Jan 152015
 

In the 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade, our Supreme Court ruled it is a woman’s right to have an abortion until the time a fetus is viable. It defined viability as the ability of a fetus to live outside the womb. The Court said this usually occurs between 24 and 28 weeks after conception. Each year, nearly half of the 3 million American women who have unplanned or unwanted pregnancies choose to end these pregnancies by abortion. Between 1973 and 2008, nearly 50 million American fetuses were legally aborted. About 90% of these abortions were performed during the first trimester, or prior to the 13th week of gestation. The main reasons women give for having an abortion included their inability to afford a child (75%) and that having a baby would interfere with school or work (75%). Health problems were responsible for 12% of these decisions and about 1% of women who chose to end their pregnancy reported they were the survivors of a rape. Pro-life advocates want all abortions outlawed because Row vs. Wade does not take into account the welfare of the unborn. They claim life begins at conception and aborting a fetus is comparable to murdering a person. Pro-choice advocates claim life does not begin until very late in gestation, or even until birth. They do not believe abortion takes the life of a person. They say only a woman knows if she is a ready to become a parent and that abortion helps insure the birth of children who are wanted. Pro-life and pro-choice advocates also disagree as to whether a woman’s right to make this decision is protected by our Constitution. Studies have found the current rate of abortion is at its lowest level since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, a sign that contraception is now more effective than ever in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Pending Legislation:

S.138 & H.R.447 – Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2013

H.R.3062 – To require assurances that certain family planning service projects and programs will provide pamphlets containing the contact information of adoption centers

I oppose reforming current abortion policy and wish to defeat S.138 & H.R.447, H.R.3062

I support imposing criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or unknowingly attempts to: perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child, use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion, solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion, or transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion, and wish to pass S.138 & H.R.447

I support requiring family planning service programs to provide pamphlets containing the contact information of adoption centers, and wish to pass H.R.3062

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Pro-life advocates argue that fetuses are people from the moment of conception and have the same fundamental “right to life” before birth as humans have after birth. Many of these advocates want to give “personhood” rights to the unborn. They say that when these rights are given to a class of human beings, they are protected by a series of constitutional guarantees including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights would, of course, preclude the possibility of abortion. Pro-choice advocates claim fetuses are not people and that it is improper to award constitutional rights to a fetus.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.2764 – Sanctity of Life Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Right to Life policy and wish to defeat H.R.2764

I support declaring that human life is deemed to exist from fertilization, without regard to race, sex, age, health, defect, or condition of dependency; and “person” includes all such human life; amending the federal judicial code to remove Supreme Court and district court jurisdiction to review cases arising out of any statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or practice, or any act interpreting such a measure on the grounds that such measure: protects the rights of human persons between conception and birth; or prohibits, limits, or regulates the performance of abortions or the provision of public funds, facilities, personnel, or other assistance for abortions, and wish to pass H.R.2764

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Sex education includes instruction on issues relating to human sexuality, anatomy, reproduction, sexual activity, disease, abstinence and birth control. Each year, more than 850,000 American girls ages 15-19 become pregnant, with 80% of these pregnancies unintended. Also each year, young people between 15 and 25 contract about 9 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases including herpes and HIV. Studies have shown that teens who receive comprehensive sex education are 50% less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who haven’t. Advocates claim comprehensive sex education combined with emergency contraception has been proven to greatly reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy. Studies also show that young Americans who pledge virginity and abstinence are just as likely as non-pledgers to contract STDs, and are also less likely to use contraception if they do become sexually active. Evaluations of sex education and STD prevention programs show they do not increase the rate of sexual initiation or lower the age at which youths initiate sex. These programs also do not increase the frequency of sex or the number of sex partners among sexually active youth. More than 90% of the parents of junior high and high school students surveyed believe it is important their children be taught abstinence, pregnancy and STD prevention in school sex education programs.

