Advance Women's Reproductive Health NOW
Urge your Members of Congress to sponsor the "Prevention First" legislation that promotes information about and access to contraceptives, family planning and preventative health care services.
TAKE ACTION NOW - write to your senators and representatives.
In the House of Representatives, the Prevention First Act (H.R. 819) has been introduced by Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). There are currently over 100 bipartisan cosponsors, but we need to double that number to ensure passage.
In the Senate, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has introduced a bill, S. 21, identical to the House's Prevention First Act. Currently there and there are fewer than 20 cosponsors. We need to triple that number and we should start with the 20 Republican and 12 Democratic Senators who are up for reelection in 2008. This is a non-partisan, life-saving bill that promotes the health and well-being of girls and women. No one should be against that.
The content of the Prevention First bills focuses on consumer education about, and providing access to, contraception, family planning services and compassionate treatment for rape survivors. It promotes: reducing teen pregnancy; providing medically accurate information; ending insurance discrimination against women; and awareness about emergency contraception (also called EC or the "morning-after pill)." The goal is to provide scientifically correct information and health care coverage and services to girls and women in order to help them prevent unwanted and unintended pregnancies and reduce the spread of sexually transmitted, often life-threatening, diseases.
TAKE ACTION -- Use our alert system to automatically identify and thank your senators and representatives who are cosponsors of Prevention First, while encouraging those who are not already cosponsors to sign up.
We know that access to affordable contraception plays a major role in reducing teenage pregnancies and ensuring healthy women and healthy families. Pregnancies -- whether unintended, unwanted, or forced through rape -- often lead to pregnancy termination. Safe and affordable contraceptives, including EC, reduce the number of teen pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Currently, most health insurance providers do not offer reimbursement for reversible forms of contraception like the birth control pill. These providers -- and many policy leaders -- fail to realize that contraception is an important medical necessity. Girls and women who want to use contraception to prevent pregnancy must have this right. And we will be far closer to "every child a wanted child" if contraception is made safe, affordable and readily available.
Yet for the last 12 years we have had a Congress led by conservative fundamentalists who have blocked attempts to promote education about, awareness of and access to contraceptives and family planning programs and services. Young women and men have been denied medically accurate information about birth control methods, family planning services have been under-funded and undermined, poor women have been denied access to legal reproductive health procedures, international aid has withheld support for condom distribution, rape survivors seeking emergency contraception have been turned away from pharmacies, insurance companies have denied coverage for birth control prescriptions and on and on.
Despite these attempts by opponents of women's rights to discourage family planning, restrict information about and access to contraceptives and belittle girls and women's desire to make informed and appropriate health care and family formation decisions, 88% of the public supports access to contraception and birth control.
Ask your senators and representatives to listen to their constituents. Take action NOW.