Justice For Women

In the Church. In the World.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

South Dakota Watch

Okay, Blogger is not properly showing my updated links section, so have faith in me. It will come soon.

The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is launching a petition drive to overturn the legislature's cruel move to ban abortion. By overturning it on the state level, this does not give anti-choice organizations the federal challenge to Roe v. Wade they were hoping for. They need money and volunteers, so please help anyway you can.

Thanks to Coat Hangers at Dawn, a great new blog watching the politics around the SD ban, which I read religiously now.

Hopefully they will be showing up in my Links section soon. Go, Blogger, go!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

so LifeNews.com is good for something

Sometimes, when I am bored, I admit that I troll at Pro-Life Blogs to keep abreast of what's hot in the anti-choice blogosphere. I happened across a blog post entitled "Planned Parenthood Sping Offensive Against World Population," which links me to this article from LifeNews.com. While I usually brush off LifeNews articles, this one, even through it's unmistakeable bias and desire to hate everything a pro-choicer does is fully present, this one tipped me off to a great bill sponsored by two Minnesota reps, (ohmygosh, ohmygosh, its)Betty McCollum and Jim Ramstad to provide $188 million in international aid for family planning (not abortion) and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice gets a mention for supporting this bill. Check it out and call your reps.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

I totally forget yesterday was Blog Against Sexism Day, mostly because I was thinking about the stupidity of the South Dakota abortion ban which I'm sure you've all heard about by now. So my co-editor and I came up with some great proposals for the South Dakota legislature:

1) Now that you've made abortion illegal in South Dokota, state law should mandate that all children born to women in South Dakota receive paternity testing at birth and the father's wages are garnished until the child turns 18. Hey, he made his choice when he had sex . . . (This is for all those who oppose a woman's right to choose and throw out that clever little cliche. What's good for the goose - well, you know)

2) Effective July 1, same day as the abortion ban is set to take place, South Dakota's WIC roles should increase to serve 800 more infants and their mothers (since 800 abortions a year take place at the one clinic in South Dakota)

See, no matter how much we hear anti-abortion activists screaming about how they care about mother and baby, until they respond to women's real needs instead of fighting for every tax cut they can and bankrupting the poor, I'm just not buying it. There seems to be this major disconnect that if you ban abortion, one of the outcomes will be a whole lot of unprepared single mothers in desperate need of assistance. And not just a few packs of diapers from the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Nutrition, housing, and education are all crucial to the well-being of the children that anti-abortion activists hope to "save" through this measure and their dream of overturning Roe v. Wade. Maybe that's why Gov. Mike Rounds' comments at the bill signing seem so hollow to me. He refused to raise the minimum wage when he had the chance.

With more on South Dakota, we turn to Charon Aestoyer's piece in Indian Country Today, "South Dakota Task Force on abortion hurts pregnant women". Aestoyer points out how the proposed amendment to the South Dakota Constitution (still in the works) with the imposition of fetal rights infringes on women's autonomy and religious freedom without saving any lives in the process.

On a different but related note, the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom annual summit is coming up in June. I attended the summit in 2003 and had an amazing time and learned a LOT about religion and the right to choose. Here's the info:

Youth and Young Adult Program, to host second Student Summit, June 5-7,

What: Student Summit 2006

Theme: Putting Faith into Action for Reproductive Justice

Why: To Reflect, Connect, Inspire, and Act!

Where: Washington, DC

When: June 5-7, 2006 (plus an in-gathering social event on the evening
of June 4th)

Who: Spiritual pro-choice college students

Sponsor: Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom (www.syrf.org), a
program of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Cost: Housing and meals are free for the first 100 participants.
Limited scholarship money for travel costs will be available on an
as-needed basis

