I stand with Planned Parenthood.

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So proud of our high school interns Caeley and Liz -- champions for reproductive justice and leaders of tomorrow! 

To answer everyone's questions--yes, of course I am pro-choice. As a woman, a mother, a grandmother of a girl, and someone who grew up with Choice--I've taken it for granted my entire reproductive life. Other women should too. Below are my answers to the  Planned Parenthood Questionnaire: 
Planned Parenthood Questions  - Elizabeth Warren, Candidate, CA State Assembly District 76

Every woman's right to safe, legal abortion.

Every woman should have access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including access to safe and legal abortion. Access to abortion is legal, constitutionally protected, and consistently supported by a majority of Americans.

Will you support a woman's right to safe, legal abortion under the terms set out in Roe v. Wade?

Yes   

Will you oppose any attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

As a woman and a mother of two daughters who has spent my entire reproductive life in a post-Roe America, I unequivocally support women’s' rights to domain over our own bodies, and to safe and affordable medical care, including abortions. This is a no-brainer. Our bodies, our business. Though PP and other smart pro-choice advocates have taken care to steer around precedent-setting cases, I am concerned that the right to privacy (on which Roe was hung) is not absolute, and that it has become a wobbly legal concept in post 9-11 cases.

We are fortunate to have Justice Ginsberg on the court, but I worry about her health every day, and with the current composition of the court, fear that pro-life arguments alleging "compelling state interest" in protecting "the unborn" could place Roe in jeopardy, should a case make it to SCOTUS. We need to shore up California's defenses for the sake of our daughters. I will do all I can toward that end, including endorsing and/or supporting state legislation to strengthen California's choice position, should this come down to a "Sessions v. State of California" situation. I find it offensive that women's health has become so politicized, and that trickery is being used to reduce and/or eat up PP's funding. I have written, lobbied and spoken out against efforts by the right wing (including but not limited to people like Cliff Stearns in Florida and those who put pressure on Susan G. Komen for the Cure) to attack our funding sources and bury PP in legal fees defending frivolous lawsuits.

Restrictions on Abortion Access

Abortion restrictions, like "Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers" or TRAP laws, include regulations that single out providers, facilities and drugs related to abortion services. They are used as a tactic to create barriers to abortion access. Planned Parenthood believes that abortion should be regulated similarly to other comparable procedures. Will you oppose TRAP laws and other restrictions on abortion access?

Yes

Please explain your position:

Absolutely. See my answer to the above. When opponents use trickery to restrict access to any legal right, it is offensive, unacceptable, and a violation of civil rights. This is no different than interfering with the right to vote, to marry, to free speech, etc. I would fight to the end to call out these TRAP laws and their advocates.

Public Funding for Reproductive Health Care Including Abortion

The right to safe, legal abortion is meaningless without affordable access to services.

Will you support public funding (federal, state and local) of comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, for all individuals who rely on the government for their health care services?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

Many years ago, when I lived in Michigan, a referendum was on the ballot to exempt Abortion care from state Medicaid funding. I voted against it. (It passed anyway, unfortunately.) Healthcare is healthcare. Abortion is legal healthcare. It should be covered just as any other procedure is covered.

Fight to Protect Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates

One third of all Californians are enrolled in the Medi-Cal system (including 85% of Planned Parenthood's patients). Recently the Governor and state legislators have made significant progress to ensure state funding is budgeted to increase the Medi-Cal reimbursement rates; however, the need to further ensure that funding is available for the long-term retention of adequate Medi-Cal reimbursement rates continues to be a priority for California reproductive health care providers. Will you support adequate funding for reimbursement rates to continue to be a priority for California reproductive health care providers?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

One trick used by opponents is to starve services of funding. I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that reimbursement rates keep pace with the cost of procedures, so that we do not lose providers. Further, I support CNA and Toni Atkins' single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare bill, SB 562. We need that model in California. Should we prevail in passing SB 562 or a similar bill, the issue of reimbursement rates for specific procedures would be in the hands of the state body charged with negotiating fees for services, Rates would be secure.

Confidential Access to Services for Teenagers

Most teenagers involve their parents in important decisions such as whether to continue or terminate an unintended pregnancy. For teens who cannot involve their parents, because they fear violence or being kicked out of their homes, they must have confidential access to safe, legal abortion services. Californians have voted three times to protect teen safety by upholding a teen's ability to confidentially access safe, legal abortion care.

