Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Safe & Early Access Bill (SB 1501)

Senator Kehoe introduced SB 1501, the Safe & Early Access Bill, which would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform first trimester abortions.  This is a tremendously important bill--with nearly 1/2 of all CA counties not having an abortion provider, women in many communities--especially rural areas--find themselves traveling great distances at a high cost to seek care.

UCSF has studied the safety and efficiency of these procedures when performed by non-physicians--and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.  Not only is the complication rate extremely low (the same among both physicians and non-physicians) but patient satisfaction is actually higher.  Several other states already have similar laws on the books--and these clinicians already perform the same exact procedure (it's called a D&C technically) for women who have had a miscarriage. 

Many LA pro-choice champions are co-authoring this bill--including Speaker Perez, Asms. Butler, Mitchell and Lara, and Sens. De Leon and Leiu. 

You can read more about it in the LAT here:,0,7007621.story

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Decline of Women in America?


We are mothers, sisters and daughters. We are multi-taskers, leaders and advocates. We are care-takers, Governors and executives. We are 51% of the population. Yet still, in 2012, women are seeing vicious attacks on basic (some might say "unalienable") rights. How did this happen? How, in the 21st century, are we having conversations that move the debate further away from equality?

The current generation of young women has often been told that our mothers and grandmothers did the fighting for us. Because of their determination, we have the right to vote, we have access to contraception and abortion is legal. We grew up thinking that the fight was over and that we could live our lives in equality. We believed that after decades of effort and sacrifice by brave women who came before us, that being a woman would no longer be the reason we couldn't do something. Sadly, in just one day, there were more than enough examples to tell us that our fight is far from over.

On Thursday, February 16, 2012, five middle-aged men in Congress held a hearing about our access to birth control. No women were allowed at the table, and no women who support birth control were allowed to testify. This travesty of misrepresentation ignored the fact that 98% of women in the United States use some form of birth control. Congress was proposing to make decisions about our bodies, but no one thought to ask what we thought.

Meanwhile, just a little to the south, the State Legislature in Virginia passed a law requiring that women receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound, which includes inserting a probe inside of the woman, if they want to get an abortion, even if it is against their will. Put another way: this past week, the Virginia State Legislature approved state-sanctioned rape.

On that same day, a major political donor gave an interview on national television, blaming the fact that we even have to have conversations about birth control on women and offered a an offensive suggestion, saying "Back in my days they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." The donor didn't mention how women are hyper-sexualized in the media and constantly criticized about their appearance. Instead, he simply suggested that women close their legs, and seemed annoyed that women's health would consume precious hours of the 24-hour news cycle.

As frustrating and offensive as these past days have been to women across the country, these examples also help to highlight the work that needs to be done. Enough is enough. It is time for a new generation to take action. It is time for a new generation to build on the victories won by of our mothers and grandmothers and to acknowledge that our fight is not over. It is time for a new generation of women to get politically engaged, and there is an obvious place to start -- we need to elect more women to office.

While there are many men who stand as feminist allies, the reality is that women and men govern differently. Women and men approach decision-making differently, build consensus differently, and have different experiences that inform their opinions. This is not to argue that one gender's approach to governing is better than the other's; it is to point out that, in a democracy, a group that makes up more than half of the population should have its unique approach to governance represented by more than half of the legislators. Unfortunately, we aren't even close to that level of fairness.

Currently, only 17% of the members of the United States Congress are women -- that's less than 1 in 5. There are only 6 women serving as governors in the United States -- about 1 in 8. If this past week has taught us anything, it should be that we cannot expect equality to exist in either our laws or the national debate surrounding lawmaking, if women are not at the table as legislation is considered. So then, the question confronting a new generation of women is simple: why aren't women represented equally in government? Why so often do we not have a seat at the table?

One possible answer to this incredibly complex question is that women are not represented equally in government because we don't have many role models to look to and know that "we can do it." Political role models and mentors are often the ones who help first-time candidates make the difficult decision to run for office, and without role models, many women never get the urging they need to launch campaigns.

There are a few solutions to this problem. We need to do a better job of asking other women to run for office. We need to remind women that they can run for office, that they have what it takes to be an elected leader and that we will support them if they take that critical step. Women need more mentors. It isn't enough for women to simply serve in elected office -- achieving equality requires foresight and planning. It is incumbent upon all elected women to mentor other women, so there is a pipeline of talented young women who are ready to run when the opportunity presents itself.

