Attorneys General of Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada Fight to Have Recognition of ERA Recognized

On Monday, January 3rd, Attorneys General Mark Herring of Virginia, Klane Raoul of Illinois, and Aaron Ford of Nevada filed their legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia Circuit demanding the federal District Court decision to deny the states standing be reversed and that the ratification of Equal Rights Amendment by their states be recognized.

“The ERA has been properly ratified by the states and any attempt to prevent its inclusion in the Constitution is without basis in law,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Equal Rights Amendment will finally ensure true equality in our nation’s foundational document and correct an injustice of historic proportions. For more than two centuries women have fought for recognition of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that should be guaranteed to each of us by the Constitution. This unlawful and unexplainable obstruction must end, and the ERA must be certified, published, and made a full part of our constitution.“

“The Equal Rights Amendment must be included in our nation’s Constitution – all legal prerequisites have been filled,” said Attorney General Ford. “It is time for this decades-long fight to come to an end and for the Constitution to formally and legally protect the rights of women. Thirty-eight states have ratified this amendment, and now it falls to our colleague states and us to continue the fight. We will not stop, and we will not give up the fight women trailblazers started so long ago.”

“As our fight to ensure the Equal Rights Amendment is recognized as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution officially enters a new year, I am struck that Congress first considered an equal rights amendment nearly 100 years ago,” Attorney General Raoul said. “One hundred years is far too long to wait for equality under the law, and I am hopeful 2022 will be the year that equal treatment for all Americans is enshrined and acknowledged as part of our nation’s Constitution.”

“We are grateful to the Attorneys General for driving this litigation forward. The ERA has met all the constitutional requirements for an amendment, and the Archivist has a duty to publish it, providing official notice to all 50 States that the ERA is now the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution,” Carol Jenkins, President and CEO of the ERA Coalition said. “There can be no time limit on equality.”

“We are so close to final recognition of the Equal Rights Amendment. The Trump Administration Office of Legal Counsel memo of 2020 that was written before the ERA was ratified by Virginia (the 38th state) and the Constitutional requirement of 3/4ths of the state legislatures ratifying the amendment was met, must be withdrawn. January 27th, 2022 is the second anniversary of Virginia’s ratification.  Technically the ERA goes into effect two years after 38 states ratify it. 2022 must be the year that the ERA becomes the 28th amendment,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, who has been fighting for ratification of the ERA for over 50 years. The Feminist Majority Foundation is a lead organization in the ERA Coalition.

Help Protect the Last Abortion Clinic in Montgomery, Alabama!

Alabama’s Reproductive Health Services clinic – the only abortion clinic left in Montgomery, Alabama – needs your help to pay for security improvements and additional security costs.

via Sylvia McFadden
via Sylvia McFadden

Right now, anti-abortion extremists from across the country are descending upon this vitally needed clinic. Operation Save America (“OSA”) is leading national demonstrations against this clinic. Our Clinic Defense Team is on the ground in Alabama as we write, providing assistance to the clinic the entire time OSA and their out of state extremists are there. We are working with law enforcement and community activists to make sure this clinic is protected and stays open.

Stand shoulder to shoulder with this clinic and its health care providers by sending a donation. Half of your tax-deductible gift will go directly to the Reproductive Health Services clinic for improving security measures, and half will support our Clinic Defense Team that works to keep Reproductive Health Services and other targeted clinics open and safe.

This past Saturday night Alabama’s State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore spoke at OSA’s opening rally. In a few days, Matthew Trewhella, an unapologetic advocate of justifiable homicide of abortion providers, will also speak at OSA’s evening rally.

Can you imagine? The Chief Justice of Alabama’s highest court – also a virulent opponent of same-sex marriage – is an OSA featured speaker, along with a man who signed the Defensive Action petition, which supported the use of lethal force, if necessary, to stop abortion.

The clinic has just spent tens of thousands of dollars to comply with medically unnecessary draconian building regulations forced on them by the state. Now that it is targeted, the clinic needs emergency funds to improve its security system.

In spite of repeated legislative attacks and anti-abortion extremist harassment and intimidation – this Alabama clinic and its courageous staff are standing strong and maintaining safe abortion access for women. Without clinics, there is no choice.

