Category: Uncategorized

Lubbock, Texas – The Picture of Oppression

–Charlotte Baron

What does June 1st, 2021 mean to you? For the woman of Lubbock, Texas, it was the day their rights were stripped away.

Texas has been at the forefront of restrictions on a woman’s reproductive rights. By now, most of us are aware of the Texas “heartbeat” law that bans abortions after a heartbeat has been detected – as early as six weeks – and allows private citizens to sue anyone involved in the abortion process. However, many are not aware of what is happening in small Texas cities.

An ordinance that made Lubbock, Texas a “sanctuary city for the unborn” went into effect on June 1st, 2021. The City Council rejected the ordinance which led to a vote by the residents of Lubbock. 62% of residents voted to enact the ordinance. Lubbock is not the first city to pass a total ban on abortions within its city limit. However, it is the first city to have a Planned Parenthood that provides abortions within its limits and is the largest city to enforce an ordinance of this kind.

The ordinance completely bans abortions within the city. Similar to the state law, the ordinance allows family members of a person who has an abortion to sue the provider and any individuals who help a woman get an abortion. The measure can only be enforced by private citizens unless the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The ordinance states “Abortion at all times and at all stages of pregnancy is declared to be an act of murder.”

A lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services. The suit identifies the city’s “Ordinance Outlawing Abortion” as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal district judge, saying Planned Parenthood did not have standing to sue the city.

On June 1st, the Planned Parenthood in Lubbock stopped all abortion services. In order to get an abortion now a woman must now travel a minimum of 600 miles round-trip. This is unacceptable and unconstitutional.

Suing total strangers involved in an abortion

Texas has passed the most extreme abortion ban since Roe.

Since Trump left office – that’s just 6 months ago – 561 abortion restrictions have been introduced across 47 states (as of 6/7/21). 83 of those restrictions have been enacted across 16 states, including 10 bans. These anti-woman zealots are getting more cunning and venomous every day. WE. MUST. ACT. NOW.

Texas is leading the charge “deputizing ordinary citizens to sue anyone involved in the [abortion] process.” NYT, 7/9/2021

This is NOT the time to “duck and cover”. This is a time to rise up.

Texas Governor Greg Abott signed into law a bill that prohibits abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks – before many people even know they are pregnant – without even an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

This Texas bill is truly evil and Machiavellian. It empowers anybody to sue every single person – from the uber driver to the clinic escort to the doctor to the babysitter watching the patient’s other children – involved in a woman’s medical choices. And if they win the lawsuit, they can be awarded $10,000!

————-
The Texas Ban
Yes, it’s unconstitutional!
Yes, it violates HIPAA and the right to privacy
– And YES, it violates Roe.
********
A 6-week-abortion ban = an outright ban on abortions.
(6 weeks = 2 weeks after a missed menstrual cycle.)
AND
Almost ANY private resident is empowered to SUE ANYONE involved in an abortion occurring after 6 weeks according to their personal calculations!

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!

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.

Call to Action-HELP Minors in Post Sexual Assault Circumstances

We need your help.  An important bill that allows minors in post sexual assault circumstances to consent to the full course of HIV preventive medicine is at risk of veto in Albany.

THE ACTION: (by Monday morning)
Please contact the Governor’s office and urge the Governor to sign this bill, A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes) / S.2279-A (Hoylman).

THE MESSAGE:
Please tell Governor Cuomo:
>We need Governor Cuomo to sign Bill A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes) / S.2279-A (Hoylman).
>Minors in post sexual assault circumstances need Governor Cuomo’s help.
>These minors need to be able consent to the full course of HIV preventive medicine
>They have already been the victims of sexual assault. Let’s Help Them, not victimize them again!
>Sign Bill A.1204-A (Peoples-Stokes) / S.2279-A (Hoylman).
>The budget should not be balanced on the backs of sexual assault victims!
Remember to tell them your name and if you are with an activist organization, the name of the group. Please add this information to your emails also.
(The greater our number the more powerful we become!)

PLEASE EMAIL the message above to the following people, AND ALSO CALL: (518) 474-8390, and tell them
Chief Counsel Elizabeth Garvey  at Elizabeth.garvey@exec.ny.gov
Executive Counsel Jill Starishevsky directly working on this bill at Jill.Starishevsky@exec.ny.gov.
Director of Women’s Affairs Emily Kadar at Emily.Kadar@exec.ny.gov
Counsel Rebecca Wood at Rebecca.Wood@exec.ny.gov

Click here to read more about the bill.

I believe that you can only veto a bill that allows minors in post sexual assault circumstances lifesaving treatment if you think no one is watching. And while the executive has stated concern about the fiscal impact, they have the ability to keep the status quo on the fiscal cap through chapter amendments.

I urge you to make your voice heard here.
These minors need our help.
Thank you.

On My Mind

We know Judges matters. They decide everything – our constitutional rights, malpractice judgements, divorces, white collar settlements, everything! So why aren’t we paying attention and demanding more control?

If Trump has done nothing else, he has made crystal clear how very important judges are! Trump has already appointed 2 Supreme Court Justices and 150+ right-wing, ultra-conservative, anti-choice judges, many of whom have been rated “unqualified”, who will change the face of our legal system for decades to come.

But it’s not just Trump. Here in Westchester, one could argue that judicial ethics rules are not truly ethical or impartial or even constitutional.

 Just this election cycle, the Subcommittee Chair of the Judicial Campaign Ethics Subcommittee, Advisory Committee, told judicial candidates they could not accept WCLA PAC’s endorsement. The reasons provided reference our endorsement policy but do so INCORRECTLY. Judicial candidates do not complete questionnaires nor are they asked to support anything that may require going against any law. The only accurate reference is that a candidate may “neither seek nor accept the Right to Life Party (RTL) nomination” – And that criteria seems justifiable because candidates are permitted to accept the RTL Party line, thereby making their opposition to abortion clear.

One must, therefore, ask, “Was this gross misrepresentation intentional or accidental?” Hmmm. Let’s consider these important facts: the Subcommittee Chair who issued this opinion: 1.) ran for Supreme Court 9th Judicial District in 2011 on the Republican and Conservative lines (the same year the Conservative Party and the Right to Life Party joined forces here in Westchester); 2.) was rated “anti-choice” by us, and 3.) then LOST the election. One can only wonder what this Subcommittee Chair’s motivations may be.

Here in New York State, judicial candidates often fear interviews, claiming that the NYS Ethics rules prohibit them from expressing their views on contentious issues like abortion. The rules they reference are in direct opposition to the 2002 US Supreme Court decision Republican Party of Minnesota vs White. In the 5 – 4 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota’s clause, which “forbade judicial candidates from announcing their views on disputed legal and political issues”, was unconstitutional. Why are NYS judicial candidates still being held to a pre-2002 standard? In all my years here, I’ve met only one judicial candidate willing to challenge that NYS Ethics position and, perhaps, it’s no surprise that he did not get his Party’s nod to run.

On another judicial note: our NYS Chief Justice is seeking to “streamline” the judicial system. Sounds great and in some ways is much needed, but the devil is in the details. The claim is that we don’t have enough justices where we need them. The proposed solution is to get rid of specific categories of judges including County, Court of Claims, Surrogate’s Court and Family Court. Instead, they will all be “Supreme Court” judges and can be moved around where needed.

Sounds good? Not necessarily. For example, take Family Court. Family Court requires a certain type of personality and commitment. The same person hearing white collar crime cases should not be deciding a custody battle. Who will decide which judge serves where and based upon what criteria? Will the decision be based simply on where a judge is needed? Does this mean that judges elected in northern NYS will be sitting on the bench in Westchester? Will we even still be electing judges or will they all be appointed?

The role personal perspective plays in judicial decisions is seismic, in all courts and at all levels. Personal opinions and biases affect how a judge treats those who come before her/ him/they, the sentence imposed, the bail required, and more.

Yes, the present system is flawed and cumbersome but it’s a lot better than appointments and what we are witnessing in Washington DC. We need a better system for electing judges, not simply replacing it.

Every time you vote for judicial candidates, you are voting for someone with a personal history. That is exactly why WCLA – Choice Matters interviews each judicial nominee and if the nominee refuses to be interviewed, we rate accordingly, as we always have. If someone wants to serve in the courts, we are all entitled to know more, as the US Supreme Court ruled in 2002.

The HATE GROUP FOF in Times Square

May 4th, some of us joined forces with NYC for Abortion Rights at Bryant Park and then with a march to Time Square. We stood up and said, “NO” to the homophobic anti-abortion hate group Focus on the Family. They are here to generate extremist reactions to the Reproductive Health Act, and we are here to say, “Not in our city, not in our State – NOT NOW, NOT EVER.”

In Somers!

On May 2nd, the Somers Town Board convened its work session. Some of us were there to  thank the Town Board for refusing to entertain a resolution opposing the Reproductive Health Act that Carmel and the Putnam County Legislature had passed in April.

Thank you to the handmaids who came out, representing the chattel from the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Speak Up – Speak Out! Women’s lives depend on it.

It’s official – the Reproductive Health Act is Law!

Today, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade,the NYS Assembly and Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act sending it to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law. AND HE DID!

(Please remember that this Trump Administration and Supreme Court are overtly and outspokenly committed to overturning Roe.)

New York – as of today – finally has legislation that takes abortion out of the penal code, that means no longer legislating abortion as homicide, and instead providing women with 21st century medical reproductive health care.

This could not have happened without YOU!

Choice Matters has been working tirelessly to pass this bill since 2006.

However, not until you voted in 2018 to give NYS a pro-choice Senate with a Democratic majority could we make this pro-woman healthcare, pro-woman’s civil rights law a reality.

We thank you for your support and ask you to recognize that we work day in and day out to pass pro-choice legislation to protect your right to Choose. Now we will focus our attention on making sure that NYS has a budget that enables women who live on the financial borderline to actually be able to use this law!

Sincerely,
Choice Matters Staff