Resources and reporting for mothers and others who think about social change.
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mmo Noteworthy

April 2005

Making progress:

Illinois Child Care Workers Unite

Mother’s Day activism and events:

M*A*M*A 2005 Mamas Rising Up! Festival

Mothers– The Real Story: It’s About Time:
Mothers & More 2005 Mother’s Day Campaign urges mothers to share their real s

Pop culture:

The Waldman Files:
Readers berate lifestyle columnist for conduct unbecoming to a mother

Work/life economics:

CEPR report finds paid maternity leave boosts mothers’ wages

Other work/life news and commentary of note


Rethinking welfare rules: the “marriage plus” strategy

Reproductive rights:

New report on abortion funding and reproductive justice

Other news and commentary on reproductive freedom

Elsewhere on the web:

News and commentary of note from Women’s eNews, AlterNet, Common Dreams, In These Times, and more.

past editions of mmo noteworthy ...
making progress:

Illinois Child Care Workers Unite

On April 7th, more than 49,000 Illinois home child care providers voted overwhelmingly (82 percent) to join Local 880 of the Service Employees International Union. The home child care vote is the largest union election in Illinois history and one of the largest in U.S. history. In recent decades, only the vote by 74,000 home care workers in Los Angeles to join SEIU in 1999 saw more workers unite in a single union election. The election capped a nearly decade-long effort by child care workers to unite in SEIU to improve child services in Illinois.

According to an SEIU spokesperson, “This is part of a broader fight to give the women and men who take care of our children and our grandparents— the people who make up what some have called the ‘economy of care’— a real voice in how our society treats them and the people they take care of.”

Angenita Tanner, a home child care provider in Chicago, supported the 10-year effort to allow Illinois child care workers to join SEIU. “We get an average of only $17 per day for each child, to take care of them, make sure they get proper meals, and help prepare them with the skills they will need for school. We get no health insurance, no vacation, no sick days, no workers’ compensation, no unemployment insurance.” In her victory blog, Tanner writes that the union vote is “Good news for us. It’s good news for the almost 200,000 kids we care for. And with us to make the announcement today there were child care providers from 9 other states who want unions too. It’s not just a victory— it’s a movement!”

“We expect this vote in Illinois will be the catalyst for more than half a million family child care providers across America uniting in our union, much the same way more than 300,000 home care workers have joined SEIU since the 1999 election in Los Angeles,” said Anna Burger, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer, in an April 7 press release. Efforts to unite family child care providers are getting underway in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

More than 49,000 Illinois Child Care Providers Choose SEIU As Their Union to Improve Services for 200,000 Children
SEIU press release, 7 Apr 05

Additional background:

Quality child care in jeopardy due to high turnover, widespread poverty among providers
Summary of a report from SEIU Illinois

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mother’s day activism and events:

M*A*M*A 2005 Mamas Rising Up! Festival

M*A*M*A (Mothers Alliance for Militant Action) invites mothers and others to skip the cards and flowers this Mother’s Day and come celebrate “radical, real and revolutionary mamas” on Saturday, May 7, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 2005 Mamas Rising Up! Festival will include information, inspiration, music and other entertainment and many children’s activities. The event is free and open to the public.

M*A*M*A is an NYC-based grassroots collective of “radical mothers and kids” whose members include “working-for-pay mamas, stay at home mamas, mamas of color, poor mamas, mamas looking for work, mamas on public assistance, younger mamas, mamas who unschool, mamas whose kids are in public school, single mamas, queer mamas, partnered mamas, and girls and women who aren’t mamas. We are lesbian/bi/trans inclusive and open to all women.”

According to the group’s mission statement, M*A*M*A believes that “every mother is a working mother and we are committed to making our society one in which mothers and children have a wide range of choices and the freedom and power to make them.” Issues of special concern to M*A*M*A and its supporters include “the near absence of a practical dialogue about the needs of low-income women in our society, including childcare, housing, education; working for the rights of low-income and disenfranchised mothers and children within an anti-capitalist, anti-racist framework; the war abroad (military adventures, globalization); the war at home (the prison population, drug laws, the proliferation of poverty among women and children); discrimination against mothers/children in the activist community; welfare rights, as well as the creation of networks and alternative services that allow women to be more autonomous and less dependant on government assistance; rights of teen parents, queer and trans parents, mothers in prison and other disenfranchised mothers.”

