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the Body Politic
Vol. 01, No. 06 - June 1991, Page 19
Copyright © 1991, 1998 by the Body Politic Inc.

Rust vs. Sullivan: Action

By Anne Bower

Those who fight for reproductive rights were deeply shocked by the Supreme Court's ruling. However, the time for dismay is over. Now it's time to put on the gloves (boxing - not lace).

There is a bill in the U.S. Congress (S.323/ HR.392) called the Title X Pregnancy Counseling Act of 1991. The purpose of this bill is to overturn the Bush Administration's "Gag Rule" on Federally funded family planning providers.

The Senate version was introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-RI) and to date has been co-sponsored by 35 Senators. S. 323 would "require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that pregnant women receiving assistance under Title X of the Public Health Service Act are provided with information and counseling regarding their pregnancies, and for other purposes."

HR.392, the House of Representatives version of the legislation was introduced by Representatives John Porter (R-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Henry Waxman (D-CA). Thus far, 107 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors. This legislation would, "amend the Public Health Service Act to provide clarification with respect to the authority of grantees under Title X of such Act to provide information and counseling regarding family planning."

Both pieces of legislation await committee and floor action and votes.

An Action Alert from Family Planning Advocates explains the necessity for immediate response.

The federal Title X program - which is the major source of funding for family planning services in the nation - has been meeting poor women's contraceptive needs for over 20 years. While federal guidelines barred any use of the money for abortion (and regular government audits confirmed that clinics adhered to this caveat) providers were obligated to ensure informed consent for all health care, which includes discussion of all options with patients who are pregnant.
Now those clinics which accept federal Title X monies would be absolutely prohibited from providing any information about abortion:
Unless we take immediate action urging Congress to reverse the gag rule, Justice Blackmun's dire prediction for the poor women who rely on Title X family planning clinics for their health care well be realized: "the Government will have obliterated the freedom to choose as surely as if it had banned abortions outright."

Family Planning Advocates urges everyone to write their Senator and Congressperson about supporting The Title X Pregnancy and Counseling Act of 1991! If you don't know the address, call the nearest Planned Parenthood. They will be glad to provide you with the information.

Here is a list, as of 6/6/91, of New York State representatives, and their currently stand on S.323 or HR. 392.

U.S. Senate

Alfonse M. D'Amato (R -C-RTL) [no]

Daniel P. Moynihan (D-L) [yes]

U.S. House of Representatives

New York City

Gary L. Ackerman (D-L) [yes] James H. Scheuer (D-L) [yes]
Eliot Engel (D-L) [yes] Charles E. Schumer (D-L) [yes]
Floyd Flake (D-L) [no] Jose E. Serrano (D-L) [yes]
Bill Green (R) [yes] Stephen J. Solarz [yes]
Thomas J. Manton (D) [no] Edolphus Towns (D-L) [yes]
Susan Molinari (R-C) [yes] Theodore S. Weiss (D-L) [yes]
Major R. Owens (D-L) [yes] Charles B. Rangel [yes]

Long Island

Thomas J. Downey (D) [yes] Raymond McGrath (R-C) [no]
George J. Hochbrueckner (D) [no] Robert Mrazek (D) [yes]

Upstate

Sherwood L Boehlert (R) [yes] Matthew McHugh (D) [yes]
Hamilton Fish, Jr. (R-C) [no] Michael McNulty (D) [no]
Benjamin A. Gilman (R) [yes] Henry J. Nowak (D-L) [no]
Frank Horton (R) [yes] William Paxon (R-C-RTL) [no]
Amory Houghton, Jr. (R-C) [no] Louise Slaughter (D) [yes]
John J. LaFalse (D-L0) [no] Gerald B. Solomon (R-C-RTL) [no]
Nita Lowey (D) [yes] James T. Walsh (R-C) [no]
David O'B. Martin (R-C) [no]

PS. If your representative has signed on please write a thank you! They need to know that we are out there supporting them and family planning.


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This archive is hosted by
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