Reproductive Choice TM

                                                            Choice its about time  TM

 

 

The National Organization for Women-New York State, Inc.choice logoPicture%20016MA12223190-0002
1500 Central Avenue
Albany, New York 12205
Phone 518-452-33944 - Fax: 518-452-3861
www.nownys.org
NewYorkStateNOW@aol.com or Info@nownys.org

Op-Ed
For Distribution

"WOMEN ARE THE SOLE SOVEREIGNS OVER THEIR REPRODUCTIVE DOMAIN; AND ARE ONE; NOT SEPARATE FROM THE FETAL ENTITY, ACT"
BY
Marcia A. Pappas, President of NOW - New York State
And
Dorothy Jiji, Chair of NOW - New York State Reproductive Rights Task Force

A prospective legislative bill is being considered for submission by the National Organization for Women - New York State called, "Women Are the Sole Sovereigns over Their Reproductive Domain; And Are One; Not Separate From the Fetal Entity, Act." The introduction of the bill came under the urgent recommendation of the Reproductive Rights Task Force, NOW-NYS. The bill's launch will make a case that the fetal entity is not separate from the personage of a woman's own body, including her womb. It should be understood that the fetal entity coexists simultaneously with the reproductive domain and cannot be divested from a woman's own body. The human body is a complex system of interconnected parts; all simultaneously working together to create one single fully functioning human being. 

Furthermore, because NOW-NYS believes that women have rights to self determination; women should be recognized as fully autonomous persons thoroughly competent of making decisions relating to the constitution of their own reproductive make up. Regardless of the decision being made; the utmost of respect must be accorded a woman's final decision. A women's final decision is supreme and no other arbitrator may intervene in the derivation of that decision. Reproductive choice gives women monocratic rights pertaining to childbearing choices and the liberty of conscience to grapple without coercion in deciding; whether to give birth and parent, give birth and relinquish parenthood, whether to abstain from sexual engagement, engage in sexual relations, take preventive measures to prevent pregnancy, take preventative measures to stop a pregnancy, and medical and surgical abortion to abort the fetal entity when no other reproductive alternative becomes a viable option for an unwanted pregnancy. A woman is the sole possessor of rights over the fetal entity as the fetal entity and the woman are intricately and inextricably interconnected. Because the fetal entity coexists simultaneously with the underlying make up of a woman's physiology; no separation exists between the woman and the contents of her womb - thereby, any attempt at segregation will constitute a form of discrimination. 

NOW-NYS has anticipated the ramifications of the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act and other such acts that have played a critical role in the formation of anti choice laws; these laws are working in antithesis to our organizational agenda as well as the representational body of our more than 40,000 constituent members; and we would demand to see those laws stopped.

The National Organization for Women - NYS has felt compelled to establish a unity between women and the fetal entity and  asserts that any attempt to segregate the reproductive domain from a woman's personhood is not only morally reprehensible but a deterrent to a woman's own identity and the foundational establishment of an authentic autonomous self. With the commencement of the new bill, a woman's reproductive domain will be guided by factors that will attempt to alter the fundamental framework by which society views women. The most intrinsic reproductive principles cultivated by women over many decades are being challenged everyday by our governing bodies.

The religious right has managed to articulate their reproductive agenda quite convincingly, and hence succeeded in confiscating many of our reproductive choices by adjudicating new rights. Today, more so than ever, the fight, although uphill, will not deter NOW-NYS from establishing, legal, protected rights for women. It is the religious right's deceptive, yet savvy use of language that has won the envy of the Bush administration; they have beguiled themselves into a movement that is annihilating the diversity of reproductive freedom by proselytizing laws that force submission and reproductive enslavement by prohibiting a woman's role in the active participation of her own health, personal choices and decision-making. With the full force of words the Bush administration and the religious right collaboratively initiated a socio-religious package that catered itself to the masses. With careful finessing the religious right has forcefully plowed through our laws eradicating every crevice of protection that would have guarded our reproductive domain; instead, women continue to remain prisoners of their own bodies; shackled in reproductive bondage to laws that are yet to recognize the emancipation of a woman's personhood. And if that is not enough, the insurgent “right” continues to plow into our rights of privacy, continue to admonish and enact serious laws that penalize innocent people; endangering the lives of not only honest citizens but disrupting core values essential to contemporary civil society. 

We ask “how do we remedy this perverse and pervasive problem?” The answer belays with those who feel that the progressive left and right must forge their own agenda, and not sit lackadaisically awaiting only to counter a response to problems directed by the anti-choicers. A comprehensive liberal solution is needed to stage a 'culture of choice' agenda that will set a new progressive tone by which new legal standards could change the characterization of how women are perceived and treated in this land. A reactionary leadership will never set an agenda, they will only patrol the socio-political landscape set by an avant-garde agency; but visionaries, on the other hand, create new landscapes by which the operational maintenance of an agenda is patrolled by those willing to follow. 

There is no rest to be had for any of us; this is the platform by which the National Organization for Women - New York State can speak its peace.  We can no longer witness the eerie and dispassionate erosion of reproductive justice prodded by institutions encouraging women to populate the world with unwanted children as they are made to forcefully give birth against their wills. Propagation of religious hysteria promulgated towards women is cause enough for women to try and impede the forces that are corrupting their lives. We should be enraged, angry and worried at the unforeseen psychological ramification of enforcing biased gender laws that bludgeon our human rights. We can no longer afford to sit silently or passively as our reproductive, civil and natural rights are deteriorating; we need to listen to our inner drum that tells us we have been wronged by the march of the patriarchal beat. A beat so loud it continues to smother the lives and livelihoods of women who want to sing their own songs, dance to their own rhythms and expound the joys of their inner music without cautiously tip toeing around the beating drums of men who continue to insist that a woman's passage is predicated by her reproductive anatomy and not her personage.  

National Organization for Women - New York State vehemently urges the passage of a new Act that will deem women are the Sole Sovereigns Over Their Reproductive Domain; And Are One; Not Separate From The Fetal Entity.  

-end-

   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2006

Contact: Lisa Oelfke
917-658-3402

***Speak-Out to Oppose Alito Confirmation To Be Held ***

WHAT: Speak-Out To Oppose Alito Confirmation
WHEN: Saturday, January 28, 2006, Noon – 2pm
WHERE: Union Square (south) @14th St.

WHY:  As the Senate debates the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, individual members of NOW who are affiliated with the Reproductive Choice Association and the Womens Mobilization list-serve have put together a speak-out for the public to voice opposition to conservative take-over of the court.  Activists are demanding that the U.S. Senate filibuster the nomination of Judge Alito, and contend that his positions and rulings on women’s right to choose, privacy and executive power, coupled with the fact that he will replace Sandra Day O’Connor and potentially tilt the balance of the court to the right, are ‘extraordinary circumstances” that merit a filibuster.
 In organizing the speak-out activists say that the voices of women and people who will be most impacted by a ‘Justice Alito’ have been largely left out of the debate.
The Reproductive Choice Association is a grassroots advocacy organization helping women create awareness of their rights to reproductive choice. The organization distributed 20,000 buttons on the Mall during the March for Women’s Lives in April of 2004.  The Womens Mobilization list-serve was created in February 2001, and is a feminist network uniting, empowering, and mobilizing women in the struggle against patriarchy, with special focus on combatting the Bush Administration's attacks against women's rights. Pro-choice, anti-sexist, anti-racist, democratic, non-violent.
Organizers are available for inquiries and interviews from the press. The public can contact 212-252-2743 for information.

 

Letter written to introduce the National Organization for Women - New York State's position on Reproductive Health to the New York State Government Transitional Team:

Governor-Elect, Eliot Spitzer
Lt. Governor-Elect, David Paterson
Transitional Team Chairs and Co-chairs
Policy Advisory Committees of the State of New York
Andrew Cumo, Attorney General

National Organization for Women - New York State wants to actuate change for women in New York and is looking forward to working with governmental policy makers to enhance the quality of life for all women in our state.  By mutually working together we can impact the lives of women in a substantial way through the implementation of practical and substantive reform to affect policy that will guarantee the well being of women in all facets of their lives. 

NOW-NYS urges the transitional team to give full range of protected health rights to all women regardless of age, race, ethnicity or financial capability.  Reproductive health concerns shape health systems and as such, NOW-NYS promulgates that adequate health care should be provided to counter the polarizing health dichotomy between the have and have not's; between the anti abortionists and the pro-choicer.  With an estimated figure of 4,600 clinics throughout our nation, an alarming 21,700,000 women and girls have no health insurance in this country.  Such health care crisis needs to be addressed not only federally, but by each individual state.

New York State must become the forerunner for restructuring our social system by instituting radical changes that guarantee our commitment to improving healthcare through integrated high quality diagnostic approaches.  New York State can no longer abate responsibility in addressing the gradual unwieldy decline of women's healthcare
in our state. Sitting complacently and ignoring such critical and problematic issues only
fosters support for women's health degeneracy.  Antiquated; symbols, health systems and laws simply no longer work. Redesigning innovative health systems must be considered by healthcare professionals, aides and health policy strategists with input of both the community and its consumer base so as to address quality healthcare delivery to patient populations. Racial and gender-related disparities require for example that we not only train culturally competent providers but also design culturally competent health care systems. 

Only a renegade approach can resurrect the shortfalls that have been keeping the challenges women face buried under the pillage of bureaucracy. 

Accessing and affording comprehensive healthcare in New York State requires the support of a willing, adept and competent governmental entity to respectively intervene in securing and insuring women- particularly those from the transcultural community-have sanctioned protected rights to make and act on decisions impacting their reproductive domain.  Every woman, of her own voracity should be able- without coercion and without the forceful interjection by the state- make and act on her reproductive choices freely.  Every woman has ownership of her own body including the fetal entity as they are "one" and "inseparable." NOW- New York State urges our state legislatures to acknowledge no such separation, and as such to propose a bill recognizing foremost a woman's dominance over her own body including that of the fetal entity.  No woman should become subservient to a system that insists that some entity lying within one's own reproductive boundary is separable from one's body.  Women are not constructed in parts, they are whole holistic systems.  New York State needs to recognize a woman's reproductive domain is inclusive of the fetal entity and is to be considered "one" single reproductive package. The fetal entity must not be divested from that which is within a women's reproductive domain as the entity is part and parcel of the woman herself. 

NOW-NYS asks the governing bodies of New York allot time to meet with our organizational committee to address the issues at hand.
National Organization for Women - NYS is a participant in the Alliance for Women's Health. We look forward to working with the transitional team so that women can finally be recognized as equal, self realized citizens, desubjugated from subservient regulations made possible by oppressive laws.  Don't let the enslavement of our reproductive domain recklessly disempower women by fulfilling the mission of right wing extremists whose religious values are made to filter down the annals of our law.

Dorothy Jiji - Chair, reproductive Rights Task Force, National Organization for Women - New York State
Copyright                                                             

 

President’s Message newsletter Winter 2006
The National Organization
for Women-NYS            

        President's Message          

Reporter is a bi-annual
publication, distributed to approximately 15,000.

black and white rc symbol
 

Our goal is to bring all women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal p a r t n e r s h i p with men. NOW's six priorities, are Reproductive Rights, Lesbian Rights, Ending Racism, Ending Violence Against Women, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and Economic Justice.

Winter 2006 a publication of National Organization for Women—New York State,

Feminists Mourn the Loss of Two Great Leaders as we Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of NOW

Molly Yard (right) passed away at the age of 93 on 9/21/2005. She was avid supporter for the Equal Rights Amendment and National NOW President 1987-1992. Betty Friedan (left) founding mother of NOW in 1966, passed away at the age of 85 on 2/4/2006. They will both be remembered for their courage and contribution to the women’s movement. This issue of NOW NYS Reporter is dedicated to these two fearless leaders who gave their energy, knowledge and their vision to our movement so that all women would be equal. Today we stand on their shoulders to move forward and fight back for
what is rightfully ours. Thank you Betty and Molly.

rc in black and white small

 

 

REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE TM  
A woman's right to self-determination. 
                                                                                                       

whatNOW Summer 2005 NOW-NYC Newsletter
President's Desk                     
Dear readers,                                                                                       
There's never been a better time to be A woman's right to self-determination a member of the National           
Organization for Women.  If you've ever wanted to take an active part in protecting women's rights, here's your chance. With the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, we have lost an important voice
for women and may be one step closer to losing abortion rights.

We can change that. In August, NOW-NYC launched our Save The Court! Campaign. We're meeting every
Tuesday evening at 6:45 pm at our NYC headquarters. We've got momentum and motivation to do everything
 in our power to make sure John G. Roberts isn't confirmed to the Supreme Court. If you want to make sure the
court stays balanced, join us and take part in something historic.

Confirmation hearings for Roberts will begin September 6, and he just won't do. Throughout his 26-year career,
John G. Roberts has continually supported and promoted an anti-woman, anti-civil rights, and anti-worker agenda. Here's a snapshot of just some of his regressive agenda:
�� As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in a brief before the Supreme Court that "we continue to believe
that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. The Court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion... finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."
�� As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts filed an amicus curiae brief in supportof Operation Rescue,
a group that violently blocked access to clinics. At the Supreme Court level, that case was called Bray v.
Alexandria Women's Health Clinic (it was NOW v. Operation Rescue at the trial and appellate levels).
The brief argued that the protesters' behavior did not discriminate against women and that blockades and clinic
protests were protected speech under the First Amendment. The case helped us push congressional passage
of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
�� He filed an amicus brief in Adarand v. Mineta in Oct. 2001, supporting a challenge to federal affirmative
 action programs.
�� He argued against Title IX, the equal education law for women and girls, as applied to college athletic programs in NCAA v. Smith.
�� A proponent of states' rights even if it costs the safety of women and girls, in a 1999 radio interview he said, "We have gotten to the point these days where we think the only way we can show we're serious about a problem is
if we pass a federal law, whether it is Violence Against Women Act or anything else.” He is also a member of the Federalist Society, an ultraconservative legal organization committed to returning to a pre-Civil War era of unquestioned states' rights and to rolling back legislation that has advanced women's rights, civil rights,
environmental protections, and health and safety standards. Federalist Society heroes and leaders you might
recognize are Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,  former U.S. Attorney General John
Ashcroft and Senator Orrin Hatch.
  
 Join NOW-NYC in sending a loud and clear message to our leaders that we won't accept a new judge who doesn't support a woman's right to abortion. Come to our weekly Save the Court! meetings and participate in our protest of John Roberts on
                                                           
    
Thursday, September 15th, 5:30 pm at
Union Square Park. Call our office to find
out the details of other ongoing meetings,
programs and actions!
212-627-9895
150 W. 28th Street, Suite 304
Yours truly,
Sonia Ossorio

IF LESLEE WERE A FEMINIST…

By: Dorothy Jiji,
Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force
National Organization for Women - New York State
Published: Winter 2007 Issue

The framework of Roe v. Wade hung in the balance on November 7th, 2006. New York State and other states would have been directly affected by the result of these crucial votes that could determine the fate of abortion in this country.

If an abortion ban had succeeded in South Dakota, women across our nation would have been affected
by its outcome. The raging political landscape of such bans is widespread; and currently seventeen states have anti abortion trigger laws of pre-Roe v. Wade statutes that would be resuscitated automatically if the bans were upheld. New York has had its share of litigation, but when the federal government passed the first ever Federal Abortion Ban in the autumn of 2003, the ACLU responded expeditiously and challenged the ban in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The court held the ban    unconstitutional, recognizing the threat it poses to the health of a woman.

New York State is not immune from a limited abortion ban; and it would have had an indelible impact on Roe if the landmark bill had been passed by the South Dakota legislature in March and put on the ballot of the US midterm election, making illegal abortions a reality. The bill made neither an exception for a woman’s poor health nor an exception for rape or incest. It had a gratuitous prevention exception in the law stating that doctors will not be prosecuted for procedures “intended to prevent the death of a pregnant mother,” and that an attempt must be made to try and save the fetus.

By most intelligent measures, the South Dakota ban was excessively extreme. The prohibition of an all out abortion ban in a predominately conservative, anti abortion state is under scrutiny both by the anti- and the pro-choicers. If the ban were upheld, a court challenge could reach the Supreme Court and be used to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision, that would override all state-level bans on the ground of individual freedom.

Opponents of the ban in South Dakota cited the incursion of future costly legal fees by the state associated with the bill’s challenge, strictness and inflexibility of the bill and government intrusion into individuals’ rights of privacy. South Dakota residents appeared to have many libertarian tendencies, as one article cites. A recent survey taken by the Zogby International poll, commissioned by an anti-choice group in D.C., showed a 3% lead by opponents of the ban, but the lead had slightly narrowed. Twenty percent of those polled are undecided. Polling numbers revealed a preponderance of support for the ban if an exception for rape and incest were asserted in the bill.

Had the ban succeeded, women of South Dakota would have been left with no recourse, particularly in light of the State’s emergency contraception “right-of-refusal” for pharmacists. So the only choice remaining for the 800 or so women having abortions performed in South Dakota annually would have been either taking the pregnancy to term or terminating the pregnancy outside the state. If upon consultation with a doctor a referral of another doctor is sought and given to a woman seeking an abortion, the referring physician would be fined $10,000 for breaking the law. Doctors, prohibited from helping any woman terminate a pregnancy at any stage (unless necessary to save the woman’s life), would be labeled felons and would be held accountable for breaching the law by up to five years in prison.

Currently, not a single doctor in South Dakota is willing to perform an abortion. A sum total of four doctors are flown in from Minnesota to work at the only abortion clinic in the entire state of South Dakota. Miriam McCreary, one of the four doctors, worries that “women who don’t want to be pregnant will go to extreme measures.”

Because bans jeopardize a woman’s health and interfere with medical decision-making, organizations such as NOW, ACLU and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose them. According to the ACLU, abortion bans are “an affront to women’s health and rights.”

South Dakotan organizations that opposed the ban are transforming the debate by accentuating their message. For example, the Rev. Kathy Timpany of Pastors for Moral Choices believes that “the ban is neither just nor compassionate…” Liam McNerney, a volunteer at the Campaign for Healthy Families opposes abortion but supports a woman’s right to choose.

Conversely, anti-choice activist and campaign manager Leslee Unruh, the person responsible for bringing the bill to the South Dakotan legislature, has the audacity to call her approach “feminist” because she purports to believe that legalized abortion exploits women. We all know that if Leslee were a feminist, she would be saying, “Abortion liberates women, rather than exploits them.” If Leslee were a feminist, she would be saying, “Abortion is a choice for responsible citizenship.” If Leslee were a feminist, she would be saying, “Every woman has a right to terminate a growing fetus in her womb if her future vision is interrupted by an unwanted pregnancy that is likely to oppress her liberties.” If Leslee were a feminist, she would be saying, “How dreadful it would be if women will have lost their right to self determination when fetal rights compel women into motherhood and deny women the choice of terminating a pregnancy, forcing by legal means the willful subjugation of women who resist bringing the fetus to term.” If Leslee were a feminist, she would have begun developing healthy family values. She would have decided
to stop preaching; anti-moral messages about anti-morality, anti-compassion, anti-love, anti-tolerance and empathy, anti-women, anti-family, anti-community, and anti-religious, anti-democratic, and anti-feminist propaganda. If Leslee were a feminist, she would have joined the membership of the National Organization for Women to help empower rather than disempower women.    Copyright

The following is my recommendation to NOW-NYS and Assemblywoman Eddington
on matters of SURROGACY: By jiji

NOW-NYS believes that the Women's Reproductive Domain Act can address the question of traditional and gestational surrogacy and its impact on the fetus should  the need surface for legislative purposes.  The Women's Reproductive Domain Act is potentially the most fundamental Act that is to protect a women's right to reproductive choice.  With this Act a woman is presumed a single entity inseparable from the fetus in her womb.  The Act is to acknowledge that a fetus can gain full citizenship and human status only upon the act of "birth."  Personhood is achieved when the fetus is fully emerged from the birth canal and the umbilical cord is severed; only at such juncture 
can a fetus be a person; constituting a separate entity from that of its carrier. Consequently any attempt to sever the fetus from its carrier shall not constitute viability of personhood before the act of birth.  Because no verifiable findings nor public consensus can substantiate when personhood commences nor when life as "human person" begins it is far more accurate to conclusively establish a definitive boundary as noted in the above elucidation.

It is important to reiterate that even upon birth the umbilical cord must be severed as the final act of the division.  The division between the parts shall constitute the formal separation between the woman and her fetus. As long as the umbilical cord is attached between the parts the fetus remains within the legal domain of a woman's rights.
Assisted reproductive technologies, as aide in surrogacy, may complicate the issue at hand... surrogacy agreements in New York State are held void and unenforceable as they are in breach of public policy.  In order to understand the impact of surrogacy on Women's Reproductive Domain Act, one must understand the complexity of the issue...What are, for example, the ramifications of a surrogate who wishes to abort the fetus? Or what happens when a surrogate refuses to abort a severely handicapped fetus... or a surrogate who wishes to keep the fetus after birth and refuses surrender of the baby to the intended parents? Who should have precedence to a child when, for example, a surrogate is not genetically related to the fetus but carries the egg and
Sperm of the intended parents? Such answers are complicated and although private agreements between the parties are contracted no easy answer can be claimed.  In general NOW-NYS's position is to assert the integrity of the fetal carrier whether the carrier is a traditional or a gestational surrogate....the argument to be made is that precedence is to be given to the woman carrying the fetus, again... the emphasis is hinged on the inseparability of the fetus and the womb- they are "one" - rather than weighing-in on the contractual obligations.  Contractual surrogacy laws may apply and be effectuated in some states, but NOW-NYS believes that the surrogate has foremost obligations to herself and not to the intended parents when relinquishing
rights to a child is made less than voluntarily or is denied an un-pressured opportunity
to conduct herself accordingly before a court or agency head to surrender her parental rights.  A surrogate may not be forced to abort a fetus if she so wishes nor should she be forced to go to term with her pregnancy.  A surrogate is "one" with the fetus and again, they are single entity- NOT separate entities, regardless of who the sperm or
egg donors are.  NOW-NYS views surrogacy as a gesture of good will and hence any surrogate that carries a child for someone else upon completion of her pregnancy has done so out of an act of kindness.  If such act is based on finances than the surrogacy will have succeeded and the contractual obligations, met.  But up until the act of birth the fetus is the property of the surrogate. 

All contractual obligations should be effectuated "after" the birth of a child as that is the trajectory point by which two separate individuals with two separate legal identities can be legally substantiated.  In following through with the contractual obligations, a surrogate who uses her own eggs and is artificially inseminated with the donor's sperm is the natural mother of the child.  In such case, all intended mothers may be required to do a step-parent adoption.  If the gestational surrogate does not use her own eggs but appropriates the eggs of the intended mother, the intended mother shall become the genetic mother and will not need to draw adoption papers.  If on the other hand a non-genetic providing surrogate refuses to relinquish the child a legal battle may ensue by which the court will determine its outcome. Furthermore, if the gestational surrogate
appropriates eggs of another donor, not of the intended mother, the natural mother must apply only with consent, or waiver her consent, of the genetic parent; in doing so, the gestational surrogate may choose to raise the child she has delivered as her own, complicating the problems of surrogacy.   

Let it be clear, a pregnant surrogate holds all rights to the fetus, and will not be adjudged by any person, law or otherwise, that attempts to subordinate her rights to fetal ownership.  Every woman, surrogate or not is obliged to keep her self determination intact.  Foremost on that agenda, a woman has a right to do as she wishes with her own body, the decisions she makes- right or wrong - are to be determined by her wishes; no one, and I repeat, no one other than the woman herself has the right to make such intimate and private decision on matters that affects her personal health, life and well being.

NOW-NYS urges Assemblywoman Pat Eddington to fight a noble cause for women; to
free women from the reproductive injustices that have curtailed their lives and prevented the emancipation of their personhood. The ability for women to determine for themselves
their reproductive destiny should neither fall with the state nor religious institutions.
By subjecting women to laws that minimizes their capacity to actualize full and equal citizenship has also negated them the freedom to selectively make the choices that
affect their reproductive liberty. 

Ms. Eddington, NOW-NYS commends you for your tireless efforts, for championing reproductive choices and working towards a fair and equitable society for all women. 

Jiji - Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force - NOW-NYS
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               Opinion & clarification on defining PERSONHOOD to NOW-NYS.   By jiji

The umbilical cord is cut "after" the child has emerged out of the birth canal, breathing (NOT within the womb or the woman's body)...the act of "birth" itself.  "Severing" the umbilical cord is the formal "ritual" by which two distinct entities are formed; otherwise with the attachment of the umbilical cord the woman and the fetus/child are still a "single" entity!!! This is a fundamental and an essential conceptual viewpoint, critical to the understanding of what constitutes "oneness" and "duplicity;" without such concept it will make it difficult to substantiate "singularity."  Please, I have spent nearly a decade refining this concept; it is intellectually unique, but this is the only argument that makes human/social/political/physiological/philosophical/moral sense.  I have spent all my life in existentialist discourse wanting to know what the defining boundaries by which formations of unity and separations are created.  The success of the design of the Reproductive Choice and Ambiguity symbols are the underlying structural forms constituting reality...the designs are the amalgamation of human perceptual boundaries which by unity and separation are merged.

My ideas are formulated both inside and outside the box; the writing concepts I had submitted to you did NOT come about by chance; these are years of thought out thinking cultivated by the efforts of reason...it will be a mistake not to follow up with my recommendation as the development of these ideas were formed by years of input and intellectual labor.   Grappling with these issues now is much too familiar for me; but it may take time for others to absorb this most fundamental concept for both birth and abortion. The whole issue of life and viability vs. choice and abortion is rested on defining the moment of "separation"...this is a critical notion if we are to argue what constitutes "personhood." 

If "severing the umbilical cord" is an issue- which it ought not to be- I suggest that we put a clause in the Women's Reproductive Domain Act that will clarify our intention.
Copyright   jiji

This is to clarify what "severing the umbilical cord" means:

When the fetus is in the woman's body/womb-uterus/birth canal it is still part of a woman's body...it constitutes a "single" entity; regardless of whether the umbilical cord is attached or not. The woman in this case holds all the rights to the fetus!!

