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The Struggle for Reproductive Justice

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The Struggle for Reproductive Justice Powered By Docstoc
					ISSN 0897-2613 • Vol. 18 #5	           	            	      	
                                                A CAll to Resist illegitimAte AuthoRity	                                  September-October 2009




The Struggle for Reproductive Justice
A growing movement emerges to create broad-based social change
by Marlene Gerber Fried and Mia Kim Sullivan          children and




A
                                                      families has
          fter eight years of relentless at-          continuously
          tacks on reproductive rights, it            been under
          is impossible to overstate the              attack, and
relief with which advocates welcomed                  place it, along
the election of Barack Obama. His ad-                 with abortion
ministration acted decisively to reverse              rights, at the
some of the most damaging reproduc-                   center of the
tive policies of the Bush era.                        agenda.
    Equally promising is the access this                  The emer-
administration has provided, not just                 gence of a
to traditional players, but to previously             dynamic
marginalized voices from the reproduc-                and growing
tive justice movement. Inviting represen-             reproduc-
tatives from the National Latina Institute            tive justice
for Reproductive Health, the National                 movement is
Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,                 the most sig-
Black Women for Reproductive Justice,                 nificant de-
Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive                velopment in
Health Collective and the National Network            reproductive
of Abortion Funds to meet with the transi-            politics since
tion team and later, administration officials,        the 1970s.
was significant practically and symbolically          The repro-
in terms of legitimizing this movement.               ductive jus-
    These meetings placed a spotlight                 tice agenda
on the reproductive health and rights                 is the first to
needs of diverse, but too often ignored,              prioritize the
constituencies – poor and low income                  experiences
women, immigrants, women in prison,                   and needs
women with HIV and AIDS. Although                     of the most
such needs are central to the ways in                 vulnerable.
which women of color think about repro-               For example, Abuelita de mi Vida by Favianna Rodriguez, www.favianna.com
ductive rights, they have not traditionally           the justice ap-
been part of the mainstream pro-choice                proach to abortion advocacy focuses on       prohibiting federal Medicaid funding for
agenda. Further, reproductive justice                 access, not just the legal right. Rescinding abortion – a back-burner issue for the pro-
advocates recognize that the right to have            the Hyde Amendment, the legislation
                                                                                                   continued on page three
iNsiDe:
Grantees Changing the World / p. 2         l   Front Lines: South Dakota / p. 4   l   Health Care Connects / p. 7   l   Meet RESIST Grantees / p. 8
From the Editor’s Desk: Towards Justice
T    he brutal murder of Kansas abor-
     tion provider Dr. George Tiller has
brought the long-running controversy
                                                  physical, mental, and spiritual well-being
                                                  of women and girls.
                                                      South Dakota has been an abortion
                                                                                                         Favianna Rodriguez’s painting, Abuel-
                                                                                                     ita de mi Vida, anchors the front page of
                                                                                                     this issue. Favianna created this piece
over reproductive and abortion rights             battleground over the past few years,              to commemorate the life of her grand-
back into the spotlight. In this issue of the     as anti-choice activists have attempted            mother, a single mother, woman of color
RESIST Newsletter, we look at a range of          to use ballot measures to ban all abor-            and immigrant, and to thank her for her
issues regarding reproductive justice and         tions except in the most extreme circum-           love and tenacity.
the role RESIST grantees and allies play          stances. In 2006 and 2008 voters nar-                  May the spirit of Abuelita move us
in maintaining access to these important          rowly defeated two bans at the ballot              toward a stronger movement, one that
forms of health care.                             box. South Dakota NARAL, a RESIST                  ensures that women and girls have the
    Mia Kim Sullivan and Marlene Gerber           grantee, can take significant credit               economic, social, and political power
Fried lay out an overview of the concept          for those victories, as they have been             and resources to make healthy deci-
                                 of “reproduc-    engaged in on-the-ground organizing                sions about our bodies, sexuality and
                                 tive justice”    in the state for years. In “On the Front           reproduction for our-
                                 in their lead    Lines in South Dakota” (page 4), Casey             selves, our families and
                                 article. There   Murschel describes their work.                     our communities.
                                 they provide         Abortion access has played a role in
                                 a framework      the national conversation around health            Christy Pardew is the
                                 for looking at   care reform, and in her article, “Health           RESIST Newsletter Editor.
                                 that these is-   Care Reform and Abortion Rights” (page
                                 sues in a way    7), Abby Scher reveals what one Wiscon-
This image by Taring Padi, the   that envisions   sin group is doing to ensure reproductive
radical Indonesian print collec-
                                 the complete     access stays on the table.
tive, celebrates women’s freedom.




