The Arkansas legislature is doing all it can — federal court precedent be damned — to eradicate first abortion and then contraception from Arkansas. (If you want to have sex, prepare to pay the price, by damn.)
So I’m happy to note a rising effort by supporters of women’s reproductive rights to make a showing that there isn’t only one side to this political coin in Arkansas.
The image above is from a Facebook page promoting a rally for reproductive justice at the Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 18.I plan to be there.
A news release about the rally follows.
The Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ) will hold its fourth annual Reproductive Justice Rally at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol.
Featured speakers at the rally are Bowen Law School Professor Adjoa Aiyetoro, Arkansas State Representative Fred Love, and ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Arkansas Staff Attorney Holly Dickson. Rabbi Barry Block of Temple B’nai Israel will present the invocation. Rally vice chair and co- president of UCA’s Feminist Union, Greer Williams, will close the program with a spoken word poetry performance.
According to Ali Taylor, rally chair and president of Little Rock NOW (National Organization for Women), ARCJ advocates “the right to have children, the right not to have children, and the right to raise the children we have in safe and healthy environments.” Brittaney Stockton, public relations chair and Planned Parenthood volunteer, adds that “access to all reproductive health services, free of conflict, opposition and shame, is integral to ensuring these rights.”
ARCJ founding members include Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, ACLU of Arkansas, Little Rock NOW, Arkansas Women’s Project, Hendrix SAGE, and the Little Rock branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women).
New coalition members in 2014 are AAUW Arkansas, Central Arkansas Pride, Sierra Club of Arkansas, Stonewall Democrats of Arkansas, AAUW Hot Springs, Occupy Little Rock, AAUW Fayetteville, Living Affected Corporation, and Feminist Activism in Arkansas.
Additional support for the Reproductive Justice Rally was provided by Arkansas for the Immediate Passage of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), Arkansas…Stop the War on Women, and Little Rock PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Many member organizations and supporters will have information tables at the rally. Rally attendees will have the opportunity to connect with groups working for a variety of reproductive, gender and social justice issues. ACRJ will also have available postcards that advocate comprehensive sex education. Attendees may sign the cards, which will later be delivered to Arkansas state legislators.
ACRJ will host an after-party and silent auction at Vino’s Pizza Pub at 923 W. 7th St., Little Rock, from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.
UPDATE: Lest you think the need is not dire to demonstrate where the middle of America is on women’s medical rights, note that House Republicans hope to make 2014 all about abortion and birth control pills. If you work for somebody who doesn’t want you to take birth control pills, by golly they’re going to do all they can to make sure insurance doesn’t cover them.