M*A*M*A 2005 Mamas Rising Up! Festival
Saturday, May 7, 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Spoken Words Café
226 4th Ave. (at Union Street)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
For information, call 212/714-4725
or email: mamariseup@yahoo.com

M*A*M*A web site

Related reading:

MAMA (feature story)
By Kate Crane, New York Press, March 2004

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Mothers– The Real Story: It’s About Time

Mothers & More 2005 Mother’s Day Campaign urges mothers to share their real stories

Mothers & More, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of mothers through support, education and advocacy, thinks it’s about time for mothers to come together to tell their stories loud and clear. The group, which currently has over 7,000 members and 175 chapters nationwide, hopes to raise awareness that mothers are ready to “insist on more options for individuals to fit the time to care into their lives, insist that the responsibility to spend time caring for families be treated as a responsibility we all share individually and together, and insist that time spent caring for families is never a reason for someone to face financial insecurity, barriers to employment or the expectation that personal dreams and potential must be sidelined.”

The primary goals of the organization’s 2005 Mothers Day Campaign, which runs from April 18 to May 30, are “to encourage mothers to talk with each other about their real life experience as mothers,” to “spotlight that all mothers do unpaid work caring for their families that takes time to perform and has real social and economic value,” and to “identify the barriers mothers share to fitting the time required for care in with everything else and the unique ways different mothers approach this challenge.”

As part of this year’s program, a team of Mothers & More members will be maintaining a collaborative web log on the daily challenges of mothering for the duration of the campaign. A number of local chapters will also be hosting special events related to the campaign theme; members of the public are welcome to attend (information about times and locations are available on the Mothers & More web site). The organization has also prepared a template for individuals interested in sending a letter about caregiving, time, and the need to support mothers in all the work they do to the editors of their local paper. While Mothers & More’s efforts to draw attention to the structural and cultural factors that disadvantage mothers are relevant for all, it should be noted that many of this year’s campaign activities are designed to promote the organization itself and may be of limited interest to non-members. Information about membership is available on the group’s web site.

Mothers & More

Mothers & More 2005 Mothers Day Campaign web site

Mothers & More The Real Story: It’s About Time Blog

Listing of Local Events
for Mothers & More’s 2005 Mother’s Day Campaign

Also of interest:

Shaping the pro-mother agenda
MMO interview with Joanne Brundage,
founder and Executive Director of Mothers & More

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pop culture:

The Waldman Files

Readers berate lifestyle columnist for conduct unbecoming to a mother

Ayelet Waldman, mother of four and author of the “Mommy Track” mysteries, has come under fire for several lifestyle essays she wrote for Salon.com and the New York Times. Salon readers were especially appalled by Waldman’s admission that shortly before she suspended her popular blog, she’d posted an entry alluding to her suicidal intentions for all the wired world— including, potentially, her school age children— to see. In her essay on the risks of writing about motherhood in such a public way, Waldman relates that disturbing details of the death wish blogging incident were unintentionally leaked to her 7-year old son, who was understandably frightened and upset (“Living out loud— online”, 14 Mar 05).

Based on letters in response to Waldman’s story— which was the first of her bi-monthly columns for Salon— a number of readers were affronted by Waldman’s willingness to expose the dank underside of her maternal psyche in a manner they decried as destructively exhibitionistic and exploitive. “A mature, generous mothers would shut up. Just shut up,” one reader insisted. “The only thing of value I would like to learn from Waldman is how her parents raised her so that I can do the opposite with my own kids.” (Rebecca Burke, “Letters,” March 18.) “Good Lord, [is Salon] actually going to enable Ayelet Waldman’s passive-aggressive child abuse?” wrote another. “How selfish can one person be? Please don’t do this.” (John Linton, “Letters,” March 22.)

Attacks on Waldman continued after Salon published her second column— purportedly a defense same-sex marriage but primarily an exposition on why Waldman, for purely selfish reasons, hopes her son is gay but that her daughters are not (“You’re supposed to marry the person you love, Mom”, 28 Mar 05). Perturbed readers referred to the essay as a “train wreck;” as one remarked, Waldman “comes across as the kind of person I would veer to the other side of the street to avoid, for fear she’d do something ‘wacky’ that would turn out to be dangerous, or hurtful” (Randee, “Letters,” April 1). (It must be noted that some readers— mostly other mothers, including the remarkable Jane Smiley— came to Waldman’s defense, but her detractors seem to have a special flair for cutting to the quick). The same week her gay marriage column ran, the New York Times published an except from Waldman’s anthologized essay on why she loves her husband (novelist Michael Chabon) more passionately than she loves her children.

Tedious? Possibly. Reprehensible? Not really. When all is said and done, there’s nothing inherently offensive about Waldman’s work or her material. In fact, her approach to writing about motherhood is rather conventional— like most mothers in her line of work, she shapes her narratives around witty asides about the charming and not-so-charming ephemera of family life. What separates Waldman’s personal writing from that of the average mother-writer is her capacity to be flagrantly— if not compulsively— narcissistic. “Her self-absorption is bottomless. It is entire; it is complete,” complains one Salon reader (Robert Kuntz, “Letters,” March 31). Now, it’s certainly legitimate to suggest that undiluted self-absorption is an unappealing quality in an essayist, a mother, or anyone else. But even in Waldman’s case, it hardly adds up to “an inexcusable act of child abuse” (Mark L., “Letters,” March 18).

As another reader comments, it’s not as if Ayelet Waldman is the only self-centered writer to grace the planet: “Should we begin to list the artists who have inflicted pain on their families for the sake of art? Who have felt the need to go into themselves, or to use those around them, for their work? The list would be endless.” (Maria Pranzo, “Letters,” March 22.) But Waldman may be the first mother to plumb the depths of her self-involvement for the benefit of the reading public. I suspect if we could pierce the veneer of their outrage, we'd discover that Waldman’s failure to be sufficiently (i.e., maternally) self-effacing is the real reason for her critics’ scorn.

Personally, I find it intriguing that Waldman has invested so much of her persona in epitomizing the Bad Mother— in fact, “Bad Mother” was the title of her short-lived blog. After all, the woman has four children; “Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears” (“Truly, Madly, Guiltily,” New York Times, 27 Mar 05). “At this point in my life and my children’s, I experience so little that is entirely separable from my identity as their mother,” Waldman writes. “Mothering consumes not just the bulk of my day but the majority of my emotional and intellectual energy” (“Living out loud— online”). This all sounds relentlessly normal, and (dare I say it) caring; at the very least, it seems unlikely that Waldman will be horrifying her gentle readers with the revelation that she’s prone to the kind of behavior that might qualify her as a real bad mother— such as chaining her kids in the basement whenever she wants to get a little work done or have torrid sex with her cute hubby— anytime soon.

Even so, Waldman is aware that she’s violating a fundamental maternal code when she confesses that she is unwilling, or unable, to put her children at the absolute center of her world. And as a culture, we can’t quite get our heads around the possibility that a mother who locates herself at the center of her own universe can be anything other than an abomination. A Bad Mother. A dangerous thing. But perhaps the capacity to acknowledge— and even nurture— the Bad Mother within can also be tremendously liberating. Despite her shortcomings as a writer, I hope Waldman will continue to shake up Salon readers and the rest of us.

“Living Out Loud— online”
By Ayelet Waldman, Salon, 14 March 05
When I started blogging, I discovered a compulsive need to open the tattered edges of my emotional raincoat and expose the nasty parts beneath. But at what cost to my kids?

“You're supposed to marry the person you love, Mom”
By Ayelet Waldman, Salon, 28 March 05
My 7-year-old son’s best friend is a lesbian and he says he wants to be gay. I hope he is.

Ayelet Waldman: Bad Mother blog archives

Ayelet Waldman’s web site

Profile of Ayelet Waldman on LiteraryMama.com (www.literarymama.com)

Related reading:

Tales from the (Mother) Hood:
Motherhood in book publishing

By Jennifer Niesslein and Stephanie Wilkinson
Brain, Child Magazine, Spring 2005
“These days, anyone can go into a decent bookstore and find volumes of thought-provoking writing about motherhood… At one point though— say, around 2003— we started getting discouraging notes from writers we know. How's the book coming? We’d ask. Not always so good. Agents were saying that they couldn't sell memoirs about motherhood anymore. Editors were telling agents that the field was saturated. One writer, whose then-agent shopped her manuscript around in 2003, told us, One by one the ‘pass letters’ came rolling in. New York literary agent Elizabeth Kaplan puts it more bluntly: ‘Publishers are done with momoir.’”