RESIST Grantee News in Brief
T   he Carolina Justice Policy Center is
    celebrating the passage of the North
Carolina Racial Justice Act. The new law
                                                   Full stories and updated grantee news:
                                                   www.resistinc.org/news

makes North Carolina the second state in              Members of People Organized in De-
the nation that allows defense attorneys          fense of Earth and her Resources (POD-
in capital cases to challenge death sen-          ER) in Texas presented a policy agenda to
tences with statistical evidence to prove         the city council to improve sustainability           For information and grant guidelines, write to:
that a particular prosecutor employs the          and end gentrification in Austin. One                    RESIST, 259 Elm Street, Suite 201
                                                                                                                Somerville, MA 02144
race of defendants when opting for the            element of their plan involves moving a
                                                                                                           617-623-5110 s info@resistinc.org
death penalty.                                    metal-smelting plant located adjacent to
   Police in Washington, DC arrested              an elementary school.                               RESIST’s Newsletter is published six times a year
more than two-dozen protesters calling                Complaints of wage theft have risen             by RESIST, Inc. Subscriptions are available free
                                                                                                      to prisoners and to individuals for a suggested
for federal action on numerous HIV/               as the economy has weakened. The                    donation of $25/year. The views expressed in
AIDS issues in July. Many of them are             Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center has            articles, other than editorials, are those of the
members of ACT UP Philadelphia. The               collected over $160,000 in back wages this          authors and do not necessarily represent the
protest focused on how President Obama            year, and they expect to surpass last year’s        opinions of the RESIST staff or board.

has failed to meet the promises he made           collection level. “We’ve seen a remarkable          RESIST Staff:          Robin Carton
on the campaign trail to fight AIDS.              increase,” says director Don Sherman.                                      Malika McCray
                                                                                                                             Yafreisy Mejia
                                                      In August, Tamms Year Ten organized                                    Christy Pardew
     Keep up with grantee news                    a statewide protest around conditions at
     Sign up for RESIST’s email list!                                                                 Newsletter Editor:     Christy Pardew
                                                  the Tamms Supermax Prison in Illinois.
 Visit www.resistinc.org,                         Over 600 people contacted the governor’s            Printing:              Red Sun Press
 send us an email at info@
 resistinc.org, or include                        office. All inmates are held in solitary con-
                                                                                                      Banner art:            Bonnie Acker
 your email address with                          finement, and spend 23 hours a day in their
 the response form in this
 Newsletter. We want to                           cells. Nearly one quarter of the prison popu-       Printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink

 stay connected with you!                         lation has been held for at least 10 years.                www.resistinc.org

2	                                                                                                RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009
The Struggle for Reproductive Justice




                                                                                                                                             Photo courtesy of SPARK
continued from page one

choice movement – is in the foreground for
reproductive justice advocates.

