JOR news for June 6, 2012

Paycheck Fairness Act Fails in Senate

Yesterday, June 5, Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act in a Senate vote of 52-47, further igniting what many are calling its war on women and families. The Paycheck Fairness Act would have barred employers from retaliating against workers who shared information on wages, and women and members of other discriminated against groups, would not only be able to seek back pay but could also seek punitive damages for pay discrimination.

The GOP claimed the bill was a war on free enterprise, and Republican Senator Rand Paul compared it to a “paycheck politburo”. Its proponents say it would have drastically leveled the playing field for women in the workforce and helped struggling families. Women continue to make on average 77 cents for every dollar men make.

Regressive version of VAWA passes House

Since 1994, The Violence Against Women act, that authorizes funding and provisions for protection against violent abuse, has been reauthorized. But on May 16, the Republican dominated House of Representatives passed a new version, that, according to the Center for American Progress: “Rolls back progress and threatens the health and safety of many Americans living in violent or abusive relationships.” According to the National Organization for Women  H.R. 4970 entirely excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victims; it enhances abuser’s power over immigrant women by allowing immigration agents to contact abusers and hear their complaints re immigration status of their victims. It fails to address the crisis of violence against American Indian women by not recognizing tribal court authority to hold perpetrators accountable. It rolls back on resources for Women of Color and their communities gained in 2005.

Representative Carolyn Maloney said the House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is “just another assault in what has sadly and surely become known as the Republican war against women.”

President Obama has threatened a veto the Bill if the House provisions stand. You can find out how to put pressure on Representatives, by going to the The National Organization for Women website at

Bei Bei Shuai Case threatens Constitutional Rights of Pregnant Women

On May 12, in Indiana, the state Court of Appeals let stand a decision that resulted in murder charges against a pregnant woman who, while depressed, tried to commit suicide and whose baby, after birth, did not survive. Bei Bei Shuai, jailed for 14 months and now out on bail, was charged under a “feticide” statute supposedly designed to protect pregnant women from external violence. The case is considered to have grave implications for the constitutional rights and personhood of pregnant women.

According to Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, any healthcare provider can now say to a pregnant patient who disagrees with his treatment, that he will report her to State authorites under feticide laws and women who have miscarriages can concievably face muder charges. We have have a link to the press conference on our blog. There is a petition on this case.

Senate bill would weaken efforts against collegiate sexual assault

Concerns are being raised about a Senate bill claiming to stiffen protections against sexual assault on college campuses that would instead weaken protections. On the surface, the bill would require colleges to take action in response to sexual assault.

In reality, says New England School of Law professor Wendy Murphy, the bill would substitute a “preponderance of the evidence” legal standard with a much higher “clear and convincing” legal standard that would make obtaining
convictions far more difficult. As of this week, it is not know if the Campus Save bill will be introduced as a stand-alone bill or be attached to a larger bill. <

NYPD sexual assaults

According to a story by David Graeber, an OWS activist and an anthropologist, writing on the blog Kasama, there have been a mounting number of reports of women having had their breasts grabbed and/or having been otherwise sexually assaulted by members of the NYPD, during arrests that have taken place at protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Graeber says in his article, “Arbitrary violence is nothing new. The apparently systematic use of sexual assault against women protestors is new” and goes on to speculate about the connections between these tactics and tactics used against women by police forces around the world, specifically in recent protests in Egypt. To read the complete article, go to You can also read the complete article on this blog at

CHOICES Women’s Medical Center reopens in Jamaica, Queens

Choices Women’s Medical Center, established in 1971 and one of the first in New York state to perform abortions, has moved from its former Long Island City location to a new home in Jamaica, Queens. The move was a result of extreme landlord neglect at their previous location. According to Founder and CEO Merle Hoffman, the neglect is part of the picture of the many forms of harassment faced by clinics that perform abortions—even in New York City—and she has filed a FACE complaint.

Joy of Resistance visited the re-opened clinic and found it to be an immaculate state-of-the-art and warm and welcoming place with with walls hung with art relating to women’s reproductive history and the history of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements.

Even before Choices reopened, anti-abortion protestors started protesting it. Last Saturday, about 20 were outside with big color signs supposedly of aborted fetuses. Your help is needed from 7 to 11 a.m. every Saturday to provide a supportive climate and escort women into the clinic. Send an email to if you can be part of the Choices Escort crew.

Women rally in Istanbul against government attack on abortion

Tens of thousands of women rallied in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, to protest a new attempt to ban abortion in that nation. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told his cabinet to prepare a law that would ban abortions after four weeks, effectively a ban. Turkey currently allows abortions until the 10th week.

Erdogan, the head of an Islamist and business-oriented party, has recently said Turkey should emulate anti-abortion legislation in Western countries and has also said that abortion and elective caesarean deliveries are “secret plots” to slow Turkey’s growth.

Tugba Özay Baki of the Istanbul Feminist Collective, said, “If abortion is banned in Turkey, women will still have them, but under unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Marchers in the June 3 rally in Istanbul carried banners that said “We are women, not reproduction machines.”


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