#TAMPONGATE IN TEXAS! Legislature Orders Troopers Confiscate Tampons- But Allows Guns in Austin State House

Posted on July 12, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

smuggleSome days, it is as if America has forgotten the past 50 years or so- and nowhere has that been more apparent over the course of the past decade than in state legislatures throughout the country. Today’s story out of Texas, however, raises the bar for simple jackassery, abandonment of common sense and ridiculousness, as lawmakers decide the rights of women to access safe healthcare options.

Which is to say, Paul LePage just loves Rick Perry today!

Quickly, here’s the deets via HuffPo:


    State troopers are confiscating tampons, maxi pads and other potential projectiles from those who are entering the Texas capitol to watch the debate and vote on a controversial anti-abortion bill. Guns, however, which are typically permitted in the state capitol, are still being allowed.

    Several people tweeted that troopers were taking the objects before allowing entrance into the gallery.

More reports confirmed the actions of troopers:

    Rick Perry‘s Texas Republican state government continues to embarrass itself, demean and wage war on its women citizens. As if calling into a special session the Texas state legislature for the sole purpose of closing 37 of the 42 women’s clinics that are qualified to perform abortions, leaving only five in the nation’s second-largest and second-most populous state weren’t bad enough, this afternoon Texas state troopers confiscated maxi-pads and tampons from scores of women who wanted to attend the anti-abortion debate.

Think Progress:

Bloom County circa 1985 cartoon sums up today's confusion in Austin TX.

Bloom County circa 1985 cartoon sums up today’s confusion in Austin TX.

    According to Jessica Luther, a freelance writer and pro-choice activist who has been coordinating much of the push-back to the proposed abortion restrictions over the past few weeks, Senate officials are confiscating any objects they believe may cause a similar disruption in the gallery during Friday’s vote. Protesters aren’t allowed to carry water bottles or even feminine hygiene products, just in case they might throw them at lawmakers.

    Even though the Texas legislature may not be comfortable with feminine hygiene products, it’s a bit more relaxed when it comes to firearms. Individuals with concealed carry licenses are permitted to bring their guns into the Senate gallery. In fact, a Texas Republican recently insinuated he might do just that during the current special session.

Business Insider opined:

    As the Texas Senate took up debate on controversial abortion legislation today, security at the statehouse confiscated tampons, maxi pads, and other potential items that could be thrown from women entering the building.

    It sparked what’s surely one of the most unusual hashtags ever on Twitter: #tampongate.

And so with this in mind, an online game of substituting “Tampon” for “gun/arms/weapons” in famous quotes oft used by gun rights advocates just writes itself.

A quick sampling:


    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves and include all (wo)men capable of bearing tampons.” – Richard Henry Lee

    “The Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights is my Concealed Tampon Permit, period.” – Ted Nugent

    “Happiness is a warm tampon.” – John Lennon

    “I have a very strict tampon control policy: if there’s a tampon around, I want to be in control of it.” – Clint Eastwood

    “One (wo)man with a tampon can control 100 without one.” – Vladimir Lenin

    “The right of the people to keep and bear tampons shall not be infringed.” – James Madison

    “Tampons in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense.” – John Adams

    “No free (wo)man shall ever be debarred the use of tampons.” – Thomas Jefferson

    scared-tampon“I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my tampon and keeps on shooting.” – Che Guevara

    “A woman who demands further tampon control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders.” – Larry Elder

    “It’s better to have a tampon and not need it than to need a tampon and not have it.” – Christian Slater

    “I’ll give you my tampon when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” – Charleton Heston

    “When tampons are outlawed, only outlaws will have tampons.” – Clark Goddard

    “The right of the people to keep and bear tampons shall not be infringed.” – James Madison

An updated live blog via BurntOrangeReport has been set up of the ongoing debate in Texas. The latest:

    “The floor debate started with Senator Glenn Hegar laying out HB 2, which was substituted for SB 1 after passing the House.

    Senator Royce West peppered Hegar with questions about his support for a woman’s right to choose. Hegar danced around the issue, citing Roe as precedent. Hegar did not come right out and call for Roe to be overturned or state his own personal opposition to abortion rights, though he has previously campaigned on overturning Roe v Wade.

    As debate continued, Senator Bob Deuell made the charming remark that low-income abortion seekers are “unsophisticated patients” who need the legislature’s help.

    Yes, Senator Deuell actually said that poor and less-educated women need the legislature to make decisions for them.”

