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Gloria Steinem [x]

Her and everything she said.

So… we’re just not gonna talk about how Steinem is extremely racist, right? Or super cissexist? Or how she is at the forefront of a movement for upper & middle class white women to have that choice while simultaneously demonizing poor and non-white women people for wanting to have children AND supporting efforts that sterilize poor and non-white women people thru dishonest means?

Because, sure, that all sounds really good… but… there’s a lot being left out.

(Source: pipeschapman, via transreprojustice)

Sen. Johnson’s Advice To Women Who Can’t Afford Contraception: Google ‘What If I Can’t Afford Birth Control?’

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — A Tea Party senator had a curious piece of advice for the millions of women across the country who can’t afford contraception coverage: go online and Google how to get birth control.

ThinkProgress spoke with freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about the matter this weekend at the Americans For Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Milwaukee. Johnson has been vociferous in his attacks on the new regulation that requires insurance companies to cover birth control.

Given his opposition, we asked the Wisconsin senator what advice he would have for women in the country who can’t afford the cost of contraception. (A recent survey found one in three American women voters have struggled with to afford birth control.) Johnson’s advice: go online and type in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” “If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country,” Johnson explained. When we asked for clarification, he said, “You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.”

KEYES: What do we say to the millions of women who can’t afford access to birth control?

JOHNSON: My wife actually went online here in Wisconsin and typed in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” Came up, bam. If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country. That’s a straw-dog argument. There’s no conservative who’s trying to deny women health care or contraceptives. We’re just saying this is an issue of religious freedom. […]

KEYES: What do you mean, “if you can’t afford it you can get it?”

JOHNSON: You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.

Watch it:

ThinkProgress went online and Googled “what if I can’t afford birth control?” The very first link explained that the entire process, from the initial exam to a follow-up to the pills themselves, can cost upwards of $210 the first month. The rest of the first-page results included two sites informing women that if they can’t afford contraceptives, “don’t have sex,” four sites attacking Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, and one site explaining how birth control is a lot more expensive than many believe.

Straw-dog argument? Is that kind of like when Republicans pretend something is an issue of religious freedom when it’s most certainly not, and they use straw-man arguments about the first amendment as dog whistles to provoke indignation in their extremist base?

*People that need and want contraception, not just cis women.

I’m literally so happy I’m crying.


OKAY SO. I’m back from my very first Planned Parenthood journey, and I have to say, I’m a great mixture of emotions. Ranging from overjoyed and happy and thrilled and grateful to angry and bitter and frightened and downright pissed—very varying degrees of emotions, but don’t worry, I’ll unpack them.

First of all, I want to kick myself for not going to Planned Parenthood sooner. I had NO idea the help I would find, and I’m still just sitting here with an overwhelming sense of gratitude because this place was literally one of the best things to happen in my life.

I’m getting the ParaGard, because it’s the only IUD they offer anywhere nearby (that I can afford!) but it wont be in for a few months, so I was immediately distraught by the fact that I will STILL have to continue buying my monthly Nuva Ring for $70 because my health insurance apparently hates anything to do with my vagina. (Seriously, OBGYN costs skyrocketed, along with my birth control, when we switched insurances. Wtf?) BUT, instead of being forced to pay this continual fee until I could get the IUD, I was instead asked, “Do you want three Nuva Rings?”

I was at a loss for words.

“What, like, free?” I stuttered out. The receptionist nodded, and I nodded back numbly. I mean sure, there’s plenty of men and women who have benefited from this wonderful organization before, so what I’m saying is probably nothing new, but I was just so shocked. That’s $70 a MONTH I am saving! That’s gas! That’s saving back for the apartment! That’s food!

I wasn’t charged a DIME for my visit—since they base it on income, and I make $200/wk, they adjusted everything. I had a breast exam, which I’ve never had before, and was taught how to perform one on myself. They did a minor pelvic exam since I’d been complaining about some pain, and they gave me a boatload of condoms (I don’t use them myself, but I’d like to keep a stock to give out to teens who might not be in the position to buy them themselves) PLUS they hooked me up with Ella—a Plan B pill, just in case, which would save me $50 in case of an emergency.

By the end of my visit, I was in tears, and the nurses were very kind. One even gave me a hug. I was crying because I was overwhelmed with how happy I was, because what they had done for me meant the WORLD to me. Expecting to pay WAAAAAAAAAAAAY more than I did, and getting $210 in free birth control, I donated $20, and would like to go back and donate more when I can.