Pending Legislation:

S.13 & H.R.718 – Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2013

S.372 & H.R.725 – Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current sex education policy and wish to defeat S.13 & H.R.718 and S.372 & H.R.725

I support awarding grants for qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents; requiring such education to meet certain criteria, including: being age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based; teaching the skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth; and teaching the benefits of refraining from nonmarital sexual activity, the advantage of reserving sexual activity for marriage, and the foundational components of a healthy relationship; giving priority to programs that serve youth ages 12 to 19 and that will promote the protective benefits of parent-child communication regarding healthy sexual decision making, and wish to pass S.13 & H.R.718

I support awarding competitive grants to institutions of higher education to enable such institutions to provide young people with comprehensive sex education with an emphasis on reducing HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy; training targeted faculty and staff in order to increase effective teaching of comprehensive sex education for elementary and secondary school students. Prohibiting federal funds provided under this Act from being used for health education programs that deliberately withhold life-saving information about HIV; are medically inaccurate or have been scientifically shown to be ineffective; promote gender stereotypes; are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active youth or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth; or are inconsistent with the ethical imperatives of medicine and public health. Also, amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to repeal a prohibition against the use of authorized funds to operate a program of contraceptive distribution in schools, and wish to pass S.372 & H.R.725

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Many Americans who believe that abortion is murder wish to prohibit doctors and health maintenance organizations (HMO) from performing this procedure. Others believe abortion is a woman’s fundamental civil right and should be offered by all HMOs. Some Americans object to public funds being used for organizations which provide abortion services. Pro-life groups say this funding is responsible for the murder of countless unborn, contrary to the wishes of many taxpayers. Others disagree, saying direct federal funding for abortions has been outlawed for many years. In 2011, Planned Parenthood performed at least 334,000 abortions at more than 750 clinics. In 2012, it received nearly 45%, or about $542 million, of its annual funding from government grants and contracts including Medicaid. Critics say this underscores the need to prohibit federal funding of this organization. Supporters claim Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of reproductive health services aside from abortion, including pregnancy testing and contraceptive services. Its annual report showed this organization provided sexually transmitted disease treatment for 4.5 million Americans and cancer screening and prevention services for 1.3 million others. Planned Parenthood claims abortion services comprise only 3% of the healthcare services it provides to women. In some rural areas, the Planned Parenthood clinic is the only affordable reproductive healthcare option for people without insurance. It says that one in five American women have visited a Planned Parenthood clinic at least once in her life. Pro-life advocates claim the number of abortions will increase with the health insurance plans offered under Obamacare. They also claim the cost of providing abortions will be paid by everyone participating in these plans. Pro-choice advocates say those who choose to enroll in a health plan that offers abortion services under the Affordable Care Act are required to pay a surcharge.

Pending Legislation:

S.154 & H.R.346 – SAFE Act

I oppose reforming current abortion funding policy and wish to defeat S.154 & H.R.346

I support amending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ensure that no multi-state qualified health plan offered in a health benefit exchange provides coverage of abortion. Excepts from such limitation: a pregnancy that results from rape or incest; or a case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, injury, or illness that would place the her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, and wish to pass S.154 & H.R.346

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Family planning, including contraceptive birth control, enables women to have the number of children they wish at the time they wish to have them. This ability gives women control over their reproductive lives, protects their health, allows them to plan their future and invest in their careers. Contraceptives also greatly reduce the need for abortion. Of our 6 million pregnancies each year, nearly half are unintended and nearly half of these end in abortion. Emergency contraception, sometimes referred to as Plan B or the morning-after pill, works like other hormonal birth control and does not harm or terminate an already-established pregnancy. This contraceptive is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, there are pharmacists in many states who refuse to fill prescriptions for Plan B contraceptives. These refusals have recently increased since emergency contraception without a prescription became available to women 17 or older. Birth control opponents claim contraception separates sex from reproduction and leads to promiscuity and disease. Advocates say that access to contraception is a protected fundamental right that should not be impeded by another’s personal beliefs.

The Supreme Court’s recent Hobby lobby ruling, giving religious-minded employers the right to deny contraception to employees, has been controversial. Supporters believe this was a correct decision since many employers are against supporting or funding contraceptive birth control. Critics say this is an ambiguous ruling which could be applied to other healthcare procedures in the future. They object to a CEO or corporation coming between a woman and her guaranteed access to healthcare. Some also say this ruling is discriminatory since it blocks only a portion of women from getting care.

