- March 1 - The National Organization for Women
is declaring a state of emergency to save women's rights to self-determination
and reproductive freedom.
NOW is calling on activists everywhere to take part in a national campaign
which we will kick off with an Emergency Action
for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, April 22.
The Emergency Action for Women's Lives will target the U.S. Senate to
protect our rights and to stop the packing of the U.S.
Supreme Court with anti-abortion rights nominees. The Action will cap
two weeks of in-state lobbying during the Senate's spring break from April
7 through 22. It will include virtual lobbying to inundate Senators with
e-mails when they return to the nation's capital.
NOW is proud to stand with allies who join in the call for this emergency
campaign: the Feminist Majority,
Parenthood Federation of America, the National
Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the National
Black Women's Health Project, Catholics
for a Free Choice, the National Asian
Women's Health Organization, the American
Medical Women's Association and the Center
for Reproductive Law and Policy. All of us feel the same sense of urgency
and the imminence of the dangers and the full extent of the threats to
our rights posed by the Bush administration.
Bush's attacks on women's reproductive freedom, beginning even before
he took the oath of office, have convinced me that, even though he has
tossed aside the campaign promise of "compassionate conservatism," there's
one promise he means to keep. The man who in 1998 declared he would do
everything in his power to restrict abortion now has a great deal more
power to work with and he clearly intends to use it.
of John Ashcroft was a slap in the face of supporters of reproductive
freedom. Ashcroft not only opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest
and danger to a woman's health, but also rejects some of the most popular
and effective forms of birth control.
On his first day at work in the Oval Office, Bush issued an executive
order eliminating international family planning funds to organizations
that offer abortion counseling or lobby their own governments in favor
of abortion rights, putting the lives and health of women around the world
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has indicated he
will revisit the Food
and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone. And anti-abortion
rights forces in the House of Representatives have already introduced a
bill to limit its availability--a bill Bush is sure to sign.
And reporters overheard our new president boasting at a Catholic Charities
luncheon that his so-called faith-based initiatives would advance the anti-abortion
This is just the beginning. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,
who has often been the critical fifth vote in support of legal abortion,
reportedly will retire at the end of this term.
Others may retire soon as well.
The Bush administration is committed to actions and strategies that
limit reproductive freedoms, such as eliminating life-saving stem cell
research, criminalizing abortion providers, reducing availability of birth
control and denying funding for sex education that actually educates students
We do not declare a state of emergency and call this campaign lightly.
We fully appreciate the gravity of placing ourselves on such a high state
of alert and calling on activists to disrupt their lives and set aside
business-as-usual. But we simply refuse to be the generations that both
win and lose the rights to birth control and abortion. We are determined
not to risk a generation of women's lives and opportunities without reproductive
All of us will need to take extraordinary measures in these dangerous
times. This is our opportunity literally to change the course of history
and politics in this country. I know that, fighting together, we are up
to the task.