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Kirsten Gillibrand on Abortion

Democratic Senator (NY); Democratic Candidate for President (withdrawn)

 


Women's reproductive rights are under assault

Women's reproductive rights are under assault. Thirty states are trying to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is mind-boggling that we are debating in 2019 whether women should have reproductive rights. When the door is closed compromises have been made on our backs. That's how the Hyde Amendment was created. When Mitch McConnell walks into the Oval Office to do negotiations, who do you want sitting behind that desk? When that door closes, I will guarantee women's reproductive freedom no matter what.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Debate is about women's rights, not infanticide

[In a Fox News Town Hall, Gillibrand said], "The debate about whether or not women should have reproductive freedom has turned into a red herring debate." Gillibrand continued, "What happens on Fox News is relevant because they talked about infanticide for six and a half hours, right before President Trump's State of the Union. That is not the debate of what access to reproductive care is in this country," she added.

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.

Source: Politico.com on Fox News Town Halls with Chris Wallace , Jun 2, 2019

Abortion is the human right to bodily autonomy

Asked by an audience member whether she believed third-trimester abortions should be legal, Ms. Gillibrand spoke instead about abortion rights in general, reiterating a promise to appoint only Supreme Court justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade.

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.

Source: New York Times on 2019-2020 Fox News Town Halls , Jun 2, 2019

Codify Roe v. Wade; repeal Hyde Amendment

I will only appoint judges and justices that see Roe v. Wade as settled precedent. I will codify Roe v. Wade legislatively. I will look to remove the Hyde Amendment, which is the law that prohibits federal money paying for abortion services in a full range of health care, particularly for poor low-income women. I will also make sure and guarantee that no matter what state you live in, you will have a right to access full reproductive services, including abortion services.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , May 23, 2019

Would look to remove the Hyde Amendment

I will only appoint judges and justices that see Roe v. Wade as settled precedent. I will codify Roe v. Wade legislatively. I will look to remove the Hyde Amendment, which is the law that prohibits federal money paying for abortion services in a full range of health care, particularly for poor low-income women. I will also make sure and guarantee that no matter what state you live in, you will have a right to access full reproductive services, including abortion services.
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , May 23, 2019

Democratic candidates must support reproductive freedom

What I do not accept is any Democratic leader or candidate to not believe in full civil rights and human rights for women. We cannot have Democrats who are running for office who do not believe in basic health care and civil rights for women. It's just untenable, and it's unacceptable, and I will not support a candidate, and I do not believe any candidate running for President should be undermining women's reproductive freedom and our basic human rights.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interviews of presidential hopefuls , May 19, 2019

Her judicial appointments must uphold Roe v. Wade

Gillibrand pledged in a Medium post that if she were elected president, she would only nominate judges that will uphold Roe v. Wade and protect reproductive rights: "A woman's right to make her own personal health decisions is nonnegotiable," she wrote.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 7, 2019

Fewer limits on abortion; no 20-week ban

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 16, 2019

Let women make life-and-death decision about own body

Sharp distinctions were apparent Wednesday between Long and Gillibrand, who has championed same-sex marriage and women's rights. In one of the most animated exchanges, Long spoke against the mandate that President Barack Obama announced in January requiring most employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control, a move opposed by many Roman Catholic groups. "If I'm just a private person with a business, and I have faith that tells me that abortion, sterilization and contraception are evil, will I be forced to buy such a plan, to offer it to my employees?" Long asked.

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.

Source: New York Newsday on 2012 N. Y. Senate debate , Oct 17, 2012

Majority of women use contraception; it's not "evil"

The anti-abortion Long spoke out against President Obama's mandate that religious employers who provide worker health insurance cover birth control, with limited exemptions. Long called it a threat to religious liberties to require people of faith and religious institutions who view abortion and contraception as 'evil' to include them in insurance coverage."

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.

Source: New York Daily News on 2012 N. Y. Senate debate , Oct 17, 2012

Require coverage of contraception, even church employees

Gillibrand immediately sought to define Long based on her views on abortion. Long is pro-life and Gillibrand is staunchly pro-choice; the senator's spokesman attacked Long as "far out of step with our state."

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

Source: Capitol Confidential on 2012 N. Y. Senate debate , Mar 5, 2012

Financially supported by Emily's List

Her politics, perhaps reflecting her conservative district, cannot be easily charted along a left-right axis. She earned a high rating from the National Rifle Association and opposed efforts to extend state drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. At the same time, she favors abortion rights.

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.

Source: Michael Powell and Raymond Hernandez, New York Times , Jan 23, 2009

Voted NO on restricting UN funding for population control policies.

Congressional Summary:To require that amounts appropriated for the United Nations Population Fund are not used by organizations which support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

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.

Reference: Wicker Amdt.; Bill S.Amdt.607 to H.R.1105 ; vote number 2009-S081 on Mar 5, 2009

Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.

Allows federal funding for research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:
  1. have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
  2. were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
  3. were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would otherwise be discarded; and
  4. were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.

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?

Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act; Bill HR 3 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-020 on Jan 11, 2007

Supports both federal abortion funding & judicial activism.

Gillibrand supports the CC survey questions on abortion & strict interpretation

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.

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q1 on Aug 11, 2010

Sponsored bill allowing military abortions in cases of rape.

Gillibrand sponsored MARCH for Military Women Act

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.

Source: HR2085&S1214 11-S1214 on Jun 16, 2011

Require pharmacies to fulfill contraceptive prescriptions.

