WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) is a new grassroots, feminist organization that is dedicated to building the struggle for women’s rights and equality for all.
We formed because the last few years have seen a shocking number of attacks on the rights of women, through anti-abortion legislation, slashing of social services and new heights of misogyny in the rhetoric of the right wing. Now more than ever, a new, fighting women’s movement is needed.
We believe in organizing and taking to the streets, independent of the politicians of either major party. Throughout history, the gains that women have made have been won through militant struggle. We want to revive this kind of struggle by uniting all women to defend our rights.
We fight for equality for all. We know that fighting racism, anti-LGBT bigotry and the oppression of the poor are part and parcel of our struggle. No woman can be free while others are oppressed.
WORD is initiated by women who have been active in the anti-war movement and the fight against racism, police brutality and in support of immigrant rights. We want to thank the ANSWER coalition, which has provided invaluable organizational support and infrastructure for this effort. We are activists and organizers.
What we stand for:
- Full reproductive rights now: Access to safe, legal abortion and birth control – on demand. We want healthcare that covers these services and access to it for all women. We want the information that we need to stay healthy, including an end to abstinence-only sex education in our schools.
- Defend women in the workplace: Close the wage gap and provide equal pay for equal work. All jobs must offer maternity leave and stop penalizing working mothers. End sexual harassment at work.
- Stop the budget cuts: Cutting federal and state social services punishes poor women. We demand government funding for social services that millions of working and poor women depend on.
- We want full equality and respect now: Fight racism, sexism and anti-LGBT bigotry. Stop the exploitation and commercialization of women in mass media. An injury to one is an injury to all!
Our Mission Statement:
Women’s rights are under severe attack. Access to healthcare - including contraception and abortion - childcare, housing, welfare and other benefits are being slashed across the country. We are tired of politicians playing political football with our lives. It’s time we take action. It’s time we organize and fight back.
It has been 39 years since the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision that declared access to abortion to be a fundamental right. It was a victory for the women’s movement that gave women the most fundamental of rights – control over our own bodies. Since that time, abortion rights have been under attack.
The Republican candidates in this year’s repulsive primary campaign have been competing to see who can spout the most anti-woman rhetoric, even opposing exemptions to abortion restrictions in the case of rape or incest – all the while championing economic policies that slash social programs that poor and working mothers rely on. They have attacked Title X funding, which provides services like cancer screenings and birth control.
Many women voted for President Obama believing he would stand up for women’s rights. But he has compromised with the anti-choice forces on many occasions. When Republicans opposed a 2009 provision for family planning, he dropped it. In 2011, the White House took the unprecedented step of overruling the FDA in order to keep Plan B out of the reach of women under 18. While President Obama is not a right-wing pro-lifer, we cannot count on him or any politician to defend our rights. In fact, in order to reach a budget compromise with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner in July 2011, President Obama said, "I'll give you abortion in D.C." Meaning, low-income women in the District of Columbia would be prevented from receiving Medicaid assistance offered by the D.C. government for abortion procedures.
Women’s reproductive rights continue to be slashed at the state level. Legal restrictions on abortions tripled from 2010 to 2011. 92 new abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011. In 2011, there were 114 reported violent attacks against abortion providers. Clinics that provide vital services for millions of working-class women are under siege. More than 55 percent of reproductive age women now live in states that are “hostile” to abortion rights. (Guttenmacher Institute)
How did this happen? What has happened between 1973, when abortion rights were upheld, and today, when they’re being taken from us?
Abortion rights were won as part of a larger struggle for the equality of women. The women’s movement of that era was strong, and largely independent of the politicians and the major political parties. Women marched in the streets, protested and sat-in, speaking with their own voices and making their demands heard. Only determined action won many of the rights that we take for granted today.
We need to build a powerful new movement to defeat the right-wing attacks. We need to show the legislators, the politicians and the pundits that we will not let them take away our freedom and send us back to the dark days of back-alley abortions and social inequality.
We will defend the gains of the women’s movement and we will push for greater justice for all women. We will fight for social programs that poor women and families depend on, we will fight for economic equality, and for an end to sexist discrimination.
Women and men of all ages, nationalities and sexual orientations are invited to join in this campaign.