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The Least of Them

October 27, 2012
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Within tea party, conservative ranks, evidently it is now popular for states to seek cutting off aid to women who have additional children and are receiving assistance. In theory, it makes good sense.  Once upon a time, The Pink Flamingo might have agreed, but I re-read the teachings of Christ, and realize such good “Christian” ideas are the very opposite.

Oh, if a woman is raped, and can prove she was raped, the state will kick in.  After all, they don’t want her to get an abortion.  They suspect because she is poor, she’s probably lying about it.  We all know poor women are all drunks and drug addicts, right?

Let’s face facts.  Poor women don’t deserve free contraception.  They can either leave off their cigarettes or quit being sluts.  That’s how the right looks at it.  BUT – if the men in their life need Viagra, well, go for it!

“…A Pennsylvania House bill seeks to limit the amount of TANF assistance that low-income women receive based on the amount of children they give birth to while covered under the program.

Despite the fact that low-income women who give birth to children would logically need increased assistance to care for their larger family, Pennsylvania lawmakers — State Reps. RoseMarie Swanger (R), Tom Caltagirone (D), Mark Gillen (R), Keith Gillespie (R), Adam Harris (R), and Mike Tobash (R) — don’t want their state’s welfare program to provide additional benefits for that newborn. If a woman gives birth to a child who was conceived from rape, she may seek an exception to this rule so that her welfare benefits aren’t slashed, but only if she can provide proof that she reported her sexual assault and her abuser’s identity to the police:…”

Imagine The Pink Flamingo’s shock when I discovered the bill is based on one proposed RIGHT HERE IN NEW MEXICO!

“...Not only did Martinez refer to “forcible rape” in an announcement instating April as New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month — as if some kinds of sexual assault need to be qualified as more or less “legitimate” than others — but, as RH Reality Check reports, the term also appears in the state’s proposed changes to its official applications for childcare assistance. If the proposed changes take effect, women in New Mexico will be required to prove that their sexual assault qualified as “forcible rape” if they are seeking childcare assistance for a child that resulted from rape:…”

Reality Check

There is one thing The Pink Flamingo can do here in New Mexico.  I wrote a letter to Governor Susana Martinez on Thursday.  This is the text:

During the process of doing my blog, The Pink Flamingo, this morning, I discovered that you were following the Todd Akin party line of “forcible” rape, and suggested that women prove they have been raped before receiving assistance for another child.  One would think, here in New Mexico, as Governor, you would be well aware of the problems we have here with abuse.

As a life-long Republican, and an active one at that, I cannot stomach Mitt Romney.  Every member of my Republican family will be voting Dem for the first time ever.  I’m the only one who votes here in New Mexico.  I was debating if I would simply vote for Obama, then vote for the a GOP ticket.  Thanks to the information I just discovered, when I vote, probably today, the only Republican I’m going to vote for is Heather Wilson.

If you think I am going to vote for a group of men and women who have allowed themselves to have the good sense God gave them, completely destroyed in order to approve to the extreme far right, you are out of your mind.  I am a Republican.  I have standards.  The proposal, which you have backed away from them, violates my standards as a Republican and as a Christian.

I was thrilled when New Mexico elected its first female governor.  I celebrated.  My faith in you was very short lived.  It’s a shame that our elected Republicans are now so terrified of the extremists of the far right that they betray not only the basic traditions of our party, but the very people who need them the most.

A governor should have the good sense, like Mary Fallon of Oklahoma, to be above petty politics and look after the best interests of her state and her people.  I wish we had such a governor in New Mexico, but we don’t.  We have just another tea party fearing little person who is afraid to do what is right, for everyone.

I’ve only lived in New Mexico for about 15 years.  During that time, I’ve worked with youth groups and as a substitute teacher.  I am well aware of the cultural difficulties women, especially young women, in this state face.  I am also well aware of the limits in a living wage, decent jobs, and any sort of a viable future.  The average woman in this state is barely surviving, due to the deplorable tendency of the employers in this state not to pay a fair and living wage.  I worked out of my church office, for several years, helping to provide assistance, primarily for women in this state who fall through the cracks.