Pending Legislation:

S.333 & H.R.728 – Access to Birth Control Act

S.135 & H.R.217 – Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act

I oppose reforming current birth control policy and wish to defeat S.333 & H.R.728 and S.135 & H.R.217

I support requiring pharmacies to comply with certain rules related to contraceptives, including: providing a customer a contraceptive without delay if it is in stock; 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 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, and wish to pass S.333 & H.R.728

I support prohibiting the Secretary of Health and Human Service from providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity unless the entity certifies it will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion. Excludes an abortion where: the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest; or a physician certifies that the woman suffered from a physical disorder, injury, or illness that would place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, and wish to pass S.135 & H.R.217

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws impose unique and burdensome regulations on doctors and health care facilities which perform abortions. Supporters claim these laws provide safer conditions for women undergoing this procedure. However, most TRAP laws require abortion clinics to install unnecessary expensive equipment, perform extensive renovations that may not be physically possible, or mandate higher employee qualifications than needed. Some TRAP laws allow unannounced state inspections when patients are present. Other TRAP laws require abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges which can be nearly impossible to attain. Critics say this regulation is unnecessary because abortion is our safest and most common medical procedure. Less than 0.3% of all patients experiencing a complication require hospitalization. This excellent safety record often prevents abortion clinics from attaining hospital admitting privileges, many of which require at least 5 admissions a year. They claim there is no legitimate reason to require abortion providers to have these privileges. There are now at least 34 states with TRAP laws, many of them identical. Advocates claim the only purpose of these laws is to force abortion providers out of business. They also say TRAP laws are discriminatory because they don’t apply to other facilities that provide outpatient surgery and other basic medical services.

Pending Legislations: None

I oppose reforming current Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) law policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) industry was created to help infertile couples conceive children. About 11% of American couples are infertile and about 1% of all births require ART. With California leading the way in this $4 billion/year industry, there are now about 372 fertility clinics nationwide which have already assisted in more than 200,000 births. This private, self-regulated industry offers couples a variety of ART techniques including in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, gamete intra-fallopian transfer and artificial insemination. Fertility clinics sell the eggs, sperm and expertise needed to treat couples with infertility conditions. These clinics now offer gender determination services where a couple may select the sex of their child. Rapid advances in genetic technology may one day soon give parents the option of modifying their unborn children to protect them from acquired or inherited diseases. That day may have already arrived in Britain, which recently changed a law to allow the birth of children with three biological parents. In an attempt to eliminate certain incurable genetic diseases, a fraction of a mother’s DNA is exchanged with that from an anonymous female donor, giving the resulting child genetic material from three individuals.

Conceivably, this technology could also be used to make children tall, muscled, blue eyed, intelligent or possess any other trait a parent may consider desirable. Some say ART revisits the Nazi specter of eugenics which held that selective breeding could improve the human race. Opponents acknowledge we have already genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals. However, in the hundreds of thousands of failed attempts to alter the traits of these organisms, we simply discarded the plants and animals which resulted from unsuccessful trials. Obviously, this approach will not work with humans. Critics say that GE is an inexact science incapable of making pinpoint genetic modifications. They wish to ban attempts to perform this procedure on humans, saying it is unethical to remove, implant or alter the genes of an unborn human being. They claim there is no way to test this technology without endangering and sacrificing many lives, since the degree of success of such procedures often can’t be assessed until the subjects grow and age. These same issues are present in attempts to clone humans. Cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of an existing, or previously existing, human. ART supporters say that a GE ban would be very difficult to enforce without forcibly testing all newborns. They also warn that a GE ban would prohibit women with mitochondrial disorders from getting assistance conceiving children. They argue for a compromise which would allow for certain procedures once they had been shown to be safe and effective.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current fertility clinic policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit genetic modifications of embryos or oocytes until these methods are proven safe

