Nel's New Day

April 26, 2015

Conservatives’ Need for Feelings of Superiority

GOP presidential candidates blame hatred against Christians because the government is trying to provide equality for all. Some of this paranoia is coming to head on Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case about marriage equality.

The basis for conservative arguments against same-sex marriage is the fear of losing superiority. America’s Founding Fathers owned slaves and indentured servants because of superiority. It was perfectly natural for white people to own human beings as property instead of paying them for their work. After the Civil War, white people kept their superiority with “separate but equal” as blacks were forced to use segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains, and lunch counters. Everyone knew that the facilities were not equal–not even the schools–but white people maintained superiority.

Women had to fight for the vote because of male superiority. The same issue kept blacks from voting even after the 14th Amendment to the Constitution extended rights to all male citizens, excluding Native Americans until the 1960s.

In the 21st century, LGBT citizens can vote, but many same-sex couples cannot be legally married in the state where they live. The argument against marriage equality is that LGBT people want “special rights,” which are actually the same rights as the rest of the people in the United States. In a brief opposing marriage equality, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D) argues that his state’s ban on same-sex marriage shouldn’t be considered discrimination because everyone is banned from marrying the same sex, gay and straight alike.

220px-Gadsden_flag.svgSome Tea Partiers who claim that the world discriminates against them more than any other group use the flag with the cry, “Don’t Tread on Me.” It was originally used as opposition to foreign countries but evolved into the Libertarian symbol, and from there it became associated with militia and white supremacist ideology. Jerad and Amanda Miller put the flag on the corpse of one of the two  Las Vegas police officers who they killed. Tea Partiers and other supremacists who oppose rights for all because they don’t want to be treated the same as everyone else.

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, is currently leading the charge in this need for superiority. In his op-ed for the New York Times, “Bobby Jindal: I’m Holding Firm against Gay Marriage,” he pictures himself as the standard-bearer “advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise.” He calls on the business community to “stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty” because “the left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence.” IBM has already criticized Jindal for supporting legal discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.” Instead of trying to solve his state’s 19-percent poverty rate and its 17-percent uninsured rate, he focuses on a law based on bigotry and prejudice. As Jindal points out, Louisiana passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits government from unduly burdening a person’s exercise of religion. This 2010 law isn’t enough for Jindal, however. Now he wants the Marriage and Conscience Act:

“The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract—or taking other “adverse action —based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.”

Jindal’s rallying cry:

“Those who believe in freedom must stick together: If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all. This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters. This is the grand bargain that makes freedom’s defense possible.”

Jindal’s freedom is for those who do the rejecting, not the rejected. It calls for discrimination by those who wish to be superior in the name of Jindal’s freedom. Jindal even tries to show that discriminating against LGBT people isn’t discrimination:

“The bill does not, as opponents assert, create a right to discriminate against, or generally refuse service to, gay men or lesbians. The bill does not change anything as it relates to the law in terms of discrimination suits between private parties. It merely makes our constitutional freedom so well defined that no judge can miss it.”

Jindal justifies his actions through following the consensus of the country, “that marriage is between one man and one women” but acknowledges that “consensus is changing.” He adds, “I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.”

Actually, Jindal’s opinion is already a minority opinion: the newest poll shows that 63 percent of “the country” supports same-sex marriage and fewer than 33 percent oppose it. Even states without marriage equality show that a majority approves the right for same-sex couples to marry. As for serving people, 57 percent of “the country” think that business should be required to serve everyone. Among Republicans under 30, 61 percent support marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Jindal concludes by writing, “A pluralistic and diverse society like ours can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us.” I agree with him: that’s the reason that all people should be served, not just some of them. The law should not make some of the people superior to others.

In the next week, religious zealots will try to flex their muscles of superiority because of the marriage equality arguments before the Supreme Court. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk Radio, talks about a second “Civil War,” and Rick Scarborough, Vision America Action, compares his work to that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis. Tony Perkins warns of a revolution. Objections to legalized marriage equality in a brief from a conservative religious coalition could be a Christian interpretation of the dreaded Sharia law.

