Category Archives: War on Women

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Phyllis Schafly, long time organizer and hater of woman, gay people and anyone that supported an agenda that smelled even slightly of favoring humanity, died Monday at 92.  As the Guardian puts on the tag-line:

“Lawyer, writer and campaigner was credited with almost single-handedly stopping the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.”

That is no understatement.  Armed with money from her many political endeavors from an exclusive estate in Fairview Heights, Illinois, (she liked to claim Alton as her hometown but Fairview Heights, the bluff community far above Alton was her actual area of residence) Schafly waged a blistering campaign of mis-information, outright lies and misogyny that would surprise even most men today.
There is no better way to capture the essence of the insanity and strangeness of Phyllis Schlafly that to read some of her quotes, the best of which were collected by Raw Story.

Also, we include for the purusal of the young folks who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Schlafly live, the next best thing; You Tube.  Here she speaks at the “Cleveland City Club” in 1982.  Throughout the 70’s the Equal Rights Amendment had gained steam and was quite a controversial topic at the time.  The issue and any hope of passing the ERA died with the election of ultra-conservative Republican Ronald Reagan for his first term, in 1979. In this video Schlafly starts out with her opposition to women serving in the military, the concept of “equal pay for equal work”  She also then goes into her classic tirade against the concept of feminism entirely, saying that the concept of having women working outside the home as mother and wife destroys society.  Note that she was booed upon the end of her speech and heckled during her speech.

Of course today these arguments seem frivolous.  Most reasonable people under the age of 70 and even the most unreasonable still think its silly to suppose that women are  not discriminated against in the workforce or anywhere else.

Ironically, Schlafly coined the term “gender free society” to describe feminists who at that time were advocating for equality for women.  She used many scare tactics to put fear in the minds of people about what might happen should the Equal Rights Amendment be passed, one of her favorites was to claim that women and men will have to share bathrooms.

Another noteworthy video is the old public radio television show from the 70’s, Firing Line, hosted by the laughably self important William F. Buckley who feigned an upper class accent and founded the neo-conservative/libertarian National Review.

Those of us who remember Phyllis Schlafly remember how the majority of the press never asked her the obvious question, if you feel that women should stay home and not live an independent life, then why aren’t you home now?  Schlafly, like most neo-conservatives was also a hard-core racist who in her last year came out of her witche’s den to endorse Donald Trump.

It must be noted that Schlafly had excellent communication skills.  Practiced and stubborn she was ready for the heckling and the critics and spoke clearly and without hesitation.  Most likely her stalwart determination in her ideas, no matter how ridiculous they seemed; damning women to a life of secondary citizenship and domestic servitude, while she pranced all over, living in the spotlight and eventually commanding good speaking fees from the right to endow them with her presence.  The lesson learned from her career: sometimes how you present the message is more important to the listener than the message itself.  She used the markers of successful tyrants; use half-truths and appeal to fear.

 

 

 

 

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Call Your Girlfriends in Wisconsin

and tell them if they already don’t know; Scott Walker hates women and doesn’t care about their health.  In a new move Walker has stated that he will sign a bill that bans abortions for any reason after 20 weeks.  The bill also changes the estimated time of gestation to “post-fertilization” thus imposing, as these bills always do, upon common medical practice.
pro life are men
Women in New Hampshire need to pay attention.  We have extremists in our midst at the state house and to assume they wouldn’t attempt to take this step in would not be prudent.  Its become practice now to “test” extremist bills in states with a high liklihood of passage and then use that success to create momentum to move onto other states.

And we have our share of crazies already, even one legislator going so far as to ruin a day’s visit to the state house for a bunch of school kids.  Just because he couldn’t stop obsessing about the babeez to the point where he forgot how to respect the real, living breathing children before him and not just the imaginary “unborn children” in his head [note: children are born, in utero they are fetuses).

Walker has said he’ll sign the bill even if it has no exemption for incest or the life of the mother.  Oh and yeah, like the title of the piece says, men are given a little piece of the action too:

Wisconsin Abortion Bill Would Allow Men To Sue For ‘Emotional Distress’

Author: June 4, 2015 8:04 am

A Wisconsin abortion bill seeks to punish abortion providers for providing women with access to safe, healthy options if they wish to terminate their pregnancies. Assembly Bill 237, if it were to pass, would allow men to sue abortion providers for “emotional and psychological distress” if a man who has gotten a woman pregnant does not agree with what she does with her body.

This attempt to punish abortion providers is a lesser-discussed aspect of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks “postfertilization” (about 22 weeks, since pregnancies are usually measured from the woman’s last menstrual period) — legislation Governor Scott Walker says he will sign with or without an exemption for rape and incest victims.

“I mean, I think for most people who are concerned about that, it’s in the initial months where they’re most concerned about it,” Walker said. “In this case, again, it’s an unborn life, it’s an unborn child, and that’s why we feel strongly about it. I’m prepared to sign it either way that they send it to us.”

If the bill becomes law, doctors who perform abortions after that time could be charged with a felony, fined up to $10,000, and face up to three and a half years in prison. In addition, men would be able to sue abortion doctors for damages, “including damages for personal injury and emotional and psychological distress,”if a doctor performs or attempts to perform an abortion after the time limit.

The man does not need to be married to the woman, or in a relationship with her to sue the doctor, or even care about the child one way or another. He just needs to want money. The only hitch is that a man cannot sue if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest — if that exemption makes it into the final text. The bill also allows the woman to sue if she receives an abortion after this time.