Missing Ann Richards and Molly Ivins today…

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DNC Day 1 Wrap-Up: Speech of Lilly Ledbetter (ICYMI Video; Text)

Posted on September 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

“Good evening, I’m Lilly Ledbetter and I’m here tonight to say: What a difference four years make!

Some of you may know my story: How for nineteen years, I worked as a manager for a tire plant in Alabama. And some of you may have lived a similar story: After nearly two decades of hard, proud work, I found out that I was making significantly less money than the men who were doing the same work as me. I went home, talked to my husband, and we decided to fight.

We decided to fight for our family and to fight for your family too. We sought justice because equal pay for equal work is an American value. That fight took me ten years. It took me all the way to the Supreme Court. And, in a 5–4 decision, they stood on the side of those who shortchanged my pay, my overtime, and my retirement just because I am a woman.

The Supreme Court told me that I should have filed a complaint within six months of the company’s first decision to pay me less even though I didn’t know about it for nearly two decades. And if we hadn’t elected President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded interpretation would have been the law of the land.

And that would have been the end of the story. But with President Obama on our side, even though I lost before the Supreme Court, we won. The first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I think it says something about his priorities that the first bill he put his name on has my name on it too.

As he said that day with me by his side, “Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.”

The president signed the bill for his grandmother, whose dreams hit the glass ceiling, And for his daughters, so that theirs never will. Because of his leadership, women who faced pay discrimination like I did will now get their day in court.

That was the first step but it can’t be the last. Because women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make. Those pennies add up to real money. It’s real money for the little things like being able to take your kids to the movies and for the big things like sending them to college. It’s paying your rent this month and paying the mortgage in the future. It’s having savings for the bill you didn’t expect and savings for the dignified retirement you’ve earned.

Maybe 23 cents doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island Investments and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour, every day, every paycheck, every job, over our entire lives, what we lose can’t just be measured in dollars.

Three years ago, the house passed the paycheck Fairness Act to level the playing field for America’s women. Senate Republicans blocked it. Mitt Romney won’t even say if he supports it. President Obama does. In the end, I didn’t get a dime of the money I was shortchanged.

But this fight became bigger than Lilly Ledbetter. Today, it’s about my daughter. It’s about my granddaughter. It’s about women and men. It’s about families. It’s about equality and justice.

This cause, which bears my name, is bigger than me. It’s as big as all of you. This fight, which began as my own, is now our fight—a fight for the fundamental American values that make our country great. And with President Barack Obama, we’re going to win. Thank you very much. God bless America.”

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) May Claim He’s “Never Heard of Children Getting Pregnant From Rape”- But I Have

Posted on August 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Revolting. For context, King made his remarks in an attempt to defend House colleague Todd Akin (R-MO), who King insists is the “target of petty, personal attacks”.

REPORTER: “You support the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would provide federal funding for abortions to a person that has been forcefully raped. But what if someone isn’t forcibly raped and for example, a 12-year-old who gets pregnant? Should she have to bring this baby to term?”

KING: Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking it’s this: that there millions of abortions in this country every year. Millions of them are paid for at least in part by taxpayers. I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that’s my stand. And if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions let’s talk about it. In the meantime it’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion.”

(VIDEO link) From the accompanying article:

“Of course, Steve King isn’t telling the real truth. In reality, rape impregnates thousands of women every year, including little girls. King is also wrong to claim that the federal government funds abortion. The federal government is barred from funding abortion because of the Hyde Amendment. The only exceptions to that law are women and girls who become pregnant by rape or incest, which is acceptable and understandable to most human beings. But because King hasn’t personally known any instance of little girls being raped and impregnated, he doesn’t want there to be any circumstance where abortion should be allowed.”

For those unaware, in a previous career I was a medical laboratory technician. In that capacity, I worked numerous jobs around the country over the course of about a dozen years before retiring from the field. Routinely I would perform blood and urine pregnancy testing- and one day that haunts and horrifies me still was the day that a urine sample for pregnancy testing from a ten year old girl came into the lab.

The results, which were double-checked for verification, were positive.

Ten. Years. Old.

Now, prepare to wrap your head fully around this.

First off, there was a girl whose body had matured sufficiently for her body to begin menstrual cycles at a rather precocious age- the average age of menarche is considered to be 13 years worldwide, 12.5 years in the United States. Additionally, not all females who are ovulating have had a menstrual cycle, contrary to popular belief.