California law also allows students aged 12 and older to be released confidentially from school to obtain confidential services such as reproductive health, drug and alcohol abuse treatment, and mental health services. While parents rightfully want to be involved in their teens' lives, and Planned Parenthood health centers actively promote family communication, we also know that some teens will not access the sensitive services they need if they cannot do so confidentially.

Will you support a minor's right to access confidential services, such as family planning, abortion, prenatal care, and sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, including a minor's release from school to obtain these services?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

This is a deeply personal matter for me. As one of those "enlightened parents" I had good relationships with my daughters. But I was painfully aware that many of their peers did not. In more than one instance, I became the de-facto shoulder to cry on for friends of theirs who found themselves in complicated situations and could not speak with their own parents. While I urged them to talk to their own mothers, when they explained they could not, I listened and offered support. I didn't rat them out to their parents. More important, this is about domain over one's own body. If a woman is biologically mature enough to conceive, she alone should be the ultimate voice in deciding what happens next, as hers is the life it will most affect.

Comprehensive Sexual Health Education

An overwhelming majority of Californians support teaching comprehensive sexual health education in our schools. California has some of the strongest laws ensuring that students receive comprehensive, age appropriate, medically accurate sexuality and HIV/AIDS education in schools that is free of racial, ethnic, and gender bias information — including most recently the California Healthy Youth Act. School districts are now mandated/required to take steps to become compliant with the new law.

Will you support the active monitoring, enforcement and funding of current California laws requiring sex ed?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

Age-appropriate education is the best way to ensure our kids have an accurate understanding of not only their reproductive systems, but also of the many challenges coming to light in our ever-evolving culture. Issues of gender identity and individual freedom should be explained to kids as they reach sexual maturity, as should the importance of weighing social responsibility with our right to privacy and making sure individuals of all ages can feel safe as they share their sexual history (HIV status or other STDs) with partners.

A young woman I know is a "date rape" survivor. She was forcibly sodomized as a teenager after telling a male acquaintance (who wanted to make their relationship sexual) that she had a non-fatal STD. I cannot begin to describe the trauma she experienced as a result of that encounter--for which the boy was never prosecuted as she did not want her STD status made public. A decade later, she told her story in a rape survivors forum, and it was cathartic. This brave young woman made the unthinkable, empowering. Would the violent attack have occurred had her classmates been more educated? I don't know. But I do know that ignorance helped fuel it.

Care Services and Publicly Funding Health

Will you support requiring any health care entity that receives public funding (like hospitals) to provide or refer patients for comprehensive reproductive health care services including abortion and gender confirmation surgery?

Yes   

Please explain your position:

No legal healthcare service should ever be denied to a patient by a provider for any reason--especially when those responsible for delivering care--or making referrals to providers--receive public (secular) funding. The notion that any individual may substitute their personal decision for a legal requirement, or claim "conscience" as an excuse for denying another person necessary medical care (to which they have a right) is patently absurd.

Inclusion of Care Services in Insurance Plans and Systems

Will you support requiring all California health insurance plans to provide coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care including abortion services?

Yes

Please explain your position:

Reproductive health care is just that -- healthcare. Every component of reproductive care--from testing and contraception to ultrasounds and abortion care--should be covered the same as any other healthcare. The idea that it wouldn't be is simply ridiculous. We need to stop pandering. I am a pro-choice Catholic who believes in absolute "Separation of Church and Uterus." When plans eliminate abortion coverage, what they're saying is that abortion is something to be ashamed of. As a woman, I'm fed up. As a legislator, I won't tolerate it. Women's bodies do not belong to the state. They belong to us. If this were an issue of men’s' healthcare--we wouldn't be having the discussion.

Safety and Privacy for Care Providers and Patients

Will you support enacting and enforcing laws that protect reproductive health care providers, their staff, patients, and their families from violence, intimidation and harassment both at health care centers and at their homes?

Yes

Please explain your position:

Goes to taking the concept of providing safe access to a legal health service out of the shadows. That abortion providers should be harassed by anyone is unconscionable. That they are murdered by those claiming to be "pro-life" is insane. We cannot allow a misguided minority to drive responsible and legal healthcare providers out of our communities or put them in fear of their lives. This is DOMESTIC TERRORISM--pure and simple--and we need to call it out. I am passionate about this issue and will take my cues from PP in terms of drafting any necessary legislation at the state level to preserve safe access to all reproductive care.

Public Partnerships

 Each year Planned Parenthood health centers provide more than 1.5 million patient visits for preventive and reproductive health care. In addition, Planned Parenthood educators provide sexual health education to hundreds of thousands of Californians annually. These programs depend on the cooperation and partnership of local governments and public entities such as school boards and counties, including financial participation from these local public agencies in the form of grants and contracts.

Will you support public agency partnerships with Planned Parenthood?

Yes

Please explain your position:

I remember when Komen for the Cure attempted to pull funding from PP after pressure from conservatives. I regularly trot out the PP pie chart to show "pro-life" activists how much of PP's funding comes from private donors (vs. public money) and how much (little) of the total budget is spent on abortion care vs. general healthcare services. When Cliff Stearns (FL) tried to force PP of Florida to release private patient records (about 7 years ago) to fight his allegation that public funds were being used for abortions, I wanted to tear out my hair (and smack him with it.) As any responsible woman knows, the bulk of PP's budget is used for preventative care, prenatal care, healthcare screenings, etc. The public needs to be reminded of that. I will lead the charge, pull out the pie chart whenever necessary, and forge ahead in the CA State Assembly to ensure that public/private partnerships and the accompanying grants and contracts remain in place and are expanded as needed to meet the increased demand for necessary reproductive healthcare services.

 

Being a Champion

Planned Parenthood endorses candidates who act to promote and protect policy that supports Planned Parenthood’s mission, services and patients -- above and beyond maintaining a 100 percent voting record while in office. Being a champion can take many forms, including, but not limited to: actions such as sponsoring or carrying legislation for Planned Parenthood; soliciting Planned Parenthood’s expertise proactively when addressing issues that affect Planned Parenthood and the communities it serves in California; serving on a Planned Parenthood or Planned Parenthood Action Fund board or other reproductive health care organization(s); or otherwise demonstrating a proactive commitment to reproductive healthcare.

Do you consider yourself as a Planned Parenthood champion?

Yes

Please check the boxes below that indicate your commitment to Planned Parenthood health centers, Planned Parenthood, its patients, and its services:

x I will speak out publicly in support of Planned Parenthood health centers and action funds.

x I will speak out publicly in support of publicly-funded family planning programs.

x  will attend a Planned Parenthood health center/action fund function or event.

x I will visit and tour a Planned Parenthood health center.

 

Please describe the ways in which you have acted as a champion for Planned Parenthood, the services it provides, and the ways in which you will act as a champion in this office if elected:

PLANNED PARENTHOOD IS A NATIONAL TREASURE. I've listed some of my advocacy work above. As a fledgling news reporter (in the 1980s) I wrote about PP's efforts in my community.

I have supported PP personally throughout my life and have spoken of the positive experiences my own daughters had (before the ACA when they were new graduates not covered under our insurance) when they relied on PP as their exclusive health care provider.

When I was a MoveOn Regional Organizer I regularly engaged in digital advocacy for our reproductive freedom. For a time, I also edited digital communications and some grant proposals for Ultraviolet, which as we know is a devout advocate for PP.

I have used social media opportunities to advocate for PP and reproductive freedom and have spoken and written about the frequent legal threats we face.

In my role as Communications and Campaign Outreach Director for People Demanding Action I wrote a well-received column for Daily Kos about efforts by the religious right to restrict our reproductive freedom. Here's a link: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/3/23/1505379/-Church-Men-It-s-2016-Stay-out-of-women-s-bodies-unless-you-re-invited

Background

I have never held public office, but I have been a national organizing leader and have worked in areas of public policy for nearly a decade. I have served on several volunteer boards, but what I believe best qualifies me for State Assembly is my background as a successful progressive organizing leader. I've been told my greatest strength is that I can bring diverse groups of stakeholders to the table to create working alliances. Knowing how to effectively build coalitions is a key skill set for a legislator. I have a reputation for inspiring cooperation because I go into every group project with the attitude: it’s not about me—it's about reaching our shared objective. I believe in being respectful and giving others space to share their needs and concerns and figuring out how to balance sometimes competing agendas, so that in the end, every stakeholder feels good about the outcome.

My decision to run springs from a desire to better serve my community and my state. This is the next logical step on a path I began many years ago, training as a community organizer with MoveOn.org, then Regional Organizer, recruiting and training others, and finally national issue leader, working hand in hand with public policy makers in Washington, D.C. I understand the reality of living on a shoestring, turning the thermostat up or down to save money, shopping at thrift and consignment stores, and clipping coupons to stretch an already meager grocery budget. In 2008 we lost our home in the mortgage crisis and had to convince landlords we deserved to rent from them.

It was a humbling experience—and one I wouldn't trade for anything. Now that we are homeowners once again I have vowed to help others who long for that security and represent every person in my district who is faced with challenges and struggling to provide their family with a decent life in these difficult times. We are at a crossroads right now, and the direction we take could well determine the future of our state and the nation. I am optimistic that we can turn this ship around--if we have the political will and the right people in office. We must--for the sake of our kids and grandkids. Allowing the current situation to continue is not an option.

Healthcare - we need coverage for every Californian - especially for reproductive care, as women are among those most affected by this economy. I support SB 562 and will work for a single-payer, Medicare for All model. Healthcare is a human right.

Addressing the intersectionality of housing, transportation and climate change. We have a housing crisis in California and must address housing first. I support the "Housing First" model for addressing homelessness and other issues, because after healthcare, it is the single most important component to ensuring dignity and independence for every resident. We need compassionate solutions to homelessness that help individuals lift themselves out of poverty and have better lives. I support the Tiny Home bridge-housing model that's worked in Seattle and is being promoted in San Diego by Amikas.

Last week I toured several Affordable Housing projects with the League of Women Voters and got to see firsthand how local housing advocates for both homeless and low-income families were working together to put financing in place and find collaborative solutions. We need to look beyond the HUD formulas and find solutions that address individual circumstances. We need to figure out a way for vital employees to live and work in the same cities. I have been preaching this for years now and have been delighted to see other candidates picking up on it recently. It's gratifying to see it become part of a statewide conversation this election. Reducing commuting both reduces carbon and improves quality of life for working families, which has a ripple effect on communities and society.

I believe there are specific paths we can take to address our housing crisis and would be glad to discuss them more specifically and at greater length at any time. Transportation and Climate - we must get people from point a to point b, especially for work, but we must take cars off the road, and reduce carbon or face extinction. I support practical plans to enhance mass transit, reduce carbon output, and provide jobs. We won't get another chance at this and California needs to take leadership.

As the nation's #1 carbon producer (and the world's 5th largest economy) we have a responsibility to step up--and we must do it aggressively. Cap and Trade may have made sense 20 years ago. But the difference between then and now in terms of climate change is like Early Diagnosis vs. Stage 4 Cancer. What worked then won't work now--it's gone too far. We need to recognize that if we don't get serious, it's all over. I will advocate for aggressive climate action, using every tool in the toolbox, from Community Choice Energy to promoting walking communities, rewarding responsible conversion to clean, renewable energy sources, and much more.

Hope for Tomorrow
I will work to create hope for tomorrow--a path to education for all, a living wage, and a chance for working families to build security for the future. Californians who were once considered middle-income, are now being nickel and dimed into poverty. It must stop. We must invest in our state's future by educating our kids. I support education from preschool up through tuition-free college, trade, or technical training. We can pay for it by closing the corporate loophole on Prop 13 and/or revisiting the estate tax for the top 1/5 of 1% of our wealthiest residents. We can stimulate our economy by paying workers a living wage and help sustain our small businesses through state investment. Our solution to the housing shortage must ultimately include--for those who want it--a reasonable path to home ownership, so that working people do not all become an indefinite "income stream" for our wealthiest investors. Education for all—we must invest in the future by educating the coming generation. I support tuition free college and believe it is our responsibility to prepare our kids to be self-sustaining adults.

How I would work with PP:
I will continue to support PP through advocacy, and through legislative action should I be elected. I would hope for direction from PP on issues of reproductive freedom. (I like to stay up to date on legal precedents and the best strategies, and I trust those who live the issues daily to make those decisions.)

I see us as partners in this fight together--as women united to win this seat for a pro-choice woman who cares. I am not a politician. I am an activist. I would continue to be an activist, and look for your strategic wisdom, partnership, assistance with voter outreach, publicity, and help with fundraising if that is within PP's bandwidth. I would approach your involvement with gratitude, and a sense of obligation to a shared higher purpose.

 

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