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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

Thursday, April 01, 2010

NAF Member: An Open Letter to Bart Stupak

NAF member Carole Joffe, author of Doctors of Conscience and the recently released Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, has just published an open letter to Congressman Bart Stupak about the violence and harassment abortion providers face every day. Published on the website of Beacon Press, the letter reads in part:

I wonder, however, if your own experience has made you more empathetic with abortion providers, who have for years endured similar behavior from the same antiabortion extremists who have now targeted you? Though obviously you and the provider community do not agree on the abortion issue, perhaps now you can agree with them that the disagreements over this issue must remain civil. How can we call ourselves a democracy if we cannot express political beliefs without fear of violence? Congressman Stupak, I respectfully call on you to disavow violence against all Americans, not just elected officials.”

Carole’s letter is particularly timely, as today Scott Roeder will be sentenced for the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

>Read the entire letter here.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

NAF Calls for Redefinition of What Being Pro-Choice Means Status Quo Harms Millions of Low-Income Women

Today, I issued the following statement:

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed historic health care reform legislation. And while we agree that the health care system is certainly broken, it is unfortunate that reform continued the discrimination against our country’s most vulnerable women.

Health care reform was intended to expand comprehensive health care coverage for millions of Americans. Abortion care is basic health care for women and should not be treated differently from any other health care service, yet restrictions like the Hyde Amendment seriously limit women’s access to care. Although it has been the status quo for more than 30 years, the Hyde Amendment is a harmful, unacceptable policy that discriminates against millions of women who rely on the government for the rest of their health care.

While many of us feel very strongly that public funding restrictions need to be lifted, the pro-choice community did not attempt to use health care reform as a vehicle to advance this important goal. Now that reform has been passed, it is time for pro-choice leaders in the private and public sectors to come together to truly address the inequalities in access to abortion care and work to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Every month, our toll-free Hotline receives thousands of calls from women who are unable to afford the abortion care they need. We recently heard from a woman who was fleeing an abusive relationship and although she had Medicaid, it wouldn’t cover her abortion; a full-time college student who was selling her textbooks to raise money for her procedure because health insurance through school didn’t cover abortion care; a rape victim and mother who was pawning her possessions in order to afford an abortion; an unemployed mother of four who was facing eviction and suicidal because she could not afford an abortion; and a single mother raising a child with a disability, who was employed and on Medicaid, but unable to afford the cost of the abortion care she needed.

In a fair and just society, we cannot continue to discriminate against our poorest women and their families. It’s time to redefine what being pro-choice means in this country. You can’t be pro-choice and deny low-income women the same access to abortion care as wealthier women.

While passing health care reform was important, it is critical that the President and our pro-choice allies in Congress now turn to protecting the health and rights of low-income women and begin to work toward the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. All women—regardless of their economic status—deserve equal access to the abortion care they need.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

NAF Patients in the News

Last night, the Senate defeated the Nelson-Hatch Amendment, which would have imposed the same restrictions to insurance coverage for abortion as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed by the House.

Yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) cited some of our patient's stories during debate on the Senate floor. Today, Women’s eNews profiled one of the patients we brought forward to lobby against the Stupak-Pitts and Nelson-Hatch Amendments:

One Woman Mobilized
One person who was mobilized by the Dec. 2 protest is Dana Weinstein.
In an exclusive interview with Women's eNews, Weinstein said that until recently she'd felt uncomfortable even uttering the word "abortion."

But then it happened to her.

In the early part of this summer, Weinstein was still a happily pregnant 38-year-old watching TV at her home in Maryland. A reporter interviewed a physician in Boulder, Colo., named Warren Hern. After the murder of Dr. George Tiller earlier this year, Hern is one of the country's last doctors who still provides late-term abortions.

"I remember lying in bed thinking, how could anybody terminate later term?"
Weinstein said.

But then, a few weeks later in late June, at 28 weeks, a routine sonogram showed an abnormality in her fetus's brain. A subsequent MRI showed that the fetus had two life-threatening conditions. If it survived birth, it would likely require immediate resuscitation and a life of feeding tubes.

