NC Grade Drops to “F” Due to Laws against Reproductive Rights

Durham, North Carolina — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina published the 23rd edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States. The report, published each year, provides individual letter grades on the status of women’s reproductive rights for all 50 states and provides a comprehensive view of choice-related legislation and court decisions in those states. NC was scored as an anti-choice state for its 2013 legislative record on reproductive freedom, getting a letter grade of F.

Hannah Osborn (NARAL NC Intern Class of 2013, NC State Class of 2014) speaking at a pro-choice Rally last March.
Hannah Osborn (NARAL NC Intern) speaking at a pro-choice Rally last March.

Read NC’s report card here: http://bit.ly/WhoDecidesNC.

“In 2013, extreme lawmakers railroaded through a series of new laws that are part of a nationwide, well-funded anti-woman agenda sweeping the nation.  These laws are ill-conceived and out of touch with the majority of North Carolinians who believe lawmakers have no place in a woman’s personal, private reproductive decisions,” said Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. “In 2014, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina is as committed as ever to holding the opponents of a woman’s right to choose accountable, and working hard to elect lawmaker who share our pro-choice values and belief that every woman should have not just the right, but the opportunity to make whatever decision is right for her.”

North Carolina is one of the twenty-four states nationwide that enacted anti-choice measures in 2013.  During the 2013 legislative session, the NC General Assembly passed and the Governor McCrory signed three new anti-choice bills into law, despite his campaign promise to not support any additional restrictions on access to abortion in North Carolina.  These laws require NC DHHS to create new restrictions on women’s health centers, ban women from obtaining comprehensive insurance coverage through North Carolina’s health care exchange that includes coverage for abortion care, even when they use their own money to purchase their plan.  The law also strips over 370,000 city and county employees of access to comprehensive reproductive health insurance coverage that most Americans currently have through their employer-based insurance coverage.

In total, 24 states—AK, MT, ND, SD, CO, KS, OK. TX, IA, MO, AR, LA, WI, MI, IN, OH, PA, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS—passed 53 anti-choice measures. The four primary types of laws restricting reproductive freedom included:

  • Banning abortion at different stages of pregnancy;
  • Banning insurance coverage of abortion;
  • Restricting abortion providers to close them down;
  • Helping anti-choice fake clinics called crisis pregnancy centers.

But the tide is turning, as elected officials like Texas state Senator Wendy Davis and Michigan state Senator Gretchen Whitmer took strong public stands to protect reproductive freedom. Ten states—AL, CA, CO, HI, IL, NH, TX, VA, VT, and WV—enacted a total of 15 pro-choice measures (twice as many as last year), fighting back against anti-choice extremists. (Source)

The full report is available at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/government-and-you/who-decides/ 

Photo Credit: NARAL Pro-Choice NC

Press Release: Social Work Helper Magazine was not involved in the creation of this content.

University Decision to End Partnership over Reproductive Rights May Have Bigger Implications

Dean Will Rainford
Dean Will Rainford

In a recent decision, School of Social Work Dean, William C. Rainford, at Catholic University of America (CUA) issued a statement ending a long-standing partnership with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) because of its support for women’s reproductive rights.

According to the university’s website, Dean Rainford was appointed to lead the School of Social Work in June 2013, and his biographical information states that he is nationally recognized as a social justice advocate. This major change in University policy comes less than three months after Dean Rainford’s appointment.

Many social work students have taken to twitter to express their outrage for the decision. However, an on campus student social work group, NCSSS Action, reached out to the Chronicle of Social Change to go on record about their opposition to the new policy. According to the group’s organizer Andy Bowen,

“The other students and I are still coalescing around strategy and action, but we won’t go quietly into the night here,” said NCSSS Action organizer Andy Bowen, in an e-mail to The Chronicle of Social Change. Will Rainford, who in April of 2013 was named dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS), informed students in a recent letter that he will “no longer allow NCSSS to officially partner or collaborate with NASW.” The reason, he said, is “based solely on NASW’s overt public position that social workers should advocate for access to abortions.” Read More

The timing of this decision is surprising especially when NASW has been on record about its support for reproductive rights as early as 2004. According to the NASW website in its activities, projects, and research section, it states:

