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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, November 25, 2008

EEOC Protests Bush Administration Regulation

A last-minute Bush Administration “provider conscience” regulation is facing serious objections, including from the government agency responsible for enforcing job discrimination laws. Three top officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are protesting the proposed regulation because they say it would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting employee discrimination based on religion.

Longstanding federal employment anti-discrimination laws already strike a careful balance that requires employers to balance respect for their employees’ religious beliefs with meeting their patients’ health care needs. This proposed regulation would broaden the scope of existing federal refusal laws beyond Congressional intent and put ideology before sound health care practices.

The EEOC’s protest is also echoed by many in the medical community, including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which have urged the Bush administration to withdraw the proposed regulation. According to the New York Times, aides to the Obama Administration have said that the President-elect will try to rescind the regulation once he takes office, a process that could take from three to six months.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Temporary Injunction Delays Oklahoma Ultrasound Law

A temporary injunction, issued October 29, has prevented Oklahoma ultrasound legislation from taking effect this month. In April, the Oklahoma legislature passed the country’s most restrictive ultrasound law, which requires women to undergo an ultrasound one hour prior to obtaining abortion care and listen to an explanation from the medical professional performing the ultrasound while the image is displayed where she can see it.

The injunction was filed by Nova Health Systems, the parent group of NAF member Reproductive Services of Tulsa, on grounds that the law violates a woman’s right to privacy by forcing her to listen to unwelcome, government dictated language in a private setting. Ultrasound legislation is manipulative to women and violates the doctor-patient relationship.

This year, 18 states introduced ultrasound legislation with bills passing in one or both chambers in Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia.

>Learn more about abortion rights in the states.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Administration to Consider Lifting Global Gag Rule

Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have authored a list of 200 Bush administration actions that could quickly be undone to promote change, a Washington Post article reports. Among the policies being considered for quick reversal is the Bush administration’s Global Gag Rule.

Originally authored during the Reagan Administration, the Global Gag Rule prohibits international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. government funds from using their own private funds to provide abortions. The policy also prevents NGOs from lobbying their own government for a change in abortion laws, conducting public education campaigns about abortion, referring women to safe abortion providers, or even providing medically accurate counseling about abortion to their clients. The policy was rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, and then re-implemented by President G.W. Bush on his first day in office in 2001.

In many rural areas worldwide, foreign NGOs are the only healthcare providers. The Global Gag Rule endangers already vulnerable women by further curtailing their access to safe and accurate reproductive health care.

>Learn more about international abortion issues.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

California Voters Reject Proposition 4

Parental notification laws like Proposition 4 endanger the health and safety of teens. Today, California voters once again rejected this type of dangerous barrier for teens attempting to access abortion care.

While parents rightly want to be involved in the decisions of their teenage daughters, good family communication cannot be legislated. California already leads the nation in the rate of parental communication about issues concerning sexual activity, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. However, involving a parent is not a realistic option for many young women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, and some young women may delay seeking care or even resort to dangerous alternatives if forced to involve a parent in their decision. That is why many professional groups in California, including the California Medical Association and the California Nurses Association, opposed this harmful proposition.

This is the third time California voters have rejected a parental notification provision. Two similar measures were defeated in 2005 and 2006, by margins of 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent, and 54.2 percent to 45.8 percent, respectively.

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South Dakota Voters Reject the Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Ban

This ban would have threatened the lives and health of South Dakota women, and potentially set a dangerous precedent for our country. Today’s vote is a victory not only for women in South Dakota, but for women throughout the nation.

This is the second time South Dakota voters have protected a woman’s right to access abortion care by defeating an abortion ban. In 2006, the South Dakota legislature passed an abortion ban, which Governor Mike Rounds signed into law. Citizens in South Dakota banded together in opposition to the legislation, and gathered enough signatures to defer implementation of the ban pending a statewide referendum. That year, South Dakota voters rejected the abortion ban by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

Although abortion opponents proposed another abortion ban this year, the citizens of South Dakota have again voted not to outlaw abortion.

The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the organization originally created to fight the abortion ban in 2006, once again played an integral part in the ban’s defeat. NAF also sent staff to South Dakota to help campaign against this dangerous initiative.

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Colorado Voters Reject Amendment Defining a Fertilized Egg as a Person

Washington, DC—Today, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 48, which would have redefined "person" in the state constitution and granted constitutional rights from the moment of conception.

“This amendment was nothing more than an attempt to outlaw all abortions in Colorado,” said Vicki Saporta, National Abortion Federation (NAF) President and CEO.

The so-called “Definition of Person” Amendment would have eliminated a woman’s right to make private health care decisions. In addition to outlawing abortion, the amendment was so far-reaching that it could have banned commonly used birth control methods like the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception. Women suffering from illnesses such as cancer could have even been refused life-saving medical treatment because of the risks it might pose to a fertilized egg.

Leading lawyers, doctors, and even Colorado Governor Bill Ritter opposed this amendment. The Executive Board of the Colorado Gynecological-Obstetrical Society voted unanimously to oppose this ballot initiative citing that the “moment of fertilization is not a medical definition of pregnancy and as such represents inappropriate intrusion into the practice of medicine.”

“Amendment 48 was another attempt by abortion opponents to substitute political ideology for scientific evidence and the citizens of Colorado did not let them succeed,” said Saporta.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Column Profiles Women Obtaining Abortion Care

This weekend, the New York Times published an article, which addressed the myth that teens make up the majority of women seeking abortion care. The article explained that, due to recently publicized cases of teenagers continuing with pregnancies, the view of the typical woman obtaining an abortion has been misconstrued.

According to the article and recent studies, “the typical American woman having an abortion is a parent of one or more children (60 percent); in her 20s (57 percent); has never married (67 percent); is economically disadvantaged (57 percent); lives in a metropolitan area (88 percent); considers herself a Christian (70 percent); and has graduated from high school (87 percent) and attended at least some college (57 percent).”

The article features stories from three women who share these demographic characteristics and were all patients of NAF member Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey.

We know that women who share their abortion experiences can make a difference. NAF is committed to ensuring that voices of women are part of the public debate about abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like to share your story visit: http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

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