Wednesday, August 1, 2012

08-01-12 Defend Women's Rights Aug. 26

From the Activist Newsletter, Aug. 1, 2012
DEFEAT THE 'WAR ON WOMEN': Demonstrations in support of women's rights will take place in a number of U.S. cities Sunday, Aug. 26, the day before the Republican Party Convention in Tampa. (For the rally and march in New Paltz, N.Y., see item directly below.) The actions in such cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago are in response to a call for protests by a new activist/feminist organization titled Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), which "is dedicated to building the struggle for women’s rights and equality for all." The organizers emphasize "Women and men of all ages, nationalities and sexual orientations are invited to join in this campaign." Details about these protests and information about WORD is at


From Ariana Basco, Donna Goodman, Elizabeth Gross, Margaret Human, Judith Karpova, Terry Leroy, Helaine Meisler, Joanne Steele, Barbara Upton:

We are Hudson Valley activists who back the national campaign and support the local rally and march in New Paltz Aug. 26, beginning at 1 p.m. in Peace Park next to Village Hall (25 Plattekill Ave.). This will be followed by a march with signs through the downtown village district, returning to the park to end the activity. (In event of inclement weather, the rally will be inside the hall.)

The last few years have seen a shocking number of right wing attacks on the rights of women, through anti-abortion legislation, campaigns against contraception, slashing of jobs and social services, and new heights of misogyny in ultra-conservative rhetoric. Now more than ever, a new, fighting women’s movement is needed to counter this right wing "war on women."

We support the Aug. 26 protests on the eve of the Republican National Convention being organized by Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), a new organization that is dedicated to building the struggle for women’s rights and equality for all. WORD was initiated by women who have been active in the antiwar movement and the fight against racism, police brutality and in support of immigrant rights, as well as the movement for women’s rights.

In a statement, WORD declared: "The Republican candidates in this year’s primary campaigns have been competing to see who can spout the most anti-woman rhetoric, even opposing exemptions to abortion restrictions in the case of rape or incest – all the while championing economic policies that slash social programs that poor and working mothers rely on." While targeting the ultra-conservatives, WORD also demands that the Democrats start doing much more to support the rights of women.

The main demands of the WORD event are:

• Full reproductive rights now: Access to safe, legal abortion and birth control – on demand; healthcare that covers these services and access to it for all women; and the information we need to stay healthy, including an end to abstinence-only sex education in our schools.

• Women's rights in the workplace: Pay equity, maternity leave, an end to penalizing working mothers, and an end to sexual harassment at work.

• Stop the budget cuts: Cutting federal and state social services, and eliminating public sector jobs, disproportionately punishes poor women, working women and women of color. Jobs, education, housing and healthcare are women’s rights.

• Full equality and respect now: Fight racism, sexism and anti-LGBT bigotry. End violence against women. Stop the exploitation and commercialization of women in mass media. An injury to one is an injury to all!

The New Paltz meeting will be chaired by Donna Goodman, an editor of the Activist Newsletter, which is sponsoring the local event. Donna is a Vice President of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation and Co-chair, Women's Rights & Concerns Committee, United University Professions, AFT Local 2190, AFL-CIO. In a statement distributed by WORD, she declared:

"I am supporting the Aug. 26 national day of action because I know that all the rights women have won over the decades are the result of struggle. As a unionist, antiwar activist and retired public sector worker, I’ve seen our hard-won gains eroded by anti-woman legislation, budget cutbacks in education and social services, and biased court decisions. It’s time to re-energize a strong, united women’s movement that will fight back against the right wing, take back our reproductive rights, and win justice and equality in all areas that affect women’s lives."

Join us in New Paltz Aug. 26. Spread the word to your lists, your Facebook friends, your blogs, and all the groups you belong to. Help build a strong, independent, united women’s movement that will fight the right wing assault and protect women’s rights. For more information, or to volunteer, contact, or

WHAT'S THE 'WAR ON WOMEN' MEAN? The term "War on Women," says the American Civil Liberties Union, "describes the legislative and rhetorical attacks on women and women’s rights taking place across the nation. It includes a wide range of policy efforts designed to place restrictions on women's health care and erode protections for women and their families. Examples at the state and federal level have included restricting contraception; cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasounds; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, and prohibiting insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their policies."