make an impact.

Democratic Leaders in Congress—including Minority Leader Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid—have consistently said that a lopsided deal like this is a non-starter.3 But if a backroom deal is reached, they'll be under extraordinary pressure to go along. They need to hear loud and clear from their donors, volunteers, and voters that such a deal would be completely unacceptable.

Things are moving very quickly right now, so we're joining other key progressive groups for today's Emergency Call-In Day to Demand They Stand Strong. Democrats in Congress need to hear that if they stand firm against any debt ceiling deal that goes after the elderly and poor, we'll have their backs.

Will you call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and ask them to make clear that they will not vote for a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits or a deal that doesn't make corporations and the rich pay their fair share?

Senator Charles Schumer
Phone: 202-224-6542

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Phone: 202-224-4451

Then, click here to report your call.

Current reports suggest that the deal that's being negotiated may trade deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare for an end to the Bush tax breaks for the rich.4 But here's the thing: those tax cuts are already scheduled to expire. There's no need to make a deal including severe cuts in order to end them.

Even more upsetting: the change President Obama is reportedly offering to Social Security would cut already-meager benefits by almost 10% for millions of Americans.5 But this is totally unnecessary: simply asking the rich to pay payroll taxes on all their income, like middle class folks and poor folks already do, could make Social Security solvent without cutting benefits.

The president doesn't need to give in to Republicans' hostage-taking. Congressional Republicans are beginning to feel the pressure from their rich donors to find a compromise to lift the debt ceiling, even if they don't get the huge cuts they're looking for. If we can get congressional Democrats to stand strong, we can force a better deal, one that protects Social Security and Medicare and does more to ensure that corporations and millionaires pay their fair share.

We can't let the White House cave to their demands now.

Time is critical. That's why it is so urgent that you call Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand right now. Tell them to tell the White House: no deals with deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and no deals without real revenue increases.

Senator Charles Schumer
Phone: 202-224-6542

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Phone: 202-224-4451

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

Thanks for all you do.

Justin, Elena, Daniel, Julia, and the rest of the team


1. "Boehner and Obama Nearing Deal on Cuts and Taxes," The New York Times, July 21, 2011

2. "McConnell-Reid Debt Deal Close To Being Scrapped, Larger Package Reportedly In Reach," The Huffington Post, July 21, 2011

3. "Senate Democrats: We Will Not Let GOP Cut Medicare," The Huffington Post, June 14, 2011

4. "Boehner and Obama Nearing Deal on Cuts and Taxes," The New York Times, July 21, 2011

5. "Ripping off needy seniors through the 'chained CPI,'" The Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rape is rape

In a recent speech at the University of New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden recounted the story of a college freshman he called Jenny.

Jenny was raped after a party on campus. She tried to pursue a case against her rapist only to be asked if she had been drinking, what she was wearing, and whether she was dancing. The university never took action against her assailant.

As Biden said, "Rape is rape is rape."

Yet each year the FBI omits hundreds of thousands of rapes from its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) because it’s using an 80-year-old definition of rape.

The FBI’s outdated definition of rape is limited to "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will."

Sign the petition to tell the FBI to update their definition to include all forms of rape.

The FBI’s flawed definition of rape excludes any form of sexual assault that falls outside of the narrowest understanding of heterosexual sex, including the rape of men and boys as well as transgender people.

The emphasis on "forcible" rape also means that the rape or assault of women with physical or mental disabilities and those who were unconscious or under the influence of drugs and alcohol – like Jenny -- are often excluded.

The FBI’s 2007 Uniform Crime Report listed 91,874 "forcible rapes," but some estimates suggest the actual number may be 24 times higher.

The FBI's underreporting of rapes translates to less federal funding for police departments nationwide to test rape kits -- and fewer investigators bringing rapists to justice.

Sign here to tell the FBI to update its definition of rape to address and end sexual assault:

Thanks for taking action,

- Shelby and the team

Breaking: Big step forward for no-cost birth control

Dear Maddalena,

Women are one step closer to having birth control covered at no cost.

Medical experts agree: birth control is prevention.

Let's make this policy a reality.
Sign our petition today!

Women are so close to no longer having to spend money on copays at the pharmacy counter.

But we haven't crossed the finish line yet. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) soon will decide whether to turn this recommendation into law and require insurance plans to cover a full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptives as part of health-care reform.

Sign our petition to HHS today in support of no-cost birth control.

For women who can't afford rent or groceries, paying for birth control is just out of the question. Covering birth control at no cost means that women won't have to choose between paying bills and skipping a month or two of their contraception.

