As the Border Crisis Persists, Take Action Today

The most recent string of reports from the border demand our attention—and our action.

Earlier this month, the Homeland Security Inspector General released a scathing report detailing overcrowding and other inhumane conditions at detention centers along the border, much of which has been confirmed by recent visits to facilities by lawmakers.

“After I forced myself into a cell with women and began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as “psychological warfare,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after a visit to a center in El Paso, Texas. “This has been horrifying so far.”

Feminists have been fighting back against the Trump administration’s shameful treatment of migrants since last summer, when a zero-tolerance policy instated by the president resulted in thousands of children being forcibly separated from their families and officials announced that women seeking asylum from abuse and sexual violence would no longer be eligible for shelter in the U.S.

As the border crisis persists, so must we. No matter where you live or what means you have available, you can take action today. Here’s 10 ways to start.

#1: Take to the Streets

Earlier this month, activists made headlines by holding hundreds of #CloseTheCamps protests across the country in opposition to inhumane conditions at detention centers and dehumanizing practices by ICE—but the march toward justice goes on.

On Friday, July 12, Lights for Liberty vigils nationwide will make space for lawmakers, advocates and individuals to show solidarity with migrants and honor the memory of those who have died in detention center. You can find the Lights for Liberty event nearest you in their database.

#2: Volunteer Your Time

Show up for migrants by showing up where you’re most needed—as a volunteer providing key support services to the leaders of this fight.

The International Rescue Committee has an extensive database detailing all of their volunteer opportunities across the U.S.—including chances to help with citizenship training and teach English to resettling individuals. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants also provides a number of both remote and local volunteer opportunities, and Stand With Immigrants can help you connect with activists on the ground wherever you are.

Volunteer lawyers, translators and CBP monitors are also critically needed at specific sites along the border. Organizations like the ABAACLU and Translators Without Borders can help you put your legal and linguistic expertise to good use in this moment.

#3: Keep the Movement Strong

Organizations agitating for immigrant justice, providing critical resources to migrant families and working to advance policies that protect immigrant and refugee families need support more than ever in this current moment. Consider giving a tax-deductible gift to RAICESInternational Rescue CommitteeWomen’s Refugee CommissionACLU and Immigrant Families Together today to fuel their urgent work.

#4: Help Detained Migrants Post Bail

Posting bail for detained migrants stops their lives from being interrupted and disrupted in the time before their court date. Bail bond funds, which are reserves of money allocated to posting bail for immigrants nationwide, make that possible. Consider donating to the Freedom for Immigrants’ National Bond Fund and the Fianza Fund today.

#5: Send Supplies (and Airline Miles!) to Migrants

Material donations can be critical for migrants at the border or immigrants recently released from detention. You can donate toiletries, canned food and other non-perishable items in-person or through mail to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and No More Deaths. Your extra air miles can make a difference as well: Miles4Migrants uses them to reunite immigrant and migrant families by plane.

#6: Visit a Detention Center in a Show of Solidarity

Showing up outside of a detention center to protest is powerful and important—but for the individuals inside, walking through the front doors could be more immediately meaningful. Visiting one of the detention centers across the country is one small way to show solidarity with the migrants inside.

Freedom for Immigrants has existing visitation programs in some states, as well as information on how to create one and what to prepare for when visiting. Other organizations also provide lengthy guides on how to create local visitation programs and what to expect when visiting, including the Women’s Refugee Commission and the Detention Watch Network.

#7: Make Room for Refugees—and Support Your Newest Neighbors

If you have the means and have a safe, spare room or shelter, you could consider being a host for refugee families at Room for Refugees. Organizations like Miry’s List and the Syrian Supper Club also provide local support to resettling families and individuals—and connect them to their larger community.

#8: Stay Informed

Now is the time to study the background on U.S. immigration; learn about apprehensions at the border in six charts and read this timeline detailing what’s happened so far in family separations. Keep your eyes wide open. We must remain vigilant.

#9: Talk to Your Lawmakers

Especially if you live in states along the southern border or ones that support the border facilities, calling your representative can let them know that their constituency—the population whose votes they’ll be campaigning for come 2020—cares about migrants and opposes the abusive conditions that they’re subjected to. Here’s a searchable directory to find your representative and their contact information, and organizations like YouLobby, the ACLU and Indivisible East Bay provide call scripts and tips.

#10: Vote!

It’s almost time for the 2020 elections—and one of the best things you can do is vote for state and federal lawmakers who are committed to ending the human rights abuses at the border and advancing a political agenda that grants migrants, asylees and refugees the dignity and opportunity they deserve.

Feminists can make a difference at the polls. Register to vote today, and urge your friends, family members and neighbors to do so, too. When we vote, we win—and families at the border are counting on us to speak up when it matters most.

It’s Election Day! Find Out Where and How to Vote and What’s at Stake

It’s Election Day! That means that unless you voted early or absentee, today’s your last chance to have your voice heard at the polls. There’s a lot at stake for women, people of color, and young people in this election – and your vote matters. Women’s votes have historically shaped elections, and there’s no reason this year should be any different!

If you’re not entirely sure how to vote, we’ve got you covered. Our state-by-state voter information guide will guide you through registration, what you need to bring to your polling place, and where you should go to cast your ballot.

Untitled-1

Once you get there, you might find yourself making some big decisions on ballot measures. Our ballot measures portal will help you decide how to vote.

ballot-measures-slider-campus

If you already voted, that’s awesome! Share your story or tell us what matters to you using the hashtag #ShowOUT and tell the world why you were proud to do your civic duty!

INFOGRAPHIC: The Facts on Domestic Violence

feature image via UMaine Student Life.

It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Do you know the numbers behind the issue? Thanks to our friends at the Vera House, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Love is Respect, we’ve got an infographic to sum it up.

domesticviolenceinfographicFEMINIST

Spread the word. You can click the image to download it, or just share this post using the hashtag #DVAM.

Ms. Magazine Asks: Where Are The Women Police in Ferguson?

As the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Mike Brown reached a peak, folks began to question the ethnic makeup of the Ferguson, Missouri police force responsible both for his death and for later intimidating and harassing protesters. Ferguson’s police force is majority white, whereas the town itself is made up primarily of African-American residents, prompting activists to speak out about the racial undertones often underlying acts of police brutality targeted at people of color. (Ellie Smeal, FMF’s Founder and President, echoed those sentiments when she called for police reform and the appointment of a special prosecutor in Ferguson.)

A lack of racial diversity, however, is not the only factor that can feed police brutality; a lack of gender diversity can also create police forces in which officers aren’t treating the communities they serve with the proper procedure and respect.

via Shawn Semmler
via Shawn Semmler

Now, Ms. magazine is rightly asking: where are the women police in Ferguson, and how could a more diverse police force have altered what happened in Ferguson?

Images from Ferguson, Missouri, have filled TV and computer screens around the country since the tragic killing of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson—everywhere we’ve looked we’ve seen vulnerability and anger, chaos and peaceful resistance, tragedy and triumph. But we couldn’t help but notice there seems to be one thing missing in the deluge of photos and videos: There are next to no women law enforcement officials on the streets of the St. Louis suburb.

We called the city’s police department and, according to a spokeswoman, just five of the city’s 53 police officers are women. Only three of the 53 are African American, in a town that’s 67 percent black.

This matters. Had more women been on the scene during the demonstrations following the 18 year old’s death, things might have looked very different.

Read the full piece at the Ms. blog.

WATCH: Rachel Maddow Talks Anti-Choice Extremism with FMF’s National Clinic Access Project Director

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project works to keep clinics open and accessible across the country, including working to counter clinic harassment, terrorism, and intimidation by anti-choice extremists. This week, our NCAP Director duVergne Gaines and National Campus Organizer Edwith Theogene are in New Orleans to keep local abortion clinics and providers safe in the face of Operation Save America / Operation Rescue’s week-long siege on clinics.

duVergne appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show last night to talk about what’s happening in New Orleans and across the country in the wake of McCullen v. Coakley, in which the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law establishing a “buffer zone” around reproductive healthcare clinics in order to protect patients and providers from extremists.

You can support our work in New Orleans and across the country by giving to our National Clinic Access Project today. Our work to protect clinics has never been more critical and important – and neither has your support.

34 Years Ago, The US Signed CEDAW. Now, Let’s Ratify It!

Exactly 34 years ago today, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed by then-President Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, the US has since failed to ratify CEDAW – also known as the “women’s treaty” – putting us in the company of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and two small Pacific islands, Tonga and Palau.

The US Senate has the power to change that – and today is the perfect day to remind them. Take action now to urge your Senator to support the women’s treaty and make women’s human rights a national priority.

cedawgraphic-01

CEDAW is the only international human rights treaty focused on women’s rights, and was adopted by the United Nations in 1979.  CEDAW has since been used around the world to bolster efforts to advance the status of women and girls –  including the elimination of child marriage or forced marriage, improved maternal care, reduced violence against women and sex trafficking, and increased educational opportunities. If the US were to ratify the treaty, we would submit periodic reports on the progress of women and girls here at home to the UN CEDAW committee; those reports would highlight progress in the US as well as areas in which we continue to strive for gender equity. Ratification of CEDAW would also give the US an important tool to work with and support other nations in their efforts to end violence and discrimination against women.

It is time for the US to join the nations of the world in ratifying CEDAW and affirming the importance of equality for women and girls around the world. Take action for CEDAW today.

WATCH: Jay Leno, Frances Fisher, Ellie Smeal, and Others Speak Out to #StopTheSultan in Beverly Hills!

Couldn’t make it to our May 5 rally to #StopTheSultan of Brunei’s Taliban-like laws in Beverly Hills? No problem. We’ve uploaded footage of the action to our YouTube account!

Our #StopTheSultan rally videos includes speeches by Eleanor Smeal, Katherine Spillar, Dolores Huerta, Jay and Mavis Leno, Frances Fisher, and other California-based organizational leaders and feminist activists.

Watch the whole thing right here, or check out the playlist on YouTube to see the individual videos and watch your favorites.

The movement to put an end to Brunei’s brutal new penal code – which includes flogging women who have had abortions and stoning lesbians and gay men to death, among other gross human rights violations – is not over, and we’re not giving up until the laws are rescinded. Sign our petition today to send letters to the Sultan, the UN, and embassies to and from Brunei and the United States to urge them to take action immediately, and spread the word online using the hashtag #StopTheSultan!

PHOTOS: Feminists Rally Across from the Beverly Hills Hotel to #StopTheSultan!

Yesterday’s star-studded #StopTheSultan rally was a huge success! Speakers included Mavis and Jay Leno, Kathy Spillar and Eleanor Smeal, and leaders from various women’s rights and LGBT rights nonprofits. You can read more about the rally here, here, and here – but for now, sit back and take a gander at some of the highlights for yourself.

All photos are courtesy of Jillian Ellis.

StopTheSultan_0035
StopTheSultan_0056
StopTheSultan_0064
StopTheSultan_0085
StopTheSultan_0090
StopTheSultan_0112
StopTheSultan_0117
StopTheSultan_0134
StopTheSultan_0171
StopTheSultan_0181
StopTheSultan_0182
StopTheSultan_0193
StopTheSultan_0225
StopTheSultan_0230
StopTheSultan_0247
StopTheSultan_0254
StopTheSultan_0277
StopTheSultan_0280
StopTheSultan_0286
StopTheSultan_0294
StopTheSultan_0324

Feeling deeply moved to action? Me, too. This is the perfect time to sign our #StopTheSultan petition!

GALLERY: The March for Women’s Lives

It’s been ten years since the March for Women’s Lives!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To commemorate today’s anniversary, I’m opening up our massive archive of event photos from the 2004 march. Going through these was amazing. The entire time, I was thinking: Ten years ago today, the feminist movement made history with the largest march ever on the National Mall, and ten years ago today, the feminist movement proved that we were a force to be reckoned with. If there’s any memory worth holding onto, that’s certainly one of them. I hope you’re as inspired by these as I am.

NOTE: If you click on an image in this post, it will open as a link! You can always hit “back” to get back here if you do, or right click to open in a new tab!

