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VA Women Form Bipartisan "Strike Force" To Defeat Supporters of "Personhood," Ultrasound Mandate

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 11:00:21 AM EST


It appears that the repercussions from the massive Republican overreach in Virginia is continuing. This time, as you can see from the press release on the "flip," it's specifically in the area of their all-out assault on women's reproductive freedom. I spoke this morning with former Delegate Kris Amundson, a founding member of the "Women's Strike Force," to better understand what this group's all about. Here are a few key points from the interview.

*According to Amundson, "Republican women are as appalled as Democratic women by the [anti-choice] legislation that has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly this year, as well as by the decorum on the floor of the House of Delegates, as exemplified by the Dave Albo video."

*This new group will be "a place where men and women appalled by this intrusive legislation" can go.

*The agenda we've seen this year - one that focuses not just on what goes on in women's bedrooms, but what goes on in their bodies - hurts Virginia's image as business friendly and as a great place to raise a family.

*Amundson says she's had women of both parties talk to her about this at the gym and the nail salon, that it's "galvanized women of both parties," that "young women are totally paying attention to this." The bottom line message from all these women: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

*This group is very much open to supporting pro-choice Republicans, the kind that used to exist in Virginia. This group will NOT support anti-choice Democrats. Today, sadly, those moderate, pro-choice Republicans have no home, with the current Virginia Republican Party epitomized by far-far-right-wing Dick Black. 'Nuff said.

*The focus of this group will be on Virginia, starting with the 2013 elections, and continuing as long as the assault on women's reproductive choice continues.

lowkell :: VA Women Form Bipartisan "Strike Force" To Defeat Supporters of "Personhood," Ultrasound Mandate
I also spoke to another person with insight into this group, who told me that there was a "big falling out" with the "Farm Team" over abortion, that a lot of pro-choice women left that group when it became clear that the Farm Team wasn't strongly pro-choice, and that's "why the Farm Team's been so ineffective the last couple years." This person also pointed out to me that the Farm Team didn't jump on the "personhood" and "trans-vaginal ultrasound" bills, once again demonstrating their lack of effectiveness and the need for a new group like the "Strike Force." Personally, I'll be interested to see how all these groups work together (or not), whether there's bad blood that hurts all their effectiveness, and also whether there will be a splintering of support across many different groups. Time will tell, I suppose, but for now, I'm happy to see a group with the goals and attitude espoused by the "Strike Force." I wish them well!

NEW WOMEN'S PAC FORMED IN VIRGINIA:
Mission -- To recruit and support candidates to defeat any elected official who supported the "personhood" or mandatory ultrasound legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

February 27, 2012

A bipartisan coalition of Virginia activists have launched WOMEN'S STRIKE FORCE, a new PAC raising money to recruit and support candidates to
defeat any elected official who supported the "personhood" or mandatory ultrasound legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

"As a former member of the General Assembly and Virginia's first woman in Congress, I fought for women's rights in the 70's, 80's and 90's. We must
move the Commonwealth and the nation forward, not backslide to denying women rights," says Leslie Byrne, the first woman elected to Congress in
Virginia.

Outraged by the legislative assault on women, the group has united Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to fight for women.  Katherine Wadell, an Independent leader and former Virginia Delegate is "angry and fed up with what is happening in the Virginia General Assembly relating to women's reproductive rights and I believe like many women that it is time to take action. It is time to push back against this intrusive legislation into our personal lives."

Virginia's legislative session has received significant national attention over the past week, including The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live sketches.  "Between the Trans-vaginal Ultrasound Bill, the Personhood Bill and the improper rant of a Delegate on the House Floor, Virginia has become fodder for ridicule nationally," Wadell commented.
"I am truly embarrassed by the actions of the majority party Members in the House of Delegates and Senate."

Leaders across the Commonwealth of Virginia are motivated to oust the extremists who are depriving women of their reproductive rights.  Robin Abbott, a former Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly notes that "The steps that have been taken by lawmakers in Virginia and states across the
country to deprive women of their reproductive rights are a slap in the face to every American wife, mother, sister and daughter in our country."
She urges women across the United States to donate to Women's Strike Force to help defeat those who voted for these two bills.  "It is beyond
offensive that legislators are playing politics with women's health. We must join together to fight these extreme ideologues."

Women's Strike Force is led by an impressive leadership team from every corner of the Commonwealth:

• Robin Abbott, Former Virginia Delegate, Newport News, Co-Chair
• Katherine Wadell, Former Independent Virginia Delegate, Richmond, Co-Chair
• Leslie Byrne, First Woman Elected to Congress in Virginia, Fairfax
• Kris Amundson, Former Virginia Delegate, Mt. Vernon
• Margi Vanderhye, Former Virginia Delegate, McLean
• Paula Miller, Former Virginia Delegate, Norfolk
• Mame Reiley, DNC Women's Caucus Chair, Alexandria
• Cynthia Neff, Charlottesville
• Teresa Champion, Springfield
• Rebecca Geller, Fairfax Station
• Kate Goodyear, Fairfax

Donations are accepted at www.womensstrikeforce.org.  The PAC can be
followed at www.facebook.com/womensstrikeforce.

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Strike Force and Farm Team NOT in Conflict!!! (0.00 / 0)
I was happy to see the coverage of the launch of our Women's Strike Force, however I was dismayed to see negative comments about the Farm Team.  As a member of the Strike Force's leadership team, I can assure you that there have been absolutely no disparaging comments made about the Farm Team in any of our discussions!   Many of us our proud members and supporters of the Farm Team.  However, the Strike Force has a different model and mission.  We are bipartisan, whereas the Farm Team is Democratic. We are focused on women's rights and the idiotic legislation that has been introduced in the General Assembly to take away women's rights while the Farm team has a much broader focus.  Lastly, while we share the Farm Team's goals of increasing the numbers of women in the Legislature, we would support male candidates if they could defeat the likes of Bob Marshall and Dave Albo!  Fighting for women's rights has become a huge issue in Virginia and there's plenty of room and need for both the Farm Team and the Women's Strike Force!!!!

Cynthia Neff


A "Farm Team" representative emailed me (0.00 / 0)
We believe that NARAL VA and Planned Parenthood have the lead where it pertains to women's reproductive health issues.  Their mission is issue defined.  Having said that, I can't point to any women on our Executive Board or Advisory Board who [does] not support reproductive rights and health safety for women. That is why we did come out with 3 mails in as many days regarding this issue, including an action email, which I will forward to you. Thanks very much for letting me clarify.  We wish the "Strike Force" the best of luck in their goals of bi-partisan support for men  and women who support reproductive rights and health.


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Farm Team Comments (0.00 / 0)
In my part of the state, I will make two comments about the Farm Team, neither related to any schism between women's groups.
1.) The meetings of the Farm Team in my area are held during the dinner hour at a private country club. For that reason, and because I felt the place of meeting did not jibe with perceptions about what Democrats should stand for, I never attended a meeting.
2.) While I am on the Farm Team email list, I don't ever remember being asked to contribute to a specific woman Democratic candidate. Emily's List and DFA are very different in that respect...and more effective.

Let's call a spade a spade (0.00 / 0)
Farm Team is little more than social club.  I didn't even know the group existed until a few years ago - after 30 years of being a Democratic Party member and supporter.  The way it was explained to me, it was started to identify potential female candidates for office and to help in their campaigns.  I don't know if they still do that, but it's an invisible organization as far as I'm concerned.  I know that a lot of long-time women members of FCDC are on it, but beyond that, I know little.

[ Parent ]
farm team (0.00 / 0)
Thank you. This is the first time I ever heard of Farm Team. Must research.

[ Parent ]
The Farm Team (3.50 / 2)
While I am quite excited about the formation of the Strike Force, I am equally concerned about the negative comments on the Farm Team.  The Team has been quite actively promoting and helping Democratic women candidates in Virginia, and we certainly need more of them. As a women's health care nurse practitioner, I spent most of my working life, and much of my volunteer life, fighting to preserve the right to choose.  As a candidate for the House of Delegates to represent the very rural 59th District, this issue had to be approached carefully and as painful as that was, that is how I dealt with it.  The Farm Team was very helpful with phone banking and fundraising, and vocally supported me (and others), and it was partly because of my pro-choice stance. I have heard of no "falling out" between these organizations, and know that we will all work together on protecting this very basic human right.

I echo 524tibet's (0.00 / 0)
remarks.  The Farm Team offered assistance, support and guidance during the 59th HOD race last fall.  Many of their members contributed to that race, as well as held phone banks and offered other assistance.

[ Parent ]
Awakening a Sleeping Giant (0.00 / 0)
I see the Strike Force as exactlky that: the reality of the Republican misogyny-in-action (not just in Virginia, but across the country, wherever the GOP has political control) has finally become apparent to women of all ages and political persuasions.

For too long the Republican misogyny was kind of under the radar. Most women, especially the younger ones who never experienced the double standard, the legal/social constraints, and the bigotry which prevailed until recently, simply paid no attention. They even said "I'm not a feminist" and imagined their rights could never be taken away, that there was no "going back." Now they know otherwise, the younger generation has been rudely awakened---- maybe those horror stories their mothers and those feminazis talked about are, OMG, real. Strike force? You betcha!  


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