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Protect Abortion rights

Anti-choice politicians have introduced an onslaught of legislation intended to outlaw abortion in your state. Please take a few moments to oppose these extremist bills and tell Rhode Island lawmakers to stop their attacks on reproductive rights.

HR 5996 establishes legal personhood once a “fetal heartbeat” is detected. Such bills are a favorite of the anti-choice Religious Right, intended to outlaw abortion after an embryonic pulse (not heartbeat) can be detected (as early as five weeks). Most women do not even know they are pregnant that early, which is, of course, the point.

HB 5865 could make abortion illegal as early as eight weeks gestation based on anti-choice pseudoscientific evidence.

HB 5582 and HB 5037 would hinder access to abortion later in pregnancy. These bills are categorically unnecessary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, late-term abortions (those after 20 weeks) accounted for just over 1 percent of abortions in 2016. Medical experts say there is no evidence that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks, and fetuses “surviving abortion” is an event that is exceedingly rare and typically occurs when a doctor must induce labor to terminate a nonviable pregnancy.

The Rhode Island House Committee on Judiciary will consider these bills on Friday, April 9, at 2 p.m. local time. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to contact all members of this committee and urge them to oppose these bills. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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theologybiology

The Vermont Legislature is advancing a positive bill (S. 115) that would, among other things, require all public schools to make menstrual products available to students at no cost. Please take a few moments to urge lawmakers to support this measure.

Much of the cultural stigma still attached to menstruation is deeply rooted in the fact that nearly all major religions have shamed this natural, life-giving function. This continues to have tangible consequences for women and girls worldwide, even in developed nations like the United States.

Read more about the religious roots of menstruation stigma.

Lack of access to menstrual products, especially for low-income women and girls, can result in lost education and lost employment and earning opportunities, which fuels inequality in countless ways. The work of undoing the harm caused by these archaic religious customs is a secular issue. Equalizing access to menstrual products is a key first step.

This bill has already passed the state Senate and has a hearing tomorrow, April 7, at 8:30 a.m. local time in front of the Vermont House Committee on Education. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to contact all members of this committee and urge them to support this important bill. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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Protect Abortion rights

Anti-choice politicians have introduced an onslaught of legislation intended to outlaw abortion in your state. Please take a few moments to oppose these extremist bills and tell Texas lawmakers to stop their attacks on reproductive rights.

  • HB 1280 would make abortion a criminal offense.
  • HB 1515 outlaws abortion after a so-called “fetal heartbeat” is detected, before most women know they are pregnant.
  • HB 2313 requires anti-abortion resources to be shared with the patient.
  • HB 2337 adds more restrictions to medication abortion and prohibits abortion medication from being provided via telehealth.
  • HB 3218 adds additional unnecessary provisions to abortion care.
  • HB 3760 incorporates more anti-abortion measures and includes faux civil rights information.

The House Committee on Public Health has a hearing on these six bills on Wednesday, April 7, at 8 a.m. local time. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to contact all members of this committee and urge them to oppose these dangerous anti-choice measures. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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ProtectAbortionRights

The Indiana Legislature is advancing a dangerous anti-science bill that threatens abortion rights in your state. Please contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose this egregious measure.

The bill, HB 1577, would require physicians who prescribe abortion pills to inform patients about so-called “abortion reversal procedures,” which the American Medical Association (AMA) has called “a patently false and unproven claim unsupported by scientific evidence.” One study of “abortion reversal” medication had to be stopped prematurely when 25 percent of the participants had to be rushed to the hospital due to severe vaginal bleeding. Legislating medical procedures based on this pseudoscientific dogma could have potentially deadly consequences.

Shockingly, this bill has already passed out of its state Senate committee and will next be heard by the full body. Please click on the red “Take Action” link below to call or email your senator and urge them to vote no on HB 1577. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided. Personalized messages are always the most impactful.

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ProtectAbortionRights

The Arizona Legislature is advancing a last-minute bill that would ban nearly all abortions in Arizona. Please take a few moments to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose this bill.