When the fetus is outside of a woman's body with the umbilical cord still attached it is still a "single" entity...with all rights belonging to the woman.

When the fetus is outside the body of a woman breathing and the umbilical cord is "severed" after the fetus emerges from the birth canal it shall constitute two separate entities with the fetus holding rights to its own personhood.

NO child or fetus shall hold any legal rights before the law when it partially or wholly remains in the body of a woman regardless the status of the umbilical cord...A woman will continue holding rights to the fetus.

How can we make a legal argument for the integration of fetus and woman being a single holistic system inseparable from one another when we cannot define when this system is no longer integrated? This is the crux of the argument...this is fundamental reasoning.

NOW-NYS can take a leadership role in defining NYS policy...this very act will change the course of how life and abortion will be viewed...this is the steppingstone to liberating women's reproductive domain!!

Jiji- Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force, NOW-NYS               copyright - jiji

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BILL NUMBER: S3117
 

SPONSOR: MALTESE
Opinion rendered by Jiji on the UVOVA:
“An act to amend the penal law, in relation to the unborn victims of violence act,”
NO person of an “unborn child” at any stage of gestation may be the victim of an assault or homicide as NOW-NYS abhors the attempt at making a distinction between the potential mother and the fetus.  NOW-NYS recognizes that the woman and the fetus are a single entity belonging to one single body & therefore are indistinguishable and inseparable from the reproductive domain of a woman.  A woman's body is an interconnected system of many parts and one such part of a woman's reproductive anatomy is the fetus. 
The fetus shall bear NO rights outside the personage of a woman's body.  The woman and the fetus are collectively a single entity.  An "unborn child" shall have no meaning or rights in the context of that which is "unborn." Every stage of a fetal gestation shall NEVER constitute a "person;" nor be defined as a "person." No independent "personage" shall be deemed separate of the carrier of the fetus.  Only the carrier of a fetus can legally be deemed a "person."  The fetus is part of a woman's physiology and is the property of her own being.  Any attempt to segregate the fetus from the property of a woman's right to her own ownership shall constitute an assault on women and as such shall be deemed unconstitutional.  When a crime has been committed to a pregnant future mother; a single crime will have been committed; and the only rightful criminal responsibility in such a situation will be recourse for the harm caused to the woman. Because the fetus and its carrier is a single entity NO further legal protection is necessary to hold the offender of the crime responsible for the harm caused to the fetus. 
Such attempt to deny women their rights by legally forcing women to surrender compartments of their own body both to the criminal and the state is itself a CRIME against women. The attempt to divide a woman's own body into compartments and objectify them in the manner that this bill attempts to do is a denigration of women and a CRIME against their humanity.
Let it be known, that NOW-NYS is incensed over the bill named “An act to amend the penal law, in relation to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” and objects vehemently to its attempt to dissolve a women’s inherent rights to the ownership of her own body by forcing the state to side with a prospective perpetrator of an illegitimate crime.
Jiji – Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force - National Organization for Women – NYS
Copyright 7:26 PM, February 25, 2007 

Katha Pollitt's article is another reason why we need the Women's Reproductive Domain Act!!!....By jiji

To insure that passage of anti choice legislation stops in the future our laws need to acknowledge that women coexist simultaneously with the fetus and are one single entity; inseparable from the physiology of a woman's body as it assures women their own personage and autonomy; until then women are imprisoned by the circumstance of their anatomy and are living in reproductive bondage as outcast members of society without a right to equal and free citizenship.  If women lack the freedom of ownership to possession of their own bodily property; they are not only being discriminated against; but they are in default of fair due process.
No woman, physician or healthcare provider shall need to bear the consequences of decisions made by our highest Court that jeopardizes the integrity of the medical profession and the natural and health rights of women.  Discriminatory laws are made by justices who are adept at the practice of discrimination.  Women can no longer be burdened by the constant barrage of laws that suffocate rather than prevent women from actualizing the lives they want for themselves.  We need to insist that our legislatures address discriminatory gender practices and not stall in their efforts to rectify outdated antiquated laws that no longer have a place in contemporary civil society and at the same time forge ahead with new laws that respect women and the core values of our nation's democratic ideals.  Failings by our legislatures to counter measures that chisel away at women's right are a costly failure that will impact women's liberties in all facets of their lives.  Reproductive choice is a matter that influences and informs every decision making aspect of a woman; such choice is interrelated with other decision making processes and cannot be segregated from the establishment and formation of one's individuality, identity and autonomy.  When personal choices, tastes or preferences become politicized, our legal system will have failed the people when arbitration on such matters becomes precedence for law.        Jiji   Copyright  1/1

 

Exert on rebuttal (e-mail) addressed to the Policy Committee Members of the Alliance for Women’s Health.  jiji

National Organization for Women - NYS recognizes, that the current forum's focus is
to address and formulate a women's health policy in New York State, and that the objective of this policy will help secure a better and healthier future for all women.  A successful enactment of such policy will help remedy the diverse health concerns that have unabashedly plagued the reproductive well being of our gender. 
NOW-NYS's mission is to empower women; we do not intend to diminish the viability of a vibrant and diverse culture that caters to the multitude of people seeking a fair, equitable and sustainable life for themselves; on the contrary, we wish everyone maximize their full human potential.  We rightly insist that proponents advocating for a women's health policy address ONLY women in its content. 
As we strive for full equality, women are not appendages to children, to men, to fetuses, to families, to other women; they are self actualizing individuals in need of cultivating protected Federal and State Rights that assures their freedom to self determination.  Women, collectively share many things in common with each other; and we therefore must give credence to women by acknowledging that they need NOT be an addendum to anything other than the ownership they have of themselves; otherwise they are tramping down a road by which irreverence for women is sought by those whose best interests is to continue to subjugate women because they have yet to distinguish themselves as wholly sufficient individuals, with their own particular identities and equal rights of citizenship.
  
