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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The New Old Misogyny

I might as well admit it upfront: I am outraged. And, angry.

You may have heard that yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 240-184 to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, on the argument that taxpayer money shouldn't pay for abortions (the Hyde Amendment put a stop to that in the mid 1970s), but on the conviction that taxpayer money should not go to organizations that provide abortion services, regardless of what else they might do.

This would mean the end of federal support for an organization that each year provides more than 800,000 women with breast exams, more than 4 million Americans with testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and 2.5 million people with contraception - which, in case you, like Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who sponsored the bill, failed Reproduction 101 - is the stuff that prevents unintended pregnancy, and thus abortion, to begin with.

I know. I know. The bill will most likely stall in the Senate and, if it does find its way to Obama's desk, will never be signed into law. In that way, the vote is "symbolic" - much like the like the repeal of the Health Care Reform Act which they also passed a few weeks ago. Or, the reading of the ENTIRE Constitution of the United States which they read on the opening day of Congress.

Still, I'm outraged. And, angry.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican had taken to the floor to read aloud a description of a second-trimester abortion procedure he'd found in a book. You might remember that Smith is the "genius" behind another bill that would limit federal funding only for abortions that were the result of "forcible rape", leading one to ask for a definition of "non-forcible rape".

But, I digress.

In response, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California described a second-trimester abortion procedure she'd had in her life. Speier told of a procedure she'd had at 17 weeks pregnant, when something went wrong with her pregnancy. "For you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous," Speier said, directing her comments at Smith.

She also said, "The last time I checked, abortions were legal in this country ... I would suggest to you that it would serve us all very well if we moved on with this process and started focusing on creating jobs for the Americans who desperately want them."

Here is Rep. Speier's full statement

Well, I suggest to you that the present majority of the House can't get off the dime, as it were, and work on creating new jobs or work on reducing the deficit because they are weighed down by the "new old misogyny".

Make no mistake. This is an ancient evil. It's been around since The Garden. Indeed, I believe it to be the Original Sin. And, guess what?

It's baaaaaak........

If you had any doubt in your mind, MoveOn.Org has provided a list they call "Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP's War on Women", which includes:
1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape ("forcible" vs. "non-forcible"). After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. Shocker.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).
Did I mention that I'm outraged? And, angry. Yes, well then you'll excuse me if I don't think it's hyperbole to say that this legislative agenda is prima facia evidence of the 'forcible rape' of justice for women.

Are you feeling outraged yet? How about some good old fashioned anger? Yes?


Here's one thing you can do. Head over to and sign their petition. You'll find it here.

That's one step. It's a first and it's important. But, there's more.

You can call and/or write your Representative and Senator. Personally. Let them know what you think. You voted for them - or not. Either way, let them know that they represent you, too. And, your voice - and your vote - matters.

Me? I'm thinking we need a Million Woman March on Washington. It would be an opportunity for women to show the boys and girls in The House that we know. We see. And, we expect them to "respect the dignity of every human being" - and that includes women.

Yes. I'm angry. Here's what I know about anger. It's always a secondary emotion. It's a response to the fact that something Very Important to you has been insulted and assaulted or is being compromised.

I also know that anger, turned inward, leads to depression. And depression can lead to complacency. And complacency allows injustice to flourish.

Anger can also be healthy. Indeed, there is biblical precedence for holy, righteous indignation. As Abraham Heschel once said, “Patience, a quality of holiness, may be sloth in the soul when associated with the lack of righteous indignation.”

Anger can be transformed into passion. And, passion is a vehicle of justice.

Here's what I know about outrage. If you look around and see what's going on, and you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention.

Remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892–1984)
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pay attention.

The new old misogyny is on the rise.

And, it's coming soon to a legislative session, Planned Parenthood Center, low income preschool, Head Start Program and low income Health Clinic near you.

What are YOU going to do about it?


Ahab said...

I'll be writing to my senators, urging them to reject this ridiculous measure when it arrives in the Senate.

PseudoPiskie said...