The good news is that today's recommendation shows that science and medical experts are on our side. After months of research and debate, experts concluded that, yes, birth control is prevention.

Let's show HHS that Americans agree. Sign our petition right now.

Improving women's access to birth control is positive in so many ways. A woman who can plan when to have a family is able to participate in society more fully. Allowing women to plan and space their pregnancies contributes to healthy childbearing. And ultimately, fewer unintended pregnancies can reduce the need for abortion.

Unfortunately, some anti-choice groups don't share our views. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops even said that birth control is not health care, but a "lifestyle choice."1

Our opponents are just flat-out wrong. Birth control is nearly universal: 98 percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives.

Medical experts agree that women need birth control for prevention, and that it should be available to every woman, regardless of how much money she earns.

Add your support to this monumental step forward for women. Sign our petition today.

Thanks for supporting women's access to birth control.

My best,

Nancy Keenan

Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America

1 - "Contraception Could Be Free Under Health Law," Associated Press, October 31, 2010

NOW News & Action Summary: Anti-Abortion Rights Terrorism, 2012 Federal Budget, #RPR2012, Conference Resolutions

NOW News and Action Summary

National Organization for Women:
News & Action Summary

JULY 19, 2011


Anti-Abortion Rights Terrorism Is Coming. Will You Help?

keep abortion legal NOW round

Domestic terrorist group Operation Rescue/Operation Save America is staging another national mobilization against abortion rights in Orlando July 16 through July 23. Join NOW activists and allies to stand proudly and peacefully for women's fundamental right to choose abortion. Take action!

The Federal Budget is A Feminist Issue: A Toolkit for Chapters and Activists

We need to act now! The budget negotiations are ongoing, and the economic safety net for women is at stake. Read more about the tools you will need to be effective in this critical campaign. Take action!

Respect, Protect, Reject 2012

RPR logo

Join us in calling for Congress to RESPECT women, PROTECT Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and REJECT any budget plans that threaten the economic security of women. Take action!

Senate Testimony Urges Improvements in Violence Against Women Programs (PDF)

NOW President Terry O'Neill submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 13, urging that work to prevent violence and assist survivors be taken to a higher level. Numerous battered women and their children are turned away from shelters and programs due to woefully inadequate funding. NOW's testimony included recommendations by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Rashida Manjoo Esq. Read more »

NOW Congratulates NOW/PAC-endorsed candidate Janice Hahn on Run-Off Victory

Janice Hahn photo

Hahn (D) emphatically defeated Tea Party darling Craig Huey (R) in a run-off election in California's 36th District on July 12. "Hahn will be a champion for women and girls in Congress, and NOW looks forward to working with her" said NOW President Terry O'Neill. Read more »

Leaders Call for Budget Deal to Address Needs of Women

On July 12, NCWO delivered a letter to Congress demanding a budget deal with NO cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) joined prominent leaders from NCWO on a press call launching the nationwide campaign Respect, Protect, Reject 2012. Read more »

Victory for Public Interest in Court Decision

The 3rd Circuit Court reached a decision in the long-standing media ownership appeal brought by the Institute for Public Representation, siding with IPR and the groups that had joined in bringing the case, including the NOW Foundation. Read more »

Take Action NOW! Tell the President to Reconsider Bad Deal

Congressional Republicans are already on record supporting the destruction of Medicare and Medicaid as well as accelerated cuts to Social Security benefits. We must stop President Obama from conceding to their unreasonable demands! Take action!

Leaders of Women's Organizations Urge President and Congress to Protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

The co-chairs of the Older Women's Economic Security Task Force are calling on President Obama and Congress not to agree to benefit cuts. OWES is instead demanding more jobs for women and men alike and that the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share. Read more »

In Memoriam: Inéz Casiano

NOW mourns the loss of one of its founding members and a truly inspiring woman, Inéz Casiano, who passed away on June 28, 2011. Casiano was a member of the first National Board of NOW, elected in October 1966. Read more »

Conference Spotlight

NOW's 2011 National Conference in Tampa was a smashing success!

If you attended the conference, remember to fill out the evaluation survey so next year's conference can be even better.

Check out videos of conference speakers and honorees, and stay tuned for additional photos!

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore

Kattie Makkai
Katie Makkai

Conference Resolutions: NOW Sets Agenda on Critical Issues

NOW 2011 conference logo

At the 2011 National NOW Conference, delegates passed 13 resolutions calling for benefit improvements in Social Security, the adoption of "Medicare for all," the designation of reproductive rights as enforceable civil rights, and much more. Read more »

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