Mourdock said 'when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." That is magical thinking. If I (or anyone) put sperm and eggs together enough times in a test tube, a conception results, that was my will, not God's. A matter of intention, and compatibility of pH and DNA, sperm motility and many other clearly identifiable factors. Mourdock's infantile thinking (pardon the pun) demeans God, and as a woman I find his statement to be a form of religious terrorism.
Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) released a microsite, The Jewish Voter Test, asking Jewish voters if they agree or disagree with basic questions underlying some of the most pressing domestic and foreign policy issues of our time.
"Every Jewish voter faces a clear choice between two candidates with almost polar opposite stances on so many issues that are vitally important to our community," said David A. Harris, President and CEO of NJDC. "This new website will offer American Jews a fun, easy and factual test to see where they really stand on the political spectrum."
The quiz leads participants through the following "yes" and "no" questions:
TPM: American Bridge, the Democratic super PAC, is targeting Mitt Romney online with one of the harshest 'war on women'-themed spots of the cycle."
— by Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Mitt Romney has staked out an aggressively anti-choice stance from the beginning of his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. To this day his website says that 'he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,' pledges to end federal funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, a burdensome policy that undermines the efforts of international organizations to promote safe and effective family planning programs.
He has also gone further, proposing a fiscal plan that would completely eliminate Title X - the only federal program dedicated exclusively to family planning - taking a harder line stance than many other pro-life advocates.
But that's not Romney's only extremist position when it comes to a woman's right to make medical decisions about her own body. Last year, when Mitt Romney was asked by Mike Huckabee on FOX News whether, while governor of Massachusetts, he would have 'supported a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life as conception' Romney replied, 'absolutely.' And it's hard to forget earlier this year, when he referred to morning-after pills as 'abortive pills' and referred to the president's health care provision providing free contraception as a 'violation of conscience' at a rally in Colorado.
Perhaps Gov. Romney's most egregious attempt to appeal to anti-choice voters was his selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Congressman Ryan proudly cosponsored the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act' which only made exceptions for federally funded abortions in the case of "forcible rape," excluding victims of 'non-forcible rape' such as those who are victims of statutory rape, those who are raped while drugged, or those who have a limited mental capacity. Rape is rape, there are no valid distinctions. Congressman Ryan also cosponsored the 'Sanctity of Human Life Act' - also known as a 'Personhood Amendment' - which would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, effectively outlawing abortion, many types of birth control, and procedures like IVF that help couples trying to conceive.
When it comes to a woman's right to choose, the Romney-Ryan ticket is about as extreme as it gets....
According to the 2012 Jewish Values Survey by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute, 95 percent of Jewish Democrats support abortion rights in all or most cases, along with 77 percent of Jewish Republicans. We need a leader who we know we can trust to protect a woman's right to make her own decision, not Mitt Romney, who would take that right away....
Abortion is a sensitive topic to discuss and one on which not everyone agrees. Nonetheless, the Jewish community seems to speak in virtually one voice on the issue of choice - it is a fundamental and important right that must not be taken away.... For this pro-choice Jewish mother of three, the choice is clear - President Barack Obama will stand up for the rights of women of my generation, and that of my daughters.
Jim Kuhnhenn: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for being here. You're no doubt aware of the comments that the Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin, made on rape and abortion. I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican Party in general. They've been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans. Are they an outlier or are they representative?
President Barack Obama: Well, let me, first of all, say the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we're talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me.
So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.
And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.
But I don't think that they would agree with the Senator from Missouri in terms of his statement, which was way out there.
Over 100 Supporters of Women's Health Say "We Are Watching, and We Vote!"
— by Audrey Ann Ross and Sari Stevens
Planned Parenthood held a rally today in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as part of the Women are Watching bus tour, which is crisscrossing the country to educate voters about what's at stake for women's health in November and mobilize them to get out the vote.
Gathering at the Historic Chester County Courthouse, more than 100 voters sent a clear message to candidates and politicians like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Dan Truitt, who oppose policies that protect women's health — women are watching and they vote. This year, women will decide the outcome of elections across Pennsylvania and the country, and are watching very closely to ensure that they elect candidates who will protect access to women's health care.
(NJDC) Below are ten documented things that every American Jew should know about Republican vice presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Ryan twice authored regressive budgets that drew concern — and even ire — from many in the Jewish community because of the deep cuts they made to vital social safety net programs that would strand the poor, many in the middle class, seniors, children, and other groups who depend on government assistance. Organizations that panned his budget included the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B'nai B'rith, and the National Council of Jewish Women, among others.
Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know itby turning it into a voucher program — which would dramatically increase the burden on seniors by leaving them to pick up the tab.
Ryan wants to replace Medicaid with block grantswhich would severely impact millions of Americans — including seniors, the disabled, and the poor — who desperately need the basic guarantees offered by Medicaid.
Ryan has called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and advanced a plan to turn it into a privatized program. Under Ryan's vision, future retirement benefits would be pegged to the risky ups and downs of the stock market instead of providing guaranteed assistance to those who paid into Social Security and earned it.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's selection of Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.
After these remarks, House Republicans censored Rep. Lisa Brown (D-MI) for using the word "vagina," and barred her from the subsequent debate on education. Brown said at a press conference: "If I can't say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas? What language should I use?"
A second lawmaker, Rep. Barb Byrum (D), was also gaveled down after introducing a bill that would require men to prove that their life was in danger before they were allowed to receive a vasectomy.
"I was ignored by the majority floor leader and not allowed to speak on my amendment, which would have held the same standards for men and women when it comes to legal, voluntary procedures in reproductive health, and now I am being silenced for standing up for women," Byrum said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Women are losing ground in many states on the reproductive rights front. Indeed, women are at risk of losing the choice of whether or not to become mothers by banning common forms of birth control, fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, and all abortions (even in case of rape).
Last month, the Senate voted down a bill that would have allowed employers to deny women coverage for birth control and any "objectionable" medical service, possibly even flu shots. Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio's amendment would have allowed any employer — not religious institutions, because they are already exempt — to make this call on behalf of their female employees. That means a woman's boss at a restaurant, retail store, law firm or anywhere would have control over what health care she could receive. After an hour during which he was on the record opposed to it, Mitt Romney said, in typical flip flop fashion, "Of course I support that amendment." Of course he does. And we can thank him for paving the way — he also said he would have supported a "personhood" amendment in Massachusetts, which could have banned abortion in any circumstance, some contraception, and even fertility treatments like IVF.
In the video on the right, Dr. Mildred Hanson explains how she and other U.S. doctors worked around the law to provide abortions before the procedure was legalized in 1973 through Roe v. Wade. We don't want to have to go back to this.
From the very beginning of his administration, President Obama has worked to ensure that women are paid fairly for their work. The President is committed to securing equal pay for equal work because it's a matter of fair play, and because American families and the health of our nation's economy depends on it. April 17 was Equal Pay Day, which marks the fact that, nearly 50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the average woman still has to work well into the calendar year to earn what the average man earned last year.
In conjunction with Equal Pay Day:
The White House released the Equal Pay Task Force Accomplishments Report: Fighting for Fair Pay in the Workplace. The Equal Pay Task Force brings together the best expertise of professionals at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management, who work daily to combat pay discrimination in the workplace. The report details the significant progress that the Task Force has made to fight pay discrimination - including improving inter-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure that the full weight of the federal government is focused on closing the gender pay gap once and for all.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced the winners of the Equal Pay App Challenge. In January of this year, the Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched this challenge, inviting software developers to use publicly available data and resources to create applications that accomplish at least one of the following goals: provide greater access to pay data organized by gender, race, and ethnicity; provide interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring or to help inform negotiations. A solution to the pay gap has been elusive, in part because access to basic information — e.g., typical salary ranges and skill level requirements for particular positions, advice on how to negotiate appropriate pay — is limited. Because of the enthusiastic response to the Equal Pay App Challenge and the creative apps that were developed, anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer can access answers to these basic, but important, questions. This challenge represents just one more way that women can empower themselves with the tools they need to make sure they get equal pay for equal work.
Finally, in an ongoing effort to educate employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities under our nation's equal pay laws, the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau today published two brochures that will help educate employees regarding their rights under the existing equal pay laws and enable employers to understand their obligations.
From signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to creating the National Equal Pay Task Force, to proposing minimum wage and overtime protections for home-care workers - 90% of whom are women - President Obama has made clear his belief that there should be no second class citizens in our workplaces and that making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.
If only women had a coupon like this, they wouldn't suffer from the wage gap!
On April 26, the United States Senate passed S. 1925, a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), by a vote of 68 to 31. S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), ensures a continued federal government response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking while making significant improvements to the law. To celebrate the passage of this critical legislation, Jewish Women International (JWI) Executive Director Lori Weinstein released the following statement:
The Violence Against Women Act is a historic law that has benefited millions of women across the country. Today, the Senate passed a strong, bipartisan reauthorization bill and sent a strong message to victims of violence throughout the country: You are not forgotten. This bill not only continues VAWA's successful programs and services for another five years but also improves access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and immigrant victims, and gives American Indian women equal access to justice.
