Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph.D.
GERMANTOWN, MD (July 16, 2012) — Though Lilly Ledbetter faced daily discrimination and sexual harassment, she pressed onward, believing that eventually things would change. Until nineteen years later, she received an anonymous note revealing that she was making thousands less per year than the men in her position.
Devastated, she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, which she won — and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years, her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again on a technicality: the court ruled that she should have filed suit within 180 days of her first unequal paycheck — despite the fact that she had no way of knowing that she was being paid unfairly all those years.
In a dramatic moment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, urging her to fight back. She became the namesake of President Barack Obama’s first official piece of legislation. Today, she is a tireless advocate for change, traveling the country to urge women and minorities to claim their civil rights.
In 2012 it is unbelievable to see the plight of women as second-class citizens under the watchful eyes of the GOP, e.g. lower wages for similar work men do, limited slots in management positions in the business world, et al. Take the case of VA where Gov. McDonnell threatened to replace the entire UVA board (an unpaid position) if it fails to resolve the furor over the school president’s (Teresa Sullivan) ouster.
The vice-rector has already resigned. And critics of its action have demanded the resignation of Rector Helen Dragas, a real estate developer. Students, faculty and alumni have rallied in support of Sullivan. Ten of the eleven deans supported her reinstatement. UVA board members are UVA graduates but many do not have any professional experience in higher education. But Dragas and her supporters have money. She and 15 colleagues showered politicians with cash.
The heavy preference for politically-connected elite over academic professionals in VA public higher education is a new but disturbing phenomenon. You contribute to the governor’s campaign and you will be considered for an appointment, closely walking in the footsteps of TX under Bush and Perry.
Members of the board, steep in corporate hullabaloo and questionable management theories, wanted the school to institute austerity measures and reconsider its academic offerings around inexpensive, online education. Dragas believes UVA should be run more like a Fortune 500 company.
This is the danger of the cult of corporate expertise and private sector savvy (which is hogwash) which has corralled some section of community life at the expense of academic freedom and “unprofitable” areas of study, e.g., Classics and Foreign Languages. We are looking at the “best and brightest” of the financial world laying down the groundwork for another Great Depression, exacerbated by a Supreme Court which opened the floodgates of democracy’s demise with unlimited campaign contributions.
GOP freshmen who came to Congress last year promising to transform Washington’s free-spending culture to cut, cut, cut the budget but said nothing about the tax cuts for the rich are no different from most other lawmakers in at least one respect — they mailed out millions of taxpayer-funded fliers and brochures during their first year in office. Eighty-seven GOP freshmen sent more than 25.6 million pieces of unsolicited mail at a cost of nearly $9.8 million, according to the chief administrative officer of the House. They are the most prolific hypocrites for cutting spending as long as it does not affect what benefits them.
NC just proved to a lot of the people they pretend to represent. This is all part of the Republican job creation/deficit reduction/education improvement strategy somehow… enough hopefully… (but maybe not). People from the south wonder how they earned the pejorative adjectives, e.g., ignorant, slow, lazy, uneducated, backward, et al. One only has to look at their ideology, discriminatory practices and closed minds. Closed minds should come with closed mouths; sadly they do not.
The GOP has declared war on the women. It is evident in the 2012 Report Card on Women’s Reproductive Rights. Nation-wide the grade was a D. By state, the states that got an F were: AL, AR, FL, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TX, UT and VA. In 2010, legislatures in 32 states and D.C. passed 89 reproductive rights-related laws, the majority restricting access to abortion, sex education and contraceptive services. Between January and July 2011 alone, legislatures in 19 states passed 80 laws that restrict abortion access. In no other year but 1985 and 2011 have states enacted so many restrictions.
In addition, legislatures in eight states passed laws that restrict funding for or that disproportionately affect family planning services. Several states, e.g., MS, MT, TN and OK are working to amend their statutes or constitutions to establish legal personhood at conception. AZ’s bill also bans race-selective abortion. (Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
In 1992 the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey upheld women’s constitutional rights to abortion services, but allowed certain leeway in placing restrictions on access to reproductive healthcare bill since the right-wing politicians have increasingly pushed through state laws to chip away at their rights to choice and undermine the protections of Roe vs. Wade. Following the 2010 elections, more state legislatures, especially those under the control of the GOP and TP have been hostile to choice.
They have undermined reproductive rights, introducing ultrasound requirements to intimidate women seeking abortion, targeted restrictions on abortion procedures (TRAP laws) by levying unnecessary regulations against clinics to force them to close, and constraints on abortion because of race and gender of the fetus. Along with attacks on choice and women’s healthcare coming from Republican-controlled House of Representatives, these new and dangerous laws emerging from the states put women’s healthcare and reproductive freedom at great risk.
Restrictions on women’s choice include:
• Ultrasound requirements on all women seeking abortion, even when not medically necessary have been introduced in TX, FL, AZ and WY to place psychological pressure on women who seek abortions.
• Biased Counseling – State laws increasingly attempt to interfere with the relationship between a woman and her doctor by forcing health professionals to provide erroneous and deceptive information about abortion, e.g., it causes psychological harm, breast cancer, infertility, et al.
• Race and gender requirements – passed in AZ House of Representatives to criminalize abortion because of race and gender of the fetus. The biological father or woman’s parents in case of minors, could sue the doctor and health professional involved in terminating pregnancy on behalf of the fetus.
• TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws – VA may soon enact TRAP laws to force abortion clinics to shut down by forcing clinics to upgrade facilities to hospital standards.
• Fetal Pain Laws – KS, OK, OH, FL, GA and MO are considering bills to prohibit abortion during the second trimester of a pregnancy. GOP KS state Rep. Barbara Bollier, an anesthesiologist, asserts that “most medical journals don’t believe pain is felt until 29 or 30 weeks.
• Heartbeat Laws – Religious Right activist Janet Porter is championing legislation in OH that would make abortion a crime as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus is detected. This heartbeat legislation will ban abortion as early as 18 to 24 days after conception.
• Personhood Laws – Efforts to classify zygotes and fetuses as “persons” completely separate from their mothers with full legal rights first appeared in CO where voters consistently voted down a so-called “personhood amendment” and the state constitution. These laws would also ban common forms of birth control, stem cell research, and in-vitro fertilization. These measures are under consideration in IA, MS, FL, ND and GA, and Personhood USA hopes to bring them in TX, MT and WI.
• Legalized Murder of Abortion Providers – SD tabled a bill that would have legalized the murder of doctors who perform abortions by classifying it as justifiable homicide.
NE senate is weighing the same measures calling it “to authorize protection of an unborn child.” IA is considering HF7 “to use deadly force to protect a third party.” Why can’t Republicans leave this important matter in the hands of women, instead of forcing their own morality down their throats? What does this have to do with job creation?