How: Registration is available online at www.syrf.org

This event will bring together spiritual pro-choice college students and
religious leaders for three days of worship, dialogue, workshops, and
social action. We will offer workshops on bringing moral language and
messaging into the pro-choice movement, challenging the anti-choice
messages of the "Religious Right" on campus, organizing pro-choice
Peaceful Presence at anti-choice demonstrations, building strong SYRF
chapters, organizing advocacy events, being an effective advocate on
Capitol Hill, and more.
Please register or spread the word!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Report from Conversation and Celebration of Women Called

sorry it took so long. :) a version of this article will appear in the march 2006 issue of Together, a publication of the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet, St Paul Province. for more on the event, visit WOC's website

On February 18, 2006, I had the great pleasure of traveling to Santa Barbara, CA for Conversation and Celebration of Women Called, co-sponsored by Women’s Ordination Conference and the Los Angeles Province. The event brought over one hundred women (and a few men) from all over California and the United States.
Our day together opened with a ritual which asked, “Who is invited to the table?” While St. Paul writes in Galatians, “There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus,” there are many in our communities who are not invited to the table by institutional church. Some of those represented in our ritual include gays and lesbians, women called to ordination, priests who have married, and those who are poor and isolated from a parish community. The ritual was followed by a small group discussion asking the questions: Who is not invited to the table in our communities? What tensions exist in our local worship communities?
Our first keynote speaker of the day was Nicole Sotelo, writer and director of Call to Action’s Next Generation. Nicole spoke about the history of ordination, our current understandings of what “ordination” means, and five action steps for the movement for church reform. Some of Nicole’s historical revelations included the fact that as late as 1000 CE, women deacons were common and accepted, based on a letter from Pope Benedict VIII affirming their role. Nicole also spoke about some new understandings of ordination from various theologians, including the idea that ministers should be called by their communities and that a charism or ministry may not be a lifelong call. Finally, Nicole gave the group some concrete action steps that she feels the movement for women's ordination and church reform must take, including envisioning ourselves as part of a larger global movement for justice, to recruit young people, and to take anti-oppression action within our movement.
Our second keynote speaker was Rev. Victoria Rue, an ordained womanpriest who was ordained on the St Lawrence Seaway in July of 2005. She spoke about her call to ordination and her work as a professor of religious studies and women's studies at San Jose State University. She spoke of her call by a community to serve as a minister, the positive response of her college community to her ordination, her thoughts on true communion and experiencing the body of Christ, and the role of women who seek ordination. Womanpriests, since they cannot have parishes within the structured Church as their male counterparts do, she said, are called to the worker priest tradition of the early twentieth century, laboring with the communities they serve. My favorite part of Victoria's keynote was her discussion of “living in the margins.” Those of us who work for justice for women and GLBT in the Roman Catholic Church are forced to live and work on the margins. But, as Victoria put it, “I like it out here on the margins. There’s more room. More possibility. And there are a whole lot of us out here on the margins!” It was a nice reminder that we are not alone in the struggle for justice.
One of the highlights of the day for me was the breakout session, when I was able to gather with other young women who are part of WOC's Young Feminist Network. There were about a dozen young women who participated in the conference. Many young women echoed the sentiment that they wished they had known about WOC and other church reform groups sooner, and that they finally felt that there were other people “like them” in the Catholic Church. We came up with some action steps to stay connected and to advocate for women's ordination. Aisha Taylor, the executive director of WOC, also revealed that the theme for this year's World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination, March 26, would be “Good Catholic Girls Stand Up for Women's Ordination.”
Our day together ended with a liturgy conducted by Victoria and a small group of ordained womandeacons. For me, this was one of the most stunning and moving parts of the day. Watching a woman, in full priestly garb, lead us in worship and celebrate the Eucharist nearly brought me to tears. It was truly a vision of what our church should look like. Singing, praying, and breaking bread with this committed group of feminist women gave me a sense of hope and renewed my commitment to helping create a more just church.
My day concluded with dinner with members of the WOC board (quite accidentally through a new friend) and a quick trip to the Pacific Ocean, which was one of my life-long dreams! This trip was an incredible experience for me to meet new people and network with other Catholic feminist women. It was a memorable and moving weekend, and I feel truly blessed to have been a part of it.