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The Bush Administration’s War on Women & Children
by Becky Burgwin
July 19, 2004

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By now everybody knows that Martha Stewart has been sentenced to 5 months in prison for lying about a phone call. I think it was Jeffrey Toobin who said, “The government has sent a clear message to all Americans. If you lie, you’re going to suffer the consequences.” Isn’t that just rich. The government sent a clear message that if you lie you’re going to suffer the consequences. I think they should clarify that a little and say, “If you lie you’re going to suffer the consequences, unless of course you happen to BE in the government, or you’re insanely greedy and your lies happen to kill tens of thousands of people or purposely bankrupt the second largest state in the continental United States with the third largest economy in the world.”

I don’t even know how Kitty Pilgrim could sit there with a straight face when he said that. “The government wants to send a message to people who lie.” I would have been rolling on the floor. The government wants to send a message. The government sent a message alright and it was, if you’re a woman or a child in this country, you better fasten your seat belt because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The fact that Martha Stewart might do jail time in a real live women’s prison with drug dealers, child abusers and perpetrators of other serious crimes, (there are no country club jails for female white-collar felons) merely serves to keep my Went-to-Sleep-in-America/Woke-up-in-The-Twilight-Zone experience alive and well. You see, a very important member of our government was once on the board of a big company called Harkin Energy. This person was asked to be on the committee that looked into all of this company’s big financial problems. And even though he was warned that selling his own stock because of his knowledge of the company’s financial situation would be illegal, he did it anyway making a tidy little profit of over $800,000 before the stock plummeted to just pennies per share and his investors lost their shirts. He, however, didn’t have to go to jail with a bunch of filthy dope dealers. Oh no. He got to be the leader of the free world. Doesn’t seem fair does it?

Meanwhile, Kenny boy, better known as Ken Who? walks away from Enron with tens of millions of dollars after telling his employees and their families to keep buying Enron stock even as he was selling his own shares faster than you can say greedy, lying bastard. What next? Men who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children being nominated for Nobel Peace Prizes?

I can’t even sit still when some spokesperson for the Repugnant party says something like, “Well, we’re still strong on our commitment to ending partial birth abortions.” THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION. Literally, the only time that procedure is performed is when the mother’s life is at stake. Why won’t somebody say that? For example: Andrea Mitchell, “Well, yes, Mr. Santorum. But are you aware that if you deny a woman a late term abortion, the birth might kill her?” “Well, yes Andrea. And that’s fine with us because we are way more protective of the ‘unborn’ than we are of the ‘born.’ And furthermore, we don’t plan on helping women out at all by approving over-the-counter morning after pills or making birth control a little easier to get by having it covered by insurance like Viagra. And you can forget about day care, WIC programs or forcing the fathers to support the children they conceive because women are the cause of all of society’s ills and therefore they shalt be punished.”

Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes. The Taliban.

It seems as though they’re forgetting that two people are needed to conceive a child. Why isn’t the man treated with the same disregard as the woman? “We’re sorry Mr. Thurmond but you’re going to have to raise this child by yourself with no help whatsoever from anyone. What about the child’s mother, you say? Well we don’t know where she is. Probably off somewhere conceiving more children. That’s not our concern.”

Yesterday the Bush administration announced that they’re not going to give anything to the UN Family Planning Fund, again, which hasn’t been done by a U.S. president in three-quarters of a century. According to studies done by NARAL this could mean nearly 2 million unintended pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, 4,700 maternal deaths, 60,000 cases of serious maternal illness, and more than 77,000 infant and child deaths in the next twelve months. Elizabeth Cavendish, Interim President of NARAL states, “George W. Bush is really showing his true colors. Protecting the health and well-being of women and babies around the world is insufficient as a reason to stop him from promoting his anti-choice agenda.”

Women and children everywhere will suffer as this administration continues to use draconian measures to make sure the “unborn” are protected. Stem cells, fertilized ovums, could be used to cure Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, repair irreversible spinal cord injuries, and even, perhaps, to generate organs such as livers and kidneys for transplantations. But noooooo. Not on this administration’s watch. Stem cells are offered more protection than a huge majority of children on the planet.

Ok. Now here’s the good news. These guys aren’t that smart. They proved that when they tried to ratify this constitutional amendment against gay marriage. We all know that they did that only to say to their radical right base, “Hey, we’re not soft on faggots or wimmen. We know they’re the cause of all the evil in the world and we’re out to git ‘em.” But, though it may have accomplished that, it made them look silly and desperate to everybody else. And they actually think that if they don’t let Pat Robertson or Tom Delay speak at the convention we won’t know that their party is under the thumb of these guys who are so off base that they blame the Columbine School shootings on the teaching of evolution and day care.

Tom DeLay, who will just give you the SHIVERS if you ever watch him speak, has allegedly bribed his GOP colleagues to win their votes and violated campaign finance laws in Texas. And, as we speak, a complaint charging DeLay with extortion, money-laundering and other abuses of power has been filed and approved for review by the House Ethics Committee. As they say in Texas, yippee-kai-yea. Git along littlle dawggies.

So take heart. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel for Martha and millions of women and children all around the world. It won’t be long before the citizens of this country wake up and hit themselves on the side of the head and say, “Wow! We could have had a real president. Whew! Let’s not make that mistake again.”

Becky Burgwin’s writings have appeared in Time, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Counterpunch, Alternet and OpEdNews as well as several other online Op Ed sites. She is on the Board of Aid Afghanistan and one of the contributors to the Peace Project in Assisi, Italy. Send questions, comments, and critiques to: