Bill Forces People Going Through Divorce To Get A Judge’s Permission Before Having Sex In Own Home

[…] If Massachusetts State Sen. Richard J. Ross (R) gets his way, that’s exactly what many women (and men) would have to do if they have children and are going through a divorce. In fact, not only would permission-less coitus be banned, but so too would the romantic evening and many dating activities. Ross’ bill seeks to amend Massachusetts divorce law with the following provision (emphasis added):

In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.

The legislation, S787, was first filed in early 2013. On Thursday, it received an extension for consideration in the State House until June 30. In its current state, the bill does not specify what the penalty is for pre-divorce copulation. [Rest.]

(Word has it that the bill was tabled as a “courtesy” to a constituent and the senator himself is not in favour. Still, though, all of this is on the continuum of the traditonal-family-centered, heteronormative-or-else direction of travel of the GOP.)

Bill Forces People Going Through Divorce To Get A Judge’s Permission Before Having Sex In Own Home | ThinkProgress

“Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate are women

Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate are women. Sixty-six percent of countries have no laws to protect women from domestic abuse, and battery is the largest cause of injury to women in America. Native American women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be victimized, but no one from the House Republicans voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Act that would have protected undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, and LGBT women.

African women are responsible for 75% of agricultural work and never see fair pay. In America, women still average 77 cents to every man’s dollar. An average American woman will get ripped off $431,360 in her career for not being a man. Two thirds of lobotomies are done on women. Older white men dictate women’s right of choice— there were 604 abortion and reproductive provisions at state level as of June 1. Fifty-four percent of rapes will remain unreported to the police, and 97% of rapists will serve no jail time. There are over 12.3 million victims of human trafficking for sex slavery, and less then 1% have been identified. The average age for trafficking minors in America is 12-14.

Addressing the issues is the first step. There needs to be more awareness.

- Alice Glass, Crystal Castles

Birth Control Doesn’t Encourage Risky Sex. Someone Tell the GOP

Birth Control Doesn’t Encourage Risky Sex. Someone Tell the GOP

“The dusty old argument that female sexuality is a subversive force…

The dusty old argument that female sexuality is a subversive force that needs to be strictly controlled isn’t as dead as we thought. The mainstream conservative movement is bringing it out of hibernation, and this time with a twist: now they’re arguing that women need to have their rights taken from them for their own good.

- Amanda Marcotte, Female Sexuality Still Terrifying to Conservative Lawmakers

“If there’s one belief that drives social conservatives…

If there’s one belief that drives social conservatism with regard to female sexuality, it’s that women can’t make good choices, and so their choices have to be made for them. That’s the argument underlying the panic over the hook-up culture (read: girls are too dumb to say no when they want to, so we have to say it for them), the hostility toward comprehensive sex education (if girls know their options, they may make choices we disapprove of), the move toward restricting abortion and contraception, the hostility toward single mothers, and all the knee-jerk anger—like Bill O’Reilly’s—over any hint that women might have choices.

- Slate on the Conservatism of ‘The Switch.’ (via bricorama)

“How ridiculously incapable of self-reflection can one be that one is able to acknowledge that …

How ridiculously incapable of self-reflection can one be that one is able to acknowledge that rape (forcing a woman to do something with her body she doesn’t want to do) is a Terrible Thing, but the denial of abortion (forcing a woman to do something with her body she doesn’t want to do) is a Moral Imperative?

- Shakesville: On Abortion Exceptions: “Rape, Incest, Threat to Life” (via ordinarymachines)

Did You See How Republicans Tried to Tamper With Women’s Health Insurance…

Where are the women? That’s the question I asked nearly two years ago when an all-male panel testified to the House Oversight Committee on restricting women’s access to contraception. And it’s the question I asked again at the start of this year when another all-male panel green-lighted a bill to restrict women’s access to constitutionally protected abortions.

For years, Republicans have tried to get between a woman and her doctor. Now they’re trying to come between a woman and her health insurance company.

This week, the House of Representatives voted 227 to 188 to approve the deceptively named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 7). Just one Republican, Congressman Richard Hanna, joined Democrats in voting against the bill, even though the law already says no taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for abortions.

Access to abortion is, unfortunately, already denied to women on Medicaid and restricted for federal employees, military personnel, Native American women, poor residents of the District of Columbia and federal prisoners due to the Hyde Amendment. H.R. 7 has nothing to do with taxpayer funding and everything to do with restricting abortion access even further. [Rest.]

