Amendment 1 - which adds an amendment to the state's constitution banning all marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership for same-sex couples, passed today. State law already prohibits the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. http://www.freedomtomarry.org/blog/entry/anti-gay-constitutional-amendment-passes-in-north-carolina
In North Carolina, two state legislators have filed a bill to make it a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail, for women to expose their nipples in public, but their only stated justification for the idea is to put an end to topless rallies in the Smoky Mountain city of Asheville - of which there have been exactly two. http://www.allgov.com/news/unusual-news/the-battle-over-nipple-exposure-in-north-carolina-130217?news=847086 Rayne Brown, a Republican, introduced House Bill 34 to making it a Class H felony to expose "the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast." http://now.msn.com/rayne-brown-gop-lawmaker-in-north-carolina-wants-to-make-exposing-a-nipple-a-felony
All couples staying overnight in a hotel must have a room with double beds that are at least two feet apart. Making love in the space between the beds is strictly forbidden. http://www.stupidlaws.com/all-couples-staying-overnight-in-a-hotel-must-have-a-room-with-double-beds-that-are-at-least-two-feet-apart/
"A bill proposed by two of them (Congressmen} that says North Carolina and its counties and towns have the right to establish an official religion.”
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/04/3960702/bills-are-laughable-so-nc-is-butt.html#storylink=cpy
HB518 makes it a state crime for any N.C. public servant – that includes police and judges – or any agent of the U.S. government “or dealer selling any firearm” in the state to enforce or try to enforce any federal law regarding such firearms and ammunition made in the state and that stays within its borders. To do so would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/04/3960702/bills-are-laughable-so-nc-is-butt.html#storylink=cpy'
Women must have their bodies covered by at least 16 yards of cloth at all times. http://www.harford.edu/faculty/dvolkart/handouts/odd_state_laws.htm
Concerned Women for America of North Carolina, a conservative women's group, will be at the legislative building Wednesday to talk about shielding American courts from Sharia law.
A morning press conference will be followed by a two-hour legislative briefing in the afternoon. Last month, the House passed a bill sponsored by Transylvania Republican Chris Whitmire that prohibits use of Sharia law in state courts. Read more here: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/concerned_women_and_sharia_law#storylink=cpy
In total solidarity with the N.C. women, N.C. legislature decided to beat Muslims to it and establish their own Sharia law which they call “Freedom From Federal Organized Oppression Law” or FFFOOL. And true conservative women of the great state of North Carolina fully agree with the following statement:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to respect the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard." Although the Quran does say this, the superiority of men is interpreted in terms of strength by the context – men maintain women.
This of course is the statement from the Quran but in their blessed ignorance the free FFFOOLs of the N.C. Legislature are very proud of themselves as being on the forefront of all the FFFOOLs in our great country.
"A New York Times article about a study that links U.S. women's expanding waistlines to the fact that they do less housework has sparked a wave of outrage online, where readers decried the piece for being sexist."
From the supreme court: Justice Scalia announced that now that women have equal rights they can go back to the kitchen and get in shape! It is good for them and will keep them thin; men like him will sacrifice themselves and stay fat. My hope is that Scalia tries this approach and vacuums the floors of the Supreme Court instead of being a dick on the bench.
The author of this article is a psychiatrist I knew when I worked at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I have great respect for her values and opinions. Please read this article before you vote.
Embryonic Personhood? What Is Going On in the USA?
By Nada Logan Stotland, MD, MPH | September 4, 2012
Dr. Stotland is a Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rush Medical College.
Nada Stotland, MD, on abortion and acute psychiatric illness.
I have discussed psychiatric aspects of abortion on this blog in the past. Suffice it to reiterate that there is no credible scientific evidence that induced abortion is a cause of psychiatric pathology. Not surprisingly, abortion is associated, in a non-causal way, with disadvantage and pathology; women overwhelmed by existing responsibilities, women without social supports, women who are abused are more likely to have abortions than pregnant women in happier circumstances. Women with acute and severe psychiatric disorders are at increased risk for unplanned and unwelcome conception; they may be taking large doses of psychotropic medication; and they may reasonably have concerns about their ability to care for a baby while they are acutely ill. Nevertheless, alleged psychiatric sequelae are used as rationales for laws restricting access to abortion in several states, and some states require that physicians performing abortions provide this misinformation to their patients, under pain of prosecution.
The Republican Party has just adopted a breathtaking platform, including a plank demanding a constitutional amendment declaring that the fertilized ovum has all the rights of a human being. That would rule out abortion for rape, incest, and/or the life of the mother . . . but that is not all.
