March 2012 e-Newsletter
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We are excited to announce that NWPC will host a reception to welcome Caucus supporters, attendees, elected women and women candidates immediately preceding the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
This will be a fantastic way to kick-off a fantastic week! We will celebrate women's roles at the Democratic National Convention and raise funds for activities that strengthen the work of NWPC to support women candidates and awareness for women’s issues. Take a moment to read the recent article in the Washington Post’s “She the People” blog in that highlights our event .
The NWPC Reception which will take place at RiRa Irish Pub and Restaurant, 208 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina, Sunday, September 2, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 pm. Reservations to attend the event can be made by contacting Bettina Hager at the NWPC National Office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration fee is $75.00 and includes hors d’oeuvres and a choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks. The event is being produced and coordinated by Bonnie Wallsh of Bonnie Wallsh Associates, LLC, and Linda Dyer Hart of Dyer Hart Productions.
We are still in the process of planning our reception at the RNC! We will announce details as soon as we have everything finalized. Please let us know if you are willing to help with the RNC reception!
We look forward to seeing everyone in August, September, or both!
Gloria Negrete McLeod
Denise Moreno Ducheny
Susan A Davis
Dear NWPC Members and Friends,
March is Women’s History Month and I want to thank all the NWPC members who are making history by participating! There is almost nothing that can be accomplished in the world without the help of others, and almost nothing that cannot be accomplished by great women joining together. March 8th, the International Day of the Woman, was an important reminder that while we do the good work within our Nation, we must also recognize the struggles that affect women worldwide and the strength that is so often shown in their survival.
Despite this spirit of celebration, we cannot ignore the persistent and continuing attacks against women’s rights that have pervaded the last two months. From Rush Limbaugh’s verbal assault against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke to the current fight to maintain the Women’s Health Programming in Texas, we are in a state of constant defense. The words War on Women are quite meaningful, although political foes cry foul at the use of the term. Yet, what else really describes it? Not only are we seeing resistance to listening to women’s voices in congressional hearings over a matter that first and foremost impacts women, we hear statements that health insurance eligible claims should not include contraception, but also should not include prenatal testing! Never did I imagine that in my lifetime I would again see a woman’s access to contraception be compromised. Unfortunately, my imagination failed me. In fact, I could not have even dreamed that health insurance might not cover prenatal testing, just because there might be information from the testing that could support a woman’s decision to terminate a troubled pregnancy.
I invite you to read our newsletter and learn what the National Women’s Political Caucus is doing to fight these attacks. We are determined to keep our members informed and highlight both our trials and our successes. We must never silence our passion, for that is when we find ourselves most at risk. Together our strength is magnified, and together we will overcome.
NWPC President Linda Young addresses a question at the press conference.
The 2012 HERVotes Coalition (Health and Economic Rights) stormed the media with a press conference uniting over 50 women’s organizations on March 1st, 2012. The coalition gathered together at the National Press Club to unite women and get out the vote in the 2012 election. Leaders nationwide arrived in DC on March 1st to attend the event, including NWPC President Linda Young! In addition to your president, several other feminist leaders attended the event including Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O'Neill, Avis Jones-DeWeever, Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women, Lisa Maatz, Director, Government Relations, American Association of University Women, and many others. Our VP, Education and Training, Lisa Kaado, also traveled from New Jersey to attend the press conference.
Because NWPC is a proud member of the HERVotes Coalition, we encourage you all to visit HERVotes online at www.hervotes.us to join us in stopping the attacks on historic advances for women, preserving successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, respecting women’s contribution to the economy, and supporting jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security. As we mentioned in the previous newsletter, we are sincerely hoping that 2012 is the new “Year of the Woman,” and this can’t happen unless we mobilize. We are confident that HERVotes is an excellent avenue to use.
NWPC Board Officer, Veronica Rivera tells Perry “Don’t Mess with Austin Women”
Texas Governor, Rick Perry, has knowingly ended healthcare access for over 130,000 Texan women by blocking federal funding for The Women’s Health Program. The Women’s Health Program (a Medicaid program) provides medical access and care to women in Texas that cannot afford it otherwise. The program costs roughly $40 million dollars and 90% of that cost was funded federally.
According to Medicaid law, a state cannot choose which providers they will or will not fund if the provider is legally qualified. Governor Perry did just this when he decided to defund Planned Parenthood (a perfectly qualified provider) because they offer abortion services. Because the Governor consciously opposed Medicaid law, the state of Texas has lost its Medicaid funding for the Women’s Health Program. He was asked numerous times to change his decision, but he refused. He claims that the state will now cover the funding that was cut, but we find that hard to believe when women’s health seems like such a non-issue in the Governor’s eyes; however, Texan women are speaking out!
On Tuesday, March 13th Planned Parenthood hosted a “Don’t Mess with Texas Women” rally at the Texas Capitol to oppose Governor Perry’s assault. Planned Parenthood President, Cecile Richards, attended the rally along with other legislators and special guests. Richards gave an incredible speech where she said (in NWPC fashion), “We are Republicans, and we are Democrats, and we are Independents, because by God, women’s healthcare does not come with a political label.” The rally was a success and received national attention. Below are a couple of photos of rally participants and a photo of the rally itself. Thanks to all NWPC members who attended and/or supported these efforts!
The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) proudly announces its recent endorsement of 13 exceptionally qualified pro-choice women for their congressional campaigns. Women still only hold 17% of the seats in Congress while making up more than 50% of the population. The numbers just don’t add up! The women listed above are attempting to raise that statistic while simultaneously advocating for women’s rights. In the recent months, women’s reproductive health has fallen under widespread attack. It is more important than ever that women like those listed above are elected for a congressional seat.
Endorsed candidates include: Senatorial candidates Claire McCaskill(MO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and House candidates Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Val Demings (FL-08), Christie Vilsack (IA-04), Donna Edwards (MD-04), Heather McTeer (MS-02), Franke Wilmer (MT-AL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Olivia Freeman (OH-10), Eleanor Norton Holmes (DC-AL), Sue Thorn (WV-01), Kelda Roys (WI-02).
We are proud to be a part of these women’s journeys towards the nation’s capitol; you can now find information about these candidates on our official 2012 endorsement page by clicking here. All of these women are fantastic examples of strong candidates; however, we regret to inform you that two of our recently endorsed candidates did not make it through their primaries. Olivia Freeman (OH-10) and Heather McTeer (MS-02) fought hard, but did not receiving the number of votes needed to win. We hope that these women do not give up and continue to run in the future!
In addition to our officially endorsed candidates, our PPAC voted to endorse 22 additional incredible women! These names are still awaiting board approval, but we are excited to introduce you to another round of potential endorsed candidates!
Clearly the hottest topic during these past few months has been the issue of contraception. We are shocked and baffled that our government has politicized contraception and is creating obstacles for women to safely access contraceptives. Despite Obama’s recent compromise, many Catholic bishops are still fired up and angry. In fact, on Wednesday, March 14th, top U.S. Catholic bishops formally made their fight against the reproductive services mandate the church's top priority. The White House, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, continues to consider strategies to guarantee women’s access to contraception while still protecting religious freedom. On March 16th, the Obama Administration announced a 90 day comment period to find the best way to implement the contraception compromise. Meanwhile, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has introduced a bill (HR 1179) to allow certain employers and insurers to opt out of the mandate for contraceptive coverage if they are morally opposed. The bill has more than 220 House co-sponsors. We are hopeful that this bill dies quickly in Congress, and that contraception will cease being political and become accessible to all women.