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work/life economics:

CEPR report finds paid maternity leave boosts mothers’ wages

A new report from the Center for Economic Policy Research (www.cepr.net) highlights the relationship between paid maternity leave and women’s wages. When economist Heather Boushey analyzed longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), she found that currently employed mothers who had paid maternity leave after the birth of their first child have higher wages than mothers who took unpaid leave and those who took no leave at all. In Family-Friendly Policies: Boosting Mothers Wages (6 Apr 05), Boushey reports that the present-day wages of mothers who used paid maternity leave were 9 percent higher than those of mothers who had taken no leave; the wages of mothers who had taken “self-financed” maternity leave were not improved compared to the wages of non-leave takers. The study also found that mothers who received some pay during their first maternity leave were more likely to remain employed. Overall, 28.5 percent of mothers in the survey sample had paid maternity leave, and another 18.4 percent relied on other forms of paid leave after the birth of their first child. 62.3 of mothers “self-financed” their maternity leave— either left their jobs or used unpaid maternity or other leave (less than 2 percent of currently employed mothers took no leave at all). Women with some college education were more likely to have paid maternity leave (31 percent) than women with a high school diploma or less (22 percent).

When comparing mothers’ current wages based on educational attainment, Boushey found that mothers with some college education experienced a wage penalty when they managed maternity leave by quitting their jobs; their wages were 9 percent lower compared to the wages of those who took no leave, and nearly 16 percent lower than wages of college educated mothers who took paid leave. However, managing maternity leave by quitting a job did not have a significant wage penalty for mothers with a high school diploma or less.

Boushey also found that few employed mothers have jobs with flexible schedules. Just 33 percent reported having enough schedule flexibility to suit their “personal needs” (11 percent) or “caring needs” (22 percent). Having schedule flexibility did not reduce mothers’ wages, although the study controlled for part-time work, which has been shown to lower mothers’ potential earnings.

Boushey concludes that “most mothers— especially those without college— did not have pay during maternity leave for the birth of their first child. Workplaces have not created broad paid family leave programs on the heels of the FMLA. We can no longer view the rigidities of the workplace as an individual problem; rather, we must view them as something that poses a threat to all families and [as] something that must be dealt with by policy.”

Family-Friendly Policies: Boosting Mothers’ Wages
By Heather Boushey, Center for Economic Policy Research, 6 Apr 05
26 pages in .pdf

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Other work/life news and commentary of note

Conversations With Experts:
Lonnie Golden – Gaining Access to Flexible Work Schedules

Sloan Work and Family Research Network, Network News, March 2005
“That flexible work schedules are more prevalent among males than females begs some theoretical explanation… Often, flextime is not set up to target employees who need it the most. Instead It is targeted to individuals employed in industries where there is a need to recruit people, or to occupations where flexibility is inherently compatible with parts of the job so that it won’t cost employers much to institute flexibility… We are trying to explain why there might be this persistent segmentation where some firms or some workers get flexibility and others don’t based on what the cost is or the expected return of providing flexibility. The primary thesis is that flexibility is probably being used more as an employee benefit rather than a tool to promote productivity.” 6 pages in .pdf

Laws Let Parents Attend Kids’ School Events
States Increasingly Allow Employees Time Off From Work

By Adrienne Mand Lewin, ABC News, 14 Apr 05
“Georgia is one of several states considering legislation to create or expand existing allotments of such parental leave, which covers everything from parent-teacher conferences to extracurricular activities. Ten states already have similar laws in place.”

Women Earn Less, Period
By Martha Burk, Common Dreams News Center, 12 Apr 05
“On April 19, four days after tax returns for 2004 are due, U.S. women will finally reach the earnings mark that their male counterparts achieved by Dec. 31 of last year. Dubbed ''Pay Inequity Awareness Day,'' April 19 reminds us that the 60 million working women in this country are suffering economically because equal pay still is not a reality.”

