Last night, more than 500 students, faculty, and community members crowded the Glass Pavilion at Johns Hopkins University to hear “The Feminist Debate: The Role and Struggle of American Women Today” between Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.
Schlafly painted an idealistic picture of life for women in the 1800s, saying that women in the 1800s had wonderful standing that has been eroded by the feminist movement. Smeal countered that, in the 1800s, women could not vote, own property, or go to school, and that non-whites, immigrants, and blacks enjoyed virtually no rights, and that slavery was legal and widely practiced at the time. Smeal outlined the accomplishments of the feminist movement, citing the gains it has made for women, people of color, and gays and lesbians, from winning Title IX to the Family and Medical Leave Act to the recent Violence Against Women Act. Smeal asserted that there is still much work to be done, for example, combating gender apartheid in Afghanistan, and securing the reproductive rights of women not only in the United States but around the world. Schlafly condemned the feminist movement, saying it was only about “baby killing and lesbians.” Smeal took her statement head on, saying, “Our movement doesn’t back off from what we stand for” but proudly advocates safe, legal, and accessible abortion as well as lesbian and gay rights.
When asked what role college students could play in the future of the feminist movement, Smeal responded, “Young people are the movement. Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance members from St. Mary’s College, the University of Maryland at College Park, Goucher College, and the University of Maryland at Baltimore Country attended the forum, as well as students from Shippensburg University and Johns Hopkins University who will be participating in the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campus program this year.
C-SPAN recorded the debate, and will air it in rotation beginning this evening.
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. . . .