Saturday, May 12, 2012

EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW - where do YOU stand?

This past week, President Obama made history.  He became the first U.S. president to affirm EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW - for ALL Americans.  If you missed it, here it is:

President Obama

Let's be clear about one thing:  this isn't about "gay rights."  

This is about EQUALITY and EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW for every American.

These concepts appear in our founding documents, the very core of our existence, and we talk about them as if they really exist.  But they don't exist - not until those concepts become a reality, not until every single person in this country wakes up every morning knowing that she or he is a valued, equal person under the law.

The religious right is gnashing teeth and beating breasts.  They say they have "gay friends" but in the same breath, say these friends should not be treated with the same legal protections they enjoy.  They are very willing to label a certain group of people as second class citizens - and they're even proud of it!

Twenty percent of North Carolina voters went to the polls last week.  The "twenty percent" who bothered to vote decided to amend the state's constitution to include a ban on same-sex marriages.  To hell with the people that amendment will hurt or even destroy.  To hell with the idea of equality.  

They don't get it - and neither do most Republican lawmakers or the apparent Republican candidate for president. That's because they do NOT truly understand the concept of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.  They want that protection for themselves, but do not believe it should extend to all others.

It's time to take a stand.  You either support EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW for everyone ... or you don't.  You can't have it both ways and you can't sit on the fence.  You can't single out any group of Americans, and deny to them the same legal protection that you hold dear, without admitting that you feel superior, that you deserve those constitutional protections, but others don't.

President Obama took a stand.  In doing so, he took a huge political risk.

What are YOU going to do?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Planned Parenthood - a terrorist group?

I thought I'd heard it all.  I thought the Republican assault on women couldn't get any worse.

I was wrong.

The Attorney General of the great (?) state of Texas compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization while defending a new state law.  WHAT?

Here's the skinny:

A federal law makes it a felony to give money to a terrorist organization, even if the funds are specified for nonterrorist activities.  Greg Abbott, the esteemed (and elected by the people) Texas Attorney General, says that giving federal money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, pap smears, STD testing and birth control is just like giving a terrorist organization money for humanitarian activities ... only nobody REALLY knows how the money is spent.

Basically, the entire issue comes down to abortion.  Yep ... no big surprise here, right?  Some Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortion services, but not every one.  And ... in Texas, NOT ONE of the eight clinics that received federal money provides abortion services!  Let me repeat:  NOT ONE!

Planned Parenthood is - or was - part of the Texas Women's Health Program.  About 130,000 low-income women were served by this program.  But because Texas wouldn't fund Planned Parenthood, the federal government stepped in and required that Texas not discriminate.  Abbott, bless his little pea-pointed head, said that the state of Texas would prefer to shut down the entire Women's Health Program rather than allow it to fund Planned Parenthood!

So, what will happen to these 130,000 low-income women?  Where will they get their mammograms and cancer screenings?  Where will they get their contraception?  WHERE will they get their medical care?  It's clear:  they won't get that medical care because they can't afford it.  

All one has to do is look at Planned Parenthood's Annual Report ... the last one is for the year 2010.  You can see it here:

Planned Parenthood Annual Report

In case you don't have time, here it is.  Here are the programs and percentages of funds used for those programs:

STD Testing & Treatment = 38%
Cancer Screenings & Prevention = 14.5%
Contraception = 33.5%
Abortion Services = 3%
Other women's health services = 10.4%
Other services = .6%

So ... even though only 3% of Planned Parenthood services go to abortion - nationwide - and NONE of the 8 clinics in the Texas Women's Health Program provide abortions - Abbott and his Republican cronies would rather gut the ENTIRE program than throw a few dollars to Planned Parenthood.

Abbot, I gotta tell you:  you are as looney as the people who voted you into office!

And ... the Republicans say there's no "war on women?"