meme detailing the hypocrisy of the majority of the PA House of Representatives taking 9+ months to pass a budget but just 3 days to move a anti-abortion law to the floor for a final vote.

Hypocrisy: Abortion Ban More Important than the PA State Budget

With dangerous proposals like House Bill 1948, Pennsylvania politicians are once again inserting themselves in the most private and personal medical decisions best left between a woman and her doctor.

This bill would ban abortion at 20 weeks and ban one of the most common types of abortion procedures. Almost 99% of abortions take place before 21 weeks, but when a woman seeks a later abortion it’s often n very complex circumstances. Yet anti-abortion access legislators in Harrisburg want to make this private and personal medical decision for women & families in Pennsylvania by passing HB 1948.

It took this same legislature over 280 days to pass the 2015-2016 budget, yet it only took THREE DAYS to introduce (April 1) and send (April 4) this bill to the full House for a floor vote. The debate and final vote in the PA House of Representatives is expected as early as Tuesday, April 12.

The Hypocrisy? 3  days to make war on women’s bodies. 9+ months to pass state budget funding critical government safety programs, education, and the general running of state and local services!

meme detailing the hypocrisy of the majority of the PA House of Representatives taking 9+ months to pass a budget but just 3 days to move a anti-abortion law to the floor for a final vote.

The Hypocrisy of the PA Legislature

What’s wrong with this picture? If it were to become law, HB 1948 would create one of the most restrictive, harmful, and unconstitutional abortion bans in the United States. It would change the states abortion ban from 24 weeks (that’s the edge of viability) to 20 weeks.

It would also outlaw the safest form of 2nd trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). According to a statement released by ACOG, “these restrictions represent legislative interference at its worst: doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients.”

Although relatively rare, 2nd trimester abortions done in a safe and timely manner are necessary. Here’s one woman’s story. As Julie says in this video, “This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with the choices my husband and I needed to make.”

And here’s another story. This one is from Evelyn, who says, “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Whether or not to have an abortion is a decision that should always be made between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her god.”

As you can see from these two women who were willing to come forward with their personal stories, it’s clear that lawmakers should not interfere with personal medical decisions. A woman considering an abortion is already facing challenging circumstances. We’re not in her shoes. We should not deny her the ability to make a decision in consultation with those she trusts. And no matter how we feel about abortion, we can all agree that a woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions. Lawmakers are not medical experts and this is not an area where lawmakers should be intruding.

HB 1948 also places women at risk by ignoring individual circumstances and health needs. Her health and safety is paramount. Providers and their patients may determine later abortion care is the best medical option for a variety of reasons. HB 1948 would take the decision out of the hands of patients and their trusted medical care providers and put it in the hands of politicians. This would endanger women and jeopardize safe, legal abortion care.

These types of attacks are aimed at criminalizing abortion and attack women’s constitutional rights. 20-week bans are unconstitutional and a clear attempt to erode Roe v. Wade at the expense of women’s health. In fact, 20-week ban proponents are outspoken about their goal to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. Eliminating access to safe, constitutional and legal abortion services is a war on women from legislators attempting to impose their morality and narrow view of religious

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade also recognized that different moral and religious traditions have differing views on abortion. Protecting a woman’s ability to make her own decision about ending a pregnancy is critical to respecting her religious freedom. It is unjust for lawmakers to privilege the views of those who oppose abortion and seek to impose those beliefs on everyone, as doing so would directly block a woman’s ability to make her own faith-informed decision on this personal matter.

Bottom Line: While a majority of abortions in the United States occur in the first trimester, it is important that a woman, her family, and her doctor have every medical option available whenever she needs it. Laws banning later abortion would take that deeply personal decision away.

If you are part of the majority of voters who opposes these bans, contact your legislator today and urge them to oppose HB 1948.

 

On a stage with no vaginas, there were a lot of opinions about vaginas

Keep Abortion Legal NOW Round

Keep Abortion Legal NOW Round (http://www.now.org/issues/abortion/)

On Thursday evening, August 6, FOX News aired two sets of GOP presidential debates. From both the questioners and the candidates, there were a lot of opinions about vaginas on both stages by people mostly without vaginas. Also a lot of bullying – of women and of immigrants. Is that the only opinions they have? Sad…

Margaret and Helen

Margaret, let’s be clear. I am obviously using the term vagina in the narrowest sense of the word as defined by the Republican Party: a noun referring to women. And it was pretty clear at the debate that vaginas have no value unless a baby needs to pass through one on its way to church or its minimum wage job. Of course, if that baby is black or brown, then the intended destination changes to either prison or Mexico respectively.

