New Hampshire State Rep. Peter Hansen (R) is being critized for an e-mail he sent to fellow representative Steve Vaillancourt (R) in which he used the word "vaginas" to refer to women. In an email conversation among the state legislators about a controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, Vaillancourt had been advocating retreating when a physical threat is posed, and resorting to deadly force only when pursued after that point. Hansen countered his argument by saying "What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina's of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims," emphasis added.
Multiple representatives who viewed the e-mail responded angrily, admonishing Hansen for his terminology. State Rep. Rick Watrous(D-Concord) replied "Are you really using 'vaginas' as a crude catch-all for women? Really? Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve."
A speaker from NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire made the comment "[Women] are daughters, sisters, mothers, students, professionals, and community leaders. We deserve more than being referenced by our body parts."
Hansen's initially defended his wording: "Having a fairly well educated mind I do not need self appointed wardens to A: try to put words in my mouth for political gain and B: Turn a well founded strategy in communication into an insulting accusation, and finally if you find the noun vagina insulting or in some way offensive then perhaps a better exercise might be for you to re-examine your psyche." He later issued an apology "to those who took offense."
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 4/17/2013; The Raw Story 4/16/2013; Huffington Post 4/16/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .