Tag Archives: reproductive freedoms

Congressional women introduce Equal Access to Abortion bill

Democratic women in the U.S. House on July 8 introduced legislation that would ensure women have access to health insurance coverage for abortion care and remove a federal policy denying many poor women access to abortion services.

The legislation comes as Republican leaders in some states, including Wisconsin, continue to push measures intended to restrict women’s access to care. U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Diana DeGette of Colorado are the chief sponsors of the federal Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act.

“We are done playing defense against attacks on women’s health,” said DeGette. The “introduction of the EACH Woman Act marks the first step in our march toward the day when each and every woman can make her own decisions about pregnancy.”

Advocates described the EACH Woman Act as groundbreaking legislation that would ensure all women have access to health insurance coverage for abortion services, no matter how much money they make, what insurance plan they have or where they live.

The bill would void the Hyde Amendment, a policy prohibiting federal Medicaid coverage for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. First passed in 1976, the Hyde Amendment has had a severely disproportionate impact on women who already face significant barriers to health care, such as low-income women, immigrant women, young women and women of color.

The measure would restore coverage for abortion services to women enrolled in insurance plans and programs offered or managed by the federal government, including Medicaid, Medicare, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Indian Health Services and TRICARE, the federal health care program for military families.

“A majority of Americans agree that a woman enrolled in Medicaid should have all pregnancy-related health care covered by her insurance, including abortion services,” said Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “And among young people and people of color, that opinion is a tidal wave. We are ready to change the game in Washington. We are organized, making phone calls, knocking on doors and paying visits to our members of Congress. We are ready to do what it takes to make the Hyde Amendment history.”

The bill also would prohibit political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage of abortion care.

Such restrictions on coverage for abortion services seriously impact women across the United States, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

According to recent data, approximately one in six women of reproductive age are enrolled in Medicaid and more than a million women are federal employees. And studies show that when politicians place restrictions on Medicaid coverage of abortion, it forces one in four poor women seeking an abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

“The EACH Woman Act would finally guarantee every woman can get the reproductive health care she needs, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Also, earlier this year, Democratic U.S. Reps. Judy Chu of California, Marcia Fudge of Ohio and Lois Frankel of Florida reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill would prohibit states from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on health care providers that interfere with women’s personal decision-making and block access to abortion services.

The National Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion care providers, operates a hotline — 800-772-9100 — which receives about 5,000 calls each week from women facing restrictions on access to reproductive care.

Wisconsin, under the governorship of Republican Scott Walker and with GOP majorities in the Legislature, has enacted a series of measures intended to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.

By the numbers

A newly released poll conducted by Hart Research found that 86 percent of voters agree, “however we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage because she is poor.”

Support was strong across age ranges and the statement won the support of 79 percent of Republicans surveyed.

Abortion opponents push new bills in state legislatures

Buoyed by conservative gains in the November 2014 election, foes of abortion are mobilizing on behalf of bills in several state legislatures that would further curtail women’s access to the procedure.

On both sides of the debate, activists are highlighting their hopes and concerns in conjunction with today’s 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that established a nationwide right to abortion.

Coinciding with the annual March for Life in Washington, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives had planned a debate today on a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. However, the House leadership decided late Jan. 21 to scrap those plans after objections from Republican women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.

Several proposed bills at the state level may have a better chance of enactment.

Notable among them is a first-of-its-kind measure being drafted in Kansas, with the backing of the National Right to Life Committee, which would ban doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a living fetus in the womb to complete an abortion.

Proponents have titled the bill the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and say it targets a procedure used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas. “Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, who hopes the Kansas bill will be emulated in other states.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has vowed to fight the bill “every step of the way.” “Kansas women are smart enough to make their own decisions about their families and their lives,” said a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, Elise Higgins.

Among other measures surfacing in state legislatures:

• Bills in West Virginia and South Carolina that would — like the measure in the U.S. House — ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. A similar bill was vetoed in West Virginia last year by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, but Republicans now control both chambers of the legislature and may have better prospects for overriding another veto.

• A bill in Arkansas that would require women seeking abortion-inducing medication to take it in the presence of a doctor. Supporters of the bill say they want to prevent any instances of abortion medication being administered from afar by a physician using video conferencing technology.

• A bill in Mississippi that would increase the minimum waiting time from 24 hours to 72 hours before a woman could obtain an abortion.

• A bill in Missouri that would require pregnant women to get permission from the fathers before having abortions, except in cases of rape and incest.

• Several anti-abortion measures are expected in Tennessee, where voters in November overturned a court ruling holding that abortion was protected by the state constitution as part of a woman’s fundamental right to privacy.

According to abortion rights groups, about 230 laws restricting abortion have been enacted nationwide in the past four years.

Activists on both sides of the issue suggest there might be fewer such bills winning approval this year, in part because some conservative states already have adopted the most common restrictive laws and in part because of political caution by GOP leaders in swing states.

“There are some politicians who’d rather not take a position on any controversial issue, especially when they’re looking for higher office,” said Spaulding Balch.

Jennifer Dalven, who directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, suggested that some of the Republican governors and other GOP leaders eying presidential runs in 2016 may shy away from backing some of the toughest anti-abortion measures.

“Politicians are starting to understand this is politically toxic,” she said. “They can’t win if they are seen as wanting to take this decision out of women’s hands.”

Several of the most sweeping measures passed by state lawmakers in recent years have been blocked by court rulings and remain in limbo. These include a Texas law imposing regulations that could force many abortion clinics to close, an Arkansas law that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks and a North Dakota law that could ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Arkansas anti-abortion law overturned

A federal judge has struck down Arkansas’ attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright last year had stopped enforcement of the law while she reviewed it, and now she has declared that it was unconstitutional. She cited previous court decisions that said abortions shouldn’t be restricted until after a fetus reaches viability, which is typically at 22 to 24 weeks.

“The state presents no evidence that a fetus can live outside the mother’s womb at twelve weeks,” the judge wrote.

By adopting a ban based on a fetal heartbeat, and not the ability to survive, the Arkansas Legislature had adopted the nation’s toughest abortion law last March. Two weeks later, North Dakota lawmakers passed a bill restricting abortions at six weeks – or before some women would know they’re pregnant. That law is on hold.

In her decision, Wright said only a doctor could determine viability.

“The Supreme Court has … stressed that it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability at a specific point in the gestation period,” Wright wrote.

Wright left in place a portion of the law that requires doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat and to notify the pregnant woman if one is present.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill, citing the viability standard. But Republicans, controlling the Statehouse for the first time since Reconstruction, overrode him with a simple majority vote.

“The ruling is what the governor predicted in his veto letter last year,” Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said.

The state attorney general’s office said it was reviewing possible next steps. “Today’s decision was not a surprise,” spokesman Aaron Sadler said.

Bettina Brownstein, who represented two doctors who perform abortions at a Little Rock clinic, said the 12-week ban was “demeaning to women.”

“The law never should have been passed in the first place, it’s so unquestionably unconstitutional,” she said. She said it was unlikely that Drs. Louis Jerry Edwards and Tom Tvedten would appeal the portion of the law requiring them to notify patients if a heartbeat is detected.

“Practically, in my opinion, it has very little effect. It’s duplicative of what doctors who perform abortions in Arkansas already have to do,” she said.

State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, who sponsored the fetal heartbeat bill, said he was encouraged that that portion of the measure was upheld.

“Now, anyone who presents for abortion in our state, they’re going to be given an opportunity to know if there’s a living heartbeat in their womb, and that is a win for the pro-life movement,” Rapert said. “When people have to face the reality that there’s a living heartbeat in their womb, that will make them rethink about taking the life away from their baby.”

The 12-week ban had included exemptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. Legislators last year also passed a separate ban at 20 weeks, based on the disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain at that point.

Dems’ bill fights back against attacks on reproductive rights

Democrats in Congress are working to pass legislation that would protect reproductive freedom, which is under repeated attack in Wisconsin, Texas and other states four decades after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to choice in Roe v. Wade.

In mid-November, U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Richard Blumenthal and Barbara Boxer and Reps. Judy Chu, Maria Fudge and Lois Frankel introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 “to protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.”

With 32 co-sponsors in the Senate and 67 co-sponsors in the House, WHPA was proposed just days before the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a legal dispute over a law that has forced a third of Texas’ abortion clinics to close. The measure requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. No more than 20 clinics were able to meet the new standard, which means that some women must travel hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion in Texas. And all of the facilities that remain open are in metropolitan areas, leaving none in the Rio Grande Valley along the border with Mexico.

The Texas law on admitting privileges was part of a package of abortion restrictions that the GOP-controlled Legislature passed over the summer after Gov. Rick Perry called a special session. The restrictions, which are among the toughest in the nation, gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June.

Two other states that are enforcing laws on admitting privileges are Tennessee and Utah. Courts have temporarily halted similar laws in Wisconsin, as well as in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and North Dakota.

Baldwin, announcing the introduction of WHPA, said, “In Wisconsin and in states across the country, politicians have been standing between women and their doctors, restricting the choices women can make regarding their own reproductive health.”

Planned Parenthood of America has reported that in recent years more than 160 restrictions on access to abortions have passed in 30 states, including more than 40 new restrictions this year aone.

“Around the country, women are subjected to onerous waiting periods and forced to listen to medically inaccurate claims about their choices,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Abortion clinics are targeted for unnecessary and burdensome requirements designed to shut them down for good. In some states, outright bans challenge the very foundation of the Roe decision and force the will of politicians into women’s private decisions.”

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has signed nine measures intended to restrict women’s access to health care.

“It is clear that we need federal protection from these unwarranted intrusions into our personal health care decisions,” said Eve Galanter of Wisconsin Women’s Network, which endorsed WHPA in mid-November.

Other advocates of WHPA in Wisconsin include the American Association of University Women of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

“Sen. Baldwin’s legislation would make it unlawful for politicians to interfere with women’s personal health care decisions,” said Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “This bill would ensure that a woman’s freedoms don’t depend on her ZIP code.”

Baldwin — who defeated Tommy Thompson in 2012 to become the first openly gay person elected to the Senate — said, “I am proud to stand up to these attacks on women’s freedoms.
. . . Every American woman deserves the freedom to exercise her constitutional rights by making personal health decisions with a trusted doctor and without political interference.”

AP contributed to this report

Albuquerque voters reject late-term abortion ban

In a closely watched, first-of-its kind election, voters in New Mexico’s largest city have soundly defeated a ban on late-term abortions.

Voters on Nov. 19 rejected the measure 55 percent to 45 percent following an emotional and graphic campaign that brought in national groups and hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. The campaign included protests that compared abortion to the Holocaust and displayed pictures of aborted fetuses. 

A coalition of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Planned Parenthood, called the results a huge victory for Albuquerque women and families. 

Activists on both sides said it was the first municipal ballot measure on the matter.

— AP

Supreme Court lets Texas anti-abortion law stay for now

A third of Texas’ abortion clinics will stay closed after the U.S. Supreme Court declined this week to intervene in an ongoing legal dispute over a tough new law that Planned Parenthood claims unconstitutionally restricts women’s rights.

At least 12 Texas abortion clinics have been closed since October, after a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals allowed the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital to take effect.

No more than 20 clinics were able to meet the new standard, and some women must travel hundreds of miles (kilometers) to obtain an abortion. All of the facilities that remain open are in metropolitan areas, with none in the Rio Grande Valley along the border with Mexico.

The Supreme Court’s decision isn’t the final say on the restriction. But it means that the law will remain in effect while Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit challenging it continues. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to have a hearing in January on the lawsuit.

Texas is the nation’s second-most populous state, and an average of 80,000 abortions are performed there each year.

The Supreme Court’s decision came in an appeal of a decision from a 5th Circuit panel that said Texas could enforce the law at least until the panel can hold a hearing in January. The 5th Circuit’s ruling came after U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the provision, saying it served no medical purpose and created an illegal barrier for women seeking an abortion.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a sharply divided 5-4 opinion that abortion clinics had failed to prove that the 5th Circuit acted improperly. Writing for the minority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the better course would have been to block the law at least until the three-judge appeals panel issued its final ruling because some women will be unable to obtain abortions.

The five justices and three appeals court judges who sided with Texas are all Republican appointees. The four dissenting justices are Democratic appointees. Yeakel, who initially blocked the provision, is a Republican appointee.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry praised the Supreme Court action.

“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state,” Perry said.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the groups will continue the legal fight.

“This law is blocking women in Texas from getting a safe and legal medical procedure that has been their constitutionally protected right for 40 years. This is outrageous and unacceptable — and also demonstrates why we need stronger federal protections for women’s health. Your rights and your ability to make your own medical decisions should not depend on your ZIP code,” Richards said.

The Texas law on admitting privileges was part of a package of abortion restrictions that the GOP-controlled Legislature passed over the summer. The restrictions, which are among the toughest in the nation, gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June.

Although several conservative states in recent months have approved broad abortion limits, the Texas ones were particularly divisive because of the number of clinics affected and the distance some women would have to travel to get an abortion.

The other states that are enforcing laws on admitting privileges are Tennessee and Utah. Courts have temporarily halted similar laws in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin scores C-minus in ‘State of Women’ analysis

Wisconsin, with a grade of C-minus, ranks No. 29 and in the bottom half of the states in a new study mapping “The State of Women in America.”

The report from the Center for American Progress deals with issues such as economic security, leadership and health care and looks at progress and setbacks in all 50 states.

On economic security, researchers looked at the earnings of women and men, a state’s minimum wage, poverty rates, paid family leave and sick leave laws, disability insurance laws and pre-K opportunities for children.

On leadership, the researchers looked at the numbers of women in public office and management positions.

In terms of health, researchers looked at recent legislation regarding reproductive care and limits on abortions, contraception policy, the numbers of uninsured women, Medicaid expansion policies, infant mortality rates, maternal mortality rates and the number of women for every ob/gyn in the state.

The survey rated Wisconsin an overall C-minus with a ranking of No. 29. In terms of health care, Wisconsin ranked No. 33 with a D-minus. Its economic ranking was 29 and a C-minus. Its leadership ranking was No. 28 and a C-minus.

In the overall ranking, Maryland scored best, followed by Hawaii, Vermont, California, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Washington to create the Top 10.

Louisiana came in at No. 50. The Bottom 10 included Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Tennessee.

In a close up analysis, the researchers noted:

• In Vermont, women make on average close to 85 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women in Wyoming make 65 cents for every dollar a man earns.

• The wage gap in Wisconsin shows women, on average, making 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. African-American women in the state earn 65 cents and Hispanic women earn 53 cents for every dollar a man makes.

• Fifteen states have no women representatives in the U.S. House or Senate.

• Less than 10 percent of women in Vermont are uninsured, but 26 percent of women in Texas lack health care coverage.

• More than 22 percent of women in Louisiana live at the poverty level. The percentage of women living in poverty in Maryland is 11 percent.

• About 58 percent of those who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 in Wisconsin are women. The analysis estimates that 368,000 women would benefit.

“While women have come a long way over the past few decades, much remains to be done to ensure that all women can have a fair shot at success,” said Anna Chu, one of the authors of the report.

She said the report shows that “in many states, it is still difficult for women and their families to get ahead, instead of just getting by.”

The Center for American Progress, which published the study on Sept. 25, is a progressive group. Earlier this month, it partnered with American Women, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Service Employees International Union to launch “Fair Shot,” a campaign to promote policies that improve economic security, leadership opportunities and health care for women.

Pope blasts abortion after decrying focus on rules

Pope Francis on Sept. 20 offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church as he denounced abortions as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture” and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.

Francis issued a strong anti-abortion message and cited Vatican teaching on the need to defend the unborn during an audience with Catholic gynecologists.

It came a day after he was quoted as blasting the church’s obsession with “small-minded rules” that are driving the faithful away. In an interview that sent shockwaves through the church, Francis urged its pastors to focus on being merciful and welcoming rather than insisting only on such divisive, hot-button issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

Even before the interview was published, some conservatives had voiced disappointment that Francis had shied away from restating such church rules. Francis explained his reason for doing so in the interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, saying church teaching on such issues is well-known, he supports it, but that he doesn’t feel it necessary to repeat it constantly.

