At the same time that our government is bolstering support for the "War on Terrorism" by condemning the Taliban's treatment of women, U.S. lawmakers are putting restrictions on our own reproductive rights.
After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Congress agreed to table all politically divisive legislation in order to focus more energy on security-related issues. However, according to William Lutz, the deputy communications director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), "Despite the call for nonpartisanship in Congress, anti-choice lawmakers continue to push their agenda."
Recently, Senator Bob Smith (R.-N.H.) proposed a State of the Senate that recognizes the existence of "Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome" (PASS or PAS), and it passed through the Senate without debate. This resolution states that "the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the director of NIH [National Institutes of Health] and the director of the National Institute of Mental Health should expand and intensify research and related activities of the Institute with respect to post-abortion depression and post-abortion psychosis."
Whether PAS actually exists or whether it was fabricated by anti-choicers is a source of serious contention. "In a normal appropriations process you'd have pro-choice lawmakers arguing against such legislation, but post 9/11, these debates aren't happening," says Lutz. This resolution is likely to be dropped in the upcoming joint Senate-House committee. However, as Kathryn Jean Lopez, executive editor of anti-choice National Review Online, noted: "(This resolution's) passage in the first place, without heated debate, marks a first and is worth noting."
The preliminary passage of the PAS resolution is only one of a number of anti-choice legislative successes since September 11. On September 24, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated an amendment to the 2002 Department of Defense Authorization Bill that would have allowed women in the military and family of military personnel stationed abroad to obtain abortions at military health facilities. Currently, military women overseas can't terminate unwanted pregnancies at military hospitals, even if they are willing and able to pay for the procedure, except in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of their own lives. More than 100,000 women live on military bases abroad and are affected by these laws.
Since 1995, when the ban on military abortions was written into law, pro-choice lawmakers have tried to overthrow the decision, to no avail. But never before was the law as relevant as it is today, in the wake of September 11 as troops are mobilizing. "Think about it," Lutz says. "As our women in uniform gear up to defend freedom, anti-choice lawmakers block an attempt to let servicewomen exercise their freedom to choose."
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .