Women’s Rights On Trial

Alabama is back on my radar again … if I had to choose one state in this union to give away, it would be Alabama.  My friend Herb takes me to task for this, reminds me that there are 6 people in Alabama who are kind, compassionate and intelligent, and that I shouldn’t lump all Alabamans together.  So, my apologies to those six … you guys can move up north before I sell Alabama to Mexico.

I have concluded that lawmakers and judges in the State of Alabama do not respect women.  Not. One. Bit.  First, there was the passage of the most restrictive law on abortion, completely illegal and going against Roe v Wade, the law of the land.  The Alabama law sets women’s rights back at least 46 years, more likely hundreds of years.  But on to the latest outrage …

Meet Marshae Jones.Jones-Marshae.jpgLast year on December 4th, Ms. Jones was five months pregnant when she was shot in the stomach.  She survived, but her baby did not.  The shooting transpired during an altercation with another woman, the woman who pulled the trigger, one Ebony Jemison.  The argument was over the father of Ms. Jones’ child.  Initially, police charged Ms. Jemison, the shooter, with manslaughter in the death of the fetus.  The grand jury, however, failed to indict Jemison because police concluded that it was Ms. Jones who started the argument, so prosecutors turned their sights toward the victim of the shooting, Ms. Jones.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Ms. Jones, she was arrested, and tossed into Jefferson County jail pending a $50,000 bond.  Why, you ask?  Because, according to Pleasant Grove police Lieutenant Danny Reid, she shouldn’t have started the fight, she was pregnant and should have been home behaving herself.

“When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”

Let that one sink in for just a minute. But the real reason is … well, look at her picture.  She has two strikes against her – female and black.  You don’t get a fair shake if you are either of those, in Alabama. Or, to be fair, Louisiana, Mississippi, or any number of other states, particularly south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Seems to me the town of ‘Pleasant’ Grove better re-name itself.  Perhaps “Misogyny Meadows” would be more apt, for when a woman can be charged for the death of her own child simply because she was a participant in an argument, there is nothing ‘pleasant’ at all about that town.

Fortunately for Ms. Jones, advocacy groups have taken up the gauntlet.  Yellowhammer Fund, part of a nationwide umbrella advocacy group, is one such.  Executive Director Amanda Reyes said …

“The state of Alabama has proven yet again that the moment a person becomes pregnant their sole responsibility is to produce a live, healthy baby and that it considers any action a pregnant person takes that might impede in that live birth to be a criminal act. Tomorrow, it will be another black woman, maybe for having a drink while pregnant. And after that, another, for not obtaining adequate prenatal care.”

She’s right … this opens a whole can of worms that we didn’t need opened.  If Ms. Jones is found guilty and convicted, it will be a blow to equality, to women’s rights, to civil rights.  This cannot be tolerated, it simply cannot, for if it is allowed, the poison will spread, and before long, women will be paid less than their male compadres (in many industries and areas, they still are), will have lost their rights to make their own decisions, and what next?  Somewhere along the line, the male-dominated legislatures decide that she should not own property, or vote?  Far-fetched?  Sure it is … today.  But yesterday, a woman being put on trial for being shot while pregnant was far-fetched and unthinkable.  That was yesterday.  This is today.  What does tomorrow hold?women

U.S. Rules The World???

As I noted in a post earlier this week, there is a movement among republicans and groups who misnomer themselves as “pro-life” to overturn Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision from 1973 that gave women the right to make their own medical decisions when it comes to abortion.  A growing number of states have passed or are attempting to pass highly restrictive laws that contradict Roe v Wade and would take away women’s rights.  I had not planned to revisit this issue this soon, but something came to my attention that stirred my anger yet again …

Trump is trying to impose his and the evangelical’s heinous views on other nations as well, cutting off all funding to any overseas organization or clinic that will not agree to a complete ban on even discussing abortion.  The ban, dubbed the “global gag”, was actually instituted by Ronald Reagan, but has been revoked by every democratic president, and re-instated by every republican president since then.  And along came Donald Trump.  Donnie, so eager to please the only people who support him, the radical right-wing evangelicals, has decided that he (or rather people like Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham) knows what is best for the 7.7 billion people living on planet Earth.

