Organized in only two weeks over outrage at some of the bills aimed at interferin in women's personal, private reproductive decisions, the protest brought 500 people from all over Arkansas. Men and women across generations showed up to tell legislators "Enough is Enough."Go to our facebook page for pictures and comments. See ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Rita Sklar's remarks here:
ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Rita Sklar
Protest at the Capitol
March 23, 2013
I am honored to stand here today to represent the 4000 members of the ACLU of Arkansas and join our voice with yours as we say, enough is enough.
We are here to make sure our lawmakers get the message, loud and clear, that we don’t want government interference in our personal, sexual, reproductive or religious lives.
Of all the battles being waged against civil liberties—the right to vote, the right to education, the right to equality--the aptly coined War on Women being waged here in arkansas--and around the country--has garnered the most local and national attention, and rightly deserved outrage. Fights we thought were won 40 years ago continue to besiege us.
It is a war that undermines women’s health and well-being -- and dismisses their intelligence and ability to make personal, complex, and often heart-wrenching decisions about their own bodies, their families, their lives.
Every time it’s the same thing. Politicians creep into our bedrooms and hospital rooms and yank what should be private, even intimate, decisions out of the hands of women and their families— open them up for public exhibition, and then deposit them in the hands of politicians.
Watching this public discussion of women’s body parts, our health conditions and medical procedures, and the condition and fate of often wanted fetuses—is hard to bear.
It is so unspeakably intrusive, as to be downright obscene.
There is one more thing politicians have done, though. In addition to undermining, dismissing and attempting to demean women and their families, politicians have underestimated us—
They have underestimated you, and me, the men and women of Arkansas.
That’s what we’re here to tell them. We are here to fight back.
The ACLU fights back in many ways. We will continue to fight at the legislature until it adjourns in April.
And we fight in the courts.
The ACLU of Arkansas is going to sue the State of Arkansas to block the most extreme abortion ban in the country. And we will win.
Today, we show politicians that Arkansans don’t want them interfering with personal, private decisions. We don’t want politicians undermining women’s health care. We need to continue to call our legislators and tell them just what we think. We need to tell our friends in other states and encourage them to speak up, because, chances are, their politicians need to hear from them, too. And we all need to tell our legislators: we vote pro civil rights.
Arkansas is ground zero this year, but other states are looking to follow suit unless we prove just how much outrage there is over these attacks. We help send the message by showing up today and saying loud and clear: enough is too much!