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Women Leaders Take Action To Stop Impeachment, Warn What's at Stake for Women and Who's on Third to Succeed

(cont from part 1)

Not only are we standing united, we are urging action. We are urging the women and men of this nation to call their members of the House of Representatives to urge them not to proceed with impeachment hearings and to call their Senators to oppose the removal of the President from office.

Most importantly, it is more crucial now than ever that women vote in the November elections. We must not let women's rights opponents sail to victory because women do not vote.

Women have much at stake in this election. If women's rights advocates lose three seats in the Senate, we could lose the ability to prevent the override of a presidential veto. President Clinton's veto is all that stands between Congress and women's right to abortion. If the presidential veto cannot be sustained after the election, it could mean open season not only on women's rights but also on affirmative action, Social Security, gun control, civil rights, and equal education opportunities.

Little has been said about the process of succession to the presidency. Many people ask us: "What does it matter if President Clinton leaves office? Wouldn't Vice President Gore simply assume the presidency?" We firmly believe that the ultra-conservatives will not stop at removing Mr. Clinton from office. Already Mr. Gore is under attack. Women should be asking the question, "Who's on 3rd?," -- who is next in the line of succession? Next in line is Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The Gingrich Congress has been an unmitigated disaster for women. The Gingrich Congress has voted 97 times this session to restrict abortion rights and is now trying to prevent approval of RU 486, the early abortion pill. The Gingrich Congress is trying to defund family planning programs, has ignored the Violence Against Women Act II, and has buried the patients' bill of rights. Pay equity and childcare have not been allowed to see the light of day. The specter of a Gingrich presidency is even more horrifying.

We call upon women to raise their voices to protest this assault on fairness and the democratic process and to let the Congress know how strongly women oppose impeachment. Women must demand that candidates tell us where they stand on our issues and vote in November to turn out of office the anti-women's rights majority in Congress. We call upon Congress to end this hypocritical voyeurism and get back to work on the real issues that face this country.

Signed by,

Betty Friedan
Patricia Ireland, President, National Organization for Women
Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority
Dr. Dorothy Height, Chair and President Emerita, National Council of Negro Women
Susan Bianchi-Sand, Chair, National Council of Women's Organizations*
Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder and Secretary Treasurer, United Farm Workers
Sheila Coates, President, Black Women United for Action
Kathy Rodgers, Executive Director, NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund
Dr. Jane Smith, President, National Council of Negro Women
Lina Frescas Dobbs, Executive Director, Wider Opportunities for Women
Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Black Leadership Forum
Karen Narasaki, Director, National Asian Pacific Legal Consortium
Dr. Donna Allen, President, Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
Anita Perez Ferguson, National Women's Political Caucus

*For identification purposes only.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation - September 24, 1998]

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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