Monday, July 04, 2005

NOW Vows to Commit Civil Disobedience

NOW Vows to Defend Women's Rights With Civil Disobedience . . .

I think we all know that the Bush Administration has been waging a War on Women's Rights ever since that dark day in 2001 when the misogynistic president was first sworn in. In 2003, The New York Times did a fine job of summing up Bush's position on women's rights. The editorial's chilling assessment of Bush's War on Women might well have been written today:

The War Against Women


"President Bush's assault on reproductive rights is part of a larger ongoing cultural battle. If abortion were the only target, the administration would not be attempting to block women's access to contraceptives, which drive down the number of abortions. His administration would not be declaring war on any sex education that discusses ways, beyond abstinence, to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Scientifically accurate information about contraceptives and abortion would not have begun disappearing from federal government Web sites.

The effects of the new anti-choice agenda are also affecting women abroad. On his very first day on the job, the president reimposed the odious global "gag" rule first instituted by President Ronald Reagan, then lifted by President Bill Clinton in January 1993. It bars health providers receiving American family planning assistance from counseling women about abortion, engaging in political speech on abortion or providing abortion services, even with their own money. In resurrecting the gag rule, the new president broadcast a disdain for freedom of speech to emerging democracies, while crippling the international family planning programs that work to prevent hundreds of thousands of infant and maternal deaths worldwide each year.

Most Americans would be shocked at the lengths American representatives are going to in their international war against women's right to control their bodies.

On the surface, the Bush administration's war against women's rights is a series of largely unnoted changes. It is intended to look that way. In reality, it is a steady march into the past, to a time before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal and pregnancy was more a matter of fate than choice. [emphasis added!)" "

The resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor coupled with Bush's famed preference for right wing extremist judges represents merely the latest in a long and relentless barrage of attacks on women's rights. All indications from the national NOW convention are that this is the last straw. When the approximately 1,000 women who attended the NOW convention here in Nashville resolved to employ civil disobedience in defense of women's rights, they signalled that women have finally had it with the Bush Adminstration.

We will be returning the warfare.

Resolution on Civil Disobedience Passed at the 2005 National NOW Convention:


WHEREAS, throughout its history, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has used both traditional and nontraditional means to achieve full equality for women, including women's access to safe, legal abortion and birth control; and

WHEREAS, the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor and possibly one or more additional Supreme Court Justices in the near future will permit President George W. Bush to use his opposition to the principles of the Roe v. Wade decision as a litmus test in making any new nomination to the Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, women's essential right to privacy is in grave danger because we have lost the critical fifth vote on the United States Supreme Court;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW declare a State of Emergency to Save Women's Lives and reaffirm that protecting the courts from those who seek to repeal women's rights is of the utmost priority; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW call upon all members of the U.S. Senate to give meaning to democracy by insisting that each new appointment to the Highest Court reflect our country's women until parity is reached in the courts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in these dark days of the Bush Administration, NOW and its chapters recommit ourselves to the struggle to save women's fundamental rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that nonviolent civil disobedience be one of the wide range of strategies and tactics employed by NOW to oppose restrictions on women's lives; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the national NOW Action Center provide resources to NOW activists on NOW's Principles of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience (CD) and the potential strategic value of nonviolent CD in addition to providing resources for lobbying, marches, rallies, pickets and actions at the state and local levels.