The punishments for doctors under the legislation create quite an issue, as the majority of women who seek abortions after 20 weeks (less than 1.5 percent) do so because of severe health issues, because they do not learn they are pregnant until after 20 weeks, or cannot afford the procedure.

Republicans claim that the bill is necessary because a fetus can feel pain at the 20-week mark — an assertion that has been laughed out of the legitimate medical community:

Read the rest of the story: Wisconsin Abortion Bil Would Allow Men to Sue for Distress

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The War on Women Starting Up Again

As we look to the national front, it appears that the aptly tagged “war on women” is starting in full swing again.  Scott Walker has thrown his hat into the presidential ring and what better way to start out than to make his mandatory pledge to hate women.  As reported by TPM, Walker thinks that requiring women to undergo an ultra sound is “just a cool thing“.

Of course Walker openly admits that the required procedure would be to shame women into changing their minds about terminating their pregnancy, mostly based on the fictitious idea that a fetus is in fact equivalent to a fully term, birthed baby, “We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” Walker said.  Again, Walker has no problem with using state force to coerce a woman in a decision that if they were “liberty minded” as the GOP recently seems to claim they are, would be between the woman and her doctor and not the state.

walker signs bill  we now have control of your body

Also, its important to note that Walker completely overlooks the controversy sparked by some state GOP legislators, particularly in Virginia, who proposed that women considering abortions be forced to undergo a vaginal ultrasound.  Thanks to the statesman in Virginia when the word “ultrasound” is mixed with “vaginal” and especially “state mandated” the hair on the back of the necks of most women begins to rise.  The vaginal ultrasound reminds one that legislators have no problem with state sanctioned rape and its apparent that Walker has no problem with state sanctioned shaming either.

Oh but wait hold the presses, we have found information from our friends in Wisconsin via Blue Cheddar that Walker did in fact support a bill for forced “transvaginal” ultrasounds, then known as SB 206 in Wisconsin in 2013.

But, its not just Walker that’s stepped up to show his chivalry towards the ladees.  While some GOP pols like to focus on what ladees do with their ladyee parts, Jeb keeps it simple and focuses on how we ladees live our lives.  Such as in Jeb Bush’s statement about women and “traditional marriage’ recently.  Bush refers to the gay marriage issue up front but his position on shaming single mothers and pressuring them to stay in abusive or otherwise unacceptable marriages, or we suspect, using her magic powers to keep a wondering man home says,

If we want to create a right to rise society, where people – particularly children born in poverty, if we want to have them have a chance…we have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.

How can you not get behind that? At least the “committed, loving family life” part.  Just that Jeb has a very narrow view of marital relationships and of relationships in general.  Lack of exposure to how regular people live their lives seems a problem that runs in the Bush family and may contribute to his 19th century views.

But what about women and children who did all they could but were abandoned or had to leave the household with just the shirts on their backs to escape abuse?  Back in 1994 during the halcyon days of welfare reform when all a good candidate had to do was commit to some good old slut shaming, Jeb was reported to have not missed the opportunity himself:

During his 1994 run, he made welfare a main issue in his campaign, vowing to get tough on recipients of public assistance–even if it meant, he said at one point, having the state take away the children of parents who were too lazy to find a job. At event after event, Jeb talked about the welfare mom who, given all the various freebies available to her like Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Medicaid and so forth, was pulling down an extravagant $15,000 a year in benefits.
Source: America’s Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 13 , Feb 15, 2007
and another reports:

His appearances became revival meetings.and as he went from country club to country club telling stories about [welfare fraud] to his all-white audiences they would shake their heads along with him, conjuring up their own image of what the lazy welfare mother looked like, and the color of her skin.” During his campaign Bush openly espoused a conservative “constrain the beast” philosophy toward government. He proposed to dismantle the State Department of Education and to refuse federal money for welfare. He would have forced mothers and children off welfare after 2 years, with no provision for job training or child care beyond the small amount available at the time.”Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. ÿ6 , Dec 11, 2009

Then there’s the re-entry of Republican Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania.  Rick made himself famous in last election bids for his seeming endless obsession with people’s sexual habits.  So much that his name even became related to a not-so-sexy part of a sex act.  His extreme views on abortion — that any termination of a pregnancy is murder are well publicized.  See On the Issues for a good summary of where all the candidates stand on issues that effect women’s liberty and future, from reproductive rights to assistance in times of poverty.

And then there’s the media.  The conservative internet news onslaught on Planned Parenthood.  Look up keywords “Planned Parenthood News” what comes up? On one of our users computers (and possibly because of doing research on conservative politicians?), what did come up were reams of christian-fundie propaganda against planned parenthood.  One of the most outrageous:

On the top of the list is a story from a site called “mrc Newsbusters” that has the tagline “Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias” about a teen actress that testified about how planned parenthood saved her from an unplanned pregnancy.  The story goes on but ends with a paragraph stating:

While Whitman’s writing appeared genuine, Teen Vogue didn’t address concerns about Planned Parenthood regarding teens – concerns from how the taxpayer-funded abortion giant teaches teens “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners” to instructing them in BDSM, including whipping and tree-tying.

Just for disclosure, the words “teaches” and “instructing” linked back to other supposedly damning proofs that PP is up to no good.  We’re not interested in linking the site seeing as how this story alone pretty much sums up their breathless projection.

