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A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

GOP’s war on women—and a cool parallel example

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First some comments via video:

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And then an interesting parallel: In TPM2012 Pema Levy reports on a bill in the Ohio Senate:

On Tuesday, Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) will introduce a bill aimed at cracking down on prescription drugs like Viagra that treat erectile dysfunction. Turner’s legislation would make men jump through certain hoops — such as psychological screenings — before they could obtain the meds. The bill follows FDA recommendations to determine the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction — but that’s certainly not the only reason Turner is putting the measure forward.

“All across the country, including in Ohio, I thought since men are certainly paying great attention to women’s health that we should definitely return the favor,” Turner told TPM. Her bill is one of several pieces of legislation offered over the past several weeks by women lawmakers eager to prove a point about the raging contraception debate.

Their bills seek to regulate men’s sexual health, from Viagra to vasectomies, just as Republican-led state governments and Congress have zeroed in on access to abortion and family planning care.

Turner’s bill mimics language found in Ohio’s so-called Heartbeat Bill, which passed the Ohio state House and is now pending in the Senate. The bill would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, sometimes as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Turner’s bill, she says, offers men a taste of their own medicine — it would require physicians to inform patients in writing of the risks involved in taking erectile dysfunction drugs and requires men to sign a document acknowledging the risks, just like the anti-abortion bill does.

“I care about the health of men as well, and I thought it only fair that we illustrate that and make sure that a man is fully informed of the risks involved in taking these drugs and also the alternatives such as natural remedies or also celibacy,” Turner said.

Women legislators in other states have been making similar efforts.

Over a month ago, when the Virginia Senate was debating a bill to require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound, state Sen. Janet Howell introduced an amendment to the bill that would have required men to get a rectal exam and cardiac stress tests before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. Her amendment failed 21-19 while the ultrasound bill ultimately passed. But Howell believes she made her point. “This is more of a message type of an amendment,” Howell told the Huffington Post, “so I was pleased to get 19 votes.”

Turner said the bills and amendments targeted at men represent “a universal mindset across this country among women, especially those of us who are policymakers, to really point out the hypocrisy in terms of women’s equal access to health care.”

Highlighting hypocrisy is precisely what Georgia state Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-Jonesboro) had in mind when she proposed a bill in February to limit men’s access to vasectomies. Her legislation, which would only allow vasectomies for men who would die or suffer serious health consequences without one, was introduced in response to HB 594, a bill being considered in the Georgia state House to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” Neal said in a video message.

Last week, nine women lawmakers in the Missouri Legislature proposed a similar vasectomy bill in response to a symbolic vote taken by the state House objecting to the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate. . .

Continue reading.

UPDATE: And from today’s NY Times an article by Jonathan Weisman on GOP opposition to the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which only recently enjoyed bipartisan support until the GOP went in its current direction:

With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.

The fight over the law, which would expand financing for and broaden the reach of domestic violence programs, will be joined Thursday when Senate Democratic women plan to march to the Senate floor to demand quick action on its extension. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has suggested he will push for a vote by the end of March.

Democrats, confident they have the political upper hand with women, insist that Republican opposition falls into a larger picture of insensitivity toward women that has progressed from abortion fights to contraception to preventive health care coverage — and now to domestic violence.

“I am furious,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.

Some conservatives are feeling trapped.

“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

Republicans say the measure, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 March 2012 at 10:17 am

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