Valentine’s Day checklist: Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. Registered for a few rallies and a flashmob? Check.
Yes, you heard me. Today women across the globe will be participating in the “1 Billion Rising” campaign. For those of you who are new or unfamiliar to the crusade, 1 billion rising is a movement initiated by activist and Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler. The event is set for today, Valentine’s Day, and also marks the 15th anniversary of V-Day.
The “1 billion” notion comes from the 1 in 3 statistic: that one third of women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime, and as there are 6 billion people on this planet, approximately one billion women worldwide are raped, beaten, or violated. So what exactly are the participants going to do in honor of these victims of abuse? “We are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence,” says the 1 Billion Rising website. Women and men all over the world are encouraged to join the movement by signing this pledge, which acts as a sort of ‘e-promise’ to join the “global strike” and end violence against women. It also helps participants find 1 Billion events in their own communities. Here in DC, there are already plans underway for a 1000+ person dance party/flashmob.
I love anniversaries, and not just because there’s usually some sort of cake involved, but because they mark significant and positive milestones in our lives and allow us to reflect proudly on overcoming setbacks and making progress throughout time. Last week marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized the right to safe and legal abortion nationwide. Excitingly enough, one of the few things that I like more than anniversaries and cake is being able to exercise my own reproductive freedom. So wouldn’t it have been great to have a big “Happy Birthday, Roe v. Wade!” party with balloons and ice cream and stories happily recounting the wonders and advancements that the last 40 years have brought us? Yeah, not so fast. While women across the country should have spent January 22nd celebrating the 40th anniversary of this landmark decision, our would-be celebration was being rained on by the lingering reminders of hundreds of restrictive laws and stringent policies that have impeded a woman’s ability to access safe and legal abortions since Supreme Court decision was handed down in 1973.
Last Wednesday I had the privilege of attending a panel discussion at Georgetown Law School, entitled “Reproductive Rights 40 Years after Roe”. The discussion featured four panelists who each represented a different facet of the reproductive rights movement: Jessica González-Rojasfrom the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Helene Krasnoff of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Walter Dellinger, partner with O’Melveny & Myers LLP and former acting U.S. Solicitor General, and Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center.