Also, warriors can’t be warriors unless they also attack the young and no better proof of this applies than this very recent story of a young teen girl punished by having her honor society distinction removed because of her “inappropriate dress” in school year book pictures.  She had on a strappy sun dress.  So the school thought it appropriate to shame her and also remove her earned reward for her diligence toward her studies.  The message to girls with this kind of prioritizing? ‘Your value lies in how you look.’ and most importantly, that her subordination to male authority is more important than her intellectual achievement or her own future.   Stories like these rise up all too often, this girl’s is not an isolated case.  Couple that with cuts across the nation in state legislators of domestic violence funding and restrictions on sex education and you have a mixed bag of multi-faceted attacks on women’s personal sovereignty.

We urge our readers to visit the real Planned Parenthood US Newsroom site for real information on the continued full-fledge attack on women’s rights or visit Planned Parenthood Local for news on the New Hampshire front.  Keep on top of the rhetoric against women’s rights because its coming on strong already and most likely will only grow as the election heats up.

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Yeah, It Is a Woman Thing – That Needs to Stop

The young woman pictured below has become a Facebook star for women everywhere who get tired of fitting in with the norm imposed upon them by society — a misogynist society that has fashion “advisors” telling women what to wear and what not to wear, mothers, friends, grandmas, well meaning co-workers and of course, complete strangers, feeling entitled to step in and judge a woman.

Yes, in our society and many societies the world over a woman just can’t live in peace.  Her entire world, from her outside public appearance to what happens or grows inside, is up for public review and critique all the time.

We celebrate this young woman’s grace in the face of the brutal reality of being a woman in this society and of course, her in-your-face honesty.  Bravo and read below what she wrote:

This is what I was wearing today when two women saw fit to laugh at me in a restaurant while I sat and ordered food with my partner.
It started with one pointing me out to the other.
I watched while the friend “casually” stretched and turned to face me, her head whipping back around to confirm her shared opinion of what I was wearing. They both began to laugh.

I sighed, willing to let it go… but it didn’t stop.

Finally when the friend pulled out her phone to take my photo over her shoulder (disguising it as a selfie) I had had enough.
I got up from my table approached them both and simply asked “I’m sorry but are you both laughing at me?”
They responded that it wasn’t the case, but the obviousness of whole façade made the bullshit buzzer go off in my head.
“Oh good! I was starting to feel really self conscious!” (I finished) and went back to my seat.

What these two women subjected me too today is a symptom of Internalised Misogyny:
“involuntary internalization by women of the sexist messages that are present in their societies and culture.” (for further reading http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/07/choice-feminism-internalized-misogyny/ )

I haven’t mentioned the women’s age or what they were wearing because it’s not relevant.
How they present themselves does not affect me.
It doesn’t change my life in any way.
Women are constantly judged for everything. It’s inescapable.

Let me get one thing straight.
I am fully aware that I dress like I’ve been fucked by a unicorn.
I know because I dress myself every morning… and would you believe? It’s deliberate!!!
I don’t wake up and think “Gee, I wonder how I can appeal to strangers today?”

Our patriarchal society makes strangers -of any gender- think it acceptable to humiliate a woman based on how she woke up that morning and got dressed to please herself.
So next time you catch yourself critiquing someone’s appearance negatively (In particular, how women dress) maybe try to think instead of why you feel the need to make that horrible assessment?
Are you intimidated by them? Are you sexualising them? Are you repulsed because they don’t adhere to your standards of beauty?

Then ask yourself why any of those things bother you in the first place.

#feminism #feminist #internalisedmisogyny #patriarchalsociety

— with Lauren Halstead.

Detailed Updates on NH Bills that Should Concern Good Women and Men

We’ll attempt to keep track of bills of concern as they pass or are not passed through the full New Hampshire house or committees and post that information here.

Most bills are voted on in the house by “voice vote” which means that there is no actual roll-call.  Unless its clear that there is difficulty in determining support or non-support through volume of voice-call outs, then a roll-call may be requested by a representative for further clarification and accuracy.  This is time consuming of course so often unless a vote is close, its not necessary (a few shouts over a full cacophony is pretty easy to judge).

But the roll-call is also used as an accounting method of record for political purposes as well.  How a rep votes on a bill can often be influenced by roll-call demands.  A rep who feels a particular way or feels that they must protect their relationship with a certain constituency may waver on whether to support a bill if their name is attached to their resulting vote.  Often they know a vote may come back to haunt them.  Conversely, many reps want their vote recorded and known as a badge of their loyalty to an issue or constituency.

Either way, usually bland or non-contentious bills don’t get a roll call, but when I roll-call occurs we will publish a link (provided by the NH General Court website) to the roll-call list.  This enables you the voter, to see where your representative voted on an issue and most importantly, to see who is blocking an issue near and dear to you.

For more information on how a bill becomes law, please refer to the link here, How a Bill Becomes Law
For even more information, please refer to the downloadable .pdf file of the booklet given to new representatives and available upon request to the public, Legislative Handbook.  There’s a list at the end of the publication of other resources about how the legislative process operates in New Hampshire.

So without further ado, let us continue:

HB 194 was defeated in the full house.   It was first in the Judiciary Committee where it was voted as “Inexpedient to Legislate” (ITL) which means the committee sees the bill as not fit to be put into law for whatever reason.  Don’t expect this issue to die — this is a perennial favorite of the anti-choice folks and is proposed every session in one form or another.

So a “yea” vote meant agreement with the committee recommendation of “ITL” and a “nay” vote meant support for the bill and against the committees recommendation.

Roll call results HB 194

HB 168 – relative to removing no-fault divorce in proceedings where either party may have minor children.   Voted with House Children and Family Law as ITL by voice vote.  Bill effectively killed.

HB 560 – relative to determining the fetus as a person in criminal cases  – still in committee, House Justice and Public Safety, refer to the list linked on the committee name title and call or email reps to let them know to stop this bill.  Another perennial favorite that will probably be proposed next session if it fails.

HB 403 – relative to buffer zones around women’s health clinics  – still in committee, House Judiciary Committee A bad bill designed by the anti-choicers who wish to have the “right” to harass women as they enter reproductive care clinics.

HB – 654 –  relative to removing funding for domestic violence intervention services — still in committee, House Finance Commitee  UPDATE!  News has it that this bill has just left the Judiciary Committee with a vote of 24-1 of ITL.  Will be up for a vote next week before the full house.  The battle is not won yet! Call and email your rep to let them know they must kill this bill!

Some other bills we failed to cover at length:

HB 677 –  UPDATE! The Judiciary Committee voted 14-3 to effectively “kill” this bill as ITL, the bill goes to the house for a full house vote on Wednesday.  Call your reps and let them know to vote to KILL this misleading bill that will endanger people’s lives! 

While the language of the summary reads thusly: “prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion services”  This language is intentionally misleading.  Since the Henry Hyde bill passed in the late 80’s that restricted all government funding from abortion services, those services have not been covered by public monies.  Yet the anti-women, anti-choice crowd continues to tell the public that in fact public funds are covering abortions.  This is patently false.

What public funds do cover are important healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood to all women regardless of income or social status.  These services are vital to the health of not only the women themselves, but to their families and to their potential offspring.  Such services that Planned Parenthood provides to women and men nationwide are:

– screenings for sexually transmitted diseases
– sex education and information to couples and individuals
– general welfare and health check-ups for women, related to the health of their reproductive systems, such as cancer screenings for both breast, cervical and uterine cancers and other diseases.  Diseases of the reproductive organs can spread through the community and most importantly throw families into disarray and poverty if not found and treated quickly.
– providing important data and statistical information on populations at risk such as sex workers, homeless folks and people in extreme poverty
– providing education for and the means for birth control and family planning for couples and individuals
– providing sometimes first intervention in cases of rape or domestic violence and providing proper referrals and support in the community

But the people that wish to defund Planned Parenthood don’t care about these facts and the crucial role Planned Parenthood performs in communities.  All they care about is imposing their fanatical religious views of the world onto everyone else by every means possible, if even that means legislative trickery and public dishonesty.

This bill is currently in executive session in the House Judiciary Committee, we urge people to get in touch with the members of this committee via, telephone or email to let them know to stop this attack on women’s health.

HB 207 – relative to “defining probable cause or reasonable ground for the purpose of arrest without a warrant”  –

Those who work hard against domestic violence and advocate for victims say this bill sets a dangerous limit on the amount of process required of an officer in cases where they may be called on a domestic violence issue.  Currently, if an officer determines by their own standards of judgment that domestic violence has occurred, the officer can make an immediate arrest to remove the potential offender from the victim.

That is currently how the law works in domestic violence cases, allowing officers to override the commonly occurring denials of the victim (they deny abuse for fear of catching more from the abuser later).  In many cases across the country, when evidence of abuse seems to have taken place in a home where a call was made, the police may hesitate to make an arrest.  Thus, in many cases, once the police leave, the abuser then continues the abuse, often escalating it due to the victim calling for police intervention.  Many times this has resulted in the death of a victim who police leave with the abuser instead of making an arrest based on the victims statements or appearance alone.

While there is a disturbing increase in the number of arrests made by officers under very shaky grounds of reasonable suspicion, the domestic violence aspect of reasonable suspicion must be held at a different standard considering the circumstances of the crime.

We see this bill as wrong-headed and possibly in the interest of redefining legal boundaries for police interacting with the public and determining arrests, as the bill exists now, the language would effectively undo years of protection for victims of domestic violence.

We recommend that this bill be voted down or ITL until such time as the sponsors can come up with a suitable means to protect victims of domestic violence and respect the role the law enforcement can often play in saving lives.

The bill is currently in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee

NH 367 – relative to redefining physical assault.  This bill removes pertinent language that defines assault as “unprivileged physical contact” and replaces that language with a longer descriptive that leaves out the idea of “unprivileged” entirely and replaces it with “nature of the contact is such that the actor knows or a reasonable person should know that the other person will regard the contact as offensive, threatening, or provocative

The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence pointed out that this language would then exclude by the nature of the language, assault upon children, especially “grooming” behavior:

This bill attempts to amend New Hampshire’s simple assault law. Currently, law enforcement can use the crime of “simple assault” to charge abusers in dating situations who assault their victims. Simple assault is also the crime that routinely allows victims of domestic violence to qualify for a restraining order.  If enacted, this bill would make it more difficult for victims of domestic violence to receive the protection they need under the law.

 Under HB 367 if an abuser pinches, pushes, slaps, or spits on a victim but does not leave a visible injury, a law enforcement officer will have to determine whether a reasonable person would find that conduct offensive, threatening or provocative before arresting the offender. This complicates and potentially delays an arrest and civil relief in cases that pose imminent danger to victims.