  • Healthy Families, Strong Communities is an NASW project funded by the United Nations Foundation to engage the U.S. and the broader international community in the strengthening of maternal health and reproductive health.
  • Human Rights Update on Social Workers Addressing the Rights of Women and Girls Worldwide through MDG5 (10/8/2010 pdf)
  • NASW Policy Statement on Family Planning and Reproductive Health – appears in Social Work Speaks, a compilation of over 60 NASW policy statements on social work-related issues.
  • Female Genital Cutting – an NASW research page focusing on the practice of female genital cutting, otherwise referred to as female genital mutilation or female circumcision.
  • March for Women’s Lives – a 2004 rally co-sponsored by NASW for women’s reproductive rights.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, women’s reproductive rights have been an area of contention for conservative and religious groups. In several Red States, such as Texas and North Carolina, Republican led legislatures have begun passing some of the most restrictive laws limiting women’s reproductive rights and women’s ability to gain access to preventative care.

In 2012, Catholic University of America joined a lawsuit with Wheaton College asserting the Affordable Care Act is a violation of the school’s religious liberty. During the conference call, Wheaton College President Dr. Phillip Graham Ryken and The Catholic University of America’s president John Garvey stressed their schools’ alignment on pro-life beliefs according to the Huffington Post.

This major policy shift by the university’s School of Social Work does not align with the mission and values of a social work education. The role of a social worker is to help a client who is in crisis or help them improve their outcomes through intervention. As a social worker, if you can not set aside your personal beliefs to provide a client all necessary information to make an informed decision, you are ethically obligated to refer them to someone who can.

If the logic of this university is accepted and applicable to make policy decisions based on religious beliefs, what prevents it from teaching future social workers the tenets modeled as it relates to members of the LGBT community or women seeking health care advice? What prevents any religion from making policy decisions based on ideology to be enforced on a minority group? In my opinion, CUA’s shift in policy is in direct conflict with the Council for Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). If institutions are modelling practices and instituting policies in violation of accreditation standards, should the institution retain its accreditation?

In EPAS section 2.1.4, Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice states:

Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers

  •  recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;
  • gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;
  • recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences; and
  • view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants.

The website for the commission and board who oversees the accreditation for schools of social work can be found at http://www.cswe.org/About/governance/CommissionsCouncils/CommissiononAccreditation.aspx. Additionally, if any students at CUA would like to be interviewed, I can be reached at deona@socialworkhelper.com or at @swhelpercom.

You can view all of the Council for Social Work Education’s educational policies and accreditation standards as adopted here.

 

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Catholic News Agency

Jindal Says Wendy Davis Bid for Texas Governor Will End in Defeat

If you are not familiar with who Wendy Davis is, you should be! Wendy Davis was a single mom on government assistance who worked her way from a trailer park to a Harvard Law School degree, but she didn’t stop there. Social Work Helper did a story on Wendy Davis earlier this year for her heroic efforts to stand for women’s reproductive rights.

Wendy DavisWendy Davis, a state Senator representing Texas’ 10th district, made national news for her 11 hour filibuster of the Republican backed restrictive reproductive health bill that the Texas legislature’s leadership was attempting to railroad through the state senate. The bill Wendy said would have a “devastating impact” by enacting a 20 week abortion ban, and effectively closing almost all of the health clinics that provide abortive services, among other vital health services for women, across the state.  Read Full Article

Wendy Davis made her announcement at the high school where she received her education, and she stated:

“We love Texas not only for how good it is, but for how great we know it can be,” she said. “We want every child, no matter where they start in Texas, to receive a world-class education, an education that can take them anywhere they want to go.”

In my opinion, Wendy Davis represents the epitome of the American Dream, and the hope we have for our children to triumph under difficult circumstances. In the history of Texas Governors, only two women have been elected to hold high office. The last to achieve this accomplishment was Ann Richards the mother of the current President of Planned Parenthood, Cecil Richards. If there is a slim chance for a third female governor, Wendy Davis is the right choice.

Bobby Jindal, Republican Governor from Louisiana and Chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, stated that Wendy Davis will be good for fundraising, but she does not stand a chance of winning against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott. This statement came in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by Wendy Davis to run for Governor of the Lone Star State.

 

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