Tag Archives: pro-choice

The Hypocrisy of a 20 Week Ban

by Joanna Blotner
RCRC Public Policy Manager

I am proud of the rich theology of my Jewish faith which has for millennia firmly stood in solidarity with a woman who faces a problem pregnancy, valuing her health, inherent dignity, and physical and mental well being above all else. Like most Americans, I believe that it is critically important for a woman to have access to safe, legal, affordable and compassionate abortion care. I further believe that my faith requires me to work to preserve and expand access to this care, standing in solidarity with all women and families facing difficult emotional and economic circumstances surrounding a pregnancy at any stage.

This is why I am so deeply disturbed by the actions of so many Members of Congress seeking to ban access to abortion care and services after 20 weeks gestation – a time at which no woman makes the decision to end a pregnancy lightly.

Proponents of H.R.1797, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” prioritize the potential life of a fetus over that of a woman, a position almost always in in conflict with centuries of established Jewish law. No woman should be forced to give birth against her will. This is an unconscionable burden to ask of a woman – particularly if she has been informed late in her pregnancy that the fetus she carries is not viable and that continuing the pregnancy will pose a risk to her health, as was the case of a dear friend of mine a few years ago.

It is telling that Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) did not make even a single reference to a woman, her family, or her situation in a press release announcing that he would be expanding the focus of H.R.1797 from the District of Columbia to a nationwide ban. It is also deeply ironic that of the 185 cosponsors of this legislation, only 56 voted to alleviate harm and pain to women and families by helping pass the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year. In 2009, when presented with the opportunity to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program and support children experiencing pain due to illness or injury, of those cosponsors in Congress at the time, 81% chose to DENY protection and care to those children in need. VAWA and CHIP are the types of policies that affirm, value, protect and support healthy families; these are the types of policies rejected by H.R.1797’s supporters. The hypocrisy is glaring – and shameful.

Congressman Franks and his allies supporting this bill, like all Americans, are free to have and share their own religious beliefs about issues related to pregnancy and parenting. Liberty is an American value. However, we must not fool ourselves into thinking this bill seeks to protect women, children or families, as its supporters claim. H.R. 1797 is a clear attempt to impose one extreme and uncompromising religious belief about abortion on the whole nation, without taking into consideration the often complex circumstances in which the decision to end a pregnancy is being made. It is a gross violation of Constitutionally protected liberties and religious freedom.

H.R. 1797 privileges the pain that a fetus might feel over the physical pain and mental anguish a woman has in making the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. That decision, no matter the stage of the pregnancy, should be left to a woman in consultation with her family, her doctor, and her faith – not politicians bent on forcing a narrow religious view on all Americans.

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Emergency Contraception Ruling: Justice Over Politics

Nicole Miller
RCRC Intern

As a young person just starting to explore my own role in the political process, I can tell you that most of what I see regarding my own rights as a women is completely disheartening. I want to vote for and support the people that I think will be good for the economy and advocate for the issues I care about, yet again and again the challenge I confront is a candidate’s stance on my rights as a woman to control decisions regarding my body. Frankly, this shouldn’t have to be a concern for me.  It should be a given that, as a citizen and as a human being, my right to privately make decisions that are best for me, my body and my family are protected. I want to see this issue move out of the ‘political wrestling ring’ and be placed where it belongs: with the individual.

This is why I’m so excited to finally see justice and reason winning out over politics, religious extremism and partisanship as access to emergency contraception is finally – and rightfully – being granted. Thanks to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, the two-pill version of emergency contraception will be available to individuals without proof of age requirements or a prescription. In doing so, the Court of Appeals sided with the historic ruling of US District Court Judge Korman, who ruled that the Administration’s opposition to emergency contraception was “politically motivated and scientifically unjust.” The Court of Appeals unfortunately agreed to the Administration’s request to continue blocking availability of the one-pill version of emergency contraception.

Access is critical, because emergency contraception is most effective when used within 24 hours of birth control failure. Obstacles such as prescriptions and age-restrictions prevent women and their partners from getting emergency contraception in time for it to work best.  While the FDA attempted to compromise on age restrictions by lowering to 15, Judge Korman and the 2nd Circuit court’s ruling recognized that it is ridiculous to assume that most 15 year old women will have valid, legal forms of identification. Additionally, this measure fails to reconcile the issue of women of any age who don’t have identification cards, or who work difficult schedules and are unable to get to a doctor on short notice for a prescription and subsequently to a store during pharmacy hours.  Thankfully, the appeals court ruling recognizes that limiting access to a safe form of birth control that works within a short time limit simply makes no sense. and

This is a tremendous win for all who believe that the government’s role should be to increase—not block—access to safe and effective forms of birth control. Family planning is a moral good and fundamental right that every woman, no matter her age, should be able to control for herself.

Nicole Miller was an intern in our office this month. She attends university in North Carolina and is originally from the DC area.

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