Gay Judge Refuses to Marry Straight People? 4 Ways Sane Lawmakers Are Fighting Back in the Culture Wars
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Democrats in the state are also upset about the measure, and one Dem lawmaker, Constance Johnson, decided to do something about it by inserting the following language into the personhood bill:
However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.
Johnson just took the Republicans' logic to its logical extreme: if they want to say life begins at conception, then why not go ahead and say that life begins at ejaculation? It was a wiseass move that wasn't meant to be taken seriously, but what it did do is pretty great. The move garnered headlines and drew attention to the absurdity of anti-choice legislation. Brava, state Sen. Johnson.
3. Virginia lawmaker: if women must undergo an ultrasound to get an abortion, men should have to get a rectal exam before receiving Viagra.
Another troubling anti-choice legislative trend is the transvaginal ultrasound requirement. Under such measures, many women seeking abortions would be required to undergo an invasive vaginal procedure that is not medically necessary -- in other words, to endure state-sanctioned rape. (At least a few Republicans have poo-poohed the outrage over such measures by arguing, absurdly, that women consented to vaginal penetration when they had sex, so that consent should carry over when seeking an abortion.)
Texas already has a transvaginal ultrasound law on the books, and such measures have also been considered in Pennsylvania and Virginia, where, as mentioned above, more than 1,000 women's rights supporters gathered recently to protest the bill.
Another person who protested Virginia's ultrasound bill was Democratic state Sen. Janet Howell, who introduced an amendment into the legislature that would have required men to obtain a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before they could receive a prescription for Viagra. As Howell told the Huffington Post, "We need some gender equity here. The Virginia Senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?"
Amid all the outrage, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell revised the legislation to do away with the transvaginal ultrasound requirement. However, women seeking abortions in the state still would have to undergo a medically unnecessary external ultrasound.
4. Congresswomen boycott all-male hearing on contraception.
By now virtually everyone has heard about Rep. Darrell Issa's recent hearing on whether employees at religiously affiliated institutions should be required to receive insurance that covers birth control without a co-payment. People were up in arms because the panel debating the issue looked like this:
Not a woman in sight. In fact, when a woman tried to testify, Issa refused to let her participate, arguing that "As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration's actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness."
Enraged by the all-male panel, Democratic women present at the Issa hearing staged a walk-out. As Think Progress reported :
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of his decision, citing frustration over the fact that the first panel of witnesses consisted only of male religious leaders against the rule. Holmes Norton said she will not return, calling Issa's chairmanship an " autocratic regime."
The good news is that Sandra Fluke got a chance to speak a week later, at an alterna-hearing organized by Nancy Pelosi.