Roundup: Listening To The Ladies

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Roundup: Listening To The Ladies

Robin Marty

While female political personalities make big money out of their life experiences, is the Miss USA pageant working to prep the next generation?

It’s good to be a female political rising star these days.  It seems like everyone is interested in what these women have to say, and the media is eating it up.

Former First Lady Laura Bush’s revelations that she is both supportive of abortion rights and equal marriage rights regardless of gender has made her new memoir extremely popular, according to The Guardian.

It’s not quite at Harry Potter levels, but Laura Bush‘s memoir, Spoken From the Heart, has sold almost 150,000 copies in its first week on sale in America.

The former first lady’s autobiography – bought by Simon & Schuster for a reported $3.5m-$5m (£2.4m-£3.5m) last year – missed out on the top spot in the US book charts to Charlaine Harris’s psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse in her latest outing, Dead in the Family, which sold 199,732 copies. But Bush’s effort racked up a very respectable 147,003 sales, according to the Bookseller.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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As of yet the Former First Lady hasn’t sold nearly as many copies of her book as former Vice Presidential candidate and media sensation Sarah Palin’s book has.  Then again, Laura Bush hasn’t hit the speaker circuit declaring that feminists don’t think enough of teenage girls to believe they are “capable” of handling pregnancy. Washington Post writer Ruth Marcus writes:

Palin presents pro-choice feminists as insidious forces suggesting to pregnant women — and girls — that “you’re not capable” of handling both an education and a baby, a job and motherhood. Anti-abortion Mama Grizzlies, by contrast, are “empowering women by offering them a real choice.”

What real choice would that be? When Palin found herself unintentionally pregnant, she faced a choice — one that remains available to her and that she says she fleetingly considered. Later in that pregnancy, when an amniocentesis test came back abnormal, Palin faced a choice — that she again fleetingly considered. Palin made the correct choice for her. But she would deny other women the right to engage in a similar decision-making process. I respect the convictions of those who believe that abortion is the taking of a human life and believe that it should therefore be outlawed. To cast this removal of decision-making as a matter of feminist empowerment, however, is Orwellian.

Yes, Palin does make for good sound-bites.  And she’s quite right that choosing to carry her teen pregnancy to term has turned out very well for her daughter Bristol.  After all, Huffington Post has reported Bristol is also entering the speaking circuit, to the tune of $30,000 per appearance.

Bristol Palin has signed with a speakers bureau for a tidy sum of between $15,000 and $30,000 per speech, RadarOnline reports.

Palin’s listed programs include “Abstinence,” “Conference,” “Fundraiser,” “Pro-Life,” “Special Event/Holiday,” “Women’s,” and “Youth” — She also looks to be the relatively new bureau’s highest-profile speaker to date, except perhaps for Drew Brees.

I would say that if every pregnant teenage girl had the opportunity to have large speaker fees, book deals and television appearances, they also would be less likely to feel the need to obtain an abortion.  Sadly, teenage mothers will ever see the opportunities Bristol Palin is getting. 

As if the speaker’s circuit, promotional appearances and media interviews didn’t make it clear enough that the line between politician and personality has become utterly blurred for women these days, the Miss USA pageant has now decided to go a step further and start asking “culture war” questions of the contestants, as USA Today puts it.

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could fire questions at politicians the way judges at beauty pageants — all cranked up on culture war Kool-Aid — are doing these days?

Let’s get senators in stiletto heels and bikinis or Speedos, parade them around under TV lights, then throw them the questions asked of the two finalists at Miss USA yesterday.

The winner, Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, a Lebanese immigrant who calls herself both Muslim and Christian and went to Catholic school, was asked if health insurance should cover birth control. Yes, she said, because it’s so expensive. According to AP, she replied.

“I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance.”

I guess their just preparing the women for their future runs for congress.

Mini Roundup – Doctors at the hospital defend excommunicated nun Sister Margaret McBride’s decision and her dedication to life, while another doctor who was not involved with the case claims abortions to save a mother’s life are never necessary and they should have left the woman to die.

May 17, 2010

Alaska Supreme Court Judge Steps Down From Parental Notification Lawsuit – Medical News Today

Laura Bush autobiography finds favour with American public – The Guardian

Sarah Palin wants to deny choice – Washington Post

McCollum urges support for anti-abortion bill at St. Lucie event – TCPalm

Canadians support spending aid money on abortions: poll – Toronto Sun

Tasha Kheiriddin: Abortion law an unavoidable debate – National Post

Missouri Could Become Next State to Opt Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care –

Quebec archbishop makes controversial comments on abortion –

Florida Governor Charlie Crist Likely to Veto Bill for Pre-Abortion Ultrasound –

Que. cardinal’s rape remark sparks outcry – Vancouver Sun

How did Carly Fiorina become an anti-abortion hero? – Washington Post

Catholic Nun Excommunicated for Approving A Life-Saving Abortion –

Missouri State House Passes Bill to Expand Abortion Restrictions – Ms. Magazine

Catholic cardinal’s comments about abortion, rape cause uproar – Hamilton Spectator

Baby Killed in Vehicular Homicide in Georgia. Mother Charged. Tell the Truth …  – Catholic Online

Women Deliver Conference Partners With United Nations to Promote Abortion –

Legislation would bar tax-funded abortion coverage in Ohio –

West Virginia Gov. Manchin Signs Bill, Women Get Ultrasound Before Abortion –

Sister McBride courageous, valued – Arizona Republic

50 Years of the Birth Control Pill in America  Campus Progress

Forget ‘world peace:’ Beauty queens face culture war questions – USA Today

Gates Grant to Fund Testicle-Blasting Contraceptive – CBS News

More Women in Need of Publicly Funded Family Planning Services –

WATCH: Women crossing border for birth control pills – WDBO Radio

Condom Warning for Troops – FOXNews

It’s been fifty years after the birth-control pill was approved – Palm Beach Post

No HIV care for 90% of gay men in Asia Pacific – Montreal Gazette

Latest attempt to block HIV: Stronger vaginal gels – Washington Post

Smallpox Vaccine May Protect Against HIV – BusinessWeek

Islamic nations say will tackle maternal deaths: US – National Post

Bristol Palin Signs Deal For Up To $30000 Per Speech – Huffington Post

May 18, 2010

Walberg and Rooney clash over abortion – Politico

Nun excommunicated after abortion that saved woman’s life – AZFamily

Everyone gets a say except women – Socialist Worker Online

Is religious right more powerful than secular left? – Calgary Herald

Letters: Risk of pro-abortion legacy – Sioux Falls Argus Leader

An unavoidable debate – National Post

Outcry over abortion remarks – Straits Times

New! Intolerance Legislation from the GOP Not Covered in the Media – AlterNet

In Specter-Sestak Race NARAL Breaks With Obama – Women’s eNews

Phoenix Catholic hospital: Doctor lauds nun who approved abortion – Catholic Culture

Illegal? Not a good reason – Dallas Morning News

Ultrasound: An Affordable Male Contraceptive –

Closing in on an Aids vaccine – The Guardian

Gay Asian men ‘denied HIV care’ – BBC News

Sex may become ‘old news’ when it comes to having babies says Australian scientist –

Inside the gay baby boom – Salon

Doulas try to create positive birth experience – Iowa City Press Citizen

12 die each day from cervical cancer – Manila Bulletin