Second, this child was impregnated.


Ten. Years. Old.

A child is a child, and rape is rape. There is NO WAY AND NO POSSIBLE VALID ARGUMENT HERE THAT THIS WAS A CONSENSUAL ACT. Consent would require knowledge and comprehension far beyond what this girl was capable of. Additionally, the legal age of consent in the United States ranges from 16 to 18 years old.

This conception and pregnancy were indeed the result of rape. This child was raped. And even typing that is difficult.

Widen the scope a bit and you can see part of the problem in getting a grasp of the problem. Due to the nature of the crime, the court system, the ages of the victims, and so many other elements, it is impossible to know exactly how many female children are raped in our country, let alone how many conceive.

But, back to the ten year old girl.

A third point to consider is the physician attending this girl had reason to order the testing– this is not the sort of examination nor laboratory results most pediatricians seek without some sort of examination of the patient and medical interview (as best as can be conducted under such circumstances). The testing itself was not ordered in the ER as a “STAT” (highest priority) or even “ASAP”, but as a routine test request coming directly from the physician’s office, with no criminal rape kit– had that been the case, our hospital laboratory would not have been involved, but rather the state’s criminal laboratory. Later on, when the results were given back to the office, this child and parent/ guardian were informed of the girl’s pregnancy.

Let’s stop again.

In addition to being a 12th generation native Mainer, I am also an amateur genealogist, having been working on my families’ lines (and those of others around the country) as a kid with my grandparents and mother. Over the course of 40 plus years of doing that sort of research, I have walked through literally hundreds, if not thousands, of cemeteries.

I have no idea how many times I have seen graves of children who died the day they were born or those of young mothers who died in childbirth. One of my ancestors, Susan (Fogarty) Billings (1795-1836), died giving birth to her youngest child Elizabeth- my great-great-great-grandmother. Sometimes gravestones reflected the deaths on the same day of both mother and child, telling sad tales of family tragedies from long ago.

( Image: Teenage birth rate per 1,000 women aged 15–19, 2000–2009)

“But that was back years ago, before medical advances and cleaner environments!” some could argue. And to a degree they would be right, that conditions have improved markedly since the 1830s.

But consider this: In the past decade, the rate of women dying in childbirth in the United States has risen to alarming levels. It is a serious problem that is getting worse every year. In poor nations, teen pregnancy is a leading cause of death. The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy of developed nations.

Among the risks for teen mothers that can lead maternal and infant death are lack of access to proper nutrition, adequate prenatal care from trained professionals- and with younger teens, an underdeveloped pelvis can lead to difficulties.

But we’re not talking about a “young teen”- we are talking about a TEN. YEAR. OLD. GIRL.

So keep believing there is no “Republican War on Women”– to a degree, you would be right.

Today, Rep. Steve King of Iowa declared war- on raped children.

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Maine Physicians Testify in Opposition to Abortion Bills LDs 116, 924 and 1457

Posted on May 3, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Maine Womens’ Lobby email:


L.D. 924 – “An Act to Educate Women on the Medical Risks Associated with Abortion.”

This bill would require doctors to read a biased and coercive script to a patient … 24 hours before she could obtain an abortion.

Women making decisions about their health have a right to non-biased information and conversation – not manipulation.

And that’s just one of 4 bills – 4 very bad bills – aimed at putting politicians between you and your right to make your own decisions about when and whether to bear children.

C’mon. Trust women. Trust us to make decisions that are right for our lives.

We need your help right now to counter this attack on reproductive privacy.

Misleading women, especially those struggling with difficult decisions, is unconscionable. This bill isn’t about educating women. It’s about shaming women out of choosing an abortion.

It’s about providing incomplete and medically inaccurate information.

It’s not medicine – it’s politics. And politics shouldn’t come between you and your physician.

Give right here, right now.

And, that’s not all.

L.D. 1457 would repeal Maine’s successful adult involvement law and require signed, notarized consent from a minor’s parent before she can obtain an abortion.

L.D. 116 would require two in-person visits to an abortion provider; one to provide informed consent, and a second 24 hours later to have the procedure. These proposed waiting periods increase the medical, emotional, and financial cost of abortion.

And, L.D. 1463 proposes to create a new class of crime for harm to a fetus.

We trust Maine women to make their own health choices in consultation with their medical providers. And, Maine has a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of common sense laws protecting women’s health and safety.




