Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series! Step 4: Make an Action Video


Are you getting ready for our national week of action to expose fake clinics?

In case you've been in a cave, the campus organizers are giving you action ideas in our Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series. Check out Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 in case you've missed out!

In this installment, I'll be talking to you about our Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics Video Contest!

Maybe you have a creative way to expose fake clinics that we haven't thought of yet. Perhaps you or someone you know wants to share a personal experiences with a CPC. Maybe you have already done some amazing action on exposing clinics and want to show us. Well, WE WANT TO SEE IT.

Plan a video, script it, find your crew and start filming! We want innovative ideas, powerful interviews, and touching interactions.

Let us know what you are doing to get the word out!

Create a You-tube Style video less than 10 minutes long and email your submissions to jsun@feminist.org by November 1st, 2009.

The winner will get their video featured at our Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference (register today!!!) as well as our National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, March 20-22 in Washington DC, with an introduction by feminist actor, Amy Brenneman.

So get rolling!

Keep in mind that surreptitious phone and video recordings inside a CPC or of CPC staff are strictly prohibited. Some CPCs will require you to sign a confidentiality agreement which may be enforceable by law. Make sure that no one on your video has signed one.

Irina Bokova will become first woman to lead UNESCO

Just last week, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) voted in Irina Bokova as the new head of the organization, The Guardian reports. Though the organization is 64 years old (according to the UNESCO website), Irina will be both the first woman and first Eastern European to lead the organization,

The opposition candidate, Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosny, had been the favorite until critics pointed out Egypt's history of censorship and a comment Hosny had made about burning Israeli books that insulted Islam, the The Huffington Post reported.

Some Egyptians considered the opposition to Hosny as anti-Muslim and anti-Egyptian; others, however, blame Hosny for stifling the Egyptian cultural scene and consider him far too dictatorial (as reported by the Huffington Post)

Bokova is currently the Bulgarian foreign minister to France, and helped Bugaria enter the European Union. (Guardian reports.) Her resume is extremely impressive; she is fluent in four languages (English, Russian, Spanish, and French), and helped draft the Bulgarian constitution, among many other achievements (resume available at her personal website) She intends to get UNESCO more involved in the international talks about "hot topics" such as global warming and solving the international financial crisis (reported the Huffington Post)

photocredit: amirjina on Flickr

Senate Committee Votes to Restore Ab-Only $$$

You might want to sit down for this one. We've got a long road ahead...

The Senate Finance Committee voted last night to RESTORE $50 million/year in federal funding of abstinence-only programs (I emphasize the word programs because, clearly, abstinence-ONLY is in no way "educational").

Earlier this year, President Obama took measures to eliminate federal funding of abstinence-only programs, option to use the money to fund programs aimed at lowering teen pregnancy. Now, however, money that could be used for effective, evidence-based educational programming, is back on the chopping block.

While things look grim, all is not yet lost. According to the Huffington Post, an alternative measure offered by Senator Bauchus, also passed. Before the the entire bill can pass the Senate, Senators will have to reconcile both measures approved by the committee. From there, the Senate and House versions of the legislation must then be reconciled and voted on by both bodies.

Passing legislation through Congress is a long process, but hopefully, this time, the finer details of the process will work in the favor of those seeking comprehensive sexual education. Keep an eye out and let us know if you hear more.

Photo credit: qmnonic on flickr.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great lineup of speakers at the Women of Color Conference!


FMF's Third Annual Women of Color Conference is almost here! The campus team has been hard at work lining up a great program for you and we hope you can make it! Register now if you haven't already.

Featured speakers include:
  • Ellie Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Spelman College Women's Research and Resource Center
  • Loretta Ross, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective
  • Dázon Dixon Diallo, SisterLove, Inc.
  • Mia Mingus, SPARK! Reproductive Justice Now
  • Jamila Taylor, Center for Health and Gender Equity
  • Nancy Boothe, Feminist Women's Health Center
  • Alice Lovelace, American Friends Service Committee and poet
  • ...and many more!

Activists from more than a dozen states have already signed up to join the discussion on reproductive health, environmental racism, immigrant rights, and a variety of other topics! Online registration ends October 7th, so secure your spot at this fantastic conference and register today!

register today!

Book your lodging and travel arrangements as soon as possible, and check out the hotels page of our website if you need ideas.

Contact the Campus Team at 703-522-2214 if you have any questions. Safe travels and we'll see you in Atlanta!

