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

“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)

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.]

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.]


Wendy Davis’ filibustering for abortion rights is a brave and great thing

On commentisfree:

It’s raining here, softly but firmly, and Wendy Davis is filibustering in Texas.

She’s speaking in a low, quiet voice in the other tab, talking about admitting privileges, standing quietly as Senators raise points of order, resuming her flood of speech flawlessly when the floor is returned to her. Her voice is calm and clear, measured, thoughtful, as she explains a subsection of SB5. My Twitter is flooded with commentary on Davis, on SB5, on reproductive rights. The Texas Senate is filled with people in orange, most of them women, coming out in droves to support the right to choose; to refuse the restrictions on abortion services embedded in SB5, the attempt to deprive them of access to basic medical services.

The past few years have been particularly bad ones when it comes to reproductive autonomy. I am reminded of the scene in V for Vendettawith the dominoes, the one at the very end where everything has finally come together and flick they’re falling, slowly at first and then faster and faster, and then suddenly they’ve all fallen into V’s symbol, slashes of red and black, finished, pattern completed. Across the United States, the dominoes are falling, faster and faster, as state after state after state takes rights away in the guise of “protecting women.”

Wendy Davis is filibustering. She plans to stand for 13 hours without eating, drinking, or using the bathroom. She cannot lean on her podium, and she must stay on-topic, focusing on the bill and related subjects. She’s surrounded by a room of hostile people who want nothing more than to see her fail, because if she fails, SB5 can go to vote, the Senate can pass it, Texas women will have that much more trouble accessing abortions in a state where getting access to reproductive health services is already extremely difficult. [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]


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]


Is the United States Moving to the Left?

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the weekend, at a Christmas party in Brooklyn, I ran into an old acquaintance, a veteran editor and publisher of serious, left-leaning books. For much of the time I’ve known him, he’s been busy bemoaning the state of American politics—the entire works of the Bush Administration and the G.O.P., obviously, but also the prevarications and retreats of Obama’s first term: the capitulation to Wall Street, the drone attacks, the failure to close Gitmo, and so on. On this occasion, I fully expected to hear another litany of complaints, but it didn’t happen. In fact, my old cobber was in a good mood. “The country’s moving to the left,” he announced with a smile.

Could it be true? Does Barack Obama’s reelection, and the Democrats’ retention of a handy majority in the Senate, signify that the age of Reagan and Bush is truly over, and that a more liberal age is replacing it? With at least some Congressional Republicans seemingly willing to accept higher tax rates on the rich; with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments on gay marriage, which could conceivably lead to the legalization of same-sex unions across the country; and with the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan fast drawing down—it is at least possible to imagine such a thing.

[More here: newyorker]


No Country For White Men, Gender Gap Decisive in Marriage Equality Victories

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

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

What’s Up with White Women? They Voted for Romney, Too New Yorker (blog) Age is another factor. Whites, on average, tend to be older than non-whites, and older people (male and female) tend to vote Republican in greater numbers. Religion is also part of the story. Most white women, like most white men, are churchgoing …

The Elephant in the Exit Poll Results: Most Women Supported Romney Huffington Post There have been several headlines about how women, young voters, and even Catholics led the way for Obama. However, it wasn’t the youth, female or any aspect of the religious vote that we should credit; it was the African American and Latino vote.

Gender Gap Costly: Women’s Votes Decisive in Presidential and Senate Races Huffington Post The problem the Republican Party has with women is deep and costly. Their attacks on women’s rights all add up to a widely perceived Republican War on Women that significantly influenced the outcome of the election by creating impactful gender gaps in …

How Qualified Female Candidates Win Elections Boston Daily (blog) It’s been widely noted that female candidates made big gains in this year’s election, in part due to their strong defense against the right’s “war on women.” But how, exactly, did they get it done? New research released this week from the Boston-based …

[More here: psawomenpolitics]


How GOP Can Overcome Women’s Trust Issues, GOP must shed it’s grumpy-white-man image

Hey, Rush Limbaugh: ‘Starting an Abortion Industry’ Won’t Win You Female Voters Rolling Stone It’s hard to say whether it’s good or bad that the Rushes of the world are too clueless to realize that it’s their attitude, not their policies, that is screwing them most with minority voters…

Republicans ponder painful way forward The Star-Ledger – The takeaway among party leaders was virtually unanimous: The GOP faces a years-long challenge of reaching out to Americans beyond its predominantly white, male base and updating a voter turnout machine that’s woefully out of date.

The Power of a Woman with a Meme Harvard Business Review (blog) If the Republican Party learned one thing this election cycle, it’s that women with opinions are a force to be reckoned with. But do brands understand that? Women dominate nearly every major social media network. Weekly, 67.5 million women are logged …

Here’s How The GOP Can Overcome Women’s Trust Issues With Conservatives Forbes As conservatives study the election data in order to figure out what went wrong, they need to focus on overcoming the significant trust issues that women have with the GOP. Supporters of limited government and free markets need to find new ways to …

How women ruled the 2012 election and where the GOP went wrong CNN In many ways, the 2012 election was the year of the woman. Women — who have historically formed one of President Barack Obama’s key constituencies — once again united behind him in large numbers and helped fend off defections …

[More here: psawomenpolitics]


The Tea Party Is Dead. Long Live the Tea Party

Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the Tea Party became a victim of its own rhetoric which was what everyone hoped for. I think they’re going to go for the second option below, though. That’s right –  the clueless one.


