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

By Christine Cupaiuolo — 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.

6 responses to “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”

  1. Terrific variety of women’s health related & VICTORY election news.

    Despite my relief to end the Bush/McSame regime & Obama-Biden hopeful campaign, I’m disappointed that more folks still aren’t voting.

    129 million voted US. 72 million registered democrats. 55 million registered republicians+ 42 million registered independents. = about 70% of 169 million eligible & registered pop

    voter turn out has been decreasing since the 1960s. 64% in 1960, 63% in 1968.

    in 1988 the low of 49.1% on & off to a higher blip 55% in 2004 and this time 62.5%, (surprisingly only 7+% higher) than 4 years ago. I expected more & the media frenzy fed our beliefs. Supposedly Republican county controlled machines DELETED thousands of voters from the rolls. As a pct election worker, I was faced with 20 angry people who were not in our voter book and 27 who had to complete change of address status papers in order to vote this one time or will be be deleted & prohibited from regular voting. We had to do some provisional ballots (which really won’t count)

    Over 39 million did NOT vote! Reasons given: Don’t consider themselves Democrats, Republicans or Independents…. feel their vote doesn’t matter, don’t know how to vote, don’t want to leave work or home to vote, etc. cynicism, pessimism, & apathy; disenchantment, indifference, or contentment. Wondering how we can possiblly involve more women in voting or issue politics… It was noticeable that more Republicans stayed home than ever before.

  2. Homophobia is one of the reasons that HIV is so prevalent in the African-American community. Oprah did a show on it. Men on the “down-the-low” who sleep with men and then use black women as the “beard.”

  3. Any thoughts on whether an Obama presidency (and/or the various other changes ushered in by this round of voting) may have any positive or negative effects on midwifery and homebirth (in terms of legality but mostly in terms of insurance covering them)? It seems obvious that greater support for these low-cost alternatives to hospital birth for low-risk pregnancies would be one way to save money and make healthcare more efficient, sane, and health-focused (as Obama wants to do). I applaud his firm pro-choice stance on abortion and his (and Biden’s) feminism more generally, particularly in recognizing that healthcare and poverty are in part women’s issues–is there any way all that may extend to these other feminist issues of choice in maternity care?

  4. In addition to what’s posted above, there’s a very good round up of links at Racialicious that look at the impact of race on the passage of Prop 8 and the importance of avoiding the blame game — highly recommended:

    Excellent questions, Ema and Molly. We’ll post whatever we find out.

    Here are a couple of stories that look at immediate decisions Obama is likely to make, including reversing the global gag rule —

    Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy
    and Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions

    Cathy, I saw firsthand the importance of having legions of volunteers on the ground to address voting questions and to help those who were erroneously turned away from the polls. It’s not the answer to all the questions of low voter turnout, but I firmly believe we need to encourage more people to volunteer (both before and on election day) — to help ensure that other voters get their chance, too.

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