DC Women Need Your Photo

This has been cross-posted from the DC Abortion Fund site

We Are DC - Kim & Mari

We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with some great organizations working on issues that matter a lot to us, like reproductive justice and District autonomy, to launch a great new campaign: We Are DC.

And we need your photos!

If you are new to the area, you may not yet be aware that DC residents are unable to govern themselves. Since we don’t have the basic rights of self-determination and self-representation, Congress has the final say on what happens in the District. Our 535 Congressional overseers repeatedly ignore the will of DC residents, leading to disastrous decisions when it comes to women’s’ reproductive rights.

Last year, Congress voted to ban DC Medicaid from covering abortion services, even though the city’s elected officials voted to use its own funds to do so. Our case managers have seen first-hand how this decision has hurt low-income women in DC.

To quote one of our case managers, “Before the ban, it took me 4 hours a week to go through my caseload of women in need of funding assistance for abortion services. After the ban, it takes me 4 hours a night because the need has skyrocketed.”

Here’s where you come in. Please send a picture of yourself with a sign like the ones on the Tumblr site, with “We Are DC” and the city and state where you vote, to WeAreDC@choiceusa.org. It will then be posted on the site and sent along to your members of Congress.We need to let those who can vote know what their voters care about. If you live in DC, you can participate too.

Will you join us in standing with DC women?

Be sure to check out this great op-ed from Kimberly Inez McGuire and Mari Schimmer in RH Reality Check and this statement of support from Delegate Norton. On Twitter? Use the hashtag #WeAreDC. You should probably like our Facebook page too.

*photo credit: Choice USA

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Remembering Dr. Tiller

“Abortion is not a cerebral or reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart: for until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” – Dr. George Tiller

Thank You Dr Tiller

You can read the post I wrote on the day he was murdered here.

*photo credit: me

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It’s Time to Get More Family Friendly

The U.S. does a lot of things well. We foster innovation, value free speech, and provide a very comfortable standard of living for a lot of our citizens. Just not everyone. There are a lot of reasons for this, too many to discuss in one blog post. One thing we could do though, to make life easier for a lot of people, namely families, is to do what every other industrialized country does: off paid parental leave. There is simply no good reason not to, and as this infographic from What to Expect and the National Partnership for Women and Families shows, there are more than enough good reasons to do it.

As you can see, providing paid parental leave – as all of our country peers do – benefits everyone. Not just moms and babies, but dads and employers too. If everyone wins, why aren’t we doing it?

For more information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you can go here.

And please contact your legislator about this issue! As the graphic shows, family friendly societies benefit us all.

Thanks to What to Expect and the Partnership for Women and Families for the infographic.

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Equal Pay Day: Or Why I’d Like My $11,000 Back.

This post is part of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) Equal Pay Day blog carnival. There will also be a tweetchat today from 1-2pm EDT. Follow along at #TalkPay, #equalpayday and with @nwlc

Equal Pay ecard

This year women will be denied an average of $11,000 in wages. Not because of anything women will do, but simply because we are women. At a time when so many are struggling financially, denying a worker her full pay seems especially egregious.

For most of us, $11,000 is a lot of money. If I had that much extra money given (back) to me, I would pay off my credit card, put some in savings, and probably take a vacation or attend a conference. I might also take that photography class I keep talking about, finally learn Photoshop, and donate to some of my favorite charities (I’m looking at you DC Abortion Fund). Regardless, this is $11,000 that would largely go back into the economy.

This $11,000 a year comes out to roughly 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. It needs to be pointed out though, that 77 cents is an average, and that it is actually worse for women of color. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) reports that, ”Among full-time workers in 2012, Hispanic, Latina, and African American women had lower median weekly earnings compared with white and Asian American women. The gap was largest for Hispanic and Latina women, who were paid only 59 percent of what white men were paid in 2012.”

We can all agree that it’s not fair, for any women to earn less than their male counterparts, and that something should be done about it, but we can’t seem to agree on exactly what needs to be done. In the meantime, women will continue to earn less for the same work. Which also means that we will have less to retire with, which becomes even more of a problem when you consider that women live longer than men.

Here are two things I think we should do. First, get Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 377/ S. 84). It’s common sense legislation to combat wage discrimination and narrow the wage gap. Second, support and join a union. As the NWLC states, “Women workers who are union members earn higher wages and experience a 37 percent smaller gender wage gap than women workers who are not represented by unions.” Not to mention union workers get health insurance and retirement security. If you’re not in a position to join a union right now, you can still support them, which helps everyone since states with strong union representation have higher wages for everyone.

For more information on equal pay and the wage gap, check out this NWLC resource page.

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Why I Raise Money for Abortions

Or Why I love the DC Abortion Fund (DCAF)

Id rather be funding abortions. flapper girl

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

I don’t have a personal story to tell. I’ve never experienced an unintended pregnancy, and the women I know who have were all able to afford the procedure on their own. In some ways, this isn’t really my fight. While I am far from rich, I still have the means at my disposal to access my reproductive choices. I have a savings account, credit cards, and friends who would likely help if needed. In this respect, I am very fortunate.

By being to able to afford my own abortion, I will never have to call a helpline and ask for money. I will never to have to pawn items that I love, or delay payment on something else, like the power bill or birthday presents for loved ones. I have never been good at asking for help, and the thought of asking for money, just in the abstract as I write this, is daunting. My family struggled financially when I was growing up, especially when I was young. I will never forget the tension that permeated our home. Not being able to provide for your family is something I would not wish on anyone. It’s nearly impossible to to avoid feeling like a failure when you can’t give your children the things they need, and some extras simply because you love them. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of families.

If you missed the chart that showed how many hours worked it takes someone making minimum wage to afford a 2 bedroom home, check it out here. In DC, someone would have to work 132 hours a week. A week. In Maryland, it’s 135 hours, and in Virginia it’s 114. Yes, rent is high in my part of the world, but if you look at the chart, there isn’t anywhere in the country where 40 hours at the minimum wage is enough. Just imagine how much harder things could become if you suddenly find out you’re pregnant, don’t want to be, and now need to find another $400 (roughly the cost of a first trimester abortion, when the vast majority occur). It’s also important to remember that, while this country doesn’t have the greatest safety net, there are services and assistance available for women who choose to continue their pregnancies and either parent or choose adoption. This is not the case for women who choose abortion.

For me, abortion funding is about fairness and bridging the gap to access. Generally speaking, if you can afford it, you can get it. You don’t have to explain your situation to anyone, ask friends for money, or go through any of the hoops that the women who call our helpline do. Now, to be sure, our volunteers are well-trained and incredibly compassionate. No one will ever judge you if you call. We don’t spend time on the “why” part of your situation. We trust you. We’re just here to help you pay for it. It’s one of the guiding tenets of – and one of my favorite things about – DCAF. It can be difficult to deal with an unintended pregnancy when you have the means to realize your choice. No one should have to go through additional trials just to make her own choice a reality. That’s why I support DCAF.

To my Facebook friends, Twitter followers and people on my email list, my apologies for the constant posts and messages. But this matters a lot to me. I hope you will consider helping out.

(Friend tip: once you donate, I take you off my email list. Just sayin.’)

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Young Women of Achievement Awards: A DC Favorite

DCist banner ad with Cecile

It’s finally here! Tonight is the Young Women of Achievement Awards! In addition to the brilliant comedy of our emcee Liz Chadderdon, and a much anticipated keynote address from Cecile Richards, we will honor 48 of DC’s best and brightest young women. It’s a truly inspiring night. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, you can purchase them at the door. Details below.

Carnegie Institute of Washington
1530 P St NW Washington, DC

Doors Open: 6:00
Networking Reception 6:30
Awards Ceremony 7:30
Attire: Business Casual

For more on YWA and its general awesomeness, check out my post at Daily Kos and Spike the Watercooler.

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Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Taking No BS

Hillz throws down. Enjoy.

Thanks to Upworthy and TPM for making the video available.

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