NARAL Pro-Choice New York

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NARAL Pro-Choice New York is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America. The affiliate describes itself as "the state’s foremost pro-choice political and advocacy organization.[1]

Contents

About

The affiliate describes itself as a "political and advocacy organization" for guaranteeing a woman's right "to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion." They are involved involved in politics, at the state and local levels to pass pro-choice legislation, but also to defeat what they call "anti-choice initiatives." The affiliate is also involved in electing pro-choice officials to be held "accountable" to NARAL's mission.[1]

History

NARAL Pro-Choice New York has been in existence since 1969. The address listed for the organization is in New York city, at 470 Park Avenue South, on the 7th Floor. The organization is listed as a local and national NGO (non-governmental organization). [2] The organization has a staff of 15 people and a budget of $3.2 million. [3]

National Institute For Reproductive Health

NARAL Pro-Choice New York is partnered with the National Institute for Reproductive Health. NARAL Pro-Choice New York describes this partnership as an "opportunity... to make this city and this state shinning examples in what it means to protect and prioritize women's reproductive health and rights." The partnership is seen by NARAL as a partnership and collaboration to work against "anti-choice encroachments" and to supposedly "begin to build a better future for the women and families in their communities." [1]

The National Institute for Reproductive Health describes itself as an "innovation institute for reproductive health care." As with partnerships with organizations like NARAL, there is also a partnership with state and local leaders to achieve the goal of reproductive health care through education and advocacy. The institute strives for "success," "action," "leaders," and "health." [4] NIRH is described as a sister organization of NPCNY, with their goals being to reduce barriers to reproductive health care for women and providing information and services in municipalities and states across the country. [3]

NARAL/NY Foundation

NARAL Pro-Choice New York also has an educational branch of this state affiliate. The NARAL/NY Foundation is described as "the 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt research, educational and training arm of NARAL/NY." It provides materials and training programs to educate about reproductive rights. [5]

NARAL Pro-Choice New York Political Action Committee

On the political level, NARAL Pro-Choice New York also has a PAC, committed to electing pro-choice leaders in the state. [6] The PAC not only works to elect pro-choice politicians, but supports them in pro-choice endeavors and holds them accountable as well. Political efforts are done through "legislative and policy advocacy and electoral strategy." [3]

Political Endorsements

On August 14, 2012, NPCNY released their endorsements for the 2012 House of Representatives. The press release and the president, Andrea Miller, mention a sense of importance over electing pro-choice candidates to protect the organization's mission and goals. New York, which is already a pro-choice state, is believed by Miller to play a critical role in November 2012 elections. All of those endorsed, including incumbents (which are a majority of those endorsed), challengers and open seats, are Democrats. [7]

The endorsements for state legislature involved also backing Democratic candidates. Miller once again mentioned New York as a pro-choice state, but said "that it needs more representation in the legislature." [8]

The site also features election information, as part of the "Get Involved" page. This page features information about endorsements, as well as a primary voter guide. [9]

Issues

NARAL Pro-Choice New York focuses on a "statewide reproductive rights and health agenda." The state affiliate breaks their efforts into five different issues. [10]

Protecting a Woman's Right to Abortion

NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes that "Every woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion care regardless of age, race, ethnicity or income." The state affiliate often touts New York being one of the first states to make abortion legal, doing so in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade. The state affiliate today describes itself as "defending the right to choose", "as anti-choice forces attempt to chip away at reproductive rights." Their efforts are described as "Pass the Reproductive Health Act," "Expose crisis pregnancy centers" and "Fight against abortion restrictions." [11] The state affiliate dedicates a page to the Reproductive Health Act, [12] which features a link for updates. [13] The "abortion restrictions" which NARAL Pro-Choice New York refers to includes "Sex-Selective Abortion Ban," "Personhood laws," "Parental involvement laws," and "Biased counseling and mandatory delays." [14]

Making Choice a Reality

This "Issue" of NARAL Pro-Choice New York focuses on ensuring the belief that "All women, regardless of economic status, should have the ability to access, and the means to exercise, their legal right to abortion" and ensuring that "low-income women... have equal access to comprehensive reproductive health care." These efforts involve work to "Protect insurance coverage of abortion," "Support public funding for abortion," which involves supporting Medicaid funding for abortion, and "Defend abortion providers." [15]

Ensuring Access to Contraception

NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes that "All women, men, and teens, regardless of economic status, should have equal access to family planning services and the information they need in order to plan their families and their future." The state affiliate's efforts with this "Issue" involves "work to increase public awareness of and access to the full range of contraceptive options, including emergency contraception, so that all New Yorkers can find the method that works best for them," with "an all-out attack on access to contraception." Such "work" includes to "Protect family funding," "Defeat refusal clauses," "Raise awareness of different birth control methods," which involves a campaign "Maybe the IUD" and "Expand access to emergency contraception," which also involves the "Back Up Your Birth Control" campaign. [16]

Empowering and Protecting Young People

NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes that "Young people need honest, accurate information and access to sexual and reproductive health services in order to make healthy decisions." The state affiliate also believes in comprehensive health programs and confidential services. Their efforts work to: "Fight for comprehensive sex education," "Protect teen access to reproductive health services," and "Support youth leaders." [17] These services include "Adolescent Health Care Communication Program (AHCCP)", "access of sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, STI testing, and abortion care, without parental consent," "Minors' confidential access of STD Prevention Treatments" and "Teen-friendly clinics." [18]

Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Families

NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes that "Supporting reproductive freedom means supporting each woman’s ability to make the decision that is best for herself and her family, whether that means abortion, adoption or parenting." Their efforts for this "Issue" work to include "Expand access to prenatal care," "Support adoption counseling," and "Protect the rights of incarcerated women." [19]

Projects/Campaigns

Some of the "Issues" of NARAL Pro-Choice New York are also mentioned as one of their "Projects/Campaigns," which involve the state affiliate carrying out its "advocacy efforts and educational campaigns." [20]

TORCH Program

The TORCH Program is also listed under "Empowering and Protecting Young People." [17] [18] TORCH stands for Teen Outreach Reproductive CHallenge and is described as a "a nationally recognized program that combines peer health education and leadership training for New York City youth, with a strong emphasis on empowerment and team building." The program works on "[a]ddressing... reproductive health care through peer outreach and education, community organizing, and advocacy..." [21] The page also features a link to the TORCH Program website. [22]

Book of Choices

NARAL Pro-Choice New York offers a "Book of Choices" with advice for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. [23] The page offers links to the publication in English [24] and Spanish, [25] and contains information on "Paying for Your Care," "Ending a Pregnancy: Abortion Care," "Continuing Your Pregnancy," and "Preventing Pregnancy" as well as an "About this Guide" section.

Crisis Pregnancy Center Education Project

As is also listed under an "Issue" for the state affiliate, under the "Protecting a Woman's Right to Abortion" page, [12] NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes very strongly against Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) and believes that "Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are anti-choice organizations that pose as legitimate reproductive health care facilities in order to intentionally deceive and misinform women about abortion and birth control." This so-called "Education Project" involves an undercover project of CPCs in New York City in 2010, which produced a publication documenting what NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes to be "deceptive and manipulating practices" from these centers. [26] The publication is titled "She Said Abortion Could Cause Breast Cancer:" A Report on the Lies, Manipulations, and Privacy Violations of Crisis Pregnancy Centers with a link provided. [27] NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes in "Truth-in-advertising legislation" and is in support of this applying to CPCs, which involves working to ensure this regulation goes in effect even after a judge blocked the enforcement in 2011. [28] Further, the state affiliate believes in working to "Help raise awareness!" about the so-called "true agenda" of CPCs "to spread misinformation and outright lies to women in our communities." There is also a link provided to "Contact Us" for those who wish "to learn more or find out how you can help expose crisis pregnancy centers." [26]

NARAL Pro-Choice New York also advertised an event on their Facebook page. The event, ""12th and Delaware" Screening and Panel Discussion at Columbia University" involved the screening of an HBO-documentary which examined the work of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and involved a panel discussion of "the implications of crisis pregnancy centers and efforts to expose their deceptive tactics." [29]

Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Addressing "Insurance Coverage of Abortion" is also mentioned in NARAL Pro-Choice New York's "Making Choice a Reality" page. [15] The state affiliate believes in implementing health care reform that includes abortion coverage. The page includes information on abortion and insurance coverage, such as "The importance of coverage" mentioning the out of pocket price of abortion procedures as too expensive for many women, "Public insurance coverage" with support for New York state ensuring Medicaid coverage of abortion, "Private insurance and health care reform" which seeks to ensure that women in New York do not lose their private insurance coverage of abortion, as has happened in 15 states as of Fall 2011, and "Take a look. Take a stand" [30] which involves a link for more information and for someone telling the state affiliate if their insurance plan covers abortion. [31]

Sex Education Program

NARAL Pro-Choice New York believes in "...working to ensure that all New York public school students receive age-appropriate, medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education they need to stay safe." The information on the page mentions "The problem" of New York consistently having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country and mentions working with allied organizations in Sex Education Alliance of New York City (SEANYC), "to advocate for universal standards for comprehensive sex education in the city’s public school system." The page also mentions "Our report" which involves a report from 2010 involving sex education in New York City. The "New York City mandate" also mentions a universal madandate issued by the New York City Department of Education for sex education in public schools, as of August 2011. NARAL Pro-Choice New York is also working on a "State-wide comprehensive sex education trigger bill" to pass a bill in New York state. [32]

Events

NARAL Pro-Choice lists recent events at the bottom of its home page, under the "Updates" section. [33] There is also an "Events" link on its Facebook page. [33]

Rally - Tell Mitt Romney: "Keep Your Mitts Off Our Health Care!"

