Fall 1991 Home   Newsletters

Fall 1991

Spring 1992

President's Message - Don't Let it Happen Here (Evelyn Bender)
Board Highlights
Members Appreciated
Leasehold in Hawaii
Update on Educational Revitalization (Libby Oshiyama & Marion Saunders)
Time for Action - League Supports Gejdenson Proposal
State Council
Health Care Consensus
National Convention
Urgent: Leasehold Conversion and Lease rent cap Legislation Needed (Richard Port)
Mandatory Conversion Laws Covering Leasehold Projects (Bruce C. Dinman)
Small Landowners' Perspective on Leasehold (James K. Mee)
Legislature and the Elusive Leasehold Issue - 1991 (Virginia Isbell)
Talk to LWVHI on Nov. 5, 1991 by Oswald Stender (Irene Coogan)
Mandatory Conversion Could Benefit Lessors (Joan Hayes)

President's Message

Don't Let It Happen Here

The happenings in Washington and Louisiana in these last few months have shown that women not only will have to really work hard to gain more rights but will have to zealously guard the few rights they have already obtained. The stark reality is that a majority of those now serving on the U.S. Supreme Court almost certainly will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. If this happens, it would leave the question of abortion strictly up to the individual states. Those presently serving in the Hawaii legislature do not appear to be ready to change Hawaii's laws yet. However, we cannot be too smug. Not only could the present legislators change their minds but the 1991 elections could bring in new members who are not pro-choice.

We must remember that most of those who would overturn Roe v. Wade are also very much against birth control measures. This has already had a chilling effect and has caused many drug companies to reduce or abandon their birth control research. The prohibition of birth control methods could be the next target of those who claim to be pro-life.

As a college student I became fairly well acquainted with Margaret Sanger and heard her tell of her experiences in the early days. As a medical professional, I myself witnessed women pleading for birth control information and measures which the doctors could not then provide without fear of arrest. Before Roe v. Wade, many women had unwanted pregnancies and ended up having large families which they could not support or care for either financially, physically, or emotionally. Those who had the money were able to get abortions. Those who could not often obtained them illegally with dire results. We cannot go back to those times!

We must all work to place more women in political power on the local, state, and national levels. The U.S. continues to lag behind Canada and most of Europe, especially Scandinavia, in women's representation in national parliaments or congress. Since 1975, the average percentage of women in various European parliaments has tripled from 5% to 15%. In 1991, the percentage of women in Canadian and European parliaments ranges from a low of 3% in Greece to 30% in Denmark, 36% in Norway, and 38% in Sweden. In comparison. the U.S. has only 5% women in Congress. At the present rate of growth of electing women, it will take until the year 2333 for women to have equality with men in the U.S. Congress.

This has dire consequences, Today in Congress, bills concerning pay equity, parental leave, violence against women, the French drug RU 486, and employment discrimination languish; abortion rights are under attack. Although both women and men support women's rights, women support these issues to a higher degree and with greater intensity than men.

The one point the Thomas hearing drove home is that men, even though their beliefs are pro-choice and pro-women, still do not really perceive or understand the things women are confronted with and must endure in their daily lives whether they are in the workplace or under just ordinary everyday circumstances. We not only have to lobby those who are already in power to make them more sensitive to women's problems and needs but we need to get more women elected and in power positions.

The Time For Action Is Now! Working in the League and within coalitions with other groups can go a long way to accomplish much. Make a total commitment if you can, if not, make as large a contribution of time and money as possible. Make your views known to your neighbors, friends and, above all, to your elected officials. Run for office if you can; if not, encourage other women to run and support them physically, morally and financially.

Remember the old Hindu proverb "Joining together, the ants ate the elephant." Let's do it.

Evelyn Bender

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