Not since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a legally protected medical procedure, have the attacks on legal abortion in state legislatures around the country been so vicious and sustained.
A shocking report from "The Week" magazine points out that American women nationwide are again being jailed for having abortions. According to contributing writer Michelle Goldberg, "The back-alley abortion is coming back." (See the article at www.personalpac.org/index.php&. State legislators are imposing more and more restrictions on abortion, thereby forcing women to take matters into their own hands.
Forced vaginal ultrasounds, with no exceptions for very young girls who have been sexually abused or women who have been raped, are the law. Outright bans on abortion and some forms of birth control are passing in many states. The Kansas legislature passed, and the Governor gleefully signed, a law that is openly designed to ensure, through impossible to meet physical and architectural mandates, that not a single doctor or medical facility in the entire state can perform an abortion. Planned Parenthood is being de-funded in state after state, and a Texas city bus driver is suing to uphold his right not to stop his bus near a Planned Parenthood because that would be akin to taxpayer funding of abortion. The state legislature of Texas may support his claim with a new law. We could go on with the hundreds of new anti-abortion laws pending this year in states across the country — many, right next door to Illinois on all sides.
Iowa: HF 153 states that each "life", from the moment of conception, is accorded full rights of any person under the constitution. It also states the Iowa Supreme Court doesn't have jurisdiction over the section.
South Dakota: HB 1171 would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus — a move that would make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. HB 1217, now signed in to law, requires a 72 hour waiting period for abortions, during which the patient must receive anti-abortion counseling from a "Crisis Pregnancy Center".
Ohio: Has introduced six anti-choice bills, including a broad anti-choice bill, a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, a bill tightening restrictions on judicial bypass for minors, a bill prohibiting abortion coverage in state administered health care plans, and the "heartbeat" bill which would ban abortion after the first trimester.
Kansas: HB 2218 focuses on the "pain" felt by a fetus, banning all abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy unless a physician declares the abortion is necessary to save the woman's life. No exceptions would be made for a woman's health.
These horrible things are happening in other states because anti-abortion State Senators, anti-abortion State Representatives and anti-abortion Governors have been elected in record numbers. In fact, the Illinois House recently debated a Kansas-like law to shut down Illinois abortion providers and we were able to stop it from passing by just a few votes.
Yes, elections have consequences, and while we dodged a horrible potential result in 2010 by the smallest number of votes in our elections for Governor and the General Assembly, the right-wing is gearing up to change things in Illinois — and we must stop them! Personal PAC must expend enormous resources to identify and recruit the best pro-choice candidates possible to run in the fast approaching March 2012 primary, when every Senate & House seat is up for re-election under a new legislative map, to prevent Illinois from becoming the next state where women are unable to get an abortion. Make no mistake, we are just one election away from being the next Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa or South Dakota.
At this year's annual Awards Luncheon, we will honor Pam Sutherland. Pam has been instrumental in passing several of Illinois' reproductive health laws, including contraceptive coverage in private insurance plans. She is a member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Federal PAC Committee, and is currently Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. We will also honor Jennie Goodman. Jennie is an advocate for rape victims and she played a large role Governor Pat Quinn's 2010 win. Jennie's passion for reproductive rights inspired her to film a television ad for Personal PAC discussing her experience with sexual assault, and her fears of Illinois electing a governor, Bill Brady, who believed abortion should be illegal.
In addition, we are thrilled to have Mia Farrow as this year's speaker. Farrow first gained wide acclaim for her role as Allison Mackenzie in the soap opera Peyton Place, and for her subsequent short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra and twelve-year relationship with Woody Allen. An early film role, as the possessed woman in 1968's Rosemary's Baby, saw her portrayal nominated for many awards. Farrow has appeared in more than forty-five films and won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe, five BAFTA Film Award nominations, and a win for best actress at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Farrow is also known for her extensive humanitarian work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world. Her movie repertoire includes: The Great Gatsby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives and Miami Rhapsody. Farrow has 15 children and speaks eloquently on the need for access to reproductive rights in the United States and around the world.
Personal PAC can ONLY succeed with your help, which is why we are counting on you to join the Benefit Committee for our 18th Annual Awards Luncheon to be held Thursday November 17th at the Chicago Hilton. As a member of the Benefit Committee, we ask that you send event invitations to at least fifteen (15) individuals. We know your time is valuable, so this year we want to make this really easy. We'll do all the work for you — and here's how:
We'll send you 15 note cards (but you can tell us that you want even more than 15!).
You simply write a short, personal message to the people you plan to invite and send us back the note cards with a list of names and addresses (this helps us avoid sending duplicate invites to multiple individuals).
That's it! We will address the invitations, insert your note card and send them out from the Personal PAC office with your return address printed on the envelope. In exchange for serving on the Benefit Committee, your name will be listed on the invitation and in the program. Tickets for the event are $150 or $250 for Supporters, $500 for Sponsors, $1,000 for Patrons, $2,500 for Benefactors, and $5,000 for Underwriters. Tables are available for the Supporter level, $2,500; Sponsor level, $5,000 and Patron level of $10,000. Please go to our website at www.personalpac.org to sign-up and buy tickets and tables (so we can be sure that your name is included on the invitation). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kinzie Ecker at 312-422-0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Margot Rosenbaum and Mary Stowell
P.S. Purchasing your table early has at least two significant advantages: You are guaranteed ten seats at the luncheon, and you receive "priority seating" over non-early buyers in the same price category. Priority seating can play a major role in determining whether a table is in a premier location.