Murkowski and Sullivan Cast Extreme Vote

Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan Cast Extreme Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood

Murkowski disappoints Alaska women

Anchorage — Today, by a vote of 53-46, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would have blocked Alaska women and thousands more across the country from receiving preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers. Among the Senators who voted to defund Planned Parenthood were Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. Murkowski’s vote is particularly disappointing, as she previously supported Planned Parenthood funding in 2011.

The vote comes after a relentless, coordinated smear campaign by anti-abortion extremists to dismantle by any means necessary the nonprofit reproductive health care provider and the lifesaving services it provides.

Statement from Jessica Cler, Alaska Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii:

“Despite Senator Murkowski and Sullivan voting for this extreme measure, the Senate stood with the majority of voters who oppose this bill that would have cut women off from basic health care. People in Alaska and across the country have seen it for what it is — a political attack on women by a group of out-of-touch politicians. The elected officials behind this bill should listen to the public and the medical community. Medical experts not only assert that Planned Parenthood provides high-quality reproductive health care, but that unequivocally, other providers would not be able to fill the gap, with women losing access to care as a result.

“While Senator Sullivan’s vote is not surprising, Alaska women are extremely disappointed in Senator Murkowski’s vote which allows government to restrict access to health care for Alaska women. Women and families in Alaska have trusted Senator Murkowski to show sensible leadership on essential health care services, but today, it appears that trust has been misplaced.

“We already know how far some in the GOP will go in their quest to end safe and legal abortion — allying themselves with a group associated with the most extreme wing of the anti-abortion movement, obstructing funding for breast cancer research, and politicizing a bill to help wounded veterans start a family. We know that this won’t be the last time Congress attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, with some already threatening a government shutdown in order to block millions from getting basic health care.

“Next time, rather than listening to their extremist allies, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan should listen to the people of Alaska, who strongly oppose these attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care.”

Two national polls have now showed that the majority of American voters strongly oppose attacks on Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care it provides — with a new Wall Street Journal/NBC national poll released tonight showing that voters rate Planned Parenthood most favorably: above both political parties, the NRA, Supreme Court, and all leading 2016 presidential candidates.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s most trusted reproductive health care provider. Every year, 2.7 million women, men and young people rely on us for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.  More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood provides is preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Planned Parenthood has been a trusted health care provider for nearly 100 years.

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Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policy-makers about reproductive health issues in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawaii. PPVNH lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood’s mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.

Say hello to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii!

Planned Parenthood Advocacy and Political Organizations Merge for Northwest and Hawaii

Seattle and Honolulu — Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network announced the official merger of their two organizations. The newly named 501(c)4 nonprofit, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH), will be responsible for Planned Parenthood’s advocacy and political work across the four-state region of Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, and Washington state. Elaine Rose, Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, will continue in that role at PPVNH.

“This merger is great news for reproductive health care access in Hawaii. PPVNH will continue to be a forceful and vocal champion for the women and families of Hawaii,” said Amy Monk, board member of the former Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network and now PPVNH. “By pooling our knowledge, experience, and resources, the highly effective governmental advocacy and political work that we are known for will only improve across Hawaii and the rest of the four-state region.”

The merger comes after Planned Parenthood 501(c)3 nonprofit health care and sexual health education provider affiliates in Hawaii and the Northwest similarly merged earlier this year to become Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI). PPVNH works as the advocacy and political arm of PPGNHI and three other regional provider affiliates, a purview that includes limited electoral work.

We are thrilled to merge with Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network. Their history of fighting for smart reproductive health policies and electing passionate leaders who stand up for women’s health is one to admire,” said CEO Elaine Rose. “The team at PPVNH is already experienced at working in many diverse communities, and we are excited to take on this new challenge. Expanding to work with our amazing colleagues in Hawaii is a natural fit that will ensure a seamless transition.”

The merger has already made a positive impact in Hawaii with the Hawaii State Board of Education’s (BOE) vote to require public schools to provide students with sexual health education. Staff from both merging organizations and PPGNHI worked closely to build support for the new policy, encouraging parents and community leaders in Hawaii to send in letters and attend the vote. Planned Parenthood supporters ultimately sent in over 350 messages to express their support.

“This merger adds new energy to all of Planned Parenthood’s work in Hawaii,” said Dr. Susan Wurtzburg, also a former PPHIAN and now PPVNH board member. “Our supporters, board members, and staff are looking forward to renewing their efforts to increase access to reproductive health care in the 2016 legislative session and holding politicians accountable in elections at all levels.”