For the last two years, JWI has worked closely with our colleagues on the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and our allies on Capitol Hill to pass a reauthorization bill that strengthens and improves VAWA. After today's victory, we turn our attention to the House of Representatives and call on them to renew and strengthen this lifesaving legislation in a bipartisan manner.
Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been an invaluable tool for preventing, investigating, and prosecuting violent crimes targeting women. Studies have shown that incidents of domestic violence have decreased as more women report attacks and law enforcement has improved its investigation and prosecution of the crimes.
The bipartisan Senate vote reauthorizing VAWA will help continue this trend, providing better tools to train law enforcement and victim service providers, focus attention on addressing the high rate of violence in the tribal and LGBT communities, and redirect funds to the most effective programs.
Even as Maimonides reminded men of the imperative to treat women with honor and respect (Sefer Nashim 15:19), our Jewish sages recognized that violence comes in forms that are both physical and emotional. The Violence Against Women Act helps prevent and respond to such tragedies when they occur and is worthy of reauthorization. We call on the House to follow the Senate's lead and swiftly pass the Violence Against Women Act.
Viral Music Video That Every Women (and Man) Should Watch
The video Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage is Soomo Publishing's moving music video parody of Lady Gaga. The video pays homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920. (See Lyrics)
This Sunday is Mother's Day when we honor the women in our lives.
However, in politics, the place of women can not be taken for granted. Just as our matriarchs fought for Women's suffrage a hundred years ago, we must continue to fight to ensure the women in our lives the same rights that men enjoy.
Today, the gender war is being fought at a fevered pitch. As I see it there is action on at least three fronts:
Women made gains on the front for pay equality.
Women held off an assault on the Violence Against Women Act.
Women are losing ground in many states on the reproductive rights front.
Indeed, women are at risk of losing the choice of whether or not to become mothers by banning common forms of birth control, fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, and all abortions (even in case of rape).
Over the days leading up to Mother's Day, we will publish a series of report showing the progress women are achieving and the setbacks women are contending with on each front.
The following piece is reprinted by permission from Daylin Leach's State Senate site:
Gov. Tom Corbett said he would sign a proposed law to make women getting a state-paid abortion watch a fetal ultrasound but said: “I don’t know how you make anybody watch it, OK? Because you just have to close your eyes. … But as long as it’s "on exterior, not interior,” he will approve it.
By Peter L. DeCoursey Bureau Chief Capitolwire
HARRISBURG (May 15) – The new Quinnipiac Poll says Pennsylvanians disapprove of a proposal 48-42 percent to show a fetal ultrasound to women getting state-paid abortions, but an unexpected demographic led that opposition: men.
Women are tied on the idea, 45-45 in the new Quinnipiac Polling Institute survey, but men oppose it 51-39.
Voters with a college degree opposed it 57-35, while those without a degree are essentially tied, 45 percent for it, 44 against.
The poll surveyed 1,256 registered voters and its results carry an error margin of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Gov. Tom Corbett said Tuesday he continued to support the bill, and would sign it “as long as it’s not obtrusive,” and the ultrasound is done externally, over the belly, not intrusively in the vagina.
“But as long as it’s on exterior, not interior,” he will approve it, Corbett said. The bill awaiting House action, from Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, is silent about whether the mandated ultrasound would be external or trans-vaginal. A bill signed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell requires the mandated ultrasound to be external.
Corbett was then asked if he considered forcing women to watch it “obtrusive?” He said: “I don’t know how you make anybody watch it, OK? Because you just have to close your eyes” to avoid seeing it.
Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, responded: “I'm going to assume he meant ‘intrusive’ instead of ‘obtrusive.’ And while I'm not a woman, I would imagine that any woman would find a tube inserted into her vagina against her will to be ‘intrusive.’ This, coupled with his admonition to women to just ‘close your eyes,’ shows a breathtaking, almost inhuman, insensitivity. I mean, oh my God.”
Reminded that Corbett said he would only sign a bill that mandated an “exterior, not interior” ultrasound, Leach responded: “Well, I'm also told he said he'd sign the Rapp bill, which, if you read it, is ‘interior.’ If he now says he veto Rapp, then that's different. But we can't let him get away with looking slightly less crazy while signing a fully crazy bill.”
Medical groups have said that interior ultrasounds are needed during the early term when many abortions are performed, to see the fetus, and asked that the Rapp bill be clarified so that like the Virginia law, it is limited to exterior ultrasounds.