 This bill would also legalize seemingly innocuous grooming behavior by sex offenders. For example, if a man goes to a City park and tickles small children he does not know, the children might not find this conduct “offensive”, “threatening” or “provocative.” Note: there was a case of this in Concord. 

http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/5862056-95/police-man-alledegly-caught-tickling-children-in-concord-park 

We urge folks to consider the potential bad effects of this bill.  Again, a bill that seems driven more by ideology than good thinking.  We also wonder who in fact the sponsors of this bill meant to protect with this change.  In our culture where certain individuals, namely women and children, had little defense against unwanted advances and “teasing” behavior that usually leads to assault, this bill seems to move our society back a step to the time when victims of this behavior were given short shrift if they complained.  Again, who does this bill protect? We’re concerned.

This bill currently still sits in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, please urge the members of that committee to vote this bad bill ITL.

 

HB 194 – The “Life Begins at Conception” bill just killed by full house vote.

Yeah! Feel that triumph!  Now, get ready for the next battle!

We have a report from the chambers that the full house just voted to go with the recommendation of the Judiciary to kill HB 194 as “ITL”, that is “Inexpedient to Legislate”.

Of course this only means we beat the enemy back into the dog house for the moment.  They will collect their respective selves, lick their wounds and come back once again next session.  This strategy, now employed continuously, consists of them beating the wall of reason until it crumbles or until at least enough of us aren’t looking and leave the door open for them to get through to their victory.

We can’t let it happen, we must always work together, share power, share strength to collectively overcome not only these continual assaults on basic freedoms, but also to undo the system that allows this insult to intelligence and justice to continue.

Please refer back to our previous post here for reference on the other assaults on women’s rights going on presently in the house.  We’ll try to update you as we can and encourage our readers to chime in if we’ve missed something.

Five NH House Bills That Should Concern Smart Women and Men

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Five NH House Bills that Should Concern Smart Women and Men

Arise women!The New Hampshire House, armed with its share of Tea-Pots and Free Nutters has been loaded with some real backward bill proposals.  Some of the most disconcerting involve messing with the liberties and lives of women in particular.  We have chosen threefive of the most particularly disturbing to highlight here, the last, HB 168 is most probably going to effect women more than men but men could be negatively affected by it as well.

If you have additional information or updates, please send to progressiveactionnh@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to get them up.

According to many seasoned house reps this session has been particularly difficult to follow since it seemed there was a longer wait time for the text of bills to be published causing a huge rush immediately afterward of committee hearings.  Some of the bills outlined here may have already had hearings, we will try to update as soon as we learn the latest, but most will be put before the full house for consideration, so please don’t assume that the struggle is over if a bill comes out of committee.  Also, many of these bills are put up every session and we must remain dilligent and not assume that these fires will not start again.

Many of these bills reflect the frightening effort of certain right-wing groups often knowns as “MRA’s” or “Men’s Rights Association” groups that view feminism and women’s empowerment as a threat to their manhood.  They take an extremist and often very violent view toward women and feminism, repeatedly deny the presence of violence committed against women, promote the idea that the courts are out to get men and deny them “fatherhood rights”.

The rest of the bills reflect the continued efforts of religious extremist groups (often allied with men’s rights groups as well) to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services of any kind.  Usually the pleas about abortion are only a mask to cover up their agenda of completely alienating women from any services directed solely at their needs; i.e., birth control pills or STD treatments.  They see pregnancy and STD’s as the punishment for a woman’s engagement in sexual activity.  Birth control is seen merely as a means for women to have sex not just for reproduction but for pleasure.  This they wish to stop and they have no problem with the idea that women will suffer disproportionately more than men if there is poor access to reproductive care.

So while access to services to terminate a pregnancy are a large part of some of the bills proposed by them, don’t kid yourself; these people also want to have the “right” to harass, shame and belittle women who have the temerity to live their lives to the fullest and be healthy.

So let’s list these monstrosities of attempted legislative empowerment.  The text of these bills is linked onto the numerical title:

  • Next is HB 194, THIS BILL WAS KILLED BY A FULL HOUSE VOTE ON FEBRUARY  11TH.  TO SEE THE LIST OF THOSE WHO WANTED THIS BILL TO PASS PLEASE REFER TO OUR DETAILED UPDATES PAGE called the fetus personhood bill. A perennial favorite among the extremist anti-choicers.  This bill would effectively eliminate any ability of a women to obtain services to terminate a pregnancy after conception.  This means literally that doing such would precipitate murder charges.  Yes, that’s right, women going to prison along with care providers, for causing the termination of a pregnancy in anyway.  Its all about “the babies” with these people, even though science shows repeatedly, a baby isn’t fully a baby until at least the later terms of pregnancy and a baby doesn’t start to realize full humanhood until after birth.Some excellent information on HB 194 from Miscellany Blue as Tucker gets important quotes and analysis from the ground here in NH.These bills are premised on the mostly Catholic presumption that a human becomes a human immediately after fertilization of an egg takes place.  This view also is supported by conservative sectors of the Christianity, namely fundamentalist non-denominational and arch-conservative mainstream Protestants, such as the Southern Baptists.The fetus personhood bills basically support a religious notion of the law which threatens the very important separation of church and state in this country.  Science does not support the assumption that a fetus or a zygote is a complete person in the sense normally understood in our modern society.  A rational look at the process of conception and birth supports the assertion that life as a human does not begin until after the birth process and the infant enters into the world.  In fact, until modern healthcare it was customary for families to not name babies until about the third month of life being that so often infants died of multiple complications in those first three months.  But now, the extremist groups wish to not only pass over rational scientific knowledge and past tradition but also trample our constitutional right to not be ruled by one religious interpretation of reality.The legal ramifications of such a bill are huge as care providers from hospitals to clinics to individual doctors would face increased federal and state scrutiny to ensure that they do not engage in “murder” as according to the new law.  In addition and most dangerously, any miscarriage could be interpreted as a possible self-induced abortion and thus up for scrutiny by courts, arrest for murder and long, drawn-out legal defenses at the cost of the state.  The overloading of courts and the increased over reach of the state into women’s lives can only be imagined.  The potential for placing mothers in jail or even prison, breaking up families and putting existing children in foster care, causing lifelong trauma cannot even be properly gauged or imagined either.  Needless to say, the possible ramifications of this bill are huge and should be taken seriously.These bills also could potentially affect stem-cell research as some religious groups wish to go so far as to claim an unfertilized egg should be deemed a person as well.

