Excellent infographic on Sex-Education- Please share!
I understand that many people are against abortion and would like to see abortion become illegal across the United States- I am not one of those people. I believe all options (and education) should be made available for women to promote healthy and responsible decision-making. Virgina, however, a state that is loath to provide abortive services to begin with, thinks that the best way to end abortion is to forcibly assault the woman seeking such abortive services. Continuing our look into women’s health we find this gem of an article and new bill that PASSED through legislature forcing women to undergo an invasive procedure before they are permitted to receive abortive services. So Virginia, does raping women (potentially women who are trying to abort a rapist’s fertilized seed) make them understand that you think abortion is bad? So criminal sexual contact makes women less pregnant? Unbelievable.
Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination
Under the new legislation, women who want an abortion will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. Where’s the outrage?
By Dahlia Lithwick
This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a billthat would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.
What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attentionwould ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.
So the problem is not just that the woman and her physician (the core relationship protected in Roe) no longer matter at all in deciding whether an abortion is proper. It is that the physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”
Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a womanwithout consent. Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the vagina of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.
The bill will undoubtedly be enacted into law by the governor, Bob McDonnell, who is gunning hard for a gig as vice presidentand has already indicated that he will sign the bill. “I think it gives full information,” he said this week on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”
That’s been the defense of this type of ultrasound law from the outset; it’s merely “more information” for the mother, and, really, what kind of anti-science Neanderthal opposes information? Pretending that this law is just a technological update on Virginia’s informed consent laws has another benefit: You can shame and violate women, while couching it in the language of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s gift that keeps on giving—his opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart. That opinion upheld Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban on the grounds that (although there was no real evidence to support this assumption) some women who have abortions will suffer “severe depression” and “regrets” if they aren’t made to understand the implications of what they have done.*
Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow. According to the American Independent, a new study by Tracy Weitz, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that “viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”
Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.
During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that“in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)
That’s the same logic that animates the bill’s sponsor in the House of Delegates, Del. Kathy J. Byron, who insisted this week that, “if we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have.” Decoded, that means that if you are willing to submit to sex and/or an abortion, the state should be allowed to penetrate your body as well.
I asked Del. Englin what recourse there is for the ultrasound law, and he told me that the governor, while unlikely to veto the bill, still has the power to amend it to require the patient’s consent or say that physicians can opt not to do the vaginal probe. One might hope that even the benign act of giving women “more information” not be allowed to happen by forcing it between her legs. Or is that what we call it these days?
Whatever happens in the commonwealth, it’s fair to say it’s no accident that this week the Legislature also enacted a “personhood” law defining life as beginning at conception—a law that may someday criminalize contraception and some miscarriages as well as abortion. Today was not a good day in the War on Women. Abortion is still legal in America. Physically invading a woman’s body against her will still isn’t. Let’s not casually pass laws that upend both principles in the name of helping women make better choices.
Corrections, Feb. 16, 2012: This article originally misidentified the Virginian-Pilot as the Virginia-Pilot. The article also mistakenly characterized Gonzales v. Carhart as striking down the partial-birth ban. It also misidentified Del. David Englin as a representative.
There has been a lot of press around women’s health, and women’s rights recently, and I’d like to repost some of the more upsetting pieces. This one is pretty astounding. I guess everyone would be more at ease if I took off my shoes, quit my job and stood around in the kitchen with a baby in my arms.
How The GOP Went Back To The 1950s In Just One Day
Very neatly, and on three separate fronts, conservatives in America turned the clock back to the 1950s with their rhetoric about women’s rights Thursday, according to women in politics on both sides of the aisle. This could be a big problem for the GOP when the calendar reaches November.
Let’s take a look at Thursday, February 16, 2012, the day Washington fell into a time-warp.
• On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.
Jaws dropped in the women’s rights community.
“She didn’t have the right credentials?” NOW President Terry O’Neill scoffed. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy to talk about birth control.’”