France Considers Health Warnings on Photoshopped Images

Last week, MP Valerie Boyer and 50 other politicians in the French Parliament introduced a law that would require digitally modified photos of fashion models to bear a "health warning," Reuters reports.

This law would form part of France's anti-anorexia campaign, which includes a law fining "pro-ana," or pro-anorexia, websites (see Reuters article here)

According to Boyer, who has written a government report on obesity and anorexia, "These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents. "Many young people, particularly girls, do not know the difference between the virtual and reality, and can develop complexes from a very young age.

"In some cases this leads to anorexia or bulimia and very serious health problems." (qtd from Telegraph)

This law comes after a recent study that shows that France has the highest percent of underweight women in Europe--5% of women--but only half of that percent recognize that they are underweight (see article here)

Photo Credit: Nuru87 on Flickr.com

Universal Coverage (But Not If You're a Woman)

The New York Times today covered an aspect of the health care debate that has received relatively little coverage as of late: the fight of many Republicans, and an alarmingly high number of moderate Democrats, who are pushing for a bill that bans the use of federal health care subsidies to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion. These opponents of abortion coverage are split into two camps: those who want to maintain the current federal funding ban by requiring insurance companies to keep all money from public subsidies in separate accounts from private co-payments and premiums and to only use private funds to pay for abortion, and those who want to prohibit insurance companies who receive any money from federal subsidies from covering abortion at all.

This kind of ban could have tragic consequences for women. Insurance companies, who all want to receive federal help, would likely drop abortion coverage from all of its plans, meaning that even women whose current health plans cover abortion would likely lose this benefit. But don't worry! Republicans sponsoring these amendments would allow women to pay extra for a special rider that would let them cover abortions. That is, of course, supposing that they can afford it. Complete and comprehensive healthcare will continue, according to a time-honored tradition, to be more expensive for women, guaranteeing that lower- and middle-class women are prevented from real autonomy over their health and their bodies.

If this is something you care about, please write a letter to your senator or representative. Republicans and Democrats need to hear from women who believe in protecting their right to choose, and to afford, health care that is right for them.

AAUW opporunities

FMF just got a hot tip on some great opportunities from our friends at AAUW and wanted to pass it on to you. We hope that these leadership projects spark your imaginations and get you revved up to jump on board!

Feel free to take a closer look at these fantastic links. Deadlines are fast approaching; don’t let these chances slip away!

*AAUW Campus Action Projects (CAP) - Campus Action Projects enable student leaders and campus faculty to design and implement effective programs that enhance campus offerings, promote leadership, and improve academic and career outcomes. 2009-10 applications are available with a submission deadline of October 16, 2009.

*National Student Advisory Council (SAC) - SAC student leaders give AAUW advice and implementation strategies on programming of interest for young women and girls, build relationships with local AAUW branches, lead campus events that promote women’s equity, and help plan and implement NCCWSL activities. 2009-10 applications are available with a submission deadline of September 30, 2009.

*Campaign College - Campaign College is the only program in the country that trains college women to run for student government. Last spring, AAUW conducted two successful pilot trainings in partnership with the American University Women & Politics Institute and Running Start. Applications are available with a submission deadline of October 16, 2009.

photocredit to ricklibrarian on Flickr.com

UNESCO International Guidelines on Sexual Education

At what age do you think it is appropriate to talk about sexuality and how should it be discussed?

This question has been floating around the global community, especially due to the ever-growing HIV crisis and its links to sexuality.

The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave us their take by drafting the International Guidelines on Sexual Education, presented this June at the 19th World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) Conference.

The goal was to provide a comprehensive, systematic approach to sexual education, covering everything from love and relationships, orientation, pleasure, family planning and HIV/STD prevention options in an evidence-based, health-focused, culturally sensitive way. The curriculum is categorized in age-appropriate lists, teaching sexuality in digestible doses.

After getting wind of the draft, conservatives jumped. Feeling uncomfortable with “teaching masturbation to five year olds,” the protests began. Parents complained that it is inappropriate for teachers to and Focus on the Family’s vice president Chong Cheh Hoon said that the Guidelines are like “telling…kids not to smoke and yet providing them with cigarette filters.”

UNESCO employee Mark Richmond defended the Guidelines saying, “At the moment, education is the best weapon we have for dealing with these issues… Evidence tells us that by and large, young people do not have access to the knowledge that could help them make informed decisions and thereby avoid tragic consequences.” The agency is certain that the youth are interested and deserve to know the facts.

