Thursday, January 11, 2007

RCRC Special Report: New Congress Convenes

From Rev. Carlton Veazey, RCRC President and CEO:

With the start of the 110th Congress, the outlook for preserving reproductive rights and religious liberty is brighter than at any time in recent years. On the first day of the new session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced the Prevention First Act, S. 21, a package of legislation that seeks to reduce unintended pregnancy and increase access to contraception. The House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 as part of their "First 100 Hours" agenda.

While this is a good start to the next two years, we still must make our voices heard and insist that our legislators support access to safe and legal reproductive health care services for women and men. Our message must be clear: Americans will not allow any one religious viewpoint to trump scientific and medical evidence about issues such as sexuality education, access to emergency contraception, and HIV-AIDS prevention.

Please stand with me and send a "Citizen of Conscience" declaration to your Senators and Representative. To say you expect your elected representatives to respect the beliefs of all Americans, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
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Prevention First Introduced on First Day of New Congress

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has introduced the Prevention First Act, S. 21, a package of legislation that seeks to reduce unintended pregnancy and increase access to contraception. RCRC asks all our supporters to contact their U.S. Senators and ask them to become co-sponsors of this bill. Bipartisan support is crucial so please make a special effort to contact your Republican senators.
Elements of the bill include:

Increasing funding for the national family planning program.

Expanding Medicaid family planning services by requiring states to extend coverage for family planning services to women who would be entitled to Medicaid- funded care if they became pregnant.

Ending insurance discrimination against women by requiring private health plans to cover prescription contraceptives to the same extent that they cover other prescription drugs.

Improving awareness about emergency contraception with public education initiatives about EC to both women and medical providers.

Providing compassionate assistance for rape victims by requiring hospitals that receive federal funds to promptly provide EC upon patient request.

Reducing teen pregnancy by funding grants to public and private entities to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs and for comprehensive sexuality education.

Ensuring that all federally-funded abstinence, family life, comprehensive health or character education programs provide medically accurate information about the use of contraception including health benefits and failure rates.

Providing funding for comprehensive sexuality education that is science-based, medically accurate, and age-appropriate.

This is legislation all Members of Congress - regardless of party affiliation or position on abortion - should be willing to support.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to ask your Senators to co-sponsor this common-sense bill.

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House Passes Stem Cell Bill

Today, by a vote of 253-174, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, as part of their "First 100 Hours" agenda. The bill, which was co-sponsored by 216 House Members, would expand federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and allow funding for research using stem cells derived from embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients. President Bush vetoed an identical bill in July 2006, despite the enormous potential for finding life-saving treatments for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, brain injury, stroke, heart disease, burns, and spinal cord injuries.

To learn more about stem cell research, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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Religious Diversity Is Hallmark of New Congress

For the first time, the members of Congress include a Muslim, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and two Buddhists, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Hank Johnson of Georgia. In an affirmation of religious pluralism, Ellison took part in the Congressional worship service held on the opening day of the 110th Congress, reading a short passage from the Koran.
Roman Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress, followed by Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews, and Episcopalians, according to researcher Albert Menendez, in the newsletter of Americans for Religious Liberty. Catholics, accounting for 29% of all members of the House and Senate, are Democrats by a 2-to-1 ratio. The religious affiliation of members of Congress can be important in advocacy. RCRC supporters often contact members of their own denomination or tradition to urge them to support policies that reflect religious values or oppose those that are contrary to their traditions.

Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, took office as Speaker of the House, the most powerful position in the legislative branch of government . She is a strong backer of abortion rights, with a 100% pro-choice voting record. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, is a Mormon and strong backer of family planning although opposed to abortion.

To read more about this, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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RCRC Launches Online Store

RCRC's new online store is just a click away. You will find all the materials you need to become a better activist, including resources that will help you learn more about the pro-faith, pro-choice movement and fun items such as bumper stickers, t-shirts, pins and more to display your faithful support for choice!
After you make a purchase, please consider making an additional donation to support RCRC's work. Every dollar from supporters like you helps us continue the fight for reproductive rights.

To visit RCRC's Online Store, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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Quick Links

Keep the Faith for Choice!

Clergy for Choice

Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom

Contact a State Affiliate

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email: info@rcrc.org
voice: 202-628-7700
web: http://www.rcrc.org

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