Monday, February 28, 2011

Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should Be Married And Home With Kids

As ThinkProgress has reported, the right wing has been undertaking a war on women, both at the national and state level. House Republicans, for instance, want to cut funding for a variety of programs affecting women’s health and reproductive rights, while Republican legislatures across the country are trying to legislatively restrict choice.

In yet another example, the Frederick County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners voted to end the county’s contribution to its Head Start program, cutting overall funding for the program by more than 50 percent. Two of the Republican officials justified their decision to cut Head Start — which provides early childhood education to the children of low-income parents — by saying that women should really be married and home with their kids, thus rendering the program unnecessary:

COMMISSIONER C. PAUL SMITH (R): I think its very significant that we did make this marriage week announcement today, because that is the best long-term way to help our children, as marriage is strengthened in our community. As many of you know, I had a lot of kids, and my wife stayed home, at significant sacrifice, during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age. I know everybody isn’t able to survive doing that, but clearly, as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we have to reach.

COMMISSIONER KIRBY DELAUTER (R): My wife, college educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids, we had to give up a lot to do that. I agree again with Commissioner Smith, you know, the marriage thing is very important. I mean, education of your kids starts at home, okay? I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids.

Watch it:

Many women in the county were outraged by the commissioners’ statements. “It’s shocking in this day and age when life is difficult and challenging for so many families,” said Sue Oehmig, executive director of Hope Alive, a shelter that serves homeless women and children. “I would like them to say that to the hundreds of single women that call us every year asking for help. I’m embarrassed for Frederick County. We’ve just been set back 20 years.” “The reality is that people are struggling to make ends meet with two incomes,” added former City of Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty (D) “What does family and marriage have to do with the economy or creating jobs, which is what they ran on?”

Indeed, these two Republican officials ignore that many low-income households simply can’t afford to get by on one income alone, making it necessary for both parents to work; neither can single parents afford to take off from work for years. Many of these parents also can’t afford private pre-school, leaving their children to play catch-up for years once public education begins in first grade or kindergarten, depending on state.

These facts aside, the two commissioners are simply clinging to an antiquated vision of the American home and workforce. As CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey found, “nearly 4 in 10 mothers (39.3 percent) are primary breadwinners, bringing home the majority of the family’s earnings, and nearly two-thirds (62.8 percent) are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, bringing home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings.” In fact, “only one in five families with children (20.7 percent) are the traditional male breadwinner, female homemaker, compared to 44.7 percent in 1975.”

And of course, there are the wider benefits of investing in Head Start, as a longterm study in California found that society receives nearly $9 in benefits for every $1 invested in Head Start children. But these two Republican officials feel its appropriate to cut the program in order to foist their chosen family structure onto society at-large.

South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors

South Dakota is considering a law that would let some people legally kill abortion providers

South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors
AP/Nati Harnik
A demonstrator holds up a pro-choice sign, left, as an opposing demonstrator holds up sign reading "I Regret My Abortion", during a rally in downtown Sioux Falls, S.D.
South Dakota is a red state. It goes without saying that abortion is going to be unpopular there. How unpopular, you wonder? Unpopular enough that the South Dakota Legislature is considering a bill to let relatives of a woman seeking an abortion legally kill the provider performing the procedure.
According to Mother Jones:
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child.
The bill was originally intended as a procedural formality, a "simple clarification of South Dakota's justifiable homicide law." It did not contain any language about unborn fetuses. However, the legislation was heavily amended in committee to include the incendiary legal language. A floor vote on the proposal is expected soon.

GOP Still Has Not Removed Awful "Forcible Rape" Language From Anti-Choice Bill

Women, in case you need further proof that the Republican anti-choice majority (and the Democrat anti-choicers who have sided with them) really, really do not care about your well-being, here it is: although Republicans said a week ago that they would drop the draconian "forcible rape" language from the still-awful HR3 bill, that language remains in the bill today.

The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel:

Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top-ranking Democrat on the House judiciary subcommittee focusing on constitutional issues, told The Huffington Post that while Nadler hopes the bill will soon be changed, they have been treating it as it's written. "So the fact remains: more than 150 Republicans lent their name to this bill, as drafted, which includes the forcible-rape provision," the Nadler spokesman said. Several conservative Democrats also signed on as cosponsors of Smith's bill.

Of course, the "forcible rape" language is only one of the many, many horrible things about the HR3 bill.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said that the legislation shows a "heinous disregard for the health and well-being of women in America" and would be "a tax on all women who want access to a full range of reproductive health care."

The People Behind the "Let Women Die" Act

Elections have consequences, and for American women, that can't be made any more painfully clear than by the recent actions by newly elected anti-choice members of Congress. As if trying to redefine rape and incest wasn't enough, the anti-choice members now have slipped in a provision to the ironically named the "Protect Life Act" that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it.

Four anti-choice members who signed on to both H.R.3 and H.R.358, both of which tried to invent new standards for rape, were elected in 2010 under the GOP banner of "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Most voters who elected these anti-choice zealots couldn't have expected this type of misogynistic behavior from their elected representatives, could they? Well, indeed, they probably should have.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), who defeated pro-choice moderate Dan Maffei, participated in radical anti-choice protests 20 years ago, carrying a blackened fetus named "Baby Choice" to one Planned Parenthood protest in Syracuse. She was a spokesperson for the radical "Operation Rescue" and Right-to-Life organizations in Syracuse. But Buerkle claimed during the campaign that abortion was "not an issue that would define her, nor would it be a priority of her campaign."

