FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2016
NARAL Pro-Choice America has launched a campaign to pressure Congress to repeal the gag rule that prohibits AmeriCorps volunteers from referring women for abortion care. The campaign was launched in response to recent news that AmeriCorps volunteers from the National Association of Community Health Centers have been serving as clinic escorts in New York City.
“Banning AmeriCorps volunteers from referring women for abortion services is yet another abhorrent example of unfair targeting of low-income women,” said Sasha Bruce, NARAL Senior Vice President. “This rule is just one in a series of discriminatory policies, like the Hyde amendment or TRAP laws, that target low-income women from accessing abortion care. Low-income women and women of color shouldn’t be getting worse treatment and less information than anyone else when it comes to their medical decisions. It’s time for the rule to be repealed so AmeriCorps volunteers can help women get the care they need.”
The campaign will organize thousands of NARAL members to directly petition Congress for a change to this discriminatory policy. NARAL has also taken out paid advertising on Facebook and is engaging with members on Twitter to raise awareness of this issue.
Read more about the NARAL campaign from The Hill below:
A leading abortion rights group is defending AmeriCorps after a half-dozen of the service program’s workers violated federal laws by helping women seeking abortions.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is launching a national campaign to repeal the so-called gag rule that prevents service-oriented groups, including AmeriCorps, from promoting or supporting abortions in any way.
“Banning Americorps volunteers from referring women for abortion services is yet another abhorrent example of this unfair targeting of low-income women,” NARAL Vice President Sasha Bruce wrote in a letter to supporters, provided to The Hill.
The group is organizing a petition to Congress, which it will promote in letters to supporters as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
AmeriCorps has been under scrutiny this week after a federal investigation found one of the program’s biggest partners, the National Association of Community Health Centers, had been using its funds to escort women to abortion clinics.
NARAL’s campaign is the first response from abortion rights supporters following the investigation, which was first reported by The Hill late Monday.
The misuse of the funding has sparked an outcry from Republicans in Congress.
Senior lawmakers, including Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), have condemned AmeriCorps and its partners for the “shameful failure of trust.”
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who oversees health funding on the House Appropriations Committee, also called for a national investigation into AmeriCorps and its grant partners.