Sunday, Oct 2, 6-7 pm: Hyde Amendment at 40; US women react to Trump’s misogyny; Equal Means Equal–a new feminist film

Joy of Resistance is now heard on Sundays at 6-7 PM on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM (EST), and streams at . Follow us on twitter at @joyofresistance Email us at Donate to WBAI at

~The Hyde Amendment–which cut off Medicaid funding for abortion in 1976–is 40 years old this week and a fierce campaign is revving up to finally overturn it. We’ll speak with Imani Gandy, Senior Legal Analyst at Rewire (a major reproductive justice resource blog) and and co-host at This Week in Blackness Prime, about the history of Hyde and how it impacts poor women, young women and women of color.


We’ll also look at how the exposure of Donald Trump’s fat-shaming of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado reveals another despicable chapter of his misogyny–one that may precipitate his loss to Hillary Clinton, as women across the country react and turn against him.trump9-640x460

Lastly, we’ll speak with Kamala Lopez, director of a new film that examines the status of women in the U.S.–“Equal Means Equal“–and makes the case for the need for the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified.


We’ll also present the Feminist News Roundup and great feminist music!



Sunday, Sept 25, 6-7 pm–On the 2nd show in our new time slot, we’ll introduce a new segment: “What’s on your feminist mind?”

 Joy of Resistance is now heard on Sundays at 6-7 PM on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM (EST), and streams at . Follow us on twitter at @joyofresistance Email us at Donate to WBAI at

“What’s on your feminist mind?”–is a new segment that Joy of Resistance will air this Sunday, September 25, between 6 and 7 pm (our new timeslot!). In this segment, groups of women will discuss, in personal terms, the burning feminist issues they confront in their daily lives–followed by a group discussion of what we’ve all said and “drawing conclusions.” We’ll then open up the discussion to listener call-ins. We hope to run this segment monthly.

The women who will be speaking this week are all in their 20’s and 30’s–but what they have to say will resonate with women of all ages, and may be a barometer of what today’s young women still face in a world supposedly more advanced on the issue of sexism.


Redstockings CR group, 1968

From Consciousness Raising (CR) to the Internet, the core of the feminist movement has always been women simply talking to each other and sharing experiences–then taking action based on what they learned in these conversations. Much is now known about what issues need to be addressed for women to be equal in society, but going back to CR grounds us and keeps us checking on ourselves and deepening our insight.

Tune in for this important interactive conversation and theory-making experiment.

We’ll also air our regular Feminist News segment–and great music.

Feminist News Roundup: links to top stories 7-3-13

Texas moves to adopt anti-abortion law despite thousands protesting on the streets and famed fillbuster by Legislator Wendy Davis

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed 22 line items in the state budget but did not not veto abortion restrictions that are some of the most extreme in the country–despite wide protests.

Women Fight Back in Ohio with “Erectile dysfunction bill” introduced in Ohio to “protect” men in same way women are “protected” by anti-abortion bills. Feminists say: “You want to regulate our ovaries, uteri and order us to carry state-mandated children? Well, fine. We want to regulate your erectile dysfunction”.

Catholics for Choice: Obama Admin caves to ultra conservative. religious leaders on availability of Birth Control

Women of Senate Vow to Continue Fight Against Military Sexual Assault

According to Human Rights Watch: There has been an epidemic of sexual violence against women in Egypt: At Least 91 Attacks in 4 Days; Government Neglect Means Impunity Rules. (Overthrow of Morsi today may signal change–it remains to be seen–JOR)

Ongoing story and announcement

Plan B One-Step To Be Sold Over-The-Counter Without Age Restrictions
The Obama administration Monday officially ended its opposition to over-the-counter sales of “Plan B One-Step,” also known as the morning-after pill…

Meeting in NYC on July 11 to analyze Morning After Pill victory and where we go from here


News and Blog links, Wednesday 5-15

The Obama Administrations decides to challenge Federal Judge Korman’s order to make the Morning After Pill available to women of all ages, without having to show ID

Social Security and Women

According to the National Women’s Law Project, at age 75, before the first bump-up begins, the cut from the chained CPI would reduce her monthly benefit by an amount equal to the cost of five days’worth of food each month.

