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June 17, 2012

Mayors Take a Bold Stance Against the War on Women

Some of the nation’s leading mayors unite behind a resolution to support women’s health; action builds on momentum from recent victory in North Dakota

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the U.S. Conference of Mayors' passage of a resolution supporting a woman’s ability to consult with her doctor, family, and faith about personal, private medical decisions a sign of true leadership.

This resolution’s leading sponsors included the following mayors: Sam Adams of Portland, Ore.; Michael Bloomberg of New York City; Ed Lee of San Francisco; Mike McGinn of Seattle, Wash.; Pedro E. Segarra of Hartford, Conn.; and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.

“When it comes to reproductive health decisions, nobody knows better than an individual woman what is best for herself and her family,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “New York City is committed to supporting a woman's right to choose and ensuring that all New Yorkers have the information, and access to care, they need to make safe and healthy decisions.”

"San Francisco remains committed to protecting women's rights and making sure that all women are empowered to take charge of their own health," said Mayor Ed Lee. "We are providing access to care through programs like Healthy SF, and we will ensure that the progress made over the last several years is not rolled back. Mayors across the country are rightly focusing on creating jobs and building back our economies to make sure families remain strong."

Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America said passage of the resolution comes on the heels of another win last Tuesday in North Dakota. That state’s voters overwhelmingly rejected an anti-choice ballot initiative, Measure 3, which would have allowed discrimination against women’s health-care services, including contraception and abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America worked with a coalition of allies to defeat this ballot initiative through phone banks and on-the-ground efforts.

“In a political climate with so much hostility toward women’s freedom and privacy, I am thrilled to see more leaders respecting a woman’s ability to make her own decisions regarding her health and privacy,” Keenan said. “These mayors collectively represent millions of Americans in communities where the public-health programs and clinics under attack by members of Congress and state legislators provide basic care for their residents. We are inspired by the mayors who supported this resolution, and we salute them for stepping up in support of women’s freedom and privacy.”

The following is the text of the resolution, which also may be viewed here:


WHEREAS, Americans believe that women should be able to consult with their doctor, family, and faith about personal, private medical decisions; and

WHEREAS, states enacted twice as many anti-choice laws in 2011 as they did in the previous year, including laws that force women who choose abortion care to undergo a forced ultrasound procedure against their will and even if their doctors do not recommend one; and

WHEREAS, eight states since 2010 have enacted laws that ban abortion at 20 weeks, regardless of the women’s situation, without exceptions to protect her health, and in violation of the right to privacy guaranteed under Roe v. Wade; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Title X, the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family-planning and reproductive-health care, and Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care for millions of Americans; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. House of Representatives also passed a bill that could spur the Internal Revenue Service to audit rape survivors who choose abortion care and another bill that would allow hospitals to refuse emergency abortion care to women who could die without it; and

WHEREAS, the debate around women’s access to reproductive-health services, like contraception, has drawn offensive rhetoric; and

WHEREAS, reproductive-health care and the overwhelming majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood health centers is basic health care for women, including cancer screenings and breast exams; and

WHEREAS, for many women with limited incomes, Planned Parenthood clinics are their point of entry into the health care system and their ongoing source of primary care services; and

WHEREAS, if these services disappear, more women are likely to contract diseases that will imperil their lives and lead to highly expensive Medicaid and Medicare bills borne by taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, these programs are essential to reducing rates of unintended pregnancy and preventing the increase of the number of women with cervical and breast cancers who are not diagnosed until the cancers are in the late stages; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress and the states to pursue a positive agenda that reaffirms fundamental rights and improves women’s access to safe and comprehensive reproductive-health care.

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