Tag Archives: liberties

ET Show – Women’s Rights, paying for their own rape kits (update)

I haven’t discussed women’s rights that much on this blog and for this I am sorry. Women’s rights should be important to everyone. If anybody’s liberty is in jeopardy, all of our liberties are in jeopardy. Currently, women’s rights are under a blistering assault by the GOP. Legislation both on the state and on the federal level has been designed to target women and limit their access to healthcare and their right to choose. One of the most egregious assaults on women is rape. Several states are requiring women to pay for their rape examinations. Let me say this again. After a woman is raped, some states require women to pay for their rape kits. These examinations don’t cost $5 or $10. In some cases, women are being charged over $1000 (or more) for these examinations. For women who are poor and without means, this puts justice out of their reach. I talked with a friend of mine, Tamara Benson, who has intimate knowledge of this assault on women. Her own daughter was raped and because her daughter was a minor she was sent the bill for the rape kit. This is a very compelling interview and I hope you find it informative.

Update: The HuffPo has also tackled this subject (listen to the personal story in the podcast below)-

Journalists occasionally shine light on a public policy that is so disgusting it literally stuns you – just takes your breath away and leaves you speechless.

Your first thought is they’ve made a mistake. Or this is ratings hype. It can’t be true.

After the initial shock wears off, you realize it actuallyis happening – that it’s the system – and it hurt real people today; and it will hurt others the same way tomorrow, and others the day after that, and others the day after that. And you just want to urp.

That happened today when I saw this clip on CNN (from Houston station KPRC) that showed the attorney general of Texas (my home state) is sending letters to women who have been raped threatening their credit will be ruined unless they pay for the part of the criminal investigation known as the rape kit.

(A rape kit is a set of items that specially trained medial staff use to gather and preserve evidence of a sexual assault. A woman can decline the process, which can take up to four hours, but going to an emergency room and undergoing this additional intrusion helps document the attack and gives law enforcement evidence it needs to investigate the crime and prosecute the rapist.) The cost, according to CNN/ KPRC, runs $1,200 to $1,800. (more…)

Happy 4th of July (Update)

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.

Let me share this with you:

July 4, 1861 — exactly a hundred and fifty years ago — witnessed the reading aloud, on the floor of Congress, of Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session.

The circumstantial appeal of Lincoln’s message turned on his defense of the Union against the threat posed by secession, and that is the part most people have in mind when they recall the most famous words of the address: “This is essentially a People’s contest.” Lincoln was speaking for democracy. He was also speaking for a Union, popular in character and progressive in direction, as the heart of all future hopes for democracy.

Another part of the Special Message matters more to us today. For Lincoln saw an unresolvable tension between the constitution of a democratic republic and the policies of aggrandizement and intemperate self-interest that lead from the manners of freedom to the slavish love of power. He spoke of the difference between the work of establishing a constitutional republic and the longer task of maintaining it. But maintaining it against what? Lincoln’s answer was always the same: against the internal pressure of greed, and the external pressure of war. The predicament of the country in 1861, he said, “forces us to ask: ‘Is there, in all republics, this inherent, and fatal weakness? Must a government,
of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?'”

We are now ten years into a policy shared by two successive administrations to plant a new understanding of the spirit of the laws in America. That policy has pretended there is a “trade-off” between liberty and security, and that in a time of crisis, security ought to have the upper hand. The Cheney-Bush and Obama administrations have accustomed us to laws and language concerned above all with the “protection” of citizens — as if there were something higher or more worth protecting than the liberty that is guaranteed by our laws and
the framework of laws, the Constitution. (more…)

Update: I really liked this photo. It captures the 4th at least it did for me. So, I posted it.
American Puppy