Monday, December 28, 2009

Ohio law addresses teen dating violence

Some really good news out of Ohio today (which happens to be where I live): Gov. Ted Strickland signed legislation called the Tina Croucher Act, otherwise known as Tina's Law.

Tina Croucher was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend in 1992, before he shot himself, and her parents have been working to educate parents and teens about domestic violence ever since, including starting a group called Citizens Against Domestic Violence in 1996.

According to this story, under Tina's Law:
  • Local boards of education must adopt a policy to prevent and address dating violence at school;
  • Train staff on prevention and include dating prevention education in health classes for grades 7-12;
  • The Ohio Board of Education is required to develop a dating violence prevention policy for schools.
You can read the full bill here. This is good news in and of itself -- obviously children and teenagers need to be aware of dating violence and all that comes with such education. But this legislation comes some months after Ohio received an 'F' for teen dating violence from the group Break the Cycle. I have to take this as a sign Ohio legislators are responding to a need here, and it's an important one, too.

Kudos to the Ohio lawmakers for getting this done, and I hope they continue on this path, because also working its way through the Ohio legislature is a bill that would allow juveniles to seek protection orders, something they currently can't do here. That bill needs to be passed, and from the sounds of it, will be.

Curious to see other state laws regarding teen dating violence? Check here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (12/27)

Everyone get through the holidays okay this week? I always breath a sigh of relief when our Christmas celebrations are over. It's nice to see everyone, but it's always rushed and involves way too much driving.

Anyway, on to Sunday reading! A quick reminder, I'm always open to suggestions for this weekly column, and you're more than welcome to submit your own material. Just send me an e-mail at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Lots of news about the health care reform bill this week, since the Senate passed its version on Dec. 24. Some of this might be a little outdated, but it's worth looking at this comparison of the House and Senate bills. There's also a slew of stories about the abortion component of the bill:

  • AP: "Abortion deal may be hard to keep in health bill."
  • Seattle PI: "Analysis: Insurance companies may stop covering abortion." (I wrote more about this here.)
  • CNN: "Cynthia Nixon: Abortion debate's new voice."
  • This is a couple weeks old, but if you missed it, definitely check out "From Right-Wing to Pro-Choice: The Shifting Goalposts of “Abortion Neutrality” from Religion Dispatches, a site that has been really interesting lately.
  • On Firedoglake: "There must be a line … a wall to hit … or the struggle for reproductive justice is merely a suggestion."
  • On the Daily Beast, by Gloria Feldt: "The Abortion Smokescreen."
  • On Huffington Post: "Will one Senator stand up for women?"
  • Newsweek: "The Abortion Divide."

In other news:
  • Last week, Jezebel wrote about a 12-year-old girl who was raped in school, during school, and the completely horrible comments made by some security personnel at the school on the incident (i.e., "why didn't she scream?"). Turns out the girl had previously reported the guy to school officials because he was sexually harassing her. Also, he'll be back in court on Dec. 30.
  • The Louisville Courier-Journal recently reported on an important court case going on there, "Court will reconsider fetuses, drug use." The case is about whether a woman can be charged with a crime against her fetus if she takes drugs while she's pregnant. You can imagine the broader implications for this case, I'm sure. You can read more about it on RH Reality Check. The Lexington Herald has more on the arguments heard in court.
  • Truthout reports on an outrageous story: "Women Soldiers in Iraq Who Become Pregnant Face Court-Martial"
  • The Colorado Independent: "Colorado maternity bill would require coverage for birth control." There's no excuse for birth control or maternity care not to be covered in any health insurance plan, so good for them for introducing this.
  • AP: "Spanish lawmakers vote to ease abortion law." Good news here!
  • Susan Kim on the Huffington Post: "Talking About Menstruation." Think we'll ever see the day that tampons and pads aren't taxed? How long before a box of 20 tampons costs $10?
  • On Chicago Now, a great chart comparing states where same-sex marriage is allowed vs. states that allow first cousins to get married.
  • Finally, a couple of stories rounding up the year: On BlogHer, "From Sotomayor to The Cost of Being Female: Feminism in 2009" and from VOA News, "2009 Mixed Year for Human Rights."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy holidays from Spare Candy

Two little girls in bed, playing with Japanese dolls;
a little boy with a drum stands at the bedside.
Stockings hang from the mantel behind them. 1896. (source)

If you celebrate a holiday this time of year,
I'd like to wish you a happy one.
If you don't, happy Friday!

I know this time of year is a hard one for many people,
for many reasons. If you are one of those people,
I hope you don't put too much stress on yourself and,
if nothing else, that you just make it through.
Ultimately, it's just a day like any other.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

AP BREAKING NEWS: Horses are women

I can't not discuss this story that came out yesterday, no matter how many other people have written about it on their own blogs. (By my count, it's about everyone.)

Let's go back to two days ago. Two days ago, the Associated Press named NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson as the AP Male Athlete of the Year. This honor is voted on by sports editors around the country who are AP members. (I'm not sure the exact number that includes.)

The list of vote-getters in this category, and the number of votes they received:

Jimmie Johnson: 42
Roger Federer: 30
Usain Bolt: 29
Kobe Bryant: 9
Albert Pujols: 9
Tiger Woods: 9
Michael Phelps: 8
Peyton Manning: 6
Joe Mauer: 4
Manny Pacquiao: 4
LeBron James: 3
Tom Watson: 2
Brett Favre: 2
Drew Brees: 1
Derek Jeter: 1
Tim Tebow: 1

There's been some debate about the choice of Jimmie Johnson as the winner. Seems a number of sports fans don't think driving in NASCAR falls under the term "athlete." I disagree, I think drivers are athletes (just as much as golfers and bowlers are). One thing I think we can all agree on: Jimmie Johnson is a human.

The day after that news came out, AP named it's AP Female Athlete of the Year: Serena Williams.

The list of the top vote-getters for Female Athlete of the Year:

Serena Williams: 66
Zenyatta: 18
Kim Clijsters: 16
Lindsey Vonn: 15
Diana Taurasi: 14
Maya Moore: 13
Rachel Alexandra: 10
Bridget Sloan: 3
Jiyai Shin: 2
Erin Hamlin: 1

The bolded names? Well, those are horses. Female racing horses. The ones that are ridden around race tracks, bets are placed on them, etc.

