Blunt Amendment tabled

Thank goodness that is over. The Blunt Amendment has been tabled by the Senate–the bill that Maya wrote about yesterday would allow your boss to decide what specific pieces of coverage and you and can’t have based on personal belief systems. This would not just be a threat to access to contraception (the most obvious benefit that would be denied by anti-choice religious types) but any service an employer deems contrary to their “moral” belief system.

You have to wonder why Republican Senators propose these bills that rarely see success. Well, it is not just because they believe that women are evil harlots that deserve to get pregnant when they have sex and should be left with no options except forced childbirth. It is also an attempt to own the conversation. By adding bizarre anti-choice “conscious” clauses to say a transportation bill–they are mainly seeking to shift public debate. If they push the public debate far to the right it not only ignites and mobilizes more radical anti-woman sentiments, it creates space for these ideas in the mainstream and it puts us in the defensive.

But not today. The ridiculousness of this bill became apparent as more people testified against it. Big shouts to Senator Barbara Boxer who said in response to the all male Issa hearing “Not one man suggested that men shouldn’t have their Viagra, but we’ll put that aside” and Sen. Pat Murray (who’s a Catholic btw) who noted that we are debating access to contraception on the first day of Women’s History Month and rightfully noted that “young women today are watching.” Damn straight.

Unfortunately, 51-48 is a very small margin to table a bill this unjust.

At least we know, the Obama administration understands the implications of the Blunt Amendment. 

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3 Comments

  1. Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad this amendment failed.

    But here’s something I have been thinking about in regards to the larger issue of women’s reproductive health.

    Maybe we’re fighting the wrong battle.

    And before anyone gets upset, consider this: women’s reproductive health isn’t just a female issue. Yes, we are most impacted by this legislation, but everyone feels the effects. If women don’t have access to safe, effective contraception, etc, then men also have unwanted children for whom they must pay child support (or just plain raise). I could come up with more examples, but maybe we need to start fighting this in male terms and take it out of the ”niche issue” status it seems to have developed.

    Women are humans. Let’s make this a human issue, not a women’s issue.

    Just a thought.

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      The tricky issue here is how can we do that, while acknowledging that this is a misogynistic attack on women’s rights at the same time? I realize it does impact the lives of men, and it’s not talked about enough. But, this was never about oppressing men, it’s about oppressing women. Frankly, I’m angry at the notion that we need to talk about the way it hurts men for people to care about it. I’m not sure how we can fight sexism if we can’t talk about it.

      • Posted March 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Natasha has a point. When female issues will carry the same weight as their male counterparts, then only we would have made progress. It needs to have the same impact. Too often it matters less because they are women’s issues, so until we make ourselves loud enough to be heard and have the same influence as our fellow humans, men; it just won’t be enough equity. Regardless, the 51-48 margin is what truly scares me. The fact we got so close to the amendment being passed is just appalling…

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