Putting Women’s Health First

Q: Is it true that women in the Philippines now have free access to contraception?

A: Yes, it is true! Millions of Filipinos will finally have universal, free access to contraception—as well as expanded reproductive health education. After a decade of political debate and year-long a Supreme Court battle, the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, also known as the RH Law, will be going into effect. Read more > In the News Mississippi Governor Bryant Signs Dangerous and Unconstitutional Ban on Abortion…read more > Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Severely Restricting Access to Medication Abortion…read more > Health Care Providers Ask Full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to Reconsider Texas Law that Blocks Abortion Access…read more >   RW, April 2014

  In The NEWs

Mississippi Governor Bryant Signs Dangerous and Unconstitutional Ban on Abortion…read more >

Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Severely Restricting Access to Medication Abortion…read more >

Health Care Providers Ask Full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to Reconsider Texas Law that Blocks Abortion Access…read more >

RW, April 2014

Putting Women’s Health First

RW, April 2014

A Dallas hospital has chosen to discriminate against two good doctors rather than protect women’s health. Recently, the hospital revoked the doctors’ admitting privileges, specifically because—and they said as much—they provide abortion services. That’s illegal, and our partners are fighting against the hospital’s decision in court. Here’s what the hospital told them: “[Your] practice of performing [abortions] is disruptive…[and] creates significant exposure and damages to [our] reputation within the community.” It’s insane for a hospital to deny women care because it believes performing abortions “damages” its reputation. This lawsuit will remind the hospital—and the Texas government—that it must put women’s health first. Read More >

Victory in North Dakota and Arkansas

RW, April 2014

When Arkansas banned abortion at twelve weeks of pregnancy last year, we thought the state was redefining the word “extreme.” But just weeks later, North Dakota set a new low by banning abortion at six weeks—before most women even know they’re pregnant. We immediately challenged both of these laws and, with help from supporters like you, we’ve secured resounding victories from the courts. It’s essential that we’re prepared to challenge dangerous and unconstitutional restrictions like these, but the truth is women should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights. We need Congress to pass a law that will stop these bans before they get passed. Please urge your senators and representatives to support the Women’s Health Protection Act. Take action today >

Ruth Schmidt

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest

This year,(2014) Alaska lost a legend when Ruth Schmidt passed away at the age of 97.

In a time when many women weren’t encouraged to enter scientific fields, Ruth received her Masters (in 1939) and Ph.D. (in 1948) from Columbia University before going on to become a prominent geologist. She moved to Alaska in 1956, and later founded the Geology Department at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

An article in the Anchorage Daily News from April summed up just how impressive Ruth’s accomplishments were: “Recently the American Association of Petroleum Geologists announced it would honor the organization’s first 100 female members to commemorate its centennial in 2017. The first woman featured is Ruth A.M. Schmidt.”

Ruth was a treasure to the state of Alaska, not just because of her professional accomplishments, but also because of her storied philanthropic work.

As her obituary notes, “she supported conservation, opera and symphony, social services, public media, science, and science education for women and minorities.”

There’s something else to add to the list: Ruth supported women’s health and reproductive justice.

We were overwhelmed and amazed when we learned that part of Ruth’s will included a bequest to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, the first-ever contribution of that type to our organization.

We want to thank and honor Ruth for her support of women’s health and reproductive freedom.

Because of Ruth’s generosity, we have been able to wage a stronger fight against the threats to women’s health posed by politicians who want to interfere in personal medical decisions. Coupled with the support of thousands of activists like you – as donors, volunteers, and community supporters – we’ve been able to advance a progressive agenda across Alaska, Idaho, and Washington fighting for women and families.

Ruth was a trailblazer for women, for science, for Alaska, and for reproductive health and rights. If you want to continue her legacy with us, add your name to the list as someone who will continue to fight for women’s health in 2015 and beyond.

Thank you for all that you do.

Elaine Rose
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest 

a message from Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

I have some hard news to share with you.

After nearly 12 years of working on women’s health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center, I’ve decided to move on to my next adventure.

I am grateful to have been able to serve with you in the fight on behalf of women and their families for all these years. Together, we protected and expanded Medicaid and defeated outrageous attempts to curb reproductive health on the state and federal levels. We also passed a landmark health care law that is helping millions of Americans through better insurance coverage and targeted benefits for women. Now all insurance plans will cover contraceptives without co-pay.

We made Margaret Sanger proud.

A few of my favorite photos from over the years

A few of my favorite photos from over the years

We still have much work to do, and many battles ahead. That’s why I’m thrilled that Gretchen Borchelt, our current Senior Counsel and Director of State Reproductive Health Policy, will be taking over the reins of the Health and Reproductive Rights team at the National Women’s Law Center as the new year begins. Gretchen and I have worked together for 8 years, and I know she’ll provide strong, experienced and committed leadership. She’s as enthusiastic about continuing this work as I am to see her do it.

Gretchen and me

Gretchen and me

Thank you for all the wonderful years. And please stay in touch.

With gratitude,

Judy Waxman

11 questions for the Cleveland police department regarding the killing of Tamir Rice

















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The First 100 Days


The New GOP Congress’s First 100 Days Doesn’t Look Good

While the rest of us take down our holiday decorations, newly elected Congressional Republicans are hanging decorations in their new Capital Hill offices. Now with control of both the House and the Senate, the GOP is kicking off the year with a list of priorities that are sure to please right-wing extremists and special interests. Let’s take a look at a few things to expect in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress, now that the GOP controls the House and the Senate:

Keystone XL Pipeline
Instead of tackling climate change head-on and focusing their efforts on investments in clean and renewable energy, Republicans are looking to pass a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline within the next few weeks. Building the Keystone pipeline threatens America’s credibility as a climate leader and would create only 35 permanent jobs.

Health Care
Despite the near-constant evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working, Republicans will only double down on their opposition now that they control both chambers of Congress. One of the first things they’ve pledged to do is pass a repeal bill that they know the President will veto. And while they’ve promised to try to repeal the ACA, they still don’t have any semblance of a replacement. Instead, they’re waiting on the Supreme Court to hear a case in March that, if the Court rules the wrong way, could effectively take affordable health care away from millions of Americans.

Department of Homeland Security: After removing most of the Department of Homeland Security’s budget from last year’s budget deal, Republicans now have to figure out how to fund the department and please their far-right anti-immigrant base. Expect proposals opposing President Obama’s immigration executive action and cracking down on child migrants looking to reunite with their family.

Debt ceiling: The next debt ceiling deadline is March 15. As economy improves and confidence rebuilds, will GOP brinksmanship again threaten economic collapse?

Despite these priorities, what’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) goal in this session of Congress? Don’t be scary. “I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” McConnell told the Washington Post. Meanwhile: Congressional Republicans, from leadership to freshmen, have closed ranks behind the House’s number 3, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), in light of reports that Scalise addressed a white supremacist group headed by a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in 2002.

The GOP not only took over the U.S. Senate in 2014, the party also gained record majorities in state legislatures across the country. That appears to be leading to widespread GOP plans to wage wars against labor and workers, women’s reproductive health, education reform and clean power regulations.

Happy 2015.

BOTTOM LINE: The first 100 days of the new Congress is a marker for the priorities of the new GOP leadership. And from the looks of it so far, that means more attacks on working people, more favors for special interests, and more catering to the extreme right-wing.