Sunday, May 24, 2015

Celebrating the Real Meaning of Memorial Day

It is too easy to fall into the trap, the habit, of treating Memorial Day as just a selfish personal party day, a vacation day, disconnected from the original purpose of setting aside this holiday as a federal occasion for solemnity and serious thought of others.  Those 'others' made our daily life, our security, our history and even our very existence possible the way we know it.

To all our valued readers, please -- take time this weekend, more than just a few seconds, or a minute, and think long and hard about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us.  Appreciate those who have given their time and effort in military service on Veterans day (and we should think of them EVERY day, including those serving currently), but especially think of those who died in service to protecting this country, the ultimate act of patriotism.  That is the purpose of Memorial Day.

Respect and honor them.  Revere them.  Remember them with gratitude.  Please, do not take our security and our heritage for granted.

via KSTP:
Golden Valley Man Continues Mission to Bring Meaning Back to Memorial Day
By: Cassie Hart
An annual tradition of flags lining a street in Golden Valley for Memorial Day continues.
Starting the week before Memorial Day, Golden Valley’s Flag Row runs along Golden Valley Road from Highway 100 to Winnetka Avenue N. It’s lined with hundreds of U.S. flags and POW-MIA flags to pay tribute to those who have fallen.
It’s a tradition that has been kept alive thanks to a few volunteers. But it all started with one man several years ago.
"I put them up a week before Memorial Day to help bring awareness before the holiday," 52-year-old John Giese of Golden Valley said.
The Army and Air Force veteran went to Walgreens the night before Memorial Day 2006 and bought every 12-by-18 inch flag in the store. He typed “Pfc Gavin Colburn, 2005” on pieces of paper and taped them to the sticks of every flag and placed them in front of every house of someone he knew. The 30 flags extended from the Hwy 100 Frontage Road to Oak Grove Church. 
Giese met Colburn, a fellow truck driver, the day he arrived in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserve. They talked about home and agreed to talk more later. Colburn’s convoy left on a mission. Three hours later, the 20-year-old from Ohio was killed by an improvised explosive device. Giese said he found out about it the next morning.
"That just kind of had an impact on me," Giese said.
He met two more men while on tour who died a short time later.
When Giese got back home, he said he wanted to bring meaning back to Memorial Day.
"I wanted to let people know that it's not only about a four-day weekend," he said.
He continues his mission with Golden Valley’s Flag Row, which has grown to more than 600 flags lining the route.
Giese said those who want to help in his cause should put up a flag at their home.
"Take the time and do something to recognize why you got the day off of work in the first place. Go to a memorial service," Giese said, adding that people should talk to their kids about why they are not in school for the day.
People are encouraged to walk or drive the 1 1/2 mile route on Golden Valley Road to pay tribute to fallen military soldiers. The flags are up until 5 p.m. Memorial Day.
There are 83,126 POWs still unaccounted for since Wold War II.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Conservatism is, LITERALLY, Resulting in the DEATHS of Women and Children

most recent infant mortality rates, 2014

most recent statistics on comparative maternal mortality rates

Last month the Shriver Report, a non-profit that deals with women in the US and feminism (both advances and reversals)did a survey, in part examining the attitudes of men towards a possible female president. It explains a great deal about why conservative men are waging culture and legislative/policy war on women, not only in regards to reproductive issues but rather a broad spectrum of issues.  Worse, those beliefs and the policies and legislation that result from them, are becoming more extreme and more draconian - and deadly.

This part of that survey findings I found to be key in understanding why conservative men, who are opposed to the advances of feminism and are attempting to undo them, perceive a threat to their roles at an emotional level - this is the 'what' and the 'why':
When asked to describe in their own words why it is harder to be a man in their generation compared with their father’s, men are most likely to say this is due to women attaining a stronger position in the workplace, a stronger position financially, and greater gender equality. These men also cite negative assumptions about men, a more competitive job market, greater household responsibilities for men, and greater expectations for men in society today.

There is something deeply and seriously wrong when we could be more scandalized, shocked, or offended by the notion of men experiencing a limited simulation of pregnancy and childbirth than we are aware of or shocked by women and infants dying at an increasing rate, an appalling rate, comparable to other similarly developed first world countries.

I posted this back on May 7, but it does not appear to have been adequately connected to the subsequent posts as part of the theme of why our post-1980 era conservatism, aka the policies and ideology broadly characterized as Reaganism, are massively misogynistic, massively anti-feminist, to such an extreme they constitute a war on women.

Please pay attention to the statistics on infant and maternal mortality in this video from May 5, 2015.

These statistics are shocking, genuinely deeply shocking, deeply disturbing. These statistics require something to push back against these policies, something to undo, or to reverse, this conservative Reaganism thinking at the deepest and most profound level. Because this thinking is an integral part of conservative identity, because it is emotional rather than rational or logical, bringing about that kind of change in a conservative is extremely difficult by reliance on facts and figures, or logic as persuasion.

My co-blogger Penigma has respectfully and constructively criticized me for proposing that conservative men who vote on legislation affecting women and support for families should experience both the simulated labor pains and the discomfort of simulated pregnancy pre-labor with a pregnancy belly appliance. He viewed those suggestions as extremist and as sensationalism. That was never my intent, and I am not so far persuaded that those proposals are either extreme or sensational; rather, given the number of men who try those experiences voluntarily, and given that they are more brief than the actual experience for women, and that men can opt out of them whenever they become too unpleasant for their tolerance threshold, I think the proposal is actually quite benign and positive.  Deaths certainly justify at least considering alternatives when other solutions have been so unsuccessful.

My co-blogger Penigma has also chided me, in his usual very gentlemanly and considerate manner, for focusing too much on pregnancy and labor, and not sufficiently on other aspects related to the war on women, such as the attempts to limit or ban outright access to affordable contraception (as just one example).

I would argue instead that the purpose of proposing those two simulations for conservative male legislators is to provide them a very physical and emotionally visceral, physical understanding of a challenging uniquely female experience as a means to open their hearts and minds to a broader and deeper change of belief about women than only pregnancy and giving birth. I would argue that after experiencing even a brief exposure to simulated childbirth, a conservative legislator would be less likely to find it plausible that poor women become pregnant just to get a free 'Obamaphone'. Of course, there is no such thing as a free Obamaphone; rather a Bush era program continued under Obama where reconditioned phones are provided by corporations with limited minutes on them for the purpose of job hunting, with use monitored and availability strictly means tested, including a requirement for actual job hunting. But those facts are immaterial to the conservative narrative -- as most facts appear to be ignored by conservatives in favor of their ideology narrative against women.

Let me provide you an example from the right - specifically the religious right.  This is a term that has been widely used on right wing media, including (but not limited to) Fox News, via Boingboing back in 2012, although it continues into 2015.  It is not only misogynistic, and anti-sexuality, it is additionally some of the most ugly kind of racism; but this goes a long way towards explaining conservative legislation:
"The Democrats tried to make this election about a single issue: The right to slut. Or more precisely, the right to slut without the responsibility of consequences."
"One thing one has to remember about women, especially slutty ones: They usually don’t make decisions based on reason," he writes, after explaining that sluts want to get abortions so they can be slutty and childless, but that they also want to leech off of welfare to raise welfare babies, which is of course a totally reasoned flow of logic.
"This election cycle shows that the Slut Vote is real, and Republicans lose because they discount the existence of original sin in women," writes B-Skillet. "Abortion is often called the 'third rail of American politics,' but in truth, the third rail is a woman’s right to slut (with cash and prizes)."