I don’t pretend to think that any of the presidential candidates will ever read what I write, but if they did I hope they will remember this:

Millions of women have been going to Planned Parenthood for nearly 100 years. We all remember the exceptional care and the quality of the information we received from the staff at those clinics. We remember when Planned Parenthood staff held our hands and…

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Jeb for President? Part II

Nel of Nel’s New Day has done several blogs on the 2016 presidential candidates. Most of them have been about the GOP candidates (might that be because the “Grand Old Party” seems to be having a free-for-all?).

Jeb Bush merited three days of her blogging. I reblogged the first one earlier today. Here is the second one. e is the And finally, here is the third one.

Nel's New Day

king bushJeb Bush’s plan for the half of 2015: raise tens of millions of dollars, separate himself from his brother’s presidency, win conservatives, and become the Republican who will win the GOP nomination. Thus far, he’s raised the money. Asked about his brother, he waffles between supporting him and trying to find a way to please people who disagree with George W. Bush’s Iraq War. Conservatives still don’t like him, and he has appeared incompetent through answers to questions and consistent flip-flopping.

Last week he changed his campaign manager to the more negative and conservative Danny Diaz, meaning that Bush may have reconsidered whether he’ll still campaign “joyfully.” Diaz’s participation in Bush II’s campaign is another connection between Jeb and Dubya. One Bush ally said that Diaz will signal that “the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents.” Pickett’s Charge on…

View original post 1,447 more words

Abortion ‘Hostility’ Depends on Your Zip Code

If you live in the South, your access to reproductive health services is greatly reduced. The same is true for a few other states, like Ohio, Indiana, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Why? Because the legislators in 27 states have decided to place themselves and their misogynistic beliefs between the decisions you would normally make about your reproductive health in consultation with your medical care provider. And in 18 of these states, the legislators are considered to be “extremely hostile” to women’s healthcare.

It’s gotten significantly worse in the last four years. State legislators have placed restrictions on access to abortion as well as on family planning and related services.

The 18 most hostile states are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Here’s more to this story.  Read below and then check out the full report at the Guttmacher Institute.

From 2011 to 2014, the number of legislative restrictions against abortion rights skyrocketed to 231, quadrupling the number of restrictions within just three years. In 2014 alone, legislators enacted 26 brand new measures to restrict access to abortion rights.

According to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, the number of measures enacted are not just surging, but the severity of these ‘hostility’ classifications is alarming and threatening to women’s rights.

The same 18 states keep introducing these measures, and all of these states lie in the South and Midwest. According the report, thirty-eight percent of the country is now considered to be extremely hostile to abortion rights.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 11.53.32 AM

What does it mean when a state is “extremely hostile towards abortion”? 

It means that states can grant ‘fetal personhood’ in lieu of a pregnant woman’s rights, thereby prioritizing fetal rights over women’s rights. (Ahem, Tennessee.) It means that a pregnant woman…

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Elizabeth Warren Stumps for Jeanne Shaheen

picture of Senator Elizabeth Warren stumping for Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Senator Elizabeth Warren stumping for Senator Jeanne Shaheen

The National NOW PAC sent three NOW activists up to New Hampshire to work on the campaigns of the three Congressional candidates that they have endorsed for the 2014 elections. We have been embedded within the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign as an in-donation to their campaigns for reelection. The three are all women and all are up for reelection. They are Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Ann Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

Senator Shaheen is in a tight race with carpet-bagging former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. After losing his reelection race for the US Senate in Massachusetts, he “moved” to his vacation home in New Hampshire and is now running against Senator Shaheen for her Senate seat.

Picture of Shaheen and We Vote Signs

Shaheen and We Vote Signs

On Tuesday, October 21, after a day of phone banking for the candidates, we participated in a visibility event for Senator Shaheen. There were about 100 or more Shaheen supporters holding signs large and small; Brown’s supporters had about 30 or 40 supporters.

Then we went inside and listened to the debate between Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen. My favorite line occurred at the very end of the debate. The moderator asked each candidate what one thing they would like to tell their opponent. Shaheen commented that Brown had run for the Massachusetts Senatorial seat and lost to now Senator Elizabeth Warren. Then he considered running for Governor of Massachusetts. And then he decided to claim that he was no longer from Massachusetts but from New Hampshire and would therefore run in a second state. Here’s what she said and what I tweeted

.@JeanneShaheen to @SenScottBrown “#NH isn’t a consolation prize.” Carpet bagger! Vote 4 the true people’s choice. Shaheen 4 #USSenate @NOWPACs [endorsed]

Who had Scott Brown lost to in Massachusetts? Senator Elizabeth Warren. She along with people throughout New Hampshire and throughout the country see Brown’s race as that of an opportunistic Carpet Bagger. Senator Warren put that thought to words four days later when she came to stump for Senator Shaheen in Durham, Concord, and Keene.

picture of Shaheen Supporters outside IBEW Hall in Concord NH

Shaheen Supporters outside IBEW Hall in Concord NH

I attended the “Get Out the Vote for Jeanne Shaheen with Elizabeth Warren” in Concord, NH. I took a video of the entire rally and took some pictures as well. We stood outside the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Concord for about 30 minutes before the doors opened and then went inside and waited for Senators Shaheen and Warren.

