Know Where Politicians Stand on the Issues (inc. Candidates)

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

 

At OnTheIssues.org, you can find out where every U.S. representative and senator stands on every issue, including their voting records (how they have voted on legislation). As voters, it’s incredibly important that we keep an eye on what our politicians are doing and make informed decisions about who to support.

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The Conservative War on Women Ramps Up, Women Lose More Rights

From an email from CredoAction:

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Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy

Photo courtesy of hellobeautiful.com

Photo courtesy of hellobeautiful.com

 

Amid all the talk about whether or not a woman should be permitted to have an abortion, this article gives succinct, yet powerful arguments for pro-choice.

From  amplifyyourvoice.org:

Laws against abortion do not stop abortion; they simply make it less safe. Every year, 78,000 women die from unsafe abortions.

If people want to stop abortion, they should turn to methods that do work. These include comprehensive sex education and safe, affordable contraceptives. 

Religious ideology is no foundation for any law. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to any citizen in the United States; so why would the beliefs and values of one religion mandate actual laws for all citizens? 

Reproductive choice can be the only thing that stands between a woman and poverty. There is a reason that the 1 billion poorest people on the planet are female. In sub-Saharan Africa and west Asia, women typically have five to six children, which leaves them powerless to provide for not only their own families, but themselves.

For more on pro-choice, go to amplifyyourvoice.org,

Abortion Restrictions Blocked in North Dakota

Photo courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Photo courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Finally, after years of Republican success in rescinding women’s rights, the courts are stepping in and doing their jobs. If a new law is invented by a particularly misogynistic politician(s) that is unconstitutional, it’s illegal and shouldn’t be allowed. Not a difficult concept. 

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC is doing an admirable job on her show at covering women’s rights. There aren’t very many other news outlets that will give you as much news on this front as she does. 

From MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s blog (maddowblog.msnbc.com): 

While Republicans furiously approve new restrictions on reproductive rights at the state level, they keep running into one persistent problem: the courts.

A federal judge has blocked enforcement of North Dakota’s new abortion law — the nation’s most restrictive.

The law, which was set to take effect next week, would ban abortions beginning at six weeks, when the fetal heartbeat can be detected.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland concluded the North Dakota law contradicts U.S. Supreme Court cases addressing abortion restraints and violates a 40-year precedent established in Roe v. Wade.

North Dakota only has one clinic remaining where women can terminate pregnancies — this in a state spanning over 70,000 square miles — and under the law approved in March, 90% of those abortions would no longer be legal.

“The State of North Dakota has presented no evidence to justify the passage of this troubling law,” Hovland said in his order. “The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women.”

The ruling is not surprising — North Dakota Republicans willfully ignored existing U.S. law when they approved these sweeping restrictions, applying them to some women who may not even realize they’re pregnant — but it’s nevertheless reassuring to reproductive-rights advocates.

It’s also the second such ruling this month.

As we discussed just two weeks ago, Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature approved their own restrictions, including state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds and the closure of half the state’s clinics where abortion services are provided. A federal court blocked this measure, too.

If we look back a little further, as the NBC News report noted, Idaho’s 20-week ban was also blocked by a federal court.

Why are Republicans in the U.S. Senate so eager to derail President Obama’s judicial nominees and prevent the courts from moving to the left? This offers a pretty timely reminder.

Photo courtesy of www.fwweekly.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.fwweekly.com

How I Feel About Women’s Rights Currently Being Taken Away!

 

Closing Planned Parenthood Limits Access to Many Services, Not Just Abortion

Photo courtesy of madamenoire.com

Photo courtesy of madamenoire.com

Most of the vilification of Planned Parenthood by its opponents comes from the errant belief that its sole service to women is abortion. But that is far from the truth. In fact, only 3% of its services are abortion! The rest of its services comprise of OB/GYN tests and procedures that every women either has had, or will have at some point in her life.

From heycollegesreadthis.wordpress.com:

Graph of Planned Parenthood Services by Percentage

Graph of Planned Parenthood Services by Percentage (2009)

So the prospect of Planned Parenthood either being closed or severely restricted (depending on various states’ current legislation) is very disturbing. The other problem is that many patients of these clinics are low income and need its doors to stay open because it provides low cost care and takes Medicaid- without Planned Parenthood, these patients have few other options. These clinics also provide a safe, non-judgmental place where young people can ask questions they are too nervous to ask their parents or family doctors.

The point is that pro-life advocates and politicians who are driving anti-abortion legislation should look at the total result of their actions.

As those who claim moral superiority seek to shoot down any opposition, the rights and welfare of women and the poor are being caught in the crossfire.

Fighting for Women’s Rights All Over Again

It’s one thing to have an opinion- it’s something else entirely to shove your opinion down another person’s throat.

But this is what is happening now in America. Some feel that there is a right and wrong way to live life, and that they are right and you are wrong if you don’t agree. They don’t care about the Constitution, or laws, or compassion, or kindness, or empathy, or RIGHTS. And they definitely don’t care about women. They think we women should just keep our mouths shut.

