We’ve been meeting weekly or more to pull things together for the upcoming Rally for Reproductive Rights, this Saturday on July 9, at noon at the Burlington City Hall Steps. We’ve met at member’s houses so far, and we’re trying to set up a meeting place at a local coffee house so that the meetings are more accessible. We pool money for the cost of printing out flyers and posters and go out after work and on the weekend to hand them out and paste them up. It’s loose and disorganized right now, and it’s bound to become more formal as we move forward, but it certainly is exciting to finally be meeting people who have the passion and the drive to make things happen. Getting permits for rallying, securing access to a table (there’s a reason they call it “tabling”), reaching out to local women’s groups, to people who work at Planned Parenthood… Organizing a simple rally takes a lot of resources. This is my first time getting involved in an effort like this, and I’m very grateful for the patience and wisdom of the women who’ve been organizing for equality for a long time.
I hope you can join us for this Saturday! If not, we’re planning another event for the end of August: a picket of the CareNet Pregnancy Center, which is on Colchester Ave., right around the corner from Planned Parenthood on Mansfield Ave. See, the CareNet Pregnancy Center masquerades as a legitimate medical center geared towards meeting the needs of pregnant women. In reality, they often proselytize and disseminate false information about fetal development, STDs, contraception, and abortion, create the illusion of medical authority where there is none, and of course refuse to provide abortion services or referrals for abortions. Some of these centers even receive federal funding, thanks to the Bush-era push for faith-based initiatives and funding for abstinence-only education programs. We want to draw attention to the lies they propagate and their deliberate effort to target vulnerable women with billboards and ads asking, “Pregnant? Scared? We can help!” We want an end to all federal funding for these centers, and we want laws to ensure that if a clinic does not have licensed medical professionals on staff, they should not be allowed to advertise themselves as a medical clinic. Pregnancy CareNet and other faith-based crisis pregnancy centers violate the “Trust Women” maxim by obscuring the truth and attempting to shame and pressure them into making the “right” decision, regardless of what the impacts on that young woman’s life will be. We are FED UP with people trying to tell us that women can’t be trusted with all the information, that the only way to ensure women make the right decisions is to lie to them. Join us at noon on July 30 at 58 Colchester Ave., for a protest of CareNet Pregnancy. Bring noisemakers and signs! If you want to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org!