30 September 2009

Poll: Americans Support Keeping Health Care Reform Abortion Neutral

[1 October Update: The New York Times adds coverage: Senate Panel Rejects Tightening of Abortion Restrictions and an editorial: Abortion and Health Care Reform on the continuing debate.]

As the New York Times reports in its September 28 article, Abortion Fight Complicates Debate on Health Care, the struggle over women's reproductive rights rages on as Congress considers reform: "Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion."

But while Republicans and some moderate Democrats are seeking to bargain away women's access to abortion through their health insurance plans, the Women Donors Network and the Communications Consortium Media Center have released a new poll [pdf] which finds overwhelmingly that "Americans support efforts to keep this health care reform package abortion neutral."

The poll, conducted by the Mellman Group, surveyed 1,000 likely voters on issues of health care reform and reproductive and maternal health and rights. Most significantly, the results reveal that:

  • "Americans oppose using abortion as a means of derailing health care reform and oppose using health care reform as a means of expanding or restricting abortion;" and

  • "Americans want maternity care as part of the basic benefit package offered under health care reform and want to make sure that women can access their medical care in those communities."

For extensive information about the health care debate and what's at stake for women, see womenandhealthcarereform.org, a joint project of the Reproductive Rights Action Circle of the Women Donors Network and the Communications Consortium Media Center.

To find out more about the Ms. Foundation for Women's two rapid response grants to bolster women's organizing for equitable health care in the final stretches of the reform debate, check out our recent posting: Ms. Foundation Grants Support Women's Health Care Reform Justice.

18 September 2009

Ms. Foundation Grants Support Women's Health Care Reform Justice

The Ms. Foundation is pleased to announce two rapid response grants to bolster women's organizing for equitable health care in the final stretches of the reform debate. Raising Women's Voices (RWV), a Ms. Foundation grantee since early 2008, will work to strengthen the capacity of its vast grassroots network to advocate before legislators in key states and mobilize more women in the fight for reform. The Women of Color United for Health Reform (led by National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Black Women's Health Imperative), will use this new support to amplify the priorities of women and communities of color among key members of Congress. RWV and Women of Color United will work hand in hand to coordinate their advocacy efforts inside the Beltway and beyond.

Visit the Raising Women's Voices website for analysis and to find out what you can do to support just and equitable health care reform.

Also, check out the terrific new site, Women and Health Care Reform, for extensive information about the health care debate and what's at stake for women.

17 September 2009

Announcing the Winners of our Katrina Anniversary Contest!

We challenged our outrageous activists to recruit members of the Ms. Foundation Outrageous Activists Cause on Facebook to recognize the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the DVD release of the Academy Award-nominated documentary TROUBLE THE WATER. We are pleased to announce the five winners of the DVD and to celebrate the top recruiter, Brenda Dardar Robichaux of Louisiana.

Ms. Robichaux is an outrageous activist of the best kind. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Robichaux, a Ms. Foundation grantee, the Principal Chief of the United Houma Nation and founder of the United Houma Nation Relief Fund, quickly mobilized to meet the immediate needs of the Houma Nation. She established training in non-traditional jobs for women and leadership programming for girls. The Ms. Foundation for Women recognized her with a Woman of Vision Award in 2008 (see video and read a profile).

We thank the top recruiters below and invite all to join our Outrageous Activists Facebook Cause.

Brenda Dardar Robichaux
Sewall Whittemore
Lisa Connolly
Nancy Legato
Bobbi Zahra

TROUBLE THE WATER tells the story of Hurricane Katrina through the remarkable eyes and experience of Kimberly and Scott Roberts, “two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning.” The film, whose New Orleans premiere was supported by the Ms. Foundation, reveals the courage, strength and wisdom of people who were directly affected by the storms and reminds us of the continuing need for recovery and rebuilding.

Buy the DVD
Order the DVD online from Zeitgeist Films.

02 September 2009

Grassroots Women's Voices Rally for Health Care Reform in NYC

Congratulations to Ms. Foundation grantee Raising Women's Voices on a successful rally in New York City for just and inclusive health care reform! RWV organized the Women's Walk for Health Reform, which drew attention from the New York Times and brought together 14 NYC-based organizations, including another Ms. grantee, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, to advocate for women's access to quality, affordable health care. RWV's Women's Walk was part of a joint rally, attended by anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 people including representatives of over 75 groups. The entire event was organized by NYC for Change, Health Care for America Now and Organizing for America.

According to Raising Women's Voices, the rally represented "a wide array of health reform supporters -- from unions to physicians to low-income people and even Upper West Side baby boomers -- [who] walked to Times Square from hospitals all across the city."

Read the Raising Women's Voices blog for more on the rally and watch a New York Times slide show of the event.

Raising Women's Voices is hosting or participating in a number of other events, rallies and town halls across the U.S. Join in and add your voice if you can!

Photographs: Diane Greene Lent