Today’s 3 Things: Catholic Church Pushing Company Town for Contraception, On the List with Emily, Michelle Obama and Ellen

Facts about the Contraception Ruling
A recent ruling from the Obama Administration requires that contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration be included at no additional cost in health insurance plans — with a carve-out for religious institutions.

There’s a few things you should know about the manufactured political controversy that’s erupted.

#1 Republican candidates are claiming that the ruling will rob religious organizations of their religious freedom.  Not true. 

Churches  and other houses of worship are not required to offer contraception, but affiliated organizations like colleges and social services agencies are required….because they are not religious organizations.

The Catholic Church’s effort to restrict the contraceptive decisions of their non-church-based employees and students reminds me of the autocratic philosophy that pervaded company towns, that were not uncommon at the end of the 19th century.  In these communities, one major business controlled everything, from jobs to housing to food and entertainment.  The citizens of these controlled communities lost any ability to exercise individual choice. That’s what the Catholic Church and its conservative allies are trying to create by pushing back on the Obama ruling.

President Obama’s decision was balanced and judicious.

#2 A strong majority of the American public, including Catholics, support the President’s decision.  Check out these poll results.

#3 The Republican push back on this issue is all about attacking President Obama.  28 states already have similar provisions requiring contraception, which has never created a conservative backlash.  Many thanks to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow…I found this fact on her blog.

Ms. Maddow is also, to my knowledge, the only news anchor who has for months covered the contraception issue, including the proposal by some Republican Presidential candidates to make the availability of contraception a state’s rights issue.  Since when is my reproductive freedom a state right and not a personal liberty?

Here’s my take-away:  If affiliated organizations have the ability to deny contraception to their employees or students, then those organizations are enforcing religious doctrine and thus denying religious freedom.

EMILY’s List Supports California Candidates
Former California Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, running for California’s 52nd Congressional seat, received good news yesterday.  EMILY’s List, the highly respected national women’s organization that raises campaign funds for Democratic, pro-choice women candidates, placed Saldaña “On the List,” which gives her national exposure to raise funds from EMILY’s network of over one million.

Former California state Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny, running for CD 51, and current state Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, running in the newly created CD 35, are also On the List.  Incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Lois Capps (CD 24) are recommended by EMILY’s List.

Click here to see California candidates supported since EMILY’s List was founded in 1985.
Nationally, EMILY’s List has helped elect 16 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. Senate, 87 to the U.S. House, nine governors, and hundreds of women to state legislatures, constitutional offices, and key local offices.

Let’s end on a light note:
No Girl Push-Ups for These First Ladies
It’s impossible to know who is more adorable — First Lady Michelle Obama or America’s first lady of funny, Ellen DeGeneres.

See why my goal is to do 25 push-ups by the November election….

My favorite line from the video:  “I think we should do it together.”

Check it out:



Today’s 3 Things: Political Parity, Douthat’s Delusion, and African American Women’s Priorities and Concerns

Political Parity
Check out Political Parity, a newly formed coalition of political leaders launched to double the number of women in political office by 2020.  A bi-partisan effort, the group is chaired by former US Ambassador Swanee Hunt and co-chaired by former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts Kerry Healey.

The group will be guided by an impressive roster of leaders and advisors, including Mary Hughes who runs the 2012 Project, aimed at increasing women candidates this campaign cycle, and Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), based at Rutgers University.

Back Story on Komen
New York TImes columnist Ross Douthat doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to the breast cancer prevention movement.  In an op-ed on Sunday (where the overall point of his column was to take the media to task for “siding with Planned Parenthood and ignoring half of America”), he makes this un-researched claim:

. . . the fight against breast cancer is unifying and completely uncontroversial. . . .

Anyone familiar with the breast cancer prevention movement — or who bothered to do a Google search — knows that there are deep fissures in the community.

The back story is that the Komen Foundation is a white-glove advocacy outfit, tepid in its pursuit of environmental contributors to breast cancer, and closely tied to its corporate contributors.

At the other side of the spectrum is the feisty and effective Breast Cancer Action, founders of the Think Before you Pink campaign committed to raising questions about “pink ribbon marketing, the conflicts of interest in the cancer industry, and why so many women are still being diagnosed.”

African-American Women: Priorities & Concerns
The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation teamed up to conduct a fascinating national survey focusing on “Black Women in America” — which hasn’t received enough attention.  Click here for the January 23 article in the Washington Post, and here for the poll results on priorities and concerns and impressions of First Lady Michelle Obama. Pay particular attention to what people worry about and their different perceptions about the impacts of racism and sexism in their lives.  Also, huge majorities of both African American and white women believe the First Lady is both a good mom and a good role model.

Women & Families Hurt by Recession and Budget Cuts

Here’s a link to an opinion piece, Women, families hurt most by recession, budget cuts, I wrote for

The article covers a game-changing study released by the California Budget Project and the Women’s Foundation of California.  Here a link to Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and their Families.