Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Right to Decide

5 10 2009

Today was a lovely day for Mass NOW’s Counter-Protest to Mass Citizens for Life – the rain held off, it was fairly warm out, and an enthusiastic, energetic crowd showed up in solidarity to participate in the counter-protest.  Here are some images from the Boston Commons:

 

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Join Mass. NOW in Counter-Protesting Citizens for Life March!

19 09 2009

Got this in an email from Boston Now.  I know I will be there.  Will you?

“It’s time to once again gather our pro-choice posters, t-shirts, and rally cries to show that they’re not the only voice and that women must have a CHOICE – and we need YOU there!

Every year, Massachusetts Citizens for Life holds an anti-choice march.

Every year, Boston NOW organizes a counter-protest to represent a pro-choice voice and message to the public.

Please join us in showing your pro-choice pride. It is very important that all pro-choice people and organizations are out voicing their opposition to this march – especially now – as it becomes clear that reproductive freedom is being used as a bargaining chip in the national health care debate. We encourage you to invite colleagues, friends, and members, and to place this event on your organization’s calendar!

Date: Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time: 1:30 pm

Where: Meet on the corner of Charles St. and Beacon St.

(in front of Starbucks, across from Boston Common)

walk to the meeting spot from public transportation the Red line (Park St./Charles/MGH), Green line (Park St.), or Orange line (Downtown Crossing)

Who: Boston NOW, pro-choice supporters, and YOU!

Please email Boston NOW at info@bostonnow.org to RSVP or for more information.”






Coalition for Choice Lobby Day 2009

16 09 2009

Got this info from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and from Planned Parenthood.

On October 6, the Mass Coalition for Choice is having a lobby day in support of the Comprehensive Health Education Bill and the Repeal Bill.  Come out and demonstrate your support for real health ed. and repeal of archaic public health laws!

You can help out by urging legislators to support:

1.  An Act Relative to Providing Health Education in Schools (Senate Bill 218/House Bill 3434)-  requires that schools provide age appropriate health ed grades K-12.

2)  An Act Relative to Updating the Public Health Laws (Senate Bill 1610/ House Bill 1745)-  would repeal archaic, unconstitutional abortion and contraceptive restrictions still on the books in Mass.

The lobby day is Oct 6th from 9 am to noon, starting in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston.

NARAL is also offering a lobby day training, which they are willing to come to the classroom and conduct.  Contact organizing@prochoicemass.org to sign up for lobby day or training.  You can also contact Planned Parenthood to sign up at amooers@pplm.org.

*Also, Planned Parenthood’s Plan is having an open house Saturday, Oct. 3rd, 11AM-4PM in front of Plan in Davis Square-  260 Elm St.  There will be games, raffle, prizes, info, giveaways, and a 3 for $30 birth control promotion.  The rain date is Oct. 7th.





A tribute to the late Dr. George Tiller

27 07 2009

Here is a beautiful piece from the NY Times written in memory of Dr. George Tiller, a true vagina warrior who devoted his life to providing women with a crucial health service despite hindrances, threats, harassment and violence.  It’s a reminder of how tragic Dr. Tiller’s murder was and what a great loss it was for the feminist/womanist community.  Here’s taste of the article:

It did not take long for anti-abortion leaders to realize that George R. Tiller was more formidable than other doctors they had tried to shut down.

Shrewd and resourceful, Dr. Tiller made himself the nation’s pre-eminent abortion practitioner, advertising widely and drawing women to Wichita from all over with his willingness to perform late-term abortions, hundreds each year. As anti-abortion activists discovered, he gave as good as he got, wearing their contempt as a badge of honor. A “warrior,” they called him with grudging respect.

And so for more than 30 years the anti-abortion movement threw everything into driving Dr. Tiller out of business, certain that his defeat would deal a devastating blow to the “abortion industry” that has terminated roughly 50 million pregnancies since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

They blockaded his clinic; campaigned to have him prosecuted; boycotted his suppliers; tailed him with hidden cameras; branded him “Tiller the baby killer”; hit him with lawsuits, legislation and regulatory complaints; and protested relentlessly, even at his church. Some sent flowers pleading for him to quit. Some sent death threats. One bombed his clinic. Another tried to kill him in 1993, firing five shots, wounding both arms.

In short, they made George Tiller’s clinic the nation’s most visible abortion battleground, a magnet for activists from all corners of the country.

Dr. Tiller would not budge.

Continue reading the rest.





