Forum on Reproductive Rights brings mixed message
At a dinner and forum on June 29 at The Club at McInnis Park, members and others heard two speakers discuss the recent vote by the Supreme Court to overturn Texas’ extreme and now unconstitutional requirements that clinic providing abortions have operating facilities well over and above what is necessary for an abortion and that physicians performing abortions in these clinics have operating privileges in a local hospital to “protect women’s health.”
While this is good news for those concerned with protecting women’s reproductive rights, and indeed, other states with requirements similar to Texas’ are rethinking their position in light of having to defend their unconstitutional laws at great expense.
However, Gabriella Jimenez, senior public affairs officer for Planned Parenthood Northern California and Rebecca Griffin, assistant director, California Programs for NARAL Pro-Choice California, outlined the challenges still facing women who wish to terminate a pregnancy in a safe and legal environment. There are still many states that have forced the closure of dozens of clinics providing abortion services. In some states women have to travel over 200 miles to reach a clinic, and in some cases they are forced into waiting periods requiring them to come back to the clinic, an economic hardship for many women seeking abortions. States with extreme laws include a wide swath through the middle of the country, from north to south, but also in every other part of the country. These states are chipping away at Roe v. Wade through numerous laws that make it difficult for clinics to stay open, find doctors willing to perform abortions when they are at risk for personal attacks, protect women who have to walk through demonstrators calling out hateful messages, and operate on reduced funding, among other tactics imposed on them.
The event was inspiring to all who attended. Fortunately, according to Rebecca, young women are aware and willing to take up the fight for reproductive freedom that has been going on since Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973.
New Members Tea – an evening of fun and fellowship
Gone are the days of white gloves and flowered hats. The Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael was the scene of much merriment as MWPAC introduced its new members, a number that is growing steadily, along with making a special presentation of an engraved walnut gavel to retiring Judge Faye D’Opal. Guests enjoyed a lovely spread of delicious food, prepared by Program Chair Barbara Matas, along with wine and other beverages. The New Members Tea is an annual event that marks the anniversary of MWPAC, which is celebrating its founding six years ago.
MWPAC Endorsement Night
At 7:00 PM the Endorsement Forum was held at the San Rafael City Council Chambers.This was an excellent opportunity to learn about candidates in major local races on the June 7 ballot. This forum was free and open to the public. MWPAC members who paid their dues by March 22 were eligible to caucus after the forum and vote in the endorsement process.
Katie Rice – Supervisor District 2
Kate Sears – Supervisor District 3
MWPAC Celebrate Women’s History Month
On Friday, March 11. 2016, MWPAC celebrated at Piatti Ristorante in Mill Valley, The special guest speaker was Jennifer Welch, Chief of Police, SMART.
The Keynote Speaker was Roseann Torres, Oakland Unified School Board Director speaking on “Women in Politics-Expanding Our Base”.
The capacity crowd also honored student leaders from throughout the county.
MWPAC Elects 2016 Officers
MWPAC held its election for 2016 officers on January 20 at the Redwoods Presbyterian Church in Larkspur and re-elected Gina Brewer, president and Tammi Hull, treasurer. Sharon Jackson was elected vice president and Eliana Reeves, recording secretary. The program committee served a hearty dinner of minestrone soup, pizza and salad and showed the film, This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein. This was an excellent, inspiring, soul-searching and frightening film about climate change and man’s destruction in the name of progress, and the actions we must take to prevent further damage to our planet.