The draft was given a second chance at the Sex and Relationships Education Conference on September 7th-9th. UNESCO stood by its goals, but reworked some areas with attending specialists.

A finalized version is said to be out by the end of this year.

While this has been debated for some time, now is the time to sit up and pay attention! Read the June 2009 guidelines to decide what you think and keep your eye out for the final draft!


photo credit to lamont_cranston on flikr

Monday, September 28, 2009

NCBW Recognizes Record-Breaking Teen Pilot

Most kids dream big when imagining their futures. A pre-school student once adorably told me that when she grew up, she wanted to be either "a princess or a dinosaur."

On Sunday Saturday 27th, the National Congress of Black Women honored Kimberly Anyadike, who took the phrase "when I grow up" to the next level.
Putting most high schoolers to shame, this young woman has shattered records by being the youngest female african-american to fly cross-country from Compton , CA, to Newport News, VA, at the age of 15.

It is through programs like those found at Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum that make Anyadike's victory possible. Here, disadvantaged youth can exchange hours of work for "museum dollars"/flight lessons and start seeing their potential (pardon the pun) take flight.
Both Kimberly and her older sister Kelly have passed the pilot program with flying colors and continue to push each other to further greatness through healthy sibling rivalry.
As NCBW President Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq so nicely put it, each field has its"Venus and Serena" and these ladies are it!

photo credit: bre_pettis from Flickr.com

Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series Step 3: Start Planning Your Week of Action!


Now that you've found out if fake clinics are targeting your campus, and begun getting the word out on campus, it is time to start planning your "Don't Get Tricked, Get Treated" Week of Action!

Join feminist groups across the nation and take action to expose fake clinics during the Week of Oct. 25 - 31! Start planning and prepping for your week of action now! "Don't Get Tricked, Get Treated" Action ideas include:

- Screen the FMF's investigative videos available at: http://feministcampus.org/act/cpc/default.asp.
- Burma Shave signs around campus
- Photo Campaign
- Haunted Clinic
- Organize a protest outside of the nearest CPC warning women about the CPC's deceptive practices and misinformation
- Hold a rally or speak out on campus exposing fake clinics and demanded truth in advertising for women's health services
-Screen your own "Exposing Fake Clinics" Video and be sure to submit it to the Video Contest to Expose Fake Clinics! Entries are due no later than Nov. 1 to Jacqueline Sun at jsun@feminist.org.

Don't forget to do your homework! Before organizing your week of action, be sure to check out the FMF's Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics kit, find out if CPCs are targeting your campus and start getting the word out!

Stay tuned for more Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series blogs and more info on visibility events for the week of action!

If you have a great action event idea, we want to hear it and share it! Email your campus organizer with your great idea!

Photo courtesy of PumpkinWayne on flikr.com

Fetushood

Via Feminist News

"The Florida Secretary of State's office approved ballot language this week for a so-called personhood initiative proposed by Personhood Florida and the American Life League. The ballot measure would amend the state constitution to say that "The word 'person' and 'natural person' apply to all human beings, irrespective of age, race, health, function, condition of physical and/or mental dependency and/or disability, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of biological development of that human being."
Whenever these calls to extend personhood to fetuses come up I'm baffled. The ramifications of such laws passing are absurd. For one, they raise several ethical complications, as Jill from Feministe points out.

However, let's set aside the political and social ramifications of the debate (if that can be done) and look at the term personhood. The term personhood implies that we have a certain relationship with the individual who has personhood. Specifically, we believe that we should respect the individual's rights and expect them to respect ours. Furthermore, we believe that we can hold the individual responsible if they violate our rights and seek due recourse against them. The problem with extending personhood to fetuses is that they simply cannot meet the criteria for personhood.

Don't we treat children as people even though they cannot uphold personhood to the same degree as an adult can? We do, but we do not treat a child in the same way as an adult. Children have a specific category in personhood as we can still expect them to respect individual rights and we still create a special class of responsibility to deal with children's actions.

The difference between children, adults, and fetuses is that children and adults have a key property that fetuses don't. They have agency. They can interact with the outside world, make demands, and understand responsibility. A fetus cannot.

We may choose to extend certain protections to fetuses, but giving them personhood is absurd. Fetuses are a cluster of cells with development potential. Giving personhood to a thing with only developmental potential is haphazard and ethically unsound.

Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project

I just read a great article on the DCist about the Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP).

YWDEP is an awesome program that lets young women in DC schools express themselves through drumming and other forms of art. According to the YWDEP site, the project is a "summer-long program of weekly workshops led by local female artists in team building, African hand drumming, poetry, song writing, rhythms, theater/movement, performance technique and staging."

All I can say is that I'm really glad a project like this exists. Drumming is a field of self-expression that is far too often limited to men and it's great to see it opening up to young women. Also, I'm always for anything that lets people express themselves.

Here's a short documentary on YWDEP:



Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/meigooni/

US Still Denies Majority Population Equal Rights

Ever since the Equal Rights Amendment fell three states short of ratification in 1982, it has been consistently reintroduced into Congress every subsequent year, in an attempt to finally and permanently secure basic civil rights for women.

In July, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney took up the task of introducing the ERA once again. Will this finally be the year that the majority population will be able to sleep soundly and know that their rights will no longer be subject to manipulation, regardless of shifting political tides?

A recent post at the Huffington Post takes a look at why women everywhere might be overlooking the crucial significance of the ERA.

... And don't forget to check out the awesome photo at the bottom of the blog post where FMF President Ellie Smeal and current DC intern Maggie Skelton showed their support for the reintroduction of the ERA on July 21, 2009.


Happy Monday Morning! - Calendar Check

As September draws to a close (which is baffling...last time I checked it was late July?!), we've got some great opportunities for you and your feminist campus groups coming up in the near future....

October 4-6 * Washington, DC: Feminist Majority's Women, Money & Power Summit - FM (FMF's sister organization) has several free student tickets available. If you're interested/able to attend, call Wendy at 703-522-2214.

October 9-10 * Spelman College * Atlanta, GA: FMF's annual Women of Color Conference. The conference is filling up quickly, but there's still time to register! For more information, email campusteam@feminist.org or call 703-522-2214.

October 25 - 31 * Don't Get Tricked, Get Treated: week of action: Campuses across the nation are gearing up for our national week of action to expose Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

November 1 * CPC Video Contest deadline: The winning video will be featured on our national website and screened at our national and regional conferences, with an introduction by feminist actor, Amy Brenneman, star of Private Practice and Judging Amy!

November 6-7 * Santa Monica College * Los Angeles, CA: FMF's Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference will converge to discuss women’s rights and equality issues, and to formulate a plan of action. EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!


...and last but not least, as you're budgeting for next semester, don't forget to SAVE THE DATE for FMF's annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference! March 20-22 * University of the District of Columbia * Washington, DC

Photo credit: nyki m on flickr.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

Best Your Mom Joke I've Heard in a Long Time

Dispatches from Health Care Reform Hearing:

Senator Kyl proclaims that since -he- doesn't need maternity care, so why should insurance coverage for maternity cost him more money?

Senator Stabenow answers, "I think your mom probably did."



Thank you, Senator Stabenow, for calling this what it is. Women's health care is not specialty health care. We're >50% of the population. It's incumbent upon insurance companies to cover our health and anatomy just like they do a man's - I don't hear anyone raising a fuss over coverage of Viagra or prostate exams.

Happy Friday, Feminists!

via Feministing

Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series! Step 2: Get the Word Out!

Welcome to another installment of Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series!

In Allie's last post, we talked about finding out whether or not CPCs were targeting your campus.

In this installment, I'm going to talk about how you can get the word out and create visibility for exposing fake clinics.

Here are some ideas:

1. Create educational flyers letting people know what CPCs are and where the nearest one to your campus is. Distribute them widely and educate your student body about the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers.

2. Circulate the petition. Not only will you be getting signatures of supporters, you will also be educating people who may not have already known about CPCs. Be sure to email (campusteam@feminist.org) the information from the petition to us in an excel sheet or fax in your petitions. This will ensure that these signatures get sent out to congressional leaders, but it will also connect our supporters to the largest pro-choice student network in the world. Don't deprive our supporters from action alerts as well as conference, campaign and event news!

3. Distribute our caution flyer to warn people about CPCs near your campus!

4. Hand out pieces of candy, each with a informational tag. They can include information about what a CPC is, how to discern a CPCs from legitimate clinics, or where the CPCs in your area are.

