Stand Up For Women's Health Rally on April 7
Over 100 students and residents from throughout the Capital Region will get up in the early morning hours this Thursday, April 7, to travel to Washington, DC for the Stand Up for Women's Health rally at the U.S. Capitol. They are taking the long trip to participate in a united show of opposition to extreme proposals in Congress that take preventive health care and family planning away from women and undermine women's access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion. Buses will leave in the early morning hours from Saratoga Springs and Albany locations. (Departure from Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood at 855 Central Avenue is scheduled for 3:15am.)
"If these dangerous legislative proposals are allowed to pass, millions of women and men would suffer," said Patricia McGeown President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP). "That's why we are traveling to Washington, DC, to make our voices heard and send a clear message to Congress that we will keep fighting to stop misguided efforts that would deny much-needed care to American families. "They will join thousands of Americans from across the country, and more than 20 other leading organizations, to send a strong message to Congress that proposals undermining women's health and reproductive rights are unacceptable and must be stopped.
"We are going to Washington in numbers to make an impact" stated Joanna Heere, UHPP's Director of Billing. Rally speakers will include Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, members of Congress, New York State Senator Chuck Schumer and many others. The anti-choice House leadership took control of Congress on a promise to create jobs, but instead has focused its legislative efforts on undermining women's health and taking away health care that women currently have.
"I am attending the rally because without support Planned Parenthood is going to lose funding that allows millions of people, especially those who are poor and face discrimination, to obtain quality health and education services" stated Maureen Whitcomb, a University at Albany student. If enacted, these extreme proposals would result in millions of women and men losing access to lifesaving preventive care, including cancer screenings and HIV tests, as well as family planning, birth control, and private insurance coverage of abortion care. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood alone serves over 11,000 women and men each year at health centers located in Albany, Hudson and Troy. The majority of these patients have incomes below the federal poverty line and many of them see no other health care provider.
UHPP supporters will be visiting the legislative offices of U.S. Senators Kristen Gilibrand and Chuck Schumer and meeting with lead staff for U.S. Representative Paul Tonko. Efforts are underway to schedule a meeting with U.S. Representative Chris Gibson who voted in favor of the cuts contained in HR1, the Continuing Budget Resolution.
In addition to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America, the following organizations are participating in this grassroots lobby day: The American Civil Liberties Union, Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women, Arizona Progress ACTION, Black Women's Health Imperative, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Choice USA, Hadassah - the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., DC Vote, EMILY's List, Feminist Majority, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network of Abortion Funds, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, National Women's Political Caucus, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Religious Institute, Sister Song Women of Color Collective, Sisters Together And Reaching, Inc. (STAR), Union for Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism and YWCA.
Background on Policies that Attack Women's Health In this Congress, the anti-choice House leadership has already introduced various pieces of legislation that attack women's health, including a proposal to bar Planned Parenthood from providing health services through federal health programs like Medicaid, the elimination of the national family planning program (Title X), and the Smith bill, which would use tax hikes on individuals and small businesses to end private health insurance coverage of abortion care. Each year, the national family planning program (Title X) provides more than five million individuals with family planning, birth control, and lifesaving preventive care that includes cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood health centers provide millions of additional women with this care, as well as HIV testing, STI testing and treatment, annual exams, and other important services that women need, deserve, and have been receiving for decades. In addition, H.R. 3 (the Smith bill), is a far-reaching piece of legislation that will raise taxes on America's families and small businesses in an effort to end the private insurance coverage of abortion. Recent expert testimony before Congress highlighted that vague provisions in H.R.3 also have the potential to increase taxes on large businesses that provide health insurance coverage for abortion services. During that same hearing, a nonpartisan tax expert told the committee that the bill could subject rape survivors who choose abortion care to audits by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that their request was tied to an actual rape. Another bill, H.R. 358, includes restrictions on private insurance coverage of abortion and a provision that allows hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it. Simply put, the new House majority is launching an all-out legislative assault on women's health and reproductive rights, and Americans across the country are demanding that Congress reject these extreme efforts and focus on jobs and the economy.
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is a community-based non-profit organization providing advocacy, education and reproductive health care services in the capital region since 1934. Our service area includes Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties. In 2010, the agency provided health care services to over 11,000 men, women and youth who made over 23,000 visits to our health centers located in Albany, Troy and Hudson. UHPP community educators also provided 366 programs to 4,805 participants.
The UHPP mission is to promote healthy sexuality and reproductive choice through exceptional services, honest education and fearless advocacy.
Blue Carreker, 518-4466-8500 or D. Patterson 727-2500
April 06, 2011