Reproductive Justice and New Jersey

This blog will focus on reproductive justice issues in the state of New Jersey, and beyond. The term reproductive justice was coined by women of color, specifically the amazing women from SisterSong. The term is meant to be an expansion of the reproductive rights paradigm which focuses on the issues of birth control and abortion rights.
Reproductive Justice uses the experiences of women of color as the point of entry to discuss issues of reproductive rights and health. This shift in center more clearly puts into focus the ways that the interrelated systems of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation work to limit women's ability to gain and maintain control of their reproductive lives.
The reproductive justice framework facilitates a more nuanced discussion of issues such as access to abortion, health care, birthing, the right to reproductive health, eugenics, population control, and the many reproductive technologies that exist. I have great respect for the women who claimed the term Reproductive Justice and use it with care, especially as a white woman who has worked hard to understand the ways white privilege has affected her life and choices.

I look forward to an open dialogue about important issues in our community, and welcome comments both critical and affirming.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Goodbye Dear Followers

Hello my loyal RJ NJ Supporters... (All seven of you!).

I am writing because I will no longer be maintaining this blog.  I thought picking a focused topic for a blog would  give me a forum to write about a subject I am extremely passionat about, and like a thesis or dissertation, that the more focused the topic, the better the writing and content.  This may be true for my academic and social justice projects ... but right now, I just can't seem to stay focused enough on reproductive justice to write a good blog about it.  I feel too responsible to make sure that every piece of writing is meticulously researched and written, and frankly, lately I have been so busy fighting crazy legislation, I haven't had the energy. Yet, I have now, more than ever, wanted to write - and have much to say.

I will be writing a new blog, Femusings, and you are all welcome to follow me there.  This blog will be more personal, with many more musings, all of a feminist variety. I will tackle issues of economic justice, feminism, reproductive justice, and immigrant rights.  I will feel permission to rant, and to make drastic, perhaps unproven leaps in an effort to tease out my ideas so I can research them fully--later. I will also allow you, dear reader, to get to know me a bit better (how lucky for you, and narcissistic of me!). I will write about my challenges with finding and accepting love, my silly and not so silly insecurities, and my personal dilemmas with living in the real world as a feminist. I will idealy also be able to share with you my lighter, funnier, less political self.

I hope you will join me on this new journey, see you on the other side of RJNJ --- Femusings!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

isterSong Denounces Georgia SB 210, the Tort Abortion Bill

SisterSong Denounces Georgia SB 210, the Tort Abortion Bill
Atlanta, GA- March 17, 2011 - Late last night the Georgia Senate passed SB 210, a tort bill that would allow a woman or her family to sue a physician for wrongful death even if the physician followed all Georgia laws regarding abortion, including having the woman's written consent. The bill passed by a vote of 36-21 with the Democratic Senators staging an impressive defense on behalf of Georgia's women.
If passed SB 210 would do the following: 1) allow a woman or members of her family to sue an abortion provider for damages equal to that of an adult person even if the woman doesn't consent to the suit; 2) is contradictory to Georgia's Tort Reform Laws passed within the last decade; and 3) allows doctors to be sued for 'legal' procedures in Civil Court.

SisterSong and allies worked most of the day to craft amendments and prepare Senators to speak out against the bill. Senators Curt Thompson, Nan Orrock, Jason Carter, Emanuel Jones, and Horacena Tate offered compelling arguments against the bill and four amendments to protect women and doctors.

"This bill would allow anyone to sue Georgia providers for a procedure that a woman consented to under Georgia law. Our opponents are determined to either make abortion illegal at any cost, including putting doctors who already comply with Georgia's onerous laws at a greater risk of being sued by individuals outside of the doctor's care," states Loretta Ross, National Coordinator of SisterSong.

The bill now goes to the Georgia House and will likely be assigned to committee within the next week. "SisterSong will continue to oppose the bill until the end of session because it harms women of color in Georgia who already have limited access to doctors, whether they provide abortions or not. This bill will make doctors fearful to help women most in need of reproductive health services," states Heidi Williamson, National Advocacy Coordinator.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. 
5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).

Developed by Moveon .org
February 19, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Attack Women?

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about WHY this attack on women?  What is underneath the role back to our reproductive rights.

