Democracy Now! May 9, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! May 9, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Is it to protect mothers, or undermine Roe v. Wade? As Mother's Day approaches, we'll hear about one of the latest bills Republicans have introduced; Mothers in Prison: 2 million children in the US have a parent in jail; we'll hear children reading their Mother's Day Cards to their moms in prison; Mothers As Activists: women organize Mother's Day rallies, actions and celebrations around the country.

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Sunday is Mother s Day. Most people don t know this, but the holiday is ancient, dating back millennia. The earliest Mother's Day celebrations in Western History can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of the Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. In 17th century England, many of England's poor worked as servants for the rich and lived in houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday, servants were allowed to take the day off and return home to spend the day with their moms. In the United States, the earliest version of Mother s Day was Mothers' Work Day, and it was initiated in 1858 in West Virginia. During the Civil War, local teacher Anna Reeves Jarvis extended the purpose of Mothers' Work Days to press for better sanitary conditions for both sides in the conflict. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe suggested holding an annual Mother's Day. Howe is well known as the author of the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic . But she was horrified by the carnage of the Civil War, and proposed establishing Mother s Day as a day dedicated to peace. A year later, women in 18 cities celebrated a Mother's Day for Peace, and some continued to celebrate it for the next thirty years. It was Anna Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, who was the power behind the official establishment of Mother's Day. She swore at her mother's gravesite in 1905 to dedicate her life to her mom s project, and establish a day to honor mothers, living and dead. She wrote to politicians, clergy members, business leaders, and women's clubs. The US congress passed a Mother s Day resolution in 1914. But the bill emphasized women's role in the family, not as activists in the public arena, as Howe s Mother s Day had been. Well Congress is still interested in the issue of mothers, pregnancy, and women s role in the family On Wednesday, Congressional Republicans introduced a bill that would make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus. The "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" is sponsored by the staunchly anti-abortion Republican Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio and by Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum is the same senator who made headlines last week when he equated gay sex with incest. He said, "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Pro-choice activists say the legislation will undermine Roe v. Wade, and supporters of the bill agree. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told CNN, "They say it undermines abortion rights. It does. But Hatch and other supporters say the undermining of Roe v. Wade is irrelevant. They say the law is important because it would protect pregnant women whose unborn babies are harmed or killed in a federal crime. The legislation has passed the House twice before but has languished in the Senate. However, anti-abortion activists are more hopeful this year because of a larger Republican majority in the Senate, and public outrage over a highly publicized case in which a pregnant woman, Laci Peterson, was killed. Peterson had planned on naming her son Conner. The bill is now known as "Laci and Conner's Law." Currently, 26 states have already enacted laws that make it a crime to kill or injure a fetus. President Bush has indicated recently that he strongly supports the proposed legislation. <sum> Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women Link: One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:45: Last month, 30-year-old Saundra Kelly of Brooklyn New York gave birth to a baby girl. She named her Sinaia. The birth took place at the Nassau University Medical Center. But just days later Saundra had to hand over her daughter to a friend. That s because Saundra is in jail awaiting trial on assault charges. Until six months ago the prison, the East Meadow jail in Nassau, ran a nursery for new mothers. But today Saundra, who was recently profiled in an article by Newsday, had no choice but to give up her newborn daughter. And unfortunately stories such as Saundra s are not rare. It is estimated that 2 million children across the country have a parent in jail. African American children are nearly nine times more likely to have a parent in prison than white children. Hispanic children are three times as likely as white children to have a parent who is in jail. As part of our Mother s Day special we are going to look at the plight of incarcerated mothers and what happens to their children. <sum> Julie Kowitz, Director of the Women in Prison Project In New York City, is an attorney with a background in women s rights and civil rights advocacy. Prior to joining the Correctional Association, she represented plaintiffs in police brutality, employment discrimination, reproductive rights, and other civil rights matters. Link: <sum> Lisa Turner, former prisoner and mother. Lisa Turner spent two and a half years in the New York State prison system. Lisa is from the Bronx and she is a mother of two children. She recently graduated from Project Greenhope (an Alternative to Incarceration program) and is involved with ReConnect, a leadership institute with the Women in Prison Project. Lisa has also now begun an HIV/AIDS peer education program. She aspires to be a substance abuse counselor. <sum> Tanya Krupat, Director of the Children of Incarcerated Parents Program (CHIPPS) of the Administration for Children s Services in New York City. Link: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 Mothers As Activists: Women organize Mother s Day rallies, actions and celebrations around the country In 1870, author, abolitionist, peace activist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe attempted to get recognition for a national Mother's Day holiday as a worldwide protest of women against the cruelties of war." Howe called for women to rise up in protest on Mother's Day. She declared, "Arise then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears, say firmly: 'We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." In that spirit, a series of rallies, protests and celebrations are being held in an attempt to return the holiday to Howe's original vision: as a day of activism, resistance and women's solidarity. Well yesterday Democracy Now! producer Angie Karran spoke to several mothers to find out how they are planning to spend their Mother s Day. <sum> Mothers around the country talk about their plans for Mother s Day Links: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.

Date Recorded on: 
May 9, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
May 9, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., May 9, 2003
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