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Montana Rally at Capitol Saturday champions women’s cause
MT-WomenUniteRally

Dylan Brown Independent Record - Margarita McLarty holds up a sign at the Unite Against the War on Women rally in front of the Capitol building Saturday. About 200 people showed up at the event.

About 200 men, women and children from throughout Montana gathered in front of the Capitol building in Helena Saturday to voice their outrage at efforts around the county and within the state that they believe are anti-women measures.

“Legislation is being introduced in states that is a full-blown effort to strip women’s rights,” said Bridgette Case Guild, the Montana state volunteer organizer for UniteWomen.org. “I’m paying attention and I’m pissed. My career, my marriage and my son all benefit from my access to health care that some want to restrict or outright end.

“We can’t ignore what’s happening to our rights in this country, and when good people do nothing, bad things happen.”

Unite Against the War on Women was recently formed by Karen Teegarden, of Birmingham, Mich., and the organization held rallies Saturday throughout the nation. Teegarden said they’re angered about Virginia legislation that tried to enact a mandatory “trans-vaginal ultrasound” measure for women seeking abortions; Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to end funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers; a push by Republicans to end Medicaid funding; and voter registration laws that suppress voter turnout, especially among poor women, seniors and minorities.

Teegarden noted on the website that she sees threats to women’s rights in other areas, as well, including violence against women and children, workplace equality, workers’ rights and education. Statistics show that women still only make 74 cents for every dollar a man makes, that one in three women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime and between 1,200 and 1,400 women are killed each year in domestic violence incidents.

Teegarden hopes Saturday’s rallies are the start to a long-term action program.

“This war on women must be resisted, and defeated, before the toxic effects of the current national conversation become irrevocable reality,” she said on the website.

Margarita McLarty of Pray carried a sign at the Helena rally that stated “If you cut off my reproductive rights, can I cut off yours?” She came to the rally on behalf of her grandmother and grandchildren.

“I don’t want my granddaughter to have to do this for her grandchildren,” McLarty said.

Another sign stated: “Pro privacy, pro family, pro choice.”

Dorothy Bradley, who was the youngest woman elected to Montana House of Representatives, also spoke at the rally. Standing on a soapbox, she urged the crowd to get involved in politics and noted that it was 42 years ago this month that she took that first step.

“We must all be there to set the agenda and be there to make policy that suits us as human beings,” Bradley said. “It’s up to us to bring back respect and honor to the policy and process.”

Dr. Susan Wicklund, who has been threatened and harassed for providing abortions to women in Montana for the past 25 years, said the more people have tried to intimidate her the more important she believes it is to speak out.

“I can’t believe we don’t have the sites in every town in every state in the entire country filled with women and men who are truly outraged at what has happened,” Wicklund said. “Fifty-four million women have had safe, legal abortions since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973. Where are their voices? Why does this common, minor medical procedure need to be secret? Forty percent of women will have at least one abortion in their lifetime and we are keeping it secret and shameful? We should be outraged.”

Link to original article from Helena Independent Record


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