Since our founding in 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW)’s purpose has been to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in every aspect of social, political, and economic life.
As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, NOW is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
NOW activists use both traditional and nontraditional means to push for social change. We also organize mass marches, rallies, pickets, non-violent civil disabedience, and immediate, responsive “zap” actions.
Read more about Texas State NOW projects below.
NOW’s History of Activism for Reproductive Rights
In 1967, NOW became the first national organization in the U.S. to endorse legalized abortion.
In the late 1960’s, NOW chapters began staging “speak-outs” where women were invited to an open mike to tell personal experiences about illegal abortion, forced pregnancy and coerced adoption. Meanwhile, NOW chapters actively lobbied state legislatures to legalize abortion.
In 1973, after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, many NOW chapters began escorting patients into the newly-established clinics, where anti-abortion protesters were already picketing and blockading.
Clinic Defense Team
The Houston Area NOW Chapter organizes a team of clinic escorts at a local private abortion clinic to assist patients in getting past anti-abortion protesters, and to reduce the harassment of clinic staff.
If you are interested in joining this team of amazing, caring, resilient people, please contact Houston Area NOW.
“Stop Fake Clinics” Campaign
Truth Squads formed by our local chapters and task forces investigate the tactics of these anti-abortion propaganda centers and we “follow the money.” Texas NOW chapters leaflet and counsel women outside fake clinics to inform them of the sleazy and unethical behavior to expect. We sometimes hand out free condoms and info on how to access low cost contraception and get funding help to pay for an abortion.
We maintain an informational page about fake clinic tactics at www.facebook.com/StopFakeClinics and news about actions against them.
$9 Million/Year in Texas to Fake Clinics as Planned Parenthood is Defunded
State and federal funding has steadily increased for fake clinics under “alternatives to abortion” and “abstinence-only” sex education programs while cutting money going to real health care programs.
What are Fake Clinics?
An early anti-abortion tactic was to set up fake abortion clinics near real abortion clinics to lure in abortion-minded women. Once inside, women got a full-bore religious guilt-trip plus nonstop lies about abortion and birth control.
Fake clinics still operate today though they are a bit more discrete to avoid legal action. Fake clinics out-number real abortion clinics and often receive federal and state tax dollars.
Fake clinics usually call themselves Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Pregnancy Help Centers, or Pregnancy Resource Centers. They target young women by promising free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds and neutral counseling. But it is religion, not medicine, that is dispensed along with lies about abortion & birth control.
NOW’s Commitment to Attaining Racial Justice
NOW condemns the racism that inflicts a double burden of race and sex discrimination on women of color. NOW is committed to identi-fying and fighting all barriers to equality and justice imposed by racism. As a leader in the struggle for civil rights since 1966, NOW is committed to diversifying our movement and continuing to work for equal opportunities for women of color in all areas including employment, education, and repro-ductive rights and against racial discrimination, especially in the criminal justice system and in voting rights.
Texas’ voter ID law adversely affects communities of color, young people, and women and should be repealed.
Women of color suffer the most from the gender pay gap. NOW supports strengthening our Equal Pay laws. We maintain an informational page about equal pay and economic issues affecting women at www.facebook.com/BlackFridayProtest.
Access to Abortion Services
Repeal the Hyde Amendment which harms low-income women by limiting use of federal funds under Medicaid to pay for abortion care.
Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal justice reform is urgently needed to eliminate the systemic racism that pervades criminal justice in the U.S.
Afro-American and Hispanic girls who experience sexual and physical abuse are too often treated as disciplinary problems by school systems and funneled into the juvenile justice system.
“NOW We Vote” Campaign
Our local chapters and task forces organize voter registration teams to register and educate those in under-represented communities about our electoral system.
In the last few weeks leading up to the 2016 general election, Houston Area NOW’s “NOW We Vote” team registered nearly 2,000 people and conducted voter registration drives at local mosques, high school, community college campuses, and other local venues.
Austin NOW & Wilco NOW sponsored a training session for members to become volunteer deputy voter registrars so they could register voters in their communities to vote.
The one-hundreth anniversary of Texas women’s right to vote in Texas primary elections is in March, 2018. The one-hundreth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting American women the right to vote is in August, 2020. When those suffrage rights were won it was mostly only white women who actually were able to exercise those rights because of wide-spread racism. Poor women and women of color still face obstacles today to voting as conservative politicians try to burden the right to vote by imposing restrictive voter identification laws and cutting back on the days and hours of early voting.
For these reasons, Texas State NOW is expanding its “NOW We Vote” campaign to a year- round operation for the next four years. Instead of waiting until election season begins, we will be conducting voter registration and education activities year round and be periodically sponsoring training sessions for our members to become volunteer deputy voter registrars. We will continue to focus on registering people to vote from under-represented communities and providing voter education.