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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

War on Women

Oh, I know what you're thinking.

It's just a little hyperbole from 'what's left of the Left'.

An over-reaction by women who know....well....'emotional'.

The so-called 'War on Women' is a bit of an overstatement, isn't it?

Why, no, actually. No, it isn't.

Incidences of domestic violence are on the rise all over the world. Human trafficking - especially of women in the sex trade - goes on unabated. Girl children do not receive the same education as boy children in many countries around the globe.

And here, in this country, two powerful forces have combined to restrict and erode the Reproductive Rights of Women: The Republican Party and The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Over the past two years the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has launched one of the most extreme assaults on women's choice the U.S. has seen in decades.

Republicans voted twice to slash federal family planning funds for low-income women, moved to prevent women from using their own money to buy insurance plans that cover abortion, introduced legislation that would force women to have ultrasounds before receiving an abortion and, most recently, passed a bill that will allow hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions for women with life-threatening pregnancy complications.

But the erosion of women's rights didn't begin with the GOP takeover. President Barack Obama's health care reform law contained some of the most restrictive abortion language seen in decades.

While the bishops have always been vocal on the issue of choice, they have emerged since the 2009 health care reform debate as one of the most powerful anti-abortion advocates on Capitol Hill.

Now, they are stepping up their attack on women's choice with a new, high-intensity campaign aimed at the latest front in the national anti-abortion battle: birth control. There is growing concern that they might have just enough sway over lawmakers to succeed.

I share that deep concern which is why I am delighted to let you know about my recent election to the National Board of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) for a three-year term.

RCRC is a coalition of religious leaders - lay and ordained - representing over 40 denominations and faith groups. I will join John Vanderstar, who serves on the Strategic Planning Committee and has represented the Episcopal Women's Caucus for many years on that board, as the only two Episcopalians on the Board.

For the past four years, I have served as national convener of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus and past president of the New Jersey chapter of RCRC. I have participated in and coordinated training sessions for “A Peaceful Presence” at several outpatient clinics in Northern New Jersey and participated in the state chapter’s lobbying efforts in Trenton and Washington, D.C.

Episcopal News Service ran a story about my election. You can find it here.

In it, I am quoted as saying,
“I believe that the ‘war on women’ is real. Reproductive rights — from education to prevention and early intervention — are being eroded by the very people who say they believe in God and Jesus as well as ‘smaller government,’” Kaeton said via e-mail. “The work and voices of RCRC have never been more important. I am excited and honored to join this stellar board. My sleeves are rolled up, and my running shoes are on.”
I'm writing this as fair warning. Not only will you be hearing more about this important issue of growing concern, I will be enlisting your help to get the word out about the various marvelous programs being sponsored and coordinated by RCRC.

The War on Women is real. It's being waged in a legislative session - or Roman Catholic or Evangelical Church - near you.

I don't like the war-imagery either but we are fools if we don't arm ourselves with information and education. We must use the weapons of our hearts and minds and voices to work against this silent, stealth assault on women.

Go over to the RCRC web pages and check out where your denomination stands on Reproductive Rights. Learn how to be in touch with your law makers. Discover some of the wonderful educational programs that are available for your congregation.

Stay tuned for 'Messages from The Front' of the battle.

I'm going up to the front lines in DC.

I'm glad to know you've got my back.


Burl said...

Hyperbole?! Not in the least. The Republicans and their allies in the religious community will not be satisfied until all reforms of the 20th Century are undone. Thanks for being on the front lines. No one will be allowed to sit on the sidelines in this struggle.

Hutch said...

Go! Go! Go! And we do indeed have your back - running in the wind you create!

Wormwood's Doxy said...

The War on Women is, indeed, real. The Republicans may be waging it--but the Democrats are sitting silently by while it happens. Silence = complicity.

And I am right behind you, ma'am.


Ahab said...

That's fantastic! The RCRC has done good work in my region, and I'm delighted to read that you're joining their leadership. I look forward to future blog posts about the struggle for reproductive rights.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Burl - You got it. Absolutely no one will be allowed to sit on the sidelines in this struggle. Not anyone within the sound of my voice.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hutch - the only way I can do this is knowing that you are behind me.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Doxy - I think the thing that makes me angriest is the silence from Dems. I plan to visit a few of them when I'm in DC. I know I can count on you to be behind me b/c I'm often behind you, following your lead. Sisters do that for each other. I'm so grateful.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ahab - Stay tuned. Y'all might get tired of this real fast.

Jim said...

Count me as a foot soldier. I will be honored to do whatever you need I can do.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Jim. You can bet I'll be in touch.

Bonnie said...

I feel better knowing you're there. Who dares stand idle?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I share your concerns on this issue. As you most likely know in some states, like S.C. , a woman must have her husband's consent before an abortion is performed. With laws like this it is a wonder that any right minded woman would get married in that state.

The first time I crossed a picket line to hear the attorney that argued Roe v Wade talk I realized I knew more people on the otherside of this argument. Sad but true.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Bonnie, for your visit and your kind words. Come labor on.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maria - SC? I'm not surprised.

Turtle With an Ax said...

Why don't women decide to boycotte one horrifying state... if South Carolina is the worst, then I suggest all women leave the state.
Just move somewhere else, so that no women live there at all. It would be an amazing exodus movement. And I think straight women should refuse to have sex with men until the war is over. That's right, just stop doing it... stop negotiating with the men, just walk out if at all possible. A massive movement of women who never have sex with men would send a message. We need to stop working with men period, we need a solid women's movement that does things. Boycotts on bad company, walks out of the churches that are prevaricating forever the way Mary Daly did. Stop dealing with mushy mouth male liberals... hate 'em. And don't blame me I voted for Hilary! Geez, stop voting for men, that's a no brainer.

Turtle With an Ax said...

P.S. Impose curfews on men, so they are off the streets by 9:00 PM every night, Sundays included.
Get 'em off the streets! Bet that would do wonders for the crime rate, rape, attacks on women...
Why oh why oh why, after all this time do women not rise up and kick those stupid men to the curb, strikes, walk outs, sex refusal, walk out of S. Carolina... stop tipping men, stop giving men hard earned women's money, stop giving to male controlled institutions of any kind. Just stop the free labor, the volunteer work... all of that enabler stuff women do to keep the male machine running over all of us. Get tough women, there is a war, and men gloat over our weakness, gloat over their porn at us, gloat behind closed doors at those all male bishops gatherings.
And we can put a stop to all of it because we are the 51%.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, TW, you are very single-issue oriented and when you get focused on an issue, you become even more narrowly-focused.

It's amazing - when it's not deeply disturbing - to see the dynamic of targeting, stereotyping, isolation and exclusion based on the behaviors of SOME members of one demographic proposed to be perpetuated on ALL by one who has, herself, been stereotyped and marginalized.

Are you even aware that this is what you're doing? I suspect you are and are doing it just to get an effect.

It's not working.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, and BTW, Turtle Woman, there's a word for what you are saying. It's called: bigotry.

You can't fight bigotry with bigotry, my dear. It doesn't work. Never has. Never will.

Anonymous said...


There are ten states that have a requirement for spousal consent or notice: CO, FL, IL, KY, LA, ND, PA, RI, SC, UT). The Supreme Court struck down Pennsylvania's mandatory husband notice law in Planned Parenthood v.Casey.



Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maria - It's an absolute disgrace.