EU Wonders How to Boost Female Work Force
By Emilie Boyer King, Women’s eNews, 4 Apr 05
“As a worker shortage looms in Europe, the European Union is studying ways to boost women’s work-force participation.” First in a two-part coverage of work and gender in the EU.

Germany in Angst over Low Birthrate
By Emma Pearse, Women’s eNews, 11 Apr 05
“With the German birth rate at an all-time low, politicians and demographers are wondering how to encourage women to have babies. Some say more child care is the key.” Second story on the European Union, women and work.

Pay Gap Widens Between CEOs and Workers
By Abid Aslam, Common Dreams News Center, 12 Apr 05
“The chief executives of major U.S. corporations enjoyed double-digit pay raises last year, adding to a record of ‘jaw-dropping’ compensation largely undisturbed by recent years’ falling profits and share prices and a wave of scandals involving management chicanery, the country’s leading labor federation said in a new survey.”

Eyes on the Fries
Young People are Coming of Age in the Era of the McJob

By Elana Berkowitz, Common Dreams News Center, 31 Ma  05
“Fast food commercials, popular films, and common stereotypes make it seem like service sector jobs are inhabited by carefree, pink-cheeked, upwardly mobile teens just looking for a bit of extra spending money who think their jobs are super duper fun. In fact, most young people in these jobs are in their late teens and twenties. Many are using their earnings to help support their family or are attempting to juggle work with college classes while using 6 bucks an hour to pay for their skyrocketing tuition. And when they graduate they get to compete for jobs with kids whose resumes are padded with cushy and prestigious unpaid internships, instead of summers spent at Subway. …And for those young workers lucky enough to get a job where they get a chance to sit down at a desk every once in a while, they are probably temporary or part-time workers earning 16.5% less than at a regular job. In our new millennium management lingo, we call these folks the “flexible workforce,” and half of them are under the age of 35.”

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Rethinking welfare rules:
the “marriage plus” strategy

A March 2005 policy brief by Paula Roberts and Mark Greenberg for the Center for Law and Social Policy (www.clasp.org) outlines how state-level TANF regulations might be modified to accommodate a “marriage plus” strategy. The marriage plus agenda has the primary goals of helping “more children grow up with their two biological, married parents whose relationship is healthy” and, when this isn’t possible, helping “parents in fragile families— whether unmarried, cohabiting, separated, divorced, or remarried— cooperate better in raising their children.” The researchers have identified a five-step process for establishing new TANF rules based on the marriage plus perspective. Worthwhile reading for mothers and activist concern about marriage promotion and welfare policy.

Rethinking Welfare Rules From a Marriage-Plus Perspective
By Paula Roberts and Mark Greenberg, Center for Law and Social Policy, March 2005. 8 pages in .pdf

Also from CLASP:

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love:
Would Poor Couples With Children Be Better Off Economically If They Married?

Policy brief by Paula Roberts, August 2004. 12 pages in .pdf

CLASP Marriage and Public Policy Program
Publications, policy briefs, fact sheets

Related news and commentary:

Hello, Minimum Wage
By Amy DePaul, AlterNet, 7 Apr 05
“Congress is expected to pass reforms to make it tougher for single mothers receiving welfare to gain access to job skills or higher education. It’s all part of the work-first philosophy that puts jobs ahead of economic sustainability.”

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reproductive rights:

New report on abortion funding and reproductive justice

A new policy report from the National Network of Abortion Funds (www.nnaf.org) examines the harsh realities facing low-income women and girls who seek an abortion in the U.S.

Abortion Funding: A Matter of Justice is focused on the consequences of the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law banning the use of Medicaid funds for abortion. According to the report, bans on Medicaid funding burden some of the most disadvantaged women in our society; each year, tens of thousands of poor women and teens in the U.S. are forced to carry a pregnancy to term because they can’t afford to pay for an abortion, and “as many as one in three low-income women who would have an abortion if the procedure were covered by Medicaid are instead compelled to carry the pregnancy to term.” The NNAF “calls on policy makers and the public to reject harmful policies and support real reproductive choices for all women. Every woman, regardless of her economic resources, should have the right to decide whether and when to have a child.”

