Author: catherine

Why we say equity matters

EQ·UI·TY  /ˈekwədē/
freedom from bias or favoritism;
something that is equitable
EQ-UI-TA-BLE  \ ˈe-kwə-tə-bəl 
dealing fairly and equally with all concerned

EVERY YEAR. ALL YEAR LONG. DAY IN & DAY OUT.
We at Choice Matters FIGHT for Reproductive EQUITY.

The changes we need will only come through legislation.
We MUST repeal the Hyde Amendment &
pass Equity Access legislation in Albany.

What good is abortion care if not ALL women can access it?
If a woman doesn’t have the money to pay because it is too damn expensive?
If a woman has to travel miles upon miles, hour after hour, to get an abortion or birth control?
If she is of color, an ethnic minority, and/or low income, and good healthcare is out of reach?

Access to abortion must be a reality for ALL women in ALL of New York’s many counties, regardless of race, ethnicity, geographic location or ability to pay.

What good is comprehensive sex ed if it is not available in ALL schools?
If the only mandated NYS requirement is to teach about HIV?
If myths continue to be perpetuated, like HIV comes from sweat?
If fear continues to dominate & NYS, like Oklahoma, remains one of states that has no mandated sex ed requirement?

Please watch this video. It says it better than we ever could.
Click the Picture or Click HereJoin Us.
DEMAND EQUITY!

Marching Orders from Fair Fight!

Dear Friends and Allies,

I am forwarding to you directions and information from our Fair Fight allies in Georgia. The run-off election is just over 3 weeks away. There is not time to lose!

Remember: The holidays come every year, but a run-off election like this comes once in a lifetime!
__________________

Hello friends,

Thank you all for your support and work for Georgia families! We are now just 24 days from Election Day (January 5th, 2021) and early voting starts next week, on the 14th. There’s a lot of work to be done and we hope that you will join us or one of our partners in this work.

You can sign up to phonebank or textbank with Fair Fight here: https://www.mobilize.us/fairfight/

Sign up to volunteer with the Democratic Party of Georgia’s voter protection team.

Volunteer Directly with the Ossoff and Warnock Campaigns:

Interested in helping to turn out Latinos in Georgia? Volunteer with Mijente: https://www.mobilize.us/mijentepac/

Sign up to do in person volunteering in Georgia with America Votes

**Because of an increase in doxxing and threats of violence surrounding this election we strongly advise that IN ALL of your voter contact scripts you make sure to identify yourself and your organization at the start of every call/text/postcard, before asking for or providing any other information.**

There is a lot of disinformation going around right now and it’s important not to spread it. Please read our statement on disinformation

Other ways to be involved: 
Contribute to Fair Fight and the Ossoff and Warnock Senate campaigns all at once. 

Other Ways to Invest in Georgia

______________________
“Now we have a historic two-Democrat runoff for the US Senate. One candidate is Black—a candidate Georgia’s election runoffs were invented to disqualify, Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Rev. Raphael Warnock—and the other, investigative journalist Ossoff, is white and Jewish. It’s the combination the late Dr. King and Representative John Lewis saw as creating the beloved community in Georgia, a combination Warnock called “marvelous” the other day.” by Joan Walsh, The Nation, 11/20/2020 

CM’s Catherine Lederer-Plaskett Named One of Westchester Power 100

“Catherine Lederer-Plaskett’s political action committee advocates for abortion rights, an issue that has come to the fore now that conservatives make up a 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Locally, however, Lederer-Plaskett played a role in two recent political victories – keeping former Independent Democratic Conference member David Carlucci out of Congress, and getting Suzanne Berger elected leader of the county’s Democratic Party.

GEORGIA – Let’s take it to the next level!

Dear Friends and Allies,

After a slow exhale, take your right hand and put it over your left shoulder and pat yourself on the back. Each and every one of us has worked so hard to get here. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris – How terrific is that!!!

Savor the moment.

Because the next fight has already begun.

The run-off elections, in Georgia on January 5th, will include electing TWO (not one!) US Senators who will determine the fate of the Senate and the path that the Biden/Harris first two years will take.

We must win BOTH Senate seats to secure the Senate majority in order to have any chance at a successful progressive agenda.

Let’s Focus:
>The US Senate Run-Off Election Day is January 5th!
>Early Voting begins December 14th.
>Voters can register until December 7.
(Link to register – click here.) 

Maybe you know Georgia residents who aren’t registered, or friends or relatives who just moved. Send them the link or print up a registration form and mail it to them, along with an envelope addressed to the Secretary of State, State of Georgia, PO Box 105325, Atlanta, Georgia 30348-9562. (Click here for the application and return envelope with return address.)

Voters must APPLY for absentee ballots or vote in person.
>Georgia residents can start requesting their absentee/mail-in ballot today if they don’t want to vote in person at the polls.
>Georgia residents can make sure their registered to vote by clicking here,
>They can fill out an absentee/mail-in ballot request by clicking here.

Beginning November 18, 2020: Absentee ballots will begin to be mailed out to those who requested one.

DO WHAT YOU DO BEST – GET INVOLVED!
THERE ARE MANY WAYS!
Here are several Phone Banking and Texting Opportunities:
>Phone Bank for Georgia Runoff Race for U.S. Senate! Hosted by Flip the West.  https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/362350/

>Georgia Runoff Strike Team Hosted by the Georgia Democrats
https://www.mobilize.us/georgiademocrats/event/362551/

>Immigrants for Biden Hosted by the Georgia Democrats
https://www.mobilize.us/georgiademocrats/

AND IF POSTCARDS ARE MORE YOUR THING:
>Postcards to Georgia Voters for U.S. Senate Runoff Race! Hosted by Flip the West
https://www.mobilize.us/trnindivisible/event/362341/

>Reclaim our Vote Campaign
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k5pKB6cDRu9Q64nHgE5zUgrZrYvoigOrZddS1zEXBqA

Questions?
Call 914-946-5363
or email: vote@prochoicevoter.org

Let’s Keep Moving Forward!

Voting Third Party? Think Again!

By Charlotte Baron

Third-party voting may seem attractive because candidates can appear as a viable alternative. BUT, at the end of the day, they are not. The United States presidential elections are still a two-party fight, and the cost of a third-party candidate plays directly into the hands of the Republican Party – At least, the Green Party does. Why? Because the Green Party platform is far more closely aligned with that of the Democratic one than the Republican one. As documented by The New York Times, the Republican Party, and some supporters of GOP candidates, support Green Party candidates up and down the ballot so that they can syphon off votes from Democrats.

Four years ago, the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, got votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that exceeded the margin between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Many blame the Green Party for Clinton’s loss, because those voting third party made it possible for Trump to take these states by a very small margin.

The Republican Party has a history of financially supporting the Green Party in efforts to manipulate the outcome of state and federal elections. The 2020 election is no different. A G.O.P. Elections Commissioner from Wisconsin worked, unsuccessfully, to get Howie Hawkins, the Green presidential candidate, on the ballot there. Hawkins has acknowledged Republican aid but, whether out of hubris or plain ignorance, dismissed it as irrelevant. In an interview, Hawkins stated, “I’m aware that some of that’s been done, Republicans collecting signatures for Green Party ballot access. I heard about it after the fact.” Over the summer there were numerous signature collectors from California and Florida working in Pennsylvania to get Hawkins on the ballot. The NYT found that the company sending petitioners to Pittsburgh was brought in by L&R Political Consultants, a company run by Larry Laws who was joined by Tim Mooney. Laws and Mooney worked together in 2004 to get Ralph Nader on the ballot. Trump is polling behind Biden nationwide which may explain why Republican operatives are again funneling resources to the Green Party.

The GOP approach is truly a stealth operation. It is advocating for its candidates while pushing third-party options like Kanye West and Howie Hawkins to take votes away from the Democrats. And in some cases, to such an extreme degree that the third party knows nothing about what is transpiring, like in Florida in 2009, when the Green Party didn’t even know the candidates who got on the ballot.

Voting for a third-party candidate takes away votes from the two major parties; and that can lead to unintended consequences. There are five candidates on the presidential ballot in New York, three of those are third-party candidates. Before you vote, remember Jill Stein in 2016 and Ralph Nader in 2000. Nader won more than 97,000 votes in Florida. This was the race that made history, with less than 600 votes delivering the state, and the presidency, to Bush.

RBG – May Her Memory be a Revolution*

Dear Friends and Allies,

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the perfect antidote for the time in which we are living; and when she died, the world seemed to stop.

She gave us hope, dreams and the belief we could win. Her life story was inspirational – like the movie we loved to watch, if we couldn’t live it. Married to the person of her dreams, coping with a new family, while going to Harvard and making Law Review – all as she began to change the world. We admired her indomitable spirit and sheer brilliance, packed into a pint-size body; and we drank from her strength to stand up for equal rights and protections for everyone – to speak truth to power.

She was groundbreaking. Women wouldn’t have the rights we have today, if not for RBG’s work. Winning five of the six cases she argued before the US Supreme Court, RBG’s legacy as the nation’s preeminent litigator for women’s rights is indisputable. Her dissenting opinions are legendary.

Let Justice Ginsburg’s words, [my] “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”, be our guiding light.

Once we have allowed ourselves to mourn, we must fight like never before. Our biggest take-away from her passing must be WE CAN DO THIS. We must dig down deeper, turning out voters for the November 3rd election, to vote early, in person or by mail.

Help Choice Matters and WCLA PAC put our bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide into the hands of over 90,000 voters.

According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began on Friday night, is a Tzadik, a person of great righteousness. The same is true for a person who dies on Shabbat. Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed to do both, amplifying the accuracy of the description and providing the final honor that she so deserved as she left us.

Remember, as we move forward and as RBG said, “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”

Instead: Take Action. Organize. Volunteer. And Donate.

Contributions do make a fundamental difference. Please donate what you can to help us turn out voters. With each dollar donated to Choice Matters and WCLA PAC, you help us get out the vote by putting a voting guide in the hands of a voter – making phone calls to voters, and rides to the polls possible. Every Vote Will Matter.

Join us because together we can move forward.

Thank you,

Enterprise News 

Medication Abortions Under Attack

By Charlotte Baron

Why is Senator Ted Cruz making fact-less attacks on women’s healthcare, again? Cruz is currently under fire from pro-choice advocates after tweeting, “Pregnancy is not a life-threatening illness, and the abortion pill does not cure or prevent any disease.” GOP senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to declare Mifeprex, the “abortion pill”, an “imminent hazard to public health”, and to remove it from the market.

Of all developed nations, the United States has the highest mortality rate for pregnant women. According to the CDC, “about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.” Further, more than 50,000 women have severe and life-threatening pregnancies each year.

In sharp contrast to these numbers, just 24 deaths are attributed to medication abortions in the 20 years since its FDA approval in 2000. That is out of the 3.7 million women in the US have used medication abortion since then. One study done in 2012 found that “women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth to a live baby than to die from complications of an abortion.” Medication abortions are not harmful and do not put a women’s life at risk.

GOP senators are using the pandemic as an excuse to advance their anti-reproductive healthcare agenda. There is no statistical or scientific evidence to support claims that medication abortions are dangerous. Actually, all data points to exactly the opposite conclusions.

Suzanne Berger – Making History

Dear Pro-Choice friends and allies,

On a typical day, in a typical week, WCLA – Choice Matters and its 2 political action committees would not get involved in party politics. Choice Matters, ProChoice Voter and WCLA PAC are proudly non-partisan.

But these are not typical times. AND, our mission is simple – to advance abortion rights.

Choice Matters and WCLA PAC are proud to support and endorse Suzanne Berger for Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Party Committee – no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts”.

The Chair of a committee steers the ship, determining tenor and course.

Suzanne Berger is literally the ONLY candidate in this race who has demonstrated a true and unwavering commitment to abortion rights and reproductive freedom.

Abortion rights is not just a bullet point on a list or a photo op.  It is not simply attending an event or having a photo snapped with elected officials. Quite the contrary.

Being an abortion rights advocate and an activist  is a fundamental commitment – one that Suzanne Berger has demonstrated over and over again.

Under Suzanne Berger’s leadership, ALL of Greenburgh candidates running for office have been interviewed by Choice Matters to determine whether they are truly committed to a woman’s right to make her own decisions. The interviews and Choice Matters’ respective pro-choice rating have been reported to Greenburgh’s Executive Committee.

Suzanne’s opponent has done none of this.

What does being “pro-choice” mean? It is a phrase thrown around by many because it helps candidates get elected – just like Jeannine Pirro and Robert Castelli did. For Choice Matters, a candidate cannot be “kind of” pro-choice. Just as you cannot be a little pregnant, you cannot be a little pro-choice.

Now, across this nation, we face a reckoning.  Our constitutional rights are being challenged and threatened. And sadly, today, the fight for women’s reproductive freedom is sinking to the bottom of that bushel basket of rights.

This week, Westchester’s Democratic District Leaders have the opportunity to make history by making Suzanne Berger the first elected Woman Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Party Committee.

Suzanne has proven herself a forceful voice for the rights of all – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, financial fortitude or gender identity.

Please join me in supporting Suzanne Berger for Westchester County Democratic Chair!

Together let’s make history.
Sincerely,
Catherine

Faith-Based Healthcare – NYC Field Hospital Run by Evangelical Christians

By Charlotte Baron

With the overwhelming number of people affected by COVID-19, a field hospital set up and run by Samaritan’s Purse opened in Central Park on April 1st. Samaritan’s Purse is an Evangelical Christian fundamentalist group. They require all persons working in the facility to swear allegiance to their doctrine.

This organization’s leader, Franklin Graham, is openly anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion and Islamophobic. Graham has specifically sought out “Christian” medical staff, and he makes everyone follow a statement of faith; one of the statements expresses that the volunteers must commit to is that marriage is between a man and women: “We believe God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other.” Another one expresses the opposition to abortion, “We believe that human life is sacred from conception to its natural end; and that we must have concern for the physical and spiritual needs of our fellowmen.” Graham has previously stated that “Satan is behind same-sex marriage”. He has also described Islam as “wicked and evil.” Many New York City citizens are concerned that their medical care will be compromised because of the organization’s views.

When the Mayor’s office was asked about the impact this organization’s ideology would have on incoming patients that might not fit this extremist Evangelical criteria, a spokesperson said that “the field hospital will operate as a Mount Sinai facility, and must adhere to the hospital’s policy against discrimination.” DeBlasio also stated that the City would be keeping a close eye on Samaritan’s Purse. He assured everyone that the group would be acting in a way  “truly consistent with the values and the laws of New York City.”

Despite DeBlasio’s initial claims that the field hospital would be operated jointly with Mount Sinai Hospital, that is not the case. The medical center will be providing patients but no oversight, and will rely on a pledge to treat patients equally.

It seems clear from medical professionals rejected by the organization because of their refusal to sign why Samaritan’s Purse would not comment on whether they would accept help from non-Christians or those who do not commit to follow their statements of faith. Samaritan’s Purse’s actions are extremely alarming. They appear to be politicizing healthcare, which according to a Mount Sinai emergency room doctor is “exactly what this organization is about.” Jacklyn Grace Lacey who is a medical anthropologist who has closely followed how the organization has “helped” in other crises has said, “This is a dangerous religious propaganda machine that uses international medical aid to further their agenda.” If the city does not closely monitor this organization, the results could be detrimental for hundreds of New Yorkers.

Another Possible Victim of the COVID-19

By Charlotte Baron

Sexual Education in New York – another casualty.

New York State is one of the 21 states that do not mandate that sexual education (sex ed) be part of the required academic curriculum. Despite New York State’s image as a progressive bastion, there are no state standards – not even regarding birth control, std’s or simply saying “no”.  2020 was supposed to be the year that changed, with the passage of comprehensive legislation requiring age-appropriate sexual education instruction from K-12. But, now, with the coronavirus, budgetary challenges, and the rest of the legislative session in question, the young people of New York State may very well be forced to wait again.

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union ,  “Many public schools across New York provide sex-ed curriculum that is inaccurate, incomplete, and stigmatizing.” Other schools provide nothing. Much of the current curriculum fails to include education on sexually transmitted disease and LGBTQ+ students are often stigmatized or ignored completely. However, New York does have mandated HIV education, which may seem like a good thing but, in reality, isn’t because it is not required to be medically accurate. This can end up being more harmful than helpful. For example, in a local Westchester middle school,  the gym teacher assigned to teach about HIV told students they could contract it from sweat. Not since 1991, when Magic Johnson announced that he had contracted HIV, has such absolute unscientific mis-information been on such public display – and this was in an academic institution students are required to attend.

Sex ed is an extremely important and valuable subject that should be mandated in all schools. Research done by the Public Library of Science shows “that when sex education is comprehensive, students feel more informed, make safer choices and have healthier outcomes — resulting in fewer unplanned pregnancies and more protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infection.” Having sex ed taught in school gives students the ability to get clear concise answers to any questions they may have, instead of relying on the internet which can provide incorrect and confusing information, or parents who may be too self-conscious or ill-informed. A curriculum, which the teachers must follow,  alleviates any discrepancies between medical facts and individual opinions.  The Journal of Adolescent Health published research that found “that when sex education included information about contraception, teens had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education.”

New York’s Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan have sponsored proposed legislation  S4884/A6512 respectively which would make age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education required teaching in NYS schools. The bill would require “comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12 which addresses age and developmentally appropriate physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of human sexuality and reflects the national sexuality education standards.” The bill was introduced to the New York State Senate in March of 2019 and since then has been moved to the Education Committee. It has yet to be passed by the Senate or the Assembly. The success of this legislation rests not only on its passage but also on adequate funding for implementation. Unfortunately, 2020 may not be the year that students in New York State receive quality and informative sex ed.