Eight female state senators in Georgia walked out of the Senate chambers on Thursday to protest two bills that hinder access to abortion and contraceptives. All eight female democratic senators left the chambers together after two bills they oppose passed the Republican-led Senate. From Atlanta’s WXIA, the legislation:
- Prohibits state employees from using state health benefits to pay for abortions
- Does not allow employees of private religious institutions to demand that their insurance policies pay for contraceptives
“We stood together to protest what we feel is absolutely a war on women here in Georgia and we want to sound the alert to Georgians,” said Sen. Nan Orrick.
Republican state senator Joshua McKoon said of the legislation, “What I would say is the war that’s being waged is on a relative minority in this country that has strong beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment.”
The bills now heads to the House, where both are expected to pass.
The senators who walked out: Sen. Gloria Butler, Sen. Gale Davenport, Sen. Nan Orrock, Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, Sen. Donzella James, Sen. Miriam Paris, Sen. Valencia Seay and Sen. Horacena Tate. Looks like I’ll be spending my Friday night emailing these senators to thank them for taking a stance on an incredibly important issue.
Look at that fierce HBIC.
Nick Offerman, Judd Nelson, and many other middle-aged men tell women what to do with their bodies.
Perhaps the question was poorly worded. Or perhaps it was a slip of a tired tongue.
Either way, Mitt Romney created a new tempest when he told an Ohio news station that he was opposed to a Senate amendment, favored by conservatives and under debate in Congress on Wednesday, that would allow employers and insurers to limit coverage of contraceptives if they have religious or moral objections.
“I’m not for the bill,” Mr. Romney said, but then added, “the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
Mr. Romney seemed to be further distancing himself from the hard-edged social conservatism of his chief Republican rival, Rick Santorum, who has argued that contraception is damaging to society.
But in an apparent misunderstanding, Mr. Romney instead roused the momentary ire of many social conservatives, who already doubt his commitment to their cause.
Mr. Romney and his aides quickly corrected his remarks, saying he strongly supports the Senate amendment, and had not properly understood the question. (The slip followed a series of off-key comments about his wife’s Cadillacs and friends who own Nascar teams.)" -
This is exactly the kind of bullshit we should expect once one party — and only one party — decides it’s up to them how to best exert control over everyone else’s bodies.(via inothernews)
Rick Santorum creates a stir by speaking out against prenatal testing. Virginia’s governor and legislature get caught up in an emotional debate over requiring women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound. President Obama, under pressure, recalibrates his position on health-insurance coverage of contraception for employers with religious affiliations.
Social issues are back with a vengeance, dominating the dialogue on the presidential campaign trail, in Congress and in state capitals.
In an election that until this point has been almost totally defined by the economy’s struggles, the abrupt return of the culture wars has introduced a volatile new element. There are any number of ways in which the politics might play out, but perhaps the biggest question is the degree to which the new attention on social issues might shape the battle for one of the most important electoral swing groups: moderate and independent women voters.
Even before social issues were forced front and center by the combination of Mr. Santorum’s new prominence, the recent battle over the Susan G. Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood and Mr. Obama’s decision to revise his contraception policy, both parties were tracking the sentiments of women voters closely.
Comments by Mr. Santorum about related issues, including women in combat and the role of “radical feminism” in encouraging work outside the home, only fueled the sense that the election could present women with stark ideological choices about their rights and place in society.
Democrats, including Mr. Obama, have traditionally relied heavily on the female vote. From 1992 to 2008, Democrats won the overall women’s vote in every presidential election, with Mr. Obama defeating Senator John McCain four years ago 56 percent to 43 percent among women, according to exit polls. (Republicans have tended to win white women and married women, with Democrats winning nonwhite women and single women.)
But in the 2010 midterm election, women, who vote in greater numbers than men, swung to Republicans, if barely, cutting deeply into the core of Mr. Obama’s electoral coalition.
There are now signs that Mr. Obama is winning women back to the Democratic side. In a New York Times/CBS News poll this month, Mr. Obama came out well ahead of Mitt Romney among all women in a head-to-head matchup (53 percent to 37 percent) and essentially held him to a draw even among white and married women. Mr. Obama held much the same advantage over Mr. Santorum, who has trailed behind Mr. Romney among women voters in some state polls looking at Republican primary contests.
Social issues provide both parties a chance to rally their ideological bases. For Republicans, especially in low-turnout primaries, invoking values-laden subjects helps generate turnout among conservatives, both men and women. On the Democratic side, the Komen fight and the Virginia ultrasound law have been opportunities for abortion-rights and women’s groups to raise money, register voters and promote their agendas.
It is less clear how the issues might play among moderate and independent women. As one example, Catholic women, another swing group won by Mr. Obama in 2008 that Republicans won in 2010, backed the administration’s stance about health coverage of contraception in this month’s New York Times/CBS News poll.
Democrats say their opportunity is less to run on those issues in particular than to use the subject to help convince women, and especially independent women, that Republicans are moving so far to the right in a general sense that they are no longer an acceptable alternative to run the country.
“When Republicans focus in a very extreme way on these kinds of issues, it focuses more attention on the problems with the Republican brand,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster. “It becomes part of a larger narrative about Republican leadership and a referendum on Republican leadership over the last year and a half.”
Independent women “are turned off by extremism,” Ms. Greenberg said. “It’s not a broadband issue for the Democratic Party, but as a targeted message to independent women, it can be very effective.”
