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From Santa Barbara's Noozhawk:

California Women Lawyers Selects Hannah-Beth Jackson for Fay Stender Award

Santa Barbara attorney and former Assemblywoman will be honored Sept. 15 during State Bar convention

California Women Lawyers will honor former Assemblywoman and Santa Barbara attorney Hannah-Beth Jackson with its prestigious Fay Stender Award on Sept. 15 at its annual dinner and membership meeting during the State Bar convention at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach.

The dinner keynote speaker will be California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who presides over a female majority court.

The annual award is given to a feminist attorney who, like Stender, is committed to the representation of women, disadvantaged groups and unpopular causes, and whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual make her a role model for women attorneys.

Please click through to the article for more.


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The religious right is at it again, with another ballot measure intended to divide Californians and prevent women from making their own choices about their own bodies and lives. This time it is Proposition 4 -- "Sarah's Law" -- the old "parental notification" initiative that bans the termination of a pregnancy in a minor unless their parents are notified 48 hours ahead of time.

The same initiative has been rejected by California voters twice for good reason. Yes, this is the third time in three years. So the state -- We, the People, the taxpayers -- runs the expense of another ballot initiative.

So this time they have named the parental notification initiative "Sarah's Law" after Sarah of the Bible -- a fictitious name being used for a real woman who died in Texas in 1994 from an infection caused by a torn cervix. Prop 4 proponents claim that "Sarah" would have been saved if Prop 4 had been in effect there. Now it turns out that Prop 4 would not have applied. So this new rationale for the previously-rejected law -- that Prop 4 would save the lives of minors, entirely based on one 1994 case -- is false. Obviously helping young women is not the point of this law. Below I will talk about how this will actually endanger their health and lives.

First, though, an Aug. 2 LA Times story explains: 'Sarah's Law' would not have applied to 'Sarah,' acknowledge backers of the abortion-notification measure,

Backers of a ballot measure that would require parents to be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor acknowledged Friday that the 15-year-old on which "Sarah's Law" is based had a child and was in a common-law marriage before she died of complications from an abortion in 1994.

[. . .] Proposition 4 would amend the California constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minors until 48 hours after a physician notifies the minor's parent or legal guardian. State voters have twice rejected similar measures.

At first glance it might seem like a good idea to require minors to notify parents before they can terminate a pregnancy. Unfortunately the reality of people's lives does not always match up with the ideal families of 1960s TV shows. There are very serious reasons that a young woman might not want to tell parents about a pregnancy. These can involve abuse, incest and fear. In these cases requiring parental notification can bring about serious consequences. It can also cause the young woman to turn to unsafe alternatives.

There can even be very bad reasons where the young woman really should tell the parents. But a law like this also endangers a foolish, unwise young woman's health because it can cause her to to to an illegal, unlicensed, unsafe practitioner, or even try something herself. People do not always do the best and wisest thing. Foolish and unwise young people even more so.

History and experience have taught society that having a safe and legal place to turn for help is the best way to protect our young women. When a young woman is pregnant and does not want to be and there are no safe procedures available she might out of desperation turn to unsafe alternatives. When pregnancy termination was illegal it didn't mean women did not terminate pregnancies, it meant they did so at very high risk to their health. Terrible consequences were not uncommon. This is why the right's justification for Sarah's Law, and the false story behind it, is such an abomination. They are trying to take away these safe procedures with false stories that this will protect young women. It is safe and legal procedures that protect women who decide to choose to terminate a pregnancy.


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While blogging on Speak Out California is always fun for me-( although the topics sometimes make my blood boil ), it is quite rewarding when the opposition sees fit to respond in an attempt to neutralize the content of the posting. Mixing it up with those who disagree is what democracy and freedom of speech are all about.

