It's Women's History Month! Then Why Does It Feel Like 1912?

5 years ago

Today we begin commemorating
Women's History Month
. Hooray! But funny thing about that. As far as women's rights are concerned, you'd think it was 1912 all over again! Where is Margaret Sanger when you need her?

Today I'm celebrating something I never thought I'd be celebrating in 2012 -- the failure of a bill that would have allowed employers to deny women birth control coverage on "moral" or "religious" grounds. Fun times! I don't know about you, but the idea of Roy Blunt or Orrin Hatch having any say in my sex life or what I do in the bedroom or what I talk about with my ob-gyn is kind of a turn-off. As I'm sure it is to my 19-year-old daughter.

On the other hand, we must give a shout-out to the long-suffering Olympia Snowe. She was the only Republican senator who voted against the bill. But, alas, just announced her retirement from the Senate because her party has morphed into something unrecognizably batty and there's no room anymore for a sensible Maine moderate like her.

As ThinkProgress reported:

By a vote of 51-48, the Senate agreed to table a Republican amendment offered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would have empowered employers to deny coverage of health services to their employees on the basis of personal moral objections. The measure represented the GOP’s response to President Obama’s rule requiring employers to provide contraception and other preventive health services as part of their health insurance plans. Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) — who announced her retirement earlier this week — was the only Republican to join Democrats in “tabling” the amendment, while three Democrats, Sens. Ben Nelson (NE), Joe Manchin (WV), and Bob Casey (PA) voted to preserve it.

As elated as I am that the Blunt amendment went down, here's the deal, ladies: We're not out of the woods on women's health yet. There's all sorts of insidious legislation being cooked up -- and passed -- in Alabama, Georgia and other states on contraception and abortion. Alabama, for one, wants to force women to undergo a "conscience" ultrasound before an abortion because women -- silly, emotional women -- clearly can't be trusted to make these decisions themselves, much less their doctors.

I hate to be so glum on a holiday, but if you don't want to go back to the good old days when women put aspirin between their knees during sex, we’re going to need to do something truly radical during women’s history month.

What do you think? What's something we could all get behind that would make a difference? It doesn't have to be about women's health, although that would be swell. What issues are you passionate about, that you think need attention? Send me your ideas and we'll post them here!

Credit Image: © Ron Sachs/DPA/

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