I know it is about not trusting women, and general sexism/paternalism ... but I have this feeling I can't shake that it is something else.

Please, give me your thoughts here.  Why attack women now?

I Have Been Actively Away...

Hello Readers:

I have not written in some time, I apologize. I have been working my little tale off combatting the current war against women.

There is so much to do and be said I just can't believe it.  I will be writing now at least once per week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sample Letter to Congress

Dear Readers,

Here is a sample letter you can send to Congress to oppose the dirge of anti-women legislation currently in the house!

Dear Congressperson:

I am gravely concerned over the attack on women’s health that is occurring in the House of Representatives.

New leadership has proposed completely eliminating all Title X funding and HR 217, which would deny Title X funding to women’s health providers. These funds allow community health centers to provide crucial services like birth control and pap tests and cancer screenings to millions of women and families each year. Without that funding and without those health centers, women and families across the country will no longer receive critical health care.

HR 3 has been introduced and would ban private insurance coverage for abortion for millions of women. It would go so far as to raise taxes for people and small businesses that purchase this coverage with their own money. The true intent of this bill is to end insurance coverage for virtually all abortions, including private insurance that Americans pay for with their own money. HR 3 creates an alarming new definition of what constitutes “federal funding.” The unprecedented step of defining “federal funding” to include tax exemptions or other tax expenditures could threaten a wide array of other activities.

HR 358 Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prohibit federal  funds from being used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that as many as one in four women enrolled in Medicaid who wants to have an abortion is forced to continue her pregnancy because she cannot afford the procedure Because of poverty in the United States, the denial of federal funding affects women of color most heavily. 

United States policy must safeguard a woman's health, regardless of how she receives her health insurance.  Additionally, the idea that these bills will strengthen our economy is misleading. Americans want Congress to create jobs and strengthen our economy, not to argue over new ways to restrict reproductive health. The discussion should be about reproductive health measures that would save money and help our economy, such as fully covering family planning under our new health care laws.

I stand against the continuing resolution to zero out funding for Title X. I stand against HR 217, which would leave women without a trusted place to get important care. I stand against HR 3, which unfairly punishes a woman for carrying comprehensive health insurance and I stand against HR 358 which will disproportionately affect poor women and women of color. Stop bans on abortion coverage --They are misleading, unfair and dangerousWomen’s healthcare, including abortion, must be accessible for all women.



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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Attack on Women

There are a number of legislative bills currently in the house the will gravely affect women's access and right to abortion.  Here are the current issues for advocacy both Nationally and Locally:


Bill HR3
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Christopher (NJ-4).

“No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”
Prohibits the expenditure of funds authorized or appropriated by federal law or funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law for any abortions.

Prohibits federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage the includes coverage of abortion. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)

Does not allow tax benefits for amounts paid or incurred for an abortion, or for a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortions, including any medical deduction for such amounts or any credit for such an employer-sponsored plan.

Until February 3, 2011 the bill had language that said only victims of “forcible rape” could access abortion services with federal dollars.

Kermit Gosnell: Women’s Medical Society

Gosnell charged with multiple counts of murder in the deaths of one woman and seven newborn babies. He ran a clinic with unclean and inhumane conditions, with untrained and unqualified staff. Primarily poor women utilized his services.

This can be tied to restrictions on abortion: “The more restrictive and stigmatized abortion becomes, the more women will suffer the indignities of clinics … The direct result of our abortion policy is that the most vulnerable women will have to risk their health and lives to get what should be a completely safe and common procedure.”
-Carol E. Tracy, Women’s Law Project

New Jersey

Governor Christie Vetoed Women’s Health Bill

(A3273), would have directed the state to apply to the federal government to expand its Medicaid program to include women earning as much as twice the poverty rate -- $29,140 for a family of two -- to provide birth control, cervical exams and other family planning services. Abortions would not be paid with this money, sponsors said.

Governor Christie has also completely eliminated funding for family planning agencies. Last year, this budget line allocated over $7 million for basic reproductive health care services, including:
routine gynecological exams
screening for high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes
breast and cervical cancer screening and education
screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
HIV testing and counseling
pre-pregnancy counseling and education
prenatal care and/or referral
pregnancy testing and confirmation