Sunday, January 30, 2011

Suggested Sunday reading (1/30/11)

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There is one huge thing going on right now that I so hope everyone takes part in, or at the very least, educates themselves about: #DearJohn.

Here's the rundown on what this campaign is focusing on (excerpt from this Mother Jones story):
Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old's parents wouldn't be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn't be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.
So, every single thing about this bill is shitty. And Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, who you might recall started the #Mooreandme Twitter campaign, is starting #DearJohn to call attention to this disgusting bill and to urge the House, including its speaker, John Boehner, to not support the bill. (Last I heard, more than 100 representatives were supporting this bill, including 11 or 13 Democrats.)

By all means, read her blog post about this: "#DearJohn: For When Boehner Decides Your Rape Just Wasn’t Enough."

Here's just a small portion of it:
Right now, we’re Tweeting at the Boehner — oh, look! Here he is — and at all of our representatives, and we’re going to keep Tweeting, to tell them that this bill is an attack on the rights of survivors everywhere, and that it will not stand. We’re Tweeting to say that all rape is rape. We’re Tweeting to tell them the many ways that this leaves women open to attack and reproductive coercion. We’re Tweeting to tell them that the exemption for cases of rape and incest must stand, and that it must apply in all cases. We’re Tweeting to tell them that we will not support them if they back it, we will not support them if they “compromise” on “just this one thing” — the rights and dignity of rape survivors are never to be compromised, under any circumstances — and they will not be able to push this redefinition of rape forward. We’re the American people; we got them the jobs they have, and if we are unsatisfied with their performance? We can get them oh, so very, very fired.
In other news:
  • Salon: "Life with an STD: What's it like to date? When do you have The Talk? Women open up about the common diseases that still carry stigma."
  • Abortion Gang: "Later abortions and reproductive justice." This is good.
  • Lancashire Evening Post: "Rapist walks free as judge agrees girl, 12, looked 16." Yes, you read that right.
  • Change.org: "Yes, Chick-fil-A Says, We Explicitly Do Not Like Same-Sex Couples."
  • The Grio: "Are black women invisible? A new study says yes." This is heartbreaking. What can we do to correct this?
  • The Atlantic: "The Unbearable Whiteness of Pro-Lifers and Pundits." Highly recommend this, in case anyone in your real life ever tries to tell you that abortion and slavery are somehow the same.
  • Muslim Media Watch: "Semra Çelebi’s Double Trouble with Hijab."
  • Associated Press: "Study: No higher mental health risk after abortion." From the story: "Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests." Very important information right here.
  • Refinery 29: "MAC Saves the Day With A New Wonder Woman Makeup Collection." Ridiculously pricey. And still I want it all. You can see more photos here.

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