FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2011
Thousands Gather on Capitol Hill to Stand Up for Women’s HealthPro-Choice Activists from Across the Country Storm Washington D.C. to Stop the War on Women
Washington D.C. - Today, thousands of pro-choice activists from all over country stormed Capitol Hill to send a clear message to anti-choice leaders that the attacks on women's freedom and privacy are unacceptable and must come to an end.
While women's access to preventive health-care hangs in the balance of budget negotiations, activists from NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and more than 20 other leading national organizations united for the Stand Up For Women's Health Rally on Capitol Hill. They came together to stop House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his allies from advancing their unprecedented War on Women.
"The politicians behind the War on Women promised smaller, less intrusive government that focused on creating jobs," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "The truth is John Boehner and his allies are failing to live up to their promises. Instead, they are showing the country their hypocrisy. They want a government that's just small enough to fit inside our bedroom and our medicine cabinets."
While Congress' attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate Title X, the nation's family-planning program, have splashed across headlines, Speaker Boehner and his allies have also advanced extreme proposals that allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it, could subject sexual-assault survivors to audits from the IRS, and increase taxes on small businesses and many individuals in an attempt to end private-insurance coverage of abortion care.
Addressing the crowd on behalf of women's rights were members of the U.S. House and Senate, young women leaders, progressive allies, and pro-choice champions of the entertainment industry.
"John Boehner may have an agenda, but we're here today to show that he does not have a mandate from the American people," Keenan concluded. "The War on Women agenda is out of touch with our country's values and priorities-and we will fight it every step of the way."
List of Speakers
- Nancy Keenan, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
- Leading pro-choice champions of the House and Senate, including Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Diane DeGette (D-Colo.)
- Anthony D. Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union
- Ed Harris, Oscar-nominated star of Apollo 13, Pollack, and The Hours, Golden-Globe winning star of The Truman Show
- Amy Madigan, Oscar-nominated star of Twice in a Lifetime, Golden-Globe winning star of Roe v. Wade, also seen on Grey's Anatomy and Fringe, board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Connie Britton, Emmy-nominated star of Friday Night Lights
- David Eigenberg, star of movies, stage, and television, including Sex and the City, Justified, and Criminal Minds, advocate for Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Planned Parenthood patient who will share her story of the life-saving care she received
- Two younger activists who are pro-choice leaders in their communities
In addition to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America, the following organizations are participating in this grassroots lobby day/rally: American Civil Liberties Union, Alliance for Justice, The American Civil Liberties Union, Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women, Arizona Progress ACTION, Black Women's Health Imperative, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Choice USA, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., DC Vote, EMILY's List, Feminist Majority, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network of Abortion Funds, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, National Women's Political Caucus, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Religious Institute, Sister Song: Women of Color Collective, Sisters Together And Reaching, Inc. (STAR), Union for Reform Judaism, Women's Campaign Forum, Women of Reform Judaism and YWCA.
Background on Policies that Attack Women's Health
This Congress, the anti-choice House leadership has already introduced various pieces of legislation that attack women's health, including: a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood, the elimination of the national family-planning program (Title X), and H.R.3, which would impose tax hikes on individuals and small businesses in an attempt to end private health insurance coverage of abortion care.
Each year, Title X provides five million individuals with family planning, birth control, and lifesaving preventive care that includes cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood health centers, which are the foundation of the national family-planning program, provide millions of additional women with the very same kind of care, as well as HIV testing, STI testing and treatment, annual exams, and other important services that women need, deserve, and have been receiving for decades.
In addition, H.R.3 is a far-reaching piece of legislation that will raise taxes on America's families and small businesses in an effort to end the private insurance coverage of abortion care. Recent expert testimony before Congress highlighted that provisions in H.R.3 would increase taxes on small businesses that provide health insurance that includes coverage of abortion services. During that same hearing, a nonpartisan tax expert confirmed that the bill could subject rape survivors who choose abortion care to audits by the Internal Revenue Service.
Another bill, H.R.358, includes restrictions on private insurance coverage of abortion, as well as a provision that allows hospitals to refuse to provide a woman abortion care even if her life depends on it.
Simply put, the new House majority has launched an all-out legislative assault on women's health and reproductive rights, and Americans from across the country are demanding that Congress reject these extreme efforts and focus on jobs and the economy.