NOW Launches National Action Campaign

With women’s rights facing more severe threats than we have seen in decades, NOW is fighting back. We are standing up for the rights and well being of all women, in all our diversity and in all communities. We are showing up for our allies in Muslim communities, in immigrant communities, in LGBTQIA communities. We have a message for Donald Trump and every politician enabling his white male supremacist agenda: We are leading societal change and promoting feminist ideals — and you need to get out of our way.

I am thrilled to let you know that today we are launching NOW’s expanded National Action Program. This program encompasses five action campaigns that not only defend the gains we have made, but also work pro-actively to achieve real equality for women and girls.

  • Our campaign to Mobilize for Reproductive Justice will work to defeat Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and we will fight to defeat Trump’s Alternative Health Care Act (Trumpcare), which would defund Planned Parenthood, drastically cut maternity care coverage, and imperil access to birth control. We will also promote pro-active bills like the EACH Woman Act to guarantee full coverage of abortion care in all plans including Medicaid–thus permanently repealing the Hyde Amendment–and the Women’s Health Protection Act to stop states from using deceptive legislation to shutter abortion clinics.
  • Through our campaign to End the Sex Abuse to Prison Pipeline, we will urge the Title IX coordinators in middle and high schools around the country to ensure that students who are survivors of sexual assault receive the wraparound services they need in order to stay in school, recover from their trauma, and thrive. Survivors in far too many public schools, especially girls of color and LGBTQIA students, face penalties, punishment, and school pushout instead of the trauma-informed services they need.
  • Our campaign to Advance Voting Rights recognizes and responds to the impacts on women in communities targeted by right-wing voter suppression schemes. We will work with our allies in the civil and human rights communities to overturn measures like racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and voter purges. And we will work with our civic engagement allies to encourage women of color not only to vote, but also to run for public office and for leadership roles in their political parties.
  • Our renewed campaign to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment includes working for ratification of the 1972 ERA by three more states (to meet the constitutional requirement that three-fourths of the states ratify a proposed amendment), as well as supporting a start-over strategy for a new ERA, and engaging younger women and girls in the struggle for women’s constitutional equality. In this effort, NOW is committed to an inclusive and intersectional ERA interpretation that includes equitable access to all aspects of reproductive health care, and centers marginalized people including LGBTQIA individuals, immigrants, women of color, and women with disabilities.
  • Finally, our campaign to Protect Immigrant Rights will work with our allies in the immigrant rights community to oppose Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban and to stop the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s abusive raids, detentions, and deportations that tear families apart. We will in particular work to keep restaurant workers safe from abusive enforcement tactics, knowing that the restaurant industry employs over one million undocumented workers, second only to the construction industry.

NOW’s national action program will propose concrete actions our local chapters, state organizations, members and activists can take, as well as anyone in the general public interested in addressing such issues, along with resources and platforms for engagement. The program will also grow and evolve as we respond in very real-time to the harmful and discriminatory actions of Donald Trump’s administration.

As NOW members and leaders, your role is central to our success. The tools created by the NA Program are intended to be helpful for you as you engage your communities, and your representatives, both locally and nationally. We want to hear from you: your successes, your challenges. How can we better support and equip you to do this important work? This program will strive to increase engagement at all levels of NOW–from the local to the national–and to build unity among our thousands of dedicated grassroots activists across the country.

This is undeniably a challenging time for all of us. But we have been so inspired by the millions of people who have already stood up and committed themselves to resistance just in the last few months. Let’s build on this momentum and make sure this current administration knows we are here, we are watching them, and we are prepared to take the necessary action to defend our rights–and especially the rights of the most marginalized across this country.

VoteERA.org accepted as formal partner of March on Washington – we will be available real time during the march!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
VoteERA.org, the non-profit organization that drafted Measure 89, a ballot initiative to amend the Oregon Constitution with the Equal Rights Amendment, (an amendment to protect women against sex discrimination) and which passed in a landslide victory, has been accepted as a formal partner for the Women’s March on Washington, DC. on January 21, 2017.
VoteERA.org will have board members and supporters marching in Portland and Newport and in Washington, DC to support women’s equality at the federal level with the hope of bringing attention to the century long battle to pass the federal Equal Rights Amendment.
Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo, Founder and President of VoteERA.org said, “the march on Washington is not a partisan issue; rather it is an outcry for all people to rise up and to remember  we are a country full of diverse people who should all be respected. The march empowers us to come together to refuse to be silenced and to protect our democracy.”
We encourage everyone who can march to do so and here is the link to learn more at https://www.womensmarch.com.
TO CONTACT US REAL TIME DURING THE MARCH:
If you are interested in our perspectives from the march in Washington, DC, contact Leanne real time during the march from 10 am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time – (7am to 2 pm PCT – Oregon time) at 503-701-7122.
POST MARCH OBSERVATIONS:
Contact us if you would like to have some of our observations, photos and video from the various marches we attend.

