The perpetual war on women’s lives continues unabated. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows protestors to continue to terrorize women at abortion clinics and South Dakota’s ban on virtually all abortions (with other states threatening to do the same) are the latest assaults on women’s human rights in this country. In addition, almost immediately after signing the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), President Bush promptly turned around and submitted a budget that proposed cutting funds to the vital services that are provided for by this important piece of legislation.

The arrogant disregard for women’s human rights however is a global phenomena. Hundreds of women die every year from AIDS the complications of childbirth because there is no profit in helping them survive. Women throughout the world are also victimized by a perpetual pandemic of sexual violence including infanticide, female genital mutilation, rape and sexual slavery.

And everywhere, women’s lives are used as the battlegrounds of men’s wars. Several weeks ago, the human rights organization Madre reported that an effort was being organized to create an underground railroad in Iraq for women whose lives were in danger of honor killings and other kinds of intimate assaults. Reporter Jill Carroll and aid worker Margaret Hassan have been kidnapped (and in Hassan’s case subsequently killed) and Iraqi women held in jail as leverage by groups of men to pressure other groups of men, whether we call those groups sovereign nations, terrorists or freedom fighters. Aung San Suu Kyi remains in captivity in Burma and the murders of hundreds of women in Mexico and Guatemala go unsolved. In Darfur, women have been subjected to unspeakable violence. The list is simply endless.

It has been said that the health of a society is measured by how it treats its women. By that measure, our human society is very sick indeed.

At the same time, our planet has been plundered and assaulted beyond the tipping point. Our children can barely breathe the polluted air. Our rivers are fouled with pesticides and toxins. Genetically modified seed and depleted uranium threaten us all. Fish are dying in the rising and warming seas and soon the Arctic ice will be no more. The arrogant devastation of our coastal areas, our plains and our mountains in the name of economic progress turns natural disasters into horrific manmade catastrophes. And just as in war, it is always the women and children who suffer the most harm.

As the richest most powerful nation in the world, the U.S. bears significant responsibility for the continued reign of terror against the earth and it’s inhabitants. Because of our privileged position in the world, it is incumbent upon U.S. women to take a stand against this madness.

Just as they did in ancient Greece, we must say that we will no longer cooperate with the patriarchal madness that is killing us all. It is time to stop participating in a system that is toxic and dysfunctional by its very nature. Neither the planet or her inhabitants are ours to control, we are part of a complex living whole. It is time for women to lead the way and demand an end to the assault on our lives and that of our world.

Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Awakened Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive, Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine , Common Dreams and Information Clearinghouse.