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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
Wed Sep 18, 2013

House To Vote On Obamacare — Again, GOP Continues To Hold Federal Government Hostage

The U.S. House is moving forward with a plan to simultaneously fund the federal government and defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a Wednesday announcement by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH,8).

The Speaker says the most conservative members of his caucus have made it clear that they will not relent on their attempts to get rid of the health care reform bill, even if it results in a government shutdown.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Sep 5, 2013

Minneapolis Mayor To Chicago's Gay Couples: 'Our City Would Like To Marry You' (VIDEO)

With a slogan that reads “I want to marry you in Minneapolis”, the city's mayor, R.T. Rybak, unveiled a Chicagoland ad campaign on Thursday urging the city's LGBTQ couples to make the six-hour drive to the City of Lakes to get legally married.

"Chicago is my kind of town, but it's a second city in human rights. Right now, that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis,” said Rybak, who announced the campaign from the roof of the Center On Halsted, at 3656 N. Halsted St., a community center catered to LGBTQ Chicagoans in the heart of the Boystown neighborhood.

“The people who built this neighborhood, who have done so much incredible work in this community, you deserve equal rights,” he said. “Come to Minnesota, a place that recognizes that you already should have those rights."

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
Tue Sep 3, 2013

Activists Strategize After Senate Immigration Reform Bill Alienates Blacks, LGBT Community

Activists from the African and LGBT communities joined forces to hold a teach-in Saturday to discuss how efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration policy negatively affect their communities.

At issue are the diversity visa lottery program and the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Both programs provided a legal pathway for Africans and foreign-born gay spouses to come to the U.S. But the U.S. Senate bill eliminates the diversity visa program when it passed its version of the immigration bill back in June, and the UAFA was cut from the legislation.

Kim Hunt, executive director of Affinity Community Service (ACS), said the Senate could have passed “a really good bill” if it did not throw a lot of people under the bus, including the LGBT community. ACS is a social justice organization advocating for the Black LGBTQ community.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 30, 2013

‘Abortion Rights Freedom Ride’ Tour Comes To Chicago (VIDEO)

Illinois pro-choice activists and others across the country are making the call for “abortion on demand and without apology.”

More than a dozen demonstrators gathered near Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway over the weekend to promote that message as part of the cross-country ‘Abortion Rights Freedom Ride’ tour, which stopped in Chicago on Saturday.

Members of the national organization End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, or StopPatriarchy.org, kicked off the freedom ride July 23 in New York City and San Francisco. They will travel to at least 14 cities by August 21. The goal of the freedom ride is to push back against the reversal of abortion and birth control rights being seen across the country and to protect those on the front lines who provide abortions.

Chicago resident Martha Conrad, 62, is one local activist who will trek to other key abortion battleground states as part of the freedom ride. Conrad called it “shocking and horrible” that women still have to fight for their rights and reproductive freedom.

“We need people from all generations and all nationalities to step up,” Conrad said. “If we do not, women will not be free ... Women have been the chattel property and the breeders of children for many centuries, and we don’t want to go back to that.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 23, 2013

Pro-Choice Groups Plan Next Steps Following IL Supreme Court’s Abortion Notification Ruling

A wave of disappointment from pro-choice and women rights advocates rocked Illinois earlier this month after the state Supreme Court upheld a law that requires doctors to inform a parent before those younger than 18 can get an abortion.

“It puts our teens in danger, and our whole pro-choice community is very sad about that,” said Benita Ulisano, co-chair of the Illinois Choice Action Team.

The state’s high court found Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, which has never been implemented due to legal challenges, to be constitutional. By a 7-0 vote, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a previous circuit court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed back in 2009 that challenged the law.

For years, the ACLU of Illinois has been at the front lines in the battle against the state’s notification law and represented the plaintiffs in the case, which included Granite City’s Hope Clinic for Women and the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Reproductive Health.

“This dangerous law was passed by the legislature nearly 20 years ago relying on outdated, ideological and unsupported assumptions about the purported harms of abortion, which have been shown to be inaccurate,” Lorie Chaiten, ACLU’s reproductive rights project director, said in a statement after the court’s decision.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jul 16, 2013

Chicago Pro-Choice Activists Rally In Support Of Texas Women (VIDEO)

Dozens of pro-choice Chicago activists assembled at Daley Plaza Monday evening to show their solidarity with Texas women who will be impacted by a restrictive abortion measure the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed Friday.

The fight for women’s reproductive freedom in Illinois is also far from over, the protestors stressed. Last week, Illinois’ Supreme Court deemed a controversial 1995 state law constitutional. The law requires doctors to notify a parent before those under the age of 18 can get an abortion. The law, which has never been implemented, will start being enforced August 15.

“I know I am not alone in feeling extremely dispirited after the weekend ... a weekend in which we were told that [as] women our voices don’t matter, our needs don’t matter in the discussion about our own lives and about what kind of health care we can access,” Corinne Westing, a Chicago registered nurse and newly-certified nurse midwife, told the more than 50 protestors.