He did repeat it on Sept. 20, however. In his comments, Francis denounced today’s “throw-away culture” that justifies disposing of lives, and said doctors in particular had been forced into situations where they are called to “not respect life.”

“Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” he said.

He urged gynecologists to abide by their consciences and help bring lives into the world. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things,” he said.

Francis’ comments to Civilta Cattolica contained no change in church teaching, but they represented a radical shift in tone and stood in stark contrast to the priorities of his two immediate predecessors.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount, an orientation that guided the selection of a generation of bishops and cardinals who, in countries like the United States, have put themselves on the front lines in opposing abortion and gay marriage. They now find themselves being asked to preach more to those who have fallen away from the church and offer them a compassionate welcome home.

Greg Burke, the Vatican’s senior communications adviser, insisted Friday that Francis was by no means calling into question the papacies and priorities of his predecessors.

“The pope is not condemning his predecessors,” Burke told The Associated Press. “What he is saying is ‘We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the boundaries. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what is sin and what’s not. Now let’s move on. Let’s talk about mercy. Let’s talk about love.'”

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Ireland’s most reform-minded Catholic leader, said Francis’ comments will be tough for the church to put into action because there is a tendency to get “trapped” into the right and wrong, white and black of Catholic teaching.

“It’s a way of thinking that will actually be very hard for the right and the left of the church, either of them, to accept,” he told RTE radio. But he said Francis wasn’t dismissing everything that has been taught to date.

“He’s saying let’s move in a different direction.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, just last week had said in an interview with his diocesan newspaper that he was “a little bit disappointed” that Francis hadn’t spoken out about abortion. On Friday, in an official statement responding to the La Civilta Cattolica article, Tobin said he admired Francis’ leadership.

“Being a Catholic doesn’t mean having to choose between doctrine and charity, between truth and love. It includes both. We are grateful to Pope Francis for reminding us of that vision,” he said.

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a lead role in voicing the U.S. church’s opposition to contraception and gay marriage, said the church isn’t the only one obsessed with such issues – today’s culture is.

“Every pope has a different strategy,” Dolan told “CBS This Morning.” “What I think he’s saying is, `Those are important issues and the church has got to keep talking about them, but we need to talk about them in a fresh new way. If we keep kind of a negative finger-wagging tone, it’s counterproductive. “

He said that while Francis had sent shockwaves throughout the church, clearly it was necessary.

“Every day I think, `Thank God he was elected.’ … Every day I say, `This man is batting a thousand.'”

Perry wants Texas to ban abortion after 20 weeks

Gov. Rick Perry threw his support this week behind legislation that would ban abortion in Texas after 20 weeks, the point at which he says a fetus can feel pain.

The Legislature, which will reconvene Jan. 8 for a 140-day session that occurs every two years, also will consider a bill that would require physicians who perform abortions to have an agreement with a nearby hospital, allowing them to admit a patient in case of an emergency, Perry said.

Perry said he would like “to make abortion at any stage a thing of the past,” but since that isn’t possible under federal law, the Legislature has an “obligation to end that kind of cruelty” when an unborn child can feel pain.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas called the proposed legislation – which has not yet been submitted – “a cruel attempt by anti-choice extremists to curb access to care for women in the most desperate of circumstances.”

“The reality is that while most women welcome pregnancy and can look forward to a safe childbirth, for some, pregnancy can be dangerous,” the group said in a statement.

The proposed bill, however, should have widespread support in Texas’ largely Republican Legislature, which passed several laws in its 2011 session that made it more difficult to get an abortion, including a law that requires women to have a sonogram before going ahead with the procedure and putting in place a 24-hour waiting period between the time she sees a doctor and has the abortion.

Forty-one states already have laws banning abortions after 20 weeks, unless the woman’s health is in danger. Texas’ law would include a similar exception.

“We cannot and we will not sit idly by as we put our unborn through the agony” of ending their lives, Perry told a crowd of anti-abortion activists in Houston, where he announced his support for the bills.

Backed by the crowd’s occasional “Amens” and other praise, Perry vowed lawmakers would make every day of the 140-day session count when it comes to protecting life.

The legislation that would require physicians to have an agreement to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of their facility is designed to ensure abortion clinics are held to the same standard as all other medical centers in the state, Perry said.