5. Get news coverage from your campus newspaper! Call your newspaper editor and pitch them the story about CPCs. FMF has just released a new press release about CPCs that you should send to the editor as well. In your pitch, include info about the deceptive practices of CPCs, where the closest CPC is to your campus, whether your health center refers women to CPCs, and let them know what actions your feminist group is taking to expose them, and what you plan to do for the national Week of Action October 25th-31st!


Don't forget about our video contest. Do you have a great idea to get to word out? Personal experiences? Want to share how you feel about CPCs? We want to see it! The winner will have their video screened at the Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference as well as the National Conference in the Spring, and be presented by feminist actor, Amy Brenneman! Deadline to submit videos is November 1st. Please send your submissions to me, Jacqueline Sun, jsun@feminist.org. And remember to keep your videos less than 10 minutes long!


Keep checking up on the blog for more in our action series!


photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanchan/2500293355/

This Is What A Feminist Looks Like!


When making his closing remarks at the International Freedom Award ceremony in Memphis on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama called on women to help create a more compassionate world. He then went on to declare himself a feminist saying, “I call myself a feminist. Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?” AWESOME!

After proclaiming himself a feminist, he spoke briefly about the merits of compassion, responsibility, and religious harmony. The Dalai Lama was honored at the ceremony for his commitment to defending the rights of the Tibetan people. This year is the 50th anniversary of his forced exile from Tibet. He now lives in Dharamsala, India, where he continues his amazing work.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

REGISTER NOW for the Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference!


Join us at the FMF's Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference November 6th & 7th at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, California!

Feminists from campuses across the Western United States will converge to discuss women’s rights and equality issues, and to formulate a plan of action.

We’ll address feminist topics including exposing fake clinics, Afghan women’s rights, rape kit backlogs, femicide, anti-choice extremism, marriage equality, health care reform, immigration, global reproductive rights, birth control access and much more.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to network with dynamic speakers and student leaders and fight to improve the lives of women worldwide!

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!

$15 for individuals
$12 per person for groups of 5 or more
* To register at the group rate, contact Allie at amcdonald@feminist.org or Jacqueline at jsun@feminist.org or call 1-866-471-3652.

After Oct. 21st, registration fees go up, so take advantage of these discount rates and REGISTER NOW!

For information about registration, the location, fundraising, and group hotel rates, check out the conference website or contact Campus Organizers, Allie and Jacqueline at amcdonald@feminist.org, jsun@feminist.org or 1-866-471-3652.

The time is now to unite with feminists from across the western states and organize to create real change for women worldwide! We hope you can make it!

For Equality,

Allie, Jacqueline and duVergne
West Coast Campus Team

From the Feminist Vault



With four children by the age of 20, I can imagine Loretta was one happy woman to see the pill. This line is a classic:

"This incubator is overused
Because you've kept it filled
The feelin' good comes easy now
Since I've got the pill"

Amen, Loretta. Amen!

Sgt. Mjr. Teresa King, Highest Ranking Woman Soldier in US Army

According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, after 234 years of existence, the US Army has finally appointed its first woman to lead the largest drill sergeant school in the country.

Command Sergeant Major Teresa King is the first woman to head the drill sergeant training school in Fort Jackson, SC, and she is also the first woman to attain the highest rank possible for a soldier, sergeant major. Her appointment marks a significant advancement for women in the male-dominated armed forces!

A documentary, “Women in the Military: Willing, Able, Essential” by Susan Sherwood, details the the history of women serving and volunteering in gendered jobs (i.e. as nurses, laundry attendants, etc.). In the documentary, Sherwood also looks at women in recent history serving in the armed forces as military police, convoy drivers, and various other stereotypically "male" positions.

Perhaps, in her next documentary, Sherwood will include stories of more high-ranking women like Command Sergeant Major Teresa King!

Photo credit: The US Army on flickr.com

FMF Intern's Post on Feministe

FMF 2009 Summer Intern, Thúy-Lan Võ Lite, wrote an insightful post today on Feministe. Here's what Thúy-Lan had to say, in its entirety:

I have a few updates on the
case of slain anti-abortion activist James Pouillon, who was killed in front of a school on September 11 in Owassa, Michigan.

A brief post on Jezebel informed me that two Congressmen – Reps. Dave Camp and Dale Kildee – from Pouillon’s home state introduced a resolution to honor the late protestor: House Resolution 759 (available on Camp’s website), after noting that “Jim Pouillon is mourned by his family, friends, community, and fellow defenders of the First Amendment and the unborn,” offers condolences to the victim’s family and recognizes the importance of free speech.

The resolution has been introduced amid an ongoing debate over Pouillon’s posthumous martyrization. Anti-choice leaders note that he was killed on the job, or “gunned down as he stood for life” (Operation Rescue), but it’s misleading to conclude that his victimization was a direct result of his ideology. According to Flint News, “[a]uthorities have said Harlan Drake, 33, of Owosso had a grudge against Pouillon and didn’t think that children should have to look at graphic pictures of abortion on their way to school.”

The article continues: “Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry says he doesn’t have any information that the abortion issue was the motivation for the slaying, saying that it is not his impression that the shooting was a hate crime or politically motivated.” Keep in mind that Drake had killed another man earlier in the day based on a completely unrelated “grudge.”

Dr. James M. Pouillon – the late activist’s son – had some interesting opinions of his own, which he wrote in a blog post (via Flint) a few days after the murder. Asserting that his father “really didn’t care about aborton (sic),” he noted that “He did this [protesting] to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.”

But whether or not Pouillon, Sr. was killed for his stance or for his persistent, disrespectful methods remains up in the air; it’s definitely too soon for anti-choice leaders to galvanize support in his name.


Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCaptial.com on flickr.com

Wisconsin Antis Hit below the Belt, Attack Contraception and Birth control

As a native Wisconsinite, I find great joy and excitement when my state makes national news and blog roles. Today, while perusing the web for blogs to feature on Majority Speaks, I came across two that featured the Dairy State; imagine my excitement.


Imagine my disappointment, however, when the first one to come up, on RH Reality Check, highlighted the little town of Wausau, WI, and their unrelenting picketing. (Be sure to check out the linked video, it’s a real gem).

These protesters aren’t picketing against abortion, mind you; they are picketing against birth control and contraceptives. It is scary to think that access to birth control is now under equal attack as abortion. The majority of the clinics under attack aren't even connected or associated with abortion or abortion clinics; they provide no referrals or medical counseling for women seeking abortion.

One protester outside of the clinic took up the ‘murder’ argument—apparently birth control and condoms are murder—claiming that we always have the choice to kill, in fact, he could murder you right now! Many others in the video supported this argument, whether it was by personal testimony or their stylish, graphic-Ts. To those following this guy’s logic, may I remind you that “pro-choice” does not equate a single question of “to abort, or not to abort.” Choice is about how you want to live your life; to give you the freedom to choose when and whether you have children, and the privacy to make that decision on your own.

Beyond the illogical 'murder' argument, one female protester showcased the ‘legitimacy’ of the marriage argument. She likens using condoms to telling your husband you’ll listen to him but “let me put ear plugs in first,” which of course signifies a lack of commitment in your marriage that is apparently not a marriage. Did you follow that logic? Neither did I.

Saving sex for marriage and procreation alone is not a realistic expectation for the general population. And what if it was? Can you imagine if everyone had twelve children, like the mom-to-be featured? This country and this planet wouldn’t know what to do with itself; there would be no future for anyone. Birth control is necessary and it is the responsible thing to do, something the anti-choice movement fails to believe or simply ignores.

Just when I thought I'd lost all hope in my home state, I read my second Wisconsin blog and, I swear, saw a light appear at the end of the tunnel. Enter Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. Yesterday, Rep. Baldwin gave
testimony on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a proposed bill by Congress that would prohibit discrimination in the work-place based on sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.


Baldwin urged the House Committee on Education and Labor to pass ENDA and effectively say that “irrational hate or fear have no place in our work place.” Catch up with the badgers, Congress, we added sexual orientation to our anti-discrimination statutes twenty-five years ago; a whole quarter of a century; five years before I was even born. We were the first state in the nation to do so and now 21 states, including the District of Columbia, have passed similar measures. This is something I am incredibly proud of, to be part of a trail-blazing state who fights for the rights of all people. And to that I say, on Wisconsin!


photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedarkangel/385563298/

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

Are you a young feminist activist looking for a way to get your voice/perspective/creativity out there? Consider guest blogging for Feminist Campus!

The campus team is simply steeped in conference preparation right now - between the Women of Color Conference in Atlanta in October (...speaking of which, don't forget to register for the WOMEN OF COLOR CONFERENCE!!! early bird registration ends tomorrow!), and the Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference in November - and we could certainly use your help!

