The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

Pro-Choice Americans to Senators: We're Counting on You to Stop the War on Contraception

Sens. Kirk of Illinois and Brown of Massachusetts among senators whose votes will be crucial in protecting women’s access to family-planning services


Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America released a list of senators whose votes will be crucial in putting a stop to the anti-choice House leadership's ill-conceived War on Contraception.

In key states, the organization's affiliates will deliver messages from constituents calling on senators to reject the House's attacks on contraception. In the last week, more than 50,000 NARAL Pro-Choice America activists have sent email messages calling on their senators to vote against defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting funding for other family-planning centers that serve more than five million Americans each year.

"Before heading home for the congressional recess, the anti-choice House leadership advanced a two-front attack against women's access to birth control, cancer screenings, Pap smears, and other basic health care," Keenan said. "Now that the fate of women's access to reproductive-health care rests with the Senate, NARAL Pro-Choice America is looking to key lawmakers whose votes could be the deciding factor in stopping the War on Contraception."

During the debate over the continuing resolution [C.R.] legislation that funds the federal government through the end of the fiscal year, the House passed an amendment that defunds preventive health services at Planned Parenthood. Then, the House passed the entire C.R., which eliminates all $327 million in funding for Title X, the nation's only domestic family-planning program. The Senate could take up this issue as early as this week.

In particular, pro-choice activists will be calling on Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to protect women's access to reproductive-health care. These senators have pledged to prioritize their constituents over pressure from party leaders.

"Critical votes like this one separate the true moderates from the 'great pretenders,'" Keenan said. "Now is the time for senators to demonstrate their independence from an extreme anti-choice agenda."

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its affiliates also are delivering messages to senators who have previously supported family-planning programs to ensure that they uphold their commitment to women and take an active stand against these egregious attacks. Those lawmakers include Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester; South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson; Virginia Sen. Mark Warner; and Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl. Many of these senators have had the opportunity to distinguish themselves from members of their House delegation who cast anti-choice votes against contraception.

"This week, NARAL Pro-Choice America is mobilizing activists across the country to let these senators know that we will stand with them as they stand up for women and protect critical services provided by Planned Parenthood and other family-planning clinics," Keenan said.

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.