The most recent event held by NARAL Pro-Choice New York occured in New York City on June 28, 2012, outside the Pierre Hotel, where Donald Trump was holding a reception for candidate Mitt Romney. According to the organization's home page, the event also invovled SEIU and other New York pro-choicers. NARAL Pro-Choice New York describes the event as having "made sure Mitt knew that his position on reproductive rights and health care won’t fly here in New York." There is also a reference to the health care decision that was announced the previous morning by the Supreme Court. [33]

Champions of Choice 2012

NARAL Pro-Choice New York's home page features a link to the Champions of Choice 2012, an event held on Monday, May 14, 2012, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. The luncheon was an event held by NARAL Pro-Choice New York as well as the National Institute for Reproductive Health. The event is advertised as having been "attended by over 500 prominent leaders of the business, philanthropic and media sectors." [34] The 2012 event included featured speaker Eleanor Clift, contributing editor of Newsweek and McLaughlin Group Panelist, as well as Raquel Levin, the Board Chair of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and Andrea Miller, President of National Institute of Reproductive Health and NARAL Pro-Choice New York. The event honored Sharon Camp and Teva Women's Health for involvement in making Plan B accessible over the counter to all ages. [35]

We Are Pro-Choice New York: Albany Day of Action

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, NARAL Pro-Choice New York led an "Albany Day of Action" day-long event at the New York State Convention Center in Albany. The event involved educational workshops, advocacy trainings, and meetings with legislative representatives. Transportation was also provided for those who signed up. [36] NARAL Pro-Choice New York's website describes the event as a "huge success" and mentions that both Democrats and Republicans elected officials were present at the event. It is pointed out that the event occurred on the first day back from a legislative break, and that the state affiliate was there to emphasize the passage of the Reproductive Health Act during the second half of the session. [37]

Social Media

Facebook

NARAL Pro-Choice New York has a Facebook page with (as of September 4, 2012), 4,021 members. Its most popular week was March 18, 2012, its most popular city is New York, New York and its most popular age group is 25-34 years old. [38] The information about the state affiliate on the Facebook page is mostly similar to that found on the website, but also mentions it has 50,000 supporters across the state. [39] Its Facebook page includes articles to do with the abortion movement, political issues warning against or promoting politicians, and blog posts from NARAL Pro-Choice New York's website. Pro-Choice New York on Facebook also follows a mix of other pro-choice organizations, elected government officials/politicians and media outlets who support the abortion cause. [40] There are also photos, mostly from various events and rallies the state affiliate has held or been to. [41] There is also an event's section about past events held by NARAL Pro-Choice New York. [33]

Twitter

NARAL Pro-Choice New York also has a Twitter page, with most of its posts coming from their account, or from the NARAL account. The account has (as of September 4, 2012) 3,277 followers and is named @ProChoiceNY with 3,371 tweets. As with its Facebook page, there is similar information on its Twitter page as is on their website. [42] The twitter account follows ordinary supporters of NARAL Pro-Choice New York as well as activists, government officials/politicians, news and media outlets and other pro-choice organizations. [43] The twitter account also has photos from events the affiliate has been to or held. [44]

Back Up Your Birth Control

On NARAL Pro-Choice New York's homepage there is a link to "Back Up Your Birth Control" which is a tumblr page with information about emergency contraception, materials, ways to take action and blogging. The campaign is listed as a project of the National Institute for Reproductive Health.[45] There is also a link to the "Back Up Your Birth Control" page on Facebook, which (as of September 9, 2012) has 913 likes. [46]

NARAL Pro-Choice New York also mentions on its homepage "Updates" section a link to another tumblr page, "Because EC=BC." [47] The information provided by NARAL Pro-Choice New York mentions March 28th as the 11th annual "Back Up Your Birth Control (BUYBC) Day of Action and that the "BUYBC campaign aims campaign aims to expand access to emergency contraception (EC) by combining public education with advocacy & activism around access to EC." [33]

