Category: News

Let anger be the wind in your sails

Bruised, Beaten, Distraught But Not DEFEATED. WE GET UP AGAIN.

Yes, survivors from all over the country spoke out and millions of Americans called, protested, and marched. But still, two key senators committed to voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, basically assuring his place on the Supreme Court.

Yes, Kavanaugh lied under oath. He lied about sexual assault. He lied about overturning Roe v. Wade. He lied about his determination to find against requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. And tomorrow, they will confirm him anyway.

Yes, we are despairing. But more importantly, We Are Angry- and that anger will take us farther, to the place we must go to win.
The women of New York deserve nothing less.

We’re organizing – stand up for the rights of women, survivors, and everyone else under attack by Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh.

Women all across the country came forward to courageously share their stories.

Together, we said “HEAR ME.” We said “LOOK AT ME.” And we said NO to Brett Kavanaugh.

Today Susan Collins and Joe Manchin committed to voting “YES” for Brett Kavanaugh, and therewith we fell short of the votes we needed to stop Kavanaugh.

But that defeat will feed us. Our power – the power of our movement has grown and will continue to grow–and this November we will storm the polls and show the politicians what our power can do – WE WILL VOTE!

Brett Kavanaugh is a lying sexual assaulter and extreme right-wing political hack. His horrific confirmation to the Supreme Court gives us all the power to put our fury to work.

>The president of the United States openly mocked survivor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

>Only one Senate Republican seemed to care about us.

>The FBI investigation was a total sham.

We must channel our fury and use it to drive voters to the polls all over New York State.

We can make New York State a Reproductive Rights sanctuary so that women cannot be ignored. Not Here. Not Now. Not Ever.

Tell Sen. Collins & Murkowski to Demand an FBI Investigation!

Tell Senators Susan Collins & Lisa Murkowski NOT to repeat the Anita Hill Debacle.

They MUST DEMAND an FBI investigation! 

There MUST be a Full and Fair Hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee – Starting with an investigation by the FBI.

THE FACTS:
Professor Christine Blasey Ford bravely came forward and identified herself as the survivor of a sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh.

Dr. Ford courageously told the world how Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attacked her, pinning her down on a bed, while groping her and grinding his body against her, and trying to rip her clothes off. When she tried to scream out for help Kavanaugh covered mouth. One of Kavanaugh’s friend who was in the room turned up the music to cover her screams.

That Kavanugh friend, Mark Judge, refuses to testify before Congress. Although he denied the assault, his writings seem to say otherwise. In his book, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk”, he describes extensive drinking and partying while attending Georgetown Preparatory School, with Kavanaugh. He even refers to a cohort as “Bart O’Kavanaugh”, a possible veiled reference to Brett Kavanaugh.

Now, a former schoolmate of Dr. Blasey Ford has confirmed hearing about the assault while at school.

The only thing that Dr. Blasey Ford is asking for is that the FBI investigate the assault, before she testifies before Congress – BUT Head of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley, is refusing that request. Dr. Blasey Ford has even already taken and PASSED a polygraph test.

TAKE ACTION: TELL SENATORS COLLINS & MURKOWSKI TO DEMAND AN FBI INVESTIGATION BEFORE THE HEARINGS CAN PROCEED.

CALL, WRITE & FAX:  SENATORS SUSAN COLLINS & LISA MURKOWSKI

Sen Susan Collins
R – Maine

413 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-2523
Fax: (202) 224-2693

Sen. Lisa Murkowski
R – Alaska

522 Hart Senate Office Blding
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6665
Fax: (202) 224-5301

No Judgeship for Jeff Klein!

Chairman Crespo and Members of the Bronx Democratic Party Executive Committee
Bronx Democratic Committee
1640 Eastchester Road
Bronx, NY 10461

Dear Chairman Crespo and Members of the Bronx Democratic Party Executive Committee:

It has been brought to our attention that former Senator Jeff Klein is being considered for a judgeship by the Bronx Democratic Committee.

As the voices of hundreds of thousands of women from across New York State, we ask that Jeff Klein be held to the same standards demanded of Brett Kavanaugh by the US Senate Democrats.

