January
28th 2009
Are women citizens of this republic?

Posted under: American history, Gender, the body, unhappy endings, wankers, women's history

In theory, yes.  Actually, they’re the majority of Democrats.  I wondered today when I snapped open my Denver Post and read the following, about when the Democratic President met with congressional Republicans yesterday in an effort to win allies to pass his stimulus bill:

Participants in the meetings said Obama conceded that both the House and Senate versions of the bill had been larded with Democratic spending priorities. As a show of good faith, Obama persuaded House Democrats to drop a $335 million Medicaid provision funding contraception programs that conservatives had protested, and also reiterated an earlier pledge to consider more small-business tax relief.

Good faith?  Please.  How many of you think that if congress was anything close to 50% women that contraception would be such an easily tossed around political football?

UPDATE, this evening:  And, Obama won precisely ZERO votes for his efforts!  I thought it was a good move to go talk to the Republicans–truly I did, until I saw the “concessions” he made, concessions whose price would be paid by women, who were only a tiny minority of the people involved in the process.  (Charlie Brown, meet Lucy.  She’ll never let you kick the ball.  That is, if you ever cared about kicking the ball in the first place.)

30 Comments »

30 Responses to “Are women citizens of this republic?”

  1. hysperia on 28 Jan 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    That’s just disgusting. The PUMAs are right on this one. I don’t believe or a second that Hillary would have sold out on this one.

  2. Dr. Crazy on 28 Jan 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    I honestly don’t believe that anybody who really believes in progressive health care policy can sell out on this one. Awful.

  3. Historiann on 28 Jan 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Right–and guess what Obama got for throwing fertile women under the bus?

    Jack crap. Sez the Denver Post tonight: “The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama’s pleas for bipartisan support.”

    So, Dems could have passed a bill along party lines that preserved contraceptive funding–but it was more important to try to kiss troglodyte Republican a$$ than to serve their own constituency.

    Well played, Sir!

  4. Professor Zero on 28 Jan 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    I wonder what kinds of concessions he’ll make in the Senate version.

  5. Historiann on 28 Jan 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    You’re right: it can always get worse!

    My hope, Prof. Z., is that the Senate will put the funding back in and damn the Republicans–but that’s just a hope.

  6. Indyanna on 28 Jan 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    It’s pretty nuts. No reason not to just steamroller them. They lost in ’06, lost in ’08, and already, senior GOP committee chiefs who would be bored in the minority are announcing their impending retirements, so ’10 doesn’t look like a good year for them either.

    What’s to bipartisan about? On “persuaded House Democrats to drop…,” is anybody up on the Hill screaming about this? What did Pelosi say/do?

  7. Emma on 28 Jan 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Obama wants 80 votes in the Senate so, no, nobody’s going to be adding that famiy planning funding back in.

  8. Dear Planned Parenthood « Blue Lyon on 28 Jan 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    [...] Historiann has an update. UPDATE, this evening:  And, Obama won precisely ZERO votes for his efforts!  I [...]

  9. Notorious Ph.D. on 28 Jan 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Well, the honeymoon was nice while it lasted. ::sigh::

  10. Historiann on 28 Jan 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Notorious–don’t say the honeymoon is over! I think we can look forward to a whole 4 years of being f^@ked repeatedly–without protection! Don’t you?

  11. susurro on 29 Jan 2009 at 2:19 am #

    so this is what a feminist looks like . . . forgive me but what exactly was Ms. criteria again? Oh yeah, he whispered to someone who works there that he is a feminist even tho he skipped all of the abortion votes at the state level, referred to a debate as a “beauty pageant,” and now cuts 353 million from repro health. At least he got rid of the gag rule which really was devastating to women’s health and developing nation’s infrastructures.

  12. twandx on 29 Jan 2009 at 3:57 am #

    Well, yeah, susurro – that’s just what feminist, feminism, feminine looks like. It robs us of our humanity and puts us in a frilly, dumbheaded box.

    As long as women forsake their HUMAN status as women and ride around on a sidecar called fem – anything, they get led down any garden path the polls choose.

    Come on! Can you sing or say, “I am feminist hear me roar” without laughing?

  13. Knitting Clio on 29 Jan 2009 at 7:03 am #

    I blogged about this yesterday. PP has sent out a plea to call the White House comment line on this one.

    How much you want to bet that erectile dysfunction drugs will be covered?

  14. Erica on 29 Jan 2009 at 7:28 am #

    Pretty damn ignorant to think this is an “extra”. Children are insanely expensive — not only for parents who must feed, clothe, house, and iPod them, but also for the general public which subsidizes their education. So obviously what we need in troubled economic times is less control over whether babies are born.

    Having to listen to news every morning about the disastrous state of the SC state budget and what that will mean for education is really worrying me, as the mother of a child who is entering kindergarten in the fall. They can’t even handle the child-load they currently have, AND THEY WANT TO HAVE MORE?!?

    I’m not a fan of my representatives. Nor, at the moment, of a president who would ignore fact-based logic to pander to religious/moral scruples.

  15. GayProf on 29 Jan 2009 at 9:12 am #

    I don’t understand why Republicans are given anything but regularly public shaming for their retrograde notions. And, if they are as obsessed with being anti-choice as they claim, then it seems to me that free access to birth control would be a good solution for them.

    But we should, of course, also scrutinize the class (and racial) discourse that is present in support of government-sponsored birth control efforts. There was an implicit (and sometimes explicit) message that working-class children are more costly than middle-class children.

  16. K.N. on 29 Jan 2009 at 9:40 am #

    OK, the Aaron Sorkin in me has thought of a way to save this one (based on my belief that the contraception provision was also blocked by conservative Dems in the House, and the giveaway was as much about them as about the GOP)….

    Step 1: Have Senator Kirsten Gillibrand propose an amendment reinstating the Medicaid provision, accompanied by her maiden speech on the floor of the Senate laying out, point by point, why it is a necessary and principled position. Line up the votes to pass, and forget about 80.

    Step 2: Leak to the press that the President is going to repay congressional Republicans by removing his support for all of those fun tax cuts they insisted on. This will get Blue Dog Dems all hot and bothered, thereby creating an opening for “compromise,” to wit, BHO agrees to support the tax cuts in exchange for conservative Dem support on on the Medicaid provision. BHO gets to promote the idea of compromise while not giving away the store, and, best of all, the GOP is nowhere.

    Step 4: Win the votes.

    Step 5: Tell McConnell, Boehner and all their gasbag friends that they might as well go home and listen to Rush, because they screwed up their one and only chance to play ball.

    Step 6: Remove the word “bipartisan” from the political lexicon and replace it with “consensus.”

    Step 7: Celebrate the equal pay measure.

  17. Historiann on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:05 am #

    K.N.–I love your script! I also love the notion that Obama would play hardball for women’s rights, and not just sign up to do the easy things that don’t require muscle (like sign the Ledbetter bill and rescind the gag rule–two good things, but not things that requried the expenditure of a great deal of political capital.)

    We’ll see. I don’t think Gillibrand is the person to advance this on the floor of the Senate, although it would win her lots of downstate love for taking such a strong progressive position. I see it more as a Barbara Mikulski/Barbara Boxer/Dianne Feinstein push, joined by the Maine RINOs perhaps, Snowe and Collins. It would be good for women to make this move, and to do it in a “consensus” fashion (using your excellent term of art) so as to take (some) of the party politics out of it.

    And, GayProf: I hear you, but you have to give some props to Boehner. I didn’t think he had it in him. You have to admire the Republican ability to stay disciplined, united, and loyal to each other. Advantage Boehner and the Republicans at this point–we’ll see if Obama and congressional Dems follow K.N.’s script, or if they end up humiliated again.

  18. Historiann on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:07 am #

    And, to everyone else: I’m glad that I’m not the only person P.O.’d by this. Please take Knitting Clio’s advice and turn your snarky comment here into a phone call for the White House.

    Equality is a progressive value. There is no such thing as progressivism or liberalism without feminism.

  19. Historiann on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:20 am #

    p.s. Roxie has a post up about this too, and she also has the phone numbers right on her front page.

  20. ej on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:38 am #

    So this may reveal ignorance, but I really don’t understand why anyone would oppose making birth control available to those who have trouble affording it. Financially, it will save money in the future, and morally, if its against their beliefs, they don’t have to take it.

    Isn’t this exactly what *every* candidate was talking about during the election-finding ways to limit the number of unwanted children in society so we don’t have to have the “abortion” talk?

    Maybe I’m just too much of a liberal to see the flaw in this plan.

  21. Historiann on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:50 am #

    The flaw in this plan, from the point of view of right-wing Republicans, is that interfering at all with reproduction is immoral. (Even protestant evangelicals have taken on the Pope’s viewpoint on this.)

    The flaw in this plan, from the point of view of men like Obama and many congressional dems, is that it’s perceived to benefit women mostly or only, so it’s OK to throw under the bus.

    Again I ask: Does Obama know who elected him President? Do Dems understand who their constitutency is? Are women citizens?

  22. Fratguy on 29 Jan 2009 at 11:01 am #

    “Fool me once, shame on, shame on you….you fooled me, you can’t get fooled again.”

    Give him credit, at least the pretender from Texas only talked like a dupe when he dealt with Congress.

  23. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Democratic Congress, Democratic President, so what’s the deal… on 29 Jan 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    [...] With this? Historiann asks: Are women citizens of this republic? [...]

  24. Erica on 29 Jan 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    @ej — You’re revealing conservatives’ ignorance, not your own :) In their world, ANY sex which doesn’t intend to create a baby is done only for pleasure, and is naughty.

    You’d think the out-of-wedlock births in their own conservative communities would teach them that, even if people AGREES sex is naughty, they end up doing it anyway. There’s a big logical disconnect between reality and the moral stance they want to impose by discouraging contraception.

  25. “Radical” feminism: Groundhog Day? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 29 Jan 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    [...] still at the point where a Democratic president who was elected because women showed up to vote bargains away Medicaid funding for contraception in exchange for…nothing.  We’re still at the point where it feels like progress that women are actually permitted [...]

  26. thefrogprincess on 29 Jan 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    “The flaw in this plan, from the point of view of right-wing Republicans, is that interfering at all with reproduction is immoral. (Even protestant evangelicals have taken on the Pope’s viewpoint on this.)”

    Here’s what I’ve never understood about the Republican position, Historiann. I don’t think there is any one position among protestant evangelicals on birth control. In fact, the relative smallness of families at the Southern Baptist church I attended growing up (a church of about 2-4,000 people) suggests that birth control was in fact being used, especially when you compare to Mormon families or Catholic families. I’m hard-pressed to think of a single family that had more than three children and my church was not a liberal outpost. Some of the pastors’ families may have had four but even that was a rarity. Plus I had conversations about the specific issue of birth control with various mentors, all of whom were extremely conservative women and they all supported birth control. So I don’t think it’s the birth control itself; I think there’s a longstanding association between the buzzwords “family planning” and “abortion” that makes evangelicals suspicious of these kinds of measures and organizations, even if they use birth control in their personal lives.

  27. Knitting Clio on 29 Jan 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    P.S. If the line is busy, you can go to NOW’s website and send an email instead. Go ahead, load up the inbox!

  28. Obama Signs Equal Pay Act & Other Feminist Goings On « Like a Whisper on 30 Jan 2009 at 8:02 am #

    [...] when Obama is not acting unilaterally, his commitment to women’s issues seems to waiver. As historiann reported earlier this week, Obama decided to cut $330 million in funding for women’s reproductive [...]

  29. cgeye on 30 Jan 2009 at 9:35 am #

    thefrogprincess, it’s that the Reps get the support of the most wealthy churches worldwide — Mormon, Catholic, megachurch Protestant — if they hardline at birth control. Nuance doesn’t get them donations from church leaders, does it?

  30. Jeff on 27 Jun 2009 at 8:15 am #

    The issue here is personal responsibility. It has nothing to do with judging people for their personal choices. This is about what the government should be allowed to force everyone to pay for, not religion or sexual habits. Do you want to be forced to donate to a cause you don’t believe in?

    Family planning should be handled by individuals/ families. I don’t need the government intruding into my life any more than it does. That said, if groups of people want to donate to organizations that provide free, effective, and safe contraception, more power to them. The whole country need not chip in for something that again, should be the responsibility of individuals.