Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to the Future in Wisconsin

A version of the cover of The Handmaid's Tale
If you've never read "The Handmaid's Tale," you really should.  It's a story about a woman in a dystopian future.  In this future, everyone is classified by their role in society...especially women.  It's set in the United States, which has been taken over by a fundamentalist sect.  In the time leading up to this, the rights of women were slowly taken away.  First, women were removed from the workforce.  The men said "lucky you! You don't have to work."  Then, the ability of women to make purchases went away.  Men said "I'm sure it's a fluke.  Anyway, you can rely on me to get you what you need."  Then, women completely subjugated to the will of men, even their reproductive capabilities.  Handmaids were women that were known to be fertile, who were essentially made into baby makers for rich men.  The woman at the center of the story is a handmaid. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale)

What's so incredibly annerving about it is that it could be set in a very near future.

Road Map

Fundamentalists in the country appear to be using "The Handmaid's Tale" as a road map to the political future of this country.

At a time when teen pregnancies and birth have hit an all-time low (at least for as long as we've really been paying attention to the issue) due, in part, to the availability of birth control, conservative politicians are demonizing birth control.

At a time when we are strapped for cash, and the cost to the public of treating and delivering unwanted pregnancies is at least $11 billion per year, politicians are allowing the Catholic church to decide that insurance companies shouldn't cover birth control.  A "radical intrusion" into church policy.  Wait?  Since when is the church an insurance company.  Stick to religion, guys, or you have to follow the rules for the other businesses you run.

At the same time birth control is being maligned and restricted, the back up plan is also being criminalized, with women being subjected to guilt trips, to object rape, and to prolonged physical risk as a result of pregnancy in order to get an abortion.

Although I don't buy it (nor should anyone with functioning grey matter), but at least you MIGHT be able to justify the invasion of the human female uterus under the guise of "morality."

On Wisconsin!

Wisconsin, though, seems to want to lead the charge toward full-fledged legal subjugation of women.

As of Friday, April 6, 2012, if you are discriminated against by your employer in Wisconsin, the best you can hope for is the financial equivalent of a spanking with an inflatable glove for your employer.  And you may still end up jobless.

That is, Gov. Scott Walker signed a repeal of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act (passed 2009).

While you may still sue in a state court or federal court, the state courts are limited in how you may be compensated for earning less because you have boobs.  It's also more expensive to sue in a federal court, so your options for punishing your employer for being a sexist pig is that much harder.

The justification for this?  Get this: "...money is more important for men." (According to the author of the bill, Senator Glenn Grothman.)

So, if you are a woman and you find out that your employer is paying you less than the male equivalent, tough titty. You shouldn't be the bread winner, anyway.  Get yourself a man!

The text of the bill is here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/proposals/sb202

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