The poll showed voters opposed trans-vaginal ultrasounds 64-23. Men opposed it 67-18 and women, 61-28. It also showed voters favored abortion to be legal in all or most cases, 54-37.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, said they were not sure why men opposed the bill more than women.
I'm proud and pleased that Daylin is in the State Senate. I'm considering moving 2 miles so he can be MY state senator. It gives me hope that there are a few (Daylin is one of 3 I can think of offhand) people in the PA Senate who are thoughtful, conscientious and sane. Hopefully the Pennsylvania electorate will elect more of them. I feel ashamed that I pay taxes to support a gubernatorial administration that supports these ultrasounds, as well as the new Voter ID law.
(NJDC) Anti-choice activists and pundits have a long and clear record of invoking the Holocaust to protest a woman's right to choose. Lately, many of those same forces have been attacking the mandate for health insurance companies to provide no-cost contraception to women contained in the Affordable Care Act. As their rhetoric continues to get nastier, at least one member of the anti-choice side has opted to invoke the Holocaust to protest women's access to contraception.
According to NARL Pro-Choice America's Blog For Choice, conservative pundit Eric Metaxas invoked Nazi Germany during a debate on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Apparently:
Metaxas called contraception and women's health "side issues"-and then likened the no-cost birth-control rule to the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s:
In [my] book, you read about what happened to an amazingly great country, called Germany. I'm half German. Uh, in the early '30s, little things were happening where the state was bullying the churches. No one spoke up. In the beginning, it always starts really, really small. We need to understand as America, as Americans, if we do not see this as a bright line in the sand, if you're not a Catholic, if you use contraception, doesn't matter. Because eventually, this kind of government overreach will affect you. If we don't speak up, we're gonna be in trouble.
As we have said repeatedly, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable. Doing so devalues the significance of the Holocaust and disrespects the memories of those who perished. We demand that thoseseeking to restrict a woman's right to choose — including Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum — cease using such insensitive language immediately.
Though the Komen Foundation announced that it would award no new contracts to Planned Parenthood clinics, Brinker denied that Komen was actually "defunding" Planned Parenthood, a technical point based on the fact that a few grants have yet to expire.
This afternoon, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of the Women of Reform Judaism, sent a letter to Ambassador Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
We urge you to use your leadership in Komen for the Cure to reinstate funding to PPFA for breast cancer screening, to reconsider the standard by which the organization makes funding decisions, and to continue to fight for the health and lives of women everywhere.
It is typical of news media treatment of Gov. Palin to want to divert the conversation about her to side issues. As our ad indicates, JewsForSarah's main reasons for supporting her are our opposition to the "progressive" takeover of the American government, our opposition to Pres. Obama's relentless diplomatic pressure on Israel, our support for American energy independence, and our opposition to the runaway fiscal and spending policies of Pres. Obama and the "progressive" Democrats. We support Gov. Palin because we find her to be the most effective public advocate for these positions, and the President's most effective critic.
But since he fairly raises the question of our cooperation with a pro-life group, may I say that Mr. Streeter does an injustice simply by throwing the label "anti-choice" onto Heroic Media and their work. Anyone may visit HeroicMedia.org, where this self-description is found:
Heroic media's mission is to reduce abortion and create a Culture of Life by connecting women facing unexpected pregnancies to life-affirming resource centers.
-- David Streeter, Communications and Research Associate for the NJDC
As further proof of the distance between rumored 2012 Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the vast majority of American Jews, Palin's primary group of Jewish supporters will be co-hosting an overtly anti-choice event with Palin in Maryland this month. Curiously though, as Politico's Ben Smith reported, the anti-choice focus of the event is omitted from the event advertisement that was placed in Washington Jewish Week:
Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak later this month in Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs at an event being promoted by her Jewish supporters.
The event is in fact a benefit for Heroic Media, an anti-abortion group, where Palin will share the stage with anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. Abortion isn't, traditionally, an issue of particular concern even in the Orthodox Jewish community, and the ad above, which appeared in Washington Jewish Week, makes no mention of abortion. Heroic Media's announcement, meanwhile, makes no mention of the Jewish event.
The upcoming event is not only a demonstration of Palin's extremist positions on women's rights, but also an indication that even her own supporters know that her extremist positions must be masked in order to engage Jews. The event further demonstrates that the Republican Party and its leaders simply do not reflect the values and positions of the vast majority of American Jews. Worse, it demonstrates and confirms the willingness by some right-wing partisans to use misleading advertising campaigns to cover up the ever-widening gap between the GOP and American Jews.
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