Sunday, February 15, 2004

The White House Project

February 2004

In this issue:
The White House Project and V-Day premiere their new campaigns
President's Day Newsflash
Marie C. Wilson to release her new bookon the leadership gap
HBO's Iron-Jawed Angels
The White House Project in the News - O Magazine and Glamour
Support the White House Project

Marlo Thomas, Jane Rosenthal, Whoopi Goldberg, Nora Ephron and Tina Brown Co-host Campaign Premiere

Susan Sarandon, Tina Brown, Marlo Thomas and Marie C. Wilson

Marie C. Wilson and Rha Goddess

Loreen Arbus and Pamela-Thomas Graham

Davia Temin, Mary McCormick and Wini Freund
The White House Project and V-Day premiered their campaigns to get women to the polls and onto the path of political leadership on February 9th at the home of Marlo Thomas.

Generously co-hosted by the award-winning actress and activist, Ms. Thomas, a founding mother of the Ms. Foundation for Women, introduced the event by talking about the critical importance of women's political participation.

Marie C. Wilson, president of The White House Project, followed by telling the crowd of almost 90 high-level media and guests about Vote, Run, Lead, The White House Project's new initiative to make women a force in the 2004 election and beyond.

"Through our campaign, we will train 1,000 young women this year for political leadership and engage over 25,000 new women activists across the country," said Wilson.

The nationwide campaign will center on leadership trainings, public service announcements, get-out-the-vote efforts, grassroots meetings, a sweeping internet campaign and events in over a dozen states.

V-Day's V is for Vote taps into the power of young women across the country on and off college campuses through innovative and creative action. Eve Ensler, award-winning playwright and V-Day founder, talked about the power of women's votes and women's voices. Spoken word artist Rha Goddess performed a short piece from her new monologue "I Got Issues."

Both organizations collaborated in the development of their campaigns and will build off of the inspiration and actions of each other.

Additional White House Project Vote, Run, Lead partners (lists in formation) include: Youth Vote, Rock the Vote, Declare Yourself, Lifetime TV, and Starbucks. Advisory Board Members so far include: Geraldine Ferraro, singer Melissa Etheridge, comedienne Kathy Najimy, super model Amber Valletta, and soccer star Julie Foudy.

Almost 40,000 girls have earned theMs. President Girl Scout patch, which was created in collaboration with The White House Project. Activities girls can do to earn the patch include: interviewing someone they admire as a leader, writing an essay about what leadership means to them, designing their own campaign and campaign announcement, identifying community issues they believe are important.

In her provocative new book, Marie C. Wilson argues that since women have had to learn to lead without the authority typically conferred on men, women are even more prepared to lead with the qualities that our country and companies urgently need.

"Leading without authority has forced women to think outside of the box, to build consensus, and to bring people together across communities," said Wilson.

She contends that now more than ever we must make changes to strengthen our democracy so that women have the authority and voice to help run the world. Go to read the latest newsletter and to order the book to be released March 8th by Viking/Penguin


On HBO on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. you can see the amazing story of Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and other brave women who pushed for a constitutional amendment in the early 1900's so that women can vote. Yet, in the 2000 election, according to the census bureau, more than 15 million young women between 18 and 34 year olds did not exercise this hard-won right and stayed home from the polls. When you see the story of how women sacrificed so that we could have a say about who gets into public office, you will never miss another chance to draw the curtain and pull the lever.

The film, which was premiered to women's groups, vividly shows how Paul, Burns and other women laid their lives on the line for our right. They were attacked by mobs and imprisoned under trumped-up charges for picketing and protesting. During her prison term, Paul is forced into solitary confinement for breaking a prison window for air, put in a strait-jacket and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Diagnosed as mentally stable, she is allowed back into the general prison population where she leads the suffragettes on a hunger strike. In a gut-wrenching moment in the fight for women's rights, the women are force-fed under orders from the warden. An earnest prison guard secretly furnishes Paul with pen and paper where she details their mistreatment. When word of their awful conditions become known, they are dubbed"iron-jawed angels" and public support turns in their favor.

Tune in and learn more about the incredible work and sacrifice of our foremothers.

Click here to register to vote

White House Project in the News
The March issues of O Magazine and Glamour feature Closing the Leadership Gap and The White House Project's initiatives to move more women into leadership positions.

Click here to read the O Magazine article

Help us Hurry History - Click here to make a donation to The White House Project

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Choice News Weekly

Choice News Weekly - A review of the week’s news on reproductive freedom, brought to you by NARAL Pro-Choice America Week of 02/09/04

The anti-choice movement, sensing the likelihood that George Bush would shift the Supreme Court further to the right in a potential second term, is pressing forward across the country with a return to their basic strategy – trying to overturn Roe v Wade entirely. In Michigan, they’re pressing the stealthily near-total abortion ban we discussed last week. In South Dakota, the state House has passed an outright criminal ban on all abortions. And the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – its membership bolstered by President Bush’s recess appointment of Charles Pickering (see how these things all tie together) – has agreed to hear a direct challenge to Roe that even a George W. Bush appointee rejected out of hand.

As if that weren’t enough, we’ve also got John Ashcroft’s Justice Department attempting to subpoena a host of private medical records as part of his efforts to lift injunctions against President Bush’s federal bill criminalizing abortion procedures. It’s hard to think of a clearer example of what it means to lose the right to privacy than the Attorney General prying through your medical records.

And speaking of ‘medical’ - the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may soon succumb to political pressure from the White House by disregarding medical science and the overwhelming recommendation of its own expert committees in a virtually unprecedented move concerning the emergency contraceptive Plan B®.

Fortunately, this anti-choice onslaught is beginning to produce a backlash, as a string of pro-choice governors signed up to lead NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Choice 2004 Fund campaign, and momentum continues building for the April 25, 2004 March for Women’s Lives.

South Dakota House Approves Quest to Define Beginning of Life and Ban all Abortion
As Choice News Weekly reported two weeks ago, South Dakota state Rep. Matt McCaulley introduced legislation to define when life begins, and to outlaw all abortions in South Dakota, making it a class five felony for any doctor to perform an abortion. The bill does not include an exception for the woman’s health, contains a dangerously vague exception for the woman’s life, no exception for rape or incest – and has just passed its first hurdle, the state House. Did we mention that this bill actually puts forth a definition of when life begins – the text of the legislation explicitly says that “it is within the proper sphere of state legislative enactment to determine [the question of the beginning of life] in light of the best scientific and medical evidence.” Within the sphere of state legislative enactment to determine when life begins? We would love to get our hands on the South Dakota legislators’ job descriptions. Read more from the Associated Press.

Judge Halts Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Attempt to Invade America’s Privacy
What part of ‘private’ doesn’t the government understand? A U.S. District Judge helped to explain the meaning to Attorney General John Ashcroft by blocking his attempt to access private medical records of over 40 patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The patients are those of Dr. Cassing Hammond, one of the plaintiffs in the New York lawsuit challenging the so-called “Partial-Birth” Abortion Ban Act. Ashcroft is seeking the records to help build his case in defending the (unconstitutional) abortion procedures ban.

Illinois medical-privacy laws prohibit the release of patients’ medical records – and just because the U.S. Attorney General wants them, doesn’t mean he can have them. U.S. Chief District Judge Charles P. Kocoras noted that the patients are not involved in the lawsuit and therefore their records are protected.

Ashcroft’s intrusive search to obtain private medical records extends beyond Illinois to University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Colombia Presbyterian Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an unidentified San Francisco area hospital.

Unfortunately, a federal judge in New York has disagreed, and is allowing Ashcroft’s fishing expedition to proceed.

Basically, John Ashcroft is attempting to defend a law that would unfairly intrude on a woman’s right to privacy, with tactics that are further invading women’s privacy. Read more from the Daily Southtown,, The New York Times and The Washington Post and on the NARAL Pro-Choice America web site.

White House Intrudes Into FDA Emergency Contraception Over-the-Counter Application Process
With the overwhelming recommendation of two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committees that the FDA approve the over-the-counter application of the emergency contraceptive Plan B® - the FDA’s decision should be an easy one. But, there’s no accounting for what a little political pressure from the White House can do. It would be virtually unprecedented and outrageous for the FDA to jeopardize its scientific credibility and succumb to George Bush’s ideological pressure by denying the application – yet the FDA may do just that. If the FDA bows to political pressure on this issue, it will curtail access to one of the most effective ways of preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion. We’ll find out soon enough as the FDA must rule by Friday February 20th.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request demanding to know what contacts have occurred between the White House and FDA on this issue. Kate Michelman, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America said “the American people deserve a full accounting of the way in which President Bush’s political operatives have been working to influence this important medical decision.” Read more in The Washington Post and on the NARAL Pro-Choice America website.

Michigan Governor Vetoes Attempt to Further Restrict Minors’ Privacy Rights
Last week we reported how Governor Jennifer Granholm used her veto power to protect MI women from a near-total ban on abortion, only to have her hands tied on the matter as anti-choice activists commenced an obscure initiative process bringing this dangerous law to the brink of passage.

But Gov. Granholm has not been deterred from protecting a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and choice. This week she vetoed another harmful piece of anti-choice legislation that would have tightened already intrusive regulations on a young woman seeking an abortion. One of the main tenets of this bill is the requirement that a minor adequately demonstrate her maturity – however, the guidelines for doing so are so extreme that the required level of maturity likely wouldn't be possible for any minor.

Is there no end to the maddening levels to which the anti-choicers will sink in an attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of women in this country? And in Michigan – good old mainstream America – of all places. The Associated Press has more.

Outright Attempt to Reverse Roe v. Wade Progresses
The fact that Norma McCorvey, better known as Roe, has changed her tune to become an outspoken opponent of a woman’s right to choose is old news. What’s new, however, is that 31 years after Roe v. Wade she has finally succeeded in getting her day in court - well, another day in court. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to hear oral arguments in McCorvey’s attempt to re-open Roe v. Wade. She wants to open the case in an effort to overturn the Supreme Court decision. The court date is set for early March.

This is shocking when you consider the factors surrounding this appeal. The Texas Justice Foundation, which filed the initial lawsuit on McCorvey’s behalf, is an anti-choice group whose main function is to provide legal services to the anti-choice community. The federal judge in Dallas that first heard their suit rightfully rejected it, perhaps seeing it as the political maneuver and media ploy that it is. Incidentally – the Dallas judge was appointed by George W. Bush and does not appear to be a choice supporter – simply a judge who was able to see past the political rhetoric in this case. But the plot thickens – as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which generally hears oral arguments in less than ten percent of the cases filed, has agreed to hear arguments in this strange attempt to re-open a well-settled. With ultra-conservative judges like Charles Pickering sitting on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, this case could progress and ultimately finds its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, again.

It’s a pretty scary thought and a solid reminder of the importance of the ongoing judicial nominations battle.

Pro-choice Governors Lead “Choice Fund 2004” for NARAL Pro-Choice America
This week, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Kate Michelman, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America, proudly announced the beginning of a new fundraising initiative – bringing together the nation’s leading advocate for personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose and the nation’s leading pro-choice governors. Together, Governors Richardson, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and Gary Locke of Washington are kicking off an aggressive nationwide drive to raise $25 million to support NARAL Pro-Choice America’s work to protect the right to choose at every level.

Michelman said “Spearheading our Choice 2004 Fund, these great governors will extend their pro-choice leadership beyond their states’ borders to make sure that across the country we have the resources to stand up against our well-funded, increasingly aggressive opposition.” More Governors are expected to join the effort. Read more on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s website, from the Associated Press and in The New York Times

Friday, February 13, 2004

Feminist News Digest

The Weekly Feminist News Digest is a service of the Feminist Majority,
made possible through the support of individuals like you. Your
contribution is vital to the continued success of our empowering work.
Donate or Join Today!

Top Feminist News - 2/6/2004 - 2/13/2004

Feb 13 2004
Ashcroft Subpoenas Medical Records of Women Who Had Abortions
The Department of Justice has issued a series of subpoenas to hospitals in
several major cities demanding the medical records of women who have
undergone certain abortion procedures...

Feb 12 2004
National Center for Women and Policing Honors Chief Chambers
The Feminist Majority Foundation's National Center for Women and Policing
announced yesterday that it will honor US Park Police Chief Teresa
Chambers with its Lifetime Achievement Award...

Feb 9 2004
Iraqi Women's Rights Activist Threatened
An Iraqi women's rights activist from Canada, Yanar Mohamed, received a
death threat for campaigning for the repeal of the US-backed Iraqi
Governing Council's Resolution 137...

Other Feminist News This Week

Feb 13 2004 - Maloney Introduces Bill for $34 Million to UNFPA to Fight

Feb 13 2004 - Boxer Raises Concerns About Iraqi Women's Rights

Feb 11 2004 - Rumsfeld Orders Investigation into Sexual Assaults on Female

Feb 11 2004 - Over 1300 Priests Accused of Sex Abuse Since 1950s

Feb 11 2004 - Nigeria: Women Receive Death Penalty for Abortion, Sexual

Feb 9 2004 - Women Apply to Air Force Academy in Record Numbers

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Hmmmmm they're talking about me

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