    Its very clear that the anti-choice folks only care about their religious interpretation of the process of human reproduction, women, children and the destruction of our freedom from religious rule be damned.  This bill must be stopped immediately!

    While not directly related to HB 194, we encourage folks who question the hyperbole and lies used to attack women’s reproductive services to check out this post on Miscellany Blue from January 15th.  A Republican representative from Rochester, Mr. Groen, goes on a nuclear screed about Planned Parenthood “cutting babies to pieces” as his rationale for proposing planned parenthood be completely defunded.  Of course this is a complete lie, but these people don’t care about the truth, all they care about is controlling women’s lives and putting women back into to the old days.  The old days, when a woman’s life and future was held hostage by reproductive system.  The days when a man could basically stop a woman’s future cold in its tracks by raping her and thus forcing her into pregnancy and twenty years of captivity to raising a child.

Some good summaries on fetus personhood:

Rationalwiki: Personhood Laws
Alternet: Fetus Personhood is the Religious Right’s New Dangerous Word Trap in the Abortion Debate

Bill Status: Currently before the House Judiciary Committee

UPDATE:  News has come in that the House Judiciary Committee ruled, by a bi-partisan vote, that the bill be deemed ITL (Inexpedient To Legislate).  This is not the end of the bill itself as it will come to the full house floor for a vote on Wednesday, February     Get the word out! If you can come to the house session please do! The presence of citizens counts to let legislators know that if they  cannot get away with voting against the rights of women, against the preservation of our right to not be ruled by religious dogma and against rational scientific reason! We will be watching! We will hold them accountable!

    • HB 560 a bill that will move to make fetus a person “for certain criminal offenses”.  While this seems benign enough, the fact is that this is just a slow move toward the real goal of completely restricting a woman’s right to choose by making a fetus — a clump of cells, a legal “person”.  This is dangerous territory where women could be imprisoned for murder for so much as even a miscarriage.  Don’t think this can happen? Ask women in other countries or even here in the old US of A, oh wait, there’s more stories from the US!  In fact, there’s so much going on all over the country to pull back even a woman’s basic right to have the normal bodily function of a miscarriage or to even have a normal teen age life or opportunity as an adult, that one becomes overwhelmed by the responses in a search under “fetus personhood and criminal cases”, or any other related search.

This bill isn’t about concern about prosecuting people who “kill” and “unborn child”  in a crime, its about making a law that recognizes a fetus — again — scientifically a clump of cells, therefore, recognizing a religious interpretation of life as law.  Its about punishing women, its about forcing women to carry a pregnancy to term, no matter what circumstance (or even to have to have a judge determine your circumstance is proper overrules one’s rights) might have caused the pregnancy, no matter what age the woman, even if she is a child herself.

This bill must die its own death for lack of viability, long before its allowed to grow and develop into the ugly personage of hatred and religious superstition and misogyny that it is.

This bill is presently in the House Justice and Public Safety Committee

    • HB 403, a bill that will remove the buffer zones that keep protesters and agitators a safe distance from patients going into a women’s reproductive health facility.  The logic behind this bill is that since the Massachusetts Supreme Court struck down the buffer zone law there, New Hampshire might as well get on the band wagon and outlaw the buffer zones here too. After all, concern for court costs and all that.

So they say.  What they don’t say is that the anti-choice crowd can’t stand having to stand further away from women who go into reproductive care facilities.  What they don’t say is that holding up obnoxious, offensive and outright misleading signage and shouting at women going into or leaving clinics and praying out loud like the Pharisees Jesus warned us all about isn’t enough.  They want to be able to get right into the faces of women; they want the chance to snarl at them, hand them deceptive and outright incorrect scare literature, gaze coldly into their eyes and guilt them all the way into the clinic.  Because nothing empowers better than a little hatred and guilt toward someone when they are at their most vulnerable now does it?

Let the courts decide and until that time, let the woman alone we say. If they are so concerned about the costs of a lengthy legal battle they are free to accept the existing buffer zones and leave the rest to their God to decide.

This bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.

    • HB 168 this bill would “permit no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences only if the parties do not have minor children.”

This bill would effectively undo the ability of people to get themselves out of a destructive or painful marriage.  In California in 1969 then Governor Ronald Reagan signed the first in the nation no-fault divorce bill ushering in a new era of freedom for couples who wanted to release themselves from the bonds of marriage.  Shortly after through the years the rest of the states in the nation followed through in one way or another.

Prior to the development of no-fault, or uncontested divorce, parties had to come before a judge to prove why the marriage bond should be dissolved.  Usually, as reported in links provided, this required that one or both parties present to the judge evidence showing instances of adultery or other failure to live up to expectations in the marriage contract.  Most usually this type of proof requirement bode very badly for women who traditionally had little to no economic means to hire an attorney and fight the accusations leveled against her.  Knowing this many men, most often as the breadwinner in the family, could use the threat of divorce and personal destruction through the courts as a means to keep a woman locked into marriage against her best interests.