“Should the court require the states and the people to ‘ritualize’ sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the nation. Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is ‘defiled,’ the people have been cast out of their homes.”

The brief relies heavily on Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 24-30. So much for separation of church and state. More ranting can be found here.

While the superiority toward minorities usually comes from white men, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has developed an unusual argument. In her brief, filed with James Bopp, Jr. and Carolyn McLarty, she argues that women should have to marry men because they have a “socializing effect” on men in marriage.

The three assert, “Marriage helps to focus a man’s energy and aggression to socially desirable ends, providing for and protecting wives and children, making their wives and children feel secure, happy, and loved.” Without the need to support a family men probably wouldn’t even work and would certainly have numerous sexual partners without a women.

The brief continues, “Women are more likely than men to initiate divorce because of their different emotional makeup. The complementary, tempering effect of the opposite sex is simply not present in same-sex marriages.”

Because men are too promiscuous and women are too emotional for successful long-term relationships, “the government has no obligation to recognize or promote same-sex marriage.” That’s Blackburn’s argument for forcing both men and women into opposite-sex marriage.

I give the top award for bizarre arguments against same-sex marriage to the man who claims 100 “scholars” blame 900,000 abortions on legalized marriage equality. The twisted logic posits that marriage equality will make opposite-sex couples think that marriage has lost its meaning. They will then not get married. Few marriages lead to unmarried sex which leads to pregnancies out of wedlock which creates more unwanted pregnancies which causes—are you with me?—900,000 abortions. Gene Schaerr used this argument in his amicus brief although he freely admits that he doesn’t see a cause and effect in his “reasoning.” The lawyer who failed in Utah’s case against marriage equality, Gene Schaerr was once a clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia.

The question during the next few months is whether the Supreme Court will have enough men needing superiority to deny equal marriage rights to LGBT couples.

June 18, 2013

House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill–Again

Unable to agree on almost everything else, House GOP members gathered together today to pass an unconstitutional bill, 228-196, restricting almost all abortions after the 20th week. The only exception threat to the life of a pregnant woman or reported rape or incest. Six Democrats voted in favor, and six Republicans voted against the bill. The Senate won’t support such a bill, and President Obama has said that he will veto the bill if it did. Yet national legislators seem determined to support all the red states that have introduced over 900 unreasonable anti-abortion bills this year alone.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who rammed the bill through his Judiciary Committee, should have led the debate on the House floor, but his Akin-esque statements have been so foolish that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) assigned Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that job. Her sole criterion is that she is female, a demographic missing in the committee vote. Her policies made her a good advocate for this anti-woman bill: she wants to end funding for Planned Parenthood and thinks that pay-equity laws take independence away from women.

One of Blackburn’s claims is that the bill was “for the children.” To really help children, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) proposed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, requiring employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant women. This bill, referred to committee over a month ago, has failed to achieve even a hearing. PWFA responded to a concerns raised in a report about how pregnant women cannot get even the simplest of accommodations from employers such as extra bathroom breaks, the ability to sit instead of stand on the job, and the option of not lifting heavy objects.

Most women don’t work during their pregnancy because they think it’s fun; they do it because they need to help support their family. According to the report, “almost nine out of ten (88 percent) first-time mothers who worked while pregnant work into their last two months of pregnancy in 2006-2008, and more than eight out of ten (82 percent) worked into their last month of pregnancy.”

A 2008 law requires that pregnant workers receive the same protections as disabled workers. Employers, however, ignore their obligations, and courts have not done anything to protect pregnant workers. Even if they could quit during their pregnancy, only half of them qualify for unpaid maternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. Forget paid leave—only 16 percent of private employers voluntarily give this benefit. Out of 178 countries world-wide, only two countries other than the U.S. are not required to give paid maternity leave, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.