ISSUE ADVISORY: Legislative Fact Sheets for the 114th Congress (2015-2016)

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN

Table of Contents


 

Introduction…………………………………..…………………………………………….3

Reproductive Rights and Justice
(H.R. 2972) EACH Woman Act of 2015…………………………………..………………….4
(H.R. 448/S. 217) Women’s Health Protection Act of 2015…………………….….…………..5
(H.R. 4055) Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015……………6
(H.R. 36/S. 1553) Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (NOW Opposes) …….………..7

Economic Justice
(H.R. 1619/S. 862) Paycheck Fairness Act………..……………………………………………8
(H.R. 3377/S. 2721) Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2015……………………………9
(H.R. 1439/S. 786) Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act……………………………….10
(H.R. 2654/S. 1512) Pregnant Workers Fairness Act………………………………………..11

LGBTQIA Rights
(H.R. 3185/S. 1858) Equality Act………………….…………………………………..……12

Constitutional Equality
(H.J.Res. 51/S.J.Res 15) Equal Rights Amendment…………………………………………13

Lobbying Action Plan ……………………………………………………………………14

 

*H.R. stands for House of Representatives
*S. stands for Senate

NOW logo_176x171 Introduction


 

Overview – This packet includes ten fact sheets about federal legislation that is important to NOW because they would have a significant impact on women’s lives. The sheets contain bill numbers, similar or identical bills in each the House and Senate, a description, where the bills are in the legislative process, and their importance for women and their families. These fact sheets were updated March 24, 2016. More detailed information can be found here.

The Legislation – The fact sheets are organized into four categories: Reproductive Rights and Justice, Economic Justice, LGBTQIA Rights, and Constitutional Equality. NOW supports each of these bills except for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – which should be defeated. Some of these bills may not make not make it to a vote this Congress (114th), but it is important that your members of Congress are made aware that NOW activists want to see most of these bills adopted. The next Congress, beginning in January, 2017, may be more supportive of these bills.

To build support for our legislation, it is critically important that more feminists are elected to Congress. You can do your part in helping feminist women and men get elected this season. NOW’s PAC page contains an ongoing list of our endorsed candidates, and it will be a great boost to have a feminist woman president!

Lobbying Action Plan – A guide has been included at the end of these fact sheets to help create an action plan that works best for you. NOW encourages all its members and supporters to learn about these bills and take action to contact your two senators and representative asking them to co-sponsor the bills, take a leadership role in getting them passed, and/or to vote in support.

Your senators and representative will be in the district during this election season, presenting a great opportunity for NOW activists to lobby them. Please take these one-pagers with you when you meet with representatives or call their offices. Congress will be in session far fewer days this election year, so advocates need to pressure them to take up these important bills. If direct lobbying is not possible, NOW encourages activists to write letters or call their representatives citing information in these fact sheets. Including a personal story or information about how the bill would affect you or someone you know can be very effective.

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 2972) Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2015

Summary: The EACH Woman Act ensures affordable abortion coverage and care for women (in effect, repealing the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal funds being used to provide abortion care).

What it does: 

  • Requires the federal government to ensure coverage for abortion care in public health insurance programs (Medicare, Medicaid), as well as the federal government as an employer and provider
  • The federal government is prohibited from interfering with state or local governments’ insurance coverage of abortion care on by private health insurance plans
  • State, local governments are prohibited from interfering with abortion care coverage care by private health plans
  • Expresses the interests of Congress as serving to be the model for insurance coverage for abortion care, and that restrictions on coverage of abortion care in private insurance markets should end

Where the bill is:
Where the bill is1
     July 8 2015

Why it matters:
Public-Coverage-for-Abortion
Private-Coverage-for-Abortion

Sources:
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/16/3/gpr160302.html
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2972/text

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 448/S. 217) Women’s Health Protection Act of 2015

Summary: This act counters many common TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) and prohibits any government from imposing them on abortion providers.

What it does:
Prohibits the following:

  • The requirement that a medical professional perform specific tests or medical procedures, or that a woman must make in-person visits to receive counseling prior to obtaining an abortion
  • Limitations on an abortion providers’ ability to prescribe drugs via telemedicine
  • Requirements regarding physicality of abortion locations, equipment, medical training, staffing, hospital privileges, or status of the doctor, facility, or equipment
  • Any prohibitions prior to fetal viability and after fetal viability when the mother’s health is at risk
  • Any restriction on a woman obtaining an abortion based on a woman’s reason or perceived reason that requires her to state her reason before obtaining an abortion

Where the bill is:
Where the bill is1
January 21 2015

Why it matters:
Number-of-abortion-restrictions-by-state-and-category-of-restriction

This is a great tool produced by Remapping Debate. It allows you to click on your state and see what restrictions are in place, how many, and how your state compares to others.

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/217/all-info
http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_OAL.pdf
http://www.remappingdebate.org/map-data-tool/growing-set-state-abortion-restrictions-visualized

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 4055) Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015

Summary: The bill seeks to amend Title IV of the Social Security Act to address the increased burden that maintaining the health and hygiene of infants and toddlers places on families in need who often cannot afford diapers, which results in adverse health effects on children and families. There are limited child care options available for infants and toddlers who lack sufficient diapers, a need which often prevents their parents and guardians from entering the workforce.

What it does:

  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants to states to help families address the diapering supply needs of eligible children
  • Amends the Title XI of the Social Security Act to exempt diaper benefits from the territorial payment ceiling

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1
November 18 2015

Why it matters:

What is diaper need

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4055
http://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/what-is-diaper-need/diaper-facts/

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 36/S. 1533) Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 

Summary: This act seeks to ban abortion after 20 weeks except in the case of incest and rape (only after counseling, a two day waiting period, parental consent if the person is a minor, a police investigation, and it has been filed on person’s and doctor’s record), or due to an injury excluding psychological or emotional damage. This legislation could come up soon in the Senate and we want to make sure it does not pass!

What it does:

  • Bans any abortion after 20 weeks with three exceptions:
    • Rape or Incest—survivor must obtain counseling, wait two days, receive parental consent, report to the police, and keep on record
    • Injury—excludes psychological or emotional injuries, and similar process must occur
  • Pseudo-science has been used to claim that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks—this has been proven false by numerous studies
  • 20 week and later abortions are usually due to vital circumstances: the health of the mother may be in danger, fetal anomalies that could lead to the death of the fetus and the mother, or delivering could ruin a woman’s chance of giving birth in the future
  • Every pregnancy is different and blanket bans do not support women’s health

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is2

January 26 2015       May 13 2015    September 22 2015, Failed Cloture

Why it matters:

20 week abortion bans, state by state

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/36
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=201429
http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/media/fact-sheets/abortion-bans-at-20-weeks.pdf

Congress Rejected A 20-Week Abortion Ban, But These States Didn’t

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 1619/S. 862) Paycheck Fairness Act

Summary: The Paycheck Fairness Act amends the 1963 Equal Pay Act by revising remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.

What it does:

  • Employers must prove wage differentials stem from factors other than sex; employer’s defense of wage differentials can only be from one of the following: education, training, or experience
  • Improves remedies for victims and provides educational measures to prevent discrimination from occurring while increasing penalties to equal pay violators
  • Prohibits retaliation against workers for asking about wage practices or disclosing their own wage
  • Directs certain federal agencies to collect data disaggregated by sex, race and national origin of employees for use in enforcement and requires public disclosure of compensation discrimination
  • Authorizes the use of grant money for training procedures to encourage negotiation skills for women, to conduct research on pay data to provide to employers, labor organizations, and the general public, and to aid small businesses in complying with regulations

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1

March 25 2015

Why it matters:                                                         

Earnings ratio, by Race-Ethenicity, 2013

Sources:
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1619

By the Numbers: A Look at the Gender Pay Gap

https://www.aclu.org/equal-pay-equal-work-pass-paycheck-fairness-act
http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-the-senate-pass-the-paycheck-fairness-act/paycheck-fairness-act-will-hurt-women

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 3377/S. 2721) Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2015

 Summary: This act seeks to amend Title II of the Social Security Act to credit prospective individuals serving as caregivers of dependent relatives with deemed wages for up to five years of such service. Many workers — mainly women – leave the paid workforce to care for loved ones which lowers their Social Security benefits. The bill would create a credit that can be collected as a retirement benefit.

What it does:

  • Amends Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act with in determining entitlement to and the amount of any monthly benefit, including any lump-sum death payment, payable under OASDI on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of any individual
  • Deems such an individual to have been paid a wage (according to a specified formula) during each month during which the individual was engaged for at least 80 hours in providing care to a dependent relative without monetary compensation for up to five years of service
  • Makes this act inapplicable in the case of any monthly benefit or lump-sum death payment if a larger benefit or payment would be payable without its application

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1

July 29 2015

Why it matters:

 

US Caregivers in 2009

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3377/titles
http://now.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Background-on-Rep.-Nita-Loweys-Social-Security-Caregiver-Credit-Act.pdf
http://www.aarp.org/research/topics/care/info-2014/caregiving_09.html

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 1439/S. 786) Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act

 Summary: The FAMILY Act seeks to provide paid and family medical leave benefits to certain individuals.

 What it does:

  • Provides workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health condition, the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner, the birth or adoption of a child, and/or for military caregiving and leave purposes
  • Enables workers to earn 66% of their monthly wages, up to a capped amount
  • Cover workers in all companies, no matter their size—younger, part-time, lower-wage and contingent workers are eligible for benefits
  • The act would be funded by small employee and employer payroll contributions of two-tenths of one percent each (two cents per $10 in wages), or about $1.50 per week for a typical worker

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1

March 18 2015

Why it matters:

Mapping paid maternity leave1Mapping paid maternity leave2

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/786
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/paid-leave/family-act-fact-sheet.pdf

U.S. Paid Family Leave Versus The Rest Of The World, In 2 Disturbing Charts

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 2654/S. 1512) Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Summary: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act seeks to eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant workers or workers who have a medical issue due to pregnancy.

 What it does:

  • Clarifies reasonable accommodations needed for pregnant women
  • Requires a process between employers and employees to discuss such accommodations (similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Protects against retaliation, coercion, or intimidation if an employee requests or uses an accommodation
  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and applies to current employees and job applicants
  • Protects against employers forcing paid/unpaid leave if another accommodation is available
  • Promotes healthy pregnancies and builds upon the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 which did not include the need for accommodations

Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1

June 4 2015

Why it matters:

Women today more likely to work while pregnant More women are working further into pregnancy

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1512
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/pregnancy-discrimination/fact-sheet-pwfa.pdf

Working while pregnant is much more common than it used to be

NOW logo_176x171 (H.R. 3185/S. 1858) Equality Act

Summary: The Equality Act seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. It amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.

What it does:

  • Expands and alters existing definitions of words such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expands the category of public accommodation
  • Prohibits programs receiving federal funding from denying benefits or discriminating against persons based on new criteria
  • Requires protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin to include protections against discrimination based on an association with:
    • another person who is a member of such a protected class or
    • a perception, even if inaccurate, that an individual is a member of such a protected class
  • Prohibits the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 from providing a claim, defense, or basis for challenging such protections
  • Amends the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and jury selection standards to add sexual orientation and gender identity as classes protected against discrimination under such laws

 Where the bill is:

Where the bill is1

July 23 2015

Why it matters:           

Summary of state developments in 2015

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1858/titles
http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/assets/resources/SEI-2015-FullReport.pd
http://mic.com/articles/121369/marriage-equality-is-great-but-jobs-are-even-better#.S6qzRoJr

NOW logo_176x171 (H.J.Res. 51/S.J.Res 15) A Joint Resolution Removing the Deadline for the Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Summary: This resolution seeks to remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Adoption of this joint resolution by a simple majority (51%) in Congress would mean that if three more states were to ratify the ERA, then it would become part of the U.S. Constitution. The ERA, first introduced in 1923, was passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification by 1979. By 1977, the amendment’s ratification fell short of the required three-fourths of the states. An extension until June 30, 1982 was granted by Congress, but the effort fell three states short. The ‘three-state strategy’ is based on expert legal analysis that the amendment remains legally viable because Article V of the Constitution is silent as to the power of Congress to impose time limits. Also, Article V does not allow states to rescind a prior ratification.

What it does: 

  • Eliminates the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Adds the amendment to the Constitution whenever ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures

Why we need it:

  • The Constitution does not state that the rights it protects are held equally without regard to sex
  • The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment does not explicitly protect against sex discrimination
  • Sex discrimination should be held to a strict scrutiny standard by the courts, like race discrimination
  • The ERA would be a strong legal defense against the countless attacks on women’s rights passed in recent decades

Where the resolution is:

Where the bill is1

              May 13 2015

Ratified ERA

Sources:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-joint-resolution/51
http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/images/map_ratified.gif

NOW logo_176x171 Lobbying Action Plan

  1. Find Out Who Your Representative and Senators Are. If you do not know who are the members of your Congressional delegation, go to this website and enter your street address in the interactive window. Your two U.S. senators and one U.S. representative will be identified. You can then go to the senators’ or representative’s official website to find out more about the member and to learn where their state or in-district offices are located, usually by clicking on “Contact.” If you can’t find the listing of the in-district or in-state offices, call the member’s Washington, D.C. office. The main switchboard at the U.S. Capitol is 202-224-3121; just ask for your member’s office by name. A listing of senators can be found here and for your representative,here.
  2. Find Their Schedules. When will they be in your home district? When are they in session in Washington? Clickhere for the House session schedule and here for the Senate schedule. Each member has at least one and often several offices in their home district as well as an office on Capitol Hill.
  3. Select Your Member. Choose which member(s) of your Congressional delegation you would like to speak with and which office location is most convenient for your visit.
  4. Select Legislation. Choose one or even several bills that you and your group want to discuss and take copies of those bills with you. Check to see if your representative is already a co-sponsor, view their sponsorship or voting history on similar issues, and look up counter arguments in preparation. Determine where the bill is in the legislative process. Here is a link to a helpful overview of the legislative process.
  5. Make an Appointment. Contact that office and schedule an appointment with the representative, senator or their legislative aide. If possible, recruit other NOW members or allies to go with you — this will strengthen your request and presentation. Each member has a website that will list their office locations and contact information. Click here for Congress’s website with interactive windows to find members’ websites.
  6. Research. Research the member’s committee assignments (do they relate to your bill topic?) and the bills she/he has sponsored or co-sponsored. Being on a committee that would handle the bill means that the member may be able to move the legislation forward. If your bill(s) has not been introduced in the member’s respective body, you could ask them to sponsor it; or, if they are not on the bills being discussed, ask them to co-sponsor. Explain clearly why this legislation is needed. You can also oppose legislation, explaining why and/or recommend changes.
  7. Plan for an “Ask”. Decide ahead of time what your “Ask” will be: sponsorship, take a leadership role in moving the bill out of committee (if they are on a relevant committee), speaking on the House or Senate floor about the importance of this legislation or taking other action in support of the bill(s).
  8. Review. Review these fact sheets closely to understand the main points. If possible, plan to share a personal story about how this bill might affect you or someone you know. Referring to your notes and talking points during your presentation is acceptable. If you can’t answer a question from the member or staff person, just say that you “will have to do some research and get back to them.” Make a note of the question later so you don’t forget.
  9. The Visit. Be sure to appear at the office on time; always be polite and respectful. Make sure that they have your contact information; it may be helpful to include a short letter describing the legislation and your “Ask.”
  10. Report Back to NOW. Tell us about your experience and your representative’s views, and any commitments, questions you need help answering, and/or next steps.Send a summary to govtrel@now.org

Downloadable Resources

Download this resource

International Women’s Day, Rape Test Kits, the Equal Rights Amendment, and Hollywood!

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

By Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo
President and Founder of VoteERA.org (USA)

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

TOPIC: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – MARCH 8, 2016

MY PLEDGE – Will you help me by simply reading my letter?
The opportunity will inevitably present itself for you to speak up about bringing equality to women too.
It is always difficult for me to figure out what to do for Women’s International Day.
My inclination is to explain the need to change every state constitution in America (as we amended our Oregon Constitution with the ERA in November 2014) with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  The federal ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and we are now in our 93rd year still fighting for the day when America’s majority (women) have constitutional equality in the U.S. Constitution which means ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  This has been my lifeline for over a good decade.

 

This year I really have some news.  I was a guest at Patricia Arquette’s dinner with a group of like-minded individuals who work on equality issues.    Among those at dinner were
Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, the CEO of Intel, Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce who Obama referred to in his speech about the need for equal pay, the CEO of Kaiser and of course about 12 of my friends from around the country who work on the ERA while managing their firms and organizations.
Patricia Arquette made this happen along with Kamala Lopez (of the film Equal Means Equal) and it was the most real, authentic, inspiring dinner – it was THE DINNER and Stevie sang.  We are developing a national ERA campaign.

In the last two years I’ve met with almost 60 individuals from 60 different countries to talk about women’s rights, constitutional equality, American politics and the initiative system through the World Affairs Council and their International Visitors Program via the US State Department.  These individuals are members of Parliament and directors of human rights non-profit organizations.   I have met with them in private rooms with interpreters on some occasions and for 2 hours without press to discuss our challenges.  The first group included three women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.   The woman from Pakistan argued that women had equal rights in her constitution and then the woman from Afghanistan said, “America put women’s equality in our constitution.”  One group included eighteen people from many different countries in Africa and there were seventeen men and one woman.  For three hours we sat in a hotel room with the doors shut and shared our challenges working in grassroots politics, high level politics and how to engage citizens. We laughed, some stories left us on the brink of tears, and we gave each other tips and inspiration in how to reach our goals.

The last time I spoke to one of these groups was last Friday, March 4, 2016.  Some of them were from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Palestine and Iraq.  For an hour and a half with the translation ear -piece in my ear I listened and watched them as they tried to explain their difficulties and successes to me.  Like all the groups I met before they asked me throughout our time together, “How can the United States not have women equal in the constitution?”  By the time our visit ended they had learned that the movement for the ERA is in it’s 93rd year, women are still not paid equally, there is still a lack of protection for domestic violence victims, women’s reproductive rights are still an ongoing war against women extending to basic health care, and all the usual stuff.

I’ve never made the subject of rape a part of my lecture.  I have never discussed rape with any of these groups.  Why does this matter?  I’ve missed the greatest opportunity to discuss with them a problem that we share that happens in every town across the globe on a daily basis.

Women are being raped in every country on earth and in fact it is often the weapon of choice in many countries.  War and Rape; Rape and War they go together.

In reality, Forensic Rape Kits going untested is full fledge discrimination against women.  There is always an excuse to discriminate, or a reason.  Rape kits going untested is no different.  There are over 400,000 untested forensic rape kits in this country.   In the state of Oregon alone there are 5,642, in the state of Florida there are over 130,000 and so on.

How do you authorize funding for some evidence from crimes and not others?

The problem is that over 95% of rapes are against women.  This is sex discrimination.

If the Equal Rights Amendment were in the United States Constitution (introduced since 1923 and every year since) every state in the nation that has not funded and processed rape kit evidence is committing sex discrimination.  I could have been discussing this with my friends from around the world and together we could have commiserated about the War on Women and made a pledge to never give up working for women, equality and peace.

Consider this my pledge.  My pledge is to fight for the ERA and take it to the people with your help.  Women being discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens and worse IS the obstacle to world peace.  To Women’s International Day!

***********************

RESEARCH ON RAPE IN OREGON, THE USA, AND AROUND THE WORLD AND UNTESTED RAPE KITS

 “The World’s Biggest Risks: One of the most dangerous places for women in America
New statistics show nearly 1 in 4 women on campuses are sexually assaulted before graduation.
Now 139 US colleges are being investigated. Story by Barbara Booth September 15, 2015
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/22/college-rape-crisis-in-america-under-fire.html

“What’s Being Done To Address The Country’s Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits?” January 17, 2016
http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463358406/whats-being-done-to-address-the-countrys-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits

“The Oregon State Police’s ongoing statewide audit has revealed a total of 5,642 untested kits so far
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of these kits are actually within the last 5 or so years!!!
http://endthebacklog.org/oregon

STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES NOT DOING THEIR JOB

“Why Victims of Rape in Colleges Don’t Report to the Police”
http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/

“Colleges Silence and Fire Faculty Who Speak Out About Rape”
http://jezebel.com/colleges-silence-and-fire-faculty-who-speak-out-about-r-1586169489

“The Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape” – in ASHLAND, OREGON
http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/can-this-police-department-help-end-campus-rape.html

ONE PROBLEM IS: RAPE KITS NOT BEING TESTED

Rape kits untested in Kentucky, destroyed in North Carolina
http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/21/us/kentucky-rape-kits-untested/

“Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/16/untested-rape-kits-evidence-across-usa/29902199/

“Florida reports over 13,000 untested rape kits.”
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/4/florida-reports-backlog-of-13000-rape-kits.html

MORE STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES FAILING TO NOT ONLY PROTECT WOMEN BUT FOLLOW THE RULES…

Independent investigators concluded that high-ranking Missouri officials failed on multiple occasions to report to police or campus Title IX compliance their knowledge of rape allegations involving football players. The president of the University of Missouri’s system contacted the parents of the victim, who had previously committed suicide. Missouri utterly failed this woman. Written by Sports Writer Jon Solomon, National College Football
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25473202/open-letter-to-ken-starr-stop-stonewalling-about-baylor-rapes

“Another Major College Rape Case Has Collapsed”
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/another-major-college-rape-case-has-collapsed/, by Blake Neff, Reporter
“College Case Highlights Emotional Toll For Victims who Sue -A former Virginia Wesleyan College student may have to face her alleges rapist and already had to reveal her entire sexual history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/virginia-wesleyan-rape-lawsuit_us_55ddf19be4b08cd3359e36c7

CNN: “Can we end rape as tool of war?”
http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/about/bgsexualviolence.shtml

The Economist: “War’s Overlooked Victims.  Rape is horrifyingly widespread in conflicts all around the world.”
http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

BBC: “How did rape become a weapon of war?”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/4078677.stm

@VoteERA
(503) 701-7122

TOPIC: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – MARCH 8, 2016

MY PLEDGE – Will you help me by simply reading my letter?
The opportunity will inevitably present itself for you to speak up about bringing equality to women too.

 

It is always difficult for me to figure out what to do for Women’s International Day.

My inclination is to explain the need to change every state constitution in America (as we amended our Oregon Constitution with the ERA in November 2014) with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  The federal ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and we are now in our 93rd year still fighting for the day when America’s majority (women) have constitutional equality in the U.S. Constitution which means ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  This has been my lifeline for over a good decade.

 

This year I really have some news.  I was a guest at Patricia Arquette’s dinner with a group of like-minded individuals who work on equality issues.    Among those at dinner were
Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, the CEO of Intel, Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce who Obama referred to in his speech about the need for equal pay, the CEO of Kaiser and of course about 12 of my friends from around the country who work on the ERA while managing their firms and organizations.
Patricia Arquette made this happen along with Kamala Lopez (of the film Equal Means Equal) and it was the most real, authentic, inspiring dinner – it was THE DINNER and Stevie sang.  We are developing a national ERA campaign.

In the last two years I’ve met with almost 60 individuals from 60 different countries to talk about women’s rights, constitutional equality, American politics and the initiative system through the World Affairs Council and their International Visitors Program via the US State Department.  These individuals are members of Parliament and directors of human rights non-profit organizations.   I have met with them in private rooms with interpreters on some occasions and for 2 hours without press to discuss our challenges.  The first group included three women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.   The woman from Pakistan

argued that women had equal rights in her constitution and then the woman from Afghanistan said, “America put women’s equality in our constitution.”  One group included eighteen people from many different countries in Africa and there were seventeen men and one woman.  For three hours we sat in a hotel room with the doors shut and shared our challenges working in grassroots politics, high level politics and how to engage citizens. We laughed, some stories left us on the brink of tears, and we gave each other tips and inspiration in how to reach our goals.

The last time I spoke to one of these groups was last Friday, March 4, 2016. group I spoke to was last Friday, March 4, 2016.  Some of them were from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Palestine and Iraq.  For an hour and a half with the translation ear -piece in my ear I listened and watched them as they tried to explain their difficulties and successes to me.  Like all the groups I met before they asked me throughout our time together, “How can the United

States not have women equal in the constitution?”  By the time our visit ended they had learned that the movement for the ERA is in it’s 93rd year, women are still not paid equally, there is still a lack of protection for domestic violence victims, women’s reproductive rights are still an ongoing war against women extending to basic health care, and all the usual stuff.

I’ve never made the subject of rape a part of my lecture.  I have never discussed rape with any of these groups.  Why does this matter?  I’ve missed the greatest opportunity to discuss with them a problem that we share that happens in every town across the globe on a daily basis.

Women are being raped in every country on earth and in fact it is often the weapon of choice in many countries.  War and Rape; Rape and War they go together.

In reality, Forensic Rape Kits going untested is full fledge discrimination against women.  There is always an excuse to discriminate, or a reason.  Rape kits going untested is no different.  There are over 400,000 untested forensic rape kits in this country.   In the state of Oregon alone there are 5,642, in the state of Florida there are over 130,000 and so on.

How do you authorize funding for some evidence from crimes and not others?

The problem is that over 95% of rapes are against women.  This is sex discrimination.

If the Equal Rights Amendment were in the United States Constitution (introduced since 1923 and every year since) every state in the nation that has not funded and processed rape kit evidence is committing sex discrimination.  I could have been discussing this with my friends from around the world and together we could have commiserated about the War on Women and made a pledge to never give up working for women, equality and peace.

Consider this my pledge.  My pledge is to fight for the ERA and take it to the people with your help.  Women being discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens and worse IS the obstacle to world peace.  To Women’s International Day!

***********************

RESEARCH ON RAPE IN OREGON, THE USA, AND AROUND THE WORLD AND UNTESTED RAPE KITS

 “The World’s Biggest Risks: One of the most dangerous places for women in America
New statistics show nearly 1 in 4 women on campuses are sexually assaulted before graduation.
Now 139 US colleges are being investigated. Story by Barbara Booth September 15, 2015
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/22/college-rape-crisis-in-america-under-fire.html

“What’s Being Done To Address The Country’s Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits?” January 17, 2016
http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463358406/whats-being-done-to-address-the-countrys-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits

“The Oregon State Police’s ongoing statewide audit has revealed a total of 5,642 untested kits so far
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of these kits are actually within the last 5 or so years!!!
http://endthebacklog.org/oregon

STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES NOT DOING THEIR JOB

“Why Victims of Rape in Colleges Don’t Report to the Police”
http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/

“Colleges Silence and Fire Faculty Who Speak Out About Rape”
http://jezebel.com/colleges-silence-and-fire-faculty-who-speak-out-about-r-1586169489

“The Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape” – in ASHLAND, OREGON
http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/can-this-police-department-help-end-campus-rape.html

ONE PROBLEM IS: RAPE KITS NOT BEING TESTED

Rape kits untested in Kentucky, destroyed in North Carolina
http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/21/us/kentucky-rape-kits-untested/

“Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/16/untested-rape-kits-evidence-across-usa/29902199/

“Florida reports over 13,000 untested rape kits.”
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/4/florida-reports-backlog-of-13000-rape-kits.html

MORE STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES FAILING TO NOT ONLY PROTECT WOMEN BUT FOLLOW THE RULES…

Independent investigators concluded that high-ranking Missouri officials failed on multiple occasions to report to police or campus Title IX compliance their knowledge of rape allegations involving football players. The president of the University of Missouri’s system contacted the parents of the victim, who had previously committed suicide. Missouri utterly failed this woman. Written by Sports Writer Jon Solomon, National College Football
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25473202/open-letter-to-ken-starr-stop-stonewalling-about-baylor-rapes

“Another Major College Rape Case Has Collapsed”
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/another-major-college-rape-case-has-collapsed/, by Blake Neff, Reporter

 

“College Case Highlights Emotional Toll For Victims who Sue -A former Virginia Wesleyan College student may have to face her alleges rapist and already had to reveal her entire sexual history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/virginia-wesleyan-rape-lawsuit_us_55ddf19be4b08cd3359e36c7

CNN: “Can we end rape as tool of war?”
http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/about/bgsexualviolence.shtml

The Economist: “War’s Overlooked Victims.  Rape is horrifyingly widespread in conflicts all around the world.”
http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

BBC: “How did rape become a weapon of war?”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/4078677.stm

Why TPP Is a Feminist Issue

By Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

October 21, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Do you want your tax dollars to go to companies in countries like Brunei, where unmarried women who get pregnant are sent to prison and gays and lesbians are sentenced to death by stoning?

Do you believe the official trade policy of the U.S. should make it easier for corporations to outsource majority-female jobs — not only in low-wage workplaces such as call centers but also better-paying sectors like human resources?

Do you support an agreement that gives pharmaceutical companies a green light to keep lower-cost generic drugs, including HIV/AIDS medication, off the market in developing countries?

Of course you don’t.

These are just a few of the reasons why women are speaking out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would codify these and other horrific policies.

Women like Hillary Clinton.

Although Anderson Cooper called Hillary Clinton’s opposition “political expediency,” and asked, “Will you say anything to get elected?,” I admire her for paying attention to actual facts, and being responsive to actual voters. (Note to pundits: responsiveness to voters is also called democracy.)

As Yale Law Professor David Singh Grewal wrote here last week,

Clinton’s response was cool and collected. She reminded Cooper that the TPP negotiations were only concluded earlier this month, and stated that the negotiated deal “didn’t meet [her] standards.” When she was Secretary of State, she had hoped that the TPP would represent the “gold standard” in new trade deals, as she expressed in a speech in 2012. But as anyone who has studied these trade deals knows, the devil is in the details — and Clinton was not in charge of the final talks that produced the details of the TPP. Now that Clinton knows what was negotiated, she has decided she doesn’t support the agreement. As she explained, “I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle-class American and say, ‘this will help raise your wages.’ And I concluded I could not.”

In an op-ed titled “The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose.”Elizabeth Warren wrote about “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS.

The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.

That tilted playing field should have all of us alarmed. Just to take one example of how it could work: California recently passed a Fair Pay Act which requires employers to affirmatively justify their wage structure if it systematically pays women less than men.  In other words, the law requires equal pay for substantially similar work.  It’s a much stronger way to close the gender and gender-race wage gaps than anything currently in federal law.  It’s great, and it should be a model for all states to implement similar legislation.

However, suppose that the TPP is in place and then Oregon enacts a Fair Pay Act like California’s.  The way this ISDS seems to be set up under the TPP, any multinational corporation could haul the state of Oregon to an international tribunal and demandcompensation for lost profits resulting from Oregon’s new law.  You read that right. A state could be forced to compensate a multinational corporation for complying with the state’s new anti-discrimination law.

What about a state that adopts a state Equal Rights Amendment?  Or a state-level living wage law?  Or a state or municipal ordinance extending its human rights law to transgender people?  Suppose a corporation believes that complying with human rights laws would hurt its bottom line? Under the TPP, if a state’s law would impinge on the profits of a multinational corporation that is thinking about opening a plant or making some other kind of investment in that state, the corporation would be entitled to use this ISDS process to seek compensation.

Or, as Senator Warren put it in her op-ed,

…with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

As this fact sheet explains, TPP is a recipe for disaster for women and LGBT communities.

The TPP would undermine competition from generics by, among numerous other provisions, extending pharmaceutical companies’ patent rights and allowing such companies to extend their monopolies and continue to charge artificially high prices for key drugs.xi High prices mean more lives lost – already AIDS is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age worldwide and discrimination against LGBT communities hampers their access to life-saving medical and health services.

Here’s the key question that Hillary Clinton and others are asking.

What’s the reason to support a trade agreement that rewards governments that put women to death by stoning and jails gay men, lesbians and so-called “adulterers;” forces Americans to compete against workers from extremely low-wage countries; makes it easier for corporations to out-source majority-female jobs and allows foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws designed to protect our health, economic security and fundamental rights?

The answer is simple. There’s no reason to support this TPP. No reason at all.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-oneill/why-tpp-is-a-feminist-iss_b_8331970.html