The famous “gender gap” isn’t really a gap based on gender. The right overwhelmingly wins older and married women. The “gender gap” should more accurately be called the slut vote.
Women make up about 54% of the electorate. It is very hard to win without winning that segment, or at least losing it only narrowly while winning men big. While the right usually wins married women, the fact is that married women constitute an ever-decreasing share of the female population. Women want to delay marriage as long as possible so they can “have it all,” and usually “have it all” means “have as much hot alpha sex as possible without any consequences.” And thus, less married women and more sluts (not that these two groups are mutually exclusive, per se)
And that’s where the Democrats come in. Contrary to common belief, the primary reason the Democrats own the black vote has nothing to do with civil rights. The Democrats were only partially supportive of civil rights in the 60′s (with southern Democrats advocating “segregation forever”). Lincoln was a Republican, and Republicans in the House and Senate voted for civil rights legislation in the 60s.
Rather, Democrats have won the black vote because the black community is dominated by illegitimacy, and the Democrats are willing to subsidize and support that illegitimacy (as well as provide access to cheap abortions) so as to take away from sluts the consequences of their actions. Consequently, young black people grow up on the dole and not only never realize there might be something wrong with that, but eventually come to believe that’s the way it should be. The Democrats have won the black vote by first “empowering” single black mothers.
This is now beginning to happen in white suburbia, except unlike women in the urban black community, white suburban sluts start from a place of relative wealth and privilege (daddy’s little princess). Thus, food stamps–and increased rewards for having illegitimate kids while on food stamps–don’t (yet) appeal to them.
So instead Obama appealed to rich white sluts by forcing someone else (the Catholic church, in this case) to pay for their birth control, and by scaring them about alleged threats to their ability to take advantage of Planned Parenthood’s services (Planned Parenthood being conveniently located in the minority part of town, of course, so as to provide anonymity to visiting white girls whose white girl friends never go over there–except to visit Planned Parenthood themselves). This created a wedge issue in the suburban community that allowed Obama to play more strongly there than he might have if the election ended up purely about the economy or the national debt.
One thing one has to remember about women, especially slutty ones: They usually don’t make decisions based on reason. So all the Obama administration had to do was scare them that Mitt Romney was going to take away their birth control and their access to abortion. The fear for them is that, without birth control and abortion, they might actually get pregnant and have to give birth. That is scary not simply because of the economic burden of having a child (since, hey, they can get all kinds of cash and prizes if that happens), but because if that happened then everyone would know they’re sluts, and their image as daddy’s pure little snowflake princess goes out the window.
The right loses the female vote primarily because so many of them still operate from a feminist world-view: Women are pure, perfect, kind, and altruistic, and the only reason they “get into trouble” is that some evil, conniving, manipulative man tricked them into sleeping with the entire football team.

Conservatives are broadly anti-abortion, and they have attempted at all levels of government to ban abortion, by claiming it is killing babies. At the same time, they promote policies which actually DO kill babies, not just clusters of cells at the embryonic and fetal level of development which have no established moral, legal or scientific standing as human beings.

This is not exclusively an issue of pregnancy or giving birth however, but part of a larger view of women as the enemy, especially to the degree that women fail to conform to submission to men and conformity to a pre-1950's style of puritanism. This is a worldview of women as a threat, to male dominance and by extension to a rigid social hierarchy which in the view of conservatives equates to order and stability, 'the right(AKA right-wing) way' of doing things.

This is about changing all thinking and beliefs about women, from the minimum wage (which affects women more than men, to pay and pay equality, and as a result affects poverty levels more for women than for men) to health care (including the increased availability of health care through the ACA), to nutritional supplement levels like WIC and SNAP, to the funding of programs like Governor Dayton's pre-K, to the demeaning of single women as a demographic that votes for Democrats more than Republicans being characterized as the 'slut vote', to the belief that women, especially single women, use pregnancy as an ATM card through the social safety network of welfare benefits, to the attitudes about rape which blame the victim not the rapist.

I would ague that it requires a fairly strong, if not drastic solution, when we even see a recurring theme of conservatives figures claiming that women should not have the vote, and when we have a Justice on the Supreme Court who publicly asserts that the U.S. constitution does not prohibit gender discrimination (Scalia, here).

Conservatives do not want to force women back into the bad old days of the 1950s. Conservatives, led by predominantly white males at all levels of governance and politics, want to force women bac to the very bad old days of the 1850s. We need to push back against that -- and push back hard. That I believe requires thinking outside the box of methods we have tried to date, and which have failed. That I believe may require an approach that is not exclusively a logical argument of dry facts which are easily ignored or denied.

