|“For a woman not to be counted as able to make adequate decisions…medical, spiritual, moral, about her family, about herself, is a denial of a woman’s basic humanity, basic God-given rights.”
Pastor James Lawson, Civil Rights Activist
Did you know…?
This protection didn't last long …
- In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in “Roe vs. Wade” that American women have the constitutional right to choose a safe, legal abortion until fetal viability.
It's not just about abortion:
- In more than 85% of U.S. Counties, there is no abortion provider.
- State legislatures have passed over 400 measures restricting abortion, ranging from outright bans to mandated delays and biased counseling requirements.
- Abortion clinics have suffered more than 90,000 acts of violence and disruption, including 7 murders.
- In more than 30 states, State Medicaid does not fund abortions for poor women, except in cases of life-endangerment, incest and rape.
- Most Catholic hospitals provide neither full reproductive health care nor abortion services. The combined Catholic health system is the largest non-governmental health system in the country and it is growing in strength and size.
- In 18 states women are required by law to delay their abortions up to 24 hours after receiving state-mandated information. Doctors are required to read from a script designed to dissuade women from choosing abortion.
- A bill banning abortions throughout pregnancy passed in the South Dakota Senate and was signed by the Governor. The law contains no exception for rape, incest, or maternal health.
It's also about safe and accurate education:
- Pharmacists can legally refuse to provide birth control in some states.
- In many states, insurance companies cover prescriptions for Viagra, but refuse to cover birth control pills.
- The U.S. Department of Justice guidelines for treating rape victims do not include emergency contraception, the medically approved precaution to prevent pregnancy.
- The FDA, ignoring the recommendations of its own advisory panel, has not made emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter.
- More than 50% of Catholic hospitals do not provide emergency contraception, even to victims of rape.
- With few exceptions, Catholic hospitals do not provide contraceptives, sterilization, or even condoms for AIDS prevention.
It could get even worse.
- Research-based, systematic studies show that Abstinence-Only education:
- Fails to reduce adolescent sexual activity, despite high rates of “virginity pledges".
- May increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases among adolescent “virginity pledgers.”
- May increase adolescent pregnancy rates.
- Despite this evidence, federal funding of Abstinence-Only education has more than doubled in the past four years. The current budget is $167 million; over $200 million is proposed for 2006.
- When schools accept federal Abstinence-Only funding, contraception cannot be mentioned, except to discuss failure rates.
- Abstinence-Only education includes false information:
- About the effectiveness of condoms, exaggerating their failure rates, both as contraception and protection against HIV transmission.
- About abortion, claiming risks that do not exist.
- About transmission of HIV, stating that the virus can be transmitted in sweat and tears.
- That touching another person's genitals can cause pregnancy.
- Abstinence-Only education excludes information about:
- Preventing transmission of HIV using condoms.
- How to select and use birth control.
- Any method (other than abstinence) to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections.
- The importance of annual pap smears for early detection of cervical cancer.
- Abstinence-Only education promotes, as fact, stereotypes that:
- Girls care less about achievement and their futures than do boys.
- Girls are weak and need protection.
- If a single U.S. Supreme Court justice who supports Roe vs. Wade retires and is replaced by an anti-choice judge, opponents of Roe will have a majority on the court.
- Careful legal analysis shows that if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, 18 states are likely to enact abortion bans.
- When abortion was illegal, thousands of women died each year.
- Get involved with a group that supports women's rights.
- Urge elected officials to support women’s rights.
- Give copies of this booklet to five friends.
Resources cited for this booklet:
http://www.tompaine.com (“Whose Conscience?” by Gloria Feldt)
http://www.prochoiceamerica.org (NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation presents…Em & Lo’s Sex Ed for Grownups)
http://www.ppatp.org (Planned Parenthood of Amarillo & the Texas Panhandle)
http://www.guttmacher.org (The Alan Guttmacher Institute,“Second Chance Denied: Emergency Contraception in Catholic Hospital Emergency Rooms” by Catholics for a Free Choice and Ibis Reproductive Health, 2002)
http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov (“The Content of Federally funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs” prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman Dec 2004)
http://www.ucsusa.org (Union of Concerned Scientists)
http://www.naral.org (NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation)
http://www.prochoice.org (National Abortion Federation)
http://www.aclu.org (ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project)
http://www.abortionaccess.org (The Abortion Access Project)
http://www.mergerwatch.org (The Education Fund of Family Planning Advocates)