Tag Archives: contraception

Bigot of the Week: January 11, Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black of Tennessee

11 Jan
Bigots of the Week

Bigots of the Week

An elephant may never forget but it appears that many Republican members of Congress never learn. Two members of the House of Representatives, both women from Tennessee, have decided to renew the war on women and attack Planned Parenthood on the first day of the new Congress–always sad to see internalized misogyny. Ignoring the election’s clear message in support of policies that promote women’s health and the fact that the vast majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood for its breadth of services, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Diane Black have both introduced bills to block use of government funds for organizations that provide abortions as even a small part of their operations.

Rep. Blackburn is the Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the committee with jurisdiction over the issue. She lifted a failed bill from the last Congress written by former Rep. Mike Pence (R – IN). (He went on to be elected Governor of Indiana, the home of Richard Mourdock. Not a woman-friendly state…) The bill — clearly targeting Planned Parenthood — would restrict the use of Title X money. Says Blackburn,

As a woman, I believe America deserves better than abortion.

Rep. Black purloined the same Pence-penned poison pill and put it forth herself. Even being from the same state and the same party, these two couldn’t communicate around a single bill, apparently. In the name of scoring Tea points, they both ignore the wide range of services most health care providers offer. They ignore the fact that without Planned Parenthood millions of women would have little or no access to critical health services and that the impact would be particularly hard on minorities, the poor, and rural women — all populations present in large numbers in Tennessee. How pathetic to see such self-loathing women pursue such a hateful agenda.

Dishonorable mention this week comes courtesy of my friend Jennifer Carey, who pointed me to some additional misogyny. Odious evangelist Pat Robertson managed to outdo himself in a broadcast this week. Responding to a question from a youth who was concerned that his father was spending too much time online, Robertson laid the blame firmly on the mother.

It may be your mom isn’t as sweet as you think she is. She may be kind of hard-nosed […] It’s easy to blame the mother! You always have to keep that spark of love alive. It just isn’t something to just lie there. ‘Well, I’m married to him so he’s got to take me slatternly looking.’ You’ve got to fix yourself up, look pretty.

Just when you thought he couldn’t sink any lower, Robertson manages to astound again; this man is one big ball of crazy and hate.

Bigot of the Week Award: January 4, Hobby Lobby

4 Jan
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

Sadly, ringing in the new year doesn’t stop the flow of ugly behavior that needs to be called out. This week’s winner managed a triple whammy with misogyny, religious hypocrisy, and anti-Obama (talk about racist undertones) shrieking all in one lawsuit.

Hobby Lobby is a chain that operates over 540 craft and hobby stores in 41 states. It was founded by evangelical fundamentalist David Green and is privately owned by his family. As with any other major employer, they are bound by Federal laws regarding employment. That includes the insurance aspects of the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide coverage for a wide range of birth control options. There is an exemption for very small businesses and churches.

The Green family sued, maintaining that the law infringes their religious freedom. They’re playing the victim card, making the usual faulty claim that how they worship should be related to how they operate their PRIVATE SECULAR business. The Greens can believe whatever they want; what they cannot do is impose those religious beliefs on their employees. By choosing to operate in the public sphere, they are bound by laws designed for the public good. This is true of the family’s other holdings, including the Mardel chain of bookstores.

How typical of far too many false christians to whine about their rights while trying to suppress the rights and freedoms of others. How dare the women that work for them want fair and equal access to health care? How dare the President try to provide that care in a fair and reasonable way to all Americans, regardless of how they spend their Sunday mornings?

The Green’s lawsuit has been blocked at every level. They petitioned the Supreme Court, but Justice Sotomayor denied the petition, stopping the case. Right wing groups are making them out to be martyrs, mounting “Hobby Lobby Days” like the circus that they spun out of Chik-Fil-A’s hate sandwiches. Hobby Lobby says it will lose $1.3 million per day for refusing to implement the law. There’s an easy solution: realize that you sell bedazzlers and don’t operate churches. Treat your employees with respect and human decency. I think that’s what Jesus just might do.

Number 3 Bigot of the Year 2012: GOP Rape Apologists

29 Dec
Number 3 Bigots of 2012

Number 3 Bigots of 2012

There were plenty of examples of the Republican War on Women in 2012, ranging from battles over contraception to the stunning failure to renew the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. Nothing was quite so vile, however, as the shockingly repeated misogyny regarding rape. No fewer than five candidates for Federal office said something appalling about rape victims, often relating to shutting down a woman’s right to choose.  For a party that consistently demonstrated how much it HATES women, the GOP was determined to own every vagina in the land.

The most famous are Senate wannabes Todd Akin (MO) and Richard Mourdock (IN). Let’s take a quick look at the whole fool’s gallery.

  • “The right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, […] gift of human life and accept what God is giving to you.” Presidential candidate Rick Santorum (PA), Jan. 20
  • “If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room; I would give them a shot of estrogen.” Rep. and Presidential candidate Ron Paul (TX), Feb. 3
  • “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Senate candidate Todd Akin (MO), Aug. 20
  • “It was really an issue of the Catholic church being forced to offer those pills if the person came in with an emergency rape.” Senate candidate Linda McMahon (CT), Oct. 15
  • “When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (IN), Oct. 23

Sadly,the media largely overlooked the first two, but Akin’s bizarre comment went viral and sunk his nearly sure thing candidacy. The GOP tried to get him out of the race, but he stayed put. With all their hopes for the Senate evaporating, the GOP leadership stuck by Mourdock. That included another lovely “gift from God” quote from Sen. John Cornyn (TX) and an endorsement from Mitt Romney. Happily for the nation, sensible voters said no to false KKKristianity and blatant misogyny.

Dishonorable mention for misogyny even beyond the GOP standard goes to radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh. Not content to rail against the contraceptive provisions in the Affordable Care Act, he targeted Sandra Fluke, a woman testifying before Congress about the need for contraceptive coverage. Limbaugh called her a slut and raved about contraception in a remarkably ignorant way, even for him. He devoted days of his show to the topic, resulting in a costly backlash as sponsors fled from his toxic spew.

Women’s History Month 2012: Sandra Fluke

4 Mar

The past few weeks have been a hotbed of action in the evolving tapestry of women’s history. The Republican war on women has amped up to a fever pitch with efforts to restrict birth control, make abortions more difficult, force invasive procedures, and defund women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood. When the Obama administration followed through on its promise to require employers to include contraception in their insurance plans, Republicans went nuts (okay even more nuts). Even though the plan allowed a narrow exemption for religious institutions and a method of accommodation for employers with religious affiliations (like some hospitals and community centers), the GOP trotted out their old “war on religion” lies. The odious Rep. Darrell (I hate women and gays) Issa held hearings about the mythical violation to religious freedom that the contraception rules created, inviting not one woman to testify about women’s health–talk about policing women’s eggs!. The ranking Democrat on the committee holding the hearings, Rep. Elijah White, asked to invite a woman to testify and was rebuffed. That woman was Sandra Fluke.

She was an exellent choice. A third year law student at Georgetown University, Fluke had already racked up impressive credentials in working for women’s rights. Since obtaining her degree in Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from Cornell in 2003, she has worked tirelessly against domestic violence and human trafficking. While working at Sanctuary for Families in New York, she she co-founded the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which after a twenty-year stalemate, successfully advocated for legislation granting access to civil orders of protection for unmarried victims of domestic violence, including LGBTQ victims and teens. At Georgetown, Fluke is the Development Editor of the Journal of Gender and the Law, and served as the President of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and the Vice President of the Women’s Legal Alliance. In her first year, she also co-founded a campus committee addressing human trafficking. It’s no wonder Issa didn’t want her near a microphone.

The Democrats, showing delightful backbone for a change, held their own hearing and allowed Fluke to testify. She told a moving story about a colleague who lost an ovary due to the lack of birth control coverage in her insurance. What did Sandra Fluke get for her efforts? An attack by Rush Limbaugh. In a diatribe that is mean-spirited and idiotic even by his own standards, the gasbag called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” just for mentioning birth control. When he was called out for his bad behavior, Limbaugh upped the ante and became even more offensive on two successive broadcasts. Not one Republican legislator or leader has offered more than a tepid response to Limbaugh’s ranting, certainly no repudiation. As a result, Fluke’s grace and eloquence have helped rip the mask off the Republican myth of victimhood and shown the true misogyny that lurks behind so many of their legislative agendas. She even managed to squeeze a very rare (if weak) apology from Limbaugh. What does she have to say about the whole situation?

Initially, you’re stunned, but then very quickly, you’re outraged, because this is historically the kind of language that is used to silence women, especially when women stand up and say that these are their reproductive health care needs and this is what they need.

Well said, Ms. Fluke. Thank you for your role in removing that silence and adding a ray of hope to women’s history.

Sebelius Flip-flops on Women’s Rights

8 Dec

Whither Women's Rights

In a shocking move yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put junk science ahead of women’s rights. She announced that HHS would reject a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration that Plan B (the so-called “Morning After” Pill) be made available to all women without a prescription. It is currently available over the counter to women over 17.  Rather than extend the common-sense measure of OTC availability to any woman or girl who might need this medication, proven to be safe, Sebelius offers this bizarre illogic:

However, the switch from prescription to over the counter for this product requires that we have enough evidence to show that those who use this medicine can understand the label and use the product appropriately. […]

So we’re going down the road of insisting patients take a reading test to get their medication? What about the 40-year-olds who can’t “understand the label?” What about potentially lethal medication like diet pills that are available OTC to girls of any age? This decision makes no sense and retains a dangerous barrier to getting medication that needs to be taken as promptly as possible.

What’s up, Madame Secretary? After making a strong move for women’s health care just four months ago, why this strange, dangerous decision. Make the right move and change your stand now!

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 23

23 Mar

Honoring Joycelyn Elders

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Joycelyn Elders.  Elders was the second woman and the first African American US Surgeon General. Elders was probably the most honest and practical Surgeon General to date. Unfortunately, she became a lightning rod for criticism, when she said it was okay to masturbate. (I’m sure not one person in the GOP have ever masturbated–we know Christine O’Donnell never has.) Elders also said we need to open up conversations regarding the legalization of drugs and distribute contraception in schools to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

President Clinton, again capitulated to the GOP and dismissed Elders after only 15 months in her position as Surgeon General. When asked if she would do things differently now, Elders responded:

“If I had to do it all over again today, I would do it the same way,” she told CNN in a recent interview. “I felt I did it right the first time.”

Imagine how much progress could have been made under her helm? How many STDs could have been prevented, thus a significantly less draw on the health system. Imagine the tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana? I applaud Elders for her insight, wisdom, and the courage to speak the truth.

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