Kirsten Gillibrand on Abortion
Democratic Senator (NY); Democratic Candidate for President (withdrawn)
Gillibrand's most explicit pitch went to female voters: "I am the leading presidential candidate on women's rights today," she said. In the last month, Gillibrand rolled out a slate of policies around reproductive rights and women's health. She waded into a congressional Democratic primary, endorsing the challenger to an anti-abortion-rights Democratic House member in Illinois. She was also the first presidential candidate to commit to a litmus test for judicial nominees by pledging only to nominate judges who consider Roe v. Wade as settled precedent.
Ms. Gillibrand, long a prominent advocate for issues affecting women, has placed herself at the forefront of the debate, hoping that some primary voters may factor the new measures into their decisions. "Why should male legislators across this country decide when you are having children, how many and under what circumstances?" she asked Sunday, her voice rising. "I don't understand it. It's a human right. It's about having bodily autonomy. It's about being able to control your physical self."
She did not specifically address third-trimester abortions (which account for less than 1.5% of abortions), even when the audience member asked a second time.
Gillibrand countered that there is a movement to undermine women's basic rights. "To say that's evil shows disregard for the ability of a woman to make that personal life-and-death decision about her own body," Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand shot back that the overwhelming majority of women use some type of contraception. "To say that's evil shows a disregard for the ability of a woman to make that personal life and death decision about her own body and her family," she said.
The women also differ on a recent plan, announced by the Obama administration, to require coverage of contraception. Originally Obama mandated that all employers--including some religious hospitals that may have a moral objection--provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans. After pressure, Obama amended the regulations to require health insurers provide the coverage without employers that object to it paying.
Republicans last week attempted to pass a measure, dubbed the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers a "conscience" exemption. Long said she would support it, and attacked Gillibrand's vigorous opposition to it.
"She supports Obama's enforcement of their view on religious institutions & people of conscience who would have a problem with it," Long said
She was an outspoken supporter of Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign and has drawn financial support from prominent women's groups in Washington, not least Emily's List.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. WICKER (R-MS): This amendment with one issue and one issue only--whether US taxpayer dollars will be provided to help fund coercive population control policies, such as China's one-child policy--a policy that relies on coerced abortion and forced sterilization. Specifically, this pro-child, pro-family, pro-woman amendment would restore the Kemp-Kasten antipopulation control provision, which has been a fundamental part of our foreign policy for almost a quarter century. As it has always done, Kemp-Kasten allows the President to certify that funds are not used for coercive family practices. My amendment is needed because the underlying bill reverses this longstanding provision.
Sen. COBURN (R-OK): I stand in the corner of pro-life. But I want to debate this issue as if I were pro-choice. If we believe that women have a right to choose, why in the world would we send money to UNFP that is going to take that right away from women in other countries? You can't be on both sides of this issue. Either you believe in a woman's right to choose or you do not. Or you only believe in a woman's right to choose in America, and because the Chinese have too many people, you don't think that same human right ought to be given to women in China. There is no question that UNFP will mix this money, and we will fund forced abortions in China. [Without this amendment] American taxpayer dollars are going to go to China to enforce coercive abortion against the will of women and force sterilization against the will of women in China.
Opponent's argument to vote No:None spoke against the amendment.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Since 2 years ago, the last Stem Cell bill, public support has surged for stem cells. Research is proceeding unfettered and, in some cases, without ethical standards in other countries. And even when these countries have ethical standards, our failures are allowing them to gain the scientific edge over the US. Some suggest that it is Congress' role to tell researchers what kinds of cells to use. I suggest we are not the arbiters of research. Instead, we should foster all of these methods, and we should adequately fund and have ethical oversight over all ethical stem cell research.
Opponents support voting NO because:
A good deal has changed in the world of science. Amniotic fluid stem cells are now available to open a broad new area of research. I think the American people would welcome us having a hearing to understand more about this promising new area of science. As it stands today, we will simply have to debate the bill on the merits of information that is well over 2 years old, and I think that is unfortunate.
The recent findings of the pluripotent epithelial cells demonstrates how quickly the world has changed. Wouldn't it be nice to have the researcher before our committee and be able to ask those questions so we may make the best possible judgment for the American people?
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health for Military Women Act or the MARCH for Military Women Act - Amends the prohibition on using funds available to the Department of Defense (DOD) to perform abortions by adding an exception for cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. (Current law provides an exception only where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.) Repeals a statutory restriction on using a medical treatment facility or other facility of the DOD to perform an abortion.
