PP Applauds Patty Murray for Leadership on Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Groups Applaud Senator Patty Murray for Leadership on Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

Seattle, WA – Planned Parenthood’s local and national advocacy groups released the following statements today applauding Senator Patty Murray for her leadership on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which passed with bipartisan support in the U.S Senate.

“We applaud Senator Murray for her leadership on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to expand critical services and support for survivors of human trafficking,” said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “These women and girls have been through unspeakable trauma and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We continue to support efforts to support survivors of human trafficking and to ensure they have access to the full range of reproductive health care services.”

“We thank Senator Murray for her leadership on this issue and for standing strong against efforts to expand abortion restrictions, which would have hurt the very women the law was intended to protect,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “We look forward to working with Senator Murray on future efforts to ensure all women in Washington and across the country have access to the full range of reproductive health care services, without politicians getting in the way.”

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First Annual Anchorage Signature Event – An Evening with Wendy Davis

Join us for an evening with women’s health advocate Wendy Davis!

The former Texas State Senator made waves across the nation with her 13 hour filibuster to kill a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to critical healthcare services in her state.

After a courageous 2014 gubernatorial bid, Wendy joins us to ask, “What challenges will women meet in 2015, and how will we fight back?” We invite you to stand with Wendy and women’s rights activists across the state of Alaska, to support the crucial work of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

At the Women’s Health Advocate, Partner, or Champion level, become a sponsor! Ad space available for businesses upon request, and sponsorships include an invitation to a VIP reception.

We invite you to stand with Wendy, and women’s rights activists across the state, to support the crucial work of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest!

We would like to thank the “Bring Wendy Up” Sponsors! There are still Sponsorship opportunities available. For more information about becoming a Sponsor visit the event page.

Cammy and Scott Taylor

Connie and Kerry Ozer

Mike & Diane Moxness

Polar Pediatrics and Dr. Monique Karaganis
Paid for and authorized by Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest 4050 Lake Otis Pkwy, Ste 205 Anchorage, AK 99508.

Contributions to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest are not tax deductible as a charitable donation or business expense and may be used for political purposes, such as opposing or supporting state and local candidates. Make a gift today and become a member of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, $10 of your gift qualifies you for a special annual membership in Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

AK: Students at Risk of Being Denied Sexual Health Education

Alaska Students at Risk of Being Denied Necessary Sexual and Reproductive Health Education

Legislators Target Planned Parenthood with Extreme Proposal to End Certain Sexual Health Education Programs

Juneau — This week, the State Senate Education Committee voted to approve an amendment that would prohibit Planned Parenthood from providing any sexual health education in Alaska public schools. This extreme proposal is specifically targeted at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaii (PPGNH), the largest nonprofit organization in the state of Alaska focused on sexual and reproductive health education.

The amendment is to Senate Bill 89, legislation that was already harmful and would likely have had dangerous unintended consequences like limiting students’ access to reproductive health education and sexual assault awareness and prevention information. Now, with this amendment, the consequences have become intentional. If SB 89 is signed into law as it currently stands, students across Alaska could go without the education they need.

“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider of sexual health education in Alaska for over 20 years. Countless women, men, and teens have turned to us to provide nonjudgmental, unbiased, medically accurate information and education on reproductive health and relationships,” said Jessica Cler, Alaska Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

“Those facts are apparently irrelevant to certain legislators who are so blinded by their hatred of Planned Parenthood that they will put the health of Alaska youth at risk. We fill an important gap left by the state’s inaction on ensuring students have access to the information they need to make educated decisions about relationships and sex. Until the state steps up in providing medically accurate sexual health education to all students, communities rely on us to provide that information. Legislators are playing politics and putting Alaska students at risk.”

Alaska continually leads the nation on rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including being the first for rates of chlamydia infection. 15-19 year olds contract chlamydia at a rate three times higher than other people in the state. Additionally, Alaska’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the national average, and child sexual abuse rates in Alaska are six times higher than the national average. These and other figures underscore the true need for comprehensive sexual health education like the programs provided by PPGNH.

PPGNH provides unbiased, medically accurate, comprehensive sexual health education across Alaska. When invited, educators work closely with some schools, community organizations, and other social service agencies to provide a variety of education opportunities tailored for the needs of each individual community. Educators focus on healthy relationships, consent, and pregnancy and STI prevention, and all programs are thoroughly vetted and reviewed for medical accuracy.

Planned Parenthood education programs are not only accepted and solicited in Alaska and states across the country, but they are proven to be effective as well. A 2014 study in the Journal of School Health examined one of Planned Parenthood’s three-year middle school prevention programs. The results showed that 16 percent fewer boys and 15 percent fewer girls had sex in the schools that used Planned Parenthood education programs versus schools that did not.

PPGNH also facilitates a Juneau chapter of Teen Council, the peer education program where teens learn about sexual health and how to deliver accurate, appropriate and engaging educational presentations within their community. In March, members of Teen Council received a Spirit of Youth Award for “Service to Peers” after making a video “promoting healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and nonviolence.”

