Public Policy Participation and Political Action
Current Events Statements:
Statement on the “No Right to Abortion” Amendment to the PA Constitution
May 15, 2022
Pittsburgh Freethought Community is on the record opposing both SB 956 and HB 2252, the No Right To Abortion Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. If passed, these bills would make Pennsylvania’s state policy to “protect the life of every unborn child [sic] from conception until birth.” As we can see in states like Mississippi and Arizona, these bills have dire consequences for prenatal care, contraception, IVF, ectopic pregnancy, and even how a pregnant woman decides to give birth.
If these bills pass the state legislature, they could be on the ballot as early as November, 2022. If Pennsylvania voters approve these bills, they will be enshrined as amendments to the state constitution. No pro-choice governor can veto a constitutional amendment. Women in Pennsylvania will lose their fundamental right to bodily sovereignty.
These bills are catastrophic for all women, especially those who already suffer under existing abortion restrictions – low-income, rural, young, women of color, and survivors of domestic violence and rape. Violence in intimate relationships often begins when a woman becomes pregnant.
Domestic violence affects nearly one-third of women in the United States. Domestic violence survivors are more likely to be forced into unintended pregnancy, to need abortion, and risk being trapped in violent relationships if they are unable to obtain a safe abortion. The consequences of such entrapment range from heightened abuse during pregnancy to being murdered.
Rape frequently co-occurs with domestic violence, and survivors who are raped by intimate partners are more likely to suffer multiple rapes and more likely to suffer acute and chronic physical and reproductive injuries. Approximately one in four women who are raped by their male partners become pregnant, a rate five times the national average for rape-caused pregnancy.
These consequences are entirely preventable when women have the right to safe and legal abortion and contraception.
SB 956 and HB 2252 are insults to human dignity. We must reaffirm to all women, especially abuse and rape survivors, that their bodies are their own. If we deny women the right to make important decisions about their own bodies, we are violating their bodily autonomy yet again. With the landmark Roe vs Wade about to fall, women in Pennsylvania urgently need guarantees that their fundamental human rights will be respected.
Throughout United States’ history, both court decisions and constitutional amendments both expanded and guaranteed individual rights and liberties. For the first time ever, a constitutional amendment would remove a fundamental human right, and for 51% of Pennsylvanians! Amendments should be progressive, not regressive. We must move forward, not backward. Passing SB 956 and HB 2252 will endanger every woman and girl in the state. We cannot allow this to happen.
PFC strongly urges all our members and supporters to contact their Pennsylvania state legislators and tell them to oppose SB 956 and HB 2252. You can find your state legislators here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/
Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
April 10, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked attack on his neighbor Ukraine violates the humanist values which we at Pittsburgh Freethought Community (PFC) affirm:
We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that secular democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on biological sex, race, religion, gender identity, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility, empathy, and compassion.
Vladimir Putin has employed a campaign of disinformation and fictionalization of history to justify his brutal assault on the sovereign nation of Ukraine, which in recent years has worked to strengthen its democracy, reduce corruption, and move closer to the West. The Russian Army’s horrific attacks targeting medical facilities and civilians, including children, amount to possible war crimes which are being investigated by the International Criminal Court.
This unprovoked war has created a massive humanitarian crisis, forcing tens of millions of people to flee their homes, with more than three million refugees fleeing to Poland and other neighboring countries. The United States is accepting Ukrainian refugees as well.
We at PFC stand with the Ukrainian people at this time of crisis.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has donated $25,000 to the relief campaign “Humanists Across Borders for Ukraine,” which is sponsored by the The Atheist Foundation Kazimierza Lyszczynskiego, Poland’s premier atheist group. You can donate through the FFRF website at Nonbelief Relief and enter “Ukraine” in the comments.
Overdue Memorial to Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine, the influential Enlightenment philosopher whose 1776 pamphlet Common Sense inspired Americans to declare independence from Great Britain, lacks a fitting memorial in Washington D.C. Paine’s later work, The Age of Reason, challenged institutionalized religion and the legitimacy of the Bible.
“Tom Paine was a person so far ahead of his time that his work still challenges us in significant ways today to build a more democratic society,” says Raskin. “This luminary patriot of the Enlightenment and the American Revolution inspired people in the colonies not only to overthrow the tyranny of faraway kings but to launch a nation founded on principles of democratic self-government, the rights of men and of women, and reason and science. Despite his catalytic role in founding America and our constitutional republic, Paine remains too often on the dark outskirts of history. It is way past time for Congress to give Paine the central place of respect and awe he deserves in our nation’s capital. This memorial to Paine — amazingly, already pre-funded with a flood of voluntary contributions and pledges from private citizens — will be a powerful and dramatic addition to the symbolic life of Washington, D.C.”
Please urge your Congressional representatives and senators to support and sponsor this bill.
Find your US legislators here:
Pennsylvania State Legislators Attack Abortion Rights
January 22, 2022 marks the 49th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade guaranteeing women’s Constitutional right to abortion. According to our friends at Planned Parenthood, Pennsylvania state legislators proposed nine anti-abortion bills in 2021. You can read them at the link below. Click on each bill number to read it and see its sponsor(s):
PFC condemns any and all attempts to restrict women’s dignity and reproductive autonomy. We urge everyone to contact their state legislators, especially if you live in a sponsor’s district, to strongly oppose these bills. You can locate your state legislators at this link. Scroll down to Find My Legislator:
Legislators tell us that personal contact and phone calls are the most effective ways to communicate with them about proposed legislation. Personal letters are very good as well. You can also post on your legislators’ social media and through their Contact Me link on their websites.
Want to do your part? Take Action Now!
Each month PFC's PPPC focuses on a different issue and we need YOUR help!
Tips and links for contacting your legislators:
Calls from constituents and a follow-up letter/fax containing your contact information are more effective than blanket emails. Send "snail-mail" to local locations, the screening process in Washington D.C. takes several months.
Keep it short and to the point, no longer than one page. Focus on specific legislation when applicable and be clear about who you are and what you want from the start.
Make it personal and mention if you have voted for them or donated to their campaign.
Remember, they represent YOU.
Find your PA legislators here:
Find your US legislators here:
Find your local government here:
These actions are directly related to our Mission and an important part of meeting our Committee's goals.
Your time and attention to this is much appreciated.
Not sure who represents you? Use the links below to find out!
Pennsylvania State Representation- Pennsylvania General Assembly Website
Federal Representation- govtrack.us Website
Want MORE ways to take action!?! See the action pages of our national affiliates:
Our work: Public Policy Participation and Political Action
PFC identifies areas and issues within local government and local institutions where PFC can and should contribute a perspective and viewpoint on behalf of our stakeholders. We seek to have a seat at the table to represent and communicate the evidence-based, humanist and non-theist beliefs of our members regarding local issues and actions. Beyond the local arena, we seek to keep our members informed about national and international policy and legislation likely to be important to them. At all levels of government, PFC seeks to facilitate participation by its members, by electronic, voice or personal communication with legislators and other leaders. PFC facilitates this participation within the the legal limitations of our non-profit 501(c)(3) status.
Some of the policies we promote include:
If you would like to get more involved with PFC's Public Policy Participation Committee, please email the Public Policy Committee chair.