Pro-Voice 08: One Sentence That Shows The President Cares

Aspen Baker

To chart a new path in the abortion debate, the next president just needs to listen, and speak, to people who have had abortions. What do you want to hear him say?

A new president’s first State
of the Union address does nothing less than frame the future. That first
address stakes out the goals of a new administration. Behind the scenes,
entire wars may be fought over just one sentence — because it takes
only a few words to change the course of world events.   

It is time for the next president
of the United States to chart a new path in the abortion debate. 
All he needs is one sentence.  A sentence that shows he cares for
each person in America who has experienced one.  What should that sentence be? He needs to hear the answer to that from people like you, and
people like me: people who have had abortions.  

Rarely does a public discussion
include anything new on the subject of abortion. The national debate
and poll results typically follow the same trends.  Yet there is
one perspective that has not been heard: the voice of each woman
who has had an abortion, and the voices of her loved ones.   

It is time that we are heard.   

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Social stigma has forced many
women and men to keep their personal experiences a secret, and as a
result, our unique stories get lost in the debate.    

For almost seven years, I have
led an organization called Exhale, which provides women and men who
have experienced abortion with something that I was not able to find
after my own: a safe, non-judgmental space in which to receive emotional
support from people who care and wish me well.  Through our national,
multilingual talkline, we have listened to people of many backgrounds
and ethnicities, people who practice diverse religions or none at all,
and who hold a range of values about abortion.  Their feelings
about their abortion experience are as unique as they are, and influenced
by what they have experienced in life and what they believe about the
world.  As they travel the landscape of possible feelings after
an abortion, Exhale witnesses them finding their own unique paths among
the many that lead toward emotional well-being.   

The most common themes we hear
from women and men are feelings of isolation and fear of judgment. 
Our direct work is to help them cope, learn and grow from these experiences
as whole, thoughtful and complete people.  To deepen and expand
this work and truly support all people on their path toward well-being,
we must all work to identify the shame, judgment and stigma so frequently
attached to abortion and replace them with empathy, compassion and non-judgment.   

A president, especially a new
president setting goals for the next four years, has the power to influence
and inspire.  That’s exactly what people hope for from their
leaders.  When the next president speaks about abortion, an issue
that has deeply affected the lives of so many Americans, he’ll have
the power to help us change the discussion.  He can do that simply, powerfully, by speaking one sentence, a sentence that conveys support
and respect for what we have gone through.  I know what I want
to hear: "I truly believe you did your best, and I want you to
know that I care." 
 

What do you want to hear? 

Pro-Voice in
’08,
a video campaign produced by Exhale and Rewire,
calls on all women who have had abortions to post a one-sentence video
response on YouTube that answers the following question: What should
the next president say to convey his support and his respect for your
personal experience with abortion?
  

Join the conversation.  Here’s
how: 

  • Watch my call
    to action on YouTube.
  • Upload a video
    of yourself saying the one sentence you want to hear. 
  • Post a comment
    with the sentence you want to hear.

 

One sentence can change the course
of world events.  Let’s change the course of the abortion debate
and create a new discussion – one based on support and respect for each
person’s own unique experience with abortion.   

Want to join the conversation? Instructions on posting a video on YouTube are available here.

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.

News Politics

Sen. Tim Kaine Focuses on Reproductive Rights Amid Clinton’s Looming Decision on Vice President

Ally Boguhn

Last week, the senator and former Virginia governor argued in favor of giving Planned Parenthood access to funding in order to fight Zika. "The uniform focus for members of Congress should be, 'Let's solve the problem,'" Kaine reportedly said at a meeting in Richmond, according to Roll Call.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appears to be rebranding himself as a more staunch pro-choice advocate after news that the senator was one of at least three potential candidates being vetted by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign to join her presidential ticket.

Last week, the senator and former Virginia governor argued in favor of giving Planned Parenthood access to funding in order to fight the Zika virus. “The uniform focus for members of Congress should be, ‘Let’s solve the problem,'” Kaine reportedly said at a meeting in Richmond, according to Roll Call. “That is [the] challenge right now between the Senate and House.”

Kaine went on to add that “Planned Parenthood is a primary health provider. This is really at the core of dealing with the population that has been most at risk of Zika,” he continued.

As Laura Bassett and Ryan Grim reported for the Huffington Post Tuesday, “now that Clinton … is vetting him for vice president, Kaine needs to bring his record more in line with hers” when it comes to reproductive rights. While on the campaign trail this election cycle, Clinton has repeatedly spoken out against restrictions on abortion access and funding—though she has stated that she still supports some restrictions, such as a ban on later abortions, as long as they have exceptions.

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In what is seemingly an effort to address the issue, as Bassett and Grim suggested, Kaine signed on last week as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services. As previously reported by Rewire, the measure would effectively stop “TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion provider) laws, forced ultrasounds, waiting periods, or restrictions on medication abortion.” TRAP laws have led to unprecedented barriers in access to abortion care.

Just one day before endorsing the legislation, Kaine issued a statement explicitly expressing his support for abortion rights after the Supreme Court struck down two provisions of Texas’ omnibus anti-choice law HB 2.

“I applaud the Supreme Court for seeing the Texas law for what it is—an attempt to effectively ban abortion and undermine a woman’s right to make her own health care choices,” said Kaine in the press release. “This ruling is a major win for women and families across the country, as well as the fight to expand reproductive freedom for all.”

The Virginia senator went on to use the opportunity to frame himself as a defender of those rights during his tenure as governor of his state. “The Texas law is quite similar to arbitrary and unnecessary rules that were imposed on Virginia women after I left office as Governor,” said Kaine. “I’m proud that we were able to successfully fight off such ‘TRAP’ regulations during my time in state office. I have always believed these sort of rules are an unwarranted effort to deprive women of their constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.”

Kaine also spoke out during his run for the Senate in 2012 when then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed a law requiring those who seek abortions to undergo an ultrasound prior to receiving care, calling the law “bad for Virginia’s image, bad for Virginia’s businesses and bad for Virginia’s women.”

Kaine’s record on abortion has of late been a hot topic among those speculating he could be a contender for vice president on the Clinton ticket. While Kaine’s website says that he “support[s] the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions” and that he opposes efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the senator recently spoke out about his personal opposition to abortion.

When host Chuck Todd asked Kaine during a recent interview on NBC’s Meet the Press about Kaine previously being “classified as a pro-life Democrat” while lieutenant governor of Virginia, Kaine described himself as a “traditional Catholic” who is “opposed to abortion.”

Kaine went on to affirm that he nonetheless still believed that the government should not intrude on the matter. “I deeply believe, and not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm,” Kaine continued. “They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As the Hill noted in a profile on Kaine’s abortion stance, as a senator Kaine has “a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood’s scorecard, and has consistently voted against measures like defunding Planned Parenthood and a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.”

While running for governor of Virginia in 2005, however, Kaine promised that if elected he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

After taking office, Kaine supported some existing restrictions on abortion, such as Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law, which in 2008 he claimed gave “women information about a whole series of things, the health consequences, et cetera, and information about adoption.” In truth, the information such laws mandate giving out is often “irrelevant or misleading,” according to the the Guttmacher Institute.

In 2009 he also signed a measure that allowed the state to create “Choose Life” license plates and give a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network, though such organizations routinely lie to women to persuade them not to have an abortion.