We need to support each other -- not just emotionally, but monetarily as well. Women do not give as much money to political candidates as men do. Running for office is an expensive journey to take, and women need to be able to rely on other women for financial support when they run for office.

We need to vote for one another. When women vote, women win. If we are going to achieve gender equality in elected bodies, we need to get out the vote. We need to exercise the right our grandmothers fought so hard for and vote for women who are courageous enough to run for office.

We need to support women candidates in these ways because women face many difficult challenges when running for office. Often, women are still the primary caretakers for their children and elderly parents. Women are criticized for our appearance much more than men. Questions about what we are wearing, how much make-up we have on and how much we weigh are constant and are only questions that we as women have to face. We are asked questions about how we plan to serve in elected office with children and, at the same time, we are criticized if we made the choice not to marry or have a family.

We face many roadblocks. And yet, as women what we know to be true is that we can do anything. We can be full-time mothers and work outside of the home. We can take care of our elderly parents and serve in Congress. We can be single parents and executives. And it's about time, in 2012, that we can make up 51% of the elected leadership.

So what can you do to get involved today? There are many organizations working hard to ensure we achieve equal representation in government. Running Start, WUFPAC, Off the Sidelines, National Women's Political Caucus, The 2012 Project and Emily's List, just to name a few. Do research. Get involved. Ask a woman to run. Run for office yourself. Talk to your friends about getting involved.

Enough is enough.

It is time for our generation to take action. To build on the success of our mothers and grandmothers, and acknowledge that we have our own war to fight. And there is so much to do.

Huffington Post URL:
Lindsay Bubar is the Campaign Manager for California State Assemblymember Betsy Butler and the President of National Women's Political Caucus, LA Westside. She is a tireless advocate for environmental reform and equal representation for women in politics. She serves in leadership positions for Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, LA Running Start, Planned Parenthood and San Fernando Valley Young Democrats.

Nomiki Konst is a Congressional Candidate for Arizona's 2nd District this fall. She's the founder and former President of Alliance Hollywood, an organization dedicated to training members of the entertainment industry on how to speak civilly about politics. She's an advocate for civil discourse, Millennial politics and equal representation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

NWPC National President's Report - February 2012

Linda Young, NWPC President
I want to first wish you a Happy International Women’s Day. We are stronger when we band together with our sisters, those close by and those far away. Today is an important reminder that while we do the good work within our Nation, we must also recognize the struggles that affect women worldwide and the strength that is so often shown in their survival.
This report is coming a few days late, and while I regret that, I do not regret the frenzy of activity toward the end of February that has consumed my time. For this report, I wanted to not only share what I have been doing to represent you lately, but also to share what I am thinking of as a Six Month Check-Up. In addition to news, I will share a summary of accomplishments of our new administration, so you will know how we all have been using our time on behalf of NWPC. Please know that these are joint accomplishments, positive movement that has resulted from the work of our Executive Committee and our Board members from across the country: your accomplishments for NWPC.
  • Significant participation with the National Council of Women’s Organizations, attending their meetings, participating in messaging, and even having one of our Executive Committee members, Vice President for Communications Pat Lynch, present at one of their meetings.
  • Joined as a member of HERvotes, the coalition to address Health and Economic Rights of Women, and to recruit like-minded women to register to vote, and then to vote to protect our rights. (Now 52 organizations, with joint impact of representing millions of women, so watch for the next press release in two weeks that presents our coalition strength in quantified report)
  • Participation with Department of Labor briefing on women’s issues. I was briefed by a cluster of leaders in the administration of DOL last week, invited there to hear summaries of DOL programs, regulations and initiatives for women, and also to serve as point to disseminate such information to our membership, and on to our sister organizations. This includes a new push on Equal Pay for Women; and they asked your NWPC President to be the lead on this information sharing.
  • President appointed to the White House Focus Group on Women and the Economy, representing NWPC at White House briefings on the economy.
  • Multiple press releases on various issues that impact our NWPC members, and gaining recognition and impact through such press contacts (thank you Pat!)
  • I was interviewed for Elle Magazine article on Women in Public Leadership Roles and the Hillary Legacy, article that will be published probably in June publication but we will notify you. (Thank you Pat!)
  • Specific examples: Two articles in the Washington Post in less than one week, with one being picked up by AP wire, so that your President and NWPC was not only in the Post, but in news around the world—we even made the Shanghai Press and were in the papers in London!
  • NWPC President Linda Young will address the American Association of University Women’s state convention in Texas in April.
  • Amazing press conference and participation with HERvotes in Washington DC, March 1, at the National Press Club. As the coalition tried to get the announcement into the Post, NWPC came through, because in one of those two articles in Post last week, I was able to get in the Press Conference time and place, so we delivered for our sisters. (Photo at the conference attached; and big thanks to VP for Education and Training Lisa Kaado for traveling from New Jersey to be in DC for the Conference, and for working that room so well!)
  • New partnership with American Association of University Women, with their new national campaign to increase voter registration and voter participation, a campaign they are spending $1.5 million on, targeting 15 states for voter work, and particularly targeting college campuses. Our partnership allows us to co-brand all those wonderful materials, and to work to expand such activities in our regions as well, which is not only partnering, but the potential to expand our College Campuses at the same time. VP for Development Judy Chavis, New Jersey Caucus’s Mary Giovinazzo, VP for Communications Pat Lynch, and NWPC Program Director Bettina Hager and I all working on this one.
  • Increased activity level of our Political Planning and Political Action Committee, with aggressive outputs of Endorsed Candidates, and wonderful new Press Releases for each, ones that also include an audio note that candidates love to use. (Thanks Donna, for your efforts, and for your recruiting support for Press Release development through your committee staff, and thanks Pat, for working these Releases and helping to get the audio notes and all working!)
  • Meeting with candidates, and support from NWPC when candidates come to DC area. Donna Lent, Bettina and I have each met with candidates we are endorsing, to encourage them and to help them feel more connected with NWPC. VP for Education and Training Lisa Kaado also helped host a DC area reception for long time Caucus friend Senator Barbara Buono.
  • NWPC VP- Education and Training Lisa Kaado raised awareness as a Keynote Speaker on a panel at the Middlesex County College on the importance of voting in primaries. The panel, which occurred on February 23rd, was a resounding success and she represented the Caucus with panache.
  • To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the ERA passage in Congress NWPC will be participating in a panel discussion, moderated by NWPC Founder Ellie Smeal on the “Grassroots Heroes on the Hill” with VP-Education and Training Lisa Kaado serving to represent NWPC. She will also be in town helping lead an ERA lobby day with young women from the Alice Paul Institute, following the March 13th lobby training she will hold.
  • To assist in the passage of the ERA, as a collaborative effort from NWPC-Education and Training and the National Office, NWPC has created a lobby kit to help guide the effort for an increased participation in grassroots advocacy to pass the ERA. This kit will soon be available from our website. (Thank you Lisa!)
  • VP Donna DeBerry has worked to outreach to potential growth markets for NWPC, has participated in a number of Republican Women local, regional, and state meetings and conferences to share NWPC and to recruit from women in the Republican Party who are pro-choice. She arranged for me to speak at the Texas Republican Women conference later in the year, truly an achievement for us to do that, since our organization is multi-partisan. She is working to get us in for NWPC event with the RNC Convention! (Thank you Donna!)
  • Donna has recruited a wonderful young woman as a new Caucus member and a member of the Diversity and Outreach Committee, one who is helping with editing and production of branding materials for us all to have in our hands soon. (Thanks Donna, and thanks to our new recruit, Lauren Thompson!)
  • Donna is working now with the California committee recently convened to review membership dues, and we appreciate Donna’s efforts to share her thoughts and perceptions that prompted her to volunteer to chair a committee back in November in LA to address the value of National.
  • ERA Education Project founder and director Kamala Lopez continues to wow with her video shorts campaign, and she flew to DC to present her program to the NCWO. She is working on a national tour, supported by Citizen Group, a pro-social marketing, design and brand management agency. She will be reaching across the country filming rallies, speaking engagements and promotion of the Project. As an NWPC partner, Kamala’s fundraising comes into our LDERF fund, and we retain 10% of funds raised.
  • VP for Communications Pat Lynch has done yeowoman’s (coined a new word) task with us for communications, as you have read throughout my report, just remember where all you have already read about Communications. Here I must also commend our own young Wonder Woman Bettina, who has wrangled newsletters each time, and who recruits and manages our interns in the office to produce research for us, and so many things, making the communications efforts work through the office!
  • New messaging from your President through Did you know…and why you matter email blasts and call to action when there is a hot issue and we need you to step up and work your networks.
  • Pat has worked on a new brochure for us, and you will have that soon, and specialized materials are in the works for particular issues and needs. (Thanks, Pat!)
  • Pat has been working with a woman I was lucky to recruit for NWPC, one who worked at a young age for the Ann Richards Campaign, and went on to a very successful career in media to include the Clinton campaign and many others, and lots of successfully elected progressive women! Cynthia Miller is co-owner of Rindy Miller Media, and serves as a political commentator for Fox News; she is incredible with politically savvy wording for our messaging, and is helpful to send the President suggestions for our efforts. (Thank you Pat, and welcome and thanks, Cynthia!)
  • Pat has purchased and donated a wonderful new resource for national media lists, so that will help incredibly as we grow and expand our visibility.
I also thank our Secretary Veronica Rivera, who not only takes a mean set of minutes, but also does those reminders to the EC so we all remember what assignments each of us have and what promises we have made, to help us follow through. We are still lacking a Treasurer, but I am committed to finding a volunteer soon. These are very important roles to fill, and NWPC works because we have volunteers working with us. As I recently mentioned in my first Did you know message, YOU are so key to making a difference. The value of the Whole is so much more than the sum of the parts, and in coalition and sisterhood, NWPC will be increasingly a force to be reckoned with. Every one of our members is important, and each of you has a myriad of resources you bring, whether your network, your sphere of influence, your passion and presentation, and dollars you can bring to the table. We continue to stand on the shoulders of those who formed the Caucus and who have come before us. Reaching to clasp arms with our sisters in NWPC, we will increase the impact and fulfill the goals we have set, and have to set new goals.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you, and for your support!
In sisterhood,

