Forward: Welcome!

Robin Forster (71574.1465@CompuServe.COM)
Sat, 1 Feb 1997 20:32:24 -0500

-------------Forwarded Message-----------------

From: "Women Leaders Online",

Date: 1/30/97 6:26 PM

RE: Welcome!

Received: from ( []) by

As Deputy Director of Women Organizing for Change, I wanted to
introduce myself and to welcome you to WOC. Below you will find
today's important alert. You should be receiving them regularly from
now on.

Thank you for joining our network of activists. We know that women
can think, laugh and organize at the same time. Hope you enjoy our

Rhonda Lees, Esq.
Women Organizing for Change

1/30/97 WOC Alert: Showdown in Congress over Family Planning

One of the first policy votes of the 105th Congress (that little
dust-up in early January, ostensibly to elect a new Speaker, but
really to decipher whether the word "Newt" means "Liar" in Repubonics,
doesn't count) will be a continuation of last term's fight to
eliminate international family planning.

Yes, reflecting the finest thinking of the turn of the (17th) century,
some in Congress are blocking funds for programs that provide health
education, training and contraception services for women in the
developing world and the former Soviet Union.

Family planning programs stress preventive, voluntary health
activities. They actually help prevent abortions and significantly
reduce maternal mortality (in which 1 woman dies every three minutes
worldwide from complications of pregnancy and illegal abortion) by
giving women the information and services needed to plan pregnancy and
care for small children.

Unless funding resumes soon, many family planning programs face
suspension or severe cutbacks.

E-mail, call or fax your Members of Congress and Senators IMMEDIATELY
and tell them to rescue international family planning! Women's lives
and families' futures are at stake. You can reach your Member of
Congress by calling 202/224-3121 and asking to be put through to your

The WOC Senate contact page has been updated for the 105th Congress.
It includes the name, state, party, phone number, and, when available,
the E-mail address of every Senator. When you want to E-mail a
Senator, just go to:

You might even bookmark it for future reference.

While the specifics are a little technical, this first policy vote of
Congress is basically about providing contraceptive services and
education to poor families who want them.

After the 104th Congress slashed by one third the overall amount spent
on international family planning programs, it also imposed onerous
spending restrictions that delay when the funds can begin to be used
and limit how much can be used each month. These administrative
restrictions have the effect of further cuts in services. Last year,
however, Congress also included a provision that if the President
finds that the administrative restrictions have a negative impact on
the programs, he should notify Congress by February 1. The law also
stipulates that in February Congress must vote up or down (no
amendments allowed) on the Presidential finding on international
family planning. If the finding is passed, funds will be released
only 5 months later than they should have been- rather than the 9
months late under current law. Although damage has already been done,
releasing the funds in March rather than July will ameliorate some of
the negative impact of the delays.

This vote will set a tone about how Congress and the White House can
work together. This vote is also the first vote on reducing the
incidence of abortion worldwide, in support of women's health and in
support of the environment.

Please contact your Member of Congress right away and express your
support for the releasing international family planning funds in March
and object to any efforts to prevent a clean vote on family planning.

Another way for you to help break this logjam: send a FREE fax from
InterActivism's website ( to leaders in
the House and Senate. Tell Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House
Speaker Newt Gingrich, and leading Congressional Democrats to schedule
votes so that 1997 funding for international planning services can be

For those of you who have not been with us since we started WOC, in
July of 1996, we wanted to recap some of our achievements.

We are proud of the work we have done. Our web page (
continues to evolve, winning numerous national awards. WOC members
have taken action based on our alerts on dozens of issues before
Congress, including welfare reform, reproductive rights, affirmative
action, domestic violence, education, and the federal budget. During
the election season we featured hot races with national impact, and
our members responded with support. We are now working to increase
the visibility of our organization, which brings us closer to our goal
of building an action network linking one million feminist women and

We are very excited about this era of feminist activism, and we want
to ensure that women's voices will continue to be central to all
political debate. E-mail and the Internet are perfectly suited to
organizing employed women, women at home, and, of course, students.

We invite you to check out our web page, as we continually update the
page and the links we sustain. It is a good indication of the breadth
of our work.

Although ours is not a discussion list, we welcome your comments and
feedback. If you wish to suggest news or action alerts, or highlight
state initiatives with national appeal, make sure you provide us
contacts and the source.

We encourage you to post our alerts widely (and, as one of our
members -- in Nepal -- says, wildly). But we would like credit for
our work. When you make a copy, please do so in its entirety, or at
least not out of context, and, in any event, with attribution. It is
crucial that the footer which indicates subscription information be
included. If you are reposting for your own e-mail alert, or
printing in a newsletter, attribution to WOC is especially important.
Obviously, we encourage dissemination via e-mail lists.

If you have not yet sent in your donation to be part of Women
Organizing for Change, we really need your support now. Your
contribution of $100, $50, $25, $10 -- or whatever you can spare --
can help keep our financially-challenged but dedicated staff paid and
our alerts flying across the Net. Although contributions to our
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reward! So, please send your contribution today to: Women Organizing
for Change, P.O. Box 57199, Washington, DC 20037-7199. For credit
card donations, e-mail us with the best time to contact you so we can
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