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Filed under: prairie musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, Civil/Gay Rights, religion — Peg Britton @ 8:15 am

AlterNet  / By CJ Werleman

February 26, 2014  |

Like a cornered animal, which turns instinctively to confront pursuing predators, the Christian Right, knowing it represents the views of an ever shrinking number of Americans, is engaged in an existential fight to the death. Veto or no veto, Arizona’s anti-gay bill is just another of its many efforts to transform America’s secular democracy into a tyrannical theocracy.

The Christian Right’s dirty little secret is they are acutely aware that changing demographics are running against them. While they may believe the earth is a mere few thousand years old, they’re not complete idiots. They can read polls, and the data tells them this:  millennials are abandoning religious belief. According to a recent Pew survey [3], one in four Americans born after 1981 hold no religious belief, which is nearly double the national rate of atheism. Other studies confirm this trend, including a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute showing more than half of non-religious Millennials have abandoned their childhood faith.

With this in mind, the nation’s radical religious fundamentalists see an ever-shrinking window to impose their Bronze Age worldview on the gay, atheist, liberal, immigrant, heathen, and science book-reading masses. The American Taliban is as deeply troubled by the thoughts of a gay man “sneaking a peak” of a heterosexual man in an NFL locker room as much as they’re freaked out over seeing Cam and Mitchell, the gay couple on “Modern Family,” adopt an Asian child. For the intellectual infants of the American species, progressive culture is nothing more than a 24/7 infomercial for gay sex and abortion. That frightens our unfriendly theocrats because biblical fundamentalists are more concerned with the goings on in the bedrooms of others than they are within the guilt-ridden, sexless confines of their own.

Salon columnist Brian Beutler writes that measures like Arizona’s  SB1062 bill have emerged in a number of states out of “a wellspring of conservative panic about the country’s abrupt legal and cultural evolution into a society that’s broadly tolerant of gay people.” He adds, “Rather than deny the shift, or stop at trying to reverse it in legislatures, the courts and at ballot boxes, conservatives are instead attempting to erect a legal architecture that will wall them off from the growing portion of American society that supports equal rights for gay people.”

These “religious freedom” bills did not arrive here overnight; they are three decades in the making. Prior to the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, no serious presidential candidate ever claimed to have been “born again,” and the emphasis of faith for a politician seeking high office was as rare then as a candidate declaring his atheism is today.  When Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson established the Christian Right (aka the Moral Majority) in 1979, no serious political commentator believed they could play a significant role in electoral politics. The screenwriter Norman Lear joked, “The Moral Majority is neither the moral point of view, nor the majority.”

Long story short, the Christian Right swept Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980. The Sarasota Journal wrote as much on Feb 9, 1981: “The merging of the political right with the religious right has taken the country by surprise.” It’s now 2014, and the most intellectually and morally stunted segment of American society continues to take this nation by surprise.

The Christian Right has not only moved from the fringes to become the main strain of the Republican Party; it is the Republican Party. These radicals continually surprise us for the fact casual political observers mistakenly believe they represent the far-right fringe. You cannot sugarcoat the fact that a majority of Republicans in Arizona’s House, and also a majority of Republicans in Arizona’s Senate voted for this anti-gay law. Likewise a majority of Republicans in Kansas’ House voted for a similar bill. They voted for it because they want the freedom to discriminate against individuals they claim the Bible finds abhorrent.

Worryingly, this act is a small part in a big pantomime to transform America into a theocratic nirvana–one that is absent gays, Muslims, immigrants, atheists, and science books. To achieve this, the instrument of choice is nullification. It is nullification of the federal government that weds theocrats together with libertarians and the neo-confederate movement. Since 2010, state legislatures have put forward nearly 200 bills challenging federal laws its sponsors deem unconstitutional. Typically, laws the nullifiers believe challenge “religious liberty,” the Affordable Care Act, and gun control.

