Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fetus Protection Acts: Women as Wombs Only?

Below is the web address for an excerpt from Our Bodies, Or Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America by Jeanne Flavin. (c) 2009 NYU Press.

Laws that forefront crimes against fetuses, do so by ignoring the mother themselves. As NY Rep. Jerry Nadler has pointed out, violence against women's funding has been cut by those who claim fetus protection is really a form of protecting women from (domestic) violence...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Women's Rights Are Human Rights

Anna Quindlen reminds President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton of Clinton's own words spoken at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995:
"If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights for one and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely—and the right to be heard. Women must enjoy the rights to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure."
Quindlen sums up the current state of the globe very succinctly: "A simple primer on the state of the world: women do most of the good stuff and get most of the bad. "
Its time for a change.

From Anna Quindlin's Newsweek Column

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Executive Order that is good for women & families

While it only received a brief one liner on the news this morning President Obama is said to be signing an Executive Order today that will lift the Global Gag Order (One of Bush's First Executive Orders) that prohibited US monies to go to any international family planning facilities that conduct, or even discuss (thus, promote ), abortions including referring women to other facilities that do or conduct any pro-abortion lobbying. (This was one of Reagan's Executive Orders, also known as the Mexico City Policy. George Walker Bush maintained this policy, Clinton did not).
This is great news for women and families.
While this gag order did not reduce the number of abortions world wide, it did hamper family planning and women's health delivery greatly. (See for example: )

Senator Gillibrand

That has a very nice ring to it...Congratulations to our newest Senator. Thank you to Governor Paterson.

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Selecting Senator Clinton's Replacement

January 14, 2009

Governor David Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Paterson,

We applaud your determination to confront the complex issues facing NY in these difficult times. As you navigate the challenges presented by the budget and economy, and manage the political pressures that accompany them, we offer you our support. We are also confident that you will continue to act on your often-stated commitment to equal representation by women and minorities in public office. The unprecedented national excitement that greets the impending inauguration of President Obama demonstrates the importance we place on the principle of inclusion of all who are well qualified, and our nation’s joy at its validation.

It's a great honor that NY Senator Hillary Clinton has been nominated to be the next Secretary of State. Her anticipated confirmation presents you with the opportunity and responsibility to name her successor. Our next Senator should be of unquestioned qualifications, highest ethical standards, and one who embraces the ideals and commitments to social justice that Senator Clinton has embodied.

With Hillary Clinton, the US Senate currently includes only 17 women—17%. Only 37 women total have served in the Senate, of more than 1600 since our nation was founded—2%.

As you know, we have no shortage of qualified, successful women statewide, of all ethnicities and from many professional realms, who contribute much to our great state. Our energetic and diverse population is a great asset. With many working mothers, female heads of household and women business leaders it is vital that we are adequately represented in our government. Yet, according to Eleanor’s Legacy, the US ranks only 69 th world-wide in women office holders. Surprisingly, NY is only 23 rd in the nation, not the standard of leadership that Democratic women, the majority of our party, have a right to expect.

Women's voices must be heard during the deliberations of the powerful. Democratic women should be better represented at all levels of government. The Governors of Illinois, Delaware and Colorado did not take the opportunity to add to that number.

We do not write to press for a particular candidate--many are qualified, but to ask you not to go backwards by replacing the first woman elected by the people to serve as Senator from NY with another man.


Ulster County Democratic Women
Julie McQuain, President

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

local HIV Prevention Center needs $$

From Jane Elven:
Because I know that you're a kindred spirit—that you truly care about people who's lives are more painful than most of us can imagine, I want to share the following letter that we received from "Betty" (not her real name), one of the women with whom we work at Planned Parenthood's HIV Prevention Outreach Center in Kingston. I must admit that I'm sharing this with you because I want to make sure that the work we do with people like Betty can continue. The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute funds this project, and has reduced our budget 19.6% in the last two months. And, the cuts are retroactive, so that the 19.6% will have to come from the grant money we have not yet spent, which really means that we have to cut 39.2% from the remaining funds. Thus we'll need to somehow provide the next six months of services with nearly 40% less money. To do this we'll not only have to cut staff (there are only two full time and one part time staff now), reduce the number of days we're open to help people, and for the next six months purchase absolutely no supplies—not even condoms.

I'm not at all clear how to do effective HIV prevention without condoms, so I'm asking everyone I know for help. We need at least $10,000 to keep the doors open part time. $20,000 will let us continue to offer our vulnerable population the level of services we've provided for the last four and a half years. This means if 10 people donate $1,000 we could limp along (with fewer hours but at least we could give out condoms), and if 20 people do that, we could keep-on-keeping-on at full speed. Or, maybe 100 to 200 people could give us $100, or 200 to 400 people $50, or 400 to 800 $25, or any combination of the above. In these disastrous economic times it might feel good to know that even very small donations—$10, $5, $1—taken together can do so much for so many of our people who could soon have even less than the little they had a month ago.

If you're able to help please send a check as soon as you can, made out to Planned Parenthood. To make sure that the money goes to this project, please write "HIV Prevention Project" on the memo line . Then mail it to Planned Parenthood, 178 Church Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Because we need a lot of people to help a little, please feel free to forward this widely and wildly!

I know the letter below is a little long. And, even if you're not able to donate anything now, I do hope that you'll take the time to read it—simply because it's likely to warm your heart and give you hope not only for women like Betty, but for all of us.

From my heart to yours, thank you on behalf of those we serve.

Jane Elven

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fair Pay Act Passes in House

Now its the Senate's turn to finally do the right thing so that women are paid fairly, and there is a workable process for challenges to unfair pay. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Fair Paycheck Act this week.
Contact yoursenators and tell them how you feel. This website allows for easy access: