Double Dose: Ending Eight Years of Failed Women's Health Policies; State Ballot Initiatives; More Analysis on Prop 8; Sarah Palin and Feminism - Once More for the Road

November 8, 2008

Sure we’ll be back to other health news soon, but first here’s a wrap on presidential politics and women’s health priorities. And, just to remind you that voting feels oh-so-good, Babeland’s voter discount continues through Nov. 11. Enjoy!

Yes We Can … End Eight Years of Failed Women’s Health Policies: Sign the RH Reality Check petition, which asks President-elect Barack Obama to:

  • Defund failed abstinence only programs in favor of proven, effective comprehensive sex ed programs,
  • Reinstate global family planning funds that save women’s health and lives and overturn the Global Gag Rule,
  • Take action on ensuring availability of publicly funded contraception for low-income women and women in poverty,
  • Immediately implement your HIV/AIDS domestic agenda,
  • Pass FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) that overturns dangerous anti-choice state legislation, and
  • Protect Roe v. Wade.

Plus: Theresa Braine, writing at Women’s eNews, notes that women’s groups aren’t wasting any time organizing around priorities: “From fixing the domestic health-care system and the economy, to making child care more accessible to working mothers, to rescinding the so-called global gag rule that cuts off foreign aid to groups that provide abortion or counseling, or even lobby for changes in abortion laws, women’s groups started exercising the type of grassroots activism that political analysts say helped bring the Democrats to power on Tuesday.”

What’s On the Agenda (So Far): Here’s the new Obama-Biden administration’s agenda on issues addressing women. Health care is up there at the top.

And when it comes to the administration’s hiring policy, it’s nice to see that gender identity is included in the nondiscrimination clause.

Health Care Ballot Initiatives: A wrap-up of several health care measures that passed on state ballots.

Why Prop 8 Won: “If exit polls are to be believed, some 70 percent of African-Americans voted Yes on 8, as did 52 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asians; each of these demographics went heavily for Obama, blacks by a 94-to-6 margin,” writes Richard Kim, associate editor of The Nation.

The easy, dangerous explanation for this gap, and one already tossed around by some white gay liberals in the bitter aftermath, is that people of color are not so secretly homophobic. But a more complicated reckoning — one that takes into account both the organizing successes of the Christian right and the failures of the gay movement — will have to take place if activists want a different result next time. First, there’s the matter of the Yes on 8 coalition’s staggering disinformation campaign.

Plus: I’m still reeling after reading Proposition Hate over at NoFo (via Gapers Block).

The Mom on the Bus: Jodi Kantor has a great piece up at the The Caucus blog about covering the presidential and raising her daughter, Talia, who is almost 3.

Sayonara, Sarah: Katha Pollitt bids good-bye to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but not without first explaining how Palin was a gift to feminism —

[T]he first way Palin was good for feminism is that she helped us clarify what it isn’t: feminism doesn’t mean voting for “the woman” just because she’s female, and it doesn’t mean confusing self-injury with empowerment, like the Ellen Jamesians in The World According to Garp (I’ll vote for the forced-childbirth candidate, that’ll show Howard Dean!). It isn’t just feel-good “you go, girl” appreciation of female moxie, which I cheerfully acknowledge Palin has by the gallon. As I wrote when she was selected, if she were my neighbor I would probably like her — at least until she organized with her fellow Christians to ban abortion at the local hospital, as Palin did in the 1990s. […]

Second, Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket forced family-values conservatives to give public support to working mothers, equal marriages, pregnant teens and their much-maligned parents. Talk-show frothers, Christian zealots and professional antifeminists — Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly — insisted that a mother of five, including a “special-needs” newborn, could perfectly well manage governing a state (a really big state, as we were frequently reminded), while simultaneously running for veep and, who knows, field-dressing a moose. No one said she belonged at home. No one said she was neglecting her husband or failing to be appropriately submissive to him. No one blamed her for 17-year-old Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy or hard-partying high-school-dropout boyfriend. No one even wondered out loud why Bristol wasn’t getting married before the baby arrived. All these things have officially morphed from sins to “challenges,” just part of normal family life. No matter how strategic this newfound broadmindedness is, it will not be easy to row away from it.

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