In addition to restoring full Medicaid funding for abortion and including abortion funding in all government health programs— which would support reproductive freedom for federal prisoners, women in the military and Peace Corps, women using the Indian Health Service, and federal employees— the NNAF recommends the repeal of all state laws creating “needless and harmful” delays, such as mandatory waiting periods and parental consent laws (which disproportionately burden low income women), over-the-counter emergency contraception, and providing “welfare benefits that respect women’s choices and that permit poor mothers to care for their children at home.” The organization also demands “adequate healthcare and childcare, as well as education and job-training opportunities that can lift low-income parents out of poverty… These measures will ensure that no woman feels compelled to have an abortion because she lacks the financial resources to care for a child.”

The report provides an overview of Medicaid coverage in the states and a series of case studies highlighting the barriers faced by women and girls who received abortion funds from NNAF affiliates.

The NNAF was established in 1993 as a nationally coordinated response to harmful government restrictions on abortion funding. Founded by 24 community-based funds, NNAF is now a consortium of 102 grassroots organizations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. NNAF provides support to member funds and advocates on the national level for every woman’s right to abortion and full reproductive health care, regardless of ability to pay. Member funds raise money to directly assist low-income women and girls seeking abortions and advocate for increased abortion access for those most in need.

Abortion Funding: A Matter of Justice
By Shawn Towey, Stephanie Poggi and Rachel Roth.
National Network of Abortion Funds, Spring 2005.
Full report, 24 pages in

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Other news and commentary on reproductive freedom

The Women’s View
By Jodi Enda, The American Prospect, 1 Apr 05
“The pro-choice movement has seen moral complexity as its enemy. But moral complexity is exactly why choice must be saved.”

A Woman’s Right Is in Peril
Comment, The Progressive, April 2005
“Even as many pro-choice people have been worrying about the potential calamity that awaits in the Supreme Court, the anti-abortion forces have been busy gaining ground elsewhere. The Bush Administration has promoted anti-abortion policies both internationally and domestically. Congress has more fanatical members than ever, none more so than newly elected Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who advocates the death penalty for doctors who provide abortions. And the action in the states is overwhelmingly hostile. As a result, a woman in America today has far less freedom to have an abortion than a woman in America the day after Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. And for poor women, who are disproportionately of color, that freedom is hanging by a thread.”

States Boosting Funds for Abstinence-Only Sex
By Molly M. Ginty, Women’s eNews, 10 Apr 05
“A new report that blasts abstinence-only sex education joins mounting concern about programs taught in one-third of U.S. middle and high schools. Critics say they reinforce gender stereotypes, lead to riskier behavior and link shame to sexuality.”

By Chris Mooney, The American Prospect, 14 Apr 05. From AlterNet.
“A new government website misinforms parents about how to protect their kids from sexually transmitted diseases.”

Government Abstinence Web Site Draws Ire: Government Web Site Telling Parents to Promote Teen Abstinence Draws Protest
By Kevin Freking, The Associated Press, ABC News, 1 Apr 05
“An array of advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to take down one of its new Web sites, saying it presents biased and inaccurate advice to parents on how to talk to their children about sex.”

Martyrs and Pestles:
Should pharmacists be allowed to refuse to dispense birth control?

By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 13 Apr 05
“At least 11 state legislatures are now considering bills to extend ‘conscience clauses’—which allow doctors in 47 states to opt out of performing abortions based on religious or moral objections—to also protect pharmacists who don't believe in birth control or morning-after pills. (Four already have such laws in place.) That means 11 state legislatures can't see any distinction between abortion and contraception; between what a physician does and what a pharmacist does; or between performing a complex medical procedure and scooping a pill out of a bin.”

You Can’t Do That on Television!
By Rachel Fudge, AlterNet, 13 Apr 05
“Sex and homosexuality are now television staples. But while there are plenty of shows that feature extreme surgeries, abortion remains the last television taboo.”

Wife of Sailor Battles U.S. Over Abortion: Navy Won’t Pay for Procedure for Woman Who Carried Severely Brain-Damaged Fetus
By Mike Barber, Common Dreams News Center, 23 Mar 05
“When she learned that she was carrying a baby with almost no brain and no chance of survival, a devastated young Navy wife from Everett pleaded with a federal court in Seattle to force her military medical program to pay for an abortion. She won her case and had the abortion. But more than two years later, the federal government continues to fight her, trying to get the woman and her sailor husband to pay back the $3,000 the procedure cost and trying to cast in stone a ban on government-funded abortions.”

‘Culture of Life’ is a Culture of Fear
By Ira Chernus, Common Dreams News Center, 1 Apr 05
“Underneath the debate about the end of life, we find the same issue that underlies the debates about abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, and all the other hot-button social issues of the day. The basic question that ties together all these issues is one that is all too rarely addressed or even spoken: How should we acquire our moral values?”

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elsewhere on the web:

Other news and commentary of note:

From Women’s eNews: (www.womensenews.org)

Pregnant Woman’s Right to Divorce Sparks Battle
By Judith Spitzer, Women’s eNews, 14 Apr 05
“Washington State legislators voted to protect the divorce rights of pregnant women. The bill, which goes to the governor next month, was spurred by a judge's decision to revoke the divorce of a pregnant woman married to an abuser.”

Sleep Deprivation Threatens Women’s Health
By Molly M. Ginty, Women’s eNews, 28 Mar 05
“Health advocates warn that a lack of sleep is putting women at risk for accidents, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other health complications. They prescribe a solid eight hours of shuteye a night.”

High Court to Rule on Power of Protective Orders
By Allison Stevens, Women’s eNews, 22 Mar 05
“The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday about whether the mother of three murdered children has the right to sue her local police department for failing to enforce her court-issued restraining order.”

Nursing Shortage: It’s Also in Press and Other Media
By Sheila Gibbons, Women’s eNews, 30 Mar 05
“After a hospital stay deepened her appreciation of nurses, Sheila Gibbons looked into their low standing on popular TV shows and their absence as sources for news. Unless that changes, the nursing shortage, she says, will only worsen.”

From AlterNet: (www.alternet.org)

What Makes a Mother
By Mubarak Dahir, AlterNet, 31 Mar 05
“A Pennsylvania court ruling that reunites a lesbian mother and her non-biological daughter helps pave the way for the recognition of same-sex relationships.”

‘Desperate Housewives’ Causes Another Breakup
By Sheelah Kolhatkar, New York Observer, 14 April 05
“The owners of Ms. magazine and its editor part ways; was ‘Desperate Housewives’ the final straw?”

Terri’s Final Irony
By Jane Fleming, AlterNet. 5 Apr 05
“Republicans who disingenuously stood up for Terri Schiavo’s life are the very ones who have blocked legislation that would have granted access to treatment of her eating disorder and that could help millions of women and men who suffer from mental illness.”

Neutering Social Security
By Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown, 5 Apr 05
“Extremist, right-wing ideology and the insatiable corporate grab for money are the two forces behind Bush’s push not merely to neuter this enormously popular and effective retirement program ... but ultimately to kill it.”

From TomPaine.com: (www.tompaine.com)

The Oprah Society
Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com, 12 Apr 05
“So a few are chosen, and the rest of us are made to feel like we failed. If only we had tried harder, worked smarter, learned more, invested better, we’d be on TV for all to envy. It’s one thing to admire those who beat the odds, quite another to create a society which makes the odds nearly impossible to overcome.”

From In These Times: (www.inthesetimes.com)

Fever Dreams
By Phyllis Eckhaus, 29 Mar 05
“Call it the curse of class unconsciousness. Against all evidence to the contrary, most Americans imagine they could and should be rich, that any day now their ship will dock in the port of great fortune.”

From The National Organization for Women: (www.now.org)

Women’s Organizations Condemn Privatizers’ Attacks on Stay-At-Home Moms, Cite Gross Hypocrisy of Party Claiming Mantle of Family Values
NOW press release, 30 Mar 05
“This attack on the spousal benefits under Social Security is a telling example of how little privatizers value the unpaid caregiving work that millions of women provide for this society,” said Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women and Co-Chair of NCWO’s Women and Social Security Task Force.

From Common Dreams News Center: (www.commondreams.org)

Old Women in the Cold
By Ruth Rosen, The Nation, 30 Mar 05
“Worried that his privatization plan is in peril, George W. Bush has been touting its benefits to widows. But they regard his proposals with particular suspicion. Since women tend to live longer than men and spend fewer years in the workforce, they depend more heavily on Social Security during the last years of their lives. They therefore stand to lose the most if they don't have a guaranteed safety net when they are seniors.”

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April 2005

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