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National Abortion Federation Blog: Saporta Reporter

News about reproductive choice from the President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta. photo of Vicki Saporta
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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Post your comments, condolences, and personal memories of Dr. Tiller

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NAF Staff in the Field: South Dakota Abortion Ban Referenda - Update 3




Last night watching TV, we had an opportunity to see the newest ad that the “No on Six” Campaign is airing to educate South Dakotans about the restrictive abortion ban. It was immediately followed by an ad paid for by the organization supporting the ban, “Vote Yes for Life,” in which a female doctor urges voters to support life. With competing information, how is a voter to decide?

For its part, “No on Six” has undertaken a massive effort to educate voters about the ban. Our first task at campaign headquarters was to put labels with polling locations for each precinct in Sioux Falls on doorknob hangers that contain information about the lack of exceptions in the abortion ban. These will be distributed throughout all of the neighborhoods in Sioux Falls. We then moved on to inscribing voter guides explaining the restrictive provisions in the ban, which will be mailed out to undecided voters. Our afternoon was spent on the phone, urging voters to come out for a “No on Six” rally, where citizens of Sioux Falls will speak out to explain why they are opposed to the ban.

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NAF Staff in the Field: South Dakota Abortion Ban Referenda - Update 2


With Halloween right around the corner in South Dakota, even jack-o-lanterns take on a political tone as volunteers show up to carve “No on Six” into pumpkins. This was first done at the campaign headquarters in Rapid City, and it attracted the attention of local media who came down to tape the event. Pumpkin carving proved to be a fun activity for the campaign organizers and volunteers in Sioux Falls who have been working long hours on the campaign without a break. When the masterpieces were completed, they were lined up so we could all take pictures of the blazing “No on Six” gourds. Then, for Lisa, Angie and Jen, along with other volunteers and campaign staff, it was back to the phones.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

NAF Staff in the Field: South Dakota Abortion Ban Referenda - Update 1


Driving along the flat, dusty stretch of Highway 29 between our hotel and campaign headquarters, we are all struck by the sheer number of yard signs reflecting various issues South Dakotans will be deciding on in a few days. In past elections, it may have been easier to predict the outcome for certain ballot initiatives based on voter history.

However, on November 7, 2006, South Dakotans will vote on repealing the most restrictive abortion ban that outlaws abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with only a limited exception if necessary to save the life of the woman. In talking with one of the “No on Six” organizers at our campaign headquarters, it is clear that repealing the abortion ban is not an issue that will be decided along party lines. Volunteers from every political party and from both sides of the abortion issue have showed up to help spread the word about the importance of repealing the restrictive ban.

Democrats sit alongside Republicans and Independents stuffing voter guides to be mailed out. Self described pro-choice and anti-choice voters stop by to pick up “No on Six” yard signs for their lawns.

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Reports from the Field: South Dakota Abortion Ban

Staff members from the National Abortion Federation (NAF) are on the ground in South Dakota campaigning to repeal South Dakota’s abortion ban. Please read our blog this week to read our staff’s reports “from the field” about this closely watched ballot initiative and learn more about the “No on Six” campaign.

Earlier this year, the South Dakota legislature voted to deny women safe and legal access to essential reproductive health care services. House Bill 1215, which was signed by Governor Rounds in March, would prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with only a limited exception if necessary to save the life of the woman. The people of South Dakota banded together in opposition to this broad abortion ban, creating the Campaign for Healthy Families gathering enough signatures put the measure to a vote by South Dakotans on November 7th.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Nicaragua Moves Forward With an Abortion Ban

The Nicaragua's National Assembly on Thursday voted to outlaw all abortions.

If signed into law by President Enrique Bolanos, the measure would eliminate the exception to Nicaragua's abortion ban that permits an abortion if three doctors certify that a woman's life or health is at risk.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Federal Abortion Ban at the Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on November 8, 2006, in Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood about the constitutionality of the federal abortion ban, passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2003. The sweeping ban prohibits abortions as early as 13 weeks in pregnancy, abortions that doctors say are safe and among the best to protect women's health.

The law was immediately challenged in three lawsuits, including a lawsuit brought by NAF. Every court that has considered the ban has struck it down as unconstitutional. In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down a similar ban in Stenberg v. Carhart, and other courts around the country have struck down such laws finding that the bans prevent doctors from providing abortions as early as 13 weeks in pregnancy and that the bans endanger women's health.

NAF opposes the federal abortion ban because it jeopardizes women's health and interferes with the ability of health care professionals to make appropriate medical decisions. Other medical organizations also oppose these bans.

>Read NAF's amicus briefs on Gonzales v. Carhart (PDF file, 175K) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (PDF file, 81K)

>Read more information about the cases

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Portugal Sets Referendum to Legalize Abortions

Portugal's parliament has agreed to call a national referendum to legalize abortion care up to the 10th week of pregnancy.

Currently Portugal has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure only allowed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a mother's health is at risk.

Each year in Portugal thousands of women are hospitalized due to complications from botched backstreet abortions.

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New York Court Upholds Women’s Health and Wellness Act

The Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York state, has upheld the Women’s Health and Wellness Act, a law requiring employers that provide prescription drug benefits to include contraceptive coverage.

The Women’s Health and Wellness Act, which went into effect January 1, 2003 in New York, additionally requires insurance plans to cover preventative and reproductive health services including osteoporosis exams and breast and cervical cancer screening.

The six judges on the court voted unanimously to uphold this law.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Women Have Suffered Thirty Years Of Injustice As A Result Of Restrictive Government Funding.

Your Thirty Dollars Will Make A Difference In Their Lives.

For 30 years, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the federal government from funding basic reproductive health care services for low-income women. As a result, for many women with limited resources abortion may not be a viable option, even though Roe v. Wade guarantees a woman’s right to make her own personal health care decisions.

At the National Abortion Federation (NAF), our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. One of the ways that NAF works to achieve our mission is by providing unbiased, factual information about abortion and pregnancy through our national, toll-free Hotline. The NAF Hotline operates six days-a-week; provides non-judgmental, confidential information; and helps to raise money for women who cannot afford the abortion care they need.

Following is an example of one woman we were recently able to assist:

Early in “Aimee’s” pregnancy, she and her husband were in a terrible car crash. He was killed, and the medications she took during her recovery caused abnormalities in the development of her fetus. Aimee was grieving for her husband, caring for her 4-year old son, and facing multiple surgeries to heal her injuries. She knew she needed to have an abortion. When she went to a hospital near her home, they refused to help, turning her away because her life was not in danger. In less than 24 hours, NAF Hotline staff raised the initial funds necessary for a NAF member clinic to provide the abortion care Aimee needed. The clinic arranged for her to make the remaining payments over time. Aimee’s procedure was completed the following day, allowing her to return to the difficult task of rebuilding her life.

Today, we are asking for your help. Thirty years of denying low-income women access to reproductive health care services is 30 years too long.

>ACT NOW by making a donation of $30 to NAF’s Hotline.

All gifts to NAF in the U.S. are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Nicaragua Considers Complete Ban on Abortions

Currently, Nicaragua allows doctors the ability to provide abortions in situations where a woman’s life is endangered by continuing a pregnancy. But Nicaragua's Parliament is now considering revising the penal code to extend the ban on abortions to include cases where a woman's life is at risk. If this proposal becomes law, doctors that provide abortion care could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

South Dakota: Fight the Abortion Ban!

Earlier this year, the South Dakota legislature voted to deny women safe and legal access to essential reproductive health care services. House Bill 1215, which was signed by Governor Rounds in March, would prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with only a limited exception if necessary to save the life of the woman. The people of South Dakota banded together in opposition to this broad abortion ban, creating the Campaign for Healthy Families and gathering enough signatures to defer implementation of the ban pending a statewide referendum in November.

Learn more about the dangers of abortion bans and visit the Campaign for Healthy Families website to learn more about the referendum.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Salon.com Encourages Readers to Donate to NAF’s Abortion Hotline Fund

Following Carole Joffe’s powerful article on AlterNet on how “Abortion Hotlines Feel the Crunch,” Salon.com has spotlighted the article and posted an article, “When it Comes to Abortion, Women Literally Can't Afford to Wait”. They encourage their readers to make a donation to the NAF Hotline Fund to assist low income women pay for their abortion care.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spotlight on NAF’s Abortion Hotline

There is an article on AlterNet on how “Abortion Hotlines Feel the Crunch” and focuses on NAF’s Hotline and the problems women face accessing and paying for abortion care.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oregon: Oppose Measure 43!

Oregon voters will also be asked to consider a parental notification ballot initiative this November. The Oregon proposal would require 48-hour written notice to a parent before a teen between the ages of 15-17 has an abortion. Oregon law already requires teens who are 14 or under to obtain parental consent for any medical treatment. This new provision could endanger our most vulnerable teens – those from abusive families, or victims of incest.

Visit the No on Measure 43 website to learn more about this harmful initiative.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Anti-Choice Legislation Stopped From Being Enacted Into Law!

Thank you for contacting your Senators and urging them to oppose the cloture motion and S. 403, the Teen Endangerment Act. Your voices were heard, and in a victory for pro-choice legislators and activists, the cloture motion failed. This means that this harmful bill will not reach President Bush before Congress adjourns.

>Read NAF’s position statement opposing the Teen Endangerment Act

>View our press release "National Abortion Federation Commends Senators for Voting Against the Cloture Motion on the Teen Endangerment Act"

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