Perhaps not her campaign, but certainly as the newly minted representative to New York's 25th District, Buerkle believes that most of the voters agree with her extreme view but admitted that she couldn't provide a statistic of the number of supposedly pro-life, anti-women voters in her district.

Then, there's Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) who defeated pro-choice Rep. Debbie Halvorson last November. Kinzinger was endorsed by the radical Concerned Women for America PAC, the National Right to Life PAC, and the Susan B. Anthony List.

On the campaign trail, Kinzinger said he was against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. I guess what he meant to say was "forcible rape," incest against a woman who is only under the age of 18, and the life of the woman unless the hospital doesn't want to save her life.

In 2010, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), defeated moderate pro-choice Rep. Frank Kratovil. He was endorsed by National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America PAC. Harris' radical anti-choice views were well known when he served in the Maryland State Senate. As chairman of the pro-life caucus in the Maryland Senate, Harris led the filibuster against stem-cell research and sponsored a bill allowing pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions. [] Now, he's signing on to bills that redefined rape and thinks it's better for women to die than to have an abortion.

Finally, voters in Michigan's 7th Congressional District, shouldn't be surprised by the actions of Rep. Tim Walberg. That's because he served in Congress previously and was no stranger to the anti-choice craziness when he first came to Congress following the 2006 election. Back then, he supported legislation that would end all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization. [H.R.618, 110th Congress; H.R.4157, 110th Congress] During his 2010 race against pro-choice Rep. Mark Schauer, Walberg was proud to receive the endorsement of the extreme Republican National Coalition for Life, which requires all endorsed candidates to "indicate they are faithfully pro-life, and do not justify abortion for innocent babies who are conceived through rape or incest."

Walberg wins the trifecta in this year's Congress by having already signed on to all three of the most anti-women, anti-health care, anti-choice bills of the still-early session: the when rape isn't rape H.R.3; the protect life act unless the life is that of a pregnant woman H.R.358; and Rep. Mike Pence's H.R.217 that would decimate Title X clinics throughout the country that provide cancer-screenings, STD prevention, birth control,and a host of other services for more than five million men and women throughout the country.

These are just four new members of Congress who campaigned on jobs and the economy but thought it much more important to attack women's personal medical decisions as their first big "how-do-you-do" moment in Washington. So, I hate to tell you I told you so back in November...but...I told you so!

Until voters quit believing that these anti-choice politicians care about anything other than snooping around in your private life and making decisions for you, we'll continue to see these kinds of attacks in Washington and in the states. Remember this in November 2012: these politicians only care about government small enough to fit in your bedroom or your medicine cabinet. And if women die because of their callous actions, well, that wasn't the life they were elected to protect, right?

Planned Parenthood Slammed for Telling the Truth

Leah Anthony Libresco

Lila Rose's pro-choice group, Live Action, continues to release videos from their 'sting operations against Planned Parenthood. They're trying to position the videos as exposés, and the allegedly damning material has turned out to be a revelation... about the tactics and anti-rule of law mindset behind many pro-life groups.

In the so-called stings, Live Action sent a team of actors claiming to be seeking STI tests into Planned Parenthood clinics to meet with staffers. The actors pretended to be a pimp and a prostitute who were considering bringing their charges in to see a doctor. Once they were talking to an employee, the Live Action actors explained that, in addition to STI testing, they wanted to know what kind of medical services might be available to sex workers, especially if they were illegal immigrants or underage. The whole time, the Live Action spy cameras were rolling.

Live Action has trumpeted the videos as a scandal and castigated Planned Parenthood for 'helping sex traffickers.' Rose and her friends in Congress have called for the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood. So what crimes did the Planned Parenthood employees allegedly commit? They explained the law to the actors. That's it.

Live Action slammed a clinic in Roanoke, Virginia for telling the actors that girls over the age of 12 did not need the permission of a parent or guardian to be prescribed birth control. The clinic worker was correct. A clinic in the Bronx was attacked by Live Action for explaining that any sex workers, even those under 18, would not require the signature of a parent to receive an abortion. The clinic worker correctly explained New York law. In Falls Church, Virginia, a clinic worker told the actors that the doctors did not require proof of citizenship to schedule an abortion. Once again, a legally correct opinion.

Live Action has tried to claim that Planned Parenthood was aiding and abetting sex offenders (ignoring the fact that clinics reported their visits from the pimp to the FBI), but their outraged rhetoric betrays their real grudge: they are furious that Planned Parenthood helps women access legal medical procedures that Live Action believes to be immoral. Their press releases ask if anyone can think it is 'professional' to explain to a criminal the criteria for anonymous medical care or how to properly navigate the clinics scheduling system.

That is exactly what professionalism looks like. Criminals are not denied access to medical care, and trafficked sex workers certainly should not be prohibited from receiving care, especially because they are at high risk of STI against their will. Live Action would apparently prefer that Planned Parenthood deliberately misrepresent the law to a patient, rather than do anything which might help a criminal and his victims. They see the doctor not as the advocate for the patient, but as a deliberate stumbling block, preventing people from knowing their legal rights.

Pro-life activists show a contempt of law when they encourage medical professionals to act as gatekeepers, acting to prevent patients from receiving care they are legally entitled to. Citing conscience, pharmacists refuse to dispense birth control pills to unmarried women. They refuse to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill, plan B, and other forms of emergency birth control, even when their deliberate slow-down prevents women from receiving their legally prescribed medication within the narrow time horizon in which it is effective. In a particularly horrific case, an Idaho pharmacist refused to fill a prescription to stop uterine hemorrhages requested by Planned Parenthood because the pharmacist believed the life-saving medicine might be used to treat a woman after an abortion. The pharmacist actively obstructed care, refusing to dispense the anti-bleeding medication and refusing to refer the woman's doctor to any other pharmacy.

