“I’m All In for Hillary Clinton, My Next President”

This past week was the 20th anniversary of First Lady Hillary Clinton’s historic speech on women’s rights in Bejing.  Every since, we have held this as truth: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.  Hillary’s #Beijing20 speech wasn’t loved by everyone. She took a risk because she knew women needed a voice: WATCH HERE.

Yet, here at home in the U.S., we have to continually fight for our legal rights, like access to abortion, voting rights and equal pay, with as much fervor as we can muster because of the constant attacks in state legislatures and Congress.

I’m sick & tired of constantly fighting for these human rights for ourselves and our daughters, just as our mothers and grandmothers fought for us. 

I want my elected officials to stand up for us, not use us as pawns.  I’m sick of our “issues” being treated as something to barter away (as the Missouri State Senate Democrats did in 2014 with the 72 hour abortion delay bill now as law.)

By the way —did you catch any of the anti-Planned Parenthood hearings today in Congress?  YES, the GOP want to shut down the government until they can defund Planned Parenthood:  28 GOP Men Threaten Govt. Shutdown over Planned Parenthood.  Attacks on women are real and continue.

For reasons below in my Huffington Post article last weekend, I am wholeheartedly endorsing Hillary Clinton to be my next President.

I hope you will join with me.

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I’m All in for Hillary Clinton, My Next President

When I was nine years old, I asked why my older brother got the fun chores like mowing the grass instead of having to do the hated dishes every night like me. I was told he’s a “boy”, like that was supposed to make sense. Then in college, I was repeatedly passed over for leadership positions for the “boy” even though my resume completely outshined any of theirs. I was told that to be happy I needed to focus on my looks and “find a man”. Over and over I learned that being a “girl” was a disadvantage. I was pretty angry.

Fast forward a bunch of decades and I now serve in the Missouri state legislature where women are subjected to continual sexual harassment scandals and policies pushed by the GOP designed to punish and shame women. Pay equity, reproductive justice, keeping domestic abusers from guns and our voting rights are issues we fight for every year, where it’s clear that particularly in Missouri, it remains a liability to be a woman. I am still angry.

I want my next President to fight for me, my daughter and my granddaughters. I want someone smart, worldly and experienced. I want someone who believes that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” is not “playing the gender card” or merely a meme.

I want someone who believes at their core we must stop senseless gun violence, that automatic voter registration and a strengthened Voter Rights Act is urgently needed and the protection of a woman’s access and legal right to birth control and abortion is a must. I want a President who cares and is deeply vested in the quality of women’s lives. I need a President to work in tandem with me for equality and justice in my state, not flagrantly pander to the evangelicals who work against women, families and workers.

If that candidate just happened to be a woman who would be the first woman in history elected to the White House —OMG —that would be like the best cream cheese icing on the biggest chocolate fudge cupcake ever.

courtesy of HIllaryClinton.com

courtesy of HIllaryClinton.com

Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly exceedingly fits my requirements. I want and need her as my next president. There is not another candidate in the field of wanna bees who comes even close.

I’m sick of those in power turning a blind eye to people barely scraping by on minimum and unequal wages and children in certain zip codes sentenced to poverty and subservient education. Hillary Clinton has long been a champion for those families and advocates paid family leave, childcare assistance and equality protections for all, regardless of sexual identity or preference.

She is smarter than the entire field of candidates put together in recognizing that astronomical student debt must be addressed. I want my daughter and her friends to succeed in their fields when they finish their college paths without years and years of college loans to pay back. I want girls and boys to be able to afford their dreams and someday, their own families, regardless of their ethnicity or where they were born. So does Hillary Clinton.

Economic injustice, racial inequalities, ugly attacks against immigrants and violence in our communities is real. I want Hillary Clinton as our next U. S. President to take charge with her vast experience, tenacity and lifelong commitment to these very issues. We have serious problems which require serious policy by a serious leader like herself who has been enormously respected around the world for years.

And ongoing threats of nuclear and national security?   Hillary Clinton has already been on the front lines of international threats as our Secretary of State. She’s been there. Protected us. Faced it. Done it.

But most of all, I want Hillary Clinton in the White House because after repeatedly being told most of her life what girls couldn’t do, like be an astronaut (like NASA told her) or become President of the United States, she “gets” it.

She gets the attitudes, discrimination and even the violence that many of us women experience because of our gender.   Even though she herself faces continual sexist attacks and media/Congressional interrogations based on no evidence, Hillary has consistently proven her entire life that she will fight with every breath to protect the rest of us from injustice, repression and the right to choose if and when we have children.

The media keeps stressing “like-ability”. Really? We’re not electing our next bestie friend but someone who knows how to run the country. I don’t care what her hair looks like or what she’s wearing or if she laughs too joyously. Neither should anyone else.

pablo.1Besides showing my granddaughters and other young girls that the world can be their oyster, the trickle down effect of gender equity will be amazing. By putting the smartest and most capable candidate in the White House who just happens to be a woman, Hillary Clinton’s presidency will foster women leaders in all areas of government, business and the military where they have long been absent. It will also catch us up to those other countries who are light years ahead of us with 22 currently elected female women leaders.

So, I enthusiastically endorse Hillary Clinton to be my next President. I will continue working with all my might to push those vital women voters to show up with me on Election Day 2016. If my efforts require a Wonder Woman attitude or Rosie the Riveter coveralls, I’m all in.

Please join me in destroying that cracked Oval Office glass ceiling for good and declare to women of all ages and the men who love them, that being the fiercest, most experienced and best resume “girl” officially rules.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP ELECT HILLARY CLINTON AS PRESIDENT:   

  1. Join with me in supporting Women for Hillary HERE.

  bitmoji-201509051347152. Encourage your friends and family to do the same (I AM) —-it will take a village to get her elected.

