Are You In ?

Elizabeth Banks
As a working mom in Hollywood today, I’m lucky to have the resources I need to take care of myself and my son. But that wasn’t always the case.

When I graduated from college over 15 years ago, I was unemployed and uninsured. I turned to the only place that would provide me with health care at a rate I could afford: Planned Parenthood.

What Mitt Romney forgets when he says he wants to “get rid of that” organization is that, for many women, the fight over Planned Parenthood isn’t controversial — it’s about our health.

I recorded a quick video sharing my own Planned Parenthood story — and why I’m proud that my president supports this great organization.

Check it out, then make a few calls to let other women know why it matters to you.

One in five women will rely on Planned Parenthood for medical services like cancer screenings and pap smears at some point in their lives. Seventy-five percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line — for many working women, the organization is quite literally a life-saver. It is the leading women’s reproductive health care provider and advocate. It’s there for us when no one else is.

The fight over Planned Parenthood is part of a larger debate about issues that, for most women, are intensely personal decisions: birth control and reproductive health. But now more than ever, it’s important to talk to women about our personal experiences and ask them to step up and get involved — the Republicans who want to take us back to the ’50s need to know the consequences of their actions.

For me, birth control wasn’t originally a tool for preventing pregnancy. It was prescribed to me when hormonally-induced migraines kept me locked up in dark rooms for days. I took it again when I had painful cramps. And when I wanted to have children, I got on the pill again, because it helped regulate my cycle for IVF. Thanks to family planning, today I’m the proud mother of a one-year-old son.

That’s why I’m working hard to re-elect President Obama. He respects and values women. He knows that the government has no business restricting access to affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and the preventive care that Planned Parenthood provides. President Obama has not compromised on women’s rights — he’s fighting for us.

So we’ve got to fight for him. Help spread the word by making a few calls and sharing your story with others about why these issues matter to you:



Elizabeth Banks

Support Alan Grayson …

The Problem.

On Thursday, there was a news report about Yovany Gonzalez, who was fired because his daughter Mackenzie needed to have expensive surgery. His employer, who provided his health coverage, didn’t want to pay for it. Mackenzie died. Cenk Uygur, host of the show “The Young Turks” on Current TV, invited Alan Grayson on the air to talk about it:

CENK UYGUR: Now, [there was] a guy who pointed out this problem. His name was Alan Grayson. Do you remember when Congressman Grayson from Florida gave this speech in the last Congress?

[VIDEO OF ALAN GRAYSON]: The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick. The Democrats have a different plan. The Democrats say, “If you have health insurance, we’re going to make it better. If you don’t have health insurance, we’re going to provide it to you. If you can’t afford health insurance, then we will help you afford health insurance.” But the Republican plan is this: “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.

CENK: Well, he took a lot of heat for that speech. But as you see stories like the Gonzalez story throughout the country, you wonder if he’d gotten it right all along. In fact, let’s bring in Alan Grayson right now — Former congressman from Florida, running again for Congress in Florida. Congressman, talk to us about the state of health care, this case, and what you make of it.

ALAN GRAYSON: Well, we still have 50 million Americans who can’t see a doctor when they are sick. And we have the Right Wing in total denial about the problem. After I gave that speech, they demanded an apology. Instead, I apologized to the dead, and gave the [Right Wing] a Harvard study that shows that 45,000 Americans die every year because they have no health coverage. If you take two people who are absolutely identical, physically identical — same age, same gender, same weight, same smoking habits — the one without health insurance is 40 percent more likely to die each year than the one with health insurance.

The Right Wing wants to ignore that. We set up a website that still exists, called We invited people who had lost people whom they loved, because they had no health coverage, to write in. It’s some of the most poignant stories you’ve ever heard in your entire life. The Right Wing wants to ignore it, wish it away, pretend it’s not happening. It’s just wrong.

CENK: You know what’s fascinating is the media coverage of this. If you point out people who have died [because they have no health insurance], they get mad at you and they say, “Oh, that’s uncivil,” right? But if you actually take away people’s insurance and they die, that they don’t mind. It seems like the media thinks, “OK, well that’s just life, and, you know, your family member died, and it’s a sad day for you.” But we [are considered] to be the impolite ones for pointing it out. Is there something wrong with our media?

ALAN GRAYSON: This has been going on now for years. The health insurance companies themselves have been doing it, for years now. For decades, they have had provisions, small print in their policies, that allowed them literally to pull the plug on you when you got too expensive for them. These lifetime caps. And that’s been a plague on us, and it’s killed many people.

