The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

NARAL Network Stands with Dr. Carhart Against Anti-Choice Attacks on Women


Emilie Ailts, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, joined other leading pro-choice advocates at a news conference with Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the abortion provider whose health center outside Omaha, Neb., is the target of massive anti-choice demonstrations and protests this weekend.

Ailts, who served as a representative of NARAL Pro-Choice America and its affiliates, delivered the following prepared remarks in support of Dr. Carhart, his staff, and his patients as they endure an onslaught of intimidation and inflammatory rhetoric:

"I am here today on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, my colleagues in other state affiliates, and the million-plus Americans who are members of the organizations that comprise our network.

"I am honored to stand in unity with Dr. Carhart and his staff. Their continued courage and commitment against many odds make it possible for women in Nebraska and across the country to make the personal and private decision to access safe, legal abortion care with dignity.

"On May 31 in a church in Wichita, Kansas, we witnessed what happens when inflammatory rhetoric, similar to the antics we see outside this building today, fuels violence. Dr. George Tiller's murder left Dr. Carhart as one of the only physicians in the country who is publicly willing to state that he will provide abortion care to women who face severe health-or-life-threatening complications late in their pregnancies.

"As pro-choice Americans, we must remain vigilant in stopping anti-choice efforts to undermine a woman's right to choose, whether it's in the form of the intimidation we see outside Dr. Carhart's health center today or at the ballot box. Groups with agendas like those outside today are threatening to put another deceptively worded abortion ban on Colorado's ballot in 2010, even though voters resoundingly rejected a similar measure in 2008.

"In fact, Dr. Carhart said it right when, after the murder of his friend and colleague in Kansas, he advised America's pro-choice majority to vote for candidates who share their values and turn out of office those elected officials who refuse to condemn this pattern of violence against abortion providers and their patients.

"As a representative of the pro-choice political organization, NARAL, I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Carhart. As a symbol of this commitment, I am wearing this purple wristband that reads 'Trust Women,' two powerful words that were on a button Dr. Tiller often wore.

"Today, pro-choice Americans across the country are wearing this wristband in honor of the courageous physicians like Dr. Carhart, other medical professionals, and volunteers who make it possible for women to exercise their constitutional right to choose.

"We look forward to a day when violent protests are a vestige of the past; when all women are trusted to make the personal health-care decisions that are best for them and their families; and when courageous and caring physicians like Dr. Carhart are free from the threats of violence and intimidation."

NARAL Pro-Choice America and the following state affiliates signed on to this statement of support for Dr. Carhart, his staff, and his patients:

NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona
NARAL Pro-Choice California
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana
NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire
NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico
NARAL Pro-Choice New York
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon
NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin
NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming

For over 50 years, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. Reproductive Freedom for All is powered by its more than 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.