Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Assault on Women.
During the uprising in Egypt, an American woman reporter was attacked and sexually assaulted by a mob of Egyptian men. That produced a flurry of reports about widespread harassment of women in that country.
Most of those reports failed to mention that a similar attack on women's freedoms is building in the United States.
This morning's news brings the story that the state of Virginia has passed legislation requiring abortion clinics, that perform first trimester abortions, to be constructed and equipped like full service hospitals. Hospital construction is subsidized by the federal government; no one subsidizes the constructing of abortion clinics. The new regulations will have the effect of closing abortion clinics in the state of Virginia.
But this is just one report of many:
Conservatives not only want to reduce women's access to abortions, they are actually trying to redefine rape so as to be able to deprive women, who have suffered rape, of the possibility of having an abortion.
A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, of stalking and of domestic violence to “accuser.” The victims of less gendered crimes like burglary, would remain “victims.”
In South Dakota, conservatives proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortions.
Conservatives want to cut nearly $1 billion of food and other aid to low income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
In Congress some have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
Maryland legislators ended all county money for a low income kids preschool program. Why? No need, they said: women should really be home with their kids, not out working.
At the federal level conservatives want to cut the pre-school program, Head Start, by $1 billion . That means that more than 200,000 children could lose their spots in preschool.
Two thirds of the elderly poor are women, and conservatives are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
Congress voted yesterday on a conservative amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic healthcare and family planning in our country.
And if that wasn't enough, conservatives are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Congressman Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses.)
While unemployment is almost 9% – and a lot higher in some places, while banks are still think a higher rate than ever, conservative legislators persecute women, cynically trying to distract attention from the failure of the economy for all low and middle income people while large corporations and Wall Street firms continue to rake in the money.