Let me get this straight: Control of the Senate hangs on whether women show up to vote, and candidates with long records against women’s health want to make this election about birth control. Where do I send the thank-you card? Would a gift basket from Hickory Farms be too much? This is cause for celebration, because if you’re a candidate who is against abortion and birth control, the last thing you want to campaign on for the next two months is abortion and birth control.
But it’s too late now. No take-backs. If they want to talk about women’s health, let’s talk about it. Because doing things their way would mean we would lose insurance coverage for birth control, and we’re not willing to go back.
We should have known this is where they were going when Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado said, “I support a woman’s access to…” and forgot the words “birth control.” Everyone had a good laugh about it, but few noticed the first part of that sentence. It was strange coming from someone who voted to ban funding for Planned Parenthood health centers, who provide women with access to a lot of, well, you know.
So Ernst, Tillis, Gardner, et al want to campaign on birth control? Twist my arm. If these politicians want to make birth control a dominant issue in the 2014 by proposing a new $483 million birth control tax on American women, we’re game.
This is how it really is, abortion: You do things you regret or don’t understand and then you make other choices because life keeps going forward. Or you do something out of love and then, through biology or accident, it goes inexplicably wrong, and you do what you can to cope. Or you do whatever you do, however you do it, for whatever reason, because that’s your experience.
It’s not Ms. Davis’s job to be groundbreaking, and I’m sorry that her personal reproductive history has to be declared and described (not to mention leveraged for votes). Do we approve of what she wanted? Did she suffer enough? These questions are not ours to ask.
We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified. The best thing you can do if you support reproductive rights is to force people to realize that abortion is common, and the most common abortion is a five-to-15-minute procedure elected early in the first trimester by someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant or have a child. It’s our job to say it’s O.K. if that’s the end of the story. It’s O.K. if it’s boring or not traumatic or if you don’t even know what it was.
We believe in a woman’s autonomy and her right to choose whether to continue or end a pregnancy. Every woman should have the right to decide the future of her pregnancy according to her conscience, whatever her reasons or circumstances. A just society does not compel women to continue an undesired pregnancy.
We recognize that support for choice in itself is not enough. Access to abortion is an integral part of women’s reproductive health care, and we believe in the right to receive this. Women need access to resources and services, including the counsel of the professionals, friends and family they choose to involve. Legal, political, social and economic changes are necessary to allow the exercise of reproductive choice, and a commitment to such changes is part of a commitment to choice.
Passed by the North Dakota House and Senate in April 2013, Resolution 4009, as it was then known, was hailed by abortion opponents as groundbreaking by being the first legislatively passed “personhood amendment,” which would grant legal rights and protection at the moment an egg is fertilized. “After four years of hard work pro-life personhood legislation has passed both houses of the North Dakota legislature!” read Personhood North Dakota’s now-defunct main page. “This means that North Dakota is only a popular vote away from being the first state in American history to ban abortion!” And in February 2013, state Sen. Margaret Sitte, the sponsor of the resolution, told Laura Bassett of The Huffington Post, “We are intending that it be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, since [Justice Antonin] Scalia said that the Supreme Court is waiting for states to raise a case.”
So would voting for Measure 1 be a vote for personhood? Could it ban all abortion and potentially some forms of hormonal contraception, make medical procedures like IVF impossible, and even interfere with individual end-of-life decisions? It depends who you ask.
Unlike “personhood amendments” introduced elsewhere in the country, North Dakota’s measure does not specifically mention conception. And despite the fanfare when the resolution passed, the word “personhood” has entirely disappeared from any current discussion by Measure 1 backers. According to ND Choose Life, a coalition formed by social conservative and religious freedom groups, anti-abortion advocacy groups, and the North Dakota Catholic Conference, the amendment simply protects current abortion restrictions from being challenged and potentially overturned, and might protect new legislation the state may introduce. They say it will not ban abortion and does nothing on its own to directly limit abortion any more than the Supreme Court allows at the federal level.
1. Virginity Exists
Therese Shechter’s 2013 documentary How To Lose Your Virginity asks a seemingly simple question: What is a virgin? The answer is actually pretty complicated.
The common idea of virginity is focused on a heteronormative, male-centric definition of intercourse — that is, penis-in-vagina penetration. But this definition ignores LGBTQIA+ couples, oral and anal sex, instances where it “didn’t go all the way in,” rape, and emotional intimacy.
The cultural obsession with virginity is more about keeping girls pure than anything else, and because the term begins to crumble upon close inspection, it doesn’t have to carry such weight.
There’s no clear universal concept of virginity, and people should be able to define meaningful markers of intimacy for themselves.
2. Hymens Are a Sign of Virginity
Given that the entire notion of virginity is dubious at best, it’s not all that surprising that there is actually no medical way to tell if someone is a virgin or not. This includes a broken hymen.
Hymens usually become worn down throughout adolescence and can be torn by everything from jumping on a trampoline, to horseback riding, to simply playing sports. Some women aren’t born with one at all.
Despite the fact that more than half of women don’t bleed the first time they have penetrative sex, blood on the sheets has remained a signifier of losing one’s virginity throughout history.
The persistence of this myth surrounding a basically irrelevant anatomical feature has even spawned a market for artificial hymens and reconstructive surgery to “restore” virginity. More disturbingly, girls around the world are often subject to degrading, invasive virginity “tests” to ensure their purity.
Johns Hopkins University political scientists wanted to know if America’s unelected officials have enough in common with the people they govern to understand them.
The answer: Not really.
Surveying 850 people who either work in government or directly with it, researchers found that the inside-the-Beltway crowd has very little in common with America at large. Washington insiders are more likely to be white. They are more educated. Their salaries are higher, they vote more and have more faith in the fairness of elections. They are probably Democrat and liberal. They more diligently follow the news. And they think the mechanizations of government couldn’t be easier to comprehend.
Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg asked hundreds of questions in 2013 of those who work in federal agencies, on Capitol Hill and in other Washington policy jobs. They presented some of their findings recently at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in a talk called The Civic Distance Between the Rulers and Ruled. Complete results of their research will be featured in their forthcoming book What the Government Thinks of the People.
Birth control pills and traditional latex condoms have been among the most popular and effective methods of contraception for decades. But innovators think it’s time for an upgrade — not only to increase protection, but also to establish safe sex as a basic human right.
Health organizations and forward-thinking companies are making breakthroughs in the field of contraception, working to develop new products such as hormone-releasing microchips, radically redesigned condoms and even low-cost male birth control injections that could last up to 15 years.
“We need new contraceptive options that will fill gaps in the method mix, and increase choices for women,” says Dr. Laneta Dorflinger, distinguished scientist and director of contraceptive technology innovation at FHI 360 (formerly Family Health International). “A sizable percentage of women who have an unmet need for contraception do not use a method due to side effects — real or perceived. New innovations … could have a substantial impact. New innovations … could have a substantial impact.”
The Spanish government is poised to abandon its plans to drastically limit access to abortion in the country, according to the newspaper El Mundo.
The conservative People’s party introduced legislation in December that would make abortion illegal except in the case of rape or when there is a risk to the physical and mental health of the mother. The legislation sought to enact some of the toughest abortion laws in Europe, requiring women wanting an abortion to have two doctors verify that these conditions had been met.
The justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, said the changes would be approved before the end of September. But sources from the party told El Mundo on Saturday that the law would never make it to parliament. One told the Spanish daily: “There is no consensus on the project.”
the street; if he’s not able to procure a bed at the chaotic, prison-like local shelter, he’s apt to be sleeping in a cardboard box or, if he’s lucky, the basement of an apartment building he’s snuck into. He spends his days shuffling around the city, occasionally panhandling for change. A winter coat he’s picked up from a church is pawned for money for a bottle. When you pass someone like George on the street, you’re likely to look away. Most people wouldn’t stop to take note of the desperation in his eyes, or the damage done to a once-handsome man whose face has weathered the elements in the worst way.
And, if you’re like a good deal of New Yorkers, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that the homeless man in question was Richard Gere.
“People actively avoided me,” the 65-year-old actor continues. “It wasn’t that folks didn’t notice me; they could see someone asking for change from two blocks away. It was that they saw the embodiment of failure — and failure is something that people fear will suck them in. If it’s not a fear of the vortex of failure, it’s the overwhelming sense of guilt: ‘Oh, I don’t want to feel bad about not giving this guy money, I don’t want to give him money at all, how much money can I give him where it doesn’t hurt me but I feel like a do-gooder?’ All these conflicting feelings, just because I’m standing in Astor Place going like this.” Gere mimes rattling a cup. ” ‘Spare change, can you help me out?’ That was it. And I had an idea of what that experience might be like intellectually, but from the emotional perspective of being the person that people cross the street from…it’s an entirely different thing.”
A federal law to protect all victims from employment discrimination was introduced in March, but it hasn’t even been referred to committee or scheduled for a vote. (text from link is also below-FNB)
Troubles don’t end for women once they’re fired for their abuse, however. Eighteen states ensure that these women can get unemployment benefits, but women in the remaining thirty-two may not even be able to tap that lifeline once they’re out of work, leaving them even more vulnerable. Ensuring that all women can get unemployment benefits if their abusers succeed in getting them fired would create the most basic baseline of support.
Housing is also a huge issue for victims of violence. As Monica McLaughlin of the National Network to End Domestic Violence told MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, “When we do our survey every year, we ask service providers, ‘What are survivors asking from you?’ And housing rises to the top every time.” Nearly 10,000 victims are turned away from services on a typical day, and more than 40 percent of those women are seeking emergency housing, while 18 percent need transitional housing. Twenty percent of homeless women say that domestic violence is the primary reason they don’t have housing.
There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.
Introduced in House (03/15/2013)
Security and Financial Empowerment Act - Authorizes appropriations for grants for the national resource center on workplace responses to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence for FY2014-FY2018. Establishes limits on the use of funds for administrative costs. Requires the center to provide information and assistance to enable victim service organizations to provide resource materials or other assistance to employers, labor organizations, or employees.
Amends the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to set forth entitlement standards and implementation guidelines for employee use of emergency leave to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking (domestic or sexual violence). Prohibits: (1) any employer from interfering with the exercise of any right provided under this Act; or (2) discrimination against any individual for exercising any such right, opposing any practice made unlawful by this Act, or instituting any proceeding under this Act. Establishes a private right of action to enforce this Act. Directs the Secretary of Labor to receive, investigate, and attempt to resolve complaints of violations of this Act. Permits victims of domestic or sexual violence to substitute existing leave in lieu of emergency leave.
Authorizes state use of funds under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) (TANF) to provide nonrecurrent short-term emergency benefits for victims of domestic or sexual violence on emergency leave.
Adds provisions to VAWA, entitled the Victims’ Employment Sustainability Act, to prohibit certain discriminatory practices against victims of domestic or sexual violence by: (1) employers with respect to the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or (2) public agencies with respect to the terms or conditions of public assistance. Authorizes civil actions by individuals or the Attorney General to enforce such provisions.
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit denial of unemployment compensation to individuals separated from employment due to their experience of domestic or sexual violence.
Amends the Social Security Act to require training of unemployment compensation and TANF personnel to provide necessary services to victims of domestic or sexual violence. Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award a grant to a national victim services organization to develop and disseminate a model training program.
Victims of Abuse Insurance Protection Act - Prohibits denial or restriction of insurance coverage (including termination of health insurance coverage) or addition of a premium differential based on the status of the applicant or insured as a victim of abuse by a household or family member, intimate partner, or caretaker. Provides for enforcement of such prohibitions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and by a private cause of action.