But while social issues inspire passionate reactions along the ideological wings of the two parties, they tend not to be seen as priorities among the vast pool of voters in the middle – especially at a time when the economy remains far and away their main concern.
“You rarely ever see social issues come up as one of the most important issues facing the nation,” said Karlyn Bowman, who studies public opinion as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative research group. “Historically, while they have been big and divisive issues in some governor’s and Senate races, they tend not to be very important on a national level.”
More to the point, some Republicans said, the surge of attention to these issues could well prove to be brief, and to fade quickly away if Mr. Romney can dispatch Mr. Santorum relatively quickly and return the focus of the campaign to Mr. Obama’s performance on creating jobs.
“If Rick Santorum is not the nominee, all the attention to these issues is going to evaporate,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “The probability of social issues playing a significant role in the general election is minimal.”
The idea that Republicans will be branded as extremists in the eyes of independent and moderate voters as a result of the current focus on the issues is “a Democratic fantasy,” Mr. Ayres said. “What will drive independent voters is whether they see improvement in the economy and progress in stopping the relentless expansion of federal spending and deficits and keeping us from going the way of Greece.”
Posted: 02/23/12 09:39 AM ET | Updated: 02/23/12 10:05 AM ET
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat down with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview that was aired Wednesday night. Maddow asked Pelosi about a range of topics including the Republican Party’s recent hearing on contraception and GOP candidate Rick Santorum.
Maddow replayed a clip of what she called Pelosi famously using the word, “duh,” in response to the Republican hearing on contraception including an all-male panel. “Imagine they’re having a panel on women’s health and they don’t have any women on the panel — duh,” Pelosi said.
Maddow asked, “Obviously there’s a political difference of opinion about what policy ought to be on this subject, but do you actually think there is a difference in understanding? What would you explain to them if they would listen?”
"First of all," Pelosi said, "the idea that they would be taking about contraception in this way is a real breakthrough for those of us — I’ve been in Congress…for 25 years I’ve been saying to people, ‘This isn’t about abortion. They like to say it is, but this is about contraception.’"
Pelosi added, “Contraception is something that is universally practiced. The size and timing of families is a family’s important decision to make together with their doctor, with their God. It’s not about some five men sitting around the table in Washington D.C…At last the country knows that all this talk about reproductive freedom really extends to something as personal as family planning and birth control, and depriving women of access to contraction.”
Maddow then asked Pelosi if she thought GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who has experienced a recent surge in the polls, could possibly become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. When GOP candidate Newt Gingrich surged in the polls and was the Republican Party’s frontrunner, Pelosi weighed in and said she knew that he would not be the Republican nominee for president.
As for Santorum, Pelosi did not offer such an opinion. “I’d like to leave the Republican selection of their nominee up to them. I just knew that Newt Gingirch was completely unacceptable,” she said.
After the interview, Maddow told viewers that she has noticed a trend in responses to that particular question about Santorum. “I’m not saying this what is motivating Speaker Pelosi in taking that position, but you kind of hear that a lot from Liberals across the country right now about Rick Santorum,” Maddow said. She added in a celebratory voice,”Shh, don’t interrupt the Republicans, don’t make a sound — they’re about to nominate Rick Santorum! Don’t move a muscle!”
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday ripped House Republicans for holding a contentious hearing on birth control that included next to no female witnesses and even prevented one progressive woman from testifying, suggesting that she may need to step in and teach her male GOP colleagues a thing or two about the issue.
"I think it’s really curiouser and curiouser that as we get further into this debate, the Republican leadership of this Congress thinks it’s appropriate to have a hearing on the subject of women’s health and can purposely exclude women from the panel," Pelosi said during a press conference. "What else do you need to know about the subject?"
"If you need to know more, tune in, I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues."
Pelosi’s remarks came shortly after three House Democrats walked out of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on religious liberty and birth control in protest of Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) refusal to allow a woman to testify in favor of the Obama administration’s contraception rule. The morning panel at the hearing consisted exclusively of men from conservative religious organizations.
A second panel included two women, but both were critics of Obama’s birth control mandate, which does not exempt religiously affiliated employers from having to include contraception in employees’ insurance coverage. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told reporters in the hallway outside the hearing that she marched out because it was being conducted like an “autocratic regime.”
"Five men are testifying on women’s health," Pelosi said. "Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women’s health and they don’t have any women on the panel."
She paused, and then added, “Duh!”
UPDATE: 1:35 p.m. — Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins later criticized Pelosi for ignoring the fact that two women were scheduled to testify at the hearing.
"Rep. Pelosi is either ill informed or arrogantly dismissive of women who don’t share her views. Today’s hearing does in fact include two women, Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services,” Watkins said.
"Last night the question of birth control got on Newt Gingrich’s nerves."
They are talking about birth control in 2012.
Do not give me this religious freedom bullshit. Making a soap box issue out of this is such a desperate ploy for frothing up the base.
AND YET BUT IT WORKS OH GOD THIS COUNTRY.
Like, I really super hate the American culture war.
A religious person can choose not to partake of contraception. Nobody ever forces them to use it!
But you can’t take the choice away from people who would choose to use them!
Like, what is this war on religious freedom.
WHAT IS IT.
WHERE IS IT.
PLEASE SHOW ME.
I just can’t buy it. It’s just pandering to a certain element in the base. What do you actually want to change? Do you really only want abstinence-only education? DO YOU REALLY?!?!?!
"A lot of women on twitter believe that these four men live in the past"
- paraphrase of David Gergen
DAVID GERGEN I LOVE YOU