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President Obama stands with Planned Parenthood and against the Republican war on women
 
For you, and for most Americans, protecting women's health is a mission that stands above politics. And yet, over the past year, you've had to stand up to politicians who want to deny millions of women the care they rely on, and inject themselves into decisions that are best made between a woman and her doctor.

Let's be clear here: Women are not an interest group.

They're mothers, and daughters, and sisters, and wives. They're half of this country. They're perfectly capable of making their own choices about their health.

So we're grateful that, through it all, you never forgot who you're fighting for: The woman with a new lease on life because a mammogram caught her cancer in time; the woman who can sleep easier at night because of a cervical cancer screening; the woman who is able to choose when to start a family, because she could afford contraception.

So when some professional politicians casually say that they'll "get rid of" Planned Parenthood, don't forget what they're really talking about: Eliminating the funding for preventive care that millions of women rely on, and leaving them to fend for themselves.

That's why, last year, when Republicans in Congress threatened to shut down the government unless we stopped funding Planned Parenthood, I had a simple answer: No.

But we know this debate is far from over. We must continue to send the message loud and clear: If you truly value families, you shouldn't play politics with a woman's health.

It's why I know that Planned Parenthood will continue providing care, no matter what. I know you'll never stop fighting to protect the healthcare and the choices that America's women deserve.

As long as I have the privilege of being your president, neither will I. Thanks.

There really isn't much to add, is there? The message from Republicans could not be clearer: they will continue to wage their War on Women as long as they are in power. They will stand with misogynistic scum like Rush Limbaugh; they will block good, pro-woman legislation like the Violence Against Women Act; and they will try to criminalize our basic health care.

Just this week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), which would imprison doctors for up to a year for the "crime" of performing "an abortion on an out-of-state minor that is not accompanied by a parent." The bill contains no exceptions for rape or incest, which means that if a minor is raped and impregnated by her father, and she lives in a state in which there are no abortion providers, it would be a crime for, say, her grandmother to take her out of state to obtain an abortion.

The president is right. Women are not an interest group; we are the majority. And we must use our power to fight back and win. We need to elect more, better women to government so that we have a voice in the decisions made about our rights. We need to pass good laws that protect and expand those rights. And we need to continue to fight against Republican leaders like Rush Limbaugh, and the elected officials who support him, whose anti-woman rhetoric still drives political discourse and decision-making in this country.

We are the majority. We have the power. Let's use it.

Here are your marching orders for the week:

 

This week’s good, bad and ugly below the fold.

  • Not breaking: birth control is good for the economy:
    A new study from the University of Michigan finds that access to birth control correlates with increased wages for women. Increased spending power for women means an economic boost for America.
  • Birth control for dudes.
  • You'll never guess which Republican—that's right, Republicansaid this:
    The federal government, along with many state governments, has taken steps to accelerate family-planning activities in the United States, but we need to do more. We have a clear precedent: When the Salk vaccine was discovered, large-scale programs were undertaken to distribute it. I see no reason why similar programs of education and family-planning assistance—all on a voluntary basis—should not be instituted in the United States on a massive scope. It is imperative that we do so: not only to fight poverty at its roots, not only to cut down on our welfare costs, but also to eliminate the needless suffering of unwanted children and overburdened parents.
  • Of course, Republicans today think the federal government shouldn't concern itself with silly little things like family planning. Hey, you want birth control? Just Google it.
  • Cry me a river:
    On Friday, Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker sent what was most assuredly a heartfelt letter to Congress, apologizing for all the boo-boos the organization made during its very public discontinuation of Planned Parenthood funding and asking representatives, now that the organization's contrite and everything, if they wouldn't mind supporting funding for an early breast cancer detection program.
  • Aren't Republicans supposed to be opposed to unfunded mandates?
    The Virginia state Senate has voted 20-19 to defeat a $3.2 million budget amendment to cover the costs of some abortion ultrasounds over the two years beginning July 1.