Get Involved

On their "Get Involved" page, the state affiliate has a message for potential volunteers stating that "Pro-choice supporters like you play a crucial role in our mission to ensure that all women have access to the full range of reproductive health care options. Check out some of the many ways to get involved with our pro-choice mobilization at a grassroots level!" Along with information on what volunteers with the affiliate have done, the page mentions ways to get involved. These include joining the affiliate on Facebook, [40] Twitter, [42] or Flickr. [48] There are also links to joining the Choice Action Network, [49] joining the Pro-Choice Action team (P-CAT), [50] visiting the latest "action updates," [51] a page for "upcoming events," [52] the "2011 Activist Toolkit," [53] downloading, ordering and disseminating free materials, [54] donating and becoming a member, [55] and e-mailing David Benzaquen at Pro-Choice New York to invite a guest speaker or to become further involved in other ways. [56]

Staff

NARAL Pro-Choice New York's website does not offer information on its staff or Board of Directors, at least not in any particular section on its website. It also does not offer annual reports or newsletters from its website. This may be possibly due to previous scandals with board members.

Kelli Conlin

Kelli Conlin served as the President and Executive Director for both NARAL Pro-Choice New York and National Institute for Reproductive Health from 1992 until January 2011. At first, Conlin's stepping down was described as "abruptly stepped down with neither an advance warning nor much of an explanation." [57] However, in June 2011, the New York County District Attorney's Office released a statement for immediate release that Kelli Conlin had plead guilty to falsifying business records. The press release stated that the Board of Directors had removed Conlin from her positions "after an internal audit revealed the spending and accounting improprieties that led to today’s disposition." Conlin submitted statements and reimbursements that were false in description and had to do with personal costs which were not to do with business and were not authorized by the Board, despite claims she made to her staff. The press release also stated that Kelli Conlin "is expected to be sentenced to a non-incarceratory sentence and will be ordered to pay restitution to NARAL and NIRH in the amount of $75,000." The $75,000 is the amount Conlin took from the group, which came from, in part, the solicitation of donors. [58] However, in June 2012, it was reported that the state Attorney General is suing Conlin for taking $250,000, which she may have actually taken instead of $75,000 as was initially believed to be the amount of donations she had taken. Conlin is also to be barred from serving on any further non-for-profit organizations in the state of New York. [59]

Andrea Miller

On September 16, 2011, NARAL Pro-Choice New York issued a statement for immediate release that Andrea Miller was to take over as new President for the state affiliate. Since October 24, 2011, Miller has served as the President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York as well as the National Institute for Reproductive Health. At the time of the press release, Miller was the then current Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. [60] The website also features a biography page of Miller. [61]

Donna Bascom

Donna Bascom is Board Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. In the press release regarding Andrea Miller taking over as President of the state affiliate and of NIRH, Bascom makes a statement. [60] Donna Bascom is also involved with the Union for Reform Judaism, and has a biography page on the organization's website. She is widely involved in a variety of different projects and causes, but related to the abortion movement, Bascom has been involved as Chair of One Voice to Save Choice, Congregation Rodeph Sholom's Reproductive Rights interfaith task force. In addition to serving as Board Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, she is also on the Advisory Board of the New York Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Rights Project. She has also been involved in politics with the Democratic party. [62]

Tara Sweeney

According to her LinkedIn profile, Tara Sweeney has been the Communications Director at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health since November 2011. [63] For a "reporter working on a deadline," Tara Sweeney's contact information is given out as the person to contact on NARAL Pro-Choice New York's website. [64]

Andy Stern

According to his LinkedIn profile, Andy Stern has been the Senior Electoral Strategist of NARAL Pro-Choice New York since April 2001. Since then, he has also been the Vice President for Institutional Development of the state affiliate's sister organization, the National Institute for Reproductive Health. [65]

Pauline DeMairo

According to her LinkedIn profile, Pauline DeMairo has been the Director of the Adolescent Health Care Communication Program (AHCCP), which is part of the services for NARAL Pro-Choice New York's "issue" that is "Empowering and Protecting Young People," [18] since November 1996. From the time DeMairo started as the Director of AHCCP, she was also the Director of Teen Outreach Reproductive Challenge (TORCH), up until September 2010. [66] TORCH is also a program listed as a service of "Empowering and Protecting Young People." [17] [18]

Angela Hooton

According to her LinkedIn profile, Angela Hooton is currently the Vice President of Programs at NARAL Pro-Choice New York. [67]

Shelby Ebert

According to her LinkedIn profile, Shelby Ebert is currently the Development Officer for NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health. She has held this position since August 2010. [68]

References

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