Friday, December 22, 2006

RCRC Holiday Report


· Hopes for a New Year
· Prevention - A Top Priority
· Deceptive Anti-Choice Bill Fails in House
· Moral Issues Shift in Last Election
· Minnesota RCRC Gains New Partner

From Rev. Carlton Veazey, RCRC President and CEO:

At this season of light and peace, all of us at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice thank you for working with us in the struggle for justice. Your moral and financial support and your thoughts and prayers give us strength as we move forward to realize our hopes for women's lives and strong families.

So much has been accomplished with your support. We have expanded successful programs with African American and Latino churches, Clergy for Choice, Seminarians for Choice, and students and young adults. We launched our new curriculum in Pastoral Care and Reproductive Loss. We have begun our "Faith and Action" program with Ohio and Minnesota congregations and we started our first Clergy Leadership Institute for Reproductive Justice. Our Call to Justice campaign mobilized to make emergency contraception available in pharmacies and uphold abortion rights for the women of South Dakota.

As the year ends, join me in reflecting on our many blessings. We know the New Year will bring new challenges, but together we will become an even stronger voice of hope in a struggling world. May you and your loved ones have a happy, healthy, and blessed holiday! Thank you for keeping the faith for choice!


Prevention - A Top Priority

One of the top priorities of many RCRC groups and supporters for the new Congress is legislation to prevent unintended pregnancy and create a comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education program for use in schools across the country. Although pro-choice lawmakers are in the minority in both the House and Senate, the pro-choice and pro- family planning leadership have given every indication that they will promote commonsense, common ground legislation in these issue areas. Religious groups in the Coalition have supported Prevention First legislation to increase funding for family planning and emergency contraception and insurance coverage for contraception since it was introduced in 2004 and will continue to do so. Religious groups are also solidly behind medically accurate, comprehensive sexuality education. Considering the high rate of unintended pregnancy and especially unintended teen pregnancy, Americans should demand that both pro-choice and anti-choice members of Congress support these measures.

To read more about "Prevention First," PLEASE CLICK HERE.


Deceptive Anti-Choice Bill Fails in House

In a last-minute effort to pass anti-choice legislation, the lame-duck House of Representatives fast-tracked the "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" bill in the final hours of the 109th Congress. Because of the expedited procedure, the bill's sponsors needed - yet failed to receive - a two-thirds majority to pass the bill. The final vote was 250 in favor (210 Republicans, 40 Democrats) and 162 against (9 Republicans, 152 Democrats and 1 independent), with 20 members not voting.
The bill would have forced physicians to give women seeking an abortion at 20 weeks or more an inflammatory, unfactual brochure written by anti- abortion legislators, not physicians, and offer them anesthesia for their fetus. RCRC viewed the legislation as a thinly disguised attempt to intimidate women and as inappropriate interference by Congress in private medical decisions. RCRC thanks Congresswoman Lois Capps, Congressman Henry Waxman and Congressman Frank Pallone for leading opposition to this bill. It was a difficult issue for many Members, who are concerned about the possibility that a fetus might feel pain in an abortion but also concerned about the coercive and deceptive nature of the script and the bill itself.

To see how your Representative voted, PLEASE CLICK HERE.


Moral Issues Shift in Last Election

An exit poll about the religious vote reveals more interesting information to dispel inaccurate notions about "moral values." The poll, by Zogby International for two progressive faith-based groups, Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Ground, showed that moral concerns about poverty and the war in Iraq drove the religious vote more than abortion and same-sex marriage. The results signal a shift among religious voters from hot-button issues to broader concerns such as economic justice and integrity in government, according to Religion News Service. More than 45% of those polled said the war in Iraq was the moral issue that most influenced their vote, an increase of four percentage points. As a voting issue, abortion declined by five points, with just under 8% citing it as a motivating factor. The drop on abortion was most significant among Protestants, down 10 points to 14.4%.


Minnesota RCRC Gains New Partner

The United Methodist Church's top court, the 9- member Judicial Council, has ruled that the Minnesota Conference can officially join the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice even if there is some disagreement over positions. RCRC is pleased to welcome another UMC partner. Our position is, as it has been for 33 years, that member groups agree that reproductive choice should be legal and that reproductive choice is an element of religious freedom. Other than that, member groups hold many different views on abortion.

To learn more about RCRC affiliates, PLEASE CLICK HERE.


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