I've seen all kinds of arguments about this list and the inclusion of horses on it, from "this is pure sexism" to "those horses had historic years and deserve to be included" to "'female athlete' can include more than humans." Is this pure sexism? I don't know. I sure hope not, because if it is, it would be some of the most blatant in recent memory. Does this list represent a year of not-very-achieving women athletes combined with a year remarkable year for fillies? My guess is that's the argument the sports editors who voted this way would make; whether that's actually true or not is up for debate.

I don't think it would be that hard to have a top 10 list of women athletes, horses excluded. I think laziness played a role here -- laziness in covering women's sports or women athletes in general, and laziness when casting votes. Easier to write down a horse's name that you remember than to think about which women athletes had the best year. (I don't know that Serena had the best year of women in professional sports, for that matter.) I think the real argument here is should horses be included, male or female, on these lists. It's hard to get an accurate history of how many times a horse has made either of these lists. As far as I can tell, this is a first for the female list. As for the male list, it would appear, according to this article, that Secretariat was No. 6 in votes in 1973 for AP Male Athlete of the Year, the year he won the Triple Crown. Five years later, Affirmed also won the Triple Crown, but apparently did not receive any votes. So that's one confirmed horse -- Secretariat -- receiving votes since this poll was started in 1930-something.

Any thoughts on what's going on here? Are you offended by this? In agreement with the list? Should horses/nonhumans be excluded, just to avoid confusion?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Why abortion coverage is so important: A primer

If, for some reason, you haven't been following the health care reform debate involving abortion coverage, or you've been trying to follow it but gave up because it's too confusing, or you happen to agree that abortion should not be covered by insurance, read up.

Let's start with health insurance as it now relates to abortion coverage: "A Guttmacher Institute survey found that 86.5 percent of employment-based health plans cover medical abortion and 86.9 percent of employment-based health plans cover surgical abortion. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2003 Employer Health Benefits Survey found that 46 percent of workers have coverage for abortion services. And when looking at larger firms, the rate is more than 50 percent."

OK, so around 86 percent of employment-based plans cover abortions, and 46-50 percent of workers have abortion coverage. Conversely, about 14 percent of employment-based plans do not cover abortion, and about half of the workers in this country do not have abortion coverage. (You can see some abortion coverage restrictions by state here.)

Then there's the Hyde Amendment, which was passed in 1976. This amendment bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. That means that the following do not have, by law, health insurance coverage for abortions: women on Medicaid, federal government employees, U.S. military personnel and their families, Peace Corps volunteers, Indian Health Service clients, and federal prisoners. The only exceptions currently allowed under Hyde are cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Not allowed: health of the mother, fetal abnormalities.

That's where abortion coverage stands now: most employment-based insurance plans cover abortion; about half of workers have abortion coverage; and the Hyde Amendment prevents any federal funds from covering abortions (thus affecting a number of women).

Moving on to the health care reform discussion on abortion coverage, including the Stupak-Pitts Amendment in the House, the Nelson-Hatch Amendment in the Senate, and the compromise in the Senate.

Stupak-Pitts: This amendment was introduced in the House by Bart Stupak, a Democrat, and Joe Pitts, a Republican. "The amendment prohibits use of federal funds 'to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion' except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother, which is being interpreted to mean abortions not included in the exceptions may not be covered in the public option or in any of the exchange's private plans that take subsidized customers. The amendment also specifically allows individuals to purchase supplementary insurance that covers other abortions."

Basically, if a woman buys health insurance with her own money from an insurance company that receives any government funds, abortion coverage cannot be included in the plan. At this point, you're going to be talking about nearly every woman who has health insurance, except those who have the funds and foresight to purchase the supplementary insurance (if that is in fact offered under such circumstances, which I highly doubt it would be). This amendment would take us from 86 percent of employer-offered insurance covering abortion to virtually zero. And obviously the Hyde Amendment still applies, so women in the military, women who receive Medicaid, etc., still wouldn't have abortion coverage. Pretty much no one would. For more on what this amendment would mean, read this study (PDF) on the subject from George Washington University.

Nelson-Hatch: This amendment was the Senate version of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and was defeated by the Senate. It was introduced by Ben Nelson, a Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, a Republican. Because it was defeated, the Democrats found themselves having to court Nelson in order to secure his vote for the health care reform bill. And in order to do that, they had to reach a "compromise" on abortion coverage in the Senate health care reform bill. As it stands now, that compromise involves this: "States would be allowed to decide whether or not abortion could be covered by health plans operating in a new insurance marketplace under the bill. Plans covering abortion would have to collect a separate premium for the procedure, directly paid for by the person buying coverage. Premiums for abortion would be kept in a separate account."

This is slightly better, on paper, than the Stupak-Pitts amendment. However, the same group that released the George Washington University study on the outcome of Stupak-Pitts looked at this compromise and concluded that insurance companies will probably stop offering abortion coverage under this legislation, because the funding is too complex and (likely) won't be available in every state. Please read the study results here.

Health care reform is going to bring about some good changes to health insurance: no more maximum lifetime payouts, no more denials for pre-existing conditions, more people will have coverage, to name a few. However, it's all but certain that coverage of women's reproductive health care will be worse off under any final bill that is signed into legislation. This is a huge step backwards and a completely unnecessary assault on women's health care. Something that is currently available to millions of women, something that should be available to all women, probably won't be available to any woman.

Republicans, none of whom are likely to vote for any health care bill anyway, are willing to kill any bill that even hints at abortions being covered by even $1 of federal funds. Democrats, all of whom are needed (at least in the Senate) to vote for the bill, are easily willing to compromise women's health care away to secure the votes they need. Neither side as a whole is standing up for women. Why?

Why does Ben Nelson get to lay down the terms under which women can have abortion coverage? To be sure, that is exactly what just happened in the Senate.

Too many people, civilians and those in government, sum up abortion as birth control. When they talk about abortion, they talk about "women who don't want to have babies." It's cut-and-dry. Women could have a baby, but choose to "kill" it instead. And we can't be using government money to "kill babies," now can we? (But we can use it to kill hundreds of thousands of people overseas, and people sentenced to death in this country, no problem.) Either there is some willful ignorance going on, or these people are completely incapable of reading about and/or studying up on the issue. No matter how many times anti-choicers say otherwise, there are medically necessary reasons for abortions. Yes, abortion is used as birth control by some people -- and that is their right. (Remember how it's a legal procedure? Yeah. It is.) For others, however, abortions aren't an "I forgot to take the pill" trip to the doctor's office. They are devastating outcomes to a wanted pregnancy.

A lot of things can go wrong during a pregnancy. A fetus doesn't develop properly, to the point that it cannot survive after birth; complications can arise that would endanger a woman's reproductive system if she continues the pregnancy; fetuses die in utero; and so on. Abortion is often recommended or necessary in such situations. Not only are these abortions not covered now under the Hyde Amendment, they also likely won't be covered under the final health bill.

These are not the abortions anti-choicers talk about. Maybe all abortions are the same to them, I don't know. Many anti-choicers want all or nearly all abortions to be illegal, so perhaps they truly don't care if a fetus develops without a brain and therefore cannot live outside the womb. But for those who aren't so all-or-nothing, you need to know that taking away abortion coverage in health insurance is going to result in a woman having to pay out-of-pocket for an abortion in these cases -- cases where a wanted pregnancy goes wrong -- just the same as a woman who "just doesn't want a baby" will have to pay out-of-pocket. The only exceptions are going to be rape, incest and threat to the mother's life. The latter will no doubt be argued by insurers, and the two former ... well, I suppose incest can be proven by DNA tests, but I have no idea what happens when you tell your insurance company that you've been raped, got pregnant as a result, and need them to pay for your abortion. I don't know what the standard of proof is in those cases, but I'm guessing it's not easy and that most women in those circumstances end up paying for the abortion themselves.

Every single person wavering on this issue or who doesn't really understand the impact of not having abortions covered by insurance (federal money or otherwise) should read these three articles:
  • "The Reproductive Health Consequences of Being Uninsured." (link)
  • "Saving Grace: One Family's Struggle With Abortion and the Catholic Church." (link)
  • "Military Abortion Ban: Female Soldiers Not Protected by Constitution They Defend." (link) ... Just think about that headline for a minute.
Are you starting to see the problems yet?

It seems to me it's too late to do anything about the health care reform bill. (Please correct me if I'm wrong on that, but I'm convinced it's going to pass with very restrictive abortion language in it.) It's never too late to contact your representatives though, and explain why abortion should be covered and why Hyde should be repealed. Our representatives on every level need to understand that abortion is a legitimate medical procedure that is a vital part of women's health care. Until they understand and admit that, we're just going to keep getting more of the same.

By the way, you know what costs insurance companies more money than abortions? Giving birth.

Fem 2.0 hosts "Wake Up, This Is the Reality!"

This sounds like a timely, important project that Fem 2.0 is organizing and hosting. I hope I'll be able to take part, along with many other people.

December 21, 2009

Wake Up, This Is the Reality!: A Fem2.0 Campaign to Shift the Public Narrative Around Work/Life

Work/Life in Our Communities Blog Radio Series: Jan. 25-Feb. 5, 2010
Blog Carnival: Feb. 6-13, 2010

We work long hours. We work multiple jobs. We can barely afford healthcare, or we're doing without. We're stitching together childcare, or we're sending our kids to school with H1N1.

We exert ourselves to be good spouses, sons and daughters, parents, members of our community, friends - in snatched moments from being good but insecure employees.

And while we may talk amongst ourselves about hard it is to manage it all, perhaps we feel that this is just life and try to muddle through as best we can, on our own...

...leaving the professional media to define the outlines of America's work/life story, which has not evolved significantly beyond the 1950's idea of employee benefits, dad at the office and mom at home - a story that has little to do with our lives today.

Fem2.0's campaign, Wake Up, This Is the Reality!, aims to change the way our society talks about work, to shift the story away from privileged "balance" and corporate perspectives to one that reflects the reality on the ground for millions of Americans and American families. We need this shift if we want policy makers to know how tough it is out here and move them to act on legislation around such issues as paid sick days, healthcare, child and elder care, equal pay, etc.

To achieve this shift, we must be many and we must be LOUD!
From January 25 to February 5, 2010, Fem2.0 will present a blog radio series - one program a day, each zooming in on how today's work environment and policies are impacting a particular community. The series' purpose is to demonstrate how work/life is NOT just a women's issue but everyone's issue. There will be more details about each segment very soon.

I. Working Title: Work and Families - How We're Doing
Monday, January 25, 11:30 AM EST
Host: Gloria Pan
Heather Boushey, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress
Elisa Camahort Page, Co-Founder, BlogHer
Joan Williams, Director, Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings

II. Working Title: Work/Life and Men
Tuesday, January 26, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Marc Chimes
Scott Coltrane, Dean, University of Oregon; Author, Gender and Families
Hugo Schwyzer, Blogger, hugoschwyzer.net
Joan Williams, Director, Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings

III. Working Title: Work/Life and the LGBT Community
Wednesday, January 27, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Heather Holdridge
Jaime Grant, Director of the Policy Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Jillian Weiss, Blogger, The Bilerico Project; Associate Professor of Law and Society, Ramapo College

IV. Working Title: Work/Life and Business
Thursday, January 28, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Joanne Bamberger
Deborah L. Frett, CEO, Business and Professional Women's Foundation
Kathy Korman Frey, Founder, Hot Mommas Project, George Washington University

V. Working Title: Work/Life and Singletons
Friday, January 29, 11:30 AM EST
Host: Marcia Yerman
Page Gardner, Founder, Women's Voices, Women Vote
Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, AAUW
Melanie Notkin, Founder, Savvy Auntie

VI. Working Title: Work/Life and Latino Families
Monday, February 1, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Veronica Arreola
Ana Roca Castro, Founder, Latinos in Social Media
Catherine Singly, Economic and Employment Policy Analyst, National Council of La Raza
Marisa Treviño, Publisher, www.latinalista.net

VII. Working Title: Work and Seniors
Tuesday, February 2, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Kim Gandy
Ronnie Bennett, Blogger, Time Goes By
Deborah Halpern, Communications Director, National Family Caregivers Association
Deborah Russell, Director of Workplace Issues, AARP

VIII. Working Title: Work/Life and the Military
Wednesday, February 3, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Katie Stanton
Stephanie Himel-Nelson, Director of New Media, Blue Star Families
LAW, Blogger, Liberal Army Wife
Diana Zuckerman, President, National Research Center for Women and Families

IX. Working Title: Work/Life and African-American Families
Thursday, February 4, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Shireen Mitchell
Avis Jones-DeWeever, Director of Research & Policy, Center for African-American Women, National Council of Negro Women
JusticeFergie, Co-Founder, Blogalicious

X. Working Title: Reframing the Work/Life Conversation
Friday, February 5, 1:00 PM EST
Host: Suzanne Turner
Ellen Bravo, Executive Director, Family Values @Work
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director, Momsrising.org
TBD Lawmaker

The blog radio series is designed to build momentum toward broad participation in the Wake Up, This Is the Reality! blog carnival, unfolding February 6 to 13, 2010. The carnival will span diverse sectors and communities to show that we're all in this together, and reach from organized advocacy down to the grassroots of everyday people. We're working to flood the public space with blog posts, opinions and real stories about what it's like to work in America today.

We Need Your Voice!

Here's how you can get involved:

1) Help us get the word out! Share this page on Twitter, Facebook and any other communities you belong to.

2) Participate in the live-chat and/or Twittercasts (#fem2 and #worklife) happening during each of the blog talk radio segments. Download the podcast from each segment and share it with your networks.

3) Contribute a post to the blog carnival, either through your own blog or directly to Fem2.0. Send links and/or blog posts to info@fem2pt0.com.

4) Join this list of organizations and blog sites that will be holding their own concurrent work blog carnivals that feed into the larger Fem2.0 effort. Email info@fem2pt0.com to let us know and we'll add you to the list!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (12/20)

Trying to keep it short(er) and sweet this week, on the assumption that many people are in the middle of holidays and/or holiday preparations.
  • Starting off with what I think is a must-see: Boston Globe's "2009 in photos" photo galleries. The first one is here, and links to the second and third galleries.


  • Seventy years ago on Dec. 15, "Gone With the Wind" was released. Seventy years later, it's still controversial. Personally, I love the movie. I thought this CNN article was good: "'Gone with the Wind' still raises fuss after 70 years."
  • From Culture Kitchen: "Horrible omen or a good #HCR compromise." Article says "N.O.W., NARAL and NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE all oppose the senate bill." Also check out Feministe's "The abortion “compromise."
  • Broadsides: "Thou shalt not spread falsehoods," about a news release put out by Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute called "Permissive Abortion Laws May Be Hazardous To Mothers' Health, Per New Report." A number of people need to read and comprehend this.
  • Check out and sign this petition "In Support of Dr. LeRoy Carhart."
  • Broadsheet: " Abortion roster is blocked: Women's medical information will not be posted online in Oklahoma -- for now."
  • The Pixel Project has an incredible round-up of articles in their third e-News Digest.
  • In case you haven't seen this from Fast Company, check it out. "Infographic of the Day: Is Bottled Water Really That Bad? Yes."
  • On Feministing: "Guest post: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers...My Thoughts."
  • From Bitch magazine: "Douchebag Decree: Rod Jetton is a rapist and a hypocrite. But mostly a rapist."
  • The Sexist: "'The Campus Rape Myth': Rape Isn’t Real, Therefore College Students Shouldn’t Have Sex." Ugh.
  • AP: "US agency probes possible gender bias at colleges."
  • AFP: "Mother strikes blow for Lebanese women's banking rights." (I don't think that headline is accurate.)
  • New York Times: "Transgender State Workers Expected to Gain Bias Protection."
  • NPR: "The Nation: "Feminism's Face Lift" and "Seriously, maybe we really should drop it" on Pandagon.

Friday, December 18, 2009

30 years later, U.S. still hasn't ratified CEDAW

"Here we were, the most powerful country in the world.
Other countries would say, 'How can you tell us what to do
if you don't do it yourself? If you say women's rights are
universal, what are you waiting for?'"

-- Linda Tarr-Whelan, Jimmy Carter's deputy assistant for women's concerns


The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women -- CEDAW -- on Dec. 18, 1979. It's described as an international bill of rights for women, and defines discrimination against women as
Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.You can read the entire text here.

Thirty years later, the United State still hasn't ratified CEDAW. You know who else hasn't ratified it? Iran, Somalia, Sudan, the small island nations of Nauru, Palau, Tonga, and Vatican City. The obvious question is, what's taking the U.S. so long? I don't know the answer. I don't know if anyone knows the answer. We haven't even adopted our own Equal Rights Amendment that was introduced in 1923. One thing we do know is there is all kinds of misinformation on both CEDAW and the ERA, and that needs to be corrected. (Like CEDAW promotes abortion, which it doesn't. Plenty of countries that are generally anti-choice have ratified CEDAW).

Why is our government so afraid of committing to equality for women? Take a minute today to call or e-mail your representatives (House, Senate) and remind them that it's time to ratify CEDAW, and the ERA for that matter.

More reading:
  • I highly recommend this op-ed by Linda Tarr-Whelan on We.news. She also has an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke about ratifying CEDAW in 2002, and her speech is still relevant today. Read it here.
  • Truthout: "Obama: Ratify the Women's Convention Soon."

In History: December 25, 1984

This is the fifth post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Ladies Center, after it was bombed in June 1984.

Given that next Friday is Christmas Day, and I'm not sure I'll be posting an In History column that day, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to mention this: Twenty-five years ago, on Dec. 25, 1984, three abortion clinics were bombed in Pensacola, Fla. Yes, on Christmas Day, two 21-year-old men and two 18-year-old women bombed three abortion clinics. Luckily no one was hurt, but the three clinics sustained a lot of damage -- and one of the clinics, the Ladies Center, had been bombed months before, in June. The other two weren't even abortion clinics, per se (as most aren't); they were OB/GYN offices that offered some abortions.

All four people were convicted of various charges. The two men served jail time, the two women got probation. One of the men called the bombing "a gift to Jesus on his birthday." (But religion doesn't inspire violence, right?)

Here's hoping everyone who celebrates any holiday this time of year has a safe one, and is prepared to keep up the fight for choice in the new year.

Read more about the Pensacola abortion bombings here, here and here. For a list of anti-choice violence, visit this page.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why do these kinds of articles exist?

