(UPDATED) Maine Reacts to Trump Inauguration

Posted on January 22, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

(UPDATED, 1/22/17) MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Show aired the following as a quick review of the weekend’s events in Washington DC and nationally:

 

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On Friday, as Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as the country’s 45th President, Mainers gathered in the State House’s Hall of Flags to read the U.S. Constitution. Here is full video of the event, hosted by ACLU of Maine:

 

Saturday saw the largest number of protesters ever gathered outside the State House complex as part of the over 600 international location rally/ #WomensMarch event, protesting President Trump. Numbers for participation are still being totaled, but event organizers are claiming over 10,000 participants at the Augusta site.

A quick video from within the crowd. State Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec) can be heard speaking in the background.

Here are photos that better illustrate the strength of numbers (link to more photos here).

Via Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills’ offices in the Cross Building:

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A Facebook photo shared by Maine Senate Democratic press secretary Mario Moretto from the State House shows Senator Bellows looking down at the crowds:

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Maine Women’s Day Held At The State House (VIDEO, PIX)

Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Members of the Coalition for Maine Women and the Maine Choice Coalition gathered at the State House to outline legislative priorities on January 20th (MORE PHOTOS HERE), as well as conduct a volunteer workshop on reproductive justice and breakout sessions on lobbying legislators, building communication skills and more.

Speakers included:

Oamishri Amarasingham (ALCU of Maine)
Claire Berkowitz, Maine Children’s Alliance
Julia Colpitts, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Ruth Lockhart, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center
Helen Regan, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights

    Oamshri Amarasingham, public policy counsel, ACLU of Maine: “Women constitute the fastest growing population of incarcerated people, and the number of women in Maine’s prisons has increased six-fold since 2002. Yet while the number of women in our criminal justice system has skyrocketed, our ability to provide them with appropriate conditions has failed to keep up. Ending the shackling of pregnant women will protect the health of women and their pregnancies.”

    DSC_0039Claire Berkowitz, executive director, Maine Children’s Alliance: “Child development experts have demonstrated that the most critical development of a child’s brain happens within the first five years of life. We know that our support of strong early childhood programming will not only bolster our state’s economic recovery, but provide economic security for future generations as well. Inadequate or inaccessible child care means that parents cannot obtain or maintain gainful employment, leaving them vulnerable to falling into poverty. Despite the research on its benefits to families and communities, the early childhood programming that would support Maine’s children continues to go underfunded. Today, we are calling on our elected leaders to make early childhood programming a priority this session. The future of our state depends on it.”

    Julia Colpitts, executive director, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence: “Economic reality – having no money or no housing – keeps many victims of violence from leaving their abuser, and can force them to return. Having a job is a first step to independence and safety. A victim’s employment is vital to building economic security and creating safety for them and for their children. Victims who want to work, to create new and sustainable lives don’t want to lose their job or be dependent on social welfare resources. This legislation will help them be successful on that economic path to safety by retaining their right to work through the crisis of violence.”
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    Ruth Lockhart, executive director, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center:
    “Women are vital to our society and economy, and when women thrive, Maine thrives. For those reasons we will oppose wrong-headed bills that take us backwards. As we have for decades, we will oppose any effort to undermine a woman’s autonomy over her own reproduction. Once again this year we will oppose any attempt to abridge our civil rights, including granting exemption from state laws based on religious objection. And we will oppose efforts that demonize people who need our help.”

    Helen Regan, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights: “Why hasn’t Maine taken advantage of an indirect, but proven way to support women in their search for job training and employment? Expansion of access to family planning services to women whose health care does not currently cover contraception will give them the tools they need to avoid unintended pregnancies known to be a huge setback for those seeking to support themselves and their families. Let’s take action that helps women help themselves.”

    More from the Maine Women’s Lobby:

    • Women are 51% of the population, but are underrepresented at every level of government where policy decisions that affect our lives are made.

    • On the first day of the new Congressional session, the majority party chose to fight for restrictions on abortion services as its top priority. And once again we need to fight bad bills in the Maine legislature that would restrict access to abortion.
    • Last year we helped defeat a dangerous bill that would have allowed people to use their religious beliefs to break laws meant to protect us all. It’s back.
    • Nearly 70,000 Maine people still can’t access the health care they need because obstructive politicians chose ideology over good health and economic common sense. But there’s still time for Maine to act.
    • Too many politicians and people in the media use stereotypes and anecdotes to talk about policies that affect women and children living in poverty rather than looking at the real people struggling to get by.
    • In Maine, more than 6 in 10 minimum wage workers are women and they need a raise.
    • More than 80% of low-wage workers can’t earn a single paid sick day – most are women who have frequent public contact in jobs such as food service, child care, elder care, and retail.
    • Only 12% of the American workforce has access to paid leave.
    • While the data overwhelmingly demonstrates the importance of early childhood programs, more than 11,000 Maine kids do not have access to Head Start due to underfunding.
    • Too many women and children still can’t live their lives free from violence.
    • Sexual assaults happen every day, and too often our culture blames the victims rather than the perpetrators.
    • Maine is the only state in New England that doesn’t have a policy against shackling pregnant inmates.
    • Maine women only earn 79 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts.

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Weekly Radio Address by Sen. Linda Valentino (D-Saco): “Stakes too high for Maine women, can’t roll back clock on health”

Posted on January 24, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

House Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) issued a statement on this week’s anniversary as well:

“The anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is an opportunity to reflect on how much this landmark decision has done for American women. Decisions about adoption, abortion or raising a child must be up to the woman. It’s a deeply personal decision that cannot be made by someone who isn’t walking in her shoes.”

 

 

DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS

Valentino says, “The stakes are just too high for Maine women. We simply can’t afford to roll back the clock on women’s health.”

This week marked the 42nd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade–a decision that affirmed a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. A right to constitutional privacy–so that every woman can make her own personal medical decisions without the interference of politicians.

Now, more than four decades after Roe, who would have guessed that we’d still be fighting for a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions?

linda valentinoGood Morning. This is State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco.

Some forty years later, the conversation about abortion is no longer about being “pro choice” or “pro life.” It has, instead, shifted to a more unifying conversation about the impact and real-life decisions women and their families face every day.

We’ve arrived at this viewpoint because we know that abortion is a deeply personal and an often complex decision for a woman. And no one–but her–can make that decision for her.

But even as we celebrate the Roe v. Wade decision, I am deeply disheartened by the ongoing, and unprecedented, level of attacks against women’s health and reproductive rights.

Since 2010, more than 200 restrictions on abortion access have become law. Seventy of these new restrictions have passed in 2013 alone. There have been more attacks on reproductive freedoms in the last three years than in the entire previous decade.

Just this month, one of the first acts of Congress and the Republicans right here in the Maine Legislature was to introduce measures that will restrict women’s health care including access to a safe and legal abortion.

Study after study demonstrates that when women have control over the timing and spacing of her family — or over the decision not to have children — women are able to take advantage of educational and career opportunities and to workplace protections like paid family and medical leave and childcare. The economic reality is that for women, reproductive health and access to affordable health care is an essential part of our economic security and opportunity.

The stakes are just too high for Maine women.

I grew up in a pre-Roe v. Wade world until my sophmore year in high school. I saw what restricting access to a safe and legal abortion did to forever change young women’s lives.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. And, I’m thankful for that. As a mother and a grandmother, I want to make sure that my 13 year old granddaughter and my two year granddaughter are afforded the same rights that I had. That we have.

We simply can’t afford to roll back the clock on women’s health.

Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Linda Valentino. Have a good and safe weekend.

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#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:

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    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:

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    “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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MO GOP Senate Candidate Akin Claimed Abortionists “giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant”

Posted on October 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Oh, those tricky evil abortionists- won’t someone think about the NOT YET CONCEIVED CHILDREN?? Check it out, from January 2008:

‘It is no big surprise that we fight the terrorists because they are fundamentally un-American, and yet we have terrorists in our own culture called abortionists.

‘One of the good pieces of news why we are winning this war is because there are not enough heartless doctors being graduated from medical schools. There is a real shortage of abortionists. Who wants to be at the very bottom of the food chain of medical profession?

‘And what sort of places do these bottom-of-the-food-chain doctors work in? Places that are really a pit.

‘You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking – not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die.’

It will be interesting to see how or if this is addressed by the GOP and Mitt Romney, who all backed far away from Akin this summer after his controversial rape/ abortion statements, before coming back to supporting him.

A reminder: The first presidential debate is tonight.

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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.

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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Why Republicans Should “Go The Full Akin”

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

While Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh, fellow Missouri GOP members and even Sarah Palin are advising America to, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”, it appears that they are all sadly missing a golden opportunity to get behind the one Republican on the national scene who indeed personifies and defines with sharp clarity their entire 2012 slate of presidential nominees, as well as the GOP’s long standing views of abortion.

Rather than shun Todd, they should embrace him- and “go for the Full Akin”.

Consider the evidence. On the surface, Todd Akin appears to be an angry older white man. Why, that right there represents the majority of the GOP base!

Oh, our apologies- that was Rep. Akin’s happy face.

Here is his angry look. There- much better!

Anywho… Todd is ANGRY. And doesn’t back down. Stands firm for what he believes and doesn’t “run for cover when the first gunshot is heard”.

Wait a sec; that doesn’t appear to be the case after all. Hmm. And goodness knows, the GOP right before their convo in Tampa do NOT need more “flip-flop” reminders, as they all collectively choke down their lunch and officially nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate.

Well, that’s why Mitt has a Veep- someone who can do the dirty work and stand with Todd Akin- goodness knows, it’s not like they haven’t stood together before in Congress!

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DNC, NARAL Call on Mitt Romney to Denounce “Human Life Amendment” Inclusion to GOP Platform; RNC Chair Claims “GOP Platform Not Platform of Mitt Romney”

Posted on August 21, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Earlier today DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and NARAL President Nancy Keenan held a joint phone-in conference call, announcing their intent to demand that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney denounce the GOP’s platform (PDF warning), passed this morning in Tampa.

Republicans have finally hit rock bottom,” Wasserman-Schultz said. “I don’t have to tell anyone how outrageous Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s comments were this weekend, but unfortunately he’s not alone in his extreme and dangerous views.”

“Mitt Romney has repeatedly endorsed the Republican party platform, including a human life amendment to ban abortion nationwide, without exceptions for rape and incest. This isn’t the kind of leadership that women and their families can afford,” she added. “He should unequivocally denounce the human life amendment and its inclusion in the Republican party platform. That would be a step in the right direction for the GOP.”

“Regardless of their campaign statements, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan represent a party with an extreme anti-choice platform that would deny women access to abortion even in cases of rape or incest,” said (NARAL President Nancy) Keenan. “If they truly believe that the platform ‘shows what the American people can accomplish when government respects their rights,’[1] as stated in the platform preamble, we call on the Romney-Ryan ticket to do just that: respect women’s reproductive rights and denounce the party’s extreme position. Voters are tired of the kind of divisive anti-choice policies that the Republican party has pledged to support. Voters are looking for a leader who respects women’s freedom and privacy. It’s time for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to take a real stand on behalf of women.”

The platform states: “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The amendment would outlaw many forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization, and would criminalize miscarriages. The platform draft also includes support of mandatory ultrasound bills, clinic regulations, and mandatory waiting periods. It needs to be noted that this extreme position is the same as that approved in 2004 and 2008.

Committee Chair Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, aka “Governor Vaginal Probe” congratulated the committee: “I appreciate the good work that that committee did — in past platforms that has been hours of discussion — and I applaud the committee’s work in affirming our respect for human life,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the chairman of the platform committee. “Well done.”

But RNC Chair Reince Priebus, sensing the language will be very problematic with women voters this year, has already started to try to spin the approved platform language away from Romney:

“I think as far as the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have and don’t share some of the detail on some of those exceptions,” Priebus said on MSNBC. “This is the platform of the Republican Party; it’s not the platform of Mitt Romney.

So by the RNC Chair’s own admission, their presidential candidate’s platform does not conform with that of his own party. Got it.

Priebus will have to do more than just spinning, flip-flopping and Olympic worthy verbal contortionism to convince unmarried women voters in November, easily one of Romney’s weakest voting blocks.

What is definitely NOT helping the GOP nationally currently is Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s refusal to quit his Senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill. Akin and his extreme stance represent a significant portion of the GOP’s platform, and the “top of the ticket” is taking some serious heat from this.

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VIDEO: House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee: Testimony of Sandra Fluke

Posted on February 25, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Watch here.

Via C-SPAN: “Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke testified about women’s health and contraception. She had been blocked from testifying at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee the previous week on the 2010 health care law regulation requiring employers and insurers provide contraception coverage to their employees. Committee members noted that the previous hearing only had men as witnesses, leading Democratic leaders to call a separate hearing to let a woman’s voice be part of the discussion.”

Some reactions from Democratic lawmakers:

“Following your rejection by the Republicans from the panel,” Pelosi declared, “we’ve heard from over 300,000 people saying we want women’s voices to be heard.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) went an order of magnitude higher. “You certainly speak for millions,” he said.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) revised that further. “I know you’re speaking for tens of millions of women,” she informed Fluke. “Can you think of any reason why [Issa] would be so adamant that your voice should not be heard?”

“Chairman Issa’s head,” the young woman replied, “is somewhere I don’t want to go.”

In a poll released the same day by Quinnipiac University, voters by 82% to 12% said it is not wrong to use birth control.

The DCCC had sent out a petition and fundraising e-blast earlier this week, that read in part:

“First, Republicans held a hearing on women’s access to birth control coverage with five men and NO WOMEN.

Now, In a last-minute move, House Republicans have apparently changed their own rules to prevent Congressional television cameras from filming the testimony of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student that Republicans refused to let testify last week on women’s health issues.

We’re calling on Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren to immediately reverse their decision to deny Sandra the right to have her testimony televised.”

They did not. So the Democrats had to improvise, if they wanted the denied testimony to get out to the world.

Sandra Fluke was the lone witness at an unofficial Democratic-sponsored hearing. While the rest of the Capitol was mostly empty, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, three other Democrats and dozens of mainly young women supporters crowded into a House office building room to applaud Fluke as she spoke of the importance of reproductive health care to women.

Prominently displayed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was a photo of five religious leaders, all men and all appearing at the invitation of the Republican majority, testifying last week with Fluke visible in the background, sitting in the visitors’ section.

“We almost ought to thank the chairman (Rep. Darryl Issa, R-CA) for the lack of judgment he had,” in denying a seat to Fluke, Pelosi said.

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