Kinda makes it hard to follow Jesus these days. Lotsa folks making it very difficult to love all Godde's children.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ahab - Thank you. Please encourage others to do the same.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Pseudo - Actually, this is the stuff we've been missing in Christianity. This is the stuff Jesus gave his life for. We've deluded ourselves into thinking that just going to church on Sunday makes you a Christian. As the old saying goes, that doesn't make anyone a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car. It ain't easy. But, it's right.

Anonymous said...

Jesus gave His life so that Planned Parenthood would have access to the federal dole?

Certainly an interesting new twist in soteriology.


Malinda said...

The rhetoric is unbelievable - I sent a check to Planned Parenthood and will be e-mailing our senators. And yes, if the cat has kittens in the oven it sure don't make them biscuits.

susankay said...

I had written to "my" representative, albeit with little hope. I was right. He is/has been opposed to public education because Mommy should be home-schooling the kids.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Fr. Michael - Okay, I'll just come right out and ask it b/c I know many people are thinking it: Have you been in the communion wine again? Whatever are you talking about, man?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

SK - Perhaps she's a member of Fr. Michael's church?

Bex said...

FrMichael is talking about being a Republican teahadist, putting a pseudo religious gloss on ignorance, selfishness and total lack of concern for anything but his ideology.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, for Pete's sake! Why didn't he just say that? I thought he had been a little heavy-handed with the communion wine. I wondered how it came to be that we suddenly started talking about the Atonement - which is Really Important with those who hang around the fringes of one end of the political spectrum.

it's margaret said...

I'll meet you in DC.

And Bex --teahadist! That's a winner! Thanks!

JCF said...

Jesus gave His life so that Planned Parenthood would have access to the federal dole?

If Jesus faced his Passion on the Earth *today*, FrMichael, it's quite possible that IS how he would die!

[After all, it's how George Tiller gave *his* life, while IN the Church of Jesus Christ at the time. Holy George, pray for us!]

Petition signed. I demonstrated outside of my anti-choice Congressman's office last week over this. The anti-choice counter-demonstrators (yes, they were there only because it had been announced WE would be there) were terrifying (they took my picture, saying "Look for yourself on Facebook!"). But as they shook their rosary beads at me, I carried mine, for security.

Sign me, "Prayerfully Pro-Choice, in Jesus' Name"

MadPriest said...

I learn new things every day about the USA. Up to now I had assumed that women could join the Republican Party. Mind you, you pointing out that they can't explains Sarah Palin.

In England, the education and health of children are male concerns, as well, not just the concern of women.

You know, I think these vile acts by part of your legislature are acts of hatred against humanity. A million people march would, therefore, be more appropriate.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jonathan - I appreciate your perspective, but as you look over the MoveOn.Org list, it is clearly women who are being targeted. Yes, of course, there are men who need education and health care. But in this country, anyway, it is women and children who are most deeply affected by poverty. And yes, of course, there are women who are Republicans who are members of the Tea Party Movement. Pray for them.

Bex said...

Thanks for the compliment, Margaret. I borrowed the term, but I do wish I'd coined it myself.

MadPriest said...

Accusing the Republicans of being misogynists is like accusing a fox of having something against rabbits. Which doesn't help the chickens in the slightest.

Sometimes I think they invented the concept of divide and rule with you in mind, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Madpriest - Of course you do, Jonathan.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Fr. Michael and "Anonymous" - I must say that it was an absolute delight to hit "delete" on your last two comments.

Please read the above "Comment Code of Conduct" before you leave any further messages.

Further abuses of the guidelines will result in being blocked from making further comments.

Thank you and God Bless.

JCF said...

If I incited trouble your (blog's) direction, Elizabeth, I apologize.

I feel like My Last Nerve has been "got on", but that doesn't mean I have to vent at YOUR place! :-X

IT said...

Efforts to make stopping an abortion a "justifiable homicide" have now spread from SD to Iowa and Nebraska.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - Not to worry, my dear. These things happen in conversation. Sometimes, people from the fringe venture forth and try to drag us out there with them. It's cold out there in the shadows. We just have to remind them about manners, is all.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

IT - I know. It's like a madness has swept parts of this country, isn't it? I have faith in the inherent goodness and intelligence of the American people. We will prevail. We just have to get off our complacent duffs and let people know where the lines of decency are in this country.