April is Abortion Bowl-A-Thon Month

By Peg Strobel

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Socialist feminists know that women deserve free abortion on demand, a full range of reproductive health care and family services and an economic system allowing for full employment and compensation for caring for the elderly and young. "Reproductive justice" is a concept that moves beyond the notions of "choice" and "rights." It links the calls for reproductive choice (a woman's right to control her own body) to the broader issues of economic justice and human rights (creating conditions that enable people to have children, not only to not have them). Access to abortion is one small, but critical, part of reproductive justice.

Although many of the legal barriers that anti-abortion legislators have enacted can only be addressed by long-term political organizing, supporters of reproductive justice can help women in need who lack the money to get an abortion.  Realizing that we lack the political power to ensure the provision of abortion and other reproductive and family support services as a universal public good, DSA is supporting the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), a coalition of groups that raise money to provide abortions for low-income women, by encouraging DSA and YDS members to bowl, or sponsor other bowlers, in April.

NNAF annually sponsors Bowl-A-Thons in the month of April. These events are open to sisters and brothers alike; they're a great way to engage in solidarity work.

The NNAF makes it easy to participate in a Bowl-A-Thon. Their Bowl-A-Thon website (http://bowlathon.nnaf.org/nnafbowl/findevent.asp) lists cities where NNAF events are happening in April. If no Bowl-A-Thon is scheduled for your city, just organize a team to go to your local bowling alley and participate virtually in April. You might be able to get an ally feminist organization to field their own team, so you can make it even more fun AND build a relationship with a feminist group in your community. You can sign up the “virtual” team with the NNAF (at the bottom of the list of cities).

Anti-abortion activists have succeeded in drastically limiting access to abortion, particularly for poor and low-income women, young women and women in rural areas. For example, the Hyde Amendment, a rider attached to Congressional budget bills annually since 1976, limits the use of federal funds for abortions. The U.S. foreign aid policies are affected by such legislation as well, much to the detriment of women's health initiatives world-wide.

Although abortion has been legal in the U.S., under some conditions, in the 40 years since the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, conservative forces have chipped away at access to abortion by passing laws at the federal, state and local levels. In 2013, The Daily Beast created an interactive map that in chilling detail tracks the locations of the 724 sites that currently offer abortions. It also notes the restrictions placed on abortions at those clinics.

State and local governments now severely limit access to abortion and women's health care. Legislation that makes getting an abortion a lengthier and more complicated process especially harms women with limited financial resources. For example, a woman who must travel hundreds of miles to a clinic and then wait 24 or more hours between receiving counseling and receiving her abortion incurs expenses in travel, motel and, often, child care for children back home. And she must take additional time off work.

Since 2011, when Republicans took over many state legislatures and governorships, restrictions have grown. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which addresses sexual and reproductive health research, policy and advocacy, more anti-abortion legislation was passed in the 2011-12 period than in any previous two-year period (19 states, 43 restrictions). Guttmacher Institute also has produced an overview of state abortion laws as of February 1, 2014. Some state and local governments have limited access by requiring that clinics that offer abortions comply with the more stringent hospital building regulations instead of the regulations that affect all other medical clinics. Failure to comply will lead to clinic closure. Other legislation requires that doctors who do abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Doctors who provide services from out of town find it difficult to get privileges. Also, in areas where there are substantial protests, hospitals do not want to make themselves a target and will not give privileges to abortion providers. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, 87% of U.S. counties do not have someone who provides abortion. Many states have only one clinic, and the abortion provider is an out-of-state doctor who flies in one or two days per week.  And, at the outer reaches are the terrorists who assassinate providers and bomb clinics.

In light of this situation, we have much work to do.  But it can begin with a small step: bowling.

Register, RSVP,  and join us on the DSA website.  http://www.dsausa.org/bowl2014

 

Peg4.jpgPeg Strobel is a member of DSA's National Political Committee and co-chairs DSA's Feminist Team.

 

 

 

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.

 

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 34 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 50 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 53 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 14 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 6 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.