Help The American Independent by donating on ‘Support Your Media Day’
Tomorrow the American Independent News Network (The American Independent’s parent organization) will be participating in”Support Your Media Day,” a 24-hour online fundraising event whose mission is “to support and strengthen independent media outlets.”
The event begins Wednesday at midnight Pacific Time (3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) and ends at 11:59 p.m PT (2:59 a.m. EST). Click here for information on the event, and be sure to return tomorrow to donate.
Throughout its nearly six-year history, the American Independent News Network has been committed to having an impact on the public debate and influencing positive change.
The public’s understanding of reproductive choice and abortion rights is severely diminished by the use of abortion as a cultural “wedge issue” to divide Americans. That’s why AINN has made exposing misinformation in exchange for facts a core part of its mission. Here are just two examples of how AINN continues to achieve success in doing this:
- Citing reporting by AINN’s Texas bureau, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas released a report on Texas’ Alternatives to Abortions program, which funds crisis pregnancy centers across the state and continues to grow, despite missing its benchmarks set by the Legislature, paying CPC counselors more than trained nurses. As reporter Mary Tuma detailed, CPCs in the Austin area are fighting back in court against an ordinance requiring them to disclose the fact they don’t offer birth control or abortion referrals — a commonly misunderstood point.
- In a letter to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, Planned Parenthood Vice President Judith Selzer warned about a provision in the state’s recent Medicaid overhaul that allows Medicaid providers to opt out of providing family planning services for “moral or religious reasons,” a measure first reported on by AINN’s Ashley Lopez in April 2011. Selzer directly cited Lopez’s reporting in praising the state agency for telling AINN that Medicaid recipients should still have access to family planning through “fee-for-service” providers, but pointed out that such rules are not included in the Medicaid legislation, adding that the agency’s plan “should be clearly spelled out.” She also warned that the “fee-for-service” solution may not in fact make up for the family planning opt-out, arguing that if family planning providers cannot afford to participate in Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates, women in the state could be left stranded, an idea Lopez first explored in June 2011.
This is the defining value of investigative journalism in the 21st century: the recognition that outcomes matter. Simply producing great journalism is no longer enough. After the story is reported, outreach and communications efforts need to ensure that advocacy groups, community leaders, public officials, and others take appropriate action correcting the wrongs our coverage has exposed.
Last year 26 states enacted 69 laws that in some way restricted access to abortions or reduced funding for family-planning services. The reason we are seeing this rash of anti-abortion rights initiatives in the states right now is because those in power who oppose abortion rights know that it takes at least two to three years for those cases to reach the Supreme Court, where their goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade. That court is one vote away from doing so, with the two members most likely to retire in the next few years being on the abortion-rights side.
That makes the 2012 election a crucial crossroads, as it will determine the president who will almost certainly nominate the next justice for the Supreme Court and the makeup of the Senate that will confirm or reject that nomination. It is essential that every one of these attempts to deny equal rights to women is identified, that the extreme views of those who support them are documented, and that the funding networks that benefit them are revealed to the world.
It is clear that the opportunity is greater than ever for AINN to reveal new information through investigative reporting that will impact public debate and create a more just home for all citizens.