Middlesex County NOW Newsletter, January 2012

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					Middlesex County NOW
PO Box 1432, Highland Park, NJ 08904

                                    January, 2012

           39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 2012

Thank you to Rich and John for a lovely holiday party!
Congratulations to our newly elected officers!

Officers                                          2012 Elections
President – Skip Drumm                            Do you have a favorite candidate whom
Vice President – Lisanne Powers                   you would like to see elected? Go and
Secretary – Alan Gross                            volunteer to work in her/his campaign. I’m
Treasurer – Roberta Berlin                        going to keep saying this for the next 10
Campus Liaison – Sarah Kelly                      months. This is a critical period in our
Newsletter Editor – Skip Drumm                    country’s history, and women’s rights are in
State Board Rep – Gabby Celeiro                   peril. Ms. Magazine details the top 10
State Board Alternate -Sarah MacCombie            rights that we are likely to lose here. It is
                                                  really scary.

Our Next Meeting                                  However, there is some good news: Ms
Our next meeting will be Mon, Jan. 23rd,          Magazine and the Feminist Majority
7 pm, at the home of Rich and John.               Foundation have partnered with more than
Dinner will be served, once again courtesy        30 women’s foundations and nonprofits to
of our hosts. Let me know if you're               launch HERvotes, a campaign to organize
planning to attend, so we can have enough         and rally women voters in 2012. If we are
food for everyone.                                to save our hard-won rights, we must go to
                                                  the polls in record numbers this November.

2012 Chapter Meeting Dates
The following tentative meeting dates were        NOW to Obama: Women Who Elected
approved.                                         You Need You To Support Birth Control
                                                  Statement of NOW President Terry
January 23                                        O'Neill
March 12
April 9                                           Take Action: Tell President Obama and
May 14                                            Secretary of Health and Human Services
June 11                                           (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius to reverse their
July 9                                            outrageous and purely political decision to
August 13                                         overrule the Food and Drug
September 10                                      Administration's (FDA's) determination that
October 8                                         a form of emergency contraception is safe,
December 17 (Party)                               effective and should be available over the
                                                  counter with NO age restriction. Call the
Middlesex County NOW
PO Box 1432, Highland Park, NJ 08904

White House at 202-465-1414 and ask him       science in decision-making in contrast to
to direct Secretary Sebelius to reverse her   his predecessor, George W. Bush, and
ill-considered decision on Plan B One-Step    conservative politicians who often ignored
and make this safe and effective drug         or distorted scientific fact. Plan B is one of
available to all women – regardless of age    the most well-studied contraceptives in
– over the counter now. Then call HHS         U.S. history; it has been used for years in
Secretary Sebelius' office at 877-696-6775    dozens of other countries.
and tell her that women need unrestricted
access to Plan B One-Step now and that
no further studies are needed.                NOW: National Task Force to End
                                              Sexual And Domestic Violence Against
Background: As most everyone has heard        Women
by now, HHS Secretary Sebelius overruled
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg's           Good news: Senator Kirk (R-IL) has joined
decision to make Plan B One-Step, a form      Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Crapo (R-ID)
of emergency contraception, available         as a co-sponsor of the reauthorization of
without a prescription and with no age        the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),
restriction. The FDA's decision came after    S. 1925, along with several other Senators.
a federal court ordered the agency to         We hope that new sponsors will be joining
reconsider an age restriction imposed         the list every day. To see if your Senator
during the Bush administration. The court     has signed on, go to
characterized the age restriction as purely   http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php
political and not grounded in science or      and type in S. 1925 in the bill search box.
                                              This new version of the bill, which was
In fact, independent medical experts on an    introduced on November 30 in the Senate,
FDA advisory committee reviewing Plan B       maintains VAWA 's core focus on criminal
emergency contraception                       justice responses and services for victims,
(levonorgestrelan) unanimously concluded      but it also includes important prevention
in 2003 that Plan B is safe for non-          programs that focus on children and youth
prescription use and the same panel voted     and ways to engage men as leaders and
23 to 4 to make it available without          role models in ending domestic violence,
prescription, with no age restriction. The    dating violence, sexual assault and
drug was found by the FDA as early as         stalking. Recent headlines only underscore
1997 to be safe and effective; its approval   the need to target programs at children and
has been repeatedly delayed at the behest     youth and the increasing support for
of right-wing politicians and contraception   preventing violence before it does so much
opponents such as the U.S. Conference of      harm and perpetuates the often inter-
Catholic Bishops - the same folks who are     generational cycle of violence.
lobbying hard to reduce contraceptive
access under the new health care law.         ACTION #1: Email your Senators and
                                              Representatives TODAY with this
When President Obama took office he           message:
vowed to support only evidence-based
Middlesex County NOW
PO Box 1432, Highland Park, NJ 08904