[Explanatory note from campusprogress.org "Military Reproductive Rights Bill", 7/5/11]:
Currently, the health coverage U.S. servicewomen have doesn't cover abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. U.S. servicewomen are also not permitted to use their own money to pay for an abortion at a military hospital. Military women stationed abroad are most affected by this regulation, as they would be forced to seek abortion services at foreign hospitals, which may be unsafe, or request permission from a supervisor to leave the country, which forces them to divulge that they are seeking an abortion. Most other American women who receive health care from the government but are not in the service can receive abortions in the case of rape, incest, or to the save the life of the mother. The MARCH for Military Women Act would give servicewomen coverage for abortion in the case of rape or incest and allow them to use their own funds for abortion at a U.S. military facility. NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood are among many organizations that support this legislation.
Congressional summary:: Women's Health Protection Act: makes the following limitations concerning abortion services unlawful and prohibits their imposition or application by any government:
Opponent's argument against (Live Action News): This is Roe v. Wade on steroids. The bill is problematic from the very beginning. Its first finding addresses "women's ability to participate equally"; many have rejected this claim that women need abortion in order to be equal to men, or that they need to be like men at all. The sponsors of this pro-abortion bill also seem to feel that pro-life bills have had their time in this country, and that we must now turn back to abortion. The bill also demonstrates that its proponents have likely not even bothered attempting to understand the laws they are seeking to undo, considering that such laws are in place to regulate abortion in order to make it safer. Those who feel that abortion is best left up for the states to decide will also find this bill problematic with its overreach. Sadly, the bill also uses the Fourteenth Amendment to justify abortion, as the Supreme Court did, even though in actuality it would make much more sense to protect the lives of unborn Americans.
Congressional Summary: Congress finds the following:
Opponents reasons for voting NAY:(National Review, July 17, 2014): During hearings on S. 1696, Senators heard many myths from abortion proponents about the "need" for the bill's evisceration of all life-affirming legislation.
Excerpts from Letter to the Senate Majority Leader from 46 Senators: The recent vote in the House to overturn rules protecting Title X health centers would deny women access to care. In 2015, Title X provided basic primary and preventive health care services such as pap tests, breast exams, and HIV testing to more than four million low-income women and men at over 4,000 health centers. In large part due to this work, the US unintended pregnancy rate is at a 30-year low, and rates of teenage pregnancy are the lowest in our nation's history. The success of the program is dependent on funding. Family planning services, like those provided at Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers, should be available to all women, no matter where they live or how much money they make.
Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Disentangling the Data"): Planned Parenthood received approximately $60 million of taxpayer money under Title X, and $390 million through Medicaid. To ensure that taxpayers are not forced to subsidize America's number one abortion provider, Congress should make Planned Parenthood affiliates ineligible to receive either Medicaid reimbursements or Title X grants if they continue to perform abortions. Taxpayer money from these programs should instead be redirected to the more than 9,000 federally qualified health center sites that provide comprehensive primary health care for those in need without entanglement in abortion.
Supporting argument: (ACLU, "Urging Title X"): Title X services help women & men to plan the number and timing of their pregnancies, thereby helping to prevent approximately one million unintended pregnancies, nearly half of which would end in abortion. However, current funding is inadequate. Had Title X funding kept up with inflation it would now be funded at nearly $700 million. We ask that Title X be funded at $375 million, which is $92 million above its current funding level.
S.311/H.R.962: Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: Congress finds the following:
Opposing argument from Rewire.com, "Born Alive Propaganda," by Calla Hales, 4/12/2019: From restrictive bans at various points of pregnancy to a proposed death penalty for seeking care, both federal and state legislators are taking aim at abortion rights. The goal? To make abortion illegal, criminalizing patients and providers in the process. One kind of bill making a recent resurgence is the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act." These bills aim to further the false narrative that abortions regularly occur immediately before or, according to the president, at the time of birth. Intentional action to end the life of an infant is already illegal. This is covered by federal and state infanticide laws. These bills do nothing but vilify physicians who provide reproductive health care.
Legislative outcome Referred to Committee in House; Senate motion to proceed rejected, 56-41-3 (60 required).
A bill to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce abortions, and improve access to women's health care. The Congress finds as follows:
At-Risk Communities Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act: to award grants for teenage pregnancy prevention programs & prevention research.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS:
Sen. FRANKEN: The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act is a straightforward but vital piece of legislation. It would ensure that servicewomen in our military have reliable and timely access to emergency contraception when they need it.
Emergency contraception, or Plan B as it is more commonly known under its brand name, is Food and Drug Administration-approved medication that prevents pregnancy. It is safe and, if taken shortly after pregnancy, highly effective. Since 2006, the FDA has approved it for over-the-counter sale. Currently, women 17 years old and older may purchase emergency contraception over the counter, while those younger require a prescription. Emergency contraception is widely available at pharmacies throughout the U.S. The problem this legislation is meant to address is that there's no guarantee that emergency contraception be available to our servicewomen in the military. Immediate accessibility is especially important in the case of emergency contraception because it is only effective if taken within a short window of time. Once a pregnancy is established, it doesn't work. The fact that more than 2,900 sexual assaults were reported last year in the military only heightens the need to ensure emergency contraception is always available.
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