I introduced a specific bill, H.R. 6000, called the “Thou Shall Not Kill Thy Customers Act,” to prevent them from doing that any longer. And in fact, Obamacare does prevent them from doing that. It ends lifetime caps, but the Republicans want to perpetuate that situation. It doesn’t matter whom you blame, whether it is the Right Wing or the media, it’s just wrong. We’ve known for 3,000 years now that a just society is one that shelters the homeless, that feeds the hungry, and that heals the sick.

CENK: So now Republicans are livid because one of Romney’s spokespeople pointed out that his health care plan, universal health care in Massachusetts, would have saved the life of the guy they feature in a Super PAC ad for Obama. And they say, “How dare you? How dare you save her life, and claim that your program would?” How is this Republican Party even in contention? How do they get people to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want a lifetime cap, so that if I get really sick, my insurance pulls the plug on me, or they pull the plug on my kids. Yeah, I want corporations to crush my soul.” And say, “Hey, you know what? My family member’s sick, who cares? Let ’em die, because I want to save a buck.” How does a party this decrepit, this sick, this grotesque, even be in contention, and let alone the wins that they had in 2010?

ALAN GRAYSON: You’ve got me. I don’t know. I think they should be heading for an overwhelming loss, because the only thing that Mitt Romney cares about, the only thing that the Koch Brothers care about, the only thing that the insurance companies care about, is money. They take as much as they can from the rest of us, they give back as little as possible in return, and they call the difference “profit.”

CENK: Congressman Alan Grayson, running again in Florida. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it. And I want to thank you for that speech you gave last time around, because you were absolutely right about it.

ALAN GRAYSON: Thank you.

If you want to support a Congressman who tells it like it is, then click here.

Worker and Economic Rights at Risk

While Mitt Romney announces Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential pick today, a politician who will tout the same failed policies that have benefited only their deep-pocketed donors, tens of thousands of working families will launch a campaign to demand elected leaders support an agenda that gives economic rights for all.

The rally for the middle class today is about people, not secret money. It stands for everyone, not just Wall Street. We’re fighting for our economic rights, for a more secure future for all of us. 

Click here to sign your name in support of working families and real economic justice for the middle class.

The demand is simple. All of us should have a right to full employment and a living wage, full participation in the electoral process, a voice at work, quality education and a secure, healthy future.

All of these rights are vital to getting our country back on track and making it work for everyone, not just the Mitt Romneys and Paul Ryans of the world. But if you can’t be in Philly today, you still can get involved.

With the election only three months away, we need to start working together to hold politicians accountable for their votes on these issues and make sure they listen to us after November. Today, Mitt Romney doubled down on his drive to destroy the middle class by selecting Paul Ryan, someone who wants to end Medicare as we know it, kill jobs for working families, and give tax breaks to the rich.

If you believe everyone should have basic economic rights, show your support here by clicking on the link and tell us what issues matter most as we head into Election Day

Thank you for everything you do.

In Solidarity,

Nicole Aro
Deputy Director
Digital Strategies, AFL-CIO

P.S. You can follow today’s event in Philly live at the Workers Stand for America website.

BREAKING: Tulsi Gabbard Wins in Hawaii!

This morning, we are one step closer to making history.  In Hawaii, VoteVets PAC-endorsed Iraq veteran Tulsi Gabbard has won her primary, in a stunning come-from-behind victory.  If she wins in November, she along with Tammy Duckworth (who we also feel very good about), would be the first female combat veteran ever elected to Congress in United States history!

This is happening because of you.  Your tens of thousands of dollars in donations for Tulsi’s campaign, through VoteVets PAC, allowed her to run a first-rate effort.

Also, because of your support, VoteVets Action Fund was able to spread Tulsi’s amazing bio, through television ads, mailers, and phone calls.  In fact, at the beginning of the race, Tulsi trailed by over 65 points.  Once our ads ran for five weeks, she pulled into a dead heat, because the people of the district were as impressed with her as we were.  VoteVets Action Fund was the first group to step up to help her close that gap. In all, VoteVets Action Fund spent over $317,000 promoting Tulsi’s incredible biography.

Now, we’re even closer to sending another incredible veteran to Congress, to add to the growing voice of today’s progressive veterans in the halls of power.  From all of us at, I want to thank you for helping to make this all possible.  It’s a great day for all of us.


Jon Soltz Iraq War Veteran Chairman, @JonSoltz