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Archive for February, 2012

Update:

120301 – Politico is reporting that the Senate has defeated the Blunt bill SS.1467 by a vote of 51 to 48. Yay! 

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73497.html

In can what can only be seen as a slap in the face to women’s rights, attached to Barbara Boxer’s (Of all women!) huge transportation bill entitled “MAP-21 or, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”, is the Blunt Bomb. Senator Roy Blunt’s bill entitled “S.1467 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011” is being debated today in the Senate. It is one of many likely to be attempted over the next few years to undermine the line items achieved for women in the Affordable Healthcare Act. (Obamacare.) Remember, since women do not have the benefit of equal rights under the eye of the law, each line item can be targeted.

The Bomb is a stupid amendment to the Act, (See bottom of the page.) even for the perennially uterus obsessed. Though it calls out the “distinct” elements of the Act for women it does not specifically address them. In fact, the thing is so vague it appears under this proposed bill insurance companies could have a crisis of conscience over just about anything and decide their employees be able to say no to covering, I don’t know, maybe child abuse injuries. Some of the “solons” who are on the lists below ought to know better.

If you see one of yours on the lists below, call them up and yell at them:

Below find a list of the Senate co-sponsors:

Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Roberts, Pat [KS] – 2/9/2012 
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Kyl, Jon [AZ] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Coats, Daniel [IN] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Toomey, Pat [PA] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 2/9/2012 Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Hoeven, John [ND] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 2/9/2012 
Sen Shelby, Richard C. [AL] – 2/13/2012 
Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 2/15/2012 
Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 2/16/2012 
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 2/17/2012

The Senate bill is short and similar to the House Bill “H.R 1179” of the same name, introduced by Representative Jeff Fortenberry. The House currently has a total of 242 Republicans. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether any of the with 214 cosponsors on the list below are not in the red zone:

Rep Adams, Sandy [FL-24] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] – 10/24/2011 
Rep Amash, Justin [MI-3] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Barletta, Lou [PA-11] – 12/6/2011 
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6] – 11/1/2011 
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Berg, Rick [ND] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Black, Diane [TN-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Bonner, Jo [AL-1] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Brady, Kevin [TX-8] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Buchanan, Vern [FL-13] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Bucshon, Larry [IN-8] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Buerkle, Ann Marie [NY-25] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Canseco, Francisco “Quico” [TX-23] – 5/24/2011 
Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [WV-2] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Cassidy, Bill [LA-6] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Cravaack, Chip [MN-8] – 11/1/2011 
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Crenshaw, Ander [FL-4] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Critz, Mark S. [PA-12] – 1/25/2012 
Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-21] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Duffy, Sean P. [WI-7] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Ellmers, Renee L. [NC-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 11/15/2011 
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [TN-8] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] – 4/7/2011 
Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 6/14/2011 
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Gardner, Cory [CO-4] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 8/16/2011 
Rep Gosar, Paul A. [AZ-1] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Gowdy, Trey [SC-4] – 10/24/2011 
Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Graves, Tom [GA-9] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 11/18/2011 
Rep Griffith, H. Morgan [VA-9] – 5/4/2011 
Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Guinta, Frank C. [NH-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 7/27/2011 
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4] – 7/27/2011 
Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2] – 9/7/2011 
Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 8/16/2011 
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Jenkins, Lynn [KS-2] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Kelly, Mike [PA-3] – 10/25/2011 
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 10/13/2011 
Rep King, Steve [IA-5] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11] – 10/12/2011 
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] – 9/22/2011 
Rep Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Landry, Jeffrey M. [LA-3] – 10/4/2011 
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 4/14/2011 
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] – 10/13/2011 
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lewis, Jerry [CA-41] – 8/1/2011 
Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] – 3/17/2011 
Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Long, Billy [MO-7] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lucas, Frank D. [OK-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [WY] – 10/12/2011 
Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 2/2/2012 
Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] – 2/17/2012 
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 6/23/2011 
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 7/22/2011 
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] – 5/4/2011 
Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] – 2/6/2012 
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] – 10/13/2011 
Rep McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [CA-25] – 11/1/2011 
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Meehan, Patrick [PA-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] – 10/6/2011 
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] – 8/23/2011 
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] – 4/7/2011 
Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Nugent, Richard [FL-5] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 9/13/2011 
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] – 5/24/2011 
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] – 8/5/2011 
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Posey, Bill [FL-15] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Quayle, Benjamin [AZ-3] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Reed, Tom [NY-29] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Renacci, James B. [OH-16] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8] – 1/31/2012 
Rep Rigell, E. Scott [VA-2] – 11/3/2011 
Rep Rivera, David [FL-25] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Rogers, Harold [KY-5] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] – 4/1/2011 
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3] – 2/28/2012 
Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Schilling, Robert T. [IL-17] – 8/9/2011 
Rep Schmidt, Jean [OH-2] – 7/28/2011 
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] – 9/12/2011 
Rep Schweikert, David [AZ-5] – 2/3/2012 
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Scott, Tim [SC-1] – 9/20/2011 
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] – 7/22/2011 
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] – 2/17/2012 
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] – 7/28/2011 
Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] – 6/14/2011 
Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Southerland, Steve [FL-2] – 2/8/2012 
Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [IN-3] – 2/1/2012 
Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 7/22/2011 
Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 10/6/2011 
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] – 1/23/2012 
Rep Turner, Robert L. [NY-9] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] – 2/14/2012 
Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 3/17/2011 
Rep Walsh, Joe [IL-8] – 9/23/2011 
Rep West, Allen B. [FL-22] – 2/16/2012 
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Whitfield, Ed [KY-1] – 2/6/2012 
Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 2/9/2012 
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 2/15/2012 
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] – 2/2/2012 
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 2/13/2012 
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 2/7/2012 
Rep Young, Todd C. [IN-9] – 2/7/2012

Here is the bill:

S.1467 — Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 (Introduced in Senate – IS)

S 1467 IS

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1467

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 2, 2011

Mr. BLUNT (for himself, Mr. RUBIO, and Ms. AYOTTE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.

1.           Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) As Thomas Jefferson declared to New London Methodists in 1809, `[n]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority’.

(2) Jefferson’s statement expresses a conviction on respect for conscience that is deeply embedded in the history and traditions of our Nation and codified in numerous State and Federal laws, including laws on health care.

(3) Until enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148, in this section referred to as `PPACA’), the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers, purchasers of insurance, plan sponsors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, such as individual or institutional health care providers.

(4) PPACA creates a new nationwide requirement for health plans to cover `essential health benefits’ and `preventive services’ (including a distinct set of `preventive services for women’), delegating to the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to provide a list of detailed services under each category, and imposes other new requirements with respect to the provision of health care services.

(5) While PPACA provides an exemption for some religious groups that object to participation in Government health programs generally, it does not allow purchasers, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders with religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing or obtaining coverage of such items or services, or allow health care providers with such objections to decline to provide them.

(6) By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates in PPACA jeopardize the ability of individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.

(b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are–

(1) to ensure that health care stakeholders retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized or discriminated against under PPACA; and

(2) to ensure that no requirement in PPACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such conscientious objection from health plans or other programs under PPACA.

SEC. 3. RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.

(a) In General- Section 1302(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148; 42 U.S.C. 18022(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(6) RESPECTING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC ITEMS OR SERVICES-

`(A) FOR HEALTH PLANS- A health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide the essential health benefits package described in subsection (a) (or preventive health services described in section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act), to fail to be a qualified health plan, or to fail to fulfill any other requirement under this title on the basis that it declines to provide coverage of specific items or services because–

`(i) providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or

`(ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.

`(B) FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS- Nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services under this title (or any amendment made by this title) or to fulfill any other requirement under this title because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider pursuant to this paragraph.

`(C) NONDISCRIMINATION IN EXERCISING RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE- No Exchange or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall discriminate against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of such plan’s, sponsor’s, provider’s, or person’s unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services pursuant to this paragraph.

`(D) CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be construed to permit a health plan or provider to discriminate in a manner inconsistent with subparagraphs (B) and (D) of paragraph (4).

`(E) PRIVATE RIGHTS OF ACTION- The various protections of conscience in this paragraph constitute the protection of individual rights and create a private cause of action for those persons or entities protected. Any person or entity may assert a violation of this paragraph as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.

`(F) REMEDIES-

`(i) FEDERAL JURISDICTION- The Federal courts shall have jurisdiction to prevent and redress actual or threatened violations of this paragraph by granting all forms of legal or equitable relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, damages, costs, and attorney fees.

`(ii) INITIATING PARTY- An action under this paragraph may be instituted by the Attorney General of the United States, or by any person or entity having standing to complain of a threatened or actual violation of this paragraph, including, but not limited to, any actual or prospective plan sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering a plan, any actual or prospective purchaser or beneficiary of a plan, and any individual or institutional health care provider.

`(iii) INTERIM RELIEF- Pending final determination of any action under this paragraph, the court may at any time enter such restraining order or prohibitions, or take such other actions, as it deems necessary.

`(G) ADMINISTRATION- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this paragraph and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.

`(H) ACTUARIAL EQUIVALENCE- Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the Secretary from issuing regulations or other guidance to ensure that health plans excluding specific items or services under this paragraph shall have an aggregate actuarial value at least equivalent to that of plans at the same level of coverage that do not exclude such items or services.’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall be effective as if included in the enactment of Public Law 111-148.

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Been Down So Long 

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon and set me free

I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t you break your lock and key
I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t ya break your lock and key
Yeah, come along here, mister
C’mon and let the poor boy be
Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
C’mon little darlin’
C’mon and give your love to me, oh yeah

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon and set me free

The Doors

http://www.elyrics.net/read/d/doors-lyrics/been-down-so-long-lyrics.html

In 1982, when the Komen Foundation began, lack of sufficient gender specific research towards diseases, was a founding basis. Research, even in gender common illnesses tended to be conducted, and conclusions reached on male subjects. While the Komen Foundation certainly was successful in popularizing the cause of breast cancer research and elimination, I found myself annoyed on several fronts.

Suddenly everyone I knew was concerned about my breasts and was reminding me about them. It was true that my mother had her own adventure with the breast carvers. Her experience theoretically put me in a possible higher risk group. I could understand and even appreciate the health tracts she sent me. At the same time, however, no one was reminding me about the possibilities of an imminent stroke, heart attack, uterine/colon cancer, or celiac disease, industrial toxin based cancer, all of which also have occurred in my families. No one approached me clucking, with that glazed look of concern I received for my breasts, that I should have a heart murmur checked yearly, get tested for bodily damage from my construction job, or have my head examined to see if there was any organic change over my lifelong headaches.

Aside from the personal medical intrusions, I knew that heart disease was, in 1982, and still is, the leading cause of death in women. The symptoms are often different in women. Awareness has grown, yet the publicity level that the Komen Foundation for garnered for breasts has never been achieved for women’s heart disease. Additionally, according the CDC, after the cancer category of all types for women in general, stroke is the third leading cause of death.

We need to eliminate cancer. Breast cancer sometimes spreads, just like other cancer forms. We need to stop that.  Let’s face it, though, we don’t need our breasts to survive, or even bear children, like we do our heart and brain.  We don’t need them the way that we need our unscarred uteruses, kept safe from coat hanger abortions. We don’t need them the way we need free choice and medical help free of unnecessary probings, dictated by the latest paternalist clothed in a religious hair shirt.

Boobs are still the purview of the leering public, and command it’s attention and devotion. Talk about boobs and even the most severely afflicted ADDr will be able to listen long enough to hear the back-story. Mention boobs and the wave of concern over attendant issues will rise more quickly and crest higher. Boobs still belong to the paternalists, sex purveyors and sellers. They remain the bugaboo of disfigurement that we will be less valuable as sex objects in our unfair world. When public boob fomentations are greater than that for the total health of the person holding them up, something is amiss.

As we have learned, all was not what it seemed in the Komen Foundation either. Hiding behind the pink ribbon was the political malignancy of a right wing liar and her helpers. The cancerous breast as the banner of women’s medical need both advanced and divided the cause of women’s equality because it fostered this political infiltration. Grant funds from Komen to Planned Parenthood were intended to provide screening for breast cancer to poor and uninsured women-no more. Yet Komen was willing to deprive these women of this service in order to push the right wing agenda against Planned Parenthood.

What was all this Komen mess about really? In a sense, as opposed to Planned Parenthood, Komen has outlived its use, by continuing to focus on one body part. It caters to the wrong public aspect of who we are as women. Somewhere in it’s evolution the Komen breast became the Komen boob. People who brought our attention to the problem are to be commended. It probably helped that we were talking about boobs.

Beyond the recent issue however, Komen stands as one symbol of the cost of pragmatism and compromise. While progressives and conservatives alike have dragged these words out like shiny new toys, women have suffered their consequences for centuries. Having failed yet to pass the ERA, women have been consigned to grasp and glean tiny bits of freedom and equality. This also necessitates vigilance over a vast patchwork of threaded laws and rulings and makes the work of equality more difficult.

The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has made an effort to include women; mostly with line items for pregnancy and breast care. I searched the Act in pdf form again recently, and found 142 instances of “women”, 42 for “breast” and 78 for “pregnant or pregnancy”. In contrast, “men” were mentioned twice, and “prostate or erectile” not at all. One of the two lines where men are mentioned is there to assure that medical data will be compiled for both sexes.

I’ve said this elsewhere before; while to have some of women’s specific concerns mentioned in the Affordable Care Act, appears to be an advance, each line item is now a target for removal based on the whims of Congress. Men, on the other hand, being legally the more equal of the two sexes, will continue to have their prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction treated quietly by their doctor, away from the Congressional reductionists.

To my mind the most important line items are the 351 locations, in the Act, of the word “research”. Each one of those items is an opportunity for the future and at the same time, a target. Women will need to defend these as well.

The Komen fiasco has opened  plenty of room for outrage. It’s easy to add it to the list.  There are so many things wrong:

Tom In Paine raised the question as to whether Democrats and Progressives have learned this political lesson of outrage and action and will move forward to defend other fronts.

The ACLU webpage maintains a list of active campaigns, in which they are involved. I counted over ninety at the bottom of the page.  Some are for women.

Ian Welsh’s recent post on justified pessimism is great.

However, my breasts and I, think, that, as has happened too many times before, the Komen fiasco is being subsumed by well meaning but outside progressive interests. It is easy to get pulled away from the core concern. What appears to be a right-left issue is about those who would reduce our rights and those who are telling they should decide when we should be equal, because there are more important things to do. It’s just two faces of paternalism.

Women are not a special interest group. This incident was about 51% of the population, women, and the people who support them. This was a case of women attacking more vulnerable women, pure and simple. The attackers did it to gain favor with the warden. Confinement will do that.

Congress is the warden and the ERA is the key. Until the 1972 ERA passes women won’t see “up”. The sad part is that at least 50% of us weren’t even around yet to see the promise of “up”, or think we are in “up” and don’t know what the hell I am talking about.

This is a teachable moment.

Other links:

http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2012/02/01/why-did-komen-hire-an-anti-choice-wingnut-as-its-vice-president/

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/top-susan-g-komen-official-resigned-over-planned-parenthood-cave-in/252405/

http://womenwintoo.blogspot.com/2012/02/planned-parenthood-mess.html

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