The Feminine Actif

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Archive for the month “January, 2014”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Tells Women – Know Your Power

This has been a challenging and victorious week for women and women’s rights. As usual, the war on women is alive and well, and seemingly has a solid foothold in the conservative Republican agenda. But there are bright lights as well.

First and foremost, and probably the most devastating blow to women is the passage of HR-7 by the House. What is HR-7? HR-7 prohibits federal funding of abortions for any reasons, which the Hyde Amendment has done for more than 30 years. There are several issues with this bill. First of all, the sponsor of the bill is a male Republican, Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey. Second, it was originated from a 13 member – all male – subcommittee. Third, the Judiciary Committee comprised of 21 men passed the bill to the vote. There was very little, if any, input from women, even those of their colleagues who vocally spoke of increased health care costs for women, dropped insurance coverage for a previously covered benefit, and penalties for small businesses. Small businesses can receive tax cuts for offering insurance that includes the benefit, and HR-7 ends the tax cut.

Are you ready for the most horrendous part of the bill?  HR-7 ends medical deductions for abortion. Pregnancies from rape, incest, and possible severe medical issues are exempt; however, in order to carry the tax deduction, the IRS must have proof that the woman, indeed, was raped and is not committing tax fraud. Fortunately, this bill will more than likely not go farther since the Senate is Democrat controlled and President Obama has promised to veto the bill. Once again, there is already a law preventing federal funding for abortion in the Hyde Amendment, but the Republican men seem to suffering memory loss – maybe too much Viagra that is paid for by insurance?

And now for the good news, if it can be called that. Last night, I was fortunate to have been on a nationwide call sponsored by NARAL that included Lily Ledbetter, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Yesterday was the five year anniversary of the signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by President Obama to end pay discriminatory. Five years later, we are still fighting as women for fair and equal pay for equal work. Women earn overall 77 cents to the dollar that men earn in the same position with the same qualifications. Wage discrimination is very much alive and well.

Congresswoman DeLauro spoke about a bill that has been introduced and defeated many times, the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Senator Tim Kaine, co-sponsor of the bill, is pushing it again. The PFA would require businesses to end pay discrimination. Businesses would be forced to prove why a woman in the same job is paid less than her male counterpart. If discrimination is present, there would be hefty penalties.

In addition, a push for a national paid family leave that would require employees and employers to pay a minimal contribution for paid family leave insuring up to 12 weeks of partial income for health, pregnancy, birth or adoption, parent or child illness, and any other medical reason.

California and Rhode Island currently have such programs that are working well and would be a model for the national program.  One of the call participants pointed out that the United States and Papua, New Guinea are two of the few countries that do not offer paid family leave. It was questioned why America is as backward for its workers as a third world country.

In an effort to achieve equal pay for equal work, President Obama has said that he will sign an Executive Order making it illegal to fire an employee for asking for information on pay of colleagues in an effort to receive equal pay. The Lily Ledbetter Act started the possibilities of inequality having its day in court, and the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Executive Order will take American women into the 21st Century.

Leader Pelosi encouraged women to “Don’t agonize – organize” and “Know your Power!”

Congresswoman DeLauro pointed out the President Kennedy began the fight for equal pay for equal work for women, and we are still battling today.

Congresswoman Edwards talked about the Child Care Act that would cause critical changes to the child care tax credit making it fully refundable for all levels of income including low income families for the first time. The tax credit would be indexed to inflation to allow all families needing child care much deserved tax help.

One caller, Maureen, spoke of an experience in which her family could not afford their number one choice of day care because of the cost at $13,000 per year. So, they chose a less expensive day care. When her husband picked up their child one day, the child had been running a fever and was laying lifeless on the floor. When they got the child to the emergency room, his fever was 104.  No one had been called.  She spoke of needing the assurance of safe and affordable child care for all working families. No one should compromise on the care and welfare of their children because of costs. The Child Care Act would alleviate this.

The call ended with a statement that the men of our government who would delineate the value of women and their place in our country need to remember:

“When you treat women like they’re worth less, you treat them like they’re worthless.”

I call on all who are reading this blog, women and men alike, to join in turning the tides once and for all for equality regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc. Call, write, or email your Congressperson and let them know that you want equal pay for equal work and that you are tired of living in a country that does not honor women’s contributions and value.  After all, it is a Constitutional right!

Hell Hath No Fury

“ ‘If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.’ ” This is a direct quote cited by Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post today.

At this point, I really do not care if one is a Democrat or Republican.  The thought that these men, who in their so-called wisdom, take exception to women having access to contraceptive care covered in their health insurance plans is so offensive and so degrading that I have to wonder what century they are from.  Quite frankly, it is not the women’s libido that often needs controlled – it is the male partner that cannot control his.  And since it is the woman who gets pregnant, does it not stand to reason that she should be able to protect herself from an unwanted pregnancy?  All the while, I have to wonder how many of these wise men receive prescriptions for Viagra and other male enhancement and libido drugs just so that they can do things, as Republican Rep. Rick Santorum said,  “in the sexual realm” and such to improve their libidos.

Well, there is an answer.  Remember when Republican Rep. Rick Santorum railed against covering women’s contraceptive and reproductive maintenance in ObamaCare?  He called it, “a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Foster Friess, his top donor, even went so far to say that women should just “put [an aspirin] between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”  In an article by Meagan Carpenter of The Raw Story last year, wrote that there are five sexual health care issues covered by insurance for men only.

Today, we have Mike Huckabee blubbering about women and their libido while men remain able to just be boys.   And they say that there is no war on women?  These men who wish to be elected back to office would do well to remember that it is the women who are the majority now.  We fought and won the battle of suffrage.  We fought and won the battle to have contraception legal under the privacy law.  We fought and won the battle in Roe v. Wade.  We continue to fight and will win this battle of women able to control their own bodies.  Remember, Republican or any group of men who doubt – Hell Hath No Fury!

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