As a Christian, I find the cold-hearted, cold-blooded approach to the problems in this state to be deplorable. As a Republican, I am sickened.  If you want to know why the GOP will never be the majority party in this state, please, just consider the sociology of the state.

I will never vote for you, again, and will actively seek to find someone to primary you, within the state.

Sincerely;

SJ Reidhead
www.thepinkflamingoblog.com

I was fortunate to learn of Martinez marching lock-step with the far right, before I voted.  It enabled me to change my mind, and vote for a number of Democrats, especially for local office.  I’ve learned the GOP in NM can no longer be trusted.

“...Why focus on “forcible rape?” The terms “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape” were catapulted into the public political debate recently by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin who asserted that, among other things, “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy. It is a (literally) medieval theory adopted by far right fundamentalist religious and political groups and individuals as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate access to safe abortion care, as well as to further marginalize women. Since rape is usually recognized as a “valid” exception for abortion care even by those who self-identify as against abortion, and since, under law, women who are raped may be able to access state or federal funding for safe abortion care, the right is deploying a strategy of undermining and confusing what is and what is not “legitimate” rape to further undermine access to safe abortion. Beyond abortion care, the redefining of rape is part of a broader effort to reinforce patriarchal norms about women’s bodies and their claims on social and economic captial as well as to reinforce profoundly patriarchal views of reproduction and the family.

For example, after the 2010 elections, fundamentalist right-wing politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives sought to pass H.R. 3, the Let Women Die Act, which among other things, would have re-defined rape based on the narrow definition.

It is therefore clear that Martinez’s declaration did not come out of thin air, but is rather part of the broader strategy.

Now, however, the state is taking things a step further. If passed, proposed changes to New Mexico’s childcare assistance regulations would require that women seeking assistance for children conceived from rape will need to *prove* that they were forcibly  violated.

The revisions appear on a state website on page 7 of the proposed new regulations—Proposed revisions to Child Care Assistance Regulations (8.15.2 NMAC)—and would affect poor and low-income women seeking childcare assistance in order to work or attend school or both. New Mexico’s childcare assistance program provides direct payments to approved childcare providers for those children whose parents qualify. The law requires that women seeking childcare assistance prove that they have done everything possible to obtain child support from (in this case) the father of the child or children for whom they are seeking childcare assisance. One exception to the requirement for child support is in the case of rape; the state did not previously—for what are to most people obvious reasons—require women to seek child support from their rapist…”

The GOP has a problem with women.  There are those who mistakenly think this is about abortion.  It is not.  It is about a party who has a problem dealing with people.  Because of the influx of the extreme, libertarian leaning right, the GOP has lost its heart and very soul.  If you need proof, my primary example is Paul Ryan.

 

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  • unknown jane

    To be perfectly honest, I have issues with the state (any state) being involved in such a basic human thing as sexuality and reproduction. There have been instances in my state where women on public assistance have been encouraged (not forced, yet, but encouraged) to have a tubal ligation if they already have kids.
    Of course, on paper, it appeals to people: why should taxpayers have to pay for more “welfare brats” after all, and this way we’re not stepping on toes with birth control or abortion? Of course, a lot of people go for it as policy, encourage it even.
    But the unwritten, unsaid side of this is that we are saying it’s ok for the state to determine who has kids and who doesn’t, and encourage some to go ahead and reproduce and others not to (it is voluntary after all) — but it’s still the state determining who can have kids and who can’t.
    This is just giving the state the power to say who can feed their kids and who can’t (thus encouraging those who have been determined unable to feed their kids to not have any more).
    Smacks of what’s going on in China if you ask me; smacks of other places in history as well (places that were none too nice to be a citizen in –especially if you were of the “wrong” sort).
    I’d prefer that the price of necessities like food, energy, shelter, clothing were brought down to reasonable levels so low income women could afford the birth control on their own (thus allowing them a bit more free will in such a basic thing)…but we certainly can’t have big business taking such a hit by lowering the prices of necessities; they “deserve” their profits after all (yeah, that’s just bristling in sarcasm).


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