Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “birth control”

How Recent Supreme Court Decisions Harm All Of Us

By EOM Contributor  ladyjustice

First I’d like to provide some information on the recent decisions, then I will explain why I think they are harmful to all of us.

Let’s start with the Hobby Lobby decision first.  The court has ruled that Hobby Lobby can deny insurance coverage for particular types of birth control based on the fact that it goes against their deeply held religious beliefs.  The contraception mandate provided for in the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) had exemptions for birth control coverage for institutions or businesses whose PRIMARY purpose was the promotion of their religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby’s primary purpose is the selling of craft items.

Hobby Lobby particularly opposed IUDs and morning after pills believing that they were similar to abortions.  IUDs are very effective and very popular among women.  They are also very expensive.  Morning after pills are necessary in circumstances where a woman may believe her regular birth control has failed or in cases of rape and/or incest when the woman may not have been protected by any kind of birth control.  According to the 35-page dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, this decision was so poorly written that it leaves the door open for any employer to deny coverage of ANY type of  birth control.  She also says that even though this decision was only about birth control, again it’s so poorly written it leaves the door open to denial of coverage of such medical procedures as blood transfusions and mental health treatment if your employer is a Jehovah’s Witness or a Scientologist.

Now I would be more believing of Hobby Lobby’s “deeply held religious” belief concerning types of birth control if they didn’t import the majority of their products from China where millions of women are forced to have abortions every year due to China’s one child policy.  I would also be more believing of their reasoning if they didn’t invest millions of their pension plan money in pharmaceutical companies that produce the very type of birth control they object to.  Apparently where Hobby Lobby is concerned, having to pay for birth control violates their religious belief, but making millions of dollars by investing in that very type of birth control, and buying their products from China, is in no way a violation of their religious beliefs.  As far as their beliefs go, money trumps religion every time.

Now about the “buffer zone” around clinics that provide abortions.  The court ruled that one particular clinic in Boston violated the free speech of citizens because their 35 foot buffer zone included a public sidewalk.   This particular clinic was built very close to the public sidewalk in a crowded urban area.  I understand the reasoning that public sidewalks can’t be excluded.  But because of this decision women seeking a legal medical procedure at this clinic will now be forced to push their way through a crowd of potentially violent protesters.   It will also result in more clinics trying to do away with buffer zones. Protesters were always able to voice their opinions outside the buffer zone and still be heard.  They claim they want to engage in “gentle conversations about other options”.  If that were true, why have there been 6800 incidents of violence, 2500 incidents of trespassing, 42 bombings, 17 attempted murders and 8 murders at clinics in the last 15 years?  This is not a free speech issue, but it is very much a safety issue.  By the way, the Supreme Court has a 185 foot buffer zone around their building.

Now about how this effects us all:

*Since the advent of the pill, women have been able to continue/finish higher education at a much higher rate than before.

*Having a higher education means that women can provide better financial support for their families.

*Women who can better help provide for their families results in fewer families needing public assistance (food stamps, housing aid, health care) which is provided through our tax dollars, thereby saving all of us money.

*Women who space when they have children and how many they have are healthier and their children are healthier than women who have too many children in too short a time period.

*Having more children than a woman can care for or afford will result in more children going hungry, which in turn will result in poorer education for those children, because study after study shows that kids can’t learn when they are hunger.  So we will have more poorly educated people in our future work force.

*Not being able to afford birth control will most certainly result in many unplanned pregnancies.  Those women will have to drop out of the work force for a period of time, which will financially harm their families and our economy.  When and if they return to the work force will depend on how much they can afford to spend for child care.

Hopefully, men will realize how this effects them, too.  Since it’s primarily women who are responsible for birth control (although I would certainly like to see this change), men will now be fathers sooner and perhaps more often than they would like.

Yes, I realize the court decision on birth control doesn’t mean that women can’t go out and get that birth control.  But affordability equals access.  Birth control can be very expensive.  An IUD can cost up to $2000.  The pill can cost $50 – $75 a month.  If you are a minimum wage worker, that is a significant amount of money.  And as we know, women are paid considerably less than men in the workplace to begin with.

Access to safe and legal abortions is being greatly reduced in many states.  Now the affordability of the most effective types of birth control is being reduced for thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands of women.  It seems to me that everyone should wish for fewer abortions to be performed in this country.  Affordability of birth control can help accomplish that.  But when you can’t afford birth control or when your birth control fails, ending a pregnancy safely for women who desire to, should always be an option.  It’s 2014, but women’s rights are more along the lines of 1950.