The Gosnell trial–feminist commentaries

Ding Dong! Thatcherism and Sexism are alive

The Great Gatsby Still Gets Flappers Wrong–by Lisa Hicks
The trouble with “Gatsby” is, as beautifully as F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the opulent world of 1920s high society in his novel, he gets flappers all wrong. That’s because he portrays this liberated “New Woman” through the eyes of men…The flapper movement wasn’t simply a fashion trend–it was a full-blown, grassroots feminist revolution. After an 80-year campaign by suffragists, women were finally granted the right to vote in the United States in 1920…When the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, many women entered the workforce, and when the soldiers returned in November 1918, their female counterparts were reluctant to give up their jobs.

As a result, young, unmarried women experienced far greater financial independence than they’d ever had before.

Trapped by European-style socialism–and I Love It–by Claire Lundberg

What it’s like to have REAL family friendly policies as a mother–affordable daycare, etc–a mother’s day commentary

In brief, the French government provides: 1) inexpensive municipal day care, 2) tax breaks for families employing in-home child care workers, and 3) universal free preschool beginning at age 3. Together, these make quality child care so affordable—even in expensive Paris—that we’re actually considering extending my husband’s work contract and staying in France until our daughter is school-age just to take advantage of them.

Israel moves to end gender segregation of women and seeks to limit rule by religious fundamentalists

Feminist News Stories: April 17, 2013 Joy of Resistance radio show

Morning  After Pill to be Made Available Without Age Restrictions

On April 6, a U.S. federal judge ordered that the Morning-After Pill be made available “without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions within thirty days.”

Judge Edward R. Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued his Memorandum Opinion and Order in Tummino v. Hamburg which reversed a prior decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Judge Korman found that “[t]hese emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter.”

Citing the Obama administration‘s “unjustified departures” from established policy to make safe medications available to the public, the court found that the administration invoked arguments that were an “excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their right to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions.”

Referring to “political interference” from the White House, the judge stated “the motivation for [Secretary Sebelius‘] action was obviously political. … [I]t was an election year decision that ‘many public health experts saw as a politically motivated effort to avoid riling religious groups and others opposed to making birth control available to girls.'”

And, according to the press release from National Women’s Liberation (NWL): For over a decade, grassroots feminist activists with National Women’s Liberation – who include the lead Plaintiffs in the Tummino case – have been waging the most important fight on expanding access to birth control in decades in the United States: to make the Morning-After Pill available over-the counter without any restrictions on age or how it can be sold. Today’s ruling is a significant victory in the fight for reproductive rights.

Ten years of speakouts, consciousness-raising, petition gathering, phonebanking, flashmobs, sitting-in and putting pressure on the Food and Drug Administration helped make this court decision possible.  Women cannot be on equal footing with men if we can’t decide when and if we will bear a child. Morning-after pill over-the-counter gives women an enormous freedom. Organizing pays.

Plaintiff and NWL-New York Chapter organizer Erin Mahoney said, “The Morning-After Pill was already available without a prescription in at least 63 other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and Ghana. We are glad the U.S. has finally caught up to women around the world, but it shouldn’t have taken over a decade of pressure from feminists, our allies and a lawsuit.”

Links for story above

Abortion Ban Trends 2013

According to a recent article in RH Reality Check, Abortion restrictions have have once again been in the forefront of bills introduced in many state legislatures in 2013, as they were in 2011 and 2012.

But unlike in recent years, when many laws were aimed at regulating abortion (for example, requirements that women undergo an ultrasound, clinic regulations or insurance restrictions), this year, legislators seem to be focusing on banning abortion outright—either by declaring that “personhood” begins at the moment of conception or by prohibiting abortion even during the first trimester of pregnancy.

During the first three months of 2013, legislators in 14 states introduced provisions seeking to ban abortion prior to viability.

These bans fall into three categories: measures that would prohibit all abortions, those that would ban abortions after a specified point during the first trimester of pregnancy–as little as 6 weeks into the pregnancy in the case of North Dakota–and those that would block abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization.

All of these proposals are in direct violation of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Roe versus Wade.

Links for story above

France to Implement Free Abortion and Birth Control

On April 1st The French state began reimbursing100 percent of the cost of abortions–and giving girls and women aged between 15 and 18 access to free birth control. They are able able to access it anonymously, to avoid embarassment.

