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Thursday
Aug302018

Get ready for post-Labor Day advocacy!

Next week’s a big week for protecting women’s health!
 
We all deserve a little rest and relaxation over the long Labor Day weekend. We’ve had a busy year so far protecting women’s health from an onslaught of attacks by the Trump administration and GOP leaders in Congress.  Raising Women’s Voices wants to thank you for all you’ve done this year!
 
But we also want to make sure you’re prepped and ready to go after the holiday, because we are going to have a busy week ahead.  The U.S. Senate will open three days of hearings on Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, September 4.  The following day, September 5, a Texas district court judge will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit attempting to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional. What will these events mean for women’s health, and what can you do?
 
The ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions are at stake in both the Texas court hearing and the SCOTUS nomination.  An estimated 130 million people across the country, including 67 million women and girls, live with pre-existing conditions. If these protections are repealed, millions could face the possibility of being denied health insurance coverage or charged higher premiums. (The loss of the ACA would also take us back to a time when insurers could charge women more than men.)
 
The lawsuit, filed by a group of conservative state Attorneys General, seeks to overturn the ACA because the federal tax cut bill enacted last year knocked out the ACA’s individual mandate to have health insurance.  In response to the lawsuit, the Trump administrationhas refused to defend the ACA.  Fortunately, 17 Attorneys General from more progressive states have intervened in the lawsuit to defend the ACA and Democrats in the Senate and House have filed resolutions that would give House and Senate legal counsel the authority to intervene in the lawsuit. If the lawsuit works its way through the levels of federal courts and up to the Supreme Court, the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the court could tip the balance against the ACA.
 
To highlight what’s at stake for people with pre-existing conditions, RWV co-sponsored a successful Twitter Chat last week with Community Catalyst, the Black Women’s Health Imperative, American Heart Association, Little Lobbyists, Families USA, Protect Our Care and SEIU.  Many of our RWV regional coordinators also participated, including California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, COLOR, EverThrive IL, Consumers for Affordable Health Care, Consumer Health First, Northwest Health Law Advocates, and WVFREE. Our chat quickly reached a wide audience and our hashtag #130MillionStrong was trending in the top 10 nationally. We were even joined by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray. Many health care consumers also shared their personal stories about why protections for people with pre-existing conditions matter to them and their loved ones. 
 
We urge you to keep spreading the word about the importance of protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Using social media, share stories of how you or family members with pre-existing conditions have been able to get health coverage because of the ACA. Tweet at your members of Congress asking them to protect people with pre-existing conditions and defend the ACA. Community Catalyst has an easy-to-use action page that can help you compose your tweet and get it to the correct members of Congress.  Submit a letter to the editor or an op-ed to your local newspaper using a sample op-ed available here.
 
If you are in a state where the Attorney General has joined the lawsuit to overturn the ACA, consider organizing a protest event in front of your AG’s office using this Advocacy Guide from Community Catalyst. The states are Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

Women across the country unite to save SCOTUS!
 
Advocates in all 50 states participated in more than 200 events across the country on Women’s Equality Day this past Sunday to warn that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could turn the balance of the court against women’s reproductive rights and produce a ruling to undermine or repeal Roe v. Wade. Organizers said the Unite for Justice Day of Action was the largest single-day action against a Supreme Court nominee in the country’s history.  RWV and our regional coordinators promoted and participated in local events in CO, GA, MA, ME, NJ, NM, NY, OR, TX, WA and WV to highlight the dire threat Kavanaugh could pose to the ACA, Medicaid andRoe v. Wade.

Raising Women’s Voices-NY (pictured) joined a rally in downtown Manhattan, where we heard from speakers who highlighted what’s at stake with Kavanaugh’s nomination. Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Obama staffer who just joined NARAL Pro-Choice America, explained: “We are the last line of defense for the 93 million women in America who need family planning, affordable health care, and access to safe and legal abortions.” New York activist Therese Patricia Okoumou, best known for climbing the Statue of Liberty on the fourth of July to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families, spoke about the inextricable link between reproductive rights and immigrant rights
 
Both our Charleston-based coordinator, WV FREE, and our Portland-base coordinator, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, joined the national conversation via Tweet Storm. NARAL Oregon encouraged participants to take it local by using the hashtag #ORDissents to highlight why opposing Kavanaugh means protecting Oregonians and their ability to access abortion.
 
The Afiya Center, our Dallas-based regional coordinator, hosted a community conversation to discuss the impact of the SCOTUS nomination and how it will impact the lives of Black women and the larger Black community. Marsha Jones, Executive Directorand Deneen Robinson, Program Director (pictured at right), also discussed abortion rights and the importance of keeping Roe v. Wade.  
 
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), our coordinator in Denver, was one of the many groups to participate in the national Reproductive Justice Day of Action on SCOTUS. Women of color took action on the Hill and across the country to make their voices heard on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
 
COLOR joined in these efforts locally by taking action in Denver at Senator Cory Gardner's and Senator Michael Bennet’s district offices. Advocates Kylie Dennis and Maria Ignacia Miranda Santis (pictured at right) met with Senator Bennet’s staff to share their concerns about Kavanaugh’s stances on abortion access, immigrant justice, and LGBTQ liberation.
 
What’s next in the SCOTUS fight? We need to continue to stay loud, particularly as we head into next week, when Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings begin in the Senate. What can you do? Reach out to your Senators, and let them why you think that Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, would turn the balance of the Supreme Court against the rights of women and LGBTQ people. Use this Take Action page to reach your Senators.
 
Meet our new regional coordinator in the South!
 
We would like to welcome the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable to the RWV regional coordinator network. Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (MS-BWR), is an intergenerational civic engagement statewide network and the women and girls empowerment arm of the of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) that champions equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls nationally and across the South. The Mississippi effort is led by co-convenors Cassandra Welchlin & Debra Robinson.

BWR is a highly effective economic and social justice organizing network led by Black women across the country, with a focus on expanding inter-generational leadership and addressing economic insecurity, education and health disparities that perpetuate systemic, multi-generational poverty for too many Black women, families and communities.

 

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