The Egyptian military is now conceding that "virginity checks" were conducted on women rounded up after a March 9 protest in Tahrir Square (a month after Mubarak stepped down). They continue to deny that the female protestors were beaten, subjected to electric shocks, and strip-searched (as is alleged by Amnesty International), but acknowledge that virginity checks were carried out so that those rounded up could not later claim to have been raped by the security forces.
Conservative politicians in Russia are trying to introduce legislation that would restrict access to abortions. The legislation would put a stop to free abortions at government-run clinics and require women to have a prescription in order to get the morning-after pill. Most encouragingly, women wanting abortions would have to get the permission of their spouses, or, if they are underage, from their parents. More on how encouraging this is later.
Lest you think it's only women in foreign countries who are fortunate enough to have thoughtful decision-makers thinking and making decisions about their rights...
Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf recently made some innovative suggestions about how women should go about planning for future rapes.
DeGraaf doesn't think insurance companies should cover abortion in their general plans even in cases of rape or incest. Instead, he thinks women should be able to buy "abortion-only" policies. When Rep. Barbara Bollier unaccountably raised some objections to this suggestion, the House was treated to the following exchange:
DeGraaf: "We do need to plan ahead, don't we, in life?"
Bollier: "And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with pregnancy?"
DeGraaf: "I have a spare tire on my car. I also have life insurance. I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for."
DeGraaf later claimed his comments were taken out of context, and added that people wouldn't need the coverage if they weren't predisposed to killing their children, which certainly suggests that whatever context he's actually using, it's even worse than the one his earlier comments were taken out of.
Don't be alarmed!
These news items might make you feel depressed, or discouraged, or extremely angry. But all of them also suggest ways in which women can grow and improve, if we're prepared to learn from their example.
Egypt: teaches women that they should be demure, modest, and virginal, just in case they're ripped out of a political demonstration and violated.
Russia: teaches women that marriages should be built on a strong foundation of open communication, because if they get pregnant, they'll need to get their husband's approval to have an abortion.
U.S.A: teaches women to assess future risk and prudently plan for the future.
Really, the ultra-religious, right-wing, pro-life lobby is just trying to create a new generation of modest, communicative, farsighted women.
POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.