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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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ohio Bill Would Require Consent From Men Before Abortion

This month, an Ohio state legislator introduced a bill, which would require written consent from a woman’s partner or the man involved with the pregnancy in order for her to obtain abortion care. If the man is unknown, this bill would force a woman to submit a list of possibilities, and her doctor would have to conduct paternity tests—at the woman’s expense—and then seek the man's permission prior to providing abortion care. In cases of rape or incest, proof via a court document, police report, or indictment would be required.

This bill would place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman attempting to access abortion care and is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled that abortion restrictions must not place an "undue burden" on women seeking abortion care.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican John Adams, introduced similar legislation which died in committee in 2007.

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When I hear that the US justice system is taking steps to make abortion less accessible I become outraged. I don't see how religious or personal beliefs against the procedure are justified in taking the right away. I do not advocate that abortion should become another form of birth control. But, when we are discussing such extreme cases as this article does, a woman should have the right to have a safe, legal abortion if she chooses. Personal beliefs are meant to govern personal actions, not monitor the behavior of everyone in a nation.

-Politics.com intern

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:02 PM  

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NAF Member Clinic Moves to Block Ultrasound Law

NAF member Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, ND has filed a lawsuit to block part of a new state law that requires providers to offer all patients the option to view an ultrasound image 24 hours prior to obtaining abortion care.

While a woman should have the option to view such an image, legislation mandating policies around ultrasounds is yet another intrusion by lawmakers into the doctor-patient relationship. The clinic, which has offered women the option to view an ultrasound for the past year, is concerned that the law’s unclear language will create additional barriers for women in need of care.

This law does nothing to enhance the safety of abortion care and in the end, just subjects the only clinic in North Dakota to strict criminal liability for failing to conform to a medical standard that doesn’t exist,” said Suzanne Stolz, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The clinic is asking the court to issue a temporary injunction preventing the law from taking effect on August 1 while the court reviews the legal challenge.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday's Words from Women

Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

I started having severe abdominal pain. I had many ultrasounds done and there was nothing the doctors could see that was wrong. When I found out I was pregnant the pain started to get worse. That’s when I had an internal ultrasound and doctors saw a tumor. The reason I needed this abortion was for my health and so I could take care of the tumor. It affected my school and work, and I needed to make sure I stayed on track with my life considering I am already a single parent. I would not have been able to do all this on my own so I am extremely grateful for help from the NAF Hotline.

--submitted by Nell* through a member clinic


I am a young single woman on my own. I have my own apartment with bills to pay and without your help I wouldn’t be able to go through with the abortion. With the tough times today it’s hard for anyone to make ends meet. I am pro-choice because I believe if you get pregnant you should be able to determine whether you are ready to have a child. I don’t want to bring a child into the world without knowing if I’ll be in a stable place to raise a child.

--submitted by Karly* through a member clinic

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roeder to go to Trial for Tiller Murder

In a preliminary hearing today, Judge Warren Wilbert determined there was enough evidence to send Scott Roeder, 51, to trial on all charges in connection with the murder of NAF member Dr. George Tiller. Roeder has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Roeder entered a plea of not guilty. A trial date is scheduled for September 21, though murder trials are often continued to later dates. Roeder's bond will remain at $20 million.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Report Spotlights Harassment and Threats Against Abortion Providers

This week, the Center for Reproductive Rights released Defending Human Rights: Abortion Providers Facing Threats, Restrictions, and Harassment, a report examining harassment and state laws targeting abortion providers in six states.

Several NAF members were interviewed for the report, including members from Pennsylvania who are also featured in this video:



Recommendations made in the report include improving law enforcement response to clinic violence, enacting legislation to protect clinic access and ensure patient safety, expanding training opportunities, and increasing support within the medical community for providers.

>Learn more about clinic violence.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ryan-DeLauro Bill Addresses Important Women’s Health Care Issues

Today, we issued the following statement:

We commend Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for introducing legislation which includes programs and policies that take important steps to address women’s needs for access to reproductive health care. The Ryan-DeLauro bill expands access to family planning for low-income women, includes initiatives to reduce unintended pregnancies, and provides support services to women and couples who choose to carry a pregnancy to term.

While we applaud the provisions of the Ryan-DeLauro bill, it is imperative that women are also able to access the abortion care they need. Abortion is an integral component of comprehensive reproductive health care. Women facing an unintended pregnancy deserve to have the information and resources they need to make the choices that are right for them. NAF remains committed to working to ensure that abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to promote health and justice for women.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday's Words from Women

Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

At this time in my life I’m 25 with two young children under the age of two. I make a little above minimum wage and I am trying to make a decent life for my children. Money is tight and a third child would be too much for me as I am already a struggling single mother. NAF really saved me mentally and financially. Without your help I probably would not have been able to obtain this abortion. I am pro-choice because I feel as though there are times in a woman’s life when she is just not ready physically, mentally, or financially to have a child.