The public hearings on LDs 116, 924 and 1457 will be held in Room 438 starting at 1pm TODAY. Those attending are urged to please wear PINK to show support.

Photos of the press conference here.

Video of Dr. Leitzer speaking at a press conference held at the Statehouse this morning.

Links here to video of Dr. Betsy Weiss of Bangor and retired OB/GYN Dr. Robert Walker of Blue Hill, presenting their statements opposing the three bills.

Testimony of Dr. Joan Leitzer, MD, Portland

Opposition to:

LD 116, “An Act To Require a 24-hour Waiting Period prior to an Abortion”
LD 924, “An Act To Educate Women on the Medical Risks With Abortion”
LD 1457, “An Act To Strengthen the Consent Laws for Abortions Performed on Minors and Incapacitated Persons”

Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary

May 3, 2011

Good afternoon.

I am Dr. Joan Leitzer, a psychiatrist in Portland, and have practiced psychiatry for over twenty-five years. I am also the mother of two grown children. I am here to urge you to oppose all three anti-abortion bills. The proposal that I find the most objectionable, as a physician, is the proposal (LD 924) that would require that doctors read a government-approved script to any patient seeking an abortion.

As a physician, I have an obligation to provide scientifically and medically accurate information to my patients. I also have an ethical obligation to ensure informed consent by all of my patients prior to any treatment. The three tenets of informed consent for treatment are that:

  • The patient must have the capacity to give consent.
  • Consent must be truly voluntary.
  • A patient must be provided with adequate information to make decisions.LD 924 is counter to the concept of informed consent which requires that doctors ensure that patients are capable of making a decision, are making that decision on a voluntary basis free of coercion, and have accurate information to make that decision in an informed way.Indeed, LD 924 contradicts this principle of informed consent by introducing elements of bias and coercion into the process. Counceling is not reading a government-approves script to a patient. Counceling is definitely not reading inflammatory anti-abortion language to a patient in an attempt to coerce her or shame her into not having an abortion.I understand that the Maine Right to Life Committee states that this bill was, and I quote: “modeled after legislation which has been successfully brought forward in other states: Missouri, Texas, South Dakota and Georgia”.
    However, the scripts developed by goverment officials in those states contain false, misleading and out-of-date information.

    The brochures for Texas falsely assert that abortion causes breast cancer, despite the fact that the National Cancer Institute has definitively stated that there is no such link. Even more concerning to a mental health professional like me, both Texas and South Dakota falsely assert that abortion causes negative,and only negative, emotional responses.

    That’s just not true. Some patients may feels sadness, guilt or regret, but other patients may experience a decrease of anxiety and/or relief.

    The findings of Munk-Olsen et al from the Jan 27, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate no support of the “hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after a first trimester abortion”. This is a high quality observational study (cohort design) and offers strong evidence suggesting that first trimester abortion is NOT associated with psychiatric disorder. In other words, there is no statistical correlation between abortion and depression. But the states that have a script assert this and other falsehoods.

    The Texas and South Dakota brochures claim that a woman may experience suicidal thoughts or so-called “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome”. This is a fictional diagnosis that is not recognized by either the American Psychological Association or the American Pediatric Association.

    The South Dakota materials state that an “unborn child may feel physical pain”. The Texas materials assert that pain perception can occur as early as 12 weeks’ gestation, although “some experts have concluded that the unborn child is probably able to feel physical pain” at 20 weeks. The truth, according to a 2005 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that the sensory systems necessary to feel pain develop between the 23rd and 30th week of gestation.

    The misinformation, contained in brochures from the states after which Maine Right to Life has modeled this proposal, see,s designed to convince women that abortion is wrong. Promoting an anti-abortion viewpoint through a government-issued brochure contradicts doctors’ ethical obligations to our patients.

    Even if we disagree, we should never impose our personal religious or political views on a patient. But that’s exactly what this bill will do. I urge you to reject biased government-mandated scripting of what takes place in the doctor’s office. I have dedicated my life to counseling women and men through some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives. As a professional, I uphold my ethical obligation to ensure that all of my patients provide informed consent to any course of treatment.

    There is no need to single out abortion and treat it any differently that any other legal, medical procedure. I urge you- regardless of what you think about abortion- not to impose a particular set of religious or moral views on women seeking abortion. Please reject LD 924, as well as LD 116 and LD 1457.

    Thank you.

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