Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Planned Parenthood of South Texas luncheon with Celinda Lake

Assembled today at the Hotel Zaza near Houston's Hermann Park with Mayor Annise Parker, former county commissioner Sylvia Garcia, city council members Melissa Noriega, Sue Lovell, Ed Gonzales, Stephen Costello and a host of other dignitaries were the defenders of Texas women in the form of the powerful activists united with Planned Parenthood's local chapter. The blog table included yours truly, Charles Kuffner, Julie Pippert, Neil Aquino, Stace Medellin, John Cobarruvias and others.

Nobody who reads a political blog in the United States needs to be reminded about the vicious attacks on the rights of all women to determine their reproductive future. Today in fact was not a day for Texas women in particular to note the maliciousness of those (old, fat, mostly white conservative men) who insist on thrusting their ignorance in women's faces -- and elsewhere -- rather, today was a celebration of a fund-raising record and to prepare for the battles ahead.

Pre-eminent pollster Celinda Lake gave the keynote, and served notice in her thorough research into the thoughts and opinions of voters with some data we were suspecting: that a majority of both Americans and Texans, mostly Democrats and liberals but also a large number of independents -- are appalled at the overreach by Republicans who were elected in 2010 to create jobs and help mend the economy.

So far, as has been noted, they're going hard and fast in reverse on that mission also.

The highlights of Lake's presentation included:

-- Americans not only remain supportive of Roe and against an abortion ban, but they are also tired of the debate around the question.

-- That's probably because Lake's polling verifies that the issue is severely polarized; Democratic voters and independents are pro-choice, Republicans of course are anti-choice.

-- Just three percent of voters said abortion was their single most important issue when deciding whom to send to Congress. Those voters, naturally, were most likely to be anti-choice.

-- Two-thirds of Americans still want to continue federal funding for Planned Parenthood ... but slightly oppose federal funding for abortions.

(In point of fact, federal funding for abortion has been outlawed since 1976 ... when the Hyde Amendment was passed. We were made painfully aware of more of this kind of ignorance recently when Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona absurdly claimed that abortions were 90% of PP's business, and was corrected -- to his profound embarrassment -- by the facts. That didn't stop John Cornyn from repeating the stupidity. In Texas, we know that morons who think like Cornyn come a dime a dozen ... and many of them serve in the Texas Legislature.)

-- While economic concerns were the dominant issue among voters in the 2010 election cycle, Lake's polling revealed a surprise: reproductive freedom played a "strong role" in the closing days of the campaign in a number of close races across the nation ... and "helped swing the results in the progressive candidates' favor".  Specifically cited in Lake's PowerPoint were Maine's 1st (Chellie Pingree) and Virginia's 11th (Gerry Connolly) Congressional tilts.

-- More things we thought we knew already: the 2010 electorate compared to its 2008 counterpart was older, more conservative, and less ethnically or racially diverse (does this describe any Republican you know? Or all of them?). Texas voters were all those things and more male, too. Democrats suffered due to lower turnout among younger voters, unmarried women and African Americans. The gender gap in Texas is smaller than elsewhere, but 53% of women in the last election still voted GOP compared to 57% of Texas men.

-- A majority of Latinos (61%) and an overwhelming majority of African Americans (88%) in Texas voted Democratic ... but 2/3 of Texans who voted in 2010 were Anglo, and they went Republican 69-29.

-- Younger Texans (18-29) were just 9% of the total and they went against the GOP wave by 5 points (51-46); those from 30 to 44 were split evenly (48% D, 49% R) and made up 23% of all Texas voters; 45-64 year-olds comprised 48% of the electorate and broke Republican 57-41, and Texans 65 and older, 20% of all voters, went 62-36 for the GOP.

-- Independents made up 39% of all voters, compared to 28% who self-identified Democratic and 33% Republican, and the indies favored Rick Perry by 16 points in 2010 (56-40%), This was a shocking statistic to me. Another one: Twelve percent of Texans who voted for Obama in 2008 voted Republican in 2010.

There's more like this, but you get the picture. On the question of women and the right to choose ...

-- A solid majority of Americans (59%) want the next Supreme Court justice to uphold Roe if a case like that came before the court again.

-- There is a great deal of consensus among all voters for moving away from the push-and-pull of abortion and broadening the discussion to reproductive health, including birth control, comprehensive sex education, and improving maternal and childbirth outcomes. And by a slight majority (52-40), Americans disapprove of Republicans adding new federal restrictions to choice for women.

Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood's family services -- the actual 90% of their work -- means that Republicans will be taking away affordable birth control for poor and unemployed women (think about all the teachers in Texas who are losing their jobs and their insurance), and affordable health services like cancer screenings. Cutting PP's funding will, to put it bluntly, result in more unintended pregnancies -- nearly a million annually now in the US -- and thus more abortions (almost half of that one million). It also means women will contract more STDs and cancers that could have been prevented.

If you now understand the moral crisis being created by the Republican cabal of men who are determined to take women's rights back to the 19th century, contact your Republican representative and tell them to cut it out. And then send an e-mail to your friends and family asking them to do the same. You can easily e-mail this post to them if you have trouble writing a message yourself.

And then make sure you vote in 2012, and that everybody on your e-mail list does, too.

Update: From Neil, regarding yesterday's passage of the Texas mandatory sonogram bill ...

If the state can force one medical procedure on free citizens, why can’t it force any medical procedure on free citizens?

Yet the same people turn around and say it is wrong to compel people to buy health insurance as part of health care reform.

In Texas, “Choose life” appears to mean choose a crappy life with no health insurance, no social security, no steady work, and no quality education.

Will women who refuse the sonograms be arrested? Will they be in some way forced to get the sonogram? Will doctors be forced to detail patient conversations in order to prosecute women who refuse to comply?

This is how the State of Texas defines small government and personal freedom.

And Evan, at Burn Down Blog ...

Ah Republicans, the party of small government except for vaginas. At the rate they want to regulate those things, you would think that vaginas work by trading synthetic derivatives made out of radioactive mercury. After all, what do you think that red dot in the Kotex commercials stands for?

And nonsequiteuse, with this poem by Marge Piercy (just the closing excerpt follows; go read the whole thing).

We are all born of woman, in the rose
of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood
and every baby born has a right to love
like a seedling to the sun. Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns.
I will choose what enters me, what becomes,
flesh of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold
shares in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand.

1 comment:

me, evan said...

Hey, thanks for the shoutout!