Good News for Reproductive Freedom!

(Recap from December)

Board of Health to amend TRAP!  ProChoiceAvatar

On December 4th, the Virginia Board of Health voted to move forward with amending the state’s targeted regulations on abortion providers (TRAP)!

This doesn’t repeal TRAP, but it gives us the opportunity to do so.

The 13-2 decision comes after years of fighting dangerous and medically-unnecessary restrictions. This crucial vote means we get another shot to ensure that abortion providers are not forced to comply with regulations that were specifically designed with the intention of being impossible to meet —  so that all but 4 of Virginia’s 18 abortion providing clinics would have to close.

These regulations have been designed to restrict, and even end women’s access to abortion and her right to choice.

We still have a long way to go but we now have the opportunity and are making lives better for women in Virginia!  This is because of you!

Happy New Year!
Paradise Kendra
Virginia NOW
Communications VP, Webmistress


Planned Parenthood and the Abortion Rights Coalition Need Your Stories

In an effort to highlight the potential impact of health center closures due to TRAP, we are actively recruiting patients and impacted women to share their stories with us. Thus far, we have collected stories around a first visit to get birth control, cancer screenings that led to early diagnosis, and choosing a women’s health provider because it was a trusted place to go.

Ultimately, we want to make sure our stories are representative of the women we serve across the Commonwealth and that we have enough to pull from for Board of Health meetings, reporters, and the General Assembly.

To do that, we ask you to contribute your story. Or, ask a friend to contribute hers. There are many reasons women and families access these health centers, and the Board of Health, the media, and our representatives need to know about the quality and trusted care that women in Virginia will be denied if the Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers are allowed to take their full effect.

Yes, reproductive justice and choice are at stake here, but so are all the dimensions of women’s health and quality of life.

At the link below you may write your story, state your levels of comfort concerning privacy and publication, and/or share a video of you telling your story.

We encourage you to share this post/email with your friends and colleagues who support choice, responsible family planning, healthy families and children, and access to reasonably priced health care. The Coalition is particularly interested in stories about sexual and reproductive health care.

Please, contribute and share.

For women,

Simone Roberts, Historian / ERA Coordinator / Web Editor

Virginia NOW

Katha Pollitt to Judge ACN’s Abortion Rights Poetry Contest – closes Jan. 5, 2015

Let’s get lots of high quality poems for Katha to admire and reward with lovely cash prizes and nation reknown! Share this everywhere!

Post-Modernity's Red-Headed Stepchild

Let’s get lots of high quality poems for Katha to admire and reward with lovely cash prizes and nation reknown! Share this everywhere!

Deadline: Midnight (EST), January 5, 2015

The Abortion Care Network (ACN), a national organization of independent abortion providers and prochoice supporters, and Split This Rock, a national organization that celebrates poetry that provokes social change, announce our Fourth Annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest, to be held in conjunction with ACN’s annual conference in March 2015.

We are pleased that our panel of judges this year will include Katha Pollitt, the reknown polemicist, poet and feminist.  She is currently touring the US to promote her new book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (2014), a defense of abortion as a social good.  She is also the author of numerous collections of essays and poetry, including The Mind-Body Problem (2009).

The experience of people who seek abortion and…

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From RvaNOW: #STAYWOKE, alliance with communities of color

A message from your RvaNOW Chapter President, Vicki Yeroian:
I wanted to skip the newsletter this month to talk briefly about something much larger at play. Many of us have been watching the news, following trends on social media, and hearing bits and pieces about the racial war our criminal justice and judicial systems are placing on some of us reading this, as well as our black neighbors, friends, brothers, sisters, cousins, colleagues, peers, etc. etc. Everyday I turn on the TV, I watch another person my age, or someone who hasn’t even lived to be 23, shot to death, choked to death, beaten to death by the very people we are supposed to call in times of trouble. And why? Because they don’t look like me. So I ask us all, who are people supposed to call when the police murder?
The answer is US. When our institutions fail, it is up to ourselves to develop a sense of community and alliance. We cannot sit by and allow our institutions to continue murdering communities because of racial bias. People are people; some people commit criminal acts, but people are always people first. Everyone deserves a fair trial; the disrespect black families receive fighting for justice has been downright disgusting in this nation.
So I ask you to #STAYWOKE. What does that mean?? That means staying informed and aware. Go out and support your local NAACP or Urban League actions. If you live in Richmond or in Central VA, there is a growing social media campaign you need to be following:
Black Lives Matter RVA
Black Action Now
Justice RVA
All three pages will help keep you up to date with local actions and ways to get involved. If you do not have a Facebook, the community group Active Rva will also be posting events on their community calendar: Active RVA Calendar. This movement is just beginning. Don’t let it stop:
  • Keep posting on social media, using hashtags like #STAYWOKE or #BLACKLIVESMATTER
  • Call your friends and colleagues out when a racial bias slips out of their mouth and help them understand why what they said is harmful
  • Attend local events listed on the pages above
  • Keep the dialogue going–ask your neighbors or co-workers if they are involved or would like to learn more about what’s going on.
Being a white ally, there are a couple of things I would also like to note for other white allies:
1) This movement is not about us. All communities will be better off without segregation, but as white people, we are not the ones in danger of death. We are not the ones who should be speaking; we are not the ones who should be leading. Respect the struggle you know nothing about and understand how your racial privilege can be a resource for those without it. You can do that by learning from and meeting new people at these demonstrations or actions. There have already been two workshops on how to effectively support direct action in Richmond, for example.
2)  We are the ones who speak the language of our institutions, and that’s because all societal institutions were, and still are, made for us. We are the ones who can provide invaluable support, whether it be by standing behind the movement’s leaders or by creating a pathway for our leaders to communicate and effectively change our laws, methods of enforcement, and norms.
3) Understand that our criminal justice, legislative, executive, and judicial systems are flawed. The origins of police in the United States stem from slave catching. The amendment that we claim ended slavery actually made slavery permanently legal, just through our prisons. Mandatory minimum sentences and the War on Drugs was how we put black and brown people in prison, in mass. Drug use is a medical issue, not a moral deficiency. We also deregulated the media, so that news stations could legally lie to us about it all, reframing the initiative as a crack down on crime. Our War on Poverty created ‘the projects.’ No Child Left Behind ensures lower income communities continue to have less resources for their schools. Again, white people wouldn’t really know all this because our news stations are legally allowed to tell us the only problem is that black people just kill other black people. . .
Families have been torn apart. Children are told they will fail before given the chance to learn what success is. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters lie dead in the street. Across the nation, people are taking a stand to stop the madness. Richmond NOW is stopping to take a stand, and I am asking that you do too. Is it worth it to stay stagnant and idle–knowing that if we do, we end up continuing oppression and murder? Is it worth it to stay tucked away in a suburban hideaway, knowing that outside your gated community, people are afraid to live their lives as they choose because of how they look? Is that the community you want for you, for our future generations? Our nation can’t breathe, and until it can, I know I will take a stand.
I hope you do too because advocacy means nothing if you are only advocating for yourself. Thank you for reading! The Newsletter will continue on its regular schedule in January–deadline for submission are Jan 3rd.
Love and Peace from,

The Feminist Crew of RvaNOW

#IbelieveJackie, #NTFstandswithJackie

We don’t love to emphasize the negative, but there is a simple fact:

Rape Culture Is Patriarchy
in a very simple and very damaging form. 

#IbelieveJackie  #NTFstandswithJackie.

Rolling Stone may not have done its due diligence, but Jackie is not a fault in that. The “confirmation” rape culture deniers and apologists feel in the wake of “doomsday” must be countered with loud and consistent affirmations that Jackie is to be believed and that rape culture exists, and that ending it is all about teaching boys and men not to harm women.

98% of rape allegation are true. 1/3 of rapes are reported. 
This must end.

Campus Sexual Assault has risen to the top of news coverage with the release of the Rolling Stone Article and the rebuttal by the University of Virginia fraternity named in the article that they had no party on the alleged night of the gang rape.  NTF in the message below encourages us to stand with and believe the traumatized rape survivor because we are all – or could be – “Jackie.” The Mother Jones Article below has wonderful graphics that we all should print and post them on our walls or wear them like billboards to remind us to never give up until the violence stops. *


 December 9, 2014
Please forward widely!

Join us in tweeting a message of support to “Jackie” and all victims of rape:
#IbelieveJackie  #NTFstandswithJackie.

1 in 5 women are survivors of campus sexual violence.  Someone in your life has been a victim of rape on a college campus. You may know who that is—or that person may have never told you, because they are afraid of being blamed for having done something to deserve the crime committed against them.

Research shows that the trauma of rape has an adverse effect on victims’ memories of sexual trauma. The research of Dr. Rebecca Campbell of Michigan State University shows that rape victims who survive trauma can often have difficulty consolidating the details of the experience and manifest discrepancies in their recounting of what happened to them. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence therefore does not take minor discrepancies in certain details of “Jackie’s” story as any reason to begin doubting that she experienced horrific sexual violence by a number of perpetrators.

 No victim of rape should be afraid to seek help or seek justice. The UVA story, as reported in Rolling Stone was shocking to many—but not to those who work with sexual assault survivors. Most victims of rape fear reporting the crime because they are afraid that no one will believe them. Too many victims of rape suffer debilitating PTSD and depression afterwards that makes them afraid to trust others with such a terribly personal, traumatically dehumanizing story. “Jackie” told her story to Rolling Stone and now, due to Rolling Stone’s poor journalistic judgment, she has been put on trial in the media, instead of her rapists being put on trial in a court of law.

Whatever mistakes Rolling Stone made in reporting the story of rape at UVA, “Jackie” should not have to pay the price. “Jackie” has already suffered the trauma of rape. Her suitemate at the time of the incident wrote a public letter saying “Jackie’s” story is not a hoax:

Tweet your support for “Jackie” and all victims of rape!
Join us in tweeting a message of support to “Jackie” and all victims of  rape:

 #IbelieveJackie  #NTFstandswithJackie

*Thanks to Pat Reuss and Marj Signer for getting this to the Communications Team.

Abortion Fund Emergency: Tidewater — Update!!

Virginia’s only abortion fund, Blue Ridge Abortion Assistance Fund, never has enough money to help all the women who contact them.

300 calls have come to BRAAF in the last couple months thanks to referrals from the ever-caring Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic.

That’s just Tidewater, and not the whole state of Virginia. 300.

So, BRAAF needs your donations right now.

Donate to BRAAF here, or through Fund Abortion Now to give to other funds.

The women of Virginia need you, and we need you now.


From Kobby Hoffman:

BRAAF is not ONLY ONE as there is another Virginia fund we work with: Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project (RRFP) which gives funds out 1st and 15th of month until run out in a day or two.

Also there is the DC Fund who helps too some times. Both will not fund any one before 9 weeks. Some will not pay for ultrasounds but we do both. Also if doctor is a member then we get help from Nat Ab Federation (NAF). Some times NNAF – Nat Network of Ab Funds Tiller Fund has funds and helps too.   Also the clinics discount their fees at times and Planned Parenthood  has women in need fund that will put in 75-150 or so based on need.

We patchwork and coordinate with whoever we can! We are the most flexible. We just want to make things possible for the woman calling.

Together all these funds do what they can and we are stronger and can deal with expensive situations.
Wanted you to know this. We do definitely need the resources as we are running 3 or 4 times more calls so to keep this up is a challenge of raising more funds. THANK YOU for your help.
May we be able to keep up this pace! Critical is keep these women’s freedom to do what they want.
From Jan at BRAAF:
Also, there are 3 Tidewater clinics in the Southeast area that BRAAF is getting referrals from. In addition to Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic, we are hearing from women going to the Peninsula Medical Center for Women and Planned Parenthood of SE Virginia. Many people think that Planned Parenthood has a generous program for helping low income women. Unfortunately, it does not cover all the costs of an ultrasound and abortion and many women who need funds do not meet the financial requirement to get the additional discounts. We send a lot of pledges to all the Planned Parenthood Clinics around the state!
Please Donate!

Workshop on Roles for White Allies — Saturday from 11-1

This Saturday, DOE Policy Advisor, educator, and Split This Rock Board Member Charles Doolittle offers a workshop and action planning session for white allies concerned about state violence, especially in communities of color. Please join if you can. Below, his invitation to the event.
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

My name is Charles Doolittle and I am currently working as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. Before my current role, I taught in Milwaukee Public Schools and then in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, exclusively and humbly in under-served communities.

My difficult decision to leave the classroom was driven by a number of things, one of which was the murder of Trayvon Martin. The middle school I taught at was a feeder into Trayvon’s high school. This hit close to home for my students and me, literally. The devastating effects on my kids led me to pursue a position where hopefully I could contribute to change on a more systemic level.

Before that tragedy and since then, like many of you, I have witnessed the institutionalized racism that continues to oppress our students, colleagues, friends, loved ones, and fellow human beings. The most recent manifestation of this injustice has taken place in my home-state of Missouri. The grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson this past week was simultaneously deeply saddening, illogical (really, I hope everyone takes the time to read and analyze the transcript ) and yet frankly unsurprising.

I have to remind myself that this is not about Trayvon or Michael, at least not solely. Every 28 hours a person of color is killed by a police officer, security guard, or self-appointed vigilante in the United States. Further, while police brutality and death is undeniably horrendous, overt and covert racism manifest in a plethora of ways that continue to denigrate individuals and communities of color. If we as a nation are to truly rebuild this broken system, it will take sustained dialogue and action.

White allies have a unique role to play and yet often times white people remain silent, or engage in an ineffective or inappropriate manner. Please join me Saturday, December 6th, from 11:00-1:00 at Teach For America’s 7th floor office located at 1805 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 (RSVP). This space will be used for a convening of white allies to discuss our role in addressing the systemic racism and injustice that repeatedly leads to the oppression of minority groups and individuals. This will be the first of ongoing, frequent meetings towards action.

While this action-oriented discussion will include reaction to the decision of the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, it is primarily about initiating sustained dialogue and tangible steps to contribute to the rebuilding of our broken system. Also, this is part of an effort to create and develop a larger organization; more on that to come.

During the conversation we’ll discuss:

  1. What is an ally?
  2. What is the role of white allies in the fight to correct systemic racism and injustice?
  3. How can we begin to organize and take action?


11:00-11:30……..Meet and Greet

11:30-12:30……..Program and Discussion

12:30-1:00……….Action Plan

To be clear, this event will be led by an alumnus but is NOT exclusive to Teach For America alumni or corps members. Please feel encouraged to forward this message and/or bring other white allies along.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP by Friday, December 5th at 5 PM.

Mothers March to Demilitarize Police

Hosted by Mothers Against Police Brutality, CODEPINK, National Congress of Black Women and Hands Up DC Coalition, mothers who have lost their children to police brutality will travel to Washington DC from December 9-11 to call for police accountability, policy reform and justice for victims’ families.

Complete information: at this link.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Strategy meeting from 4:00-6:00pm
This is not a public meeting, just for organizations working on issues related to police brutality. for location details if you would like to attend as a representative of your organization.
Public forum with the mothers at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 7:30-9pm
More information and RSVP on the webpage for the event!

Wednesday, December 10
Congressional briefing from 9:30am-12:30pm: In House Building Rayburn 2226 co-sponsored by Representative Conyers, Ellison, Johnson, Jackson Lee, and Rangel. Open to press and Congressional staffers only.
Congressional meetings: 1-4
Public vigil at Department of Justice: RSVP and invite your friends here!

Thursday, December 11
Meetings and media interviews.

4th Annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest: Due 5 January 2015

The Abortion Care Network (ACN), a national organization of independent abortion providers and prochoice supporters, and Split This Rock, a national organization that celebrates poetry that provokes social change, announce our Fourth Annual Abortion Rights Poetry Contest, to be held in conjunction with ACN’s annual conference in March 2015.

We are pleased that our panel of judges this year will include Katha Pollitt, the reknown polemicist, poet and feminist.  She is currently touring the US to promote her new book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights (2014), a defense of abortion as a social good.  She is also the author of numerous collections of essays and poetry, including The Mind-Body Problem (2009).

The experience of people who seek abortion and other reproductive services is as varied as the individuals involved. For some, there is safety, relief, and good medical care. For others, there is doubt, harassment, and stigma. For all, health care takes place in a politicized context in which even the most basic choices about our bodies, sexuality, and childbearing can be scrutinized. Reproductive rights are also linked to a whole host of other social issues, such as economic status and the accessibility of safe, affordable health care.

ACN and Split This Rock welcome the submission of poems on these themes. We will award the following prizes: First ($100), Second ($75) and Third Place ($50), and Honorable Mention.

The first-place winner will be invited to read the winning poem at ACN’s annual meeting. The prize-winning poems will be transformed into handcrafted artistic booklets distributed to all meeting attendees and will be published in the ACN’s quarterly newsletter, The Provider.  Poems will also be placed onto the Split This Rock website at <>.  Poets from any part of the U.S. may submit poems, but we regret that no travel funds will be provided so that the winning poet may read at the meeting.

To submit, visit Split This Rock.

Hashtags, State Violence

To listen, to learn: ‪#‎FergusonDC‬, ‪#‎DCFerguson‬ ‪#‎WeCantBreathe‬,‪#‎CrimingWhileWhite‬, ‪#‎BlackWomenMatter‬, ‪#‎Blackmotherhood‬,‪#‎BlackKidsMatter‬, ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, ‪#‎butdothey‬, ‪#‎Ferguson‬,‪#‎FergusonNext‬, , ‪#‎shutitdown‬, ‪#‎solidaritywithferguson‬,‪#‎JusticeforMikeBrown‬ ,‪#‎JusticeforEricGardner‬, ‪#‎DC‬, ‪#‎every28hours‬,‪#‎policebrutality‬, ‪#‎blackpoetsspeakout‬, ‪#‎ThisIsAmerica‬,‪#‎CheckYourPrivilege‬, ‪#‎blacktwitter‬

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