Gillibrand signed Access to Birth Control Act

    Access to Birth Control Act: Amends the Public Health Service Act to require pharmacies to comply with certain rules related to contraceptives, including:
  1. providing a customer a contraceptive without delay if it is in stock;
  2. immediately informing a customer if the contraceptive is not in stock and either transferring the prescription to a pharmacy that has the contraceptive in stock or expediting the ordering of the contraceptive and notifying the customer when it arrives, based on customer preference, except for pharmacies that do not ordinarily stock contraceptives in the normal course of business; and
  3. ensuring that pharmacy employees do not take certain actions relating to a request for contraception, including intimidating, threatening, or harassing customers, interfering with or obstructing the delivery of services, intentionally misrepresenting or deceiving customers about the availability of contraception or its mechanism of action, breaching or threatening to breach medical confidentiality, or refusing to return a valid, lawful prescription.
Provides that this Act does not preempt state law or any professional clinical judgment. Sets forth civil penalties and establishes a a private cause of action for violations of this Act.
Source: HR2659&S1415 11-S1415 on Jul 26, 2011

Ban anti-abortion limitations on abortion services.

Gillibrand co-sponsored Women's Health Protection Act

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.

Source: H.R.3471 & S.1696 14-S1696 on Nov 13, 2013

Access safe, legal abortion without restrictions.

Gillibrand co-sponsored S.217 & H.R.448

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.

Source: Women's Health Protection Act 15_S217 on Jan 21, 2015

Keep federal funding for family planning clinics.

Gillibrand signed keeping federal funding for family planning clinics

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.

Source: Letter to the Senate Majority Leader from 46 Senators 17LTR-TITX on Mar 1, 2017

Born-Alive Survivors bill tries to illegalize abortion.

Gillibrand voted NAY Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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).

Source: Supreme Court case 19-S0311 argued on Feb 5, 2019

Ensure access to and funding for contraception.

Gillibrand co-sponsored ensuring access to and funding for contraception

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:

  1. Healthy People 2010 sets forth a reduction of unintended pregnancies as an important health objective to achieve over the first decade of the new century.
  2. Although the CDC included family planning in its published list of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century, the US still has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies among industrialized nations.
  3. Each year, 3,000,000 pregnancies, nearly half of all pregnancies, in the US are unintended, and nearly half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.
  4. In 2004, 34,400,000 women, half of all women of reproductive age, were in need of contraceptive services, and nearly half of those were in need of public support for such care.
  5. The US has the highest rate of infection with sexually transmitted diseases of any industrialized country. 19 million cases impose a tremendous economic burden, as high as $14 billion per year.
  6. Increasing access to family planning services will improve women's health and reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and infection with sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptive use saves public health dollars. For every dollar spent to increase funding for family planning programs, $3.80 is saved.
  7. Contraception is basic health care that improves the health of women and children by enabling women to plan and space births.
  8. Women experiencing unintended pregnancy are at greater risk for physical abuse and women having closely spaced births are at greater risk of maternal death.
  9. A child born from an unintended pregnancy is at greater risk of low birth weight, dying in the first year of life, being abused, and not receiving sufficient resources for healthy development.
Source: Prevention First Act (S.21/H.R.819) 2007-HR819 on Feb 5, 2007

Focus on preventing pregnancy, plus emergency contraception.

Gillibrand signed Prevention First Act

  • Family Planning Services Act: Authorizes appropriations for family planning services grants and contracts under the Public Health Service Act (PHSA).
  • Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act: Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and PHSA to prohibit a group health plan from excluding or restricting benefits for prescription contraceptive drugs, devices, and outpatient services
  • Emergency Contraception Education Act: to develop and disseminate information on emergency contraception to the public and to health care providers.
  • Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act: Requires hospitals, as a condition of receiving federal funds, to offer and to provide, upon request, emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault.

    At-Risk Communities Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act: to award grants for teenage pregnancy prevention programs & prevention research.

  • Truth in Contraception Act: Requires that any information concerning the use of a contraceptive provided through specified federally funded education programs be medically accurate and include health benefits and failure rates.
  • Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act: to expand Medicaid's coverage of family planning services.
  • Responsible Education About Life Act: to make grants to states for family life education, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Prevention Through Affordable Access Act: Expands Medicaid rebates to manufacturers for the sale of covered outpatient drugs at nominal prices to include sales to student health care facilities and entities offering family planning services.
Source: S.21&H.R.463 2009-S21 on Jan 6, 2009

Emergency contraception at all military health facilities.

Gillibrand signed emergency contraception at all military health facilities

    CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
  • Emergency contraception in drug form shall be included on the basic core formulary of the uniform formulary. Emergency contraception in other than drug form may also be included on the basic core formulary.
  • [This bill does not] require emergency contraception to be covered under the pharmacy benefits program.
  • Prior authorization shall not be required for emergency contraception.
  • The term 'emergency contraception' means a drug, drug regimen, or device that is approved by the FDA to prevent pregnancy; and is used postcoitally.

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.

Source: Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act (S.2904) 2009-S2904 on Dec 17, 2009

Endorsed Endorsed by EMILY's list for pro-choice Democratic women.

Gillibrand is endorsed by Congressional endorsement list

    EMILY's List is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office:
  • EMILY's List looks for viable political opportunities and recruits strong pro-choice Democratic women candidates to run.
  • We tell our community of members about these women, and ask them to give directly to the campaigns.
  • We provide extensive training for candidates and staff so they can make the most of limited resources.
  • We conduct in-depth, ongoing research into the minds and moods of women voters, a critical bloc for Democrats.
  • Finally, our WOMEN VOTE! project reaches out to women voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots for progressive Democrats--because When Women Vote, Women Win!
  • EMILY's List's motto is "win today and build for tomorrow."
Our immediate focus is to protect our gains from 2008 and make sure President Obama has strong Democratic majorities in Congress. Its name? EMILY's List--an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" (because it makes the dough--campaign funds--rise).
Source: 2010 Congressional endorsement list 2010-EML on Sep 1, 2010

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