After it was reported by committee on February 2nd, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization of 2011(VAWA) has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. VAWA (S.1925) advocates are still working to secure 60 filibuster-proof sponsors for the bill before it hits the Senate floor. Just last week two additional senators , Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Udall (D-CO), signed on to sponsor the bill. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence has set March 20th as the goal for gaining these necessary sponsors. Check out 4vawa.org for details on VAWA and what you can do to help!
HR 3541, also known, as the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), continues to make its way through the Congressional system. This act would provide further obstacles for women seeking abortion by outlawing any abortion that is “discriminatory towards the fetus.” This could lead to unnecessary interrogations and needless denial of abortion services for women. PRENDA passed the House Committee on the Judiciary on February 16, 2012 by a vote of 20-13 and may be up for a House vote in the near future.
Abortion access is being brutally assaulted across the United States. Numerous states have introduced, and in some cases passed, legislation that humiliates women seeking abortion by instituting unnecessary obstacles to this health procedure. For example, in Virginia, women seeking abortions must now undergo an ultrasound and endure a 24 hour wait period before they can obtain an abortion. In Kansas, an abortion bill has been proposed that would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withhold information that could have prevented a health problem for the mother or child, if they do it in the name of preventing an abortion. Sound crazy? Bills just like these are cropping up all over the country, and they must be stopped! Check out this interactive map that outlines current anti-abortion laws.
As a part of Women’s History Month, we celebrate the women across our country who have made significant contributions to our society. This most certainly includes Alice Paul, a renowned suffragist and architect of the final campaign for the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women’s right to vote in 1920. Paul also, in 1923, authored the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was finally passed in both houses of Congress on March 22, 1972—40 years ago!
During the ten-year ratification campaign, the country had the opportunity to add the ERA to the Constitution and guarantee women and men equal rights. However, constitutional amendments require approval by 38 states, and at a 1982 deadline, the ERA was three states short of ratification because of misrepresentations about its intent and impact.
The ERA would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both men and women. Without the ERA, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee that rights are held equally without regard to sex. The first – and still the only – right specifically affirmed as equal for women and men is the right to vote.
The National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) is hosting a special event and NWPC is proud to be involved in the celebration, recognizing the impact and efforts of our members for the past 40 years. On March 22nd, NWCO will hold a 40th Anniversary ERA Commemoration event attended by feminist leaders as well as bill lead sponsors Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) and Senator Robert Menendez (NJ). We are honored to have been asked to speak, and will be represented by VP, Education & Training Lisa Kaado, at this event and are excited to share about our work on the ERA Programs.
ERA Education Project creator Kamala Lopez will also be attending and documenting the event. NWPC is excited to work with and support her as she continues to garner strength for her work and Pubic Service Announcements. Please remember that our job is far from over and with yourfinancial support of this important program we can see the ERA become reality.
Although 40 years later we are still fighting to get the ERA passed, we believe the time has come for this amendment to make its way through Congress (again) and be ratified by the states.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of California will hold the 2012 Jeannette Rankin “Courage to Run” Awards & Reception on Saturday April 21 at the Skirball Center from 6:30-8:30 PM. The program honors progressive women that have shown extraordinary courage during their campaign for office. The event will include special guest Kamala Lopez, filmmaker & producer of ‘A Single Woman’ (Jeannette Rankin film) and several highly-esteemed elected officials!
On March 30th, 2012the Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus will co-sponsor the Women’s City Club National Speaker, Keri Kennedy at The Millennium Hotel at 7:30 pm. The topic of the discussion will be based on Human Rights and the Environment, a matter important to women in the Caucus and around the country.
On February 29th, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus held a Young Professionals Kickoff Mixer in Boston Massachusetts. The event allowed young people to network while offering them the chance to hear from MA State Representative Kate Hogan and MWPC Board Member and PAC Co-Chair Meredith Warren. Thanks for encouraging political engagement from young women in your state!
The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington held The Senator Maria Cantwell's Women of Valor Awards on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. Special guests include U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu, Patty Murray, & Jeanne Shaheen. What an excellent way to honor such fabulous women!