In an editorial for Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall observes that since the election of Obama and the rise of the Tea Party, “there’s been more and more reaching back to the discredited ideas of nullification, interposition and even, at the truly fringe extreme, secession. They are each efforts to preserve power for disempowered minorities after they’ve lost battles in the standard majoritarian system. More simply, they’re workarounds to get out of the consequences of losing political fights. And by definition they are rearguard actions. American history and constitutional jurisprudence has consistently ruled against them.”

Marshall is right in part. But the point he misses is that elections are no longer determined by majority view, but rather by the availability of an endless pipeline of campaign cash, and on that social conservatives are no longer playing second fiddle to establishment Republicans. Thanks to Internet fundraising and changes to campaign finance laws, it’s now a case of the tail wagging the dog. According to the Federal Electoral Commission, Tea Party and social conservative groups raised nearly three times as much as GOP establishment groups in 2013, which is how you end up with a majority of Republicans in both houses of the Arizona congress voting for SB1062 in 2014.

Salon’s Beutler writes, “The bad news is that this phenomenon isn’t limited to homophobia, and doesn’t always masquerade as an exercise of religious freedom. As America grows more liberal, conservatives are retreating into a variety of interlinking, but isolated subcultures and, when necessary, making or manipulating law to insulate themselves from contact with the masses.”

The Christian Right’s ideology drives virtually all social policy debate within the Republican Party, whether it’s immigration, women’s reproductive rights, the death penalty, or same-sex marriage.

Chris Hedges says the Christian Right’s ideology calls for the “eradication of social ‘deviants,’ beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these ‘deviants’ are removed, other ‘deviants, ‘including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as ‘nominal Christians’–meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible–will also be ruthlessly repressed. The ‘deviant’ government bureaucrats, the ‘deviant’ media, the ‘deviant’ schools and the ‘deviant’ churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these ‘deviants’ will be annulled. ‘Christian values’ and ‘family values’ will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions.Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.”

While the Christian Right is becoming the dwindling minority, it remains an existential threat to civil rights, secularism and our democratic values. It’s a threat fueled by a seemingly unlimited supply of campaign finance, and a rabid base that believes it’s fighting for its place in a 21st-century world it can’t reconcile against an ancient book that says gays are an abomination. You know, like shellfish.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, religion, GOP — Peg Britton @ 8:27 pm

Tim Huelskamp, our favorite batsh*t crazy Republican Representative from Kansas, is sponsoring an amendment (the Federal Marriage Amendment) to the Constitution that would define marriage as one man and one woman. The American Family Association, home to such crazies as Bryan Fischer, is all for it.

Undeterred by studies showing millennials leaving organized religion, that “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Huelskamp had promised such an amendment and he delivered on June 30 of this year. The last such attempt to force a religion down Americans’ throats failed in July 2006.

Just as a refresher, this is the wording of the proposed amendment:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

by Mike Muller



Eco-devo in Brownback era

Sam Brownback this past week came to the KU Business School’s annual Chandler Lecture and rhapsodized about his tax-cut legislation.

“We are trying to create a pro-growth environment,” he said, as he defended the large and highly weighted (to partnerships, trusts, sole proprietors, etc.) tax cuts enacted last May.

Like some Texas hold ‘em poker pro, the governor has pushed most of the state’s chips into the pot, banking on the power of tax cuts to help us attract new investment to Kansas. In his homey metaphor, he said, “I want to win our (economic) league.”

To tell the truth, this goal of regional domination might have meant more before Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12 Conference.

The entire tax-cut philosophy rests on shaky ground, but state taxes unquestionably play some role in business decisions. Still, the quality of the workforce, the strength of schools, good transportation and various amenities are also significant. Indeed, any state seeking to attract new business must be seen as an attractive destination.

And there’s the rub.

Over the past two years, the Brownback-Kobach administration, which definitely is how the outside world views Kansas government, has done a tremendous job in making the state appear unattractive to exactly the kind of high-quality, financially sound firms and start-ups that would provide a powerful wave of good new jobs.

Most recently, we have experienced the fatuous “birther” controversy, which Kobach and his Objection Board needlessly fueled, to the point of legitimizing a trivial complaint that could have been dismissed with no fanfare. Rather, Kobach and his wingmen, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, extended the agony by seeking further documentation, only to have the request withdrawn. Across the country, the news stories and editorials were withering in their criticism.

In this case, Kobach won further adulation from his right-wing base, always valuable in some forthcoming primary election, while conveniently not being forced to make a pro-Obama decision that might alienate his most fervent supporters.

So, Kobach was a winner, Obama was a winner, to an extent, and the state of Kansas again became the butt of national — even international — jokes. Blessed by the presence at the hearing of Orly Taitz, the so-called “queen of the birthers,” Kansas was once more painted with the broad brush strokes of political weirdness and intolerance.

Such a portrait, of course, is just what the state needs in the wake of two decades of creationist controversies, unending Westboro Church protests, a governor whose administration monitors a student’s Twitter account and a secretary of state who flies around the country amping up a nasty, ego-satisfying campaign against any presence of illegal immigrants.

That’s not all. Remember the governor’s ill-conceived “marriage summit” and his $75,000 contract with discredited economics guru Alfred Laffer? Or, more recently, Kobach’s sterling anti-immigrant, anti-Sharia-law stances at the GOP convention?

All these incendiary statements, false steps and flat-out blunders encourage the thought that perhaps there has been a cagey plot to make prospective employers, along with thousands of well-qualified professionals recruited by NBAF and the KU Cancer Center, think long and hard about putting down roots in Kansas.

In contrast, as illustrated by Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” argument, it is good schools, lively cities, safe suburbs and thriving arts communities that attract the most innovative firms and the most accomplished professionals.

Who knows? Maybe cutting taxes to the bone will prove a great boon to the Kansas economy. But this narrow policy choice must navigate upstream against an unceasing flow of national news that makes the state look spiteful and stupid. I’m not sure we can lower taxes enough to overwhelm the torrent of negative stories that shows no sign of drying up.

– Burdett Loomis is a political science professor at the University of Kansas.




So, I ask….how is it working out for you with Brownback as Governor?  What he said he would do if elected President, he is doing in Kansas at will.  He said he would, and he is. When he runs again for President, he can show by example what he’s done to Kansas.  Brownback’s tax legislation will be the end of Kansas as we know it.

Here’s an example of his plan:
“Now, Brownback seeks something far more radical: not faith-based politics but faith in place of politics. In his dream America, the one he believes both the Bible and the Constitution promise, the state will simply wither away. In its place will be a country so suffused with God and the free market that the social fabric of the last hundred years — schools, Social Security, welfare — will be privatized or simply done away with. There will be no abortions; sex will be confined to heterosexual marriage. Men will lead families, mothers will tend children, and big business and the church will take care of all.”

He’s not kidding.  It’s already happening in Kansas in case you haven’t noticed. His only political constituent as governor of Kansas is God.

Read this to follow Brownback’s plan for our future…



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT, religion, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 8:27 pm

Ria Misra, Woman Up
After more than 60 years together, Jimmy Carter has announced himself at odds with the Southern Baptist Church — and he’s decided it’s time they go their separate ways. Via Feministing, the former president called the decision “unavoidable” after church leaders prohibited women from being ordained and insisted women be “subservient to their husbands.” Said Carter in an essay in The Age:

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

And, later:

The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.

After watching everyone from philandering politicians to Iran’s president taking a sudden look heavenwards when the roof starts to come down on them, it’s refreshing to see Carter calling out the role of religion in the mistreatment of women.

The question for Carter — and for others who find themselves at odds with leadership — is, when a group you’re deeply involved in starts to move away from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at some point, do you have to look for the exit? Carter did give the former a shot — in recent years publicly criticizing and distancing himself from church leadership, while staying involved with his church. Now, he’s seeing if absence might do what presence did

See:  Losing My Religion for Equality by Jimmy Carter



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT, GOP, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 5:29 pm

Alaska Republican Says Women Should Have To Get Permission From Men To Get An Abortion
March 22, 2012
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

Conservatives aren’t even bothering to cover up the real reasons why they want to ban abortion anymore. Now they’re just admitting that they want to force women to be submissive to men. A male Republican lawmaker in Alaska has let the cat out of the bag.

According to The Mudflats, Rep. Alan Dick (fitting name) “said in a House Health and Social Services Committee Hearing last week that he doesn’t believe that when a woman is pregnant, it’s really “her pregnancy.” As a matter of fact, he would advocate for criminalizing women who have an abortion without the permission via written signature from the man who impregnated her. He stated, “If I thought that the man’s signature was required… required, in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it…”   He didn’t say whether a rapist would be able to send his signature by fax from prison, or not.

Rep. Dick’s sexist comments aside, Alaska Republicans are also seeking to pass legislation that would violate the privacy and personal liberty of women, and would even misinform them.

Despite the fact that the state Supreme Court in Alaska has ruled that women should have access to abortion without being burdened, Republicans in the state are waging war against women’s rights. In the state Senate, Republicans are pushing SB 191, which forces women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. In the House, the GOP is trying to pass HB 363, which forces state employees to lie to women about their pregnancy options and bans them from referring women to abortion providers and other abortion services.

Clearly, this war against women is all about forcing women to be completely submissive to men. Mr. Dick said as much. These conservative males want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in America and go back to a time when women were property and were restricted to carrying babies and cooking in the kitchen. Many of today’s conservatives even believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to have jobs and should be punished for having pre-marital sex. It won’t be too much longer before Republicans try to repeal women’s voting rights out of some sick belief that women can’t be involved in politics. The Republican Party has become a laughingstock. It is a party that belongs in 19th or 18th century America or perhaps further back. It certainly doesn’t belong in this century. At any rate, the GOP is full of raving sexist chauvinist pigs and since women make up over half of the American population, Republicans are basically committing political suicide by attacking their rights, their privacy, their health, and their independence.



Filed under: prairie musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, religion — Peg Britton @ 10:33 am

Horrible news for women’s rights from the Colorado state House…

Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 01:08 AM PDT

Breaking: “First Degree Homicide Of The Unborn Child Bill” Passes Colorado House On Second Reading

From State Rep Daniel Kagan (D):

“…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.”

Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights.

This is a partial step toward completely outlawing abortion in Colorado and for men to gain full control over women’s reproductive rights.

The thing is:  No matter what bills are passed and signed into law, abortions will not vanish  The results from the effort to control women’s reproduction includes unsanitary, back-alley abortions leading to the mutilation and death of many young women, which Tea Party activists say they deserve.

There should be no question regarding women having the right to control their own bodies without oversight from men.   Thoughtful men and women know that.  We need to pay closer attention and strenuously object to the efforts of Republican majority legislatures, driven by religious zealots, that are passing legislation to slowly undermine the reproductive rights of women.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 4:57 pm

In Protest, Democrats Zero In On Men’s Reproductive Health

by Teresa Tomassoni

05:28 pm

March 15, 2012

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that would regulated men’s use of reproductive health services.

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that would regulated men’s use of reproductive health services.

For perhaps the first time in recent history, male reproductive health is at the forefront of political debate.

In at least six states, lawmakers — all women and all Democrats — have proposed bills or amendments in the last few weeks that aim to regulate a man’s access to reproductive health care. It’s their way of responding to the ongoing debate around contraception and abortion, said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

Some would prohibit men from getting vasectomies, such as Georgia’s House Bill 1116, which states:

“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies.”

Others, like an amendment proposed by Oklahoma State Sen. Constance Johnson, restrict where a man can ejaculate, effectively outlawing all manner of sexual acts. The amendment says:

“Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”

And Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner recently put forward legislation that would require men seeking drugs like Viagra to first get a cardiac stress test to ensure their heart is ready for sexual activity. Oh, and they would also have to obtain certification from one of their recent sexual partners that they are indeed experiencing problems with erectile dysfunction. And they would be required to see a sex therapist before getting a prescription.

