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Not only has the fight over access to contraception been led entirely by men (President Obama on one side, Sen. Marco Rubio and House Speaker John Boehner on the other), but a recent report has confirmed that the voices that have dominated this debate in media have been overwhelmingly male, as well. By a nearly 2-to-1 margin male guests and commentators outnumbered females in discussions of the contraception controversy on news programs. Sen. Rick Santorum’s inaccurate remarks regarding the cost of contraception served as a powerful reminder of the severe handicap our political discourse suffers when women are not permitted to speak for themselves on the issues that directly affect them.

Before contraception was widely available, there were far fewer women able to do just that, because of the physical, emotional, and financial demands that giving birth to and raising sometimes more than a dozen children (something my great-grandmother did) required. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe some of these elected officials fighting so hard to make contraception as inaccessible as possible want to return to the good old days when contraception was virtually impossible to come by, and therefore men were able to rule the world and, more importantly, their households. Men were able to enjoy absolute power in the legal system and in domestic life without fear that a woman could carve out some semblance of financial and political independence that would enable her to engage in such scandalous behavior as running for office or leaving an abusive relationship. Because after all, where would a woman with six, or seven, or eight small children to care for really go, even if she had a good reason to?

With that in mind, below is a list of the most powerful ways contraception has impacted and continues to impact the world, from issues such as literacy to life expectancy rates of women. I’m sure there are more than 10, so please feel free to add to the list in the comments section below.

1. In countries with the highest fertility rates, women have the shortest life expectancies.

Women in Sierra Leone live half as long as women in developed countries and 10 years less than their African counterparts in some African countries, and no, this is not merely due to the history of civil unrest. One in eight Sierra Leonean women die in childbirth. In other countries like Chad, where women are likely to give birth to six or more children, women are lucky to live to age 55.

2. In countries with the highest fertility rates, women have the fewest rights.

In countries like Niger and Mali, both of which fall in the top 10 for countries with the greatest number of births per woman, women and young girls can still be forced into marriages. A recent case in Niger documented a 9-year-old girl forced to “marry” a 50-year-old man.

3. Countries with low contraception usage have the lowest number of women who can read.

In Afghanistan, which continues to have one of the highest fertility rates in the world, and where contraception knowledge and access remains limited (and women give birth to an average of six children), 87 percent of women cannot read. In Sierra Leone the number is 71 percent.

4. Men who physically abuse their partners fear contraception. (Think about that for a moment.)

A national study of more than 3,000 abused women conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found that one in four said their partners sabotaged, hid, or prohibited use of birth control as a form of control in an already abusive relationship. These findings confirmed those of a number of smaller studies.

5. When contraception availability goes down, abortion rates go up.

Abortion remains illegal in the Philippines, but for the last decade the nation’s capital, Manila, has been at the heart of a battle over contraception. Contraception was stigmatized and difficult to access prior to 2000, when contraception was prohibited altogether by an executive order. (It is not unusual for women who have come of age in the city during the time period of the ban to have more than 10 children.) While the abortion rate in the country has barely changed in recent years, the rate in Manila increased by more than 10 percent. So has the number of women dying of complications from illegal abortions.

6. Countries with the highest fertility rates have the highest poverty rates.

Ten of the countries with the world’s highest fertility rates are located in Africa. Between 1990 and 2001, the African continent experienced what is deemed “extreme population growth.” The number of those on the continent living in “extreme poverty” ballooned from 231 million to 318 million.

7. Before contraception* American women were statistically more likely to die in childbirth than they are today.

At the start of the 20th century, the maternal mortality rate in America was approximately 65 times higher than it is today. During the 17th and 18th centuries, long before modern contraception became widely available, the average American woman gave birth to between five and eight children. Her likelihood of dying in childbirth increased with every birth. The number of women who died in childbirth or its immediate aftermath was one in every eight women.

*Forms of contraception have been available since ancient times (click here to see ancient forms of contraception), but contraception did not become widely available in the U.S. until the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. Click here to read about Griswold and other key contraception cases.)

8. Before contraception men greatly outnumbered American women in colleges.

Today, women outnumber men. In 1960, just before the Griswold decision, only 35 percent of college students were women. Today women represent at least 57 percent of students on most college campuses.

9. Before contraception there were no female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Katherine Graham became the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company when she became Chairman of the Washington Post Company in 1973. She inherited the publication from her husband, who had inherited the role from Graham’s father, but Graham succeeded far beyond anyone’s expectations. Since her trailblazing ascent, more than a dozen other women have reached the highest rung on the corporate ladder with a record-breaking 18 women serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in 2011, the largest number in history.