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that affects both men and women. There are currently about 7 million American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are infertile. Many of these women use assisted reproductive technology (ART) including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, embryo transfer and intracervical insemination to help them conceive children. The cost of an entire process of an IVF cycle, from consultation to transfer, averages about $8,000. However, compared to children conceived naturally, studies have found higher rates of birth defects in children conceived by IVF, including defects in heart, urinary and reproductive organs. Some say our general decrease in fertility could result from reduced sperm counts in males. Studies have found that between 1938 and 1996, the sperm count of American males fell about 1% each year, while European males experienced decreases that were twice as great. The reason for these declines is not precisely known but it is suspected environmental pollution may be partially to blame. Male infertility treatments include improving the quality and quantity of sperm with hormones, vitamins and microsurgery. Another likely reason for our rapid rise in infertility is that more women are having their first child later in life. In 1970, nearly 12,000 women had their first child between the ages of 35-39. That number grew to nearly 45,000 in 1986 and climbed to nearly 90,000 by 1997. Likewise, about 2,400 women gave birth to their first child between the ages of 40 and 44 in 1970. By 1986, this figure doubled to 4,400 and then jumped to 15,000 women by 1997.

Pending Legislation:

S.881 & H.R.1851 – Family Act of 2013

S.131 & H.R.958 – Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current infertility policy and wish to defeat S.881 & H.R.1851 and S.131 & H.R.958

I support amending the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for 50% of qualified infertility treatment expenses; limiting the dollar amount of such credit to $12,970 for taxable years beginning in 2013, with a phase-out of such credit for taxpayers based on adjusted gross income. Defines “qualified infertility treatment expenses” as amounts paid for the treatment of infertility via in vitro fertilization if such treatment is provided by a licensed physician, surgeon, or other medical practitioner and is administered with respect to a diagnosis of infertility by a physician licensed in the United States, and wish to pass S.881 & H.R.1851

I support including fertility counseling and treatment within authorized Department of Veterans Affairs medical services; furnishing such counseling and treatment, including the use of assisted reproductive technology, to a spouse or surrogate of a severely wounded, ill, or injured veteran who has an infertility condition incurred or aggravated in the line of duty and who is enrolled in the VA health care system, as long as the spouse and veteran apply jointly for such counseling and treatment; authorizing the Secretary to pay to any such veteran an amount to assist in the adoption of one or more children, and wish to pass S.131 & H.R.958

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

For several decades, there has been substantial evidence that many of the chemicals used in our everyday products are harmful to our health. However, recent studies now show these chemicals also damage men’s ability to reproduce. These chemicals, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC), disrupt or interfere with our body’s endocrine system including the estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone systems. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be damaged by these disruptors. Humans and animals depend on healthy endocrine systems to reproduce and develop normally. EDCs are found in plastics, fragrances, pesticides, the linings of food and beverage cans, fire retardants used in carpets and furniture, household cleaning and personal care products, and many, many more. Health advocates say endocrine disruptors are now common throughout the world. Nearly 800 chemicals with known or potential endocrine-disrupting properties have already been identified, but hardly any human testing has been done. The EPA established the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program in 1998 but its results have been delayed for more than 15 years. EPA critics claim efforts by business and industry have been responsible for delaying this report. These entities would incur great expense if forced to find substitutes for the chemicals they use in our everyday products. Critics also claim our 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act has not been updated since it was passed, even though the chemicals in many of the products we use have vastly changed. Children are most affected by EDCs because their developing brains and bodies are especially vulnerable to these chemicals. However, it is the way male fetuses form in the womb that makes them susceptible to genital birth defects. Scientists say a critical period of development is the transition from a fertilized egg into a fully formed infant. These defects include hypospadias and cryptorchidism, which are risk factors for low sperm quality and testicular cancer. Scientists in Europe, where this phenomenon is more prevalent, have coined the term “testicular dysgenesis syndrome” to describe the increasing rates of testicular cancer and low sperm counts in European men.

Pending Legislation:

S.696 – Safe Chemicals Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current male infertility policy and wish to defeat S.696

I support updating the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act and limiting the use of chemicals linked to diseases like asthma, diabetes, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning and behavioral disorders; improving the safety of chemicals used in consumer products; increasing public information on chemical safety; protecting our most vulnerable populations and disproportionately affected ‘hot spot’ communities; reforming EPA’s science practices to ensure the best available science is being used to determine chemical safety; supporting innovation in the marketplace and providing incentives for the development of safer chemical alternatives, and wish to pass S.

 Posted by at 12:00 am