Who is ALEC?
The process of passing a state law involves state legislatures, committees, state governors – and ALEC. ALEC stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, and they’ve been creating templates for a lot of state laws without you even knowing it.
ALEC Impacts Women’s Rights to Health Care
In a previous article, State of the Health Care and the Health of the State, I noted that ALEC is backed by big-time corporations (such as Merck, UnitedHealthCare, WellPoint and other well-known pharmaceutical and healthcare companies) and they have a say in state bills. The Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, pushed for recent health legislation that resembled ALEC’s brochure, The State Legislators Guide to Repealing ObamaCare.
ALEC Impacts Women’s Rights to Sexual Education
You may have heard that Governor Walker recently signed an abstinence-only sex education bill, but you probably didn’t realize how much it resembles an ALEC document from 2004 called, “Restoring Legal Protections for Women and Children: A Historical Analysis of The States Criminal Codes.”
The document urges reform of “abnormal sexual conduct… taught to American children via sex education,” with a nostalgia for a pre-1950s era that “prevent[ed] any burden to the State wrought by divorce, promiscuity, perversion and ‘unnatural’ acts.”
Though ALEC’s document suggests State burdens will be reduced with abstinence-only education programs, the Council of State Governments reports otherwise.
New Hampshire, for example, has an in-depth sex-ed requirement for students, and the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation. Mississippi, on the other hand, has an abstinence-only sex education policy and the highest number of teen pregnancies.
These trends persist throughout the US, with Planned Parenthood research confirming that abstinence-only programs are burdensome: Teen pregnancy costs our nation $10.9 billion every year.
ALEC Impacts Women’s Rights in the Workforce
The Nation informed its readers that ALEC has inspired 500 anti-labor laws that governors and legislatures will introduce in the spring. With 75% of women in the workforce at a reproductive age (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is a heightened need to speak out against labor practices that impact women’s reproductive health.
Cleaning products, pesticides and other products laden with toxins are used daily by women in the workforce, emphasizing the importance of protecting women workers’ rights to voice their concerns.
In fact, the US Department of Labor documents one in three farm workers are women, a majority of whom are exposed to chemical herbicides associated with miscarriages and birth defects. (It’s interesting that state governments concern themselves with a woman’s decision to abort, but take little action to prevent unplanned, chemically-induced abortions.)
Tweet the Elite!
Tweet ALEC Staffer @AKJose
Tweet ALEC Staffer @toddwynn
Tweet ALEC Staffer @KaitlynBuss
Kaitlyn (@KaitlynBuss) has links to articles that recommend women spend their money on plastic surgery and find husbands by the ripe age of 24.
These are only a few of ALEC’s staffers, but you can see them all in Zaid Jilani’s article, Meet the ALEC Staffers that Help Corporations Write Our Laws.
Encourage Corporations and Politicians to Say “No More” to ALEC
Awareness of ALEC’s power is beginning to make an impact. Think Progress recently tweeted that both the Gates Foundation and Intuit cut financial support for ALEC. ALEC’s facade is beginning to crumble, and you can watch them fall.
The Washington Examiner reported that Coca Cola pulled financial support from ALEC after the threat of boycotts from colorofchange.org initiated via twitter. The AZ Liberal provides a detail list of companies tied to ALEC so you can make a statement and boycott them.
Sourcewatch has created a list of all the politicians that associate with ALEC. When you know what your delegates are up to, you can decide if they deserve to continue representing you. Stay informed, speak up and spread the word (via twitter if you’d like). Tweet about #ALEC, ReTweet Information, Tweet @lucinewomen, Tweet for change.
Investigate who’s Paying your Legislators
Lucine will continue to dig into the money behind the recent spate of women’s health legislation, but we need your help. If you uncover direct links between lobbyists, your local government and legislation that limits women’s access to healthcare, dismantles our rights or otherwise harms our mothers, sisters, daughters or girlfriends, tell us.
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