So this time, the push-back comes from the California Catholic Daily. I didn't know such a publication existed, but I do now. The gist of their piece, which directly quotes Speak Out's recent posting, is to challenge Planned Parenthood's claims that it needs to see an increase in the reimbursement rate for its clinical services, which haven't been increased in 20 years. That fact alone should be sufficient to warrant an increase. What can you purchase today at the same price you could 20 years ago?
Not even baseball cards---which went for a dime a pack in the old days or for those who never collected them, think of a candy bar at less than a quarter, or a gallon of gas at less than a buck. So, why should Planned Parenthood, or any health care provider, for that matter, be forced to accept pricing that is 20 years old for services that continue to be a necessity for thousands and at a cost of delivery that only keeps going up?


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Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court's anti-choice, anti-woman ruling last week, the Women's community has shed its polite and considered posture of reviewing the decision carefully to call for a full frontal assault on the hypocrites and religious fanatics now clearly in control of our highest court in the land.

The Bush administration, not content with its former control of Congress, the Executive Branch and the media, has pushed full-speed-ahead at dismantling the last protections of the Bill of Rights and fundamental freedoms our country has fought long and hard to achieve and preserve. It has now successfully packed the U.S. Supreme Court with right-wing judges committed to imposing its political agenda. This is NOT the proper role of the Judiciary. But that has never been of concern to an administration determined to rule rather than govern. This failed ideology has, alas, achieved its goal or at least begun its intended goal of dismantling the hard-fought battles for civil and human rights -- starting first with women.

Many articles are now appearing in well-respected journals and newspapers acknowledging that the Roberts Court is composed of right-wing religious fundamentalists who are imposing their own personal and religious moral standards on the rest of America, under the guise of Constitutional interpretation. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg so eloquently pointed out, this is nothing more than a thinly disguised effort at overturning years of Court precedent to undermine women's reproductive freedoms.

Well, this just won't stand. And to emphasize that, women's groups throughout the country are calling for a day of protest and objection to the five overly-ideologically motivated justices who are trying to co-opt and return our country to the days of back-alley abortions and deaths of thousands of women. They have the power now and they are determined to exercise it. They've ignored the rules of jurisprudence and precedent to do so, but that is of little concern when the goal is to impose its extremist ideology on the entire country--such is the power of the Supreme Court. Their goal is to create a theocracy where religion trumps individual freedoms, where corporate "rights" trump the people's rights and where government abuse trumps the Bill of Rights.

Today, around the country, comes a call to raise our voices yet again for Choice as we recognize and honor the historic March On Washington for Reproductive Freedom of April 25, 2004. That demonstration of determination and freedom saw over 1.2 Million Americans- men, women, children, old and young take to the streets of Washington to affirm a woman's fundamental right to control her own body and reproductive decisions. It was, and continues to this day, to be the largest single march in our nation's history. It obviously fell on deaf ears, but serves as the energy today to replicate that unmistakable call for reproductive choice.

The goal of today's call-to-action is to demand that Congress pass a Freedom of Choice Act to ensure that women throughout the country and have access to legal abortions so that this Supreme Court cannot take this right away, bit-by-bit as it has been doing for years, and now is doing with greater speed and determination. Although we have such a law in California, as Roe v. Wade was codified into California law in the early part of this millenium to prevent against possible erosion of Roe,the country at large needs the same protections that we in California correctly anticipated would be necessary. Given the record of this administration on human and civil rights, and this Supreme Court's recent rulings, there is little doubt that such a measure is critically important.

We can be silent no longer. Today and every day this Administration and its lackeys are allowed to make decisions that will affect our rights and freedoms, we must speak out. Whether we are secure in California with laws that protect our basic rights, federal law always presents a threat and with a court such as the one the Bushies have been able to put together, that threat has never been more real.They will do anything to insert their religious beliefs into the Constitution at the expense of the People. It is now time for the People to speak out loudly and unequivocally. After all, this is OUR country and we simply can't let the failed and corrupt policies of this government take that away from us.

Today is a day of action. Our voices must be heard.It is time again to demonstrate,call our elected officials in Sacramento and Washington and tell them they will only get your support when they protect reproductive rights of America's women. We have been silent and too polite for too long. Act today--and tomorrow, and next week, and as long as necessary to protect our hard-fought gains. Let's make sure the government understands when they do these things, they are not acting in our name.


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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Reproductive Freedom category.

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