Conservative commentators think we’re more interested in pretty shoes than voting. I wonder why they’re having trouble getting women’s support.
Hello? Oh, I’m sorry, I think you’ve stumbled into the wrong place. This is a piece about politics, and you’re on Cosmopolitan.com. Surely you were looking for something about shoes, or maybe information on how to find a boyfriend? If you’re a young woman, scoot along now, little lady, because all this talk about “issues” and “elections” is probably beyond the purview of what you’re looking for from Cosmopolitan.com. (Do you know what “purview” means? Don’t worry your pretty head about it).
Insulted yet? Well, that’s what folks at Fox News and a series of conservative commentators and websites seem to think about you. On Fox’s Outnumbered — a show so dedicated to serious and not-at-all-sexist political analysis that it bills itself as “Featuring an ensemble of four female panelists &#OneLuckyGuy" — panelists took turns complaining about Cosmopolitan.com's decision to endorse pro-choice candidates, claiming (falsely) that Cosmopolitan.com will “probably leave out jobs and a whole bunch of other stuff that we ladies care about.” Putting aside the fact that Fox commentators have not always shown such a commitment to the interests of working women, our endorsement criteria are actually a little more detailed and include issues such as equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, and leadership on ending violence against women. In the past month, our political stories have included coverage of a Supreme Court justice’s reflections on Roe v. Wade, multiple threatened executions by ISIS, sexual assault in the armed forces, and the militarization of the police in places like Ferguson, Missouri, just to name a few.
"Is this beyond the purview of what the readership of this magazine actually wants to see?" Fox panelist Guy Benson asked about our #CosmoVotes initiative aimed at getting women to the polls. “Do they want to be preached at about politics when they really just want to check out the latest fashions and these wonderful shoes you guys are all wearing?” With that last line, he gestured to the footwear of his four female co-hosts.
One of the reasons we started #CosmoVotes was because we saw how regularly young female voters are derided, condescended to, and insulted. Women hear so often that we’re dumb and uninformed that even the most politically savvy among us start to believe it: Women are less likely than men to think they’re qualified to run for office; they’re less likely to hear they should run for office; and once they do run, they are less confident and less likely to take risks. With the inescapable "Beyonce voter" heckles from the media peanut gallery, who can blame them?
Women who are assertive and confident are punished for that too, because they’re seen as abrasive, while men are just leaders. And so even though more women vote than men and more women are graduating from college than men, women are still sorely underrepresented in every major political body. Men go through life with a pervasive overconfidence, which benefits them in the workplace and in leadership positions; for women, simply having a female name means you’re perceived as less competent. Women, then, opine less and are less likely to see themselves as experts or adequately informed; as a result of that, and the fact that female voices and opinions are routinely derided, womenplay less of a role in public political debate.
It means we realize that pro-life women use birth control and have abortions too, and we think they should have that right.
We think that’s a damn shame. And we want to give our readers the tools to push back on it by encouraging them to vote (no matter which candidate they vote for) and by throwing our weight behind candidates who stand up for women instead of condescending to us.
Yes, that means we are endorsing candidates who are pro-choice. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about our pro-life readers. It means we realize that pro-life women use birth control and have abortions too, and we think they should have that right. It means we realize that outside of the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” monikers, 7 in 10 Americans say they want abortion to be legal. It means we recognize that nearly every American woman will use contraception at some point in her life, and 1 in 3 will have an abortion before her 45th birthday. We recognize that contraception and abortion are normal parts of women’s reproductive lives, and choosing to determine the number and spacing of your children is an act of love, of responsibility, and, sometimes, of basic self-preservation. It means we know women don’t see contraception as a frivolous allowance, but as a cornerstone of their personal and financial well-being — a tool that allows them to complete an education, pursue a career, pick a partner they love and not one they’re tied to out of shame and obligation, and build a family when they are emotionally, financially, and physically ready. And it means we understand that reproductive health care is basic health care and limiting that care is a public health issue: where contraception and abortion are unavailable, women are killed and injured.
No one has to agree with us or with the candidates we’ve endorsed. We welcome vigorous debate, and as we’ve said before, we hope you do your own research, form your own opinions, and vote for the politicians you believe represent your best interests. But we do object to the suggestion that Cosmopolitan.com shouldn’t be issuing endorsements at all because, apparently, we’re bubbleheads who should “stick with fashion and orgasms.” Newspapers that cover, say, sports — not exactly the height of intellectual acuity — aren’t subjected to the same condescension that comes with writing about sex, fashion, and beauty. They don’t hear the accusation that they’re “dictating" what their apparently mindless readers should do or face the assumption that because light content appears on one page, there’s no place for something more serious.
It’s almost as if the problem isn’t that we, like so many other publications, are writing about politics and endorsing candidates, but that we’re writing about politics and endorsing candidates and we’re a publication focused on women.
We think you’re perfectly capable of reading an article about shoes and still walking yourself to your polling place to cast an informed, thoughtful vote.
This is all especially rich coming from conservative media mouthpieces, in an election year when conservative candidates are having a tough time appealing to female voters (the only women who reliably support Republicans are those who are both married and don’t have a college degree). Many conservative policies — like opposition to abortion access, insurance coverage for contraception, equal pay for equal work, a higher minimum wage, and gun control — do women real harm. Of the 10 worst American states for women, measured by women’s economic security, leadership roles, and health, all 10 are Republican-dominated red states. This isn’t just about a horse race; it’s about women’s day-to-day ability to live up to their full potential and to exist in a healthy, cared-for body.
Conservative rhetoric hurts too. It’s not just the cluelessness about how women’s uteruses supposedly “shut down” “legitimate rape.” It’s also the idea that women are more interested in driving their kids to the dentist than in equal pay, that the pay gap isn’t real, that abortion is never necessary, and now that young women just want to see shoe pictures and are too dumb to realize Cosmopolitan.com's endorsements are our analysis and suggestion, not marching orders.
We think you’re perfectly capable of reading an article about shoes and still walking yourself to your polling place to cast an informed, thoughtful vote. We hope you do vote, no matter who it’s for, because the more women cast their ballots, the more all our political parties will have to respond to our needs and interests. But we also hope you’re paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that politicians and political commentators send about women, and that you’re making connections between rhetoric, worldview, and policy.
And we hope that doing that analysis is a reminder that political thought and leadership isn’t just for the TV talking heads and the white-haired men in Congress. Listen to what these guys are saying about you — and then don’t believe it.
We’ll see you at the polls on November 4. And we’ll see you right here on Cosmopolitan.com every day before then, writing about, discussing, and sometimes opining on the abundance of issues that shape your health, your financial future, and the many dimensions of your life.
CBS sportscaster James Brown used his time on air during the pregame for the Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game Thursday night to broadcast a serious message about domestic violence, as outrage over newly-released video depicting former Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his now-wife unconscious continues to ripple through the NFL.
While the league have faced criticism for continually citing Rice’s then-fiancee Janay Palmer’s role in the February incident, Brown’s speech turned the conversation to men’s role in domestic abuse.
“This problem is bigger than football,” Brown says over the din of audience flowing into the stadium. “But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women and, as they said, do something about it?
“Like an ongoing comprehensive education of men of what healthy, respectful manhood is all about, and it starts with how we view women. Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says ‘you throw the ball like a girl,’ or ‘you’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women. And attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion.”
Sexual assault and domestic violence prevention organizers have long advocated for flipping the conversation about abuse to what men can do to prevent it, rather than how women can get out of the way of men who will inevitably abuse. “When we solely focus on whether a survivor stays with or leaves their abusive partner,” Chai Jindasurat, the programs coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project, told ThinkProgress’s Tara Culp-Ressler in a recent interview, “we place all the responsibility on the survivor rather than holding an abusive partner accountable.”
Instead of asking why women have put themselves in a dangerous position or stayed in one, “A better question,” the National Network to End Domestic Violence says on its website, ” is, Why does the abuser choose to abuse?”
But both the NFL and some other outlets have been slow to take this message to heart. When the incident originally came to light, the Baltimore Ravens tweeted that Janay Rice “says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” That tweet was just recently deleted after the video became public knowledge. Similarly, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade argued last week that Palmer sent a “terrible message” by staying with her abuser, and that since Rice hit her in the elevator, “I think the message is, take the stairs.”
The 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act — landmark legislation that was signed into law by President Clinton on September 13, 1994 — comes at a particularly prescient moment, as the country is engaged in a national conversation about the NFL’s responsibility to adequately respond to incidences of domestic abuse perpetrated by its football players.
As all attention has been focused on the video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, as well as the NFL’s botched response to the surveillance tape evidence, it can be hard to feel like the country is taking any meaningful steps toward taking violence against women seriously. But, while there’s certainly a lot of work left to be done, the national legislation aimed at supporting victims of domestic violence has changed the landscape in some significant ways.
Here’s a look at how we’ve progressed in the past two decades:
We have more resources to address and prevent domestic abuse.
The whole point of VAWA is to provide more institutional resources for domestic violence victims. In order to accomplish that, the law expanded the network of rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters across the country, as well as established the National Domestic Violence Hotline. VAWA also provides funding for efforts to prevent crime, like expanding youth education programs to teach kids about what constitutes dating violence, implementing safety measures on public transportation, and requiring the government to conduct more research into domestic violence so we’ll have a better understanding of the scope of the problem.
Fewer people are becoming victims of violence.
According to data from the Department of Justice, domestic violence rates declined 64 percent between 1993 and 2010. And the rate of women being murdered men in single victim/single offender situations — often characteristic of intimate partner violence — dropped by 26 percent over a similar time period, between 1996 and 2012. One study attempting to figure out why domestic violence rates dropped so dramatically in the 1990s attributed the decline partly to VAWA, which “has been an important impetus for funding in the area of civil legal assistance.”
We’re more comfortable talking about domestic abuse.
“Even just 20 years ago, violence against women in America was an epidemic few people wanted to talk about, let alone do something about,” Vice President Joe Biden, who introduced VAWA and has championed the legislation ever since, pointed out in an op-ed published this week to mark VAWA’s anniversary. But that’s slowly started to change. Victims are becoming more comfortable reaching out; the National Domestic Violence Hotline has received over 3 million calls since 1996, and 92 percent of those callers say it’s their first call for help. Violence against women is no longer considered to be a “private family matter,” and is now widely regarded as something that requires a public solution. According to the advocacy group Futures Without Violence, before the 1980s, there were about 150 articles in major newspapers covering the issue of domestic violence. In the decades of the 2000s, there were more than 7,000.
We’re better at recognizing the diversity of survivors’ experiences.
The latest iteration of VAWA made some important updates to the original 1994 law. It expanded protections for Native American women by giving tribes more authority to prosecute domestic abuse, protected LGBT individuals from being discriminated against in shelters, and ensured that immigrants’ legal status can’t be exploited by their abusers. It also expanded the definition of violence to specifically include crimes like cyberstalking. Those new provisions were a sticking point for many Republicans, who refused to pass the expanded version VAWA in 2013 and allowed the law to lapse in the first time since its 1994 passage. Last February, Congress finally reauthorized VAWA with the protections for diverse groups of victims intact.
We’ve enacted more legal protections for victims.
Before VAWA, we didn’t have a criminal justice system that was set up to handle these issues. Sexual assault and domestic violence weren’t even included in the federal criminal code. VAWA strengthened the federal punishments for those crimes — which led the way for states to reform their own laws in this area so that, for example, spousal rape is now treated just as seriously as stranger rapeacross the country. VAWA funds also train over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges every year so they’ll be able to better respond to cases involving intimate partner violence, abuse, and assault. And, thanks to the federal legislation, victims’ past sexual behavior is not admissible in trials where they’re accusing someone else of sexual misconduct.
“But if the Equal Rights Amendment were in the Constitution, this case could have had a different outcome. The decision in Hobby Lobby made clear that the only question the Court considered worthwhile is whether Hobby Lobby’s religious rights are burdened by the employer mandate to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods. It did not consider the issue of equal treatment of women under the law, as it should have.”
My #WCW this week goes out to the six heroes of the women’s reproductive rights movement.
They are: Sonia Sotomayor, Sandra Fluke, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sarah Slamen, Wendy Davis, and Cecile Richards.
Sandra Fluke, the women’s rights activist who gave Rush Limbaugh heartburn, is one step closer to becoming an elected official in California.
Fluke finished second behind Ben Allen, a fellow Democrat, in Tuesday’s primary race for a state Senate seat in Southern California. They both advance to the Nov. 4 general election because of California’s unique primary rules in which the top two vote-getters move on regardless of party.
Fluke gained national fame in 2012 when Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his radio show for her support of President Obama’s health care law.
Then a Georgetown University law student, Fluke had been blocked by Republicans from testifying at a congressional hearing in support of contraceptive coverage by insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act. Limbaugh apologized for his choice of words after a huge outcry from Democrats and Republicans. Fluke went on to become a featured speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and campaigned for Obama.
Allen and Fluke are seeking the state Senate seat of Ted Lieu, who is running for Congress in the district long held by liberal icon Henry Waxman. Lieu was clinging to second place in the 33rd Congressional District primary behind Elan Carr, a gang prosecutor and Republican.
You can thank Rush Limbaugh and Dana Loesch’s hateful mouths for allowing Sandra Fluke to rise to stardom, which is a good thing for America. So happy that Fluke’s advancing in November.
Abortion clinics are for ending pregnancies. Hospitals are for general health care. That dichotomy has become the standard in today’s abortion access landscape — but it’s now starting to change. A new insistence on admitting privileges, transfer agreements, and other unnecessary requirements for abortion providers has begun tying the two together in ways that haven’t been seen since the pre-Roe era.
Ultimately, that means anti-abortion protesters are gaining a new foothold.
Four decades ago, hospitals used to be the sole providers of legal abortions, always in cases like health issues or potential fetal deformities. After abortion was made legal in all 50 states with the Roe v. Wade court ruling, independent clinics began springing up throughout the country. Those stand-alone clinics offered more personal and less expensive care, but also segregated abortion from the rest of the medical profession. Today, elective abortion is almost exclusively an out-of-hospital occurrence.
And that’s exactly the way medical boards like it. With clinics bearing the majority of the responsibility for terminating pregnancies, hospitals — many of whom are increasingly owned by religious non-profit and for-profit entities — are able to steer clear of any of the divisiveness they encountered in the 1970s and early 1980s, when abortion was still a portion of their services.
Those controversies are returning, however, as hospitals are increasingly viewed as the weak link in the battle over abortion access. Admitting privileges legislation has made hospitals the gatekeeper for abortion clinics’ ability to remain open. That’s allowed protests to move away from the clinics themselves and back to the hospitals, a far more vulnerable target.
Hospital protests spread across the country
In Texas, where the state’s endangered clinics are struggling to stay open, the anti-abortion organization Life Dynamics has put together a campaign notifying hospitals that offering admitting privileges to any abortion-providing doctors could be bad for them in some mysterious, unnamed way.
The letters addressed to every hospital in the state don’t specify what exactly the facilities will experience if they do provide access for a doctor. But there are a number of different ways to target a hospital in order to cut off access to legal abortion. Other examples from around the country make it clear that these institutions may experience protests, picketing, and outright harassment of their medical staff and their executives.
For instance, a small group of anti-choice activists in Alabama made it their mission to take on Crestwood Medical Center for offering admitting privileges to one abortion provider in the Huntsville area. In a letter, abortion opponents referred to the hospital as “the ‘lifeline’ enabling the local abortion business to operate,” and promised a protest on hospital grounds. The hospital itself was unmoved, responding in a statement, “We do not intend to — nor can we legally — revoke the medical staff privileges of any trained, licensed, lawful and duly credentialed physician for issues that have no bearing on his or her work or practice at the hospital.”There are a number of different ways to target a hospital in order to cut off access to legal abortion.
In Ohio, anti-abortion activists tucked legislation into the state’s yearly budget to make it more difficult for clinics to remain open. The new law requires transfer agreements with nearby hospitals, and even limits which hospitals can offer those privileges by forbidding any institution that receives public funds from entering into an agreement with a local abortion provider. Now, that legislation could have a rippling effect, as pro-life action groups in the state seek to draw attention to hospitals that use abortion clinics to train doctors in full spectrum reproductive health care.
“What kind of logic by University Hospitals can justify training abortionists at Preterm to kill children whose only sin is that their earthly presence will be “inconvenient” while trying to save children of the same gestational age born prematurely at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital?” demands Lake County Right to Life, a local anti-choice group in Ohio, which has urged its supporters to call the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer and Board Members and demand an end to their “participation in child killing.”
Together, Lake Country Right to Life and Cleveland Right to Life also organized a “prayerful witness” at the main campus of the hospital to protest the “five notorious local abortionists… listed on the teaching faculty of UH.”
The hospital doesn’t even need to be in the same state to be a target. An abortion opponent and pastor from Wisconsin has begun a campaign against the Mayo Clinic Health System in Rochester, Minnesota, demanding the hospital fire a doctor whom he feels didn’t provide adequate care for his wife during a high-risk pregnancy. He claims that the doctor doesn’t value “life” because he might be providing abortions for pregnancy complications at a different hospital — and the protests are taking place at the Franciscan-Mayo in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, despite the fact that no abortions are being performed there.
The pressure of the church
Not properly following the Catholic Health Care Directives for faith-based hospitals appears to be a key instigator for many hospital protests. Abortion opponents have determined that offering admitting privileges to an abortion provider makes the hospital just as complicit in an abortion as if they were being performed in the buildings themselves.
Bearing signs with slogans such as “Abortionists work here,” “Is Franciscan Catholic or Pro-Abortion?” or “St. Francis, rebuild our hospital,” the Wisconsin pastor, his wife, and their supporters are demanding that the Mayo hospital system fire the doctor because they claim his employment and actions violate the Catholic directives. They have continued their protests outside the Wisconsin hospital, especially on days when they know the doctor in question will be visiting to consult on high risk pregnancies.
Michigan abortion clinics don’t actually require admitting privileges under state law, but that hasn’t stopped the protesters there. Providence Park Hospital, which is located about 30 miles outside of Detroit, Michigan, is being protested by the local anti-abortion action groups because the hospital provides admitting privileges to four doctors who perform abortions.
“We have faith in our church, we take comfort in our faith… and to find out that we can’t come to a Catholic hospital without worrying about someone who performs abortions being there — it’s very unsettling,” said Lynn Mills, an active anti-abortion activist in the state.We don’t plan to stop until abortion is finished in Corpus Christi or the Lord returns.”
In Texas, where abortion access is literally hanging by a thread, protesters spent their Mother’s Day picketing Christus Spohn Hospital, a Catholic hospital in Corpus Christi. The hospital is being accused of keeping the area’s only clinic open by offering admitting privileges — the central requirement in a recent law that’s slowly closing off nearly every clinic in the state.
“By them allowing him those admitting privileges, they’re basically enabling his practice to remain open and continue to kill the unborn in Corpus Christi,” activist Daniel Sem told KRISTV.com. Sem said that protests would continue as long as abortion remains accessible. “We don’t plan to stop until abortion is finished in Corpus Christi or the Lord returns.”
Public protest outside the hospital is just one aspect of pressuring a hospital, and Sem and his supporters are urging that every avenue be undertaken, from petitions to phone calls to emails and even letters addressed to their ranking executives.
In the summer of 2013, when California’s Hoag Hospital was in mid-merger with a new Catholic medical group, staff and abortion rights supporters rallied against news that Hoag was intending to stop performing abortions on site. Abortion opponents, on the other hand, were delighted — and not only protested at the hospital itself against doctors opposing the change, but even took the fight home to the doctors themselves.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “About 50 to 100 antiabortion protesters wrote messages in chalk and shouted slurs outside the home of a Newport Beach obstetrician who was one of the doctors to oppose Hoag Hospital’s decision to eliminate elective abortions.” Those chalk messages consisted of snippets like “neighborhood serial killer” and “This house was built from blood.”
Just one of the 99 ways to stop abortion
Both hospital and home pickets are key protest methods in “Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion,” the handbook for how to end legal abortion in the country. Author Joe Scheidler, founder of Pro-Life Action League and the now defunct Pro-Life Action Network, has used a variety of ways to target hospitals over the decades, especially hospitals that were still doing abortions on site.
“We had a lot of success at Illinois Masonic,” Scheidler recounted. “We met with the board there. They wouldn’t stop doing abortions, but we would protest the hospital and we had a dozen little caskets made — baby caskets — and we would carry them in front of the hospital and the people who worked there were furious, announcing the fact that they did abortions at that hospital. But some of the residents, doctors and nurses, walked out and joined us because they agreed.”We had a dozen little caskets made — baby caskets — and we would carry them in front of the hospital and the people who worked there were furious.”
Illinois Masonic wasn’t as big of a success as Cook County Hospital, where Scheilder and his followers were able to get the hospital to stop offering terminations all together. But overall, according to Scheilder, hospital protests tend to be more effective when the entity itself is religious, or if religious doctors or executives are made the focus of the action. The strategy works even better if protesters can get the church itself involved.
“Cabrini Hospital [in Chicago] had a woman doctor there teaching, and she also did abortions,” said Scheidler. “So we called the Mother Superior and told her that unless this woman who was giving instructions to the abortion doctors stopped doing abortions we would picket it. And so the Mother Superior sent us a notice assuring us that the doctor would stop doing abortions.”
Scheidler and other anti-abortion activists are highly aware of the weak link that hospitals have become in the quest to end access to legal abortion, especially if those activists can make the relationship a public relations nightmare. “It’s simply a black eye to be open to take the patients who have been botched in an abortion in a free standing clinic,” stated Scheidler. “And the threat of protests is very unpleasant. One thing hospitals don’t need are protesters to imply that they are connected in any way with abortions. It doesn’t mean they need someone to actually be doing abortions, but if they are open to have services available for an abortionist, it’s not worth it.”
While for now, hospital protests remain scattered, they are likely to grow more commonplace, especially in states that allow admitting privilege laws to go into effect. What is currently a few isolated events could eventually become an everyday occurrence, not unlike clinic protests themselves. For abortion opponents, it is an inevitable strategy to assuring the end of the abortion access.
“Of course we will apply pressure,” said Scheidler. “We are trying to get the abortion clinics closed. Without hospitals, the abortionist can’t get the resources he needs and then he closes. That’s what is going to happen around the country as this becomes more common.”
Robin Marty is a freelance writer, speaker and activist, and the author of Crow After Roe: How Women’s Health Is the New Separate But Equal and How to Change That. Robin’s articles have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Rolling Stone, Bitch Magazine, Talking Points Memo and other publications.
n the wake of the murder spree carried out by Elliot Rodger, driven by his deeply and viciously misogynistic views, a #YesAllWomen hashtag was started on Twitter to highlight the fact that society largely turns a blind eye to the fact that women experience various forms of harassment, threats, and discrimination on a regular basis.
Glenn Beck, shockingly, was not particularly moved by the effort as he mockingly read some of the tweets on his television program last night and called it nothing more than “a chance for some good, old fashioned man-bashing”:
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
Harsh restrictions on abortion are sweeping the country, and these laws have found a particular foothold in Southern states. Louisiana just became the latest state to approve medically unnecessary legislation that will shut down abortion clinics — a strategy known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP. If the governor signs the measure into law, women’s access to abortion services in the region will shrink even further.
Louisiana’s neighbors have already advanced their own TRAP measures. Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas have all enacted laws requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges with local hospitals, a partnership that’s often impossible in red states where hospitals are wary to be associated with abortion. Oklahoma is currently attempting to pass its own admitting privilege bill.
The TRAP laws in Mississippi and Alabama are tied up in court, but Texas’ law was allowed to take effect this past fall. Since then, multiple clinics have been forced out of business in the Lone Star State, leaving hundreds of miles without access to a single abortion facility. Unfortunately, a similar fate may await many of the providers in the surrounding area. Since most of the region is under the jurisdiction of the deeply conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the judicial system can’t necessarily be counted on to safeguard women’s reproductive rights.
Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action, this map details the devastating impact that these laws threaten to have on abortion access in Southern states (the gray dots are the clinics that will be forced to close under TRAP laws, and the blue dots are the only ones that will remain after the laws are fully in effect):
CREDIT: PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION
According to estimations from the Guttmacher Institute, there are about 8.6 million women of reproductive age living in those five states. But in a potential future where all of those gray dots are forced out of business, those women will be left with just 12 abortion clinics in the entire region. There won’t be any clinics whatsoever in the western halves of Texas or Oklahoma, or in the whole state of Mississippi.
Planned Parenthood isn’t mincing words about the potentially devastating effects of this legislative trend. “We are deeply concerned that women in a vast stretch of this country are in real danger of losing the ability to access legal abortion safely,” Cecile Richards, the president of the organization, said in a statement released after the Louisiana legislature approved the TRAP law on Wednesday.
Anti-abortion activists agree with the heart of that statement, although they draw different conclusions about whether that’s actually a bad thing. “These incremental laws are part of a greater strategy to end abortion in our country,” Tanya Britton, a board member for Pro-Life Mississippi, told the New York Times. “It’s part of it, and one day, our country will be abortion free.”
More reasons why the GOP’s policies on women’s health, abortion, and other reproductive choice issues are bad for Americans everywhere.
The anti-choicers have their endgame in place: to eventually get Roe v. Wade overturned and/or ban abortions completely.
On today’s episode of “WallBuilders Live,” David Barton explained that women were not given the right to vote when the Constitution was written because the Founding Fathers were trying to protect the institution of the family by giving every “family” a right to vote through the male head of the household.
Responding to a question from a listener who argued that the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Barton said that this interpretation was exactly right because not allowing women to vote was designed “to keep the family together”:
The family was the first and fundamental unit of all government. Actually, you have individual self government first, then you have family government second, you have civil government third, and have church government fourth. Those are the four levels of government in the order they are given in the Bible.
So family government precedes civil government and you watch that as colonists came to America, they voted by families. You look at the Pilgrims, when they finally moved away from socialism and moved toward the free enterprise system, they called the families together and gave families plots of land. Private property given to the families. And so that’s the way things work.
And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one. That is the biblical precept. That is the way they looked at them in the civil community. That is a family that is voting and so the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so …
Now, as we’ve moved away from the family unit - you need to be independent from the family, don’t be chained down and be a mother and don’t be chained down and be a father and don’t be chained down to your parents, you know, we’ve moved into more of a family anarchy kind of thing, the ‘Modern Family’ kind of portrayal - that understanding has gone away.
Clearly, what [the listener] has asked is a brilliant question because it does reveal that the bigotry we’re told they held back then, they didn’t hold and what they did was they put the family unit higher than the government unit and they tried to work hard to keep the family together. And, as we can show in two or three hundred studies since then, the more you weaken the family, the more it hurts the entire culture and society.
So they had a strong culture, a strong society and it was based on a strong family to preceded government and they crafted their policies to protect a strong family.
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
Dear Ms. Schlafly,
I’m a teenage girl who has been reading about you quite a bit in the news lately. It seems to me that you have absolutely no idea what women of my generation are all about. I can understand that because I often deal with older people who think that their generation is superior and my generation is the worst thing ever just because we’re different. Really though, I think since you want to be all up in the public eye, it would really do you a lot of good to understand things from the perspective of one of the young women who will be taking over this country soon.
I’ve been thinking about how I can explain what feminism means to my generation in a way you might not have thought of before. I wanted to try to work from something we have in common, and it’s been kind of hard to find something I have in common with you. Then, it came to me. I bet you wear a bra.
I was reading recently about a company called Yellowberry that was started by a young woman because she took her younger sister bra shopping and her sister didn’t like any of the choices. None of the bras fit her, and she felt the selections were too sexual. So she started a line of bras so that girls would have more options. As for myself, I shop at Victoria’s Secret. It’s not because I want to be sexy or have any grand delusions of looking like one of their models. I shop there because they have different styles of bras so I can find something I think is pretty that fits me. I don’t know where you shop for your bras, but I bet you have a favorite one. I bet you have that one bra that’s comfortable and goes with just about everything. I bet the last thing you were thinking about when you bought that bra was what a man would think about it.
Well, making choices in our lives as young women is kind of like finding that favorite bra. Not all of us are going to fit into the same kind and not all of us are going to find the same style attractive. We all deserve to have as many choices as possible, and as women, we shouldn’t be judging the choices made by other women. Choosing a bra is a very personal choice and is none of anyone else’s business. We should be, as women, looking for ways we can expand the choices both for ourselves and other women, just as Megan Grassell did when she started Yellowberry. Equality doesn’t mean women will all make the same choice. It means women will be treated the same no matter what choices they make.
This brings us to the idea you have that women shouldn’t have equal pay because it will make it more difficult for them to find husbands. What you’re doing is attempting to limit my choices, and I don’t appreciate that. Let’s get one thing straight here. When I’m thinking about what kind of career I want to have, it’s a lot like shopping for a bra. I want to find something that fits me and appeals to me, and I’m not thinking about pleasing a man. Anyone who wants to be my partner in life is going to have to truly respect me, appreciate me for who I am, and honor the choices I make.
What you’re doing, Ms. Schlafly, is contributing to something very disturbing I see happening with some of the teenage girls I know. At a time in their lives when they should be free, independent, and exploring and preparing for the possibilities they have in the future, many of them are worried about getting or keeping a boyfriend. There are young women my age who are extremely smart but they hide it because they get messages from women like you that if they are too smart or successful, boys won’t like them. They get messages from women like you that pleasing a man should be their number one goal. You’re contributing to making young women uncomfortable when they go bra shopping because they’ve learned to analyze every choice based on what other people will think instead of having the freedom and confidence to choose what’s best for them.
I’m going to continue the work my mother and my grandmothers started, the work you have fought so hard against. I’m going to work to help get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratified in my lifetime. Once this is done, it’s going to take some time to undo a lot of the damage women like you have caused. It’s going to take time for society to evolve once women finally have the equality we deserve. But I believe that my daughters will look at history and see women like you the same way I see women who tried to prevent us from getting the right to vote. I believe that bra shopping is going to be a lot easier for my daughters than it is for girls today.
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn disgraces our country yet again by defending the GOP’s blocking of Paycheck Fairness Act
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asserted over the weekend that the Republican Party was the party of “women’s equality” days after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. In a party line Senate vote last week, Republicans refused to…
When reviewing films like Honor Diaries it is imperative we know the figures behind their creation and distribution — from producers and writers to the organizations which sponsored and helped in the shaping of the films. This assessment goes beyond researching the backgrounds of those interviewed and helps us examine the presence of political agendas and ulterior motivations. Honor Diaries certainlylives up to its purpose of being “more than a movie” as we come to find that those working behind the scenes use the films theme, that of women’s rights abuses, as a way in which to obscure their involvement in histrionic anti-Islam campaigns; they continue to push their Islamophobia, this time with a semblance of legitimacy.
Producer and Writer: Paula Kweskin, who took part of the University of North Carolina’s 2009 screening of The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost, a documentary by Alan Dershowitz, and wrote an article for the Jerusalem Post with Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, claiming that Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip and in 2011 called humanitarian flotilla’s headed to Gaza part of a “political war to demonize Israel“. Kweskin was also a legal researcher for the right-wing, pro-Israel NGO Monitor, and as stunning as this may sound, is an attorney specializing in international humanitarian and human rights law.
Producer and Writer: Alex Traiman, director of the “bomb Iran” film Iranium, written and distributed by pro-Israel organization Clarion Fund (now The Clarion Project) is a resident of the illegal Israeli settlement of Ulpana in Beit El, “a colony of about 6,000 [Israeli] settlers“, and a defender of illegal settlements in the West Bank, or what he calls “Samaria“.
Executive Producer: Raphael Shore is the founder of The Clarion Project (formerly Clarion Fund), a pro-Israel nonprofit organization which aims to “educate people about the inherent dangers of Islamic extremism” and which was behind the production and distribution of Islamophobic films such as Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, Iranium and The Third Jihad.
From Media Matters:
According to a Center for American Progress report, the Clarion Project is funded by three of the seven top anti-Islam and anti-Muslim think tanks and organizations in the United States, including the Donors Capital Fund, Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker foundations and charitable trust, and Anchorage Charitable Foundation and William Rosenwal Family Fund. The Center for American Progress describes these donors as the “lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America,” and the report tracks how these donors use their money to support groups like the Clarion Project to “spread a deliberately misleading messages about Islam and Muslims that is fundamentally antithetical to our nation’s foundation and principals of religious freedom.
Executive Producer and Expert: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, prominent Islamophobic ideologue. During an interview with Rogier Van Bakel for the November 2007 edition of Reason magazine she had the following to say about Islam:
Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?
Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.
Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?
Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.
Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?
Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.
Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.
One prominent sponsor of Honor Diaries is Steve Emerson, founder and executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), an organization which brags of being recognized as “the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups.” IPT is also behind the film Jihad in America: The Grand Deception and has published unashamedly racist, Islamophobic articles such as the following, written by one Dr.Reuven Berko:
All the evil storms of history visited upon humanity did not expose to the people of Europe (who today host well-established enclaves of radical Islam in their midst) even the surface of the slaughter and injustice carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam, “the religion of peace,” against Jews and Christians. Europe is still influenced by the fantasies of Lawrence of Arabia, captivated by the specious charms of the Arabs and Islam and unaware of the catastrophe that will be visited on the world as soon as the Islamist genie is let out of the bottle, making the World Trade Center look like three minutes of “coming attractions.”
The Museum of Tolerance, the educational arm of California-based human rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is also listed as a sponsor of Honor Diaries. In 2005 plans for the construction of The Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity in occupied Jerusalem were announced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier. The Museum would be built atop the ancient Mamilla cemetery, a Muslim burial ground. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has already begun bulldozing the cemetery.
So now the question remains — should those who are actively participating in activities which further discriminatory policies and give an air of authority to acts of violence carried out against marginalized, multidimensional groups be allowed to take part in campaigns which allege to “inspire viewers to learn”?
Honor Diaries is a 60-minute reminder that the age of pre-packaged, documentary-style propaganda, meant to influence behavior and opinion against “them”, is far from over.
Today, crass anti-choice extremist shitstain Dana Loesch is bullying #Rally4MOWomen attendees for simply exercising their 1st Amendment right to express their opinions on how extreme anti-abortion policies being proposed are affecting Missouri women.
I feel like basic anatomy and physiology courses would be beneficial at these rallies.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 8, 2014
Typical from someone who is a habitual disgrace to women in this country.
Michelle Malkin’s propaganda hive Twitchy piles on, which Loesch retweeted:
You, Dana, are an ignorant bully.
I don’t think this fellow understands the concept of “choice.” pic.twitter.com/8dqa9VZiok #rally4MOwomen
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 8, 2014
It’s people like you that want to take away the right to make the choice to have an abortion.
(“But make them pay for them!”) pic.twitter.com/kaCCXjqa50 #rally4MOwomen
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 8, 2014