US right wingers claim marriage solves poverty for women

It’s the 1950s, in case you were wondering what happened there. On lip magazine:

Bush administration press secretary, Ari Fleischer has proposed that marriage inequality is the cause of a hell of a lot of single ladies’ poverty. In a conservative editorial published in the Wall Street Journal, Fleischer implored US President Barack Obama to focus economic policy around the breakdown of the traditional family. ‘Marriage inequality should be at the centre of any discussion of why some Americans prosper and others don’t.’ US Census Bureau data shows only 7.5 per cent of nuclear families (i.e. two parents) live below the poverty line, as compared with 33.9 per cent of single mothers.

Furthermore, in 2009 the poverty rate stood at 3.2 per cent for married Caucasian Americans and 7 per cent for married African Americans, whereas the rate for de facto couples sits at 22 per cent for Caucasians and for 35.6 per cent African Americans. Conceivably, the statistics are used in argument to show disgust at raising taxes for the wealthy. The concept of marrying off women to fix their economic woes has understandably come under fire for its reductive account of solving women’s poverty. [Read the rest.]

How the GOP Became the ‘White Man’s Party’

On alternet

The following is an excerpt from Ian Haney-López’s new book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.” (Oxford University Press, 2014) . This excerpt originally appeared on

Few names conjure the recalcitrant South, fighting integration with fire-breathing fury, like that of George Wallace. The central image of this “redneck poltergeist,” as one biographer referred to him, is of Wallace during his inauguration as governor of Alabama in January 1963, before waves of applause and the rapt attention of the national media, committing himself to the perpetual defense of segregation. Speaking on a cold day in Montgomery, Wallace thundered his infamous call to arms: “Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland … we sound the drum for freedom. … In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny … and I say … segregation now … segregation tomorrow … segregation forever!”

The story of dog whistle politics begins with George Wallace. But it does not start with Wallace as he stood that inauguration day. Rather, the story focuses on who Wallace was before, and on whom he quickly became. [Rest.]

Abortion Is Not Like Slavery, So Stop Comparing the Two

A strawman argument if ever I saw one (on RHRealityCheck):

Anti-choice comparisons between slavery and abortion are nothing new. It is a canard so common that whenever I see it, my eye starts to twitch, because it is nonsense, devoid of fact and logic, stripping women of agency and co-opting this country’s brutal racial history to score a political point against ideological foes.

Abortion is not slavery, nor is it comparable to slavery. An abortion is a medical procedure that results in the termination of a pregnancy. People who seek abortions do so for myriad reasons: because a wanted pregnancy presents a danger to the health of the pregnant person, or simply because a person has decided, as is her right, when and whether to have children. Abortion, quite simply, allows women the freedom to live full and free lives and to retain control over their bodies.

Slavery, on the other hand, was the centuries-long system under which Black men and women were treated not as human beings, with attendant freedom and liberty, but as chattel—human property owned by other humans, stripped of their freedom and cruelly forced to work under inhumane conditions. During slavery, Black human beings were murdered, raped, and treated like animals simply for the economic benefit of white aristocracy and to further white supremacy.

Comparisons between abortion and slavery are popular among the anti-choice crowd because most people agree that slavery is morally wrong. If anti-choice forces can equate slavery and abortion, and draw parallels between an “unborn” person and an enslaved person, then surely no morally righteous person could continue to defend abortion as a medical procedure that enables women to retain some modicum of control over the physical selves and their economic realities. [Rest.]


Six Truly Unbelievable Ways Ohio Has Just Eviscerated Women’s Rights

On alternet:

The Republican Party continues to hack away at reproductive rights around the country–and Ohio is the latest place to be targeted by anti-abortion forces. Governor John Kasich signed the state budget Sunday night–and included in the budget are a number of measures that would restrict abortion rights in the state. It was signed over the objections of protesters who descended on the state legislature.

“Wait until the first women dies; wait until the first doctor leaves Ohio,” warned one protester.

But the anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life praised the legislation. “It took great compassion and courage for our governor and pro-life legislature to stand up to the abortion industry that blatantly pressured them,” said Mike Gonidakis, the president of the group.

The bill is in line with the extreme measures the GOP has been pushing around the country and that caught national attention in Texas. Here are 6 of the worst anti-reproductive rights provisions contained in the Ohio state budget.