Law Protecting 35-foot protest buffer zone around Massachusetts abortion clinics upheld

14 07 2009

On Friday, the US 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law requiring a 35-foot protest buffer zone outside abortion clinics.  In other words, this law bars anyone from entering a 35-foot zone around the clinics unless they are employed by the clinic, are entering or leaving the clinic, are public safety or municipal officials, or are simply passing through .  The 2007 law was created in an attempt to protect patients and staff from harassment.

Five anti-choice protesters filed the lawsuit originally because they claimed that the law violated their freedom of speech.  The judge, Judge Joseph Tauro, rejected their suit in 2008 and their most recent appeal was rejected on Friday.

It was ruled Friday that the law is “content neutral” (applies to all protesters no matter their viewpoints) and does not violate principles of free speech.

Some view this law as a direct attack on anti-choice protesters, creating a “censorship zone” specifically aimed at suppressing their rights of free speech.  Tim Chandler – legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the plaintiffs, said:

The government cannot single them out for punishment simply because they want to share their message with people entering the clinic.  The government simply cannot create censorship zones where the First Amendment does not apply in order to silence a particular viewpoint.

But a patient or staff member should be able to walk into a clinic without being verbally attacked or fearing for their safety.  Since the law does not prohibit people from expressing their views, but rather redefines the space in which they may protest, many view this law as necessary for the protection of clinic patients and staff.

Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley said that she is “pleased that the First Circuit has upheld this important law, which enhances public safety and access to medical facilities, while preserving the right to engage in expressive activity on public ways and sidewalks near clinics.’’

h/t The Boston Globe and Feminist Daily News





Palin may be gone but her anti-choice legacy remains

7 07 2009

Via Clara Jeffrey at Mother Jones, one of the last things that Sarah Palin did in office was to further a proposal that would mandate girls under the age of 18 seeking abortions to get parental consent first.  This proposal was certified last Thursday, July 2nd and now, backers just need to obtain 32,734 signatures from Alaskans for it to go on a statewide ballot to be voted on next year.

This proposal would require parental notification and consent except in the following situations: 1) the young woman submits a notarized statement saying that she is a victim of abuse by a parent or guardian, 2) the young woman manages to persuade a court to allow her to bypass notification, or 3) a doctor declares a medical emergency.

This proposal is ageist and anti-choice bullshit masking as paternalistic “protection”.   Not only is Palin shaming young women for having sex (OMG!!!  Gasp!!  The thought of teenage girls having sex?!!!  Completely unheard of!!) but she is also crafting an anti-choice legacy to remain in her absence.  It is a fundamental right for women to have complete autonomy of their own bodies.  If we can’t even make our own choices about our own own bodies, what can we do?

Vice President of Alaska’s Planned Parenthood Clover Simon said, “We believe there are several legal problems with this initiative, including the setting of court rules, and our lawyers are now taking a close look at our options.”  Planned Parenthood is preparing to counter this initiative because in reality, laws like these further jeopardize young women.

Before Palin’s resignation, two of Alaska’s public health experts, Beverly Wooley and Jay Butler, were canned for intervening in Palin’s anti-choice initiatives.  Writes Jeffrey, “Both made the critical mistake of wanting to present scientific evidence on the impact of parental consent laws to the state Senate.  They never got the chance; the Senate ‘ran out of time'”.  This is outrageous – firing competent staff members for presenting sound scientific evidence!

Wooley meant to cite research from states that had already passed similar legislation.  Some of the research demonstrated that with parents involved, young women tend to get abortions later on in their pregnancy which is not only more of a health risk but also more expensive.  Meanwhile other findings showed that with parental involvement fewer young women get abortions.  The latter result is what an anti-choice crusader like Palin would iterate and reiterate.

Sigh.  So while Palin may have resigned, her anti-choice legacy remains behind.





Wednesday Blogaround

24 06 2009

Keeping up with blogging during the summer isn’t an easy task. Here are some great reads on things we’ve missed:

Transgender federal employees will soon be protected from discrimination in the work place.

A piece from The New Yorker about the incompatibility of medicine and the “free market”.

The economic recession affects everyone, so “Don’t call it a ‘he-cession’“.

We can affirm the value of fathers but still support government structures that support diverse family arrangements of all kinds.

The latest on Chris Brown and Rihanna.

Trigger warning – physical assault and violence in the name of casting out the so-called homosexual demons.

Facebook and how it upholds and perpetuates the gender binary.

A very long overdue apology – Senate Apologizes for Slavery.

Check out the first part of a MoJo special on the Hidden Defense Budget.

If you ask the NYTimes, sex selection is culturally Asian.

WTF?!  No!!!  Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault is closing for July.

Can we ever say a woman can’t choose?








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