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Sat May 16, 2015 at 10:16 PM PDT

This Week in the War on Women

by ramara

Reposted from ramara by ramara
War on Women banner
Last Sunday was Mother's Day, a Hallmark holiday as fraught with ambivalence as any. As I read friends' tributes to their living or dead mothers on Facebook, I wondered why I never really cared much about the day, either as daughter or mother. Girl's relationships with their mothers are always complicated, and sometimes full of hurt. So I was glad to see this article saluting those who have had to break with toxic mothers, or who managed to maintain relationships by setting careful limits.

And in this country that praises motherhood in the abstract while making it more and more difficult every day, I was also glad to see this recognition of our tendency to blame mothers for having to stretch meager (and diminishing) resources.

More about motherhood and other news under the orange squiggle.

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Sat May 16, 2015 at 02:40 PM PDT

Women's Rights & Optional Reality

by Mayfly

Reposted from Mayfly by Ojibwa

Back in the mid-'90s, my best friend and I were volunteer "escorts" at an inner-city women's clinic that provided reproductive health care, including abortion.

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Sat May 16, 2015 at 10:29 AM PDT

Eugenie Clark - 1922-2015

by Desert Scientist

Reposted from Desert Scientist by Ojibwa

I am taking the liberty of writing a diary on a female scientist whom I never met and who died in the 21st Century (in fact this very year.)  This is in large part because of her 1951 book "Lady With a Spear." which I read several times over when I was a teenager and which, if I had not lived in the Sonoran Desert, would probably have turned me into a marine biologist.  In fact I had never even seen the sea and did not until a friend drove me to San Felipe, Baja California, which (after being lost on the Colorado River delta for hours) we reached just at sundown, giving me only a few minutes to turn rocks and marvel over the porcelain crabs and other sea life that I found.

Clark was born in New York City of a Japanese mother and an American father, the latter dying before she was two.  Involved deeply in the Japanese community of New York City, Clark and her family avoided the internment of Japanese-Americans on the West coast during World War II. Instead, she became interested in fish, in large part encouraged by her mother, and eventually got her B.A. in zoology at Hunter in 1942, followed by a M.A. and Ph.D. at New York University. Her dissertation work was finished after the war, under the direction of Carl Hubbs of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, graduating in 1950.  

She published not only "Lady with a Spear," but another book titled "The Lady and the Sharks" (1968) and was founding director of the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, now known as the Mote Marine Laboratory, in Sarasota, Florida. She was given many awards during her lifetime, including 3 honorary D.Sc. degrees.  For much of her professional life she was a professor, research scientist or emerita at the University of Maryland at College Park. She had several species of fish named after her and finally died in Sarasota at the age of 92!  She was only "bitten" once by a shark- the jaws of a very dead tiger shark nailed her at an abrupt traffic stop!

Clark lived a long and productive life, studying all aspects of fish behavior and physiology, especially of sharks.  She was one of the marine biologists, along with William Beebe, Rachel Carson, Sylvia Alice Earle, Archie Carr, Carl Safina, and others, who have described the remarkable and mind-bogglingly huge ecosystems in the sea and have made us aware of their complexity and fragility.

Clark told her story in a manner that infected me with a love of something that as of my reading I had never seen. My one rather tenuous connection, other than reading her books and once visiting the Scripps Institute during a meeting at San Diego, was the fact that my wife met Carl Hubbs when she was a little kid, and may have met Clark as well. Of course she had no interest in the meeting of the "Ichts and Herps" society with which her mother and father were involved.

Though I never met Clark, her story of growing up fascinated with fish touched me and I thought for a little while I might change my major interest in insects and spiders and study fish.  I kept a small aquarium and poured over books on tropical freshwater and saltwater fish.  However my family was poor and I, at the time, had no chance of even going to college, something that altered in a manner that I have described in another diary.

The main point I want to make is that Eugenie Clark was an anomaly at the time. Only a few women went to the meetings of the Ichthyologists and Herpetologists society - Doris Cochran being one exception perhaps (I've written about her in another diary), as well as my mother-in-law - and Eugenie thus stuck out in a nearly all male crowd. That she successfully navigated those waters speaks highly of her abilities, both as a scientist and as an person of strength.


Eugenie Clark, Ph.D. (1922-2015)

Eugenie Clark, The Shark Lady.

"Shark Lady" Eugenie Clark, famed marine biologist, has died.

Eugenie Clark



Tue May 05, 2015 at 11:10 AM PDT

A Kossack Needs a Little Help

by Ojibwa

Reposted from Community Fundraisers by Ojibwa

There are times when life gets a little financially rough. We have been asking for donations to help out elenacarlena.

So far, we’ve raised enough to cover her rent payment (which was due today), but we need to raise just a little bit more to give her and her pooties and woozle some living expenses for the next couple of weeks.

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Reposted from dgrhoads by Ojibwa

Progressives have been on the defensive when talking about a women’s right to make choices about continuing pregnancies and family planning.  In addition, social conservatives have been successful in claiming that their religious rights have been violated if their institutions are forced to provide contraceptives to their employees.  It is time that the progressives turned this around by claiming violations of their religious freedom and their religious liberty.

Until now, progressives have ceded the use of words like “freedom” and “religious liberty” to the conservatives.  We need to reclaim that these words and show how they apply to our beliefs and our lives.

Women’s issues constitute one arena in which progressives can start using this language is the following:

If a woman is forced by the government to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, she is not free.

Freedom is having control over your own body.  (Applies to both men and women.)

Freedom is being able to plan my own family.  If the government restricts my ability to plan my own family, it is taking away my freedom.

It is my religious belief that my fetus does not become a human being until it emerges from my womb and takes its first breath.  Until then it is part of my body.  You are violating my religious liberty by restricting my freedom to have minor medical procedures as I see fit which in this case is to have an abortion.  All these rules and regulations RW legislators have passed with respect to these minor medical procedures are violating my religious freedom.  They should not be applied to me.

Please note that the Holy Bible’s Old Testament specifies clearly in multiple passages  that life begins with the first breath.  Since the passage of RFRA and the recent holdings of the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case, the discussion can be based on what does the individual believe as part of their sincerely-held religious belief, not what is scientifically true or what is the case according to someone else’s religious belief.  Which beliefs trump other beliefs?  RFRA holds that the religious beliefs of the affected individuals trump those of government.
Reposted from Lucien Greaves by Ojibwa
The Satanic Temple begins legal aid fund to offer exemptions against, and actively challenge, arbitrary, insulting, and outright harmful anti-abortion legislation.

The Satanic Temple (TST), a New York-based religious organization, has announced that it anticipates an imminent precedent-setting legal battle. The challenge centers on religious exemptions the organization offers against anti-abortion legislation. “Mary,” a Missouri resident and member of TST, soon intends to obtain an abortion. She will present her care-provider with TST’s letters of exemption in order to bypass state-mandated counseling materials, which TST criticizes as “medically invalid” and “scientifically spurious.” TST's letters also demand an exemption from MO’s newly required 72-hour abortion waiting period. Such legislation, TST contends, is an affront to their deeply-held religious values regarding personal sovereignty and deference to empirical science.

The Satanic Temple's spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, wrote of the campaign for the Orlando Weekly:

This past Summer, following the Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby ruling, The Satanic Temple (TST) drew up a document of religious exemption to be used against superfluous anti-abortion legislation. The exemption targeted “informed consent” laws requiring that women seeking abortions should be subjected to compulsory state-mandated “informational” materials that are often scientifically unsound. In fact, these materials appear as brazen attempts to dissuade women from abortion and create guilt in those seeking the procedure. Among our fundamental tenets, TST holds that “one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” and, “Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.” The logic of our deeply-held beliefs is such that bullshit claims contained in “informed consent” propaganda (such as the notion that abortions contribute to breast cancer and/or lead to suicide) are an affront to our religious values.

The Hobby Lobby ruling, affirming that the corporation’s “deeply held beliefs” allowed them to declare certain contraceptives as abortifacients when in fact they were not, set a precedent whereby TST could firmly declare a protected belief in the illegitimacy of anti-abortion state-mandated materials.

Recently, a member of The Satanic Temple informed us that she soon intends to present our exemption letter as she seeks an abortion in the state of Missouri. However, in Missouri, women seeking abortions are faced with a problem far more dire than that of insulting and inaccurate state propaganda: they are also required a 3-day (72 hour) waiting period for the procedure. With only one clinic in the state, those traveling a substantial distance often are forced to take significant time away from work while paying for overnight lodging. In response, we are providing an exemption from the waiting period, similar to the exemption from Informed Consent materials.

Now the question is asked, ‘how are deeply-held beliefs in scientific evidence, bodily autonomy and personal sovereignty employed to leverage an exemption against abortion waiting periods?’ How is it that the waiting period directly violates any of those?

Put simply: One’s body is subject to one’s own will alone, therefore the process by which one arrives at decisions related to one’s body should never be subjected to the degrading arbitrary whims of petty, pious politicians. The 72 hour waiting period is nothing more than an offensive, intentional imposition upon a deeply personal decision-making process. There is no medical justification for the waiting period, only the ignorant hope that some women may -- some time within that 72 hours -- only then first consider the ramifications of their choice, consequently reversing course.

