Tag Archives: reproductive rights

Hypocrisy Prevails

27 Oct

With the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, we see how hypocrisy and sociopathy prevail in the United States. Trump and McConnell did not even wait 24 hours after the passing of iconic hero Ruth Bader Ginsberg to announce they would rush through the appointment of a new justice.

Well, 8 days before the election and the diagnostic, sociopathic GOP appointed Barrett to fill RBG’s seat. Another slap in the face of Democracy and such bitter hypocrisy. In 2016, eight months before the election, President Obama tried to appoint Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court Justice, only to be blocked by the King of Hypocrisy, Mitch McConnell. McConnell stated that, “he would consider any appointment null and void.”

The people of the United States should be outraged as we witness this hypocrisy and the implications now of a right wing activist Supreme Court– a court that is supposed to be a part of a system of checks and balances. Sadly, we can not differentiate between the Senate and the Supreme Court who do the bidding of the quintessential sociopath, Trump.

We now see the opportunity to turn back civil rights back by 100 years. As a queer man, I worry for myself and husband; I worry of all immigrants; I worry for all women; I worry for all of us who need health care; I worry for all people with targeted identities, as this is the last grasp for white supremacy to ensure that white, heterosexual, cisgender, able bodied, Christian men sustain power and create an apartheid nation.

VOTE! Vote McConnell out. Vote Graham out. Vote Collins out. VOTE!

National Women’s History Month 2016

1 Mar

Women's HistoryMarch 1 marks the beginning of the celebration of National Women’s History Month. My dear friend Molly Murphy MacGregor led the pioneering effort to recognize how women have impacted, shaped, and influenced our world. Molly — always very humble — is the co-founder of the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) and a key force behind why we now celebrate Women’s History Month in the United States. The not insignificant move forward started in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.  Finally in 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity.

Sadly, we still see enormous resistance to treating women equally and equitably. We have no further than to look at the current discourse presented by the GOP presidential candidates to see how far we have yet to go regarding the equitable and equal treatment of women. Never have I witnessed such anti-woman rhetoric in the last 50 years. The false and fictitious allegations brought against PlannedParenthood by misogynist David Daleiden, were nothing less than disgraceful. All subsequent investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. We also had to witness Kansas (R) Sen. Mitch Holmes defending a dress code for women. The dominant narrative continues to exert power over women and continues to create barriers.

We also need to look at issues of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation and all of the intersections there in when looking at all of the insidious ways women are still discriminated against.

We have much to celebrate and much work yet to accomplish.

So Many Questions: GOP Presidential Candidates

10 Aug

GOP VillansI am trying not to be outraged in the wake of the GOP debates, both the Kiddie Table debate featuring Carly Fiorina (Ann Coulter light) and the regular debate featuring a bunch of men who hate women, LGBT folk, poor people, teachers, all people of color (ironic and sad given two of the candidates are people of color), and basically anyone who is not white, male, heterosexual, and Christian. Rather than be outraged, I am trying desperately to understand what paved the way that allowed such utter absurdity that this is the best the GOP has to offer. What are the implications for the United States? What population is the current GOP trying to curry?

This current crop of GOP candidates make Joe McCarthy look almost reasonable. Is this a last cry/plea to protect a white heterosexual supremacist country, or are there even more nefarious forces at work?

Speaking of nefarious: Donal Trump certainly embodies all that is corrupt and soulless.  Hearing him speak reminds me of our Jane Austen’s Ms. Elizabeth Bennett: “The very rich can afford to give offense wherever they go.” Mr. Trump feels free to be a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot because his wealth insulates him. Speaking out against people of color, the LGBT community, and against women, is this who we want leading a nation? Sadly, ALL of the GOP candidates share the same views as Trump. I find it particularly worrisome that there was a stage of all men speaking out against women’s reproductive rights.

I also find it negligible and actually loathsome that not one candidate addressed the issue of race and racial inequities in the United States. Is this an example of a lack of courage, or a lack of leadership, or both? I think it is also worth noting there was no mention of climate change or voter’s rights. Sadly, there was mention of immigration, but the conversation felt quite racist.

While as one can see, I have many questions and concerns, I, do however, offer an authentic invitation. For those that see any viable candidate here, please help me see what you see. Would you want any of these people to be able to appoint a Supreme Court Justice? Help me understand why even one of these candidates should be taken seriously.

The ERA and Oregon

6 May

ERAToday I would like to address the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and Oregon.  My dear friend and social justice advocate, Nancy Campbell Mead, was kind enough to visit with me and talk about how the ERA benefits all Oregonians. I have known Nancy for five years and I am consistently amazed and grateful for her voice and dedication for social justice. Nancy stands in solidarity with those who face oppression. I was elated to learn that she has now taken up the torch for the ERA.  The message of equality for women is especially timely and poignant given that the House of Representatives just voted against equal pay for women.

Nancy, what will the ERA do for Oregon?

 The language of the proposed ERA is simple:

(1) Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the state of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on a count of sex.

(2) The Legislative Assembly shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this section.

(3)  Nothing in this section shall diminish a right otherwise available to persons under section 20 of this Article or any other provision of this Constitution.

Equality for women is not currently expressly guaranteed in the Oregon Constitution.  Nor is it guaranteed in the federal constitution (The federal ERA, though passed in both houses of Congress, was only ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states; there is currently a renewed effort to get it ratified).  By passing the ERA we can make certain that Oregon women and girls have their equality written into the state’s constitution.  Twenty-two (22) states have ERA’s; Oregon does not.  Oregon women do have substantial protections through legislation and caselaw, but neither provide the security that the Constitution provides.  Both legislation and caselaw are much more “fluid” than is the Constitution; legislation and caselaw are constantly changing, but it takes a vote of the people to modify the Constitution.  Explicit constitutional guarantees of  sex equality provide legislators and judges a mandate to treat sex-based discrimination as highly suspect and provide the framework under which laws are written and court cases are decided.

How can we get this on the ballot for November of 2014?

 In order to qualify for the ballot we need 116,284 valid signatures by July 3, 2014.

We need everyone’s help NOW in making sure we have enough valid signatures to qualify.  With our statewide polling at over 82% support from Oregonians we know the ERA will pass if we get it on the ballot!

Here is how you can help us achieve this goal so all Oregonians have equality expressed in the constitution:

Volunteer:

Collect signatures, host house parties, speak to your organizations…  For more on how you can volunteer, email: Info@VoteERA.org

Donate:https://secure.c-esystems.com/voteera/donation.aspx

Nancy, what else would you like to share with people regarding the ERA? How is this a social justice issue?

Having an ERA in Oregon’s Constitution is important.  How important?  Just read these quotes from three of our nation’s leaders:

Former President Jimmy Carter:  He calls the treatment of women and girls “worse than any war we’ve had in history.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:  “If I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment… I think we have achieved that [equality] through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered.  So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion – that women and men are persons of equal stature – I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society.”   Nancy added that:  Bader Ginsburg was referring to the U.S. Constitution, but certainly the same argument can be made in favor of an ERA in the Oregon Constitution.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:   “Some people say, ‘It’s [the ERA] only symbolic,’” Clinton said. “Well, yes, but symbolism is important,  and it can also be a great message and even lead to actions that further equality, so I think if you can have that kind of debate here in this state [Oregon], you might be starting something beyond your borders.”  Nancy added that:  While I do not for a minute think the ERA is “only symbolic” I do agree with Clinton that “symbolism is important”.  Because it has been many years since any state has approved an ERA, Oregon passing a state ERA will hopefully serve as an impetus to get the federal ERA “rolling” again.  As Clinton said, we “might be starting something beyond your[our] borders.”

Having the Equal Rights Amendment in Oregon’s Constitution is important because it will mean future generations of women and girls can read our constitution and know that the people of Oregon believed that their rights were important enough to secure them in the constitution which can only be changed by a vote of the people.  The legislation and caselaw we currently have are generally good, but they are subject to being changed by the legislature or a judicial decision.  Expressly stated constitutional protections are much more secure.

I want to thank my friend Nancy for taking the time to visit with me and talk about the ERA.

Call to Action: Please click on the links above to get involved and stand in solidarity.

Texas: Where the Men Are Men and the Women are Property

10 Jan

G0524WARONWOMEN7I need to thank my friend Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this story. The state of Texas isn’t known as a safe place for women or a bastion of reproductive rights. A new case arising in a Texas hospital takes things to a new low, however.

Marlise Munoz suffered what appeared to be a blood clot and collapsed in her kitchen. She was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to revive her. They informed the family that she was brain dead. Her husband and parents sadly prepared to honor her explicit wishes and disconnect her from life support.

The hiccup? Ms. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant. Under Texas law, care cannot be removed from a pregnant woman. Although medical ethics experts argue that the law applies to vegetative and comatose patients, John Peter Smith Hospital opted for a broad interpretation rather than risk legal action, and applied it to Marlise Munoz. As her father bluntly observes:

All she is is a host for a fetus. I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?

He is absolutely right. The law itself is horrific and violates personal and family choice. That these doctors would take it to such an extreme clearly illustrates how every chip made in the bedrock of reproductive rights can be opened into a chasm.

The hypocrisy is palpable. The hypothetical rights of a non-viable fetus have been elevated above the clear wishes of a woman and her family — and it’s all done in the name of protecting life. Of course, if that kid manages to be born and grows up to break the law, (s)he has a better chance of being executed in Texas than anywhere else in the country.

But that’s all right. After all, Marlise Munoz was just a woman. Sadly, women have more restrictions over the governance of their bodies since 1972.  I worry about the message this sends to both women and men. It has now become the norm for our government to police women’s bodies in ways that would never be acceptable to police men’s bodies.  For more information regarding the backwards trend for women’s reproductive rights, click here.

Update:

According to the New York Times there is some good news for this family: Judge R.H. Wallace Jr. of State District Court in Texas ordered the John Peter Smith Hospital to pronounce Marlise Munoz dead and to remover her from life support. Sadly, the hospital now has the chance to appeal that ruling, which would dishonor the wishes of Munoz’ family.

Hero of the Week Award: June 28, Wendy Davis

28 Jun

Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Some weeks the choice for Hero is abundantly clear. Thanks to regular SJFA follower Voice of the Trailer for nominating the amazing Wendy Davis.

Davis is a Democrat state senator in Texas, a thankless job if ever there was one. When Gov. Rick Perry called a special legislative session specifically to curtail abortion rights, she refused to let his scheme work. The short session was intended to pass a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, create more burdensome requirements for all abortions, and crush Planned Parenthood in the state. Davis, working with a strong coalition that included Planned Parenthood’s wonderful Cecile Richards, mounted a firm plan of resistance.

Demonstrating what a filibuster ought to be, Davis launched a thirteen-hour speech on the Senate floor, refusing to allow the bill to move forward. Her marathon speech required the use of a back brace before she was done, but she stuck it out. Republicans tried a number of administrative tricks to block her, but she carried on almost to the end. When they finally cut her off with moments to go, dozens of pro-choice supporters in the gallery raised their voices in protest, shouting down any action until the clock ran out on the special session.

Gov. Perry has sworn to try again, but the voices raised against him are strong. Having a true leader like Wendy Davis brought new life to the cause. There’s now a movement to draft her to run against Perry — that would be lovely justice indeed.

Honorable mention goes to the four justices on the Supreme Court who did their best to truly represent the people in their work this week. In the devastating ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act, Justice Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. All four also voted to overturn DOMA and to preserve Affirmative Action and worked to ensure that Prop 8 was nullified in California. When the highest court in the land is ruled by an opportunist ideologue, their courage and voices for justice are needed more than ever.

Roe v. Wade: Celebrating 40 Years

22 Jan

roe40thstampOn January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that women in this country could legally govern their own bodies with the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.  Sadly, 40 years later, we are witnessing a vicious attack on women’s health with people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch and their ilk working to take full control over women’s bodies.

Another concrete example of recent monstrous misogyny is Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi. His stated goal is to shut down the last clinic in the state that provides safe and legal abortions. On Thursday, Bryant said:

My goal, of course, is to shut it down. Now, we’ll follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now, related to the physicians and their association with a hospital. But, certainly, if I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow.

Here we see some serious white male privilege at work. Bryant and all of the anti-choice folk seem far more interested in protecting the fetus while demonstrating complete disdain once the child is born.  Furthermore, we have a serious class issue at hand.  For women of financial resources, the law becomes immaterial, for they can travel someplace to have a safe and legal abortion.  What about women without resources? Why do Bryant and his ilk get to decide what is best for women in our country? Those who are anti-choice should be free to live their own lives according to their beliefs; they do not, however, possess the right to impose their beliefs on others through abusive practices.

The power of the courts to clarify rights and interpret law is vital. We should celebrate significant decisions like Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education. But we live in a participatory democracy and must remain vigilant. On many issues there will be disagreements and those who feel their views should triumph over established rights. As we take time to celebrate great decisions, we must also strive to ensure that the fruits of those decisions remain available to all Americans, regardless of class, location, race, or any other factor.

Romney/Ryan: A Tale Of Taxes and Obstructionists…

17 Sep

This is a sad but accurate tale of of hypocrisy, homophobia, misogyny, class war, and racism.  Oh, where to start? Let us start with the lies and hypocrisy of taxes.  Romney still refuses to make public his tax returns (should raise a red flag there people) while demanding that his vice-presidential candidate make public his tax returns for the last ten years — this type of hypocrisy and lack of transparency are NOT presidential material.

The economy: I grow ever weary of the blatant lies spewed from the venomous mouths of Romney and Rand, oops, I meant Ryan, regarding the economy.  More hypocrisy.  Ryan and the ever tearful Boehner are the architects of the obstructionist movement, blocking every jobs bill proposed by President Obama. The GOP continue to engage in a class war by categorically refusing to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans, while proposing to cut social programs such as medicare. (Sorry Granny, but you got to work until you drop.)

Repealing Civil Rights: The Tea Party/Republicans have devolved so significantly that they are now running on a platform that vows to repeal people’s civil rights — how does this not sicken the American people? As though it was not bad enough that Republican males want to own all vaginas, now they are talking about “legitimate rape,” how does this not terrify all of us?  How is this less government control? How is it less government control and fiscally sound to repeal the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and spend taxpayer dollars on defending DOMA?  How is it smaller government to police women and demand control of women’s bodies?

I am genuinely asking here, what is it about the Romney/Ryan ticket that is appealing? Perhaps it has something to do with this rare moment of honest insight from Rick (the ‘P’ is silent) Santorum at the ironically named Values Voter Summit:

We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.

I am truly nonplused. Or is that repulsed?  When did Republicans start to take such pride in ignorance? I have been desperately trying to understand people voting for Romney, for there are a handful of people that I love dearly who are casting their ballots for this duo.  How do I not take it personally as a gay man that I have friends and family voting for bigots that are working to repeal my civil rights, who assert I am less than human?

Republicans in Your Vagina…

6 May

Raise Your Voice!

Thank you to my friend Nancy (a strident advocate for social justice) for inspiring me to write this article. Republicans continue to dictate who we can fall in love with and marry, signing pledges to discriminate against the LGBT community (thank you, Mitt (I hate the homos) Romney). The war they are waging against women increased exponentially with Jan Brewer’s move on Friday.  Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s access to taxpayer money funneled through the state for non-abortion services–way to go Arizona.  Is there anyone safe in that state that is not white, male, christian, and heterosexual?  Again we see an attack specifically on women without economic means.  Planned Parenthood addresses women’s health, specifically women that are disenfranchised.

I saw this video last night and have to share it, for it perfectly captures the Republican War Against Women.  Click here to see the full video. As you will see from the video, government should not be in banks, or classrooms, but it should be in all vaginas.

Happy Birthday, Shirley MacLaine

24 Apr

Happy Birthday

Shirley MacLaine turns 78 today, Happy Birthday.  I have to confess, I’ve always loved Shirley MacLaine for speaking her mind, for her acting career, her politics and support of the LGBT community.  During this time of what is indisputably the war on women, let us read at this quote from MacLaine:

Let us not let them take away these rights for this is clearly not a decision that some senator needs to be making. This is a very personal and private decision between a woman and her doctor. It’s a medical decision and needs to remain in our hands. It is not the place of relgious extremists to take our rights out of our hands. I knew of a man years ago before roe v wade was in place who had to watch his wife die because the law wouldn’t let them abort her baby so they saved the baby and let her die and the child required alot of care and he had two other children. This is not something that the government needs to be included in. This is one more way that the state is trying to worm its way into our very bedrooms, is nothing sacred? Lets get busy and make yet more calls and send more emails.

What is profoundly disturbing is that this quote is from 2003, during the W years.  How sad that things have grown far scarier–thank you Gov. Brewer, John Boehner, Darrell Issa, and all the rest of the misogynists who are supposed to SERVE the people of the United States.

What a pleasure it is to celebrate a strong voice who is not afraid to stand up for social justice.

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