Skip to main content

Today in America, more than one-third of teens say that when they began having sex, they had not had any formal instruction about contraception. Is this really the time for a Republican Party platform denouncing comprehensive sex education?

Some Americans don’t even seem to have had any sex education by the time they’re elected to Congress. Like Todd Akin.

That is the conclusion of Nicholas Kristof's Sunday New York Times column, titled Scaring the Voters in the Middle.

I strongly urge people to read it and pass it on.

It may seem odd to some that Kristof, a two-time Pultizer winner, is taking on this issue.  It should not.  He often writes about women's issues - women forced into brothels, women abused in war settings, etc.  He and his wife Sheryl WuDunn, with whom he shared his first Pulitzer, co-authored a book titled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, from which has grown a a movement, which includes a film which will be broadcast on PBS in October.

The ability of women to control their reproductive cycle is essential to freeing them from oppression, and to their full inclusion economically and in society as a whole.  That is why progressives favor abortions rights, access to birth control and sex education.

It may be why those on the other side of the aisle do not, even if they can trot out their examples of women who espouse their political agenda.  One might note that in talking about women at the convention the emphasis was on mothers, as if that was the primary purpose for women's existence.  

Let me return to Kristof's column.  He lays out the prohibitions on rape in current US government policy

- women raped in the military cannot get abortions through Tricare military health insurance
- Peace Corps volunteers who get pregnant cannot use government funds to terminate the pregnancy even if their lives or health are in jeopardy
- aid organizations cannot use US funds to help women who have been gang-raped in situations Darfur, Sudan and the Congo  (which are all places about which Kristof has written)

There is more.

Kristof cites statistics from the Guttmacher Institute that

55 percent of American women of reproductive age now live in one of the 26 states deemed “hostile to abortion rights.”
Most Americans do not fit perfectly into “pro-choice” or “pro-life” camps. Polls show that about one-fifth want abortion to be legal in all situations, and another one-fifth want abortion to be illegal always. The majority fall somewhere between, and these voters are the ones who decide elections.
And while Republican might have touched a chord on issues like late-term"partialbirth" abortions, waiting periods and parental consent, which seem to be favored by 2/3 of Americans,  
But change the situation, and people are more in favor of abortion rights. Four out of five Americans believe that a woman should be able to get an abortion if her health is endangered, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape.
Abortion rights are an issue on which a majority of voters favor Democratic positions.  Of greater importance, it is an issue addressing important ethical matters and health rights for women.  The other side seeks to hide behind religion to suppress rights which somehow seem to offend some of them, even to the point of criminalizing some forms of birth control and effectively making illegal forms of in vitro fertilization that were used to produce several of the Romney grandchildren.

There are many issues on which the Republican platform is not only flat out wrong, but scary, out of touch with most Americans, implying the imposition of a theocracy.

We should not be afraid to challenge them directly.

We should hold Republicans feet to the fire over their platform - one for which their Vice Presidential nominee has demonstrated his total support by his past legislative action, and to which their Presidential candidate has acquiesced at various times in order to pander for votes in the primary process.

Kristof, asking how if Romney cannot clearly express his own position on abortion we are supposed to support it, points out that even most evangelicals think the Republican platform is too extreme, citing words from notable evangelical leader Richard Ciszek, who said of Rep. Todd Akin's views (to which we know Rep. Paul Ryan agrees)

“They also don’t reflect the theological and ethical, not to mention scientific, view of evangelical leaders, who understand the rationale for exceptions: God’s grace and mercy.
Read the Kristof.

Pass it on.

And Democratic candidates everywhere should be making a major issue of this.

What the Republican platform seeks to do is deprive American women of liberty because some, mainly White men, wish to impose their theological views on the rest of us, even though those views are more extreme than even most of their own ideological base, a base which is a distinct minority of the electorate.

It is a winning electoral strategy to oppose this part of the Republican agenda.

Of greater importance, it is a moral imperative to vociferously oppose it.

Nicholas Kristof's column provides ammunition useful in the debate.

Read it.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 04:59:00 AM PDT

  •  Errata (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    woemn's -> women's

    quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

    by golem on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 06:42:30 AM PDT

  •  Abortion and Contraception (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, radarlady, luckylizard, Lujane

    The Republicans are calling them "protecting life" and "religious liberty".  They couldn't get voters to buy into the "women care about economic issues, not abortion and contraception" line, so they have dropped back to dog whistles for this as well as for race.

    It requires magical thinking to believe that women who are "really" raped don't get pregnant and that a 120 lb. woman can summon up superhuman strength to avoid being raped by a 180 lb. man.  Including the aspirin between the knees birth control method, forced birthers need to believe these lies to avoid acknowleging how common sexual trauma and unwanted pregnancy really are.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 07:40:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm beginning to think that conservative (5+ / 0-)

    voters look on the law as hortatory or advisory -- like speed limit or caution signs. They don't have to be obeyed. So, of course, they don't worry about them.
    If some of the people interviewed by the Daily Show were representative, then "personal responsibility" means each person can decide for him or herself which laws are to be obeyed.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 07:54:16 AM PDT

  •  If you haven't read "Half the Sky' do it soon! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, Lujane

    I've worked as a tutor to girls in an acute care Psyc Hospital. Patients from 6 years old to 13 years old, in my department, were there in most instances because of sexual abuse by their father, step-father, Mom's boyfriend or grandfather's treatment of them. The idea that these men should have no repercussions from their crimes because the girl "asked for it", as Republicans want to push, is so abhorrent that it makes my skin crawl.

    Sexual abuse of children and women is real. Blaming the victim or minimizing the long-tern affect is, indeed, cruel and unusal punishement.  

    •  Crawly skin.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have this thing that happens when I'm around a sexual abuser of kids.  I cannot identify it precisely, though "makes my skin crawl" is close.  Although I don't always get that feeling when around an abuser, I have yet to be wrong when I do get it.  Unfortunately, it's not evidence, and only afterward am I proven right.  :-(

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 01:57:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Internal contradiction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    And while Republican might have touched a chord on issues like late-term"partialbirth" abortions, waiting periods and parental consent, which seem to be favored by 2/3 of Americans,  

    Abortion rights are an issue on which a majority of voters favor Democratic positions.

    Whether you are for or against abortion, you do realize that  abortion in the cases of rape,incest, or health of the mother is an extremely small share of overall abortions, estimates are at 1 to 2 percent.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site