Until now, French women over 18 could only receive up to 80 percent of the cost of an abortion. The move to full reimbursement, which was one of French President François Hollande’s 2012 campaign promises and is part of the 2013 social security budget, is designed to improve women’s access to abortions.

And by coupling it with free contraception for younger girls and women, France hopes to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and thus the number of abortions.

Abortion was first legalized in France in 1975, though access was limited until 2001.

Despite the expanded access to abortions, France still limits how late in the pregnancy the procedure can be performed, setting the termination deadline at 12 weeks after conception.

These women will be the first generation to experience sex in a society where “sex” itself is not demonized and where protection is not only expected but made readily available.

Links for story above

Rick Ross Fired by Reebok

Reebok has dropped an endorsement deal with rapper Rick Ross, after much pressure from feminists through protests and social media, including, an online petition with 70,000 signatures, massive tweeting and Facebook ads, a phone campaign and a demonstration at Reebok’s headquarters with signs reading “Hey Reebok: Want my business? Stop promoting rape.” A letter was also sent to the company on behalf of 550 rape survivors. The day after the protest the University of Ottawa cancelled their end-of-the-year concert in which Ross was scheduled to perform
At issue is a lyric by artist Rocko, in which Ross is featured, that goes:

“Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / she ain’t even know it.”

Molly is a form of MDMA, that distorts the senses and reduces inhibitions.It is considered a date-rape drug

The rapper denied he was alluding to raping a woman after drugging her drink, calling it a misinterpretation and claiming that he had never mentioned the word “rape.”

Reebok fired Ross on April 12, saying: “While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse,”

Rocko has since released a new version of his song without Ross and absent the offending lyrics.

Hip Hop Activist and former Green Party candidate for Vice President, Rosa Clemente, called the firing of Ross “a victory for hip hop culture” and said: “We in hip hop culture say NO to rape culture and anyone who thinks it is appropriate to rhyme about rape.”

A number of rappers, such as Talib Kweli have also come out against Ross’ rape lyrics.

Clemente pointed out that 44% of Black and Latina women are sexually assaulted by the time they are age 18.

Links for story above

Russian Orthodox Leader Warns of the ‘Danger of Feminism’

Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, warned members of Union of Orthodox Ukrainian Women that feminism is “very dangerous” and could threaten the stability of Russia.

He went on to claim that feminist organizations proclaim the pseudo-freedom of women, which he described as “outside of marriage and…the family” and that while “man must turn his gaze outward” in order to support a family, “woman must be focused inwards, where her children are, where her home is.”

Patriarch Kirill has become a close ally of Vladimir Putin, a connection that was challenged by feminist punk band Pussy Riot in the iconic performance for which they were later found guilty of “hooliganism.”

Krill’s statement takes place against a background of a declining birth rate in Russia, that is not meeting the replacement rate for the population. Putin has called the declining birth rate “Russia’s biggest problem” and vowed to fight with a program he dubbed the “Mother’s Capital Project.” It includes a policy of giving a cash bonus of about $9,000. to each woman who has a second child and for each child after that–as well as increasing childcare services. His goal is 3 children per family–currently the average is 1.3 children per couple.

In 2006, Putin cited the reasons for the low birthrate as being “low incomes, lack of housing, a low level of medical services and the lack of quality education.”

A low birth rate was not a problem in Russia when it was part of the former Soviet Union.

Links for story above

Below are links to two important stories we wish we’d been able to cover on our April 17 Joy of Resistance show.

1) Issues raised by the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell:

As the Dr. Kermit Gosnell murder trial proceeds in Pennsylvania, the Right Wing is trying to make hay out of it by putting out huge amounts of propaganda to the effect that conditions at Gosnell’s clinic are common and raise questions about abortion in general. RH Reality Check took on this issue and JOR recommends articles of theirs below (others can be found at their website).

2) The Sequestration” budget cuts are continuing to have an inordinate impact on women and set us back in our fight for equality.

Joy of Resistance news headlines and links for January 16, 2013

2012: A year of disaster for abortion rights in U.S.

As the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. approaches on January 22, a new study by the Guttmacher Institute, shows that last year 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these sought to restrict access to abortion. Although a decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions.

2011 restrictions featured age limits, late-term abortion bans (including bans at 20-weeks), clinic regulations that are near-impossible to meet and forbidding insurance coverage, to name a few.