Activism-Analysis Connections
   Although the reproductive justice
analysis has only been developed in
the last decade, women of color have
historically made the connections, tak-
ing as their starting point resistance to
oppressive policies and conditions which
have shaped their individual lives and
communities. Disproportionate rates of
poverty and unemployment, a lack of
access to health care services and infor-
mation, and high incidences of violence
create poor health outcomes and constrict
reproductive options. The activism of
women of color addresses such realities,
by redefining reproductive rights and
emphasizing the need to achieve the            One in three women in the U.S. have abortions; although 1/3 rely on government-funded health
                                               services for reproductive health care, 33 out of 50 states refuse to pay for abortions. Above, Mia
broad set of conditions necessary for
                                               Mingus, Co-Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, vigils in Georgia.
reproductive and sexual freedom.
   The reproductive justice analysis pro-      You could be pro-choice and against                abortion rights. The opposition has built
vides an expansive understanding of re-        government funding; you could be pro-              a movement inspired by a holistic, con-
productive freedom in which race, class,       choice and against abortion; you could be          servative vision of gender roles, family
gender and cultural aspects of women’s/        pro-choice and against welfare; you could          and sexuality. Countering the forces on
people’s lives are inextricably tied. This     be pro-choice and for population control.          the Right requires us to build a similarly
intersectional and holistic political ap-      While in the short run this approach may           broad-based movement. While “choice”
proach locates reproductive rights and         have drawn allies from the Right, it has           is not adequately compelling to mobilize
health as part of the struggle for human       left a legacy of political division.               such a movement, reproductive justice is.
rights and social justice. Reproductive            Women of color and their radical               We face formidable challenges, however,
justice is not a list; it is a lens through    white allies have been in the forefront            and not just from conservatives.
which we can look at all issues related to     of the critique, arguing that the choice
our reproductive lives. Consequently, it is    agenda reflects neither the diversity              Current Political Obstacles
an expanding political agenda that allows      of women’s reproductive experiences                    Galvanized by the elections, attacks
reproductive rights activists to continually   nor the range of issues that comprise              on abortion have escalated. In Congress
connect with new allies and incorporates       reproductive freedom. They knew that               opponents of abortion are determined to
new issues. The approach contrasts sharply     “choice” does not speak to women who               prohibit abortion coverage in health care
with traditional choice politics.              must struggle to meet their basic survival         reform and are mobilizing their forces.
                                               needs, for whom, all too often, both moth-         The anti-abortion movement continues
From Choice to Justice                         erhood and abortion are out of reach.              to push for restrictive laws at the state
   Since the late 1970s, the dominant          Casting abortion as a matter of choice             level to limit abortion access.
frame for reproductive rights has been         only reinforces the disparity between the              And despite the important gains noted
individual choice, and defending the           predominantly white and middle class               at the beginning of this article, we are not
legal right to abortion the sole priority.     women who were seen as the champions of            as far along as advocates had hoped after
The language and ideology of choice            abortion rights and the low income women           electing a pro-choice president and gain-
and privacy replaced women’s rights            and women of color who bear the brunt              ing a Democratic majority in both houses
and even abortion rights. This approach        of restrictions. By perpetuating racial and        of Congress. By not asking Congress to
was adopted in hopes that it would have        class divisions in the movement, the choice        rescind the prohibition on public funding
wider appeal and expand the base of            framework weakened the ability to resist           of abortion, and appearing to accept the
support for legal abortion, encompass-         threats and secure rights never achieved.          status quo, Obama perpetuates health care
ing even those who were conservative               A singular focus on abortion is not            disparities by failing to pursue access and
on issues of social and economic welfare.      adequate even as a way of protecting               continued on page six
RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009	                                                                                                                  3
On the Front Lines in South Dakota
Attempts to criminalize nearly all abortions fail twice
By Casey Murschel                                        the freedom to make personal reproduc-              State legislators are not the only
                                                         tive choices have not been dissuaded by         elected officials who ignore the message

I  n 2006 and 2008, anti-choice activists
   in South Dakota attempted to pass
legislation that would criminalize nearly
                                                         a vote of the people. Those who advance
                                                         an agenda that promotes abstinence-only,
                                                         “contraceptives are pesticides,” “we want
                                                                                                         sent by the voters. Recently our office
                                                                                                         received a call from a distraught father.
                                                                                                         His 17-year-old daughter was pregnant
all abortions. Although right-wing orga-                 more babies” agenda                                               and, after thoughtful
nizers from across the nation assumed                    continue to press for                                             deliberation with her
South Dakota was a “pro-life” state and                  further restrictions on
                                                                                        One positive result of family, she made the
would be an easy target from which to                    women’s reproductive           the successful abortion decision to terminate
launch their attacks on Roe v Wade, they                 rights, services and op-       ban battles has been the pregnancy. Her fam-
failed both times.                                       tions in South Dakota.
                                                                                        raised awareness for ily supported her and
    Polling prior to the attempted abor-                     For example, within                                           her father traveled with
tion bans in 2006 and 2008 indicated the                 three months of the de-        some South Dakotans. her to Sioux Falls for the
need for extensive public education, and                 feat of the most recent        Pe o p l e a r e s t a r t i n g procedure. The appoint-
groups like ours, NARAL Pro-Choice                       abortion ban, a bill was       to question the anti- ment was only a few
South Dakota, have helped organize                       introduced that would                                             days away when he was
visible and growing campaigns for re-                    have made the process
                                                                                        choice rhetoric.                   notified that the state’s
productive justice. That both bans were                  of obtaining an abor-                                             attorney in their county
solidly defeated is evidence of a success-               tion far more difficult than at present. As     was attempting to intervene.
ful effort to inform South Dakotans about                it is, there is only one clinic in South Da-        This was clearly an effort to “stall”
the consequences of such intrusive public                kota that offers abortion services. Doctors     abortion services, since the young woman
policy efforts. In the privacy of the ballot             fly in from out of state one day a week to      was far enough along in her pregnancy
booth, fifty-five percent of South Dakotan               provide patients with abortion care. The        that any delay of her appointment would
voters rejected banning abortion in South                new bill would have required doctors            make it too late to receive abortion ser-
Dakota – twice.                                          to provide two-hour consultations with          vices in South Dakota. With only a couple
                                                         each patient                 scheduled for      of hours before the hearing was to begin,
The fight continues                                       an abortion                  the following     we were able to reach those who could
– and it’s personal                                         day–                          regardless     assist with legal advice on this matter.
    One would think that af-                                                                of whether   This was a blatant attempt by one politi-
ter two decisive defeats at                                                                 the patient  cian to intervene in this young woman’s
the ballot box, oppres-                                                                     would at-    personal and private decision. Luckily,we
sors of women’s                                                                            tend the      were able to help in time and the state’s
reproductive                                                                               consulta-     attorney was not successful.
rights would                                                                                tion. The
get the                                                                                    intent of     Questions lead to action
message.                                                                                    the bill         One positive result of the successful
South Da-                                                                                   was to ban   abortion ban battles has been raised
kotans do                                                                                   abortion     awareness for some South Dakotans.
not want                                                                                   in South      People are starting to question the anti-
the state to                                                                                Dakota by    choice rhetoric.
interfere                                                                                   making           People are questioning at the public
in person-                                                                                  it impos-    level. For example, when the anti-abor-
al private                                                                                  sible for    tion “Crisis Pregnancy Center” printed
reproduc-                                                                                  the clinic    an ad in the Sioux Falls School District’s
tive health                                                                                to bring      Directory that was distributed to grades
decisions.                                                                                 in physi-     K through 12 by the schools, concerned
Unfor-                                                                                     cians. The    community members contacted their
t u n a t e l y,                                                                           bill was      Sioux Falls School Board members and
t h o s e                                                                                  defeated      District personnel to voice their disap-
who seek                                                                                   in commit-    proval. The ad announced “Abortion
to deny                                                                                    tee by just   Hurts Women” across the page. Com-
women                                                                                      one vote.     continued on page five
              Image by Rini Templeton, www.riniart.org

4	                                                                                                   RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009
On the Front Lines in South Dakota           rights climate in South Dakota requires
continued from page four                     action. To become a state in which all
                                             reproductive choices are respected and
munity members opposed both the              all reproductive choices are safe, afford-
sensitive nature of the subject matter       able and accessible to all women, South
and the blatant political messaging.         Dakotans have to speak up.
The School District responded that the           Conversations can effect change. South
ad was at the publisher’s discretion to      Dakota law allows pharmacists to refuse
print. People took the time to contact       to dispense contraceptives, and attempts
the School Board members individually.       to change the law have been unsuccess-
It made a difference: prior to the next      ful. NARAL South Dakota’s project to im-
School Board meeting, the board issued       prove access to emergency contraception,
a public statement apologizing for their     however, has shown modest improve-
“lapse” and committing to “do better         ment since we began two years ago. The
work in the future.”                         percentage of retail pharmacies in South