Waiting inside the IBEW Hall in Concord NH to hear Senators Shaheen & Warren 2014-10-25 13.13.51

Supporters waiting inside the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall to hear Senators Shaheen and Warren

The first speaker was Jim Bouley, Mayor of Concord. Here’s his introduction of Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

Senator Shaheen then spoke. This portion of the rally is contained in the following two videos:


And then Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke.

After the rally, the NOW PAC Feminist Field Force in New Hampshire (three NOW activists sent to NH to work for the NOW PAC federally endorsed candidates) got a couple of moments to thank Jeanne Shaheen for her passionate commitment to women’s equality and rights.

picture of NOW PAC Feminist Field Force with Senator Jeanne Shaheen

NOW PAC Feminist Field Force with Senator Jeanne Shaheen L to R: Gaby Moreno, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Joanne Tosti-Vasey, and Noreen Connell

Thank you, Jeanne Shaheen!

And if you live in New Hampshire, please get out and vote on November 4 for Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for the US Senate, Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH District 1) for the US House of Representatives, and Annie Kuster (D-NH District 2) for the US House of Representatives.

Stop Violence Against Women NOW diamond

PA Senate: Remove Preemptive Language Amendment on Domestic Violence Bill

Stop Violence Against Women NOW diamond

Stop Violence Against Women NOW

On March 12, I wrote a blog about the “Shenanigans in the PA Senate.” The day before my blog, the PA Senate essentially eviscerated a bill that makes it illegal for communities to evict a domestic violence victim from her home for calling 911 “too often.”  The Senate Local Government Committee gutted HB 1796 by denying local communities creating paid and/or unpaid sick leave ordinances which threatens victims of domestic violence with loss of their livelihood if they have to take off from work to protect themselves or their family members and cannot get paid or unpaid sick leave that goes beyond federal or state law.

Because of concerns raised by advocates, the Senate so far has not taken the bill to the floor for debate and a vote.  However, this morning, the Senate posted their floor calendar for Tuesday, September 16.  On the agenda is this bill for third and final consideration.  That means that it is likely to be voted on after some debate.

Over the last month, 157 individuals and human rights, anti-violence, public health, and legal services organizations signed onto a letter to the entire Senate calling on them to remove the preemptive employment leave language adopted in Senate Local
Government Committee and pass a clean bill as originally passed in the House.

Here is that letter; FYI, I am one of the signees:

HB 1796_Sign on Letter

Please take a moment and call your Pennsylvania State Senator and tell him/her to remove the preemptive employment leave language and pass a clean bill.  You can find your Senator’s contact information here.

Thank you.

It’s a Black and White Issue

overturn_hobbylobby_ruling_now.jpg

Show your support for overturning the Hobby Lobby Ruling

Women have rights. It is a black and white issue. Show your support for overturning the Hobby Lobby decision by the US Supreme Court

Rally near your nearest Hobby Lobby protesting this decision. Here’s a link to the Hobby Lobby’s “Store Locator.” Your local NOW chapter may also be participating in a local action. 

Wear Black and White on July 5.

Women Have Rights. It's black and white issue.. Show your support this July 4th. Wear black and white or red and blue.  Change your profil picture to a black and white one. Keep your pic up until August 26.

Women Have Rights. It’s a black and white issue.

And turn your profile picture or banner on all of your social media sites black and white through August 26; this is the anniversary of women’s right to vote being placed into the US Constitution.

Thanks for your support of this action continuing to oppose the War on Women.

Repeal the RFRA and Ratify the ERA

ERA words buttonCorporations should not have more religious rights than woman.  With the US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) Hobby Lobby decision, women’s personally “sincerely held” beliefs now mean nothing.

The Hobby Lobby decision is not based on the US Constitution.  Instead it’s based on a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA combined with the recent Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that granted personhood status to companies. Since there is no constitutional equality for women and therefore no strict scrutiny review for women’s religious and civil rights, this decision eliminating women personal religious beliefs and access to reproductive health coverage occurred.

The RFRA, when combined with this SCOTUS decision, makes women non-persons.

Therefore in order to place women back on equal footing with men (and the “personhood” of corporations as this activist Court has mandated), we need to do two things:

    1. Ratify the ERA — the Equal Rights Amendment — and put women into the US Constitution so that women WILL be equally treated as people and not as objects to be pushed around by the will of corporations and by gender bigots.
    2. Repeal the RFRA  –  The Freedom From Religion Foundation placed an ad in the New York Times entitled Dogma Should NOT trump Civil Liberties that in part states:

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. Now, the Supreme Court asserts that corporations have “religious rights” that surpass those of women.In the words of Justice John Paul Stevens, “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings,no thoughts, no desires” — but real women do. Allowing employers to decide what kind of birth control an employee can use is not,as the Supreme Court ruled, an “exercise of religion.” It is an exercise of tyranny.

