Happy Pride Month GWC members! June has ushered in summer and, with it, our annual month to celebrate LGBTQ communities across the U.S. and the world. As we stock up on bright and colorful Pride merch, we also reflect on an eventful month of May. Read on for more on what the GWC has been up to, developments with abortion access in the U.S. and new ways to get involved.
DA Happenings: GWC goes to Washington!
Democrats Abroad held its 2019 Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C. from May 17-21. DA leaders from every continent joined together for a fast-paced, densely packed series of meetings, discussions, presentations, and events topped off by two days of meetings with our representatives on Capitol Hill.
Our own GWC members were also extremely productive and exhausted but thoroughly satisfied by the end of the week! GWC Chair Ann Hesse highlighted achievements from the past year and outlined our strategy to get more women elected in 2020. ERA team leader Shari Temple presented on plans to make 2020 the year we finally pass the ERA, and GWC leaders were on hand for informal one-on-one chats with newly minted leaders. Forty GWC leaders from around the world also convened at a planning session at the elegant Cosmos Club in D.C., where we laid out priorities for the coming year and formed two new important task forces: a Candidate Research Team and a Reproductive Rights Team.
Just when we thought we were finished for the week, we were called into action again on our last day in D.C.! Our caucus joined with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List and other groups on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building for an impromptu protest action against the harsh new abortion laws passed in several states. Prominent women’s rights activists were joined by members of Congress and Democratic presidential candidates, calling for an end to the abortion bans. Media outlets from around the world captured the scene and were even able to interview a few of our GWC leaders.
A few observations from participants:
“It was energizing to be in a room with so many smart women who are passionate about protecting women’s rights and advancing the cause of equality. This is a critical time in our country, and I came away with a shot of hope that Democrats, and particularly women Democrats, will never give up the fight.” - Joan Stack, DA Panama
"As always, the global meeting was fun, thought-provoking, frustrating at times, tiring, but valuable. It is always good to see people in person – particularly ones that you work with but have never met. And I was particularly pleased that by the end of the meeting, everyone was wearing an “ERA Yes” button." - Shari Temple, Global IT Team Chair; GWC Steering Team; ERA Project Coordinator
“What thrills me most is the synergy between our long-time leaders, many of whom are women’s rights activism veterans since the 70s, and young, talented new members just bubbling with energy and ‘can do’ optimism. Observing a few of these conversations; women exchanging ideas and email addresses over lunch-boxes and coffee breaks, warmed my heart and makes me feel excited about the future” - Ann Hesse, chair, DA Global Women’s Caucus
"It was outstanding to meet so many committed Democrats Abroad activists working to promote key policy issues and plan to elect Democrats across the country! And many thanks to Julia Bryan and her outstanding team for organizing the three days, the live/video talks from Presidential candidates, impressive committee/caucus presentations and fascinating briefings from DNC executives. With all this GREAT PLANNING, DEMS WILL WIN IN 2020!!!" - Carol Moore
“I love women movers and shakers. I love Democrat women, and I especially love our DA Global Women’s Caucus. Our DA Global meeting was made all the more special by our intense discussions at our Sunday evening workshop at the Cosmos Club in DC. Join us and dig into the issues and see what we can do to CHANGE the picture of women's’ rights in the USA.” - Salli Swartz
In the US: Assault on Abortion
On Thursday, June 13th, from 6:45 pm to 8:45 pm CEST, the Global Women's Caucus will host an essential webinar with Dr. Jennifer Merchant. She will discuss the long-feared upcoming challenge to Roe v. Wade limiting choice for women and a likely constitutional crisis concerning women’s rights. Don't miss this important webinar, RSVP today.
The assault on reproductive rights in the U.S. continues, as more states pass laws restricting abortion access with the explicit goal of challenging Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
In May, Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. It outlaws almost all abortions and does not include exemptions for rape or incest. Further, the law states that doctors who perform abortions could be charged with a felony and face up to 99 years in prison.
Several other states
, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia passed “heartbeat bills,” banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, and before many women realize they are pregnant.
These laws are antiquated and dangerous, and if enacted, will endanger women’s health while laying waste to reproductive rights. And yet, there is a reason to be hopeful. States, including Nevada and Illinois, have recently passed legislation to protect access to abortion.
Want to help? Check out this summary
of ways to volunteer, organize, and donate to local organizations working to protect women’s access to abortion.
ERA Update: Urge Congress to Remove Deadline
As we celebrate the accomplishment that was the passage of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago, we look forward to the passage of the ERA. However, women will NOT have equal rights in the U.S. Constitution this year as the deadlines for the legislatures in all 13 unratified states has passed.
What can still happen in 2019 is for Congress to explicitly remove the deadline that was in the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment preamble – clearly the path for the ratification without that legal issue. You can help – see https://www.democratsabroad.org/era_campaigns
We are also looking at other ways that DA can help influence and educate the public on the need for women in the USA to have equal rights. If you have ideas or would like to help, please contact us at [email protected]
Watch Desi Lydic womansplain the Equal Rights Amendment on the Daily Show.
Get Involved: We Want to Hear Your Story!
As we march toward the 2020 election, we at the Global Women’s Caucus want to hear from you!
Though we are proud of how far women have come in the U.S., there are still many miles to go. To shed light on the progress still needed, we are launching the “State of the American Woman” campaign. As part of this initiative, we hope to highlight stories of American women facing inequality in their daily lives.
If you are interested in learning more or participating, please contact [email protected]
Get Involved: Survey and Volunteer Opportunity!
Please take our issues survey
. It's important for us to know what is important to you in 2020 elections.
Are you interested in delving into the presidential candidates’ stance on women's issues? We're putting together a candidate research team, and if you’re interested in getting involved, we would love to hear from you at [email protected]
Thank you for reading, and as always, stay tuned on our Facebook page for all the latest news.
Your GWC Team