Writing for RHrealitycheck under the headline “2012 was an unmitigated disaster for abortion rights,” Sarah Seltzer cites “a few examples of shaming, nitpicking and intrusive kinds of laws” that were passed in 2012:

  • A new provision enacted in Mississippi requires a physician performing an abortion on a minor younger than 14  provide a tissue sample to the state bureau of investigation.
  • In South Carolina, an employees’ health plan that used to cover abortion to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest, now says it will cover abortions only in cases of life endangerment; the cost in cases of rape or incest must now be paid entirely from employees’ premiums.
  • The new ultrasound law in Virginia requires that women who live less than 100 miles from the clinic undergo the ultrasound 24 hours in advance of the abortion. The new provision compels women to make two trips to the clinic before receiving an abortion.

With all of this bad news, Merle Hoffman, Publisher of On the Issues Magazine, CEO/founder of Choices Women’s Health Center in Queens and a long time fighter for abortion rights, says that she will be “Recommitting, not celebrating” this January 22. OTI has a special issue out now on the 40th anniversary on Roe (

And I’m proud to announce that Merle Hoffman will be our live guest on January 22 between 4 and 5 p.m. on Talkback. Hugh Hamilton has graciously ceded his second hour on that day to JOR so that we can do special programming to mark this important anniversary. So please mark that on your calendar.

Study reveals denials of constitutional rights to pregnant women is increasing

On Tuesday, January 15, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law published a groundbreaking study, “Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health.” The study identified 413 criminal and civil cases involving arrests, detentions, and equivalent deprivations of pregnant women’s physical liberty that occurred between 1973 (when Roe v. Wade was decided) and 2005 and that pregnant women face attacks on virtually every right associated with constitutional personhood, including the right to physical liberty.

Many states have passed feticide measures and laws restricting access to safe abortion, like so-called “personhood” measures, that encourage the treatment of eggs, embryos, and fetuses as if they are legally separate from the pregnant woman. These laws have been used as the basis for a disturbing range of punitive state actions in every region of the country and against women of every race, though disproportionately against women in the South, low-income women and African-American women.

Some examples:

  • A woman in Utah was arrested and charged with criminal homicide based on the claim that her decision to delay cesarean surgery was the cause of a stillbirth.
  • A woman in Oregon who did not comply with a doctor’s recommendation to have additional testing for diabetes was subjected to involuntary civil commitment.
  • A Louisiana woman was charged with murder and spent almost a year in jail before her counsel was able to show that what was deemed a murder of a fetus or newborn was actually a miscarriage.
  • A doctor in Wisconsin had concerns about a woman’s plans to have her birth attended by a midwife. As a result, a civil court order of protective custody for the woman’s fetus was obtained.

Women’s Equality Agenda proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the Women’s Equality Agenda — a 10-point plan to break down barriers to women’s full and equal participation in society. The New York Civil Liberties Union is urging that legislators in Albany hear from their constituents to pass it.

This legislative package includes measures that protect and strengthen reproductive freedom and addresses many of the ways that women experience discrimination, including proposals to:

  • Achieve pay equity.
  • Extend sexual harassment laws to all work places.
  • Protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination.
  • End discrimination against single parents and those who receive housing assistance.

You can go to to sign that petition and get more information. And we’ll be examining that proposal in more detail on future show.

You can get fired for being “too attractive” in Iowa

The Iowa State Supreme Court has ruled, 7-0, that bosses can fire employees they see as an “irresistible attraction,” even if the employees have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong. Such firings may be unfair, but they are not unlawful discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they are motivated by feelings and emotions, not gender, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote.

Mormon women receive threats for wearing pants to church

“Wear Pants to Church,” an event on Sunday, December 19, was meant to draw attention to the role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, using attire as a symbolic first salvo in a larger struggle over gender inequalities.

Thousands of Mormon women arrived at church in pants in places like Cambridge, England; Heidelberg, Germany; Austin, Texas; the Marshall Islands; and Kotzebue, Alaska. A number of the women posted their photos on Facebook and other Web sites. Others said they could not participate because they were fearful of ridicule or reprimand.

Organizers hope the dialogue will now expand to include issues like the ordination of women, or women taking on more responsibilities at church event, the fact that Boy Scouts play a role in the Church while girls do not and men are expected to become missionaries while women are not.

