Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

Jan. 22-28, 2008


Letters of intent for spring 2008 grants are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb 29. Click here for more information.

Chicago City Budget Forum

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From Roe v Wade: "This right of privacy…founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent…We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation…If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability [of the fetus], it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
Roe v Wade, 410 US 113 (1973)


Official airline of Chicago Foundation for Women

Remembering the values of Roe v Wade 
Thirty-five years ago today the U. S. Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the case of Roe v Wade. Few of the Court’s decisions are so easily recognized by name, so simultaneously despised or adored – yet so misunderstood. The Court in Roe v Wade articulated several important values that deserve repeating today.

What does Roe say? (See quote at right.)
Roe v Wade declared a fundamental respect for the privacy and personal liberty of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy. For women, the case emphasizes our protection from state restrictions at least until a fetus can live outside the womb. At that point, states have an interest in regulating abortion. However, the Court qualified government authority again: All abortion regulations must contain an exception to protect a woman’s life or health—that was constitutionally paramount. The Supreme Court in Roe v Wade valued women as human beings, not as birthing vessels.

The erosion of Roe
But through recent Supreme Court decisions (our current justices are shown here) as well as state regulations, federal funding restrictions and institutional barriers, the values embraced by the Roe decision are being callously abandoned, and the constitutional protections afforded by the decision are not protecting American women in equal measure. These women deserve a voice.

1. Hyde Amendment puts abortion out of reach for most low income women
Since 1976, most women on Medicaid who need abortion care have been forced to pay for it themselves thanks to the Hyde Amendment. Make no mistake, this was about limiting women’s rights. Chief sponsor U.S. Representative Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) once said, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.” Sign our petition online to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

2. Missouri tried to ban abortions for incarcerated women
Missouri has a law prohibiting state employees and facilities from “assisting a woman in having an abortion not necessary to preserve her life.” Missouri’s Department of Corrections used this to create an outright ban on all abortions for incarcerated women in 2005. With the help of Missouri’s ACLU, an inmate sued and the policy was overturned, but Missouri is appealing.

3. Gonzales v Carhart
In 2007, this Supreme Court case—and specifically the five men who made up the majority—for the first time upheld an abortion restriction that did not contain an exception to protect a woman’s health. In a blatant disregard for the values articulated by Roe v Wade, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (at left) wrote that the government “may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman…from the inception of pregnancy.”

4. Abortion providers are few and far between
With fewer abortion providers, some women cannot locate services or afford to travel long distances. And access is decreasing: The proportion of counties without an abortion provider increased from 77 percent in 1978 to 87 percent in 2000—and the proportion of women of childbearing age living in these counties increased from 27 to 34 percent, according to a 2003 study. And one in four women travel more than 50 miles to obtain an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

NARAL Pro-Choice America for releasing their 17th annual report on reproductive health care access in the U.S. The “Who Decides?” Report Card gave the nation a D- for dismal access to contraception and abortion. Each state also got a report card, and 19 states received an F. Illinois got a B- and ranked 18th in the nation. 

The Alan Guttmacher Institute for dispelling abortion myths and driving public opinion through research. A recent report said many women choose abortion out of concern for children’s well-being, so either their current or future families will be better off. This goes against popular anti-abortion opinion that women either do not think through abortion decisions or choose to abort for selfish reasons. Guttmacher also reports that one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2005, and though it’s the lowest rate since 1974 it highlights a need for better contraception options to prevent unwanted pregnancy. 

FRIDAY: ROE V WADE PANEL. Hear Lynne Johnson, our director of advocacy, answer the question "Why is choice still necessary?" from 6-7 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 25. Northwestern University College Feminists are hosting a panel discussion in University Hall, room 102, on the college's Evanston campus. Free event, with no RSVP necessary.

WANTED: YOUR FEEDBACK FOR PRIZES. We take feedback on the Tuesday Blast to heart. All comments emailed to between now and Monday, Jan. 28 will be entered into a random drawing. So send your thoughts today with the subject line "Feedback." And remember, our 10,000th subscriber will also be rewarded-- tell your friends to sign up for the Tuesday Blast today.

FEB. 13: LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION 2008. This luncheon rings in the Year of the Rat and honors Asian American women who have broken down barriers in the science and technology fields. Tickets sold by the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. As a cosponsor, a portion of proceeds benefit our Asian American Leadership Council's Silk Fund. Learn more and download the registration form.

MARCH 6: "MARGARET GARNER" KICKOFF CONVERSATION. Can infanticide be merciful? The true story of fugitive slave Margaret Garner makes us confront difficult questions like this one. Discuss gender, race, poverty and more issues that inspired the "Margaret Garner" opera at our first community conversation. From 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 6 at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Register for $25, which includes a reception. 

MARCH 31: CELEBRATE WOMEN IN CLASSICAL MUSIC. The Chicago Sinfonietta will recognize International Women’s Month with a special March 31 concert, featuring women composers and artists. Tickets to the concert and an exclusive reception go on sale starting in February.

TODAY ONLY: "REPEAL THE HYDE AMENDMENT" PETITION ONLINE. Since 1976, this amendment has prohibited Medicaid funding from abortion in almost all circumstances. As a result, low-income women have had to choose between abortion care and paying bills like rent and utilities. Tell Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.


JAN. 23: Meeting: Young Women’s Leadership Council, 6-7:30 p.m.

JAN. 30: 2008 Chicago City Budget Forum, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

FEB. 13: Reproductive Rights Telephone Briefing: Migrant farm worker women, 3-4:30 p.m.
FEB. 13: Lunar New Year Celebration 2008 (cosponsorship, with Asian American Leadership Council), 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
FEB. 14: 5th Annual Valentine’s Day Distinguished Family Violence Lecture and book signing, 2:15-4:15 p.m. (co-sponsored event)
FEB. 21: Grantees: Executive Director Roundtable – topic to be announced, 12-1:30 p.m.
FEB. 29: Grants: Letter of intent (LOI) deadline for spring 2008, 5 p.m.

MARCH 5: "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo" film and discussion (cosponsorship), 7:30-10 p.m.
MARCH 6: "Margaret Garner" kickoff community conversation, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
MARCH 14-16: Men Can Stop Rape workshop - contact Lynne Johnson for more information at
MARCH 31: Chicago Sinfonietta: A Celebration of Women in Classical Music, 6 p.m. reception and 7:30 p.m. concert

For more programs and events see our calendar page.

Catch up at our Press Room or our Past Events page at

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