You’re Invited: March with WLP in Philadelphia on Saturday

The 2018 Women’s March on Philadelphia is taking place this Saturday, January 20.

Organizers expect 60,000 people to show up and march. The temperature is expected to be approximately 50 degrees. The program will be shorter this year, but otherwise the same as last year: attendees will meet up near Logan Square, and then march down the Ben Franklin Parkway toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where a stage will be set up for speakers and performers.

We will be marching, and invite you to join us!

People marching with WLP will meet up by 10:45AM at Sister Cities Park. We’ll have a WLP sign so you can find us in the crowd.

Here is the schedule:

  • 10:30am: People begin to gather near Logan Circle/Aviator Park
  • 10:35am: WLP meet-up at Sister Cities Park!
  • 11am: Drum Like a Lady kicks off the march
  • 11AM – Noon: Marching toward Eakins Oval
  • Noon: Rally near the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The rally is expected to last two to three hours.

For more details, read our recent Q&A with march organizer Emily Cooper Morse.

Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018 is free, but organizers request that you register.

Check here for a full listing of sister marches.

If you aren’t attending, follow along on twitter at @WomensLawProj!

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018 is Sat. 1/20—What You Need to Know

The rumors are true: There is going to be a second Women’s March on Philadelphia!

The Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018 is taking place on Saturday, January 20. Like last year, marchers will convene around Logan Square, then march down the Ben Franklin Parkway toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where a stage will be set up for the rally part of the day. The rally is scheduled to start promptly at noon.

WLP’s Carol Tracy speaking at the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018

Marchers should bring creative signs, comfortable shoes, and a good attitude. Everyone who attended the Women’s March on Philadelphia last year can tell you what a great day it was, from the march down the parkway, to the speakers, to the comraderie in the crowd.

Based on the Facebook event page and Eventbrite registrations (it is free, and you can do that here), organizers expect the crowd this year to be as big—or bigger—than last year, which drew approximately 55,000 people to the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Schedule:

  • 10:30AM – Gather at Aviator Park/Logan Square
  • 11AM – March from Logan Square to Eakins Oval
  • 12PM – Rally with speakers and performers kicks off

“We expanded our team and we’re really proud of the program,” says Emily Cooper Morse, a lead organizer and founder of Philly Women Rally, Inc., the organization hosting the event. “We think people who attended last year are going to have a great time this year, and people are going to be really happy that they came to Philly.”

Here is our Q&A with Emily Cooper Morse about the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2018, lightly edited for clarity:

WLP: So, why a second march?

We feel like we’ve made some great strides in 2017, but equality isn’t going to happen overnight.

The same issues we marched for last year still very much exist. Women don’t get equal pay, we don’t have free reign to make decisions about our bodies–our bodies are so legislated, whereas men’s bodies are not. Just look at Senate Bill 3, it had to be vetoed by our governor because it passed! We’re revisiting a lot of the same issues because we’re still fighting for equality. We are not only not equal to men, but we’re not equal to each other.

So many citizen engagement groups popped up last year, and so many people who were active a bit before really came off the sidelines and got involved, starting Indivisible groups and meeting neighbors. So this year, we really wanted to highlight ordinary people. You know my story, I don’t do this for a living, at all, not even in the slightest. I just wanted to create this march. I knew [co-organizer Beth Finn] and met the other group of women. Philly Women Rally held forums throughout the year, and we haven’t given up.

 WLP: What is this year’s theme?

The theme in three short statements: We resist. We persist. And we rise.

This all started with the resistance, spawned out of the results of the presidential election. The persistence part is the strides that we’ve made throughout the year since the election, and the “we rise” is an emphasis on us continuing to fight for equality, and also to encourage more women to run for office.

Right now, a record number of women are running for office. We’re advocating for that and we’re making sure everyone is registered to vote. Everyone should get out to vote in the primaries, and everyone should get out to vote in November.

We are registering people to vote at our march and rally. We wanted to have a combination of speakers that we didn’t get to speak last year because there wasn’t enough time, and we posted an open application for people to submit applications to talk about the ways people have made a difference in their own epicenters over the last year. So we really wanted to focus half our program on “ordinary people” so they can inspire other people who feel too timid to take that next step, and once they see, “You know, I’m not that different from that person, maybe I can do this, too.”

 

WLP: Is Philly Women Rally affiliated with other marches happening across the state or country?

No. We’re not associated with the national organization. We founded Philly Women Rally because the movement grew so quickly, and we needed the nonprofit status for hosting purposes, for things like permits and vendors. We worked in conjunction with the national organization, though mostly with the state chapter of the organization. We’ve always been our own organization, and we wanted to create something specific to issues and women in Philadelphia. We do all our own fundraising and planning on our own. We are registered on the national organization’s website where you can search for other marches. (According to the website, 14 sister marches are currently planned across Pennsylvania).

 

WLP: What can attendees expect? Will it be like last year with the march down the parkway and then a program on stage?

It’s going to be much shorter than last year! It was about 5.5 hours long last year. Part of that was because of our attempt to – there was just so many people we wanted to speak! But also, we recognize that it’s winter and people can only last so long standing on concrete in the cold. So we’ve drastically shortened our program time, it’s going to be less than half of last year. The goal is to be 2 hours. Realistically, it will be between two hours and fifteen minutes and two-and-a-half hours. The program is going to be split into three segments—we resist, we persist, we rise.

We think we’re going to start with resisters, then persisters, then risers.

 

WLP: Will you have performers this year?

Drum Like a Lady will kick of the march! They will lead us down the parkway again. We are so excited. The second we decided to have the anniversary event, LaTreice Branson, the founder of Drum Like a Lady, is the first person I reached out to. They will be performing at the rally, and kicking off the march. The Granny Peace Brigade and spoken word poets will also perform, and there will be at least one other musical performance. We’re still in the process of finalizing those decisions.

55,000 people attended the Women’s March on Philadelphia 2017

 

WLP: I saw lots of children last year. Do you recommend parents bring their kids?

For us at Philly Women Rally, we say every family is different. We encourage parents to do what they feel is comfortable for them. I personally will have my children with me, my twin 5-year-old boys and my 8-year-old daughter will be there. My daughter asked if she can join me on stage when I speak again, and I said yes. It’s important for me to show my children that when something’s not right and people aren’t being treated fairly or equally, that we step up and fight for equality.

 

WLP: What transportation options exist for people not in the Philadelphia area? Are there buses?

They should check Rallybus.net. We are an event on Rallybus.net, so people can look to see if there are buses already chartered, and we’ve also had a number of groups charter buses on their own. Last year we didn’t have any buses, or maybe one or two, so this year we’re expecting quite a lot.

WLP: How can people support the march, other than attending?

Spread the word! Also, being peaceful and donating money to cover the costs of the rally. Donations can be as little as $3. There are so many people on the Facebook Event page, that if one-tenth of those people donated just $5, the march is half-funded. Our average donation amount is around $13.50.

Remember: It’s important to register so organizers can be as prepared as possible!

 The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Thank You Governor Wolf for Pledging to Veto Senate Bill 3

Advocates dressed as “handmaids” arrived at the Pennsylvania Capitol last week to silently observe the debate on #SB3, the way PA lawmakers forced constituents to do by shutting them out of the debate.

Last week, as the President implied a sitting Senator is a whore and a politician accused of sexually preying on teenage girls almost won a seat in the U.S. Senate, here in Pennsylvania, our mostly male, mostly white GOP-controlled state legislature played another key part in attempting to enforce a regressive vision for women: they passed an unconstitutional abortion bill that, if implemented, would mandate pregnant Pennsylvanians receive substandard healthcare by threatening physicians with felony arrest.

Senate Bill 3 is despicable, not only for the goal, but for the process.

The bill itself described a medical procedure with made-up terms, exploiting the legislative process to amplify special interest propaganda. It contained junk-science claims contradicted by medical consensus. It passed out of Committee only after the Committee’s membership was altered. Its supporters repeatedly rejected calls for public hearings in order to lock out medical experts, doctors, and women, the targets of the draconian vision of its supporters.

Thank you to Governor Tom Wolf for compassion and wisdom in pledging to protect women of Pennsylvania from this regressive agenda by vetoing this dangerous bill.

In addition to being medically dangerous and an affront to the democratic process, our analysis of this bill has concluded that it is unconstitutional, both because it criminalizes pre-viability abortion and because it criminalizes a common and safe method of abortion that is often the best medical option.

The legislative debate surrounding passage of this legislation revealed an appalling disregard of medical facts and a lack of respect for women.

We hope you will join us in thanking the 70 state House members who voted against this bill, as well as Governor Wolf for pledging to veto Senate Bill 3. Thank you for supporting women’s dignity, equality, and safety and listening to women and their doctors.

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Urgent Call to Action: Tell your State Representative to Vote NO on SB3

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives plans to vote on Senate Bill 3 as early as Monday, December 11.

SB3 has already passed the Senate.

It is urgent that you contact your state Representative and urge him or her to vote NO on SB3.

  • The AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say Senate Bill 3 poses serious danger to pregnant patients
  • Legal experts including attorneys here at Women’s Law Project have assessed that SB3 is blatantly unconstitutional
  • Physicians who provide abortion care like Dr. Lisa Perriera says Senate Bill 3 would force “women to be incubators by not allowing them to make choices for their health”
  • Physician advocate groups like the Pennsylvania Medical Society says SB3 would set “a dangerous precedent by legislating specific treatment protocols”

Senate Bill 3 is dangerous and unconstitutional, which is why SB3’s supporters forced it through the legislative process by repeatedly voting against testimony from medical experts, doctors, and the public.

Kelsey Williams is a Pennsylvanian who bravely shares her story of terminating her pregnancy in the 21st week after receiving shocking news about serious fetal anomalies. Though SB3’s supporters refuse to listen to women, she shares her story to try to help families who may experience similarly devastating news, and wind up in the same unthinkable position.

Pennsylvania lawmakers supporting Senate Bill 3 refuse to listen to Kelsey, but we hope you will.

From Rewire:

“Since my abortion, I’ve had to listen to proponents of these bills like SB3 say that they know what’s best for babies and mothers, that they are the true voice for life. And that’s just flat out wrong,” she said. “I’m the only one in this world who ever held my son, carrying him in my womb for nearly six months. And I loved him enough to let him go so that he didn’t live only to know pain and suffering because life is about so much more than just a heartbeat.”

To learn more, go to our Info for Advocates page and see fact sheets on SB3.

Find your Representative, and urge them to vote NO on Senate Bill 3.

We will keep you posted. Thank you for speaking out.

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Read our Letter to Pennsylvania Lawmakers Outlining Why SB3 is Unconstitutional

On December 6, we sent this letter to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives outlining why Senate Bill 3 is unconstitutional. The House is expected to vote on Senate Bill 3 next week, as early as Monday, December 11. For background, read our statement on Senate Bill 3 passing out of the House Health Committee by 16-10, along partisan lines.

 

Dear members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest legal organization with expertise in reproductive health law and policy. We have represented abortion providers in Pennsylvania since the 1970s.

We urge you to vote against Senate Bill 3.

Senate Bill 3 seeks to criminalize almost all abortion by any method after 19 weeks’ gestation, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomaly, including unviability. In addition to making abortion after 19 weeks a felony, SB 3 also criminalizes a procedure referred to in the bill as “dismemberment abortion.”  No medical procedure exists by that name. It would likely ban a procedure known as dilation and evacuation or “D&E,” at any stage of pregnancy.

Under well-established constitutional standards, SB 3 is blatantly unconstitutional.

Banning abortion after 19 weeks’ gestation is unconstitutional.

For 44 years, the U.S. Constitution has prohibited states from banning abortion before fetal viability. Every time a pre-viability ban has been challenged in court, it has been blocked from going into effect under Supreme Court precedent.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that viability is a matter best left to the doctor’s medical judgment. Obstetrician-gynecologists recognize the threshold of viability to be no earlier than the 24th week of gestation.

SB 3 has a narrow health exception: it would not be illegal for a physician to perform an abortion after 19 weeks if the physician “reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent either the death of the pregnant woman or the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.”

SB 3’s narrow exception would require women to sustain damage to their health, even serious damage, that is “irreversible” but not “substantial,” that is “substantial” but not “irreversible,” and that is both “substantial and irreversible” but that does not impair a “major” bodily function. SB 3 is unconstitutional because its health exception is too narrow and would make it illegal for doctors to give women medical care they need to save them from damage to their health. There is no exception for rape, incest, or fetal anomaly.

The 2016 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt invalidated legislation similar to SB 3 because it imposed an undue burden on women’s access to abortion and provided “few, if any, health benefits for women.”

SB 3 would, according to medical experts, be worse than providing “few, if any, health benefits for women.” SB 3 would inflict great harm on the health of Pennsylvania women, according to the Pennsylvania section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvanians for Reproductive Health, and scores of OB-GYN doctors.

Criminalizing D&E is unconstitutional.

Even prior to Hellerstedt, in case after case, the Supreme Court had already ruled that abortion “method bans” that eliminate safe, common abortion procedures for no medical purpose are unconstitutional.

The D&E procedure is the safest and most commonly used midterm abortion method. It is sometimes used in the first trimester. The alternative procedure SB 3 seemingly leaves open—induction abortion—is not a comparable alternative to D&E abortion and provides no medical benefit for most women. The Supreme Court has already recognized that the D&E method is generally safer than other methods in the mid-second trimester.

Should this bill become law, it will be subject to a legal challenge. For more legal analysis, please see this memo detailing our complete legal analysis of SB 3.

Conclusion

Instead of forcing unconstitutional bills that would endanger women’s lives, the Legislature should consider advancing long neglected legislative proposals that would actually support healthy pregnancies.