Ostensibly pro-life activists are trying to throw up barriers to legal and lifesaving care nationwide. Currently under a law called EMTALA, any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding is obligated to treat anyone in a state of medical emergency, regardless of citizenship, criminal record, or ability to pay. If a patient requires emergency treatment, but the hospital is incapable of performing it, the hospital is required to transport the patient to a hospital with the appropriate facilities. Republicans and anti-abortion groups are now trying to claim that EMTALA applies to all emergency care except abortion.

In other words, the people purportedly on the side of life want doctors to have a special exemption to not provide urgently needed, life-saving medical treatment to women if they require termination of a pregnancy. All people would be permitted the legal treatments they require except pregnant women. Even worse, anti-abortion doctors are contending that they won't refer women suffering a medical crisis to a different hospital to get the abortion that could save their life.

A school shooter with a gunshot wound would be entitled to an ambulance ride to a better-equipped hospital if the first one he staggered into didn't have the ability to treat him. A pregnant woman who had committed no crime and was seeking a legal treatment could be turned out into the street, no matter how grave her condition.

When those on the anti-abortion side can't win their legislative battles, they encourage doctors to break the law or to misrepresent it, in order to prevent women from receiving the care to which they are legally entitled. Their actions are a serious threat to the integrity of the medical profession, the rule of law, and the lives of women. Their calls for other doctors to join them in their campaign of malpractice deserve to be ignored.

Wed, 3/2: Feminist Award Ceremony to benefit Hollaback! I am receiving award!

Please join me at a fundraiser for Hollaback!,, which has been revolutionizing the way we look at and deal with street harassment - a form of sexual violence. 

5th Annual Women's Awards
Wednesday, March 2 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Stonewall Inn: 53 Christopher Street, NY, NY 10014, (at 7th Ave South)
Take the 1 train to Christopher Street stop or take the A,B,C,D,E,F or M to West 4th. 
Phone:  212-488-2705
Sliding-scale-suggested Donation: $25, $50, $75 or $100. 
Proceeds to benefit HollaBackNYC 

I really hope this doesn't seem like shameless self promotion, since I truly believe in Hollaback and hope you will support this great cause.  Here is a recent article on the organization, which Ms. Magazine wrote in collaboration with The Ms. Foundation.

I am originally from Bangladesh, where my cousins cannot leave the house unescorted by a man because of the severity of street harassment.  I cannot imagine living in such entrapment.  Hollaback! has done amazing work in NY and is continuing their work throughout the world - including in Egypt!  Another reason I love Hollaback! - I learned of the organization through Kate Mikuliak, a past President of the Hunter College Women's Rights Coalition, who mentored me when I became president of the student club.  The Women's Rights Coalition helped me channel my anger against sexism through positive means, and helped foster my life-long love of feminist activism. 

N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Board Member
Bella Abzug Leadership Institute

From the organizer, Yetta Kurland:

This year the Women's Awards will be honoring some very incredible women.  They include Eileen Dunn who has been a staunch champion for the fight for St. Vincent's, Natasha Dillon: a fearless leader in our community, Dr. Barbara Bowen: a role model who has paved the way for many of us, Jeanne Wilcke: an inspiration and true leader for downtown Manhattan, and N. Jerin Arifa: a rising start in the National Organization for Women.

As we head into Women's History Month, I hope you will join me and our entire host committee, The Women's Democratic Club of NYC, The Jim Owles Democratic Club, GO Magazine and several celebrities including Alan Cumming, Justin Bond and many more this Wednesday, March 2nd at 7pm at the Stonewall Inn to celebrate these incredible women and our greater feminist community.

The suggested donation for the event is $25 to $100 depending on what you can pay, and will include free hors d'oeuvres, and a year's membership to the Women's Democratic Club of New York City!

To RSVP and/or buy tickets please e-mail Toni at

Please spread this around and invite others.  I look forward to having a great night with you all!

Can't see invite?

Westboro Baptist Counter Protest Tues. 3/1 (PG County, Md.)

The National Organization for Women

Join NOW activists, allies, and local Prince George's County residents in a counter protest!

Westboro Baptist, the Kansas-based church known for its anti-homosexual position, has scheduled a protest outside of Northwestern High.

What: Westboro Baptist Counter Protest
When: Tuesday, March 1
8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Where: Across from Northwestern High School
Adelphi Road & Van Buren Street
University Park, MD 20782
Metro: Prince George's Plaza (Green Line)

Military Chaplain: It Was God's Will that You Were Raped

Sent to me by Jocelyn Morris, one of my fellow board members at NOW National.  I think the article speaks for itself.


N. Jerin Arifa

National NOW Board of Directors

National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)


By , Guide

Military Chaplain: It Was God's Will that You Were Raped

Saturday February 26, 2011
When military chaplains start telling women in the military that it was right that they get raped by their fellow Americans because God has some "purpose" behind the rape and assault, I think it's time to start reconsidering whether chaplains should exist in the military at all anymore. I know that there are valid constitutional and legal arguments for having them, but incidents like what happened to Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla in Afghanistan in 2006 may be enough to toss them all out.
Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.

"He pulled her into his bed, held her down, and raped her. He also photographed the rape," it reads. Havrilla reported the incident within a month.

In February 2009, she reported for active duty training and, upon seeing her rapist, went into shock.

