Sunday, May 21, 6-8 PM: “Forbidden: Too Liberated.” What would happen if society prioritized women’s happiness? Two books and a panel!

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

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Cover of book

Joy of Resistance is proud to offer our listeners the newly-released feminist classic graphic novel: “Our Lady of Birth Control: A Cartoonist’s Encounter with Margaret Sanger”, a 160-page graphic novel by award-winning cartoonist/graphic artist (and activist) Sabrina Jones (for a pledge of $50. to support WBAI and feminist radio at the station). It spans the life and times of the woman who bucked the rigid sexist taboos of her age to start a movement for women to be able to decide for themselves if and when to bear children (we are still fighting for that goal!) Scroll through and enjoy these drawings–there are hundreds more in the book!

We will also be offering Jill Filipovic’s just-out book: The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness (featured in the Sunday NYT Review of Books and the Atlantic. This book stands on it’s head the social constraints of the “self sacrificing woman” and explains how prioritizing women’s pleasure and happiness would make things better for everyone. (4)

And a CD recording of the PEN World Festival event on May 3: The Panel: Forbidden: Too Liberated–4 authors/feminist thinkers talk about sex, women and the “cap” on women’s pleasure.



See below for more illustrations from Sabrina Jones’ Graphic Novel “Our Lady of Birth Control: A Cartoonist’s Encounter with Margaret Sanger”.

Sanger was arrested many times, even exiled from the U.S. (but always came back to continue the fight); she had many lovers, was part of the Greenwich Village cultural rebellion of her era, was a working-class nurse, mother of three and a Labor organizer–a revolutionary in more ways than one.


(above): “The Woman Rebel”, Sanger’s magazine for which she was jailed for sending ‘obscene’ material through the mail


(above): Margaret Sanger, husband Bill come to Greenwich Village to join Emma Goldman, John Reed, Eugene O’Neill and other political rebels & artists

Sabrina Jones’ autobiographical sections of Our Lady of Birth Control show her own journey into activist art in response to the anti-feminist backlash of the Reagan era, from street theater and protest graphics to alternative comics.

These interweaving stories are illustrated in page after page of deliciously rich and beautiful–and often humorous–drawings, accompanying a story which will add to your knowledge of such topics as what, exactly, women DID for birth control before the modern era–and includes some of the theoretical debates of the time–with a careful look at the controversy about Sanger and the Eugenics movement.


(above) Hypothetical debate between Sanger and abortion rights activist today


 (above): activists carry Sabrina Jones’ iconic repro rights graphic, often seen, during the 90’s, at marches and on flyers

The program will feature a live interview with the artist.

Joy of Resistance is proud to offer this newly released graphic novel which includes about 600 drawings of the quality of what you see above–a fascinating journey that you will both enjoy and learn much from (and which is getting great reviews!).

You can pledge during our show by calling (5i6) 620-3602



Thursday, September 10, 9-10 PM: What is behind the latest round of attacks on Planned Parenthood?

On Thursday, September 10 between 9 and 10 PM, Joy of Resistance will answer the question “Who is behind that attacks on Planned Parenthood?” We’ll be speaking with RH realitycheck reporter Teddy Wilson, who has examined the background of those behind the sting operation that started the latest round ot right wing attacks on the nations largest health provider for women. We’ll also speak with Sunsara Taylor, who has been involved in analyzing and fighting the anti-abortion movement over the last 20 years. She recently returned from Mississippi, where she and others spoke with the women of that state about their experiences with abortion.


Planned Parenthood is a 100 year old women’s reproductive health organization, that operates over 700 clinics throughout the country. Only half of those clinics perform abortions: PP also provides pap smears, breast cancer screenings, contraception, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, and more. Last year it provided services to 2-1/2 million people–as well as Sex Education to 1-1/2 million people.. It is often the point of entry to healthcare services for low income people.


Panned Parenthood is currently under attack from every direction. Although the Senate defeated attempts to defund it in early August,  the attacks show no signs of abating. Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee started hearings to investigate PP, even though the videos that started this latest round, two months ago, have been shown to be heavily doctored and therefore not fit to use as evidence–according to Fusion GPS, a professional analyst of videos.

Five states have now voted to defund Planned Parenthood by revoking state Medicaid contracts that finance it. For instance, Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana has shut down Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding by his state. Also in LA, where PP is building a clinic, locals have greatly delayed it by pressuring local construction companies not to work on it. The clinic site has also been outright vandalized a few times. The PP website database has been hacked a number of times recently. And, of course, the rhetoric has been intense (“sale of body parts”, etc). Some state lawmakers have compared Planned Parenthood to “ISIS”, “the Nazis” and “crack dealers”.Ted Cruz has urged ministers to preach against PP from their pulpits.

Cecile Richards has repeatedly stated: “We have followed all guidelines”. Using human tissue in some kinds of necessary research has been done since the 1930’s–leading to advances in polio, rubella and varicella vaccines. Dr. Willie Parker, a doctor. performing abortions, says that often women say to him: “is there any way I can donate this tissue for research?” This research HAS gone to study Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers, Muscular Dystrophy and many kinds of dementia. It used to have bipartisan approval, but now ihas been labeled by the right “an immoral practice”–however, Nancy Reagan broke w/ Republicans to defend stem cell research (which uses human tissue) as her husband dealt with advanced Alzheimers. The New England Journal of Medicine and other medical organizations have issued statements defending Planned Parenthood and saying that it did nothing wrong in terms of medical ethics.

This is all happening in a context in which 84% of clinics performing abortions have been subject to some kind of attacks and more state restrictions were enacted between 2011 and 2013 than in the previous 10 years.

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

Links for this story:

Other stories:

Defunding State Commissions on Women

Keeping track, internationally of court cases/women

FMLA story