Monday, June 18, 2012


April 9, 2012

Over the last two years, since the 2010 elections, since the GOP “swept” the elections on the jobs platform, the Republican party has been busy make disastrous legislation to regulate private matters of women’s health.

The ludicrous numbers of laws being proposed have been growing exponentially in recent months. Not one jobs bill has been passed, but in excess of 200 laws regulating women’s healthcare have been presented, some failed but some were passed. This has gotten so out of hand, that attacks on Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts of America are routine, and unquestioned. The Girl Scouts! For crying out loud, the Girl Scouts are patriot-makers! “Abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.” — Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris (Feb. 21). There is no connection between Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts!


 The right wing pundits and the Republicans deny it, but does that make it true? Here’s our Governor Christie who “eliminated a $7.4 million budget line that provided basic reproductive health services”1. These monies include testing for cancer (pap tests and mammograms), birth control and other female health needs that will leave more than 135,000 women without care. Since the benefit of these services save $3.75 for every $1 spent, the door has been opened for Medicaid spending to increase an addition $28 million! Of course, the next step is that Medicaid will be withheld, as happened in Texas. This means that birthrates will go up, and poverty will increase, and women will die from cancer, because they cannot get testing. And, our out of pocket expenses will increase. This does not sound fiscally conservative to me. Does it sound that way to you?

What else has Gov. Christie done “for” the state of NJ? He cut grants to Hispanic Women’s Resource Center, funding for a post-partum education project, funding for paid family leave after a birth. He has refused to spend monies mandated by the Legislature to advertise and provide the outreach effort. Add to all this, his referrals to Sen. Loretta Weinberg as “a bat”, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle as “a jerk” and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver as “a liar” when he disagreed with them. He doesn’t sound like much of a “family values” sort of guy to me.


 I wish I knew! I have already written one piece here explaining what Planned Parenthood does and how it gets it’s funding. Ostensibly, the attacks are based on the false notion that PP is an abortion mill. It is not an abortion mill.  Gov. Rick Perry denied any funds for Planned Parenthood, which resulted in his losing all Federal monies for Medicaid. This left 130,000 women in Texas with nowhere to turn. When it was pointed out to Rick Perry that no government monies went to abortion, his response was, “Well, we just want to be sure.” In addition, for that he is wrecking the chances of remaining healthy for 130,000 women!2 Perry says he will “find the money” to make up the loss of the Federal funds which account for 90% of the Medicaid funding. But what will he have to cut to do that? We already know that he won’t raise taxes.

Of course, Perry tried to blame Obama, which is S.O.P. for the GOP, the answer to everything in the entire world. But it was the actions of Perry himself that caused it. He violated federal law by insisting upon rules that excluded PP from receiving funds from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. Medicaid does not allow the local government to dictate what services/doctors they can and can’t use to provide healthcare, as Perry was wont to do.


Only a portion of PP’s money comes from any government source (I talked about that in my last piece), the rest comes from donations. In turn for the government funding, PP provides services for women who would otherwise get them through other Medicaid physicians. The result is that the donations to PP offset a lot of expense for Medicaid, saving the taxpayer millions of dollars. So, every time one of these GOP cowboys cuts off PP, it hurts the taxpayers, and in the case of Medicaid, they lose their Federal funding for that as well. This is false economy, obscenely false economy.


I wish that’s all there was to the war on women. An article by Stephanie Whiteside lists 101 assaults in the War on Women3. I’ll list a few here but for the entire list, please go to that site I’ve indicated below.
  • GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “Vote for the other guy” if you want birth control covered. (March 20) MY NOTE: He mention nothing about Cialis coverage.
  • AZ Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) defends her bill, which could require women to prove to their employers that they are taking birth control for medical reasons and not simply to prevent pregnancy. (March 20)
  • Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) proposes a law classifying single parenting as child abuse. (March 7)
  • Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt authors an amendment allowing employers to opt out of any health coverage they deem immoral. (March 1). MY NOTE: Thankfully, this failed!
  • Louisiana Sen. David Vitter on contraception coverage: “It’s about abortion, it’s about abortion-inducing drugs … it’s about sterilization.” (March 1) MY NOTE: This is the guy who hires prostitutes and wears diapers. OMG, really? He’s going to say anything about a woman’s sexuality?
  • Wisconsin GOP attempts to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. (Feb. 24)
  • “I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.” — Rick Santorum on pregnant rape victims (Jan. 23)
  • Data shows that, thanks to a process known as gender rating, women pay more for health insurance than men, even among plans that don’t include female-specific services like maternity coverage. (March 19)
  • The New Hampshire House passes a bill forcing doctors to tell women of a link between breast cancer and abortion, which has been scientifically disproved. (March 15)
  • Lasko (R) introduces her bill in the Arizona House that would allow employers to ask women for documentation if they require birth control pills for non-contraceptive reasons. (March 14)
  • Fox News commentator Liz Trotta says military women should “expect” to be raped. (March 14)
  • “If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with.” — New Hanover County (N.C.) Commissioner Ted Davis (March 12)
  • New York state policy that carrying condoms can be used as evidence of prostitution. A bill that seeks to reverse this policy has languished for 13 years. (March 9)
This one, to me, is the icing on the cake: The Arizona state Senate passed a bill that would allow doctors to conceal information about risks, disabilities or deformities affecting a fetus in order to prevent abortions. This means that even in the case where a woman’s health is at risk, the doctor can lie to her and be protected from any lawsuit following her death or illness. Indeed, there is legislation to force doctors to lie to their patients about cancer and abortions. Please take note here: the GOP is passing laws that mandate what doctors can and can’t do, or legislation forcing them to do things that are not medically necessary. And this is small government?

So we have a climate whereby doctors are authorized to lie to a woman about her own health or her baby’s health, where women should expect to be raped, and if they get pregnant, it’s a blessing from God. We have Republicans refusing to renew laws that protect a woman from domestic abuse, or enacting new legislation, redefining what constitutes domestic abuse, new laws redefining rape. Laws that a woman carrying a condom constitutes prostitution, laws that repeal equal pay for equal work. The list goes on and on.


Well, women are really angry now, lots and lots of women are very very angry.  I was in a conversation with a couple of local women about a rally I am organizing. It’s a rally to be held in Trenton on April 28, on the Capitol Campus, from noon to 4:00.  It’s a rally under the banner of “Unite against the War on Women”. My friends said they were very interested. I made the comment that I am sometime afraid to speak out because of how conservative the area is. One of the women said, “Well, I’m conservative. It’s not about that!” And then two of women said in unison, “but, what the f*ck are they doing??” This sweet little lady, very much a lady, nearly floored me! I watch Morning Joe most mornings. He’s gone on and on about his conservative wife and her friends talking angrily about, what are the Republicans doing? Are they nuts?


Somewhere in the final days of February, two women were having a phone conversation, one in NYC and the other on the West Coast. They were discussing the most recent assault when one of them said, let’s not just complain, let’s organize! So they posted a new group on Facebook, and the next morning, it had a membership in excess of 500. Less than one month later, the group had grown to over 20,000. We have now organized, in 6 short and busy weeks, more than 60 marches/rallies to be held in every state and DC (some states are having 2 or more rallies). This is what grassroots organizing around a cause is truly about. I’m so thrilled to have a part in this.

The permit is in hand. Donations and support are being sought. So far, I’ve lined up two State Senators, ACLU-NJ, GetEQUAL, and various other leaders, groups, spokespersons and, of course, some music. I have volunteers organizing on college campuses, I have some high school women organizing their high schools, even a bank that is putting our promos in their lobby, people are organizing buses from different parts of the state. In fact, we have one bus leaving from Newton. NJ Peace activists are on board, and next week we talk to Planned Parenthood-NJ, LWV and NOW_NJ. Our national group has been endorsed by Katrina vanden Heuvel, of The Nation magazine, NOW, Coffee Party, Ihollaback, and more. Fliers are printed and posted. More are coming.

Yes, these are by and large “liberal” groups but the organizers are emphatically not supporting any political candidates or any party. This is strictly about women, and those who love women. Actually, you’d be surprised at the number of men involved in this. Political figures will speak, but have been told that this is not a campaign stop. This is truly a bipartisan effort, and all are welcome. We are sending the message:
We are women, hear us roar!

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