--submitted by Kennedy* through a member clinic


My family and I were going through a very difficult situation. We recently found out my daughter’s pregnancy had several severe and painful birth defects. We were referred to a clinic in Nebraska because the procedure could not be done in South Dakota. We felt this was just another blow. We would have to travel to an unfamiliar place with a doctor and nurses we did not know. Not to mention the financial aspect of it. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When we met the clinic staff everything changed for us. I have never met more caring and compassionate people in my life. The doctor and his whole staff showed us so much compassion and empathy. He was able to make my daughter feel better and give her a sense of peace. They are truly angels that work among us. Thank you.

--submitted by Anita* through a member clinic

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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Monday, July 20, 2009

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Illinois Parental Notification Law

A U.S. Appeals Court ruled last week that an Illinois law requiring doctors to notify a parent or adult family member at least 48 hours prior to a minor obtaining abortion care is constitutional. The three-judge panel found that state Supreme Court rules, which establish judicial procedures for an expedited bypass hearing, satisfy minors’ constitutional rights to the procedure.

However, the appeals panel said it recognized that there may be “practical problems” with the judicial bypass process. “It may be intimidating for a minor to navigate the process of presenting her case to a judge, for instance,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Cudahy wrote for the court.

For a pregnant teen to use judicial bypass, she must not only find a judge, she must work her way through a confusing legal system and face intense and sometimes judgmental questioning. Judicial bypass can be an intimidating process that can cause delays in care, and put a young woman’s health at risk.

“This decision…creates unnecessary, dangerous hurdles to accessing essential health care for young women,” said Lorie Chaiten, director of the Reproductive Rights Project of the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

>Learn about parental involvement bills in the states.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

U.S. House of Representatives Lifts DC Abortion Ban

Yesterday, we released the following statement commending the U.S. House of Representatives for lifting a longstanding ban that prohibits DC from using its locally raised revenue to help low-income women obtain the abortion care they need:

This prohibition interfered with the rights of DC residents and has effectively prevented the DC government from assessing and meeting the needs of its community. We are pleased that the House has removed this discriminatory policy, which has for far too long interfered with DC women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion care.

Since 1977, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for medically necessary abortion care for most low-income women, except in very limited circumstances. Although states may use non-federal funds to pay for abortion care, since 1988 Congress has restricted DC from using its own locally raised funds to provide abortion care to low-income women.

President Obama’s FY 2010 Budget called on Congress to lift the ban on the District’s use of locally raised funds for abortion care. We urge the Senate to join the House in taking action to end this discriminatory policy.

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Arizona Governor Approves Abortion Restrictions

On Monday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) approved a measure establishing new mandates and restrictions on abortion in the state. One of the provisions requires that all women wait 24 hours after receiving state-mandated information to obtain abortion care. This type of biased counseling legislation is medically unnecessary and does not respect women. Abortion providers already provide women with the accurate medical information they need to make fully informed decisions.


The bill also toughens an existing parental consent law to now require minors to obtain written, notarized consent from a parent or guardian before obtaining abortion care, and allows for pharmacists and other health care professionals to refuse to distribute emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds.


Governor Brewer’s actions are in stark contrast to those of her predecessor, former Governor Janet Napolitano (D), who vetoed all legislation that would have restricted abortion during her six-year tenure as governor. Napolitano was appointed U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security in January.


>Learn more about abortion rights in the states.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday's Words from Women

Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

As a freshman in college, the last place I expected to find myself was in need of an abortion. However, the staff at the NAF clinic was extremely kind and they did an amazing job in helping me through my situation. I strongly stand by my decision and I greatly support clinics like the one that helped me. It should be up to every woman, not the pressures of society and religious groups, what she does with her body/pregnancy. Thus, it is critical that great facilities like your members exist nationwide.

--submitted by Andrea* through a member clinic


I am a 22-year-old mother of twin boys. I just started a new job and I can’t afford another child. I just want to say thank you for helping someone in need. I really didn’t want to bring another child here without having a better job and finishing school.

--submitted by Nancy* through a member clinic

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Report Finds Restricting Medicaid Funding for Abortion Care Forces 1 in 4 Low-Income Women to Carry Unwanted Pregnancies to Term

According to a new report published Wednesday, in states that restrict Medicaid funding for abortion, approximately one-fourth of women who would choose to obtain a Medicaid-funded abortion if given the option, are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term because of their inability to pay for the procedure. Published jointly by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health, Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review also found that Medicaid funding restrictions force some women to delay seeking abortion care by two to three weeks while they attempt to raise the necessary funds.

Funding restrictions like the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion except in situations of rape, incest, and life endangerment, disproportionately affect low-income women who have limited resources with which to overcome these obstacles.

>Learn more about funding restrictions.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

New York Times Examines Medical Abortion Study

Today’s New York Times examines a recent study concerning medical abortion.

Abortion providers and other experts had different reactions to the study, which suggests that infection rates can be reduced if the medication is taken by mouth instead of vaginally, and with antibiotics. Most providers agreed that it was reasonable to change to the oral route, but some hesitated at routinely prescribing antibiotics, which can have side effects, for a procedure with a very low infection rate.

NAF was included in the article:

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, a professional group whose members provide more than half the abortions performed in the United States and Canada, said the group’s medical experts would evaluate the findings. The current guidelines allow oral, buccal and vaginal administration, but do not include routine antibiotics.

>Learn more about medical abortion.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wednesday's Words from Women

Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

I am a mother already, and I have limited funds. Becoming pregnant again was really not an option because I am a full-time student. I would like to be prepared the second time around as a mother and am grateful for this option.

--submitted by Emily* through a member clinic


I am so sad and scared for women’s rights and those that serve us. When I was younger I made the choice to have an abortion. I was a drug addict and knew I could not care for a child. It was 1973, the first year a woman could make this choice. I was lucky that women and men had fought so hard to make this happen; I was able to choose my destiny.

I am the woman and mother I am today—fully recovered, a social worker, and good mother—because I was able to delay having a child. I want to speak out and say I am not ashamed, I have no regrets, I am forever thankful that I was able to choose. When I had my abortion, there was no harassment, no bulletproof glass, and no angry, mean people calling me a killer. Today when I take my clients to clinics we have to walk through hate and intimidation. It makes me so sad and scared. And yet if you ask me, I would die for this right. Dr. Tiller is a hero, a man that said, “Trust Women.” We have lost so much and every day we are losing more. Thank you for all you do.

--submitted by Erika* via our website

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ohio Supreme Court Rules to Protect Patient Privacy

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a Planned Parenthood clinic does not have to present lawyers representing the family of a minor patient with the medical records of all minor patients provided with abortion care at their clinic. Ohio Supreme Court justices said the confidentiality of medical records trumps claims by the parents, and that the privacy of medical records is sacrosanct.

This decision upholds a 2007 ruling by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals that stated that the records of other patients are not necessary for the parents’ lawsuit.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

International Mourning Day Honors Dr. Tiller

Today, women’s health advocates in Europe participated in an International Mourning Day as a tribute to NAF member Dr. George Tiller and a denunciation of his murder. Abortion clinics in Spain closed for the day, and health care professionals in Italy, Belgium, and France wore black armbands in a show of solidarity.

Dr. Tiller is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. We invite you to join those who have posted their memories of Dr. Tiller and condolences to his family on our blog.

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Wednesday's Words from Women

Over one-third of women of reproductive age have an abortion by the age of 45. However, women who have chosen abortion are often absent from the public debate. In order to break the silence surrounding abortion, we will be featuring real stories from real women each Wednesday on our blog. If you would like to share your story with us or have it published on our blog, go to http://www.prochoice.org/pregnant/hotline/share.html.

I’m not working right now, and because of the economy my boyfriend was laid off of work. I’m also a full time student in college, with hopefully two years left if I can find a way to pay for it. My boyfriend and I love each other very much and do wish to have a family some day, but with the world taking the course that it is, it is best that we focus on finishing school and supporting each other rather than struggling right now to raise a family.

--submitted by Aimee* through a member clinic


In my hometown there is a women's crisis center. They say they give you clear, honest, and upfront information about all your options. I took my 19-year-old niece there to help her make the best choice for herself. I was horrified by the woman in charge. She told my niece that if you have an abortion they put razor blades inside you then suction the fetus out and place it on a tray to determine how far along you were. I had heard enough. I told my niece we needed to get out of there. The woman asked why and said she wanted to tell my niece about adoption. I told her that she had just lied to us once and I wasn’t going to sit there and listen to any more. I told her that I had an abortion and have since had children, and that the procedure was nothing like she was telling my niece. The worker then told me that my children were at higher risk for mental and emotional disabilities. Have you ever heard such insane comments?

My niece made her decision when she got the real facts on all her options from the NAF Hotline. I thank NAF for providing her with this information. There are so many young women with nowhere to turn for REAL non judgmental help, and then you have these sick twisted people scaring them. And many are government funded. It’s sick how they scare young women. I can’t believe it’s legal to be so ignorant.

--submitted by Valerie* through a member clinic

>Learn more about Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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