                                                                                                                                          Photo courtesy of www.basetree.com
   People are questioning the legality and   Dakota that stock Plan B, a single dose
influence of certain private institutions as emergency contraception, has increased
well. Not unsually, a family mistakenly      from 61% to 64%. One of the pharma-
contacted a “Crisis Pregnancy Center” in     cists that previously didn’t stock Plan
Sioux Falls to inquire about abortion ser-   B reported that it was NARAL’s survey
vices. The Center told                                           call that caused him to
                                                                                           South Dakota attempted to enact arguably the
them that the woman Supporting women’s re- think more carefully
                                                                                           most severe abortion restrictions in all of the
was required by law                                              about the women who
to receive counseling
                          productive rights is about might need access to                  United States, but bans in 2006 and 2008 failed at
                                                                                           the ballot box. Polls have shown that voters want
before an abortion more than rejecting abor- emergency contracep-                          the legislature to focus on pregnancy prevention.
and that they needed tion bans. Reproductive tion, and he decided
to come to the Cen-
                          rights include the full range to go ahead and stock              consistently positive. Participants gain
ter right away to re-                                            and dispense Plan B.      confidence in their ability to articulate
ceive their mandatory of reproductive choices,                      Changing attitudes     their positions.
counseling. While in including accessible and one person at a time                            Supporting women’s reproductive
the car on their way to affordable contraception.                may seem an impos-        rights is about more than rejecting abor-
the Center, the family                                           sible task, but not if    tion bans. Reproductive rights include
decided to make one                                              enough people are         the full range of reproductive choices,
more call, this time to our office, to find  having these conversations. Our “Talking      including accessible and affordable
out if what they had been told was ac-       about Choice” workshops provide infor-        contraception. In addition to our work
curate. We told them it was not.             mation and communication skills train-        on emergency contraception, we have
   Raising awareness is a start, but         ing to help people find their voice. No two   begun a program to educate the public
changing the oppressive reproductive         groups are the same, but the feedback is      about contraceptive equity. The majority
                                                                                           of families in South Dakota depend on
                                                                                           their employers for health insurance, and
  Plan to Resist
                                                                                           a guarantee that their drug plan could not
    There are many ways to extend your support of RESIST, including:
                                                                                           exclude contraceptives would improve
                             make a tax-deductible contribution today. Send a              both accessibility and affordability.
                           check, make a credit card gift or sign up for the pledge
                                                                                              We know what fifty-five percent of
                          program (see page 7).
                                                                                           South Dakotans said about reproduc-
                       Donate stocks or other securities. As a non-profit organi-          tive choices in the privacy of the ballot
                    zation, RESIST does not have to pay taxes, and you can deduct          booth. The next step is to support and
                your contribution.
                                                                                           strengthen those voices. If enough
             include a bequest to Resist in your will or life insurance policy.            people have the confidence to speak
            That way, you can receive income tax deductions on your insurance              up we can become a state in which all
           premiums while you support social change.                                       reproductive choices are respected, safe,
                                                                                           affordable and accessible.
         Designate RESIST as a beneficiary of an IRA or pension plan.

                         For more information, contact Malika McCray, RESIST’s Devel-      Casey Murchel is the Executive Director
                          opment Director, at malika@resistinc.org or 617-623-5110.        of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, a
                                                                                           RESIST grantee.

RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009	                                                                                                                          5
The Struggle for Reproductive Justice                         and prevention instead of increasing                     namic and inclusive vision for moving us
continued from page three                                     access further compounds the problem.                    forward. Because it is connected to other
                                                              The anti-abortion movement is standing                   health, human rights and social justice
justice for women who are low-income and                      its ground as it aggressively pursues its                movements, this broad and inclusive vi-
poor, and all women who depend on the                         agenda. In the past,                                                           sion of reproductive
federal government for their healthcare.                      our side has not done                                                          freedom provides an
   There has also been a recurrence of                        the same. Instead, it                                                          opportunity to bring
deadly political violence. This spring, Dr.                   has defined political                                                          new allies to the abor-
George Tiller became the eighth person                        goals by what was                                                              tion rights struggle.
involved in abortion care to be murdered                      winnable in the short                                                          We therefore hope
by an opponent of abortion. We are out-                       run, rather than by a                                                          that reproductive
raged and frightened not just by these                        long term vision.                                                              justice will become
acts, but also by the continuing use of                       T h e r e p r o d u c t i ve                                                   the central frame for
extremist language by those who claim                         justice movement                                                               reproductive rights
to be “pro-life.” And we are saddened                         makes a profound                                                               organizing in the U.S.,
that even among some supporters of legal                      political shift both in                                                        because it is the right
abortion, Dr. Tiller’s assassination has                      terms of power, but                                                            thing to do and the
spurred discussion on the strategic costs                     also in terms of vi-                                                           only way to win.
of protecting later term abortion.                            sion and strategies.                                                               On April 9-11,
   When Dr. Tiller was shot and killed,                           Thinking of abor-                                                          2010, our organiza-
some of our staff drafted a statement to                      tion as separate from                                                          tion, the Civil Liber-
ask our local community to reflect on the                     all the other repro-                                                           ties and Public Policy
place of abortion in our society; our own                     ductive health needs Chicano artist Juan R. Fuentes created this               Program, will host
                                                                                           poster for the Alliance Against Women’s Oppres-
understandings, feelings and values; and                      of women and their sion and the 1985 World Women’s Conference.                 our 24th national con-
how as a community we could hope to                           families makes it and                                                          ference, “From Abor-
move together beyond fear even as our                         the women who seek abortions, and the                    tion Rights to Social Justice: Building the
individual judgments remain (and will                         doctors who provide them, vulnerable,                    Movement for Reproductive Freedom.”
remain) so polarized and divisive.                            too easily singled out for threats, in-                  In recent years, this event has brought
   More than 36 years after Roe, abortion                     timidation and violence – “demonized,”                   over 1000 young and new activists in
rights remain an unfulfilled promise for                      like Dr. Tiller, as something outside our                reproductive and sexual rights, peace and
thousands of women; and despite the                           community. In our small town, everyone                   security, youth liberation, environmental
fact that one in three women have abor-                       knows who and where the OBGYN and                        justice, disability rights, economic justice,
tions, women seeking services are still                       pediatrician practices are, the locations                immigrant rights, freedom from violence
burdened by secrecy and shame. This is the                    for free condoms and needle exchanges.                   and other social justice causes together to
other side’s triumph: the legacy of the clinic                But why don’t we know who provides                       strategize, celebrate, inspire and learn from
bombings, terror and rhetoric. But it is also                 abortion services?                                       each other. Reconvening each year has fu-
a consequence of advocacy on our side that                        Building the reproductive justice                    eled new activism and reaffirmed our sense
has not affirmed abortion and women.                          movement is our best hope for restoring                  of the depth of our community and com-
   Recent efforts by Obama and other                          what has been lost, meeting new attacks,                 mitment to each other – both critical when,
Democratic leaders to defuse the abortion                     and gaining the full array of reproductive               as now, we see the political compromises
debate by focusing on abortion reduction                      freedoms we never had. It is the most dy-                on the table, and who has put them there.

