Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006


by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.

Printable version of this story

DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Watching President George W. Bush give his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, I thought about snakes.

It is a myth that snakes hypnotize their prey; they don't have eyelids, which makes their gaze appear penetrating. And snake charmers don't hypnotize cobras with their flutes; snakes can't hear. But they closely follow their prey, so as the charmer sways from side to side, so does the snake.

Watching President Bush, I felt exactly like snake prey - both hypnotized and charmed. But the President's speech was merely snake oil, and to break the spell, I had only to think about this "compassionate" man's venomous war against half the world's population - women:

  • President Bush's ban, three years ago, on U.S. aid to overseas groups supporting abortion rights, has actually increased the number of unwanted pregnancies around the world and caused thousands more illegal and unsafe, and potentially deadly abortions, reports the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
  • President Bush recently withheld a previously-approved $34 million to the United Nations Population Fund, which provides family planning - not abortion - to impoverished women around the world.
  • President Bush reversed his support for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which requires all governments to guarantee that women will enjoy the same legal rights and access to health care as men.
  • By promoting abstinence, by attempting to block endorsement of condom use to prevent AIDS, and, especially, by opposing efforts to help girls and women who are victims of rape in war, the Bush administration has mounted a determined attack abroad "to strip women of their reproductive rights and access to reproductive health services - not just abortion, but even family planning and sex education," said the IPPF.

Now that President Bush has a slender majority in the House and Senate, expect to see him bring his attack on women back home:

  • As a first sign, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights announced in May 2002 that it intends to allow educators to establish single-sex classes and schools at the elementary and secondary levels, thus introducing segregation by sex to our educational system.
  • The New York Times reported that Bush administration officials apparently censored the Websites of the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, removing information about the lack of evidence linking abortion to breast cancer and condom education to early sexual activity.
  • Presdient Bush will attempt to pack the judiciary with right-wing judges hostile to abortion rights.
  • The President has already prohibited federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, which could save a multitude of lives, in order to recognize "the personhood of zygotes," said the Times.
  • President Bush backs the radical Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, which encourages medical practitioners in federally funded health care systems to refuse to do abortions, and even mention them as options.

"If abortion were the only target, the administration would not be attempting to block women's access to contraceptives... (or) declaring war on any sex education," said the Times. "Women's constitutional liberty has been threatened, essential reproductive health care has been denied or delayed, and some women will needlessly die."

Title IX is next.

Contrary to what most people think, Title IX is not just about sports. It reads: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

In other words, the 1972 law gives girls and women the same educational opportunities that are offered to boys and men.

"Before Title IX, schools at all levels limited the participation of women and girls," says "Title IX at 30: Report Card on Gender Equity," a 2002 study issued by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE). "Many colleges and professional schools had quotas limiting the number of women who could attend. Female athletic programs generally consisted of cheerleading... . Many high schools prohibited boys from taking home economics and girls from taking vocational classes such as auto mechanics."

Title IX is one of those great pieces of legislation that actually improves people's lives. Consider these statistics from the National Organization of Women:

  • In 1997, women received 41 percent of medical degrees, compared with 9 percent in 1977, 44 percent of law degrees, compared with 7 percent in 1972, and 41 percent of doctoral degrees, compared with 25 percent in 1977.
  • In sports, prior to Title IX, there were 300,000 girls on competitive high school teams; now there are 2.78 million.

In the next few days, Bush's "Opportunity in Athletics Commission" will attempt to weaken, if not dismantle, Title IX through sports. It will accuse the law of instituting athletic "quotas," even though every court which has examined the issue specifically states that Title IX does not require quotas, and even though 72 percent of colleges and universities have added teams for women without cutting any teams for men. In fact, the number of men's teams, men's budgets and men in intercollegiate play have increased.

"No changes to Title IX standards as applied to athletics are warranted or necessary," said the NCWGE. "Modifications to the standards that would limit future opportunities for women in favor or expanded opportunities for men would violate the goal of gender equity."

It doesn't take a crystal ball to see where all this is headed. When women are once again steered into teaching, nursing and secretarial work, when they are denied the feelings of accomplishment and well-being that come from achieving athletic goals, when they are discouraged from following challenging and financially rewarding career paths, when they are discouraged from exploring their own sexuality, and when they are forbidden to make their own choices about family planning, they will probably find themselves once again barefoot, pregnant and back in the kitchen.

And then - and only then - will they no longer have the effrontery to challenge the God-given right of white men to rule the world.

Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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