5 Right-Wing Violations Against Women That We Must Crush
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And mandatory ultrasound bills like Texas', which just went into effect, are already beginning to devastate women.
2) The assault on birth control isn't over, and some want to deny women the right to use it at all. Many people were outraged by a new bill advancing in Arizona that would essentially allow employers to sniff through the personal history of female employees:
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 Monday to endorse a controversial bill that would allow Arizona employers the right to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious objections.
Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.
This provision wouldn't just intrude on women's privacy, writes Corey Robin, but would open them up to blatant discrimination:
Notice the second provision of the Arizona legislation: employers will now have the right to question their employees about what they plan to do with their birth-control prescriptions. Not only is this a violation of the right to privacy -- again, not a right our Constitution currently recognizes in the workplace -- but it obviously can give employers the necessary information they need to fire an employee. If a women admits to using contraception in order to not get pregnant, there’s nothing in the Constitution to stop an anti-birth control employer from firing her.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, despite the PR loss that might have been occasioned by the all-male birth control panel, has duly voted to redouble its attacks on birth control -- or in the bishops' words, their defense of "religious freedom."
3) Violence Against Women Act is under threat in the Senate. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Joe Biden's precious piece of legislation that has been reauthorized easily over repeated years, has suddenly become contentious yet again this year because of new protections aimed at LGBT citizens, Native Americans and immigrants. Even though the bill has actually increased domestic violence reporting, some members of the GOP appear ready to throw women under the bus in their effort to exclude other disadvantaged groups from its helpful reach. As its primary sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont told HuffPo's Amanda Terkel, "You cannot say that we will seek to stop domestic violence, but only for certain people. It just boggles the mind. It goes against everything I ever knew as a prosecutor, but it also goes against everything I know as a human being."
4) Abortion doctors and pregnant women are being targeted. This is one of the most disturbing but important fronts of the war on women--the criminalization of pregnant women and the targeting of abortion doctors. In Kansas, Dr. Mila Means has been prevented from opening up a practice in George Tiller's place by threats and harassment. In Indiana, a pregnant woman who tried to commit suicide and lost her baby has been imprisoned for over a year now.
5) We're defending ground we shouldn't be defending. When absurd bills like the ones described above in Arizona, Utah and Kansas are defeated, it feels like a victory. But in fact, progressives are just playing defense. The right wing has always been good at pushing for the most extreme measures so that anything else seems like a compromise, e.g. lose mandatory vaginal ultrasounds, keep mandatory abdominal ultrasounds. And as the statistics from Guttmacher show, even with a continual pushback from feminists, these laws are still coming through piece by piece, and some members of the mainstream media are following for the "religious freedom" framing that is the latest canny re-dubbing from the playbook that brought us "Right to Work" states for union-busting and "pro-life" for anti-women policies.