The award was covered by KTOO, where one of the Juneau teens spoke about PPGNH’s Teen Council: “Talking about sex or just sexuality topics is really taboo for teenagers. It’s something that growing up we’re taught we shouldn’t be comfortable talking about. So if teenagers see their peers openly talking about healthy relationships and boundaries and stuff, it might show them that it’s not weird to be comfortable with it.” 

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WA: Women’s Health Advocacy Groups Applaud House Passage of Reproductive Health Act

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington
Legal Voice
Surge Northwest

Women’s Health Advocacy Groups Applaud House Passage of Reproductive Health Act 

Proactive and commonsense HB 1647 ensures comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive health

OLYMPIA, WA — Today the Washington State House of Representatives voted to approve the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), legislation to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for the full range of reproductive health services for both women and men. HB 1647 includes provisions for affordable and equitable access to the full range of birth control options, recommendations to the legislature on reducing health disparities, and a requirement that insurance companies that cover maternity care must also cover abortion care. The House voted 51-46-1 to approve the bill, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“We urge the Senate to quickly take up the Reproductive Health Act. Washington women are depending on it. Only the RHA ensures that women have the ability to make the health care decisions that are best for themselves and their families,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “We applaud the House for passing the RHA and partnering with women to address the real reproductive health issues facing Washington.”

Key provisions of the Reproductive Health Act include access to all FDA-approved birth control methods for people insured through state-regulated plans, and making progress towards reducing disparities in reproductive health care. The legislation also includes a provision requiring insurance companies that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care, an essential protection that will leave a woman’s decision about her pregnancy with her and her family, not her insurance plan.

“Equality for women means guaranteed access to free birth control and access to quality, affordable health care—including maternal and pregnancy care, birth control and abortion,” said Rachel Berkson, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “The Washington House has shown leadership in passing bills that will help Washington women and their families thrive. Now we look to the Senate to see whether they will stand with us or stand in our way.”

Low-income women disproportionally face barriers in accessing contraception and timely abortion care. Out-of pocket costs create an impossible financial hardship, so women often aren’t able to make the decisions about their reproductive health they feel is best for them.

“As other states across the country add yet more roadblocks to women’s access to reproductive health services and coverage, we applaud Washington legislators for working instead to ensure that all women in this state have meaningful access to contraceptive and pregnancy care, including abortion,” said Janet Chung, Legal & Legislative Counsel at Legal Voice.  “Access to reproductive health coverage, without cost-sharing or co-pays, is critical so every woman can determine for herself whether and when to become a parent.”

Despite our state’s strong reputation as a nationwide leader on expanding access to abortion and birth control, for the first time in years the future of health care for women and families in Washington is uncertain. It is clear there is still more work to be done. In October, the Alliance for a Just Society gave Washington a C+ rating on their Women’s Health Report Card. Additionally, just last month the Senate Law & Justice Committee voted to advance a bill that would require parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion, harmful legislation that would put teens at risk.

“Whether a woman is choosing when to grow her family, accessing pregnancy care or having regular check-ups for reproductive health – it is important to have access to healthcare that is high quality, easy to access and affordable,” said Kirsten Harris-Talley, board member of Surge Northwest. “Washington State has long stood with women and their families so they and their communities can thrive – we need to see the Senate take that stand today and vote to pass the Reproductive Health Act.”

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PPVNW Statement on HB 154 and Vito Barbieri’s Ridiculous Comments

Planned Parenthood Statement on HB 154 Passage and Vito Barbieri’s Ridiculous Comments (Audio Link Below)

Boise, ID — Today, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee held a hearing on HB 154 before voting to advance it on a party line vote. The legislation contains restrictive regulation on medication abortion. During the hearing, committee member Rep. Vito Barbieri raised eyebrows when he, according to the AP, “received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.”

In response, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest issued this statement from Idaho Legislative Director Hannah Brass Greer:

“Today’s comments demonstrate exactly why politicians should not be in the business of making medical decisions. In Idaho and across the country, women deserve the freedom and privacy to make the private decisions that are best for themselves and their families.  We already knew that these politicians are only interested in restricting access to essential medical services, and after today we can confirm they don’t even have the most basic knowledge of the human body to have an informed opinion. Women deserve better leadership from our elected officials.”

** Link to audio of the exchange between Rep. Barbieri and Dr. Julie Madsen: http://youtu.be/PXxPfNHp37g **

TRANSCRIPT:

Barbieri: You mentioned the risk of colonoscopy, can that be done by drugs?

Madsen: Mr. Chairman, Representative Barbieri – it cannot be done by drugs. It can however be done remotely, where you swallow a pill and this pill has a little camera and it makes its way through your intestines, and those images are uploaded to a doctor who is often thousands of miles away who then interprets that.

Barbieri: Follow up – can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is–

Madsen: Mr. Chairman and Representative – it cannot be done in pregnancy, simply because when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina.

Barbieri: Fascinating, that certainly makes sense, Doctor.

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18th Annual PPVNW Luncheon in Seattle

It has been a hard year for women’s rights advocates across the nation.

