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"Marching" Together, Online: Trust Women Week and the Silver Ribbon Campaign

by Gabrielle Korn

January 20, 2012

It's no secret that the United States is in the midst of a War on Women: in 2011, 36 states enacted a record 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But as our reproductive rights are slipping away from us, activists are mobilizing.

During January 20-27, women and allies from around the country will come together to fight back -- online. The Trust Women WEEK/Silver Ribbon Campaign and MoveOn will kick off 2012 with the "National Online March For Trust Women Week, Building Solidarity And Momentum For Reproductive Health, Rights And Justice."

An online march is essentially a super-petition that concentrates attention from a wide variety of groups on a common theme in a short time period. It's a powerful organizing tool because it allows activists to "reach and harness the voice of large numbers of people powerfully and quickly and link them with each other across geographic boundaries,"says Ellen Shaffer, a lead organizer for the Trust Women campaign. Through a site set up by MoveOn, individuals will click in agreement on one of six messages. Individuals will see their locations show up as dots on a map of the U.S. that will be updated in real time. The messages and signatures will go to members of Congress, governors and selected state legislators.

According to Shaffer, the response so far has been "remarkable." The campaign has mobilized a list of over 50 feminist, social justice and health-related partner organizations in support. "Clearly," she says, "people have been looking for a new way to express their support for women's reproductive freedom, rights and justice, and this online march has given them a chance."

The majority of Americans believe that women should have access to basic health care services, and that decisions about reproductive health care, including family planning and abortion, should be left to each person. However, according to the Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, rather than addressing the public's pressing concerns about the economy during 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures focused on eliminating access to basic health care services and contraception as well as abortion, with severe consequences for the most vulnerable.

Shaffer hopes that the online march will be able to reach the majority of the country that disagrees with these actions, but may lack the means to express it. "For example," she says, "in our online work in the past year, we've heard from many people in the South and Midwest where onerous measures targeting women's reproductive health are being forced on people – making them feel that they don't have a voice. By offering a virtual way to link arms, people can find and exercise their voice in the democratic process."

People who join the online march will be able to select from six campaign messages:
I trust women and I vote.
Reproductive rights are human rights.
Keep abortion safe and legal, and make it accessible and affordable.
Stand up and be counted for reproductive justice.
We are the 99%. Fix the economy, and stop the attacks on women's health.
Contraception Is Prevention.

Trust Women Week includes January 22, 2012, the 39th anniversary of the historic Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. Shaffer hopes that throughout the week, as buzz of the action generates around the internet, allies of women's reproductive freedom and justice will be activated and inspired. She says, "This is necessary now because we have learned that the opposition, supported by a well-funded minority, believes that they can continue to wage attacks on women's health that the majority of Americans do not support. We have to change the tide, and we expect to do that in 2012."

To march in Trust Women Week, click here.

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Gabrielle Korn is the Editorial Assistant of On The Issues Magazine. She is an activist and a writer. A former Feminist Press intern, she is currently a coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.

Also see "Occupying the Air: Banners Wave Truths about Abortion & Rights" by Elizabeth Creely in the Cafe of this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

See "Intimate Wars Blog Series: My Abortion Story" by Merle Hoffman in the Cafe of this edition of On The Issues Magazine.


Felix Leo Campos posted: 2012-01-25 13:14:33

I leave my comments freely and openly, as an individual. I also fully understand the slant in this march and the topic in general so, I'm not totally expecting to be viewed objectively. If the line, "Reproductive rights are human rights.", is true is the description "human" inclusive of men as well as women? I am more of the persuasion that reproduction is a necessasity that insures a species' survival on the planet. But, if as humans, we're going to look at reproduction as a right, then the question has to be asked is that an equal right of both men and women. "Keep abortion safe and legal, and make it accessible and affordable.", agreed but, gender role in reproduction shouldn't exclude men from the privilege of becoming parents. I don't believe anyone reading my commments, if it is shared with anyone to read, would prefer the alternative to being given birth to and raised in a single-parent household without prejuidice as to the gender of the single-parent. Which leads me to the follow quote and its equal, unbias interpretation of gender equality, "Stand up and be counted for reproductive justice.". "We are the 99%" I'm not so sure to know who the "we" refers to but, if it is to imply that women have no choices, that would be obviously incorrect. Women do have a choice as do men. Theirs is the choice of using their bodies in the act of unprotected sex but, having that choice doesn't privilege either gender to deny them the privilege of becoming parents. "Fix the economy, and stop the attacks on women's health." Duh to the economy issue and equal privileges & rights to both genders on the second. "Contraception Is Prevention", and not an avoideance. Preventions take place before the act (any act).

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