“Wear Pants to Church” was the idea of Stephanie Lauritzen of Salt Lake City. She and some fellow Mormon women who belonged to a group called All Enlisted posted an events page on Facebook on Dec. 9. Within days, thousands had pledged their support, but one person threatened to shoot women who showed up in pants. Ms. Lauritzen, 26, also received threats on her own Facebook page that are being investigated by Facebook and the local authorities, she said.

Aimee Hickman, the editor of a Mormon feminist magazine called Exponent II, said she originally had reservations about the event. But then she saw the negative reaction by church members online. The attention drawn to the effort, she added, “has people talking about Mormon gender roles more than anything I’ve seen.”

Women to demand full access to Morning After Pill

It has been exactly one year since Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius made the unprecedented decision to overrule the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to expand access to the Morning-After Pill.

National Women’s Liberation is demanding that HHS stop blocking over-the-counter approval of the Morning-After Pill.and they are inviting all to come to a speakout on Tuesday, January 22, 2012, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30pm, outside of 26 Federal Plaza (the New York City office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to protest the agency’s failure to correct this decision. Organizers say they are “holding a speakout on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to underscore our demand that all females who are old enough to be pregnant have access to ALL forms of birth control.”

Women directly impacted by this decision will speak about their experiences trying to access the Morning-After Pill Restricting the Morning After Pill to females ages 17 and older, makes it physically inaccessible to all females because it is kept “behind-the-counter” at pharmacies. The Morning-After Pill is already available without a prescription in over 45 other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and Egypt.

You can contact National Women’s Liberation through their website at

Joy of Resistance News Headlines and links for September 19, 2012

The 2012 Republican platform includes a human life amendment that would criminalize abortion nationwide, with no exceptions for rape and incest. Thus bringing into the mainstream extreme anti-abortion views of the far right.

Sept. 12. Missouri lawmakers enacted new religious exemptions from insurance coverage of birth control, overriding a gubernatorial veto and directly rebutting an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to cover contraception. The Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women has said it will seek an injunction against the measure.

Sept. 14. the Virginia Board of Health passed medically unnecessary restrictions on reproductive health providers which require clinics to comply with new hospital construction standards not related to abortion or “need.” This decision represents back-pedaling from the board’s earlier decision to “grandfather” existing clinics and will mean the shutdown of these clinics.

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, and the 31 states expected to ban abortion, did that, the average travel distance to the nearest abortion provider would increase by 157 miles. It also found that women seeking abortions are generally “sensitive” to travel costs — resulting in more poor women being forced to bear children.

In Turkey, a woman shot and beheaded a man who had been systematically raping her and bragging about it while her husband was doing seasonal work in another town, claiming she did it to “cleanse her honor.” The case has caused a storm of controversy, with women’s organisations rallying to her support. Journalist Elif Shafak said it shows that in “this patriarchal country it is always women who pay the price” and highlights the lack of Turkish institutions offering abused women support.

Tunisian women took it to the streets to protect their rights in mid-August and controversy continues over a Draft for the new Constitution which refers to women as “complementary to men” but makes no reference to equality.

Tunisia was one of the most secular of Arab states before the Islamist Ennahda party won elections last year.

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.”

JOR news for April 18, 2012

Equal Pay Day 2012

Yesterday, April 17 was “Equal Pay Day” a holiday introduced by the National Committee for Pay Equity in 1996, to raise awareness about the gender wage gap. It falls on the day when the earnings of women would equal the earnings of men in the year before—usually about 4 months into  the new year.

The wage gap remained statistically unchanged in the last year. Women’s earnings were 77.4 percent of men’s in 2010, based on the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers. In 2010, the earnings of African American women were67.7 percent of all men’s earnings and Latinas’ earnings were 58.7 percent of all men’s earnings The National Committee on Pay Equity’s The Wage Gap Over Time shows how little the wage gap has changed in this century. (See also the fact sheet from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research: The Gender Wage Gap: 2010.

links: <>

And in other economic news for women:

An April 7 feature article in The New York Times reviewed results of Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which promised to “end welfare as we know it.” Touted as a success when welfare rolls were drastically reduced after its passage, the the program built its reputation when times were good, but offered little help when, over the last 4 years, jobs disappeared.