But none of that matters. The tea party has done its job, and for all practical purposes its hard-nosed, no-compromise ideology now controls the Republican Party in a way that neither the Birchers nor the Clinton conspiracy theorists ever did. It’s no longer a wing of the Republican Party, it is the Republican Party.

So what’s next? Having now lost two presidential elections in a row, conventional wisdom says Republicans have two choices. The first is to admit that tea partyism has failed. 2012 was its best chance for victory, and evolving demographics will only make hardcore conservatism less and less popular. As South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has put it, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” So the party will need to moderate or die.

The second option is to double down. Party activists will tell themselves that Mitt Romney was never a true conservative, and that’s what voters sensed. But Republicans can win again in 2016 if they stay true to their principles, moving farther right and amping up the obstruction of all things Obama even more. In Congress, Paul Ryan will be their pied piper and Eric Cantor will be their enforcer.

[More here: motherjones]


5 Unhinged Right-Wing Reactions to Romney’s Defeat

1. Melodramatic Social Media Users Declare “America died”

In case you were preoccupied with the news of the presidential election, you may have missed the other breaking news story that “America died” last night. At least, that’s some of the wildly hyperbolic claims that were flying around the social media stratosphere last night, as Republican voters took to Twitter to mourn over their vanquished candidate.

Some of the tweets were merely melodramatic, such the claim “A thousand years of darkness begins tonight.”

Yet others were downright terrifying. One man declared that he is “Loadin up on guns, gas, mudgrips, and some Copenhagen to prepare for the next four years.”

[More here: alternet]

Five GOPers Booted for Their Idiotic Rape Comments

Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2012 campaign season  came to be defined  by Republican candidates making out of touch, often medically inaccurate comments about sexual assault, women’s reproductive systems, and abortion rights. Between  legitimate rape , God-given rape , and  emergency rape , anti-choice politicians rushed to clarify their narrow view of sexual assault and their position that rape survivors don’t deserve access to legal abortion rights. But it turns out that strategy didn’t play well with yesterday’s voters, who didn’t elect any of the five Republican candidates who made the biggest gaffes in this area.

[More: alternet]


In [almost as] glorious news: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock fall to Senate defeats

Todd Akin’s remarks on ‘legitimate rape’ caused widespread offence among Republicans and Democrats. Photograph: Sarah Conard/Reuters

This election is the gift that keeps on giving.

Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidates who made off-the-cuff remarks about rape and abortion, have both been defeated, destroying their party’s hopes of taking control of the Senate.

Akin, who lost to incumbent Claire McCaskill in Missouri, was abandoned by his party after he made his notorious “legitimate rape” comments in August. The six-term congressman from suburban St Louis and a staunch pro-lifer, told a television interviewer who asked about his abortion stance: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Until that point, McCaskill was considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent senators because of her links to Barack Obama in a state that has leaned heavily to the right in recent national elections.

Immediately after the result was called on Tuesday night, Jason Whitman, the GOP chairman, expressed his frustration at Akin in a tweet, which read: I just want to say a quick thank you to @ToddAkin for helping us lose the senate”

[More: guardian]


Romney Closes Dirty

Brian Cahn/Zuma (use here not necessarily endorsed).

Mitt Romney had a choice this election: He could surf the bubbling froth of right-wing rage against the president all the way to the White House, or he could discard the racialized narrative of the Obama presidency put forth by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

Throughout the campaign, much of his party was pushing him in one direction: Some Republicans still believed the president was not born in the United States; conservative media figures presented everything from Obama’s economic policy to the Affordable Care Act as seeking racial vengeance, accused him of lying about his religion, and argued that he secretly sympathizes with America’s enemies. As National Journal’s Ron Brownstein dubbed it, the 2012 election is a battle between the gray and the brown, the GOP’s aging white base versus the Democrats’ increasingly diverse coalition. Relying almost exclusively on the white vote, however, is a strategy with an expiration date. It’s a move that cuts against the demographic tide. As one Republican adviser put it to Brownstein, “this is the last time anyone will try to do this.”

[More here: motherjones]


Dangerous remedies: ending the horror of backyard abortions

Anne Summers has spoken about her own experience with a backyard abortion. AAP Image/Luis Enrique Ascui

When Prime Minister Julia Gillard spoke out against sexism and misogyny in the parliament last month, her words had resonance far beyond the political context of the moment.

It was a reminder that women suffer injustices, and too often silently. In Australia, those injustices are often seen as first world problems that are political and economic, and less commonly, life threatening.

This is not always true, and it certainly was not true in the 1960s. While this revolutionary decade saw the advancement of some women’s rights, it remained a dangerous time for women. Simple acts like engaging in sex could cost a woman her life. But, out of shame, these deaths were kept out of view. No Australian drama captures this better than the ABC’s Dangerous Remedy, which airs on the public broadcaster on Sunday night.

[Read more: theconversation]