Tag Archive: Women’s RIghts

Bonnie Watson Coleman goes up on the air

Hitting the notes of progressive and women’s rights, Bonnie Watson Coleman’s first TV spot hits the airwaves tomorrow.

CD12 Dem primary competitors Linda Greenstein and Upendra Chivukula got television ads up earlier. A lot rides on this primary Tuesday, including some firsts or firsts-in-a-long while. Chivukula would be the first Indian American ever to join the NJ congressional delegation. If Greenstein or Watson Coleman win, the story will be a woman in the delegation for the first time in years. And the pressure is on the Democrats. The Republicans had Marge Roukema in Congress from 1981 to 2002. The Democrats haven’t had a a woman in Congress since 1979. And New Jersey has never sent an African-American woman to Congress. By contrast New York sent groundbreaker Shirley Chisholm to the House in 1968. Forty-six years ago. And New Jersey still hasn’t had its Shirley Chisholm.

What do you think of this ad, Blue Jersey?

April 28: Fighting Against the War on Women

Rally Against the War on Women is this Saturday, April 28, 12-4pm at the State House (125 West State St, Trenton). Speakers include Blue Jersey’s own Sen. Loretta Weinberg, ACLU-NJ’s Deborah Jacobs, Planned Parenthood’s Michele Jaker, Marie Corfield and another Dem running in LD-16 Sue Nemeth, Michael McPhearson of United for Peace & Justice, Adrienne Sanders of NAACP and many others. – promoted by Rosi.

The conservative Right was swept into office two years ago on a platform of fixing the economy. Instead of focusing on our country’s economic crisis, the Right turned its attention to women’s private lives, seeking to govern nearly every aspect of women’s reproductive healthcare, employment, and voter status. Since 2010, over 1400 of pieces of legislation aimed at controlling women have been introduced across the United States: humiliating mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortion, fetal personhood laws, the redefinition of rape, denial of coverage for birth control, defunding of women’s clinics, refusal to authorize the Violence Against Women Act, Voter ID acts, and more. Instead of creating jobs, the Right has created a War on Women.

One particular attack on women’s lives stood out to me, made me mad, and made me worried about my teenage daughter’s future. A February 2012 Congressional hearing on birth control did not include any women. I was outraged. Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was viciously slandered by right-wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh, called a “slut” and a “prostitute” simply for speaking out in defense of birth control access. Fluke was denied the opportunity to speak on the all-male panel of theologians and clergy who testified against birth control, claiming that comprehensive healthcare coverage for paid employees of churches somehow damaged their religious freedom. Ridiculous. Religious freedom does not include the freedom to deny healthcare to paid employees, or to the entire country. But that’s the goal of the Religious Right and its ALEC-authored legislation: controlling women’s access to reproductive healthcare, and holding women down in every way possible. Is this the legacy we’re leaving to our daughters?

Planned Parenthood Leader in Princeton

promoted by Rosi

“Partisan politics rather than public health interest is driving reproductive policy in America,” Richards said. “We are now fighting about whether women should have basic access to birth control.”

Cecile Richards – the head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America – did not mince words as she spoke to students and Planned Parenthood supporters, staff, and board members at Princeton University yesterday.  She outlined a variety of egregious pieces of legislation which are currently wending their way through state legislatures, none of which are medically necessary, most of which are simply designed to humiliate women and deter them from accessing the full range of reproductive health care options, including contraception, STI testing and treatment, and abortion care.

Although some of the news was grim, Richards – who called herself “an optimist” – was also hopeful, discussing the power of technology to connect people and create social change.  It was also hard not to notice the energy of the students in the room, who asked Richards a broad array of questions, from the role of sex positivity in advocating for women’s health to advice on how to talk about reproductive health to peers.  

Richards also encouraged the women’s health advocates in the lecture hall to stay strong and active in the face of repeated attacks.  As our Planned Parenthood health centers in New Jersey face a third year without state family planning dollars, this encouragement was appreciated.  Because, at the end of the day, after the political noise had died down, our work is all about serving patients and their basic health care needs.

Roe v Wade: We celebrate Liberty and Equality

As we approach the anniversary of Roe v Wade:

We celebrate Liberty and Equality

Roe v. Wade was a cornerstone of real opportunity for women.  If America promises its citizens the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this landmark decision was key.  We cannot expect to be mistresses of our own lives if we are subject to unwanted pregnancies. The burden of unwanted pregnancies leads to all manner of ills, including financial dependence, losing the opportunity for higher education followed by fewer job opportunities, spotty working history, and ensuring second class roles and citizenship. Roe v. Wade in conjunction with the birth control pill gave real reproductive control to us for the first time, gave women choice, “liberty”, and opened the doors for much of our subsequent achievement.