The fact is, rational arguments supporting the waiting period are non-existent. Being asked to argue against frivolous and inane regulations inappropriately shifts the question to ‘why not?’ before an answer to ‘why?’ was ever properly articulated. The burden of proof is upon the venal politicians of Missouri, who supported the moronic waiting period bill, to show an imminent need for placing this burden upon women who share our beliefs.

We shall seek to defend our exemptions in court if they are not respected. After decades of attempting to define “religious liberty” in terms of combatting rational family planning, it’s time that the conservative religious right learns that religious liberty works the other way, too.

Those wishing to contribute to The Satanic Temple’s legal fund to defend religious reproductive rights may do so here: The Satanic Temple Reproductive Rights Campaign

Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by Ojibwa
Last week in Texas, a Republican lawmaker proposed an amendment so outrageous, that even some of his own GOP colleagues were repulsed. Andrea Grimes, with RH Reality, reports:
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) put forward an amendment that would make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks, even if a fetus “has a severe and irreversible abnormality,” effectively forcing families with wanted, but unsustainable pregnancies to carry to term at the behest of the state and against the advice of their doctors or their own wishes.
What would cause a lawmaker to want the government to inflict more emotional pain onto an already grieving family, in addition to adding a major health risk to the mother? Does he not realize a woman can easily die of sepsis by carrying a deceased or nonviable fetus?
Schaefer said that suffering is “part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”
Oh, for fucksake! Where do these people come from? More importantly, how do they hide their vile and odious ignorance long enough to get elected?

Democratic Representative, Jessica Farrar of Houston, is quoted as saying this is the most misogynistic piece of legislation she's seen during her 21 years in office. Matt Schaefer’s amendment actually passed, but he removed it for full committee review after Trey Martinez Fischer, the House Democrat from San Antonio filed a legislative point of order.

The late author, humorist and commentator, Molly Ivins, sums up late term abortion, perfectly, in an excellent video. Here is an excerpt.

"I almost get the impression that somebody thinks women don't have no moral sense at all. No woman who is seven months pregnant, ever waddles past an abortion clinic and says, 'Darn, I knew there was something I've been meaning to get around to.'

This is ridiculous. You have those late-term abortions, because either the mother is going to die, the child is going to die, or both are going to die."

There seems to be a nonstop effort by Republican lawmakers to control women/their bodies - often in the name of God. Thankfully, there is also a nonstop effort by a much larger voice in this country - the people who refuse to let women go back to illegal, back alley, abortion butchery. This battle will most likely not end in our lifetimes, or in our children's lifetimes. But we will stay unified, and we will never give up.

Here are some of the pro-choice organizations and social media groups to visit/support:

Planned Parenthood
Emily's List
NARAL/Pro-Choice America
4000 Years For Choice
Abigail Adams Brigade
Fight Laws Against Women
Pro-Choice Liberals
The Guttmacher Institute (an excellent source of current reproductive rights legislation.)
You can share your thoughts with this GOP extremist on his Facebook page, where he is seen buddying up with other anti-choice misogynists like former Republican Governor Rick Perry and Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Special thanks to Anne Burks.

Note: After careful thought and asking friends I respect (including kossack jplanner), I am removing the word 'deceased' from the title and using 'nonviable.' (If you share the story on Facebook, the change may not appear, given the amount of FB 'likes' the story has garnered.) I still believe, that Matt Schaefer's amendment can be construed to apply to deceased fetuses, as it does not clarify or exclude the term, and the exclusion could  be used against women. I also believe a 'braindead' fetus (considered 'nonviable') is a deceased fetus,' regardless of a heartbeat. So the title change is a compromise. Insulting comments, to the point of being slanderous/libelous are uncalled in our community, and it was a shame to see them made by several folks. Thankfully, it is not common, as kindness and civility prevail here at Daily Kos. Thank you for the incredible support, and apologies for any misunderstandings.


Reposted from Eyesbright by Ojibwa

I'm so outraged as I'm writing this that I'm going to have to be extra careful about typos, etc.

Republicans in Congress have passed a bill that would make it perfectly legal for your boss to fire you for using birth control - but only if you're a woman!

They'd never be able to pass this if it were a federal law (at least, as of now) but this piece of Republican demagoguery is for the District of Columbia (aka Washington, DC), the only area of the continental United States that has no vote in congress.  

May 1, 2015:  Extreme politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution that lets DC bosses discriminate against any employee for her reproductive health choices. If the resolution becomes law, it would effectively overturn RHNDA, the DC bill that would have protected employees in the city from such discrimination.

First, the DC Home Rule Act sets up a pretty complicated process for how a bill becomes a law in Washington, DC. Congress reviews all legislation passed by the democratically elected DC Council before it can become law, and if members of Congress decide they don't like what they see, things can get a little messy.

Oh, but wait - it's not just birth control.  Your boss could also fire you for using in vitro fertilization.

