Cartoon by Nick Anderson.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for women’s rights. On February 16, Foster Friess, one of Rick Santorum’s prominent donors, set the Twitter world ablaze with his infamous Aspirin-between-the-legs remark. And while Santorum responded by saying he’s not responsible for his supporters’ comments, women across the country were left with raised eyebrows.
This isn’t the first time Santorum has come under fire for his viewpoints on contraception. In a 2006 interview uncovered by the Washington Post, the socially conservative candidate said he is "not a believer in birth control."
“From a governmental standpoint,” he continued, “I support Title X and have voted for contraception, although I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women, I think it’s harmful to our society.”
The male-dominated debate continued Thursday during a GOP hearing titled "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" The conversation focused heavily on President Obama’s revised birth control mandate, which aims to placate the concerns of religious and conservative opponents. The new policy includes a wide exemption for religious groups, requiring insurance companies — not religious organizations — to pay for employees’ contraception. But the hearing featured mostly male voices, prompting Nancy Pelosi to say, "They're having a panel on women's health and they don't have any women on the panel. Duh.”
The contraception war waged on this week as Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed ultrasound bill came close to being voted upon. The bill would require pregnant women to undergo a “trans-vaginal ultrasound” before having an abortion — meaning women seeking an abortion would be forcibly penetrated. As Jon Stewart cheekily points out in this video, the ultrasound could be classified as rape. In fact, the F.B.I. defines rape as “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
But McDonnell amended the bill today, opting for external ultrasounds instead. “Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state,” he said in a statement. “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”
Samantha brings a unique background in journalism and social media outreach to the McKinney & Associates team. Over the past several years, she’s written about everything from celebrity event planning and sustainable fashion trends to racial tensions and the growing prevalence of cyberbullying. As the PR/Digital Media Assistant, she generates brand awareness through social media platforms, contributes to McKinney & Associate’s Voice Matters Blog, and helps develop marketing initiatives.
Samantha regularly freelances for the Washingtonian and has been featured in Rue Magazine. She recently graduated from American University with a master's degree in Journalism and Public Affairs; she graduated from William Smith College in 2009 with a double major in Sociology and Media Studies.