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Shirley Chisholm and Courage

by Barbara Winslow

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (1924-2005) wanted to be know as “a catalyst for change.” She should be known as a catalyst for courage.

In 1968, Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to Congress and in 1972, the first African American to run for the presidency of the U.S. on a major party platform. Just think: In 1972, someone who looked like her dared to demand entrance into the all-white all boys club called the presidency of the United States. She did the unthinkable. It took another 38 years for her audacity of hope and courage to be realized.

Born of immigrant parents on November 25, 1924 in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant …


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Shirley Chisholm and Courage
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Holding the Line: Defending Feminist Values in Immigration Enforcement

by Meghan Rhoad

As a feminist and as an American working on immigration policy, I have a clear line in the sand when it comes to the treatment of women who immigrate to this country: “defending our borders” should not be at the expense of defending our values. But when I interviewed women in immigration detention facilities all over the country last year and heard their stories of neglect and abuse, it became clear to me that this line has been crossed.

Immigration detention is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in the United States, and women represent roughly 10 percent of the burgeoning detention population. In 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal law …


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Holding the Line: Defending Feminist Values in Immigration Enforcement
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Telemedicine’s Abortion Pill Dispatches Relief for Women

by Diana Whitten

Last June women throughout Quito, Ecuador looked up at the iconic statue of the Virgin Mary at El Panecillo, visible from every corner of the valley, to see a stark banner hanging from her skirts. It said: “Safe Abortion” followed by a cell phone number. The hotline was organized by local young activists, in collaboration with the Dutch organization Women on Waves, as a resource for women who sought a safe termination to an unwanted pregnancy in a country that outlawed the procedure. In the first two hours of its existence, the hotline received 79 calls.

As in much of the world where abortion is illegal, Ecuadorian …


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Telemedicine’s Abortion Pill Dispatches Relief for Women
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My Body, My Story: In Memory of Dr. Tiller

by Judy Gumbo Albert

I am one of the 45 million American women who's had an abortion.  But I wouldn't criticize any woman for dealing with her unintended pregnancy differently than I did. It is, after all, your choice.
 
In the spring of 1972 I was young, single, and a leader of the Yippies, a theatrical anti-war protest group. I'd come to San Diego to organize protests at an upcoming Republican National Convention. There I met Reverend M., a former Benedictine monk and ordained priest who had recently left his vows behind. After all those celibate years, he was also pretty horny. I found him attractive; it was easy to begin a casual affair.
 
One morning, I woke up feeling …


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My Body, My Story: In Memory of Dr. Tiller

Taking Multimedia Action to Stop HIV-AIDS in Youth

by Simon Fisher

The need for a youth-focused and culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS educational platform is urgent. Despite growing infection rates, youth-centered prevention information created in an accessible, frank and affirming manner is lacking.  In 2006, over one-third of new HIV cases in the U.S. were recorded in young people aged 13-29.  In 2005, African-Americans and Latinos accounted for 84 percent of all new HIV infections among 13 to 19-year olds in the U.S., even though together they represent nationally only 32 percent of this age group.
 
Young people experience many barriers to HIV testing and, compared to …


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Taking Multimedia Action to Stop HIV-AIDS in Youth
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Peggy M. Shepard: Setting the Bar for Environmental Justice

by Molly M. Ginty

One progressive "line in the sand" is the conviction that all people are entitled to clean air, clean water, and healthy, unpolluted space in which to live, work, study and grow. But when it comes to people of color—particularly those in urban environments—that line has been crossed one time too many.
 
Enter Peggy M. Shepard, founder and executive director of West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), which has battled since 1988 to create environmental justice for New York City's urban poor.
 
"When WE ACT was formed, 300 delegates met to anchor our values and vision," says Shepard, a former journalist whose …


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Peggy M. Shepard: Setting the Bar for Environmental Justice

Listen to Iraqi Women

by Yifat Susskind

Human rights, feminism, literature and science are all aspects of our common human heritage. Women in the Middle East have a centuries-long history of political struggle, popular organizing, jurisprudence and scholarship aimed at securing rights within their societies.  Those rights have been virtually eradicated by the reactionary forces that the U.S. has brought to power in Iraq. 
 
Right–wing intellectuals like to talk about a "clash of civilizations" dividing the United States from the Middle East. But the real clash is not between "Western" democracies and "Eastern" theocracies; it is between those …


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Listen to Iraqi Women

Students Draw the Line on Sexual Violence

by Stephanie Gilmore

"Sexual violence is a problem on this campus!"
 
"Your silence will not protect you!"
 
"What do we want? Safety! When do we want it? Now!"

 
On the limestone steps of Old West, outside the admissions building where campus tours for new students and their parents begin and end, and in front of the Board of Trustees, hundreds of students shouted these chants throughout the day on April 24, 2009 at a protest against sexual assault and rape at Dickinson College, a selective liberal arts college in Carlisle, PA. This campus is not known historically as a hotbed of …


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Students Draw the Line on Sexual Violence

Poem Honoring Slain Abortion Doctor - Again

by Judith Arcana

Obstetrician Murdered by Terrorist in Amherst, New York
by Judith Arcana

 
This poem, written for Barnett Slepian
is here dedicated, in memoriam
and with gratitude, to George Tiller

 

The doctor went into the kitchen
where if you can't stand the heat
you don't stand by the window
and he stood there, he came in
to maybe drink a glass of water,
and there was a window in the kitchen
with no blinds, no shade, no curtains
closed in front of the doctor
while he drank his glass of water
while the man outside pulled the trigger.
 
In the newspaper, on …


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Poem Honoring Slain Abortion Doctor - Again

Repeal Hyde: Even Republicans Know It's Wrong to Politick With Women's Lives

by Loretta J. Ross

I believe President Obama should show strong leadership in repealing the Hyde Amendment that prohibits public funding for abortions for poor women. This would send a strong signal of support to his allies in the reproductive justice movement and we need his leadership on this issue.
 
In fact, if President Obama helps repeal Hyde, he is merely following in the footsteps of Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, both of whom showed strong support for family planning at one point.
 
In May 2009 in hyping a

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Repeal Hyde: Even Republicans Know It's Wrong to Politick With Women's Lives

New Yorkers Need to Upgrade Abortion Laws

by Galen Sherwin

Laurel Simons, (not her real name) who lives in a small town in Western New York, was pregnant with her first child when she got the call that every pregnant woman dreads: routine testing revealed a serious problem. The fetus had a genetic anomaly, Trisomy 18, which has an extremely low survival rate. Only five percent of fetuses with this condition reach full term, and half of those don't survive past two months.

Faced with such terrible odds, Laurel made the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy. But for her, it was too late --New York's law contains a criminal ban on abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, and Laurel was just 24 weeks pregnant. Although the federal …


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New Yorkers Need to Upgrade Abortion Laws

Lessons from Redstockings: A Movement Goes for What It Wants

by Adrien Hilton

Almost 40 years ago, the New York radical feminist group Redstockings pledged in its manifesto: "This time we are going all the way." Redstockings, still ongoing, now pledges "for as long as it takes" and to engage "generations teaching generations."
 
As part of a newer generation of feminists, I got involved in organizing the Redstockings Women's Liberation Archives for Action to help contemporary activists learn from

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Lessons from Redstockings: A Movement Goes for What It Wants

Put Self-Objectification Under Wraps

by Lu Bailey

I am saddened by today's pop-culture version of feminism, and especially by the number of women who have embraced a new definition of feminism. Instead of seeing feminism as ensuring that all females have the right and opportunity to exercise their human capacity, many subscribe to the notion that being a free woman in today's culture gives a woman the right to disrobe at will -- as long as a man didn't make her do it.

I recently had a discussion with a well-educated, professional woman who identifies with the feminist agenda. She told me that it's time for women to take control of their own bodies and benefit from their sexuality. When I asked her to clarify the phrase …


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Put Self-Objectification Under Wraps
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The Plight of Pregnancy: Maternal Mortality in Developing Nations

by Sarah Hackley

Instead of a time of hope, pregnancy too often means death for women in developing countries. In September of 2008, UNICEF reported that one in 76 women in developing nations die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. In sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, the statistics are simply staggering; women in Niger die at the astonishing rate of one in seven. Throughout the world, at least one woman dies from pregnancy related complications every minute.

Maternal mortality is largely preventable. In industrialized nations, like the …


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The Plight of Pregnancy: Maternal Mortality in Developing Nations

Articles of Interest from our Archives - Lines in the Sand

by Mary Lou Greenberg

“Lines in the Sand” can be either personal or political -- or most often, both. Both frequently involve activism and personal sacrifice arising out of political commitment, and the print edition of On The Issues Magazine (1983-1999) carried many articles highlighting the need for such stands as well as profiles of women who have taken them. We’ve highlighted a few below.

Our lead archival piece by On the Issues Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman, Thelma and Louise Live poses challenges for how women live their lives today, just as it did when first published in Winter …


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Articles of Interest from our Archives - Lines in the Sand

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