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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Womyn
Day Of Action For Reproductive Justice
Hear part of a speech from an anti-choice activist at the Walk For Life rally. While the audio is hard to hear, it is important to hear this new twist on "reasoning" for outlawing abortion. The women talks of her experience "infiltrating" a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, describing practices that if accurate at all, might better suggest the need for Single Payer health care reform, not outlawing abortion. (7 minutes)
The following is from civilrightsfoundation.org. An organizing drive is on for a November statewide ballot initiative again trying to reclassify an unborn fetus as a "person", thus paving the way to outlaw abortion as murder. Similar drives are going on in other states in a nationwide movement. This legality was slipped into in a past defeated "Parental Notification" intiative at the state level. The anti-abortion movement plans to keep going and going with these legislative activities, in the name of God, until they are successful. Signatures need to be submitted by April to get it on the ballot. More can be found by looking up the organization "Personhood USA".
The California Human Rights Amendment
The California Human Rights Amendment What is the California Human Rights Amendment? (CHRA) The CHRA is an initiative that will amend the California Constitution and define personhood commencing at the biological beginning of a human organism. http://www.CaliforniaHumanRightsAmendment.com Who would be protected under the California Human Rights Amendment? All human beings would be protected from their biological beginnings as human organisms until death, which includes babies in the woman's body, embryos in laboratories and clinics (regardless of their method of reproduction), older children, adults, the disabled, the dying, and those dependent on feeding tubes and other medical support, etc. In other words, ALL human beings are due equal protection under the law. Language of the California Human Rights Amendment Section 2 Article 1 Section 7(c) is added to the California Constitution to read: "The term ‘person’ applies to all living human organisms from the beginning of their biological development, regardless of the means by which they were procreated, method of reproduction, age, race, sex, gender, physical well-being, function, or condition of physical or mental dependency and/or disability”. Why do we need this amendment?
1. The right to life is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person.
2. Modern medical science clearly and overwhelmingly supports “personhood”, the fact that the life of every human being begins at the beginning of his/her biological development as a human organism.
3. Personhood removes the politically charged rhetoric of the “life” debate and replaces it with the commonsense scientific principle that life begins at each human being's development as a human organism.
4. Personhood is unlike all other legislation in that it guarantees the right to life of ALL people from the moment of procreation until death.
5. ALL human beings deserve to be protected by love and by law. Personhood is Human Rights.
What can you do? The Attorney General has provided “Title and Summary” for the CHRA. We have until mid April 2010 to collect 1.2 million petition signatures in order to qualify for the November 2010 election. ....PLEASE BEGIN NOW....
Plan to collect at least 20 petition signatures from California registered voters (see petition order information below).
Educate your family, friends and email base about this important initiative.
Encourage your family and friends to collect signatures also – outside busy stores, at work, in high traffic areas.
Motivate your church/club/organization to participate by educating members, plus collecting signatures at Service/meetings. Every effort, no matter how small, is vital to the success of this LIFE SAVING campaign.
To order petitions call 800.836.4937 and leave a message for the Petition Manager
To order petitions via email please write to: petitions [at] californiahumanrightsamendment.com
To download petitions visit: http://www.californiahumanrightsamendment.com or http://www.civilrightsfoundation.org
Hear Zack, AKA Revolt, with a powerful two song rap performance from the reproductive rights rally stage. One song tells the eloquent story of the difficulties of poverty and child birth. The performance was skilled and uplifting. (7 minutes)
Hear 12 minutes of audio from the pro-choice march up the Embarcadero. Activists broke out into song and dance to the music of Brass Liberation Orchestra, while on the sidewalk facing off with the thousands of marching anti-choice activists, most of who appeared not happy at the sights and sounds. Rubble reads some of the vile rhetoric these church-based activists carried on their signs to expose some of the true nature of their approach (11 minutes)
Hear Karen Schmidt of Los Angeles Radical Women - first interviewed by Rubble, then in a powerful speech from the stage at the event. Karen is a union member, LGBT and feminist organizer. Radical Women is a socialist-feminist organization. Bay Area Radical Women members have been strong organizers for this event for the past 6 years, several LA activists drove up for the event. LA Radical Women is active in LGBT and immigrant issues. Karen gets to the root of the problem with reproductive and other women's rights - capitalism. (13 minutes)
Hear numerous women speaking from the stage at the rally and march against the right wing "Walk For Life - West Coast. Topics included not only abortion rights, but for Single Payer Health Care and against other political problems in this country that make women's and human rights difficult to achieve and maintain. (32 minutes)
BACORR activists met the right-wing “Walk For Life - West Coast” at the Embarcadero Plaza on Saturday, January 23rd for a counter protest and rally on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Speakers elaborated on the need for full reproductive rights, in that abortion needs to be safe, affordable, and accessible.
The mainstream media accounts that I read give much more space to the anti-abortion forces, and generally provide superficial information, framing the issue as ideological differences as opposed to healthcare needs and human rights. Pro-choice activists continue to highlight the complexity of the abortion issue, and the tragic consequences for many women when they do not have access. While the right-wing gets press for its view that abortion is murder and that they are fighting for “life”, pro-choice activists highlight the consequences, including how many women die worldwide without appropriate access.
Lincy Comy of the Feminist Women’s Health Center reported that 70,000 women die annually worldwide from abortion complications while 220,000 children are left motherless. Poverty and the lack of resources necessary for many women and society collectively to provide for children should be obvious. She explains that Oakland has lost two abortion clinics in the past year. The Feminist Women’s Health Center, which helped underserved groups of women such as LGBT and immigrants, was one of the first health clinics to close due to state health and human services budget cuts. Planned Parenthood Oakland stopped providing abortions during the past year.
Activists spoke articulately about other political problems facing women and society which contribute to the overall climate in which abortion access continues to backslide. Bea Johnson, a disability rights activist and World Can’t wait member, spoke from her wheelchair in no uncertain terms about the horrific public policy agenda during the first year of the Obama Administration.
Other powerful speakers included Deidre Wilson, Program Coordinator of the California Coalition of Women’s Prisoners; Leslie Mullen of the Haiti Action Committee; Marit Knudsen and Anita O’Shea, tireless event organizers and members of BACORR and Radical Women; and Alison from Berkeley National Organization of Women (my apologies for any misspellings, since I translated names from the audio).
While the corporate press speculated trivially about what “numbers” each side might have, the effect was obvious for everyone there. The anti-abortion forces had way, way too many people. Actually seeing so many thousands and thousands of people lining up and marching for this anti-choice message, in an agenda which includes pro-war; anti-gay Proposition 8 backers; anti-immigrant with Minutemen activity at the Mexican border; and probably (I‘m not completely sure) “tea-party” types obstructing any real health care reform such as Single Payer and public options and whatever else is really upsetting. Listening to some the church based speakers, I heard confusing, senseless conclusions based on dubious facts, and it is alarming to see so many people going along with this in the name of religion, with such a seeming lack of critical reasoning involved.
It seemed to me that the “Walk” had more people than last year. The pro-choice activists had decentralized actions along the march route, such as a queer kiss in and a celebratory dance party on the sidewalk to the brass and rhythms of the Brass Liberation Orchestra. At one point, pro-choice activists blocked the anti-choice marchers’ route by unfurling a large banner across the street reading “Religious Bigots Unwelcome In San Francisco”.
Hopefully the 200 estimated by the Oakland Tribune is understated, but the disparity in numbers to me is alarming. Several “Walk” activists were arrested for violently attacking a pro-choice activist carrying a sign they objected to, blowing their “cover” as the real peaceful civil rights activists in the name of Martin Luther King. Otherwise the events were orderly and non-violent.
BACORR activists believe that many mainstream pro-choice citizens may not realize the totality of the continued threats to abortion. Providers such as Planned Parenthood stay away and urge their members to do the same. Planned Parenthood apathy probably stems in part from structural disincentives such as fear of offending Democratic politicians they rely on for a what little funding and backing they get and the legalistic realities of NGO status.
BACORR will be continuing to explore ways to expand their reach and be more effective. I think the event was a success from the point of standing up for what is right and what is needed.