So who are they? They are the Republican Conservatives, often backed by the “Religious Right,” who are waging war anew on women’s rights, although that war has already been fought decades ago.

And don’t think that if you don’t believe in abortion, your reproductive rights are safe. They are not. There are states where you will have to ask your boss specifically for insurance coverage for birth control (even if you only take it for health issues, not family planning). Why should that be your boss’s business, especially if he is a man?

And if Planned Parenthood is dismantled, which is what they want, there will be very few places for women to get low-cost gynecological care. They don’t just do abortions!!!! They do pap smears, breast exams, AIDS and STI testing (for men, as well) and a range of other vital services.

The Secular Jurist has written an informative blog post on these issues. In it, he writes:

“The severe abortion restrictions being pushed by Republicans are clearly sexist, and violate both established law (Roe v. Wade) and the First Amendment’s establishment clause (i.e. the separation of church and state).  It not only is consistent with theocracy, but state-control of reproductive rights is also a major component of eugenics.”

That is one of the best legal and moral arguments I’ve read about why the revoking of women’s rights should not be allowed to take place. Read the rest of the post here. 

Black Republican Candidate Speaks Against Planned Parenthood and Gay Rights Movement

Bishop E.W. Jackson- courtesy of DailyNews.com

Bishop E.W. Jackson- courtesy of NYDailyNews.com

From RawStory.com:

Watch YouTube video of his speech– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi_KaZ53eDg&feature=youtu.be

A Virginia Republican who on Saturday secured the nomination to run for Lt. Governor said in an online video published last year that he believes “black civil rights leaders” are responsible for a “genocide” of African-American children by supporting Democrats and reproductive choice.

E.W. Jackson, a pastor and Harvard graduate who previous sought Virginia’s senate seat, is the party’s first African-American candidate for statewide office since the 1980s. He’s also part of a trio of fringe conservatives leading the Virginia Republican Party’s statewide ticket, joined by state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli running for governor and state Sen. Mark Obenshain running for attorney general.

“The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions,” he said in a video published to his official YouTube page. “Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was.”

During his last run for public office, Jackson insisted that the so-called 3/5ths clause in the Constitution, which counted slaves as 3/5ths of a man, was “an anti-slavery amendment” designed to reduce the voting power of slave-owning states. That woefully wrong theory was originally floated by Republican conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck and apparently repeated by Jackson without examination.

In the video published last year, Jackson adds that Democrats “and their black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide,” going on to insist the persecution of LGBT people is nothing like the persecution of African-Americans throughout U.S. history.

“They can keep their homosexuality private,” he said. “You and I cannot hide being black. I need not recount to you the painful history of slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings and sterilizations, all because of skin color. Anyone who dares equate the so-called gay rights movement to the history of black Americans is exploiting the black community.”

Interestingly, as he made these comments, a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hung on a wall just over his right shoulder. Dr. King’s wife Coretta, before her death, spoke out passionately in favor of LGBT marriage equality despite a coalition of black pastors who urged that she recognize the civil rights movement and the LGBT movement are fundamentally different.

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice,” King said in 1998. “But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

In my opinion:
I found this article on RawStory.com (which has also been reblogged by a few others) and had a very strong reaction to it, which I’d like to recount here. First, I’d like to take a look at the statements made by E.W. Jackson in the article, then analyze them.
In his first statement, he says, “the Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood,” and likens abortion facilities such as Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan. To equate abortion facilities to the KKK with the claim that millions (really, millions?) of black babies die due to abortion assumes the fact that black mothers are disproportionately pressured by society to get abortions. Now, I admit that I don’t know the exact statistics on the proportion of black women to other women in regards to which group gets abortions more, but to say that black babies are being murdered is an extreme statement. Abortion is a choice a mother makes, and with a still strong and aggressive anti-abortion movement, most women feel pressure NOT to go through with the procedure. In fact, the lives of abortion doctors are often threatened by anti-abortion activists.
Therefore, this statement is illogical. It is also hateful- just because you disagree with another person’s values or politics doesn’t make it right to accuse them of such evils as racism and genocide, which he states in paragraph five. How can he be a leader of people, including black people, since he is black and presumably cares about the lot of blacks, if he hates half of them?
In paragraph six, he states that “you and I cannot hide being black” and that “anyone who dares equate the so-called gay rights movement to the history of black Americans is exploiting the black community.” Very bold words, but I only partially agree. As a black women, I know it’s true that no matter what I do, I cannot hide my skin tone. But it makes no sense to compare the experience of the gay community with that of the black community. Both suffer injustice and discrimination, so why build walls between each other when we could be showing kindness and empathy for each other? Which approach really benefits both groups more- hate or love and compassion for our fellow living beings with whom we share this Earth?
To E.W. Jackson and those who share his mindset, I say this: to carry such hate must weigh heavily on your heart and spirit. I can only imagine how it must feel for you to walk around giving off that vibe. When you give out meanness and intolerance, you get it back eventually- people will know what you are doing and will respond accordingly. When you hate, you turn your back against what you are- a member of this planet, a living thing that is made of the very same things your “enemies” are.