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PORTSIDE  February 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE February 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Aspirin as the New Birth Control: The GOP War on Women

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Date:

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 21:58:00 -0500

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Aspirin as the New Birth Control: The GOP War on Women
Reaches New Lows

by Marge Baker,
Executive Vice President for Policy and Program,
People For the American Way

Huffington Post
February 17, 2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marge-baker/war-on-women_b_1285542.html

We all heard about the War on Women's Health last year,
when Tea Party-empowered state legislatures passed a
record slew of anti-choice laws -- including deluded
bills such as Arizona's ban on "race-based abortions"
and dangerous ones like Virginia's attempt to shut down
most abortion clinics in the state. These unhinged state
legislatures were joined by an enthusiastic right-wing
Congress that attempted to defund the entire $317
million federal family program, tried to redefine
"rape," and ate up lies about their favorite bogeyman,
Planned Parenthood.

Well, the War on Women's Health is back -- and now it's
a flat-out, all-out War on Women.

Just this week, we have seen not just the stunning
spectacle of major presidential candidates coming out
against birth control coverage, but Republicans in the
Senate holding up domestic violence protections because
they protect too many people; a potential vice
presidential candidate pick poised to sign a law
requiring women to receive medically unnecessary vaginal
probes without their consent; a leading presidential
candidate claiming that "emotions" will get in the way
of women serving in combat; and a House committee
holding a hearing on birth control access -- with a
panel consisting entirely of men.

And it seems that in the lead-up to 2012, the War on
Women isn't going to die down.

The two Republican presidential front-runners, Rick
Santorum and Mitt Romney, have signaled that they are
100 percent on board with the anti-woman agenda of their
party's farthest- right element.

For Santorum, this isn't news. As a U.S. senator, he
championed the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban,
which prevented women from making difficult choices
after complications late in a pregnancy. But that was
just what he could convince others to do. He not only
thinks abortion should always be a crime -- even in
cases of even rape, incest and danger to the pregnant
woman -- he thinks states should be allowed to ban birth
control. Why? Never mind that birth control is the best
way to lower the number of abortions, he's against it
because birth control "is not okay. It's a license to do
things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things
are supposed to be."

In a stunning statement, major Santorum supporter
billionaire Foster Friess put it even more bluntly on
MSNBC yesterday, saying he didn't see why women need
insurance coverage for birth control: "Back in my day,
they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put
it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

But when it comes to reproductive rights, there's not
much daylight between Santorum's policy positions and
Romney's. Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and has
signaled that he'll appoint federal judges with the same
priority. He told Mike Huckabee that he "absolutely"
supports so-called "personhood" laws that grant zygotes
the rights of human beings -- and outlaw the most common
type of birth control. This puts Romney far to the right
of voters in deep-red Mississippi, who rejected such a
plan by double digits last year.

What's more, one of the frequently talked-about picks
for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket,
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, is poised to sign into law
some of the most extreme anti-woman measures in the
country. This week, Virginia passed a bill that would
require all women seeking abortions to first undergo an
ultrasound. But not just any ultrasound. The roughly 88
percent of women seeking abortions in the early days of
pregnancy would be subject to a medically unnecessary
vaginal probe -- and they won't be asked for their
consent.

It's the kind of government intrusion that you'd think
would leave people of all political persuasions aghast.
But Gov. McDonnell has spoken in favor of it, and is
expected to sign it.

Gov. McDonnell hasn't said whether he'll sign the anti-
birth control "personhood" bill that also passed his
state house this week. If he does, his state will have
the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the country.

The right is staging an all-out assault on women's
rights while they have control of the majority of state
legislatures, the House and a determined minority in the
Senate. The GOP's presidential candidates are promising
to join it if they get elected.

We can't let them succeed.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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