"You Don't Know How Hard the World Can Be."

This 2018 film about young college women in pre-Roe v Wade Chicago makes clear what life was like when abortion was strictly a criminal operation, when everyone but the woman involved made decisions and had opinions about her womb and her sexuality. The Women’s Freedom Center in Brattleboro has an annual Women’s Film Festival each spring, and you can see Ask For Jane on March 30 at 6:00 pm at the New England Youth Theater. Gloria Steinem says every American should see this film—and we think our young people especially should see this.

One woman in the film speaks to her jailed companions about their naiveté, organizing an anonymous referral system for women “in trouble,” as it used to be called. “You don’t know how hard the world can be. But you’re about to find out.”

Jail was only part of it. Shaming continues to be a widespread weapon, but only for wombs, not for the penises involved. And beneath all that shame, violence still stalks us. The Women’s Freedom Center works with women who have been sexually assaulted or are in endangered by partner violence and abuse, which often includes financial abuse. The Women’s Film Festival is an educational fundraiser for the organization. Let’s keep on helping instead of judging. I think I remember hearing that it’s the Christian thing to do.

Notice to Lady Justice


Women’s eNews has been on the beat since 1999, providing news on issues women care about that don’t always get covered elsewhere. For instance, this week a decision came down on a lawsuit brought by the state of New York on behalf of women patients and staff at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens. The state sought enforcement of federal and state laws that prohibited threats or acts of force, verbal harassment or intimidation of women accessing reproductive health services. For years, the Center and its patients had endured an active campaign of harassment, despite the abortion procedure being legal, private, and constitutionally protected.

The Federal District Court for Eastern New York ruled against the enforcement, and according to Lori Sokol at Women’s eNews, disregarded testimony of patients, and “bent over backwards to credit the testimony of harassers, and to interpret video evidence in their favor, without regard to the atmosphere of harassment and intimidation created by anti-choice zealots.”

Keep that court decision in mind as the Senate interviews President Trump’s choice for a second Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, expected to weigh in against Roe v. Wade. Even more deadly is his stance on the Affordable Health Care Act’s rules that enable the sick with “pre-existing conditions” to find insurance.  For an increasingly radical-right court system, being female may become a pre-existing condition that discounts citizen rights. 

As Sokol also reported, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, was barred from a Presidential Rose Garden event, an unprecedented move. The White House said, she had asked an “inappropriate question.” Her question concerned this week’s reports on a tape recording on pay-offs to silence Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal before the 2016 election. Kaitlan Collins’ QUESTION was inappropriate? Really?

And then there are the 700 “ineligible” kids who remain separated from their mothers by this administration’s no-tolerance policy at the border—one in three kids still alone, despite a court-ordered deadline from a Bush-appointed judge. CNN shared audios of immigrant and refugee mothers in a strange land begging US courts to learn about their children. Take off your blindfold, Lady Justice! Call your Senator. Register to vote!