Would we be obligated to try to gestate every fertilized ovum? Would we prosecute and incarcerate women for child abuse when they fail to provide the optimal intrauterine environment—not only substance users, but also those who smoke, have a glass of wine, gain too much weight, or work too hard as medical residents? Probably those who support the platform would exempt those exhausted from caring for the children they already have, rather than providing maternity leave, day care, and other essential family supports.
If a fertilized ovum is a person, the law might well require a woman to have surgery on the fetus if it is found to have a condition possibly remediable by surgery. It is important to remember that our laws forbid the most miniscule invasion of an unwilling individual’s body for the benefit of another individual. We cannot legally force a person to give a drop of blood to save the life of a genius who is about to develop a cure for cancer.
Interviews of some delegates to the Republican National Convention (possibly not representative) by cast members from The Daily Show (possibly not neutral) indicate profound ignorance—including that notion that rape only extremely rarely results in pregnancy. There has been a lukewarm response to Todd Akins’ assertion that rape only very rarely results in conception and to the assertion by some candidates that contraception itself is wrong.
No doubt readers are aware of the platform and of at least some of the Draconian anti-abortion laws that continue to be passed by state legislatures and signed into law by state governors—and that are often upheld by state courts. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Republican Party, whatever else its virtues and flaws, is waging a war against women and, though not acknowledged or recognized, by extension on their families. The American Psychiatric Association has an official pro-choice policy, but I am not aware of any efforts on their/our part to fight these frightening developments.
It is up to each and every one of us to be informed about the scientific facts and to inform our medical and mental health colleagues, our communities, our elected representatives—and our patients. One of 3 women in the United States has an abortion at some time in her life. That’s 1 of 3 of our female patients.
OK . . . there’s a brief recap and an exhortation. Another psychiatric aspect of abortion under the current circumstances is an attempt to understand how policies restricting and even ending access to a medical procedure used by a third of women fail to evoke or at least female general consternation. The most cynical answer is that one political party, motivated by financial and selfish concerns, is demonizing abortion as a way of pandering to the far right and garnering votes from people who would be better served by the policies of the other party.
Psychodynamically speaking, there is a lot of rage against mothers. There are people who feel unwanted and unappreciated, and identify with the “unborn babies” they are trying to protect. I have a pro-choice friend whose dedication to that position is tempered by the fact that she was adopted as an infant and might well not exist had her biological mother had access to abortion. There are genuinely misogynistic motivations: intolerance of women’s sexuality and terror of women's potential power.
Nevertheless, where are those one-third of American women who themselves have used abortion services? The percentage must be significantly increased if one includes those whose friends and/or relatives have had abortions. At least some, if not most, of their male partners must have recognized the importance of abortion availability.
Here is how I explain the absence of general outcry. Abortion is not a pretty subject. An embryo or fetus, while not a fully developed person, has the potential to become one. No one is “pro-abortion.” At the same time, there are circumstances under which a girl or woman feels strongly that her pregnancy is untenable—that she is too young, too poor, too burdened, too ill to properly mother a child. Women have abortions because they take motherhood seriously.
In every place and at every time in history, many women have felt this so strongly that they accept pain, fear, and the possibility of death or prosecution to end pregnancies. Differently phrased questions asked by pollsters get very different responses. Many subjects report that they oppose abortion—but many or most people endorse the idea that no one but the pregnant woman can know her circumstances and that only she can decide whether to carry the pregnancy. Women can oppose abortion in the abstract, get abortions when the circumstances demand, and go back to opposing abortion. I was told by physicians who perform abortions in clinics besieged by anti-abortion picketers that every such physician has performed at least 1 abortion on a picketer—who goes back to picketing. It’s what I was taught in my psychoanalytically oriented residency is a vertical split. The conflicting feelings exist side by side.
Let me repeat my mantra. I have respect for people with heartfelt religious or philosophical objections to abortion. They have every right to make those arguments. I have no respect for what is going on in our country now—the all-too-successful attempt to sell abortion restrictions to the public on the very paradoxical basis of the well-being of women and to lie and force physicians to lie about its risks.
I am not a person of religion. But I am a believer. I believe that tomorrow at about 6:15 AM the Sun will rise in the East. I believe that people can be good, and I believe in freedom. I believe that those Eighteenth Century, wig-wearing, slave-owning, White guys knew more than just Roman numerals when they composed the documents shaping our country's governance.
