South Carolina’s First Virtual March on the Statehouse

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Tell Them presents the first ever Virtual March on the South Carolina Statehouse in support of responsible reproductive health policies! Check out www.tellthemsc.org for more information!

Tell Them, a small non-profit based in Columbia, South Carolina, has launched the first Virtual March on the South Carolina Satehouse. We at Tell Them are excited to have this opportunity to bring together people from across the state to speak up for responsible reproductive health policies! Check out more at www.tellthemsc.org and read the press release below:

 

For immediate release Contact: Bonnie Adams Kapp

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January 5, 2010 Executive Dir., New Morning Foundation

803.929.0088 (office)

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BAdams@newmorningfoundation.org

Group Announces First-Ever Virtual March on the South Carolina Statehouse

Thousands to join online rally in support of sexual health education and access to counseling and services

Columbia, SC Tell Them, an e-advocacy network managed by the New Morning Foundation, announces a new initiative to education South Carolina legislators about the importance of age-appropriate, medically accurate reproductive health policies for all. Beginning today, people can visit www.tellthemsc.org and register to participate in the state’s first-ever Virtual March. The march itself will take place at noon on March 23 until noon on March 24. During this 24-hour period, marchers will email their lawmakers, letting them know they favor a realistic approach to sexual health education and increased access to clinical services. With more than 4,000 members and growing, Tell Them supports programs that educate young adults about pregnancy prevention and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "An online rally is an innovative way for busy folks to let their voices be heard on these important issues and ultimately shape the kinds of health policies our young people deserve," said Beth Richardson, Esq., a member of Tell Them and the South Carolina Coalition for Health Families.

The event comes at a critical time for South Carolina. A new report released by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) showed an increase in teen pregnancy rates for the fourth year in a row. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider South Carolina one of the Top Ten HIV "hot spots" in the nation.

"Our long-term goal is to lower the number of teen pregnancies and limit the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. We can do this through education and access, something our legislators can help provide," said Tell Them member Deborah Billings, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health; Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina.

Marchers will share powerful statistics with lawmakers. Births to young mothers cost South Carolina taxpayers $156 million annually. This cost includes, among other things, public assistance for teen mothers and their babies. Nationally, South Carolina ranks #2 in cases of Gonorrhea, #3 for Chlamydia, and #8 in pregnancies among 15 to 19 year-olds. For the first time in seven years, the most recent South Carolina HIV Testing Report shows the 20-29 age group with the highest percentage of newly diagnosed HIV positive people.

"For too many years, our state has essentially censored critical health information that our young people need and deserve to know in order to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies and potentially life-threatening disease. Policymakers need to hear from the majority of registered voters who want to see more of our tax dollars invested in public health education and increased access to health services," said Bonnie Adams Kapp, executive director of New Morning Foundation.

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The New Morning Foundation is non-partisan private-sector long-term initiative to improve young people’s access to reproductive health education, counseling, and clinical services throughout South Carolina. Tell Them is the organization’s grassroots electronic advocacy network that uses its website and e-alerts to keep members informed. For more information visit www.newmorningfoundation.org or tellthemsc.org

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: ‘If You Don’t Vote … You Are Trifling’

Ally Boguhn

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party's convention.

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party’s convention.

DNC Chair Marcia Fudge: “If You Don’t Vote, You Are Ungrateful, You Are Lazy, and You Are Trifling”

The chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), criticized those who choose to sit out the election while speaking on the final day of the convention.

“If you want a decent education for your children, you had better vote,” Fudge told the party’s women’s caucus, which had convened to discuss what is at stake for women and reproductive health and rights this election season.

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“If you want to make sure that hungry children are fed, you had better vote,” said Fudge. “If you want to be sure that all the women who survive solely on Social Security will not go into poverty immediately, you had better vote.”

“And if you don’t vote, let me tell you something, there is no excuse for you. If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” she said.

“So as I leave, I’m just going to say this to you. You tell them I said it, and I’m not hesitant about it. If you don’t vote, you are ungrateful, you are lazy, and you are trifling.”

The congresswoman’s website notes that she represents a state where some legislators have “attempted to suppress voting by certain populations” by pushing voting restrictions that “hit vulnerable communities the hardest.”

Ohio has recently made headlines for enacting changes that would make it harder to vote, including rolling back the state’s early voting period and purging its voter rolls of those who have not voted for six years.

Fudge, however, has worked to expand access to voting by co-sponsoring the federal Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were stripped by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Mothers of the Movement” Take the National Spotlight

In July 2015, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had been found dead in her jail cell that morning due to “what appears to be self-asphyxiation.” Though police attempted to paint the death a suicide, Bland’s family has denied that she would have ended her own life given that she had just secured a new job and had not displayed any suicidal tendencies.

Bland’s death sparked national outcry from activists who demanded an investigation, and inspired the hashtag #SayHerName to draw attention to the deaths of Black women who died at the hands of police.

Tuesday night at the DNC, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and a group of other Black women who have lost children to gun violence, in police custody, or at the hands of police—the “Mothers of the Movement”—told the country why the deaths of their children should matter to voters. They offered their support to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a speech at the convention.

“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” said Geneva Reed-Veal.

“Six other women have died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten,” she continued. 

“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. “His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” 

McBath said that though she had lost her son, she continued to work to protect his legacy. “We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories and we’re urging you to say their names,” she said. “And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders, like Hillary Clinton, who will help us protect one another so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.” 

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, called herself “an unwilling participant in this movement,” noting that she “would not have signed up for this, [nor would] any other mother that’s standing here with me today.” 

“But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven, and … his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on Earth,” Fulton said. “I did not want this spotlight. But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of the darkness.”

What Else We’re Reading

Renee Bracey Sherman explained in Glamour why Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s position on abortion scares her.

NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue told Cosmopolitan why she shared her abortion story on stage at the DNC.

Lilly Workneh, the Huffington Post’s Black Voices senior editor, explained how the DNC was “powered by a bevy of remarkable black women.”

Rebecca Traister wrote about how Clinton’s historic nomination puts the Democratic nominee “one step closer to making the impossible possible.”

Rewire attended a Democrats for Life of America event while in Philadelphia for the convention and fact-checked the group’s executive director.

A woman may have finally clinched the nomination for a major political party, but Judith Warner in Politico Magazine took on whether the “glass ceiling” has really been cracked for women in politics.

With Clinton’s nomination, “Dozens of other women across the country, in interviews at their offices or alongside their children, also said they felt on the cusp of a major, collective step forward,” reported Jodi Kantor for the New York Times.

According to Philly.com, Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition staffed “eight curtained breast-feeding stalls on site [at the DNC], complete with comfy chairs, side tables, and electrical outlets.” Republicans reportedly offered similar accommodations at their convention the week before.

News Politics

Tim Kaine Clarifies Position on Federal Funding for Abortion, Is ‘for the Hyde Amendment’

Ally Boguhn

The Democratic Party voiced its support for rolling back the restriction on federal funding for abortion care in its platform, which was voted through this week.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s running mate, clarified during an interview with CNN on Friday that he still supports the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal funding for abortion care.

During Kaine’s appearance on New Day, host Alisyn Camerota asked the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee whether he was “for or against” the ban on funding for abortion. Kaine replied that he had “been for the Hyde Amendment,” adding “I haven’t changed my position on that.”

Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told CNN on Sunday that Kaine had “said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment.” Another Clinton spokesperson later clarified to the network that Kaine’s commitment had been “made privately.”

The Democratic Party voiced its support for rolling back the restriction on federal funding for abortion care in its platform, which was voted through this week.

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“We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment,” reads the platform.

Kaine this month told the Weekly Standard that he was not aware that the party had put language outlining support for repealing Hyde into the platform, noting that he had “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

Clinton has repeatedly said that she supports Hyde’s repeal, calling the abortion care restriction “hard to justify.”

Abortion rights advocates say that Hyde presents a major obstacle to abortion access in the United States.

“The Hyde amendment is a violent piece of legislation that keeps anyone on Medicaid from accessing healthcare and denies them full control over their lives,” Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, said in a statement. “Whether or not folks believe in the broken U.S. political system, we are all impacted by the policies that it produces. … Abortion access issues go well beyond insurance and the ability to pay, but removing the Hyde Amendment will take us light years closer to where we need to be.”