To submit a post, simply email your words/images/poetry/ideas/events/news to campusteam (at) feminist (dot) org !

Photo credit: Goth Candy on flickr.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Help Put Alice Paul into the New Jersey Hall of Fame!

Okay, for all you feminist history nerds out there (and those that are not, but that definitely should be!), this is your chance to honor one of the movement's greatest leaders, Alice Paul.

Paul, who spent her lifetime working for women's rights, securing suffrage and introducing the Equal Rights Amendment into Congress in 1923, has been nominated for induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2010.

One of several candidates in the history category this year, it is up to us to ensure that she continues to be remembered for her extraordinary amount of dedication to equal rights throughout the twentieth century. You need not be a resident of New Jersey in order to vote, but all votes must be in no later than November 20, 2009. To cast a vote for Alice Paul, visit the New Jersey Hall of Fame's website at http://www.njhalloffame.org/

Since next year (August 26, 2010) will be the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, it's only right that Alice Paul should finally be honored by her own home state. Vote today!


Photo Credit: bobster855 on Flickr

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Save the Date for the Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference!


Mark your calendars! The Western Regional Feminist Campus Leadership Conference will be held on November 6 & 7, 2009 at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, California.

Feminists from campuses across the Western United States will converge to discuss women’s rights and equality issues, and to formulate a plan of action.

We’ll address feminist topics including exposing fake clinics, Afghan women’s rights, rape kit backlogs, femicide, anti-choice extremism, marriage equality, health care reform, immigration, global reproductive rights, birth control access and much more.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to network with dynamic speakers and student leaders and fight to improve the lives of women worldwide!

Early Bird Registration will open soon, for the low cost of $15 for individuals, or $12 for each person in a group of 5 or more.

To reserve your spot TODAY, email Allie at amcdonald@feminist.org or Jacqueline at jsun@feminist.org and include your NAME, ADDRESS, EMAIL ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, SCHOOL, AND EXPECTED GRAD DATE.

If you plan on flying in for the conference, LAX is the closest with airport, while Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is the second closest.

Group hotel rates are available at the Travelodge Pico Blvd. Santa Monica. To reserve your room today, call: 310.450.5766 and ask for the "Feminist Majority Foundation" special rate!

We hope you can make it! Website and Facebook event are soon to come!

For Equality,

Allie, Jacqueline and duVergne
The West Coast Campus Team

DNA Evidence Leads to Sexual Assault Arrest in LA County


The LA Times reports that a Long Beach, CA man, arrested on domestic violence charges, is suspected of sexually assaulting an 83 year-old woman earlier this year. The man underwent a DNA test upon his recent arrest, and his DNA matches that which was collected from the sexual assault case.

Los Angeles County currently has a backlog of untested rape evidence collection kits, which contain DNA samples from sexual assault cases, totaling around 12,000 kits! About half of the cases these kits are tied to have passed the statute of limitations.

By allowing rape kits to go untested, LA County has been depriving sexual assault victims of the justice they deserve, while allowing dangerous criminals to run free. In fact, in Los Angeles County, sexual assault has the lowest arrest rate of any violent crime - only about 25% of cases ever end in arrest.

When New York City began testing their recent backlog of nearly 17,000 rape kits, the arrest rate skyrocketed to 80%, with a very small dismissal and acquittal rate. Through examination of the DNA evidence contained in the kits, the city was able to not only find and convict serial rapists, but serial date rapists, as well.

This is extremely notable because date or acquaintance rape is often considered a less serious crime by authorities, and some recent investigation in Santa Barbara, CA shockingly revealed that SBPD will immediately dismiss acquaintance rape cases that involve alcohol. With a prominent university and community college located in Santa Barbara this unjustice is absolutely inexcusable.

Human Rights Watch has been investigating the LA County rape kit backlog and suspects the backlog is not isolated to Los Angeles, but is most likely a national crisis.

What can you do? Start investigating! Ask your local police department if they have untested rape kits. Find out what their procedure for testing rape kits is. If you find disturbing information, contact your FMF Campus Organizer.

It's coming - the Women of Color Conference!

A friendly video reminder from your favorite FMF campus organizers about the fast-approaching Women of Color Conference on October 9-10 at Spelman College!



Early bird registration ends this Friday, September 25th, so get your group registered before prices go up!

DC benefit for WEAVE this Thursday!

DC domestic violence org Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE) is in danger of having to end services on October 1st. They are halfway toward reaching their goal of raising $85,000 by the end of this month in order to stay open. See the WaPo coverage here.

Help WEAVE continue to provide critical intervention services for women escaping abusive relationships! Donate to WEAVE and come to a benefit happy hour this Thursday the 24th at the Topaz Bar where all proceeds go to WEAVE. $10 donation at the door. Thanks for your support and we'll see you there on Thursday!

Photo credit: Lisa Norwood on Flickr

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series! Step 1: Are fake clinics targeting your campus?


Fake clinics, often referred to as "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" (CPCs), pose as comprehensive women's health clinics and lure young women into their centers with offers of "free" pregnancy tests and "counseling".

But, beware! These fake clinics propel false information about abortion and birth control and use fear and shame tactics to deter women from choosing abortion as an option. Their most common claims include, "abortion causes breast cancer", "abortion causes infertility" and "abortion causes mental illness and suicide". The studies CPCs use to back up these claims are a thing of the past...too bad CPCs aren't!

What makes them even worse? They specifically target young women on college campuses, or what they deem the "at-risk for abortion" population. They run their deceptive ads on campus bulletin boards and bus stops, in campus newspapers and on Facebook. Additionally, a 2008 survey found that nearly HALF of all responding campus health centers at 4-year colleges and universities refer students facing unintended pregnancies to CPCs.

So what can you do??

Find out if there is a CPC near your campus! Visit www.optionline.org or www.lifecall.org and punch in your zip code (note: these are anti-choice websites with directories of CPCs).

Find out if CPCs are advertising on or around your campus! Check the newspaper, bulletin boards, bus stops, etc. Do they table on campus? Talk to the newspaper editor, student government, student activities, or whoever has the power to stop this, and tell them these fake clinics endanger women's health!

Lastly, find out if your campus health center is referring students to CPCs. If they are, work with the health center director to get them to stop. If you have a hard time, garner support from other progressive student groups, the women's center, multicultural center, women's issues representative in the student body, or student senators.

Check out the FMF's Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics for more information and check out Jacqueline's recent post for more action ideas and information about the "Don't Get Tricked, Get Treated" Week of Action taking place Oct. 25 - 31!

Stay tuned for more to come in the Exposing Fake Clinics Action Series!

Contacting Campus Newpapers about CPCs

We are sending this press release to campus newspapers across the country in hopes of exposing CPCs near you! If you want to ensure that your campus newspaper covers this story, be sure to get this press release to your campus newspaper editor.

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
Contact: Allie McDonald
September 21, 2009
310.556.2500
amcdonald@feminist.org

“Crisis Pregnancy Centers” Target College Women

Deceptive ads and misinformation about abortion and birth control
endanger women’s health

“Crisis Pregnancy Center” (CPC) ads, “Pregnant? Scared? Need Help?
Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX!” are a common sight around college campuses and young women across the country who are in search of information about their pregnancy options are ending up in these fake clinics.

Posing as comprehensive women’s health clinics, CPCs use misinformation, fear and shame tactics to coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option. Many CPCs go further – discouraging the use of contraception, even claiming that “condoms are a ‘con’ job.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation, in conjunction with Stuart Productions, has released two investigative videos featuring college women’s first-hand accounts of experiences in CPCs.

The videos highlight CPC misinformation and fear tactics. A CPC volunteer in Oklahoma proclaims, “Your risk for breast cancer will go up one hundred percent”, while a volunteer in Louisville, Kentucky, tells a young woman, “No one tells you that you’re going to want to kill yourself after you do an abortion.”

CPCs intentionally locate near college campuses. They advertise their free pregnancy tests and options counseling under “abortion” and “family planning” services on campus bulletin boards and bus stops, in student newspapers, and on Facebook. According to a 2008 survey, 48% of responding campus health centers include CPCs on their referral lists for students facing unintended pregnancies.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics mobilizes college students to take action and expose the deceptive practices and misinformation of CPCs. Jacqueline Sun, National Campus Organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, explains that “CPCs’ ads aimed at college students appear to be working. CPCs’ tactics delay women from obtaining real medical care and that is a true danger to women’s health.”

Note to editors: For more information on the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics visit: http://feministcampus.org/act/cpc/default.asp. FMF campus organizers are available for interviews.

The investigative videos, “Our Reality: A Look at Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and “Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A Special Report” are available at: http://feministcampus.org/act/cpc/default.asp