Get Your Activism On: The Violence Against Women Act

The Senate has passed the updated version of VAWA, that will expand its protections to the LGBT community and undocumented immigrants. Now it goes to the House.

Here’s a message to send to your representative, urging them to pass VAWA. Get your activism on!

Doctors Against Anti-Abortion Laws: the Beginning of a Movement?

Last week, in the midst of a heartbreaking story about a woman who fell victim to Texas’ mandatory ultrasound law, we heard about the unwilling doctor forced to do the procedure:

“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.”

“When you come back in 24 hours, the legal side is over. Then we’ll care for you and give you the information you need in the way we think is right.”

Then on Saturday, PalmD at WhiteCoatUnderground posted this:

“Doctors are notoriously poor organizers.  We generally operate independently.  The AMA represents less than thirty percent of American doctors.  When it comes to protecting ourselves and our patients, we are often on our own.  When it comes to the latest abortion bills we cannot afford to remain apart.  We must all speak out against this violation of our ethics and our patients’ rights.  How this might work isn’t clear, but perhaps we need target certain states, one at a time.  When one provider is shut down for honoring their patients’ rights, another must be willing to step up, and another.  There is a nationwide shortage of abortion providers so this probably isn’t realistic, but even so, we must try, we must advocate for our patients, we must defend them from the depravities of those who would violate their basic right to ethical, respectful care.”

Finally, yesterday, Anonymous Doctor at John Scalzi’s blog called for doctors across the country to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to perform mandatory ultrasounds:

“It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.

When the community has failed a patient by voting an ideologue into office…When the ideologue has failed the patient by writing legislation in his own interest instead of in the patient’s…When the legislative system has failed the patient by allowing the legislation to be considered… When the government has failed the patient by allowing something like this to be signed into law… We as physicians cannot and must not fail our patients by ducking our heads and meekly doing as we’re told.

Because we are their last line of defense.”

We need more doctors to take a stand–to speak out, to share their stories, to call for and organize action. While the most important voices in this struggle remain the women who are affected by this anti-choice, anti-autonomy, anti-woman legislation, we need our doctors to speak up as well. We’re in this together.

If you’re a doctor, and would like to share your story, or your own call for action, I am glad to offer this space for you to speak. Contact me at brittanyannwick AT yahoo DOT com, if you would like to share your story, or if you already have on another website, send me the link–I’d like to share it.

OB/GYN on Forced Ultrasounds: Fuck That Shit

An anonymous doc calls for his fellow OB/GYNs to engage in some good ole’ fashioned civil disobedience.

From Whatever:

“Fellow physicians, once again we are being used as tools to screw people over. This time, it’s the politicians who want to use us to implement their morally reprehensible legislation. They want to use our ultrasound machines to invade women’s bodies, and they want our hands to be at the controls. Coerced and invaded women, you have a problem with that? Blame us evil doctors. We are such deliciously silent scapegoats.

It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.”

Check out the whole piece here.

I hope every OB/GYN across the country reads this piece.

2012 Immigrant and Refugee Rights Advocacy Day in Kentucky

The Fairness Campaign is sponsoring Citizen Lobbying days through April 5th. Today’s focus is on Immigrant and Refugee rights.

The flier for the event is here.

Here’s what’s going on:

When: Wednesday, 3/21 at 9:00 a.m. (carpool from the Fairness office at 8:00 a.m.)
Where: Kentucky State Capitol (702 Capital Ave, Frankfort, KY)

Tell legislators why they should safeguard the rights of immigrant and refugee communities! View a schedule of events below and join the Fairness Campaign carpoll at 8:00 a.m.
9:00 AM – Participants come to Room 125 of the Capitol Annex to register on-site and/ or sign in with organizers.

9:15 – Noon – Participants will be placed in small groups and asked to go find and talk with legislators. Participants will have postcards, pens and legislative reports. The post card is to leave a message with the legislators you can’t find or to write a thank you to the legislators with whom you DO have an opportunity to talk!

Noon – 1:00  PM – When participants have talked to everyone possible, returned reports to the event organizers and left postcards with legislators/staff, there will be a lunch break in the cafeteria. Lunch will be on your own, so please plan accordingly. Prices are very reasonable in the cafeteria.

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM – The group will gather at the Rotunda for the press conference.

2:00 PM – Capitol Building – The House and Senate convene. The official Advocacy Day ends with the press conference, but participants are invited to stay and watch the full House or Senate in action. Organizers will have 20 gallery passes for those participants that want to stay after the press conference.”

The Fairness Campaign is a really awesome organization that’s working to change things for the better for marginalized communities here in Kentucky. You can sign up for e-mail updates here.

I’ve worked with them before, back in 2010 when WKU students and faculty were working to get same-sex partner benefits for university employees. We had been working, protesting, and lobbying for weeks on this campaign to get equal benefits.