Dorothy Jiji - Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force, National Organization for Women - New York State
Copyright
                                                                                          1/1

Rebuttal (via e-mail) to the Policy Committee Members of the Alliance of Women’s Health- by jiji

 

Hi ______:

Kindly explain why I had not been told by the policy committee members that "abortion" was a category that was still under deliberation? As you know, I had objected to not having an "abortion" bullet in the formulation of the state policy both during the policy committee meeting and its post refinement involvement.  "Abortion" as a bullet item may have indeed slipped our radar screen had such cognition been overlooked. 

The suggestion that I had made of incorporating the verbalism, Family Planning (FP) in the mission statement was simply because I had felt that it was an overall arching issue, not a bullet item. "A family planning alliance" was meant to be a description of the alliance. It was not meant as a noun.  It could have been written as follows: A family planning alliance called The Alliance for Women’s Health. If you feel you would like to omit or rearrange the catchphrase "family planning" from the mission statement, by all means do so; I was simply making a suggestion for incorporating the phrase by finding a new context in which to use the words, "family planning."

Regardless of whether "family planning" is a surrogate of "reproductive and sexual health" or vice versa, my intention was not to engage us in the semantics of the wordings' discourse, but rather to bring attention to how words like "family planning" detracts or disguises words like abortion, emergency contraception and birth control.  Such an overarching category dilutes the linguistic emphasis that NOW-NYS wants to make transparent; particularly in policy matters that address the reproductive well being of women. The use of an all encompassing catch phrase as FP is not a substitute for explicit and candid words such as abortion, emergency contraception and birth control and clearly should not be used as a bullet item.  If, the Alliance for Women's Health is intended to be an all inclusive partnership than it has to respect the continued persistence and diligent work that NOW-NYS's membership and its officers are expected to do for its female patrons. NOW-NYS will not abide by any words or word phrases that diminish from the virility of consequentially significant words that hold the backbone for women's rights to reproductive choice. Such direct language is crucial in forming a policy; without which, we are shortchanging our organizational constituency and all women who rely upon us to win an uncompromising fight on their behalf. 

How can we negate such common words by which healthcare services are being provided to women if we conceal intimate wordings of public familiarity?  Cloaking language in an attempt to be more inclusive of certain populations or communities
does not justify the camouflage of language to simply gain credibility or popularity both among such populations and/or legislatures. We need to be mindful that such language is part and parcel of everyday living; these are ordinary, mundane words, part of a cultural vocabulary; we need to ensure that such words will continue to be used in
such capacity.  NOW-NYS is certainly open to keeping the "details" or "specifics" in the bullets open for further discussion; but NOW-NYS will not compromise the resoluteness of such words as ABORTION, EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION, and BIRTH CONTROL in the framework of a state policy. The foundational underpinnings of a policy construct will give homage to women by valuing and acknowledging them as societies' equal members; and as such a women's health policy must alleviate the healthcare difficulties women encounter by ensuring that women are not alienated from a policy intended to help secure a diverse range of health protections and safeguards that assures the lawful protection of the policy at hand.

 

Dorothy jiji - Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force, National Organization for Women - NYS
 Copyright                                                                                
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WOMENS’S REPRODUCTIVE DOMAIN ACT is distinct & separate from the REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH and PRIVACY ACT.  Letter written and sent via email to NOW-NYS. By jiji

 

I came to the NOW-NYS's office yesterday primarily to await Eddington's decision to ascertain whether Spitzer's bill has in fact appropriated the idea content of the Women's Reproductive Domain Act.  Although the decision by Eddington has not yet been ascertained; it is clear that the Governor's Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act does not contain ANY of the language in the WRDA.  The two Acts cited above are separate and independent of each other...arguments made for the RHPPA are not the same as arguments being made for the WRDA.
I strongly urge Pat Eddington NOT to submit the incorporation of the WRDA within the framework of the RHPPA; although complimentary, they are separate and distinct legal Acts needing their own integral space; each making strong and separate argument for the rights of women.  The Women's Reproductive Domain Act's ultimate goal is to make the fetus subservient to the woman carrying the fetus by establishing a legal framework that recognizes that the fetus and the woman coexist simultaneously together and are inseparable; and furthermore...a woman shall have the prerogative to make the supreme decision regarding matters that affect her own body and the content of her womb; otherwise, as I told Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn we are "suffocating" a woman's autonomy by giving precedence to a fetus over a woman. 
As you may know, I, along with many women mourn the inability to self determine the course of our own actions affecting our own identity and personhood.  In a society that calls itself "free" we as a state and nation continue to ensure that subjugation of women is permissible by forcing women to obey antiquated reproductive laws that hinder their well being.  Lack of a woman's ability after the "twenty fourth week" to determine the course of her reproductive well being without inappropriate intrusion forcefully enacted upon her by the state or fed and without safeguard measures to ensure protection in matters affecting
a woman's private and personal affairs such as her reproductive domain is a case for discrimination.  Getting a "hysterectomy" according to Mayersohn does NOT solve the problem of gender bias nor does
it free women from the adaptation of new laws that enslave women by suppressing reproductive choice. NO woman shall be emancipated until such date that she has a fully fledged right that recognizes her autonomy and no personhood shall be established for a fetus until such date that a woman gives birth
to a living baby.
Under such circumstances, I strongly urge Pat Eddington push for a bill number for the Women's Reproductive Domain Act so that NOW-NYS can fight against prejudicial constraints that bind women
to antiquated judicial laws by securing a place for the liberation of all women rather than enabling the decisions that disrespect the choices each woman uniquely makes to determine the future course of her life.   

jiji - Chair, Reproductive Rights Task Force, NOW –NYS                            

February 2007:

 

Invitation to speak at the Vagina Festival on Art as Advocacy:

 

Art as Advocacy is a newly coined term used to describe work made by artists in an effort to raise social awareness about issues by participating in the active hands-on lobbying sponsored  by grassroots organizers. The artwork made is not made for the purpose of cultivating an art career nor made for the purpose of profit; but rather to impart a service to the people.      This social campaign is to be known as a consummation of a philanthropic merger between    the artist, the artwork, and its spectators.

Traditionally, artists' work had proliferated in society by the aide of merchants of the trade, i.e.: art galleries, art dealers, art conventions and expositions, etc...Such trade venues are not possible for all artists particularly when the by-product is not a work of art per se, but rather a provider of a "service.” Because Art as Advocacy esteems service, artists like Andy Warhol who mass produced art objects by commodifying them succeeded in delivering "factory-made" art by catering to the needs of the marketplace. 

These art objects depicted familiar everyday objects produced in Warhol’s New York Studio  known as a "Factory." The Factory conveyed the sense that the source of Andy's production was prolific. Warhol customarily took the position of a producer, rather than that of a creator; further reinforcing the notion of manufacturing, industrializing, and machine-made goods as a work of art. Challenging artistic aesthetic, Warhol broke away from the traditionally enduring representation of culture's most esteemed principles - the ideals of humanity. This paradigm shift transplanted the perception of what constituted "high" art and "low" art,     leveling the social field by creating cultural uniformity.
 
Warhol states everyone drinks Coke - Elizabeth Taylor drinks coke, the president drinks coke...you can drink Coke...the premise being whether poor or rich, blue collar or white collar; we are essentially the same...no one is privileged as no differentiation between people are made.  Andy's "objects" are geared to the masses and our everyday products, items in which  we use in our household are what we all have in common.  But yet, Warhol was obsessed with production and money-making, he even painted paintings depicting money. 

In contrast to Warhol's business acumen, Art as advocacy's only business is to raise awareness about social and political issues; it’s not intended as a business by which art is bought and sold in the marketplace. Because Warhol was a consummate businessman, he had intentioned on proliferating the marketplace with the production of his products.  In The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again; Warhol wrote about art as business; his views challenged once again the traditional views that commercialization is not an arena to be explored in the fine arts; he is quoted as saying in his book "Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art." Warhol's infamous hallmark was the crossover between fine art & the commercialization of art which ultimately became a movement known as Pop Art. 

 

Conversely, "art as advocacy" attempts to proliferate the marketplace with "service" oriented output rather than "art object" production. The dispensation methods of marketing will be similar in both "product" orientated art and "service" oriented art, the difference only

 

 

being its use by the end user. In the former the end user takes physical possession of the artwork; in the later, the end user is intellectually challenged to think about the narrative the
artwork discloses; the only possession an end user in a service oriented art walks away with     is the "thought" itself - the ramification of which can mean that a person's social sensibility   could be challenged. 

It’s important to emphasize that the narrative - the story; is an essential component of the artwork dealing with advocacy; because the underlying premise is to raise awareness about a particular issue; unlike Warhol's work, Andy preferred keeping quiet about what it is he wished to impart to his audience; he was quoted as having said that all you need to know about him and his works is already there, "on the surface." Art that imparts a service encourages dialogue between the viewers the artwork and the narrator. Discussion is an essential component of the storyline as it intended to bring an additional dimension into the picture.
 Art as Advocacy is action orientated; artists take to the street rallying on behalf of causes, engaging other advocacy groups as for example, the National Organization for Women if one's interest is to propel the Feminist cause. One's individual and collective voices can be heard by joining a committee or Task Force, as for example, to address the issue of the deterring state of affairs concerning Reproductive Choice. By joining such committees one can begin to form a strategy in which may entail writing letters to our legislatures, contacting and meeting with our political representatives or community members, distributing printed materials regarding the nature of the issue, fundraising, or any other means of communication by which campaigning for a cause creates awareness and social change. 

When artists join advocacy organizations that engage their issues it also informs their art. Artists as advocates see NO separation between what appears to be two distinct endeavors; art is simply a vehicle to address one's concern about an issue. The artist's life is ONE life - that of an advocate. North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts defines advocacy as the process of pleading in favor of or support for an important issue. An effective advocate is one who pleads the cause of another; one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal.  Similarly, Warhol states "working is art" Art as Advocacy states that "advocating is art." In contrast to Warhol's commerce oriented art, art as advocacy does strive to reach high humanitarian ideals; its mission is to create cultural reforms by engaging people in the issues as well as in actions.

 

                                                                                                             2/2                                                                          ArtAlerts -Copyright 2007

 

 

 

 

 

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