As an FYI, since I try to be conscientious about fact checking what I publish, I looked to see if Thom Hartmann had his numbers right -- he did.

From last September, via CBS news and the CDC:
More babies are dying before they turn 1 year old in the United States than in most of Europe and several other developed countries, a new U.S. government report says.
A greater proportion of premature births and deaths of full-term babies are driving the higher rate, which puts the United States below 25 other countries, according to the report, released Sept. 24 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I think we've known for a long time that the U.S. has a higher preterm birth rate, but this higher infant mortality rate for full-term, big babies who should have really good survival prospects is not what we expected," said lead author Marian MacDorman, a senior statistician and researcher in the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
The infant mortality rate refers to the percentage of babies born alive who die before their first birthday.
The report compares infant mortality rates in the United States to those of European countries plus Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea and New Zealand in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available.
It looks as if Thom Hartmann may have UNDER reported the data for maternal mortality rates.  From the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals:

Maternal Mortality in the United States: A Human Rights Failure

With 99% of maternal deaths occurring in developing countries, it is too often assumed that maternal mortality is not a problem in wealthier countries. Yet, statistics released in September of 2010 by the United Nations place the United States 50th in the world for maternal mortality — with maternal mortality ratios higher than almost all European countries, as well as several countries in Asia and the Middle East.1, 2
Even more troubling, the United Nations data show that between 1990 and 2008, while the vast majority of countries reduced their maternal mortality ratios for a global decrease of 34%, maternal mortality nearly doubled in the United States.1 For a country that spends more than any other country on health care and more on childbirth-related care than any other area of hospitalization — US$86 billion a year — this is a shockingly poor return on investment.3, 4
Given that at least half of maternal deaths in the United States are preventable,5 this is not just a matter of public health, but a human rights failure.6 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “every human being has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including medical care and necessary social services”.7 This means that the United States health care system must provide health care services that are available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality.8 In addition, the health care system must be free from discrimination, must be accountable and must ensure the active participation of women in decision-making. Yet, instead, too many women in the United States face shortages of providers and facilities and inadequate staffing; financial, bureaucratic, transport and language barriers; care that is not culturally appropriate or respectful; a lack of opportunity for informed decision-making and the lack of a system to ensure that all women receive high-quality, evidence-based care.
In this larger context, of actual death and suffering, I don't think demanding our legislators voluntarily expand the horizons of their experience to include an exercise in empathy building and consciousness raising.  I certainly do not think that it is reasonable, in this age of popular novel trilogies like 50 Shades of Gray, and at the other end of the spectrum, actual torture of unwilling victims who have no control over what is done to them, for such a demand to be regarded as advocating the torture of men.  I would argue rather that this is one possibility to consider in reversing policies and ideology that are literally killing women and children in this country, and causing a level of suffering that is not adequately known or acknowledged.

We desperately need greater awareness, greater knowledge, and a helluva  lot greater empathy from conservatives, particularly the male conservatives who are the primary initiators of the destructive and damaging legislation, albeit with some level of support from both men and women in their base.  If it takes a bit of abdominal contraction to expand that empathy, so long as it is within their control and voluntary, then that is not abusive, and it is certainly not advocating torture of anyone., but rather it is advocating for women and infants to live and thrive, and as a result, to benefit the nation, to improve the country for all of us.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dubya or Jeb, no significant difference between them except how far the neocons have their hands up their arses

GOP Continues the War on Women, in new and uglier ways

How the GOP, apparently,
think babies arrive...
This is in the larger context of state level anti-abortion legislation, as well as state level and federal level cuts to the funding of health care for women, notably Planned Parenthood but also cutting funding to other clinics, and an overall domestic spending that affects poor women and children.  Conservatives consistently act to benefit special interests, primarily wealthy people and corporations while intentionally harming those most vulnerable.  Conservatives are not only appallingly incompetent at any form of economic policy, they do real damage in their failed attempts at governance that harm people individually and weaken the nation as a whole. 

