Federal Financing of a Foolish Festival For Frustrated Feminists
$5 million of the Federal taxpayers’ money will be spent during 1977 on some 50 state conferences where, according to Chairman Bella Abzug, women will come together “to air their frustrations.” The state conferences will be followed in the fall by one big national “consciousness-raising session” in Houston.
The spending of the $5 million will be under the control of the Commission on International Women’s Year with Bella Abzug as Chairman. President Carter recently appointed the Commission members, who are 41 pro-ERA and one con-ERA. The Commissioners include many of the most militant women’s libbers in the country: Gloria Steinem, editor of MS magazine; Jean O’Leary, co-executive director of the National Gay Task Force; Eleanor Smeal, the new president of the National Organization for Women (NOW); Audrey Row Colom, president of the Women’s Political Caucus; Martha Griffiths, sponsor of ERA in the House of Representatives; Elizabeth Athanasakos, immediate past chairperson of the Commission on International Women’s Year; and Liz Carpenter, co-chair of ERAmerica.
It is not known how many members of the Commission on International Women’s Year (IWY) are members of NOW and/or the Women’s Political Caucus, but certainly at least half are members, and it is possible that almost all are members. It is quite a reflection on President Carter that he appointed to the IWY Commission so many notorious women’s libbers as well as the national director of the homosexuals’ organization, but he did not appoint a single member of Stop ERA or Eagle Forum.
One thing is very clear. Those who talk so much about “rights” are not willing to give equal rights to those who are opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment! These militant radicals are using the $5 million of Federal money to promote ratification of ERA, Federal-financed abortion-on-demand, Federal-financed child “development” and baby-sitting services for all children, and other women’s lib legislative and social goals.
The state and national conferences will be a charade and a farce. In each state, pre-selected committees are arranging pre-planned programs which will present the participants with packaged thinking to produce pre-determined results.
The 41-to-l pro-ERA National Commission has appointed a Coordinating Committee in each state which is similarly biased. In Illinois, for example, the Coordinating Committee is 58-to-l pro-ERA. The Illinois chairperson is a member of NOW, as are many of the members and most of those with active responsibility for the Coordinating Committee and the workshops. All the speakers selected for the conference are pro-ERA, headed by Bella Abzug.
All the materials selected for distribution at the state conferences support ERA, abortion, or other women’s lib goals. The workbook on ERA, for example, recommends many materials put out by ERA proponents but none by ERA opponents. IWY staff person Catherine East said they did not recommend any materials put out by ERA opponents because she thinks they are “misleading” while all pro-ERA materials are “accurate.”
The state meetings and the coordinating committees are in complete violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act which requires that such bodies “ be fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented,” and that they “NOT be inappropriately influenced . . . by any special interest.” Any committee which is 41-to-l or 58-to-l pro-ERA is certainly NOT “fairly balanced in terms of points of view.” The IWY National Commission and every one of its subgroups IS “inappropriately influenced” by a special interest, namely, ERA proponents and members of NOW.
“All in Our Capacity”
At the very first meeting that the Commission on International Women’ s Year held, on April 15, 1975, it unanimously adopted a resolution which reads in part:
“The National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year, as its first public action and highest priority, urges the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. . . .
“As our main commitment to the observance of International Women’s Year, we pledge to do all in our capacity to see that the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified at the earliest possible moment.”
“ All in our capacity” is quite a lot, indeed, when you have millions of Federal dollars to spend. In 1975 and 1976, the IWY Commission spent $780,000 of the taxpayers money which President Ford ordered diverted to the IWY from other Federal agencies. On January 13, 1977, the Comptroller General of the United States reported that the IWY Commission had improperly received and spent in the fiscal years 1975 and 1976 Federal funds totalling $266,234 for which there was no Congressional appropriation and no proper Federal authorization. These funds were provided to the IWY Commission “without proper legal authority” and were received and spent by the IWY Commission in violation of U.S. law.
The $5 million that the IWY Commission is spending in 1977 was appropriated by Congress in order to put on women’s conferences. The way these conferences will be used to achieve radical women’s lib goals can be seen by an examination of Agenda Letter #17. This contains 16 issues on which the participants at the IWY state conferences will be asked to vote.
The Loaded “Ballot”
Agenda Letter #17 clearly shows that each question is designed and loaded to elicit a “yes” or “agree” answer, according to results predetermined by the IWY Commission and set forth in its book called “To Form A More Perfect Union.” The question itself is presented in a highly biased way, and the pages it cites from this Federally-financed book are likewise highly biased.
For example, question # 6 asks for a vote on ERA. It cites pages in the IWY book called “To Form a More Perfect Union,” all of which are highly biased in favor of ERA and highly prejudicial against opponents of ERA, and against Stop ERA in particular.
The technique of the IWY “ballot” can be illustrated like this. Suppose you were asked to vote for President of the United States and, instead of being given a ballot that simply listed Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, you were given a “ ballot” which stated:
Jimmy Carter is a good man who would make an excellent President who would solve all our problems.”
Agree———— Disagree________ Don’t Know________
With that type of a “ballot,” the result would surely be agree. In addition, the Georgia IWY Conference held May 6-7 proved what a fraud the whole process is. Election irregularities included bringing in boxes of pre-voted ballots, allowing easy access to plenty of ballots, failing to register voters, remarking ballots after they were voted, and withholding the results.
So, when the $5 million is all spent by Bella and her fellow Commissioners, and all the 50 state conferences and the national conference are completed, what will be left? The pre-planned results of a programmed vote cast on propaganda ballots, tabulated by members of NOW, lesbians, and other women’s libbers, and then presented to our legislators as “proof’ that American women “want” ratification of ERA, Federal-financed abortion-on-demand, Federal baby-sitting services for all children, and other women’s lib goals.
Ask your Congressmen and Senators WHY they voted to give $5 million to the women’s libbers and pro-ERAers to promote their anti-family goals. Tell all your State Legislators that the results of this phony vote do NOT represent the wishes of American women.