After consulting more doctors, Weinstein and her husband wound up in Hern's clinic in Colorado.

Now, five months later, Weinstein is still fighting with her insurance company, hoping to be reimbursed for some of $17,500 it cost for the late-term abortion.

"I was fortunate to be able to pull the money together," Weinstein said, adding that the experience has spurred her to speak out on behalf of other, less fortunate women.

Her first move: vocally opposing the Stupak-Pitts amendment. In recent days Weinstein has shared her story with members of the National Abortion Federation, the staff of Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Women's eNews.

>Read the full article.
>Share your abortion experience.

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This is so necessary! Way to go. This stigma needs to be crushed.

By Anonymous Cheap Laser Treatment, at 3:17 PM  

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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.

In the 17th week of a much wanted pregnancy, my baby was diagnosed via ultrasound with renal agenesis, a condition in which the kidneys, bladder and renal system fail to form, and which is incompatible with life. I was told that if I did not terminate the pregnancy, the baby would either be stillborn or, if he survived to term, he would be born and then very shortly thereafter die of asphyxiation (a functioning renal system is necessary for fetal lung development). I chose to terminate the pregnancy at 18 weeks via induced labor and delivery (which I was advised was a safe way to terminate a second trimester pregnancy and which would allow a full autopsy on the fetus to determine if there were any genetic problems). I was in the hospital for two days, during which time labor was induced and I delivered my baby. My health insurance covered the entire procedure. Had I not been insured, I would have incurred thousands of dollars in hospital-related bills.

Honestly, I cannot imagine a health care system that would not pay for therapeutic abortions. Going through a therapeutic abortion is already emotionally wrenching and it would be a terribly cruel system that forces a woman to choose between carrying a child that will either certainly die or suffer terribly, versus being faced with thousands of dollars in medical bills that her family may be ill-equipped to pay. That is certainly is not caring for the health of myself and my family.
-submitted by Madison* through our website

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Letter to the Editor in New York Times

Today’s New York Times published my letter concerning restrictions like the Stupak Amendment in health care reform:

To the Editor:

Re “False Alarm on Abortion,” by Phillip B. Levine (Op-Ed, Nov. 25):

Mr. Levine dismisses talk about the potential impact of the Stupak amendment as an exaggeration of what would change for women. Eighty-seven percent of employer-based health plans currently provide coverage for abortion care. If the Stupak amendment or equally restrictive language were included in the final version of the health care reform bill, millions of women could risk losing their coverage.

No woman plans to have an abortion. The individual circumstances for this choice are as varied as the women themselves; fetal anomalies, health risks and spousal abuse do not discriminate based on age, income or insurance status.

Likewise, Mr. Levine’s contention that nothing would change for uninsured women or women covered by Medicaid does little to advance his argument. Restrictions on public funding for abortion are one of the biggest barriers to women seeking abortion care. Just because these restrictions are already in place does not mean that further limitations should be accepted.

Meaningful reform of health care cannot take place by sacrificing the well-being of half of the citizens of this country.

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Women Speak out Against Stupak Amendment

Last week, NAF brought a group of patients to Capitol Hill to share their abortion experiences with legislators as part of a DC lobby day to oppose the Stupak Amendment. Each of these women had a different experience with insurance coverage for their abortion care, and they represent the women who could be affected by restrictions like the Stupak Amendment and the Nelson-Hatch Amendment, which was introduced in the Senate today.

NAF member and author, Professor Carole Joffe joined us last week in DC and spoke with some of the patients we brought forward. Today, she blogged about her experience:

“….the most moving and significant part of the day was my conversation with three women who had later abortions….In spite of the different outcomes experienced by Mary, Christie and Dana, all three of these women have taken the step of going public with their stories because of their profound belief that no woman or her partner should be fighting bureaucracies or facing possible bankruptcy at the saddest moment in their lives.”

>Read Joffe's complete post.
>Share your abortion experience.

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