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Entries in Republican War on Women (73)

Monday
Nov052012

Ladies, Tomorrow's Election Day and YOU Will Decide Who Is In Charge of Your Body | Dear Walmart Moms #4

Hi Anne: I am so humbled that you thought of me to include in your conversations with your “Walmart Moms” readership. If I had one thing I would want to say to them i would want to dispel their notions that I have no respect for “LIFE”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I consider childbirth to be one of the most amazing experience we as humans beings can witness; and it is because I feel this way that I accept the “label” PRO-CHOICE. The fact IS I would much prefer to be “labeled” and I do self identify as “pro-autonomous” when it comes to the serious matter of bringing another human being into the world.

Motherhood Is A Huge Responsibility

As a woman, I am the one who is charged with the biological responsibility of giving birth and undertaking years of nurturing and protecting that child until they attain their inherent birthright, which is their own sense of autonomy. This responsibility - I take so seriously – that I would not seek the counsel of any other person to make this decision for me.

Motherhood is a decision I must make on my own – with no intervention from government, religion or family and without the threat of investigation, prosecution jail. Such coercion would feel like torture to me. and as a mater of fact: I believe that autonomy is a fundamental universal human right and the first pillar of Freedom.

Bodily Autonomy & the UN Convention on Torture

In a recent conversation online I was informed about the ruling affirming the right to bodily autonomy in McFall v. Shimp. The US Senate ratified the UN Convention on Torture in 1994. The legal language in Article 1 Sec 9 of the UN Convention on Torture defines torture as:

“The intentional infliction of severe mental or physical pain or suffering by, or with the consent of, state authorities for a specific purpose. Methods of torture include rape, sexual assault, and forced pregnancy/childbirth.”

Are Republicans Violatating Women’s Legal Right to Bodily Autonomy?

In my view, the over 1100 pieces of legislation, some extending “personhood” at the moment of conception, others mandating doctors to force a woman to listen to the heartbeat with a vaginal probe, while they read to her and force her to look at the fetus may violate the UN Convention on Torture. The “personhood” legislation introduced in Congress to outlaw contraception and criminalize abortion in every situation except “legitimate rape” and incest fits into this definition of Torture. Indeed, even the mention of such legislation - feel like torture to my American-ness.

I would never wish this fate on any American woman, even if we do not share the same political affiliations. I am sure NO American woman wants to see another in bondage. And the mounting assault perpetrated by Republicans on the rights of American women feels more like the shackles of bondage as every day goes by.

Desiree Jordan
Founder Unite Women New York

UniteWomenNY.org

Friday
Nov022012

Your Rights At Risk | Republicans Criminalize Being A Woman | Dear Walmart Moms #3 

By Soraya Chemaly

Abortion, Yes or No?

This is how we’ve reduced the issue of women’s fundamental rights to a bullet point. It’s also how we’ve ended up asking our representatives the wrong questions and using words that are not rooted in the reality of women’s every day lives. “Will you make abortion illegal in all circumstances?” is the wrong question to ask Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Consider the difference if we ask, instead, “How will your policies criminalize pregnancy and infringe on women’s rights?” or “How will your beliefs about “life” help millions upon millions of girls and women feed themselves and their existing families?” Or “How will this decision help them survive their high-risk pregnancies?”

We use three words “Abortion.” Then “Life.” Then “Choice.” When the real words at stake are Women. Bodies. Freedom. Health. Who gets the benefit of being considered morally competent? What about “Citizenship”? And last but not least, “RIGHTS”?

Take Ann Romney

Consider what Mitt Romney’s presidency would mean for a contemporary Ann Romney. On August 20th of this year it was revealed that Ann Romney suffered a miscarriage and depression between the births of her fourth and fifth sons. One week later, she walked into the GOP Convention to make her speech. I was amazed. She might as well have basted herself in sugar water and walked naked in to an apiary. Here is why:

If Anne Romney miscarried today, Georgia Republican Representative Bobby Franklin and others like him, would require that she prove her miscarriage was natural or face felony charges.

If she miscarried today, she could be charged with manslaughter or murder, like Christine Taylor who fell down the stairs in her house, went to the hospital to make sure her she wasn’t miscarrying and, at the discretion of a nurse, doctor and members of the local police force, was arrested, jailed, publically shamed and charged under Iowa’s feticide law. Thirty-eight states have these laws and they are being used to prosecute women instead of protect them from abusive spouses as originally intended.

Criminalizing Miscarriage

If she miscarried today, like 15-year old Rennie Gibbs, she could face life in prison because of Republican state legislators steeped in ignorance, illogic and scientific illiteracy.

If Ann Romney miscarried today, she would have to consider living with being at the mercy of an overly personhood obsessed pharmacist, police officer, nurse…well, anyone, really who thought her actions or medication contributed to her miscarriage.

If she miscarried today, if she needed to see a doctor for her miscarriage, she’d have to think twice since doctors, in order to protect themselves or act according to their consciences, could either lie to her or turn her in to the police for investigation.

If she miscarried today, like Amanda Kimborough, and hundreds of others she could be charged with “chemical endangerment” and imprisoned. Now, Ann Romney wouldn’t be accused of being a meth lab, but could be investigated using the same laws for using medication for illness just like hers. Women with cancer will die if her party succeeds in its openly stated objectives because they will be denied treatment, like chemotherapy, as happened to Angela Carder and others in parts of the world that have already gone down this path. Why do people think this cannot happen when it already is?

You might think, some of these problems don’t apply to you, because you are a good woman and mother and only “bad” women are imperfect and personally irresponsible. They should deal with the consequences of their behavior, have personal responsibility for their sins, lose their freedom, and not get the medical help they need. Leaving aside the question of who defines what makes a woman good or bad (including the racial implications) according to personhood tenets the specific circumstances or the illegality of certain behavior or substances are irrelevant. A chemical is a chemical and endangerment is endangerment.

If she hadn’t miscarried, but like many women experienced depression (which she did), sadness or despair during her pregnancy, the situation would be equally full of risk in some states. Homocide and suicide are the two leading causes of death among pregnant women. Bei Bei Shaui, who attempted suicide and whose baby died three days after emergency Caesarian, was been imprisoned and charged with feticide in a situation that bodes ill for all women.

If she hadn’t miscarried, but wanted to decide how to give birth, like Laura Pemberton, a “pro-life” mother of seven in Florida, she might today find herself arrested during labor, taken to a hospital, tied to a bed and forced to have surgery because the state had an interest in her birth decision.

It’s Not About Criminalizing Abortion. It’s About Criminalizing Women

“Abortion” is only the very tip of the iceberg. The same people who have fetishized fetuses have made it possible, in some cases, necessary, for doctors to lie to their patients, for women to pay for unnecessary medical procedures, for health care clinics to misinform deliberately, and for women to be denied healthcare entirely.

Obstacles, taxes and shaming procedures do nothing to reduce abortions, they just infringe on rights, make women vulnerable and their lives more precarious. The toll that these measures take on girls and women is immeasurable. It’s also criminal. History will take note even if we fail to this week. Regardless of whether you root the right in liberty, privacy, or autonomy, until women have agency over their own bodies they are not liberated - a word we’ve forgotten. We might as well be living in 1969.

What was baffling to me was how Ann Romney could reference so openly her experiences with miscarriage and illnesses at a convention where personhood-for-fetuses was part of the Republican party platform. Because of the Republican party’s explicitly stated beliefs, intentions and actions women are being investigated, jailed and prosecuted for exercising their legal constitutional rights and also for experiencing miscarriages and illnesses like Ann Romney’s. How could she mention her children and grandchildren when these same beliefs in separate fetal rights from the time of conception would criminalize her own sons and their wives and, in the foreseeable future should the Romney/Ryan ticket win, deny them the right to have the children that are now her grandchildren?

Reproductive Rights Are Basic Rights

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Saturday
Oct202012

Swing State Women Gallup Poll Proves Republicans Have American Women Running Scared

Abortion Rights Top Priority of Women Swing State Voters

There is a well established gender divide in American politics, with women tending to vote Democratic and men tending to vote Republican. Within that mix, married women tend to be real swing voters. In those 12 states considered crucial “swing” states in the 2012 election, a massive gender-based disparity in top issues of concern was established this week in a Gallup Poll.

These results are based on an Oct. 5-11 USA Today/Gallup poll among registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The survey was conducted prior to the second presidential debate held in Hempstead, N.Y., on Oct. 16 and at a time when Romney has been gaining in national polls.

American Women Are Running Scared

The reality of women embracing abortion rights as their top priority in these states, confirms that thinking women are running scared in America. Rush Limbaugh reduces these findings to a diatribe about American women wanting to have indiscriminate sex all day long, and then aborting as a form of birth control.

Reality is that American women understand that we have reason to be worried. The Republican War on Women has truly convinced us that we are not safe from transvaginal probes or personhood amendments that gives an hour old fertilized egg the same exact rights as a married woman with children and a loving husband, an advanced college and who serves as mayor or her town.

Republicans support the Blunt Amendment, putting not only the Catholic bishops in charge of women’s bodies in 1 in 6 American hospitals — that’s both patients and workers — but ANY employer who has a moral objection to women using birth control.

Mitt Romney DOES suffer from Romnesia, and there is no reason to believe that once elected the flip flopper won’t unleash the full forces of America’s social conservatives on American women. Gone in a Romney administration: abortion rights, contraception rights, federal protection for equal pay and countless other rights won by American women in the last 50 years.

Salt Lake City Tribune Endorses Obama, Writing Romney Will Say Anything To Get Elected

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