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Secular Coalition Condemns Administration’s Age Limits on Plan B

Washington, DC–The Secular Coalition for America today condemned the Obama administration’s decision to limit the sale of Plan B, the so-called “morning-after pill,” to women 15 years of age and older. The Secular Coalition said the administration’s …

Nonreligious coalition urges HHS to drop proposed contraception rule changes

WASHINGTON, DC—The Secular Coalition for America on Monday submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expressing strong opposition to the proposed rule changes for “religious employers” regarding preventiv…

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Evangelical leader joins Religious Institute in supporting family planning, opposing proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood

A former VP of Government Affairs for the National Evangelical Association has joined with a network of more than 5,200 religious leaders to denounce the proposed Federal cuts to family planning and basic healthcare services — in particular, Planned Parenthood.

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Texas Two-Step: Religious Right anti-family planning agenda backfires in the Lone Star State

A funny thing happens when state lawmakers advance the Religious Right’s agenda: It can end up costing that state a ton of money. Big bills are a problem for even the staunchest allies of the Religious Right, and that has led to a change of heart in Texas when it comes to funding family planning services.

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It was only last year that Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance criticized the term “war on women” as “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles” among Democrats. She predicted that women would turn on Obama and wouldn’t vote on issues such as abortion rights or birth control access (unless they are anti-choice). Of course, exit polls showed that Obama carried women voters over Romney 55-44% and that 59% of voters said abortion should be legal either in all or most cases.

So it should come as no surprise that Nance is now using the “war” rhetoric in her latest Washington Times op-ed: “When high-sounding legislation becomes a war against women.” That’s right, she now believes that there is in fact a war on women, but that it comes from supporters of the Violence Against Women Act.

She claims that VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” even though 93 Senators voted for a Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment focused on combating the trafficking of women and girls.

The Violence Against Women Act headed to the president’s desk lulls Americans into believing that actual violence was addressed Thursday when, in reality, Congress pushed through a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.
Within the Senate version of the act is an amendment by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, that decimates the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors, and assaults the conscience protections of groups that have a history of hands-on help for these victims.

The Violence Against Women Act also promotes the decriminalization of prostitution of minors for states, which is also dangerous for trafficking victims. Decriminalization provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry by telling the minors that it is not illegal and that they will not get arrested. In Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, child prostitution increased after prostitution was legalized. Why would the outcome be any different here if states decriminalize prostitution for minors? Section 1243 seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors:
It prohibits the charging of a minor for a prostitution offense. This removes all judicial discretion from the process.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that there were only 895 arrests of minors for prostitution in 2010. In 2011, the number of arrests dropped to 763. Over the past seven years, arrests of minors for prostitution have averaged 1,067 annually.
Decriminalization provides a great recruiting tool for gangs, pimps and traffickers, who can say, “Don’t worry; it’s not illegal.”

The lesson Congress has learned from the “war on women” apparently is that as long as the title of the legislation sounds good, you must vote for it — even if it is bad policy.

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South Dakota Legislature Approves ‘Women Can’t Think on Weekends’ Bill

South Dakota’s state senate today passed a bill that would extend the mandatory 72 hour waiting period women face when seeking an abortion in the state to specifically exclude weekend days and holidays from counting towards the 72 hour period. Apparently, South Dakota’s Republican lawmakers think women aren’t able to think as well on weekends.

The AP reports:

The South Dakota Senate has given final legislative approval to an extension of what is already the nation’s longest waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion.

Senators voted 24-9 Thursday to approve the bill, which has already been passed by the House. The measure will become law if signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Women seeking abortions in South Dakota currently must wait three days after seeing an abortion clinic doctor before they can have the procedure. The bill would make it so that weekends and holidays do not count in calculating the three-day waiting period.

The state House of Representatives approved the anti-choice legislation earlier this month, and it now heads to the governor’s desk.

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Action Alert: Support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act!

Support a bill that would give grants to programs that offer a comprehensive approach to sex education.

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Bishops reject latest Obama olive branch on contraceptives

As you might recall, federal regulations have been issued under the Affordable Care Act concerning what the types of coverage that health care plans must include. Contraceptives are, of course, on the list. Houses of worship and seminaries are exempt from the mandate, but that’s not good enough for the bishops.

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The Pope has given his personal support to a campaign being run by right-wing Catholics to have abortion “defunded” throughout the European Union.

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Why the religious right rejects the Obama compromise over birth control

I continue to be amazed that in the year 2013 our nation continues to grapple with the issue of access to contraceptives, a matter most advanced nations laid to rest long ago.

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