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Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policy-makers about reproductive health issues in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawaii. PPVNH lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood’s mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.

 

AK: HB 44 Signed After Avoiding Sex Ed Restrictions

Alaska Safe Children’s Act Signed into Law after Narrowly Avoiding Extreme Restrictions to Sex Ed

Anchorage — Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) applauded Governor Bill Walker for signing House Bill 44, the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, into law last night. Formerly known as both Erin’s Law and Bree’s Law, HB 44 is an important measure for sexual assault and abuse prevention. Alaska’s child sexual abuse rates are six times the national average, and this law will lead to awareness education for students in desperate need of access to information to protect themselves.

“The Alaska Safe Children’s Act is a landmark bill for Alaska in our fight against the epidemic of sexual abuse. Governor Walker and the legislature deserve praise for their leadership in making this bill become a reality,” said Jessica Cler, Alaska Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “We owe it to our children to do everything within our power to prevent sexual assault and abuse, and HB 44 is an important first step. Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest was proud to advocate for this bill.”

HB 44’s status was in doubt near the end of session after Sen. Mike Dunleavy and his colleagues hijacked it by inserting their own unrelated and extreme agenda items. Among others, one amendment featured restrictions on the sexual health education programs available to youth across Alaska. A May 20 editorial by PPVNW advocated against the amendments, stating that it was “time to stop playing politics with vulnerable children and students at risk.” Even Erin Merryn, namesake of Erin’s Law, came out against the hijacked bill.

Alaska’s youth and parents narrowly avoided an extreme and damaging outcome when legislative leaders came to their senses and allowed a clean version of HB 44 to move forward,” said Cler. “The amended version of this bill would have taken away the freedom that communities across Alaska have to make the decisions that are best for their families by interfering with the education that students need. Unfortunately, we likely have not seen the end of this horrible idea. Make no mistake, advocates for smart sexual health education policy will be ready to fight again in 2016 if it returns.”

The amendment restricting sexual health education access is identical to language contained in Senate Bill 89. Dunleavy is SB 89’s prime sponsor, and has already promised to bring the bill up again at the start of the 2016 legislative session in January. The effect of the bill would be to prohibit Planned Parenthood from providing any sexual health education in Alaska public schools. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands is the largest nonprofit organization in the state of Alaska providing sexual and reproductive health education.

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 Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood provides unbiased, medically accurate, comprehensive sexual health education across Alaska. When invited, educators work closely to provide a variety of education opportunities, including a focus on consent and healthy relationships, tailored for the needs of each individual community. Sexual health education has been proven time and time again as essential to help young people avoid unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, and delay the onset of sexual activity.

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.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Patty Murray for Re-election

Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Vows to Help Re-Elect Patty Murray to U.S. Senate, First Endorsement of 2016 Cycle

WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund made its first endorsement of the 2016 cycle today, vowing to help re-elect women’s health champion Patty Murray to the U.S. Senate. Senator Murray is a steadfast advocate for women and families in Washington State and across the nation and has played a critical role in both protecting and advancing access to women’s reproductive health care. Like the majority of Americans, Senator Patty Murray understands that these are decisions that belong between a woman and her doctor — not politicians.

“Nobody is more deserving of our endorsement than Senator Patty Murray, a true champion for women and families and fierce advocate for the one-in-five women that rely on Planned Parenthood health centers at some point in their lifetime,” said Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Now more than ever we need champions like Senator Murray in Congress to stand up against an extreme agenda to ban safe and legal abortion. Not only has Senator Murray worked to defeat deeply unpopular political attacks on women’s health, but she’s also championed several key pieces of legislation to ensure women and families have the tools they need to succeed at home and at work.”

Senator Patty Murray has a 100 percent on the Planned Parenthood congressional scorecard for votes she’s taken to stand up to political attacks on women’s health care and ensure the country continues moving forward on issues that matter deeply to women, including access to preventive health care, affordable birth control, and access to safe and legal abortion. Throughout her tenure, Senator Murray has championed several pieces of pro-women’s health legislation, including legislation to protect women’s access to no-copay birth control no matter where they work; a common-sense measure that would help ensure working women and families are able to take paid sick leave; and the 21st Century Women’s Health Act, which embraces all of the progress that has been made for women and in public health by building upon all of the successes and ensuring that women will continue to have access to the full range of reproductive health care, among others.

We thank Senator Patty Murray for her steadfast commitment to reproductive health and justice. From the ‘Mom in Tennis Shoes’ to one of the most powerful members of the United States Senate, Senator Murray has stood up for women and families for her entire career. That’s why Planned Parenthood advocacy and political groups are proud to stand with her,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “Senator Murray has never wavered in her commitment to ensure women can make their own health care decisions without political interference, and has played a critical role in protecting access to safe and legal abortion and expanding access to affordable reproductive health care. We are thrilled to have such a strong champion fighting for women and families in Washington state and across the nation.”

In Patty Murray’s own words:

  • On the deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby: “Women should call the shots when it comes to their health care decisions — not their boss, not the government, not anyone else, period.”
  • On the importance of the Affordable Care Act and it’s advancements for women: “Because of this law women are now in charge of their health care, not their insurance companies. That is why I feel very strongly that we cannot go back to the way things were. While we can never stop working to make improvements, we owe it to the women of America to make progress and not allow the clock to be rolled back on their health care needs.”
  • On Congressional attacks on safe, legal abortion: “I’d like to think that over the last 40 years —since the historic decision in Roe v. Wade—we’ve moved on from debating this issue. I’d like to think that after four decades, many of those who want to make women’s health care decisions for them have come to grips with the fact that Roe v. Wade is settled law.”
  • On her efforts to protect access to abortion: “In the 21st century, there is no reason a woman should be prevented from exercising her constitutionally guaranteed right to make her own choices about her own body. That is something I could not feel more strongly about, and I am going to keep working to not only protect that right but expand and improve access to care for women across the country.

About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

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Clergy May 2015 Update

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) is proud to have a network of committed clergy and religious leaders across Alaska, Idaho, and Washington, from many different religions and faith traditions.

Silver Wings Award

The PPVNW Silver Wings Award is presented annually to one outstanding clergy person who has made exceptional contributions and given ongoing support for the mission of reproductive justice and Planned Parenthood in the Northwest. Recipients are nominated and voted on by members of the four regional Planned Parenthood affiliates.

This year, we had an amazing group of worthy leaders to consider – so we couldn’t decide on just one. We are happy to announce that the 2015 Silver Wings Award has been jointly awarded to Reverend Marci Glass of Boise and Reverend Melissa Engle of Juneau.

Rev. Marci Glass is pastor of the Southminster Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho, and a passionate supporter of our advocacy work for both reproductive health and LGBT equality. PPVNW Idaho staff Mistie and Hannah write, ‘One of the most awe-inspiring things about Marci is that she shows up and she shows up in a big way every single time she is needed without even being asked. We would have to think long and hard to come up with a rally, prayer service, hearing, floor debate, vigil, or press event that we didn’t see her present, speaking out and speaking. Marci shows up in her robes to make sure our community, our state, and our legislators know where she, as a faith leader, stands on these issues – that she stands with Planned Parenthood and with the men and women of Idaho who value reproductive justice and equality.’ You can read more about Marci’s important point of view on her blog at marciglass.com.

Rev. Melissa Engle is pastor of the Douglas United Method Church in Juneau, AK, and one of our all-star volunteers for Alaska legislative advocacy. Our Juneau organizer Alyson writes, “Melissa is leading the way in the faith community in Juneau on working towards reproductive justice. Not only does she participate in Planned Parenthood lobby day meetings, she helped plan the day this year… Melissa is a positive and inspiring light in the Juneau community. She works diligently to bridge differences between faith communities and find common ground to work towards a brighter future for all.” Melissa’s advocacy was spotlighted in April in an amazing guest editorial that she wrote for the Alaska Dispatch News on legislation to remove the choices that parents and teachers have on sexual health education for students.

Join us in congratulating Reverends Glass and Engle for their support of women’s health and reproductive justice! We look forward to working with them for years to come.

Rabbi Kinberg of Woodinville Selected to Join National Clergy Advocacy Board

The 2013 Silver Wings Award recipient, Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of Congregation Kol Ami in Woodinville, WA, was selected in March to join the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board (CAB). The CAB, composed of 18 ministers, rabbis and faith leaders from across the United States, advises Planned Parenthood from a faith perspective to address issues of current importance. Rabbi Kinberg is a strong advocate for women’s health and reproductive justice and frequently works closely with PPVNW. She is often called upon to testify before committee hearings in the state legislature and to interface with elected officials on issues affecting social justice. Rabbi Kinberg is the first faith community leader from Western Washington to be elected to this prestigious board. We congratulate her on this important selection.

 

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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