From Fox News/AskMen.com we get this gem: "Top 10 Cruel Things Women Do to Men." You can read the nonsense blurbs on the 10 items if you so choose, but here's the simplified list:

10. They don't pick up the phone.
9. Use men for free drinks
8. Use men as place holders
7. Emotionally manipulate men
6. Use physical violence
5. Criticize their men in public
4. They don’t disclose their relationship status
3. They withhold sex
2. They test their men
1. They flirt to inspire jealousy (isn't that the same as No. 7?)

No. 6 is serious, to be sure. Not trying to make light of that. But in reality, it's not just women who do these things. Men do these things to women, women do them to women, men do them to men, etc. Yeah, some women aren't nice. Guess what? Some are. Same as the rest of the population.

I know crap like this has and does populate all kinds of Web sites and magazines, and will continue to do so. These stories serve no real purpose but to reinforce stereotypes and maybe help fuel perceived gender wars. The kicker here, though, is the intro:
It seems like a reverse sexism started to take hold as the feminist movement came about and equality for women began gaining ground. Some women use their girl-power solidarity to come to a consensus on what’s socially acceptable for women to do to men in a relationship. They’ve agreed among themselves that these behaviors are perfectly justifiable regardless of how they play with a guy’s emotions or ego. With that, we’ve compiled a top 10 list of cruel things women do to men.Riiiight.

You know us feminists, plotting out cruel things we can do to men. Like not picking up a phone. That'll show 'em!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Corrective" rape continues in South Africa

In March 2009, The Guardian featured a news story about lesbians in South Africa who were being raped and sexually assaulted, targeted because of their sexuality. A "corrective" rape, if you will. The story said that Triangle, a gay rights group, was "dealing with up to 10 new cases of 'corrective rape' every week." As if the rapes alone aren't bad enough, these women are also dealing with a government and police force basically looking the other way. The government even admitted it wasn't a priority. According to the story, "A statement released by South Africa's national prosecuting authority said: 'While hate crimes – especially of a sexual nature – are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritised as a specific project.'"

In August 2009, Change.org reported the story, "The Phenomenon of Corrective Rape in South Africa." In discussing a BBC article on the subject, they say "rape has become almost a game for many South African men - so much so that celebrated terms have popped up to crown a man who initiates a gang rape. Which might explain why 1 in 4 men have admitted to being involved in rape."

In November 2009, Sky News also reported on this story. One woman who had been raped said "the police did not even bother to finish taking a statement" from her. Men were reported to have said "they approved of lesbians being raped to 'correct' them and to 'teach them a lesson,'" and that "'women should behave like women' and this was a way of 'teaching' them that."

Sure sounds like nothing has changed in those eight months ... or ever, since this "trend" popped up years ago.

I don't need to explain how wrong this is, do I? I mean, let's assume for two seconds that one could "change" someone's sexuality. (I do not believe that possible, for the record.) Obviously forcing them to have sex against their will is not the way to do it. Rape is a weapon, not a teaching tool. You take a woman who likes women, have a man (or men) rape her, and then expect her to like men? No, no and no. This, to me, is obviously not about "correcting" a woman's sexuality, but punishing them for their sexuality. And it has to stop. Women aren't only being raped, they're being murdered.

But what do we do about it? I'm not sure. Shakesville suggests e-mailing the South African Ministry of Justice. I would suggest donating to Triangle (though I don't see a "donation" link at quick glance). There is also an ongoing petition by Care2 to "End 'Corrective' Rape of Lesbians in South Africa," with a letter that can be sent to the president of South Africa. Any other ideas or suggestions of what can be done to not only stop this, but also draw more attention to it?

Suggested Sunday reading (12/13)

I don't want to give much attention to the Tiger Woods story because, frankly, his "transgressions" are between him and his family and don't have anything to do with me. Perhaps I'm jaded, but it's hard to surprise me anymore with a "guess who cheated" story. So that's not my focus here. What continues to catch my attention about these stories is the nearly-scripted reaction of "monogamy isn't natural."

I wrote about this after former ESPN analyst Steve Phillips revealed he had an affair with a staffer, and now Jay Michaelson is saying pretty much the same things Jason Whitlock said back then. Michaelson wrote "It's Not Just Tiger: Monogamous Marriage Is An Anomaly," for the Huffington Post, and in the article he says: 1. Monogamy isn't natural, nor is it the familial model most often practiced in history (polygamy is, he says, and the Bible says too, apparently); 2. Monogamy is the fault of feminists -- the "pious scolds" who dared want for things like sober men who didn't cheat on them and abuse them, and those feminists who questioned things like slut-shaming; and 3. Celebrities and people with money aren't the same as us "regular" people, they have more temptations, and we need to consider their cheating in "context."

These stories are getting to be almost as tiresome as the stories about people cheating. Look, all that needs to be said is "If you can't or don't want to be in a monogamous relationship, don't be in one." It obviously isn't a relationship model that works for everyone. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that. But there is something wrong with blaming women for making infidelity a "secular sin," and with making excuses for men in general (they can't help their "natural sex drive"), and with putting celebrities and rich people on a pedestal of superiority to explain why they cheat (and should cheat, if they want) -- what's wrong is that no one is "blaming" Tiger Woods for cheating. He is the one who broke his word, assuming his marriage vows were of the traditional variety. He is the one who chose to do what he did. Feminism didn't make him cheat, nor did his status. So let's stop pretending like monogamy is some big awful conspiracy to stop men from "being men." Fact is, no one forces men or women into monogamy. It's a choice. Marriage is a choice. What kind of relationship or marriage you have is also a choice. So is a little concept called "honesty."

In somewhat related news, Jenny Sanford, wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, filed for divorce this week. Mark admitted months ago to having a long affair with a woman in Argentina. Jenny says they tried to work it out, but in the end couldn't, so that's that. A lot of people admire how she has handle the affair and the news of it; Time magazine calls her "The Savviest Spurned Woman in History." Her quote, "Certainly his actions hurt me and they caused consequences for me, but they don't in any way take away my own self esteem. They reflect poorly on him," has been held up as model of how women should react if their spouse or partner cheats on them. Easier said than done, I would guess, because someone breaking your trust is painful, and that's what cheating is -- breaking a trust.

In other reading:
  • Definitely check out this post on The Curvature, "13-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide After Classmates Spread Nude Photos." This is the second known case of a teenage girl killing herself after nude photos of her were made public. (I wrote about the first case here.)
  • Zero at the Bone has a most excellent piece on identity, "Invisible Identities, Part 2: The Default Human." A must read, in my opinion.
  • Also be sure to explore the 9th Feminist Blog Carnival, hosted by The Undomestic Goddess. Some great pieces posted there.
  • Two big stories out of Ireland this week: One about rape, "Victims suffer in silence rather than face grinding justice system"; the other is "Women challenge abortion law in European court." Will definitely be keeping an eye on the latter. Be sure to also read "Women 'lose health, money and dignity' because of law" on the topic.
  • Check out this disturbing story, "I was raped twice in Iraq – US veteran speaks out." The soldier says of the military, "They don't like to address the problems, because it's too much work. When I redeployed back to the US, we had post-health assessment screening. Everyone did. And they asked me questions about my mental health. 'Do you have nightmares? Do you startle easily?' I marked 'yes' to everything. But did anyone contact me, did anyone ask my why I was feeling those things? No."
  • In Ohio, a bit of a good news story: "Prosecutor honored for rape testimony."
  • Stop Rape Now is mobilizing to end the use of rape as a war weapon. See what you can do to take action. Personally, I like the idea of the "get cross" photos. Need to take one myself.
  • Amanda Hess writes about "Male Rape Victims And the Penetration Problem."
  • Have you checked out the Not Under the Bus campaign yet (warning, video starts automatically at site)? It's aimed at making sure women's health isn't, well, thrown under the bus by Congress during health care reform. The site also has a list of actions you can take.
  • The Raw Story reports "NOW may oppose Senate health bill: still 'damaging to women.'"
  • Here's an outrageous story by the Seattle Times about the IRS going after a single mom, "$10 an hour with 2 kids? IRS pounces."
  • I love the aspect of this campaign, Think B4 You Speak, that keeps track of how many times in a day "so gay," "fag" and "dyke" are used on Twitter, with a goal of zero.
  • The Houston Chronicle: "Houston election of gay mayor draws national eyes." Many congrats to Annise Parker on her election.
  • Time Magazine has put together a LOT of "best of the year" lists. I was so disappointed and shocked by the headline they put on the Chris Brown and Rihanna story (which is on the "Top 10 Scandals" list): "Love Hurts." Umm, actually fists hurt. But I did appreciate this cartoon included in their "Top 10 Editorial Cartoons" list.
  • USA Today: "Latest on Erin Andrews hotel-stalker case: Accused stalker pleads guilty."
  • CNN reports that Uganda banned female circumcision. Now if only Uganda would stop with the anti-gay legislation and rhetoric.
  • Last but not least, this book looks interesting: "The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines," by Mike Madrid. Among other things, the reviewer says "By the ‘50s Sheena faded into relative obscurity and Wonder Woman was labeled “a morbid ideal” for women, only to reappear later as a sort of cheerleader for the otherwise all-male Justice League of America. Madrid then details Wonder Woman’s long history of origin retooling, costume changes and other creative woes that showed just how uncertain the comics world was in handling such a strong female character."


Friday, December 11, 2009

30 Seconds to Mars: Tonight Show performance

30 Seconds to Mars performed on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last night (Dec. 10). They performed "Kings and Queens," the first single off their new album "This is War." This is by far the best I've heard the singer sound during any late night talk show performance I've seen, going back to 2002. By the way, the three drummers you see to the right are Street Drum Corps, who are amazing on their own. The performance also features a string section and background choir.


If you don't have a Hulu account or that video stops working, you can also see it on youtube.

(Side note: AOL Radio named "The Kill" the top alternative song of the decade. Nice, although this list is pretty sketchy.)

In History: Susa Young Gates

This is the fourth post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

Susa Young Gates (1856-1933) is an interesting figure. She is the daughter of famed Mormon and LDS Church president Brigham Young and Lucy Bigelow, his 22nd wife. Perhaps "women's rights advocate" and "Mormon" aren't synonymous, but Gates was indeed a women's rights advocate.

Gates started the Young Woman's Journal in 1889 and it was published until 1929. She also started the Relief Society Magazine in 1915, which was published until 1922. Beyond magazines, Gates wrote nine books (some of which are on Amazon, used); the most well known is probably a biography of her father.

Gates wasn't just about writing though. She was one of the founders of the National Household Economics Organization and was a delegate and officer of the National Council of Women. Gates served as a delegate and speaker to five congresses of the International Council of Women, and in 1901, as a delegate to the International Council of Women in Copenhagen and London, she presented a paper, "Scientific Treatment of Domestic Science," in which she wrote:
"In times past, women have … done many improper things; and one of them is they often preferred men's opinions to their own and even yielded points of conscience for the sake of pleasing them, until, very naturally, they are looked upon by men as shallow, weak, and contemptible …. A course of self-reliance and self-assertion will restore our credit."Gates was also the main organizer of the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Utah, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and the National Woman's Press Club. She was a member of the Board of Regents of Brigham Young University, where she started the music department, and of he Utah State Agricultural College.

Gates attended the University of Deseret (now known as the University of Utah), and Brigham Young academy. She was married at age 16, but divorced (!) five years later. She remarried three years after her divorce. All told, she had 13 children.

Source, source, source, photo source.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today: World Human Rights Day


What are you doing today to mark Human Rights Day? If you haven't before, I would recommend reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948. The focus of the day this year is a beautiful one: non-discrimination. The UN site has suggestions on how to get involved (I love the idea of a community or school or workplace declaring that it is a "discrimination-free" zone!).

For more reading:
  • "Heyllo! My name is Anca, and I started One Day for Human Rights." (link)
  • Guest post on UN Dispatch by Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:(link)
  • Editorial on Voice of America News, "Human Rights Day 2009 - Discrimination" (link)
  • "Secretary Clinton Honors Champions of Human Rights: Marks International Human Rights Day" (link)
  • Candid Minds blog (link)


Monday, December 7, 2009

Transcript of Franken's statement on Nelson-Hatch abortion amendment




Transcript of Sen. Al Franken's excellent statement on the Senate floor today (Dec. 7) regarding the Nelson-Hatch amendment to the health care reform bill (a vote on the amendment is expected tomorrow):
"Madame President, I rise today to speak in opposition to the Nelson-Hatch amendment which replaces the compromise language in the current bill with unprecedented restrictions on women's access to safe and legal abortion services. I think we can all agree that women's health is fundamental to our nation's health. We all know that when women are healthier, families communities and countries are healthier. But I also know that the issue of abortion is difficult, no matter where you stand on it. And I truly respect the fact that we have a range of opinions among us here.

Women have abortions for different reasons. Some of these reasons may not seem right to some of us. But even if we disagree, it is better that each woman be able to make her own decision with her doctor. In a perfect world, no woman should have to face the decisions we are discussing today. But the reason we have insurance coverage is to deal with the unexpected. And no woman expects to have an unplanned pregnancy, and no woman expects to end a wanted pregnancy because of fetal anomalies, a risk to her own health. If we limit options in private health insurance coverage, we take away a woman's right to make a decision that may be right for her and her family in their circumstances.

But unplanned pregnancies do occur. And we have a responsibility to supply women, to provide women with the full range of choices regarding their health. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled on this issue and made it clear that women have a constitutional right to access abortion. It's our responsibility that abortions are safe, legal and rare.

Supporting a woman's right to make decisions about her health means more than keeping abortion services legal. It means supporting a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy safely and with dignity. It also means teaching honest, realistic sex education. It means the right to choose contraception. It means standing with women who choose to continue their pregnancies with the hope and expectation that a compassionate society will support them in their responsibility in raising a child. It's about respecting women's personal decisions and challenges they face, especially in times when they are the most vulnerable.

I strongly oppose the Nelson-Hatch amendment because it strongly undermines the status quo and breaks new ground by restricting women's fundamental rights. The amendment stipulates that health plans cannot cover abortion services if they accept even one subsidized customer, even if the abortion coverage would be paid with the private premiums that health plans receive directly from individuals.

If adopted, this would mark the first time in federal law that we would restrict how individuals can use their own dollars in the private health insurance marketplace. I also oppose the amendment because we have a workable solution. The existing compromise in our bill represents genuine concessions by both prochoice and prolife members of Congress. The current bill prohibits federal funding of abortion but also allows women to pay for abortion coverage with their own private funds. It makes clear that abortion can't be mandated or prohibited and stipulates that federal funds cannot be used for abortion.

Let me be clear. The compromise in the current bill is as far as we can go. We have negotiated to get to this point and we cannot negotiate further without literally undermining the compromise that we have made on behalf of women's health in this country.

We are on the verge of passing a historic health reform law that will do more to improve the health of women and families than any legislation in recent history. We will end discrimination based on health history, on gender, or on history of domestic violence. We will provide access to preventive health services so women can get annual exams and mammograms at no cost. And it is our responsibility to guarantee that women are not worse off under the health reform we're going to pass. That they're not worse off than they are today.

As my friend Paul Wellstone used to say, if we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them. I urge my colleagues to stand with me today to oppose this amendment. I yield the floor."

Why I won't be giving to the Salvation Army

It's a pretty simple reason, really: I don't support groups that practice discrimination. I don't attend church either, so when people cite religion as the reason it's OK for them to discriminate against a group of people, that doesn't fly with me. (I'm also not a "God" person, but from what I understand, it's hard to imagine "God" is on board with such practices either.)

These are some of the "Position Statements" on the Salvation Army's Web site (h/t to ProChoiceGal):

ABORTION:
The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and considers each person to be of infinite value and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and redeemed. Human life is sacred because it is made in the image of God and has an eternal destiny. (Genesis 1:27) Sacredness is not conferred, nor can it be taken away by human agreement.

The Salvation Army deplores society's ready acceptance of abortion, which reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons, including the unborn. (Psalms 82:3-4)

The Salvation Army holds to the Christian ideals of chastity before marriage and fidelity within the marriage relationship and, consistent with these ideals, supports measures to prevent crisis pregnancies. It is opposed to abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or for any reason of mere convenience to avoid the responsibility for conception. Therefore, when an unwanted pregnancy occurs, The Salvation Army advises that the situation be accepted and that the pregnancy be carried to term, and offers supportive help and assistance with planning.

The Salvation Army recognizes tragic and perplexing circumstances that require difficult decisions regarding a pregnancy. Such decisions should be made only after prayerful and thoughtful consideration, with appropriate involvement of the woman's family and pastoral, medical and other counsel. A woman in these circumstances needs acceptance, love and compassion.

When an abortion has taken place, The Salvation Army will continue to show love and compassion and to offer its services and fellowship to those involved.
Well, I guess it's nice of them in this case to still offer their services to abortion-having sinners.

HOMOSEXUALITY:
The Salvation Army holds a positive view of human sexuality. Where a man and a woman love each other, sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage. However, in the Christian view, sexual intimacy is not essential to a healthy, full, and rich life. Apart from marriage, the scriptural standard is celibacy.

Sexual attraction to the same sex is a matter of profound complexity. Whatever the causes may be, attempts to deny its reality or to marginalize those of a same-sex orientation have not been helpful. The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching.

Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.

Likewise, there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse.

In keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation. The fellowship of Salvation Army worship is open to all sincere seekers of faith in Christ, and membership in The Salvation Army church body is open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline.

Scriptures: Genesis 2:23-24; Leviticus 18:22; Mark 2:16-17; Romans 1:26-27; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Corinthians 13; Galatians 6:1-2; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; I Thessalonians 5:14-15; I Timothy 1:15-16; Jude 7
Yes, it's good that they say sexual orientation is not a reason to abuse someone ... right after they abuse everyone who isn't heterosexual.

Please read through the rest of the organization's position statements. Ironically, the statement after "homosexuality" is "human equality." (If you have trouble finding them, go to salvationarmyusa.org, click on "about us" and then "position statements.") I realize it's no secret that the Salvation Army is a Christian organization, but I hope everyone realizes how "Christian" it is.

It's a shame the organization has such discriminatory beliefs, because they help millions of people every year. I wish I could give money to such a cause, but there are too many other organizations out there that don't discriminate. And just in case anyone out there is thinking "but they do do a lot of a good work, and not donating to them only punishes the people in need," then might I point you to this article: "Salvation Army Uses Homeless To Fight Gay Benefits." (By the way, this is exactly what the Catholic Church and its charities are trying to do in Washington, D.C. The basic story is either if you pass the law, we will quit serving you out of spite, or if you pass the law, we will be forced to quit serving you because we will no longer be allowed to discriminate like we can now.)

If that article isn't enough, please read these:
  • "Salvation Army Accused of Discrimination" (link) -- This is just sad. EVEN IF children's parents are here illegally, that is NOT the children's fault. So, what, they don't deserve a toy for Christmas because they don't have a Social Security number? Yeah, that's real Christian-like of you. (UPDATE: This has been stopped in Houston.)
  • "Protests prompt Salvation Army policy change" (link) -- at least the practice was stopped here.
  • "Don’t give Salvation Army bell-ringers a dime" (link)
  • "Charity Is Told It Must Abide By Antidiscrimination Laws" (link)
They can keep claiming that their mission is "to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination." It's just not true.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Looking back on the Montreal Massacre

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre: On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lépine entered the engineering school École Polytechnique and killed 14 women and injured 10 other women and four men.

According to Wikipedia:
"Lépine had long complained about women working in non-traditional jobs, and after separating men and women in a classroom, he shot the women, claiming that he was fighting feminism. He then moved into other parts of the building, targeting women as he went, before killing himself. His suicide note blamed feminists for ruining his life."You can read his note at the Wikipedia link. Warning, it's disturbing.

I don't know how many people in the United States (or elsewhere outside of Canada) know about this event. The U.S. has, of course, had a number of school shootings, but you never hear this one brought up when news stories talk about deadly massacres. Why is that? Because it happened in Montreal? Because the victims were women? Because it was a hate crime, and not a "random act of violence?"

Since 1991, every Dec. 6 in Canada is marked as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, to commemorate the event and remember those who died. We non-Canadians should all join them.

More reading:
  • I highly recommend this article from The Star, "Lessons of the Montreal Massacre," with the summary of "Twenty years ago Sunday, Nathalie Provost yelled 'We are not feminists' as Marc Lépine sprayed her and her classmates with bullets. Today, the engineer and mother of four says: 'I realized many years later that in my life and actions, of course I was a feminist.'"
  • I also highly recommend Antonia Zerbisias' post on the subject, "The F Word."
  • Ontario Federation of Labour Statement: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women December 6, 2009
  • The Canadian Press: "Killer Lépine did not destroy hope at Polytechnique, massacre survivors say"
  • Calgary Herald: "Killer's gun shots echo 20 years later"

Suggested Sunday reading (12/6)

Happy Sunday everyone! Remember, today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
  • Latin American Herald Tribune: "Brazilian Doc Charged with Illegal Abortions Found Dead." Extremely sad story. Most abortions are illegal in Brazil. Even so, according to the story, "More than 230,000 women were admitted to Brazilian hospitals in 2008 for complications from illegal abortions." Two hundred thirty thousand women. Obviously that number doesn't account for all the women who had abortions and didn't end up in the hospital. Women need doctors like Neide Mota Machado (pictured).
  • Talking Points Memo: "Nelson Crafting Abortion Amendment 'Nearly Identical' To Stupak's." You've probably heard about this by now. Remember, you can sign the petition against such legislation at Stop Stupak. Want a somewhat different take on the abortion debate? Check out The Christian Science Monitor's piece, "Stupak, Hatch, and health care: Government shouldn't answer the abortion question."
  • In other health care reform news, the Mikulski amendment passed in the Senate a couple days ago. Check out this article, "Victory for Women's Health: Senate Passes Mikulski's Women's Health Amendment" on RH Reality Check. Here is the New York Times story.
  • In other abortion news, from the New York Times: "Abortion Battle Shifts to Clinic in Nebraska."
  • RH Reality Check: "Pregnant in Colorado? One Reporter's Search (and Failure) to Find Maternity Coverage."
  • AlterNet: "Ehrenreich: The Pink-Ribbon Breast Cancer Cult." Highly recommend reading this, even if you disagree. Personally, I think she's on to something with this question: "Has feminism been replaced by the pink-ribbon breast cancer cult?" Here's a related column on DC Progressive.
  • New York Times op-ed: "Bo-Tax backlash." Some (somewhat) surprising people speak out against the proposed tax on elective cosmetic surgery.
  • Couple stories about Afghanistan, including New York Times' "Rape In Afghanistan A Profound Problem, U.N. Says," and AFP's "Women's groups want long-term US presence in Afghanistan."
  • Nhan Dan: "Vietnam pledges support for protection of women’s rights."
  • abyss2hope: "Rapist's Lies Just Bad Judgment If Rapist Drunk?" Excellent post.
  • TPM: "Senate GOPers: It's Al Franken's Fault We're Being Attacked For Votes Against Anti-Rape Amendment." This is rich.
  • Daily News-Miner: "Governor aims to end Alaska sexual assault 'epidemic.'" I wish him success.
  • AP: "Poll finds sexting common among young people." Not exactly new news, but the article does reveal that "Those who sent nude pictures of themselves mostly said they went to a boyfriend, girlfriend or romantic interest. But 14 percent said they suspect the pictures were shared without permission, and they may be right: Seventeen percent of those who received naked pictures said they passed them along to someone else, often to more than just one person." And as I've discussed before, that can be a problem.
  • Broadsheet: "Young, thin, white and disabled: The problem with 'Britain's Missing Top Model,'" a reality show featuring women with disabilities.
  • Beautiful You: "PETA's double standards." I'd like to add another double standard to that post: You know how women are always posing nude for PETA ads? Why is it that Amar'e Stoudemire, an NBA player, gets to wear shorts in his PETA ad? (I wonder if his belt is leather.) Also in PETA news, the organization has basically been classified as a terrorist threat.
  • Jezebel: "Ladyblog commenters ruin everything." Unreal story.
  • This is a really cool story from the LA Times: "Nailing a trade at Rosie the Riveter High," about a charter school in Long Beach named after Rosie the Riveter. Broadsheet covered the story as well.
  • UPI: "Women ski jumpers pushing Olympic bid." You know, I didn't even realize women weren't part of ski jumping in the Olympics. Shame on me.
  • Something that should be of interest to everyone who takes part in writing and/or blogging: "Sens. Feinstein's and Durbin's attack on citizen journalism," on Daily Kos.


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