Paid maternity leave would help the “children” who Blackburn describes. In her defense of the anti-abortion bill, Blackburn gave these empty words: “We are incredibly concerned about the well-being, safety, the health of these women. The life of women.”

Blackburn also said that “science is on our side.” The bill’s name, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is based on an erroneous belief that the fetus can feel pain when it is aborted.  Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) presented the most outlandish “proof” of this pain—to this point, anyway—when he explained during a House Rules Committee meeting that he has seen male fetuses masturbating in the womb around 15 weeks into a pregnancy. As an OB-GYN, he would have the opportunity to watch “the male baby … have their hand between their legs.” (Thanks to Adele Stan, RH Reality Check, for finding this video.)

Two years ago, two Italian doctors did report witnessing a female fetus masturbating for 20 minutes. But the fetus was 32 weeks, not 15. A 15-week-old fetus is about 4 inches long and weighs a few ounces as compared to the 3.5-pound fetus at 32 weeks. Fewer than 1 percent of abortions are during the third trimester, after about 28 weeks, and are performed only for fetuses or pregnant women who cannot live within the procedure.

Other than Burgess’ anecdotal evidence, the rationale for the Republican bill was based on one scientifically disputed study cited by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).  “The suggestion that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain is inconsistent with the biological evidence,” said Dr. David A. Grimes, a prominent researcher and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “To suggest that pain can be perceived without a cerebral cortex is also inconsistent with the definition of pain.”

In March 2010, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Britain said of the brain development of fetuses: “Connections from the periphery to the cortex are not intact before 24 weeks of gestation and, as most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception, it can be concluded that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation.”

Observations of physical recoiling and hormonal responses of younger fetuses to needle touches are reflexive and do not indicate “pain awareness,” the report said.

Blackburn had another justification for the bill. When Craig Melvin, MSNBC, interviewed her about the reporting requirement for rape and incest, she said, “[T]he hope is that that will help with getting some of the perpetrators out of the population that are committing these crimes against women and against minor females. We certainly would hope that we could rid our society of these perpetrators.” Melvin asked her, “How do you fight rapists with an abortion bill?” Blackburn moved to another subject.

Only 1.5 percent of the 1.21 million abortions each year, or about 18,000, occur later than 20 weeks after conception, primarily because of medical emergencies. The new bill from the House does not permit abortions for dire medical threats, the pregnant woman’s mental health, or a catastrophically impaired fetus.

Researchers Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law School and Sadath Sayeed of Harvard Medical School have weighed in on the pain debate, noting that there is no evidence that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks and these fetuses are certainly not considered viable. The lawmakers and anti-abortion groups arguing for the 20-week bans are “espousing a view that aligns with the political hope” rather than medical evidence, said Sayeed, who is both a neonatologist and a lawyer. They also pointed out that even if the feeling of pain could be proved, that a fetus could be anesthetized. Legally speaking, they added, the rights of the fetus do not trump those of the mother.

A study examining the affects on women turned away from having an abortion because they miss the deadline by just days, lack insurance, or live too far away shows that they have higher rates of hypertension and chronic pelvic pain. Women denied abortions are three times more likely to end up below the federal poverty level two years later. Children of unwanted pregnancies tend to be more overweight, have more acute illnesses, get lower grades, and are less popular.

Women denied abortions also need far more help from government programs. The GOP has passed an anti-abortion bill in the House at the same time that they are trying to take food and shelter away from poor children and their mothers.

February 20, 2013

Who Elected These People!?

The U.S. Representatives and Senators have gone home to tell their constituents what a great job they’re going while state legislators continue to spread their craziness in their capitols–all from the party that claimed they wanted to increase jobs and help the economy.

Former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), who served six terms and left in 2009, has admitted that he fathered an illegitimate child with Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of former Nevada Gov. and Sen. Paul Laxalt (R) and a top Washington lobbyist.  She raised Adam, their son, as a single parent and continually praised Domenici for his character and “integrity.” This story might not be important if Dominici had not supported Bill Clinton’s impeachment for covering up his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. According to Dominici, “I have concluded that President Clinton’s actions do, indeed, rise to the level of impeachable offenses that the Founding Fathers envisioned.” Domenici also voted for the sanctity of the Defense of Marriage Act.

In his appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) came out with the real reason that he wants to destroy the economy by continuing the sequester. After Chris Wallace asked him if Graham really wanted to slash Head Start programs for 70,000 children, cut 2,100 food inspectors, and eliminate $900 million in loan guarantees for small businesses, Graham said that he would do it to get rid of Obamacare.

The supposedly kinder, gentler House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) struggled to explain the reason behind removing health care from people who need it on Meet the Press a week ago. Immediately after he talked with great sympathy about a 12-year-old child who has had cancer for 11 years, he moved, without segue, to how the child will benefit from lowering the deficit. Somewhere he missed the point that without health care, the child will die.

Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell, once a possibility for vice-president until his proposed title meant “vaginal probe,” is following private industry to cheat employees. He’s limiting the number of hours for state employees to 29 per week to avoid paying for Obamacare, assuming that he can save $110 million a year in health care benefits. McDonnell failed to take into consideration the money that these people without insurance will cost in emergency care. Adjunct faculty in higher education may lose a third of their current wages. Teaching an almost full course load,  they are paid a one-time fee, but considered hourly wage employees. My question for VP McDonnell: will you also limit your weekly work load to 29 hours?

Virginia is known for other mind-boggling activities. Not only did Del. Robert G. Marshall (R) propose the idea of the commonwealth making its own money—because, of course, the United States is going to collapse, but the plan passed by a two-thirds majority earlier this month. Saner minds prevailed in the Senate that voted it down, perhaps in part because the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to have individual currency. Yet there are enough people in one of the original 13 states that believed this could be workable.

The Thirteenth Amendment, adopted in 1865, abolished slavery. This year, 148 years later, Mississippi made the vote unanimous. Although the state’s legislature voted in 1995, 120 years later, to do so, they failed to notify the Office of the Federal Register of that legislative action. This month they did so.

Republicans want freedom—or so they say. Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara (R) has proposed legislation making it a felony for lawmakers to so much as propose bills regulating guns. It provides that “[a]ny member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.” Like many other anti-gun law people, Leara, in ignoring the constitutional Speech and Debate clause, thinks that the U.S. Constitution is composed of only the Second Amendment.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (Indiana) is introducing a measure calling for a convention where states could propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. His goal is to keep Congress from taxing and regulating interstate commerce. Article V of the U.S. Constitution permits this but only if two-thirds of all state legislatures demand the convention. Indiana conservatives criticize Long because he is preventing votes on measures he calls “blatantly unconstitutional.” The state’s house speaker Brian Bosma said he will carry Long’s measure if it reaches his chamber.

You can’t make up this stuff. Montana State Rep. Jerry O’Neil (R) is sponsoring a bill to allow defendants to “bargain with the court” to receive “corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration.” The bill would apply to not just misdemeanor crimes, but also felonies, though the bill requires that the “exact nature of the corporal punishment to be imposed” be “commensurate with the severity, nature, and degree of the harm caused by the offender.” John S. Adams, who covers the Montana legislature for the Great Falls Tribune, wrote, “Republican leadership has been doing its best to tamp down any potential bills the other side might use to embarrass the GOP as they work to craft a budget. This one apparently didn’t get tamped.” We can guess that Karl Rove’s new group won’t be funding O’Neil.

Another politician who probably won’t get Rove’s support is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who told 18-year-old undocumented student Jessica Bravo, “I hate illegals.”  She made an appointment to talk with him because she “wanted to explain that I have no other home than Costa Mesa, I wanted to speak for all those in my community who are too afraid to talk about their status.” When she told Rohrabacker her status, he became angry and shook his finger at her. As she left his office, Bravo told reporters that he asked if she had registered for the meeting. “Well, now I know where you live,” he had told her threateningly.

And scratch Rep. John “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) off Rove’s list. Yesterday, in talking about the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) which the House has yet to act on, Duncan said, “Like most men, I’m more opposed to violence against women than even violence against men, because most men can handle it a little better than a lot of women can.” Despite his offensively ignorant sexist statement, he isn’t sure whether he will support VAWA.

Top on my list of stupid statements, however, comes from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in her outrage against raising the minimum wage to $9.00, as President Obama suggested in his State of the Union address. She began with the argument that young workers couldn’t learn responsibility as she did as a teenage retail employee in Mississippi:

“I remember my first job, when I was working in a retail store, down there, growing up in Laurel, Mississippi. I was making like $2.15 an hour. And I was taught how to responsibly handle those customer interactions. And I appreciated that opportunity.”

To those who think that $2.15 an hour isn’t much, like Blackburn does, consider that the $2.15 an hour she made between 1968 and 1970 is now worth between $12.72 and $14.18. Forty-five years ago, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage of $7.25 is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.

Blackburn’s statement may be matched only by former Rep. Ron Paul’s appeal to the United Nations. The father of Libertarian Sen. Rand Paul is known for his anti-UN position: “American national sovereignty cannot survive if we allow our domestic laws to be crafted by an international body.” The owners of the domain name RonPaul.org, his own followers, have offered him the domain free along with their mailing list of 170,000 email address.  He turned them down and filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a global governing body that is an agency of the United Nations. Maybe they’ve settled: the link for the PDF of the complaint doesn’t work.

Right now, polling puts approval of Congress at 15 percent, four percent lower than a month ago. At that time, Congress was lower than used car salesmen, root canals, colonscopies, and cockroaches. It probably still it. Have a nice time talking to your constituents, Congresspeople!

January 22, 2013

Roe v. Wade Protects Women

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Because this right is being threatened across the United States, a coalition of over 50 organizations,  The Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, is working to keep this family-planning ability.

Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and at least one-third of all U.S. women have an abortion sometime during their lives. Without legalized abortion, women live in shame and pain—and sometimes don’t live at all because illegal abortions kill.

According to Ellen Shaffer, abortion continues to be stigmatized by the well-funded minority movement, many of whom promote violent acts to stop women from seeking their legal rights. Every clinic in the U.S. that provides abortions has experienced systematic harassment, and doctors who perform abortions have been targeted and murdered. In 2009, a church was the site of a violent killing when an anti-reproductive rights zealot shot Dr. George Tiller point blank while he was serving as an usher. The media perpetuates the myth that these killers are each a “lone wolf.”

Women who self-identify as born-again or Evangelical Christians have 20 percent of the abortions. Yet fundamentalist Christians have gone so far as to re-write the Bible to prove that their God disapproves of abortion.

Instead of addressing the issues of economy and unemployment, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) co-sponsored a fetal personhood bill in the 113th Congress less than a week into the new House session. The bill follows the failed Mississippi initiative in granting full Constitutional rights to one-celled human embryos before they are even implanted in the uterus. Part of H.R. 23 allows a rapist to sue his victim to keep her from getting an abortion. Last year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a state personhood initiative as “clearly unconstitutional” because it blocks a woman’s legal right to have an abortion.

On the second day of the House session, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) re-introduced legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

The majority of people in the United States support Roe v. Wade and believe people should have the right to make decisions about personal reproductive health. Eighty percent of likely voters say a woman should be able to make her own personal decisions about her pregnancy, including 56 percent of voters who call themselves “pro-life.” To keep these rights, people need to stand up and be counted instead of staying invisible. That is the goal of Silver Ribbon.

