Sarcasm and the Vagina Vigilantes…or Who’s Funny Now?: Yucking It Up in the Battle of the Sexes

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Back in 2007, Christopher Hitchens penned an article for Vanity Fair titled Why Women Aren’t Funny. In it he wrote:

Men are overawed, not to say terrified, by the ability of women to produce babies. (Asked by a lady intellectual to summarize the differences between the sexes, another bishop responded, “Madam, I cannot conceive.”) It gives women an unchallengeable authority. And one of the earliest origins of humor that we know about is its role in the mockery of authority. Irony itself has been called “the glory of slaves.” So you could argue that when men get together to be funny and do not expect women to be there, or in on the joke, they are really playing truant and implicitly conceding who is really the boss…

If I am correct about this, which I am, then the explanation for the superior funniness of men is much the same as for the inferior funniness of women. Men have to pretend, to themselves as well as to women, that they are not the servants and supplicants. Women, cunning minxes that they are, have to affect not to be the potentates.

So—according to Hitchens—women are really “the bosses” because they are the baby makers. Men are the funny ones because they mock the authority of women who have wombs…and, therefore, the power! Who knew?

I get it. I think this explains why so many men in the GOP these days are proposing reproductive legislation.  These male vagina vigilantes—“uterati” is what I call them—must believe that their extreme legislation will give them (the funny guys) authority over women (the humorless baby makers). They’re trying to gain authority over the opposite sex by taking control of contraception…and women’s bodies.

The uterati’s strategy seems to be working because women have been getting their “funny” on lately. They are using social media and sarcasm in order to get their point across that they will not stand by humorlessly while proposed legislation that could have a negative impact on their lives is being discussed and voted upon.  That must mean that women will soon be seen as the supplicants and servants—at least according to the Christopher Hitchens equations:

funny people =  supplicants and servants

unfunny people = authority figures

Unfortunately, the vagina vigilantes just don’t seem to find much humor in what these women are doing.

So…let’s take a look at some some of the sarcastic things that women are doing, shall we? You can let me know if you think they’re funny.

In Mockery: Women’s new weapon, an article that appeared in Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory wrote:

From a proposed sex strike to mock legislation restricting access to Viagra, women are coming up with increasingly creative ways to respond to attacks on reproductive rights. Many of them are relying on something ladies are often said to be without: a sense of humor.

In case you didn’t catch on, the sex strike is tongue-in-cheek. Annette Maxberry-Carrara, founder of Liberal Ladies Who Lunch — the group that proposed the “Access Denied” protest — tells me with a laugh, “We’re not looking at it as a literal strike.” But they are making a serious political statement. The event’s tagline reads, “If our reproductive choices are denied, so are yours.”

Here are some examples of the mock legislation being proposed by women–and some men who respect women (God love them!)——courtesy of ThinkProgress:

EVERY SPERM HAS A RIGHT (OKLAHOMA): To poke fun at a “personhood” bill that gives full rights to a zygote, state Sen. Constance Johnson (D) introduced an amendment that would also declare every sperm to be sacred. “However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child,” her amendment stated.

NOTE: Senator Judy Eason of Tulsa, Oklahoma, attended a protest of the state’s extreme “Personhood” bill at the State Capitol recently. She borrowed a sign from another poster that read: “If I wanted the government in my womb I’d fuck a senator.” (Freak Out Nation)

CHILDREN DENIED BIRTH BECAUSE OF VASECTOMIES (GEORGIA): State Rep. Yasmin Neal (D) introduced legislation that would limit vasectomies. “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” Neal explained. Her measure is in response to a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks on the grounds that a fetus can feel pain — a claim disputed by doctors.

MORE HOOPS TO CLEAR FOR VIAGRA (OHIO): In response to Ohio’s so-called Heartbeat Bill, which would prevent abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, state Sen. Nina Turner (D) will introduce a bill that would make men jump through hoops, like a psychological screening, before they could obtain Viagra and similar drugs for erectile dysfunction. “All across the country, including in Ohio, I thought since men are certainly paying great attention to women’s health that we should definitely return the favor,” Turner said.

Note: A man would also have to get a notarized affidavit that was signed by his sexual partner affirming his impotency.

RECTAL EXAMS FOR A VIAGRA PRESCRIPTIONS (VIRGINIA): To protest Virginia’s bill requiring women to receive an ultrasound before an abortion, state Sen. Janet Howell (D) attached an amendment to the bill that would have required men to receive a rectal exam and pass a cardiac stress test before doctors wrote them a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. “We need some gender equity here,” Howell said. The Virginia Senate rejected her amendment, but both chambers passed the ultrasound requirement after clarifying that women would not be forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.

KNOW THE SIDE EFFECTS OF VIAGRA (ILLINOIS): State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D) decided to push back against GOP attacks on women’s health by offering an amendment that would require men to watch a “horrific video” about the side effects of Viagra before they received a prescription for the drug. His bill is in response to a measure requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. “If we are going to do this, we need to do it in a way that is applied equally,” Cassidy said.

PROTECT ALL SPERM (DELAWARE): Mocking the “personhood” measures, the town council in Wilmington, Delaware approved a satirical resolution “that asks state legislatures and U.S. Congress to enact laws that forbid men from destroying their semen.” The resolution notes that if lawmakers think a female egg has full rights, then they should say the same thing about sperm.

Women have also taken to leaving sarcastic comments on their governors’ Facebook pages. It was reported in The L Magazine that women had begun “wall bombing” and “sarcasm bombing”  the pages of politicians who were attempting to “roll back women’s rights.”

Written to Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia

Dear Doctor Governor-I have an issue with my vagina. I’m having a terrible flow and cramping. This happens every month. I’m not sure if it is related to the lack of an ultrasound or the lack of a pill (I know one is mandated but my poor addled lady brain can’t wrap my head around this issue). I’m guessing that it may be the ultrasound since I heard the men folk on the teevee telling us that contraception and the like is one step from abortion. What do I do Dr. Gov? Should I come to your office for the exam?

Written to Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania

I know this has nothing to do with this, but being a woman and all, I can’t stop thinking about my lady parts. You suggested women close their eyes when getting a transvaginal ultrasound, or Wand of Light, as we lovingly call it in some places. Do you also close your eyes when getting a mandatory anal probe for unrelated legal medical procedures? What else do you close your eyes for? I’m curious, your advice is so fascinating!

Written to Gov. Sam Brownback of Tennessee

I just called your office, and they wouldn’t let me schedule a pap smear. I’m confused, aren’t you taking care of all this now?

And

Governor, maybe you can help me. I have a funny rash on my labia. If I send you a photo, can you tell me what it is? I’m asking you because you seem to be an expert on women’s health, and I know I can’t be trusted to know anything about my own body. I’m just a woman, no better than livestock. It says so in the Bible…

 Written to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas

I promise to vote for you during the next run if you’ll allow me to incorporate my uterus.

Another tactic being proposed by a group called Government Free VJJ is the “Snatchel Project.” Government Free VJJ is encouraging women to knit uteruses and send them to male members of Congress. One of the group’s slogans is “If they have their own, they can leave ours alone!”

I’m a woman. I think this is all quite hilarious. How about you? Who do you think are the potentates now? Which do you think is the funnier sex?

SOURCES & FURTHER READING

Mockery: Women’s new weapon (Salon)

Why Women Aren’t Funny (Vanity Fair)

As Anti-Abortion Bills Gain Steam, Legislators Push Back With Legislation Mocking The Extreme Bills (Think Progress)

Women Knit Uteruses For Lawmakers (Think Progress)

Georgia Republican Compares Women to Cows, Pigs, And Chickens (Think Progress)

‘Dear Doctor Governor … ‘: Women Protest On GOP Govs’ Facebook Walls (TPMDC)

4 Ways To Combat the GOP’s War On Women (The L Magazine)

The 10 Most Ridiculous Things Old White Men Have Proposed About Women And Vaginas (The L Magazine)

10 Reasons The Rest Of The World Thinks The U.S. Is Nuts (Huffington Post)

Nursing Chastity (Bangor Daily News)

Sen. McIntyre holds a sign at protest: ‘If I wanted the govt in my womb I’d fuck a Senator’ (Freak Out Nation)

129 thoughts on “Sarcasm and the Vagina Vigilantes…or Who’s Funny Now?: Yucking It Up in the Battle of the Sexes

  1. “These male vagina vigilantes—“uterati” is what I call them…” -Elaine M.

    That’s wonderful, Elaine M. A brilliant twist.

  2. I think there are two strains of the disease. The controlling, sexually inadequate, dictator wannabe is pretty clear here. But the second kind is the heart and soul of the anti-woman movement. The ‘puritan’ those jokers live in fear that someone out there somewhere is having an enjoyable time. This type reached their most recent zenith during the Victorian age when nightgowns had a small hole in the front so that intercourse could take place with as little contact as possible and everyone was taught that sex was dirty and was meant to be endured not enjoyed.

    Together this team makes quite a spectacle of itself to the detriment of us all

  3. it is all very funny.

    But just one question, if women are so concerned about government staying out of their wombs why are these officials probably in favor of national/government health care?

    To be consistent I would think they would be against any government involvement in any area of human health. Do they really think government isnt going to dictate procedures and level of care provided for all human health issues?

  4. I am convinced that the only men who are fanatically concerned with controlling female contraception are the men who actually believe that women think of themselves the way they are portrayed as thinking on porn sites … a fantasy that these men have convinced themselves is reality.

    Thus the uterati are simply men addicted to porn and thus unable to deal with the reality of femininity. Making fun of them and the women who hang with them is a practice that will continue to grow.

  5. Bron,

    Women should be concerned that the Obama administration’s Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA science panel recommendations on emergency contraception. The administration dictated that females under eighteen see a doctor for a prescription before getting the Plan B emergency contraceptive, and further requiring women over 18 to plead with a pharmacist for access to the medication.

    Limiting reproductive freedom is a bipartisan effort.

  6. Dear Senator Sainted Rum:

    Thank you for your concern over women who get pregnant and wish not to have the child of the person who knocked them up. Since you are named after a famous Italian libation and have seven children of your own absorbing the government dime on that Congressional healthcare program you are entitled to for life let me ask you to come by the birthin baby clinic here in Texas and look after all the little ones poppin out with no daddy and a mentally retarded mommy who cannot tie a diaper. There does not seem to be an adoptive set of good Catholic parents out there that will adopt little Ricky because he is obviously mentally challenged and so we ask that you come and take him on yourself.

  7. Bron, Just to clarify: What we need isn’t government itself DOING medical care but government providing ACCESS to medical care (which really has little to do with health). And we don’t need government telling us what kind of care we must have, or not. That’s what the doctors are for. Legislators doing medical stuff is extremely dangerous.

    Elaine, thanks for the post. These legislators are bringing back the feminist movement!!

  8. the “uterati”

    that’s a good one

    rick santorum and the vagina vigilantes
    sounds like a butthole surfers cover band

  9. bettykath – EGGS-ACT-LEE!

    The rest of the civilized world has government run health care and none of those are mandating the sort of insane crap the GOP is trying to pull here.

    There is a huge difference between providing coverage for your health care and dictating what health care your doctor can provide. Only a pea wit would be unable to tell the difference.

  10. Pete, I love your sense of humor and am so glad you spend time here.

    “rick santorum and the vagina vigilantes
    sounds like a butthole surfers cover band”

    One suspects they just might be :-)

    ———
    Debates like these wouldn’t even be had if the this country wasn’t brainwashed to feel that insurance=health-care. It doesn’t. Health-care is what happens between you and your doctor and the labs/hospitals/pharmacy’s your doctor sends you to. Insurance is how it gets paid for as is ‘out-of-pocket’ and ‘do-without’. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the two were divorced as they should be. Single payer is the force majeure in the war on women.

  11. puzzling:

    and what about that 15 person panel? I cant wait for a republican administration to appoint people to that panel and basically shut down abortion in this country.

    I dont think people have really thought through this government run health care thingy. It sounds good to have everyone covered but you get that security at the cost of your liberty. You become nothing more than a pet and your owner is the government. They are the ones paying so whatever they want is what is going to get done.

    I wonder how long it will be until people with expensive medical problems will get the figurative needle in the “leg”, a Rx for some opiate with enough “pain” killer to shut down respiration.

    Government and health care seem to be incompatible, these recent legislation’s concerning women’s reproductive rights should give all sensible people pause for thought.

  12. bettykath:

    “but government providing ACCESS to medical care”

    What exactly does that mean? If government pays for it then they are providing it. The goal is a single payer national plan.

    We have access to health care now, a friend of mine had a stroke a couple of years ago and she has no health care insurance at all. She was taken care of as well as someone with insurance, she even got rehab services.

    I would rather pay some extra on my private premium for people who need access than to have government pay for it/provide it.

  13. lottakatz:

    it seems to me that it would depend on which party was in office.

    That appointed panel is a real sticky point. They will be the ones controlling health care in this country. And it will depend on their philosophical outlook.

    You get a bunch of pro-life Christians on that panel and you can kiss reproductive freedom good bye.

  14. Bron, it’s a risk but IMO better than what we have now. When everybody’s health and medical care as well as tax dollars are at stake maybe things are different than when laws are couched in terms of capitalism and religious freedom and the other ruses used to make medical care laws and rules.

    Also, regarding your reply to Puzzling and the prospect of people being ‘killed’ with single payer, it seems that the opposite is what is happening – or likely to happen, in Portugal:

    http://real-economics.blogspot.com/2012/03/and-now-portugal-one-more-time.html

    “Portuguese death rate rise linked to pain of austerity programme
    Portugal’s health service is being forced into sweeping cuts as last May’s EU/IMF bailout terms begin to bite”

  15. BRON: “I would rather pay some extra on my private premium for people who need access than to have government pay for it/provide it.”


    Even when it carries a 15-35% surcharge called profit and executive compensation/benefits? That just doesn’t make sense from a fiscal point of view. Same for over-inflated, un-negotiated drug costs.

  16. lottakatz:

    our health care premium is around $1,200 per month. I would gladly pay $350 dollars more to keep it private and I am pretty sure many people would think the same way.

    I know it has problems and puzzling has written about them elsewhere on this blog. I think the remedy is in more competition and less regulation.

    There are many ways to get costs under control. One would be to make people pay out of pocket for routine visits to the doctor. If the doctor knew insurance was not going to provide any money for a sick visit, I am betting the price would be around $50. I drug companies knew they were not going to be getting insurance money for typical drugs they would be less expensive.

    You could also give people money back on their policy costs if they kept costs to a minimum. You dont need to run to the doctor for every fever or ache and pain you have. Wait 3 days and see if it goes away and then go. Allow alternative medicine to be covered. Increase the number of doctors graduating from medical school. There are any number of measures which could be taken to reduce health care costs without having a single payer.

  17. lottakatz:

    why do Greece and Portugal need to be bailed out? From what I can see it is the same old problem – Socialism is a great idea on paper but it doesnt work in reality.

    People need to be involved in the means of production, I think they should own shares in it. If you work for a company they ought to give you stock in the company to match what you have bought. The best would be for a company to be wholly employee owned.

  18. Bron: “why do Greece and Portugal need to be bailed out? From what I can see it is the same old problem – Socialism”
    —-

    For the same reason the entire western banking industry had to be bailed out. Fiscal corruption by the largest banks in the world. That some countries had more of their wealth looted and no sugar daddies or re-growth potential was just the way it worked out, some countries were on shakier ground to begin with, like Greece so they fell farther than others. Also, a big chunk of the US bailout money went to foreign banks to shore them up and those banks didn’t do anything to repair any of the damage to some of the at-risk countries that they were looting.

  19. In all seriousness, and I understand that a tipping point is best seen with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, but I seriously wonder if we actually hit that tipping point with the Komen incident and the Republicans are on a downhill slide that has gained a momentum they will not be able to stop. Time will tell.

  20. Opinion: The Brilliant Way Women Lawmakers Are Winning the War on Contraception
    Monday, March 05, 2012
    By JUSTIN KREBS
    http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/its-free-blog/2012/mar/05/opinion-laughter-legislation-and-war-women/

    Excerpt:
    Rebuffing the ongoing crusade against women’s health and women’s rights requires a range of tactics. There need to be protests, such as members of Congress walking out on an all-male panel on contraception. There need to be petitions, as exemplified by the work of the new netroots organization Ultra Violet, which has gathered a hundred thousand supporters calling on companies to suspend advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show.

    And there needs to be…comedy?

    Laughter might not be the obvious reaction in response to a range of rabid right-wing assaults, but legislators—often female—are using it with increasing effectiveness as they push back with a mixture of humor and humiliation.

    In Virginia, a State Senator countered the state’s proposal to require transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking to end a pregnancy by suggesting rectal exams for men who want Viagara.

    In Oklahoma, a State Senator responded to the state’s “personhood bill,” by proposing than men be required to only ejaculate into vaginas lest they harm the children that could have resulted from their wasted sperm.

    In Georgia, a State Legislator offered an amendment to an anti-choice legislation that would deny vasectomies to men.

    And in Ohio, a State Senator crafted the beautifully framed “Legislation to Protect Men’s Health” that would impede their ability to receive erectile dysfunction treatment.

    Now, Rick Santorum—and many of the male legislators behind the anti-health proposals—might blush at hearing words like “vagina” said so unambiguously. And it would probably be fun watching them stumble over such language in debate. But other than the amusement factor, does this approach serve a purpose? Or does it take too lightly an issue that is no laughing matter?

    The fact is that this approach is brilliant, not as the only line of defense, but as part of a multi-faceted campaign to push the importance of rights, equality, and access to healthcare.

    For one, these bills do an excellent job of reductio ad absurdum, the process of disproving a point by following its argument to a ridiculous extreme. In these cases, the extreme lengths of the conservative contentions are not only untenable, but patently hypocritical and gender-biased. The laughing legislation actually makes for good arguments.

    Secondly, they play an important role in the larger awareness campaign by getting the public to focus on these issues. These counter-measures are cutting through the cluttered landscape of news and politics and capturing the attention of an often-distracted public. Finding an effective vehicle for your message is as important as the message itself.

    Thirdly, these steps do cross from mimicry into mockery in an important and effective way. They aren’t just light laughs that make you chuckle before you move on. They are targeted attacks at the sponsors of the original bills—men who now are forced to answer uncomfortable questions about their stances on rectal exams and erection counseling. Just as an advertiser dumps a show to avoid potential embarrassment or a candidate distances themselves from a surrogate out of shame, mockery can force a legislator to back down.

  21. The War on Women Political Humor
    http://motleynews.net/2012/03/15/the-war-on-women-political-humor/

    Excerpt:
    With all the recent news of the insanity spreading like a viral disease throughout our country, the War on Women has begun. I have always seen and believed that there are some rather ignorant people in both of our parties, but this year is much different. The Republican Party wins hands down. Bills are erupting all over the country, states ticking off one-by-one with their own bill which in some manner violates women’s rights.

    Our warning to all the Republican fools out there who are definitely barking up the wrong tree, remember this:

    Women bring all politicians into the world. In 2012, women can also take them out.

    *****

    Check out the political cartoons at the link provided above.

  22. Did You Tell Your Boss Why You’re On The Pill?
    By Annie-Rose Strasser on Mar 15, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/progress-report/did-you-tell-your-boss-why-youre-on-the-pill/

    Excerpt:
    The conservative war on women shows no signs of abating. The last few weeks have given rise to half a dozen bills that try to limit or eliminate a woman’s access to reproductive health care. Just this week, Arizona took up a bill that ups the ante: It would require women to prove to their employer that they are not using contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant. This piece of legislation gets dangerously close to requiring women to tell their employers whether they are sexually active. This bill seems like a particularly large piece of artillery in the war on women — infantilizing to say the least, it means that women would essentially need to turn in a note from a supervising adult before they are allowed to take care of their own health. There are a number of reasons at the individual level that show why birth control should be covered, in addition to the fact that contraceptives helped to shrink the gender pay gap and improve the economy. In fact, the entire debate over how the government should handle women’s health is manufactured. But the battle was on the horizon since the beginning of the year, and now it has arrived.

    WHAT ARIZONA’S MEASURE MEANS: The language of the bill stipulates that a woman would have to show her medical records to her employer in order to even be considered for contraceptive coverage. If a woman were using the pill for one of its intended purposes, an employer could choose to stop insuring her, citing “moral objections,” and the woman would have to pay out of pocket for her contraceptive expenses. If an employer finds that the woman has a medical reason to be taking contraceptives (this means the employer would learn of the woman’s ovarian cysts, early menopause, or any number of other medical issues), he can choose to insure her. But if the findings aren’t to his liking, the woman can be dropped. On top of that, Arizona is an at-will employment state, meaning that a boss could possibly fire a woman for denying access to her personal medical history, or if he found something in her records that he did not like. A female legislator, Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, wrote the proposed bill. It was endorsed by Arizona’s Senate Judiciary Committee Monday by a vote of 6-2, and passed by the Arizona House of Representatives.

  23. The Republican party declares war on women
    The more Republican candidates pitch for social conservative votes, the more we see the misogyny of America’s religious right
    Diane Roberts
    3/5/12
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/mar/05/republican-party-declares-war-on-women

    Excerpt:
    Republicans and their Tea Party shock troops say they want to “take America back”. Progressives think they mean back to the 1950s, back to when men were men, women were ladies, and black folks only got into the White House by the back door. But Republicans are thinking big: they actually want to take us back to the Middle Ages, back to the “good old days” of sexual repression, regulation and punishment.

    Forget the economy: this election is becoming a referendum on women’s bodies, since it’s women (according to the Republicans’ Book of Holy Misogyny) who like to have sex without wanting to get pregnant, and, if they do get pregnant, might want to have an abortion; women who demand, as former Senator Rick Santorum says, a “license to do things in the sexual realm that is [sic] counter to how things are supposed to be.”

    You know, “sluts”.

    Republicans in Congress have launched a dubious investigation of Planned Parenthood, the century-old women’s health organization, and tried to take away its funding. The Senate narrowly defeated an amendment that would have allowed employers to deny insurance coverage for anything the employer found morally or religiously objectionable: contraception, certainly, but perhaps also lung cancer treatment (“you should have stopped smoking”), HIV/Aids testing (“homosexuality is an abomination”), and pre-natal care for single women (“nice girls get themselves a husband before they get themselves a baby”).

  24. Mock bills threatening men’s rights offer comic relief – and perspective
    http://current.com/shows/the-war-room/videos/mock-bills-threatening-mens-rights-offer-comic-relief-and-perspective

    Excerpt:
    Jennifer Granholm and Tracy Clark-Flory, staff writer at Salon.com, review how satire fueled by outrage over the latest wave of bills threatening women’s rights is raising awareness, along with inspiring mock bills that poke fun at the absurdities in extreme anti-abortion bills and other women-targeted measures. Counter legislation ranges from declaring every sperm “sacred,” bills limiting vasectomies and more. Clark-Flory salutes female lawmakers pushing these mock bills: “They’re being courageous. They’re being bold and they have a tremendous sense of humor.”

  25. The pro-choice reawakening
    A new rise in anger at attacks on reproductive freedom
    BY IRIN CARMON
    3/6/12
    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/06/the_pro_choice_reawakening/

    Excerpt;
    Monday, at around the same time that the Democratic National Committee launched Stand With Sandra, to fundraise over the loathsome attacks on the reproductive rights activist Sandra Fluke, images of police in riot gear arresting peaceful protesters of Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law were spreading on Facebook. “Never dreamed I’d be protesting for women’s rights in 2012 in Virginia,” read one sign.

    Not everyone was surprised. The activists who have for years protested online, in person or in the courts – when women were attacked with fierce misogyny simply for existing in public, when women’s healthcare was stigmatized and subject to punishing double standards, or, for that matter, when seven states passed mandatory ultrasound laws – had another sign to represent them: ”I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit.” But this time, they weren’t drowned out, they were joined with fierce, spontaneous energy. As my colleague Mary Elizabeth Williams put it, though she worries about her daughters facing a “harder and meaner” world for women than the one she grew up in, “I haven’t felt this strong a sense of ‘We are not helpless and this is not OK’ in a long time.”

    That sense is evident not just because the attacks on women’s reproductive rights and bodily integrity have intensified, although by every metric they have. It’s also because of the growing realization that these aren’t isolated incidents, but rather systematic attacks based on a worldview that is actively hostile to female self-determination. And that realization is changing the game, even if that game is still made up of moved goal posts and partial victories.

  26. Off Topic:

    Jerry Sandusky Called A ‘Likely Pedophile’ By Psychologist In 1998
    The Huffington Post | By Melissa Jeltsen
    Posted: 03/24/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/24/jerry-sandusky-psychologist-likely-pedophile_n_1377156.html

    Excerpt:
    Penn State police were warned Jerry Sandusky fit the profile of a pedophile in 1998, an internal memo has revealed.

    The memo, published by NBC News, was written by Alycia Chambers, who was a psychologist for an 11-year-old boy who knew Sandusky through his charity for troubled boys, Second Mile Program.

    The boy is not named in the report, but is now known as Victim 6. He is one of 10 boys allegedly molested by the former Penn State coach over a 15-year period. Sandusky denies the allegations against him.

    The boy’s mother contacted Chambers after he returned home from a night of weightlifting with Sandusky, the memo says. He had wet hair, and explained to his mother that Sandusky asked him to take a shower with him. When they were naked, he came up behind him and tightly squeezed their bodies together, according to the memo.

    The mother called Chambers early the next morning on her emergency line, and relayed the story to her, wanting to confirm she was not overreacting by calling the police.

    From Chambers’ report:

    He reported that Jerry played a game, coming up behind him, saying he would “squeeze his guts out” and hugging REDACTED from behind. REDACTED wanted his mother not to say anything because Mr. Sandusky had promised to take him to the movies and to let him sit on the bench with him at Penn State football games.

    Chambers met with the boy, who reported being worried about what to do next, the memo says. He also spilled a detail that he hadn’t told his mom: Sandusky had kissed him on the head and said “I love you.”

    The memo adds that Sandusky promised the boy he could come to his house and play on his “cool computer” while sitting on his lap.

    Chambers reported the incident to the Pennsylvania child abuse line and wrote a detailed report for the Penn State police. In it, she concludes that Sandusky’s actions matched those of a “likely pedophile”:

    My consultants agree that the incidents meet all of our definitions, based on experience and education, of a likely pedophile’s pattern of building trust and gradual introduction of physical touch, within a context of a “loving,” “special” relationship. One colleague who has contact with the Second Mile confirms that Mr. Sandusky is reasonably intelligent and thus, could hardly have failed to understand the way his behavior would be interpreted, if known. His position at the Second Mile and his interest in abused boys would suggest that he was likely to have had knowledge with regard to child abuse and might even recognize this behavior as typical pedophile “overture.”

  27. SwM,

    I think McCain knows the trouble they’re in. And if he knows and is willing to speak out about it, the higher echelon Republican party people know. But I suspect it is way too late.

    Catholic Bishops are concerned that their campaign is faltering in the public square. “When there is a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit making fun of a bishop, you may have lost the framing issue,” said Michael Sean Winters, a liberal Catholic writer close to some bishops.

  28. “Single payer is the force majeure in the war on women.” (lotta)

    Truth … women are beginning to fully understand that.

  29. Gene,

    That is just what I was thinking.

    Women are 51% of the general population. Get enough of them riled up and a real revolution could occur in November. I suspect that is what the Republicans who run in McCain’s circle think might just happen. And it is possible.

    There’s a “perfect storm” forming out there … and the Republican party just might go under.

  30. Forty Years Later, We’re Still Fighting ‘Eisenstadt v. Baird’
    Jonathan D. Moreno and Frances Kissling
    March 20, 2012
    http://www.thenation.com/article/166922/sex-and-singles-forty-years-later-were-still-fighting-eisenstadt-v-baird

    Excerpt:
    While efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade or chip away at abortion access are frequently covered in the media, a longstanding, under-the-radar effort of a number of social and religious conservatives to limit access to contraception has escaped notice—until now. In fact, until recently, any mention of these efforts has been taken as a sign of paranoia or Catholic bashing. Contraception, used by 99 percent of women at some time in their reproductive lives and approved of by just about everyone except the Catholic bishops and the most extreme social conservatives, has for 40 years been considered a settled issue. The FDA approved the birth control pill in 1960 and in 1965 the Supreme Court affirmed the right to use contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut.

    The healthcare reform process has inadvertently undermined that comfortable assumption. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Republican Party and Rush Limbaugh have all claimed that the inclusion of contraception among a long list of preventive services that employers must insure without cost or co-payments by employees violates religious freedom. For a few weeks it seemed America’s pundits and even some liberal Catholics, like E.J. Dionne, bought the argument. A deft accommodation by Obama that left religious employers with clean hands and turned the provision of the coverage over to the insurance companies did not, however, end the effort to get contraceptive coverage out of the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless, state legislatures and the most extreme members of the Senate have introduced legislation that would effectively overturn the mandate and grant wide latitude to both religious and secular employers to refuse to provide coverage for contraception. Arizona is considering a bill that would not only require female employees to assure the employer they want birth control for other than contraceptive reasons but would also permit the employer to fire them.

    The commonplace belief that the debate over contraception was settled is now unsettled. Perhaps that’s because the settlement is both socially and legally more recent and less assured than we think, especially for the rapidly growing number of singles.

    Griswold only granted the right to to use contraception to married couples. Unmarried sexually active women (and men) gained the same right only on March 22, 1972, when the United States Supreme Court decided that unmarried couples had the same right as married couples to possess contraceptives.

    The case was Eisenstadt v. Baird, which, as the historian David Garrow has pointed out, is “relatively unheralded” as a link between Griswold and Roe v Wade. Eisenstadt was a Massachusetts case (yes, the one state that gave its electoral votes to George McGovern later that year), triggered by activist Bill Baird’s act of civil disobedience, providing contraceptive foam to a woman at Boston University. It was only one of a number of arrests Baird had invited during his multi-year crusade on behalf of legalization of access to contraceptives. While working for a medical supply company, on a visit to a hospital where he was demonstrating equipment, he had seen a woman die with a piece of coat hanger stuck in her cervix.

    Had Eisenstadt not been so quickly followed by Roe v Wade, surely those morally opposed to unmarried sex would have been more engaged in public efforts to overturn that decision, but their horror over the affirmation of a right to chose abortion took precedence.

    And Eisenstadt was left alone. But it is Eisenstadt—which created the right of unmarried people to use contraception—that social conservatives are now attacking. It is sexual activity by certain groups that is unacceptable. In the early twentieth century, those with poor genetic prospects were the ones whose sexual activity and reproduction was unacceptable. The eugenics movement dominated. Before World War II, many opposed contraception both because it violated “natural law” but also, openly, because it would likely mean a decline of the relative numbers of white people. C.S. Lewis, an iconic figure among conservative Christian intellectuals, whose Chronicles of Narnia have charmed so many children, was at best poorly disposed to contraception because, he reasoned, it represented the tyranny of the living over those not yet alive, as well as the prospect of promiscuity. But another skeptic of “family planning” was that exemplary anti-fascist George Orwell, apparently out of fear about the decline of manliness following the catastrophic losses of the best male British stock in the Great War. Eugenic arguments are now focused on race rather than mental disabilities. Single black women are especially targeted.

  31. Off Topic Again:

    For Pennsylvania’s Doctors, a Gag Order on Fracking Chemicals
    A new provision could forbid the state’s doctors from sharing information with patients exposed to toxic fracking solutions.
    —By Kate Sheppard | Fri Mar. 23, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/environment/2012/03/fracking-doctors-gag-pennsylvania

    Excerpt:
    Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won’t be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will “gag” doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.

    Pennsylvania is at the forefront in the debate over “fracking,” the process by which a high-pressure mixture of chemicals, sand, and water are blasted into rock to tap into the gas. Recent discoveries of great reserves in the Marcellus Shale region of the state prompted a rush to development, as have advancements in fracking technologies. But with those changes have come a number of concerns from citizens about potential environmental and health impacts from natural gas drilling.

    There is good reason to be curious about exactly what’s in those fluids. A 2010 congressional investigation revealed that Halliburton and other fracking companies had used 32 million gallons of diesel products, which include toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, in the fluids they inject into the ground. Low levels of exposure to those chemicals can trigger acute effects like headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness, while higher levels of exposure can cause cancer.

  32. Wrote the following just a few days ago here at Turley’s.

    —–With current technology, women can reproduce using clone techniques.
    —–With some advances in cell tech, gene crossing will be achieved, which gives us a heterogenous gene pool (of women), without other clonal disadvantages.
    —–With additional advances, the production of the X (male) chromosome WITHOUT the presence of men will become possible.
    —–With additional genetic advances, rendering men more pleasurable sex toys can be achieved also. Think of having men smelling like roses. Or in lovely shades of pink skin. Lilac hair colors. Your choice ladies.
    —–And in a corrected society: harems with male inhabitants.

    Such is within th reach of science, really and truly. Less than 50 years.

    So maybe this knowledge of sceince’s potential produces the fear which is driving the uterati just now.

    As an added scientific note on nature’s reality: the male Y-chromosome is the smallest and simplest of the 23 chromosomes for producing humans.

    So remember, it takes very little to produce a man, a helluva lot more for making a woman. That’s nature’s proof staring us in the eyes.

    Nice job, Elaine M.

  33. Has anyone read the comments from conservative web sites? These people don’t realize the women are using humor. They react like every word of the ‘sacred sperm’ bill was to be taken seriously…so of course, they think those women legislators are demented for proposing ideas for men.

    Humor is great, but don’t expect anyone on the right to get it.

  34. Male, female, hermaphrodite, eunuch, irrelevant. Anyone who thinks that introducing legislation is a laugh riot should have their head examined. Why waste your time, when you could just advocate the government leaving everyone’s genitalia alone? Why do you suggest the government put its hands down more people’s pants, even if your just joking?

    Sit down and think really hard about whether or not the next time you decide to use contraception you want someone from the TSA to inspect it before it adorns your junk. You arent being funny, your just throwing out terrible ideas that someone else in power will think is a good idea. If the loss of your reproductive rights is such a terrible plight, why do you feel giddy thinking of ways to inflict that suffering onto other people?

    To look at it another way, if you were black and you saw the police harassing a hispanic guy, would you think it was hilarious that someone else got treated a way you dont wish to be treated, or would you just want the police to stop treating everyone that way?

    And to close out a repeated lesson about why people in power arent goddamned funny

  35. Anytime government gets involved in a doctor patient relationship…. Nothing but trouble is ahead…..

    Seems to me that if a patient is going to commit a future criminal act a doctor is required to inform authorities…. Elaine, if what you suggest from the article…. Then if the act is based on tracking causation then they have no duty to report now….. Stretching the logic but it could happen….

  36. “Frankly” wrote…

    “bettykath – EGGS-ACT-LEE!

    The rest of the civilized world has government run health care and none of those are mandating the sort of insane crap the GOP is trying to pull here.”

    What insane crap is the GOP trying to pull??? It’s obama and his ilk who are forcing obamacare and mandated contraception on the country, not the GOP. It’s the GOP that’s raising the red flags about this BS – other than it’s unconstitutional, lots of folks don’t agree with obama’s BS in the first place.

    You’re upside down, you need to read up on what our idiot-in-chief is doing.

  37. “idealist707″ wrote…

    “Wrote the following just a few days ago here at Turley’s.

    —–With current technology, women can reproduce using clone techniques.
    —–With some advances in cell tech, gene crossing will be achieved, which gives us a heterogenous gene pool (of women), without other clonal disadvantages.
    —–With additional advances, the production of the X (male) chromosome WITHOUT the presence of men will become possible.
    —–With additional genetic advances, rendering men more pleasurable sex toys can be achieved also. Think of having men smelling like roses. Or in lovely shades of pink skin. Lilac hair colors. Your choice ladies.
    —–And in a corrected society: harems with male inhabitants.

    Such is within th reach of science, really and truly. Less than 50 years.

    So maybe this knowledge of sceince’s potential produces the fear which is driving the uterati just now.

    As an added scientific note on nature’s reality: the male Y-chromosome is the smallest and simplest of the 23 chromosomes for producing humans.

    So remember, it takes very little to produce a man, a helluva lot more for making a woman. That’s nature’s proof staring us in the eyes.

    Nice job, Elaine M.”

    Lots of wishful thinking here??? Our best scientists today can’t even produce a simple twig out of nothing in the labratory. And you’ve got them basically creating life without any help. (Hey, I have some oceanfront property in Iowa for sale, really cheap!!!)

    There wouldn’t be females, if it weren’t for males. The males determine the sex of the child. Like it or not, and it sounds like you don’t like it, but man has a very important part in reproduction, and without both, procreation doesn’t happen. Get-over-it.

    Hitchens was warped anyway, so it’s not surprising that he would write such garbage for that magazine.

  38. ekeyra,

    “Male, female, hermaphrodite, eunuch, irrelevant. Anyone who thinks that introducing legislation is a laugh riot should have their head examined. Why waste your time, when you could just advocate the government leaving everyone’s genitalia alone? Why do you suggest the government put its hands down more people’s pants, even if your just joking? ”

    *****

    It’s the GOP who is attempting to put its hands–and ultrasound wands–up women’s skirts and into their lady parts. Women and many liberals/Democrats have been advocating that the government leave women’s genitalia alone…have been saying that women have the right to control what happens to their own bodies. Unfortunately, some members of the GOP aren’t listening to women and keep forging ahead with this extreme type of reproductive legislation, which is being proposed and voted on in many states across this country. Women have decided to speak out and to use humor and sarcasm and mock “male parts” legislation in an effort to show how intrusive the “lady parts” legislation is. I guess many fellas in the GOP just don’t understand the sarcasm–and the serious points that women are trying to make about an extremely important issue.

  39. Richard Hanna, GOP Congressman, Tells Women To Give Their Money To Democrats

    As the only Republican Congressman at a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) gave women an unexpected piece of advice: Give your money to Democrats.

    “I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault,” he told the crowd of mostly women. “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”

    The Equal Rights Amendment, which Congress passed in 1972 but has not yet been ratified by the necessary 38 states, simply says that equality under the law “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the legislation this year in hopes that it would finally become a part of the Constitution.

    “If equality had been enshrined in the Constitution for these past 40 years, I wonder if we would still be hearing today from right-wing presidential contenders that women should not serve in combat, that women should think twice before they seek to work outside of the house, that women should not use birth control, and that women who do are called names that are not fit to repeat here,” Maloney said at the rally.

    Hanna, a pro-choice Republican and co-sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, acknowledged that women’s continuing fight for equality is meeting some resistance among his Republican colleagues. He urged women to become more politically active on their own behalf.

    “This is a dogfight, it’s a fistfight, and you have all the cards,” he said. “I can only tell you to get out there and use them. Tell the other women, the other 51 percent of the population, to kick in a few of their bucks. Make it matter, get out there, get on TV, advertise, talk about this. The fact that you want [the ERA] is evidence that you deserve it and you need it.”

    When HuffPost asked Hanna after the rally whether he was bucking his party by encouraging women to give their money to “the other side,” he said that he wasn’t.

    “I’m trying to help [the GOP],” he said. “I think it’s the appropriate thing to do.”

    Related on HuffPost:

  40. Elaine, they made your point for you. They simply do not understand sarcasm, or the power of sarcasm. The joke blows right over their head, I guess in part because they do not realize they are the butt of the sarcastic joke. Some jokes just write themselves. Some jokes are elected.

  41. lottakatz 1, March 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    “Debates like these wouldn’t even be had if the this country wasn’t brainwashed to feel that insurance=health-care. It doesn’t. Health-care is what happens between you and your doctor and the labs/hospitals/pharmacy’s your doctor sends you to. Insurance is how it gets paid for as is ‘out-of-pocket’ and ‘do-without’. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the two were divorced as they should be. Single payer is the force majeure in the war on women.”

    =======

    What lottakatz said bears repeating.

    The following NPR segment is short and worth a listen:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/03/19/148939368/texas-has-highest-percentage-of-uninsured

    “Last year, we spent around $2,700,000,000,000 on health care. That is more than the entire economy of France or Britain. Our national health care tab is huge.”

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/19/148920950/one-nation-two-health-care-extremes

  42. anon nurse, Because Texas has the highest number of uninsured, the state desperately needs the services of Planned Parenthood. It is the only place that some women can get healthcare. Perry and the republican legislature have eliminated planned parenthood’s funding so these women have no where to go. Some are undocumented.

  43. Colorado House Passes “Personhood” Bill Despite Widespread Public Opposition
    by Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief, RH Reality Check
    March 19, 2012
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/19/colorado-house-passes-personhood-bill-despite-widespread-public-opposition

    Excerpt;
    There is one thing about fanatics. They are so convinced of their righteousness or their invincibility or their power that they are not apt to stop pushing for something even when it tramples on the rights of others.

    That is apparently the case in Colorado where the House of Representatives today gave final approval to House Bill 1130, a bill backed by Colorado Right to Life that would allow criminal assault and homicide charges to be filed for causing the injury or death of any “unborn member of the species homo sapien.”

    You may recall that extremist anti-choice groups in Colorado have now twice tried and failed to pass a so-called personhood amendment via ballot initiative. Egg-as-person proponents want to use these bills to declare that fertilized eggs have the same rights as living, breathing people–and in effect more rights than women–and to make illegal many common forms of birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and of course abortion. It might be fair to ask: What part of *no* does the legislature not understand? The decisive defeats of these initiatives in both cases kinda suggest that the people of Colorado are not fooled and are not interested in eggs-as-people.

    But, you know…. fanatics.

    So the Colorado House, the majority of which is apparently under the sway of the anti-choice groups like Personhood USA and Americans United for Life and others that have created the “model” legislation that feeds these efforts, passed the bill despite the wishes of their constituents.

    ProChoice Colorado notes:

    Although anti-choice backers of this bill claim HB 1130 is an “abortion-neutral” bill, the truth is Assistant House Majority Leader Mark Waller has said of the bill, “The goal of this bill is not to protect women. The goal of this bill is to protect unborn children.”

    In response to this bill, Toni Panetta, political director of NARAL Prochoice Colorado said, “It’s not acceptable to separate pregnant women who are victimized when a crime results in the unlawful termination of her pregnancy.”

  44. Illinois Democrats Use “Poison-Pill” to Foil Passage of Forced Ultrasound Bill
    by Robin Marty, RH Reality Check
    March 23, 2012
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/23/illinois-democrats-poison-pill-mandatory-ultrasound-bill

    Democrats in the Illinois House have found an ingenious way to foil passage of a forced ultrasound bill.

    Poison-pill amendments.

    A poison-pill, an amendment or rule in an agreement usually meant to negate an entire deal, is often used in contract negotiations. Now lawmakers are using the tactic on the legislative floor.

    According to WJBC.com:

    The amendments approved in committee would: tighten regulations on who can perform ultrasounds; require disclosure of the cost of the ultrasound; extend the ultrasound requirement to dozens of other medical procedures; tie insurance coverage of erectile dysfunction medication to that of birth control pills; and require counseling for men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction.

    The original sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Joe Lyons, needless to say is unhappy with what he calls these “hostile amendments.”

    “If you want to kill my bill, kill it on the House floor,” said Lyons.

    “Men’s Health” protest laws have been popping up all over the country, requiring exams for erectile drugs, vasectomy disclosures and so on, but this appears to be the first time a proposal has been used to actively attack anti-choice legislation. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many.

  45. Wisconsin Lawmaker: If You Are Being Beaten, Just Remember the Things You Love About Your Husband
    by Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief, RH Reality Check
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/23/wisconsin-lawmaker-you-are-being-beaten-just-remember-things-you-love-about-yourMarch 23, 2012

    Excerpt:
    If you need any further proof that we are in the midst of a full-on patriarchal biblical-religious war on women, a Wisconsin lawmaker is happy to provide it.

    According to Yahoo News, Wisconsin Rep. Don Pridemore helpfully suggests that, rather than divorcing an abusive spouse, you should try to remember the things you love about the guy while he is beating you up.

    In Wisconsin — yes, the same state where lawmakers have introduced a bill penalizing single mothers for being unmarried — a Republican state representative has come out against divorce for any reason — even domestic abuse.

    Instead of leaving an abusive situation, women should try to remember the things they love about their husbands, Representative Don Pridemore said. “If they can re-find those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help,” he told a local news station.

    Yahoo continues:

    Pridemore — who, coincidentally, is a co-sponsor of Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman’s “being single causes child abuse” bill as well as a controversial voter ID bill that was ruled unconstitutional earlier this week.

    Grothman now asserts that not only is single parenthood a factor in child abuse, women in particular are to blame for it.

  46. Not a Joke: Personhood for Women
    by Soraya Chemaly
    March 22, 2012
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/11/personhood-women-its-not-joke

    Excerpt:
    Melissa McEwan started a Personhood for Women petition suggesting that “a person identifying as a woman and/or having a uterus shall retain all of the full, basic, and fundamental rights of a US citizen as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence” and urging Senators Patty Murray, Al Franken and Kristin Gillibrand to consider proposing this as an amendment in Congress. It’s not a joke. As far as I can tell, it’s an anti-“personhood for zygotes” (fertilized eggs) petition and important since we are apparently, as a country, electing people who are willing to endanger women’s equality, liberty and fundamental rights.

    What are you, as a woman, or as a man related to one, willing to trade when you vote for a presidential candidate who signed the Personhood Pledge or a legislator who supports anti-choice “personhood”-based bills? Are you really going to vote to trade rights for talking points?

    Of the Republican presidential candidates, only Mitt Romney hasn’t yet signed the Personhood Pledge, for which he’s been castigated by the anti-choice movement. Presidential candidates, and those that support personhood, are pledging to do the following:

    1.Give the government the right to seize a woman’s body to protect a fetus

    2.Empower hospitals and doctors, with government support, to force a woman to bear a child and/or have a cesarean against her will

    3.Criminalize abortion (including all circumstances: rape, incest, life-threatening pregnancy, severe fetal deformity)

    4.Criminalize stillbirths in certain situations (who decides which?)

    Examples of these state powers are sadly already available. Case in point: Bei Bei Shuai, has been arrested in Indiana and charged with murder. She, a pregnant woman, became depressed that she attempted suicide. Friends managed to save her, and although Ms. Shuai did everything she could, including undergoing cesarean surgery, her newborn died shortly after birth. A Free Bei Bei petition was recently launched on Change.org. If you want to learn more about the punishment of pregnant women visit National Advocates for Pregnant Women. But, you might want to take an anti-depressant before you do.

    In addition, personhood legislation bans most forms of birth control, including pills and IUDs, and in vitro fertilization. Yes, many of these bills outlaw birth control and shut down fertility clinics.

  47. Doctors Pressure FDA for Nonprescription Birth Control Pills
    By Anna Edney – Mar 23, 2012
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-23/doctors-press-fda-in-push-for-birth-control-without-prescription.html

    Excerpt:
    The Food and Drug Administration is considering expanding the list of drugs that can be bought without a prescription, an opening birth-control advocates are seizing to reignite debate over reproductive rights.

    The agency discussed at a hearing yesterday whether cholesterol, asthma, migraine and blood-pressure medications should be sold over-the-counter, a regulatory change intended to lower costs and ease access to drugs for people with chronic ailments. Reproductive-rights advocates today urged that any expansion of nonprescription drugs include birth control.

    Amid an election campaign that has at times focused on women’s health, and fewer than four months after the Obama administration overrode the FDA’s support for expanding nonprescription sales of morning-after pills, the hearing was another front in the debate over birth control. Women can determine whether they should use oral contraceptives, and may be better off not seeing a physician, said Eleanor Schwarz, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, in a telephone interview.

    “It has been a politically charged topic,” said Schwarz, who addressed the FDA. “When we keep it within the purely health-and-science realm, we understand it saves people’s lives. All available contraceptives are much safer for women’s health than an undesired pregnancy.”

    Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, have attacked U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care law for violating religious freedom by requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage. More than six in 10 respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll — including almost 70 percent of women — say the issue is a matter of health care and access to birth control rather than religious liberty, according to the survey taken March 8-11.

  48. Swarthmore mom 1, March 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

    anon nurse, Because Texas has the highest number of uninsured, the state desperately needs the services of Planned Parenthood. It is the only place that some women can get healthcare. Perry and the republican legislature have eliminated planned parenthood’s funding so these women have no where to go. Some are undocumented.

    Swarthmore mom,

    I know… I’ve been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for decades.

  49. Alaska Rep Says Women Should Have To Get Man’s Permission To Obtain an Abortion
    by Robin Marty, RH Reality Check
    March 20, 2012
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/20/alaska-rep-says-women-should-have-to-get-mans-permission-before-aborting

    Excerpt:
    Alaska is, apparently, itching to be among the growing number of states in which the GOP is proposing or already requires that women undergo invasive, expensive, medically-unnecessary forced ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion. But one state GOP representative, apparently itching for a grand entry into the ol’ boys misogyny club in the lower 49, suggests women should have to get permission from whomever impregnated them if they wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

    Via The Mudflats:

    [I]f you’re not fully convinced yet that Alaska is the next front in the GOP’s war on women, you just have to listen to State Rep. Alan Dick. He said that he doesn’t believe that when a woman is pregnant, it’s really “her pregnancy.” As a matter of fact, he would advocate for criminalizing women who have an abortion without the permission via written signature from the man who impregnated her. He stated, “If I thought that the man’s signature was required… required, in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it…” He didn’t say whether a rapist would be able to send his signature by fax from prison, or not. But he’ll have “peace” and women will require a permission slip for their own bodies.

  50. Kansas to Pregnant Women: “A Little Lie from Your Doctor Won’t Hurt You”
    Written by Jennifer Dalven
    ACLU
    March 15, 2012
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/15/kansas-to-pregnant-women-little-lie-from-your-doctor-wont-hurt-you

    Excerpt:
    It’s what every pregnant woman I know dreads. Going into that big ultrasound, having the ultrasound tech, who had been so chatty, suddenly go silent. Having her do sweep after sweep across your belly without saying another word, until finally, she gets up and solemnly says, “I am going to get the doctor.”

    As far as pregnancy nightmares go, I thought that was one of the worst. But now politicians in Kansas are giving pregnant women and their partners something new to worry about. Buried in a sweeping anti-abortion bill is a provision that would immunize a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient. That’s right. If the bill passes, a doctor who opposes abortion could decide to lie about the results of your blood tests, your ultrasound, your cvs or your amnio. Lie to you so that you won’t have information that might lead you to decide to end your pregnancy or that might lead you to learn more about your child’s condition so that you are prepared to be the best parent you can be to your child.

    Now, I have been working for a long time defending the right of a pregnant woman to make the best decision for herself and her family, whether that is continuing the pregnancy, adoption, or abortion, based on full, accurate information. I thought I had seen just about every manner of government intrusion into those fundamentally personal and private decisions. I thought I was past the point of being shocked and outraged. But as a mother who has been through those ultrasounds myself, the thought that my doctor could choose to withhold this information from me and take this decision away from me and my husband … well, let’s just say it really touched a nerve.

    And, unfortunately, it’s not just Kansas. Other states motivated by anti-abortion zeal are jumping on the it’s-ok-for-doctors-to lie-to-their-patients-to-prevent-them-from-having-an-abortion bandwagon. Oklahoma recently passed a similar law. And, the Arizona legislature is considering a similar bill.

  51. anon nurse,

    “Dick Cheney has a new heart. Maybe he got a real one, this time…”

    I was thinking the same thing. Still, it would be too late. He’s already done damage to this country that can’t be undone.

  52. Republicans who continue to push this contraception platform have failed to realize that the open contempt, disrespect and derision being expressed through humor and sarcasm are genuine. The taunting scorn masks a concrete anger.

    Understanding sarcasm requires a social intelligence lacking in most conservatives who continue to deny that their contraceptive platform is a “catastrophic success”.

  53. re: Cheney

    “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” (Mark Twain)

  54. “He’s already done damage to this country that can’t be undone.” -Elaine M.

    Yes. And some of the damage is still hidden…

  55. Elaine:

    “Women and many liberals/Democrats have been advocating that the government leave women’s genitalia alone…have been saying that women have the right to control what happens to their own bodies.”

    If you are for government run health care then you cannot make this claim. The idea that once government runs health care it would leave peoples bodies alone is wishful thinking.

    Who has been passing these laws? Government has been. Oh Liberals and Democrats will let you have your birth control and abortion but they will have their own pet ideas about what is good for you and how they are going to control you for your own good.

    When people step back and see that it is government which is doing this maybe they will start seeing that limited government isnt such a bad thing. Your Ox is being gored now and you are rightfully upset about it, so why would you entrust government with health care [or anything else for that matter] when that is about all of our bodies from head to toe?

    That is the problem with the left, they are not consistent and pick and chose which liberty killing legislation they like or dont like. Some liberty killing legislation is OK but some isnt. In the end that is what kills liberty. Liberty is all or nothing, you cannot be partially free.

    You dont give up liberty to enter into society you confer power to the government to protect you and your property from domestic and foreign threats.

    Liberals think this is showing how bad the GOP is, what it is really showing is how bad government can be when people with a will to power gain control. It is not just the GOP which needs to be stopped it is people with a will to power who need to be stopped. The Christian Right wants control of your genitals and the left wants control of everything else.

    The left is no better than Focus on the Family.

  56. Elaine M: “Via The Mudflats:

    [I]f you’re not fully convinced yet that Alaska is the next front in the GOP’s war on women, you just have to listen to State Rep. Alan Dick. He said that he doesn’t believe that when a woman is pregnant, it’s really “her pregnancy.” As a matter of fact, he would advocate for criminalizing women who have an abortion without the permission via written signature from the man who impregnated her.”
    ————-

    Rep. Alan Dick eh, some jokes just write themselves :-)

  57. BARNEY COLLIER

    You have obviously NOT studied how eggs and sperm produce babies.
    Nor do you understand genetics either.
    So answering you is useless.
    But will offer this info to help you.

    Cloning has been in use for years, Gene splicing too.
    Gene modification for medical reasons as well.
    The rest is not my speculations, but foreseeable scientific development.

    So take your offer and sell it elsewhere. Let us in the meanwhile develop better ways to defeat cancer, etc. through understanding gene modification.

    And if twigs were producible from eggs we would be able to make them too.
    As it is we have GMOs Gene Modified Organisms (plants) which you eat each day. Get it?

  58. SWM and Elaine M., regarding the postings “Where is the Outrage” and mandated silence on the effects of fracking chemicals.

    The only class more affected by these kinds of bills than the patients are the doctors. I too am amazed at the total lack of push-back by physicians. These are needless tests and (by extension regarding the fracking law) potentially withholding information that could harm or exacerbate the harm accruing to patients. The laws may be written in such a way as to minimize criminal liability to physicians but what about civil liability?

    I bet that unified, strong opposition to these laws and laws like them by physicians would make a difference.

    Man, I remember when doctors were sump’in sump’in, no one messed with doctors.

  59. Bron,

    Some people choose to use their power for the good of the people. Some choose to use it to advance their own agenda. Who is writing the extreme legislation that is trying to take women’s reproductive choices away from them? Who is writing the ultrasound and personhood bills? Which party is attempting to come between women and their doctors?

    Government does much good–and much that is not good. It is up to us to speak out when we don’t like what politicians/our elected representatives are doing. That is what this post was about–women finding ways to address their grievances and fighting for their reproductive rights.

    I’m not like you. I don’t see that everything that government does is bad. I do believe, however, that citizens need to be vigilant about their rights. We have be too quiet and too apathetic for too long.

    P.S. The GOP does look bad. Ask any woman who has respect for herself and her fellow females.

  60. “It is not just the GOP which needs to be stopped it is people with a will to power who need to be stopped.” (Bron)

    If you are going to try and work Nietzsche into the conversation at least do so in a manner that indicates a basic understanding of his doctrine of the will to power.

  61. Elaine:

    “We have be[en] too quiet and too apathetic for too long.”

    I agree with that.

    I know some Christian women who have great respect for themselves who disagree with you. While they agree that forced ultrasounds are not right they are against abortion and against contraceptive mandates on private orgs.

    The left assumes, as it always seems to with any group of people, that women are a homogeneous body and all will think as they do. They do the same with blacks, with Hispanics, with every group. That is because they do not see individuals but only groups of people.

    You can be a woman and be against abortion and against mandatory ultrasounds. And you can also be a woman and be against abortion but want no state control of abortion services either way.

    There are still plenty of women who believe in individual freedom.

  62. Remember Niemöller,

    How can we inject courage in those who crouch in fear? Thank God we don’t have proxy voting, or men following their wives into the voting booth.

    And I am thinking of the women who are descendants of those who survived “nazi” cults though millenia by yelding silently.

  63. I used irony, sarcasm and ridicule for decades. Didn’t change a single mind.
    If it is perceived, it only identifies who the “enemy” is and closes the mind so that all information given is treated as enemy propaganda.

    What can we do outside this circle to counter them? Create demonstrations, yes, thus get media space. But the message has to awaken women, which the above weapons won’t do.

    Better a simplistic message grounded on every woman’s life experience.
    Like:

    “POLITICIANS, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY BODY, YOU CREEPS”
    IT’S MINE TO OWN,

    Or simply:

    KEEP YOUR STINKING HANDS OFF ME.

  64. Blouise:

    I was not thinking about Nietzsche.

    A will to power in this case is someone who wants power over others. That is all. Many politicians want power over others, most seem to be on the left [granted there are right power grabbers as well]. They keep their hands off of genitalia but on everything else.

    I should have been more explicit, thank you for giving me a chance to clarify.

    By the way Rand was not a fan of Nietzsche if that is what you were implying.

    Just to clear it up, here is a sampling of Rand’s views on abortion:

    “I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”

    By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices?”

    “By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices?”

    You may not agree with her but at least she is consistent.

  65. Woosty’s still a Cat 1, March 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Dredd, seriously Dude….broccolli?

    …..broccolli…..?
    ============================
    Sorry I took so long to respond. I have been out working in my gardens (two vegetable gardens, many flower gardens) …

    Anyway, I suppose you are talking about a link within my link above that goes out to Washington’s Blog broccoli.

    That post is fully and completely sarcastic, pointing out that Libyan invasion was unequivocally about oil and world central banks.

    Like Hussein in Iraq, Quadhaffi decided to nationalize oil and remove his country’s monetary system from the dollar and central banks.

    It is called “suicide by cops” in Los Angeles, in world politics behind closed doors it is called “suicide by fucking around with the 1% oil or money.”

  66. idealist707 1, March 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I used irony, sarcasm and ridicule for decades. Didn’t change a single mind.
    ===============================
    How many married minds?

  67. Bron,

    The mandate doesn’t force women to take contraceptives. It requires contraceptive coverage. It doesn’t force religious institutions to pay for the coverage. Many women are asking that contraceptive coverage be provided for them in their health care plans–which they help to pay for. They’re asking that their needs be respected. Why should a woman who works for a Catholic hospital–many of whose employees and patients are not Catholic–that receives government money be denied such coverage?

    *****

    “The left assumes, as it always seems to with any group of people, that women are a homogeneous body and all will think as they do.”

    Who is making a generalization about a whole group of people here, Bron? You are the one who often casts all progressives and liberals in a negative light on this blog. We liberals are not all the same, you know.

    The women who are against health insurance mandates for private organizations would deny women who work for those organizations the right to contraceptive coverage. They would impose their beliefs on other women. That doesn’t show much respect for the rights of women who feel differently–and the rights of women who may need birth control pills to treat their medical conditions…or to limit their families.

    I believe in individual freedom–as do the women who are asking that their rights be respected. They don’t think their reproductive rights and medical needs should take a back seat to the bishops’ demands.

  68. Bron,

    “A will to power in this case is someone who wants power over others.”

    The Catholic bishops and the Republicans who are pushing this extreme reproductive legislation are the ones who want power over others.

  69. Dredd,
    ?????????
    Can’t imagine husbands using it on wives. So maybe vice versa, but Kerstin was much more subtle than that in her controlling.

    Please explain, even it it kills the joke.

  70. Elaine:

    “Why should a woman who works for a Catholic hospital–many of whose employees and patients are not Catholic–that receives government money be denied such coverage?”

    They are free not to work there. Government should not fund health care, in fact government shouldnt do a good many things it does.

    I think all of this which republicans are doing, is just taking a page from the liberal play book of government coercion/force.

    It isnt very good is it? Liberals really dont have a leg to stand on in this debate. Ekeyra alluded to that above.

  71. Bron,

    Catholic hospitals are free not to hire non-Catholics. They are free not to accept money from the government too. It works both ways.

    “I think all of this which republicans are doing, is just taking a page from the liberal play book of government coercion/force.”

    And the Moon is made of green cheese!

    “Liberals really dont have a leg to stand on in this debate.”

    Of which debate are you speaking?

  72. Catholic Universities That Receive Federal Funding Must Provide Access to Birth Control
    Lise Rahdert
    http://www.policymic.com/debates/3864

    Excerpt:
    While the argument that the Obama administration violates Catholic employers’ religious liberty when it requires them to provide contraception might seem straightforward, legal precedent does not support this view. The government has always been empowered to grant some religious exceptions to legal requirements and not others. For example, in 1879 the Supreme Court ruled in Reynolds v. United States that prohibiting polygamy did not violate a Mormon’s freedom of religion, because the societal costs of allowing plural marriage were too great. On the other hand, in 1972 the Court ruled that Amish children could not be forced to attend school after the eighth grade because forcing them to do so violated their parents’ religious freedom.

    Not all religious exemptions from state and federal law are created equal in the eyes of the government. Thus, it is up to the legislature and the judiciary to determine which religious exemptions from existing law the Constitution protects. This is a dangerous situation in which we find ourselves, with the government holding the power to grant some theological arguments more legitimacy than others. Respect for freedom of religion is fundamental, but a religious exception that risks public health by preventing thousands of people from obtaining basic health services should not be permitted.

    One particularly insensitive argument came from Michael Galligan-Stierle, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. He asserts that students who do not like the contraception policies at Catholic colleges should simply attend another university: “No one would go to a Jewish barbecue and expect pork chops to be served.” In other words: If you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game.

    This argument is specious. First, it is difficult to imagine a student being able to anticipate her need for birth control prior to attending college. The requirement that sexually active women transfer to other universities is both thoughtless and unrealistic. Second, many young women take birth control pills out of medical necessity and do not use it as contraception that the Church abhors. Third, the same argument can easily be made against administrators of Catholic universities. If the rule that an institution’s insurance must cover birth control is so offensive, perhaps it is time for university administrators to explore a new industry or at least refuse to accept federal funding.

    The Catholic Church hierarchy opposes contraception while the vast majority of its adherents do not. Nighty-eight percent of sexually active Catholic women use some form of contraception, indicating that the vast majority of Catholic women do not share the official views of the Church with respect to birth control. Mutual respect for religious beliefs is part of what makes America an attractive place for many, but there comes a time when it must bow to the needs of public health.

  73. Statement by President of Catholic Democrats on New HHS Regulations
    Posted on January 24th, 2012
    http://www.ourdailythread.org/content/statement-patrick-whelan-md-phd-president-catholic-democrats-new-hhs-regulations-governing-c

    [Below is a statement by Dr. Patrick Whelan, President of Catholic Democrats]

    As a physician and pediatric specialist, I know that news of the HHS regulations today means that more women will have access to the kind of health care that has been denied to millions over the years because of the high cost. Over 50% of girls and women who use contraceptives take them for reasons other than the prevention of pregnancy. Since the beginning of his first presidential campaign in 2007, President Obama has emphasized the importance of preventing unintended pregnancy as the most moral approach to solving the abortion problem. These new regulations, providing for greater access to contraception, will certainly help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies across the country, and correspondingly are likely to further decrease the incidence of abortion.

    It’s well-established that over 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. Along with other measures incorporated into the Affordable Care Act, these new regulations are part of a concerted effort to support women and to help them avoid unintended pregnancy. Our study of expanded healthcare access in Massachusetts after 2006, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2010, showed that access to healthcare (and contraception) is associated with a significant further reduction in the rate of abortions.

    President Obama has grappled with the deep moral dimensions of these important questions, and I think his determination to help decrease unintended pregnancies is among the chief reasons that he supported these new HHS regulations. Having interviewed Catholic priests who worked with President Obama as a community organizer, funded by the US Bishops’ Campaign for Human Development, I know the President cares deeply about Catholic sensibilities. This Administration has expanded faith-based initiatives through its White House Office of Faith Based and Community Partnerships, and has provided record funding for Catholic efforts such as Catholic Charities – over $500 million in 2010.

    As a Catholic, I am aware that some Catholics will hear this news with mixed or negative emotions, including many bishops. At the same time, we know Catholic women, and by extension their families, use oral contraception at the same rate as the overall population. For over half a century, since the issuance of Humanae Vitae, Catholics and Catholic theologians have taken issue with the Church’s teaching on birth control.

    Today, many will use this decision to further their own political agenda. The need for the hierarchy, theologians, and the laity to come together and discuss these important issues has never been more pressing. This is particularly true at a time when our nation, and our Church, needs informed public debate on a range of moral issues, especially the economy, growing poverty, and the continuing “scandal of glaring inequalities” (see Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 2009).

    It is our hope that both the Administration and the U.S. Bishops’ Conference can come together over the next 18 months to develop policies-perhaps following the “Hawaii model”- that better address the conscience rights of religious institutions while allowing women access to contraceptives without cost. Ultimately, the HHS regulations put the decision of whether or not to use contraceptives at the discretion of each individual woman and her informed conscience, and this is the ultimate test of religious liberty and the protection of conscience.

    *****

    About Catholic Democrats

    Catholic Democrats is an association of state-based groups representing a Catholic voice within the Democratic Party, and advancing a public understanding of the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and its potential to help solve the broad range of problems confronting all Americans. For more information about Catholic Democrats please go to http://www.catholicdemocrats.org

  74. “By the way Rand was not a fan of Nietzsche if that is what you were implying.” (Bron)

    Nope, wasn’t implying anything other than what I wrote.

  75. Dredd,
    Read this.
    http://blogdredd.blogspot.se/2011/04/virgin-momcom-2.html

    There’s a mexican fish which lives at times isolated in mountain streams when the water level is low.
    If not males are present the females replicate, but can revert in the returning of males with high water to sexual replication.
    The intervals are perhaps too short to indicate success evolutionwise.

    But sex was meant to increase the heterogenecity of the gene pool, and thus increase the change rate—-much higher than mutation rate.

    ????

  76. What struck me from the Maddow clip above is the statement by PAMED (Pennsylvania Medical Society) that they have “no opinion” on a medical procedure, abortion.

    Really? Pennsylvania doctors are unaware of the many conditions for which abortion is a medically necessary procedure?

  77. Elaine:

    ““I think all of this which republicans are doing, is just taking a page from the liberal play book of government coercion/force.”

    And the Moon is made of green cheese!”

    So you dont think liberals use government to further their agenda?

  78. Bron,

    We were talking about the Republicans’ extreme reproductive bills that have been popping up in state legislatures across the country. I think the GOP got that idea/strategy all on its own. The GOP also takes a lot of “pages” and model legislation from the ALEC handbook.

  79. Elaine and Blouise

    Many thanks for your comments. One of you posted the Oklahoma poetry. I meant to thank you earlier. It was terrific.

  80. idealist707 1, March 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Dredd,
    ?????????
    Can’t imagine husbands using it on wives. So maybe vice versa, but Kerstin was much more subtle than that in her controlling.

    Please explain, even it it kills the joke.
    ===============================
    I can’t … unless you first disclose whether or not you think “innuendo” is an Italian word for Preparation H.

  81. idealist707 1, March 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Sorry for the forbidden word—–meant. Does not exist except in human minds. Or maybe some fish.
    ===========================
    I am told that mint, ghoti. and meant grow well with broccoli.

  82. War On Women: Anti-Contraception Lit Handed Out At Conservative Conference Headlined By Santorum, Paul Ryan
    By Scott Keyes on Mar 26, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/26/451292/anti-contraception-literature-afp-conference/

    Excerpt:
    MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Republicans have gone to great lengths to cast the war on contraception and women’s health as a matter of religious liberty, but literature handed out at a key conservative conference this weekend had an unambiguous message for women: don’t use birth control.

    Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a conservative Koch-funded organization, held its Defending The American Dream Summit in Milwaukee on Saturday with a few major headline speakers: Rick Santorum, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). All three insisted that the Obama administration’s rule requiring insurance companies to cover contraception actually had nothing to do with contraception, but rather was an attack on religious liberty.

    The next room from where they spoke, however, featured a bevy of literature warning women about the supposed dangers of birth control and telling them that “Chastity is the best choice for single people.” One handout explained that contraception is unnecessary because “Saving yourself for your future spouse is guaranteed to prevent pregnancy before marriage.” Another answered the question “Is it safe?” with a simple “No.” The literature on emergency contraception warned that it could cause cancer before telling women simply, “Be good to yourself. Don’t use the morning-after pill.”

  83. The GOP, Privacy and Reproductive Rights, and the Backlash
    March 15, 2012
    Marci A. Hamilton
    http://verdict.justia.com/2012/03/15/the-gop-privacy-and-reproductive-rights-and-the-backlash

    Excerpt:
    The GOP Presidential hopefuls have let the contraception genie out of the bottle, and there is no stuffing her back in now. Rick Santorum has been frank about his opposition to contraception (and, of course, abortion), with Mitt Romney now joining the chorus with his promise to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood. It is an interesting tack to take, in light of two facts: A sizable majority of the country is not opposed to contraception, and the GOP will need independent and moderate voters if it is to defeat President Obama.

    The debate has done all women a favor, though, by spotlighting the anti-contraception views of some in the Party. It is well-known that the Roman Catholic bishops, some evangelical church pastors, and some Orthodox Jewish rabbis (yes, all men) are opposed to contraception. However, it is very helpful for voters to know that a man who seeks the Presidency is also publicly opposed to contraception. This way, voters can take a full measure of each candidate’s vision of the future.

    The United States has not had an overt public policy devoted to keeping couples from obtaining contraception for decades. The liberation of women in the 60s and 70s was due in no small part to the Supreme Court’s decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which identified a right of privacy that encompassed a right to obtain contraception. In Griswold, Connecticut claimed it was interested in preventing adultery, but of course it was also making it impossible for couples to engage in family planning. And, of course, family planning is essential for women who seek to fulfill their full potential, because a woman who is having one baby after another is far less likely to be able to be a successful lawyer, doctor, or executive. It is simply the human condition that no one can literally “do it all.”

    Here is what happens when the vast majority of women and men can’t get contraception: they have kids. So in the land of the Republican primaries, we are all pregnant, recently pregnant, or just about to get pregnant.

    Today’s models for this lifestyle are the Duggars, of reality TV fame, who have even campaigned for Santorum. In the old days, in Ireland, Irish Catholic families would have 20 children or more. Those Irish women always looked so tired; it seemed a hard way to go through life. But first and foremost, such women never became lawyers, doctors, or political leaders. How could they?

    We have a prime example in our culture right now of what happens to young women who have children early and then don’t stop: the Fundamentalist Mormons. Girls get pregnant soon after menstruation starts, and as often as possible thereafter (for the greater eternal glory of the man). Accordingly, high school becomes dispensable, as, of course, do college and graduate school. These girls may not be barefoot and pregnant, but they are certainly uneducated and pregnant. And if they ever seek to escape their predicament, they find that they lack the skills needed to survive.

    The views of these girls’ families are reflected, unfortunately, in the actions of some state legislatures. In the last year, there has been a sudden increase in new state laws that pile on new restrictions against privacy rights. Utah just passed a law that provides that if there is any sex education in the schools, it must be abstinence-only (despite the many studies showing the inefficacy of such an approach). Utah’s law also mandates that neither contraception nor homosexuality may be mentioned. Moreover, Ohio proposed a bill that banned physician assistants from inserting the IUD, a form of contraception that is disfavored by Catholics and evangelical Protestants opposed to abortion.

  84. MSNBC’s Alex Wagner On Tennessee Abortion Bill: ‘Nothing Short Of Reproductive McCarthyism’
    Video
    by Meenal Vamburkar | March 20th, 2012
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-alex-wagner-on-tennessee-abortion-bill-nothing-short-of-reproductive-mccarthyism/

    On her show’s “Postscript” segment, Alex Wagner addressed Tennessee’s abortion bill that would publish names of doctors who perform abortions, and disclose details about women who have undergone the procedure. Wagner decried the legislation as “reproductive McCarthyism,” saying it would “make Big Brother proud.”

    Tennessee’s House of Representatives is considering The Life Defense of 2012, which, as the LA Times reports, would require reports with “identification of the physician who performed the abortion and the physician’s office, clinic, hospital or other facility where the abortion was performed.”

    While it would not directly disclose women’s names, the following details would be made public: the woman’s county, age, race, marital status, plus her number of prior pregnancies, number of prior abortions, the gestational age of the fetus, and her preexisting medical conditions. The LA Times notes that critics say that “could make it easy to guess identities, particularly in sparsely populated rural areas.”

    Wagner said the bill is intended “to threaten the livelihood of doctors who perform abortions and shame and intimidate them who seek them” — and renders “the pretense of anonymity a joke.” She continued:

    “This isn’t just about small towns and nosy neighbors. For women in Tennessee’s urban and rural areas alike, this is meant to threaten and stigmatize. To let women know known they’re being monitored and scrutinized, and choices about their bodies are no longer private. This is nothing short of reproductive McCarthyism. The sort of government intrusion that would make Big Brother proud. Whether the Tennessee legislature chooses to humiliate women in such a fashion is, of course, up to them. Whether anyone in the Republican party has courage to denounce these continued and mounting attacks against women is another.”

  85. TPMDC
    Sandra Fluke Is Relevant, Say Anti-Health Reform Tea Partie
    Health Care Before The Court
    Evan McMorris-Santoro March 26, 2012, 12:45 PM 6891 112

    A lot of Republicans on the national stage would rather not rehash the battle over Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who galvanized the left last month when she was attacked by Rush Limbaugh after arguing in favor of contraception coverage.

    Not so here outside the Supreme Court, where the justices heard the first day of arguments over health care reform. Fluke was a central topic among the several dozen tea party protesters who gathered outside the court Monday. As a much larger crowd of organized pro-reform activists from labor and other Dem-friendly groups marched in support of the law, one tea partier yelled, “Real women pay for their own birth control!” — a clear reference to Fluke and the fight over contraception access she embodies.

    Others were more direct. One protester carried a sign that said, “Sandra Fluke I don’t want to pay for your birth control,” which drew criticism from the pro-reform crowd. “Do you agree with what Rush Limbaugh said?” A pro-reform demonstrator yelled into a small group of tea partiers gathered around the sign.

  86. Sen. Johnson’s Advice To Women Who Can’t Afford Contraception: Google ‘What If I Can’t Afford Birth Control?’
    By Scott Keyes on Mar 27, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/27/451563/ron-johnson-google-birth-control/

    MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — A Tea Party senator had a curious piece of advice for the millions of women across the country who can’t afford contraception coverage: go online and Google how to get birth control.

    ThinkProgress spoke with freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about the matter this weekend at the Americans For Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Milwaukee. Johnson has been vociferous in his attacks on the new regulation that requires insurance companies to cover birth control.

    Given his opposition, we asked the Wisconsin senator what advice he would have for women in the country who can’t afford the cost of contraception. (A recent survey found one in three American women voters have struggled with to afford birth control.) Johnson’s advice: go online and type in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” “If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country,” Johnson explained. When we asked for clarification, he said, “You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.”

    KEYES: What do we say to the millions of women who can’t afford access to birth control?

    JOHNSON: My wife actually went online here in Wisconsin and typed in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” Came up, bam. If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country. That’s a straw-dog argument. There’s no conservative who’s trying to deny women health care or contraceptives. We’re just saying this is an issue of religious freedom. […]

    KEYES: What do you mean, “if you can’t afford it you can get it?”

    JOHNSON: You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.

    ThinkProgress went online and Googled “what if I can’t afford birth control?” The very first link explained that the entire process, from the initial exam to a follow-up to the pills themselves, can cost upwards of $210 the first month. The rest of the first-page results included two sites informing women that if they can’t afford contraceptives, “don’t have sex,” four sites attacking Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, and one site explaining how birth control is a lot more expensive than many believe.

  87. In Virginia Budget, Senate Rejects Funding For Mandated Ultrasounds Before Abortions
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/27/452952/in-virginia-budget-senate-rejects-funding-for-mandated-ultrasounds/

    Excerpt:
    The Virginia Senate passed an amended version of a two-year, $85 billion budget plan Monday on a 35-4 vote, despite rejecting a Democrat-backed amendment that “would have required the state or private insurers to pay for ultrasounds that will be required of women seeking abortions under a bill that Gov. Bob McDonnell recently signed into law.”

    Senate Democrats were seeking $3 million in state funding to cover the cost of the procedures for low-income and uninsured women, as well as women who were already covered under private policies. Ultimately, the proposed amendment died on the Senate floor a 20-19 vote, with Sen. Charles Colgan voting with Republicans and Sen. Jill Vogel absent.

  88. Texas Radio Station Fires Reporter After He Reported On State’s Extreme Ultrasound Law
    By Guest Blogger on Mar 27, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/27/451811/texas-radio-station-fires-reporter-after-he-reported-on-states-extreme-ultrasound-law/

    Excerpt:
    Scott Braddock, a well-known Texas radio reporter, lost his job last week after airing excerpts from an interview with Carolyn Jones, who was “forced to undergo several medically unnecessary transvaginal sonograms to obtain an abortion” due to Texas’ new sonogram law, and whose personal account of the entire ordeal was chronicled in the Texas Observer.

    According to Braddock’s former employer, KROI News 92 FM, an all-news radio station based in Houston, Braddock was fired because he filled in for a fellow reporter on KPFT 90.1FM for one hour, thus violating a “non-compete agreement,” which Braddock claims to have never signed. “The contract is on my desk, unsigned,” he said. “It’s a real stretch. I have been looking through it and there is nothing I did that would be a violation.”

    As Braddock told ThinkProgress, “The reason for firing me doesn’t add up…I’m a journalist, I don’t take a position on public policy. My job is to put the facts out there…to explore them all and get as many perspectives as possible.” Braddock maintains that although he feels his personal opinions on the sonogram law are irrelevant, he does believe that a serious discussion take place seeing as the law “affects the reproductive rights of every woman in the state.” Braddock said he is “very disappointed” by the radio station’s decision, and referred to his abrupt dismissal as “heartbreaking.”

  89. Swarthmore mom,

    “Elaine, And to think Senator Johnson replaced Russ Feingold in the tea party sweep of Wisconsin.”

    I know. I wonder if the Wisconsin voters who helped elect Johnson are sorry now.

  90. House Advances CIANA, Anti-Abortion Bill, Without Rape Or Incest Exceptions
    By Laura Bassett
    03/27/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/ciana-anti-abortion-bill_n_1383373.html?ref=politics

    Excerpt:
    The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-13 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would make it a crime for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman outside of her home state to have an abortion. The committee rejected several proposed amendments that would have provided exceptions for victims of rape or incest, women facing threats to their health, and grandparents and older siblings trying to accompany their family members to abortion clinics.

    The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), imposes a prison term of up to a year for a doctor who performs an abortion on an out-of-state minor that is not accompanied by a parent. It has 158 cosponsors in the House and a companion bill in the Senate.

    “This legislation is based on common-sense,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement on Monday. “Parents have the right to be involved in their children’s lives.”

    Opponents of the bill argue that it fails to consider the extenuating circumstances in which a teen would turn to another adult — such her grandmother or adult sister — for support, and could force young women to instead turn to unsafe alternatives to terminating her pregnancy.

  91. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/richard-hanna-gop-congress_n_1373381.html

    As the only Republican Congressman at a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment on Thursday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) gave women an unexpected piece of advice: Give your money to Democrats.

    “I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault,” he told the crowd of mostly women. “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”

  92. Elaine, you are a master at synthesizing idiocy in a manner which most aptly displays its, well, idiocy. Wonderful post.

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