Stepford Rides Again

Erica Jong rips Laura “Pickles Stepford” Bush a new one:

Now that Laura Bush is back from the Middle East and can take off her black scarf, it's time to ask why she is promoting freedom for women in the Middle East when the rights of American women are being systemically eroded by her husband's initiatives. Is it the same reason why her husband promotes democracy abroad while the Patriot Act and the suspension of the Geneva Convention dilute democracy at home? Is wearing the headscarf the last refuge of a desperate housewife? Of course women in the Middle East need the vote, an end to domestic violence and free access to contraception. But so do we. Odd that it is always easier to proselytize for feminism abroad while ignoring deteriorating womens' rights at home.
I’ve noticed that in certain corners of the Lefty blogosphere (not around here, thank you, Shakers), women’s claims that their rights are being eroded is met with a certain skepticism, if not outright denial. Here’s just a smattering of examples for any reality-changed blokes or birds that might swing by:


The Michigan House voted Tuesday to require medical clinics to offer women considering an abortion the chance see an ultrasound of the fetus.

The House voted 69-37 to send the bill to the Senate.

State Rep. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township, introduced the bill. He has said he hopes giving women the option to see an ultrasound of the fetus would prevent them from having an abortion.
"Women will be given the opportunity to see the miracle of life through the miracle of today's technology to truly make an informed choice," Robertson in a news release.

A woman has been charged with evidence tampering and child neglect after arranging an abortion for her 17-year-old daughter during an incest investigation.

The girl's 40-year-old stepfather was charged Friday with familial sexual battery. The 33-year-old mother also was arrested. Both are free on $5,000 bond. The girl and her sister have been placed in state custody.

Palm Beach County sheriff's detectives wanted to perform a paternity test on the fetus as part of the investigation, but they say the mother took her daughter to a Broward County clinic for an abortion without notifying them.
Florida again:

Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill Wednesday that requires physicians to tell Florida parents when a minor daughter seeks an abortion. Bush signed a similar bill into law in 1999 but the courts blocked it, finding it violated the privacy provision in the Florida Constitution.


The law applies to girls 17 and under who aren't married and don't already have children. Unless it's a medical emergency, doctors are required to notify a parent in person or by phone 48 hours before the abortion or, if that's not possible, by certified mail 72 hours in advance.

The husband of a transgendered woman who is now physically (and legally) a woman has been deported because their union is being recognized as a “gay marriage,” which only became an issue after the wife casually mentioned to an immigration officer that she had had sex reassignment surgery.

To look at her today, that’s hard to believe: Ganzon is an elegant and very feminine woman with a slender figure, large brown eyes and a smooth complexion. “You look at me now, my soul, my heart—I am a woman,” she says. Her husband agrees. “It didn’t matter to me [that Donita had a sex change,]” he says. What's more, her driver’s license, marriage certificate, and passport all have her down as a woman.


“Being transgender is more common than cystic fibrosis,” Debra Davies-Soshoux, one of Ganzon's and Javellana’s attorneys, says, “but it has to do with sex, and people in this country are uncomfortable with anything that has to do with sex.” The National Center for Transgender Equality logs at least one call a week from transgender people who have been fired from their jobs. Transgenders are often the victims of hate crimes, and are murdered at 16 times the rate of average Americans.
The only thing that separates Donita Ganzon and me is my ability to give birth; this is simply another example of the definition of womanhood being reduced to reproductive abilities. Simply unacceptable.

And in the military:

Three California congresswomen tried unsuccessfully Wednesday to get the House to allow overseas troops and their relatives to get abortions at military hospitals and clinics.

The military currently allows its doctors to perform abortions only in cases of rape, incest or where the mother's life is endangered, and the government does not pay for the procedures.

Democratic Reps. Susan Davis of San Diego, Jane Harman of El Segundo and Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana argued that servicewomen in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere shouldn't have to return to the United States or go to a foreign hospital if they need an abortion.

During debate on a defense spending and policy bill, the three offered an amendment to allow overseas troops and family members to get abortions at military facilities, as long as they pay for them with their own money.

The House defeated the proposal 233-194. Past attempts to loosen the military's restriction on abortion have also failed.
That was about three minutes of searching. Interesting that Ms. Bush doesn’t seem to show nearly as much interest in making sure the rights of women in her own country are protected.

(Hat tips to Feministing and Feministe.)

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