January 22 is the first day of Trust Women Week. You can make your voice heard. My voice came through the following letter that our local chapter of NOW submitted to the media across our county:

During the past 40 years, no Supreme Court decision has caused greater dissention than Roe v. Wade, the ruling that deemed abortion during the first three months a fundamental right under the United States Constitution. On Tuesday, January 22nd, people who believe in women’s reproductive rights celebrate this momentous Supreme Court decision. No one claims that abortions are good, yet an overwhelming 64 percent agree with the Roe v Wade decision while only 31% disagree.

Without legalized abortion, women will get illegal ones at great personal danger. Before Roe v. Wade, when only 20 states had some legalized abortion, about 1.2 million women died each year from illegal ones. Legalizing abortion dropped the mortality rate of the procedure over 85 percent from 4.1 to 0.6 per 100,000 abortions.

Although some state governments have overwhelmingly passed anti-abortion laws within the past two years, a total of 135 bills, criminalization of the procedure does not prevent abortions. The rate of abortions is highest in Latin America where it is considered a crime in most of those countries.

Anti-choice people argue that millions of viable fetuses are aborted. In truth, 88 percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and almost 99 percent are completed within the first 20 weeks.

The predominant reasons for abortions are poverty and ignorance. If you care about eliminating abortions, you should:

  • Require sex education for all teenagers. Mississippi had no mandatory sex education until last year and is still teaching abstinence-only in over half the school districts. That state also has the highest teenage pregnancy rate – 55 of every 1,000 teen girls get pregnant, a rate almost 80 percent higher than the federal level of 31 per 1,000 teen girls. Fifty percent of all pregnancies are not planned; 87 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended.
  • Provide free contraception for every fertile woman. A two-year study of 9,000 women in St. Louis showed that free birth control led to much lower rates of abortions and births to teenagers. The abortion rate of these women was 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women compared to 13.4 to 17 abortions in other St. Louis areas and almost 10 abortions per 1,000 women nationally.
  • Support Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics. Without availability to the education and contraception that these provide, women will end up pregnant, and many of them will resort to abortions whether these are legal or not. Almost half the women getting abortions were not using contraception.
  • Mandate that all health care practitioners talk to patients about family planning. In Oregon the “One Key Question” initiative enlists doctors, nurses, and other health-care practitioners to ask women if they want to become pregnant in the next year. If yes, they talk about prenatal care and having a healthy baby. If no, they talk about contraception.
  • Provide free child care. Many women have abortions because they cannot care for children while keeping their jobs. Many children of women denied abortion will end up in foster care, costing taxpayers more money than funding child care, at least $30,000 to $100,000 before adoption — if foster parents could be found. Orphanages, an alternative, result in serious health issues for the children as shown by children in Romania.
  • Provide affordable education. Without education, women cannot support their children. They also cannot rely on men to provide for them.
  • Demand that women have equal pay with men as well as a living wage. Teenage girls denied abortion services, for example, are three times more likely to go on welfare. Seventy percent of women getting abortions are economically disadvantaged; statistically there are fewer abortions during a good economy.
  • Make men get involved with pregnancy. Guarantee that men care for children through both emotional and financial support.
  • Stop the “slut” culture. Teens may get abortions because of the shame and guilt heaped on them by both peers and adults. Educate young people that they can get help without emotional suffering.
  • Keep religion out of politics. The “slut” culture and the lack of education and contraception come from the religious beliefs that pregnancy out of wedlock, sex education, and contraception are wrong. The Constitution provides for separation of church and state. Religion should not create reproductive rights laws.

To paraphrase the common statement from gun supporters, “abortions don’t cause death; people cause death.” People who don’t provide ways to stop unwanted abortions contribute to them.

A final note: Although there is not easy access to legal abortions on the Oregon Coast, there is help for women who need them: The CAIR Project (http://www.cairproject.org/abortion/oregon/), NRO Network for Reproductive Options (http://www.nroptions.org/), and Oregon Public Health (http://public.health.oregon.gov/).

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