The old program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, dates from the New Deal; it did not have time limits and gave states the flexibility to get more federal funds as the rolls increased in economic downturns. In the new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a lifetime grant of 5 years maximum was introduced, federal spending was capped and states were allowed to turn poor families away. The revamped law encourages states to withhold aid, especially when the economy turns bad.

“My take on it was the states would push people off and not let them back on, and that’s just what they did,” said Peter B. Edelman, a law professor at Georgetown University who resigned from the Clinton administration to protest the law. “It’s been even worse than I thought it would be.”

Arizona is one of 16 states that have cut their welfare caseloads further since the start of the recession — in its case, by half. It twice reduced benefit time limits, going from 5 years, down to two. It spent most of its federal welfare dollars on other programs, using permissive rules to plug state budget gaps. Nationally, only 30 percent of federal money allotted welfare money is spent on cash benefits.

People dropped from cash assistance were mostly single mothers. Recent studies have found that as many as one in every four low-income single mothers is jobless and without cash aid — roughly four million women and children. Many have had to resort to desperate or illegal ways to make ends meet.

Esmeralda Murillo, a 21-year-old mother of two, lost her welfare check, landed in a shelter and then returned to a boyfriend whose violent temper had driven her away.

To keep her lights on, Rosa Pena, 24, sold the groceries she bought with food stamps and then kept her children fed with school lunches and help from neighbors.

Even in the 1996 program’s early days, when jobs were plentiful, a subset of families were left with neither welfare nor work. Their numbers were growing before the recession and seem to have surged since then.

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the top House Republican on budget issues, calls the current welfare program “an unprecedented success.” Mitt Romney, who leads the race for the Republican presidential nomination, has said he would place similar restrictions on “all these federal programs.”


Governor Scott Walker Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Act

On April 5, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill to repeal his state’s Equal Pay Act. From now on women and members of other discriminated-against groups in Wisconsin filing pay discrimination suits will have to file in federal court, which opponents argue is more costly and time consuming and will deter people from filing. Wisconsin’s state law had also allowed plaintiffs to seek punitive damages for discrimination–which is not an option in a federal complaint.

Republican State Sen. Glenn Grothman, who authored the repeal bill gave as his reason that there is really no wage gap between men and women, and that if a woman makes less money than a man it is because she has “different values.” He also has said “You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday.”  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women overall make only 72 cents on what men make for similar work.

In the 2 years that Wisconsin passed its Equal Pay Act, there was less discrimination and Wisconsin went from a rating of 36th in gender discrimination in 2009, to 24th in 2010.

Former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, said that the Governor had “turned back the clock for women across Wisconsin.” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign said Walker’s “ideological civil war includes a war on women, and repeal today of this protection against pay discrimination is a major step backwards for Wisconsin values and basic fairness.”

Life begins at menstruation in Arizona

In possibly the most draconian and absurd anti-abortion tights bill so far, on Apr. 12, Arizona Governor Jan-Brewer-has signed a life-begins-at-menstruation-bill.

The bill sets the gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. In practice, this means that a virgin can get pregnant. Though it continues to bar abortions after 20 weeks, because of the new calculation it cuts the time limit for abortions to 18 weeks. The law “disregards women’s health in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Center for Reproductive Rights’ state advocacy counsel, Jordan Goldberg.

The fingerprints of “Americans United for Life” (a powerful anti-abortion rights group) are all over … the bill’s language, according to Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. She predicts that still other conservative states looking to restrict and discourage abortions will now look to Arizona’s bill as model legislation.

Other provisions of the bill include:

  • “Medication abortions” (by pill), usually done at home or a clinic within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, must now be done by a medical provider who has hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. This is an attempt to shut down medication abortions altogether. North Dakota and Oklahoma are in litigation over similar provisions in their laws.
  • Sex education is not mandated in Arizona, but any such education must now prioritize birth and adoption.
  • Health-care facilities must put up signs warning against abortion “coercion.”
  • The state health department must set up a website focusing on alternatives to abortion and displaying photos of fetuses.
  • “Counseling” is required for women aiming seeking abortions because of fetal abnormalities. Such counseling must include perinatal hospice information.
  • Previous requirements for notarized parental consent forms for minors and a mandatory ultrasound screening 24 hours before having an abortion are reiterated)

 The life-begins-at-menstruation law goes into effect in 90 days.

Title lX Upheld

Title IX, passed in 1972, is federal legislation that requires any school receiving federal money to allow both boys and girls to participate in any educational program or activity. Equal opportunity for sports training has been its centerpiece.

Because of it, young women today get training in sports, starting in public school starting in public school — and get to experience the health benefits, strength-building and teamwork that were not widely available to girls in previous eras: it is widely credited providing the groundwork for the rise of women’s basketball. But Title lX has undergone many legal challenges from the right.

Last week, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed one such case that was brought by the American Sports Council (ASC), which argued that Title 1X was restricting opportunities for boys‘ sports teams and that its “three-part test” amounted to a quota. It also argued Title 9 was only intended for colleges and not should be implemented in K through 12, as it is, presently.

The “three-part test” — a list of requirements that schools must meet for federal funding, includes ensuring female athletic participation is in proportion to total female enrollment and demonstrating a history of expanding athletic opportunities for females.

The Department of Education argued that Title IX does not cut opportunities; it only requires that school athletic programs do not discriminate based on gender. The court dismissed the case because the ASC could not demonstrate how the test caused the loss of boys’ sports programs.

The battle over this case has been going on since the Bush Administration, when in 2007 the ASC made the same arguments that were then thrown out in 2008. The case just decided, was an appeal of that decision.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, male participation in sports is increasing while girls often still lack the resources and opportunities to play, even after 35 years of the implementation of Title lX.


Saudi Arabia reverses on women in sports

On March 22,  Saudi Arabia anounced that it would send women to participate in the 2012 London Olympics for the first time — sparking cautious optimism on the part of Human Rights and feminist groups that this could be a step in the eventual dismantling of the pervasive discrimination and human rights abuses in that country. But hopes were dashed, when on April 4, the Saudi Sports Minister and head of the Saudi National Olympic Committee Prince Nawwaf al-Faisal confirmed that it would not, after all, support women in practicing sports, saying: “Female sports activity has not existed [in the kingdom] and there is no move thereto in this regard.”

According to Human Rights Watch, women in Saudi Arabia have virtually no rights to function as autonomous human beings. They live under a system of male guardianship so severe that they are required to obtain permission of, and often to be accompanied by, a male guardian — a father, husband or even minor son, in order to perform even the simplest social actions, such as registering for a class, accepting a job promotion or taking a sick child to a hospital.

Women also face legally mandated segregation in all public places, including the work place, schools, and universities. Women are excluded from 153 sports clubs regulated by the Saudi National Olympic Committee (NOC), and the 29 national sporting federations. Ending discrimination in sports has the potential to widen cracks in the guardianship system and other discriminatory practices, Human Rights Watch said.

The rights of women and girls to physical education and to participate in sport is internationally recognized in treaties Saudi Arabia has signed, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. And although the charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prohibits discrimination against women in sport, the IOC has not demanded that Saudi Arabia allow women to practice sports as a condition for the kingdom’s participation in the Olympic Games.

Saudi Arabia has long been a staunch ally of, and supplier of oil to, the United States. Although presidents and secretaries of state have made public statements regarding oppression of women in places such as Afghanistan, there has been virtually no official pressure from the U.S. toward Saudi Arabia to cease its extreme violations of the rights of more than half of its population.

News stories for April 4

Abortion in Rwanda

A proposal to legalize abortion in specific circumstances has been sent to the parliament of Rwanda for approval. This is likely to generate heated debate among the public, according to AllAfrica news service.

While Rwanda is signatory to the 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), it had made a reservation for article 14.2(c), which requires states to authorize abortion “in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus.”

Now, the cabinet has approved a draft Presidential Order lifting this reservation, which now awaits discussion in parliament.

Earlier this month, the journal Studies in Family Planning (2012; 43[1]: 11-20) published a study entitled “Abortion Incidence and Postabortion Care in Rwanda.” It found that more than 16,700 women received care for complications resulting from induced abortion in Rwanda in 2009, or 7 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Approximately 40% of abortions are estimated to lead to complications requiring treatment, but about a third of those who experienced a complication did not obtain treatment. Nationally, the estimated induced abortion rate is 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, or approximately 60,000 abortions annually.

The authors conclude that “an urgent need exists in Rwanda to address unmet need for contraception, to strengthen family planning services, to broaden access to legal abortion, and to improve postabortion care.”

