Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ruth's Rant 6/28/16

     I have to admit, after witnessing the rise of Trump and the gun control debacle in Congress, I had little hope for common sense on the issue of abortion rights.  Given the Congressional investigations based on fake videos, legislation passed based on biblical teaching and the macabre pseudo-funerals proposed for fetal tissue, nothing surprises me anymore.
     Surprise, surprise!  In a 5-3 decision, the SCOTUS has overturned two of Texas’ most restrictive TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws.   Clinics will no longer have to resemble ambulatory surgery centers and doctors will no longer need admitting privileges to nearby hospitals.  Texas has lost over half of the state's abortion providers due to these laws.  This means that women in Texas either travel across the state, an expensive option, or try to self- abort, at the possible cost of their own lives.  To quote Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood; “The Burden is Undue!”
     If you’ve ever wondered how our elected officials here in Ohio can legislate your legal right to have an abortion out of existence….. Turns out, they can’t.  That doesn’t mean they won’t stop trying.  Ohio’s transfer agreement laws have forced many providers to close.  Women seeking abortions are subject to a 24 hour waiting period, scientifically inaccurate counseling and an unnecessary ultrasound.  None of this makes the procedure safer for women.
     How much of our taxpayer money will Ohio lawmakers waste defending these undue burdens?  Our country’s highest court has affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to reproductive choice and these useless road blocks are sure to be challenged.  Will John Becker and friends abandon the uterus whispering and finally address jobs, education and healthcare; things that will truly help Ohioans?  Nothing would surprise me more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ruth's Rant 5/17/2016

     Republicans are masters of genital politics.  North Carolina’s HB 2, and all the proposed potty bills that have popped up since, isn't really about bathrooms.  This is simply legislation through manipulation.  These politicians find it very useful to manufacture sweaty little problems and then offer solutions that pander to the moral outrage of extreme voters.   These bills are also perfect for hiding other unsavory amendments, which they don’t want to have to defend, in the fine print.
     We saw this here in Ohio with the bogus Planned Parenthood tapes and the trumped up side show concerning fetal remains.  We are watching it now with the hundreds of anti-LGBT and anti-choice bills being enacted across the country.  We see it in HB 2, which hides legislation that prohibits local governments from setting minimum wage standards and makes it harder for minorities to sue for discrimination. These bills cost our states millions through expensive court battles and lost business but we’re too busy following the genitals to recognize the game.  They’re counting on it.

     What exactly do these people think goes on in the ladies’ room?  We have stalls in there, doncha know.  While ESPN does televised interviews in the men’s locker-room, the female locker-room is a mysterious harem, where women lounge around naked and eat grapes.  Do they really think that horny teenagers will publically pretend to be girls just to catch a glimpse of something they can see at the pool?  I simply can’t imagine that happening, what with all the tampon talk going on in there.  These guys have been watching way too many Girls Gone Wild videos.  If we’re afraid of abusive men in the bathroom, shouldn’t we deal with the men, not the room? 

     As a mom of two boys, I want to know where these potty policemen have been for the last few decades.  I have spent plenty of time standing next to the men’s room, where it all hangs out, worrying about predators and never once has an elected official suggested that we segregate the exposed penis.  It’s fine with them if everyone around us is armed but a transgendered person in the restroom puts us all at risk.  Apparently women deserve protection from prying eyes while we pee but not in the doctor’s office.   The hype overshadows the hypocrisy.  They’re counting on it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Feminist Reads: WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

copyright 2012, 2014

Review by Constance Lighthall

If you can spare 15 to 30 minutes, please read Chimamanda Adichie’s succinct and lucid book about gender bias.  Sexism is seeped not only into the ways that we live but in the words that we utter.  Women experience sexism every day.  Some of us notice and some of us are still blind to its infiltration.  Some of us unknowingly continue to transmit this bias to our children, both girls and boys.  Chimamanda Adichie stresses in this short book how the continual nuances that are put on females show all too well that women are far from equal in our culture.  Of course there are a range of inequality issues under the human rights umbrella.  But let's stick to point, this conversation is about gender.  Don’t change the subject.  We should all be feminists.

You can link to information about the book at the publisher's website.  There is also a link to her TedX presentation that contain all the beautiful words in this book.  Hopefully, if you do not yet call yourself a Feminist, you will change your mind after reading this book or listening to this most talented author, Chimamanda Ngoizi Adichie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Kasich is not a Moderate

Another great LTE in the Clermont Sun from Constance Lighthall!  This one concerns Governor Kasich, our moderate "Prince of Light", and his attacks on our reproductive rights.  Thank you, Constance, for speaking out for us.

February 25, 2016

Dear Editor:

When you look at Governor Kasich’s record — of nasty, hyper-partisan attacks on workers’ rights, on women’s health care and more — this is not the record of a moderate.

In the past six years, Ohio Republicans led by Governor Kasich have waged one attack after another against women who just want the right to determine their own health care without interference from the government.

His most recent declaration to sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and the important work it does serving Ohio families is atrocious.

Thousands of women and men are in danger of losing high-quality and affordable health care because of politically driven and factually inaccurate claims made by radical extremists who were just indicted on felony charges. This bill has nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with restricting access to critical health care services for women and families.

