Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feminism in West MI: Alive and Well

Have you ever wondered what other feminists are doing along the Western MI lakeshore? Well, wonder no more: you have found the spot for all of the latest about what we've just finished doing, what we're working on right now and what we about to do next!

We recently finished commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan 22nd with three successful events. On Thurs., Jan. 21st, more than 60 people gathered in the Blue and Gold room for "Sex in Our City," an event to raise awareness and educate the public about local issues related to access to reproductive health.

The evening started with the announcement of our writing contest winner, Samyrah Reid. Her essay made the connection between gay rights and reproductive health.

Mary Pollock, Legislative Vice President for MI NOW was our first keynote speaker. She informed us about what's going on in Lansing in terms of legislation. I was particularly disturbed by news of H.B. 5719, which would strip the rights of minors to receive confidential testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Here's a link for more information:

We then had a wonderful drum performance by Barb Pitcher, who demonstrated drums from around the world.

Our second keynote speaker was Shelli Weisberg, the Legislative Director for MI ACLU. She had some interesting information about employers who refuse to cover contraception under employee health plans. According to her, Michigan Civil Rights Laws (ELCRA) make this practice illegal on the grounds that it is sex discrimination, since only women can get pregnant.

The event concluded with the announcement from Kathy Humphreys, the President of Northern and W. MI Planned Parenthood, that Planned Parenthood hopes to open a clinic in Muskegon at Public Health-Muskegon County by March of 2010. Welcome back Planned Parenthood!

On Friday, Jan. 22nd, Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation (HUUC) hosted a showing of "Cider House Rules," a film about an abortionist and his apprentice at an orphanage during WWII. The next morning, we met back at HUUC for a prayer breakfast, followed by a Rally for Reproductive Rights, in which record numbers of supporters marched at Hackley Park, the corner of Barclay and Laketon and along the causeway.

So, in case you thought feminist activism was something your grandmother did before you born, think again! Stay tuned for more Adventures in Feminism, from your Muskegon-Ottawa NOW President, Faith Groesbeck...

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