In 1920, women finally got the right to vote, but not before they were jailed, beaten, and even declared insane, for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. In 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Connecticut’s ban on contraceptives for married women. In 1972 it struck down Massachusetts’ ban on contraception for unmarried women. in 1973, the Court established a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. In 1970, Congress passed Title X of the Public Health Care Service Act, making grants available to agencies to provide comprehensive family planning and health care services. In 1994 Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act and reauthorized it again in 2000 and in 2005. Congress has had refused to reauthorize this Act because it has been broadened to extend to immigrant women and LGBT. In 2003, Congress passed a bill in response to women having been raped by U.S. contractors in Iraq. In 2011 a bill was introduced in the House to amend Title X, to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that also performed abortions. Congress outlawed “partial birth” abortion in 2003. In 2012, the Senate attempted to amend the Affordable Health Care Act to allow any employer who has religious or conscientious objections, to prevent birth control or any other medical procedure from being offered through health insurance policies. Seven states have fully defunded or attempted to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2011 and in 2012, 8 states have passed laws mandating medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion.
Because of our Foremothers, Lucy Burns, Dora Lewis, Alice Paul, Pauline Adams, Edith Ainge, Berthe Arnold and Helena Weed, today, we have the tools to stand up for ourselves and make our own choices. Today we have the voice to demand that our Elected Representatives, ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. We need 38 states to make this the 28th amendment to the United States Constitution. We have 35 states now and we only need 3 more. The 15 states whose legislatures have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. We only have to convince 3 states, only 3, out of the 15 states that I just listed, that have not yet ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.
First and foremost, we are human beings, we deserve the right to choose for ourselves. We are not chattel, we are not pets, we are not mindless. We are brilliant, we are beautiful and we are priceless. We are women. Let’s make this the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Let’s make her-story.