"She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain," the lawsuit reads. "When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that 'it must have been God's will for her to be raped' and recommended that she attend church more frequently."

The complains adds that "SGT Havrilla suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression."

Source: Raw Story1
That kind of advice only re-traumatizes the victims -- and it's just about the worst advice that a victim could be given. Then again, it is perfectly consistent with traditional, orthodox Christianity. That means it's one more indication of how much harm traditional, orthodox Christianity can do to a person's mental health and moral compass.
Why would anyone want to attend a church dedicated to the worship of a deity that wants you to be brutally raped? What if this god wants you raped more often -- should you go even more often? I'm not sure who is more sick and twisted: the chaplain or the god he believes in.
Havrilla's harrowing story, and the broader lawsuit, sheds light on the ongoing and widely reported problem of sexual assault in the military.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said it was "a command priority" to "ensure all of our service members are safe from abuse" and pledged to commit more resources to the goal.
When will it become a "command priority" to ensure that all service members are safe from psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of predatory chaplains? Indeed, is it even possible to protect service members form predatory chaplains when those same chaplains are integrated into the command structure -- when they have extensive power over the same people who need to be protected?
  • Links in this article:

Fri, March 4: Vigil for Jobs: Create a National Jobs Program Joblessness and Service Cuts Must Not Become the New "Normal"

First Friday Vigil for Jobs - Come Stand With Us in Albany, Chicago, Dayton, Detroit, Long Island NY, and New York City to Send a Message to Washington, DC 

Create a National Jobs Program
Joblessness and Service Cuts Must Not Become the New "Normal" 

Friday, March 4, 2011  •  12:30 pm – 1:30 pm  •  East 47th– 48th  Sts. in front of Senator Schumer's Manhattan office, 757 Third Ave.

Join the Vigil for Jobs on the First Friday of every month BECAUSE…

This past year, one out of every four families in America have been affected by unemployment. In January 2011, close to 13.9 million persons were officially unemployed, and another 11.5 million persons, the "hidden unemployed," wanted full-time work but were forced to work part-time or wanted a job but were discouraged and not actively looking. The best way to solve this crisis is for the federal government to create a new national jobs program, similar to the innovative work programs created by President Roosevelt during the 1930's Great Depression. Senator Schumer, as New York's highest federal official, we urge you take our message to Washington. 

Congress and the President must act immediately to:
·       Pass H.R. 589 to extend emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed who have been jobless for longer than 93-99 weeks.
·       Resume financial assistance to state and local governments to avoid massive layoffs in health care, education and other essential services and which will disproportionately affect women.
·       Create "Green Jobs" in the United States and defund foreign wars and military bases.

Speakers at Vigil: 
Ed Ott, Murphy Institute; Owen Rogers, Equal Employment Council; Gibb Surette, U.S. Labor Against the War; Trudy Goldberg, National Jobs for All Coalition; Gaby Moreno, National Organization for Women-NYS

Endorsed by: 
Americans for Democratic Action, NYC Chapter • Communications Workers of America, Local 1180 • Democratic Socialists of America, NYC Chapter • Empire State Economic Security Campaign • FIGHT BACK • Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition • Healing of the Nations Fndtn, Rev. James Forbes, Jr., Pres. • Hunger Action Network of NY State • Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, NYC Chapter • National Assoc. of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET), CWA Local 16 • National Jobs for All Coalition • National Organization for Women – NYS • New York Jobs with Justice • Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, AFT Local 2334 • The American 99ers Union • U.S. Labor Against the War, NYC Chapter • Veterans for Peace, NYC Chapter • Workers Defense League, Inc. 

• Individual Endorsements, org. for identification only: 
Tom Anderson, Vice Chairman, Organization of Staff Analysts • Keith Brooks, United Federation of Teachers • Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder, Organization United for Peace and Justice • Barbara Garson, author • Connie Gruber • Martin Melkonian, Adj. Assoc. Professor, Hofstra University • Ed Ott, former Exec. Dir. NYC Central Labor Council • Dorothy Savage, Former Dir. of Education & Leadership Ministries, The National Council of Churches • Julia Willebrand, delegate, U.S. Green Party Natl. Committee

Contact: national vigil coordinator Logan Martinez (937-433-8260 or 937-275-7259 or loganmartinez(at)
NYS vigil coordinator, Noreen Connell, 212-586-3257 or norconnell(at)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rally for Women's Health

Posted by:
Micah Bochart

See below for a post I made on by blog regarding yesterday's fantastic Rally for Women's Health on my own blog:

   Prior to the sun slipping behind the nearest high-rise, the weather in fact bordered on pleasant, bus as soon as the shade swept over us, the drop in temperature inevitably invited comments from the MC about how glad she was to see so many people standing vigilant in spite of the cold.
     It's difficult to attend a rally without hearing some permutation of that claim, but in this case, the statement was more than just, not only because of the chill of the air, but also the importance and immediacy of the cause. The House of Representatives has launched a brutal assault on Planned Parenthood and related entities, voting to defund organizations critical to the healthcare and well-being of women. In a bizarrely horrific parallel gesture, anti-choice billboards have appeared in New York City claiming that "the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," a sickening appropriation of racist rhetoric to construe a women's right to choose as a genocidal act. Saturday's Rally for Women's Health, held in Manhattan's Foley Square, took a stand against these forces, aimed at both endorsing the right of choice and confronting the paradoxical right-wing logic that condemns abortion but undermines the accessibility of birth control and family planning.      
     I attended the rally in my capacity as a member of the Young Feminist Task Force of the National Organization for Women. The turnout was spectacular, as were its speakers, a diverse array featuring, among others, activist Shelby Knox, New York Senator Charles Schumer, Christine Quinn (Speaker of the New York City Council), U.S. Representative from Brooklyn Anthony Weiner (one of the rally's most inspiring orators) and an intended appearance by Gloria Steinem, who canceled due to illness but sent her impassioned support.
     Though my emotions ran high throughout the rally, my somewhat notorious and frequently embarrassing propensity for tearing up in public didn't kick in until a local reverend from Judson Memorial Church articulated the degree to which Christianity, at its theological roots, landed on the side of women; that the religious groups colluding with the anti-choice right are in fact as un-Christian as they come. "Jesus Christ respected women," she proclaimed, with an intensity of spirit to which my blog-based quotation can't even begin to do justice.
     That so many religions arising from concepts of love and benevolence (Islam another outstanding example) have in the liberal eye become conjoined with violence and oppression is just one tragedy of many that the fanatics and fundamentalists have brought to bear. The pronouncement to a square full of feminists that God came down on the side of choice, liberty, and the rights of women was more than enough to choke me up.
     Lucky for me, it was not yet cold enough to freeze the tears to my face.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sat, 2/26, Rally for Women's Health in NYC: Final Press Release



(212) 274-7294(w)/ (646) 820-3603(c)/




New York, NY – On Saturday, February 26, thousands of people came together in Foley Square, in downtown Manhattan, to stand up for women's health, and fight back against the recent Congressional attacks against Planned Parenthood and family planning funding.


The rally comes on the heels of passage of dangerous anti-choice legislation in the House of Representatives, which, if made into law, would eliminate basic health care and education services for millions of Americans – and according to Department of Health estimates, 800,000 New Yorkers. 


Not only would this legislation cut funding for America's Family Planning Program, Title X, but would also prevent Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any federal funds for STD testing, pregnancy testing, lifesaving cancer screenings and other services.


The rally was organized by a broad coalition of reproductive rights and health groups, and featured more than 40 speakers as well as celebrities and musical acts.


"For the millions of women who depend on Planned Parenthood's more than 800 health centers for their care, these proposals would undermine their health, putting them at risk for undiagnosed cancers and unintended pregnancies," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "These proposals will not create jobs, reduce the deficit or fix the economy. This is a war on women's health, and it must stop."


"Planned Parenthood is part of the very fabric of this country. Over 97% percent of our work is preventive - including lifesaving cancer screenings, STI and HIV testing, contraceptive counseling and birth control and GYN exams," said Joan Malin, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. "Here in New York City we serve nearly 50,000 New Yorkers -- the majority of them low-income women, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. We must stop this legislation now. "


 "The anti-choice movement, who has coined 'pro-life,' has anything but respect for life," said Jerin Arifa, Chair of National Organization for Women Young Feminist Task Force. "Its representatives just voted to cut nurtrition funding from pregnant women, babies and kids.  Pro-choice is pro-life. We are the true pro-life movement. We need to reclaim the language as our own. Let's call the anti-choice movement what it truly is – the anti-life movement."


"The attack on women's health by extremists in Congress is the last thing American families need when millions still have no jobs and no health insurance," said Lois Uttley, co-founder of Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need. "Women who are struggling financially need affordable family planning services – not moralistic lectures from Congressmen who have the world's best health plan."


"The proposed cuts through HR1 is another example of how the anti-choice movement – who has coined 'pro-life,' – has anything but respect for life. In addition to Title X funding, HR1 proposes to cut nurtrition funding from pregnant women, babies and kids." said Julie Burkhart, Executive Director of Trust Women. "Not only do the anti-choice congress members not trust women to make decisions over our own bodies, but they are cutting off resources for pregnant women and infants – the same groups they claim to care about. This is why at Trust Women, we follow the late Dr. Tiller's philosophy to 'Trust Women' to make decisions about if and when we choose to carry out a pregnancy, and the best way to care for our children - if we choose to be mothers."   


"On behalf of the over 35,000 patients who seek care at our centers, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic is outraged by the extreme ideological attacks targeting Planned Parenthood," said Reina Schiffrin, President/CEO, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP). "We call on the Senate to stand with Planned Parenthood and protect the reproductive futures of our patients."


"There's no question the new Republican leadership has just shown they have no concern for women's health care," said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, "and are willing to score political points with their base at expense of women by passing the Pence amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood. We are determined to stop passage of the Pence amendment in the final Continuing Resolution, or millions of women will lose access to Planned Parenthood contraceptive and health care services, including STD/HIV testing, breast exams, and preventive cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood and its affiliates were the only groups in the entire Continuing Resolution that were targeted by name for exclusion, despite the fact that millions of Americans trust, respect and choose Planned Parenthood for their health care."


"In the face of Congress's shameful and unprecedented assault on a woman's ability to access reproductive healthcare, NPCNY joins PPNYC and our allies in standing up for women's health and rights," said Mary Alice Carr, Vice President for Communications for NARAL Pro-Choice New York. "Politicians' outrageous attempts to place more barriers in the way of abortion care will do nothing to reduce the number of abortions and will only force women to to take drastic measures. Their simultaneous efforts to defund family planning (the best way to actually reduce unintended pregnancy) and leave millions of women who live paycheck to paycheck with nowhere to turn for safe, affordable care is hypocritical at best and potentially disastrous at worst."


"The House of Representatives has launched a frontal assault on women's health, autonomy and family values," Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "The right to information and services necessary to engage in sexual activity, without compromising health and autonomy, is essential to women's equality and dignity. All New Yorkers should stand up to this attack on women."










The Rally is sponsored by: Choice Matters, Community Health Network, Family Planning Advocates of New York State, Feminist Majority Foundation, Inwood House, Long Island Think Tank for Black Progress, NARAL Pro-Choice NY, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Council of Jewish Women New York Section, New York Civil Liberties Union, NOW-New York City, NOW-New York State, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Planned Parenthood of New York City, PRCH, Public Health Association of New York City, Public Health Solutions, Raising Women's Voices, Reproductive Health Access Project, SisterSong NY, Trust Black Women, Trust Women, United Neighborhood Houses, Women's Media Center, YWCA of Brooklyn

Sat, Feb 26: Join Us & Thousand Others to Stand Up For Women’s Health

Please join us, the NOW New York State Young Feminist Task Force, along with thousands of other pro-choice activists at the following rally.

The anti-choice movement, who has coined “pro-life,” has anything but respect for life. Its Reps just voted to cut nutrition funding from pregnant women, babies and kids.  Pro-choice is pro-life. We are the true pro-life movement. We need to reclaim the language as our own. Let's call the anti-choice movement what it truly is – the anti-life movement.

In Solidarity,

N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Join Thousands to Stand Up For Women’s Health including Gloria Steinem, Senator Charles Schumer, Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Kathleen Turner, Kathleen Hanna, the Mountain Goats, Nellie McKay, Maddy Wyatt, and More 

On Saturday, February 26, celebrities, elected officials, musicians and women’s health leaders will join thousands of New Yorkers in Foley Square to rally and stand up for women’s health.

The rally comes on the heels of last Friday's passage of the Pence Amendment, a dangerous piece of legislation which, if made into law, would eliminate basic health care and education services for millions of Americans – and according to department of health estimates, 800,000 New Yorkers.

This Saturday, thousands from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, along with celebrities, musicians, non-profit organizations, and elected officials, will stand up for women’s health, and encourage Senators to reject the Pence amendment, and send a clear message to members of Congress that attacks on women’s health are attacks on all of us.

WHAT: Rally to Protect Women’s Health

WHERE: Foley Square, Across from the Court House in Lower Manhattan
Between Lafayette St. & Centre St.; New York, NY 10007

WHEN: Saturday, February 26, from 1-3pm

WHO: Elected Officials:
- Senator Charles Schumer
- Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
- Congressman Jerry Nadler
- Public Advocate Bill deBlasio
- Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
- State Senator Liz Kruger
- State Senator Gustavo Rivera
- Assembly Member Dick Gottfried
- Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal
- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
- New York City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin
- New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras
- Others TBD 

Notable Speakers:
- Gloria Steinem
- Kathleen Turner
- Kathleen Hanna
- Amanda Marcotte
- Cecile Richards
- Others TBD 

- Nellie McKay
- The Mountain Goats
- Maddy Wyatt
- Others TBD 

- Patients & Activists
- Others TBD

The Rally is sponsored by: Choice Matters, Community Health Network, Family Planning Advocates of New York State, Feminist Majority Foundation, Inwood House, NARAL Pro-Choice NY, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Council of Jewish Women New York Section, New York Civil Liberties Union, NOW-New York City, NOW-New York State, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Planned Parenthood of New York City, PRCH, Public Health Association of New York City, Public Health Solutions, Raising Women's Voices, Reproductive Health Access Project, SisterSong NY, Trust Black Women, Trust Women, United Neighborhood Houses, Women's Media Center, YWCA of Brooklyn

Friday, February 25, 2011

Protect Women's Lives: 4,766 more signatures needed by Monday

Congress could take away women's access to birth control and critical reproductive-health care services unless we send a big message to the Senate.

45,234 people have contacted their senators in the last few days. That's absolutely amazing. But we cannot leave anything to chance - help us reach 50,000.

Contact your senators right now and tell them to protect funding for Planned Parenthood and other local health centers. We'll deliver your messages starting Monday at events across the country and here in Washington, D.C.

Thanks for standing up for the five million women and men who could lose access to basic health care.

- Nancy

The House votes to defund Planned Parenthood!

It's up to the Senate to say "no."

We need to send 50,000 emails to the Senate. Send your email right now.

take action

The U.S. House of Representatives has declared war on birth control

The House has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate funding for family planning at other local health centers. It means that women in your community could lose access to birth control, Pap smears, breast-cancer screenings, and many other types of preventive health care.

We must make a big statement right now to call on the Senate to say no to this devastating cut. Help us send 50,000 emails to the Senate in the next seven days.

Anti-choice lawmakers' attacks today are just plain irresponsible. Cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and other health centers would leave at least five million women and men without access to basic health care. Where will these people go for critical services?

We are talking about birth-control prescriptions… screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer… testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases… Pap tests… annual exams… and prenatal and well‐baby care.

Tell your senators to stand up for the nation's family-planning program and the five million people it serves.

I know a lot of women and men who turned to a Planned Parenthood while they were in college or between jobs. And I'm sure you do, too.

That's why this is a huge moment for all of us who are pro-choice. We understand what it means to make responsible choices about preventing unintended pregnancy and protecting our reproductive health, even when money is tight.

Anti-choice lawmakers clearly don't. They're out of touch with the reality of women's lives.

Our opponents are attacking health-care services that are vital to women. This is not a symbolic belt-tightening gesture. This attack is personal. It's about all of us.

Help me get make sure the Senate does not compromise women's health. Send your senators an email now and help us reach 50,000 emails.

Together, we will fight this war on women's health care – and win. 