Right now for example, in most of Pennsylvania, a pregnant worker can be fired over requesting to keep a water bottle at her work station, even if it is her doctor’s orders.

While pursuing unconstitutional abortion bans, Pennsylvania lawmakers have even ignored legislative efforts to decrease infant mortality by ensuring new mothers have a sanitary place to express breastmilk while at work.

We urge to vote against SB 3.

 

Very truly yours,

Carol E. Tracy, Executive Director

Women’s Law Project

 

Susan Frietsche, Senior Attorney

Women’s Law Project

 

To request an interview with a WLP attorney, contact Tara Murtha at tmurtha@womenslawproject.org or 215-928-5762.

Founded in 1974, the Women’s Law Project is a public interest legal organization devoted to advancing and protecting the rights of women and girls.

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WLP Statement: Why We Strongly Oppose Senate Bill 3

PENNSYLVANIA–The Women’s Law Project strongly opposes Senate Bill 3, which passed the state House Health Committee last night by a vote of 16-10, along partisan lines.

“Pennsylvania politicians just advanced an unconstitutional bill that seeks to throw doctors in jail for providing standard medical care for their patients,” says WLP Senior Staff Attorney Susan J. Frietsche. “They are using discredited junk science to justify it, and repeatedly refusing testimony from real doctors, or their constituents. Anyone not seriously alarmed at both the goal and the process here is not paying attention.”

By criminalizing D&E, a common and safe medical procedure, for no medical reason, SB3 mandates substandard care for women. By criminalizing all pregnancy termination after 19 weeks for no medical reason, SB3 would force doctors to refuse standard medical care for patients facing crisis pregnancies, forcing them to carry unviable pregnancies to term, against their will and despite increased likelihood of infection and medical complications.

Surely politicians so determined to interfere with medical decisions of Pennsylvania families know that severe fetal abnormalities are typically detected after 19 weeks.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Physicians for Reproductive Health strongly oppose this bill.  Rep. Matt Baker, who supports the bill, cited the support of the “Christian Medical and Dental Association.” The mission statement of this group is “to glorify God.”

The mission of the Pennsylvania Legislature should be to protect and promote the health and economic security of Pennsylvania families.

Clearly, it is not: Many of the lawmakers supporting Senate Bill 3 have stonewalled repeated legislative efforts to protect pregnant workers and nursing mothers in the workplace, enable Pennsylvanians to earn a livable wage and indeed, even legislation designed to reduce infant mortality by increasing breastfeeding rates.

Here are more facts on Senate Bill 3.

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To request an interview with a WLP attorney, contact Tara Murtha at tmurtha@womenslawproject.org or 215-928-5762.

Founded in 1974, the Women’s Law Project is a public interest legal organization devoted to advancing and protecting the rights of women and girls.

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Still Shopping? Give the Gift of Equality for Women & Girls  

Do you know a persister? A woman who kept going, against the odds, and despite all the obstacles in her way?

Do you know someone leading the resistance, a person who is determined to stand up to the attacks against women, people of color, immigrants and people with disabilities by misogynist white supremacists?

Do you know a woman who has persisted?

Maybe it’s your mom, who somehow managed to work and raise you right. Or an aunt, or your sister, or best friend—or someone you met since the election that has inspired you or even helped show you how to make your voice heard. Maybe you have been most inspired by role models such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Little League pitcher Mo’Ne Davis, or NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.

We invite you to honor the PerSister (or PerSisters!) in your life with a donation of $25.00 or more to the Women’s Law Project.

We are a non-profit organization that relies on grants and individual donations. We need your support in order to continue our work, including:  

  • Expanding our work addressing sexual harassment and sexual assault
  • Improving police and prosecutor response to domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Defending and expanding the rights of pregnant women and nursing mothers in the workplace
  • Providing expert pro bono legal representation for abortion providers
  • Defending buffer zones designed to protect patients and doctors at abortion care facilities
  • Litigating on behalf of female student athletes
  • Drafting legislation to address pay discrimination
  • Fighting gender and sex discrimination in healthcare
  • Writing and delivering expert testimony at local and state legislative hearings
  • Assessing legislation for its impact on women and girls
  • Co-leading the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health
  • Acting as the legal watchdogs for women and girls in Pennsylvania

Click here to Honor a PerSister

If you include an address, we will send the PerSister you honor a note letting her know about the gift. We will also acknowledge all PerSister Honorees submitted by noon on Friday, December 1 at our upcoming fundraiser gala in Philadelphia that evening. The theme of this year’s party, you guessed it, is Nevertheless, She Persisted. We hope to see you there, too!

The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement. 

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