I get the “religious beliefs” idea.  I really do.  But when your religious beliefs infringe on other peoples lives in this most personal and private way, something has to give.  The ability to access birth control and a safe termination of a pregnancy will benefit women, men, children and all families.  This is the greater good.  And when your religious beliefs interfere with the greater good….well, you know where I stand.

 

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What Do You Want Your Elected Representatives To Be Working On?

By EOM Contributor

We have so many important issues facing this country right now…what do you believe your politicians should be concentrating on?

What comes to my mind first is access to health care, including birth control.  Access to affordable birth control reduces the number of abortions performed and we can all agree that is a good thing.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has many important parts.  First of all, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition!  The ACA prevents insurers from charging women more for insurance than men.  In some states, women were actually paying up to 70% more for insurance coverage than men.  The ACA prevents insurers from denying coverage for a pre-existing condition (diabetes, high blood pressure…).  The ACA also prevents insurers from dropping your coverage if you are diagnosed with a condition such as diabetes or cancer.  These are all good things.  There may be some kinks to work out, but the ACA is a valiant attempt to provide millions of Americans with access to health care.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

What has Congress done since President Obama was re-elected?  They have voted 37 TIMES TO REPEAL OBAMACARE!  37 times at a cost of $50 million dollars!  Money well-spent, wouldn’t you agree?  Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result.  Yes, our elected representatives are officially insane!

Other issues that need our attention are job creation, tax parity,  immigration reform, equal pay for equal work,  the on-going violence against women in our society (and our military where our female soldiers need not fear being raped by the enemy, but do need to fear being raped by their fellow soldiers and commanding officers), and discrimination in housing and the workplace (women can be fired and evicted for being victims of domestic violence, and gays can be fired for being gay),  and investment in our infrastructure (repairs of bridges and roads which would make travel safer and create jobs), just to name a few.

But what have they actually done?  Well, I’ve mentioned the 37 failed votes to repeal the ACA.  In addition to that, state by state women are losing their rights to determine what will happen with their own bodies (male politicians believing they know more about our health than women and physicians do).   The House just approved a bill that would eliminate overtime pay.  Republicans want to raise the student loan interest rate to 8.5%, more than Wall Street Banks pay.  Now what would be the effect of these things?  Students graduating from college will be saddled with even greater debt.  I don’t see how that helps us.  Women facing an unplanned pregnancy will be forced to have children they can’t afford to care for.  Employees working more than 40 hours a week will get compensatory time, but at a rate of one hour to one hour, instead of pay at a rate of time and one half.  Most people work overtime for the pay, not for more time off.  I’m not seeing how that will help low-income families or anyone, for that matter.

Contact your elected representatives.  Tell them to stop passing bills that only harm us and do something that actually helps us!  And stop focusing on the reproductive lives of women!  

And The War Goes On…and on…and on

By EOM Contributor

The War Against Women continues unabated as shown by on-going comments made by male politicians. First there are

English: Incomplete spontaneous abortion with ...

the “GYNOTICIANS”…those elected male representatives who believe they know more about women’s health than women and their doctors know. You know, the men in North Dakota who passed a bill requiring physicians to lie to their pregnant patients who are considering an abortion by telling them they will become sterile, will suffer life-long depression and may attempt suicide. None of which are true.

Now the House has approved a bill (which will likely not be approved by the Senate) which would institute a nation-wide ban on abortion after 20 weeks. Very few abortions occur that late and when they do it’s generally because of a serious threat to the mother’s health or discovery that the fetus will not survive due to a genetic flaw. Most genetic testing cannot be done until the 24th or 25th week, so this bill would force a woman to risk her life to continue the pregnancy or force her to give birth to a child she know will die within minutes. The reason they have chosen 20 weeks as their cut-off date is due to disputed scientific evidence that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. According to Texas Representative Michael Burgess (who was actually an obstetrician), fetuses have “purposeful movements with their hands, even at 15 weeks, especially if it is a male fetus and his hands are between his legs”. Yes, he actually said that. He apparently believes male fetuses are masturbating at 15 weeks and if they can feel pleasure, surely they can feel pain. While I understand not wanting a fetus to feel pain, can we justify forcing the birth of babies who will die (and quite possibly die in pain) by denying the right to end the pregnancy?

We have all heard about Todd Akins who claimed that women don’t get pregnant when they are raped because “the female body has a way of shutting that down.” Sorry, Todd…statistics show that approximately 25,000 women a year get pregnant as a result of rape.

Several states actually allow a rapist to sue his victim to prevent them from having an abortion. They can even sue for visitation rights and custody. A rapist…getting custody of his victim’s child! How offensive is that?

The FBI definition of rape is “insertion or penetration of the vagina (no matter how slight) with any object, without consent.” Governor Scott Walker has said he will sign a bill that would require a woman wanting to terminate a pregnancy to have a 10″ metal probe inserted into her vagina (medically unnecessary) prior to termination. Watch out, ladies….the state will force you to be raped before you can end your pregnancy! By the way, this medically unnecessary procedure won’t be covered by insurance, adding to the financial burden of low-income women faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

In all but six states, it is legal to fire a woman for being a victim of domestic violence! It’s true…based on the assumption that the woman’s husband or partner who is violent may appear at her workplace. Yes, that has happened, but perhaps the solution is to lock up the violent man instead of firing the victim. There have even been cases where landlords evicted women who were victims of domestic violence based on the opinion that multiple calls to police constitute “nuisances” to the property.

And here is the most recent ridiculous statement, although at least this one was made by a journalist and not an elected official…Wall Street Journal editorial writer James Taranto wrote about the sexual assaults occurring in the military. He said that these reports are “fakes” and constitute an “assault on male sexuality.” Apparently, men are born to rape. If I were a man, I would be highly offended by this. Even as a woman, I’m highly offended by this.

But there are still people all around us that are not paying attention to what is happening to women in this country. Poverty (we still earn .77 to every 1.00 for doing the same work), lack of health care (including access to birth control), violence (1 in 3 women will be the victim of violence during her lifetime) and many other issues. There is one bright spot, though. More girls are graduating from high school than boys. More girls are going on to college than boys. More girls are getting advanced degrees than boys. Education is the key to better lives. Maybe, for the next generation, the pendulum will swing in our favor. Don’t worry, guys….we will treat you much better than you have treated us.

Are Working Moms causing the destruction of America?

By EOM Contributor

A study was recently released that shows 4 out of 10 women are either the primary or sole provider for families with

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...

children.  Part of this is due to loss of jobs for men and part is due to the fact that some men abandon their families. The reaction of the far right conservatives is something to behold.

Women started entering the work force in massive numbers in the 1970s.  Since then, due to reliable and available birth control (another thing right-wingers criticize us for, but that’s another story) women have gone on to college, received advanced degrees and had good careers.  At this point in time, more women are going to college than men, which means they will have better jobs and be able to support their families.

Here is the reaction of two male newscasters from Fox News (interestingly, the first report on Fox news was an all-male panel, similar to the all-male Congressional panel to discuss birth control)  said Erik Erickson: “When you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role…we have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families”, and apocalyptic tantrum throwing “We are watching society dissolve around us!” warned Lou Dobbs.   http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45755884/vp/52062608/#52062608

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/29/fox-contributor-liberals-who-reject-that-men-should-dominate-women-are-anti-science/

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/05/31/unlike-fox-cnn-and-msnbc-turn-to-female-panelis/194282

The Queen Bee is dominant over the worker bees, the Black Widow kills the male after mating, in many other species (including humans), the male does his part to create offspring and then wanders away, having nothing to do with raising the young.  And yet it’s the “single” mothers who are criticized for caring for their children.

Society is dissolving around us because women are working to support their families?  These men don’t seem to understand the alternative:  more women and children living on welfare.  And if that happened these same men would be complaining about it.  Conservatives talk about “family values” but then insult women who try to give their families a better life.

Some women work purely for financial reasons.  Some women work because they want to.  Whatever their reason, these right-wing conservatives have no right to criticize the choices that women make for themselves and their families. There is no indication that women working will cause the destruction of America or American families.  Studies have shown that children of working mothers are just as successful in life as children of stay at home mothers.

So if you are a woman with children, what should you do?  Go out and earn a living so your children have a roof over their heads and food on the table?  Or live on welfare at taxpayers’ expense?  Because in the minds of some of these men, you are a villain either way.  Make your own choice.  Decide what is best for you and your family.  And don’t listen to these misogynistic men who seem to think you are the cause of America’s decline.  You are what makes America strong.

There Comes a Time When Silence is a Form of Betrayal

EOM Contributor

The above quote is attributed to Martin Luther King during his efforts to promote civil rights for blacks.  The quote is

English: Cover of Birth Control Review July 19...

English: Cover of Birth Control Review July 1919 Captions: “How shall we change the law?”, “Must She Always Plead in Vain? “You are a nurse – can you tell me? For the children’s sake – help me!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

again appropriate at this point in time, for the attacks on women’s reproductive rights.

Several states are passing or attempting to pass legislation that severely restricts a woman’s right to choose and even limit access to birth control.  Congressmen and Senators continue to make outrageous and medically, scientifically false statements about women, pregnancy, rape and abortion.  Many bills would force a woman to give birth even if she will die and/or the fetus has a fatal flaw.

Nebraska state Senator Bill Kintner says he doesn’t understand women (and that women don’t even understand themselves) but he has no problem with passing legislation that gives government the right to control women.

North Dakota has passed a law requiring physicians to lie to their pregnant patients who are considering ending a pregnancy by telling them they will be come sterile, they will suffer from life long depression and will be very likely to commit suicide.  No study done in the decades since Roe vs. Wade has shown any of that to be true.

The men running for governor and lieutenant governor of Virginia have both compared abortion to slavery.

Virginia Republican party treasurer Bob Fitzsimmons has said “I’m not a big fan of contraception”.

Rick Santorum said during the primary debates last year that “birth control is not okay”.

Ron Paul said that “married people who use birth control are immoral.”

Republican Bobby Franklin proposed (fortunately it was not passed) a bill that would require any woman suffering a miscarriage without a doctor present to report said event to the police within 24 hours or risk facing a year in jail and a $2500 fine.  His original proposal recommended the death penalty for any woman having an abortion and the physician who performed it.

Bills are being proposed to require women to purchase a supplemental insurance policy that would cover abortions, even though at this time, most insurances already cover abortions.  A lawmaker has compared getting pregnant by rape to a “car accident”,  which is covered by specific insurance.

Representative Louie Gohmart (R-Texas) said that women carrying a fetus without a brain should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth to a baby that will die within minutes.

GOP Representative Trent Franks said that “denying abortion rights is just like ending slavery and the Holocaust.”

Bills have been proposed to consider a single egg a person and a single sperm a person, with all the rights that you and I have.

Bills have been proposed to deny the right to choose to a victim of rape, incest and even to a mother will die if the pregnancy continues.

Several bills have been proposed to prevent insurances from covering birth control.  Amazingly, these bills only propose to stop coverage for female forms of birth control, not vasectomies.

In the midst of all these efforts to stop abortion and limit access to birth control, the GOP is attempting to de-fund social services for low-income families.  Low income families will be even lower-income if they are forced to give birth when an unwanted pregnancy could have easily been prevented.

I have seen many stories on the news and in various newspapers about women protesting these efforts to deny our constitutional right to choose and to make our own decisions about our health care.  What I find sad is that I seldom see men in these pictures.  For any man reading this, I ask you…where do you stand?  Will you stand for the rights of all the women in your life?  Your wife, your sisters, your aunts, your cousins, your nieces and most importantly..your daughters?  Why are you so silent?  So I say again….

THERE COMES A TIME WHEN SILENCE IS A FORM OF BETRAYAL.  Why are you betraying us?

Forced Parenthood – Brought To You By Your Government

English: A woman swats away the stork which ha...

English: A woman swats away the stork which has brought her her child. Caption: “And the villain still pursues her”.  And the villian is the American government.

EOM Contributor

Paul Ryan is at it again.  He is supporting yet another “personhood” bill that would grant all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood to a one-celled human embryo.   Previous personhood bills have been soundly defeated in several states, including Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and socially conservative Mississippi.  Mr. Ryan also sponsored a bill that was nicknamed “let women die” because it would allow hospitals to refuse to allow a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life were in danger.

Not only would these laws, if passed, prevent abortion in most cases, they would also result in banning some forms of birth control.  The birth control pill and the IUD do not prevent eggs from becoming fertilized, they simply prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus.  Medical science does not consider a woman to be pregnant until the egg is securely implanted in the uterus.  Personhood bills would consider a woman pregnant before medical science does.  Do these politicians actually believe the know more about medical science that physicians do?

What is being forgotten in this emotionally charged discussion is the rights of the woman.  Do women lose their rights the moment an egg is fertilized?  Why would a single-celled embryo have more rights that I do?

New Mexico is trying to pass a law that would prosecute rape victims who have an abortion for “tampering with evidence”.  Giving birth isn’t evidence of rape, it’s just evidence of pregnancy.  Evidence of rape includes bruises, scratches and injuries.  Rape kits done at a hospital provide evidence of rape.  If they want to determine paternity, you don’t need to carry a pregnancy to term to do that.  If a rape victim has an abortion, tissue from that procedure carries the DNA of the rapist.  The New Mexico bill would allow prison sentences of up to three years for any rape victim who has an abortion and for the physician who performs it.  If the purpose of this “evidence” is to determine paternity, let’s start by putting the DNA of every male in the country into a national database.  It will be very easy to determine paternity.  Men don’t think the government should have their DNA?  Too bad…women don’t think the government should force us to become mothers.  If the government is going to control the lives of women, you can be sure we will force it to control the lives of men, too!

Wisconsin lawmakers have imposed restrictions on chemical abortions, including a waiting period.  These are abortions caused by taking medication prescribed by a physician.  They are performed very early in the pregnancy, can be done at home in privacy, and are extremely safe.  Wisconsin is forcing women to wait longer to end a pregnancy, making it necessary to have a surgical abortion.  This only adds stress to the woman and her partner.  Surgical procedures are still very safe, but slightly riskier than chemical ones, as there is always the chance of infection.

We are quite possibly heading to forced parenthood.  Any woman who becomes pregnant, either rape or accident, will be forced to become a mother.  There is a flip side to this….men will be forced to become fathers.  How many of you men believe the government has the right to force you to be a father?  Think about it….every time you have a sexual encounter you will run the risk of your government forcing you to be a father.  Birth control fails.  IUD’s, the pill, condoms….all have a certain failure rate.

We need to consider not only the rights of women to choose when or if to become a mother, but the rights of men to make a choice to become a father.  Will the government force these men to be involved in their child’s life?  Will they be strict in forcing them to pay child support?  Several states already give rapists the right to sue for visitation rights and even custody.  Apparently the rights of men, even rapists, outweigh the rights of their victims, who are women.  Now the playing field will be leveled to a certain degree.  Will men stand for allowing their government to force them to become fathers?  I doubt it.  It should be interesting.

The goal of the conservatives in this country is to eliminate abortion.  They may succeed in making it illegal, but we all know that desperate women in desperate situations will try to end their pregnancy.  What the conservatives will succeed in is causing women to die from unsafe abortions.

Conservatives and liberals alike would like to reduce the number of abortions performed in this country.  It has been shown that abstinence only education doesn’t work.  The way to reduced unplanned pregnancies and abortions is to provide thorough sex education in schools.   The states with the highest rate of teen pregnancies are the ones that teach abstinence only.  Teenagers have raging hormones.  They think they’re in love.   If they have the knowledge to prevent pregnancy, most of them will use it.  Sex education and access to birth control.  That’s what this country needs.  Not politicians forcing parenthood on us against our will.  All of us would like to have a less intrusive government.  Forcing parenthood on us?  That’s incredibly intrusive.

The War Goes On…and on….and on…

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Gaetana Drake

The most recent attack on American women comes from a nation-wide chain of craft stores.  Hobby Lobby has over 500 stores in 41 states and employs over 13,000 people.  The chain is owned by the Green family, who has now filed a lawsuit concerning insurance coverage for birth control.

Twenty-six states already required insurance to cover birth control prior to the Affordable Care Act being passed.  There have been no lawsuits filed in those states requiring such coverage.  The majority of the states that have this requirement, have an exemption for “religious” employers.  Maybe I’m mistaken, but I believe that by “religious” employer, they are referring to a business whose basis is religion.  A religious bookstore, for instance.  Most of these states have had these requirements in place for many years, without a problem.  It’s just since the far-right extremists started this war on women, that other employers are trying to deny basic health care coverage for women.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t have a problem with all birth control methods.  They are objecting to the ones they believe cause “abortions”.  That includes the pill and the IUD.  These methods don’t stop an egg from being fertilized, they simply prevent the fertilized egg from implanting itself in the lining of the uterus.  They also happen to be the most commonly used and most effective forms of birth control.

The Affordable Care Act has exemptions for “religious” employers, those being ones whose primary purpose is the promotion of their religious beliefs.  I just don’t see Hobby Lobby falling under that category, do you?

I’ve been in the Hobby Lobby store in Modesto.  It’s a great store.  It certainly doesn’t give the impression of being a “religious” store.  I had planned to purchase some Christmas decorations there.  I’ll be doing that shopping at Michaels now.  I will not spend my hard earned dollars at a place that denies basic health care coverage to the vast majority of its employees.

I wonder what the next step will be?  Will there be a religious test to work at Hobby Lobby?  What other parts of their religion will this family try to force onto its employees?

If you work for a business owned by a Mormon family, will they deny health care coverage for the illnesses caused by tobacco and alcohol use?  The Mormon faith doesn’t allow the use of alcohol and tobacco.

Many people argue that the problem is letting the government mandate what an employer can or can’t do.  The government already mandates that an employer can’t sexually harass an employee, or discriminate based on the many protected categories (race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity….).  In many religions practiced right here in the U.S., females are considered subservient to males.  Would we allow that religious belief to spill over into the workplace?  The government “mandates” many things that benefit us all.  Overtime pay and safe work environments, to name just two.

I have nothing against any religion.  But I believe religion should be practiced in your church and your home.  Not the workplace, particularly when it is to the detriment of your employees.

Women make up 51% of U.S. citizens.  We also make up 53% of registered voters.  I think it’s a safe bet to say they make up over 65% of Hobby Lobby employees.  I wonder how those employees feel right now.

I may be a bit misguided here, but I would think that any employer would look at this from an economic point of view.  I used to work for an employer who did not provide coverage for birth control.  I actually kept track of how many unplanned pregnancies occurred in our workforce each year.  We would cover the pregnancy, the hospitalization, the well-baby check-ups and continue coverage for the child up to the age of 19.  The employer had a “self-funded” insurance plan, meaning that we simply paid a company to administer the plan, but up to a certain dollar amount, the employer paid the medical bills incurred by employees.  We could have saved tens of thousands of dollars every single year I worked there if we had just covered birth control.  We could have saved additional payroll expenses by not having to have replacement workers for the women who were on leave to have babies.

It is so much less expensive to cover birth control than it is to cover unplanned pregnancies.  It’s simple economics.  You save money and you have happy employees because they are able to control their reproductive lives.

Guess when my former employer finally decided to cover birth control?  You got it…when Viagra came on the market!  And why was that?  Because Viagra was something men wanted!  Well, pay attention – women want birth control!

And on a side note – Rick Berg, a candidate for the Senate from North Dakota….voted for a bill that would sentence women who have abortions (and the doctors who provide them) to life in prison.  Life in prison without the possibility of parole!  With no exception for rape, incest or the life or health of the woman!  Do you still believe there is no war on women?

Sandra Fluke – A Young Woman To Be Admired

By Gaetana Drake

If you watched the Democratic National Convention last night,  you had the opportunity to listen to a speech given by Sandra Fluke.

Ms. Fluke is the young woman that Rush Limbaugh called a slut and a prostitute because she advocates for insurance coverage of birth control.  Ms. Fluke was denied the opportunity to testify before a congressional panel formed to discuss birth control.  I’d like to remind all of you that this was a panel comprised of MEN only!  Ms. Fluke finally got to testify before an informal panel and voiced her opinion that insurance should cover contraceptives.

The birth control pill is used not only to prevent pregnancy, but for a variety of medical reasons.  To regulate menstrual periods, to reduce the growth of ovarian cysts, to help relieve pain from migraine headaches, to treat severe acne, and to treat endometriosis.

The argument is being made that birth control is a “recreational” drug and therefore the government shouldn’t force insurers to cover it.  Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are purely recreational activities, yet insurance covers the medical treatment for all the  illnesses and diseases caused by engaging in these activities.

The average woman spends 30 years of her life trying to prevent pregnancy.  Birth control is preventive health-care, just like mammograms and pap smears and high blood pressure screenings.

If you don’t believe there is truly a war on women in this country, you simply haven’t been paying attention.  Consider the following:

*Personhood amendments proposed that would ban the birth control pill and the IUD, the most commonly used and most effective methods of contraception.

*Todd Akin (R) believing that women don’t get pregnant as a result of “legitimate” rape because the female body can “shut down” that function.

*Steve King (R) saying “I’ve never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

*Federal Judge James Leon Holmes, a Bush appointee, said in an article published circa 1997: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”

*Dr. Richard Dobbins, who works in the emergency department at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton, Ohio told the Columbus Dispatch in 2006, “I think that life begins when the chromosomes of the sperm and egg line up”.  Dobbins also questioned the need for emergency contraception in rape cases, saying that most women “are not fertile during assault or do not become pregnant because the trauma prompts a hormonal response that prevents ovulation.”   I wonder….do rapists only rape women who are not in their “fertile period”?

*In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge told the House Appropriations Committee:  “The facts show that people who are raped – who are truly raped – the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant”.

*Representative Stephen Freind, (R-Delaware County) said “the odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are ‘one in millions and millions’.  The reason, he said, “is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to ‘secrete a certain secretion’ that tends to kill sperm.”

*Texas oilman Clayton Williams once ran against Ann Richards for Governor of Texas.  During the campaign he said “Rape is like the weather, if it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

*Idaho Senator Chuck Winder (R) has made this unusual comment. “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that the physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.”  Apparently in his mind, it’s part of “normal relations in a marriage” for a husband to rape his wife.

*The GOP has finalized it’s  party platform for this election.  It includes NO exception for federal funding for abortions for victims of rape or incest.  They are finally being honest enough to tell us that their goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Mitt Romney has said he would sign a “personhood amendment” which would effectively ban the birth control pill and the IUD.  These are the most commonly used and most effective forms of birth control.

*Requiring a trans-vaginal probe (unpaid by insurance because it’s not medically required) prior to an abortion.  One male politician had the audacity to say if a woman didn’t want to watch, she could “just close her eyes.”

*Wanting to change the Affordable Care Act to allow any employer to suddenly decide he has a “moral” objection to birth control and deny coverage.

*Requiring three visits to a doctor prior to an abortion.

*Failing to renew the Violence Against Women Act, because it now includes protections for lesbians, illegal immigrants and mail-order brides.

*Censoring elected female representatives for daring to say “vagina” while men are passing legislation that controls our vaginas.

*Requiring physicians to lie to their pregnant patients about the effects of abortion, saying that it causes a higher rate of suicide (no study has ever shown that) and that having an abortion can cause cancer.  The truth is that carrying a pregnancy to term while you’re still a young woman tends to prevent cancer, but that does not equate to “having an abortion may cause cancer.”

*Re-defining “rape” to “forcible” rape in a proposed bill that would deny any federal funding of abortions for rape victims.  Date rape, statutory rape, rape in a case where a woman is under the influence and unable to give consent….no longer considered rape in their minds.

*Representative Mike Kelly (R-Fl), stated “I know in your mind you can think of two times America was attacked.  The first was December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day.  The second was 9/11, the day we were attacked by terrorists.  I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom – that is a ‘day that will live in infamy’ along with the other dates”.  Representative Kelly believes America has been attacked because insurances are now required to cover birth control.

*Republicans voted down the Fair Pay Act and Mitt Romney has said he would repeal the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  Mind you, this act isn’t forcing employers to provide equal pay for equal work, it just gives women a legal recourse if they find they have been unfairly paid.

*Republicans have refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.

*Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (R) has complained that the republican party is having to “cater” to women.

Ms. Fluke was viciously attacked by Rush Limbaugh over the course of several days.  He repeatedly called her a slut and a prostitute, and even suggested that she should videotape her sexual activities so he could watch them.  As a result of his vicious attacks, she received an incredible amount of support from the average American.  Every one of us could imagine our daughter being verbally attacked for something as simple as standing up for what’s right.

Sandra Fluke is a graduate of Georgetown Law School.  She is intelligent.  She is articulate.  She is proud.  She walked onto the stage at the DNC with her head held high and received a standing ovation.  She stood up to the male chauvinists like Rush Limbaugh and showed them that they could not silence her.

She is a young woman to be admired.

Rapists Have Visitation and Custody Rights??

By Gaetana Drake

We’ve all heard the recent comment by Representative Todd Akin (R-Missouri) who believes that women don’t get pregnant as a result of rape, because “the female body has a way of shutting down that function.”  In case you needed more proof that that statement is incredibly ignorant, consider this – 31 states allow rapists to sue for visitation and custody rights concerning the child they fathered during a rape!

Can you imagine the terror a woman feels while she is being raped?  If she goes to the hospital for a rape exam, she is violated again.  The actual collection of evidence (swabs from every orifice) and a close inspection of her body for bruising and other injuries, takes several hours.  During this exam a law enforcement officer is in the exam room to observe the collection of evidence.  Imagine how humiliating this is.  Then there is the stigma attached to being raped.  I grew up during a time when it was believed that “good girls don’t get raped”, or “she was asking for it, look at the clothes she was wearing.”  And after the exam, she has to wait to see if she became pregnant.  Many hospitals won’t provide her with the emergency contraception pill, due to their “religious” beliefs, and the official party platform of the GOP states that there will be no exception for abortions due to rape or incest.

So after going through all that, imagine this victim finding out that she is, in fact, pregnant.  Now comes the turmoil every woman faces when she has an unwanted pregnancy.  Do I abort?  Do I have the child of my rapist?  Many women choose to continue the pregnancy to term and keep the child.  Now….she finds out that her rapist can take her to court to win custody and/or visitation rights!

After going through such a horrible experience, but rising above it and deciding to raise her child, she can now be tethered to her rapist for the next 18 years, until the child is an adult.  He will come to her house to pick up the child.  He will come to her house to drop the child off.  He will be involved in holiday and school activities.  He will be a constant presence in her life that reminds her of the worst thing that ever happened to her.  It must be like being raped over and over for 18 years.

We all know that rape isn’t about sex.  It’s about power and control.  After fathering a child through rape, the rapist is now able to exert power and control over his victim for another 18 years. 

Who in their right mind can possibly believe that it is healthy for a child to spend time with a rapist?  I can only believe that some of these “rights” for rapists were decided by the same kind of men who have no compassion for rape victims, like many of the Republican elected officials.

It’s estimated that 54% of rapes in this country go unreported.  Now I understand why.  Studies have shown that women who live in the states listed below, often choose not to press charges against their rapist, in order to avoid the possibility of the man suing for custody or visition:

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, maryland, Massachussetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Can you believe that in America, rapists have such rights?

Republicans Are Showing Their True Colors

By Gaetana Drake

We’ve all heard the outrageous comments by Representative Todd Akin (R-Missouri), claiming that women don’t get pregnant as a result of a legitimate rape because “the female body has a way of shutting down that function.”  First of all, I wonder what a “legitimate” rape is….it seems to exclude statutory rape and incest.  Did Mr. Akin skip science and health ed class?  Here are some other ridiculous comments by republicans:

Representative Steve King (R) has not spoken out against Mr. Akin because he seems to agree with him.  He recently told an Iowa reporter that “I’ve never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest”.  A 1996 review by the Guttmacher Institute found that “at least half of all babies born to minor women are fathered by adult men.”  That would be the statutory rape that Mr. King doesn’t believe causes pregnancies.

Federal Judge James Leon Holmes, a Bush appointee, said in an article published circa 1997: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”

Dr. Richard Dobbins, who works in the emergency department at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton, Ohio told the Columbus Dispatch in 2006, “I think that life begins when the chromosomes of the sperm and egg line up”.  Dobbins also questioned the need for emergency contraception in rape cases, saying that most women “are not fertile during assault or do not become pregnant because the trauma prompts a hormonal response that prevents ovulation.”   I wonder….do rapists only rape women who are not in their “fertile period”?

In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge told the House Appropriations Committee:  “The facts show that people who are raped – who are truly raped – the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant”.

Representative Stephen Freind, (R-Delaware County) said “the odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are ‘one in millions and millions’.  The reason, he said, “is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to ‘secrete a certain secretion’ that tends to kill sperm.”

 

Texas oilman Clayton Williams once ran against Ann Richards for Governor of Texas.  During the campaign he said “Rape is like the weather, if it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

Idaho Senator Chuck Winder (R) has made this unusual comment. “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that the physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.”  Apparently in his mind, it’s part of “normal relations in a marriage” for a husband to rape his wife.

The GOP has finalized it’s  party platform for this election.  It includes NO exception for federal funding for abortions for victims of rape or incest.  They are finally being honest enough to tell us that their goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Mitt Romney has said he would sign a “personhood amendment” which would effectively ban the birth control pill and the IUD.  These are the most commonly used and most effective forms of birth control.

Paul Ryan along with Todd Akin (women can shut down that function) co-sponsored a nation-wide personhood amendment that tried to outline the differences in types of rape.  Statutory rape, incest and forcible rape are all different categories in their minds.  Forcible rape is the only kind where they would allow the woman to have an abortion.  The wording in their proposal also required a woman to be able to “prove the rape was against her will.”  Will America soon be like Pakistan where it isn’t rape unless it’s witnessed by four other men?

Women still earn .77 to every 1.00 a man earns for doing the same job.  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are against the Fair Pay Act.  Imagine what women’s earnings will be if they are forced to give birth every year or two….how can a woman hold down a job when she is constantly bearing children?  I know, I know…the simple answer is “don’t have sex.”  How many relationships will survive that?  Sex is a natural part of being a human being.

If the Romney/Ryan ticket wins in November, it won’t be long before women are forced out of their jobs by constant child-bearing, and they and their children live in severe poverty.  Oh yeah..don’t forget..they would like to eliminate federal funding to help low-income women and children, too.

Many of these men claim that it is immoral of us to force conscientious taxpayers to fund abortions in these cases.  They have no concern about conscientious taxpayers who object to war but are forced to pay for it.

Is this really the kind of America we want?

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