Friday, February 27, 2009

Nominate CPC Watch Project Coordinator for Choice USA's Excellence in Leadership Award!

Hello Friends,

Becca here. I just got word that ChoiceUSA is accepting nominations for their 7th Annual Generation to Generation Award.

I'm not sure if this is completely tacky or what, but I'm asking you today to consider submitting a nomination for our budding organization, the brainchild of activist extraordinaire Lauren Guy McAlpin. The award is the Excellence in Leadership Award, "given to a group or individual 30 AND UNDER who has exhibited radical, unrelenting leadership that led to social change particularly impacting sexual and reproductive health and rights."

Here are some reasons I believe we should nominate Lauren for the award:

- Her commitment to reproductive justice has been an inspiration to myself and other CPC Watch supporters and friends. Juggling three jobs, a marriage, and a budding choice organization is surely no easy task, and yet the hours she has spent organizing, sending emails, networking, writing for ChoiceUSA's blog, and almost single-handedly putting together our monthly newsletter are unparalleled.

- When asked why she started CPC Watch, Lauren told me the very existence of crisis pregnancy centers made her blood boil. Inspired by the work on CPCs by larger choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Lauren saw the need for an advocacy organization that focused 100% on CPCs and their operations. She truly believes CPCs are one of the greatest threats to reproductive justice today, and took that concern directly to the frontlines and started a webpage, one that has budded into a small but dedicated organization committed to ensuring every woman has the resources she needs to make educated reproductive decisions.

- Throughout the excitement of Barack Obama's election last November, Lauren remained a critical thinker and true to her commitment as a grassroots activist, continuing to ask important questions about what Obama's presidency will, and will not, do for choice advocates, and what we as activists need to continue to work towards to ensure reproductive justice for every woman.

- Lauren has a long history of grassroots activist work in anti-war and pro-impeachment groups, where she has been committed to the concerns of women above all else. Each of her speaking engagements through the World Can't Wait organization and her campus chapter of the Antiwar Coalition focused primarily on attacks on women's rights under the Bush administration, and how continuing war in the Middle East has been detrimental to women and families.

I hope you will consider nominating my friend and comrade, Lauren Guy McAlpin, for the Excellence in Leadership Award. Submissions are due by March 31st, and the forms can be found here:

Thanks everyone,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More anti-choice activity in North Dakota

While the area of my brain dedicated to anti-choice policy in North Dakota is generally reserved for HB1445, I can't help but devote a little time to the North Dakota Senate bill that would require abortion clinics to display a sign reading the following:
Notice: No one can force you to have an abortion. It is against the law for a spouse, a boyfriend, a parent, a friend, a medical care provider, or any other person to in any way force you to have an abortion.
SB2265 doesn't exactly ruffle my feathers in the usual outright way, aside from the fact that it's probably a waste of time considering it only applies to the state's one operational clinic.

Of course I'm not against women knowing that abortion is their choice and their choice alone. That's why my real beef with this measure is the fact that North Dakota otherwise has a real shoddy record on helping women make reproductive decisions for themselves: not only does the state restrict abortion access for young and low-income women, but also requires women to receive spousal consent prior to receiving an elective procedure!

And where, exactly, are the laws requiring all crisis pregnancy centers to display a sign that states that no one, not even the rabid volunteers inside, can intimidate you into choosing adoption over abortion or single-motherhood?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fabric-Cutter Conscience

I work at a fabric store. Specifically, I'm the nighttime manager. However, I still have to do my fair share of customer service to back up my employees, especially since we've had to way understaff lately with the economy being so bad.

So the other day I was in the back once again reorganizing the clearance fabric, and started thinking about Bush's 11th hour HHS regulation, the "provider conscience" rule. What a trip it would be, I thought, if this applied to more than just the medical field. And what if the regulation worked the other way around? People simply wouldn't stand for that, would they?

That's when I let my mind drift further off to have one of my trademark imaginary conversations...

(Scene: We open on Lauren, our heroine, working her pay-the-bills job at the fabric store. She's dressed in black pants, a white collared shirt, and the inevitable green apron. A customer walks to the cutting counter with a cart full of flannel fabric.)

Lauren: Hi there, can I help you?
Customer: Yes, this is the flannel that's on sale, right?
Lauren: Yes ma'am, $2.00 a yard. How much do you need?
Customer: (Placing several bolts on the counter) I need a yard and a half of each, please.
Lauren: Can do. What are you making?
Customer: We're making baby blankets to donate to the local crisis pregnancy center. (Note: I have actually cut fabric for people who say they're donating to a CPC. That sort of thing would happen to me, huh?)
Lauren: Oh. (Stops measuring.) I'm sorry ma'am, but I cannot cut this fabric for you.
Customer: I'm sorry? Why not?
Lauren: You see, I am morally opposed to the way crisis pregnancy centers operate. It's actually kind of a huge issue for me. I know that if I cut this fabric, a crisis pregnancy center will receive a donation that will further its anti-choice agenda and allow it to continue dolling out false medical information to vulnerable women. I simply cannot take part in any act that would help their function, no matter how big or small.
Customer: Oh, I see. Okay then, is there anyone else here who can cut this for me?
Lauren: Well, that's complicated. You see, I'm the current manager on duty. My employees would face a lot of scrutiny from their bosses if they knowingly aided in the operation of a CPC. Should management turn against them for any reason, be it professional or personal, their job could be in jeopardy.
Customer: Well I'm calling the company about this!
Lauren: Go ahead. Universal provider-conscience rules prohibit the firing of any employee on the basis of their acting on a moral conviction.
Okay, I want to speak to your manager about this!
I am the manager.
How did you become the manager?!
See, that's the real kicker! In addition to not being able to fire me, universal provider conscience rules also declare companies also cannot refuse to hire or promote any individual whose convictions will interfere with the company's operation or its integrity! They can't touch me!
Customer: We
ll it is the law, and your convictions are protected by it. I guess I'll have to drive across town to the other fabric store and see if they will help me out.

It's fun to dream...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

political humor.

good stuff.

Anti-Choice Legislation in Your State

The Following was sent out to our listserv and Facebook group. If you are interested in helping us out with this effort, please email

Dear CPC Watch Supporters and Friends,

I am writing today to ask for your help.

CPC Watch thrives on grassroots organization and all levels of time commitment from pro-reproductive justice people like you.

As we basque in the victory maybe the most choice-friendly president this country has ever seen, state and local governments have begun enacting anti-choice legislation all over the country. From state-mandated ultrasounds to increased funding for CPCs, these bills are a clear threat to access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for us all.

In order to keep up with and inform others of these dangerous pieces of legislation, we are launching a state-by-state analysis of anti-choice bills to go in the News and Action Alerts section of the website. However, our core group of web authors are unable to keep up with them all! That's where you come in. We need volunteers to write up a small summary of legislation in a given state, then keep up with its progress with weekly updates. This will be a relatively small time committment since many of these proposed bills have been sent to subcommittee where further updates may take a while.

The states we will include are:
New York
North Carolina*
North Dakota
South Carolina*

(States with an * are those we already have writers for.)

You can choose any state (it doesn't necessarily have to be where you live), then email for more information and tips on how to keep up with legislation.

Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I very much look forward to hearing from you!

Peace and solidarity,

Lauren Guy McAlpin
Crisis Pregnancy Center Watch
Project Coordinator

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More states consider ultrasound requirement

The following is a cross-post with ChoiceWords, the blog of ChoiceUSA.

Let the backlash begin!

In anticipation of a more choice-friendly administration, more state governments are considering adding new restrictions to the already difficult process of obtaining an abortion: mandatory ultrasounds.

According to the Chicago Tribune, twelve states have already considered proposals to require women to receive an ultrasound before an abortion. Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New York, and North Dakota are considering legislation that would require a woman to be offered an ultrasound. In Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming, a physician or counselor would be required to actually perform an ultrasound on the pregnant woman before she would be able to have an abortion (though Wyoming's proposal was defeated last week). Several of these states require a physician to physically hand an ultrasound image to the woman or force her to listen to the heartbeat.

South Carolina, which already requires women to receive ultrasounds, would increase the waiting period for abortions from one hour to one day after the ultrasound. This legislation has passed through committee and is on its way to the House floor. In addition, South Carolina legislature is considering a bill that would require women to receive a list of nearby places to receive free ultrasounds, most of which are deceptive crisis pregnancy centers where the woman will be inundated with a wealth of false and misleading medical information.

These bills send a clear message to women who are already in the process of making a decision that's anything but easy: "You don't know what you want, but we do." After all, if a woman is stupid enough to get "knocked up", how can we trust her with the decision to terminate or carry to term?

Never mind the repeated warnings from the AMA, the FDA, ACOG, and others that ultrasounds should be used sparingly and never for entertainment. In fact, it is illegal to promote ultrasounds for non-medical use, but the majority of CPCs and other anti-choice agencies have been able to fly under the radar by posing as legitimate medical facilities.

Some advocates of the restriction in South Carolina appropriate benevolent, "pro-woman" language in defending the extended waiting period: "We owe it to the women of this state to give them a 24-hour respite to think about this decision." (Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester) Because women can't decide for themselves to wait a little while without it being state-mandated?

Another issue at hand is more class-oriented. With 73% of women who have abortions citing financial reasons for choosing to terminate, it's likely a woman seeking an abortion has at least one job. Having to schedule additional visits to a clinic would be difficult if not impossible for working women. But we can't expect anti-choicers like Rep. Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville) to understand that: "Taking two days off work, I don’t think that’s asking too much."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crist vetoes funding cut for CPCs

Unfortunately the only news source I can readily find for this story is from the Catholic News Agency, and while we hardly advocate giving ping-backs or hits to such an anti-choice agency, well, we're a little low on options now, aren't we?

According to the Catholic News Agency, Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed a $574,728 funding cut for CPCs under the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program, a cut that was passed through the Florida Legislature during a Special Legislative Session. The initiative to fund CPCs in Florida was launched by Fmr. Governor Jeb Bush in 2005. This was one of many budget cuts Crist vetoed.

So there it is. Republicans want to eliminate any and all "pork spending" and government funding towards anything that has do with healthcare and personal issues, except when it's money to limit women's options and dole out anti-choice propaganda. (Seriously though, when it comes to government spending, what's more useless than a crisis pregnancy center?) A cut in CPC funding would have been a true victory in a state where no real medical assistance is offered to low-income women facing an unplanned pregnancy and where women are legally subject to biased counceling prior to accessing an abortion.

Even our choice-friendly President Barack Obama caved to GOP pressure to strike a family planning measure from the 2009 Stimulus Bill seeing how helping women prevent pregnancy is apparently nothing but "wasteful pork". By the way fellas, increased access to education and contraception would have helped reduce unplanned pregnancies and therefore abortions, but who ever said the antis are out to empower women with more choices?