NARAL Fights Ryancare in Kenosha

Hello, fellow pro-choice champions! My name is Clara, and I’m interning with NARAL this summer. 

On Monday, June 5, NARAL’s Board Chair, Natalie, and I drove to Kenosha to participate in a press conference and town hall organized by Rep. Tod Ohnstad. In partnership with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, and 9to5 Wisconsin, NARAL mobilized neighbors and activists to show up loud and proud in our fight for affordable healthcare for all Wisconsinites.

The press conference was held in front of Paul Ryan’s Kenosha office (with the blinds closed and Paul Ryan nowhere in sight), where representatives Chris Taylor and Tod Ohnstad discussed how Trumpcare/Ryancare/AHCA failed millions of Americans who currently rely on Obamacare to afford healthcare. A woman from Bristol, a small conservative town in Wisconsin, also shared her experiences with Planned Parenthood in front of the camera, praising PP’s cervical cancer screenings that allowed her to become a mother. With NARAL signs and t-shirts, we stood in solidarity to send a clear message to Ryan — we will not stand for the GOP threats to the health of Wisconsin women and families.

After the press conference, we drove to the town hall, which had an extremely good turnout. Constituents from Kenosha and surrounding towns came to share their healthcare stories and concerns with Wisconsin State Representatives and Senators Jimmy Anderson, Daniel Riemer, Peter Barca, Janet Bewley, David Crowley, Debra Kolste, Tod Ohnstad, Chris Taylor, Lisa Subek, Mark Miller, and Robert Wirch. Paul Ryan ever so politely ignored his invite and failed to show up (is this a surprise to anyone?), thus a cardboard cutout of him graced everyone at UAW Local 72.

The stories everyone shared were extremely moving and showed how much of a negative impact the AHCA would have on Wisconsin residents. Parents of disabled children shared how the Affordable Care Act financially allowed them to get the care their children needed. They expressed their worries about the impending AHCA. A woman shared a story about a single mother who had a critical health problem but could not afford care, causing the mother to die in her home and leaving three children behind. Representative Jimmy Anderson told his story, saying the ACA saved his life by making it financially feasible to afford care after a drunk driver caused the death of his family members and inflicted lifelong injuries to him. Additionally, multiple women spoke about their positive experiences with Planned Parenthood.

The testimonies from the town hall were sent to Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, and hopefully these stories will inspire within them, and other republicans, some type of conscious regarding healthcare. Hearing everyone speak in Kenosha emphasized how Republicans like Paul Ryan, President Trump, and Governor Walker are not listening to the majority of Americans and are unnecessarily politicizing healthcare, at the expense of low-income women and families. Healthcare is a basic human right, and no one should struggle to pay for it.

By Clara Jeon, Legislative Intern

Resist Trump’s Budget Over Recess

On Tuesday, May 23, President Trump unveiled his FY18 budget proposal titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” Previous to its release, a coalition of human and women’s rights groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, drafted and signed a letter expressing their concerns about the impending budget proposal. The letter stressed that the budget should not dismantle policies and programs aimed to give women and families the “social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about their lives.”

However, Trump’s budget proposal prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in any programs funded by the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which provides appropriations to agencies and programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. This is the first and only time a specific health care provider has been excluded from this bill.

Trump’s proposal will likely accelerate the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. Not only does it reduce the number of locations where women can access safe abortions, the budget proposal also bars PP clinics from participating in cancer screening programs by the CDC and obtaining sexually transmitted disease prevention grants due to their funding by the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.

Trump’s budget will heavily affect low-income women and families in the U.S. as well as around the world. With his “America First” rhetoric, funding for Global Health Programs are also in danger, which could increase the number of unsafe abortions and decrease access to family planning across the world. Trump also proposes to slash $272 billion on welfare programs, decrease disability payments by $72 billion, and cut loans that low-income students rely on to subsidize college.

Our President is putting the health of women, children, people of color, low-income families, LGBTQ individuals, and other marginalized groups in danger. Congress has yet to approve the budget, and now they’re on a break until Friday, June 2. So here’s what you can do today to fight Trump’s budget over the recess:

  • Call your representatives at their home offices to voice concerns about President Trump’s proposal. You can find your members of Congress here for the House and here for the Senate. Here’s a sample script you can follow:

Hello, my name is [NAME], and my zip code is [ZIP CODE]. I’m concerned about President Trump’s budget, particularly in barring Planned Parenthood from participating in programs funded by the Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, as well as decreasing the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services. I’m calling to ask [SENATOR or HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] to stand up for programs that improve the health and quality of life for millions of Americans. Programs like this are important to me, because Planned Parenthood provides safe access to a number of important reproductive health services, such as cancer screenings and STI testing and prevention. Please pass my concerns to [SENATOR or HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE’S NAME] and urge [HIM/HER] to fight against Trump’s budget proposal. Thank you for taking my call.

  • Speak up at a town hall. Since representatives are currently home for the congressional recess, check the news, call their office, or go to townhallproject.com to discover whether your representative is holding a town hall. Town halls are a great opportunity for constituents to discuss upcoming legislation with their congressional reps and they provide a chance to ask questions about Trump’s budget proposal. To have a better chance of getting called to ask a question, do not bring political signs or wear political shirts. If you get the opportunity to ask a question, be polite and resilient until it is fully answered.
  • Stop by your representative’s local office during business hours and deliver a message. Whether it be through a card or a letter, dropping by their office is a quick and easy way to get your opinions heard. You can also gather a small group of constituents and schedule a formal sit-down meeting with your member of Congress to discuss concerns about the budget. Sharing personal stories about how Trump’s budget will impact you is an effective way to influence your representative’s vote. Check your representative’s website or call their office to find out how to schedule a meeting.
  • Become a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and join us in fighting against laws that restrict reproductive freedoms.