I’m pissed though, that people want to take away these resources from men and women. I am SO pissed, and horrified. Because of my pain, they insisted on doing other tests (STDs—I’m not at risk, but they had to because of the pain and exam, so whatevs) and those still didn’t cost me anything—so for people who DO need the tests, they’re free… and PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE THIS AWAY. The clinic I went to didn’t even perform abortions, simply referrals, and I only saw one pamphlet on the wall about abortion, compared to the dozens of others about pregnancies and how to have a healthy pregnancy, etc. I mean, not that I doubted what I’ve heard in the past, but it was all a reaffirming of the facts I’d been given, now put into real-life experiences.

I got a free pelvic exam, a free breast exam—I got my birth control, and I got precautionary “just in case” methods. Planned Parenthood is a beautiful place, and I want to punch absolutely everyone who hates them for the 3% of what they do in the face!

DON’T GET ME WRONG, I totally understand people who can’t get access to these things—transportation, distance, location, etc. It’s just, for those it helps, and for those who are able to benefit from it, holy FUCK is it awesome.

But if you DO go and you have an AWESOME experience like me, I do request that you make some kind of donation. These places deserve it. And just, goddd.

I’m such a jumbled mix of emotions I can’t sit still, and I’m still crying over how happy I am. OH. And best of all? I probably wont have to pay a dime for my ParaGard when the time comes!


(via glittertitties-deactivated20130)

Have A Baby? There Goes Your Job.



Supreme Courts’s 5-4 decision yesterday to negate part of the Family Leave Act:

“I’ll be damned if the conservatives on the Supreme Court weren’t getting jealous of all the congressional and state-level battles in the war on women and decide that they needed to take up arms themselves….

First, conservatives want to make sure you get pregnant by limiting access to birth control, then force you to have the baby by limiting access to abortions, then if you get fired for taking time off to have the baby, you have no right to recourse for being fired. Great. All these things that have been litigated decades ago and established as basic rights have been inverted.” - Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars

No birth control, no health screenings for mother or child, no job to come back to. That is the family values of the Republican Party.

You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Don’t you just love being fertile under conservative control?

I was having a really hard time finding Planned Parenthood, but then I noticed a bunch of angry people standing around holding signs.


Thanks, anti-choice!

I’d be lost in New Albany without ya!

This ^^ reminds me of this:

(via glittertitties-deactivated20130)


My good friend, @beardedstoner:

No sex ed. No birth control. Pregnant? No abortion. Have a kid? Stay home. No income? No assistance. #GOPplanforwomen

[NB: Of course, if the GOP get their way, it will affect more people than just cis women.]


My good friend, @beardedstoner:

No sex ed. No birth control. Pregnant? No abortion. Have a kid? Stay home. No income? No assistance. #GOPplanforwomen

[NB: Of course, if the GOP get their way, it will affect more people than just cis women.]

(Source: keepyourbsoutofmyuterus)

POLL: MAJORITY DISAGREES WITH REPUBLICANS ON CONTRACEPTION DEBATE | According to a new poll from Bloomberg, more than 60 percent of Americans — and 70 percent of women — said that President Obama’s policy requiring contraception coverage in employer-provided insurance plans is a matter of women’s health, rejecting the Republican argument against the new rule. More than three-quarters of those polled said the topic should not be part of the national political debate. But with Mitt RomneyNewt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum saying Obama is violating employers’ religious freedom by mandating contraception coverage, the polls shows that the GOP presidential candidates’ views are out of sync with what voters want. “These candidates are talking to a relatively small subset even among Republicans,” J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the telephone poll of 1,002 respondents, told Bloomberg News.



Dear President Obama,

I am appalled at your Obamacare mandate that forced religious employers to pay for health insurance coverage that includes birth control and drugs like Plan B, the morning after pill, and ella that can cause abortions.

Today, you revised your mandate in a way that is just as offensive.

Your revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage of abortion-causing drugs at no cost.
Essentially, religious groups will still be mandated to offer plans that cover both birth control and the ella abortion drug - only now insurance companies will offer them at no charge.
This ObamaCare rule still tramples on Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It’s a fig leaf, not a compromise. Whether they are affiliated with a church or not, employers will still be forced to pay an insurance company for coverage that includes abortion-inducing drug.

I oppose this revised pro-abortion mandate and urge you to overturn it immediately.


(After signing this petition, please cut and paste the text of it and send it to Obama by going to

[warning: all links are, unfortunately, cis-centric]

It’s pretty embarrassing that 6,547 people are so misinformed they signed this piece of drivel. For those interested in the truth:

Plan B (aka the morning-after pill) and Ella, which are classified as emergency contraception, do not cause abortions. If you look at the science into EC it’s very clear on the subject: there are no post-fertilization effects caused by these medications, so even if you go against virtually the entire scientific and medical communities and define pregnancy as fertilization rather than implantation, emergency contraception is still not abortion.

the administration’s guidance does not include drugs that can induce abortions. As the rule explains that insurers and employers must cover “Evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of A or B in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force)” and “the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.” The contraception language is included in the HRSA guidelines, it reads: “All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” Those include:

Male Condom, Female Condom, Diaphragm with Spermicide, Sponge with Spermicide, Cervical Cap with Spermicide, Spermicide Alone, Oral Contraceptives (a.k.a. “the pill”), Patch, Vaginal Contraceptive Ring, Shot/Injection, Emergency Contraceptives, IUD, Implantable Rod, Vasectomy, Transcervical Surgical Sterilization Implant for women

These methods act to “prevent pregnancy before, and only before, fertilization occurs.” Emergency Contraceptives like Plan B — which Murphy attempted to paint as an “abortion pill”– halts the union of sperm and oocyte and inhibits ovulation. It does not work after fertilization.

Also see:

Churches were always exempt from the rule, and with the revised mandate religious employers with objections do not have to offer the coverage or pay for it. Their employees will receive the coverage from the insurance company (a third party) directly at no cost. It’s really pretty simple. Birth control existing and the fact that your employees are using it doesn’t infringe on your freedom of religion. However, not covering contraception when your plans cover other prescription medications has been shown to violate Title VII (the Civil Rights Act of 1964). 

The mandate is not unconstitutional nor does it infringe on your freedom of religion. Getting involved in the healthcare of your secular employees, on the other hand, is an infringement on their rights. Further, conscience protections that are virtually the same as Obama’s have been upheld in court.

Honestly, you really should know the intricacies of an issue before signing petitions against something that will positively affect the lives and health of a significant portion of the country.

Further Reading:

Now there’s no excuse for misrepresenting this issue ever again.


[Images: two photos from the Georgia congress of eight women, mostly women of color, walking out of the chamber in protest. The one in front is wearing a bright yellow dress, and in the bottom photo, she is raising her arms in frustration. End description.]




Eight female state senators in Georgia walked out of the Senate chambers on Thursday to protest two bills that hinder access to abortion and contraceptives. All eight female democratic senators left the chambers together after two bills they oppose passed the Republican-led Senate. From Atlanta’s WXIA, the legislation:

  • Prohibits state employees from using state health benefits to pay for abortions
  • Does not allow employees of private religious institutions to demand that their insurance policies pay for contraceptives

“We stood together to protest what we feel is absolutely a war on women here in Georgia and we want to sound the alert to Georgians,” said Sen. Nan Orrick.

Republican state senator Joshua McKoon said of the legislation, “What I would say is the war that’s being waged is on a relative minority in this country that has strong beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment.”

The bills now heads to the House, where both are expected to pass.

The senators who walked out: Sen. Gloria ButlerSen. Gale Davenport, Sen. Nan Orrock, Sen. Freddie Powell SimsSen. Donzella James, Sen. Miriam Paris, Sen. Valencia Seay and Sen. Horacena Tate. Looks like I’ll be spending my Friday night emailing these senators to thank them for taking a stance on an incredibly important issue.

Look at that fierce HBIC.


This is the best thing I’ve seen all day.

(Source: pantslessprogressive)

Michele Bachmann Thinks Birth-Control Rule Will Lead to a One-Child Policy

Just as the discussion about Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke was beginning to get stale, along comes Michele Bachmann with a comment that is sure to keep the birth-control conversation in the headlines.

Bachmann has a long, rich history of making claims with absolutely no basis in reality, and on Wednesday, she said on Glenn Beck’s online show Real News From the Blaze that the Obama administration’s requirement that insurance companies cover contraception could start the government down the path to a one-child policy. Citing Kathleen Sebelius’ comment that supporting contraceptive use is a good policy, since unwanted pregnancies cost much more money than preventive measures, Bachmann took Obama’s rule to its pseudo-logical conclusion:

Going with that logic, according to our own health and human services secretary, it isn’t far-fetched to think that the president of the United States could say, we need to save health care expenses—the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family, or two babies to be born per family.

It’s easy to dismiss Bachmann as a wing-nut who intentionally says provocative things to stay in the limelight, just as it’s easy to dismiss Limbaugh on those same terms. But Bachmann’s statements, like Limbaugh’s, reveal underlying attitudes that are helpful for progressives to understand.

Two things strike me about Bachmann’s absurd statement that requiring insurance companies to cover contraception leads us down a slippery slope toward forced population control. The first is that (regardless of whether she actually believes this particular claim) Bachmann sees every single aspect of Obama’s health care plan as a step toward a totalitarian state that involves itself in intimate health care decisions according to arbitrary whims. What’s ironic about this belief is that our current system—one in which profit-seeking entities control who gets health care when, where, and how—is far more concerned with cost-cutting measures and far more arbitrary in its decision-making than a single-payer system would be. Conservatives like to stoke fears that Obama’s health care plan (and the universal health care system that liberals hope one day to see) will “ration” health care, but a private-insurance-based system already rations health care—only insurance companies’ primary motivating factor is the bottom line, not individuals’ well-being.

The second striking thing about the one-child-policy claim is that Bachmann—like many, many social conservatives—fundamentally misunderstands the pro-choice position. Bachmann thinks that because liberals want women to have easy, cheap access to medication and services that prevent unwanted pregnancies, they want all women to access these medications and services to prevent all pregnancies. This is why anti-choicers frequently mischaracterize the liberal position as “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice.” It’s projection bias: They think that because they don’t want women to have a choice about whether they carry pregnancies to term, liberals don’t want women to have that choice, either. Of course, this is bollocks: The whole point of the liberal position on abortion is that women should have the freedom to choose when and how they reproduce, and that the state should stay out of it.

And most people—with the exception of the most rabid anti-choice provocateurs—understand that, regardless of their own personal feelings about abortion. Bachmann may think she’s being politically savvy by grossly mischaracterizing liberal positions on reproductive health. But she’s really illustrating—as did Limbaugh’s “slut” kerfuffle—just how much distance there is between the far right and the mainstream.


*Pregnant people, not just cis women.

Exactly. The opposite of the conservative forced birth position is not forced abortion, it’s choice. The choice to be pregnant now, the choice to be pregnant later, the choice to be pregnant never [and a whole host of other birthing, parenthood, reproductive health, contraceptive, and bodily choices as well]. I think they know intrinsically that their position involves lying, coercion, and force so they project all of that onto our position in an effort to confuse the issue and deflect attention from themselves. They seem to believe that since they want to micro-manage everyone’s lives that it’s impossible for our party to honestly want people to make their own decisions. 

I know it’s terrifying to a lot of people that others have the right to make their own reproductive choices, but that’s the only position that values and upholds freedom and human rights.


Weekend Reading: Birth control cost varies widely, study suggests more women choose IUD if free

Following up on our post about birth control and economics from a few days ago, this is a great summary (and not just because it mentions Bedsider, though we love that too) from Lauran Neergaard of the AP of the real costs of different types of birth control and the important part cost can play in what method women choose.

*People who use contraception, not just cis women.

President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

ETA: Their convo is cis-centric, but these issues affect all people that use contraception or need abortions.

Virginia woman: The GOP’s War on Women makes me feel ‘unwelcome in my hometown’

Nell Boeschenstein is angry. “I take birth control to minimize my risk of ovarian cancer,” she said. “To have that be potentially denied coverage makes my blood boil in ways I can’t articulate.”

Boeschenstein once wrote, “I’ve never sprained an ankle. The only bone I’ve ever broken is the forefinger of my left hand.” But when she discovered that she carries the BCRA1 gene, which carries a 90 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, she had some serious medical decisions to make — especially as her graduate program’s health insurance coverage would run out once she finished her degree. So after spending $10,000 out of pocket to qualify for the surgery — her insurance covered only 80 percent of the bills for the necessary MRIs, mammograms and ultrasounds — the 31-year-old Boeschenstein went under the knife for a double radical mastectomy.

The total cost of the procedure, pre-reconstructive surgery, was $100,000, most of which was covered by her health insurance. But the $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses put her in a deep hole, so she moved from Brooklyn, NY back to Charlottesville, Virginia. She was just in time to bear immediate witness to the GOP’s efforts to restrict access to reproductive health services and force women to have unnecessary medical procedures — like transvaginal ultrasounds, which Boeschenstein has to periodically undergo to check on her ovaries.

“Virginia being ground zero, I’ve felt so angry, frustrated and unwelcome,” she said. “This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the things we need to do to protect our reproductive health, which is the health of our whole bodies.”

“I’ve felt a little unwelcome in my hometown,” she added. “To think that people would take that control away to protect myself or minimize my fears [about cancer], it’s so intense.”

For instance, she said, “A friend of my sister’s posted a Fox news article on Facebook about birth control coverage being a First Amendment issue,” and she tried to stop herself from picking a fight. But then she realized, “‘I’m going to go there. I’m going to go there on Facebook.’” She added, “I said, contraception aside, I take birth control for serious health issues. And he just came back and said, ‘Yeah, but that’s a violation of my rights.’ My continued health, he said, was a violation of his rights.”

Boeschenstein doesn’t hold any illusions that the political move to restrict access to reproductive health care comes from a deep-seated religious convictions, either. “A lot of legislation is about making a name for someone,” she said. And when her housemate, Joey — her best friend from junior high in whose Charlottesville house she now finds respite — said, “I imagine some people just haven’t thought through these issues in a comprehensive way,” Boeschenstein had an answer: “There’s no excuse for that.”

[*people that take contraception, not just cis women]