The bill states:

“The physician shall ensure that the sessions include information on nonpharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including sexual counseling and resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

Turner says society has been programmed to accept the idea that legislators can regulate a woman’s ability to obtain contraception or get a safe abortion. “We don’t see anything wrong with it because that’s the way we’ve been socialized,” she told Shots. But now that the tables are turning and the focus is on men’s reproductive health, people think it’s strange, she said.

However, American University’s Lawless said that bills like Turner’s have almost a zero likelihood of becoming law.

Already, we are seeing some of them shot down. In January, the Virginia Senate voted against an amendment proposed by Virginia Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat, which would have required a man to get a digital rectal exam and cardiac stress test before getting a prescription for an erectile-dysfunction drug.

Howell proposed her amendment in response to a controversial bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasound imaging first. The bill eventually passed and was signed into law after vaginal ultrasounds were dropped from the requirements.

The ultimate goal in proposing bills related to male reproductive health is not to get them passed, Lawless said. By drawing attention to these bills, she said, Democrats are looking to motivate independent and undecided voters, especially women, to show up at the polls in November for the general election.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 3:53 pm

Fired For Using Birth Control? It Could Be Possible In Arizona
March 13, 2012

A proposed law in Arizona could give employers the right to fire women who use birth control. The bill, which sailed right through the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, grants employers the right to ask for proof that contraceptives are being taken for non-contraceptive reasons.

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.

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Arizona, like nearly half the rest of the country, is an at-will employment state. “At will” simply means that an employee can be fired without cause. Not only would the bill grant employers the right to pry into a woman’s (and only a woman’s) medical history, it would give them opportunity to fire women for simply having a sex life. Imagine this conversation… (For the rest of the story, click here….)



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 7:38 am

Let’s put the Santorum “win” in perspective, shall we?

–Out of 725,000 or so active Republican voters in Kansas, only 30,000 or so voted.
–30,000 people is a smaller population than Salina and smaller than Hutch, but a smidge bigger than Hays. In other words, it’s not very many people.
–The total Republican turnout was 0.04, or 4%. That’s 4% of the *Republicans,* not 4% of all voters.
–Half of that 4%, or 2%, of those Republicans voted for Santorum.
–In most polls, the margin of error is 3% to 5%.

In other words, even in Kansas, Rick Santorum is insignificant. He’s a sideshow - a shell of an ideologue flogged by the media just to keep the primary cycle interesting. People should give him, and his misogynistic rantings, the attention they deserve: None at all.

From  Thomas Witt, Kansas Equality Coalition, Inc.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 1:32 pm

Oklahoma Democrat Adds ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred’ Amendment To Personhood Bill

By Marie Diamond on Feb 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Despite being rebuffed by voters in Mississippi and Colorado, proponents of the “personhood” movement are still pushing to enact legislation in states like Ohio and Oklahoma that would give zygotes the same rights as American citizens. These bills would not only criminalize abortion in all circumstances, they would also outlaw common forms of contraception, as well as in vitro fertilization.

To poke fun at the absurdity of the measure, Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson (D), has tacked on a provision affirming — in the words of a famous Monty Python song — that every sperm is sacred:

State Senator Constance Johnson of Oklahoma City has served Oklahoma’s 48th Senate District since 2005, but it was yesterday’s introduction of Senate Bill 1433 that really pushed her over the edge. The bill sought to define human life as beginning at the moment of conception, before it’s even implanted in the womb, and offers full legal protection to those tiny multicelled lumps. In the words of the bill, “the unborn child at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”

Johnson submitted an amendment of her own to the bill, which would have added the language,

However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.

Among other things, Johnson’s amendment would essentially outlaw oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation. Were it not a satirical bill, it would almost certainly be deemed unconstitutional.

To prove that her amendment was in jest, Johnson voted with her colleagues to table it later in the day. But it does illustrate a serious point: only about half of fertilized eggs develop into a pregnancy. If Republican lawmakers are willing to declare every cluster of cells with the potential to become a fetus a person, why stop at fertilized eggs? Why not sperm as well?

To protest the inherent sexism of the personhood bill, another Democratic senator attempted to add an amendment that would require the father of the child to be financially responsible for the mother’s health care, housing, and other expenses while she is pregnant.



Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice, blogs, Women's Rights — Peg Britton @ 11:24 am

Of course this never would have been an issue if prepubescent boys could get pregnant.

From Daily Kos
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offer a compromise on birth control

by Barbara MorrillFollow

Compromise: Do it our way or burn in hell

Since last month’s announcement by the White House that the Affordable Care Act will require employee health insurance to cover contraception without co-pays, we’ve watched as the outrage of celibate men and the Republican Party melded into a perfect storm of religious fervor and political pandering.

But finally, a way out of the apparently controversial concept of providing American women with basic health care has been found. From the general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a compromise has been offered:

“There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,” Picarello said. “We’re not going to do anything until this is fixed.”

That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”

Problem solved! Restrict access to a basic health service for all women.

Of course this never would have been an issue if prepubescent boys could get pregnant.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 12:39 pm

NPR by Julie Rovner

The Food and Drug Administration will not be removing age restrictions for a morning-after birth control pill — a decision that’s likely to prolong a fight that has raged for more than eight years.

In a statement today, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said she was convinced that the product, called Plan B One Step, is safe and effective at preventing pregnancy after unprotected intercourse for women of all ages. Currently the product is available without a prescription only to those age 17 and over. As long ago as 2003, two FDA advisory panels recommended the product be made available over the counter without age restrictions.

Hamburg, however, was overruled by her boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. As a result, the drug makers’ application to remove the age restriction has been denied, and girls under age 17 will still need a prescription.

In her own statement, Sebelius says:

“It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age. If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age. … Because I do not believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age, I have directed FDA to issue a complete response letter denying the supplemental new drug application.”



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 6:34 pm




Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice, Sam Brownback — Peg Britton @ 12:51 pm

Kansas to Pursue Abortion-Blocking Legislation Despite Court Injunction
Tuesday 5 July 2011
by: Igor Volsky, Think Progress | Report

Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) administration plans to enact new permanent regulations for abortion licensing that may be identical to the temporary rules being challenged in court.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Kansas from enforcing new licensing regulations against its three abortion providers, but that doesn’t mean that the state is letting up in its effort to outlaw abortions across the state. To the contrary, Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) administration plans to enact new permanent regulations that may be identical to the temporary rules being challenged in court:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment already had plans for a new set of rules even as it finished regulations that would have taken effect Friday. The agency described the first set as temporary, which allowed it to avoid taking public comments and get the rules in place within weeks, though they could remain in effect afterward for only four months. The next set of rules would be considered permanent and require public comment.

Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment and a Brownback appointee, said his department respected the ruling and would “follow the law.”

But Moser added: “Judge Murguia’s ruling is narrowly tailored and does not prevent KDHE from moving forward to establish permanent licensing regulations.”
Department officials have said their proposed permanent rules are identical to the temporary ones blocked by Murguia. Cheryl Pilate, an attorney for the Aid for Women clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, said if the department makes few or no changes, providers will challenge the next set “for the very same reasons.”

“Those would certainly be taken up into the lawsuit,” she said.

The licensing rules — which are far more stringent and specific than what the state currently requires of hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers — had shut down two of Kansas’ three abortion clinics. One provider, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri clinic, received an abortion license last Thursday — “after being initially denied and undergoing a second inspection.” All three clinics will now be allowed to operate until the lawsuit against the regulations are resolved.

Proponents of the new regulations argue that stricter licensing standards would help improve women’s safety, a notion the judge challenged before issuing a stay of the regulations. Indeed, as RH Reality Check’s Jodi Jacobson argues, “[s]uperfluous regulations put in place to delay or deter women from obtaining abortions–along with stigma, discrimination, and clinic harassment–only push them later. The later a termination is performed, the more risks are involved. While second trimester abortions are both relatively rare and relatively safe, especially early on in that phase, they involve higher risks than do first trimester abortions.” Additionally, she adds, “But causing delays and obstacles are what Kansas legislators are all about.”



Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 9:54 am

Friday, June 24th, 2011 | Posted by admin

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — A board in Kansas plans to meet Wednesday to review new regulations drafted by the state health department for abortion providers.

The Department of Health and Environment is imposing the rules under a new law mandating specific health and safety standards for abortion providers.

The law takes effect July 1, and the department plans to have its rules in effect then, too.

The state’s three abortion providers have criticized that process.

The rules are considered temporary but can remain in effect for up to four months while the department takes public comments on permanent regulations.

But the state Rules and Regulations Board must sign off on the temporary rules.

The five-member board includes two legislators and representatives from the attorney general’s, secretary of state’s and secretary of administration’s offices.



Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 9:09 am

This just makes my blood boil.  It appeared in Pitch.
Kansas Rep. Pete DeGraaf: Being impregnated during a rape is just like getting a flat tire
By Peter Rugg, Mon., May 23 2011 at 7:21 AM

Yeah, like anyone would want to “R” Pete.
​Rape is often called the ultimate violation of self. A crime of absolute contempt for personal integrity, leaving the women caught in its wreckage to labor under the trauma for years. What reprehensible event could possibly have the same consequences as the spiritual dead zone rape victims are left in?

Well, getting a flat tire, according to Kansas state Rep. Pete DeGraaf.

Last Friday, Kansas legislators approved a ban on insurance companies offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans. The one exception: when a woman’s life is at risk.

DeGraaf, who is in his first term and who is an associate pastor, also called for banning coverage for abortions of rape pregnancies. (Women could get around this if they purchased separate, “abortion-only policies.”)

During the House discussion there was predictably some disagreement over whether excluding rape pregnancies from coverage was perhaps the sort of callous treatment a recently violated woman shouldn’t have to deal with. Here’s DeGraaf’s response to Rep. Barbara Bollier’s challenge, as reported by the McPherson Sentinel:

Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?”

Bollier asked him, “And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?”

DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, “I have a spare tire on my car.”

“I also have life insurance,” he added. “I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

This is the part of the story where it would be fun to talk about how DeGraaf should be put through something similar to rape, even though tortures on that level are hard to invent. Someone could give him the old Shazam, which is when you unzip a man’s taint from anus to testicles using a pair of kiddie scissors. Shazam! Or we could make jokes about how there should be a AAA for sexual assault. That kind of thing is fun to write and fun to read, and we could all get good and angried up.

But, you know, even though that stuff might make us feel good, the truth is there’s a lot of people who voted for DeGraaf who think he’s just telling it like it is. Of course, those people prove the old line about rape being the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.

So DeGraaf will keep preaching at his church, everyone will forget about it, and he’ll probably get re-elected. He might even carve himself out a nice life in politics surrounded by people who agree with him and make sure he always knows he was right about those dumb women who failed to prepare for rape, assuming he ever gives it another thought. Then, on his deathbed, he’ll look back, comfortable that he led a brave and innocent life, ready to enter heaven.

One quick thing before we’re done. DeGraaf’s Web site lists his office number as 785-296-7693, his home phone as 316-777-0715 - that’s at 1545 E. 119th St. Mulvane, KS - and his e-mail as You know, just in case you’re one of the people who do disagree with him and think you might be able to persuade him. Democracy thrives on open discourse.

UPDATE: Women’s rights organization Kansas NOW has announced a campaign to send DeGraaf spare tires in protest of his remarks, and voting record. Read how you can send DeGraaf a tire here.



Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 11:51 am


By way of Matt Yglesias, a Pew Research Center poll is the latest sign that Americans are moving one way and Republican Party leaders are moving another.

By Laura Conaway
Thu Mar 3, 2011 6:27 PM EST



Filed under: prairie musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 11:45 am

Watch the prices soar in the grocery store.  At the moment, corn is $7.04, beans $13.87 and wheat $9.45.  About everything we eat involves grain, poultry and milk.  Look at the food in your refrigerator and on your pantry shelves and you’ll find this to be true.  Poultry/eggs and milk require grain and beans for production.  When farmers can gain greater profits from growing corn, beans and wheat, they aren’t going to be planting other crops.  The global supply of corn continues to decrease and is measured in “days”.