Since the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision, politicians have tripped over each other in the race to praise the Supreme Court’s decision that a woman’s health can be decided by her employer. With one court decision, the landscape of women’s health has been severely altered. The State Senate majority is newly emboldened to silence those who fight for justice in reproductive health.

We’ve faced an anti-women’s health majority before, and we refuse to let this one continue to bully our state back to the stone age on women’s rights.

Join us Wednesday, May 6th, in welcoming women’s health advocate Wendy Davis. The former Texas State Senator made waves across the nation with her 13 hour filibuster to kill a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to critical healthcare services in her state. After a courageous 2014 gubernatorial bid, Wendy joins us to ask: what challenges will women meet in 2015, and how will we fight back?

We invite you to stand with Wendy, and women’s rights activists across the state, to support the crucial work of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest!

Paid for and authorized by Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, 2001 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98122.

Contributions to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest are not tax deductible as a charitable donation or business expense and may be used for political purposes, such as opposing or supporting state and local candidates. Make a gift today and become a member of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, $10 of your gift qualifies you for a special annual membership in Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

WA: Senate Majority Holds Hearing to Restrict Abortion Access

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Monday, February 2, 2015

New Senate Majority Wastes No Time; Quickly Schedules Hearing to Restrict Abortion Access

Olympia, WA — Following Congress’ lead on prioritizing cutting access to reproductive health before actually governing, the anti-women’s health State Senate majority has scheduled a hearing on legislation to restrict access to abortion. SB 5289 is an incredibly harmful bill that would require parental notification before a minor can seek an abortion.

“SB 5289 is a solution in search of a problem. Most teens already involve their parents in their pregnancy decisions, but some just can’t. In the real world, some teens are from homes with abuse or addiction, and forcing those teens to notify their parents could put them in danger,” said Jennifer Allen, Director of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “Instead of looking for ways to legislate family communication, our lawmakers should be addressing the real reproductive health issues facing Washington women and families, like access to highly effective birth control. SB 5289 has no place in Washington.”

This new push to restrict women’s essential reproductive decisions comes soon after the 2014 election, when many politicians assured voters of their focus on other priorities. Senator Steve O’Ban, Vice-Chair of the Law and Justice Committee, said in October that voters “aren’t concerned with issues such as abortion” or birth control access. Back then, he said that his constituents were “mainly worried” about the economy and job growth.

“The reality is that reproductive freedom is an economic issue,” said Rachel Berkson, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “By delaying teens’ access to abortion care, these laws just push them to have to seek more costly and invasive procedures later in their pregnancy. This is just another way anti-choice lawmakers are trying to impose barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care on the most vulnerable among us.”

Washington teen pregnancy and abortion rates are the lowest they have been in recent years—the rates have dropped by half since 2003. SB 5289 distracts our state from proven strategies that prevent teen pregnancy and abortion, like providing comprehensive, fact-based sex education and confidential access to contraceptive services.

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Not Giving Up the Fight in Idaho

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Thursday, January 29, 2015

After Disappointing Vote to Continue LGBT Discrimination, Activists Vow to Continue the Fight

Boise, ID — This morning, the House State Affairs Committee voted 13-4 to block HB 2 from advancing, legislation to add “sexual orientation” and “gender discrimination” as protected groups in the Idaho Human Rights Act. Currently LGBT Idahoans have no protections from discrimination under state law, including when seeking employment or housing.

Until now, the Idaho legislature had blocked Add the Words from even receiving a hearing for nine straight years. This week the committee heard over 20 hours of testimony, with a strong majority coming from those supporting the bill. According to the Statesman, 134 spoke in favor compared to just 54 against.

Statement from Hannah Brass Greer, Idaho Legislative Director & Public Affairs Manager:

“After nine years the legislature finally held a hearing and heard over 20 hours of testimony from 134 people who told powerful stories not only of discrimination, but also of living in fear every single day.  The committee heard from people who want to be given the opportunity to make a living, raise their families and live without fear in the state they love, just like everyone else.  Unfortunately, when the majority of this committee voted no this morning, they were telling all of the people who came here to testify and the thousands more outside of this building and across the state that discrimination is allowed.

This is not the end. We will not stop fighting until Add the Words becomes law and our state protects all people from discrimination. Whether it takes one year or nine more years, we’re not giving up.”

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Legislative Sessions Beginning in All Three States

2015 legislative sessions are beginning in Washington, Alaska, and Idaho this month. In all three states, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest will be working to pass a comprehensive set of legislation that fights for reproductive health, rights, and justice, including protecting access to abortion and birth control.

PPVNW volunteers, board members, and staff will also be monitoring bills proposed by anti-women’s health politicians that seek to interfere in the personal medical decisions that are made between a woman and her doctor. Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute’s annual legislative report found that nationwide, “During the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. By the end of the year, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections.”

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest is determined to continue the fight in Alaska, Idaho, and Washington and ensure women’s health and reproductive rights are protected. We will continue to make sure that politicians in all three states are held accountable for their promises and actions as fight to protect reproductive health, rights, and justice.

If you agree, add your name here and join us as a champion for women and families in 2015 and beyond!