                                                                                                                         Marlene Gerber Fried and Mia Kim Sulli-
              Resist’s Radical holiday Auction                                                                           van work at the Civil Liberties and Public
                                                                                                                         Policy Program, a national program based
                          Check out RESIST’s Radical Holiday Online Auction this November                                at Hampshire College that trains and sup-
                            – where you can buy holiday gifts and support grassroots
                                                                                                                         ports new reproductive justice activists,
                             organizing at the same time! Support RESIST and win
                                                                                                                         working to find ways to mobilize young
                               impressive gifts such as international crafts and artwork,
                                                                                                                         people and bring new energy, ideas and
                                getaways and vacations, sports tickets and more!
                                                                                                                         passion to the fight for abortion rights.
                                help now by donating gift certificates, services, artwork or
                                 merchandise. Contact Malika at malika@resistinc.org or
                                                                                                                         Read Civil Liberties and Public Policy
                                   617-623-5110 or visit www.resistinc.org/auction.                                      Program’s statement on the May
                                                                                                                         31 murder of abortion provider Dr.
                    Visit www.resistinc.org/auction today!                                                               George Tiller in Kansas:
     Itching to get shopping even sooner? Check out Grassroots International’s auction at www.grassrootsonline.org.           www.resistinc.org/CLPPtiller

6	                                                                                                                    RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009
Health Care Reform and Abortion Rights
Grassroots groups mobilize to keep access on the national agenda
By Abby Scher                                      we encouraged our activists to write let-                         So what does she do? “Saturate the
                                                   ters to their papers. We arranged a visit                     message of truth out there.” That means

B     ecause the national press and health
      care reformers were initially silent
about whether the new health care
                                                   with [Senator] Herb Kohl at his Madison
                                                   office and we also did outreach to folks
                                                   in [Congressman] Dave Obey’s district,“
                                                                                                                 firing up multiple information streams
                                                                                                                 at once – through new tools like Twitter
                                                                                                                 and Facebook, but also with letters to the
program would cover abortions, prolife             said Executive Director Lisa Subeck.                          editor and legislator contact.
and Christian Right groups had a blank                “We have lots of single payer groups                           “It’s something for someone in your
slate on which to write their warnings             out here, so we’ve worked with them to                        town, whose kids go to school with your
that people’s tax money would pay for              put out a ‘women’s health matters’ mes-                       kids, to say it over and over and get a let-
abortions. Their campaign against the              sage at the rallies,” she said.                               ter in the local paper. This is something
plan because it would (hopefully) cover               Subeck comes from a background as                          the Right has done very well.
abortions was as vigorous as the cam-              an anti-poverty organizer, and working                            “Even in towns where there is a strong
paign against “death panels” promoting             with the grassroots is the favorite part of her               right-wing presence, there is a strong
euthanasia of the elderly.                         job as executive director. (“ That’s a glamor-                left-wing presence. Liberals don’t sit back
    The anti-abortion Right has succeeded          ous title for the only paid staffperson!”)                    and say, ‘I live in a conservative city’ and
since the 1970s in blocking Medicaid                  Wisconsin is a particular challenge                        shut up. They are out there. Some of that
funding of abortions for poor women,               because it is a very polarized state politi-                  polarization makes for a great debate.”
Native American women using the Indian             cally. Madison is known for its progres-                          We’ll see whether Wisconsin Right
Health Service and women in federal pris-          sive politics, but it is also home to the anti-im-            to Life, with its message “Stop Rationed
ons – before the Hyde Amendment of 1976            migrant Congressman James Sensenbrenner                       Care & Taxpayer Funded Abortion” or
Medicaid paid for one third of all abortions       and a very vigorous anti-abortion Right.                      NARAL Wisconsin wins the last word.
– so the activists know their power to disen-         “Their tactics are based on fear monger-
franchise women from this procedure.               ing. They’ve mastered the art of trying to scare              Abby Scher is a sociologist and editor
    The plan as it unfolds has as many             folks who believe strongly in something,” she                 of The Public Eye, Political Research
contortions as an acrobat and at this              said. “When the other side is totally distorting              Associate’s quarterly on the U.S. Right.
point allows people to opt into a plan             the truth, it gives us a tough fight.”                        She serves on RESIST’s Advisory Board.
that covers abortions but have it paid
for by premiums rather than tax money.
Advocates realized they had a problem
                                                        support social change today.
even before Obama’s back peddling                         Your contribution to RESIST supports hundreds of progressive
interview with Katie Couric in July                       groups across the country. Please send what you can, as often as
when he said,                                             you can. We count on you, and the groups we fund count on us.
       As you know, I’m prochoice. But I               Become a Pledge –
   think we also have a tradition of, in this          a sustaining donor                    o I want to become a Pledge! I’ll send you my
   town, historically, of not financing abor-          – today! Pledges                      recurring gift every
                                                       give RESIST a                           o month o quarter o six months o year.
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                                                       date on the groups
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    So the mobilization to give Congress               make possible.
a backbone became more vigorous. The
                                                         Name
members and one staffperson of NARAL                                                                             Phone or e-mail (for questions only)

