Green Party: Votes in the U.S. House and Texas legislature show looming threat to women’s reproductive rights
>For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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WASHINGTON, DC — Green leaders called a recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and pending vote in the Texas House an indication that women’s rights, especially reproductive rights and access to safe abortion procedures, are in danger. The Green Party calls reproductive rights and access to contraception and safe, legal abortion “non-negotiable” (see below).
The U.S. House bill, which directly challenges the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling (1973), would ban a woman’s ability to seek an abortion after 20 weeks (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/06/18/abortion-bill-house-vote/2435353/). It is not expected to pass in the U.S. Senate.
The Texas bill “would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. It would require all abortion clinics to refit their facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center standards, a move that health advocates say will be so costly that all but five clinics in the state would close. The bill also would prevent clinicians from prescribing the abortion pill remotely, as they do currently for rural women in early stages of pregnancy. And it would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital no more than 30 miles from the abortion clinic, effectively excluding out-of-state abortion doctors.” (http://www.texasobserver.org/by-stifling-debate-texas-house-passes-strict-anti-abortion-bill/)
The Texas Senate’s vote on the bill is expected to pass in an emergency session called by Gov. Rick Perry.
On June 30, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a state budget that enacts several anti-abortion measures, cuts access to low-cost family planning services and public hospitals during a health emergency, jeopardizes rape-crisis centers, and dismantles women’s right to privacy (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/30/ohio-abortion-restrictions-budget-bill_n_3526844.html). Earlier this year, a 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda that affirmed Roe v. Wade failed to pass in New York because of opposition from State Senate Republicans and some key Democrats.
Katey Culver, chair of the Green Party of Tennessee: “It’s not just a matter of abortion rights. It’s about full equality and the sovereignty of women over their own health, their personal lives and their economic rights, without interference from the state or intimidation by others. We’ve seen a steady erosion of these principles since Roe v. Wade and the years when women began to demand and achieve their full rights. As the recent votes in the U.S. House and Texas legislature prove, anti-choice activists and their supporters in Congress have become bolder in their plan to chip away reproductive rights piece by piece.”
Ginny-Marie Brideau, member and former co-chair of the Green Party National Women’s Caucus (http://www.gp.org/caucuses/women/index.php): “Legislation like the bill under consideration in Texas indicates that the U.S. is dividing into pro-choice and anti-choice states — states where women continue to enjoy their rights and access to safe procedures, and states where safe procedures are difficult to find. Texas is geographically huge, making it difficult for many women to travel to one of the few clinics for safe treatment either in her own state or elsewhere. In effect, the law would create two classes of Texan women — those who can afford reproductive rights and those who can’t. Eleven states already have such laws on the books. The Texas bill must be defeated and restrictive bills in other states must be overturned.”
Morgen D’Arc, co-founder, former co-chair, and current spokesperson of the Green Party National Women’s Caucus: “While the Democratic Party still supports a woman’s right to choose, we’re seeing a steady march to the right among Democrats, with a growing hostility to civil liberties and constitutional protections that’s evident in the reaction of party leaders to the NSA data-mining revelations. Six Democrats voted yea on the U.S. House bill on June 18. If enough conservative Democrats in the House and Senate side with Republicans, reproductive rights will be shredded in the coming years. Meanwhile, Republicans are becoming more extreme, with many seeking to restrict access to contraception, especially emergency ‘morning-after’ contraception.”
“Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The ‘morning-after’ pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions, and; abortion regardless of age or marital status… We endorse women’s right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion. This right cannot be limited to women’s age or marital status. Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S., and any state government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level. Public health agencies operating abroad should be allowed to offer family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that ask for those services. We oppose our government’s habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions.” (Green Party Platform: Section on Women’s Rights, including Reproductive Rights (excerpted), http://www.gp.org/index.php/green-party-platform-table-of-contents/17-platform/39-ii-social-justice.html#womensrights)
“‘Staggeringly Stupid’ Abortion Bill Passes in Congress: Roe v. Wade faces biggest challenge yet”
By Lucia Brown, Common Dreams, June 19, 2013
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