Opponents of reproductive rights had a busy 2013. By the end of June, state lawmakers had passed 43 abortion restrictions into law—as many restrictions as were enacted in all of 2012, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights think tank. By August, when many state legislatures had wrapped up their 2013 session, lawmakers had introduced more than 300 abortion restrictions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Defending these restrictions inspired a string of public figures to make foot-in-mouth statements about women, their choices, and their bodies. Below, we’ve assembled the worst of these comments.
Getting an abortion after being raped is criminal evidence tampering.
In January, Republican state Rep. Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico caused an uproar with a bill to make obtaining an abortion in cases of rape or incest felony evidence tampering punishable by up to three years in prison.
Brown quickly clarified that the bill was only meant to give prosecutors a means to go after rapists. But you’d be forgiven for fearing that the legislation could be used to target abortion providers or rape victims themselves. The bill defined tampering with evidence to include “procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.”
The bill, introduced to a Legislature controlled by Democrats, was doomed from the start, moving Huffington Post’s Kate Sheppard to call it “some world-class trolling.”
A West Virginia legislator has filed a complaint against Dr. Byron Calhoun, a well-known anti-choice activist who has made unfounded claims about injuries relating to abortion in that state.
State Delegate Nancy Peoples Guthrie (D-Kanawha) filed the complaint with the West Virginia Board of Medicine, the agency charged with disciplining medical doctors licensed to practice in the Mountain State.
“In light of Dr. Byron Calhoun’s alarming claim that he sees “botched abortions” on a weekly basis … and given that the West Virginia Board of Medicine has no record of any claims in reference to any hospital visits regarding alleged injuries stemming from abortions, it is my opinion that he is in breach of at least two codes of conduct,” Guthrie wrote in her complaint.
Calhoun, who is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the West Virginia University-Charleston Division, made the claims in a letter he wrote to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in June 2013. Morrisey campaigned for office on an anti-choice platform and is widely expected to push for restrictions on reproductive rights in the 2014 legislative session.
And so it appears that for us as black people, trauma and domination have always co-existed with pleasure and celebration. It is with this historical context as backdrop that Beyonce released her “visual album” this past weekend to great fanfare and debate. The past bleeds into the present as sense memory reminds us that we were property and that our bodies were violable hypersexualized flesh. We rage and turn our anger towards our reflections sometimes. We can hardly believe that we are still here when we weren’t actually meant to survive. We have few words to convey our mountains of hurt and of pain. We can’t imagine desire or pleasure without penalty. We’ve survived and my young friend is surviving still. We don’t know how to heal our “broken, burned, and bruised places” yet but we are searching for the right path. We know that we have never been in style and that chattel slavery’s script was written on our bodies. But even then, we sought ways to resist and to seize control. We created dances, embraced fashion, depicted ourselves in photographs, created homemade birth control technologies, had illegal abortions. We did this, we’ve continued to do this understanding full well that: “Nobody matters less to our society than young black women.”
Banned and challenged books get a lot of press during Banned Books Week, but I think it’s important to discuss issues like censorship year round and not just for one week at the end of September.
Since most challenges involve material read in schools or marketed to young adults and librarians who serve teen patrons are often at the center of these issues, I thought an overview of books that were challenged in 2013 would be of interest to Hub readers. Of course, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but I’ve attempted to round up challenges in the United States that involved teen readers.
Most of these books were challenged for being sexually explicit, containing offensive language, or being unsuitable for the age group, and most were challenged because they were included on a suggested reading list for students, part of a class assignment, or available in a school library. These are also, in most cases, books that have received wide acclaim and can teach tolerance and understanding. I was also surprised at how many books are by authors of color. The objections overwhelmingly looked at small sections of text without considering the context or overall message and theme of the book.
WASHINGTON — The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the $632.8 billion bill that covers combat pay, new ships, aircraft and military bases. Drawing the greatest attention were provisions cracking down on perpetrators of sexual assault and rape.
The military’s handling of high-profile cases united Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate in a concerted effort to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with Senate women leading the fight. Estimates from the Pentagon that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year, though thousands were afraid to come forward for fear of inaction or retribution, emboldened lawmakers to act.
“Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America’s armed forces, but this is no finish line,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes. “In the months and years ahead, vigilance will be required to ensure that these historic reforms are implemented forcefully and effectively.”
St. Mary’s Panel Spurred by Frosh Chant Aims to Boost Women’s Roles at University - the Globe and Mail
Last fall, Saint Mary’s students and their leaders were videotaped participating in a chant about underage, non-consensual sex at an orientation event. The video went viral. Two student leaders resigned, and Saint Mary’s president Colin Dodds created the council, which released its report Thursday.
Dr. Dodds said he accepts the recommendations, which will roll out over three years. “Changing a culture is not a simple task,” he said.
Wayne MacKay, a Dalhousie University law professor and expert on bullying, was the chair of the council. “In a sense it is making the common sense but very important point … that women are more likely to put issues of sexual violence and safety in a higher-priority position than even well-meaning men might do,” he said, about the recommendation on gender equity.
Separately in Minnesota, Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis apologized on Sunday for having “overlooked” the problem of sexual abuse by priests.
These were his first public comments on the matter since the archdiocese was forced this month by a judge to release the names of about 30 priests suspected of abusing minors over a span of decades.
“When I arrived here seven years ago one of the first things I was told is that this whole question of clerical sexual abuse had been taken care of,” Nienstedt told reporters after addressing parishioners at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, southwest of Minneapolis.
“Unfortunately I believed that.”
In videotaped comments posted on the Star Tribune newspaper’s website, Nienstedt said he wanted to “hold up the 97 percent of our priests who are honest, noble, hardworking, selfless individuals.”
A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
O’Reilly Becomes Unhinged Debating Mikey Weinstein in the War on Christmas: ‘I Covered Four Wars With a Pen!’ - NewsHounds
Bill O’Reilly has a new front in the War on Christmas: two nativity scenes in Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, he was no match for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Mikey Weinstein, who successfully lobbied to have them removed. Let’s just say that the segment ended with O’Reilly cutting Weinstein’s mike and proclaiming that his having covered “four wars with a pen” was comparable to military service.
Ranger O’Reilly is at it again in his War on the War On Christmas. This time he had the misfortune to run into Mikey Weinstien who out flanked him, out thought him, and basically came to the battle armed with a howitzer to O’Reilly’s water pistol
Money Quote for me…
O’REILLY: You know what? Mr. Weinstein, you just - and with all due respect to your parents - are just a bloviator. You don’t answer the questions and I’ll tell you what: I covered four wars with the pen! (He defiantly held up his pen)
Read more at newshounds.us
Of course Weinstein is a flaming liberal who hates the military, and comes from a long line of “Pink” if not outright “Red” subversives. Why just look at the mans work history and family background shall we?
Mikey is a 1977 Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Mikey has been married for over 35 years to his wife, Bonnie. He is the proud parent of two sons and one daughter. His oldest son and daughter-in-law are 2004 Graduates, Mikey’s youngest son graduated in the Class of 2007, and his son-in-law is a 2010 graduate from the Air Force Academy. Seven total members of Mikey’s family have attended the Academy. His father is a distinguished graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Mikey spent 10 years in the Air force as a “JAG” or military attorney serving as both a Federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.
A registered Republican, he also spent over three years in the West Wing of the Reagan Administration as legal counsel in the White House. In his final position there, Mikey was named the Committee Management Officer of the much-publicized Iran-Contra Investigation in his capacity as Assistant General Counsel of The White House Office of Administration, Executive Office of the President of the United States. Mikey has held numerous positions in corporate America as a senior executive businessman and attorney.
Ok, well lets just move along here, nothing to see… move along….
The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in almost two years in the third quarter, the government said on Friday as it revised its estimates of business and consumer spending higher.
The broad revisions hinted at some underlying strength, which could help the economy better absorb the blow from an anticipated cutback in inventory accumulation this quarter.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday gave the economy a vote of confidence, announcing it would reduce its $85 billion monthly bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January.
“The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature,” The Associated Press writes this morning.
According to Military Times, the defense budget bill, which passed by a vote of 84-15 late Thursday:
“Includes about 30 provisions related to sexual assault in the military, including removing the authority of commanders to dismiss a court-martial finding, eliminating the current five-year statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault and establishing minimum sentencing guidelines for sex crimes.
“There also are several provisions aimed at protecting victims of rape and sexual assault, including allowing victims to apply for a transfer to a new unit or a new base and creating a specific criminal charge in the military justice system for retaliating against a victim who comes forward.
“Other adds include a provision to overhaul the military’s Article 32 process of pretrial hearings to expand rights of sexual assault victims and to reduce consideration of the military record of the accused as a reason not to press charges.”
“Today represents a huge win for victims of sexual assault, and for justice in America’s armed forces, but this is no finish line,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of seven women on the Armed Services Committee who pushed for the changes, said after the Senate vote. “In the months and years ahead, vigilance will be required to ensure that these historic reforms are implemented forcefully and effectively.”