TUESDAY, March 25, RALLY for WOMEN’S FREEDOM to ACCESS BIRTH CONTROL

… and Keep Your Boss Out of Your Pants!!! … and your private life. … and your faith. … and live by your own moral compass. Because, you, you are a complete human being.
* * * * *

Join NOW and our allies on Tuesday March 25th in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the Court hears challenges to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act. Women fought hard for this benefit – and the two cases before the Court will determine if for-profit employers have the right to deny their employees access to no-copay birth control. Join us to demonstrate support for birth control as basic health care.

These two cases could have far-reaching consequences for millions of American women and our health care. The two companies involved, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, are attempting to claim that the religious beliefs of their owners allows them to refuse to cover birth control. They are trying to use religion to discriminate against women!

Read Terry O’Neill’s piece in the Huffington Post on the arguments presented by Hobby Lobby’s attorney.

The natural extension of this thinking is to expand rules like “conscience” clauses that already make access to some health care an inconsistent and emotionally difficult process.

We’ll gather in front of the Court starting at 8 am. There will be a people’s mic and rally from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and the rally will continue until 11:30 am.

If you can’t attend the rally make sure to sign our banner so your voice is heard!

This rally is really important because these cases would give bosses the right to deny their employees birth control coverage. A large coalition of groups is demonstrating what a majority of Americans believe – that birth control decisions are ours to make, not bosses. We will join groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Religious Institute, Catholics for Choice, Methodists Federation for Social Action, National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Coalition for Reproducitve Choice, a number of LGBTQIA groups*.

These cases are based on the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which a was used as the attempt in Arizona to allow business owners to refuse to serve people on the basis of a “substantial burden” to religious freedom/practice. Because, you know, being around LGBTQIA people, or women using The Pill, or being around folk of other faiths — this is a stain on the soul.

For more information, please contact Marj Signer at legislativevp@vanow.org.  See you Tuesday morning!!!

Spread the Word! Tell Your Friends:
Bosses shouldn’t be able to take away their employees’ birth-control coverage! Join the rally on March 25 at the U.S. Supreme Court to make sure our voices are heard.   

It’s offensive that some bosses think they should be able to impose their views against birth control– or any medication or medical proceedure –on their employees. Speak out against these over-reaching bosses — join the rally in DC on March 25.

Getting There – Be sure to leave plenty of time for rush hour traffic and Metro crowds.
The address if the U.S. Supreme Court is 1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543

The closest Metro (subway) stops are:
> Capitol South (Orange & Blue Lines, 0.3 miles)
> Union Station (Red Line, 0.5 miles).
Additional information on riding the Metro is available at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

By Train
> Amtrak, VRE, and MARC trains service Union Station, which is located approximately 0.5 miles from the Court — and has direct connections to the Metro.

By Car
> Street parking is extremely limited near the Supreme Court and virtually non-existent before 9 or 9:30 am. The closest public parking garage is located at Union Station.

*Apologies to our allies!! I (Simone) had to post this pretty quick, and research was not turning up the names of your organizations w/o a great deal of drilling. Next time, I hope I to have a wider window in my own schedule for the research!!

One Woman Begins Her Walk Across the USA for the ERA!!

VA NOW members, friends, allies, I have a good friend who lost everything. And there is nothing like a woman with nothing left to lose! Helene made one pilgrimage to India to prepare herself, and now she’s making another. In the name of her mother-in-law Katrina — the first female Episcopal priest, herself, and all women of all kinds in the US, she is walking across the US in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Helene will pass through all 15 of the states that failed to ratify this simple affirmation of justice and freedom.

>> EQUALITY OF RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX.
>> THE CONGRESS SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO ENFORCE, BY APPRORPRIATE LEGISLATION, THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE.
>> THIS AMENDMENT SHALL TAKE EFFECT TWO YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF RATIFICATION.
__ THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, full text

She has been training for sometime, and now she’s on her way. Helene will arive in Washington DC on International Women’s Day, March 8 of 2015, if all goes to plan. You can join that event on Facebook and be in DC to greet her in front of the White House — the traditional scene of protests and vigils for women’s rights for the last many, oh so many years. Alice Paul and the Suffragists, the Foremothers of the 2nd Wave, and soon Helene de Boissiere-Swanson and hosts of lovers of liberty.

For information on meeting her and making some noise, join this event: ERA March 8 2015 at the White House.

One reason for such a dramatic effort is that states like our Commonwealth have all manner of procedures (and therefore available strategies to kill proposed bills) designed to ensure lots of public debate on amendments: (click). So, legislators disinclined to recognize women’s civil equality use them to great effect. Like, denying us our civil equality. In fact, in 5 states conservative legislatures have attempted to *rescind their previous ratification* of the Equal Right Amendment (click).  As you might intuit, this delay to 2015 puts the ERA smack against its federal (and completely arbitrary, and nearly unique) ratification deadline. After which, welcome to another generation of fighting the same old battles all over again, and for the ERA by starting all the way over again — as in 1919 — with a federal Congress not much enamored of expanding or securing civil liberties.

Move On is supporting Helene’s petition to Congress. You can find that here: (click).

NOTE: It is often *much* more effective to write your own letter to your representatives in your state or in Congress. Most savvy politicians count mass emails and petitions as one (1) letter, but count a personal letter/eamil/call as many hundreds. See the websites linked below for facts to use in your letters, and contact guides for VA’s General Assembly and the federal Congress.

Two Facebook Events pages will chronicle Helene’s sojourn across the United States: Katrina’s Dream and Internaltional Women’s Day San Francisco.

Code Pink and Occupy Women, and a number of other women’s and Equal Rights Amendment organizations are also involved. March 8 next year is shaping up to be quite the party.

To write your letters to officials, and to inform any friends who don’t understand the Equal Rights Amendment and its implications for women and men, you may use these sites: EqualRightsAmendment.Org, and our own political action pages at VANOW.ORG/Ratify (about the ERA) and VANOW.ORG/Represent (where you can find contact guides for legislators).

With any luck, we will also be posting our first around of interviews for the Virginia Foremothers Project at VANOW.ORG/History. We recently had the honor to record a group of these activists recalling their public actions and their strategies for supporting them, and the incredible bonds of solidarity and friendship they formed in their work for women in many, many areas of public and private life. There is much editing and annotation under way! Expect updates as we archive this history in order to support exactly the kind of present efforts like Helene’s in the name of the future equality and liberty of all women and men, in the US and everywhere!

In the name of justice and liberty for all women, thrive and flourish!
Dr. Simone Roberts
Web Editor / Historian VA NOW
webeditor@vanow.org

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