The bill, HB 2140, is an extremely strict so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill that would outlaw abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Six-week abortion bans, also commonly misrepresented as “heartbeat bills,” are a favorite of the anti-choice Religious Right, intended to outlaw abortion after an embryonic pulse (not heartbeat) can be detected (as early as five weeks). Most women do not even know they are pregnant that early, which is, of course, the point.

The bill codifies into law beliefs not based on science or morality, but on religion and so-called holy books. The Christian Right has been and remains the primary opponent to women’s reproductive rights. Indeed, the “architect” of the “fetal heartbeat” bill runs an organization called Faith2Action, which seeks to impose a particular religious viewpoint on all citizens.

WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:

  1. Please click on the red “Take Action” button below to contact your Arizona lawmakers and urge them to oppose this unconstitutional measure. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided. Personalized messages are always the most effective.
  2. Speak out against HB 2140 on social media.
  3. Write a letter to the editor to your local Arizona newspaper opposing HB 2140 to influence public opinion on this issue.

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AddisSchools

A North Dakota bill that would require school districts to allow Ten Commandments displays “in the school and in a classroom” is moving quickly through the Legislature, and we need your help to stop it.

SB 2308 has shockingly already passed the state Senate and will soon be voted on by the House. This is our last chance to stop this bill before it hits the governor’s desk, where it will almost certainly be signed into law.

Knowing that Ten Commandments displays in public schools violate the law, legislators are including a provision that purports to remove all liability from school districts, administrators, and board members from legal “damages” resulting from putting these displays up. This provision is misleading, as schools could still be subject to injunctions that would lead to the school paying for legal fees, and schools would still be subject to legal liability under federal law.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Ten Commandments displays in public schools violate the Establishment Clause, as their religious messages are undeniable. Additionally, FFRF prevailed against two Pennsylvania school districts that hosted Ten Commandments monuments. One district settled with the removal of the monument and more than $163,000 in attorneys fees. This law would open districts up to expensive and unnecessary legal liability. Please use our simple, automated system to contact your representative and ask that they vote no on SB 2308. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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AddisEntanglement

The New Hampshire Legislature has introduced a bill that would drastically expand religious privilege in the state.

The bill, HB 440, is a state version of the federal law called RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The federal RFRA law is directly responsible for the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby debacle, allowing religious business owners to avoid following laws that they say conflict with their religious beliefs. State RFRAs, based on the federal version, are emboldening corporations and business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, the nonreligious — and any other group their religion declares inferior.

This dangerous measure has already passed out of its House committee and will now be heard by the entire New Hampshire House. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to contact your representative and urge them to oppose this bill. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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DCP2021The Freedom From Religion Foundation's local chapter will once again put up a secular display in downtown Chicago on Easter weekend to counter a Catholic shrine there.

On Saturday, April 3, FFRF's Metropolitan Chicago Chapter (FFRFMCC) will place in Daley Plaza two colorful 8-foot banners on a 12-foot structure promoting the secular views of the Founding Fathers. The display will be on public view until Saturday, April 10.

One banner reads “In Reason We Trust,” and pictures Thomas Jefferson, highlighting his famous advice to a nephew: “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.” The other side proclaims, “Keep State & Religion Separate,” and pictures President John Adams, who signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which assured that “the government of the United States is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

The FFRF display is designed to balance a period of prayer and evangelism that occurs annually in Daley Plaza by a Catholic group, the Thomas More Society, that has preached in the plaza every Easter since 2011. The group’s aim, through its “Divine Mercy Project,” is to seek the “conversion of Chicago, America and the whole world.”

The Thomas More Society’s Catholic shrine, including a large wooden Latin cross, a 9-foot banner of Jesus, and “kneelers” for people to pray, is expected to return Friday. In past years, Catholic supporters have also held 24-hour prayer vigils, distributed thousands of prayer cards and hosted anti-abortion rallies in front of the Jesus painting.

