NFDW Statement on Abortion Bans

On May 14, 2019, the Alabama Republican-majority Senate approved a bill that would practically outlaw abortion in the state of Alabama. It was signed into law one day later by Republican Governor Kay Ivey. This law bans all abortions except, if necessary, to save a mother’s life.  Victims of rape and incest will be forced to give birth to an unwanted child.

Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a law making abortion illegal after an embryonic “heartbeat” is found or roughly six weeks after conception. Ohio, Mississippi, and Kentucky have all passed similar bills this year. Missouri GOP-led Senate, immediately after Alabama’s law was signed by the Governor, rushed to pass a bill banning all abortions, except for health of the mother, after 8 weeks of conception. There are more states considering passing restrictive abortion laws.

It is clear that there is a conservative State-by-State war on women and our human right to have control over our own bodies. No woman wants to have an abortion. However, every woman wants to have control over her own body and her healthcare decisions. Women need affordable and safe access to birth control so that they do not have an unwanted pregnancy. Many of these states now banning abortions have also made it harder for women to obtain affordable birth control. They are defunding Planned Parenthood Health Clinics. They have undermined the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy that ensured birth control would be covered with no copay by enacting laws allowing individuals and companies to refuse to provide or cover contraception. They are stopping women from having control over their reproductive healthcare.

The Republican State legislatures making these restrictive abortion laws state that their main purpose is to force the laws before the Supreme Court of the United States so that Roe v Wade can be overturned. They may just get their way. In this year of 2019, 45 years after Roe v Wade, we as women must join together to stand our ground that every person has a right to make reproduction and health decisions about their own body. We cannot lose this basic human right.   Recent polls have indicated the support for Roe v Wade is at an all-time high and that more than 69% of Americans oppose overturning the decision.

The National Federation of Democratic Women NFDW have been fighting long and hard for our reproductive healthcare rights and we call on our leaders and legislators to stand up against this assault on women. This is not a political issue, it is an issue of human rights.

Susanna L. French, President

National Federation of Democratic Women

NFDW Day at the Capital 2019

What a great experience it was to represent Idaho during the NFDW Women in Blue Day at the Capital! We were a sea of Blue throughout the halls of Congress and around the buildings, with folks stopping us to ask what we were representing. When we answered YOU! they applauded and offered encouragement and thanks.

IDWC President Gini Ballou catching up with friends

When I arrived in DC the events started out with a bang! Registration and program in our hotel, and a visit from Paulette Jordan’s campaign manager, Gayraud Townsend. Great to catch up and hear that Idaho is still on the minds and plans of those around the country. I met so many wonderful women from around the nation, and found old friends from the Annual Convention last June.

IDWC President Gini Ballou outside of the U.S. Capital Building

Wednesday we hit the ground running—from Congressional buildings through tunnels and walkways we’ve all seen on TV, which was very exciting. We dined in the crowded basement cafeteria and ran to Senate buildings in the afternoon.

IDWC President Gini Ballou with Representative Bennie Thompson (D-2)

I spent the morning with the delegation from Mississippi and a woman from Arkansas. We all share the same issues, concerns, values and frankly, bottom of the barrel status in regard to education, living wages, opportunities and healthcare, for our citizens. How many times have you ever said, “Well, as least we’re better than Mississippi?” Well, they say the same about Idaho, and we all deserve so much more. We met with a staff member that showed concern and respect but whose Representative will likely do little and their one Democratic Representative, Bennie Thompson, who was friendly yet challenging.

IDWC President Gini Ballou with Idaho Senator Jim Risch

In the afternoon I met with staffers for Senator Crapo and Congressman Simpson, neither of which was able to meet with me in person. I did get to meet with Senator Risch as well as his staff member John Sandy. Though Senator Risch showed interest in our concerns, there was doubt regarding Domestic Violence Protection and unpaid caregiver costs. Also interesting was when I asked to take a picture with the Senator, he wanted to know what I planned to do with it! I assured him it would only be used to acknowledge his willingness to meet and hear the concerns of Idaho’s Democratic Women.

IDWC President at the DNC Headquarters in Washington, DC

As the lobbying portion came to an end, our busses brought us over to the Democratic National Headquarters, where we had a great buffet dinner. There were lively speeches and poetry from National leaders and we each gave our State reports. I enjoyed meeting women from New Jersey, Connecticut, Arkansas, Mississippi, DC, New York, Kentucky, Texas and many more!

The Washington Memorial in Washington, DC

Our final night we visited and networked and shared how this event would help us back home, each in our own areas. I gained new insight into methods and events that Idaho can utilize to grow our base and involvement in the IDWC that I am excited to give to our Regional Directors. The 5 o’clock am trip to the airport was a blur, as was much of the trip home. I’m glad I caught this shot of the Washington Memorial as my plane lifted off. Even happier to touch down safe back in Boise and ready to share this trip and the training back at home. Thank you again for the honor of representing you at the National Federation of Democratic Women’s Day at the Capital!

Sign the Petition

The Senate passed this legislation last Friday by 18-17 and it now heads to the House. This legislation threatens our Constitutional right to achieve ballot initiatives and locks Idahoans out of the process.

Let Governor Brad Little know that Idahoans oppose S1159. Take action today by signing the petition today and encourage him to veto this horrible piece of legislation.

Western Regional Conference and Meeting

The NFDW Western Regional Conference and Meeting will be held on April 27, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. While the other 3 regions of the NFDW have had yearly events in their regions, I believe this is the first regional event in the west in 4+ years.  This will be a great opportunity for democratic women in this part of the country to take part in workshops, informational sessions and collaborating with others to grow their state organizations in addition to preparing for the 2020 election cycle.