1. Places Limits on Rape Clinics

Rape clinics are no longer allowed to counsel victims on abortion options under the new budget. If clinics do undertake that counseling, public funding would be cut off. [Rest.]


Why Texas Abortion-Restriction Laws are a National Problem

Or, even, an international problem. We (UK) take a lot of of our lead on reproductive rights from the US. bitchmagazine:

Today, thousands of Texans are crowding their state capitol, protesting Governor Rick Perry special legislative session to consider a bill (now known as HB2) that would restrict abortion access and shut down all but five abortion clinics in the state home to 26 million people.

But while Texas’ proposed abortion restrictions are in the spotlight, they aren’t an anomaly.

It’s tempting for those of us on the coasts to write off the wildly restrictive laws proposed in Texas as a red state issue. But the sad truth is that laws chipping away at the right to safe legal abortion have passed in 49 states since Roe v. Wade. Oregon is now the sole state whose rules around abortion have remained intact over the past 40 years. [Rest.]


Conservatives Double Down on the War on Women

On rhrealitycheck:

With all the moaning and wailing at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets about the supposed unfairness about the phrase “war on women,” you’d think conservative politicians would try to avoid the charge by, you know, not waging it. Or at least laying off it a little. Instead, the opposite is happening. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) fears this will be the worst year on record for reproductive rights, possibly worse than the previous two worst years, 2011 and 2012. The group has a map of the legislation offered and passed on the state level. [Rest.]

Paul Ryan Wants Personhood for “One-Celled Human Embryos”

Can I express my absolute relief, again, about the results of the November election?

From rhrealitycheck:

Are you ready to stand up for the rights of the “one-celled human embryos?” Well, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is, and he’s got a bill to prove it. Now that Congress is in session again, anti-choice bills are popping up left and right (but just in the House, of course, because that’s the only place they can get votes). The latest? He’s co-sponsoring a federal “personhood” amendment, because if the trouncing of anti-choice politicians across the country taught the House Republicans anything, it’s that Americans simply love debating abortion.

[Read the rest: rhrealitycheck]


2012: The Second-Worst Year for Abortion Rights Since Roe

(Lest we forget that we take a lot of our lead in the UK on reproductive rights from the US.)

From alternet:

Think the so-called “War on Women” (really a war on everyone, since family planning, abortion, birth control, and cancer screenings are good for everyone, regardless of gender) is over? Think again, sadly. The reality is that in the state capitols, the steady drive to make it nearly impossible for women to obtain abortions is continuing. Last month, at AlterNet, we profiled just a few of these state initiatives that had cropped up after the 2012 election and continued the unfortunate trend of using political power to legislate the uteri of citizens.

A new study from the Guttmacher Institute looked at all the laws and provisions relating to reproductive rights that went into effect in 2012:

Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions.

The highest year, of course, was 2011. What are some of the restrictions passed? Age limits, late-term abortion bans (20-week bans, for instance), clinic regulations that are near-impossible to meet, forbidding insurance coverage, and more.

Here are just a few examples, directly from Guttmacher, that I think show clearest how deep inside the wombs of Americans these legislatures are creepily willing to go:

  • “A new provision enacted in Mississippi requires a physician performing an abortion on a minor younger than 14 to provide a tissue sample to the state bureau of investigation. It also includes criminal penalties for anyone assisting a minor in seeking an abortion in violation of the state’s parental consent requirement.”
  • “South Carolina amended the long-standing requirement that the state employees’ health plan may cover abortion only when necessary to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest. The new provision permits taxpayer dollars to be used to pay for abortions only in cases of life endangerment; the cost in cases of rape or incest must now be paid entirely from employees’ premiums.”
  • “Finally, the new ultrasound mandate in Virginia also requires that women who live less than 100 miles from the clinic undergo the ultrasound 24 hours in advance of the abortion … Although Virginia law already required a 24-hour waiting period, this new provision compels women to make two trips to the clinic before receiving an abortion”
The shaming, nitpicking and intrusiveness of these kinds of laws is exemplified by the provisions above.

[Read the rest: alternet]


2012: The Year of The War on Women

2012 was the year of the “war on women.” From attacks on birth control access to atrociously phrased definitions of rape, womens rights and health rights took a beating from members of the GOP and at least one high-profile conservative commentator this year. HuffPost assembled some of the most appalling examples of the “war on women” from the past year.