Rather than place such displays on church grounds, the Thomas More Society explicitly seeks to take over public property for its purposes, claiming that at Daley Plaza it encounters “militants, feminists, Satanists, radical Muslims, just about everybody.”

FFRF warmly thanks FFRFMCC Executive Director Tom Cara for securing a permit for the display and two board members of the active local chapter, Shane Stapley and Steve Foulkes (pictured above) for their assistance in putting it up.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national state/church watchdog with more than 35,000 nonreligious members and several chapters all over the country, including almost 1,100 members and the Metropolitan Chicago chapter in Illinois. 

 

Correction: A previous version of the press release stated that the Thomas Moore Society display was erected Thursday. 

 rapture

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is toasting the demise of a Christian nationalist commission imposed on the nation by Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s secretary of state.

FFRF was among the first groups to criticize and oppose Pompeo’s pet project, the so-called Commission on Unalienable Rights. FFRF was sure that the true goal of the commission was to turn the concept of religious freedom into a “God-given” superright that trumps other rights — a fear that was confirmed by the commission’s egregious report. We had early information on the commission and immediately launched an investigation, using the Freedom of Information Act to seek records. In a joint letter, FFRF charged that Pompeo’s attempt to create a hierarchy of rights was an attack on human rights as they’ve been understood for decades and urged him “to immediately disband the body.”

We’re delighted that our advice was followed by President Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blinken. He has announced, in a statement accompanying the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, that the commission has been disbanded. Blinken also reiterated a vision of human rights that FFRF defended in the face of Pompeo’s attacks:

One of the core principles of human rights is that they are universal. All people are entitled to these rights, no matter where they’re born, what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristic. Human rights are also co-equal; there is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others. Past unbalanced statements that suggest such a hierarchy, including those offered by a recently disbanded State Department advisory committee, do not represent a guiding document for this administration.

“To that breath of fresh air, even we atheists might say ‘Amen,’” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “This commission was flawed from the start, conceived with the original sin of Christian nationalism. May its siblings soon follow it into obscurity.”

FFRF is keeping track of all the various executive orders, commissions and other Trump-created bodies that were open attacks on our secular government or an effort to privilege conservative Christians over other Americans. The national state/church watchdog will keep pushing until all of them join Pompeo’s pet project on the ash heap of history.

PreyingHands

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill that will financially favor churches. Please take a few moments to contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose this measure.

The bill, LD 1063, would allow churches — and only churches — to self-insure their automobiles. Effectively, this would exempt select religious organizations from car insurance requirements in the state. The bill only applies to religious organizations that have “established tenets and faith-based teachings” and have existed since at least 1950. This not only economically favors religion over nonreligion, but also discriminates against newer religions.

Additionally, the bill allows the secretary of state to deny an organization’s request for this exemption if there are other “factors causing the secretary of state to believe that the religious organization and its members do not have the financial ability to pay any future judgments against them.” This effectively gives the official total control over which churches qualify for this unusual exemption.

The Maine Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services has a hearing scheduled on this bill on Thursday, April 1, at 1:30 p.m. local time. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to use our automated system to contact all members of this committee and urge them to vote no on this discriminatory measure. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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Protect Abortion rights

The Montana Legislature is considering an anti-choice bill aimed at undermining abortion rights. Please take a few moments to oppose this bill.

The bill, HB 337, would amend your state Constitution to establish “personhood” at conception. This dubious definition is based on the dogmatic religious belief that ensoulment takes place at conception, conflating a human embryo with an “unborn child.”

The job of elected officials is to enact policies that protect and improve the well-being of their constituents, not to impose their own dogmatic religious beliefs. The only organized opposition to abortion is religious in nature, predicated on this religious concept of “ensoulment,” thereby making reproductive rights a state/church separation matter.

The Montana Senate Judiciary Committee has a scheduled hearing on this proposal tomorrow, Wednesday, March 31, at 8 a.m. local time. Click on the red “Take Action” link below to use our simple, automated system to contact all members of this committee and urge them to vote no on HB 337. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.

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