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IF you care about women, women’s health, equality, and/or excellence in education, please read on. I live in Texas, but it doesn’t matter where you live, you need to get out and vote!
If you live in Texas and are not registered to vote, shame on you. If you live anywhere and aren’t registered, shame on you. If you live in Texas (or anywhere) and are registered to vote but don’t vote, double shame on you. If you are registered to vote and are a woman, or have a female relative, consider the following.
In Texas, we have Abstinence only sex education. That means there is no real education about sex, just a warning not to have it. The Canyon ISD is reported to be teaching sexual education by shaming students into staying virgins until marriage. Sexual health advocate Katie Gustainis Vela recently obtained what appears to be an instructional worksheet meant for teachers who lecture on sex ed. Vela tweeted a photo of the worksheet — which likens people who have premarital sex to pieces of chewed gum or used toothbrushes. This was reported by the Huffington Post. Now, where does Texas rank in teen pregnancy? 3rd. 3rd HIGHEST in teen pregnancy. Wow. That great abstinence education is really working.
Did you know that Texas is only one of four states that does not have equal pay for equal work protections? Wendy Davis passed a bipartisan equal pay for equal work bill in 2013, but Rick Perry vetoed the bill. When you break it down, women in Texas are paid about .82 cents for every dollar men earn. I thought it was 2014, not 1950. But in Texas, we are far from having equal rights.
Texas Republicans passed a law which would close 60 Texas women’s health centers across the state. Fortunately the Supreme Court has blocked the implementation of the law, which would deny millions of Texas women their federal right to choose ending a pregnancy. Texas also passed a law which was strongly supported by Rick Perry requiring women to undergo a transvaginal sonogram 24 hours prior to an abortion, regardless of the reason the abortion has been chosen or recommended. The New York Times Op Ed columnist Nicholas D Kristof writes, ” “It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced. The state of Texas is waging war on women and their families,” Dr. Boyd added. “The new law is demeaning and disrespectful to the women of Texas, and insulting to the doctors and nurses who care for them.” Kristof also writes, “The best formulation on this topic was Bill Clinton’s, that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Achieving that isn’t easy, and there is no silver bullet to reduce unwanted pregnancies. But family planning and comprehensive sex education are a surer path than demeaning vulnerable women with state-sanctioned abuse and humiliation.” I think we can all agree with Bill Clinton on this one…and if Texas would allow comprehensive sex education and support family planning the number of abortions (and teen pregnancies) could be greatly reduced, and hopefully abortion would become rare.
We need lawmakers and executives who support women’s rights, women’s health, and equality for women. These are issues I believe are morally imperative. If you believe women’s issues and women’s health are important, please vote on November 4, and vote for candidates who support women and children, not candidates who seek to control women and make choices for us. Regardless of your stand on abortion (and no one is “for” abortion), please make choices to support women. My vote goes to Wendy Davis for Governor, and if you feel the same way, please vote in your state for candidates who are pro-equality. It is morally imperative to do so.
Read more from Tam Warner Minton on her blog, Travels with Tam