They are demanding that until such time that a complete investigation has been conducted and concluded, the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh should not be permitted to come to a vote. That same standard must be apply to consideration of Jeff Klein.

Governor Cuomo has said, “The allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh are disturbing and deeply concerning. We owe it … to the American people to fully investigate these allegations — our democracy demands nothing less.”

As the Bronx Democratic Committee, you must surely see that there is no room for a double standard.

Jeff Klein should not be considered for a judgeship until such time that the allegations lodged against him over nine months ago are fully investigated, and conclude.

We the undersigned respectfully ask that you do not consider Mr. Klein for a judgeship at this time.

Sincerely yours,

Catherine Lederer-Plaskett
President, WCLA – Choice Matters

and

Andrea Miller
President, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund

Domestic Abusers Disarmed: A Step in the Right Direction

In the wake of the Parkland Florida shooting, thousands of young people nationwide stood up and made their voices heard on the issue of gun control. Although this has been met with much silence and resistance from the NRA, Republican leaders, and the Trump Administration, there are beacons of hope in this dark landscape. One such positive development is a new bill passed in New York State as part of Governor Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda (which contains initiatives pertaining to health, safety, and workplace issues that impact women) that would ban those convicted of domestic violence from buying or owning guns of any kind. Although previous legislation in the state mandated that domestic abusers turn over their handguns, no such mandate was made for other types of firearms. The new bill closes this loophole. Additionally, the bill expands the list of offenses that would make those convicted eligible for required gun surrender. The new list would include some— not all— assault and battery charges.[1] This is certainly a step forward towards common sense gun legislation that is so desperately needed in an America where gun violence taints the lives of every civilian in some way.

It is reasonable to think that laws like these, if implemented nationwide, could put a significant dent in the gun violence epidemic in the United States. First, it could potentially decrease the risk of women in abusive relationships dying from gun violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the risk of homicide in domestic violence situations increases by 500 percent when guns are present in the home. Additionally, according to FBI and state crime data, a woman in the United States is shot and killed by her current or previous partner every sixteen hours.[2] These facts alone are already tragic. No woman should ever have to live in fear for her life because her abuser is able to freely obtain a lethal weapon. What makes this even more terrifying is the link between domestic violence and mass shootings. 54 percent of mass shootings that occurred between 2009 and 2016 were committed by individuals who had a history of domestic violence.[3]

The issue of gun violence and its links to domestic abuse are a perfect illustration of Hillary Clinton’s famous assertion that women’s rights are human rights. We cannot continue on as a society that values the lives and rights of half of the population less than the other half. It is not just morally wrong and blatantly unequal, it also leads to a poisoning of our society that negatively impacts everyone in it. The new legislation in this State is a step forward, certainly, but it also exposes just how much we have left to fight for in the pursuit of a world with true equality and without the plague of gun violence.

[1]Vagianos, A. (2018, April 03). Convicted Domestic Abusers Will No Longer Be Able To Own Guns In New York State. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-abuse-guns-new-york_us_5ac241d3e4b0f112dc9de756

[2]Vagianos, A. (2018, April 03). Convicted Domestic Abusers Will No Longer Be Able To Own Guns In New York State. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-abuse-guns-new-york_us_5ac241d3e4b0f112dc9de756

[3]Vagianos, A. (2018, April 03). Convicted Domestic Abusers Will No Longer Be Able To Own Guns In New York State. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/domestic-abuse-guns-new-york_us_5ac241d3e4b0f112dc9de756

Double Barreled Shotgun Aimed at Our Rights

Donald and his Republican NRA-driven Congress can’t get gun control done but they sure can come after our civil rights, which includes the right to control out own bodies.

Today, Donald Trump issued two new rules which allow employers to deny women copay-free birth control.

This is discriminatory and a direct attack on a fundamental component of the Affordable Care Act. Birth control is expensive and, for many, not affordable.

They have also cut funding to all programs that assist educating or raising kids – special needs or otherwise. But they want to force women to keep having them.

This comes from an administration that has shown total disregard and disrespect for  women, particularly lower wage earning women. It is also an all-out assault on people of color of all ages and genders.

In the past 6 weeks, we’ve also witnessed the huge distinction in attitude and attention paid by this administration to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida as compared to those in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. FYI: The people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands cannot vote for president. One might conclude it’s all about the Donald and his base.

That’s who the Donald plays to.  His  personal obsession for attacking all things “Obama” really gets them revved, and also distracted. His base doesn’t care about Iran or North Korean, but they do care about making their religious convictions the law of this land.

Earlier in the week, the House passed a 20-week abortion ban. Now it is said to be heading to the Senate.

Read: 20-Week Abortion Ban – No Big Deal? Think Again!

The Iowa Supreme Court just upheld a 72-hour waiting period — Another REALLY big deal

Remember: Just like shotguns, elections have consequences, and we are clearly on the wrong end of this one.

20-Week Abortion Ban – No Big Deal? THINK AGAIN!

If you’re a woman in your 30s or 40s, beware – the 20-week abortion ban is aimed at you.
Even though it was beaten back in the Senate in September, the 20-week abortion ban will be back. It’s been passed in the House and is already the law in 13 states. Anti-choice extremists in Congress want to make it the law everywhere.
These zealots are targeting your right to decide whether or not to have a healthy child. They want to force you to give birth to a child who is suffering from chromosome abnormalities and/or genetic disorders – whether you want to or not.
Those of us who get pregnant in our 30s and in our 40s are at a greater risk of giving birth to a child with a birth defect, because of our age. We know this.
I knew this so I had three Amniocenteses, one in each of my pregnancies. It’s the most accurate and the safest test you can have. An Amnio tests for chromosome abnormalities and genetic disorders, and also detects neural tube defects which are birth defects of the brain, spine, and spinal cord – the two most common of which are spina bifida and anencephaly.
But you can’t get it until the second trimester.
An Amnio is performed at 17-19 weeks, and it takes another 2-3 weeks to get the results. That will take you to 19 to 22 weeks.
You’ll be out of time to get an abortion if anti-choice extremists in Congress and in states
across the country have their way.
That means all of us women, who want to have children, will no longer be able to have accurate testing for chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders, or neural tube defects,
and do something with the results.
The possible loss of this right is very real – and this is not to even mention, what if your life is at stake.

The Bastion of White Male Privilege

I confess. I read the obituaries regularly. I like to. They are a great glimpse into history. You read about people you may never have heard about and about accomplishments you may never have known occurred.

But, truthfully, what is omitted is more striking. With rare exception, there are no women – and the few people of color mentioned are men.

Some might argue that men generally die before their female spouses, and, therefore, there is no one left to write the obituary for the wife when she goes. Really??

The truth is that the men who inspire long obits and thanks from different boards did not reap their accomplishments on their own, but rather just did not share the public glory. This speaks to “behind every great man is a woman.”

I have had the pleasure of meeting many of these women, the wives who have outlived their successful husbands, and are still here providing the funds necessary for the not-for-profit world to survive. They recognize what abortion rights means, and what not having them also means. When we speak, I do not have to navigate the artificial obstacles – minors’ rights, emergency contraception, waiting periods, sonograms. Abortion is abortion – a necessary medical procedure that must be available to all regardless of age, race, religion or ability to pay. These women know and understand.

They are older now, and often rely on another woman, a housekeeper or an aide who is usually of color. Together these two women navigate their way. This is a relationship not to be romanticized but to be recognized.

Sometimes one or the other will share a story with me. They’ve usually been together a long time, and rely on one another. Their lives and station in society are without doubt very different, but they do have one thing in common: neither will be highlighted in The New York Times obituaries. The widow will, at most, be described as “Mrs. Joe Smith, the wife of the great…” The aide won’t even receive that mention.

This power to erase women’s accomplishments has not changed with time. In contrast to the chronicling of the deaths of younger men, when younger women die we are told the cause of death rather than what they did.

Perhaps, the true measure of how far we have, or have not, come and the thickness of the glass ceiling is found in the obituary column.

Where Will Our Women Go?

Reproductive freedom in the United States has been under siege for years. Since November, state governments have been passing abortion restrictions at a record speed. Every new regulation passed further limits what was once a recognized Constitutional right – the right for every woman to be able to have a safe, legal abortion. Ironically, these regulations – which according to Roe v. Wade are unconstitutional – are being passed in the name of protecting the health and safety of women. In reality they are endangering women by forcing them to return to back alley abortions – all at a time when Trump has promised to overturn Roe.

Earlier this month the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a law suit in the Louisiana District Court challenging the onerous regulations that serve only to impede access to abortion care.

Louisiana could be Any State, USA. Only one year ago, the US Supreme Court affirmed that a similar Texas abortion restriction was unconstitutional because the burdens imposed on abortion access outweighed the so-called benefits conferred by such action.

Under the guise of “health and safety,” Louisiana is again trying to pass a version of the Texas T.R.A.P. law, but now we have a new anti-choice Supreme Court Justice. T.R.A.P., Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, is exactly that. These bills target abortion providers with a series of arduous requirements that affect every aspect of the medical care being provided. The restrictions are issue-specific: they are only being applied to abortion providers, not to any other low-risk healthcare providers. Abortion providers and their facilities are already subject to the State’s medical licensing laws so these bills are further unwarranted.

These new regulations are not structured to make the medical procedure safer. The sole goal is to close clinics, thereby making safe and legal abortion access impossible. As Whole Woman’s Health (2016) clarified, states may not infringe on Americans’ constitutional right to abortion by subjecting it to sham medical regulations and by pressuring abortion facilities to close.

Louisiana is not the only State crafting this type of deceptive legislation. It is happening across the country, in every state.

The threat to abortion access is real and only proliferating. Under this administration and with a new Supreme Court justice changing the balance of the Court, no previous decision is safe.

We need a state that is committed to being a reproductive rights sanctuary – a safe zone where any woman can safely, swiftly and legally terminate her pregnancy.

You might believe we, New York, are already that State, but we have only become less friendly to reproductive rights as time has passed. Our abortion law is arcane, and still in the penal code. It was passed in 1970 and has never been updated to include 21st century medical care or the full constitutional protection guaranteed by Roe. 53% of NY counties have no abortion clinics. If a woman’s health is at risk or something goes wrong in her pregnancy after 24 weeks, she must seek care outside of NY because State law doesn’t allow a doctor to provide abortion coverage. Where will she go when Roe is overturned?  We need New York State to be a leader again. To accomplish that, we must pass the Reproductive Health Act.

But…we have a serious roadblock. There is a group called the IDC (Independent Democratic Caucus).  They obstruct all progressive legislation from coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote because they have chosen to leave the Democratic Caucus and, instead, govern with the Party of Trump. They took the electorates decision to elect a Democratic Majority away from the voters! For personal gain, they instead joined forces with the Republicans, and are blocking the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act and the Reproductive Health Act from coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

We must educate the public about the IDC and the actual state of reproductive rights in New York

Let’s make NY the progressive state it once was.  Let’s protect the reproductive rights for all women.

Resist – Day of Action – Thurs. July 13th

Join Us 
Thursday, July 13th,
for knocking on doors and canvasing in Ossining! 

Meet up at  5 p.m.
First Village Coffee
123 Main Street
(across from the Post Office)
Ossining, NY 10562

RSVP to Nicky@ChoiceMatters.org

We are targeting all 8 IDC* districts
beginning with NYS Senate District #38, David Carlucci’s district.

Why start with Carlucci’s District?
He is one of the original 4 founding members of the IDC, AND he joined immediately upon being elected to his very first term.
Carlucci started betraying his constitutents on Day One of his first term in the NYS Senate.

Our Purpose: 
To educate voters about the IDC and their State Senator!

fyi: The IDC  is blocking all progressive legislation including the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and  Contingency funding for Planned Parenthood from coming to the floor of the NYS Senate, INCLUDING a New York State bill that would force Trump to disclose his taxes.