Archive for April 22, 2012

In the current political landscape, the economy serves as the most significant issue for the upcoming fall election. About 2 weeks ago, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill repealing the state’s equal pay law. When questioned, explanations included the need for young men to feel like they could grow up to be breadwinners. How is this not seen as blatant sexism? This is a clear movement backwards in the concept of equal pay for equal work.When did women become second-class citizens? Oh wait, that has been the unfortunate reality for all of human existence.

Hilary Rosen, a democratic political consultant, came out with a statement against Ann Romney regarding her lack of experience to talk about the economy. Rosen’s statement included a belief that Ann’s stay-at-home mother status negated her ability to give feedback on the concerns of women regarding the economy, being as she has not worked during her adult life in a paying job. This statement came out after Mitt Romney referenced his advisement of women’s beliefs came from his wife. While being a full-time parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, there is a difference between what makes parenting difficult and experience with the economy when your husband makes my yearly salary in less than 14 hours.

The Daily Show decided to do a piece on this, with Jon Stewart highlighting the absurdity of FOX News saying the attacks against women did not rise to the level of “war.” While he focused more on the media’s attention to women’s electoral issues over the actual issues themselves, he did a great job at highlighting the disparity between men and women in today’s world. While most of the conversation right now is surround birth control and health care, specifically whether it should be covered or not, each of the issues highlight the problems with men making decisions on women’s rights with their own bodies. Here are some of the recent specifics around the country:

  • Women in Arizona will have to prove that they are using birth control through their health care for medical (not personal) reasons.
  • In Mississippi, abortion is now criminalized as murder.
  • Also in Arizona, doctors have no obligation to tell women if their child(ren) will be born with any birth defects, preventing any ability for a woman to choose to continue the pregnancy fully informed.
  • In Pennsylvania, sonograms will be required before abortions, to reinforce the “living” concept of the unborn fetus.
  • Virginia will require a transvaginal ultrasound before seeking an abortion, similar to the reasons for Pennsylvania.
  • New opposition has risen against the violence against women act, seemingly due to provisions that would extend its protections to same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants.
  • In Texas, legislators are seeking to block Planned Parenthood from receiving any state planning money.
  • In Wisconsin, there is a push to make single-parenting get labeled as child abuse.
  • In Topeka, KS, there are no provisions for domestic violence, making it non-criminal (at least in comparison to other states).

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The issues with birth control and abortion are ridiculous, in that they take away the right to choose from women. Certainly I am a pro-choice advocate, as I do not see it as my right or responsibility to make decisions for women about their bodies or give that power to legislators. I certainly value life, but many of these pro-life agenda items would force rape survivors to keep children conceived during their attack or keep levels of teenage mothers high as it would force all of these unprepared young girls to go through pregnancy and either choose to keep the child (which significantly limits the likelihood for the young girl to pursue her aspirations) or put the child up for adoption (which could result in significant psychological stress and strain due to separation from their offspring). I could dive into the entire pro-life/pro-choice debate, but the significant point is that women have the right to choose for themselves, as we would not put federal or state  regulations on men’s ability to engage in sexual activities.

Granting doctors the ability to withhold information that should be provided to expecting mothers regarding the health of their children is outright ludicrous. It is clear that this is also an underhanded ploy to encourage the pro-life agenda, as is the sonogram and ultrasound in Pennsylvania and Virginia, respectively. And no funding for Planned Parenthood? Sure it is Texas, but there is no excuse for withholding services to women that are not exclusive to abortion. Planned Parenthood provides services across the board with support for women and pregnancy, even though they are best know for their abortion services. Again, this is an attack on a woman’s right to choose.

How about the issue with violence against women? The protections against violence have been a partisan issue since the act’s initial inception. Now because there is an effort to protect same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants, conservatives wants to claim that the act is no longer in line with partisan politics. I know that both of these groups have significantly less or minimal rights in the US but this goes to a larger human rights issue that is much larger than extending rights to traditionally discriminated groups of people. The world could certainly be looking to us for guidance on this one and we are saying that we do not care about you unless you are a US citizen and heterosexual.

This is particularly a tough time to be an undocumented woman from a lesbian relationship, as there are virtually no protections in this country for you to choose what happens to your body. The conservative media sources want to escalate Christmas, sugars, fossil fuels, constitution and ladies night to war status, but true rights to choose for women is just not that important, at least as long as you are not a conservative.

Now if only our male congressmen would step aside to allow women to actually speak for themselves…