As an article in the Washington Post reports, no-fault divorce has largely been a success, freeing women and men from the chains of having to pour their personal lives in front of a judge.  In particular, this has been freeing for women who prior could be locked against their will into a destructive and often even abusive marriage because of a lack of economic resources to get out.

As the Post reports, “No-fault divorce has been a success. A 2003 Stanford University study detailed the benefits in states that had legalized such divorces: Domestic violence dropped by a third in just 10 years, the number of husbands convicted of murdering their wives fell by 10 percent, and the number of women committing suicide declined between 11 and 19 percent. A recent report from Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress found that only 28 percent of divorced women said they wished they’d stayed married.”

Statistically also, proof has provided over and over again that children suffer more emotional damage that carries into their adulthood from long-term exposure to love-less and abusive marriages then from the act of divorce itself.  In addition, the requirement of going to court for a divorce in the same manner as a full-blown civil trial causes harm as well by fostering and enabling a grounds for a long painful and combative divorce proceeding which also can cause children irreparable harm.

We encourage everyone to take this bill seriously and to call all members of the House Children and Family Law committee to let them know this cannot be allowed to pass.

Action Needed! NH Domestic Violence Services Funding Threatened by GOP House Bill

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House representative David Bickford of New Durham (R), representing Strafford, District 3 has sponsored the bill, HB 654 that aims to eliminate the sole source of funding for domestic violence services; a portion of marriage license fees.

Action needed now! A hearing on this bill is to be held on February 2nd at the Legislative Office Building in Concord, as explained below, can you make the hearing to testify against this bill? 

Can you call Mr. Bickford and the members of the committee hearing and considering this bill?  Information on David Bickford:

Strafford- District 03
Seat #:2011
Incumbent

Home Address:
183 Brackett Road
New Durham, NH  03855-2329
Phone: (603)859-7899
Email: davidabickford51@yahoo.com

Currently the bill is in the house finance committee, please see the list of committee members at the bottom of this post, please contact them all by phone or email and tell them to stop this attack on domestic violence funding.  New Hampshire always works to find inventive ways to fund programs, the use of a small amount from the marriage license fee makes complete sense, takes from no one and works as a means to preserve healthy marriages and families in New Hampshire.

As explained below in a plea for action from the public, this bill would effectively starve the only source of steady funding that any domestic violence services have in the state.  As we outlined previously in our post Domestic Violence Top Killer in New Hampshire, the lives of women and children hang in the balance when it comes to reaching them in time.  Making services such as educational outreach, court advocacy , crisis outreach via phone and then shelters saves lives.  Representative Bickford’s thinking behind this bill defy the imagination; as explained even in the text of the bill, only $38 is taken out of the marriage license fee and appropriated to the domestic violence fund.  Bickford proposes instead to put these funds directly to the state general fund.  What has to wonder, does Bickford not value the lives of women and children?  Does the general fund need that $38 more than a woman or child needs a safe way out of violence?

We’ll let the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence speak further on this:

HB654 redirects a dedicated fund for domestic violence to the General Fund

For Immediate Release
January 30, 2015                                    
Contact: Amanda Grady Sexton -603-548-9377, 
Amanda@nhcadsv.org

(Concord, NH) On Monday February 2nd at 11:15 in LOB 210-211 there is a critical hearing taking place for a bill that threatens to take away the sole source of state funding for domestic violence services in New Hampshire. The Domestic Violence Prevention Program (DVPP) is mainly funded through a portion of the state marriage license fees. ($38 of each $45 license.) Sponsored by Representative David Bickford, HB654 would redirect DVPP money to the general fund. (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0654.pdf)

If passed this measure would be devastating for the state’s 14 crisis centers that have been struggling to provide services over the last several years due to funding reductions. In 2013 these crisis centers managed to serve over 15,000 people, and these funds could mean the difference between life and death.

Last year members of this legislature passed an unprecedented number of domestic violence bills including Joshua’s Law which is considered model legislation by the rest of the country. The Coalition is concerned that without adequate funding for victim services these laws will not be effective.

Survivors, as well as members of the Coalition, law enforcement, and other legislatures are expected to testify at the hearing. Please contact Amanda Grady Sexton at the Coalition for more information.

This bill will be considered by the house finance committee.  The finance committee is a Standing Committee, that is it is one that is essential to basic functions of the house, considers most bills and always exists.  It is an important committee and thus is also very large.  Because Republicans hold the majority in the house, it is currently majority Republican.

Also, because its large, we will simply provide a link to the page that lists all the members and information about the committee.  The members’ names are linked to their respective house information listing, with phone numbers and email addresses.  We recommend also that you make sure you contact the committee chair, Neal Kurk a longtime Republican representative.

NH House Finance Committee

We’ll leave you with this video on domestic violence, One Voice, A 15 Minute Short Film on Domestic Violence:

 

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When Does Shock Value Lose its Free Speech Rights?

Traveling the wards on election day in Manchester gleaned some interesting snapshots, such as the one with Elizabeth Edwards at Ward 4; she was a great sport with the picture taking.  But aside from the usual stock of candidate’s sign holders, Ward 6, at St. Pius Catholic Church on Candia Road, had an especially peculiar election day sign holder.

