April 30, 2012 — The advocacy group UniteWomen.org held "United Against the War on Women" marches and rallies nationwide on Saturday to protest legislation aimed at restricting women's rights, The Oklahoman reports. According to the group's website, the events were in response to measures attacking issues ranging from "reproductive rights to voting rights to human rights" (Keeping, The Oklahoman, 4/29).
The group was founded by Karen Teegarden of Birmingham, Mich., who said she hopes the rallies will spark a long-term action program. "This war on women must be resisted, and defeated, before the toxic effects of the current national conversation become irrevocable reality," she stated on the group's website.
Teegarden said the group is particularly concerned about state legislation aimed at restricting women's reproductive rights, such as a Virginia law that would have required a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound (Byron, Helena Independent Record, 4/29). Several female lawmakers who spoke at the Unite Women Virginia rally in Richmond, Va., cited the bill and criticized male legislators for not understanding the measure before publicly supporting it. The president of the Richmond chapter of the National Organization for Women also spoke at the rally, which included about 300 demonstrators (Kumar, Washington Post, 4/28).
In Texas, about 1,500 people joined the rally, protesting the state's recent efforts to end funding for Planned Parenthood and a new state ultrasound law (Alexander, Houston Chronicle, 4/29).
At a Kansas rally of more than 200 advocates, Kari Ann Rinker -- state coordinator for NOW -- said that women will not apologize for fighting for their rights. Lawmakers in the state are considering a bill that would increase legal protections for health care providers who refuse to participate in abortion care or dispense medication abortion drugs (AP/Kansas City Star, 4/28).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.