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Komen Foundation and the influence of the Catholic Church

On March 23, 2012, five top female executives from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure resigned due to the controversy brought on by the Komen Foundation Partnership with Planned Parenthood, among them Karen Handel, Komen’s Vice President for Public Policy.

Internal Komen documents recently reviewed by Reuters reveal that a formerly mutually supportive relationship between the the Catholic hierarchy and the Komen Foudation broke down in 2011, when the 11 bishops who represent Ohio’s 2.6 million Catholics announced a statewide policy banning church and parochial school donations to Komen, fearing that some of the money might go to support Planned Parenthood.

This pressure helped sway Komen’s leadership to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to current and former Komen officials. The decision, made public in January, and Komen’s reversal only days later, sparked an angry outcry from both feminists and the Catholic hierarchy and led to major divisions within the Komen Foundation as the reputation of the Foundation plummeted.

The highly influential tax-exempt Conference of Catholic Bishops has been recently been strongly lobbying to stop coverage of birth control under the Affordable Care Act and to eliminate health insurance coverage of birth control in any institution with a Catholic affiliation, even if its employees are not Catholic.

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Arizona state contraception plan

On March 20, Republican Arizona state Senate President Steve Pierce announced that he would be removing a bill from the Senate committee agenda that would give employers the right to refuse coverage for contraception under company insurance. The bill had passed the Arizona House on a 39-18 vote. The senator stated that he removed the bill because Republican Governor Jan Brewer “certainly would probably agree with the majority of people that would be a little bit uncomfortable for a woman to have to go to her employer and tell him or her their private health issues.” This occurred after a nationwide outcry against the Arizona bill.

House Bill 2625 initial intent would have allowed for employers to cite moral and/or religious explanations to deny employees from birth control.

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Violence at abortion clinics

A small homemade bomb detonated at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin on Sunday night. Initial reports suggest that the blast and resulting fire did only minor damages and no one was injured. The clinic was forced to shut down on today.

The Associated Press reported that police say that someone placed the explosive device on the Grand Chute clinic’s windowsill at around 7:40 p.m. Sunday. A small fire broke out when the device exploded. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin released a statement saying that there was only minimal damage to an exam room and that the building was empty at the time of the small blast. The clinic  reopened on Tuesday.

In a possibly related story, the incident is the latest in a series of escalating attacks and rhetoric targeting vocally pro-choice legislators and family planning clinics. Previous attacks on clinics in Florida and California underscore the threat women and health care providers face simply trying to access or provide reproductive care.

Earlier this year, on January 1, 2012, there was a bombing of a clinic in Pensacola, Florida. Also in January, Donny Eugene Mower, 38, of Madera, California, was sentenced in federal court today following his October 2011 guilty pleas to one count of arson.

Such incidents must be seen in the context of decades of continual violence, vandalism, and intimidation that endangers providers and patients and has curtailed the availability of abortion services.

Since 1993, eight clinic workers – including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States. Seventeen attempted murders have also occurred since 1991. Opponents of abortion rights for women have directed more than 6,300 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including bombings, arson, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults, as well as more than 169,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls.

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Poet Adrienne Rich dies

Renowned feminist poet Adrienne Rich died on March 27 at the age of 82. Rich, who wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and sold approximately 800,000 copies of her work, was widely acclaimed for her writings advocating for the rights of women and lesbians.

According to The New York Times, “accomplished in verse what Betty Friedan, author of the Feminine Mystique, did in prose. In describing the stifling minutiae that had defined women’s lives for generations, both argued persuasively that women’s disenfranchisement at the hands of men must end.”

Barbara Gelpi, a professor emeritus of English and women’s studies at Stanford University, remarked, “Adrienne Rich was a voice for the feminist movement when it was just starting and didn’t have a voice. She expressed the sources of women’s pain when women were coming to a sense of their own history and potential.”

Rich received a bachelor’s degree in English at Radcliffe College, Harvard in 1951 and taught at Columbia, Brandeis, Rutgers, Cornell and Stanford over the course of her career. She was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1994 and a National Book Award in 1974 for her collection of poetry, Diving Into the Wreck.

New York Times 3/28/12; Los Angeles Times 3/28/12

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Defunding State Commissions on Women

Keeping track, internationally of court cases/women

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