I feel like I've awakened in a time warp, back to the year 1850 (or maybe 1750).  It's probably better for my blood pressure to just let these two articles tell the rest of this incredible but real, horrendously outrageous tale.  But first, this definition for a relatively newly coined word in the War on Women:
Gynotician:  A politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women's health care decisions.  

Focus on birth control:
GOP Politicians in Congress Attack DC Home Rule and Women's Reproductive Rights

Broader focus, including in vitro fertilization, written by someone who was there when the vote was taken (debate on the House floor didn't even begin until after 9PM Thursday night and note-taking was not allowed):
Hobby Lobby on Steroids – House Votes To Overturn DC Law So Employers Can Fire Women For Using Birth Control

Update:  President Obama stated that he will veto this measure if it reaches his desk.  Instead, no thanks to our Republican congresscritters, it died in the Senate.  This was the first time in 24 years that Congress had attempted to block a D.C. law from taking effect and the fact that they chose this particular law tells much about Republican priorities.

Reposted from The Book Bear by The Book Bear
Last year, FitMania Boot Camp Specialists launched their first attempt at the world’s BIGGEST boot camp. Over 300 people got their sweat on for 45 minutes, felt great, and helped foster a community where individuals thrive in safe, healthy relationships.

In doing so, they raised over $6000 for the Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise, ID. The WCA offers “Safety, healing and freedom from domestic abuse and sexual assault.”

Learn more about the WCA and this event.  See:
Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by Leslie Salzillo Editor's Note: "During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, [who were] all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy." -former President Jimmy Carter. Story: -- Leslie Salzillo
For most of his life, Jimmy Carter has been an advocate for human rights. In 1982, one year after leaving the Oval Office, the former US President and his wife Rosalynn Carter, founded the Carter Center, dedicated to advancing peace and health worldwide. Still an activist at 90, Carter has authored 28 books, including a new book in 2014 called, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.

Over the years, Jimmy Carter, a devout Christian, has become a very strong proponent of women's rights, to a point where he has spoken out against the falsehoods and extremism we see within the 'religion' of Christianity today. In 2009, he penned an open letter, severing ties with the mega SBC/Southern Baptist Convention, after being a member of the Convention for 60 years. Carter said the decision was difficult and painful, yet 'unavoidable,' after the Convention leaders chose to take bible verses out of context and claim 'Eve' was responsible to for 'original sin,' and thus all women must be subservient to men. In Carter's aforementioned open letter, he expands on his reasons and concerns:

This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us.

Carter states how the subjugation of women was not always a part of Christianity.  
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

In his letter, Carter discusses the independent group of global leaders to which he belongs, called The Elders. Founded by the late Nelson Mandela, the members have come together on this issue and collectively published this statement to all religious leaders around the world:"The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable." This discrimination can and must end says Carter. He believes it's within our power:
The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
Thank you, Mr. Carter, not only for the work you do for the sake of our daughters, our granddaughters, and their daughters, but also for our sons, grandsons, and the whole of humanity. Thank you, to you and Rosalynn for creating The Carter Center. And thank you for living by example. You are a good and true man, and this world is a better place by your presence.
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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 08:16 PM PDT

Pro-choice without exceptions

by CarisDaughter

Reposted from CarisDaughter by Ojibwa

My mom was a hippie activist feminist. The sort who communed nude with nature, and bought her 6 year old shirts with that wonderful quote about fish needing a bicycle. Part of that was being very pro-choice. She firmly embraced the idea that women should be in control of their own bodies.

She explained things in extremes, because every avalanche starts with pebble, every flood starts with a drop of rain. The small things, the things you let go by because they seem like no big deal add up.

I'm pro-choice for my daughter, just like mom was pro-choice for me. We made our choices, to have our children. Now I want them to have the same choices my mother and countless other people like her made sure that I had. Choice is part of freedom, it can't be separated from a woman's basic right to pursue her own happiness and create her own destiny.

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Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 09:28 AM PDT

Being A Strong Woman

by michelewln

Reposted from Street Prophets by Ojibwa

I grew up in an era where women were supposed to be weak and submissive and their highest goal was to be married with lots of children. Reality and I disagreed on that goal. I was a tomboy and climbed trees, threw footballs with my Dad, ran, developed a killer volleyball serve, and generally did the stuff boys were supposed to do. I was independent and strong before it was chic to do so. I was a liberated lady well before the Women's Lib movement started.

I learned early that I needed to be the strong one in my family. I was the only girl with four boys. I was the second child which meant I was expected to be the little mother to the three youngest. Plus I was expected to be the one to take care of my older brother who was the sensitive one. A lot of expectations were dumped on my shoulders.

We now have a serious female candidate for President. Follow me below the orange fleur de Kos for some reflections on what it means to be a strong woman.

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