Dear Senator ____/(Representative ____),
I am writing to you about the                  Ms. Magazine Blog: FBI Director
reauthorization of the Violence Against        Predicts “Forcible” Will Drop from Rape
Women Act, in order to encourage you to        Definition by Spring
sign on as a cosponsor. The Violence           An FBI Advisory Policy Board unanimously
Against Women Act has had an enormous          recommended that the agency update the
impact since it was first reauthorized 17      archaic definition of rape it uses in its
years ago. More victims report domestic        Uniform Crime Report (UCR).
violence to the police and the rate of non-
fatal intimate partner violence against        The only hurdle that remained was final
women has decreased by 63%. The sexual         approval of the change by FBI Director
assault services program in VAWA helps         Robert Mueller. Today, he gave us reason
rape crisis centers keep their doors open to   for optimism. The Huffington Post’s
provide the frontline response to victims of   Amanda Terkel reports:
                                               Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick
The VAWA of 2011 continues the effective       Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Mueller about the
programs to address these crimes but also      panel’s recommendation during a hearing
includes a prevention and education focus      on Wednesday, stating, “I know the FBI is
to stop the intergenerational cycle of         currently working to update the definition of
abuse. It would bring greater attention to     rape for the Uniform Crime Report. Why is
the issues of children's exposure to           that important, to update that?”
violence and efforts to prevent it and help
younger victims. It also includes an           “That definition was in some ways
increased focus on the prevention of teen      unworkable, certainly not applicable — fully
dating violence and sexual violence and        applicable — to the types of crimes that it
recognizes the importance of targeting         should cover,” replied Mueller. “And as I
interventions earlier, when young people       think you’re aware, the advisory committee
are starting to form relationships and         for NCIC in the statistics, developing the
develop their attitudes and behaviors          statistics, approved the change to that
around the acceptability of violence and       definition. And my expectation is it will go
abuse.                                         into effect sometime this spring.”

As Congress considers reauthorization of
the Violence Against Women Act, we're          WHYY Radio
particularly grateful to this attention to     Pennsylvania's state Senate passed
community-based prevention programs and        legislation last week that places new
educational programs that meet the needs       restrictions on abortion clinics. The bill is
of the more than 15 million children and       largely in reaction to the horrific case of
youth who are exposed to violence. By          Kermit Gosnell, who ran an abortion clinic
preventing violence before it happens - we     in West Philadelphia and has been charged
prevent horrific harm from happening in the    in the deaths of seven babies and one
first place and interrupt the cycle of         adult patient. The bill, which still needs the
violence.                                      signature of Governor Corbett, requires the
Middlesex County NOW
PO Box 1432, Highland Park, NJ 08904

state’s 22 clinics to retrofit their facilities   Our goal is to post some short videos and
with hospital-grade elevators, larger             written memories on a website and reach
operating rooms, and have a registered            out to young people using the internet.
nurse on site even when abortions are not         We're hoping that these vignettes can
being performed. Proponents argue that            educate young people about the dangers
these measures are necessary to ensure            that await if we don't pay attention to
the safety of patients, but opponents             preserving the rights we gained in 1973.
believe they go too far and will result in
clinic closures.                                  The videotaping would be done by Rutgers
                                                  students. If you prefer, it could be done so
                                                  that you are not recognizable. You would
Ms. Magazine Blog: Egyptian Women                 have the ability to approve the final product
Rally Around “The Girl in the #BlueBra”           before publication. You are also welcome
The world saw just how brutal the Egyptian        to share a written memory such as the one
military can be towards women who                 that appeared in last month’s newsletter.
dissent. A video, which has gone viral,           (Available on our website:
shows military police dragging a hijab-clad       www.nownj.org/Middlesex)
woman protester through the street,
beating her senseless, then stomping on           For more information:
her exposed stomach as she lies                   mimi_pichey@hotmail.com
motionless in her blue bra. That image has        or 732-316-1078.
become a rallying point for Egyptians, held       We invite guest writers.
up on signs by protesters chanting, “This is      Send articles, poetry, and other items of
the army that is protecting us!”                  interest to the chapter at
There is a reason why Time magazine               Middlesex@nownj.org.
picked The Protester as its Person of the
Year–and there is a reason why the                What issues would you like to see our
protester on that Time cover is a woman.          chapter address?
Throughout the Arab Spring, from Iran to          Please reply to Middlesex@nownj.org.
Saudi Arabia to Egypt, women have been
on the frontlines of the protests, demanding      How to Contact your State and National
more rights, as well as behind the scenes,        Legislators:
shaping their countries’ revolutions.             Go to www.Congress.org. Enter your zip
                                                  code to find your legislators and their
                                                  contact information.
Saving Abortion: What can you do?
“Seeking Women With a Story to Tell”
By Mimi Pichey
The Rutgers University Choice group (RU
Choice) is partnering with the Middlesex
County chapter of NOW to record women’s
stories, both taped and written.

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