I agree.  Repeal the RFRA and put women into the US Constitution.

The repeal of the RFRA would require an act of Congress. That means we need to elect new members to Congress who respect and will stand up for women. So we all need to register to vote and then vote.

We only need three more states to ratify the ERA to make it the 28th amendment to the US Constitution. Illinois is halfway there; their Senate ratified it and we’re now awaiting the vote in the state House.  Just two more states and then we can proudly say:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

 

When Men on the Left Refuse to See Their Sexism

There are two fronts occurring in the War on Women. The first front is combines ALEC (that’s the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council—click here for an expose on ALEC) with right-wing legislatures to create bills and laws, among their many attacks, that impinge on women’s reproductive justice, economic sustainability, marriage, etc., etc., etc. I have done several blogs on this issue; the most comprehensive one focused on the 20+ years of attacks on women’s lives in Pennsylvania. The second front is the use of right-wing rhetoric that uses misogynistic language resulting over time in the oppression of women. This rhetoric includes pejorative words that focus on “lady parts” and statements that either degrade women and their position in society or place them on a paternalistic pedestal where these women need to be “protected.” People on both the left and the right—sometimes without awareness—incorporate this rhetoric into their everyday language. Which then feeds into the first front I mentioned: legislating rights away from women.
About a year ago, Muslim Reverie, a blogger who advocates for an “anti-racist, anti-colonial feminism,” wrote this blog on how men on the left of the political spectrum refuse to see or acknowledge their sexism. This blog I’m re-posting today focuses on this second front of rhetoric in the war on women. It includes several ideas for thought – use of white privilege; use of misogynistic language without taking into account its effects on women, particularly women of color; and how this rhetoric perpetuates the sexist oppression of women.
Take a moment to read this thought-provoking blog. I think this is a great summary of this second frontal attack on women’s lives.

Update on Wendy Davis’ Filibuster in TX

Late last night, I reblogged a bio of Texas Senator Wendy Davis.  She is the woman who filibustered Texas’s proposed TRAP law – SB 5.  This bill would have contained several burdensome restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to seek a safe, legal abortion, including:

  • Limit[ing] most abortions to the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy.
  • Requir[ing] that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
  • Requir[ing] abortion clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgery center.
  • Put[ting] new rules [into place] around abortion-inducing medications, including requiring that women take such medicines in the presence of a doctor.

Along with over 180,000 people, I watched in real-time the YouTube streaming of the filibuster, parliamentary procedures, and the eruption of voices in the gallery until 1 am Central time (2 am my time here in Pennsylvania) when the YouTube feed was shut down.

NPR has a good report on what happened.

Apparently votes are electronically recorded and time stamped into the legislative journal.  Reporters took pictures of these records immediately after the vote.  The initial record had a time stamp of “June 26, 2013,” which was after the constitutionally mandated shut-down of a special legislative session.

Then a few minutes later, the time stamp mysteriously changed from “June 26, 2013” to “June 25, 2013.” Republicans allegedly changed the time stamp for the SB5 abortion bill vote. Behold the magic from Becca Aarronson, reporter at the Texas Tribune that shows this doctored document.

Picture of the Texas legislative journal on SB 5 before and after  time-stamp change.

Texas legislative journal on SB 5 before and after someone doctored the time stamp.

So why did the Lt. Governor and the radical right-wing concede?  Because of the excellent work of reporters in Texas who were able to show that the recorded vote occurred after midnight.

There was chaos on the floor and outrage when the Lieutenant Governor said that the bill had passed before the midnight deadline.  The Democrats continued to contest the Lt. Governor’s ruling, noting that the voting ended after midnight.  Which was documented  by the automatic time stamp and noticed by the press.

Because the vote actually occurred at 12:02 am on Wednesday rather than before the Tuesday midnight deadline, the Republicans finally conceded that they had lost this fight a little after 4 am Central time when Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said,

“Regrettably, the constitutional time for the first called session of the 83rd Legislature has expired. Senate Bill 5 cannot be signed in the presence of the Senate at this time. Therefore, it cannot be enrolled. It’s been fun, but seeya soon.

Thank you everyone, especially Senators Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) for her filibuster and Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) for his knowledge of parliamentary procedures.  They helped create this much-needed victory on the war on women in Texas.

Meanwhile, I hope there is an investigation of this attempted tampering of the record in order to circumvent Texas’ Constitution!

And here’s my thank you to Senator Davis:

red heard surrounding Senator Davis' tweet thanking the public for the support of her fillibuster.

My home-made meme to express my heartfelt thanks for Senator Davis’ successful filibustering.