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Posts tagged "politics"

In a Washington Post column headlined “Silence Is Golden on Gay Issues,” my longtime colleague and friend Jonathan Capehart heralds it as “a great thing” that gay issues weren’t discussed in the presidential debates this year. The Human Rights Campaign’s Fred Sainz agrees, telling Capehart, “What we’re seeing is proof positive that gay issues aren’t the wedge they used to be and furthermore, the public has moved on.”

Really? Though LGBT rights now have the support of a big majority of Democrats and independents, they’re far from a non-issue for the vast majority of Republicans, who oppose same-sex marriage, and certainly for the evangelical base of the GOP, which helped keep Rick Santorum competitive during the primaries.

The only reason these issues weren’t discussed in the debates is that the moderators — members of the media — didn’t ask about them. And far from being a “great thing,” right now that helps Mitt Romney, who is racing to the center and would rather not talk about how he’s in favor of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make gays second-class citizens, or about how he signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage vowing to appoint federal judges who would rule against gay marriage.

Read the rest at HuffPo here.

Mitt Romney’s “close” relative died of an illegal abortion (which is why he used to say he wouldn’t force his beliefs on you).

In 1963, Mitt Romney lost a “dear” and “close” relative to an illegal abortion. Ann Keenan was the sister of his brother-in-law, Loren “Larry” Keenan, husband to Mitt’s sister, Lynn. By all accounts, her death at age 21 “deeply impacted members of the family.” Romney’s sister, Jane, explained, “‘She was a beautiful, talented young gal we all loved. And [her death] pretty much ruined the parents - [she was] their only daughter. You would do anything not to repeat that.” The Keenan family asked for donations to be sent to Planned Parenthood in her name.

Ann Keenan apparently “was very close” to Mitt personally and he, too, appeared moved by the loss explaining, it “obviously makes one see that regardless of one’s beliefs about choice, that you would hope it would be safe and legal.” During a debate with Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney pledged, “It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.”

But Romney’s dear young relative seems to have disappeared from his memory (as has his promise to not waiver.) He no longer “exhumes” her body to serve as proof of his pro-choice credentials as he did routinely when running for governor of Massachusetts. These days, he’s promising to overturn Roe v Wade. Indeed, he seems eager to reinstate those laws that drove his close relative to fatally take matters into her own hands.

Read the rest from Christina Page here.

New poll up today (including options for folks not of age or not US citizens or based in the US)!

Kate Harding's excellent new tumblr project aimed at exposing all the victim-blaming “don't do this, avoid that” advice offered around rape.

We like to issue some reminders now and then about some common discourses regarding teen pregnancy.  We often have a LOT to say about those, but one of the core issues that comes up is the idea that high rates of teen pregnancy are largely due to ignorance about contraception.

Setting aside the matter that teen pregnancy is often assumed to be exclusively unplanned or unwanted (it’s not), in reality, while lack of understanding about proper contraceptive use is certainly one factor, access to contraceptives in the first place, and consistently, is another huge one, so is sexual agency (and youth rights and agency more broadly), and certainly access to abortion.

For that reason we always encourage you to look into the stance on support for all reproductive choices at any site or organization you link or refer others to for information about pregnancy or contraceptives. Some very visible sites and orgs are not fully pro-choice and do not include or even mention abortion in their information, or, if they do, like the American Pregnancy Association, for example, include misinformation about abortion and links to “information” or “help” are links to CPCs.

As well, sound, broad research done about teen pregnancy (we really like Kristen Luker for this topic, a nearly flawless researcher who has done a great job avoiding the usual biases) has shown that socioeconomic factors and the impact of those factors — read: poverty — are really the biggest player here. Far more so than knowing about or knowing how to use contraception.

So, by all means, having accurate, in-depth information about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy or parenting is vitally important: we obviously think so as an organization.  But so is being careful none of us obscure the larger picture here or unwittingly support anyone or any initiative that may be acting counter to helping young people who do not want to become or remain pregnant.

Pro-tip: Abortion is — literally — birth control. If and when sites or orgs with birth control information and apparent support for birth control or preventing unwanted pregnancy don’t include or mention it? Look deeper and ask questions.

Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has been accused by Carletha Cole, a former administrative assistant to Carroll, of being involved in an inappropriate sexual encounter with a female subordinate. Cole is a grandmother and a minister, who took a lie detector test regarding the accusations and passed.

When Carroll decided that she was going to defend this matter publicly, she stated that her accuser is not only attacking one person but is attacking her entire family. Her actions that followed demonstrated that she needed to transfer her pain.

In an attempt to seek public sympathy for her personal and professional matter, Carroll decided to insult every black woman who is a lesbian, bisexual and/or single. She decided that her personal status as a wife and mother with a long-lasting marriage to her husband was somehow superior and above reproach for inappropriate, extramarital relations. She further decided to insult my beautiful black sisters by comparing her life situation to those of longtime single women, and imply that women who engage in sexual relations with other women could not possibly look like her.

I am so furious and frustrated by a black woman of power trying to bring other black women down to save face. Jennifer Carroll, the core of your character is at stake, and you are showing your true colors. Leadership requires grace and dignity under fire, and you are showing that your character includes misguided superiority and poor judgment.

Read the rest at HuffPo Gay Voices here.

A principal in Onalaska, Wash., was accused of “raping” her fifth-grade students. Not actually — this isn’t a case of, you know, rape-rape but rather rape as an inappropriate metaphor: “rape” by sex ed. James Gilliland, the parent of an 11-year-old girl who took C.J. Gray’s class on the birds and the bees, told Seattle’s KING 5 News: “It’s basically the same as raping a kid’s mind and taking their innocence.”

What got this father and other parents so fired up? In a recent lesson on HIV, Gray answered a student’s question about what oral sex and anal sex are. Onalaska superintendent Scott Fenter told KING 5, “She only gave factual information, no demonstrations.” Gray herself told Centralia, Wash.’s Chronicle, “It was very factual and it was dropped. I did not demonstrate it.” Yes, despite at least two parents likening her answering of kids’ questions to child molestation — and others inundating her with angry phone calls and letters — she did not actually demonstrate the act; there were no photos or videos, either. It was just a matter-of-fact explanation of the basic mechanics.

Read the rest at Alternet here.

On June 25, Our Bodies Ourselves will launch Our Bodies, Our Votes — a national education campaign urging women and men to speak out against attacks on women’s reproductive rights and access to health services. We want your support TODAY!
The campaign will include distribution of Our Bodies, Our Votes bumper stickers; a Tumblr site where people can post photos of where they put the stickers (we want representation from every state!); and a website with information on abortion, contraception and reproductive justice.
Here’s where you come in …
In exchange for being an early supporter and helping to build momentum, we’ll send you 3 FREE Our Bodies, Our Votes bumper stickers!
All you have to do is:
1. Stick a sticker on your car or any creative place
2. Take at least one photo
3. Post that photo to Tumblr by midnight on Thursday, June 21
Interested? You have to act fast! We’ll send stickers to the first 75 people to contact officeATbwhbcDOTorg with Send Me Free Stickers! in the subject line and your mailing address in the body of the email. The cut-off is 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 14.
The stickers will be mailed by Friday along with Tumblr posting instructions. Once the campaign launches on June 25, stickers will be available for a $10 donation to OBOS.
Thanks for reading, and please consider becoming an early supporter of Our Bodies, Our Votes!

Compared to pro-choice states, anti-abortion states spend far less money per child on a range of services such as foster care, education, welfare, and the adoption of children who have physical and mental disabilities. The states that have the strongest anti- abortion laws are also the states in which women suffer from lower levels of education and higher levels of poverty, as well as from a lower ratio of female-to-male earnings.
Jean Reith Schroedel, A Comparison of Policies Across the Fifty [United] States, 2000

Remember? Remember how our president gave speeches shortly thereafter about finding “common ground” on abortion? Don’t you wonder where, exactly, that common ground is? Is it on “Let’s come to a compromise on how many healthcare providers you assassinate per year”? In the wake of a Southern string of 3 targeted burglaries at clinics and 3 women’s health buildings set aflame (some of which don’t even provide abortion care), wouldn’t you really like to know what common ground looks like? “Let’s agree that no one likes fires in the summer; you could at least save arson for the winter months”?

Where’s a libertarian declaring “Those who would trade liberty for security…” when you could actually use one?

Dr. Tiller didn’t fuck around like that. They massed outside his office, and he had a huge sign printed: “Women need abortions, and I’m going to provide them.” No mincing, no equivocating, and no compromising his patients’ care. He went to work every day to protect women’s freedoms. Someone shot him in both arms, and he went back to work the next day. He had a gate at the clinic and wore a bulletproof vest — but his murderer shot him in the head, at church.

Read the whole thing at The Abortioneers here.