2012-05-10 / News

Local Democrats attend protest against ‘war on women’

BY MELODY BELCHER
Special to the Statesman


Shown are Linda Mrosko, Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative, 5th Congressional District, along with fellow Democrats Jo Parker; Lea Matthews, and Margie Lynch. Shown are Linda Mrosko, Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative, 5th Congressional District, along with fellow Democrats Jo Parker; Lea Matthews, and Margie Lynch. They rallied at State Capitols all the way to Washington, D.C. and on the South Lawn of Texas State Capitol in Austin on Saturday, April 28, to protest a Republican-based legislative agenda they see as not only regressive, but openly hostile to women’s rights. They were of all ages, ethnic, social and political backgrounds; and they included not only women, but the men who support their protest against the recent burgeoning legislative actions directly aimed at women.

One group attending included four Democrats from Henderson and adjoining Smith County, Lea Matthews of Tyler, and Jo Parker, Margie Lynch, and Linda Mrosko of Malakoff.

Mrosko is President of the Texas Democratic Women of Henderson County, and one of three Democratic contenders running in the Democratic Primary to challenge Jeb Hensarling for the 5th District Congressional seat.

For Mrosko, the highlight of the event was her opportunity to meet someone she has known and respected for years: the venerable Frances Tarlton Farenthold, better known as “Sissy.”

Sissy is a Democratic activist, educator, attorney, and founder of PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network, founded in partnership with American colleges for the purpose of educating and preparing women for public leadership.

Some of the notable speakers included State Representative Dawnna Dukes (District 46), an undaunted supporter of women’s reproductive rights who is also Catholic; Congressman Lloyd Doggett (25th District), who, along with his wife and daughters, have been long-time advocates for women’s right and the disadvantaged;

Perla Cavazos, past president of Planned Parenthood; Rev. Jim Rigby, activist and Pastor, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin; and Genevieve Van Cleave, Annie’s List.

The Protest Against the War on Women is particularly relevant in Texas, Mrosko said, as efforts are underway to try to end the Medicaid Women’s Health program, with massive cuts to the budget already implemented.

She added that “the legislation that lawmakers have recently enacted in multiple states will take away basic healthcare, including screening for breast cancer and well-women examinations.”

She said, “It’s time to stop this nonsense. Our lawmakers are basically pushing women around with this kind of legislation. This is an attempt to set back, to take away basic women’s rights. Our mothers and grandmothers didn’t fight so hard for those rights to see them disappear now. Where does it stop? That’s why we are here in Austin. It’s going to be up to the everyday women and men of Texas to protect our rights, because our elected Representatives aren’t doing it.”

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