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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 6, 2000

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Communications Department
202-667-5881

Pro-Choice Public Service Ads Provide Area Women With Accurate Information about Abortion Estimated to Reach More Than 600,000 Twin Cities Residents Each Day

National Abortion Federation and Minnesota Abortion Providers Oppose "Right-to-Know" Provision Requiring Women to Receive Biased Information 24 Hours Before an Abortion

Minneapolis, MN - Pro-choice public service ads that focus on the close to half of American women who will choose abortion during their lifetimes, and the dedicated physicians who provide this medical care to them, are currently up on bus shelters throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. The National Abortion Federation's first-ever public service campaign will run for one month and is estimated to reach more than 600,000 people each day.

"Experts at the Alan Guttmacher Institute have estimated that 43% of all women in this country will have an abortion by the time they reach 45," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "These women are our sisters, mothers and daughters. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. And when they are making important reproductive health care decisions, they have a right to accurate, unbiased information about all of their options."

"Finally, with these ads, the women of Minnesota will be able to see a balanced picture when it comes to abortion," said Tina Welsh, a Board member of NAF and Executive Director of the Duluth Women's Health Center. "What these ads show is that abortion sometimes is the best decision for a woman to make. With all of the anti-choice ads that we've had in Minnesota, these ads help level the playing field."

The ads list the number for the NAF Hotline, the only national toll-free abortion hotline in the country that provides medical information about abortion and referrals to qualified abortion providers. "The information and assistance that our Hotline staff offers has proven critical to thousands of women and their families, enabling them to get their questions answered so that they can make the choices that are right for them," said Saporta.

Saporta continued, "Information is essential for women who are facing an unintended pregnancy. Tha''s why NAF member clinics, like the Midwest Health Center for Women and Duluth Women's Health Center, obtain the valid consent of every woman before an abortion procedure is provided. Some Minnesota legislators mistakenly believe that they need to pass a 'right-to-know' law to require clinics to do what they already do. We know from experience that state-produced information about abortion is frequently incompatible with the goal of true informed consent, which is to accurately and non-judgmentally inform women of all their options."

"We oppose the 'right-to-know' provision because it would place politicians in the middle of what should be a private decision between a woman and her physician. It would also require women to wait 24 hours before they could obtain an abortion. Mandatory waiting periods like this one imply that women come to abortion clinics without having seriously considered their options. Such laws can severely restrict a woman's ability to access abortion services if she has to take time off from work, arrange for child care, travel a long way, and perhaps stay overnight in a distant city. As with biased informed consent, the real effect of waiting periods is to place one more unnecessary obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion care."

Added Welsh, "The 'right-to-know' measure is just another method of harassment aimed at physicians. We are grateful to Governor Ventura for his pledge to oppose any measures restricting Minnesota women's ability to access safe reproductive health care, and urge him to veto any bill that contains this harmful provision."

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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