In the previous post, I had suggested that male legislators on the GOP side of the aisle should be required to undergo labor pain simulations before they voted on any legislation that adversely had an impact on women -- especially on choice and reproduction.  While my co-blogger Penigma seems to find this a demand that GOP male legislators be tortured, I would point out that fairly large numbers of men, acting in solidarity with their wives or partners during pregnancy, undergo this experience voluntarily as an exercise in empathy.  That was precisely the purpose for which I presented this demand, as the overwhelmingly male body of legislators at both the state and federal levels, particularly in leadership and policy determining positions, appear to be in dire need of better empathy in their characters.

In that context and for that purpose, in addition to the experience of simulated labor, I would argue as well that the experiences in the video below could only improve on the current deficiencies on the right.

I don't think I'm being too harsh here in my criticism of the failures of compassion and empathy among the right wingers.  Here are a few examples of what I mean.

From the Daily Tribune and the AP (bold face and enlarged type are my emphasis added - DG):

Republican-controlled House passes sweeping cuts to domestic programs
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House passed sweeping legislation early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations.
The $1.2 trillion bill covers every Cabinet agency through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year, imposing severe spending cuts aimed at domestic programs and foreign aid, including aid for schools, nutrition programs, environmental protection, and heating and housing subsidies for the poor.
he measure faces a rough ride in the Democratic-controlled Senate, even before the GOP amendments adopted Thursday, Friday and early Saturday morning pushed the bill further and further to the right on health care and environmental policy. Senate Democrats promise higher spending levels and are poised to defend Obama's health care bill, environmental policies and new efforts to overhaul regulation of the financial services industry.
Changes rammed through the House on Friday and Saturday would shield greenhouse-gas polluters and privately owned colleges from federal regulators, block a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and bar the government from shutting down mountaintop mines it believes will cause too much water pollution, siding with business groups over environmental activists and federal regulators in almost every instance.
"This is like a Cliff Notes summary of every issue that the Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, and the (free market) CATO Institute have pushed for 30 years," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. "And they're just going to run them through here."

Across four long days of freewheeling debate, Republicans left their conservative stamp in other ways.
They took several swipes at the year-old health care law, including voting for a ban on federal funding for its implementation. At the behest of anti-abortion lawmakers, they called for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Republicans awarded the Pentagon an increase of less than 2 percent increase, but domestic agencies would bear slashing cuts of about 12 percent. Such reductions would feel almost twice as deep since they would be spread over the final seven months of the budget year.
Republicans recoiled, however, from some of the most politically difficult cuts to grants to local police and fire departments, special education and economic development. Amtrak supporters easily repelled an attempt to slash its budget.

"The bill will destroy 800,000 American jobs," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., citing a study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. "It will increase class sizes and take teachers out of the classrooms ... It will jeopardize homeless veterans, make our communities less secure, threaten America's innovation."

The Environmental Protection Agency was singled out by Republicans eager to defend business and industry from numerous agency regulations they say threaten job-creation and the economy. The EPA's budget was slashed by almost one-third, and then its regulatory powers were handcuffed in a series of floor votes.

Proposed federal regulations would be blocked on emission of greenhouse gases, blamed for climate change, and a proposed regulation on mercury emissions from cement kilns would also be stopped. Additionally, the bill also calls for a halt to proposed regulations affecting Internet service providers and privately-owned colleges, victories for the industries that would be affected.
The 359-page bill was shaped beginning to end by the first-term Republicans, many of them elected with tea party backing.
Highlights of proposals in House GOP spending bill
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Republicans' $1.2 trillion bill for financing federal programs through Sept. 30, when the current budget year ends, includes many spending cuts and prohibitions that make a showdown with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats inevitable.
Among the biggest flashpoints are provisions that would:
--Cut about $60 billion in spending from last year's levels in many domestic programs, including education, environmental protection and community services.
--Block money to implement Obama's health care overhaul law enacted last year.
--Bar federal funds for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion and family planning services with its hundreds of clinics across the U.S. The organization says 90 percent of the $363 million a year it receives in government aid comes from Washington or the federal-state Medicaid program.
--Eliminate federal family planning and teen pregnancy prevention grants.
--Block federal aid to overseas groups that provide abortions or counsel women about them.  

