Posts Tagged ‘Planned Parenthood’
March 12, 2012
This past weekend saw over 500 young and college Democrats descend on the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, IL, for YDA’s Winter 2012 National Conference, our first ever joint event with the College Democrats of America. After an exiciting weekend that featured tours of the Obama for America HQ, 4 different tracks of training offered by Organizing for America, and a keynote address from Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina, the conference attendees left Chicago ready to do big things, biggest of all, ensuring Barack Obama gets four more years in the White House.
The conference kicked off Friday evening with committee meetings followed by our welcome reception. Congressman Joe Donnelly of nearby Indiana, DNC Secretary Alice Germond, and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, National Youth Director for Obama for America provided keynote addresses for the evening.
Almost all of the conference attendees managed to make it to Saturday morning’s 9 AM plenary session to hear Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina’s keynote address. Messina discussed the campaign’s strategies to win 2012, and regaled the crowd with stories of running the campaign’s “War Room” on Election Night 2008, serving as Deputy White House Chief of Staff, and how President Obama flew the Montana native to Hawaii to ask him to run his re-election campaign.
After plenary session, the conference had its first round of constituency caucus meetings, and then, the beginning of the four-track training provided by the staff of Organizing for America. The day’s schedule concluded with a second round of constituency caucus meetings, followed by regional caucus meetings. After the day’s programming ended, many conference attendees began their Saturday evening by attending a rooftop party kicking off Planned Parenthood’s “Women Are Watching” campaign in Chicago.
The “Spring Forward” into daylight saving time did not prevent General Session from starting at 10 AM Sunday morning. Keynotes were provided by YDA Stakeholder board member Christine Pelosi, and Illinois State Sen. Iris Martinez, chair of the DNC’s Hispanic Caucus. YDA’s National Committee then got down to official business, accepting the application of San Antonio, Texas to host YDA’s biennial convention in 2013, voting to officially create YDA’s Hispanic Caucus, and approving a resolution in honor of late New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne.
February 11, 2012
Yesterday President Obama announced a landmark decision on preventive care which safeguards religious freedom while also maintaining increased access to contraception for all women. Lauded by Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, as well as Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, the ruling ensures that all women receive free contraception as part of their health insurance plans and that employers who conscientiously disagree with contraception will not be forced to pay for it.
“The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed,” Sister Keehan said.
“We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits,” said Richards.
“Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent. And yet, more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it. So for all these reasons, we decided to follow the judgment of the nation’s leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive care,” President Obama said yesterday. “Now, as we move to implement this rule, however, we’ve been mindful that there’s another principle at stake here –- and that’s the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution. As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right.”
When the Department of Health and Human Services announced the rule requiring employers, with the exception of places of worship, to provide contraception as part of their healthcare plans, the President made sure that religious-affiliated organizations were given an extra year to implement this so that he could work out a solution for those who object to contraception because of their religious beliefs. With the announcement of yesterday’s decision, he made good on his promise by protecting religious freedom while also making sure that all women have access to important preventive care.
This policy is especially important to President Obama because, as a person of faith, he understands the value of the work faith-affiliated organizations do and the major contributions they make to their communities. “My first job in Chicago was working with Catholic parishes in poor neighborhoods, and my salary was funded by a grant from an arm of the Catholic Church,” the President said. “And I saw that local churches often did more good for a community than a government program ever could, so I know how important the work that faith-based organizations do and how much impact they can have in their communities. “ From personal experience, he deeply understands and believes the notion that we are greater together, and he sees the critical role religious organizations play in this. Through his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the President has made a concerted effort to empower religious organizations to fight poverty, improve education and access to healthcare, and promote fatherhood and mentoring.
Echoing the sentiments that the President expressed at the National Prayer Breakfast, yesterday’s ruling demonstrates President Obama’s continued commitment to the core American values of religious liberty and women’s health. It also reaffirms his enduring dedication to the work of religious organizations and faithful Americans. We are thrilled for the families who will benefit from this provision of the President’s healthcare legislation and we areexcited to see the continuation of the strong partnershipsthat have been built between faith-based organizations and the Obama Administration.
Josh Dickson is Director of the YDA Faith & Values Initiative. The Rev. Derrick Harkins is the Faith Outreach Director of the Democratic National Committee.
June 26, 2011
On Monday, June 20, 2011, members of the New Jersey Young Democrats joined Planned Parenthood of New Jersey on the steps of the State House showing their support for a measure that would restore funding for women’s health and family planning services.
Governor Chris Christie eliminated these services in the FY2011 budget, which has reduced women’s access to basic health care services statewide. These services include breast cancer screenings, pap tests and gynecological exams, STD testing and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing and pre- and post-natal ad health care. Across the state, there have been significant cuts in services. For example, the Women’s Health and Counseling Center in Somerville will likely stop providing reproductive health care services and the Bayonne Women’s Health Center closed its doors in April leaving 1,400 city residents to look elsewhere for care.
Chris James, President of New Jersey Young Democrats explained, “Critics are contending that these services are still available in emergency rooms; however, it is unconceivable that we would resort to sending our mothers, daughters and sisters to emergency rooms for services that could be offered in our neighborhoods.”
Bills to restore these services have passed both houses of the legislature numerous times; however, they fall short of the needed votes to override the Governor’s veto. Supporters hope that funding will be restored in the FY2012 budget to be enacted by June 30, 2011.