Wisconsin, a RESIST grantee, got busy                    Address
working to defeat new amendments
that would ban coverage of abortion in                   City / State / Zip

all health plans included in any new
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network created by reform.
    “Right to Life did a crazy op-ed about                                                              o   Yes! Sign me up to receive email updates from RESIST.
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how the government is going to abort
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RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009	                                                                                                                          7
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               Inside this issue:
                               ductive
           Struggles for Repro
                Justice Co ntinue




     Mee
         t RES
               IS                  T
                                           Grant recipients
RESIST awards grants six times a year to           missouri immigrant and                          volunteers educate the community about
groups throughout the United States engaged        Refugee Advocates (miRA)                        conditions that endanger local water and
in organizing for social, economic and racial      2725 Clifton Avenue, St. Louis,                 air quality, share information on realistic
justice. In this issue of the Newsletter we list   Missouri 63139.                                 alternatives to the use and production of
a few grant recipients from our most recent                                                        environmental toxins and promote the recy-
allocation cycle in August of 2009. For more       MIRA is a coalition of faith, labor, com-       cling and reuse of manufactured goods.
                                                   munity, business and direct service orga-           A RESIST grant of $2,500 will allow
information, visit the RESIST website at www.
                                                   nizations organizing for the basic rights       BURNT to continue their research-based
resistinc.org or contact the groups directly.
                                                   of all immigrants. MIRA formed in 2006          citizen action in Nashville.
                                                   to counter anti-immigrant legislation
Arise for social Justice
PO Box 5423, Springfield, Mass. 01101.
                                                   introduced in Missouri and has since            oak Ridge environmental
www.ariseforsocialjustice.blogspot.com
                                                   grown to over 45 organizational members         Peace Alliance
                                                   across the state. MIRA uses education,          PO Box 5743, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
                                                   advocacy and direct action in their work        37831. www.stopthebombs.org
Arise for Social Justice is an economic
                                                   to build a just community.
justice organization run by and for
                                                      RESIST’s grant of $3,000 will help MIRA      The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Al-
low-income people. Their members
                                                   build broad-based community power to af-        liance (OREPA) is based in Oak Ridge,
are poor, homeless or at-risk, working,            fect long-term social change in Missouri.       Tennessee, where the Y12 Plant manufac-
unemployed and people who have been                                                                tures thermonuclear secondaries for the
pushed to the side by society. They or-            Bring urban Recycling to                        W76 warhead—the secondary is the highly
ganize around voting rights, housing,              Nashville today (BuRNt)                         explosive part that turns an atomic bomb
homelessness, health care, family rights           217 Silo Court, Nashville, Tennessee            into a thermonuclear bomb. OREPA uses
and criminal injustice, while they work to         37221. www.burnt-tn.org                         nonviolent action and education to work to
promote self-esteem, leadership develop-                                                           end nuclear weapons production.
ment and systemic social change.                   BURNT works to promote a toxic-free                 A $2,500 grant from RESIST will enable
   A grant of $3,000 will aid Arise for            environment for Nashville and the sur-          OREPA to step up its work in the face of De-
Social Justice’s work to build the political       rounding areas by promoting recycling,          partment of Energy plans to build a new, $3
power to impact the systems that influ-            pesticide reform and citizen activism           billion bomb plant at Y12 that will produce
ence and control people’s lives.                   within the governmental process. BURNT          nuclear weapons for another century.

8	                                                                                              RESIST Newsletter, September-October 2009

				
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