[Video on the link: rhrealitycheck]


America’s White Male Problem

See also, the 2012 and on-going war on women.

From: alternet

The American political process is being hijacked by a reckless, whining dangerous gang of psychologically damaged white men who are far-right ideologues. I used to be one of them. It’s time to tell the truth about our white male problem.

Not everyone who disagrees with the president is a racist. Not even most people who do are. But the continuous attempt by the white far-right in Congress to shut down the government rather than work with our black president has a lot to do with racism. And lurching from manufactured crisis to crisis isn’t about politics; it’s about pathology. It doesn’t make sense politically to take the blame for risking America’s future — and the Republicans know they will take the blame — so how can we conclude other than something else is going on here?

I’m not talking about the white young male mass murderers we’re afflicted with carrying assault rifles courtesy of the NRA. I’m talking about the white far-right males who hijacked the 112th Congress and are set to destroy the 113th. They have metaphorically done to our country what the killer in Newtown literally did to 20 children, and for the same apparent reason: alienation from the mainstream and retreat to a paranoid delusional fantasy land of — literal — mental impairment.

This has less to do with politics and more to do with the fear and mental illness that grips a willfully ignorant minority of white males. But the mainstream media is talking about everything but the underlying racial, cultural and mental health issues afflicting the white male minority of far-right congressmen holding us all hostage. And the extreme insanity of the right-wing rhetoric over the last four years, from “birther” to Obama-is-a-Muslim etc., conclusively points to something other than politics.

[Read the rest: alternet]


The Rich, White, Conservative GOP Must Change, But It Won’t

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

Mitt Romney had hardly conceded before Republicans started fighting over where to head next. Some Republicans—and many Democrats—now claim that the writing is on the wall: demography is destiny, which means the GOP is going the way of the Whigs and the Dodo. Across the country, they see an aging white majority shrinking as the US heads for the future as a majority-minority country and the Grand Old Party becomes the Gray Old Party. Others say: not so fast.

In the month since 51% of the electorate chose to keep Barack Obama in the White House, I’ve spent my time listening to GOP pundits, operators, and voters. While the Party busily analyzes the results, its leaders and factions are already out front, pushing their own long-held opinions and calling for calm in the face of onrushing problems.

Do any of their proposals exhibit a willingness to make the kind of changes the GOP will need to attract members of the growing groups that the GOP has spent years antagonizing like Hispanics, Asian Americans, unmarried women, secular whites, and others? In a word: no.

Instead, from my informal survey, it looks to this observer (and former Republican) as if the party is betting all its money on cosmetic change. Think of it as the Botox Solution. It wants to tweak its talking points slightly and put more minority and female Republicans on stage as spokespeople. Many in the GOP seem to believe that this will do the trick in 2014 and beyond. Are they deluded?

[Read more: motherjones]


Today in Poverty: GOP Leadership and Violence Against Native Women

On April 24, Deborah Parker, vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington State, visited Congress regarding an environmental protection matter. She stopped by Senator Patty Murray’s office and asked how the Senate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was proceeding. Staff members informed her that despite the efforts of Senator Murray and others, provisions to protect Native American women would not be included in the bill.

Parker was devastated. She had been abused as a child and has also witnessed rape and abuse many times on the reservation. Each time the “non-Indian” perpetrator wasn’t prosecuted because tribal authorities have jurisdiction only over Native Americans, and state and federal authorities were unresponsive. This is a crisis not only for the Tulalip Tribes, but also on reservations across the country, where non-Indians are permitted to commit violence against Native women with impunity.

“I don’t feel people understand,” Parker tells me. “On the reservation there is such a feeling of despair—it’s not a matter of is it going to happen, it’s when is it going to happen? Perpetrators even mock Indian women because they know they will not get prosecuted.”

The statistics are indeed horrific: one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetimes; two in five are victims of domestic violence; three out of five will be physically assaulted. Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted—and more than twice as likely to be stalked—than other women in the United States. On some reservations, the murder rate of Native women is ten times the national average. According to the Indian Law Resource Center, 88 percent of these crimes are committed by non-Indians—the majority of the population residing on reservations is now non-Indian—and US attorneys are declining to prosecute 67 percent of sexual abuse matters referred to them.

[More: thenation]