Minnesota NOW in Fargo? You betcha

I am proud to announce that our recently elected State Vice-President, Barbra Peterson, will represent Minnesota NOW at the Red River Clinic in Fargo, ND, to support the clinic staff and their patients who are being targeted for harassment in a nationally orchestrated campaign called “40 Days for Life.”  Barbra and four carloads of Minnesota allies will travel to Fargo this Wednesday, September 23rd, for the first day of this campaign.

Why does Minnesota NOW need to support Fargo?

Fargo’s Red River Women’s Clinic is the only facility in all of North Dakota that provides abortion care, and its location on the border of Minnesota makes it the closest clinic for women in western Minnesota, who would otherwise have to travel to the Twin Cities to obtain an abortion. In fact, 30% of all the procedures performed at the clinic are for residents of Minnesota.

Additionally, because there is not one physician in North Dakota who provides abortion care, the clinic’s doctors must travel from elsewhere, primarily from the Twin Cities, to see patients once a week. The first day of the anti-choice campaign is a clinic day, so volunteer escorts will be present to ensure patients’ emotional and physical safety as they access the clinic.

A Red River Clinic spokesperson told us that, in general, protests at the clinic have intensified since the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and that this is the third year that the national organization has mobilized in Fargo.

For more information on the “40 Days” campaign:

For more information on why reproductive freedom is essential for all women, no matter where they live:

http://www.now.org/issues/abortion/

Please consider a donation to Minnesota NOW to show your support for Barbra Peterson and the volunteers who are standing up for women’s civil rights.  Your support makes actions like this possible!

Today in Herstory: 9/14 birthday of Margaret Sanger

Today September 14th is the birthday of the woman who caused science fiction writer H.G. Wells to say: “The movement she started will grow to be, a hundred years from now, the most influential of all time.” That woman is Margaret Sanger, (books by this author) born in Corning, New York (1879). She coined the term “birth control,” she was its most famous advocate in the United States, and she founded Planned Parenthood.

Margaret Sanger was born into a working-class Irish family. Her mother died when she was 50, after 18 pregnancies. Margaret went to New York City, became a nurse, got married, and gave birth to three kids. As a nurse, she worked in the maternity ward on the Lower East Side, and many of her patients were poor, some of them living on the streets. They seemed old to her by the time they were 35, and many of them ended up in the hospital from self-induced abortions, which often killed them. Margaret nursed one mother back to health after she gave herself an abortion, and heard the woman beg the doctor for some protection against another pregnancy; the doctor told the woman to make her husband sleep outside. That woman died six months later, after a botched abortion, and Margaret Sanger gave up nursing, convinced that she needed to work for a more systematic change.

At the time, contraceptives were illegal in the United States, and it was illegal even to send information about contraception through the U.S. Postal Service. The information and products were out there, but a privilege only of the wealthy, who knew how to work the system.

Margaret Sanger wrote a series of articles called “What Every Girl Should Know,” and published a radical newspaper, Woman Rebel, with information about contraception. In 1914, she was indicted for sending information about birth control through the mail. She fled to Europe, where she observed birth control clinics, and eventually came back to face charges. But after her five-year-old daughter died of pneumonia, the sympathetic public was on her side, and the charges were dropped.

But Sanger kept going. In 1916, she and her sister, who was also a nurse, opened a birth control clinic in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, modeled after the clinics that Sanger had seen in Holland. Neighborhood residents, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants, flocked to the clinic for information. Nine days later, the police closed it down and arrested Sanger, her sister, and the clinic’s interpreter. Sanger went to prison and her sister went on a hunger strike.

The publicity worked: Soon birth control became a matter of public discourse. In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League, which in 1946 became Planned Parenthood Federation of America. And she funded research to create a contraceptive pill.

She died at age 87, a few months after the landmark Supreme Court decision Griswold vs. Connecticut finally made birth control legal for married couples

National Feminists Speak Out!

Straight outta Washington DC–it’s the new blog from our national office!

Keep up to date and join the conversation here:

Say it Sister! NOW’s Blog for Equality