Category Archives: Women’s Issues

Bad News For Planned Parenthood In Texas

Remember a couple of days ago when Planned Parenthood of Texas was handed a favorable ruling saying that preventing them from receiving state funds was unconstitutional? Remember how Mad Kane said those rulings are usually overturned?

Well, it’s not quite that bad, but it’s bad enough. Here’s the word, from Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in an email:

The good news we received on Monday afternoon was short-lived.  Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with Planned Parenthood and stopped the state’s unconstitutional rule that excluded Planned Parenthood health centers from providing care to women enrolled in the WHP.

Then the bad news was delivered at the stroke of midnight when Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted the state their request for an emergency hold on the injunction.  This “emergency” hold meant that the state’s unconstitutional rule could go into effect and Planned Parenthood health centers would be excluded from the WHP. 

Just when we thought the political games couldn’t get any worse for low-income Texas women, they did.

I wish I believed in a Hell for the bastards to rot in.

Breaking From Juanita Jean: Texas Cannot Exclude Planned Parenthood – It’s Unconstitutional

I’ll just quote this wonderful woman’s post up to a point. It’s hard to know when to stop, because Juanita Jean is so wonderful…

Holy Writ Writer! God Loves Planned Parenthood.

April 30, 2012

Breaking News. Good news. Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. It’s un-freekin-constitutional.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge on Monday stopped Texas from preventing Planned Parenthood from getting state funds through the Women’s Health Program.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled there is sufficient evidence that a law banning Planned Parenthood from the program is unconstitutional. He imposed an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments.

This surprises exactly no one, outside of the fundamentalist-evangelical-plus-Catholic right wing of the GOP. Then again, those folks are surprised when they wake up in the morning and find that the rest of us have not been transported bodily to Hell overnight for our wicked ways…

The Old Days, When Women’s Rights Were Not Under Full‑Scale Assault

Susan Heath, for NYT, tells of her own experience in 1978, in an op-ed titled No One Called Me a Slut. Yes, those were the days: women had constitutionally protected rights to manage their own bodies, rights that were legally safeguarded by a Supreme Court decision. Please read Ms. Heath’s op-ed; it is worth your time more than the usual personal story.

Today we have a GOP War on Women… too fucking bad if they don’t like my calling it what it is. Planned Parenthood, still the primary health care provider for many women, is being systematically defunded at the behest of the radical Right. Women are being rudely demeaned by Republican politicians… Virginia’s Speaker of the House William Howell, recently arguing with a woman, said in so many words that he would try to use simple words so she would understand him. Arizona’s new abortion law is the most extreme ever in America, but it is far from the only extreme one, and the battle continues in other states. The GOP War on Women is being fought primarily on the state level.

There is only one way to fight back: pitch the bastards out of office in 2012. Do it. If you always vote with an eye toward women’s rights, please enlist your friends of similar outlook in the effort to flush the crap that has accumulated in our legislatures. Now is the time.

(H/T Mustang Bobby.)

Arizona All But Illegalizes Abortion

How much do Arizona legislators hate women? From David Dayen, and indirectly from The Daily Beast, we get the answer… this much:

Yesterday we had a big national discussion about the choices women make in their lives. Ann Romney at one point said right-out, “We need to respect the choices that women make.”

At the end of yesterday, Arizona’s female Governor, Jan Brewer, signed a bill banning abortions after 18 weeks and creating a new definition of “pregnant.”

Despite its name, critics derided the Women’s Health and Safety Act that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law today as cruel, dangerous, and hostile to women—likely to deter many Arizona women from seeking an abortion, and to distress those who nonetheless go through with one.

Life starts earliest in Arizona, which now defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. In practice, that means the state has banned abortions after about 18 weeks (20 weeks from the last menstruation) except in the case of medical emergencies. While that provision has been much discussed, abortions after that point account for only about 1 percent of the procedures currently performed.

The stipulation likely to be most widely felt is what experts are calling an effective shutdown of medication abortions. These nonsurgical abortions are usually performed within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, and account for between 17 and 20 percent of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-rights advocacy group. While women often take the pills at clinics and in their homes, the bill now mandates that a medical provider must have hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. Many times clinics or homes are not within 30 miles of hospitals, and the distance prevents providers from other cities or even states from caring for women, says Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. Another factor that could contribute to what Nash called a “shutdown” of medication abortions is that the law requires abortion pills to be administered using outdated protocols, confusing providers and obscuring proper use of the drugs.

There will be no sense of irony around this, that the national discussion around women’s choices came from the exact same party that promotes restricting women’s medical choices. Everyone will just keep having the stupid season discussion they were having.

Incidentally, the anti-abortion measures signed into law by Brewer yesterday include a mandatory ultrasound, a 24-hour waiting period, forced education in public schools around adoption and birth, forced advertising in abortion clinics about the dangers of “coercion,” parental notification and mandatory counseling. It’s the smorgasbord of abortion bills.

“[T]he stupid season” … more and more, that’s the right name for Republican election year politics in America. “[S]tupid” is also the right word for any federal judge who finds this law constitutional. It’s as if Gov. Brewer and the Arizona Legislature had never read Roe.

And women: if you vote for Republicans in this election, despite their consistent and premeditated efforts to scrap women’s rights, to turn women into second-class citizens… you are sssss… um, I mean… you are signing away the rights your mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers won for you in the face of extreme adversity. Just don’t do it… for your daughters’ sake.

AFTERTHOUGHT: I meant to include the following observation by David Dayen (same link as above):

It’s the new definition of gestational age, where a woman can now be considered pregnant by the state of Arizona before ever having sex, that threw me. This completely upends the justification of a “fetal pain” bill, because it draws the line before the arbitrary point accepted by anti-choicers of when the fetus can feel pain. …

If you need any more evidence that this is not about protecting fetuses but rather about punishing women for being women, there it is. The new definition of the beginning of pregnancy can literally label you as “pregnant” before you even had sex. (Hey, Mary Mother of God, there’s a state legislature treading on your territory…)

Gov. Walker (R-Wisconsin) Signs Repeal Of Equal Pay Law – UPDATED

Despite repeated requests, he didn’t seem to want to talk about it. But now, if you are a woman in Wisconsin, there is no longer a [ADDED: state] law requiring your employer to pay you at the same rate as a man for equal work. That’s right: in Wisconsin, employers may now legally discriminate in favor of men and against women in matters of salary.

I hardly know what to say. In the second decade of the 21st century, such a move is dumbfounding, or maybe one could leave out the “founding” part. I hope the feuding Democrats running for Governor (presuming Walker is recalled) quickly resolve their differences, because the rights of women (at least) in Wisconsin depend on ridding the government of this bastard.

UPDATE: this is not exactly a correct statement: please read the comment by upyernoz. But Walker’s strategery [sic] is still puzzling.

The Literal War On Women

Lindsay Beyerstein reminds me of an event I meant to mention yesterday: the bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. No injuries were reported, and a small fire caused minor damage to the clinic.

Some man… I’ll bet you two dollars it was a man… who probably thinks of himself as upholding a great American tradition… the tradition of self-help, the tradition of acting as judge, jury and executioner… decided that neither providers nor recipients of women’s health care were worthy of life. So he attempted to kill them.

It’s all happened before. Self-appointed anti-abortion executioners are the last vestige of the worst of the Wild West, where the only law was some device that went BANG. That was justice. BANG! Women seeking, not abortions, but pregnancy tests… dead. BANG! Women being tested for cervical cancer… dead. BANG! A doctor and a nurse, representing together possibly forty years’ training and experience in medical care… dead.

Both the tragedy of it all and the sheer wrongness of it all offend me. But what offends me most of all is the self-righteousness of people who make things that go BANG! and set them off, or carry things that go BANG! and pull the trigger. Who taught them about morality? Why do they believe it’s wrong to kill a fetus but just fine to kill an adult human being or two, or ten?

I hope law enforcement makes a serious effort to catch the bomber and that a jury sends him (see above) up the river for a long, long stay. (Sometimes law enforcement doesn’t do that; take my word for it.) It’s not about punishment, or at least not primarily so. It’s about protecting society from individuals who decide they know best, and they have a right to execute someone. Put them somewhere where they will have no access to things that go BANG! for 40 years or so, no parole. Of course it won’t solve the problem, but at least one fewer person will act as a law unto himself.

FULL DISCLOSURE: about 25 years ago, my first contract programming job was for the Planned Parenthood clinic that is now Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. It was a labor of love as well as of livelihood, and the worst I suffered were occasional bloody-fetus posters shoved in my face and the rotten-eggs smell of a stink bomb tossed through a clinic window. But the look in the eyes of the people waving those signs and assaulting (yes, that’s the word) people approaching the clinic told me a lot of what I needed to know about them. To my regret, apparently, none of them have changed… except for their increased propensity to use deadly violence. Only assiduous law enforcement and prosecution can turn aside people Hell-bent on violence against women. Enough is enough.

UPDATE: a suspect has been arrested and charged.

Poll: Hostility To Contraceptives Costing GOP Support Of Women

According to TPM, a USA Today/Gallup poll now shows President Obama leading among women in the “top dozen battleground states” by 18 points, quite a jump from a 2-point Romney lead a month ago. Obama’s lead among all voters in these states is 9 points, 51 percent to 42 percent. The reason, as both parties admit, is the GOP effort to make contraception less readily available. Can you spell “DAMN FOOLS”, children?

Time for the GOP to double down again. Let’s see: they’ve long since done abortion; they’ve already done contraception; they’ve attempted to destroy the nation’s primary supplier of women’s health care. What’s left? requiring women to wear more modest clothing? requiring women to cover their hair? requiring women to be accompanied by a male family member when they leave home? Forbidding women to drive a car?

Go for it, GOPers. Drive your party to the edge of that cliff and then gun the engine. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving party… and I say that as one who doesn’t even like your presidential opponent.

Women married to Republicans, please ask yourself: is it Lysistrata time yet?

The GOP: Shaming And Blaming Single Mothers Of Wisconsin

Katha Pollitt of The Nation has the sorry, sordid story of a bill, Wisconsin Senate Bill 507 by a Wisconsin GOP state senator, Glenn Grothman, and a state representative, Don Pridemore, which

… directs the state to prepare educational materials that blame “nonmarital parenthood” for child abuse and neglect and “emphasize the role of fathers in the primary prevention” of same.

That’s right: according to the Wisconsin GOP, single mothers are to blame for child abuse and neglect, while single fathers are blameless.

Like fucking Hell they are!

The only thing wrong with this bill is that it gets the causality backwards: child abuse and spousal abuse, overwhelmingly by men, are the cause, not the consequence, of single motherhood. Don’t believe me? can’t tell from your own observations over the years? Look up the statistics; I’ll be damned if I’ll do your homework for you.

The only way to slow the momentum of the GOP War on Women is for women themselves to come out on Election Day in overwhelming numbers and kick the bastards out of office. Once that is done, there is some possibility of dealing sanely with the matter of child abuse and spousal abuse. Until that is done, bills like this will come up again and again, every year… and one year, they may be passed into law. Let’s put a stop to it right now, while we can.

ASIDE: Pollitt presents one woman’s letter to State Rep. Pridemore. It’s worth reading.

MoveOn Ad: ‘The GOP War On Women’

This is hard-hitting:

It’s about time we put a (metaphorical) sharp stick in the eye of the GOP. This is a good start.

Dammit, Barry, Couldn’t You At Least Stand Behind Your Own Health Care Law?

Peterr on FDL:

The Obama administration continues its caving to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and seeks input on ways in which to continue its spelunking in the future. From the National Catholic Reporter:

Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.

Also raised is the possibility that the definition given for religious employers in the original mandate could be changed.

HHS did not announce final rules, but put forward a 32 page proposal for comment [pdf] on religious organizations and their obligation (or lack thereof) to provide coverage for “certain preventive services.”

That “self insurance” loophole is a huge exemption. Look for any Roman Catholic institutions that aren’t self-insured already to set themselves up that way in short order.

Dog damn it (so to speak), First Amendment religious freedom does NOT mean freedom to impose your religion’s phobias on society at large through government regulations. Obama has no business compromising on this… none whatsoever. It’s just another aspect of his noncombatant status when it comes to fighting against the Republican War on Women.

“Compromising a little bit” on significant women’s issues is a bit like being “a little bit pregnant.” If Obama cannot be depended upon to face down the Catholic bishops over this (which is really, despite Rush’s rants, not about government money for contraception; it’s about insurance companies’ money for contraception), then what on Dog’s decreasingly green earth can one depend on him for?

Look. Most American Catholic women use contraceptives, the Pope be fucked (you do the job, not me). Those Catholic women who instead choose to have fifteen children are free to do so; their freedom of religion guarantees that they can drop babies until they’re bloodless wraiths, if they want to. That’s religious freedom. Catholic Bishops essentially writing administration regs on health care coverage… that’s not religious freedom; that’s an outright merger of church and state. Obama should fight that religious invasion tooth and nail. But noooo…