A year ago, ethanol was in the $1.70 per gallon range, but recently closed at $2.457 per gallon, the highest it has been since the early summer price spike in 2008 when it exceeded $2.80 per gallon.

Tanks are in the streets of Bahrain as police attack Manama’s Pearl Square in a wave of revolution. Bahrain, Yemen and Jordon are all worrisome.  Across the Middle East, protesters clash with pro-government mobs and security forces in  the latest sign that the tools of repression that leaders in the region have relied on for years are now, instead, propelling more people to the streets.

Zinc helps shorten the length of time one suffers from colds.  Now there is clinical proof.  And here.  Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people. When supplemented for at least five months, it reduces cold incidence, school absenteeism and prescription of antibiotics in children.   I’ve used it for years as I know it helps me.

The personal assets of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man, included a horse, buggy and harness. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, his skills included financial fraud.  Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.  For more of the story…a Madoff-like fraud.

Rachel Maddow has an incredible update tonight on her reporting on why no one’s been able to do abortions in central KS since the Tiller assassination.  She’s on MSNBC at 8:00 p.m.  She’s after Phill Kline and others like him.  This is a very interesting case she is pursuing and worth the watch.

And, congratulations to grandson Drew on being named the “#1 Banker in the State of COLORADO.”  That would be among all the many Vectra Banks in Colorado.   Boulder Broadway Bank, where he works,  is in 3rd place over all in the state.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 4:09 pm

Here are a couple of articles to give you pause about what the religious right is trying to inflict on others.  Think about the consequences if this gets a stronghold in the country.  Of course, it would be happening in Texas and with our fringe right leadership in Kansas, it could very easily happen here.

When Julee Lacey, a married mother of two, tried to get her birth control pill prescription refilled at a CVS near her home in suburban Dallas, the pharmacist refused.

“She began to tell me that she personally does not believe in birth control, and that therefore she would not fill my prescription,” said Lacey, who attends church regularly and is a former teacher of the year. Lacey’s situation could happen with increasing frequency, since many conservatives are seeking laws that would protect pharmacists’ jobs if they refuse to fill any prescription they oppose on religious or moral grounds. ……people most vehemently opposed to abortion were equally opposed to contraception. How can that make sense?

“If you don’t offer to a woman — a wife, for example, in a family situation — an option to plan her pregnancies, then you are just inviting an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, inviting the possibility of abortion,” he said.But to many conservatives, some forms of birth control and abortion are essentially the same thing: the ending of a human life.

For more on this fierce debate, click here.

And in another case…

A nurse calls in a prescription to a local pharmacy. The nurse’s patient is a woman experiencing heavy uterine bleeding, and she needs medication. But the pharmacist suspects the woman’s had an abortion. So he won’t fill the prescription. He won’t even give her a referral of another pharmacy where she can go. He leaves her to bleed, and without the medicine she needs, she’ll either have to go to the emergency room or risk a serious hemorrhage.

This is what happened at an Idaho Walgreen’s two months ago. And what the pharmacist did was absolutely legal. In its last session, the Idaho legislature passed a “conscience clause” law for pharmacists. The law was intended to allow pharmacists the option to deny women access to emergency contraception, even if the woman in question was raped. Moreover, and perhaps even more importantly, the law’s vague wording allows for heinous abuses like the story described above.

This isn’t a law that protects pharmacists – it’s a law that endangers women. The medicine the bleeding woman needed was called Methergine, and it’s often used when a woman bleeds after an abortion or miscarriage. The pharmacist had no idea whether the woman in question had had an abortion or not. Yet he decided it was his right to punish her by refusing to provide the care she so desperately needed.

The women of Idaho deserve better than this.  Particularly the women in rural Idaho, who may have only one pharmacy in a hundred mile radius. If their local pharmacist refuses care, is a bleeding woman supposed to drive for hours to get another prescription?

For more on here.

It would be a very good idea if everyone paid attention to the bills that are introduced in the legislature…both at the local level and the national level.

Thanks for tuning in…

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