Here is another example.  I would point out that the overwhelmingly white male GOP appears to assert on a regular basis that women exaggerate and lie; also that they should just 'keep their legs together', and that they cannot be entrusted with making medical decisions about their own bodies and health with accurate medical information -- so they legalize state-mandated lying and give cover to doctors to lie to their patients under the justification of conscience.  Examples of that would be requiring doctors to give medically inaccurate information to women, such as abortions lead to or cause breast cancer (they do not) or exempting from malpractice claims for providing false information to a patient or withholding information to a patient, if a doctor opposes abortion and believes that patient might consider having one, up to and including deceiving a patient about being pregnant.  No such provision for being dishonest with a patient, for matters of conscience of the doctor, exists for any interaction between a doctor and male patients; no state mandated requirement of false information, intruding on the relationship between doctor and patient, exists for any interaction with male patients either.  These are exclusively male driven, and imposed exclusively on women.

I call that a war on women.  I call it unfair.  I call it discriminatory.  I call it harmful and damaging.  I call it in need of serious correction and change.  It is worth noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not recognize a right to weapons of deadly force (i.e. guns) but does recognize a right to autonomy and self determination (i.e. reproductive choice) and a right to medical care; the GOP, mired in the last century or earlier (say, the stone age?) believes the reverse, that there in an inherent right to the means to kill other people or yourself, but no right to health care.  How significant and how sad they get it precisely reversed -- and how predictable!

From the RHeality

House Passes ‘Disgustingly Cruel’ 20-Week Abortion Ban

The Republican-dominated U.S. House voted 242 to 184 Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks nationwide, with no exceptions for a woman’s health or fetal anomalies, and with rape and incest exceptions that advocates call callous and cruel.
“This bill is a danger to women’s lives and well-being, an affront to their dignity, and a threat to the rights and liberties all Americans hold dear,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement after the bill’s passage.
While supporters said the bill is necessary because 20-week-old fetuses can feel pain, medical experts disagree. Critics charged that the bill is unconstitutional and intended to help end legal abortion in America by challenging Roe v. Wade.
“It’s the beginning of the end of abortion—at 20 weeks, at 17 weeks, at 12 weeks, at one week, at conception,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said on the House floor. “This is an anti-abortion bill. It’s not about fetal pain, it’s not about 20 weeks.”
This isn’t the first time the House has passed a 20-week abortion ban, but Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised the unprecedented step of taking the bill up in the Senate.
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the bill “disgraceful” at a press conference Wednesday, and said that the president “strongly opposes” it.

And last but not least, the paternalistic notarized note legislation for a woman to make a medical decision about her pregnancy.  I would point out that no comparable legislation exists for any male procedure; for example, no notarized note is required before a man gets a vasectomy, even if that could dramatically affect the options for his spouse to become pregnant.  No, those permission slips are only required for women, never men.

From Rheality

Missouri Bill Amending Informed Consent Law to Require Permission From Father Prior to Abortion (HB 131)

HB 131 would amend Missouri’s informed consent law (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.027) to add a provision that would prohibit an abortion from being performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion, except in cases where the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced was the victim of rape or incest and the pregnancy resulted from the rape or incest.
If the father of the unborn child is deceased, the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced would be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to this fact.
The bill would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion unless and until the physician has obtained the written consent required in these provisions. The bill would further require the physician to retain a copy of the consent or affidavit in the patient’s medical record.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

As we face Republicans (mostly men) again being anti-sexuality, anti-women, and anti-choice, I propose every single one of them try THIS, and for longer than just an hour

Here is the thing -- labor seldom is over in an hour; it can go on for MUCH longer. We are fortunate that science has now provided this opportunity for men to physically share this experience.

I dare them to do so before they intrude their stupid politics to exert control over womens' bodies. This should apply not only to men before passing legislation on abortion, but also legislation relating to all aspects of birth control. Shame on conservatives, especially those who would inflict pregnancy on girls rather than women.