2005 General Assembly Special Election Candidate Questionnaire
We hope you will take just a few minutes to answer the attached questionnaire. Your responses will be provided to all of the organizations listed below.
The candidate must sign and date this form to signify agreement with all statements made. Please also initial each page. Please answer all questions, and please print or type. We welcome additional comments and clarifications.
Please return your completed questionnaire as soon as possible. You can return your questionnaire by fax to: 215-351-5594 or return it by mail to the address below.
Party___________Campaign Manager _____________
Office Address ______________
Telephone Numbers (Campaign) ___________ (Fax)______
I certify by my signature that I have read and agree with the statements I have checked and/or the written comments I have made on the attached questionnaire.
____ Yes, I wish to have the endorsement and support of pro-choice organizations.
____ No, I do not wish to be endorsed by pro-choice organizations.
(Candidate Signature) (Date)
Organizations that participated in the development and distribution of the questionnaire are listed below. These organizations will also receive a copy of candidate responses:
NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Chester County
Pennsylvania's Campaign for Choice
Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania Advocates
Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates
Planned Parenthood of Central Pennsylvania Advocates
Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC
Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania Action Fund
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Bucks County
Planned Parenthood Advocates of North East Pennsylvania
Planned Parenthood of the Susquehanna Valley Action Fund
Return form to or contact with any questions:
Public Affairs Dept.
Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA
1144 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
I. PREVENTING UNINTENDED PREGNANCY
A. STATE FUNDING FOR FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES
State Funding: In Pennsylvania, some 750,000 low-income women are at risk of unintended pregnancy and qualify for subsidized family planning services, but no more than 300,000 actually receive services. Family planning services include screening for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sexually transmitted infections and cancers including breast and cervical cancer, as well as a variety of birth control methods. By preventing unintended pregnancies, subsidized family planning services prevent 70,000 abortions in Pennsylvania each year. Family planning also allows women to plan their pregnancies. Women who utilize family planning services seek prenatal care earlier and have healthier babies.
These services save taxpayers money. Often, an unintended pregnancy will cause a woman to lose her job and precipitate an episode of welfare dependency. Nationally, an annual family planning examination and provision of birth control for one year costs a patient between $300 and $400 per year, while the birth of a child costs between $8,000 and $12,000.
Currently, subsidized family planning services are supported by federal grants, limited state funds, patient fees, and private donations. The present network of providers is able to serve fewer than one-half of the eligible women at risk. Increased state funding, such as the proposed Keeping Women Healthy program (which would provide a broad range of preventive health care services) is needed to support and expand this network to serve more women.
1. Do you support state funding for comprehensive family planning? (These services do not include abortion.)
_____ Support _____ Oppose
Federal grants support confidential services to teens. The effectiveness of these services in reducing teen births and abortions has been demonstrated over twenty years, as has their effectiveness in preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases among youth. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), without family planning services, the number of teenage pregnancies would likely increase by 20 percent. In Pennsylvania, 46 out of one thousand teenagers become pregnant each year. The Journal of Pediatrics has noted that 85% of teens said they would not seek care for a sexually transmitted disease if parental consent or notice were required. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the provision of confidential family planning services for teens without requiring parental consent, as does state and federal law. Although reports have noted a decline in teen pregnancy, a recent study by AGI found that 80% of this decline from an increased use of more effective methods of birth control.
2. Do you support comprehensive confidential family planning services to teens?
_____ Support _____ Oppose
B. COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION
"Abstinence-only" sex education programs teach a "just say no" approach to sexuality and exclude information about birth control and safe sex practices. Comprehensive approaches include discussions of abstinence, work to build self-esteem and enhance refusal skills, and provide age-appropriate information about the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have repeatedly shown that quality, comprehensive sex education helps teens delay sexual activity, prevent unwanted pregnancy, and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
3. Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?
_____ Support _____ Oppose
Insurance Coverage for Birth CONTROL
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and nearly half of those unintended pregnancies end in abortion. Contraceptives have a proven track record of enhancing the health of women and children, preventing unintended pregnancy, and reducing the need for abortion. Although contraception is basic health care for women, many insurance policies exclude this vital coverage. A recent study found that only 29% of Pennsylvania insurers typically include contraception in their prescription plans. As a result of this type of inequity, women of reproductive age spend 68% more out-of-pocket for their health care then men do. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and one federal district court have ruled that not providing for equitable contraceptive coverage is a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. As reported in HealthPlan, an industry magazine for health insurers, cost-effectiveness studies show that “every dollar spent on contraception saves several dollars in costs associated with unintended pregnancy.” (HealthPlan, Nov/Dec 2001) Twenty-two states have now passed Contraceptive Equity legislation requiring insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives in the same way they provide coverage for other prescription drugs and devices.
4.Do you support requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraception drugs, devices, and services if they cover other prescription drugs, devices, and services?
_____ Support _____ Oppose
Emergency Contraception contains hormones that reduce the risk of pregnancy when taken soon after unprotected intercourse. The sooner the Emergency Contraception is taken after unprotected intercourse, the more effective the treatment. It is currently recommended that medication be started within five days after unprotected intercourse. Emergency contraception does NOT interfere with an already established pregnancy as defined by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the US Department of Health and Human Services. According to a recent survey, out of the 89% of Pennsylvania hospitals surveyed, only 46% routinely offer and provide Emergency Contraception to victims of sexual assault.
5.Do you support legislation that would require all hospitals in Pennsylvania to provide Emergency Contraception to victims of rape and incest?
II. SAFE, LEGAL ABORTION
A. RIGHT TO CHOOSE ABORTION
In 1973, the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision established a framework to regulate the provision of abortion services in the United States. Roe and subsequent Supreme Court decisions stated that government may not ban abortion before the point of fetal viability. After the point of fetal viability, Roe allowed the government to prohibit abortion except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman. More than 70% of all people in Pennsylvania believe that the decision to have an abortion should be made by a woman in consultation with her family and doctor without interference from the government.
6.President Bush has stated that he would appoint anti-choice justices to the US Supreme Court. If this happens, the likelihood that Roe v. Wade would be overturned would increase dramatically. Do you support legislation that would guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion as provided for in Roe v. Wade?
_____ Yes _______ No
B. ABORTION METHOD BAN
Anti-choice organizations have tried to erode the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision (which ensures a woman’s Constitutionally protected right to choose) by banning specific abortion procedures. Congress recently passed, and President Bush signed, legislation outlawing one abortion procedure. This law has been blocked by the courts from taking effect and is the subject of several court cases because it does not provide for an exception to preserve the woman’s health – an exception that the US Supreme Court ruled in 2000 is required. Abortion method bans like the one signed by President Bush interfere with a physician's ability to choose the safest method when abortion must be performed to protect a woman's life or health. This type of legislation also interferes with a woman's right to choose, in consultation with her physician, the method of abortion that will best protect her life and preserve her health. The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act already prohibits all methods of abortion at 24 weeks of pregnancy or later while providing exceptions to preserve the woman's health and life.
7.Do you support a woman’s right to choose the abortion method most likely to preserve her life and health, in consultation with her physician, and free from government interference?
_____ Support _____ Oppose
C. ABORTION ACCESS FOR LOW INCOME WOMEN
The Constitutionally protected right to choose abortion means little to low-income women who can not afford to exercise this right. At present in Pennsylvania, the Medical Assistance program (which pays for health care for low-income persons) covers abortion only for women whose health or life is threatened by continuing their pregnancy or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Unintended pregnancy is very common among women of all economic classes in the United States. One half of all pregnancies are unintended and half of those end in abortion. For a low-income woman, an unintended pregnancy can prevent her from completing education or job training or from obtaining employment, with the result that she and her family remain in poverty. As a result, several states have continued to provide Medical Assistance coverage for abortions in order to guarantee that low-income women have equal access to the right to choose.
8.Do you support the restoration of Medical Assistance coverage of abortion for low-income women to ensure they have equal access to choose abortion?
______ Support ______ Oppose
D. PENNSYLVANIA'S ABORTION CONTROL ACT
Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act, which was designed to restrict and limit access to abortion, went into effect in March of 1994. Since its first year of implementation, women, hospitals, and reproductive health care providers reported an increase in the number of adult and teenaged women who left the state in order to choose abortion and an increase in the number of women unable to exercise their right to choose at all.
Mandatory 24-Hour Delay and State-Mandated Lecture
Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act requires a woman to receive a state-mandated lecture and then delay her decision at least 24 hours before having an abortion. There is no public health rationale for these restrictions, which were designed solely to make abortion more difficult to obtain. The mandatory 24-hour delay often causes a wait of up to a week that can result in riskier procedures.
9.Do you oppose the restrictions that require a mandatory 24-hour delay and a state-mandated lecture prior to having an abortion?
____ Yes _____ No
Mandatory Parental Involvement for Minors Seeking Abortion
Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act requires that a teen seeking an abortion obtain the written consent of a parent. In order to give consent, the parent must also listen to a state-mandated lecture and wait at least 24 hours. If the minor and her parent cannot meet this requirement, the teen must appear before a judge to obtain a court order, often a difficult and traumatic process, or leave the state to obtain an abortion. Reproductive health providers work to help teens involve their parents in these decisions, and most do. Forced parental consent, however, does not encourage family communication; rather it puts teens at risk. Such statutes cause later abortions and may contribute to self-induced or illegal abortions. The law also places teens from dysfunctional families at risk of physical, emotional or psychological harm. In other states, an adult other than a teen's parent, such as her minister, rabbi, aunt or uncle, may consent to her abortion.
10.Do you oppose Pennsylvania's mandatory parental consent statute?
______ Yes _____No
E. STOP CLINIC VIOLENCE
In recent years, a campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment has been waged against reproductive health providers, patients, and their families. NARAL-PA and Planned Parenthood believe that all levels of government should take an aggressive role in enacting and enforcing laws to deter these illegal acts, and in prosecuting the perpetrators of such acts.
11.Do you support the enactment and enforcement of laws that help prevent violence, intimidation, and harassment specifically directed at reproductive health providers and their patients?
_____ Support _____Oppose