Well, we got them. The protest we’d planned turned into a celebration. It was a great day.

If you’ve been looking for a progressive organization to get involved in, here in the Bluegrass State, the Fairness Campaign is one you should check out.

Late notice? Citizen Lobby days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through April 4th. Can’t make it, or not in Kentucky? You can contact Kentucky Senators here and members of Kentucky’s House of Representatives here.

Getting My Activism On: Contacting Representatives

I apologize for the light posting today. I am one angry feminist. Darrell Issa’s little stunt yesterday motivated me to get my activism on. I signed a number of petitions while I was at work yesterday. Today, I visited the One Million Pissed Off Women page on facebook and saw this:

“The asshole (OMG I’m shaking MAD) at ISSa’s office just told me that this is all about trying to get Obama out because of his persecution of traditional religious institutions. He just stuttered when I brought up ED and penile implants and had nothing to say about the fact that the largest Catholic institutions ALREADY provided birth control in their insurance plans. This is a fringe element push and has nothing to do with us. He also said (in a very Neener-neener, sing-song way) that the republicans were in power, they are going to stay in power and Issa has the control to have his hearings any way he saw fit.. Smarmy FUCKER!!!”

So I decided to give ol’ Issa a call myself. (202-225-3906!) An aide answered, and asked me where I was from. When I said Kentucky, I was immediately transferred to voicemail without comment or the opportunity to say much of anything.

His mailbox was full. I couldn’t leave a message.

I went back to OMPOW’s page, and read the comments. There are more similar stories of women calling, and either getting transferred or condescended to. I learned that Mr. Issa is up for re-election this year, and that his opponent is Jerry Tetalman. I visited his website, and lo and behold! He has, on his front page, pronounced that he is pro-choice.

I wondered if he’d responded to yesterday’s travesty. He hadn’t. So, I decided to e-mail him. This is my message:

“Jerry,

Hello, my name is Brittany-Ann. I just learned about your candidacy today. I am a pro-choice feminist, and it heartens me to see a man who is not only pro-choice, but believes so strongly in a woman’s right to choose that he is willing to put it on the front page of his website.

Yesterday, your opponent, Darrell Issa, convened a committee made up completely of extremely conservative religious men to discuss women’s right to access birth control. Women all over the country are mobilizing–calling Issa’s office, e-mailing him, and blogging about his actions. I tried to call myself, and got transferred to a full voicemail inbox.

I count myself as politically active, and indeed, I blog regularly about political issues. But the recent attacks on women’s rights to birth control, abortion, including Virginia’s new vaginal ultrasound law, have motivated me to become more involved than ever before. I know I’m not alone.

This is why I urge you to make a public statement in support of women’s rights. The Republican war on women is an ever-increasing part of their party platform. Progressives, in turn, need to become more aggressive as allies to women.

We have to fight back. We need every woman, and every male ally to stand up for our rights, publicly, and without shame.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Brittany-Ann Wick”

Get Your Activism On: Support Birth Control

It’s important to counter the howling protests of the arrogant old men who mistakenly believe they should have a say in women’s reproductive choices. Petitions are an easy way to do that. These are the ones I signed this morning afternoon:

From Planned Parenthood:

Tell Congress: Stop trying to block women’s access to Birth Control

From Ultra Violet:

Tell Congress: Hands off our birth control!

Sign and share!

Get Your Activism On: Stand Up For Gay Marriage

I got an e-mail from the Courage Campaign this morning–they’re gearing up for the next stage in the fight for marriage equality: Perry v. Brown is going to the Supreme Court.

Here is where you can donate to fund the campaign. Check this out, though: when I got the e-mail, CC was $5,343 away from their goal of $45,000. I just checked their page, and not only have they made enough, they’ve set a new goal of $50,000 and are less than one thousand away from meeting that goal as well!

If you can’t afford to donate, never fear–activism is about much more than raising money.

See this snippet from the e-mail I received from the Courage Campaign:

What are we going to do with those contributions? Well, some people think this is all up to to the lawyers in the courtroom… not so! Legal experts all agree: Supreme Court Justices read the newspaper, watch TV, and take stock of the nation. That’s why we need your support to move the polling numbers on marriage equality, get heartwarming stories of love and commitment between same-sex couples out in the news, and continue to be the #1 place for coverage of the Prop 8 trial on the web. It’s the best thing we can do to ensure the final nail in the coffin for Prop 8.”

If you can’t afford to donate, then help get the message out. Flood the blogosphere with posts supporting marriage equality. Write letters to newspapers across the nation. In other words, make sure that when the justices of the Supreme Court “take stock of the nation” be sure that overwhelming support for equality is what they see.

Check out my contribution here if you need inspiration. Now-let’s get our activism on!