Anniversary of Roe Met, Once Again, with Rallies of Support and Protest
Supporters and opponents of reproductive freedom participated in events across the country yesterday, marking the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade that legalized abortion for women in the US. Across the country - from Washington, DC to Wichita, KS and San Francisco, CA - events marked the political climate around abortion rights in the US.
The Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, which was heavily supported by the Knights of Columbus, Catholic dioceses, and parochial school children, garnered small press coverage. While the organizers are claiming that tens of thousands attended, eyewitnesses report that the numbers seemed more like thousands than tens of thousands. As usual, President Bush addressed the anti-abortion crowd by a telephone call from Camp David. An additional anti-abortion protest outside of the Metro Washington Planned Parenthood clinic was also extremely small. Just one busload of demonstrators stayed some 15 minutes.
Roe events in Washington, DC closed yesterday with a vigil organized by the National Organization for Women on the steps of the Supreme Court. The speaker line-up ended with DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) who spoke of the inability for women in the military to get an abortion, and the heightened hurdles to reproductive freedom that lower-income women face.
In Wichita, anti-abortion group Operation Rescue demonstrated for four days outside of the clinic where Dr. Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US, works. On Friday, January 19, their opening day of protests, some 23 anti-abortion activists were outnumbered by twice as many supporters of the clinic. Despite calls from Operation Rescue's leader Troy Newman, who estimated at least a hundred in attendance, and FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, who said that "there should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tiller�s abortion clinic," a member of the Feminist Majority Foundation�s field team reported that the largest attendance for any single event was between 50 and 60 anti-abortion protestors.
Finally, in San Francisco, several thousand anti-abortion activists marched while supporters staged a solid counter-protest.
"The relatively low turnout of anti-abortion activists on the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade plus the overwhelming wins in the ballot box of pro-choice candidates and the defeat of three initiatives shows that the anti-abortion movement is waning," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal of the events yesterday. "The debate over abortion bans, stem cell research, and the decision in the Terri Schiavo case has weakened the political clout of the anti-abortion movement."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .