Leaping from Our Spheres
Last week the focus was on a new law in Tennessee calling for felony penalties against pregnant women who test positive for illegal narcotics. Just this week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill requiring drug testing — at their own expense — of some applicants for food stamps and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). An applicant would be forced to be tested on the basis of either missed appointments or her “demeanor “as determined by a state worker, a vague and dangerous version of profiling.
Georgia would be the first state to require this of food stamp (SNAP) seekers, something currently not permitted under federal law. While the Georgia law can’t go into effect until a change in federal law, the House has already passed a measure to lift the ban on states adding their own conditions to food stamp eligibility. If the Senate passes its own version, then it opens the door more quickly for states to jump on board. Continue reading
The passage of the study action initiative on reproductive justice a couple of years back by the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) — of which we are an associate organization — challenged us to look at issues of human sexuality, pregnancy, and gender identity in different ways than our prior focus on legal rights and access to care. The four-year period dedicated to education and discernment allows us to ponder and respond to questions such as:
- How do power structures limit individuals’ access to reproductive justice?
- How do sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse contribute to unintended pregnancies later in life?
- How can eliminating racism, classism and sexism reduce the need for abortion and enable families to care for the children they do have?
- How are pregnant women who use drugs stigmatized, and what are the real dangers and solutions? Continue reading
My thoughtful feminist husband first told me about it: the latest salvo in the defensive battle being waged against equal pay for equal work by women. It was the grenade tossed by Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the so-called “pro family” organization Eagle Forum. As she wrote in a Christian Post op-ed published earlier this week and reported on ironically in Huff Post, it is her opinion that “providing women with equal pay for equal work would deter their chances for finding a suitable mate.”
Schlafly argued that since women prefer to marry men who make more money than they do, decreasing the gender gap would leave a woman tragically unable to snag a husband. She names this “fact” hypergamy, which she says means that not only do women instinctively prefer higher paying mates but that men also generally prefer being the higher earner in a relationship.
So if somehow the pay gap between men and women ever is eliminated, she reasons, using what she admits is simple arithmetic, half of all women would be unable to find a husband. Which is a very bad thing, worse than being poorer and less valued. Continue reading
As the UU Women’s Federation representative to the national Religious Council on Reproductive Choice (RCRC), I recently had the experience of joining other faith leaders in Washington DC for the council meeting and to stand with them on the steps of the US Supreme Court to protest the Hobby Lobby case asking for a corporate religious exemption from covering birth control under the Affordable Care Act(ACA).
This morning I rejoined this group by conference call to hear breaking news about an RCRC event in Dallas Texas last night (Monday April 7) held at the First Dallas UU Church with a goal of rebooting choice activities in that much beleaguered state. Especially on the heels of the recent passage of a law calling for new requirements of practitioners which effectively has shut down multiple abortion providing clinics. Continue reading
I was a recent graduate in journalism from a prestigious state university, having been living temporarily in my teenage bedroom in my mother’s house with my then husband, a college drop-out at a time when the expectation and assumption was that if we were over 18, we were no longer literally part of our parents’ households. We moved into a modest apartment with thin walls, erratic heat, and monthly rent and utility bills.
He was working low wage swing shift in the credit department of a major furniture dealer 30 miles away, after having done some time at an even lower paying job in a canned food warehouse. I had given up looking for a position even vaguely related to my major and the field I had been trained for, landing a very part-time job as a counter girl (and girl it was) in an ice cream store, handing out samples of apple strudel and rocky road (chocolate and walnuts) ice cream and scooping cones from the bottom of cardboard containers. After only a few days, my hands and arms were cramped and sore and my fingers burned from spending so much time in frost and ice. To this day I cannot imagine tasting, let alone relishing any of the dozens of rotating flavors.