Feminist leaders and activists rallied in Tennessee over the weekend declaring a state of emergency for women's rights with the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In the midst of the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) national conference, the announcement of O’Connor’s resignation changed the agenda dramatically.
Activists marched on the Tennessee state capitol, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-TN) home territory, chanting, “We Won’t Go Back” and “Keep Abortion and Birth Control Legal.” Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, "We have to raise such a loud voice that Senator Bill Frist hears it. We have to make sure that this majority leader knows he cannot turn back the clock on women's rights.” NOW President Kim Gandy, who was reelected by a 2-1 margin on Saturday, said that “Sandra Day O'Connor broke down barriers for women as the first female Supreme Court justice — and George W. Bush will try to replace her with a hard-right extremist justice who will put those barriers up again.”
At the rally, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, a former US Senator and 2004 presidential candidate, told the crowd that "Ronald Reagan gave us Sandra Day O'Connor and she became a moderate that kept balance in the courts. George Bush can do no less. We demand no less. Never underestimate the power of a woman." O’Connor was the critical fifth vote in support of affirmative action and abortion rights.
Rally speakers included Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and a Feminist Majority board member, who rallied the crowd chanting, “Si se Puede, Yes We Can” demand that President Bush nominate a judge who will uphold women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights. Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, joined with the other national leaders in calling for a woman nominee. Alicia Daly, associate publisher of Ms. magazine, and Allendra Letsome, a member of NOW’s Young Feminist Task Force, spoke about what younger women have at stake in the fight over the Supreme Court. “This is our generation's fight,” said Daly. “We grew up with Roe v. Wade. We are not going to stand back and let these rights be taken away from us.”
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. . . .