Women`s Issues/Abortion rights


Hi Ms. Pressman Fuentes. I read in the paper the other day that the state of Oklahoma had voted in favor of a law that would outlaw abortion (with no exceptions). I am not American, but I thought that the US Supreme Court decision Roe V. Wade prohibited states from criminalizing abortion, stating that women had a constitutional right to safe and legal abortion? I am very confused, and absolutely stunned that abortion could actually be criminalized in the year 2016! It is like we are going backwards instead of moving forward. I find it very disheartening, not to mention infuriating. I feel very lucky to live in a country where I have the right to choose (our Prime Minister is very pro-choice) but am concerned for American women. I am also perplexed as to why this was not a much bigger story. The media seems to have all but ignored this. Where is all the outrage? This is outrageous! I certainly hope that groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU etc. will challenge this law ASAP. Clearly this violates Roe V. Wade, and I am sure the legislators in Oklahoma know this. They have to know that this will not withstand a legal challenge. So why do it? Thank you for your time.


Dear Karen:

My last name is  Fuentes, not Pressman Fuentes; Pressman is my middle, and maiden, name.

You can read about  Roe v. Wade here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade

I share your outrage as do other feminists. Roe v. Wade didn't, however, prohibit all state action in Roe v. Wade situations and the states have enacted a great many laws that chip away at Roe v. Wade. Fortunately, the Oklahoma governor did not sign the bill of which you write, but she wanted to. Advisors, however, convinced her that there were too many problems  with the bill.

I do not know why our Supreme Court has permitted all these laws that chip away at Roe v. Wade  other than that it is a court that in recent years has leaned to the conservative side. Things will get much worse if a Republican President like Trump is elected who will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. If that were to happen, Roe v. Wade would in effect or in reality be overturned altogether.

This is a big story in the U.S. There are articles about it all the time, and women protesting all the time. There is also an ongoing onslaught against Planned Parenthood and states continually remove funding from that organization.

Not only are we going backwards with regard to abortion; we are going backward with regard to contraception. We had a big case here involving Hobby Lobby that involved an employer's right not to provide coverage for contraception for its employees. There was a second case up recently that people hoped might establish some good law, but the Supreme Court instead of deciding it told the parties to attempt to compromise and sent it back to the lower court. The Supreme Court currently has only eight, instead of the usual nine, justices, so when there is a tie, no decision can be made. That is because the Republicans have refused to even give a hearing to President Obama's  nomination of Judge Garland to fill the vacancy caused by Justice Alito's death.

I share your concern but we are a large country with over 300 million people in it and many of them, sadly, are conservatives and many want to control women and their bodies.


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Sonia Pressman Fuentes


I am an author, public speaker, feminist leader and lawyer. I was the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and a founder of WEAL (Women`s Equity Action League) and FEW (Federally Employed Women). I am an expert in the field of women`s rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex.


I spent eight years as an attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and worked for one year as a volunteer attorney with the Montgomery County, MD, Human Relations Commission. I have lectured all over the world and the U.S. on women's rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex and had articles on the subject published in newspapers, magazines, and journals and on the Internet. I also spent 11 years with multinational corporations in the field of EEO and labor law.

I belong to NOW and the Veteran Feminists of America nationally and the Brandeis University National Women's Committee in Sarasota, FL. I am a member of the board of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Sarasota, FL.

See my Web site at http://www.erraticimpact.com/fuentes for articles written by me, information on my memoir, "Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter," and interviews of me.

I have an LLB from the University of Miami School of Law in Florida.

Awards and Honors
I received a superior performance award at the EEOC and was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, among other awards and honors.

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