An Oklahoma state judge on Wednesday permanently blocked enforcement of a law that would have required doctors to give a woman an ultrasound and describe the fetus to her in detail before performing an abortion. The ultrasound law, which the Oklahoma Legislature passed in April 2010, had been temporary blocked since the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against it the following month.
The Supreme Court is again at the center of a highly controversial policy debate as it hears arguments for the Affordable Care Act. There’s been much discussion about the justices’ supposed political agendas. I’ve heard fearmongering about government takeovers and rumors of increased business costs.
But I haven’t heard much about what’s really at stake: the welfare of the American people — specifically women. Women like my mother and the other mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who need preventive services to ensure that they are healthy.
Our Constitution was created to “promote the general welfare.” So a court that strikes down the health care law would not only shirk its constitutional responsibility, it would unduly injure the welfare of American women.
On the news, people of faith -- like me -- are cast as lunatic right-wingers. But we're not all like that.
You see them on the news every night. Extremists. Hate groups. The lunatic fringe. And you cringe every time some new radical or abusive psychopath makes the papers again, because you know that strangers and even friends are going to be wary of you now. You suspect they’re afraid you’re like that too. You feel caught in the crossfire between the frightening, hateful fanatics who call themselves by the same name you do, and the bigots who tar you all with the same brush. You’re a Christian.
“The bad news is that we’re all part of the same body,” says Amy Laura Hall, an associate professor at Duke and the creator of Profligategrace.com. “The bad news is that somebody like George W. Bush and I are part of the Methodist church, and he’s condoning what I and many in the community say is torture. But the good news,” she continues, “is we’re part of the same body. Therefore we have a responsibility to keep engaging in political discourse, and conversation with people on all opposing sides.” Not that it doesn’t get exhausting, battling the scorn from both within and without. [MORE]
Our common goal is to empower women to make choices about and contributions to their own spirituality as they engage in justice work … Both feminism and spirituality focus on important quality of life issues. … While postmodernity is well on the way to jettisoning patriarchal religions (albeit not fast enough), there is still a widespread hunger for spiritual nourishment, for making sense of the world’s complexities. Religions do that, not by their dogmas or doctrines, but by the mere fact of connecting people who want ask questions together and try out various answers. [MORE]
As a married woman, Marisa Hannum had her family's conservatism in mind when she backed Republicans in the 2008 and 2004 presidential elections. Now divorced, she is putting her own interests first as she weighs whether to vote for Democratic President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger this fall.
She's an abortion opponent, worried about her finances and concerned for friends who can't find jobs. She's dumbfounded that anyone is questioning birth control access in 2012. And she has only a glimmer of an idea of how she'll vote in November. [MORE]
"...By 1964, the year in which the last season of Mad Men took place, women had been involved in American advertising for generations. Mathilde C. Weil opened the M.C. Weil Agency in 1880. Helen Lansdowne was an experienced copywriter when Stanley Resor of the J. Walter Thompson agency hired her in 1907. She took over the Woodbury Facial Soap account in 1910 and conceived the campaign “A Skin You Love to Touch,” featuring illustrations of men chastely touching women that are widely considered to be the first use of sex appeal in advertising. Eight years after the campaign was launched, sales had increased 1000 percent. By that time, Helen Lansdowne had married Stanley Resor, and was in charge of JWT’s all-female Women’s Editorial Department. Ms. Resor and her team were wildly successful: In 1918, they were responsible for over half of JWT’s billings..."
"Having a female body was the factor most likely to render one vulnerable to being called a witch...the truth about the majority of persons accused of [witchcraft]: old, unattractive, disliked, and FEMALE"
— Witchcraze: A New History of European Witch Hunts by Anne Llewellyn Barstow
The past few months the GOP has waged a war on women that places them firmly in bed with religious lobbyists, treating women like they are subhuman all in the name of patriarchal religion. Bah humbug.
The Arizona resident, whose routine email to her legislator resulted in a reply later called a "hodgepodge of crazy" by another lawmaker, said she is "scared" that her representative wants women to watch abortions before having the procedure.
We’ve now reached phase three of the conservative war on contraception.
Phase one was expanding the long-standing war on women to include attacks on contraception, first by attacking government subsidies for family planning and then by trying to keep the Obama administration from including contraception in the list of preventive services that private insurance must cover with no co-pay. Phase two was abandoning all pretense for waging this war---be it “life” or “religious liberty”---and simply screaming loudly that women who have sex for pleasure are two-bit sluts looking for a handout, instead of upstanding citizens who want to share in the benefits of a society to which they contribute.
Excerpt from article by FRANK RICH, New York Magazine
For much of its history, misogyny was not the style of the party of Lincoln. For most of the twentieth century, the GOP was ahead of the curve in bestowing women’s rights. When the Nineteenth Amendment granting suffrage was ratified in 1920, roughly three-quarters of the 36 state legislatures that did so were controlled by Republicans. In 1940, the GOP mandated that women be equally represented in its national and executive committees—a standard not imposed by the Democrats until more than three decades later.
Barry Goldwater’s wife Peggy, inspired by a Margaret Sanger lecture in Phoenix in 1937, would help build one of the nation’s largest Planned Parenthood affiliates. Her husband favored abortion rights. “I think the average woman feels, ‘My God, that’s my business,’ and that’s the way we should keep it,” he said late in his career. Prescott Bush, the Connecticut senator who sired a presidential dynasty, was another Sanger enthusiast and treasurer for the first national Planned Parenthood fund-raising campaign. His son George, when a congressman in the sixties, was an ardent birth-control advocate and the principal Republican author of the trailblazing Family Planning Act of 1970. Capitol Hill colleagues jokingly nicknamed him “Rubbers.” [MORE]
While women still earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make in the United States, the gender wage gap has closed significantly over the past several decades. Now, for the first time ever, a new study has connected the narrowing of that pay gap to increased access to birth control pills.
The University of Michigan study, which analyzed the careers of 4,300 women, shows that the earlier a woman can start taking birth control pills, the more likely she is to earn higher wages later in life.
It's officially over. The Idaho House has announced that it will not be holding a hearing on the forced ultrasound bill before the session ends this week, meaning that the bill is officially dead for 2012.
[This article has been updated to add a response from Hannah Brass, Legislative Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.]
In 2010, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell refused to approve an expansion of Denali KidCare, a program that provides health care for low-income pregnant women and children, even though a $1 million expansion paid for by the state would have resulted in nearly twice that much federal funding in return. Denali KidCare covers approximately 8,000 kids in need in Alaska, and with the matching funds, an expansion could have resulted in coverage of an additional 1,277 children and 225 pregnant women.
Moreover, an estimated 18,000 children across the state are uninsured but currently are ineligible under current state criteria. According to the Juneau Empire, Sen. Bettye Davis is proposing that the state expand eligibility from 175 percent of poverty level to 200 percent -- but only for those age 12 and under. (The average across all states for eligibility is 241 percent of the federal poverty line.)
Why the age limit and all the wrangling? Why almost two years later is the state still fighting over expanding KidCare?
Because, according to Davis, it is the only way "to avoid the pregnancy and abortion concerns." [MORE]
When I was in college I was a single parent. Finding myself struggling personally with the demands of continuing education and single parenting (a special needs child too yet) was challenging enough; but this was at the time that Tommy Thompson was governor & he made bashing single moms & welfare a public sport. (Yeah, some of us fought back; like the Welfare Warriors.)
It was incomprehensible how those of us left with children were not only held accountable while biological dads walked away Scott-free, but were to blame for all of society’s ills. Even those who raised children alone by design & without public assistance were vilified, a la Murphy Brown. It wasn’t just moral outrage (though that did & does exist); it wasn’t an ignorance — these were educated people saddling us with unrealistic responsibilities and ludicrous outcomes. We were being scapegoated with such an intensity that it must be hiding a deep fear of some sort… Was it simply another way to display the classic fear & hatred of “female,” or was there more?
Most people don't know about the great benefits for women in the health care bill. And studies show that the more women know about these benefits, the more likely they are to support the law and use those benefits.
Last Friday, a three-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments to determine the constitutionality of ordinances in Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland requiring crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to post signs indicating what types of services they provide. The signs must state whether the CPCs provide abortion and contraceptive services, as well as maternity and prenatal care, infant supplies, and adoption services.
by MARA GANDAL-POWERS, National Women's Law Center via RH Reality Check
The House of Representatives is currently considering a bill, H.R. 5, which would reform medical malpractice laws. Several Congresswomen drafted an amendment to this bill which would have limited the bill’s malpractice protections if the malpractice claim is based on a violation of the health care reform law related to the women’s preventive health services. The Congresswomen went through the usual steps that an amendment must go through before it can be proposed.... And then the Rules Committee attempted to silence these women, just as Rep. Issa tried to silence Sandra Fluke.
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