The Quarterly Call
to Action of the
Responsible Choicessm
Action Agenda

Volume 1, Issue 1 1999

health centers 



home page

about us

sexual health

take action


Front-Line Success    
On the Road with Gloria Feldt    
Planned Parenthood at Work — Nationwide   
Speak Out On-Line!   
Out-Loud, On-Line - A Primer for the Cyber Activist   
Responsible Choices Awards 1999    
Gaining Ground with Music   
Research Roundup    
Speaking For Themselves   
In Focus   
Exposing the Secret - Emergency Contraception   
Speak Out! en Español

Then — "Let us go forward then with confidence in the hope that eventually there lies before us a brave new world where every child will, in truth, be a wanted child."
Margaret Sanger, founder, Planned Parenthood Federation of America — 1939

Now — "Justice Blackmun gave women a lifeline by inscribing the right to privacy into the reproductive lives of every American woman. It is our responsibility to protect that profound right for all the generations to come."
Gloria Feldt, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America — September 1998

Front-Line Success

PPFA Pushes Landmark Legislation
Planned Parenthood led the way once again when the Equity in Prescription Insurance & Contraceptive Coverage Act (EPICC) was re-introduced to Congress on June 10 by Senators Olympia Snow (R-ME) and Harry Reid (D-NV) joined by Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Jim Greenwood (R-PA). Kathleen Turner, Beverly Peele, and Sally Kellerman participated in a press conference, hosted by PPFA President Gloria Feldt, to rally support for the bill, which has the backing of the majority of Americans.

Achieving contraceptive equity legislatively has long been a top priority for Planned Parenthood. When Viagra hit the market and its coverage by health insurance companies made headlines, the message became clear — if insurers can cover men to make it more possible for them to cause unintended pregnancies, they must also cover women to make it more possible for them to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Now, with the introduction of EPICC, positive media coverage, celebrity endorsement, and the determination of Planned Parenthood, the momentum is unstoppable.

Let your Congressperson know your stand on EPICC, join the Responsible Choices Action Network and Speak Out.

On the Road with Gloria Feldt

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Gloria Feldt
Florida ­ One way to encourage teens to make responsible choices is to give them plenty of information about situations that they're bound to face. Educating teens about the health effects of drinking, driving, and relationships is part of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando's holistic approach to preventing teen pregnancy.

As president and CEO Sue Itdensohn sees it, empowering kids to make responsible choices starts by teaching them about every behavior that can affect their health.

PPFA's president Gloria Feldt expressed her agreement — and praise of the affiliate's newly launched teen clinic — during her recent round of visits to affiliates in six states. "This is America's teachable moment. Discussion of sex is everywhere. And it's become impossible to exclude young people from the conversation. So let's do it right — honestly and responsibly. We know what works to ensure that the women, men, and teens of Orlando make informed, healthy, responsible choices throughout their reproductive lives."

Planned Parenthood at Work — Nationwide

Planned Parenthood pushes legislative advances across the country
  • Legislation on contraceptive equity has been introduced in 33 states, while six states already have passed laws this year. North Carolina and California are expected to pass legislation any day.

  • A bill mandating screening for chlamydia — the most common sexually transmitted infection and cause of pelvic inflammatory disease — was introduced by four states and put into law in two — Maryland and Tennessee.

  • A bill ensuring clinic access has been introduced in three states — Illinois, Ohio, and New York.

  • New York and California have introduced legislation that would guarantee access to reproductive health care in hospitals that have merged with Catholic health care facilities.

  • Colorado has passed a bill banning female genital mutilation.

Speak Out On-Line!

Become an email activist. Join the Planned Parenthood Responsible Choices Action Network, and we'll connect you to your Congressperson for free!

Join us. As a member, you will receive email alerts to contact your member of Congress on critical reproductive health issues. It won't cost you a dime! You will also receive regular email updates on congressional activity.

Your help is vital. Take action to move the Responsible Choices Action Agenda forward. You can help women gain access to contraceptive coverage, protect reproductive rights, ensure access to services, and you can fight potentially dangerous state and federal policies.

Register online now! Tell your friends to call us at 1-888-755-PPFA. If you want to receive a free Responsible Choices Networking Kit, email us at

Out-Loud, On-Line — A Primer for the Cyber Activist

Hot Web Sites to Keep You Responsibly Informed — For information on and access to: the Responsible Choices Action Agenda; the PPFA Book Store and its comprehensive collection of publications on family planning, reproductive rights, and sexual health; and, activities and health care services located at all Planned Parenthood affiliates. — A safe, responsible place for teens to learn and ask questions about sexual health and responsible sexuality with an in-depth look at a different health topic every month. Published by Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Responsible Choices Awards 1999

Kathleen Turner, Sally Kellerman, Corky Hale and Beverly Peele — all members of PPFA's Board of Advocates — joined PPFA President Gloria Feldt on June 10 in presenting the 3rd Annual Responsible Choice Awards. The awards went to four individuals who have devotedly advanced the Responsible Choices Action Agenda on Capitol Hill.

The honorees were Senator James M. Jeffords (R-VT), Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and staffers for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) — Melody Barnes and Howard Wolfsen. They were praised for working to restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund and going the extra mile to protect and expand the ability of women worldwide to make informed and responsible choices.

"We are defining the agenda and framing the debate on choice, on reproductive health care, on sex education," Turner said as she introduced the awards. "And this evening, we pay tribute to those elected officials who are taking a leadership role in protecting and expanding responsible choices for all."

Gaining Ground with Music

Where would you go if you wanted to mobilize the largest possible number of 18-to-30-year-old pro-choice activists? To the summer concert scene!

That's where Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood is headed. Vox is coordinating affiliate outreach, advocacy, and education at some 160 concerts nationwide, including Barenaked Ladies, Ani DiFranco, Lilith Fair, Santana, and the Vans Warped Tour. Planned Parenthood also will be conducting outreach at the Woodstock 30th Anniversary Reunion Festival.

What better setting for educating people about responsible choices and urging them to become activists? This generation that grew up with Roe v. Wade and doesn't vote with any regularity needs to know that many of the reproductive health services it takes for granted are threatened. Vox is there to tell them and motivate them to speak out. In 1998, Planned Parenthood affiliates gathered more than 25,000 signatures for pro-choice petitions to Congress. We look forward to greater successes and year-round outreach next year.

Research Roundup
Responsible choices are informed choices and more kids are making them. Here is one of the most recent examples:

The U.S. teen pregnancy rate dropped 4 percent between 1998 and 1996 and again in 1997. The overall drop in births, abortions, and miscarriages among teens, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, is due largely to increasingly effective and improved contraceptive practice. A small proportion of the decrease — about 20 percent — is due to decreased sexual activity, while 80 percent is due to more effective use of contraceptives. The methods of choice? Most teenagers rely on the Pill and the condom. An increasing number of young women are choosing the new, injectable hormone, Depo-Provera, which became available in the early 1990s.

Speaking For Themselves

"A handful of pro-life assassins have turned abortionists into the heroes and martyrs ... It's a devastating loss, and time is clearly not on our side." — John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe, former executive director of Human Life International, New York Times Magazine, March 21, 1999.

In Focus

Serving Women Abandoned by Hospital Mergers
Family Planning Advocates of New York is a coalition of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health centers which has established a national Merger Watch to prevent the loss of women's health services through mergers of religious and secular hospitals.

"We aren't necessarily seeking to prevent the mergers," said Lois Uttley, director of the Merger Watch project. "The mergers can take place as long as services are preserved."

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood and Merger Watch are a winning team. The Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie, NY), for example, fought off a proposed three-way merger that would have led to a Catholic hospital ban on all family planning and infertility services.

Planned Parenthood, Merger Watch, and a community coalition waged an intensive, 16-month battle against the merger on the grounds that religious beliefs should not be imposed on non-religious hospitals.

As a result, the state health department refused approval until the hospitals settled with community concerns. Eventually, the merger fell apart.

Exposing the Secret - Emergency Contraception

Starting in the fall, PPFA's Emergency Contraception Public Awareness Campaign will hit newsstands, television, and radio with its new tag line, "It's Time to Tell the Secret." Planned Parenthood affiliates also will be able to use the print materials for outdoor advertising spaces, including buses and billboards.

While all 133 affiliates provide EC, more than half of them (78) have signed on to offer EC-to-Go, providing clients with a prescription for EC or a take-home pack to have on hand "just in case." And 38 affiliates now offer both EC-to-Go and Dial EC, in which they phone in prescriptions to pharmacies for clients.

Speak Out!
The quarterly call to action of the Responsible Choicessm Action Agenda is published by the Communications Division of Planned Parenthood® Federation of America. For information about the newsletter please call 212-261-4573 or write: Andrea Kott, PPFA, 810 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

Planned Parenthood® Federation of America

Mary Shallenberger
Gloria Feldt
Jacqueline Lendsey
Bonnie McEwan
Andrea Kott
Jon Knowles
Dennis Poplin
Veronica Todaro

© 1999 Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc. All rights reserved. Planned Parenthood® and its logo of "nested Ps" are registered service marks of PPFA.

PPFA Web Site © 1999, Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to
Terms of Use.