The "Founding Fathers" fretted about the balance of power and the protection of citizens' rights. Without the benefit of Microsoft Word, they wrote our constitution, and James Madison, sans Excel, was able to sort and prioritize those rights most in need of protection. Madison brilliantly composed the Bill of Rights, this seminal document consisting of ten amendments delineates those cherished rights. Surely, he must have asked himself, "Where do I start? Which right is paramount? Which right deserves to be numero uno?. "
He somehow reached a decision, and next to Roman numeral one; he wrote,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The first protected right chosen by Madison was the right to practice one's religion, and prohibiting our government from foisting a specific religion on its people.
Why did Madison choose religious freedom as number I? Was it a divinely inspired decision? Was he fearful of a state sponsored religion? Was religion just so illogical that it needed protection from rational thought? I don't have an answer. Perhaps, I could pray for one.
Religion is unique, because it often relies on an ephemeral, unknowable higher authority, an unchallengeable authority, an authority that can and has been used to abridge human rights.
On March 1, 2012 forty-eight U.S. Senators cast votes in favor of the Blunt Amendment. The amendment was cleverly attached to a popular transportation bill. Note; only via senatorial logic could a bill funding roads and bridges for Peterbilts be merged with a bill protecting the church Peter built. The amendment which blessedly failed (48-51), was an attempt to permit employers to avoid providing any federally mandated healthcare coverage that an employer deemed in conflict with his or her moral beliefs. Specifically, it was designed to allow bosses to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to employees. More importantly, this legislation was probably designed to garner Right Wing Conservative Christian votes by claiming Obama's government was anti-religion.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor before the vote. "If the government is allowed to tell people to buy health care, it won't stop there. I wonder what's next. This isn't about one particular religion -- it's about the right of any American to live out their faith without the government picking and choosing which doctrines they're allowed to follow."
No Mitch, it's about employers having the right to determine the fate of their employees based on the doctrine or specific faith they professe to follow. It’s about permitting one to impose his or her beliefs on the rights of their employees by limiting their life choices.
Mitch, wouldn’t it be more equitable and fair to add "PROVIDED those actions do not impinge on the life and liberty of others?" The supporters of this bill in truth were not concerned with freedom of religion, they were concerned with women having the freedom to use contraception.
This bill failed, and perhaps this will go away. However, if our Senate shifts to the right, and we get a Santorum-like President, the idea that powerful people might use a religious or moral belief as a justification for bypassing laws protecting the average citizen could be possible, and should be terrifying.
I ask the reader to ponder the following:
Should a boss be able to:
- require women to wear burkas
require that girls be circumcised
- avoid controlling pollution because God will take care of things
- refuse to provide health insurance covering blood transfusions or stem cell transplants
- demand people tithe to a specific Church
- insist that employees say a prayer before starting the workday
- demand that children attend a school that teaches creationism
- require men to wear hats
- forbid employees to have lovers of the same sex
- only hire those believing in a specific God
- fire people for taking the Lord's name in vain (whatever the hell that means) after working hours
- forbid people to drive on Saturday or Sunday
- forbid people from voting for legislators in favor of legalizing marijuana
- forbid people from attending pro-choice rallies
- demand that all little boys be circumcised
- refuse to sell to customers of certain religions
- refuse to purchase from suppliers of different faith
Should people in power be able to treat their employees these ways?
Today, many of the above demands can be legally instituted by religious institutions. Some can be done by businesses. Few can be done by publicly funded institutions. On March 1, 2012, we were just two votes from changing that.
Matt Cole March 6, 2012
Matt Cole is a dad, grandpa, former construction executive and middle school science teacher. As an active member of the Chicago Ethical Humanist Society, he cares about people.
Back in the Soviet Union, March 8 was a Holiday. We celebrated International Woman's Day. The majority of people, including me, were happy to have a day off from work without even thinking what this day was all about. In a country where women legally had the same rights as men, there were very few women representatives in the Government, practically no women were heads of big companies or educational and cultural institutions. So, women got their flowers, chocolate and were happy. Men ruled at work, at home and in government.
Today I am in the United States. For 30 years in this country I was ignoring March 8th, sometimes even forgetting it, sometimes being reminded about the Holiday by old friends and family. This year is different. The election campaign for the President of the United States turned everything upside-down. Listening to the rhetoric of Republican candidates, I cannot help but feel the necessity to fight for women’s rights, the necessity to remind everybody that we, the women, will not go back to times of being told what, when and how. I feel the necessity of March 8th.
So, this year I want to celebrate this Day, to remind everybody and especially women that we will stand for our rights, we will not ignore the slogans and rhetoric of this campaign, we will not be taken back to the 50’s of the last century.