Last week was, by any standard a bad one for women. Sure, it started out well enough with the annual platitudes of Mother’s Day, but it went quickly downhill from there. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, low lights:
In Washington, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) held a hearing on restricting abortion rights in DC and would not allow DC’s representative, the very honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton to speak at the hearing because heaven forbid, we wouldn’t want our forefathers turning over in their graves because women have the right to make their own health decisions or speak for themselves in the shadow of the Capitol.
Out west in Franks’ home state, Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law two more draconian bills that significantly impact women’s access to reproductive health services. This in a state that recently declared that pregnancy begins the first day of a woman’s period.
And meanwhile back in Washington, as the New York Times notes,
(L)ast Wednesday, Mr. Boehner refuted his own argument by ramming through the House a bill that seriously weakens the Violence Against Women Act. That followed the Republican push in Virginia and elsewhere to require medically unnecessary and physically invasive sonograms before an abortion, and Senate Republicans’ persistent blocking of a measure to better address the entrenched problem of sex-based wage discrimination.
Further down the hall, other members of Congress once again took a hatchet to UNFPA funding,
In one fell swoop, the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to wipe out $39 million in funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. By voting to ban any U.S. contribution to UNFPA in FY2013, House Appropriators made a judgment call that saving the lives of women and girls around the world is simply not a U.S. priority.
Despite valiant efforts led by State Foreign Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), amendments that sought to reinstate funding to UNFPA for specific activities failed. Committee members voted against amendments that would permit funding to UNFPA for preventing and treating obstetric fistula, ending female genital mutilation, and providing family planning services and contraceptive supplies in nine sub-Saharan African countries with high rates of poverty and maternal mortality where USAID does not provide family planning assistance.
And finally, in Chicago, NATO began meetings that demonstrate their commitment to Afghan women’s rights by excluding Afghan women from the table, necessitating a shadow summit so that these voices, that are crucial to any realistic discussion of the path forward in Afghanistan, are heard.
That was just the last week in the sustained barrage of attacks on women’s lives. But yet the New York Times opines that whether or not to call this a war on women is a political argument. Oh really? What the dickens else would you call it? We have a wishful tendency to think of war as something that happens elsewhere. But as this sad smorgasbord of women hating shows all too clearly, the powers that be in this country are deliberately intent on indeed waging a very global war on women.