Why the Lowered Expectations for Fathers?

Both a recent U.S. Census Bureau report and an ongoing media campaign around fatherhood have raised some interesting questions about the way that society views a father’s responsibilities. In its “Who’s Minding the Kids?” report, the bureau assumes that when both parents are present at home, the mother is the “designated parent.” If the mother is away from the home, say at work or school, and the father is watching his offspring, the bureau classifies that as “care” – but the reverse is not considered true when the father’s the one who’s away. In other words, if the mother is home watching her children, she’s just considered a parent. When the father does it, that’s looked at as something more akin to child care, not parenting.

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Arizona Politician Thinks He Knows What’s Best for D.C. Women

Not content to just do the work for the state that actually elected him, Arizona Republican Trent Franks has decided to tackle the apparently pressing issue of late-term abortions in Washington, DC. Franks, with backing from the National Right to Life Committee, has introduced the ”District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks for District women. Similar bills are already in place in Nebraska, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

As Franks is the chairman of the House subcommittee that will be handling his legislation — and the bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith and Darrell Issa, who both hold powerful committee positions as well — it is all but certain the the bill will be on the fast track to a vote on the House floor.

Defending his decision to interfere in the personal decisions of women he doesn’t represent, Franks says that his bill “would address the pain and suffering of children who have done nothing wrong … [i]t will emphasize the humanity of the child and the inhumanity of what is being done to them.” This is in keeping with the anti-choice rationale for all of these bills, but it ignores some very basic facts about late-term procedures and fetal development. [Read more...]

Clinic Escorts Discuss Their Work

For over twenty years, volunteers with the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force (WACDTF) have been providing a reassuring and peaceful pro-choice presence for patients and their companions at Washington, D.C.-area clinics. Below, three current volunteers – Bill, Colin, and Rachel – discuss their work. The opinions they express are their own and not those of WACDTF.

When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
About 1969, when the “second wave” of feminism was sweeping the U.S. A faculty colleague at the University of Minnesota – Duluth invited me to volunteer as support staff at a feminist conference and later to join a CR (consciousness-raising) group. I was a graduate student four years out of college and felt that I’d missed out on much of the civil rights movement of the early 1960s because I had been too focused on studies as an undergraduate; this was my chance to correct that error. Also, in 1964 I’d seen an older friend, a brilliant student who had graduated with honors from Bryn Mawr, forced to attend secretarial school to find a job because few careers were then open to women.

Rachel: I’ve probably been someone who always called herself a feminist. My freshman year I went to Evergreen State College, which was a real hippie school, and I loved the term riotgrrl without really thinking about it. But my earliest memory of being a consciously active feminist was reading coverage of the horrible Woodstock ’99. To me it’s the first definitive memory I have of realizing that the rules are different for girls. I have a framed copy of a 1999 issue of ROCKRGRL Magazine with the title “RapeStock” and the picture is a bare-breasted woman sitting on her boyfriend’s shoulders. A hand reaches from below and grabs her breast. It’s the image that made me want to fight back. [Read more...]

Obama’s Nobel Prize & Rampant Washington Sexism

Photo courtesy cienpies via www.123rf.comNews wise, there’s a lot going on this week. Chicago isn’t getting the 2016 Olympics, researchers found that women choose shoes that aren’t good for their feet (DUH!) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost projections for the current incarnation of health care reform. And, on the heels of yesterday’s meeting to discuss strategy in Afghanistan–specifically whether or not to increase troop levels there or not–Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

As to Obama’s Nobel, I’m not sure he is the person I would have picked for it, but he isn’t undeserving either. But that’s a topic for another post.

On Afghanistan, I really have only one question–40,000 troops from where? Our pocket? Between what we already have going on there, Iraq and having troops stationed elsewhere–all over the world, in fact–we are spread very thin. Sure, we could probably divert some of the ones we are pulling out of Iraq, but that wouldn’t change the fact that most of the people fighting there are on their 4th, 5th or 6th deployment already. They’ve done their part.
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Washington Man Threatens Dr. Hern in Colorado

Dr. Warren HernDonald Hertz, a 70-year-old man from Spokane, Washington for allegedly making Donald Hertz, a 70-year-old man from Spokane, Washington for allegedly making threatening phone calls to the women’s health clinic in Boulder, Colorado where Dr. Warren Hern (pictured) performs late abortions. According to the New York Times:

Hertz, 70 . . . was arrested Wednesday in Spokane. He was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Mr. Hertz’s indictment was the first in an abortion case since the killing of Dr. George R. Tiller, an abortion provider from Wichita, Kan., who was shot to death in May while attending church, a Department of Justice spokesman said.

Mr. Hertz’s lawyer, W. Russell Van Camp, said Mr. Hertz, a retired real-estate and insurance broker who was released without bail Wednesday after a court appearance, would plead not guilty . . . Mr. Hertz faces a maximum prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of up to $350,000 if convicted.

Hertz is just one of the wing nuts to get caught up in a long line of anti-choice extremism. It’s reassuring to see the feds acting so quickly to indict Mr. Hertz, before he had an opportunity to act on those threats. Here’s to hoping that a jury convicts him and sends him to prison, where he belongs.