women's health

101 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, Robert A. DeLeo, Harriette L. Chandler, Karen E. Spilka

Ban Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Massachusetts

Our names are Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher, and we each are pleading to the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass a law making it illegal for someone to carry out Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Circumcision (FGM/C) on young girls. FGM/C involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue on girls, and can cause physical harm including pain, bleeding, shock, tetanus, genital sores, and cause long-lasting psychological harm including sexual disorders, fear of sexual intimacy, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mariya - I was born in the United States and now live in Massachusetts, but at the age of seven, I was subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in India. Friends and relatives of mine also living in the United States have undergone FGM/C both here in the United States or in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Australia, and many other countries in the world. Aisha- I got my circumcision when I was five. I know many women who also got it done. Personally, I know people in my community who talk about it as if it’s normal. I was aware of people practicing it behind closed doors but I also know that some people are looking for ways to keep the practice alive here in the States even though it might mean legal action is taken against them. I didn't know my home state, Massachusetts, had no laws against FGM/C until I met Mariya who works with many communities to protect girls against FGM/C. Hanna - I literally stumbled on the subject of female genital mutilation searching for a global health research topic online for a school project. I knew nothing about it and was concerned that others would find it uncomfortable and unrelatable. My teacher told me that was all the more reason to focus on FGM/C. It’s not a cultural issue; it’s not a third-world problem. FGM/C happens all over the world; it is happening in Massachusetts! Regardless of culture and tradition, and despite a lack of intent to cause injury, the end result is girls in MA are being violated and need our protection to safeguard them from FGM/C. Massachusetts is known for its progressive policies in terms of reproductive rights, anti-discrimination laws, and equality issues, yet our state still is in the minority of states that do not ban female genital mutilation or cutting. As FGM/C is nearly always carried out on minors, is a violation of the rights of children, and reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes that constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, we must protect girls from undergoing FGM/C. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that over half a million girls and women in the United States are at risk. Massachusetts ranks 12th in the nation for at-risk populations with an estimated 14,591 women and girls.  Since 2012, the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association has over and over again tried to advocate for a state law criminalizing FGM/C. Yet, still to this day, no law has been put into place. The current bills, S.788, and H.2333, have been sent to committee for study and most likely will not move forward either. All three of us believe in the importance of education and community engagement to help create social change within communities and amongst groups where FGM/C might be happening. To that end, we each have organized and participated in community events to educate our friends and family members about the harms of FGM/C and why it should be abandoned. Yet, despite our efforts, FGM/C continues, often being touted as a religious or cultural practice that is needed to control women’s sexuality. In April 2017, a doctor in Michigan was charged with performing FGM/C on minor girls, highlighting yet again that FGM/C does affect women and girls living in the United States. The doctor claimed FGM/C was a religious requirement and that there were no harmful effects. We three believe that culture and religion should not be an excuse used to sanction harm to girls. We need a bill in Massachusetts that unequivocally reiterates that female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence. There are laws against domestic violence and sexual assault. We need a law against FGM/C as well. We three believe our state can do a better job of protecting girls in the Commonwealth by banning FGM/C. You can support us too by signing our petition demanding that legislators make passing a bill banning FGM/C high on their list of priorities. Let’s work together to take a stance against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting!  ~ Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher

Mariya Taher
316,261 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Betsy Mullen

Save the Breast Cancer Research Stamp!

Fund the Fight.  Find a Cure.   Background Summary  The Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamp was issued July 29, 1998, at a first-day ceremony held in tne East Room of the White House.  It was the first semipostal in U.S. history.  Sales for the Breast Cancer Research (BCR) Stamp in February 2019 bring the total raised for breast cancer research to over $89 million, and stamps sold over 1.05 billion since July 1998.  By law, 70 percent of the net amount raised is given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent is given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense.  Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, the BCR Stamp features the phrases, “Fund the Fight” and “Find a Cure,” and an illustration of Artemis, also referred to as Diana, tne mythological “goddess of the hunt” by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore. Source: Adapted from The Problem, The Need & Urgent Call to Action The issuance of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp is set to end at the end of this year unless federal legislation to reissue this historic stamp designed to save lives is passed and signed into law by the president of the United States.   The Breast Cancer Research Stamp is the first semipostal (fundraising) stamp in U.S. history. Well over 1.05 billion Breast Cancer Research Stamps have been sold to date with over $87.8  million raised thus far for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense  (DoD) since July 29, 1998. It is time to take the fate of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp out of the hands of Congress and the President, and for the U.S. Postsl Service to make it a true Forever Stamp permanently. Please help is make this a reality by signing and circulating this petition throughout all social media platforms and to all you know. About the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Help Stamp Out Breast Cancer!  Source: United States Postal Service (USPS); These 65-cent self-adhesive semipostal stamps are available year-round in sheets of 20 to help raise funds for breast cancer research.  Each stamp is equal to the First-Class Mail 1-ounce postage rate in effect at the time of purchase.  The stamps are available at Post Offices nationwide, online at by mail order through USA Philatelic catalog, or by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724). The amount the Postal Service contributes to breast cancer research is determined by the difference between the 65-cent purchase price and the First-Class Mail rate in effect at the time of purchase, minus any costs incurred by USPS.  The distribution of the U.S. Postal Service contribution is specified by law, with 70 percent given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense.  More than 1 billion stamps have been sold since its inception in 1998, raising more than $87.8 million as pf October 2018 for breast cancer research. The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was the first semipostal stamp in U.S. history. In 1997, Congress authorized it for the specific purpose of raising funds from the American public to assist in finding a cure for breast cancer.  In 2015, President Obama signed legislation that extended the sale of the stamp through Dec. 31, 2019. Designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, the stamp features the phrases, “Fund the Fight” and “Find a Cure” and an illustration of a mythical “goddess of the hunt” by Whitney Sherman of Baltimore. In addition to the Breast Cancer Research stamp, the Postal Service offers two other fundraising stamps. The Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp, first issued in 2011, has raised more than $5.2 million to help protect threatened and vanishing species. In addition, the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp was issued in 2017 and has raised more than $524,000 to fund Alzheimer’s research. All three stamps help raise money for causes in the national public interest and are available for purchase year-round. The Postal Service is promoting each of these stamps through the remainder of the year — starting with the Breast Cancer Research stamp in October, continuing with the Alzheimer’s stamp in November and concluding with Save the Vanishing Species in December.  The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. Forever stamps are always valid for first-class one ounce postage. Breast Cancer Research Stamps are Self-Adhesive USPS Postage Stamps. Valid as first-class USPS postage. White House Unveiling & First Day of Issuance Ceremony for the Breast Cancer Research Stamp July 29, 1998  Thank you!    

Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Mullen
313 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Laurie Cumbo

Protect Our Neighborhood - Prevent the displacement of the women at BRC 85 Lexington Ave.

Regarding the BRC Women's Shelter at 85 Lexington Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11238 On December 4, 2019, our neighbors, the women of BRC 85 Lexington Ave. in our community of Bedford Stuyvesant were given 30 days notice they will be moved against their wishes to undefined location/s. These moves will begin next week! In January 2020, BRC 85 Lexington Ave. will be repurposed as a Men's Homeless Shelter with a specific focus on housing only men with mental illness. Neither our active and vibrant community, nor the women of BRC 85 were publicly informed of this change, nor engaged in any way. We demand that a suitable public hearing on this issue take place. Our community needs to understand what actions will be taken to protect our neighborhood with this change in purpose, profile and needs of those proposed to inhabit BRC 85 Lexington Ave. in 2020. We must protect our neighbors, the the women of BRC 85 Lexington Ave. We contend that this change is not in the immediate best interest of our community. We contend this displacement and inconsistency in access, programming and services is not in the best interest in the women currently being served at BRC 85 Lexington Ave.  We demand that this change of use not be made. Please join us in signing this petition to our City Councilwoman, Laurie Cumbo and write to her directly at

Keiko Niccolini
1,470 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

Pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

I was sentenced 78 months to serve at a federal prison for a white-collar crime. I left home a healthy single mother of two sons, not ever experiencing any serious illnesses. I was a registered nurse who had achieved 3 secondary degrees. I was homeowner and a successful business entrepreneur. I was also six weeks pregnant. Anytime I was transported, I was chained at my ankles with another chain around my waist that bound my hands in front of my belly.   While shackled, forced to step up into a van, I fell. A couple days later I begin spotting with streaks of blood, which I reported immediately to the medical staff. They instantly informed me they had “no” means of caring for me and would need approval from the US Marshals to take me to the ER. The turnaround time for approval ended up being 4 weeks. At that point, it was no longer an “emergency,” so I was turned away from the ER — I then required a second approval for an obstetrician, which took 4 more weeks. A total of four requests were made, each taking 4 weeks, while I was placed in solitary confinement for “medical observation." I ended up miscarrying at approximately 20 weeks without any formal or proper prenatal care. While I was miscarrying, I lay wet in a pool of blood, curled up from excruciating pain, in complete darkness, locked in a cell until an officer made rounds. I suffered the entire miscarriage shackled to the bed. When asked, the officers told the nurse and myself that the linen which contained my unborn child had been thrown in the trash. I had no privacy. Male officers were at my bedside 24hrs observing my nakedness and any treatment given to me. I received no counseling, nor had any opportunity to grieve my miscarriage. I was relocated to another facility where again, I was placed in solitary confinement for a month. Solitary is being locked in a 6’ by 9’ room with a bed, toilet, sink, and no window for 23 hours a day. For women in prison, stories like mine are a lot more common than you would think. Women are the largest growing prison population. Our federal, state, county, and private prisons are not equipped to give women the medical care they need, especially when pregnant. We need to ban the shackling and solitary confinement of pregnant women in prison throughout the United States. These prisons do not implement best practices of standardized care or data collection which allows no liability for the treatment of incarcerated women, promotes harm to children, and destroys families. I have testified before the US Commission on Civil Rights, providing statements of women who are being dehumanized and abused incarcerated in federal, state, county, and private prisons. We are  fighting for safety and justice of incarcerated women. We request that Congress and all states throughout the US establish policies that prohibit shackling and solitary confinement, implement best practices of standardized care, provide data collection for accountability of safety, and promote strong relationships with their children. Please sign my petition asking Congress and US State Legislators to pass the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act throughout the United States. Thank you,Pamela Winn

Pamela Winn
193,515 supporters