The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In


As early as January 6 of this year, Democrats in Congress — particularly the Democratic Women's Working Group, to which Pingree and Massachusetts congresswoman Niki Tsongas belong — began framing Republican actions as anti-women. They released an open letter to new Speaker John Boehner, calling the proposed repeal of health-care reform an attack on women, because it would allow insurance companies to continue to raise premiums on women of child-bearing age, and to deny coverage to women who, for example, have had a prior C-section.

"Being a mother is not some kind of illness," the letter said.

The reality of health-reform repeal has been, if anything, worse than that Working Group envisioned. One version under consideration would allow any hospital that receives federal funds to refuse to terminate a pregnancy, even if the woman's life depends on it.

Another call to action went out over one of the first bills considered by the new, Republican-led House: HR3, the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, which would, among other things, specify that only "forcible" rape would serve as an exception.

Alarm bells also rang as state legislatures began considering, and in some cases passing, outrageous bills of their own. One of the most notorious, in South Dakota, sought to decriminalize the murder of abortion providers. Another, in Georgia, would make "prenatal murder"— even miscarriage a felony, unless the woman can somehow prove there was no "human involvement."

But perhaps even more troubling to some advocates is the attempt to dismantle women's services under the guise of budget-balancing austerity.

They argue, for example, that the House Republicans' proposed cuts to the current fiscal year's budget specifically target programs for women — or, as Driscoll points out, single-parent households, which are usually headed by women. Those cuts include dramatic reductions to maternal health, prenatal care, Women and Infant Children (WIC) assistance, community health centers, Head Start, college-tuition assistance, and workforce training — all of which help more women than men.

"Who comes to public health clinics? Disproportionately women," says Eleanor Smeal, president of Feminist Majority. "When they zero in on discretionary spending, they are zeroing in on those programs serving women. This is social engineering. This is ideology."

That even extends to the high-profile labor battle in Wisconsin, where new Republican governor Scott Walker is championing legislation that would greatly reducing bargaining rights for public employees. As the Wisconsin NOW chapter points out, the bill exempts the most male-dominated professions — firefighters, police, and state troopers — while including the predominately female ranks of teachers, nurses, social workers, and home-care providers.

In fact, there are so many state-level bills and budget-cutting proposals with potential harmful attacks on women, it's hard for activists to identify them all, let alone draw public attention to them. Brian Namey, communications director for the National Network to End Violence, points to a bill in Arizona, intended to deny state-funded services to illegal immigrants, as an example. As currently written, it would require domestic-violence shelters to turn away women who can't immediately provide proof of residency — in fact, it would require those shelters to immediately report anyone who showed up without such documentation. If the bill becomes law, Namey says, women in dire straits — including legal residents — will literally be turned away from their only refuge, while immigrant women will be afraid to seek help at all.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |   next >
| More
6 Comments / Add Comment

Tracey Foster

PBS's TO THE CONTRARY panel this past Sunday discussed the GOP's all out war on women and many of the points you have covered, David, and you are so right on target. It is a shame that the GOP believes that in order to rid the nation of the trillion dollar debt that they originally put America into, programs that assist women must be slashed or just flat out eliminated. More attention needs to called to this injustice. Thank you for covering this important subject.
Posted: March 02 2011 at 6:47 PM


The more equal footing that the Obama administration gives to women; i.e. the number of women appointed to key roles in his administration, the Lily Leadbetter Act, etc. The more the GOP tries to put us back 100 years.
Posted: March 02 2011 at 9:37 PM


This is wrong, the cutbacks have been to both genders. The redefining of Rape is there because there are a few loopholes that incarcerate innocent Men. Again the salary cutbacks are for both genders. Stop pulling this Gender card.
Posted: March 03 2011 at 5:27 AM


Why should women be unhappy about liberalizing gun policies? All gun control does is stop women from defending themselves. Pro 2nd Amendment = Pro Woman.
Posted: March 03 2011 at 3:34 PM

Sara Rockefeller

Wow... The the GOP ideology is attacking women!! This article is laughable. The GOP's agenda is smaller government ...but the spin was very funny. Stay tuned for the next edition of the Providence Phoenix-- "Labor unions and how they brought wealth and prosperity to Providence" ----You guys should really stick with reviewing up and coming local bands
Posted: March 03 2011 at 4:51 PM


Well, there you go!
The previous 5 comments could be more diverse. Does EVERYONE now understand how confused this country is? Everyones interpretations of what has been said by the politicians is so different. How can we possibly pull together when there are excesses/rational/misinterpretations of all media news which can't possibly end in a consensus that will help this country???????? Once again the folks in power want to be right, not righteous!
Posted: March 04 2011 at 5:52 PM
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 03/06 ]   Get Up Kids + Miniature Tigers + Brian Bonz  @ Paradise Rock Club
[ 03/06 ]   The Hotel Nepenthe  @ Actors’ Shakespeare Project
[ 03/06 ]   Parlotones + Xylos  @ Great Scott
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WILL WOMEN FIGHT BACK?  |  March 02, 2011
    Ominous headlines are dominating the news: revolution in the Middle East; surging gas prices; even a possible government shutdown.  Getting less attention, but with equally dire implications, is the concerted war against women being waged by Republicans.
    Brown's memoir, Against All Odds , tells the inspiring rags-to-riches tale of how one can rise from terrible circumstances to great power and influence, with just a little hard work, perseverance, supermodel good looks and world-class athletic ability.
  •   MITT REWRITES HIMSELF  |  February 11, 2011
    When Mitt Romney's second book, No Apology , came out a year ago, it looked like he was moving away from the far-right demagoguery of his 2008 bid for the presidency, and toward a more moderate centrism for the 2012 election cycle. But times change, and so does Mitt.
  •   THE GOP'S TOP DOG? IT'S T-PAW, NOT MITT.  |  February 05, 2011
    Whatever the reason, the field of Republican presidential candidates is failing to form, just a year away now Iowa and New Hampshire voting in the nation's first presidential caucus and primary.
    The practical result of the new spirit of political civility is still an open question, but there is one area where small-government conservatives and do-gooder liberals might really be moving toward significant policy agreement, compromise, and action: criminal-justice reform.

 See all articles by: DAVID S. BERNSTEIN

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group