Texas Women Lose Basic Health Care and What Parents Think About Teen Sex Lives


What do parents believe about their teenager’s sex lives, and how does that compare to reality? The conventions make their pitches to women, and Texas Medicaid patients are set to lose access to gynecological care.

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Fox pretends they had nothing to do with negative stereotypes of Michelle Obama

Rush Limbaugh’s weird paranoia

Sandra Fluke speaks about the importance of policy

Sandra Fluke speaks at the DNC

Texas holds hearings on new women’s health program

Texas has no intention of finding a replacement for Planned Parenthood 

Pat Robertson really wants men to be able to hit women legally

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing Sinikka Elliott about how parents view their teenager’s sexuality, and how that fits with reality. The DNC featured not just female speakers but hard-hitting policy talk about issues women care about, and Texas claims to be able to replace Planned Parenthood’s services. But can they?

If you haven’t seen Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s defense of gay marriage, written to delegate Emmett Burns of Maryland. Burns said that the NFL should prevent athletes from openly supporting gay marriage, and Kluwe took offense to that, writing:

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The Ed Show didn’t even read the funniest part, because it was naughty, where Kluwe says that gay marriage isn’t going to turn anyone into, his quote, a “lustful cockmonster”. Frankly, the notion that marriage is turning any kind of lust on anywhere is one that I’ll never understand.

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Well, the Democratic National Convention happened, and the Democrats made a big point out of appealing to female voters through a combination of touching on issues female voters tend to care more about and approaching female voters as if they’re just as smart and capable as men. Contrast this with the RNC, which took a softer, more emotional approach, which was explicitly seen as outreach to women on the grounds that we have to be spoken to through our hearts and not our heads. To be fair, this wasn’t  an approach totally rooted in sexism. A large part of it is that Republican policies don’t poll well with female voters, and so highlighting policy is likely to backfire. The Democrats, on the other hand, support some kind of social safety net, which tends to draw female voters, though a more robust one would be even better. They are also pro-choice and support the Equal Rights Amendment. Which makes highlighting policy a win for them. First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech was much heavier on policy than Ann Romney’s for this reason, but the reaction to her was the usual sexist minimizing.

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That’s from a Fox News report. Don’t you love the way that they just throw it out there as “she was seen as”? The truth is that Fox and other right wing media painted her that way, for no other apparent reason than her race and the fact that she’s a very accomplished professional. That she overcame that narrative with the sheer force of her personality is kind of amazing. Her speech at the DNC was the result of that make-over; she felt free to speak on all sorts of real issues and basically no one accused her of being “angry” afterwards. Even Limbaugh had to admit that Obama is a charming woman, though in order to do so, he has to bash her biggest fans.

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At this point, Limbaugh, who has been married four times, is just projecting. Plus, Obama is one of those so-called “feminazis”. She openly advocated for abortion rights in her speech. I’m afraid we have to chalk this one up to the ongoing thing where misogynists project their own hatred of women onto feminists, claiming we hate men. And we show our hatred of men by, uh, advocating for a world where we can, for instance, have sex with them without having more children than they or we want.

Besides Michelle Obama, the other big lady speaker who got tons of attention was, of course, Sandra Fluke, who has driven the right completely mad by not apologizing for being a perfectly ordinary 31-year-old law student. Conservatives took to claiming she had no right to be on stage, but Fluke proved that she can tell the difference between simply putting a woman on stage and speaking to women’s concerns.

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Indeed, there were only really two points in Fluke’s speech at the DNC. She talked about how terrible it is to marginalize and silence women’s voices, doubly so in debates about women’s access to health care. And she talked about the war on women, which is being conducted primarily through policy.

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It’s worth pointing out that the moral high ground on contraception was achieved by pro-choicers because we stopped playing defense and instead went on the offense. By passing a regulation that requires insurance companies to cover contraception with no co-pay, pro-choice forces not only improved health care access for women, but we also created a situation where our opponents exposed themselves as hostile not just to abortion, but contraception and to sex generally. We should do this more often.

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insert interview

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There is pretty much never an assault on reproductive health care access without there being a big lie to cover up the real agenda, and that is, of course, what happens when it comes everything from abortion restrictions to red states cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. The claim is that this is about abortion, even though none of the funds being cut provide for abortion. But anti-choicers claim that getting your pills at a place that may perform abortions or, even if they don’t, are openly for abortion rights somehow taints your contraception and makes like totally the same thing as abortion. But they totally pinky swear that they’re not defunding contraception in order to, you know, defund contraception!

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Andrea Grimes decided to test this claim, as a resident of Austin, a busy metropolitan area that has lots more access to health care than, say, the sprawling suburbs and rural communities that make up so much of Texas. Is it really doable for women who rely on Planned Parenthood to go somewhere else? She looked at Texas health services website to find all these non-Planned Parenthood providers that were considered accessible to her zip code, and at first, it seemed promising.

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And so Andrea kept at it, trying to find these mythical alternative providers to Planned Parenthood, which has a large clinic in the area that’s able to handle a high level of traffic. The results were disheartening.

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I’m skeptical that those 13 can really handle the offloading. And really, it’s not 13 since some of them were physically inaccessible unless you own a car and have all day. And it’s not like everyone has a computer and can make these searches; what’s nice about Planned Parenthood is they’re easy to remember and in the phone book. It’s worth remembering that even if these clinics take Medicaid, that doesn’t mean that they distribute contraception on-site, which Planned Parenthood does, which means that poor women who already have transportation issues are being asked to dramatically increase the amount of time they devote to getting contraception, time that they usually don’t have. And that’s all in an urban area with lots of clinics! Many parts of Texas don’t even have that. Plus, even if the clinics were there, the money isn’t:

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For all the hand-waving, I’m going to say that I doubt they actually intend to make all the money up. This was all an elaborate scheme to cut women off from access to reproductive health care, especially STI treatment and contraception. Because, to repeat a constant refrain, this was never about “life”, but about punishing female sexuality. And particularly punishing poor women for being sexually active.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Pat Robertson really likes the idea of hitting women edition. A man wrote in accusing his wife of disrespecting his authority, including lifting her hand to hit him, though she didn’t do it.

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Robertson is openly saying that women who don’t submit deserve to be beaten, and this seems to be his stance even if there wasn’t evidence that the wife raised her hand to her husband ever. His open longing to be able to say it directly, that women who talk back should get smacked down, couldn’t be more obvious. Also, the little slam on Muslims, when of course spousal abuse is a problem across religions and cultures. 


Follow Amanda Marcotte on Twitter: @amandamarcotte