March 7th was “Crossover Day” for the Georgia General Assembly, a day when all bills presented must pass the House and the Senate before midnight. (In other words, an avalanche of anti-American GOP bills in the 11th hour.)
The Atlanta Progressive News blog captures the day’s roundup of events best:
A number of regressive and oppressive measures related to abortion, charter schools, civil disobedience, and drug testing of welfare recipients passed either the Senate or House.Oh, and then there’s that little thing about the continued war on women (more…)
Meanwhile, progressive proposals related to ballot access and solar power failed.
‘The Senate has voted to allow eighteen year-olds to carry guns, has damaged women's health by limiting access to sometime necessary medical procedures [abortions], will require the most needy to pay for drug testing to receive food for their children, and next threatens to subvert the First Amendment,’ State Sen. Steve Thomspon (D-Marietta) said.
The kicker came when the Republicans passed a set of bills: One that forbids the state paying for women's birth control, even in cases of rape and incest and the amendment of a 1999 law that stated religious institutes were not exempt from covering contraception. In a 38-15 vote, the GOP allowed all religious-affiliated institutions to deny women contraception.
To this, eight brave Democratic females stood up and walked out of the session in a clear revolt to the two bills and their Republican signers. A few weeks ago in response to HB 954, GA Representative Yasmin Neal beautifully authored a counter bill that would forbid men from seeking vasectomies, saying,
'Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies.'
(Georgia has a long, proud list of strong Democratic female leaders. The Democrats in Washington sure could use a lesson in how to conduct business in Washington and at home.)
Still, Georgia Rep. Joshua McKoon insists it is the religious in this country who are being persecuted:
‘I would say that the war that’s being waged is on religious minority in this country that has strong beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment.’And with that, I am completely done with being the GOP’s political pawn.
The following is the brief letter I wrote to Mr. McKoon. I want answers.
Dear Senator McKoon,p.s.
When you said, “I would say that the war that’s being waged is on religious minority in this country that has strong beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment,” you used sympathetic language for a technical fact that religious zealots are indeed a minority in this country. You know full well religion and religious people as a whole in this country are in no way lacking in the rights department, nor is a war being waged upon them. Tax-free lands, radio stations, television stations, government-funded charities, religious lobbyists, advisors, and top influence in government matters does NOT constitute desparity to the religious of the United States. If you truly believed in the First Amendment for a religion free of government, you would insist churches release the millions in tax-free money the government gives to religious organizations every year. Your excuses are tiring and transparent, to say the very least. Aside this, you were elected to represent the secular Constitution, not the bible, so do your job.
You do not own the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. We are not a stupid people. We know we pay entirely for your health care and your benefits. We know you give yourselves uncontested raises every year. We know the Republicans have been pouring a tsunami of illegal, outdated, and desperate laws upon the American people these last two years and it is absolutely unacceptable. The GOP obviously has NO plans to repair the economy or to create jobs but does a fine job deflecting with loud and outrageous social wedge issues. If you state otherwise, you are flat out lying.
I do not want some form letter stating the stock views of the GOP party. Be a representative and write me back in your own words. Tell me why anyone with half a brain should support a party that openly hates them, their sisters, wives, grandmothers, friends, and coworkers?
Tell me, Mr. McKoon, exactly how redefining rape or Bobby Franklin's "Prenatal Murder" bill or forced ultrasounds or the "Personhood Bill" or SB460 or the "Fetal Pain" bill or the lies and attacks against Planned Parenthood or the "Heartbeat Bill" or giving doctors the right, without recourse, not to tell a woman of prenatal dangers or cutting funding to health care clinics does NOT constitute a direct, all out war on women.
(I just added this in to reiterate my disgust) ;)
I am ready to fight back 1000% with my voice and my vote to put a stop to the GOP’s tyranny. If you are ready, get to work. With all of the stunts the GOP is pulling and will pull, there is not a moment we should remain silent.
You, too, may write Senator Joshua McKoon at: firstname.lastname@example.org … one would think he should have a government address, yes?
HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY! Today and every day.