Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “republicans”

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.

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Why Are Men So Silent?

EOM Contributor

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994.  Since then it has reduced the rate of domestic violence by 58%.  This has saved countless lives.  It is up for re-authorization now and has been revised to provide protection for Native America women, gays and lesbians (yes, the act actually protects men against domestic violence, too), mail order brides and illegal immigrants.  The Republicans are refusing to approve re-authorization of the act.  Apparently, the four groups of people mentioned above aren’t worth protecting.

The Republicans are also fighting any discussion of reasonable gun control.  They, along with the NRA, are trying to make you believe that all guns will be removed from your possession.  President Obama has outlined 24 proposals to reduce gun violence.  None of them involve taking away your guns.  Many people believe we need even more guns to prevent a tyrannical take-over by our military, pushed by our own government.  There are 330 million Americans.  There are approximately 310 firearms in this country.  Do you really believe we don’t already have the firepower to stand-up and defend ourselves?

Yesterday we learned that a hero of last year’s London Olympics has been charged with premeditated murder in his hometown of Pretoria, South Africa.   Oscar Pistorius, also known as “Blade Runner”, was the winner of a silver medal.  Oscar shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp, four times.  He claimed he believed she was an intruder.  Police report that there had been a history of domestic violence between Oscar and Reeva.   Statistics show that a victim of domestic violence is eight times more likely to die if there is a gun in the home.   64% of the women who are murdered each year, die at the hands of a family member or intimate partner.  In most of these murders there is a history of police reports and trips to the ER, yet even then guns are not removed from the home.  Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death and that of your spouse and children.  If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owing neighbors and their families to die in a gun related accident, suicide or homicide.

In the two months since the Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over 1000 deaths by gunshot in America.  When will we stop the madness?

With all the news media discussing gun control, violence and other issues that concern women (reproductive rights), I find little discussion locally.  I work in the hospitality field and have the opportunity to talk to many people.  The women I’ve spoken to are vocal in their support for reasonable gun control and reproductive rights, the need to reduce violence in this country and particularly violence against women.  The men are strangely silent, other than to say they refuse to give up their guns.  Do they not have mothers, wives, sisters or daughters?  Do they not care that 1 of 3 American women will be the victim of a violent attack at some point in her life?  Are the men in your life talking about these issues, or are they just “women’s issues?”

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?

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?

Do You Still Believe There’s No War On Women?

By Gaetana Drake

Here is a list of what the Republican party has done or is trying to do nation-wide and/or in Republican-led states:

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.”

Passing “Personhood Amendments” which would effectively ban the pill and IUDs (the most effective and commonly used forms of birth control.)

Refusing to let women testify to the all-male congressional panel on birth control.

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.

Making comments that there’s no need for insurance to cover birth control because it isn’t expensive.  To use the pill for 30 years (the amount of time the average American woman spends trying to prevent pregnancy) can cost $67,000.

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.

And now, one of the most outrageous of all statements a politician has ever made – Congressman Todd Akin (R-Missouri) said, while discussion abortions in the case of rape – “what I understand from doctors I’ve talked to is that it’s rare for a woman to get pregnant as a result of rape – because the female body has a way of shutting down that process to avoid getting pregnant”. 

RAINN (Rape, abuse, incest national network) reports that 1 in 15 rape victims will become pregnant.)  There are an estimated 400,000 rapes (including the 54% that go unreported) annually.  That would mean that approximately 27,000 pregnancies as a result of rape every year.

I guess those 27,000 women and girls forgot to “shut down” that function.

So, I ask again….do you still believe there’s no war on women?

Is Robert Bork Right For America?

By Gaetana Drake

It’s good to understand one of the most important reasons we should all vote and that is because the President of the United States nominates Supreme Court Justices.  The Supreme Court makes decisions that effect our everyday lives.

Mitt Romney has chosen Robert Bork as co-chair of his Judicial Advisory Committee.  This means Mr. Bork will be suggesting to Mr. Romney names of possible future Supreme Court Justices and federally appointed judges throughout the country.   Mr. Bork was nominated by President Reagan to be a member of the Supreme Court, but the nomination was not approved. 

Here are some of his beliefs:

In 1963 he wrote an article for The New Republic called “Civil Rights – A Challenge”.  He claimed that laws requiring desegregation were a violation of the freedom of business owners to associate only with the people they chose.  His argument was “the natural right not to associate with others in commerce should not be overridden in the interests of civil rights, social justice, or most significantly, the interests of the moral order.”   

Republican led states are trying to impose severe voter restriction laws. Mr. Bork has a record of defending the constitutionality of poll taxes and literacy tests in state elections.  Obviously, the right-wing believes he is the man they need to help restrict voters’ rights in America.

Mr. Bork also believes that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.  He would also give individual states the power to prosecute women and doctors who violate abortion laws.   By using Mr. Bork as “judicial advisor”, it is obvious that any future Supreme Court nominee would have to pass the anti-choice litmus test.  Mr. Bork has denounced the Supreme Court’s protection of a constitutional right to privacy in decision-making, the basis of Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized a woman’s right to use birth control.

United States v. Virginia is the Supreme Court’s 7 – 1 decision which required the Virginia Military Institute to stop discriminating and to admit its first women cadets.  Thousands and thousands of female soldiers have since served bravely and honorably, but Mr. Bork has attacked that decision for producing the “feminization of the military.”  He wrote, “radical feminism, an increasingly powerful force across the full range of American institutions, overrode the Constitution in United States v. Virginia.  VMI is only one example of a feminized Court transforming the Constitution.”

In 1971 Mr. Bork argued that the First Amendment protects only political speech, not art or science or literature.  He continues to promote censorship to deal with what he calls the “rot and decadence” of American society.  In a 1997 interview with Michael Cromartie, he expressed such disgust with the state of American culture that he said he was in favor of a return to censorship boards in America.

Rather than allow states to make their own decisions on the issue of same-sex marriage, he has advocated a constitutional amendment that would permanently define marriage as between “one man and one woman”.  He would also prevent individual states from offering gay couples equal benefits of any kind.

In 2005 the Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons, struck down the death penalty for juvenile offenders.  Bork called the decision a “new low” for the Court.  Between 1990 (when the Court last considered this issue) and 2005, there were only seven countries other than the United States that executed juvenile offenders.  They were Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and China.  Mr. Bork, however, found nothing cruel and unusual in executing minors.

And finally, Mr. Bork once ruled that an employer may require its female workers to be sterilized in order to reduce employer liability for harm to potential children, in cases where employers used toxic chemicals.  He also believes politicians should be able to ban birth control.

Poll taxes, literacy tests, forced sterilization in order to maintain employment, executing minors, censorship boards, corporate powers over individual rights, repealing civil rights and making criminals out of doctors and women…..is Robert Bork right for America?

August 1, 2012 – A Day That Will Live In Infamy?

By Gaetana Drake

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 of the following:

Several aspects of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act went into effect on August 1, 2012.  They include:

Pap smears, mammograms, STD screenings, well-woman check-ups, HPV testing, HIV screening, gestational diabetes screening, breast-feeding supplies and assistance, domestic violence screenings and counseling, and the now infamous birth control coverage, being provided to women with insurance with no co-pay and no deductible.  This does not mean the services are free – the women are still paying for their insurance coverage.  The only change is that there will be no co-pay or deductible for these preventive services.  Private insurances are now required to include birth control coverage if they didn’t already.

On July 31, 2012, the eve of these great changes (which will benefit millions of American women) taking effect, the Republicans voted for the 34th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Believe me, there is a war on women, as they have shown for the 34th time.

Representative Kelly believes that providing American women access to affordable birth control is an attack on America.  There is already an exemption in the Affordable Care Act for employers whose primary purpose is the promotion of their religious beliefs, such as churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and so on.  Apparently requiring other non-religious employers to cover birth control is an attack on their religious freedom.  No one will EVER force a woman to use birth control if she doesn’t want to.  No one will EVER force a woman to have an abortion if she doesn’t want to.  But it is wrong to allow non-religious organizations to suddenly claim they have a moral or religious objection to this very basic, very important part of a woman’s health care.  At this point, their religious freedom is impacting the personal freedom of American women to have access to health care.

Opponents to the Affordable Care Act have said that insurance premiums will go up.  One year ago, another part of the ACA took effect, which says that if your insurance company spends less than 80 – 85% of your premiums on your health care, you must be refunded the difference!  Now, a year after this provision took effect, refund checks are being mailed to businesses and individuals.  Checks that will total $1.1 billion dollars!  That’s $1.1 billion that will go back into our economy as people getting refunds use the money to buy a car, to help pay for their child’s education, to help make their mortgage payment, or even just to buy groceries.  This is money that goes back to the people and businesses who paid for the insurance, instead of going to a $50 million dollar bonus for the CEO of an insurance company.

Now, back to the comment about “a day that will live in infamy”.  Does Representative Kelly understand how insulting comparing birth control coverage to Pearl Harbor or 9/11 is?  Does he realize he just insulted every service man and woman, past, present and future, who have died and those who continue to risk their lives for us?  My father served in the Navy during WWII, one of my uncles stormed the beach at Normandy, and my great-great-grandfather fought at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Mr. Kelly has just insulted each of them.  Shame on you, Mr. Kelly.  You are no American.

A last thought about birth control – my grandson made an observation yesterday when we were discussing this.  He wondered, “why do men even get to vote on this?”   A good point…why are men getting to control the reproductive lives of all American women?

Here We Go Again – What Men Don’t Understand About Birth Control

By Gaetana Drake

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wi) was recently discussing how low-income women can get birth control.  He was asked “what if I can’t afford birth control?”  His response was to “Google it”.  He explained that his wife recently Googled it and “bam, it was there!”  So, I tried it.  I went to Google and typed in “what if I can’t afford birth control”?  He was right in one respect.  BAM!  There were my solutions, right there on Google.  Four solutions from which to choose:

Option #1 – go to Planned Parenthood.  Wonderful idea, as Planned Parenthood’s mission is self-explanatory.  Planned Parenthood is so much better than unplanned parenthood.  And Planned Parenthood provides so many necessary services, along with affordable or free birth control.  But then I remembered!  The GOP is trying desperately to defund Planned Parenthood.  So, the first option just flew right out the window.

Option #2 – go to a doctor.  The initial visit may cost from $45 – $125 (in my opinion this is a very low estimate for costs).  Follow-up visits may run up to $60.  Then there’s the cost of the actual birth control.  Pills can run from $9 – $40, depending on what pill works best for the woman.  As a woman who has had experience with the pill, I know that pills have different effects on different women and there are many women who simply can’t tolerate the pill.  How about an IUD?  $1500 – $2000.  What part of “what if I can’t afford birth control” didn’t the good Senator Johnson understand?  But then, Senator Johnson and his family have the best health care in the world – at our expense. 

Option #3 – If your employer offers a choice of insurance plans, simply choose one that covers contraception.  Hmmmm….30 – 35 million Americans without health insurance and thousands of employers that don’t offer insurance coverage,  but just pick the plan that covers contraception.   Again, the good senator doesn’t seem to understand the problem.

Option #4 – ask your partner to contribute to the cost of contraception.  I agree with this completely!  Especially since options 1, 2 and 3 aren’t really valid in so many cases.  Unfortunately, even in 2012, there is a mindset among many men that birth control is just a “woman’s issue” and they don’t need to be involved in it.  And let’s not forget that most men don’t like condoms, and don’t want to use them.

So here we have a U.S. Senator (male) who has absolutely no realistic understanding of the costs of birth control and how that effects low-income women.   And we have Rush Limbaugh (male) who famously believed that you took a pill every time you wanted to have sex (I believe he was confusing birth control pills with his Viagra!)  I truly believe it’s time that men stop making comments about this issue unless they actually have something valid to contribute to the discussion.  When they make outrageous statements, like both of these men did, they just look silly.

Since 1960 when the pill was approved by the FDA, the graduation rates (from high school and college) for females have skyrocketed.  And the number of women in the workforce has tripled since then.  All of this is directly tied to being able to control when and how often we give birth.

Senator Johnson claims there is no one trying to deny women access to contraception.  He claims this is an issue of religious freedom.  As I’ve said before, no one is forcing any woman to use contraception, so I really don’t understand the “religious freedom” issue.

In the past I have thought that this GOP/male obsession about birth control was just something to distract us from the real issues – war, jobs, the economy.  But I’m beginning to believe there is a more sinister reason behind their plan.  The political and financial power of women has steadily increased since 1960.  They don’t like that.  They would like to change that.

We have the strength and determination of our great-grandmothers and grandmothers who fought for the right to vote.  We have the strength and determination of our mothers who fought for their rightful place in the workforce.

I think they’re afraid of us.  And they should be.  Because we won’t stop fighting.

The Censorship of American Women – Brought To You By The GOP

By Gaetana Drake

Two female Michigan representatives (both Democrats) were recently censored for speaking out for women’s rights.  Michigan is attempting to pass some of the most abortion-restricting laws in the country.

Representative Lisa Brown (D) was expressing her opposition to a series of bills regulating abortion, when she said “Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no means no’.”  House Republicans claim her remark violated the decorum of the chamber and barred her from speaking during a subsequent debate on education.  I guess if you’re pro-choice in Michigan, your opinion on education is worthless.

Representative Mike Callton (R) said, “what she said was offensive.  It was so offensive I don’t even want to say it in front of women.  I would not say that in mixed company.”  Believe me, Mr. Callton, women are used to hearing much worse when it comes to our lady parts.  “Vagina” is a welcome improvement.

Ms. Brown quickly expressed her amazement at being censored during a press conference.  “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?  What language should I use?”  She also noted that it is the medically correct word, and that everyone in the chambers was an adult.

The House also denied Barb Byrum (D) the ability to introduce an amendment that would ban men from having vasectomies unless the procedure was needed to save their lives.  “If we truly want to make sure children are born, we would regulate vasectomies”, she told reporters.

Many anti-abortion (and anti-birth control) legislatures claim they are opposed to abortion and birth control because of  “all the children waiting to be born.”

Apparently, the Republicans in Michigan have forgotten about the right to free speech – especially if it’s speech from women promoting women’s rights.  There is nothing vulgar about the word “vagina”, and using it was no reason to censor Lisa Brown.  Barb Byrum didn’t even use the word “vagina”.  She just suggested that if we’re going to legislate the reproductive rights of women, we should legislate those same rights of men. 

We all remember the Congressional panel that was formed to hear testimony about birth control.  Five men….talking about birth control.  And not one woman was allowed to give input to the discussion.  And now we can’t say the word “vagina”. 

What restrictions will be placed on American women next?

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