Nancy Keenan

Nancy Keenan
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Sat 2/26 at Noon: DC Walk for Choice Rally

The National Organization for Women

Join NOW and other reproductive rights allies for the D.C. Walk for Choice Rally. We will be peacefully demonstrating for women's right to safe, affordable and accessible family planning, as well as abortion care. Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures performed in the United States -- more than one in three women have an abortion during their life. Safe and legal abortion saves lives. We must work to keep it that way!

Be part of a series of events taking place across the country and around the globe. Here's our chance in D.C.!

What: D.C. Walk for Choice Rally 2011
When: Saturday, Feb. 26, 12 noon
Where: Upper Senate Park
Between Constitution Ave NW & C St NW and
New Jersey Ave NW & Delaware Ave NE
Metro: Union Station (red line)
Facebook Event:
Official Website:
Twitter Hashtags: #walk4choice and #feb26

Show your support for women everywhere, and defend your right to bodily autonomy! Stop the GOP from eliminating access to vital health care!

See you on Saturday, and wear ORANGE if you can.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fri, Feb 25: 2-3:30pm: The Media’s Sexual Objectification of Women: A Human Rights Violation

The National Organization for Women
Come hear NOW President Terry O'Neill speak in New York City, Feb. 25, on an exciting panel about the impact of media, marketing and technology on women and girls. Joining O'Neill on the panel are the renowned Jean Kilbourne and other distinguished women.
What: "Women & Girls - Marketing, Advertising, Media, Technology vs. Education, Physical & Mental Health, Dignity, Human Rights"
A parallel event of the fifty-fifth session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women
Who: Terry O'Neill - President, National Organization for Women
Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. - author, lecturer, filmmaker, expert on the image of women and girls in advertising
Hendrica Okondo - Regional Director for Africa & Middle East, World YWCA
Lois A. Herman - Coordinator, Women's UN Report Network
Australian Government Body Image Initiative
Moderator: Denise Scotto, Esq - VP, International Federation of Women in
Legal Careers; UN Representative, International Federation of Women Lawyers
When: Friday, Feb. 25, 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Where: Salvation Army Social Justice Commission
221 E. 52nd St.
New York City, NY
Sponsors: Women's UN Report Network (WUNRN)
National Organization for Women (NOW)
World YWCA - Young Women's Christian Association
Worldwide Organization for Women (WOW)
The panel is open to the pubic, free of charge. We hope to see you there for an insightful discussion of this important topic.
Thanks for all you do for NOW and women's rights!

Action Alert: Reproductive Rights in Grave Danger

Dear Pro-Choice supporter,

I'm resending this message because of my grave concerns about Speaker Boehner's attempts to cement the Hyde Amendment into law, and even prevent women from receiving life-saving abortion care. Together we can fight back. I hope you will consider a contribution today.


Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Feminist Action Network, National Organization for Women

Abortion Rights in Jeopardy

Dear Jerin,

Keep Abortion Legal NOW Round

You read that right. On the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, abortion rights are very much in jeopardy.

New Republican leaders in Congress have made their intentions frighteningly clear -- they intend to eliminate women's reproductive freedom. We need your help.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) decisively set the tone for the new Congress when his chief of staff met with anti-abortion rights extremist Randall Terry, who said Dr. George Tiller "reaped what he sowed" after he was shot to death inside his church. And that was just the beginning.

Anti-abortion rights extremist Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) has been installed as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which has jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurers. You can bet he will use this position to re-introduce radical restrictions on abortion funding.

Meanwhile, there's an urgent threat to abortion rights already moving through the House -- the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This bill would expand and make permanent the notorious Hyde Amendment, and drastically reduce access to medically necessary emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals.

With your help, NOW can and will fight back. A small monthly contribution of $10, $25 or even $50 will make you a member of the Feminist Action Network and a key contributor to our efforts to keep abortion safe, legal and accessible.

These regular gifts are monthly funding we can count on, and they help more than you will ever know, as we work to thwart the efforts of a House majority intent on overturning Roe v. Wade.

We don't have a moment to spare. Please let me hear from you right away.

For women's lives,
Terry's signature
Terry O'Neill, President
National Organization for Women

P.S. Every dollar counts. If you are unable to make a monthly gift, please consider the most generous one-time contribution you can afford.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thu Feb. 24, Astoria: Press Conference & Rally against Domestic Violence Victims


When:  Thursday , February 24, 2011

Candle Vigil: 11:00 am sharp
Crescent Chemist Inc. Pharmacy , 24-12 34th Avenue, Long Island City  NY 11106 Between  Crescent and 24 St.
Followed by a Walk to the 114 Precinct

Press Conference:  Noon sharp in front of the 114 Police Precinct,
 34-16 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, NY

Contact: Dulce Mateo 917-207-1742, Dulce@NDWC2.ORG

What: A group of  Latinas  organizations  in memory of the three most recent victims of domestic  violence in New York City  Giummia Villa, Yelena Bulchenko, and Anna Bulchenko will be holding a candle vigil  to be followed by a Press Conference

WHO: National Dominican Women's Caucus, Women Workers for Peace, La Peña del Bronx, DONAR, New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence, Victim Intervention Program

WHY: 2,592,000 cases where a woman is abused or killed occur every year, which equals to 216,000 per month, 7,200 per day, 300 per hour, 5 per minute, 1 every 12 seconds!!!!

Giummia Villa, 32 was shot dead Thursday February 10, 2011 when ex, Alexander Figueroa carrying flowers for her-walked into the Long Island pharmacy where Ms. Villa worked and opened fire. Villa had turned to Family Court for help shortly before her murder. Villa had taken out an order of protection against Figueroa in Queens. Orders of protection proved to be useless, we need to demand legal reforms to protect women; we need to change the statistic that says that every 12 seconds a woman is abused or killed by an abusive partner.   There has to be a better way to show love than to kill the mother of your children.

Who we are : We are a group of peace, justice and violence prevention organizations who advocate for women's rights to a peaceful existence.  These groups of  non-profit organizations  serving the City of New York provide counseling, shelter, and legal services  to help women create their safe environment.  These groups are demanding  that  more effective programs and legislations  be implemented in order for the Police and Family Court to react in a more effective  manner in order to prevent murders. Ni Una Mas/ Not One More

Zenaida Mendez

...In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. [Martin Luther King Jr.]

It means that it is the true test of friendship and character for friends to stick up for you and stand by you when the going gets tough, even when it may not be publicly or politically advantageous.

Que la luz, el Amor y el Poder restablezcan el PLAN de la TIERRA.

U.S. Catholic Bishops Major Force Behind War on Women: NOW Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116
U.S. Catholic Bishops Major Force Behind War on Women

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
February 23, 2011
The collusion of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has led to an open declaration of war on the women of this country. The bishops have long sought to enshrine into law those policies of the Catholic Church that subordinate women. And they don't care how badly women get hurt in the process.
In the last election, the bishops helped to elect legislators that would do their bidding, which includes enacting dangerous and discriminatory bills denying women safe, accessible and affordable abortion care and family planning, even encouraging hospitals to let women die in the name of 'life.'
A recent poll shows abortion 'barely registers' among voter priorities, and yet Speaker Boehner has declared barring federal funding for abortion care a 'highest priority' -- responding not to the call of his constituents but to the demands of the bishops. And it turns out abortion isn't the only target, as evidenced by their stunningly dangerous efforts that, if enacted, can and will result in the preventable deaths of women:
The proposed continuing resolution passed by the House to temporarily keep the government functioning would zero out Title X family planning, which has never covered abortion care. Should this gain traction in the Senate, millions of women, the vast majority of whom have incomes of less than $11,000 per year, will lose access to pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and contraception. It is a public health nightmare -- but a dream-come-true for the Catholic bishops.
HR 358, which many are calling the 'Let the Women Die Act' not only brings back Rep. Joe Pitts' (R-Pa.) rejected Stupak-Pitts proposition from health care reform, but also encourages providers to refuse training, performance and even referral of abortion care. This bill gives our government's 'blessing' to any emergency room that would let a pregnant woman die rather than perform an abortion procedure that could save her life.
HR 3, also known as 'Stupak on Steroids,' would enshrine the Hyde Amendment into law and expand it to impose tax penalties on millions of families and businesses whose private insurance covers abortion care, thereby expanding the scope of Internal Revenue Service audits to the area between women's legs. In testifying in favor of this bill in committee, a representative from the Catholic bishops proudly supported revoking abortion rights even in cases of rape. You read that right -- and isn't that rich, coming from the very men who have consistently protected sexually abusive priests?
And HR 217, which NOW has dubbed the 'Public Health Nightmare Act,' would permanently eliminate Title X family planning services, leaving millions of women and men stranded without essential services like birth control, cancer screenings and screenings for HIV/AIDS and STDs.  Pro-life? Hardly.
Not only are these assaults on women's rights at odds with generally accepted medical practice and flatly unethical, there is little doubt that they will kill women.
The National Organization for Women is fighting back against these efforts in coalition with our allies and women's health advocates across the country. We also renew our demand that the federal government require the all-male and violently anti-woman U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops follow the same lobbying and disclosure requirements that currently apply to everyone else.

Let's Talk About It: Help Lead the Discussion on Body Image!

NOW Action Alert

Let's Talk About It: Help Lead the Discussion on Body Image!

take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Take Action:

In support of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 20-26), NOW Foundation's Love Your Body campaign is encouraging women to speak up and speak out about body image -- on camera! A unique video campaign, Let's Talk About It provides a space for women and girls to talk about struggles and success with body image.

Learn more about the project and how to submit your video.


For more than a decade, NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign has been calling out the fashion, cosmetics and advertising industries for promoting unrealistic images of women. The campaign encourages women and girls to celebrate their bodies and reject the narrow beauty standards endorsed in the media.

"The airbrushed body type portrayed as ideal is naturally possessed by less than five percent of women," says NOW Foundation Education Vice President Erin Matson. "Let's talk about why it's so important to put an end to this madness with the most powerful tool we have: Our own stories."

The Let's Talk About It project is a way for YOU to help lead a spirited discussion about body image issues.

"Having overcome anorexia myself, it's deeply important to me that we do everything we can to stop other women and girls from having to go through what I did," says Matson.

Learn more about the project and how to submit your video.

If you're tired of being bombarded by retouched pictures telling you how women should look, if you're done with advertisers portraying women as objects to be consumed, if you're ready to talk back, then join us. Make a video telling the world why you're embracing the real you. Help us spread the word, and you might even be featured on the Let's Talk About It website.

"I encourage everyone to make a video and post it online," says Matson. An impressive list of activists, editors, models and actors have already signed-on and created videos. "Your voice might be the one that reaches a girl or woman who is struggling with her self-image. And together, the more videos we create, the more we become part of the solution."

YOU are the expert. YOU know what it's like to be a woman or girl in our looks-obsessed culture. So get talking!

Learn more about the project and how to submit your video.

take action and then donate

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