Attempt to Restrict Abortions in Washington, D.C. Fails

As one restrictive abortion law is upheld this week, one falls by the wayside. Last night, the House of Representatives voted 220 to 154 to pass a bill that would ban all abortions (including in cases of incest, rape, and fetal abnormalities) in Washington, D.C. after 20 weeks; although a majority of representatives approved the measure, the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

The proposed bill had garnered much national attention in recent months. Its sponsor, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, did not shy away from a reliance on both hyperbole (he repeatedly called late-term abortions “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today”) and unproven medical theories to advance his agenda. Franks based his bill on the controversial concept of “fetal pain,” an issue on which the medical community has reached no firm consensus. The fact that Franks was attempting to regulate the choices of constituents that he did not represent also drew criticism, especially after the District’s actual representative, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, was not allowed to speak at hearings regarding the bill.

While it’s tempting to think that the matter has now been tabled in Congress, the Senate has not yet voted on its companion bill.

The Smartwoman’s Guide to Anger Management

I joke a lot here about using my anger for good. Not just because I wonder whether I’ll ever step the whole way out of my younger, nicer, good girl’s shadow–though I do. But because for all the badass transgressive pleasure I’ve had sloshing around in the metaphorical mud–I can build a head of steam, spit nails and boil my blood with the best of them–it’s pretty damn exhausting. Is it an adrenalin thing? Bad stress management? Beats me. The bottom line is I don’t want to spend any more time with myself when I’m angry than I have to.

This is a problem when you like to write about things that matter to you.

So you haven’t seen my posts about the four OB-GYNs in Congress whose unofficial leader proudly proclaimed themselves, ”Southern, conservative, and pro-life. Loudmouthed and red-necked is also a good way to describe us.” Yes, it is lovely that they’ve delivered thousands of babies, and yes, Phil Roe does admit that most OB-GYNs advocate the use of birth control, and yes, it is probably wrong-headed to assume that they are either lying or doing a heck of a job of ignoring their patients’ feelings if they’ve never ever come across a case where they felt their beliefs about abortion challenged fundamentally. But still … Seriously??? Not one woman made ya’ waver for a moment, Phil??? Are ya in there? [Read more...]

Tribute to Jeanette Rankin: First Woman in Congress

This post comes to us from guest blogger Talia bat Pessi bat Feige bat Ita bat Gittel. Talia regularly blogs over at Star of Davida.

Women currently make up 17% of Congress. While this number is certainly much lower than it should be, less than a century ago, there was only one woman in Congress: Jeanette Rankin. Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, opened the door for women to enter politics in the United States and worldwide.

Jeanette Rankin (sometimes spelled Jeannette) was born on a Montanan ranch on June 11, 1880. She helped her parents run the ranch and raise her five younger siblings, which gave her the confidence that she could take charge and lead, a mindset she continued to go by in her later years. [Read more...]

When Wombs Speak Louder Than Words

Next week, anti-choice activists bring the latest assault on reproductive rights to Washington, D.C. On October  13, the “Voices from the Womb” tour will set up shop at the Capitol Visitor’s Center, offering both the public and members of Congress the chance to stop by and watch ultrasounds being performed on women in their first, second, or third trimester of pregnancy. The purpose of this  The purpose of this fetal theater is allegedly to show the truth about abortion. What is that truth, you ask? Oh, just that an ultrasound image is so powerful, it erases all doubt that life begins at conception, establishes the personhood and humanity of a fetus, thereby giving the fetus protection under the 14th Amendment, and calls the very legality of Roe v. Wade into question.

This isn’t exactly a new strategy, but it’s still worth taking a closer look at. In a nutshell, the 14th Amendment was established after the Civil War to give ex-slaves full rights; it establishes the citizenship of any person born or naturalized in the U.S., guarantees that U.S. citizens have procedural and substantive due process, and grants citizens equal protection of the laws. Arguably the most single important part of the Constitution, this amendment has been essential for safe-guarding individual rights.

If fetuses are established as people from the moment of conception, the anti-choice argument goes, then they are granted the same rights and protections as any other citizen, and the validity of Roe would be called into question. Of course, this push to grant fetuses equal personhood ignores the multitude of difficult legal and ethical issues that would also arise – in particular, in regards to stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization, and contraceptive use. While it’s no great surprise that such issues don’t seem to trouble anti-choicers, these considerations are just some of the reasons that stunts like Voices from the Womb should concern anyone that values their right to make their own decisions about birth control, to say nothing of their reproductive freedom.  [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

Should Violence Against Women Be Considered a Hate Crime? – A Radical Profeminist
‘Tis the Season to Support Your Local Abortion Fund – The Abortioneers
The Company They Keep: Congressmembers Meet with Anti-Abortion Extremists – RH Reality Check
New York Attempts to Put Brakes on Crisis Pregnancy Centers – Women’s e-News
Should Children Wear the Hijab? – Womanist Musings

And in honor of Hannukah, here’s an article about religious tolerance during the holiday season.

Monday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270An Open Letter to Congress – Momocrats
Send a Coat Hanger to Congress – Clinic Escort
The Cutest Menstrual Chart EVER! – I Heart Guts
The Evolution of Birth Control – Newsweek
Lesbian and Gay Parents Are Not Better, and That’s OK – Mombian

E.R.A re-introduced into Congress for 27th year

FE_PR_081022whispers_obamaIts the E.R.A….take 27

Almost three decades after the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced and defeated, and eighty six years after it was originally drafted by women’s rights leader, Alice Paul, the E.R.A has made its way back to Congress. This time, in hopes of FINALLY getting the votes its been needing since 1982.

Its not a difficult concept to grasp, Equal Rights. Yet, every year since 1982, the E.R.A has been re-introduced into Congress and repeatedly shot down for one reason or another. At this point in time, it has been ratified by 35 of the required 38 states needed for a Constitutional Amendment. And yet, here we are, almost thirty years since, and it seems as if we’ve all forgotten to care.

The current bill in this session of congress was introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) under House Joint Resolution 61. The text of this legislation is exact to the very same E.R.A bill that was submitted to Congress in 1972 under President Richard Nixon. The only difference is that this bill, if passed through both houses, would not contain the original 7 year time limit for ratification that the original bill did. In 1979, we were still three states short of the 38 needed, and an additional bill was drafted to extend the deadline another 4 years to 1982. It was at this juncture that, under President Ronald Reagan, the E.R.A is said to have “died”. To this day, Ronald Reagan was the first and only president to actively oppose a Constitutional amendment to give equal rights to women (Chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment) [Read more...]

Irony or Hypocracy? You Decide

I know, I know, not everything is about language (that, of course, is debatable) but it is a subject dear to my heart. And since I have been thinking about it a lot lately, I have another little tid bit to put forward.

I have been watching cable news and paying fairly close attention to the current Washington wrangling over health care reform. As such, I have heard COUNTLESS Republicans tell COUNTLESS pundits that the “Democrat” plan, particularly that part about a public option, will mean that Government Bureaucrats (something akin to rampaging Godzillas, from the way they tell it) will be making health care decisions for Americans, not doctors!

In just the latest net news story on the subject, Republicans pull out the oft repeated tired Socialist card while continuing to complain that Obama-Pelosi team (in this version of the narrative, they are Socialist Thugs rather than Rampaging Godzillas) is determined to burden the taxpayers with the cost of terrible health care *as though that isn’t what is happening now!* It is clear that they have memorized their talking points, since they repeat the idea that the Obama plan will mean that health care decisions are made by the government rather than by patients and doctors.
[Read more...]

Is it just me or is it homophobic in here?!

Photo0141My posting intentions this week were seriously sidetracked late last night when I received a startling text message from a friend. The text message included an attached photo [inset] with the simple words: “I don’t know what to do. Should I call the police? I’m scared.”

I was floored. There seems to be a blatant increase of gay-bashing/LGBT-based hate crime incidents as of late and it is, in my opinion, not surprising considering the overall atmosphere that we are living in now. Hell I was the victim of a verbal assault twice over the past 2 weeks and I have heard others citing similar accounts all over this “great nation.” [Read more...]