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An abortion compromise made for health care reform

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I have neglected to post anything about the abortion debates/Stupak-Pitts/health care reform before this, because I just felt that others could explain things much better than myself, as I’m Canadian and don’t completely understand all the ins and outs of the American political system. However, I can’t neglect this anymore. As most of you may know by now, there is now an abortion compromise being proposed for the hopeful passing of the health care reform, just for that one damn vote from Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.. Pretty much, most women are still getting screwed out of abortion coverage. Shit. Here’s how it goes:

No health plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those funds would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money.

Moreover, individual states would be able to prohibit abortion coverage in plans offered through the exchange, after but passing specific legislation to that effect. The only exceptions would be those allowed under current federal law.

So, what I’m hearing from this is that women are still getting screwed. Women should not have to pay a separate check for abortion coverage. That’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Seriously. Abortions should be considered a medically necessary procedure for those who need or want them (similar to how they are labeled in Canada), and there should be equal access across the board, for all women. The access thing is absolutely more difficult, but the first step is to allow abortions into the health care reform without any separation. This seriously just boils my blood. It’s ridiculous.

So how are other people responding to this? NARAL gives their take and states,

“At every turn, our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system…the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language.”

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., says that she’s “disappointed that women’s access to full reproductive health care is again paying the price.

Planned Parenthood gives their thoughts:

There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.

No doubt, there will be more news about this and more to say about it in the coming days and weeks. Right now, I have to say that this is not good enough, and some fighting still needs to be done, especially since people who support Stupak-Pitts aren’t going to go down without a fight.

Update: After I wrote this post, we now have found out that the Senate has voted yes (60-40) on the first health care reform vote.


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Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I cannot even express in words how much shock and anger came upon me when I heard about this extremely disgusting, homophobic bill proposal. RH Reality Check explains,

The bill proposes a seven-year jail term for anyone who “attempts to commit the offence” or who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality.” Under the proposed law, “promotion of homosexuality,” including publishing information or providing funds, premises for activities, or other resources, is also punishable by a seven-year sentence or a fine of US$50,000. The bill seeks to apply the death penalty handed down for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as a sexual assault committed against a member of the same sex who is under 18 or disabled. An HIV test would be forced upon anyone found guilt of the offense of “homosexuality.”

No one in their right mind would think this would pass, correct? Well, many gay rights activists in Uganda are saying that this is something that most likely will pass. David Cato, a gay rights activist in Uganda, says that there has been more of a gay rights movement in Uganda lately, which means that these laws are being put into place.

“It’s a question of visibility,” said David Cato, who became an activist after he was beaten up four times, arrested twice, fired from his teaching job and outed in the press because he is gay. “When we come out and ask for our rights, they pass laws against us.”

I for one sincerely hope that this bill does not get passed. There is a lot of international pressure on Uganda right now because of this bill, but only time will tell if this pressure will influence Uganda in any way.

Obama planning on lifting the HIV travel ban

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

So, for 22 years, for those that are HIV positive, have not been able to enter into the United States, either as visitors or as immigrants. I just found out that this was even a law just about two month ago, because one of my fabulous Anti-Oppressive Practice professors mainly does her work in HIV and told us about how some of her team couldn’t go to the States for conferences, or, they had to make sure to not mention that they were HIV positive. Kind of a ridiculous law right? Well, the good news is, is that Obama is lifting this ban!

President Obama called the 22-year ban on travel and immigration by HIV-positive individuals a decision “rooted in fear rather than fact” and announced the end of the rule-making process lifting the ban.

The president signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 at the White House Friday and also spoke of the new rules, which have been under development more more than a year. “We are finishing the job,” the president said.

There will be a 60-day waiting period for this to be put in implementation. Very exciting stuff, because as Obama said, this law was put in place due to fear and not fact.

Click here for the story from the Washington Post.

On politics and misogyny

January 21, 2008 3 comments

Now this is a New York Times column that I can heart and appreciate. Bob Herbert has written a great column about politics and misogyny. It was written before the Nevada Primary, so he talks about the “misogyny capital of America” a fair amount. And of course, Clinton won. Ironic? Who knows! Anyway, he has some really good points about misogyny in general. He points out that all of a sudden, when Clinton wins a primary, gender is all the talk in the media…but he’s pretty much asking, “Why haven’t we been talking about this all along? Misogyny is everywhere.”

Its forms are limitless. Hard-core pornography is a multibillion-dollar business, having spread far beyond the stereotyped raincoat crowd to anyone with a laptop and a password. Crowds of crazed photographers risk life and limb to get shots of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears without their underwear. At New York Jets home games, men regularly gather at Gate D to urge female fans to expose themselves.

He says that misogyny is a true pastime for most men. I would have to agree with that. Since it’s not something that is talk about, it’s easy for people to think that men aren’t really being misogynists when their looking and getting off to porn.

Unfortunately, some of these things have become so “normal” in our society that we simply dismiss all of this. And relating this all to politics, he wonders how the candidates feel about this.

To what extent are the candidates of either party concerned about these matters? Do they have any sense of how extensive and debilitating the mistreatment of women and girls really is?

I’m not sure. I doubt the men in the campaign understand, just because they have not personally experienced it. Nonetheless, Bob Herbert obviously understands, and he’s no woman. But many times, women don’t even understand their own mistreatment because this is the misogyny that they’ve grown up with and don’t think anything of it. So I would argue that Hillary would understand more so, because she’s going through it all right now. However, are these presidential candidates going to change things for women and girls and try to help end the misogyny towards them? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Categories: misogyny, politics Tags: ,

Misogynist of the day: Chris Matthews

January 14, 2008 1 comment

I first heard about the uproar against Chris Matthews a few days ago on Feministing, and how Media Matters is asking us to email MSNBC to tell them how much we hate the misogyny coming out of Chris Matthews mouth. I sent an email away a few days ago because of it. Now, OpEdNews has a piece on Chris Matthews and how much he sucks.

This piece even goes further back before the presidential campaign, showing us that Matthews has never supported Hillary Clinton in any way.

Matthews has repeatedly utilized his show on MSNBC to resort to a one-man machination crusade against Hillary Clinton. For years, Matthews has used loosely implied sexist epithets, such as referring to Senator Clinton as “Madame Defarge” and “Nurse Ratched,” to defame and disparage her.

But the article makes a great point that this is not just a problem with Hillary Clinton. It is a problem with Nancy Pelosi and the entire population of strong, independent women who are not at home cooking and cleaning.

Should he be fired? I think so.

NBC fired Don Imus for a singular, similar remark and now it’s time to expunge Chris Matthews from MSNBC for his biased, protracted rage against woman, Hillary Clinton and his machismo sexism. It’s time to end the misogyny of Chris Matthews and other such purveyors of a hostile “white men only” bourgeoisie embargo on women in our government and in places of power.

So, if you’re getting fed up/enraged about the sexism that is appearing on MSNBC thanks to Chris Matthews, please click the Media Matters link above and email MSNBC directly, telling them how you feel about Chris Matthews and his misogyny.

The ridiculousness of anti-feminist women

January 10, 2008 3 comments

Jessica Valenti, of Feministing.com has a wonderful little piece at The Nation, and now also on Alternet. She talks about the latest in anti-feminist women and how they are doing way more harm to young women, and women in general, than feminism ever has. She specifically talks about Wendy Wright, and oh boy…

In a recent Fox News Special Report, Wright said that proponents of comprehensive sex education are encouraging young people to have sex because “they benefit when kids end up having sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and then they lead them into having abortions…You have to look at the financial motives behind those who are promoting comprehensive sex ed.”

Yeah, that’s totally right. Sex educators are making millions off of giving kids proper sex education! Ugh. I’m sorry, but I find that such an idiotic thing to say. Another example:

Wright has also made the argument that the increase of women in prison is all feminism’s fault, for teaching women that “they don’t need to be dependent on a husband and they shouldn’t have to depend on their family” which could lead them to “where they’re forced to fend for themselves.”

Oh wow. That’s gold. Complete gold. The rest of the article states more things that conservative women have said and some of it is quite amusing, but quite sad at the same time. I myself cannot understand how any woman can make herself purposely inferior and not believe in equality. Everyone does have a right to their own political ideology, but I just have to ask myself…where are these women getting their ideas from? Hmm…probably their husbands now, their fathers before they got married…so, men. The patriarchy. This is what it does to some women!

Uh, I freaking love these women!

January 7, 2008 1 comment

A group of women in India have started their own political party. Rock on. That’s so sweet! Suman Krishan Kant is the president of this 100 member (almost) all-women political party, who is also the widow of the former vice president, Krishan Kumar Kant.

“It is for the first time in the history of India that a national political party has been formed by women,” she says. “In fact it is the only party of women in the world. We need to ensure that the issues of priority concern to half of its population remain in the forefront of the pressing issues on India’s national agenda.”

Presently, women only hold 8 percent of seats in parliament, and the party wants that to change to 50 percent, which would be an amazing thing to see, but it’s also an amazing task to take on at the same time. It is true that some women do hold top seats in parliament, but that is few and far between, as gender inequality is still rampant in India, even though women have legal equality.

In November, the World Economic Forum’s latest gender gap index put India among the world’s 10 most gender-biased economies, with women’s participation in the paid work force at 36 percent.

Wow. These women are completely extraordinary and inspirational. And they make the point of “not hating men, and wanting and needing their support,” which is really great, because it’s about equality, and working together to create a better world; not squashing the other gender. It is just so encouraging to see something like this happen in India, and like Kant said, it really is the only (almost) all-women’s political party. Just, so cool. I love these women.

Trusting women meets my “fuck you!”

January 3, 2008 Leave a comment

So, Virginia (or, really Gov. Timothy M. Kaine) wants to toughen up on abuse laws. As well, he’s proposing a budget raise of $450,000 a year for state crisis centers and $300,000 a year for a federal prevention program. So, this is good. Especially the prevention program. In our certain welfare state, we don’t focus enough on preventing things like poverty, and violence against women. It’s definitely necessary! And it seems as though he’s kind of about trusting women.

Kaine said he wants to spare people who report being raped from having to take lie detector tests and to require courts to immediately process protective orders in civil abuse cases.

Thank you! Having rape victims take lie detector tests is a disgusting tool against women. It allows for the notion that women are not capable of telling the truth and knowing what happened to them. It essentially wants to give the power back to men.

So everything is fine and dandy…until this:

The proposal that could be the most controversial would prevent a man who has sexually assaulted a girl ages 14 to 16 from avoiding prosecution by offering to marry her.

An example:

A law allowing such a defense has been on the books for at least five decades, though it is rarely used. An 18-year-old man who has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, for example, could be found guilty of sexual assault, and some lawmakers believe the man should have the option of marrying her.

Honestly, that’s bullshit. And 18-year-old guy, whose dating a 15-year-old girl are not going to want to get married. They are just having sex, and in most cases, his 15-year-old girlfriend is consenting to this activity. As well, since when has marriage really made anything better? And yet again, it’s taking away the power from the young woman, and giving it all to the man/still teenage boy.

Personally, if I was between 14 and 16, and got sexually assaulted, I would RUN if that guy was like, “Hey, I’m gonna marry you because then I won’t get prosecuted.” It would honestly be the biggest fuck you anyone has ever heard!

So overall, this proposal is a good thing, but holy, that above proposal is bullshit.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

December 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Most of you probably already know this, but it’s good to put it here anyway. Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan was assassinated after addressing a large group of her supporters.

Not only was she killed, but 22 others as well. The President said that the people who assassinated her, and killed 22 others, were the “extremists that Pakistan is fighting a war against.”

Luckily, I do not think that this is a true women’s issue. Her father and brothers were also assassinated. But all in all, we have to mourn the loss of this great woman who did so much for her country, and just by being a political leader, many women as well.

Lots of news!

November 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Every year, 25000 baby girls are not carried to term in Vietnam.

A judge has lost his job for asking a woman to drop her pants in court.

A woman was freaking thrown out of a moving SUV and two young men have been arrested for it.

A smart woman slashed a young man with glass who was threatening to sexually assault before he could do anything to her!

A Muslim marriage “expert” explains how to beat your wife “properly”. Disgusting!

Domestic abuse is a workplace issue too!

Sexual violence and HIV continue to rise in Haiti.

Funny, funny, abstinence only education video!

The abortion rate and adoption rates aren’t really correlated at all, despite what Giuliani says.

I’m sick of this!

October 30, 2007 Leave a comment

There was some controversy over this earlier this year, but it seems that we had gotten around it. Now, the Conservative Party, led by Bush-wannabe Stephan Harper, has put forth a legislation that would require Muslim women to unveil to show their “real” identity.

If adopted, the new law could be enforced by Elections Canada staff taking voters to separate rooms to show their faces before voting.

I call bullshit. Piles and piles of bullshit. This legislation is supposed to help prevent voter fraud…but, are there any cases of voter fraud occurring that is correlated with Muslim women and their veils? Um, I don’t think so. And when did this become such a big issue anyway? There weren’t any huge stories of voter fraud from awhile ago, not that I can remember anyway.

My personal feeling about this is that the government should respect a Muslim woman wearing a veil and not make them take it off to vote. This is a part of their religion and culture and the government shouldn’t be tampering with it! I know we in the West have our own ideas about the veil, but the majority of Muslim women see it as a way out of oppression, not the other way around.

Where have we seen this before…?

October 28, 2007 Leave a comment

This is pretty cool.

The first lady in Argentina will most likely win the presidency. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is currently the wife of President Nestor Kirchner, who stepped aside so that she could run. Sure, there might be political reasons behind it, as the article states that they might like the idea of “holding power for as many as four consecutive four-year terms.” But I’ll take it. She’s been a Senator for three-terms, so it definitely seems like this couple has been running the country! I sense some equality, which is fantastic. And it’s also great to know that the Argentine people are ready for their 2nd woman president!

Let’s count how many unwanted conceptions will happen!

October 26, 2007 Leave a comment

I got an nice little email from Planned Parenthood in my inbox today, telling me how the “anti-choice fringe” is urging the Congress to suspend $300 million in funds until the Kansas and Mid-Missouri P.P. cases are settled.

Are you freaking kidding me? Sure! Let’s take away all this funding while women for the most part just want some birth control! Why are anti-choice groups so against birth control (and in turn, women)? If they don’t want abortions to happen, then they should step up and promote birth control, instead of condemn it. They are completely unreasonable and illogical.

Some more information from feminist.org:

The charges against the Kansas and Mid-Missouri Planned Parenthood were filed by Johnson County district attorney Phill Kline, the former Kansas Attorney General and extreme anti-abortion rights foe. On October 17th he filed 23 felony counts of providing false information and 84 misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain records, failure to determine viability for a late-term abortion, and unlawful late-term abortion. A conviction on all counts would cost the clinic more than $2.5 million in potential fines.

Uhm hmm…I’m sure this is all true. If you’d like to help, check out the Planned Parenthood website and donate some money, since they have to fight 107 charges. This is pretty huge. If you feel you can support them, please do so!