Help us provide Reproductive Health Services needed emergency funding at this critical time. Please make a tax-deductible contribution today to support Reproductive Health Services and our Clinic Defense team.

Take Action for Purvi Patel!

You may have already heard the news. The first woman to ever be convicted of feticide was just sentenced to 20 years in prison for having a miscarriage.

This is horrifying. We must demand justice.

33-year-old Purvi Patel was convicted – based on highly contested junk science that was literally developed in the 17th century – of child neglect and feticide. Patel says she suffered a miscarriage and there is no evidence to show otherwise. It is an outrage to criminalize women for miscarrying.



Sign the petition to tell Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana State Legislature to “Just Fix This,” too! They must repeal the Indiana statewide law that threatens all pregnant women, especially women of color and low-income women with criminal prosecution for miscarriage. No woman in tragic circumstances should have to endure the cruel and unusual punishment of criminal prosecution for a miscarriage – and worse yet, conviction and imprisonment. Is Indiana becoming the state of no compassion and no tolerance?

Click here to sign the petition demanding Indiana fix this now.

Sign the Card and Thank an Abortion Provider!

Today is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. This year, we want to put the spotlight on the courageous doctors and staff of three clinics we know are working hard, despite continual threats against them, to provide crucial reproductive health services to women who need it most. Join us in sending them our thanks!

via Steve Rhodes
via Steve Rhodes

Remember – violence and threats against abortion clinics are not things of the past. These clinics are embattled, but their doctors, administrators, and healthcare workers brave it all to make sure women have the access to the vitally needed health services they deserve. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi; South Wind Women’s Center, LLC in Wichita, Kansas; and Reproductive Health Services in Germantown, Maryland, are three examples of clinics that do what’s right through adversity.

Make sure these clinics know they are appreciated! Sign the card now and we will pass your name and support along to thank them for their courageous services.

Tell President Obama: Afghan Women and Girls Need Our Continued Support!

Some 18 years ago, the Feminist Majority began what many thought was a hopeless fight to end a brutal system of gender apartheid in Afghanistan. Despite the odds, activists joined the Feminist Majority in speaking up and leading a successful fight to stop the US and the UN from recognizing the Taliban as a legitimate government.

But right now, Afghan women and girls need your help again.


President Obama is right now reviewing his decision to withdraw 5,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2015 and ALL troops by the end of 2016. But pulling all support troops is dangerous for Afghan women and girls, and they have come too far to have us turn back on them now. If the Taliban returns, too many of the women who have gone to work and school and who have taken on leadership in government or in the several hundred established Afghan women’s groups, will be killed. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these courageous women.

Some Americans want the US to leave Afghanistan – to pull the last 10,000 support troops who are helping the new Afghan unity government, the Afghan army, and the police to provide security in the face of the terrorist tactics of current Taliban forces and new threats from ISIS.

Many Afghan women leaders as well as other Afghans are saying their number one concern is security, and they want the remaining US support troops to stay. This is no time to leave Afghanistan completely when women and girls are making progress and the new unity government, pledged to women’s empowerment, is trying to move forward. The new leaders have signed a bilateral 10-year agreement with the US – why provide aid without providing some security at this critical time?

Click here to sign the petition to tell President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Congress that the U.S. must not abandon Afghan women and girls who need and want security. Let’s help Afghan women protect the gains they have won.

Help Us Protect Clinics!

Seriously? The Supreme Court just declared unconstitutional the Massachusetts buffer zone law protecting abortion clinics as a violation of the first amendment’s right of free speech of so-called sidewalk counselors and persons handing out leaflets.

What about the women’s right to reproductive rights? What about the health care workers’ right to access work safely without interference? What about the freedom to access a clinic?

The work of Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project (NCAP) to defend abortion clinics and providers as well as women seeking health care has just become exponentially more difficult. We need your help.

Click to Donate!

The Feminist Majority Foundation took the first buffer zone case, Madsen v. Women’s Health Center Inc., to the Supreme Court in 1994 and won. This Florida case establishing a buffer zone through an injunction was upheld by the Court in 1994 and in today’s decision. We established for the Court the record of frightening behavior, harassment and intimidation of a Melbourne, Florida clinic. But why must harassment, initimidation, and terror have to be endured before women’s constitutional rights are protected? This decision will just embolden more outrageous violence against women and health care providers. The Feminist Majority Foundation has been defending clinics for 28 years against violence by providing security assessments and equipment, legal assistance and observers, and volunteer training.

Now the job has become harder, and we need your help.

Massachusetts passed its statewide buffer zone law after two young women, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed and five people wounded at two Boston abortion clinics. Buffer zone laws and injunctions have helped to protect clinics and their workers.

Let us not forget that Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. Tiller, acted as a “sidewalk counselor” initially to gain information about the vulnerabilities of the clinic. Paul Hill, who killed the Dr. Britton and his escort James Barrett outside a Pensacola clinic, was mistakenly thought to be handing them a leaflet. Instead, he delivered lethal bullets.

Virtually every day, many clinics in our country – as well doctors, nurses, and patients – are harassed, intimidated, and terrorized. No lawful business should have to put up with the level of threats that clinics and doctors experience, let alone a health care facility providing women constitutionally guaranteed reproductive health services.

At this very difficult time, you can be sure the Feminist Majority Foundation will redouble its efforts to help clinics, health care workers, and women. Now more than ever, with clinics being attacked by state legislatures and with this blow from the Supreme Court, we need your help.

TAKE ACTION: Protest Brunei’s Kill-A-Gay and Flog-A-Woman Penal Code Online and in Beverly Hills!

feature image via Shutterstock

The Feminist Majority Foundation has just pulled our annual Global Women’s Rights Awards, co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno, from the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 5 because the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is imposing a Taliban-like Brunei penal code that includes the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions. This code is set to go into effect in three stages – beginning tomorrow, May 1.

We need your help! Take action now to stop the imposition of these Taliban-like laws.


FMF has joined with gay and lesbian groups in protesting this gross violation of human rights – and we will hold a rally across from the Beverly Hills Hotel, in the park on Sunset Boulevard, at noon on May 5 calling on the Sultan to rescind this new horrific penal code. Please join us at the rally if you are nearby! We have also moved our Global Women’s Rights Awards to Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (Westwood). It will take place in the evening on May 5.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed deep concern about the new Brunei penal code and stated that such draconian punishments would contravene international law and international human rights.

Please immediately reach out to the Sultan, the Brunei Embassy, the US Ambassador to Brunei, and the United Nations Secretary-General demanding that this new horrific Brunei penal code be rescinded.

We Need You At The Supreme Court!

We need you to stand with us at the Supreme Court on March 25 to preserve contraceptive access for millions of womenSome for-profit companies are trying to get out of providing contraception to their employees by challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, and we want to show the Court how much contraceptive coverage means to the millions of American women who rely on it.


The ACA birth control benefit requires insurance companies to cover FDA-approved contraceptives in all plans, meaning millions of women who receive their health insurance through their employers are now receiving birth control pills, IUDs, and emergency contraception without having to pay copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. But on March 25, the Court will hear arguments from two for-profit companies challenging expanded contraceptive access in the ACA – and then rule on whether women should make their own personal decisions about their birth control or whether their bosses should decide. RSVP today to join us outside the Court on March 25 to stand up for contraceptive access.

If you’re not able to come out to the Court this month, you can still make a difference by signing on to our open letter to the justices about these cases on Change. But if you can, RSVP today so we know we can count on you. In the meantime, tell your stories and share these opportunities to get involved on Twitter using the hashtag #MyBodyMyBC to help us build momentum and make our voices heard.

I hope I’ll see you soon!

Urgent: Act Now on Human Rights Day!

feature image via Shutterstock

Today, on International Human Rights Day, take action to ensure that every woman in the US has access to the reproductive healthcare and family planning services she is entitled to.


The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, established in 1948, states in Article 25 that every person has the right to medical care for both themselves and their families. A vital component of women’s healthcare is access to contraceptives and full reproductive healthcare, including abortion — but this fundamental human right is being denied even in the United States.

We are continuously fighting outrageous attacks on our access to abortion and birth control at the federal, state and now municipal levels. Soon, the Supreme Court will even rule on whether or not your boss can decide if you use birth control.

Tell the Supreme Court: Let women, not bosses, decide on birth control.


On International Human Rights Day, let’s come together and show lawmakers that we won’t settle for a violation of this basic right. Share the petition and tweet with us #MyBodyMyBC to spread the word.

Act Now on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Healthcare!

On World AIDS Day, the international community celebrated the dramatic progress that has been made in fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. As a direct result of increased availability of HIV testing, counseling, and treatment, new HIV infections around the world dropped 33% between 2001 and 2012, and AIDS-related deaths have dropped 30% since 2005.

But the problem remains staggering. Some 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. It is the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age worldwide.

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.


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.

The United States, through PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which principally operates in sub-Saharan Africa – has made an unprecedented commitment to helping create an AIDS Free Generation. Even though PEPFAR advocates a commitment to integrated services, PEPFAR funds cannot be used to purchase family planning commodities, nor are family planning services provided at PEPFAR sites, meaning that women cannot access a full range of contraceptives at the same site where they receive HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, or treatment. Moreover, continued U.S.-funding preferences for abstinence-based programs undermine comprehensive HIV-prevention services, including the provision of condoms.

This failure costs lives. The face of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of this epidemic, is a woman. Women in this region ages 15-24 are as much as 8 times more likely than men to be HIV positive.

Integrating HIV/AIDS programs with family planning services will help women with HIV plan or prevent pregnancy, address stigma by mainstreaming service provision, and improve quality of care.

Stand with us and demand that the fight against HIV/AIDS include comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls. 

Help Protect the Last Clinic Standing in Mississippi!

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the last abortion clinic in Mississippi – needs our help. Against all odds, the clinic remains open – despite crippling legislative attacks and an onslaught of anti-abortion extremist harassment and intimidation and even violent threats. Just days ago, anti-abortion extremists from across the country – including advocates of justifiable homicide, those that believe in the murder of doctors – targeted the clinic with angry protests. The clinic and its staff stood strong – but they need more security protection. We’re hoping to help them by sponsoring a new security system for the clinic.

photo (6)

Without the courageous staff and doctors who work at the Jackson clinic, Mississippi women would be left with no access to safe legal abortion in the entire state. Take a stand against extremism today and help defend the last clinic in Mississippi with a donation. All money raised through your tax-deductible donations will go directly to the clinic for a new security system. We’re already half way to our goal of $5,000 to help update the security system, but we need your help today to finish strong!

This funding is badly needed to help protect the clinic’s doctors, staff and patients. Without clinics, there is no choice. Please help the Jackson Women’s Health Organization keep its staff and patients safe.

Take Action TODAY and Stand With Saudi Women for Freedom!

We’ve just learned that the Saudi Ministry of the Interior has issued a threatening warning to women planning to drive on Saturday despite the Kingdom’s de facto ban on women driving. The Ministry compared women driving openly in the streets to “disturbing the public peace and opening venues to sedition” and stated, that the women would be “severely punished.”

We must take action. Tell the Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel A. Al-Jubeir, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and King Abdullah bin Abdul Al Saud how outrageous we believe these threats are against Saudi women who courageously seek basic human rights to mobility and freedom.

A Saudi Woman Holds Up a Sign Saying, "Cars Want to be Driven by Saudi Women." Image Credit: Flickr
via Flickr

Some women throughout Saudi Arabia planned to take to the roads in an ongoing campaign despite the ban – which unjustifiably limits women’s mobility and constrains them economically, especially in a country with no mass transit. Their day of action had gained popular support in the country where, until this week, there was no explicit law or decree prohibiting women from driving – although women could not receive drivers’ licenses.

But, this week, the government issued a decree making it illegal for women to drive, and announced that “all violations will be dealt with.”

This gender apartheid must end. We must stand with our sisters in solidarity. The right to mobility is a basic human right acknowledged by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Show Saudi women and the people of the world our strong support for their fight for freedom and equality. Take action now. 

We’ve Got a Clinics Crisis on Our Hands

I’ll be blunt — We’re running out of time to save our nation’s clinics.

In states across the country, legislatures are restricting women’s reproductive healthcare choices at an unbelievable rate. In Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, anti-choice bills and amendments to sometimes irrelevant legislation are threatening women’s access to reproductive health resources. This impact goes further than strictly restricting access to abortion: these clinics offer vital resources like cancer screenings, medical treatments, counseling, and education for their communities. Across those states, the number of clinics in total will drop from 101 to 22 or less when recent anti-choice legislation takes effect. Some states will be left with no abortion clinics if GOP lawmakers get their way. 

Here’s a quick look at how clinics in those eight states will be affected. Donate today so we can protect these clinics and women’s reproductive rights. 


We need your votes!

We’re excited because Working Assets/CREDO has selected the Feminist Majority Foundation as one of the 40 organizations to receive donations in 2013 from the funds it raised this year. BUT we need your help because the amount each of the 40 groups receives depends on the number of votes we get.

Please vote for us now! There are two ways to vote:

  • If you’re a CREDO Member, just visit the online ballot, login, and vote for the Feminist Majority Foundation.
  • Not already a CREDO Member? No Problem. First, simply Take Action by clicking to support one of CREDO’s action campaigns. Once you take action you can login as a CREDO Action Member / go to the Voting Page and support the Feminist Majority Foundation.

With enough votes, FMF could receive $30,000… $40,000… up to $50,000 or more, which will make a difference in our fight for women’s equality. It will help out cutting edge programs such as:

National Clinic Access Project: We protect abortion clinics and women’s health centers against domestic terrorism throughout the nation.

Choices Campus Leadership Program: We are the largest pro-choice college campus program in the nation – now over 604 campuses in 45 states, which has led efforts to get out the vote for college students especially against anti-abortion ballot measures.

Girls Learn International: We are growing our empowerment and equality program for high school and middle school students which partners with girls educational programs in developing countries.

Please take a moment to vote for us today. It’s quick, easy, and effective. Please forward this message to your friends, family, and colleagues.  The more votes, the more dollars for our work to advance women and girls.  And you can vote for the Feminist Majority Foundation EVERY DAY between now and December 31st.

For 25 years the Feminist Majority Foundation has been defending and reducing violence against our nation’s abortion clinics; leading the successful campaign to bring RU-486 (the abortion pill) to the USA; spearheading campaigns to end violence against women at home and to end gender apartheid inflicted on women in Afghanistan.

Today our challenges – and opportunities – have never been greater. With just a little bit of time you can make a big difference. Vote for us now!

Handdrawn ballot box on a green chalkboard photo from Shutterstock.

Gender Gap Decisive in Marriage Equality Victories

Exit poll data revealed a massive and decisive gender gap in voting on the marriage equality ballot measures that just might put to rest once and for all some old gender adages. Women have all too often been cast as the more conservative sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women, on the average, want change more than men and are sick and tired of discrimination that has hurt them.

Women’s votes, according to state exit polls, determined the historic outcome of the 2012 marriage equality ballot measures. Same-sex marriage was approved for the first time by general election votes in three states: Maine, Maryland and Washington state. In Minnesota, voters struck down a proposed state constitutional amendment “to recognize marriage only between one man and one woman.”

Decisive and large gender gaps emerged in exits polls in all four states with women voting in solid majorities in favor of marriage equality and men opposing, albeit with weaker majorities. If only men had voted, marriage equality would have been defeated in all four states.

The breakdown of the gender gap in each state was:

  • Maine: 61 percent of women voted for same-sex marriage and only 47 percent of men did, for a whopping 14 percent gender gap.
  • Washington: 57 percent of women voted for same-sex marriage and only 49 percent of men did, creating an 8 percent gender gap.
  • Maryland: 55 percent of women voted for same-sex marriage and only 48 percent of men did so, for a 7 percent gender gap.
  • Minnesota: 56 percent of women and only 46 percent of men voted no on the state constitutional amendment to only recognize marriages between one man and one woman, making a 10 percent gender gap.

These trends in voting and attitudes on issues have been apparent since the 1970s and are increasingly becoming more visible, larger, and decisively impactful. Gender gaps exist on a whole host of issues, including equality, abortion, family planning, social security, Medicaid, Medicare and environmental issues. Women, on average, typically favor programs to further equality, provide health care and protect the environment more than men.

Massive Age Gaps in Voting for 2012 Elections

For years, young voters have been discounted and labeled as apathetic no shows when it comes to voting. After 2012, the age gap will be ignored at a politician’s peril. In 2012, according to exit polls, nationwide voters 18-29 years old comprised 19% of the electorate while voters over 65 years comprised 16% of the electorate. Most importantly, the voting patterns of the young and the old were mirror images of each other on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as well as on key Senatorial candidates and ballot measures.

In the presidential race, 60% of voters 18-29 years old voted for President Obama while only 44% of those over 65 did, creating a 16% age gap. In key Senate races the pattern persisted. For example, in Indiana, 18-29 years olds were 20% of the electorate compared to 14% for the over 65 group; the young voters supported the Democrat, Joe Donnelly, over Republican Richard Mourdock (infamous for his comment that “god intended” pregnancy from rape) by 53% and the older voters by 43, creating a 10% age gap. The age gap was even larger in Missouri for incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D) against challenger Todd Akin (R) of “legitimate rape” fame. McCaskill had the support of 69% of the young voters and only 41% of the voters over 65 years for a whopping 28% age gap. In Ohio, the voters ages 18-24 were 17% of the electorate and voters over 65 were 18%. The young voters supported incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown (D) by 64% while only 46% of the older voters supported Brown, an 18% gap. An almost identical pattern existed in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, where incumbent Senator Bob Casey (D) defeated challenger Tom Smith (R).

The age gap on marriage equality ballot measures in four states is more like an Age Canyon. Massive age gaps emerged in exits polls in all four states with two-thirds of voters 18-29 voting in favor of marriage equality and only one-third of voters over 65 doing so. The breakdown of the age gap in each state was:

    • Maine: 68% of voters 18-29 years of age voted for same-sex marriage and only 44% of the over 65 were, for a 24% age gap.


    • Washington: 65% of voters 18-29 years of age voted for same-sex marriage and only 39% over 65 voters did for a 26% age gap.


    • Maryland: 70% of voters 18-29 years of age voted for same-sex marriage and only 36% of over 65 voters did, for a 34% gender gap.


    • Minnesota: 67% of voters 18-29 years of age and only 36% of the over 65 group voted no on the state constitutional amendment to only recognize marriages between one man and one woman, making a 31% age gap.

The age gaps were massive and indicate a tremendous cultural change being driven by younger voters. In each of the four states, voters under 40 were overwhelmingly in favor of the equal marriage position while those over 40 were not. There were also significant gender gaps in all four states with women voting in favor of marriage equality and men rejecting it.

Media Resources: CNN 11/7/2012; Feminist News Wire 11/7/2012,11/8/2012

Supreme Court Health-Care Decision is Historical Advance for Women

The Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine are elated that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act–the most important advance for women in nearly 40 years. Feminists are determined to protect the gains of the Affordable Care Act, which will protect the lives and health of millions of women and their families each year and make our nation stronger and healthier.

This is what women will gain from the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act:

Some 32 million people (a majority of them women) will gain access to health care insurance coverage, including 16 million people (also a majority women) who will gain access through Medicaid.

–About 3/4 of those who purchase health insurance through insurance exchanges (those with incomes between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level) will receive a federal subsidy to help pay for coverage.

–By 2014 at the latest, insurers will be banned from “gender rating,” or charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage (both for individual policies and for employer group plans with fewer than 100 employees). In most states, women with individual plans pay on average some 48 percent higher premiums than men do for the same health insurance coverage.

–Every new insurance policy is required to include a basic preventive health care package without any copays or deductibles. As recommended by the Institutes of Medicine, this includes pap smears, mammograms, birth control, STI/STD testing, well-woman checkups, immunizations and other preventive care.

Exclusions for pre-existing conditions were eliminated for children in 2010, and will be eliminated in 2014 for adults. This will prevent the exclusion of coverage for women who have “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy, prior injuries caused by domestic violence, second or subsequent Caesarian deliveries, recurrence of breast and other cancers, etc. A temporary high-risk insurance pool program is available to cover eligible adults with pre-existing conditions until 2014.

–Beginning January 1, 2014, individual and small employer plans must cover at a minimum a comprehensive package of “essential health benefits” including prenatal and maternity care, prescription drug coverage, mental health care and pediatric care (including oral and vision care). Currently, 87 percent of individual health insurance plans exclude maternity coverage.