Linda Young
President, NWPC

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Councilmember Alarcón Takes Action to Protect Lifesaving Cancer Screenings

Resolution Calls for Action After Komen Foundation Ends Funding for Cancer Screening Services

As you know, we have spent the last year fighting against the extreme attacks on women's health. Sadly, the fight has not ended. Yesterday, we all heard that news about the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling their critical funding from Planned Parenthood. This funding was used to provide low-income women with breast cancer screenings. These screenings save lives and families every year and without funding, Planned Parenthood might not be able to provide this life saving treatment.

Sadly, we continue to see a decline in women in elected office at all levels of government, particularly right here in Los Angeles where we are left with only one woman on the LA City Council. In times like these, we need strong allies who are willing to fight for us. Today, Councilmember Richard Alarcon was that ally, urging the Susan G. Komen Foundation to resume funding to Planned Parenthood so all women can continue to have access to this critically important preventative health care.

Download PDF of below Press Release

We urge you to send this to your friends, thank Councilmember Alarcon and continue fighting for equal representation in elected office so we no longer see these extreme attacks on our bodies, our families and our health. Sign the petition to send a message to the Komen Board of Directors: click here.


Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcón today introduced a resolution calling on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to resume funding lifesaving cancer screening services at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country.  Yesterday, it was reported that after facing pressure from anti-women's health political organizations, the Komen Foundation announced that it would end future funding for lifesaving breast cancer screenings and breast health education at Planned Parenthood health centers.

“Allowing misguided partisan political battles to jeopardize lifesaving services is despicable,” said Councilmember Alarcón.  “Cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers save the lives of mothers, sisters, daughters and wives every day.  People need to know where their money is going – or isn’t going – when they donate to an organization like the Komen Foundaion.”

Planned Parenthood reports that Komen Foundation grants totaled roughly $680,000 last year and $580,000 the year before and helped fund services at 19 Planned Parenthood centers around the country (many of these centers are located in rural and underserved communities).   Komen Foundation funding enabled designated Planned Parenthood health centers to provide women with breast health education, screenings, and referrals for mammograms — lifesaving services for women where Planned Parenthood is their only source of health care.  In the past five years, Planned Parenthood has provided more than 4 million breast exams, including nearly 170,000 exams as a direct result of Komen grants.

“The Komen Foundation’s poor decision isn’t just dangerous for the women who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, it affects us all,” said Councilemmber Alarcón.   “Without Planned Parenthood’s services, taxpayers may eventually be burdened with rising health care costs for those unable to use the organization’s low-cost services.”

In addition to calling on the Komen Foundation to resume funding Planned Parenthood health centers, Councilmember Alarcón’s resolution additionally includes support for legislation which protects adequate funding of women’s health programs at Planned Parenthood in the City’s Federal Legislative Program.  If approved by his colleagues, Councilmember Alarcón’s resolution will allow the City of Los Angeles’ Washington D.C.-based legislative staff to advocate on behalf of women’s health services in meetings with Federal representatives.

The City of Los Angeles has previously supported programs hosted by the Susan G. Komen foundation, including providing free banners promoting the organization’s events in Los Angeles and honoring representatives of the organization during breast cancer awareness month.


For more information, CONTACT: David Graham-Caso at 213.393.9196

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