Quick Hit: Funny or Die Invites Republicans Into Women’s Vaginas

Need some humor in your week? Check out Funny or Die’s new “Republicans, Get in My Vagina!” video, starring Kate Beckinsale, Andrea Savage, and Judy Greer. A plea from the “real Republican real women of real America” to all women to “open up their legs and let the government in,” this parody cheerfully skewers the idea that the government knows what’s best for women. And the inclusion of a staggeringly stupid quote from Pennsylvania politician Stephen Friend, involving his own special brand of reproductive theory, just serves to underscore the idiocy that is anti-choice politicians making decisions about women’s bodies.


The Republican primaries and why I’m starting to feel good about Poland

I spent a few wonderful years in America as a child and have a lot of fondness for the country. All these years later you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d recite the whole Pledge of Allegiance from memory without even properly waking up. I’m a fan of a lot things American – literature, attitude to life, belief in “try and you will succeed” and the ridiculously huge selection of breakfast cereals. Partially out of sentiment and mostly because America is still a major international player, I follow American politics pretty closely. Frankly, I know next to nothing about the economy and taxes, so really by politics I mostly mean the reproductive rights situation.

Earlier this week pro-choicers around the world celebrated the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. This was particularly meaningful to me, because in my home country – Poland – we still haven’t come as far as to clearly and loudly say that a woman’s uterus is her own effing business and no one else’s. In fact, we’re actually pretty darn awful when it comes to reproductive rights. But I have to say, following what the Republican presidential candidates have been saying about abortion and contraception lately I have trouble believing what I’m reading. I’m starting to think that although the laws are worse in Poland, the attitude of major politicians might just be better.

And this is actually saying a lot as I come from a country where (and I kid you not), we are continually debating the issue of formally enthroning Jesus Christ so that he will join his mother (yes, the Virgin Mary is officially named the queen of Poland) in some sick, incestuous, royal coupling in a supposedly secular country. Abortion is practically illegal, there’s no real sex education in schools and contraceptives are relatively difficult to get and expensive. And I could just keep them coming… So trust me, it’s pretty bad back home, but I’m starting to think that even our right-wing politicians have more common sense than the future president of the US will, if he happens to be Republican (and now that’s real nightmare material!). And here’s why I think so – if the winner of the Republican primaries wins the National election he will most likely:    [Read more...]

The Santorum Double Standard

With the way the Republican presidential campaign is going, it’s entirely possible that Rick Santorum will have dropped out of the race by the time this article runs. Yet before his third-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Santorum had been making a lot of news for his personal experience with terminating a pregnancy.

In 1996, the then-nineteen weeks pregnant Karen Santorum had undergone surgery to address a fetal kidney malfunction. Following the operation, she developed an infection, and the Santorums had to make the difficult choice of terminating the pregnancy, or risking Karen’s life. By all accounts they made the decision together, and Karen was given medication to induce labor.

Rick Santorum is stridently anti-choice. He has signed the Personhood Pledge; he opposes Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that legalized birth control. Santorum considers late-term abortion procedures “medically unnecessary,” and opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape; incest; if the fetus has no chance of surviving to full-term; and if a woman’s life is threatened by continuing the pregnancy.   [Read more...]

GOP Candidates and Reproductive Rights

Since there are so many Republican presidential candidates and no clear frontrunner, it may be tempting to entertain the thought of supporting one of them. But before you vote for one of the GOP candidates, you should know where the candidates stand on reproductive justice. We know that all of the Republican candidates are anti-choice and oppose reproductive justice. However, since each candidate opposes reproductive rights in slightly different ways, I’ve have broken down where each currently stands.

Michele Bachmann
Abortion: Favors a repeal of Roe v. Wade.
Parental consent: Supports consent for underage individuals trying to have an abortion.
Planned Parenthood: Supports measures to defund the organization.
Embryonic stem cell research: Opposes any research.

Newt Gingrich
Abortion: Believes individuals should choose adoption over abortion;  would refuse funding for abortion providers.
Parental consent: Supports notification before an underage individual receives an abortion.
Planned Parenthood: Supports defunding the organization
Embryonic stem cell research: Opposes any research, because he believes embryos should be considered life. However, he has contradicted this position a few times.
[Read more...]

New Hampshire Joins the Trend of States Defunding Planned Parenthood

Image courtesy of ThinkProgress.org

Another week, another state pulling the plug on Planned Parenthood. Yesterday the New Hampshire Executive Council, composed entirely of Republicans, voted 3-2 to cancel the state’s contract with the besieged healthcare provider. In addition to losing $1.8 million in state money, Planned Parenthood has lost its ability to provide contraceptives and antibiotics to women that don’t have health insurance. According to TPM, women had been able to fill prescriptions at PP for an average of $5. This decision is expected to affect approximately 120 women each day.

So what’s the rationale that politicians in the “Live Free or Die” state have used for curtailing women’s healthcare choices? [Read more...]

MoveOn.org Launches Awesome Pro-Choice Campaign

Between now and February 23, MoveOn.org will be airing a pro-choice ad on cable television channels. In the 30-second spot, the actor Lisa Edelstein slowly walks down a dimly lit hallway, and in a voice-over, she says, “Decades ago, women suffered through horrifying back-alley abortions.” As she reaches the end of the hallway and opens a closet door to show a wire hanger, Edelstein asks, “why is the GOP trying to send women back to the back alley?

MoveOn’s “We Won’t Go Back to the Back Alley” campaign is simple and effective. Both the ad and the petition at MoveOn’s website highlight the recent steps that Republican politicians have taken to severely restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion, and in fittingly blunt language, stating that “… all attempts to erode a woman’s right to choose must stop.” I’m frankly impressed not just at MoveOn’s action, but also with Edelstein’s participation.

[Read more...]

South Dakota Might Make it Legal to Kill Abortion Providers

For two elections in a row, the South Dakota legislature has tried unsuccessfully to ban abortions. Even so, it came as a shock to learn that the state legislature is considering a bill that would legalize killing abortion providers. That’s right: legalize killing abortion providers. I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

House Bill 1171, sponsored by Republican Phil Jensen, would expand the definition of justifiable homicide to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus. But not just your own fetus; no, HB 1171 would allow anyone to kill in the name of protecting “the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child.” So in theory, if you’re a pregnant woman that wants an abortion but your husband disagrees, he could kill your abortion provider and have that be considered justifiable homicide.

Jensen claims that he merely wants to ensure that the state’s criminal code is operating with consistency in regards to how fetal death is punished. Currently, South Dakota – along with a number of other states – allows for people to be charged with murder or manslaughter for committing crimes that result in the death of a fetus. But there’s a massive difference between counting a pregnant woman’s murder as two crimes, and saying that it’s okay to commit murder in the name of a fetus. [Read more...]

GOP Proposes Excluding Abortion from Employer Provided Health Care

The new congress has many issues to address such as immigration, jobs, education, clean energy, and abortion. After the State of the Union, representatives of the Republican-led house argued for a smaller government that for instance does not place restrictions on businesses. From the oil spill in the Gulf (environment) to skyrocketing health care costs, Republicans advocate that business be left alone without any regulations. Yet, they are exempting abortion for the discussion of smaller government. When the issue of abortion is at hand, Republicans overlook regulations on business.

Republicans are advocating a restriction on businesses from providing health insurance plans that supply abortion coverage to their employees. If the business does provide health insurance with abortion coverage, then the business will fail to receive tax subsidies. Stephanie Condon of CBSNEWS explains how this legislation would be an extension of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions. For economic efficiency purposes, business will be compelled to choose health care options that do not cover abortions.

In the world of number crunching, the proposed restriction on business makes it much more feasible for a business to choose a health care plan with no abortion coverage than with one. With the middle class shrinking, this will push abortions to be inaccessible for many.  [Read more...]

Michael Steele Interview on Rachel Maddow

I had heard and read much about Michael Steele, but had not actually heard him speak the interview on Rachel Maddow last week.  And I think I’m beginning to understand why the Republicans were so harsh on him–I actually like him and appreciate his candor, even if I disagree with many of his political positions.  I think Michael Steel may hold the dream pro-choice/pro-life position. Well, he would if he would stick to his guns. Last night he, so poignantly, said in regard to abortion you have to look at the entire situation. You have to understand where people are coming from and respect their choices and respect the law.  Steele advocates for pro-life, but clearly made the distinction between a hard nosed linear position on the issue and a 360 understanding and respect for women.  If you missed the interview you can watch it here.

I think Michael Steele’s position is the ultimate goal for the conservative position on abortion. Its not about convincing people that abortion is good or right or always medically necessary, its about respecting women and showing understanding and compassion for the whole picture, not just one narrow view point. This goes for both sides of the issues. Those who do not hold the religious opinion and opposition to abortion still need to respect those with whom they disagree.

And there needs to be that third option in the debate–for people who are personally against abortion but understand that life is difficult and complicated and cannot be ruled by a narrow perspective. These are the people that need to be heard. Not the extremists who attempt to advocate for the unborn by murdering the mother. I make the argument again and again, what I call the for-life position, if you are truly interested in lowering the abortion rate, then you don’t advocate for more restrictive abortion laws because they only lead to the increase of illegal and medically unsafe procedures that unnecessarily endangers the lives of more women. To truly work to lower the abortion rate, then advocate for more access to reproductive care, comprehensive sex education and contraceptives like candy–available everywhere.

Senate Confirms Openly Gay Judicial Nominee Despite Homophobic Opposition

In a 66-32 vote that was largely along party lines, Senators confirmed the judicial nomination of the openly gay candidate Marisa Demeo. Socially conservative groups, like the Traditional Values Coalition, urged senators to block Demeo’s confirmation on the grounds that she is openly gay. Apparently being lesbian means that she supports a radical “gay agenda” — whatever the hell that is.

President Obama actually nominated Demeo back in March 2009. Despite the nomination, however; heavy political opposition from Republicans, particularly Jim DeMint, blocked her from being confirmed for over a year. Even worse than the sexist-racist-homophobic politics of the republican party is the claim by the Traditional Values Coalition that Demeo is quote, “dangerous to our nation.” Apparently her sexuality is now an issue of national security. [Read more...]