Behind-The-Scenes: FMF Staff and Celebs

Speakers and Entertainment

This Is What 1.15 Million Feminists Look Like

Were you at the March for Women’s Lives? Comment with your own images or stories from the march! If you’d rather email them, I can post ’em for you! Just get in touch via socialmedia@feminist.org.

Save On Feminist Gifts for Mom!

Having trouble finding the perfect gift for your feminist mom? We’ve got you covered!

Order now through April 30 at the Feminist Store and save on feminist gifts and Ms. magazine subscriptions – with guaranteed delivery by Mother’s Day!

FEMINISTMOM2014

Shop at the FMF Feminist Store and receive 10% off on all merchandise until midnight on April 30 by entering the code FEMINISTMOM2014 at checkout. We’ve also lowered the prices of digital and print subscriptions to Ms. magazine – so you can save big on a gift that lasts all year long!

Mother’s Day is the perfect chance to thank your mom for raising a revolutionary. Don’t wait another minute to find the perfect feminist gift for your feminist mom.

Get shopping today!

8 Actions for March 8: Celebrate International Women’s Day With Us!

Women all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, by taking action for their social, political, and economic equality. The United Nations’ official IWD theme for this year is “equality for women is progress for all,” and we couldn’t agree more! This International Women’s Day, celebrate with us by speaking out for women’s rights – eight times.

1. Tell your Senator: Support CEDAW!

125f74144b0811e38e0f0e57e786d795_7

CEDAW has been ratified by 187 of the 193 member states of the UN, the United States is one of only seven nations that has not yet approved it, putting us in the company of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran and two small Pacific islands. As a leading advocate for human rights, the US has a compelling interest to improve conditions for women. Yet, the United Sates has compromised its credibility as a world leader in both human rights and women’s rights in its failure to ratify CEDAW.

Email Your Senator Now.

2. Tell President Obama: #LiftTheBan!

header

For many victims of war, resources provided by US humanitarian aid eases their suffering; but for victims of war rape care is limited. Survivors of war rape are denied access to comprehensive medical care that includes the option of abortion, largely because of US policy that is wrongly interpreted to place anti-abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid in conflict zones – in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions. Girls and women systematically raped during conflict face increased rates of maternal mortality, permanent reproductive damage, and obstetric fistula, in addition to isolation and trauma. Without access to the option of abortion care, victims are forced to risk their health – either by carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, seeking dangerous methods of abortion or, in many tragic cases, taking their own lives.

Take action with Feminist Majority and the Global Justice Center to urge President Obama to issue an executive order lifting the ban on abortion restrictions in conflict zones, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Send A Message to President Obama Today.

3. Tell the Supreme Court: #MyBodyMyBC!

VaNCOJkCdEScYPz-556x313-noPad

The Affordable Care Act guarantees that all new health insurance plans cover FDA approved contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles.  But over 40 profit-making companies have filed lawsuits against this ACA requirement saying that they have a right to deny this coverage to their employees because of the companies’ so-called religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 25 regarding whether companies can take away this important birth control benefit from women. Send a clear message to the Supreme Court that companies should not be able to use religion as cover to discriminate against women. 

Sign The Open Letter Today.

4. And Show Up to Tell the SCOTUS: Let Women, Not Bosses, Decide!

Hobby-Lobby-Header

Folks will be meeting on Tuesday, March 25 outside of the Supreme Court building to make their voices heard in this important debate – and you should be there! Come around 8:30 AM and bring your own signs!

RSVP Today.

5. Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder With Afghan Women

Take a pledge with us to support Afghan women and Afghan women’s organizations. Let them know that we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the fight for women’s and girls’ equality. We will do all we can to ensure that the US continue to support Afghan women’s organizations and empowerment. In this crucial transition period, you can count on our strong support.

Take The Pledge.

6. Tell Afghan Leaders: Sign the Bilateral Security Agreement!

The BSA provides that the U.S. will continue to offer assistance to strengthen security, provide humanitarian aid, and support economic and civic development. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he will not sign the BSA until after the April 2014 elections – a decision that could potentially disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan and place Afghan women at grave risk.

Urge President Karzai to sign this agreement. Without this agreement, the tremendous gains made by Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban will be in jeopardy.

Send A Message to Afghan President Karzai Today.

7. Tell US Leaders: Integrate Reproductive Healthcare with HIV/AIDS Treatment!

Every minute, a young woman becomes newly infected with HIV, and the vast majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted. Women need reproductive health programs to be integrated with HIV/AIDS services, and vice-versa, for improved efficiency and effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection and unplanned pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.

You can make a difference. Take action to urge decision makers to integrate comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services with HIV/AIDS treatment for women globally.

Contact PEPFAR Leaders Now.

8. Help End Military Sexual Assault!

The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), will take the decision of whether to prosecute sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and give it to independent, objective, trained military prosecutors.  Reports of sexual assault in the military increased by a whopping 36% in fiscal year 2012. The vast majority of victims – 89 percent according to the Pentagon itself – do not report sex crimes at all. And one-half of female victims indicate not reporting sexual assault because they do not believe anything will be done by their commanders.

We must act now. Email your Senators to tell them that we must change the current system of handling sexual assault cases. It is simply not working.

Email Your Senator Today.

Founding Feminists: December 18, 1912

Founding Feminists is FMF’s daily herstory column.

FoundingFeministLogo-color

“The weather shall not daunt us. We are going to Albany, and the road lies ahead.”

Thus did “General” Rosalie Jones rally her troops during Day Three of the “suffrage army’s” march. Due to a long-standing engagement in New York City, Chief Orator Jessie Hardy Stubbs was on leave for the day, and “Private” Alice Clark had to go back to her regular job, but “General” Jones, “Colonel” Craft and “Surgeon-General” Dock kept up the brisk pace set on the first two days of the hike.

The morning began in drizzle, then deteriorated into very thick fog. But as in the battle for woman suffrage itself, slow and steady progress continued to be made toward their objective, which today was the portion of the hike from Ossining to Peekskill. “Votes for Women!” was the shout of Surgeon-General Dock, then despite some obvious foot sensitivities brought on by the first two days of marching, off went the hikers. Their loyal pack of “War Correspondents” followed closely behind, reporting each day’s events to the eager readers of their respective newspapers.

Emma Barton waved greetings as the hikers passed her house in Crotona, and after quickly being given a membership application by Colonel Craft, she signed up to join one of the sponsoring suffrage organizations. Postmaster Ezra Ferris was Crotona’s official greeter. He was accompanied by Charles Chase, whose optimistic prediction that his 4-year-old twin daughters would vote when they turned 21 was a welcome reassurance that it isn’t only the most dedicated suffragists who believe that the campaign for the winning of the ballot has now passed the point of inevitability.

1530434_10201576870327155_623400697_n

Farther on, Paul Stier and daughter encountered the marchers, and when Mr. Stier expressed his strong support for suffrage, he got a pat on the back from his daughter, who remarked: “He’s just grand,” a sentiment endorsed by all. Of course, not all fellow-travelers on the road to Peekskill were so enthusiastic.

One man in a wagon drawn by a team of horses said he supported woman suffrage “sometimes,” when stopped and questioned by General Jones. But the next encounter was more positive, when a man offered to give a marcher a ride in a wheelbarrow, logically assuming “you must be tired of walking.”

The marchers attracted attention everywhere they went, and anyone who looked even mildly supportive was given literature and membership applications by Colonel Craft. Finally, Peekskill approached, and a delegation from the local suffrage group came out to greet the marchers and escort them the last two and a half miles to the Raleigh Hotel. A crowd awaited them there, which included many of the town’s most prominent citizens. Even the police officer in charge assured the women that he was pro-suffrage. Though undoubtedly in need of rest and sleep, now 42 miles and three days out of New York City, all three troopers still reported for duty later in the evening when it was time for a suffrage rally at the Colonial Theater.

Tomorrow, with the expected return of Jessie Hardy Stubbs boosting the strength of the legion to four, it will be time to move out again, and the day’s objective will be to make as many converts to the cause as possible on the road to Fishkill.

Founding Feminists: December 3, 1913

Founding Feminists is FMF’s daily herstory column.

FoundingFeministLogo-color

An active, 12-hour workday for those attending the fifth day of the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s convention in Washington, D.C.

Today’s first business was conducted outside the convention hall, as many prominent and articulate suffragists went to Capitol Hill at 10:30 to testify before the House Rules Committee in favor of establishing a Standing Committee on Woman Suffrage in the House. Among the speakers were Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, Carrie Chapman Catt, Jane Addams and Ida Husted Harper, with Alva Belmont, Inez Milholland, Mary Ware Dennett and Alice Paul in the audience. Each speaker gave an excellent presentation showing why woman suffrage was now a movement of such national importance that it deserved its own permanent committee. According to Helen H. Gardener:

For many years we have been sent before the Judiciary Committee once a year, if we so desired, to present our arguments for woman suffrage. We appear before it, year after year, one day for two hours, and that is the end of it. That committee is a very busy one. The President has notified it that it is to be still busier this session …. But the woman suffrage question is pressing for immediate solution.

Jane Addams was peppered with questions from a House member from Georgia who believed that “altering the electorate” was not a proper subject for discussion in Congress. She then proceeded to give him ten examples of when Congress had done exactly that.

Helen H. Gardener, on the right, meets with Alice Paul.
Helen H. Gardener, on the right, meets with Alice Paul.

A suggestion that “Woman Suffrage” be tacked on to the end of the name of the “Committee on the Election of the President, Vice President and Representatives,” was rejected by Rev. Shaw and N.A.W.S.A.’s National Board. It’s believed that the proposal for the new committee now has majority support, and speculation that it might be established, then stacked with anti-suffragists is being discounted.

Still angry with President Wilson over his failure to mention woman suffrage in his message to Congress yesterday, Ruth Hanna McCormick made a motion that the convention demand an audience with the President to impress upon him the importance of equal suffrage. The motion was enthusiastically carried, then she and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, great-granddaughter of Henry Clay, were appointed to arrange with the President to receive a delegation from the convention.

Pink Friday Savings: Get 20% Off At The Feminist Store Tomorrow!

We’re putting our own spin on Black Friday this year where you don’t wait in line, stay up until 5 AM, or even leave the house – unless, of course, you’d like to, in which case, no judgement. But as soon as the clock strikes 12AM on Friday and until it strikes 12AM again, we’re celebrating Pink Friday by giving you 20% off almost everything in the FMF Feminist Store! So why even take your pajamas off, really.

PINKFRIDAY

Wear your heart on your (short or long) sleeves with our line of “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” gear, dress up your Michelle Obama magnetic doll, spice up your life with a case of Empower-Mints, and then carry it all around in a feminist tote bag. Whatever you need – be it a onesie for the newest feminist in the family, feminist post-it notes for your corner office, or even luggage tags or CDs for the trip home, we’ve got you covered. Who said you can’t have it all?

Shop the Feminist Store today.

feminist gifts lauren

Unfortunately, we are unable to apply this discount to Ms. magazine subscriptions or renewals.

Senate Fails to Vote on Military Sexual Assault Bill

After hours of debate, the Senate failed to vote yesterday on the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA). Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), MJIA would move the decision of whether to prosecute sexual assault cases out of the chain-of-command and give it to independent, objective, trained military prosecutors.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

Six in ten Americans support letting independent prosecutors decide whether to prosecute sexual assault cases in the U.S. military, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. Support is equally divided between men and women, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats also support taking sexual assault cases outside the chain of command. The Feminist Majority urged the Senate to take up MJIA last week.

MJIA would amend the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), but Senate Republicans – using the filibuster – blocked MJIA from coming to a vote on the floor yesterday. There was also no vote on NDAA. The Senate then headed into a two-week recess.

Media Resources: ABC News 11/19/13

This post was originally published on the Feminist Newswire. If you’d like, you can subscribe to the Feminist News digest for a weekly recap of our newswire stories.

Congratulate Gloria Steinem with Ms. Magazine!

Gloria Steinem, co-founder of Ms. magazine and longtime feminist, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday, alongside Sally Ride (posthumously), Oprah, Bill Clinton , and other global leaders. We couldn’t be more proud of her, and neither could the folks at Ms., which President Obama named in his speech for Steinem as one of her accomplishments in the movement for women’s equality. In a speech at the National Press Club Monday, Steinem said she was proud to accept the medal “for the entirety of the women’s movement.”

“People often ask me at this age,” she said later on, “‘Who am I passing the torch to?’ First of all, I’m not giving up my torch, thank you! I’m using my torch to light other people’s torches. … If we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light.” Together with Gloria’s leadership, we’ve accomplished so much over the last 40 years – but there’s still much left to do. With your support today, we can keep lighting the torch that Gloria started so many years ago.

Ms. will be sending Gloria a congratulatory card within a few days, and we’d love for you to sign it! Let Gloria know you’re proud of all she’s done and excited for the future of this movement, and even leave her a personal message! All you have to do to sign it is click here.

GloriaMedalofFreedomAd

 

Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Law

In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The law, which went into effect on October 31, immediately forced about one-third of the state’s abortion providers to stop providing services.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

“We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s failure to block this unnecessary, burdensome Texas law. It’s only purpose is to deny women access to abortion – an essential part of women’s reproductive health care,” said Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Texas women deserve better.”

The Court’s decision was not on the constitutionality of the Texas law. That question will be considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to hear arguments in January.

Last month, a federal district court struck down the Texas admitting privileges requirement, ruling that it was unconstitutional. Judge Lee Yeakel found that the provision had no rational relationship to improving patient care, treatment, or outcomes, and would place an undue burden on women seeking abortion services.

The state immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which granted the state’s request to stay Judge Yeakel’s decision and allow the law to go forward pending a decision on the law’s constitutionality. Texas abortion providers then filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court to block the law.

Media Resources: Feminist Newswire, 10/29/2013; Feminist Newswire, 11/5/2013; SCOTUSblog, 11/19/2013

It’s CPC Week of Action: Feminist Majority Foundation and NARAL Are Taking on Fake Clinics

The Feminist Majority Foundation and our Feminist Campus program are coming together with NARAL Pro-Choice America to launch a week of action – beginning today, Monday, November 11 – to raise awareness about misleading crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, that target women in youth communities and communities of color and routinely provide medical misinformation to women facing unplanned pregnancies. During this week of action, young pro-choice supporters on college campuses around the country have planned activities aimed at exposing the lies that CPCs spread to put women’s health at risk.

cpc-map

“Fake clinics hurt women by giving them false information, such as abortion leading to breast cancer – which is simply not true,” explained Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. “Our Feminist Campus program is determined to not only expose fake clinics across the nation, but to make sure women know the multitude of their deceptive practices.”

As of today, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its affiliates conducted undercover investigations in twelve states to raise serious issues with the misinformation espoused at these facilities. In an investigation conducted by the organization’s Virginia affiliate, they obtained audio of women being told everything from birth control causes cancer, condoms are naturally porous, and abortion causes America’s economic problems. Their also report uncovered a funding stream for CPCs to receive state dollars through the purchase of “Choose Life” license plates. The FMF has been mobilizing people, particularly young feminists, around CPCs for decades, as well as encouraging folks to support and defend their local clinics that provide comprehensive and compassionate care.

“Women who seek information about their health-care options deserve honest information – not lies and scare tactics,” said Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “’Crisis pregnancy centers’ (CPCs) are fake clinics set up by anti-choice organizations with a mission to deceive and shame women to deter them considering abortion. Anti-choice groups like ‘Option Line’ target young women and women of color through deceptive advertising to lure them to local CPCs. NARAL Pro-Choice America and our allies will expose CPCs and powerful, national anti-choice organizations for lying to women.“

Featured activities during the CPC Week of Action include: campus groups organizing petition gatherings, screenings of 12th and Delaware, and LTE and op-ed submissions on CPCs, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s new photo blog highlighting what young women have been told by crisis pregnancy center staff, and actions targeting national group like Care Net and Heart Beat International (that run Option Line) on social media for helping local CPCs deceive women.