• Politico published a story about a right wing firestorm that had been burning for days: Did the young women who attended this year’s CPAC wear skirts that were too short? The days following the massive conservative conference, which closed Saturday, were filled with tweets and blog posts weighing in on what conservative pundit Melissa Clouthier called outfits that made the college-age women at CPAC look either “frumpish” or “like two-bit whores.” CPAC needs these women to survive — 55% of attendees at the 2011 conference were under 25 — but apparently conservatives want to make sure they don’t show too much of their legs lest they detract from the solemnity of the proceedings. The general agreement among conservatives after days of debate: a CPAC dress code would go too far — but ladies, please.
• Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of Rick Santorum’s campaign, became an instant celebrity when he went on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show and said, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” Here’s what that looked like:
Friess’ comment was astonishing in two ways. First, it derailed the entire contraception debate that Republicans have been desperate to keep about “religious freedom” rather than make it about, well, who does or does not keep her knees together. Second, there wasn’t a woman around who didn’t have a guttural reaction.
“I want to punch that guy in the face,” said one female operative who called me on an entirely unrelated matter. Phone calls and IM conversations for the rest of the day included similar appraisals of Santorum’s biggest financial backer.
So there you have it: modern women being told by Republicans that they’re not qualified to talk about their own sexual health, are dressed like “whores” and probably need birth control because they’re so slutty. And this is just in one day.
Democratic women say this is all part of a general pattern that began in 2010 when the tea party helped Republicans win a congressional election based on jobs and deficits and the Republicans then set about passing new anti-abortion legislation and declaring war on Planned Parenthood once in office. They agreed Thursday stood out, though.
“Republican policies have been stuck in the 50s for a while now. I guess this week they decided they wanted the whole retro package,” said Jess McIntosh, communications director at EMILY’s List. “Darrel Issa, you are no Jon Hamm.”
Republican women were not any more impressed. One GOP operative I talked to laughed out loud at the CPAC controversy. “Who the hell cares?” she said.
Another Republican operative defended her party for fighting the fight on contraception access, which she said was an important pushback on White House overreach and electoral winner in states with heavy Catholic populations. But she said the “optics” of the Issa hearing were “probably bad.” And she wasn’t thrilled with the image of Republicans that the likes of Santorum and Friess were presenting.
“Some will see it as reinforcing the impression a lot of people have of Rick Santorum as the candidate straight out of the 1950’s. I bet it gets played up that way,” she said. “I think most of us know you can keep your knees together and still, um, do it.”
Will the GOP’s rhetoric Feb. 16 have ramifications felt on Nov. 6? The women on both sides of the aisle agreed that it could — and the polls back them up. After months of Republican fighting about abortion, and weeks of the GOP talking about contraception, Greg Sargent reported on a polling memo showing Obama was leading Mitt Romney 65-30 among unmarried women.
And women’s advocates say Thursday did little to change things.
“There’s a deep, righteous anger,” O’Neill said. “It is very deep-rooted anger and it will be hard for these men now to avoid that anger because it has struck such a chord.”
If you would like to get women’s health issues decided on by women, please sign the petition here: http://emilyslist.org/action/stand_up_to_anti_woman_forces_in_congress/
What is slut shaming? Chances are you’ve done it before- and someone has probably done it to you too… but what is it?
I found this excellent video explaining the details in a very straight-forward manner. More to follow! I’m BACK this week.
I do a lot of things with my time- one of those things is work for a company that has an initiative to help end domestic violence and partner violence through educational programs and grants. (I keep a link on the right hand side of this blog that will bring you to that site.)
Wednesday night I was briefly featured on News 12 NJ for my work with mark and the m.powerment campaign. Here is a (poor quality) video of that news story:
If you would like to take part in the m.powerment campaign I want you to know- 100% of the proceeds from sales go to the campaign and NOT me. I do not make money off of m.powerment campaign, I promote it because I believe in it’s message.
As you may have heard, Montclair State University (MSU) has been in the news lately due to some bias-crimes against the LGBT community. The response from the gay and lesbian community, as well as its supporters, was one of tolerance and resilience. The community held an educational lecture and had several tables set up at an event aimed to expand respect and acceptance toward the LGBT community. After an exceptional event, MSU bigots struck again, this time they lashed out against black students. This article explains further:
Hatred Found in the Heights
*Breaking News* Anonymous racist messages written on door and walls
– By Tanja Rekhi, News Editor
In the wake of the peaceful rally in support of the LGBT community yesterday, black students were targeted with hateful graffiti consisting of anonymous racist messages written on doors and walls of the Heights.
“Nigger black bitches you will die wit da phages,” was written on one door last night. The walls have also been marked with derogatory terms.
The message has caused an uproar within the African American community and many have taken to e-mailing university president, Dr. Susan Cole. Students have voiced that they are angered that the administration has not immediately acted upon the incident—notably occurring during black history month.
Aisha Salaam, president of the NAACP at MSU said, “As NAACP president this is not something I tolerate; I don’t take it lightly. I feel as though if we call each other the ‘red hawk family,’ we need to act accordingly.”
While some students are questioning the safety of the campus, others have come together and have begun planning a rally at the Student Center scheduled for 3:00 p.m this afternoon.
More to come on Montclair’s administrative response.
These image have been provided by Andre Schneck of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.
It’s sad, to say the least, that this level of ignorant hatred is being rampantly and brazenly spewed across a campus whose goal is to expand and enrich the minds and lives of young people. I hope that the school and community finds and punishes these participants for their threats of violence against others. Everyday I feel that we, as a culture, take several small steps backward. Has it only taken us 60 years to forget?
Links to Article Sources:
Looking for the right workout for your personality? This great little article from fitness magazine offers up some great alternatives that might fit your personality!
The Best Workout for You
Create an exercise plan you won’t ditch before the month is out by matching your routine to your personality.
You are: Social
You know this because: Few things bring you more joy than a booked calendar. As long as you’re dashing off to a dinner here and an outing there, you’re a happy camper.
Try: Exercise Classes. You can belly dance, kickbox, cycle. The name of the game is togetherness. Even if you don’t belong to a gym, most towns have a community center that offers adult-ed programs.
You are: Competitive
You know this because: You really (really) want to win. You probably played sports growing up, and now you get a bit anxious if you see someone running at a faster pace on the next treadmill.
Try: Joining a League. From lacrosse to field hockey, there are adult teams battling it out every Saturday morning or Tuesday night. Not into the group thing? Sign up for a 5k race or a triathlon.
You are: Inquisitive
You know this because: You’re the one at the museum asking all the questions about architects during the Ming dynasty. If there’s something to learn, you’re there.
Try: DVDS- Lot’s of ’em. Most come with explicit instructions, so you can become an expert on all kinds of workouts, including what muscles they use and why they’re good for you, without leaving your living room.
You are: Meditative
You know this because: You look inward, preferring to take the time to reflect and think before you speak.
Try: Yoga- It’s a no brainer. To get your heart rate up while centering your split, do repetitive-motion sports like swimming, jogging, cycling, kayaking or rowing. The movements can put your brain into a Zen-like state.
You are: Outdoorsy
You know this because: You’d rather run in the pouring rain than get on the treadmill. You like nothing better than exploring a mountain, lake, beach or trail.
Try: Hooking up with a hiking, cycling, walking or running club. An active group of kindred spirits will introduce you to new places and gear while providing a community for swapping adventure stories.
You are: Romantic
You know this because: You like journaling, scrapbooking, decoupaging and antiquing. You care about how your body looks, but you’re not all that interested in traditional exercise.
Try: Dancing. There’s nothing more romantic, be it flamenco, salsa, ballroom, African or line dancing. You get to dress up, maybe even pretend you’re someone else, and move to your favourite music.
You are: Type A
You know this because: You want results- and you want them preferably in 20 minutes or less. You really don’t care why your workout works, just that it does.
Try: Interval training. It’s the perfect way to boost your heart rate and burn fat fast. Just don’t do it every day- three times a week is plenty to give your body time to get stronger.
Source: Fitness Magazine February 2008