Right at the entrance to the walkway was poised a woman holding a gigantic, nearly 4′ x 5′ sign in front of her.  The picture was so huge that it was visible all the way down the driveway across the large parking lot.  A gigantic graphic photo of what appeared a D and C procedure blasted the viewing space of everyone heading into the polls.

Such images represent a sort of violent assault to one’s senses.  If you notice in the picture, the woman is given wide berth by people doing their visibility obligations.  Such a graphic image is deeply unsettling.  Aside from the fact that a D&C is not a standard elective abortion procedure but used only in medical emergencies, thus such pictures are deceptive, should zealots be allowed to assault voters with such images?  What if anti-war protesters decided to jump on the wagon too and carry graphic signage of children blasted apart by bombs?  While all progressives and even libertarians hold strong anti-war positions, do they do this on a regular basis and if not why?  Imagine such a scene if you will; the polling places would begin to look like a war zone and would possibly repel voters from even making the walk to the polling place entrance.

Click here for the full, graphic horror.

One of the two Democrats who stood holding signs said, “Yeah and whether you’re pro-life or not is such a sign necessary to prove your point; we’re all against child pornography but we don’t carry around images of the act to prove our point.”  Exactly.  The young man said that some of the people even on the Republican side occasionally walked over and tried to stand in front of the woman to at least hide her image from small children.  But the woman would have none of it and would change position accordingly.

As it is, one has to wonder how parents with small children dealt with this imagery.  Its a solid tradition in our country for parents to bring their children with them to the polling place, should voting be associated with graphic images of death, much less dead babies, which can be doubly upsetting to children?  Is this the imprint of the voting experience that we want on children’s minds?

We called the Secretary of State’s office and spoke to the Deputy Secretary of State yesterday, she said that the moderator of the polling place has a lot of leeway in deciding what is disruptive in signage or other activities.  We note that of all the polling places we visited in Manchester (barring Wards 11 and 12 which we weren’t able to get to), this was the only location that hosted this type of signage.

So the question must be asked, does this poster represent a disruption to voters that day?  At what point does “free speech” intersect with the public’s interests for not being visually assaulted? Wouldn’t a poster or sign asking voters to vote pro-life been sufficient to satisfy free speech and get the message to voters?

We offer up here a poll for our readers:

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Domestic Violence Top Killer in New Hampshire

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October has passed and along with it the recognized month to remember domestic violence.  Many communities throughout the country had candle-light vigils to remember victims of domestic violence or walks at night to highlight the need for a safe community at any time of the day or night.

This is a sensitive topic and for those in domestic violence situations, such information could be threatening to an abuser.

IF YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE MONITORS THE COMPUTER YOU ARE PRESENTLY USING, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT SAFE INTERNET USE.  IF YOU THINK LINKING TO THIS ISSUE ON YOUR COMPUTER MAY COMPROMISE YOUR SAFETY PLEASE SHUT THIS PAGE DOWN AND GO TO A LIBRARY OR OTHER SAFE PLACE TO ACCESS LINKS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND GET HELP IMMEDIATELY.

The need to recognize the signs of domestic violence in one’s life or someone else’s never ends and the importance of discussing the issue within the community never ends either.

In an effort to help people hold in their minds the importance of awareness of domestic violence we’ve compiled a list of statistics on domestic violence in New Hampshire and some links for further information.  If you are or know someone who may be in a relationship or living in a family or cohabiting with an abusive person, please read the information below so that you can be a positive catalyst for change in someone’s life or find help for yourself.

Even if you know no one who is suffering from violence or abuse or aren’t suffering from domestic violence yourself, arming yourself with the facts below and going further into the links to learn more will open your eyes to the real terrorism against women: violence at home.  Armed with the proper information you can be a fighter for change!

Please read on:

First some statistics on domestic violence incidents nationally and in New Hampshire:

– According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 3 women die everyday due to domestic violence

– According to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program a woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the US

– From the same site, “An AMA report shows that every five years as many women are killed by their intimate partners as men, and women killed in the Viet Nam War … 54,000.”

– Cases of domestic violence cross race and class lines leading to the well known conclusion that people of all races and classes throughout America are potential victims of domestic violence.

– In 85% of domestic violence cases women are the victims – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

– According to the 9th NH Domestic Violence Fatality Review of 2012, while New Hampshire has a low homicide rate “domestic violence is a causal factor in 92% of the state’s homicides and suicides.”

– Women were victims in 67% percent of domestic violence fatalities in New Hampshire with 56% being by a partner and 31% by a family member.

– Out of the 53% of cases in which the perpetrator had a known history of domestic violence, only 6% of their victims had sought crisis center services prior to their death with only 4% having any protective order in place,

– Over half of the perpetrators of a domestic violence fatality had no known history of any substance abuse.

– In all cases nationally, the presence of a firearm in the home exponentially increases the incidence of serious injury or death of the victim.

What can I do?

If you suspect you or a close friend or relative are a victim of domestic violence or see it creeping up in a relationship, please seek help or assistance in getting help for someone.  Resources exist in New Hampshire and below are some links to assist in your search.

New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Resources

A Safe Place

YWCA

How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship?

Click here for a quiz to take on your relationship profile and an interesting graphic; the Power and Control Wheel helps in visualizing the development of violence in a relationship.

If you know someone at your workplace possibly suffering from abuse, what should you do?

This informational pamphlet has tips on how to help someone you work with who might be experiencing violence at home. Domestic Violence: A Guide for Employees

If you live outside of New Hampshire, below are national resources as well that can guide you to help locations and contacts within your state:

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

 

 

 

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