Friday, July 29, 2005

Just a few newsbytes from Feminist Majority

Three press releases from Feminist Majority for your Friday afternoon; seven Democratic Senators, all women, told the media at a press conference that they will push Roberts to answer specific questions dealing with abortion and his position on the issue.

Seven Democratic women Senators announced at a press conference yesterday that they will insist Supreme Court justice nominee John Roberts respond to questions about his position on abortion. The Senators are also demanding that Roberts clarify his position on the right to privacy, which underlies not only a womanÂ’s right to legal abortion but also to birth control and a host of other civil rights for women and minorities. The Senators include Barbara Boxer (CA), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Patty Murray (WA), Mary Landrieu (LA), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Maria Cantwell (WA).[...]

In an effort to give the public a say in Roberts’ confirmation hearings, the seven women senators have unveiled a new website that allows the public to submit questions that they would like the Judiciary Committee to ask of Roberts. “The Supreme Court has the last word on issues that impact all of our lives….This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land…We want the American people to have a voice,” say the women Senators in a joint statement on the website.

Leave it to the Democratic women Senators to have the courage to demand Roberts answer for his views on abortion. Goodness, why can't the other Democratic Senators do the same? In other news, Bolton hasn't been all that forthcoming in his past questionnaires and testimonies.

During his confirmation process, John Bolton, Bush's nominee to be the United StatesÂ’ ambassador to the United Nations, inaccurately stated in a questionnaire that he had not been interviewed as part of any administrative investigation within the last five years. After initially stating that Bolton had answered the question correctly, the State Department has confirmed reports that Bolton was interviewed by the State DepartmentÂ’s inspector general in an investigation into the false intelligence reports in 2003 that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Africa, according to the Associated Press.

Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesperson, told the New York Times, “When Mr. Bolton completed his forms for the Senate he did not recall being interviewed by the inspector general.” Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), who sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday asking about the inaccurate information provided by Bolton, said, “It seems unusual that Mr. Bolton would not remember his involvement in such a serious matter … In my mind, this raises more questions that need to be answered.”

BoltonÂ’s nomination has been stalled for months by Senate Democrats, led by Senator Biden, because of his history of hostility towards the United Nations, international law, and the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Bush has hinted that he will install Bolton in the position of US Ambassador to the UN in a recess appointment next week, even now that it has been confirmed that Bolton gave inaccurate information to the Senate during his confirmation hearing, according to Reuters.[...]
And as always with this administration when it comes to its members "behaving badly" or even outright illegally, I'm sure there won't be that much of a real outrage over it, no punishments, no sensationalised media circus, and nor will Bolton be properly reprimanded for it. Hell, look at Rove, he still has his job, and the media has been handling him with "kid gloves." How typical; no responsibility, no culpability, no admittance of ever being at fault, from this administration. But in more positive news today, a Judge found a company's refusal to cover women's contraception--so you know, women can keep working longer because they won't be on maternity leave--to be discriminatory and in violation of the Law.

US District Judge Laurie Smith Camp has ruled that Union Pacific Railroad's failure to provide contraceptive coverage in employee health plans was discriminatory and a violation of the 1964 Federal Civil Rights Act. Many preventative medications were covered by the plan, including impotence treatments, and Camp ruled that the policy discriminates by treating “medical care women need to prevent pregnancy less favorably than it treats medical care needed to prevent other medical conditions that are no greater threat to employees’ health than is pregnancy,” reports the Associated Press.

Union Pacific argued that fertility is “normal” and therefore contraception is not “medically necessary,” although it did cover contraceptives prescribed for purposes unrelated to birth control.[...]
Notice the subtle "women should get pregnant, rather than afford to take contraception, and keep working" undertone there. Women can only take contraception for non-birth control purposes. In another words, if a woman is taking contraception because she doesn't want to become pregnant (and "fulfill her biological destiny as a woman") she isn't covered. Meanwhile I'm sure the hypothetical woman's boss complains about women being on maternity leave. But yes, just keep pushing women out of the workforce and back into the home with lots of babies...

Planned Parenthood of Western Washington attorney Roberta Riley, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters that Union Pacific was one of the last major employers not to cover contraceptives, and that she hopes this case is “the nail in the coffin on this issue.” Union Pacific has 49,000 employees, and contraceptive coverage would affect not only the 1,300 female employees, but also the family members of all workers.
I wonder if they cover Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Enzyte, just as numerous insurance companies do, but not women's contraception. Would keeping men's penises erect and keeping them aroused be more "normal" then making sure that your female employees can stay working longer because you help them pay for their contraception? Which is more profitable and beneficial for the company in the end?