Follow the CPC National Week of Action activity on Twitter by using the tag #CallOutCPCs.

content modified from a press release.

READ: 3 Girls Learn International Activists Featured in New Youth Activism Book

510roLOLDyL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2TopRight10_SH20_Girls Learn International has had a great year – the FMF program focused on expanding education for girls and all young people around the world celebrated its tenth anniversary this year, and recently three of their leaders and activists were featured in STAND UP!, a book centered on “75 young activists who rock the world” which came out last week:

Every story in STAND UP!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World, And How You Can, Too! is a launching pad for lessons and discussions on many topics—bullying, the arts, equality, disabilities, empowerment, family, environment, peer pressure, community service, education, friendship, leadership, race relations, faith, diseases and other medical issues, poverty, cultural understanding, healthy eating and living, animal welfare, drugs, military issues, social entrepreneurship, and so much more.

The free-to-download STAND UP! DISCUSSION GUIDE is also available, and can be a starting point for exploring these issues in your community and using the book as a launching pad to something much bigger and brighter: a better tomorrow.

The three spotlighted GLI activists shared their stories from the book on the GLI blog last week; here’s a preview into each piece focused around how the program inspired their futures in activism – and how bright those futures are.

In “Because She Is A Girl,” Sarah Musa, co-founder of her local GLI chapter, spoke about the lessons she’d learned about activism and the knowledge she gained about education around the world through her involvement. Now moving on to college, she’s made it clear that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet:

Through our Girls Learn International chapter, I learned that I should never take anything for granted, especially the right to get an education. I believe that with freedom of education, girls can become the brightest and most successful leaders.

Now, as a freshman at James Madison University, I hope to build upon my high school efforts and to continue to be an inspiration and advocate for girls around the world. My mission is stronger than ever: No one should ever be denied an education or equal rights simply because she is a girl.

Sophia and Nadia Tareen, co-founders of their school’s GLI chapter, shared the story of their journey to Pakistan in “The World Lies in the Hands of A Girl.” The two were impacted by the visit and the girls they spoke to, and the experience compelled them to take action.

Through their commanding voices, we heard their determination to become educated. And through their resolution to break the barriers before them, we saw the value of the investment. Keeping girls in school is a real solution to the epidemic of poverty that affects the political, economic and social systems of Pakistan.

Girls like Saira are the ones who spark change by participating in household and community decisions, standing up for women’s basic rights, and protecting other girls from falling into the traps of outdated and discriminatory customs. Girls like Benazeer will end the vicious intergenerational cycles of inequality and poverty. And brave girls like legendary Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who at age 15 was shot by the Taliban and nearly died for her beliefs that every girl deserves an education, are the role models for courageous protestors of injustice. These inspiring young women are the ones who will instill real and purposeful change in communities that would otherwise stagnate in archaic conventions.

Girls are the solution that can move the world forward. We are two sisters asking all of you who are fortunate to live in countries where education is widely accessible to stand up and take action! Global progress starts with giving a girl a chance, a chance made possible if she is put into a school. Join us and we can change the world.

Nadia-second-from-left-and-Sophia-far-right-Tareen-1024x751

Isabella Gelfand shared her own story of speaking at last year’s Women, Money, Power Summit in the book, honoring both the two-day action-packed Feminist Majority event and her own contributions to global education as an active GLI member in her school’s chapter.

I was 14. As I stood, knees shaking, at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Women, Money, Power” Forum being streamed on C-SPAN from Washington D.C., I couldn’t keep from asking myself, How did I get here?

I remembered when my mother handed me the list of clubs offered at my new middle school. I was almost 12 years old and would be entering the sixth grade. I skimmed the list until something caught my attention: Girls Learn International (GLI), an organization that works to end poverty through girls’ education…

By exchanging projects with girls at our partner school—Abdullah Bin Omar School, located in an area where the Taliban had denied girls access to an education in Afghanistan—I learned how much these girls value their education. For example, in one letter our school received, an Afghanistan student wrote, “My goal is to be a useful individual for my people. It takes a long time to come to school, but it is a road I love to take.”

You can purchase the book on Amazon.

>