If Governor Kasich wants to continue to market himself as a ‘moderate’ and the ‘Prince of Light’ across the country with his presidential ambitions then he should listen to the will of his constituents and stop this archaic crusade against reproductive rights in Ohio.

Constance Lighthall

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ruth's Rant 2/5/2016

     During last night’s debate, Hillary Clinton expressed her indignation that Bernie Sanders continues to “smear her” over her ties with Wall Street and corporate interests.  She insists that just because her campaign is fueled, in large part, by hefty corporate contributions, that doesn’t mean she is “bought”.  I’ll take her word for it but this is a very big issue that needs to be addressed.  We can’t afford, as a country, to ignore it any longer.
     There is no denying that the vast majority of our politicians trade large campaign contributions for their willingness to vote in ways that benefit the contributor.  It is time that establishment politicians, of both Parties, acknowledge how damaging this has been to our form of government and distance themselves from it.  There is no excuse for, or defense of, the buying of our government.  Fixing this is a promise that I need to hear my candidate make and work very hard to keep.  Please don’t tell me it can’t be done.  It has to be done.
     Consider where we’re going here.  While we've always had candidates for office who are financed by small groups with special interests, we now have candidates who are owned by their own special billionaire.  To make matters worse, we now have a candidate who is trying to buy himself the presidency.  A certain faction of voters seems to think this is a virtue; I see it as big money in politics on steroids.
     This is why I continue to support Bernie Sanders.  The money wasted on these campaigns is nothing short of criminal.  For Bernie to point out the need for campaign finance reform is not a “smear”.  There will be no progress toward income equality, racial justice, gun control, or women’s and worker’s rights until we elect people who will not accept the current system.  Republicans may be a lost cause but I expect this from Democrats, especially if you want to call yourself a progressive.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Abortion Rights: Crafting the Message

By Karen Marotta 

      NARAL Pro-Choice America has been representing and supporting women at all stages of our reproductive lives for almost 50 years.  To that end, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue joined with the Democratic Women’s Alliance to present “Abortion Rights: Crafting the Message”.  The information shared during this webinar will be very helpful to all of us as we work to get out the vote for Democratic candidates.

Here are the facts-

  • Abortion is a medical procedure.  One in three women will have an abortion at some time in her life. 
  • Six in ten of these women are mothers.  
  • Contraception does not eliminate the need for abortion. Regardless of the method, consistent use of birth control can still fail; 25% of the time for the pill, 45% of the time for condoms. 
  • 7% of women who are facing an unintended pregnancy and do not have access to abortion will try to self abort. Deaths and injuries to women increase where access is restricted.
In discussing abortion rights this election year we must be more aggressive.  We must be willing to use the word “abortion”.

     Republican candidates have made the fight against abortion a big part of their campaigns but most Americans do not agree.  Nationally, seven out of ten voters believe that the government should not be making this choice for women but there are differences in how voters feel about the importance of and the reasons for reproductive choice.  NARAL has come up with messaging that resonates with each segment of these voters.
  • Of the seven voters who are pro-choice, five see this issue as an important right that must be protected.  NARAL calls these “values” voters.  For them, this is personal. They know that reproductive freedom and financial security go hand in hand.  These voters want affordable, effective contraception, safe and legal abortion, paid parental leave and an end to pregnancy discrimination.  They want their children to have every opportunity and option they need to succeed.  They want the dignity of being able to choose for themselves. The message that motivates these voters is to focus on the work/family conflict, the empowerment of women and financial security.
  • The other two of the seven feel that, while they would not choose abortion for themselves, others should have the right to make their own decision.  When given specifics about late term abortions these voters see this as a complicated issue that the government cannot regulate.  For these voters abortion is not a priority.  These voters need to be reminded of the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.  The message here is that the Republicans have won elections by promising action on the things they care about, like job creation and tax reform, but have done nothing other than obsess about abortion.  The need to end this wasteful repetition resonates with these “priority” voters.
     These messages are important to remember as we canvas, blog, post and tweet about reproductive rights.  We need to point out the inconsistency of the Republican message.  How can they insist on birth and then oppose healthcare, affordable education, a living wage and a healthy environment?  Can they call themselves pro-life while opposing programs that are good for women and children?  These candidates cannot be allowed to use extreme rhetoric during the primary and then walk these statements back to appeal to moderate voters during the general.  We must make them own their hypocrisy and extremism.

#OwnIt2016                    #TrustWomen

Friday, December 18, 2015

Letter to the Editor: House Bill 377 is misguided and harmful to the workers

In this week’s edition of the Clermont Sun, one of our members let her voice be heard!  Congratulations to Constance Lighthall for speaking out against legislation that will weaken unions.

December 17th, 2015 

Dear Editor,

I oppose “Right to Work” legislation sponsored by Rep. Brinkman because it’s misguided and harmful to workers and the middle class. These attacks on workers are an attempt by CEOs who put profits before people. These extremists are misleading us on purpose – they want to trick people into supporting these dangerous policies that benefit the people at the top while hurting the rest of us.

The far-reaching consequences of these policies are clear: in states where workers’ rights are denied, deaths on the job are 36 percent higher, and household incomes are $535 per month less than in other states.

Your freedom in the workplace is already protected, but these policies will take away basic workers’ rights. “Right to Work” is wrong – don’t trust it.

Constance Lighthall