In March, the US extended the gag, stating that any organization counselling women on abortion and using funds from elsewhere – even from its own government or a donor in another country – will no longer be eligible for any US funding.  Take, for example, an international health care agency that provides women’s health care, possibly including family planning and abortion counselling, but also treating kids with HIV in other countries … countries where there is no women’s health planning, for it is illegal.  Those organizations will no longer be eligible for any funds from the U.S., not even to take care of sick children in African nations.

My friend Jeannie, who lives in the Netherlands, told me the other day that “The Netherlands have one most liberal laws about abortion in Western Europe, but the number of actual abortions are amongst the lowest worldwide.”  Think about this, folks … facts, not fantasy.  A study published last year by the Guttmacher Institute found that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws also have the highest rates of abortion and that easier access to birth control drives down abortion rates.

A 2012 study found that when women got no-cost birth control, the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions fell by between 62 and 78 percent. But political appointees under Trump advocate for abstinence-only approaches, which have been shown not to affect unplanned pregnancy rates.  Not to mention that they are impractical.

This isn’t just about abortion, people … this is about making women second-class citizens around the globe.  This is about men’s dominance over women.  In many nations women already have few independent rights, but in the Western world, women have come a long way in the past century or two.  In the U.S., we are now allowed to vote as we choose, to own property, and there are laws to ensure we receive equal pay and treatment in the workplace, though the reality is often something different.  And for the past nearly 50 years, we have been able to make our own health decisions.  We cannot … we must not … allow this abomination to continue.

The United States is a secular nation whereby the government does not favour any one religion over another, and no religious organization or cult should be able to influence the law of the land to the detriment of all others.  The United States is one of 195 nations on this globe, and we do not have the right to set policy in other nations.  It is the height of arrogance to think that we do.  It is time for the evangelicals to understand that they may have a place in this country, but that their beliefs are not shared by us all, and that the rest of us have rights also.  It is time for government to base decisions on facts, not the religious fantasies of one group.

If abortion rights are taken from us, the abortion rates won’t drop, but more women will die as they seek back-alley or do-it-yourself abortions.  That is an undisputable fact.  Let this nation legislate based on facts, and let other nations decide their own policy … nobody died and left the right-wing white evangelicals leaders of the world.  They will take us back to the Dark Ages if we let them.

On Stripping The Rights Of Women …

Today I’m going to touch on a subject that is controversial, to say the least:  abortion.

A number of states, the most recent being Alabama, have recently passed highly restrictive and misogynistic abortion laws.  Anti-abortion evangelicals are patting themselves on the backs thinking, no doubt, that they have once again proven themselves the rulers over women’s bodies.  But make no mistake … these laws are only a tool.  The legislators and governors who have passed these laws are well aware that they don’t hold water, for when there is a conflict between federal and state law, federal law trumps state laws, no pun intended.

The federal law on abortion was established in 1973 with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v Wade in which the Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  It is not within the rights of the State of Alabama or the State of Georgia to change, ignore, or override that ruling.  Period.

So … why are they passing these ‘illegal laws’, you might ask.  Because … long story short, they are hoping for a lawsuit against them that will reach the Supreme Court.  And when it does, they are hoping, believing, that the Supreme Court will then use that lawsuit as a basis to overturn Roe v Wade.

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises that gained him a large number of followers was that he would put justices on the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v Wade.  It is an emotional issue that gained him the support of the evangelicals.  However, the Supreme Court cannot simply say, “Let’s overturn a decades-old decision because the president would like us to.”  A case must come before them that challenges that decision before they can take it under advisement.

You might notice that the states did not pass these dranconian abortion laws when President Barack Obama was in office and the Supreme Court was still largely apolitical.  You’ll also notice that Trump was in such a hurry to appoint a second justice to the Court that he had a quiet little talk with Justice Kennedy, and shortly thereafter Justice Kennedy announced his imminent retirement.  And you’ll further notice that there was a mad dash by Trump and his boot-licking Senate to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, thereby giving the court a 5-4 right-wing, conservative majority, despite the fact that the Court is intended to be apolitical.

The stage is set … now the states who have passed these anti-abortion laws that rob women of their rights to have control over their own bodies will sit back and wait for the inevitable lawsuits claiming, rightly, that the states have no right to restrict a woman’s right of choice.  Then will begin the inevitable back and forth through the courts until sometime next year, perhaps even sooner, the cases will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump is relying on the five conservative justices to vote in favour of overturning Roe v Wade.  Those justices are:

  • Clarence Thomas
  • Samuel Alito
  • John Roberts (Chief Justice)
  • Neil Gorsuch
  • Brett Kavanuagh

Justice Steven Breyer warned in a dissent to another decision earlier this week …

“Overruling a case always requires special justification. I understand that, because opportunities to correct old errors are rare, judges may be tempted to seize every opportunity to overrule cases they believe to have been wrongly decided. But the law can retain the necessary stability only if this court resists that temptation, overruling prior precedent only when the circumstances demand it.”

The Alabama bill, which has been passed by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into ‘law’ by Governor Kay Ivey, bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the procedure for doctors, who could be charged with felonies and face up to 99 years in prison.  The Georgia bill, recently passed and signed by Governor Brian Kemp (remember him … the guy with the gun pointed at his daughter’s boyfriend?), is only slightly less restrictive, banning abortion after about 6 weeks, often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

Those who are so dead-set against a woman’s right of choice, call themselves “pro-life”, but this is a misnomer, as I have noted before.  They are often the same people who support the death penalty.  They are often the people who protest their tax dollars going to help feed and clothe the poor.  Many are the same ones who fought so hard against ACA, which provided affordable healthcare to those who would not otherwise have any.  Pro-life?  No, only anti-women’s rights.

If people are so against abortion, doesn’t it make sense to support such things as birth control, family planning and counseling, and other measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies?  But no, the evangelicals are against all of those, too.  They support de-funding such organizations as Planned Parenthood who help with all women’s health issues, and they argue against company-sponsored health insurance plans covering birth control.  Sorry, folks, you cannot have it both ways!

Thus far through the years, state laws attempting to restrict abortion have all been struck down by the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional.  Will that precedent hold?  I cannot say for sure, but I’m less confident now than I would have been two years ago.  More than 60% of the people in this nation support a woman’s right of choice, but these days it seems that the minority is the only voice that is heard.  If the Supreme Court ultimately overturns Roe v Wade, it will be a slap in the face to every woman in the U.S.  What will be next?  Will they take away our right to own property?  Our right to vote?  Think about it.

A Jaw-Dropping Headline …

The headline:

Failed Texas Bill Would Have Made Death Penalty Possible in Abortion Cases

Say WHAT???  You have got to be kidding me?!?!?! The story …

A bill considered by members of the Texas House of Representatives this week would have criminalized abortions and opened up the possibility for women and physicians to receive the death penalty.

The bill would have allowed women who obtained an abortion or doctors who performed one to be charged with assault or criminal homicide, the latter of which is punishable by death in Texas. It would have allowed no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or when the health of the mother is at risk.

Yes, the bill failed to pass the Texas state legislature, with even some legislators who identify as being strongly “pro-life” feeling it went too far.  But I find the fact that somebody even thought of it to be chilling.

So, a young mother who already has two children, works two jobs to support them and still struggles to put food on the table and pay the rent, gets pregnant.  Knowing that she cannot possibly manage to support yet another child, she struggles, searches her soul, sheds many a tear, but at the end of the day she sees no choice.  She has an abortion.  Does anybody honestly think she should be punished at all, let alone be treated in the same way as a man who goes on a shooting spree in a mosque, or an African-American church and kills 10, 15, 20 people?  WHERE is the logic in this?

Worse yet, picture the woman who discovers, at the same time she finds she is pregnant, that she has cervical cancer and carrying the fetus to full term would likely cause her death.  Somebody in Texas thinks this woman should be arrested, sent to prison and put on death row for having an abortion in an effort to save her live?  Again I ask … WHERE is the logic in this?

Nobody can dispute that the U.S. has moved backward in terms of civil rights over the past two years.  Bigotry in all its ugly forms has expanded, obviously including misogyny.  One of Trump’s selling points in his campaign was that he would put judges on the bench who would be willing to overturn Roe v Wade, and he has placed two such judges on the Supreme Court so far.  What happens if Roe v Wade is overturned?  If we have people who honestly think that abortion is akin to murder, then folks, we are in deep trouble.

Women make up only 28.7% of all state legislatures in this country.  There are 127 (23.7%) women in the U.S. Congress.  It’s an improvement, but still not what I would define as equality.  I repeat what I said not too long ago … how would men like it if women decided whether or not they should be allowed their Viagra prescriptions?  Ponder on that one for a while.

Oh … one last thing here.  All those who claim to be “pro-life” … why aren’t they out there fighting hard for universal healthcare, for an expansion of social services to protect and preserve the lives of those who are living below the poverty line?  And why aren’t they vociferously speaking out against the death penalty?  If they aren’t doing those things, if abortion is the only area in which they are concerned about human life, then they aren’t ‘pro-life’, but rather they are misogynists, considering women to be second-class citizens.

GA. Democratic Lawmaker Drafts Her Own Testicular Bill In Response To GOP Anti-Abortion Law

I actually had another post on the schedule for this afternoon, but I saw this one by Gronda late last night (early this morning) and couldn’t resist sharing it with you! Thanks, Gronda, for the much-needed smile! 😊

Gronda Morin

I couldn’t resist sharing the following piece in full as it just hit home for me. A Democratic Georgian female legislator has obviously reached her limit in having to fight off GOP’s attempts to to control the lives of women’s bodies. She has decided to return the favor to her male colleagues who seem to be overly obsessed with women’s private parts as they attempt to draft new more restrictive anti- abortion laws, with her own legislation that she has introduced to restrict men’s testicular activities.

Image result for Read the ‘testicular bill of rights,’ one lawmakers answer to anti abortion legislation GEORGIA’S STATE HOUSE

Here’s the rest of the story…

On March 12, 2019, Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos penned the following report, ‘Georgia Democrat responds to anti-abortion bill with ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’

“Georgia Republicans are at it again, trying to control women’s bodies through the law—but this time, state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick is replying in kind with her “Testicular Bill of Rights” showing…

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The Supreme Court Has Lost Its Way …

The Supreme Court, the branch of the federal government that is supposed to be most independent, that is intended to hold the executive and legislative branches accountable, has made two major decisions today that indicate they have fallen and landed squarely in the camp of Donald Trump.  I am beyond disappointed … I am incensed, and I see our rights as citizens of this plutocracy going down the drain. supreme court justices


Supreme Court revives Trump’s transgender military ban

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to go ahead with its plan to restrict military service by transgender people while court challenges continue.  The court split 5-4 in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court’s five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have.

Until a few years ago service members could be discharged from the military for being transgender. That changed under President Barack Obama. The military announced in 2016 that transgender individuals already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly. And the military set July 1, 2017 as the date when transgender individuals would be allowed to enlist.

Trump, of course, had to undo that, for two reasons:  a) it was a decision made during the Obama administration, and Trump has a goal to undo every single thing Obama did, and b) because Donald Trump and his supporters are homophobic bigots.  There is no viable reason to ban transgender people from the military, and this decision does not reflect the feelings of the majority in this nation!

Supreme Court returns to gun rights for 1st time in 9 years

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up its first gun rights case in nine years, a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits.  The court’s decision to hear the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court. The case won’t be argued until October.

New York’s ordinance allows people licensed to have handguns to carry them outside the home to gun ranges in the city. The guns must be locked and unloaded.  The city residents who filed suit want to practice shooting at target ranges outside the city or take their guns to second homes elsewhere in New York state.  The city’s top lawyer, Zachary Carter, urged the court to reject the case, arguing that the restrictions allowed New York police to reduce the number of guns carried in public.

Just about the last … the very last … thing we need in this country is an expansion of 2nd Amendment ‘rights’!  The NRA has already nearly ensured that gun deaths in the U.S. will continue to be the highest per capita on the globe.  What do we want … are we shooting for some sort of record here … “let’s see if we can top last year’s gun deaths”?


Both of these issues are beyond merely concerning on their own merit, but the even greater concern is the trend that is appearing.  It is a trend we all feared when first, Neil Gorsuch, then Brett Kavanaugh were seated on the Supreme Court.  It is deeply disturbing that the Supreme Court appears to be making decisions strictly along partisan lines rather than considering issues on Constitutional merit.  The real concern, however, lies on the path ahead.  There are two prior Supreme Court rulings that ultra-conservative republicans, evangelicals, Trump’s base, want to see overturned:  Roe v Wade, and Obergefell v Hodges.  The first guarantees a woman the right to make decisions about her own body, her own life.  The second guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.  Both were long, hard-fought battles and are, in short, about human rights … civil rights.

In addition to those, it is highly likely that the Supreme Court will soon be asked to hear cases involving gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement.  Our constitutional rights … all of them … may be in jeopardy if the Court cannot manage to overcome it’s partisanship.  After Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation, Chief Justice John Roberts, in an effort to quell growing concerns of partisanship on the Court, made the following statement:

“… We do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle, we do not caucus in separate rooms, we do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation. And I want to assure all of you that we will continue to do that to the best of our abilities, whether times are calm or contentious.”

Prove that to us, please, Chief Justice.

Farewell Last Bastion of Justice

Barring anything significantly changing, Brett Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, despite having lied under oath, despite having taken off the mask and shown himself to be a man possessed of a whiny and cruel temperament, and despite the numerous allegations of sexual assault.  Even if the democrats win every possible seat in the Senate next month, and even if there is a democratic majority in the House of Representatives come January, Brett Kavanaugh will not be impeached in 2019.  That said, let us for a moment look beyond the three-ring circus that this confirmation process has become and address something even more significant:  The U.S. Supreme Court itself.

In February 2017 I wrote a piece titled The Supreme Court – Our Best Hope which I began with

“Now that Congress has ‘fallen into line’ and is pandering to Trump’s every whim, licking his boots and kissing his posterior, there is one last bastion of justice remaining:  the United States Supreme Court.”

This was a time just before Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, when I hoped that the three oldest Justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony Kennedy would be able to hold on and keep working for a few more years.  It was a time when I still believed Donald Trump would be gone from office within a year.  It was a time when there was still hope that our nation would be turned around before any lasting damage took place.  It was a time, apparently, when I was still wearing my rose-coloured glasses.

The intention of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was that the Supreme Court would be above partisan politics.  Surely, they realized that every man, even Supreme Court Justices would have their own set of beliefs, their own ideologies, but when they are sitting on the bench, they are expected to set aside their personal feelings and make decisions according to their interpretation of the Constitution based on the facts at hand.  It is an idealist philosophy, and hasn’t always been strictly followed, but by and large it has worked well.  This is how we saw Roe v Wade passed in 1973 with only two dissenting opinions:  Byron White and William Rehnquist.  The court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, a ruling that has seen controversy since its birth, but that has not been successfully challenged, nor should it be.

This post is not specifically about Roe v Wade, but rather I use it as an example of how the Supreme Court is supposed to function.  A look at the justices in 1973:

Harry Blackmun – appointed in 1970 by Republican President Richard M. Nixon, became one of the more liberal justices on the court.

William Brennan – appointed in 1956 by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a recess appointment, became known as the leader of the Court’s liberal wing.

Lewis Powell – appointed in 1971 by Richard M. Nixon, was a conservative, but known for compromise and often was the swing vote.

Thurgood Marshall – appointed in 1967 by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, was the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court.  Marshall was a former Civil Rights activist, and expectedly his views were liberal to the extreme.

Warren Burger – appointed in 1969 by Richard M. Nixon, Chief Justice Burger was a conservative, but voted as a liberal when he felt it was right.

William Douglas – appointed by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, Douglas was primarily a liberal and a strict literalist in terms of interpreting the First Amendment.

Potter Stewart – appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, was firmly a centrist, often a swing vote.

William Rehnquist – appointed in 1972 by Richard M. Nixon, was a strong conservative.

Byron White – appointed by Democratic President John F. Kennedy in 1962 was neither liberal nor conservative, but by his own admission was a fact-based justice.

Nixon, a republican, had appointed four of the nine justices on the court when Roe v Wade came up for consideration, and Eisenhower had appointed two.  It is worth noting that all nine justices were males. Six justices had been appointed by republican presidents, only three by democrats, and yet legalized abortion became the law of the land.  This is what is meant by a court that rises above partisanship.  This is how it is supposed to work.  This is how ‘justice’ happens, folks.  It does not happen when a president appoints justices solely because he expects them to vote according to his wishes every time!

The Supreme Court has most always been looked upon with respect and dignity.  Historically, it has been a place where a lay person feels they should whisper, so as not to waken the ghosts of the many great men who have passed through its halls.  Once Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, that dignity will be gone, for he brings baggage that will soil the landscape, that will remove much of the honour that was brought by some of the greatest judges the nation has known:

  • John Marshall, Chief Justice 1801-1835
  • Earl Warren, Chief Justice 1953-1969
  • Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice 1916-1939
  • William Brennan, Associate Justice 1956-1990
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Associate Justice 1902-1932
  • John Marshall Harlan, Associate Justice 1877-1911
  • Hugo Black, Associate Justice 1937-1971

And many other fine men and women.  The dignity, the non-partisan justice of the court will be another bastion of our democratic process gone.  When Senator Jeff Flake commented the other day that there is no value in reaching across the aisle to work toward compromise solutions, we knew Congress was no longer accountable to We The People.  If Brett Kavanaugh is allowed to take his place on the Supreme Court, then the court will no longer belong to We The People either.  Both Congress and the Court will have become a tool of the madman in the Oval Office.

You will find Fareed Zakaria’s column in The Washington Post to be of interest on this same topic.

Women’s ‘Rights’? HAH!

Way back in the beginning days of this nation, women were not allowed to own property, nor were they allowed to vote.  Women were basically considered, as were African-Americans, to be chattel, possessions. women-property-rightsGradually … and I do mean gradually, ever so s-l-o-w-l-y … women gained a few human rights, such as the right to own property (1848-1895) and the right to vote (1920 – 19th Amendment).  It would be 1963 before it was decided that women should receive equal pay for performing the same job duties as men.

Women’s rights has been every bit as much a struggle as were civil rights for African-Americans, albeit not as violent.  By the end of the 20th century, most would tell you that women were now fully equal in the eyes of the law to men, that the barriers for women’s equality had been removed.  Remember back in the 1970s, the advertisements for Virginia Slims cigarettes, whose slogan was “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”? virginia-super-slims-advertisement1.jpgBut in this, the year 2018, I would argue that we’ve still got a long way to go.  Two issues prove my point.

The first, is whether a woman has sovereign rights over her own body, and anyone but a fool knows the answer to that is that ‘no’. There is a push today, mainly by the Republican Party on behalf of the evangelical Christians, to deny women access to both birth control and abortion.  Strange, don’t you think, that there is no hue and cry about men obtaining drugs such as Viagra, but women and birth control is a different matter.

In 1973, the issue of abortion was settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v Wade, and it was ruled that a woman has the right to seek an abortion if she so chooses.  But the ruling has been the subject of much criticism by Christian churches, and in 2016, when Donald Trump was campaigning for the office of president, he appealed to the evangelicals by promising to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v Wade.

Furthermore, access to birth control has been challenged and although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that employer-sponsored health insurance must provide coverage for birth control, again the Christian groups stepped in and the courts have ruled against women’s rights.  Newly-minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is partly to thank for that one.

There is much, much more I could say about these assaults on women’s rights, but I want to move on to my second point, which is the one prevalent in today’s news, and that is the right of women to be respected, to be taken seriously, to not be turned into a sex object and the brunt of male perversity.

The subject, of course, is Dr. Christine Blasely, the woman who came forth to tell of the time, some 30+ years ago, that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party.  I won’t re-hash the details, for you’ve heard various versions likely hundreds of times in the past week unless you’ve been in a coma.  But my point is the abysmal treatment Dr. Blasely has been afforded ever since she came forward.  She has been called a ‘liar’, it has been suggested that she made up the story at the behest of the Democratic party, and she has received death threats.

Donald Trump and the members of our not-so-illustrious congress have cast aspersion on this woman and attempted every trick in the book to browbeat and bully her.  And in so doing, they have set women’s equality back decades.  Rather than jump to claim she is lying, why didn’t those in charge of the confirmation hearings order an investigation to bring the event into the open, to put to rest any doubts?  Why?  Because they know.  Somewhere deep down, they know that she is not lying.  They know that their esteemed Brett Kavanaugh is guilty as charged.  They know that this will likely, if taken seriously, be the nail in the coffin of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.  And they know the price they will pay from the ‘man’ in the Oval Office if they fail to complete their mission of confirming Kavanaugh quickly before the democrats find their voice in November.

  • Senator Scott Newman: “Even if true, teenagers! Frankly, I don’t believe her.”
  • Kavanaugh spokesperson/activist Josh Marshall says it’s not clear that the incident was attempted rape as opposed to just “rough horseplay”.

Remember in 2016 when the Access Hollywood tape came out with Donald Trump making disparaging remarks about his treatment of women?  His defenders, despite evidence that he was indeed guilty of multiple cases of sexual abuse, brushed it off as only “locker room talk”.

Tell me, folks … if the tables were turned … if a female nominee were accused by a man of having groped him, attempted to disrobe him, and clapped her hand over his mouth in order to keep him from calling for help, would the senators be so glib?  I think not.  I think they would pretend to be horrified and decide early on that she was not qualified to sit on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.  But, the ‘good ol’ boys’ network is alive and well, and instead of horror, there is a wink-wink, a knowing smile, and ultimately a confirmation of a man with too little integrity.

But understand, please, that Dr. Blasely is not the first, nor will she be the last woman to be treated in such a manner.  Women throughout the ages have been disbelieved or expected to accept sexual abuse as their due.  Sure, we’ve “come a long way, baby”, but make no mistake … women do not have equal rights in 21st century America, and I despair that we ever will.

**  Here are links to two excellent timelines of the history of women’s rights, in case you’re interested:

Why God Is Laughing At Brett Kavanaugh And His Fellow Republicans

Much has been said and written about Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation hearings in the past few weeks, much debate about his fitness (or lack thereof) for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. I have purposely avoided writing about Kavanaugh because I knew I did not have all the information needed to make an informed opinion, although I instinctively felt he was not a good candidate for the position. Friend Gronda has summed up nicely the many reasons that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for the seat on the Court, and today I share her highly informative post. Gronda presents much information about Kavanaugh’s judicial history that I was not aware of, so please take a minute to read. Many thanks, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos bill clinton in impeachment daysRemember the gentlemen who went after President Bill Clinton tooth and nail for his sexual misdeeds when he presided in the White House. Well Judge Brett Kavanaugh was one of those players who relished pontificating on President Clinton’s lack of moral character. It was Mr. Kavanaugh who recommended to the Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr that he ask President Clinton questions about his sexual peccadilloes in the most salacious way possible.

Just read what the republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley stated for the record (below), as to why they voted to impeach President Clinton in 1996, and they are the same ones who are fast -tracking the confirmation process through the US Senate Judiciary Committee, for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become the next US Supreme Court Justice. Today, they are crying foul as a 51 year old woman is bringing a 36 year old of attempted rape allegation against…

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A Woman’s Right …

It is likely that the fight over the next Supreme Court nominee will boil down to a single issue:  abortion.  Some claim that the entire 2016 election was largely about the issue of abortion and a lead-up to this moment. Now mind you, the abortion issue as per the historic 1973 Roe v Wade decision, is far from being the only human rights issue that is endangered by the threat of yet another ultra-conservative ideologist on the Court.  Same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, freedom from religious mandates, immigration, and many other issues stand to be endangered.  I will deal with each of those in the coming week or two, but the initial fight will likely center around Roe and abortion.  As usual, I have a few thoughts on the matter …

The issue of abortion is … or at least ought to be … a personal one.  Roe v Wade was not about abortion as much as about the right of a woman to have a say about what happens to her body and in a broader sense, her life.  Now here’s the thing … if you are a religious person and believe that life begins at the exact moment of conception, believe that a fetus is a sacred being, that is certainly your right.  Nobody is trying to challenge your beliefs, nobody is trying to take away your rights, and nobody is ever going to force you to have an abortion!  Your right to give birth to as many children as you wish is safe.  BUT … the rest of us have rights also, and while we are carefully not trampling on yours, we ask that you not trample on ours.  Live and let live.  Women do not choose abortion lightly … it is an agonizing decision for each woman, and one that she will live with for her entire life.  Don’t make it harder for her with your holier-than-thou protests and denigrating remarks.  Just sit down and shut up.

Why do women choose to have an abortion?  In most cases it is because they are not able to take care of a child at this point in their lives.  The reasons may be immaturity, i.e. the high school girl who was careless and found herself pregnant while still a child herself.  Financial reasons are a major factor … consider the single-mother who already has 2-3 children and is struggling to keep a roof overhead and food on the table.  In some cases the mother’s health may be in danger.  The bottom line is that none of us are in that one woman’s shoes or can know what factors are driving her decision, and it is not our place to take the decision out of her hands, forcing her to possibly endure a lifetime of hardship.

One of the things that puzzles and annoys me most about this argument is that the anti-abortionists claim to feel a responsibility to the ‘life’ of a fetus, to give it an ‘opportunity’ to live, but then once a child is born, they wash their hands of it.  It is for this reason that you will not see me calling them “pro-lifers” as they call themselves, for they only advocate for a life for nine months, after which … “oh well”. Almost every person who is against abortion is also against their tax dollars going to help support that child, to ensuring it has medical care, a home, and food to eat.  They sniff loudly, turn their noses toward the sky and claim that the mother is simply too lazy and deserves no help.  It is rather akin to adopting a puppy to keep it from being killed, and then allowing it to die from neglect and malnutrition in your garage!  I have known people who did exactly that!

Those who would take away a woman’s right to choose are fond of saying that there is the choice to put the baby up for adoption.  Obviously none of these people have gone through the adoption process at any stage in their lives.  It is a long, arduous and often painful process, not to mention expensive.  Because of the cost, it generally turns out that children are not adopted by those who most want a child, who would be the best parents, but rather by those who have the single qualification of wealth.  I do note that there are exceptions.  Children placed for adoption often end up in the foster care system that, while the intent is noble, the actual implementation is a nightmare rather than a success story. Look up the statistics of children in the foster care system who are abused or neglected.

Then there is the consideration that the world is already over-populated and it is simply unconscionable to bring into it another child that has an uncertain future.  The world’s population is growing by 1.1% per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).

“Because of the abundance of our nation’s resources, we have long been careless about our level of consumption, but it is the precipitous rise in the U.S. population over the last four decades that has resulted in our outstripping of our national resources. We are living beyond our means and are doing so increasingly as our population expands. This is a serious problem with major implications for future generations.”Fairus

Still feel good about protecting that potential, as yet un-formed, unborn fetus?

At one point during Trump’s 2016 campaign, he claimed that women should be ‘punished’ for having an abortion.  Let me tell you something … women ARE punished for having abortions … they punish themselves every day for the rest of their lives!  We do not need the courts and law enforcement to add insult to injury, and we do not need the religious right to shame them.

If your religion teaches you that it is wrong to have an abortion, then fine, don’t have one.  But understand that not everybody ascribes to your religion. Understand that ours is a secular government and that our laws are not driven by the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Torah or any other religious text.  Jews and Muslims do not eat pork, but they do not try to keep the rest of the nation from eating pork, nor do they lobby the government for laws to make pork illegal!  Realize, anti-abortionists, that your beliefs are not the only legitimate beliefs.

Groups on either side of the abortion debate are poised to spend big bucks … tens of millions of dollars … in advertising their position in the upcoming debate over the confirmation of a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.   It is, without a doubt, the most watched issue of the day.  It is a sad state of affairs, if you ask me, that the law of the land will be determined for the next several decades based on a single religious group’s stance on a woman’s right to control her own body.  It shouldn’t even BE an issue!  It is not your right to choose for another.  It is not the right of the U.S. Supreme Court to tell me what I must do with my body.  We all need to understand that we do not live in a perfect world and that sometimes people make mistakes, but that they should not be forced by a group of nine men and women to have their lives ruined because of a single mistake.

I call on the U.S. Senate to block any Trump nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.  Every woman in this country stands to lose if they do not.  Every member of the LGBT community stands to lose.  Every Jew, Muslim, Hindi, atheist or agnostic stands to lose.  We the People stand to lose.