Medicare guaranteed benefits will not be reduced. Since 2011, Medicare has covered the full cost of preventive care, including cancer screenings, annual physical examinations and immunizations. The Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” will be gradually eliminated, starting with a $250 payment to beneficiaries in 2010 and a 50 percent discount on Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. By 2020, payments by beneficiaries will be reduced to 25 percent of drug costs in the gap.

Employers will not be allowed to provide inferior plans with less coverage to their lower-paid workers, who are more likely to be women and people of color.

–The law increases the numbers of nursing education slots, providing loan repayments and retention grants and offering grants for employment and training of family nurse practitioners. It provides scholarships, loan programs and bonus payments to private care physicians and general surgeons. It also expands health accessibility by doubling the capacity of community health centers. New programs will increase support for school-based and nurse-managed health centers.

Photo from Thursday’s Supreme Court rally from the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Women win BIG in North Dakota!

We did it! With your help, feminists made a big difference in North Dakota and pro-choice forces won BIG. Thank you for your support! And thank you North Dakota voters!

North Dakotans voted overwhelmingly – 64% to 36% – against Measure 3 the so-called “religious liberties” state Constitutional amendment that could have been a huge blow to women’s rights. Voters also resoundingly defeated a measure opposed by public school teachers and educators that would have repealed all property taxes by a vote of 77% to 23%.

Feminist Majority Foundation campus organizers were on the ground working with hundreds of North Dakotans, the statewide coalition against Measure 3, North Dakotans Against Measure 3. With your support, we organized on college campuses with North Dakota Students Voting No on 3, a statewide campaign. Our national organizing team worked on-the-ground with other pro-choice groups, student organizers, and scores of volunteers who mobilized students on the major campuses. Our signs, leaflets, and stickers, which read “Vote NO on 3, It Goes Too Far” said it all!

Measure 3 would have threatened laws against sex discrimination, domestic violence, child abuse and more. The amendment could have provided a defense to wife beaters and child abusers – who would have been able to claim their religious beliefs allow them to use violence against family members. It could have also opened the door, based on religious beliefs, to sex discrimination and the denial of birth control and other fundamental services and protections. Undoubtedly, it would have led to many court cases.

Although there was initially much confusion about Measure 3, as soon as the public learned of the potential harmful impact of Measure 3, we moved solidly ahead despite strong opposition from the Catholic bishops and the local Catholic Conference as well as the local affiliate of Focus on the Family.

Thank you for standing with us in North Dakota. We couldn’t have done it without you!

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Tell Congress to Reauthorize VAWA

by Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation

For the eleventh #HERvotes blog carnival, we’re joining together to urge the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Domestic violence results in over two million injuries every year.  Three women die every day in the United States as the result of domestic violence.  Since the passage of VAWA in 1994, the rate of intimate partner violence has declined by 67%.  VAWA provides services to victims of violence and has improved the criminal justice response to violence against women.

VAWA expired December 31, 2011.  Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in February to move VAWA to the Senate floor.  But the Senate committee vote was strictly on party lines – 10 Democratic members voting yes and 8 Republicans voting no.

Now the VAWA Reauthorization will finally be voted on this week by the whole Senate.  Currently, 61 Senators (53 Democrats and 8 Republicans) are co-sponsoring the Reauthorization.  HERvotes is urging all Senators to vote yes.  Eliminating violence against women is not… must not… be a partisan issue.

HERvotes urges Congress to reauthorize this landmark legislation and extend VAWA’s lifesaving programs and services for another five years.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Read More:

Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act– Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Why the Violence Against Women Act Impacts College Women– Francesca Witcher, Feminist Majority Foundation

Group Opposes VAWA Because Act Helps Lesbians -Ben Atherton-Zeman, Ms.