    As of July 1 a woman will be required to undergo an ultrasound in order to get an abortion, under legislation signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

  • Klassy:
    Montana GOP state Rep. Krayton Kerns is taking criticism for comments he made earlier this month comparing Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke to a studding English bulldog named "John-Boy." Yes, really.
  • But, via lisakerr, this email from Arizona State Rep. Jack Harper to a constituent is even klassier:
    The only “laughing stock” in Arizona is the Democratic Party that has lost seats in the state legislature for five consecutive election cycles. Maybe you should change your baby-killer message. Why don’t you move back to China where your “party” controls the message by force.
  • Some tentative good news:
    An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday struck down a state law requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them and to listen to a detailed description of the fetus before the procedure.
    So why is this good news tentative at best? Because the decision was made by a district court judge, and it will almost certainly be appealed. And as we saw in Texas, with its similar law, the ruling by the district judge there was overturned by a higher court, and the law was implemented. So we don't yet know the ultimate fate of this law in Oklahoma. But at least women in Oklahoma are safe—for now.
  • Mitt Romney's shills say Republicans can win the women's vote in November, once the little ladies understand Mitt's "message." Suuuuuuuuuuuuure.
  • P.S.: Republicans don't really have a message for women voters. Other than, you know, "We're going to get rid of your health care, now shut up and stop complaining."
  • Centerfold Sen. Scott Brown says he's learned super important stuff about, you know, women and stuff. Like how to cook. You know what to do: Contribute $5 to Elizabeth Warren on Orange to Blue.
  • Ugh:
    As activists with Tea Party Patriots and Americans for Prosperity rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court in opposition to the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, another slice of the conservative movement was staking its own claim to the historic day. Anti-choice activist Lila Rose, founder of Live Action and best known for her deceptive undercover videos intended to bring down Planned Parenthood, declared Obamacare “our generation’s Roe v. Wade case.”

    Even as liberals worry that the justices will strike down healthcare reform, conservatives like Rose are preparing to keep up the fight in case the Court upholds it. If Obamacare stands, she says activists will take to the streets, the courts, the voting booth and the halls of Congress much in the way they have fought legal abortion.

    Guess that means if the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, we'll see "pro-lifers" and teabaggers bombing health clinics and gunning down doctors. You know, for freedom.
  • Meanwhile, Kansas and Missouri are both trying to pass laws to "protect" health care providers from having to provide health care.
  • Remember the story of the forced birthers who were harassing a little girl at her school because her father owns the building from which an abortion clinic in Maryland operates? As Meteor Blades reported, her father is fighting back:
    In sterling example of adding offense to defense, abortion clinic landlord Steve Stave created Voices for Choice and turned the tables on forced birthers who had targeted him because he leases to a clinic. While he strongly supports their First Amendment rights and for years did nothing when they protested in front of the clinic once run by his physician father, he decided to take action when they showed up with their aborted fetus signs at his daughter's middle school and began making harassing phone calls to his home.

    So he asked a few friends if they would be willing to make return calls to the harassers. They were, and soon, more than a thousand people were dialing the callers, politely telling them that he would not be terminating the clinic's lease.

  • When Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is going on Bill O'Reilly's TV show to whine that the women's health care violates not only religious freedom but "American enterprise," it's time to admit that the bishops are just another arm of the Republican Party.
  • This is how we fight back and win:
    Activists in other states that have successfully beat back anti-reproductive rights laws have noticed a similar pattern: A legislator says something terrible and condescending; women use social media to stoke nationwide outrage about the comment; and the legislators, cowed by the unexpected attention, back down.
    They want to attack us? Let's put them on the defensive. Because it's working:
    In the past two weeks, four conservative state legislatures -- in Tennessee, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Arizona -- have backed off of controversial anti-abortion or anti-contraception bills after facing significant public backlash over the proposals. Women who previously weren't as politically active in those states have come out of the woodwork to protest, women lawmakers have introduced "message amendments" that target men's health, and legislators are personally hearing from angry women through Facebook posts, emails and phone calls to a noticeably higher degree than previous years.

    "I would say there's some cautious optimism," said Elizabeth Nash, an expert on state policy for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy research organization. "I do think the attention that has been paid to all of these restrictions is beginning to have an impact."

Now go forth, sluts, and raise hell.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Sluts, Pro Choice, and Abortion.

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