For 39 years, that “Liberty”, that the Roe V Wade decision gave American women  has been attacked  and battered into an endangered species by political ideologues. As members of the LGBT community we all have a sense of being denied liberty. For LGBT women we have an additional burden. For that reason we must fight for women’s choice. America to be truly great cannot have second class citizenship, whether based on sex, gender, race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein

Member – DNC Executive Committee

A good time to reflect

The New Jersey Assembly voted 78-0 to delete “obsolete and derogatory state statutes pertaining to the status of women”. I think it’s worth reading the statutes and reflecting on how far the progressive movement has come. I’m not criticizing the reformers of 1800’s, but it’s nice to get this out of the legal code:

If a wife after being ravished, consent to the ravisher, she shall be disabled and forever barred from having her jointure or dower, unless her husband is voluntarily reconciled to her and permits her to dwell with him, in which case she shall be restored to her jointure or dower.

Or this:

The paraphernalia of a married woman, being the suitable ornaments and wearing apparel of a married woman, which have come to her through her husband during coverture, shall be her separate property as if she were a feme sole.

I will say this: It won’t take a century and half for the half-measure of civil unions to look like this.  

Frank Lautenberg on What Now Controls the GOP: Toxic Tea

Frank Lautenberg laid it all out on the floor of the Senate yesterday, decrying the sharp rightward turn of the Republicans “on the other side of the aisle” to accommodate the Tea Party activists now controlling the GOP. On higher ed:

Here in Congress, tea party activists have seized control of the Republican side of the aisle. And it is far from a tea party for lots of jobless people, those qualified to study in college but just unable to pay the freight.

On the GOP plans to slash funding:

We know that cutting critical programs now brings high – sky high – prices later; more illnesses and a less educated society.

The Senator calls out the Tea Party’s “toxic” agenda, proposed cuts to early education funding, college tuition assistance, medical research, women’s health care and environmental protections. And that includes a big NO to “200,00 little kids who now go to Head Start.”

Lautenberg urges a full-on rejection of the GOP’s Tea Party agenda: “When they say, ‘Have some Toxic Tea,’ we must say: ‘No.'” This is your senior Senator:

What Do You Mean It’s Not Rape?

Jeanette Friedman is journalist living in north Jersey. She’s never talked publicly about her rape. – promoted by Rosi

Cross posted at newjerseynewsroom

Soul or Pocketbook? You Decide.

It doesn’t really matter that these men have removed the word “forcible” from this bill. It still changes the meaning of incest, still intimidates private health insurance companies, still pushes church over state and is designed to deprive women of their right to choose.

Thirty-seven years ago, this very week, there was a snowstorm swirling outside my kitchen window, but my sixth floor apartment was so hot and dry I cracked the window facing the fire escape before I went to bed. It was about 3 a.m., and I had just fallen asleep when I woke up to find a man cutting the wires to the phone on my bedside table. Next thing I knew, I was blindfolded with my bathrobe, and could feel the point of a knife pushing into the top of my scalp. I kept thinking that what was happening couldn’t be happening, and remembered what my cop friends had taught me. “Don’t fight back, give them what they want or they won’t think twice about hurting or killing you.”

So I did as I was told, and about half-an-hour later, wrapped in a blanket, I went pounding on my neighbors’ doors, begging them to call the cops.  One of my big kitchen knives was laying on the third step of the staircase.

I was not bruised or battered physically, but I demanded to be taken to a hospital for a rape kit. (I was the editor of my college paper and had access to information most women didn’t have. It was 1973 and women were starting to learn how to take care of themselves because, generally, men proved unequal to the task. Mostly I wanted a massive dose of penicillin, just in case I’d caught something disgusting.)

The first question these police officers asked me was what I had done to encourage my attacker.  I thought that only happened in movies! I was so furious, I shot back that at 3 a.m., as the snowstorm raged across the city, I had climbed out on the fire escape, and while swinging my panties in the air, had yelled

Here ’tis, come and get it.


Why is the NJ Assembly leadership looking less Diverse all the time?

There are twenty-four committees in the NJ General Assembly in Trenton and only four of them are chaired by women.

In a week or so, when Assemblywoman Greenstein takes her seat in the Senate — that number will dwindle to three as Greenstein’s Judiciary Committee gavel was promised to an anti-choice Assemblyman who was not even on the Judiciary panel when the selection was made.

This isn’t your grandfather’s Democratic party. Oh wait, maybe it is.