Breakfast Chat

The Dearborn Federation of Teachers Retirees’ Chapter has cordially invited the members of AAUW-Dearborn branch to attend a continental breakfast followed by what promises to be an interesting presentation by Gary Woronchak, Chair of the fifteen-member Wayne County Commission for 2011-2012.


Who: Gary Woronchak
What: Discussion of Wayne County government, services and politics.
 Where: Dearborn Federation of Teachers’ Office
15250 Mercantile Drive in Dearborn
(off of Greenfield between Michigan Avenue and Rotunda Drive)
 When: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
9:30 a.m. for continental breakfast & 10:00 a.m. presentation


RSVP: To facilitate the ordering of refreshments, please let Cora Houghan         know if you plan to attend by Wednesday, September 26, 2012. Call her at 313-584-5311.

Woronchak, has served four terms on the county commission where he represents Dearborn, Allen Park and Melvindale.  As chairman, the budget, employees, scheduling-and-running meetings, task forces and committee work absorb copious amounts of his time.

Before joining the WCC, he served three terms in the state House of Representatives. And prior to his government work, Woronchak was a journalist for more than two decades. He attended Whitmore-Bolles Elementary and Edison Junior High, graduated in 1973 from Edsel Ford High School, attended Henry Ford Community College and then graduated with a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1978.

Woronchak is a proverbial “hometown boy” raised and educated in Dearborn. He owns a home here, has raised his family here and has worked most of his career in Dearborn.

“Since being elected to the Wayne County Commission in 2004, and while a state representative for six years before that, I have focused on being accessible and responsive to the people I represent. Having been a journalist for more than 20 years before holding office, I believe strongly in communicating with constituents and keeping them informed of my work in the community.”

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss in Congress!

Congressman Todd Akin is not a doctor!

Yet Congressman Akin (R-Missouri) explained getting pregnant as a result of a rape this way: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

We need to shut this kind of thinking down!

In “Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape” by Pam Belluck in today’s New York Times, Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School is quoted: “There are no words for this — it is just nuts.”  In addition, Belluck quotes Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina: “to suggest that there’s some biological reason why women couldn’t get pregnant during a rape is absurd.”

Belluck goes on to cite a 1996 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, generally considered one of the few peer-reviewed research efforts on this subject, estimated that 5 percent of rapes result in pregnancy.

We need to stay alert to politicians of any stripe peddling monstrous mendacity. Doctors have served me well when it comes to my health. Extremist politicians appear to want to take over my personal nether regions to advance rigid agendas. Private rights don’t deserve these kinds of public wrongs.

This November consider that there are candidates who understand women’s health as well as those that don’t. It’s easy to learn where candidates stand by reading the AAUW Action Fund’s Congressional Voting Record, or their Voter Guides (available next month) here: Also, the League of Women Voters does great work publishing election guides.


Finally, let’s keep the madness of politics in perspective. We can only laugh when we think about another, totally ironic, meaning of congress: the action of coming together for sexual congress!

Too many politicians today appear to be trapped into thinking only in polarities. Perhaps it is due to sound bites and increasingly short attention spans. Vote in November for the subtle, multi-layered, considered and complex thinkers.

MST & LAF: Read on to learn more!

Last spring, Doris Matthews chided our branch board for not doing enough to support the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund. At that meeting, the board agreed that monies from the English Gardens’ Flower-of-the-Month-Card program and the Mistletoe Mart would both be designated for LAF. (See page 13 of the Dearborn Branch Directory to learn more about the work of this particular fund.)

Meanwhile, Laura Marko who has just moved here from Norfolk, Virginia, contacted me recently via e-mail. She served in the Navy for five years and is a women’s studies major with a focus upon research on military sexual trauma. Happily for us, she will now be pursuing her studies at UM-D!

Part of her e-mail reads: “As a women’s studies major, I have been doing research on military sexual trauma (MST), presenting my work at a research symposium this past spring. I also attended the 2012 SWAN (Service Women’s Action Network) Summit on MST this year in DC., hosted a screening of “The Invisible War,” and met with fellow female veterans to discuss issues related to sexual assault and harassment in the military. So obviously the topic of women in the military is something that I am very passionate about.”

As you may know, AAUW has recently announced the launch of The Invisible War Action Campaign; so our contact with Laura Marko is fortuitous and serendipitous for our branch and UM-D.

So when AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist popped up and asked us to contact our representative about this issue, I felt compelled to act. I hope you, too, will consider trying to help ameliorate this matter by contacting your representative by using Two-Minute Activist. It’s fast, easy and efficient. Here’s a copy of my e-mail to Representative John Dingell.

August 20, 2012

The Honorable John D. Dingell
House of Representatives
2328 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2215

Re: Support the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act

Dear Representative Dingell:

As your constituent, I join with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in asking you to cosponsor and actively support the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act (H.R. 3435).
Last year, there were more than 3,000 reported incidents of sexual assault in the military. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta estimates that due to stigmas victims face, the true number may be as high as 19,000! Ensuring adequate investigation and support for victims are both essential.
The STOP Act would create a primarily civilian oversight, response council and investigative office which would investigate and try to prevent sexual assault in the military. A Director of Military Prosecutions would enjoy independent authority from the chain of command and oversee prosecutions of sexual-related offenses committed by a member of the armed forces or refer an offense to courts-martial.
Stronger rules and better enforcement are critical to the health and safety of the men and women in our nation’s armed forces. Please become a cosponsor of the STOP Act. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Anne Gautreau

Bill # H.R.3435 was originally sponsored by Jackie Speier (D-CA 12th). It now has 131 co-sponsors. Strangely, only one is a Republican. All the rest are Democrats. One can only wonder why any representative would not want to protect the troops who sacrifice so much to protect us.

An executive summary about this legislation from AAUW follows:

Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act or STOP Act – Establishes a Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Council, composed mainly of civilians, as an independent entity from the chain of command of the Department of Defense (DOD).
Directs the Council to: (1) appoint personnel to the Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office, and advise such Office; (2) appoint the Director of Military Prosecutions (Director); (3) review each request of the Director with respect to a case stemming from a sexual-related offense that has been referred to a military appellate court or to the Department of Justice (DOJ); and (4) submit to the Secretary of Defense, Congress, and the Attorney General a report on each Director request for referral to a higher court. Requires the Council to advise on the development of sexual assault reporting protocols, risk-reduction and response training, and policy.

Establishes within DOD the Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office, headed by an Executive Director, to undertake specified duties and responsibilities relating to the investigation, prevention, and reduction of sexual assault incidents within the Armed Forces. Requires the Office to establish protocols to ensure that all reports of sexual assault are taken out of the chain of command and reported directly to the Office.

Establishes the position of Director of Military Prosecutions, appointed by the Council, to have independent and final authority to oversee the prosecution of all sexual-related offenses committed by a member of the Armed Forces, and to refer such cases to trial by courts-martial.
Amends the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 to require the Secretary to implement a centralized database, known as the Military Sexual Registry, for the collection of information regarding sexual assaults within the military, including the nature of the assault, the victim, the offender, and the outcome of associated legal proceedings. Requires the Registry to be housed and maintained within the Office.

AAUW is committed to improving the way the military deals with sexual assault by ensuring victims receive adequate support for their case by helping support  veteran-and-active-duty servicemen/servicewomen who are suing the Department of Defense. The group alleges that the DoD failed to investigate or prosecute their cases.
This is just one example of AAUW Legal Advocacy Funds in action!

Welcome to the Dearborn, MI Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)!

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Founded in 1881, AAUW is open to graduates with an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university, as well as students currently enrolled in college.  Dues support the operations of the Dearborn-Michigan branch, founded in 1933, as well as the state and national organizations.

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day One Week From Today!














Thanks to Dearborn-branch-member Pat Vom Steeg who forwarded these advertisements via email, we have a great reminder of how the mad men of ad agencies depicted societal expectations for women. Historian Howard Zinn sums up this insidious socialization: “Men could use, exploit, and cherish someone who was at the same time servant, sex mate, companion, and bearer-teacher-warden of his children.” What a difference the awakening of women’s consciousness has made over the past few decades! However, one might consider the old saw too: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Raise minimum wage; help working families, help the economy

Race/ethnicity of affected workers if minimum wage is raised to $9.80 by July 1,2014

Income inequality in the United States is growing rapidly. Stratospheric incomes for the top one percent of earners eclipse the failure to help the lowest paid earners gain a fair wage.
The Economic Policy Institute has released a study that indicates women would  make up more than half of the workers affected by a raise in the federal minimum wage. Seventy percent of those affected would be families that earn less than $60,000 a year. Currently, the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25/hour.

Raising the minimum wage would increase the economic security of working women and their families, the same workers staggering under the burden of recession. Key findings in the study include:

~Women would be disproportionately affected, comprising nearly 55 percent of those who would benefit.
~Nearly 88 percent of workers who would benefit are at least 20 years old.
~Although workers of all races and ethnicities would benefit from the increase, non-Hispanic white workers comprise the largest share (about 56 percent) of those who would be affected.
~About 42 percent of affected workers have at least some college education.
~Around 54 percent of affected workers work full time, over 70 percent are in families with incomes of less than $60,000, more than a quarter are parents, and over a third are married.
~The average affected worker earns about half of his or her family’s total income.

Surprisingly, this study is finding support on both ends of the political spectrum. “Corporations are taking huge advantage of the slack in the labor market—they are in a very strong position and workers are in a very weak position. They are using that bargaining power to cut benefits and wages, and to shorten hours,” states American Enterprise Institute scholar Desmond Lachman, a former managing director at Salomon Smith Barney. According to Lachman, a conservative, that strategy “very much jeopardizes our chances of experiencing a real recovery.”

National unemployment seems stuck at 8.3 percent and is not expected to return to pre-recession levels for years. A higher minimum wage would boost the earnings of working families, spur economic growth, and create about 100,000 new jobs. Raising the minimum wage to $9.80 by July 1, 2014, is an opportunity that America’s working families cannot afford to lose.

Preventive Services for Women

With all the niff-nawing, and political posturing going on during this election season, it is little wonder that confusion abounds regarding health care provisions under the Affordable Care Act. 

Insurance-industry lobbyists and some members of Congress have tried repeatedly to overturn the healthcare law in the last two years. One might conclude some are even engaged in promoting mis-truths in order to build support for overturning this new approach to healthcare.

Rather than allowing confusion and rumor to rule the day, visit to get factual information. As of this August, eight new prevention services for women are now in effect!

22 Covered Preventive Services for Women
The eight new prevention-related health services marked with an asterisk ( * ) must be covered with no cost-sharing in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012:
~Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
~Bacteriuria urinary tract or other infection screening for pregnant women
~BRCA counseling about genetic testing for women at higher risk
~Breast Cancer Mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
~Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
~Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, as well as access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women*
~Cervical Cancer screening for sexually active women
~Chlamydia Infection screening for younger women and other women at higher risk
~Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, not including abortifacient drugs*
~Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling for all women*
~Folic Acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
~Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes*
~Gonorrhea screening for all women at higher risk
~Hepatitis B screening for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit
~Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening and counseling for sexually active women*
~Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test: high risk HPV DNA testing every three years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older*
~Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
~Rh Incompatibility screening for all pregnant women and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
~Tobacco Use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users
~Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) counseling for sexually active women*
~Syphilis screening for all pregnant women or other women at increased risk
~Well-woman visits to obtain recommended preventive services for women under 65*

Update: Senate Bill 3317

August 15, 2012

Anne Gautreau, President
AAUW-Dearborn Branch

Dear Anne,

Thank you for contacting me about equal opportunities for promotions in the workplace. I understand your concerns.

As you may know, Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) introduced the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (S.3317) to establish alternative legal methods that groups of employees can use under federal law to bring class-action lawsuits against an employer for discrimination. Currently, this bill is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member. Should this legislation come before me for a vote, I will keep your views in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator