Friday, March 4, 2011

War on Women in America

The Texas House of Representatives approved a measure yesterday, which will require women seeking an abortion to first get an ultrasound. They would view the sonogram, hear an explanation of the image and listen to the heartbeat, if it is audible.

Texas is one of the several states in which additional restrictions on abortion are being considered. The Republican Party is waging a war against American women and trying to curtail four decades of women’s progress.

The civil war in Libya, the soaring gas prices, and a possible government shutdown in Washington might have gotten most of the people’s attention. But women must be vigilant to protect their rights.

Since the Republicans have become the majority in the House of Representatives and gained many seats in state elections, they are trying to push a wide range of agenda that targets women. The Republican effort, if successful, would:

· Redefine rape to make it more difficult for victims to get justice
· Slash health-care funding
· Further restrict access to family planning and birth control
· Lower pay and benefits in predominantly female professions.

For a time, the American economy was so bad that politicians had to focus on jobs and the revival of the economy. Now the Republicans, especially the conservatives, want to resume the cultural war.

The House has passed a bill to cut federal funding for family-planning services. They want to eliminate the program called Title X, which has provided millions of women with preventive care since 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. Furthermore, they want to stop all federal funds from supporting care through Planned Parenthood’s more than 800 health centers across the country.

The House resolution will also slash funding for international family planning and reproductive health care. It would also reimpose the global “gag” rule, which restricts federal money to any group that even mentions abortion. President Bush has imposed such restrictions when he ascended to power. President Obama has lifted it, but the Republicans want to reimpose it.
The Republican bill also cuts funding for prenatal health care for low-income women and for children’s health programs.

But women’s groups have begun to take action and speak out. The Democratic Women’s Working Group and the National Organization of Women have called the Republican measures anti-women. The Republican Majority for Choice also starts a campaign to restore Title X.

The church and faith communities must stand in solidarity with poor and low-income women to ensure that all will receive adequate health care. We must speak out now, otherwise the conservatives will be emboldened to push their ideological agenda.