10. Before contraception women were virtually invisible in Congress.

Just before contraception became officially legal in the U.S. (1965), there were 20 women in the House of Representatives and one female senator, Margaret Chase Smith. None of them were women of color. (Patsy Mink, an Asian American, was elected to her first term the year Griswold was decided by the Supreme Court.) Today there are 76 women in the House. Fourteen of them are African American, four of them are Asian American, and seven are Latina. There are 17 women in the Senate.

And for the record, I doubt any of them want to return to the days when men spoke and voted for them, or for any of the rest of us blessed with ovaries.

Almost everyone in our age group knows someone who is unemployed. Not because that person is lazy, but because the lowest percentage of Americans age 16 to 29 are employed since World War II, with 55% of young adults employed. If we dwell on the fact that many of those jobs are not careers, and many of those are part-time, the picture gets bleaker.
We haven’t had the time, nor reason, to develop the near-ubiquitous attitude of conservative Americans: “Well, things worked out for me. Why wouldn’t they work out for everyone?”
I’m going to avoid citing various facts about how students are crushed by loans that were sold to us through brochures about high-priced colleges and unemployable career prospects fed to us by go-lucky culture that raised us in a fantasy world fueled by the belief that, if you just did what you loved, things would work out.
The fact is, at this point, a lot of us know that we should have majored in something differently. Or tried to somehow afford a college degree. A lot of people argue that we should have known that all along. On behalf of my generation, I extend our deepest apologies for being idealists in our adolescence and majoring in things capitalism doesn’t like, such as education, social services, and environmental studies.
We saw parents struggle with unemployment after years of working up a ladder. We saw the friends of parents devastated by the loss of a job, a home, and health insurance, all the while struggling to pay for exorbitant college tuition fees outpacing inflation by 500% and taking care of younger kids at home. In part, this experience could explain why 47 percent of millennials have a negative view of capitalism.
Some call this the closing of the conservative mind. Alas, the conservative mind has proved itself only too open, these past years, to all manner of intellectual pollen. Call it instead the drying up of conservative creativity. It’s clearly true that the country faces daunting economic troubles. It’s also true that the wrong answers to those problems will push the United States toward a future of too much government, too many taxes, and too much regulation. It’s the job of conservatives in this crisis to show a better way. But it’s one thing to point out (accurately) that President Obama’s stimulus plan was mostly a compilation of antique Democratic wish lists, and quite another to argue that the correct response to the worst collapse since the thirties is to wait for the economy to get better on its own. It’s one thing to worry (wisely) about the long-term trend in government spending, and another to demand big, immediate cuts when 25 million are out of full-time work and the government can borrow for ten years at 2 percent. It’s a duty to scrutinize the actions and decisions of the incumbent administration, but an abuse to use the filibuster as a routine tool of legislation or to prevent dozens of presidential appointments from even coming to a vote. It’s fine to be unconcerned that the rich are getting richer, but blind to deny that ­middle-class wages have stagnated or worse over the past dozen years. In the aftershock of 2008, large numbers of Americans feel exploited and abused. Rather than workable solutions, my party is offering low taxes for the currently rich and high spending for the currently old, to be followed by who-knows-what and who-the-hell-cares. This isn’t conservatism; it’s a going-out-of-business sale for the baby-boom generation.
As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!

David Barton, the Right’s Favorite Historian: Founding Fathers Opposed Darwin | Mother Jones


He’s [Barton] a pretty influential guy. So what, exactly, does he teach? On Wednesday, Right Wing Watch flagged a recent interview Barton gave with an evangelcial talk show, in which he argues that the Founding Fathers had explicitly rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Yes, that Darwin. The one whose seminal work, On the Origin of Species, wasn’t even published until 1859.[…] Paine died in 1809, the same year Darwin was born.

At the link above, video of this magnificent interview.

(Found via EdgeOfEurope)

For real, you can’t explain that. Any of that.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand this whole Founding Fathers worship. They were human beings, not demigods sent down by Jesus to create the perfect country. And I’m pretty sure “creationism” never came up in their meetings.

(via stfuconservatives)

What is it about religious nuts and lying?

(via stfuconservatives)


Fox News cameraman beaten with a stick by…someone who probably loves Fox News.

"Well, look, it pains me that we would even be talking about this," he told co-host Jake Tapper. "This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not something to toy with. If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. That would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008."

“As I say that’s not a game,” Goolsbee went on. “I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity. There would be no reason for us to default other than that would be some kind of game. We shouldn’t even be discussing that. People will get the wrong idea. The United States is not in danger of default. We do not have problems with that. This would be lumping us in with a series of countries throughout history that i don’t think we would want to be lumped in with.”




Jon Stewart Exposes the Financial Idiocy of Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Other Republicans

This is one of the best pieces done by any journalist on this topic. Sometimes, I guess it takes comedy to make a point.

LOL.  The thing about being stuck in a room (willingly I might add) full of hysterical, screaming tea partynuts is, all you hear is the screaming, and next thing you know, you’re screaming too.