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April 27, 2012

NYTimes & TIME Magazines Feature NAPW

This weekend, National Advocates for Pregnant Women's work and perspectives are featured in the New York Times Magazine. The story, The Criminalization of Bad Mothers, focuses on pregnant drug using women who are being prosecuted under Alabama's Chemical Endangerment Act - a law intended to punish adults who bring children to environments where illegal drugs are being made.

This break-through story makes clear that there is no middle ground between these sorts of prosecutions and establishing legal principles that would deprive every mother "good or bad" of her fundamental constitutional and human rights, including the right to choose abortion. In the story, Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue admits that prosecutions of pregnant women "could ultimately get the anti-abortion movement where it wants to go."
TIME Magazine reinforces these connections in their story, Drug Addiction, 'Personhood' and the War on Women.


NAPW has long recognized that bringing pro-choice, birthing rights, criminal justice, and drug policy reform movements together could get us where we want to go - guaranteeing that all women, regardless of their circumstances, are treated like human beings and guaranteed access to respectful reproductive health and maternity care. NAPW wants to ensure that pregnant women do not become new fodder for America's massive system of incarceration.

The NYTimes story also stands out for its reliance on real experts who challenge prevailing myths about addiction and the war on drugs. To simplify a complex medical and psychosocial issue into a criminal issue is really just like using a hammer to play the piano, says Dr. Deborah Frank, a pediatrician and director of Boston Medical Center's Grow Clinic for Children.

The story has already garnered more than 600 comments on-line. We know there are compassionate people throughout the country who understand that fundamental rights should not depend on whether someone labels you "good" or "bad." Please make a donation to support NAPW's courageous work defending women and families and please March with us this Saturday, April 28th.

Continue reading our activist update...

April 20, 2012

Time to Take Action - March with NAPW!

Time to Take Action! March with NAPW April 28th and May 1st for Reproductive Justice

Why is this Spring different from other Springs? Why in this season are we marching twice when sometimes we do not march at all? We march twice because the grassroots are rising and it is time to assemble and protest against the attacks on women and for Reproductive Justice.

NAPW has been challenging these attacks and bringing national attention to the fact that those who support abortion re-criminalization also support locking up pregnant women and new mothers. For example, NPR recently covered the arrest of Jennie McCormack for having had an "illegal abortion," and featured NAPW as one of the few groups willing to support her. Alternet featured NAPW's commentary, How the "Pro-Life" Movement Puts Women Behind Bars, and RH Reality Check and the Huffington Post carried our newest commentary, Now It's Clear: "Pro-Life" Means "Pro-Imprisonment." NAPW and the women we are representing in courts across the nation have also been highlighted in several excellent commentaries by feminist satirist and media critic Soraya Chemaly.

But winning cases and calling out injustice in the media will never be enough. Historian Howard Zinn argues that true social change has only come about as a result of mass social movements made up of people like you. If we want to stop the "war on women," we must practice political defiance and stand against the economic policies that undermine Reproductive Justice. This is why we need you to march with us:
• Saturday, April 28. Join NAPW staff to march against the War on Women! NAPW will be meeting at 11:30 under the arch in Washington Square Park. Together with Unite Women New York, we will march to Foley Square where there will be a rally from 1-4pm. NAPW's Executive Director will be a featured speaker at the rally. If you live outside of the NY area you can still participate! Find a march near you by going to this website: http://www.wearewomenmarch.net/
• Tuesday, May 1. Join us again when NAPW will march as part of the May Day Occupy Wall Street mobilization. We are marching because reproductive justice is not possible without economic justice. We will meet at the Strand Bookstore (12th St & 14th Ave), a rallying place for Reproductive Justice activists, at 4 P.M.

Please bring homemade signs. Here are some ideas:
Free the Prisoners of the War on Women, Free Bei Bei Shuai.
There is no Reproductive Justice without Economic Justice.

Pregnant Women are Persons

We look forward to marching with you!

How to Make a Sign People Can See!

Legibility is really important when making signs! How we do it:

LynnSAMSign.jpg

♀ Print out a typed message that’s at least 110 size font. We find 125 to be effective.

♀ Cut out your words and glue them to poster board (should probably be around 14" x 22").

♀ Go over each glued word with tape, because the wind can wreak havoc on signs.

♀ Attach the poster board to a cardboard tube with heavy-duty tape to hold up your sign. (Avoid using sticks to hold up the signs-- police officers have taken to banning them as potential weapons, and it would be unfortunate for something so trivial to get in the way of your important message.)

♀ Staple an identical poster board to the other side so fellow marchers and cameras can see your sign from all sides.

April 5, 2012

SIX THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, RIGHT NOW!!!

1) TAKE TO THE STREETS
Historian Howard Zinn argues that true social change has only come about as a result of mass social movements made up of people like you. This would include people willing to march and protest, to engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to generally make a pest of themselves.

There are grassroots efforts across the country to organize marches on April 28th against the "War on Women." One thing you could do is see if that kind of mobilization is happening in your city/state and help plan it, or at least show up for it.

When an issue comes up that you care about, you could organize a protest -- with creative signs/puppets/street theater. In smaller cities like yours it is possible to get press coverage without necessarily having a huge turn out. For example, fewer than 10 people showed up to protest Bei Bei Shuai’s imprisonment (on murder charges) in an Indianapolis County jail and it still made the news. A few hundred people in Oklahoma -- protesting a slew of anti-abortion laws there -- did a "barefoot and pregnant" demonstration that also got significant attention.

2) SPARE YOUR CHANGE
You don't have to make $100,000 to help organizations doing good work. Advocacy organizations like ours that are devoted to women's rights and trying to actually bring about change (for the better!) are least likely to get significant support from the usual sources. Small donations $5, 10, 20, 25, add up and make a difference. You could also do a house party and invite your friends to donate that much for NAPW or another organization you care about. By the way -- if you did want to do that for NAPW, we could come via "skype" and speak to people in your living room and answer questions. If you are willing to organize a fundraiser or invite NAPW to speak to your school or organization live or via Skype sometime in the upcoming year, please let us know! See also: http://www.soapboxinc.com/speakers/lynn-paltrow/

3) POLITICS LITE, CALL A LEGISLATOR
Many organizations will encourage you to focus your energy on electoral politics and lobbying people already in office. We do not believe that will ever be enough -- but it is part of the effort. Have you called your Congress member and Senator in Washington DC and in your state house? Have you called their local office? Have you asked to meet with them in person to say you are really angry about what is happening? Are you registered to vote? Do you vote? When you meet with your representative can you say I am here and I just got 5 people registered and they listen to me?

4) ONLINE ACTIVISM
There are all kinds of on-line activism available as well. Can you sign this petition for example and spread the word about Bei Bei Shuai- or stand up for women's personhood by signing this petition.
The next time you hear of bad legislation or an elected official or spokesperson equating the individual reproductive health decisions women make with government sponsored genocide -- you can email, call, and email again to say you object.

5) KNOW WHAT’S UP
You can stay informed by checking online reproductive rights news sources including: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/ Check to see if your state’s politicians are introducing bad legislation that threatens women’s rights (e.g., fertilized eggs-as-persons bills, unborn victims of crime bills, personhood measures in disguise). You can organize learning circles with a few friends to read about grassroots activism and attacks on reproductive justice. This is a great source for example to read about reproductive justice and what the country will look like if Roe is overturned. You can Be a "Fan" of NAPW on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter.

6) BE THE EYES, EARS, AND HANDS
You can identify a need and act on it. For example -- if a "pregnancy crisis center" near you is failing to tell women about abortion services, you could make up a flyer and hand it out, outside of the center. This is just an example -- but true grassroots activism is vital and you can be part of that for the rest of your life -- no matter what else you need and love to do.