Don’t Say the V-Words

Republicans claim there is no war on women, but they continually prove themselves wrong. Part of their strategy is to silence opposing views, and in particular, to silence the women who would espouse those views.

Michigan State Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Bynum both have been banned from speaking on the floor of the House, due to comments they made on a proposed bill that would restrict access to abortions.  Bynum proposed an amendment that would also limit access to vasectomies, requiring the man to provide proof of medical necessity before being allowed to have the procedure.

“It’s my impression that I’m being banned from speaking as a result of my use of the term vasectomy — a medical procedure,” Byrum told The Huffington Post.

Brown addressed the fact that the men who proposed the legislation are ignoring women’s opinions on their own reproductive health. By now the video of her speech has gone viral, with the closing line:

 “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.”

A spokesman for the Republican House Majority Leader claims that it was their behavior and tone that resulted in the women being banned from speaking, not their opinions or their words. He accused Bynum of having a “temper tantrum.”  Really???

“There have been physical altercations between at least two men on the House floor, and I don’t recall any of them every being banned from speaking,” Bynum said. “It’s just unacceptable to silence women when we’re talking about women’s reproductive rights.”

via Michigan Woman Lawmakers Silenced By GOP After Abortion Debate ‘Temper Tantrum’

As usual, Republicans’ attempts to silence us only draw more attention to our viewpoints.  On Monday night, Brown and other female lawmakers and lawyers performed Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” al fresco, on the steps of the Michigan Statehouse. The gathered audience was estimated at 5,000. The playwright also participated, and called the performance “one of the most thrilling” performances of her work in its 16 year history.

“To this day, I didn’t say anything wrong. It’s the anatomically correct terminology for the female anatomy,” she said. “If you can’t say vagina,” she added, “we shouldn’t be legislating them.”

via Eve Ensler: Michigan ‘Vagina Monologues’ Performance ‘Took Back Free Speech’.

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Mail Order Brides Subject to Abuse

Further on the subject of slavery, Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post reports on a lobbying effort by a group known as “Stop Abusive and Violent Environments.” With a name like that, you would think they are against (or at least don’t support) violence against women, particularly domestic violence.  But they would rather not protect the rights of “imported” brides who suffer at the hands of abusive husbands once they arrive in the U.S.  Why not? Because the lobbying organization is run by those with financial interest in a mail order bride company.

For more info on this despicable lobbying effort and the protections that will be lost, read this excerpt from Bassett’s article:

The advocacy group, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, or SAVE, has been lobbying the House of Representatives to include a “reform to curb VAWA immigration fraud” in its version of the bill. The GOP version of the bill does that by removing confidentiality protections for immigrant victims of abuse and forcing them to tell their alleged abusive husbands that they’re applying for protected immigrant status. It also removes an avenue through whih immigrant victims can achieve permanent citizenship.

An official of SAVE has a major financial interest in reducing immigrant protections: Its treasurer, Natasha Spivack, started international “marriage service” Encounters International in 1993 with the aim of arranging marriages between U.S. men and Russian women. “The Woman Of Your Dreams Just May Have A Russian Accent,” states the company’s website.

One of the Russian brides matched by Encounters International sued the firm, claiming that she was beaten by her American husband, that the company failed to properly screen candidates and neglected to tell her about a law allowing immigrants to escape abusive marriages without fear of automatic deportation. A jury decided in favor of the Russian bride and awarded her $434,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The case was affirmed upon appeal.

The full (and chilling) verdict is at  http://www.tahirih.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/fourthcircuitcourtdecision.pdf

via Mail Order Bride Company President Lobbying To Weaken Protections For Abused Immigrants.

John McCain: ‘War On Women’ Is ‘Imaginary,’ ‘Conjured’ By Democrats

As usual, centrist McCain is willing to anger both sides to state his opinion, God bless him.  I’m glad that he supports reauthorization of this legislation, but he is wrong about the “War on Women.” It definitely feels real.

As many Senate Republicans prepare to defend their opposition to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, a visibly annoyed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a floor speech Thursday morning expressing his support for the bill. He also accused Democrats of fabricating the so-called GOP “War on Women” as a political tactic.

via John McCain: ‘War On Women’ Is ‘Imaginary,’ ‘Conjured’ By Democrats.

John McCain: Arizona Contraception Bill Should Be Vetoed

“McCain’s staunch opposition to the contraception measure might be surprising to some, considering that he recently voted for Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt’s similar amendment, calling for employers to deny contraception coverage to women for religious or moral reasons. But when host David Gregory asked McCain whether there is a “war on women” among Republicans, McCain said that Republicans needed to “get off” the issue of birth control and “respect the right of women to make choices.

“I think we have to fix that,” he said. “There’s a perception out there because of the way that this whole contraception issue played out … We need to get off of that issue. In my view, I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives and make that clear and to get back onto what the American people really care about — jobs and the economy.”

via John McCain: Arizona Contraception Bill Should Be Vetoed.

Arizona Birth Control Bill Penalizes Women For Using Contraception For Non-Medical Reasons

Here’s another torturous tidbit of misogynistic mayhem:

Arizona legislators have advanced an unprecedented bill that would require women who wish to have their contraception covered by their health insurance plans to prove to their employers that they are taking it to treat medical conditions. The bill also makes it easier for Arizona employers to fire a woman for using birth control to prevent pregnancy despite the employer’s moral objection.

via Arizona Birth Control Bill Penalizes Women For Using Contraception For Non-Medical Reasons.

We will not lose “the war on women”

The women in my family give me hope.

I have been a little worried about the future of American women, given the devolution of political thought and action, especially on the part of campaigning Republicans and their misspokesmen.

But I looked at this photo today, and remembered how strong, smart and accomplished my nieces are.  Pandering politicians are no match for them!