  3. Forward this email to every woman you know with your reasons and repost on Facebook, Twitter.

  4. Create your own Women’s Rights bitmojoi by downloading the app BITMOIJI in the App Store like I did – it’s fun!

  5. Write an op-ed, blog post, letter to the editor and express YOUR thoughts if you support Hillary.

  6. Refer every woman you know to ProgressWoman – on Facebook & Twitter @progresswomenus. Repost, retweet & help make noise.  

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You’ve heard this before – “it’s going to take a village”.  Tired of their nonsense?  You in?
In Solidarity,

THE MISSOURI PLANNED PARENTHOOD WITCH HUNT

courtesy of alternet.org

ATTACK ON MISSOURI PLANNED PARENTHOOD GROWING MEANER & MEANER

All of us women throughout Missouri are “ON THE MENU”, particularly those in rural parts where reproductive healthcare access is dismal to none.

This afternoon Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) who is ALSO running for MO Attorney General in 2016, held the THIRD investigative hearing in the Capitol, focusing on the pathology lab company contracted with St. Louis Parenthood for disposal of body tissues and Columbia Planned Parenthood who just renewed their license to begin medical abortions again.

Listening via livestream, I was most disturbed by his interrogation of University of Missouri Chancellor Bowen Loftin – and his threats of withholding state funds to the university next session (Schaefer is the Budget chair in the Senate).  He also went after the Chancellor because of Mizzou’s tie to the hospital where the physician in Columbia would have admitting privileges, in case of any emergency which could require hospitalization.

I’M ANGRY.  I’M LIVID.  I’D LIKE TO SCREAM A MESS OF INAPPROPRIATE WORDS RIGHT NOW.

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The Missouri Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt

by Missouri State Representative – August 25, 2015

Although this is my birthday week when I should be indulging in relaxation and excess chocolate, I can’t stop thinking about the horrendous seven-hour hearing to “investigate” Planned Parenthood this past week in the Missouri Capitol.

But mostly, I can’t stop thinking about women who would be hurt if the Missouri GOP have their way.

Our legislature during the interim has zero interest in addressing our exploding gun violence, or kids back to school in woefully inadequate schools, or even how to make our male legislators stop sexually harassing women in the Capitol, particularly young interns.

What is deemed most urgent by the Missouri GOP leadership is jumping on the national Crazy Toons bandwagon, joining other red states in launching their own investigation/witch hunt.

Never mind that the undercover sting videos of Planned Parenthood, which sparked these investigations, continue to be proven bogus.

Never mind that officials in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota have spent thousands of state dollars and have concluded there was no evidence of any wrongdoing in their states by Planned Parenthood. Never mind that the Center for Medical Progress, responsible for the videos, is widely known as an anti-abortion group on a mission to annihilate Planned Parenthood.

Never mind that there are no Missouri lawmakers who are obstetricians or, heaven forbid, real gynecologists.

And certainly never mind these facts:

Fact #1 — Per Missouri’s constitution amended by voters in 2006, embryonic stem cell research is legal.

Fact #2 — Planned Parenthood in Missouri along with numerous affiliates throughout the country, do NOT offer patients the option to donate fetal tissue.

Fact #3 — Fetal tissue cell research has produced life-saving medical treatments and vaccines many of us count on.

Fact #4 — Only three percent of Planned Parenthood health services, even in Missouri, involve abortion.

Fact #5 — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have found no violations of fetal tissue laws after the deceptively-edited videos.

The Missouri House hearing was a disaster. No agenda was given to us committee members except for a jumble of abortion statute links. The hearing began with the joint chairs asking what we all wanted to address. It was then that I wanted to stand up and scream.

The first hour and a half consisted of a summary reading of the bogus video transcript, followed by Children and Families Chair Rep. Diane Franklin citing a incredibly long list of abortion statutes. It had to have been hair pulling agonizing for anyone following along online on the House’s live video stream.

GOP Rep. Sue Allen asked that the department directors who would be testifying later if they could be “sworn in” so “we could know they were telling the truth.” Never mind that we legislators never take that oath. Then we broke early for a two and half hour lunch.

So, why were taxpayers funding this circus? Why were we holding a third interim hearing on Planned Parenthood? Just for our per diem and mileage check for the day?

Then my “aha” moment. Our session beginning in January coincides with the 2016 presidential election when we have contested Missouri gubernatorial and attorney general races (many of those candidates currently serve in the legislature). They must find a “women’s” wedge issue to motivate their Tea Party base. Duh.

At 2 p.m. the action resumed. Various state department directors answered questions ranging from surgical center licensing to federal Medicaid Planned Parenthood reimbursements to what happens to aborted fetal tissue after being delivered to private pathology labs.

Questions asked by the committee ranged from, “How do we know anyone is doing their job?” to “How to we know tissue is not being sold?” and to my absolute favorite, “How do we know if pathology labs aren’t selling baby body parts?”

Mentioning “baby body parts” became a favorite sport or an at-home drinking game as my conservative colleagues tried to outdo each other.

Almost every question asked of the directors was found either in the links provided to us or directly online. I know this because I easily found the answers on my laptop during the hearing.

Finally, late in the day, after the chairs tried hard to deny his testimony but I insisted, Dr. Ed Weisbart, who has actually treated pregnant women and delivered babies, spoke. His patience for sitting quietly up to this point should be commended.

He blasted the committee:

“That video … was clearly produced by an organization which was created to produce videos like that. It was done with false identifications, it was based on lies and badly edited to create a message that would then justify having hearings of this nature, and you guys are taking advantage of the material they gave you. There is no evidence that any of those things is going on… This could clearly be defined as a witch hunt or a fishing expedition.”

As you can imagine, the committee did not like an actual physician with medical expertise testifying and were fairly hostile to him. Certainly, not a physician who cares about reproductive healthcare that all women, of every zip code, need and deserve.

To conclude the day, the chairs also allowed two local abortion clinic protestors to testify. Really.

The result of the all day hearing? Before adjourning, the chairs called for yet one more hearing, making a total of four Missouri taxpayer funded Planned Parenthood witch hunts this summer. Stay tuned — maybe there will be more.

This is the Missouri legislature, elected by few voters but making big decisions, spending your tax dollars and treating women like… well, crap.


WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS ANTI-WOMEN NONSENSE:   

1. Email SPEAKER TODD RICHARDSON and ASK WHY ON EARTH IS HE WASTING TAX PAYER MONEY ON THIS WITCH HUNT?  = [email protected]

2. Also email CHAIRWOMAN DIANE FRANKLIN  = [email protected] AND CHAIRMAN ANDREW KOENIG  = [email protected]

3. Then email SENATOR KURT SCHAEFER AND TELL HIM WHAT YOU THINK = [email protected]

4. Forward this email to every woman you know and INSIST they take action too.

5. Demand your Facebook friends do the same (be an activist with YOUR network).

6. Write an op-ed, blog post, letter to the editor and express YOUR outrage that our State Capitol is indulging in political theatre at the expense & risk of women’s access to healthcare.

7. Refer every woman you know to ProgressWoman – on Facebook & Twitter @progresswomenus.  Repost, retweet & help us make noise.

 

Help Fight Missouri GOP Attacks on Planned Parenthood

courtesy of plannedparenthood.org

courtesy of plannedparenthood.org

SO WHAT’S HAPPENING THAT YOU SERIOUSLY NEED TO KNOW?

You know those Planned Parenthood investigations happening across the country because of those bogus videos?

Now the GOP is going after OUR own Planned Parenthood in Missouri – even though we know the severely edited videos are merely political attacks on women’s health and the providers we trust.

GOP lawmakers around the country have called for investigations and hearings, and inquiries have been announced in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, including Missouri.

To date no investigations have uncovered any evidence that Planned Parenthood affiliates have broken any laws with regard to fetal tissue.  NONE.  

The majority of states, including Missouri, do NOT participate in fetal tissue donation – even though previous fetal tissue research nationwide has resulted in polio vaccines and advancements in AIDS, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.  READ MORE HERE – 8 FACTS.

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WE NEED YOU TO SHOW UP

Missouri GOP have announced a joint hearing in Jefferson City for next Wednesday, August 19th, beginnning at 10am.  As a senior member of the Children & Families Committee, I will be there to loudly defend Planned Parenthood in the State Capital and I need you there too. I cannot do this alone.


WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS BOGUS ANTI-WOMEN INVESTIGATION:   

 1. COME BE PART OF THE AUDIENCE & SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD.  SERIOUSLY, WE NEED YOU.

The anti-women pro-life contingent will be there in full force and we cannot idly stand by. If you can come to the State Capitol beginning at 10am next Wednesday, please let my assistant know ASAP = [email protected]

2. Email SPEAKER TODD RICHARDSON and ASK WHY ON EARTH IS HE WASTING TAX PAYER MONEY ON THIS WITCH HUNT?  = [email protected]

3. Contact CHAIRWOMAN DIANE FRANKLIN AND CHAIRMAN ANDREW KOENIG and ask the same.

4. Forward this email to every woman you know and get them to take action too.

5. Demand your Facebook friends do the same (be an activist with YOUR network).

6. Write an op-ed, blog post, letter to the editor and express YOUR outrage that our State Capitol is indulging in political theatre at the expense of women’s access to healthcare.

7. Refer every woman you know to ProgressWoman – on Facebook & Twitter @progresswomenus.  Repost, retweet & help make noise.


KNOW WHO IS REPRESENTING YOU

Reminder – Look up your state and federal electeds HERE.

If you don’t know who represents you, frankly you are in the dark. These are the people making policy decisions that affect you.  And while you’re at it, please strongly encourage your friends to learn also.

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WHO ARE WE EXACTLY?

ProgressWomen began as a project December 2014 through my office after women kept asking “What can I do to get involved politically?”  We are now a collective of over 1000 women statewide (and growing) who are sick and tired of attacks on women & families in Missouri, in so many ways. Check us out online. Open up your address book & refer us every progressive woman you know.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ProgressWomenUs & Facebook @ProgressWomen.

You’ve heard this before – “it’s going to take a village”.  Tired of their nonsense?  You in?

In Solidarity,

Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman

[email protected]

“Fear That Debate Could Hurt G.O.P. in Women’s Eyes” – You Think??

If you happened to miss the GOP/Trump debate Thursday night, you missed a lineup of men who can never get pregnant, tell the rest of us how government needs to control our reproductive decisions, including access to birth control & healthcare.  Their collective misogyny and sexism was on full steroid mode as they appealed to their GOP base of white male voters.  Their message to women???

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After Senator Marco Rubio of Florida insisted at the Republican presidential debate that rape and incest victims should carry pregnancies to term, aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton could barely contain their delight at his unyielding stance, rushing to tell reporters at her headquarters that those remarks would hurt Mr. Rubio with female voters.

When Donald J. Trump chose on Friday to stand by his slights against women during the debate, saying the Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly “behaved very badly” as a moderator — and then promoting a Twitter message calling her a “bimbo” — feminists were not the only ones outraged: the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party accused Mr. Trump of chauvinism.

And in response to multiple male candidates saying they would shut down the federal government over financing for Planned Parenthood, the Democratic National Committee emailed talking points to allies within an hour saying that among the losers at the debate were “American women, who were attacked at every turn.”

Republican Party leaders, whose presidential nominees have not won a majority of female voters since 1988, are setting their sights on making electoral gains among women in the 2016 presidential race and trying to close the gender gap in swing states like Florida and Colorado.

But the remarks and tone about women at Thursday’s debate — and the sight of 10 male candidates owning the stage — may have only damaged the party’s standing among female voters in the 2016 general election, according to pollsters and some Republican leaders.

“There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”DONALD TRUMP

“So much of the debate was all about appealing to male voters and other parts of the Republican base, rather than doing anything to help the party’s general election goal of trying to be more inclusive,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By being callous or showing disregard toward women, and then laughing it off with a charge of political correctness or simply saying they’re taking conservative stands, the Republicans could win over some of the older male Republican voters out there. But what about female voters?”

Democrats were gleeful at the tone of the debate, already imagining future campaign advertisements featuring debate cutaways with Mr. Rubio saying that future Americans will “call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies.”

In the short term, however, the political peril for the Republican candidates may not be so grave. They are largely focused now on winning over likely Republican voters who will decide the party’s nomination — an electorate that tends to skew male and older in many key states.

Recent polls of Republican voters indicate that Mr. Trump is performing strongly among men and to a slightly lesser extent among women, though sizable numbers of women also say they would not support him. It remains an open question whether Mr. Trump offended his supporters, or many other likely primary voters, by refusing to renounce his past descriptions of women as “fat pigs” during the debate; indeed, pollsters say he may have struck a chord with some voters by saying he doesn’t “have time for political correctness” when he was asked about his remarks.

With the possibility that a woman could be the nominee of a major political party for the first time, Republicans are facing the likelihood of an even more complicated environment than they have had in recent presidential elections. Gallup polls show that female voters have been favoring the Democratic presidential nominees since the 1990s, often by increasingly large numbers.

The 2012 election was a case in point: Even though Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, won white women with 56 percent of their votes, he lost over all with female voters. A Republican nominee would be hard-pressed to improve that if the 2016 Democratic nominee is a woman, many Republican pollsters believe.

Several prominent Republican women said they were worried that the candidates would only hurt themselves, and the party, if they did not change the substance and style of their remarks at future debates, which will be held monthly this fall and winter. Thursday’s debate attracted an enormous audience of 24 million viewers; the next debate will be Sept. 16 and broadcast on CNN.

“Not one candidate attempted to persuade women voters,” said Margaret Hoover, a Republican consultant and author. “The G.O.P. needs to fight for women votes because it believes our policies are better for women. There’s a difference between pandering and vote-courting: Thursday night, G.O.P. candidates did neither for women weary of the Republican brand.”

READ MORE OF THE STORY HERE.

So What’s Happening in Missouri…

In just 7 months, we have collected over 1000 progressive women throughout Missouri and we’re still going strong. WooHoo! After a few celebratory happy dances, we are continuing to search for more women to “Bring to the Table” (who may not be politically connected yet) before that super big election coming in 2016.

 (Our events except one in St. Louis hosted by Lindsey Schwartz Terry – amidst our fun, we simply forgot to take a photo!)

Since our Missouri ProgressWomen event kickoff last December, we’ve been to Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mizzou and met a gaggle of fabulous women. Incredibly generous hosts have emptied their address books & provided snacks and attendees have referred their best friends.  We send a HUGE shout out to marvelous hosts & worker-bee sidekicks:  Judy Sherry, Jessica Podhola, Pam Rich, Susan Cook, Taunia Adams, Eva Woods, Lindsey Terry Schwartz, Blythe Burkhardt, St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green, Aimee Knebel and Lindsay Pattan.

Seriously, we we’ve had tons of fun! But we’re not done.  We are planning additional ProgressWomen events in the next few months, including one at Washington University in St. Louis.  If you’d like to host a ProgressWomen event (in Missouri for now) or can refer women who need to “Be At The Table”, please contact me right away at [email protected]

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FIRST THINGS FIRST

Before we get into the gritty details, do you know who represents you in your State Capitol?  In Congress?  Get them easily confused?   Don’t be alarmed. Look up your Missouri state and federal electeds HERE.   (If you’re outside of Missouri, please find your electeds online too). Memorize, tattoo them on your hand and keep the list on your desktop.

If you don’t know who represents you, frankly you are in the dark. These are the people making policy decisions that affect you.  We can’t urge you enough to learn who are your electeds. And while you’re at it, encourage your friends also.

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WHAT EXACTLY IS HAPPENING IN THE MISSOURI STATE CAPITOL?

In the past few days a second legislator has resigned after yet ONE MORE sexual harassment scandal regarding a female intern.

State Sen. Paul LeVota (D-Independence) resigned this past Friday evening after public pressure mounted:  KANSAS CITY STAR – SEN. PAUL LEVOTA RESIGNS AMIDST SEXUAL HARASSMENT ACCUSATIONS.   Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Sen. Jill Schupp, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and I issued a joint statement prior to his resignation:

“The Missouri General Assembly needs to take all appropriate actions against any official responsible for sexual harassment.  It also needs to show that this tpe of reprehensible behavior will not be tolerated by taking specific steps to create a safe and professional environment for all employees, including unpaid interns.  Sen. LeVota must do what is needed to restore the public’s trust.”

Sen. LeVota’s resignation follows on the heels of House Speaker John Diehl who stepped down this past May after a similiar inappropriate situation. You’re asking “What on Earth is Going on in Jefferson City”??  

Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star said it best – DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH OVER BIG CHANGES FOR WOMEN IN JEFFERSON CITY. 

All the more reason we need More Women at the Table, including women running for office.  We must hold those in leadership accountable for the safety and well being for all women who work in the Capital, whether interns, staff or legislators.  Many of us women have personal stories of harassment there, including avoiding certain men when getting on an elevator.  It’s going to take all of our voices insisting that this Mad Men anti-women culture simply stop.  Stop mentioning our body parts, stop belittling us in hearings and on the floor – and for sure, stop with the restrictive bills telling us how to manage our private reproductive decisions.  The legislature sadly consists of less than 25% elected women.  Changing that ratio will help change the culture.


WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS HARASSMENT NONSENSE:   

1. Email Speaker Todd Richardson and ask what his office is going to do to keep women safe from sexual harassment – [email protected]

2. Contact YOUR LEGISLATOR and ask the same.

3. Share this email with every woman you know and get them to do the same.

4. Demand your Facebook friends do the same (be an activist with YOUR network).

5. Write an op-ed, blog post, letter to the editor and express YOUR outrage that our State Capitol is NOT free from sexual harasment.

6. Encourage a dynamite woman to run for a legislative seat or RUN YOURSELF.  Filing for 2016 opens the end of February.

7. Refer every woman you know to ProgressWoman – LIKE us on Facebook & follow on Twitter @progresswomenus.  Repost, retweet & help make noise.


NEXT STEPS = VETO SESSION SEPTEMBER 16TH

The Missouri State Legislature has adjourned for the year (whew!) – but goes back into Veto Session on September 16th for one more vote on anything the Governor has vetoed (up to the House & Senate as to what they bring up).

Good News!  NO awful reproductive or bad gun bill vetoes to defend.  But here is our watch list this year:

HB 42 (CHARTER SCHOOLS/TRANSFER FIX) – omnibus bill NOT fixing transfers of those in accredited districts – House Vote 84-73, Senate Vote 23-11

HB 63 (ELECTIONS) – omnibus bill that prohibits former superintendents from running for schools boards  – House Vote 111-49, Senate Vote 24-9  (partisan votes)

HB 116 (RIGHT TO WORK) – anti-labor bill – House Vote 92-66, Senate Vote 21-13 THIS IS THE ONE WE ARE WATCHING CLOSELY
HB 150 (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS) – reduces unemployment benefits from 20 to 13 weeks – House Override Vote on May 12 -109-43, Senate failed to take override vote during regular session  UNPRECEDENTED LEGAL SITUATION
HB 722 (LOCAL CONTROL) – prohibits local ordinances regulating plastic bags by retailers or setting local minimum wages – House Vote 105-48, Senate 24-10 (partisan votes)
SB 24 (TANF BENEFITS) – reduces benefits for primarily single mothers on federal food stamp programs  – House Override Vote on May 5 –  111-35, Senate failed to to take override vote during regular session  UNPRECEDENTED LEGAL SITUATION
SB 224 (A+ SCHOOLS) – requires citizenship for students to receive A+ financial aid, discriminating against those brought here as children – House Vote-108-38,  Senate Vote 25-8
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WE’VE GOT A LOT OF WORK AHEAD OF US

Check us out online. Open up your address book & refer us every progressive woman you know.  Don’t forget to follow on Twitter @ProgressWomenUs & LIKE on Facebook @ProgressWomen.

You’ve heard this before – “it’s going to take a village”.  You in?

In Solidarity,

Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, ProgressWomen founder

St. Louis abortion provider : The Fabulous Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer

St. Louis OB_GYN Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer

A few days ago I was honored to be on a panel with Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer, a St. Louis OB-GYN at the first event of the Washington University Student Advocates for Reproductive Choice.  First I was blown away by the 70+ college students who attended (girls AND guys) and then Dr. Grentzer spoke.

I was blown away!  Besides being funny and truly committed to helping women, she was totally enthralling and destined to become my new best friend.  

A physician from rural California farm country, she was told she wasn’t smart enough to attend Washington University in St. Louis, let alone become a real doctor.  I also learned she had just participated in this Salon article (below) – so I had to share it with all of you.  

We DESPERATELY need more Dr. Grentzers who are willing to devote their lives to protecting women’s reproductive decisions, whatever they may be.  

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“Your heart can expand exponentially to take care of every woman”: An abortion provider on compassionate care — and why she’s open about her work.

Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer tells Salon about how Missouri’s abortion laws affect her life — and why she remains hopeful.

by Jennie Kutner of Salon.com – March 11, 2015

A few months ago, I sat down with the doctor who performed my abortion, Stacy De-Lin, to talk about her experience working as an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood in New York City. Given the variation in abortion laws across the country, which has effectively culminated in making one’s access to reproductive healthcare dependent on her ZIP code, I suspected De-Lin’s experience would be rather different from, say, a provider at a Planned Parenthood in a Southern city, such as Houston, or from a family practice provider in rural Kansas.

That’s because it’s not just laws that influence providers’ ability to do their jobs, but also the local culture that shapes those laws in the first place; and it’s not just the laws that are influenced by culture, but abortion providers’ freedom to live their lives safely, openly and fearlessly, as well.

Over the past several months, I’ve set out to speak with abortion providers from around the country about their day-to-day lives. I’ve asked each about the way their places of work and residence limit or enhance their ability to do their jobs as well as all the rest — to be spouses, parents, children and friends, to be engaged members of their communities who also provide a highly necessary, highly stigmatized service for women. It’s been a slow-going process, but one that I hope will continue — especially as more physicians come forward.

While there are many abortion providers willing and eager to talk to me, a number of them have cited legitimate concerns about their own safety, the safety of their families and the safety of their colleagues in declining or holding off. They need time to mull over serious concerns before they can agree to go public, and I can’t fault them for that. I can only see it as another example of how far we have to come in destigmatizing a procedure that one in three women will have by age 45.



This week, in honor of the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, I spoke with Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer, an OB-GYN in St. Louis. Grentzer performs abortions at Planned Parenthood, as well as a local hospital that provides care for women who are not candidates for outpatient abortion, often because of threats to maternal life. She told Salon about the differences working in two such distinct clinical environments, how Missouri’s notoriously restrictive abortion laws impact her patients, and what motivates her to keep caring for women. Our conversation has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

How long have you been an abortion provider, and how did you decide to pursue this line of work?

I think it goes back to when I was younger, probably when I was in high school, my mom — who has always been really open and honest with my sister and me about sex and relationships — took me immediately to an OB-GYN [in Southern California] when I started dating my first boyfriend. I remember that OB-GYN told me, “Well, you should be on birth control pills.” I didn’t know anything, so I just got a prescription, and like a lot of teenagers I could never remember to take my pill. So I went back to the doctor’s office, and that OB-GYN said, essentially, “Well, you’re just going to have to get better at taking it.” There was no other discussion of other methods of birth control. I had no clue; I thought taking the pill was what you did.

Fast-forward eight years of this inconsistent pill use, I’m sitting in this medical school lecture about birth control, and — surprise! — there’s all these other birth control methods. I was angry. I trusted that OB-GYN to help me find the best option, and she didn’t. I think that’s probably when I made up my mind to be an OB-GYN, so that I could give women the best care possible — and, more importantly, give them all the information that they needed to make the right healthcare decisions for them. From there, making the decision to become an abortion provider was really easy. If you’re an OB-GYN, I think you should be able to provide 100 percent of reproductive healthcare services women need, whether that’s abortion, adoption or raising a child. And if you’re not willing to do all three, then I feel like you’re not really committed to your patients 100 percent.

Did you have to seek out abortion care training, or was it available to you?

I was lucky enough to have done my medical school at an institution that had a family planning division at that time. Already it was very standard that you learned about abortion in medical school and that you had the opportunity, if you wanted, to do a “special topics in reproductive health.” I chose to do a special topics in reproductive health at Planned Parenthood, and it allowed me to feel more comfortable with this concept of providing abortion care because I got to see it in action, and see the compassionate care that’s delivered at the Planned Parenthood here in St. Louis. After I was done with residency, an adviser suggested that I do an elective in San Francisco, so I spent a month working at an abortion clinic there. I came back and my mind was made up: If I was an OB-GYN, I was going to be an abortion provider.

At Salon, we’ve written a lot about the abortion restrictions in Missouri —specifically the 72-hour waiting period, which is one of the strictest in the country — and I’m wondering how those laws affect you, and affect your ability to do your job.

I have been in St. Louis since before the 24-hour wait limit was instituted, and I remember when that went into effect. I found that challenging in itself. Women have to travel really far to get here, and making the waiting period 72 hours is even more of a burden for patients and their families. On average, at the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, a woman travels nearly 100 miles. Ten percent of our patients travel more than 300 miles. For most women, they come to the clinic, they get counseled face-to-face, and then they drive home — and then the day of the procedure they have to come back. If they’re having a two-day procedure, then the second time they come back, they have to stay overnight. For those women, that’s lost wages, the costs for childcare — more than 50 percent of women who are seeking abortion care already have children at home — and paying for gas. Not to mention the cost of the abortion. It’s a huge economic burden.

I’m curious how much time you get to spend with these patients. I spoke with a provider a few weeks ago who travels to Texas, and she said that because there are so many women traveling such far distances, she simply doesn’t have the time to do the sort of in-depth face-to-face consultations she’d like to do. I wonder if you face a similar problem.

Sometimes it feels that way. At Planned Parenthood, women receive their counseling by one of our licensed workers who is usually either a social worker or a nurse, and then their procedures are done by the physicians who staff the center. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have that same freedom to spend time with women. The first time I meet them, it’s when they’re in the procedure room. So I always find time to stop before we even do anything and I just sit next to them, and we talk. I ask questions. I let them ask questions. However long it takes them, is how long it’s going to take them. Whatever they need to talk about, we talk about. Probably that’s not sustainable when there are so many women traveling from so far away to get care. But I think it’s really important to those individual patients.

I want to get back to your personal relationships as a provider. While you said your mother is very supportive, I’m curious how that initial conversation about your work went.

So, I don’t even know where to start. It’s a conversation that happens almost every time we’re on the phone with each other. Even though my mom is incredibly supportive, I think she still worries all the time — that something’s going to happen to me, especially when I tell her about the protesters at our clinic. I think she is still a little bit hesitant about my decision to be an abortion provider in public. I think she wishes that I was too scared to identify as an abortion provider in public so that she wouldn’t have to worry about my safety. But I think she’s come to peace. She always tells me, “Well, I’m worried about you. But I’m so proud that you’re the same woman that I knew you were going to be when you were 10, resolved to do what you think is right.”

Why do you tell people you’re an abortion provider?

I think it’s important to destigmatize something that one in three women go through by the time they’re 45 years old. Women don’t talk about it with each other, even though it’s a normal reproductive option. One in three women have it. It’s normal. I think the more that abortion providers hide in the shadows, the more it leads to continued stigma.

How public and open are you? How often do you disclose your job and to whom?

Anybody who asks me what I do for a living. And I say the same thing every time. They say, “What do you do?” And I say, “I’m an OB-GYN.” “Oh, well, where do you practice?” “I’m in St. Louis, and I’m a fellow in family planning.” And they always say, “What’s family planning?” And I say, “That’s specialized training in complex contraception and abortion.” And then I wait. I drop the bomb and then I wait. And most people are so supportive; even strangers will get really quiet and then say, “Thank you for doing the job that you do.” And some people will say, “Oh that’s interesting, do you like being an OB-GYN?” And then it’s over. I thought it would be such a big deal and it’s not a big deal.

What sorts of protester issues have you had? Is it mostly at Planned Parenthood or is it at the hospital as well?

It’s only at Planned Parenthood. Probably they’re not aggressive or violent, but it was a big surprise to me when I started working there, that they were always taking pictures of me, my car and my license plate. Taking pictures of my license plate felt very personal and very threatening. At first I was concerned about my safety, but I quickly got over that because their presence and their protesting really only strengthened my desire to provide compassionate care to these women. Mostly I was concerned that somehow, their having pictures of me and my license plate was going to affect the safety of my family.

I know that’s a huge issue in a lot of places. But you haven’t had any sort of personal encounters with protesters off the premises of Planned Parenthood?

I have not. Luckily our Planned Parenthood is gated, the parking lot is gated. I drive through the protesters in order to get into the parking lot. And then crossing the parking lot, they generally are yelling their counseling at me as I’m walking in. I’m not sure they know if I’m a provider. Luckily most of the time when I am leaving Planned Parenthood I go right to my hospital that I work at. So I don’t ever feel like there’s an opportunity for them to follow me to a place that’s more isolated.

You said it strengthens your resolve when you see protesters. But how do you deal with that emotionally?

When I first started working at Planned Parenthood, it used to make me feel really vulnerable, and really sad — sad and angry. And not so much sad and angry for myself; I can handle it. I have no problem coming in every day. But I used to get really sad and angry for the women who had to walk through them and had to listen to what they were saying, because having an unplanned pregnancy is a crisis in itself. These women are already dealing with a very important decision in their life, and they are super-thoughtful before they’re even coming to our Planned Parenthood. They’ve already made their decision. They’ve thought about it. They’ve talked to their families if it’s safe for them to talk to their families. And for them to have gone through all of that emotional stress, and then have to deal with somebody who doesn’t know anything about their situation pass judgment on them without having that information — that’s what makes me so angry.

And in Missouri they have to do that twice over the course of 72 hours.

Right, and drive 300 miles. When I first started my fellowship, I used to be so upset and angry when a woman would tell me that she drove two hours to come to her appointment. I would think to myself, “Oh my gosh, two hours, that’s crazy to have to drive that far.” And then I started to get a little bit numb to the two hours, and my mark would be four hours. If she told me she drove four hours to come to her appointment, I would just feel devastated and horrible and totally impotent to help her social situation. And then I got immune to that. And now, when she tells me she’s driven eight hours, that’s when I have that knot in my stomach — like how did we get here? How have we eliminated women’s healthcare so much?

Given all of the downsides, what about your work have you been most hopeful?

When I first started the fellowship, I remember, I used to go home every night and just be so emotionally overwhelmed with everything that had happened that day. All of these situations women were in — where they were just trying to get help and they were trying to get plugged into the system, or sad situations where they had a desired pregnancy that then was going to have to end for either fetal anomalies or threat to maternal life. I would come home and I would tell myself: I don’t know if I have enough room in my heart to feel all these emotions all the time. Eventually, you just realize that your heart gets bigger and bigger, and there’s room because you don’t have a choice. Your heart can expand exponentially to take care of every woman who needs you.

I think the reactions from the patients really give me a lot of hope because they’re always so grateful that somebody is there to take care of them. And it’s not uncommon that I hear a woman say to me, “Wow, you’re so nice, everybody here is so nice, thank you for being so nice.” And that is really heartbreaking, but also makes me feel good at the same time. Like, you drove eight hours to get here and I’m so glad you felt like we care about you, because we do, and we wish you didn’t have to drive eight hours to get here. But we care about these women so much, we just want them to be safe, and we want them to be happy and to be so secure in their decisions. I think knowing that I’m not going anywhere and that patients are always going to get really high-quality care, that gives me a lot of hope.

READ THIS ON SALON.COM

 

5 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidate

courtesy of Huffington Post

Unless you’re living under a rock without internet access or still in hibernation, you should already know that Hillary Clinton announced a few days ago she is running for President in 2016.  The first viable woman with a real shot to win the White House…a woman who has spent her whole life standing up for women, children and families, even around the world.

But how well do you really think you know Hillary Clinton?

Did you know on her cross country drive Sunday enroute to Iowa she managed to place her order to go at a Ohio Chipotle – completely unnoticed!  As wild as that sounds, I imagine how thrilled SHE was to pull off a every day feat even with Secret Service in tow (even though I’m actually a Qdoba girl).

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5 Things You Should Know About Hillary Clinton

by Tamara Keith of NPR, April 11, 2015

Many Americans have a pre-formed opinion of Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce her candidacy for president this weekend. Call it a blessing — or, simply, an inevitable effect — of being in the public eye for so long. But Clinton has long implied that the public perception of her is all wrong.

“Well, as someone close to me once said, ‘I’m probably the most famous person you don’t really know,’ ” Clinton told NBC in 2007.

Eight years later, Clinton could probably make the same argument. So, here are five things about the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination that you may not know or just may not remember.

1. She started out a Republican.

In high school, Hillary Rodham — who grew up in Illinois and was influenced by her die-hard Republican father and high school history teacher — considered herself a Republican and even became a Goldwater Girl. She wrote about it in her book Living History:

Hillary Clinton in a photo of student council leaders from her high school yearbook.

Hillary Clinton in a photo of student council leaders from her high school yearbook. Maine Township High School:

“I was also an active Young Republican and, later a Goldwater girl right down to my cowgirl outfit and straw cowboy hat emblazoned with the slogan ‘AuH2O.’

“My ninth-grade history teacher, Paul Carlson, was, and still is, a dedicated educator and a very conservative Republican. Mr. Carlson encouraged me to read Senator Barry Goldwater’s recently published book, The Conscience of a Conservative. That inspired me to write my term paper on the American conservative movement, which I dedicated ‘To my parents, who have always taught me to be an individual.’ I liked Senator Goldwater because he was a rugged individualist who swam against the political tide.”

She also writes about volunteering to check voter registration lists against addresses to find voter fraud. And during her first year of college, she was even elected president of the Wellesley Young Republicans Club. According to Carl Bernstein’s book A Woman In Charge, by the fall of 1966, she identified herself as a Rockefeller Republican. By the spring of 1968, though, she was volunteering for Democrat Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign.

In 1992, while visiting her old high school in an affluent suburb of Chicago, she joked about her political evolution.

“I know I should answer the question that is on very many of your minds and that is: How did a nice Republican girl from Park Ridge go wrong?” she said to laughs.

2. In 1969, she became the first student (ever) to deliver a commencement address at Wellesley College.

The women’s college didn’t have a tradition of student commencement speakers. But by the time the class of 1969 was nearing graduation, an activist-minded student body demanded to have a student speaker to represent it at the ceremony. In Living History, Clinton writes about going to Wellesley College President Ruth M. Adams to discuss it:

Hillary Clinton in June 1969 at the Rodham family home. She was featured in a Life magazine story called "The Class of '69."

Hillary Clinton in June 1969 at the Rodham family home. She was featured in a Life magazine story called “The Class of ’69.” Lee Balterman/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images

“When I asked her, ‘What is the real objection?’ she said, ‘It’s never been done.’ I said, ‘Well, we could give it a try.’ She said, ‘We don’t know whom they are going to ask to speak.’ I said, ‘Well, they asked me to speak.’ She said, ‘I’ll think about it.’ President Adams finally approved.

“My friends’ enthusiasm about my speaking worried me because I didn’t have a clue about what I could say that could fit our tumultuous four years at Wellesley and be a proper send-off into our unknown futures.”

In her introduction, Adams said, “There was no debate so far as I could ascertain as to who their spokesman was to be: Miss Hillary Rodham. Member of this graduating class, she is a major in political science and a candidate for the degree with honors.”

Rodham was immediately preceded by Republican Sen. Edward W. Brooke from Massachusetts, and when she came to the microphone, she scrapped some of her prepared speech to respond to him, and said:

“We’re not in the positions yet of leadership and power, but we do have that indispensable task of criticizing and constructive protest and I find myself reacting just briefly to some of the things that Senator Brooke said. This has to be brief because I do have a little speech to give.

“Part of the problem with empathy with professed goals is that empathy doesn’t do us anything. We’ve had lots of empathy; we’ve had lots of sympathy, but we feel that for too long our leaders have used politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible. What does it mean to hear that 13.3 percent of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That’s a percentage. We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction. How can we talk about percentages and trends? The complexities are not lost in our analyses, but perhaps they’re just put into what we consider a more human and eventually a more progressive perspective.”

Her speech was reprinted in Life magazine and, for a time, Rodham became something of a voice of her generation.

Hillary Clinton holds the steering wheel for the Indy race car of Sarah Fisher in 2008. Clinton says she hasn't gotten behind the wheel herself since 1996.

Hillary Clinton holds the steering wheel for the Indy race car of Sarah Fisher in 2008. Clinton says she hasn’t gotten behind the wheel herself since 1996. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

3. She hasn’t driven a car in almost 20 years.

Consider it a casualty of life in a Secret Service-protected bubble. President Obama has complained about it, as did President George W. Bush. Clinton told the National Automobile Dealers Association last year, “The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996.”

It’s a reminder that Clinton has been living a very public life, in a closed-off way, for a very long time. No past presidential candidate has quite this sort of life experience. For Clinton’s critics, this is just one of many signs (along with her comments about being “dead broke” when the Clintons left the White House) that she can’t relate to regular voters. For Clinton’s campaign, figuring out how to keep “the bubble” from getting in the way of meaningful interactions and normal experiences with voters presents a challenge.

4. Her commitment to women and girls goes way back.

Talking about so-called women’s issues may be trendy these days, but Clinton has been working on these issues essentially her whole life. Some of this passion may have been driven by her own mother’s difficult childhood.

When Clinton was in high school, she volunteered with her church youth group to baby-sit the children of migrant laborers. From there, her resume continues with one item after another aimed at improving the lives of women and children.

Here’s an excerpt from her biography from the National First Ladies’ Library and Historic Site:

“During her second year in law school, Hillary Clinton volunteered at Yale’s Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development, as well as New Haven Hospital, where she took on cases of child abuse and the city Legal Services, providing free legal service to the poor. Upon graduation from law school, she served as staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”

In Arkansas, she co-founded the group Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. And all of this was before she became first lady and secretary of state, both platforms she used to advance women’s empowerment and the well-being of children worldwide.

In Living History, Clinton explained how her mother had been abandoned by her grandmother, writing, “I’m still amazed at how my mother emerged from her lonely early life as such an affectionate and level headed woman.”

5. She has been dogged by controversies and scandals.

OK. You probably know this one already, but Clinton seems to have spent her entire public life fighting scandals.

From her “baking cookies” comment …

“I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession,” she said in 1992.

… to Whitewater, Travelgate and conspiracies about Vince Foster’s suicide.

In the 1994 press conference below, she was asked about a number of the controversies swirling around her at the time. It is somewhat remarkable to watch the breadth of reporter questions, which went on for an hour and could have lasted longer.

Then there’s Benghazi, and currently, “Servergate.” Clinton once blamed her (and her husband’s) “scandal problem” on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” No matter the cause, she has to be prepared for a campaign and possible presidency with more “gates” and “ghazis,” because it has been that way for the past 25 years.

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2015/04/11/395302391/5-things-you-should-know-about-hillary-clinton