Why is the U.S. Senate is Playing Politics with Violence Against Women?– Gloria Lau, YWCA USA

The Violence Against Women Act: Fact vs. Fiction– Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

The Struggle to End Violence Against Women Encounters a Road Block-Nancy K. Kaufman, National Council of Jewish Women

Newsweek Glamorizes Women’s Submission-Lisa Bennett, NOW

Congress Rocking Back the Clock for Women– Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women

VAWA Reauthorization and Economic Security for Survivors– Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski, Wider Opportunities for Women

Read our Previous Posts:

A Critical Tool to Save Lives: VAWA -Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, American Bar Association

Violence Is a Cycle: We Must Reauthorize VAWA -John Roach, Break the Cycle

Calling for the Reauthorization of VAWA– Brandi Callaghan, Feminist Majority Foundation

Immigration, Intimate Partner Violence, and the Violence Against Women Act -Anjela Jenkins, Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow, blogging for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Teen Dating Violence -Christine Bork, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

10,000 Men Supporting VAWA– Ben Atherton-Zeman, Ms

Hey Congress, How About Giving Half the Population Some Love? -Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women

“It’s a Good Time To Be a Black Woman? Well, Not So Good When It Comes To Violence”– Angela Sutton, Black Women’s Health Imperative

Combating Domestic Violence: A Call to Reauthorize VAWA– Mallen Urso, National Women’s Political Caucus

Taking the Violence Against Women Act to Higher Ground– Emily Alfano, NCJW

Tell Your Senator to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act Now- Elizabeth Owens, AAUW

Why VAWA is a Queer Issue- Terra Slavin, L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center and Sharon Stapel, New York City Anti-Violence Project

Universities Should Support VAWA- Melissa Siegel, National Youth Advisory Board

Students Against Dating/Domestic Abuse– Sara Skavroneck, National Youth Advisory Board National Youth Advisory Board Against Dating ViolenceKevin Mauro, National Youth Advisory Board

Teenage Dating Violence and VAWA– Nikki Desario, National Youth Advisory Board

Joining Forces – Women Veterans Speak Out: The Trenches, Remembered– Joan Grey, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Violence Against Women Act up for Reauthorization– National Association of Social Workers

Wake up, People! Domestic Violence is an Epidemic!– Donna Pantry, Elf Lady’s Chronicles

Recession and Women: How Economic Insecurity Enables Abuse– Donna Addkison’s, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)

More Bipartisan Support Needed for Violence Against Women Act– Terry O’Neill, Say It Sister- NOW’s Blog for Equality

Take Action:


Click here to tell YOUR Senator to reauthorize VAWA! (Feminist Majority)

Click here to thank the act’s sponsors and to urge all non-sponsors to support it.  (Hadassah)

#HERvotes, a multi-organization campaign launched in August 2011, advocates women using our voices and votes to stop the attacks on the major advances of the women’s movement, many of which are at risk in the next election.

HERVotes Blog Carnival: Fighting Sexual Harassment

Welcome to the fifth #HERvotes blog carnival. This time we’re focusing on the need to keep strong the laws and public policies to end sex discrimination and sexual harassment in schools and in the workplace. HERvotes, a multi-organizational campaign launched in August 2011, advocates that women must use our voices and votes to stop the ongoing attacks on the major advances of the women’s movement. We are very excited that HERvotes is reaching a growing list of member groups and organizations and millions of people.

HERvotes called attention in early November to the dangerous personhood state constitutional amendment on the Mississippi ballot–which we’re pleased to report was soundly defeated last week by a margin of 58-42 percent. Now, sexual harassment has emerged as an issue in the presidential primaries at the same time that a member organization of HERvotes, the American Association of University Women, has released a historic report on the high levels of sexual harassment in our nation’s schools.

Sexual harassment has been ruled decisively by courts as a form of sex discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people in the workplace from sex discrimination. Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 protects students, teachers, professors and staff in all educational institutions receiving federal funding from sex discrimination.

Both of these federal laws, major advances of the women’s movement, are under attack by members of Congress who seek to gut such protections and by Supreme Court decisions that have weakened them.

We must keep Title VII and Title IX strong. We have a right to know where policymakers stand on these issues.

How to join the fight:

*You can share the posts below on Twitter –using the hashtag #HERvotes–and on Facebook. If we spread the word far enough we can make sure Title VII and Title IX are enforced.

* You can ask where candidates and policymakers stand on issues of Title IX, Tile VII and sexual harassment in the workplace and in educational institutions.

The blog posts below share more reasons why we need to take action now. Happy reading, and thanks for joining the fight to end sexual harassment.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.



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