Author Archives: Erin Matson

Reproaction Act and Learn Webinar 10/20: Why Are Stores Making Emergency Contraception Hard to Get?

Everyone is supposed to be able to pick up emergency contraception on the shelf, pay for it at the cash register, and take it home without any funny business. In fact, a common method of emergency contraception was approved for sale with no restrictions for age or gender more than four years ago. And while some stores are doing the right thing, too many others require customers to jump through unnecessary and insulting hoops.

During our Act and Learn webinar, Why Are Stores Making Emergency Contraception Hard to Get?, we discussed just what the rules are for purchasing emergency contraception, what barriers retailers are putting in place, and what action steps you can take to hold your local stores accountable for stocking emergency contraception on the shelf.

Thank you to our guest panelist Kelly Cleland, Executive Director of the American Society for Emergency Contraception, for providing so much useful information.

Check out the recording below!

 

 

Kermit Gosnell Is No Excuse to Close Abortion Clinics

Below is testimony our co-director Erin Matson gave at the Virginia Board of Health meeting on September 15.

My name is Erin Matson and I live in Arlington. I am co-founder of Reproaction, and led a national, research-driven Who Is Closing Abortion Clinics? campaign exposing the lie that unconstitutional abortion clinic shutdown restrictions promote women’s health and safety. We showed they are designed to block access to abortion.

In our comprehensive analysis of the faulty and unfounded health and safety claims made for sham restrictions, the case of Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania emerges as one of the most frequent sources of distortion and deception. This is true in Virginia. On its website alone, The Family Foundation has 38 pages linking Gosnell to our unconstitutional abortion clinic closure restrictions, invoking his name a total of 102 times.

Let me be clear: Kermit Gosnell is a monster who preyed upon poor women with fewer options. What he did has no comparison to the practices of the abortion provider community. But let me also be clear: Forcing abortion clinics to close in Gosnell’s name cuts off access to compassionate, medically appropriate abortion care, which only empowers bad actors.

In a concurring opinion on Whole Woman’s Health, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong. But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.”

Abortion is overwhelmingly safe. According to the CDC, less than 0.3% of abortion patients in the U.S. experience a complication that requires hospitalization. There is no evidence that laws that unfairly single out abortion providers do anything but force abortion clinics to close.

Last week Reproaction attended a preview of a film about Gosnell that is designed to blur his crimes with compassionate, reputable abortion providers. At the Q&A after, the film’s producer explained her anti-abortion activism and bragged (quote), “I have no problem with Gosnell.”

Gosnell is being used to eliminate access to abortion – and those using him have no problem if women are harmed along the way. Facts matter. Act now to keep clinics open for true health and safety.

Reproaction publishes full-page ad in the Washington Post

Real conversation about the status of women must include abortion.

TODAY the White House is sponsoring a United State of Women Summit to “celebrate the progress we’ve made on behalf of women and girls and to talk about how we’re taking action moving forward.” Abortion is not an explicit priority of the summit.

This is a mistake.

Access to abortion is critical for women’s dignity, equality, and justice. A woman needs to be able to decide whether and when to have children to be equal and have equal opportunity. It is really that simple.   

It is time for the crisis in access to abortion to be addressed openly – there is little left to lose. It is time to let go of the shame and stigma that have been manufactured to keep women down.

On this historic day for women, we are asking President Obama to follow through on his commitment to equality by standing up for the hundreds of thousands of women raped in conflict around the world. 

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama can clarify that the Helms Amendment allows U.S. foreign assistance to fund abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. It is the right thing to do, and the right time to do it – before the clock runs short on the otherwise bold, final days of his presidency.

We make this request for achievable, life-saving change on Helms with clear eyes and full hearts. We have grown weary of years of excuses and silence. Women would benefit greatly if President Obama took leadership to break barriers to abortion.

The problem is not just global, but local:

ACCESS to abortion is at a historic low point in the U.S. Since 2011, anti-abortion politicians have passed more than 325 state laws that close clinics and shame, pressure, and punish women who seek abortion care. For many women, abortion has become practically impossible to obtain in a medical setting.

FOR women struggling to make ends meet, paying for abortion has too often meant cutting back on groceries or falling behind on rent. For 40 years, Congress has denied abortion coverage from those qualified and enrolled in the Medicaid health insurance program.

WOMEN who try to end their own pregnancies are being put in jail, especially poor women and women of color. One woman is currently serving 20 years in an Indiana prison. Others have been handcuffed and charged, from Georgia to Pennsylvania, Tennessee to Utah, and beyond.

THE biggest abortion access case in a generation currently sits at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision soon in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which considers the Texas law that has forced dozens of abortion clinics to close for no medical reason.

The challenges are great, and addressing them requires leadership.

In the spirit of generations of women leaders who have insisted on their right to be equal, who have marched, picketed, gone on hunger strikes, and even chained themselves to the White House fence, we are reminded of our right to expect that leadership today. 

There is no more time for stonewalling. Women raped in conflict have been denied access to abortion, and President Obama can do something about it now. It is long overdue for U.S. foreign assistance to provide comprehensive post-rape care – including safe abortions – for women and girls raped in conflict.

On this day of the United State of Women Summit, we are openly, respectfully asking for more. Candidate Barack Obama used to tell one of his favorite stories about FDR, when that president told activists, “Make me do it.” Here we are.

President Obama, we know you can lead on abortion. We know you can stand with women and girls raped in conflict. We pledge to stand by you when you do. What are you waiting for?

Click here to view the ad that ran in full in the Washington Post on June 14.

#FreePurvi: Reproaction Condemns Purvi Patel’s Imprisonment

No one should be arrested on the basis of a pregnancy outcome. In 2013 Purvi Patel sought medical attention in an Indiana hospital following a miscarriage, and was subsequently arrested and convicted of feticide and neglect of a dependent. She is currently serving 20 years in prison.

Today, her case continues in court with an appeal to her unjust conviction.

Purvi Patel’s case is important. Her imprisonment is a gross violation of her human rights. Her life does and should matter, and she should be freed immediately.

Reproaction notes with alarm the rising incidence of women, and especially poor women and women of color, being ensnared in the criminal justice system as a result of fetal homicide laws and laws that criminalize abortion. Arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment have no place in the pursuit of reproductive health care, and abortion and pregnancy must be decriminalized.

Make no mistake: Locking up people who wish to end a pregnancy is the logical consequence of the pro-life movement’s drive to ban abortion. As procedures are banned, clinics are forced to close, and paying for abortion is made purposefully impossible, the only thing left to do is lock up women who wish to have abortions. This is not a future dystopia. It’s the America we already live in. 38 states have fetal homicide laws on the books, and every day more white men lead the charge to pass cold-hearted laws restricting access to reproductive health care.

Reproaction calls for the immediate release of Purvi Patel, and for an end to laws that criminalize abortion and pregnancy outcomes. We stand up for abortion, dignity, and women of color with defiance, and even in the midst of this horrific moment in time we are confident that basic human rights for women and pregnant people will someday prevail.

Purvi’s supporters are encouraged to watch a livestream of Purvi Patel v. State here at 2 p.m. ET, and to use the #FreePurvi hashtag online.

For media inquiries, contact Maria Peeples at maria@reproaction.org.