Brooklyn Broadside: Women’s History Month Brings Up Some Controversial Issues
By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BROOKLYN — There is more to March than the beginning of spring and the madness of college basketball. March is also Women’s History Month, and many festivities are underway to honor women’s accomplishments around the world.
For example, there was the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center organized by Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown. Two thousand people attended the meeting, which was opened by Angelina Jolie and closed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Activist women from all over the world attended to discuss rights and issues that are taken for granted in the United States but not in many other places.
As could be expected, Newsweek devoted its entire March 12 issue to the subject of women’s rights and featured 150 fearless women in the world.
Among many things, what caught my eye was a list of where American women rank in the world. For example, we’re 60th in workforce participation and 24th in life expectancy. We’re 31st in math scores, 41st in tobacco usage and eighth in obesity. We are only number one in one category — Miss Universe victories.
But the real eye-opener was a full-page ad in Fridays’ New York Times. The headline was a real grabber: “It’s Time To Consider Quitting the Catholic Church.” It was produced by an organization called Freedom from Religion Foundation. The cause for it was the Catholic Church’s position on contraception, which has stirred all kinds of pots.
One telling element in the ad reads as follows: “It’s a disgrace that U.S. health care reform is being held hostage to your church’s irrational opposition to medically prescribed contraception. No political candidate should have to genuflect before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. President Obama has compromised, but the church never budges. Instead, it is launching a ruthless political inquisition in your name.”
This bold attack on the church’s conservative views is probably only the first salvo in a hot debate over this question, so essential to women’s interests. Certainly, without reliable contraception, American women will not easily participate in the workforce in greater numbers — not to mention the negative impact on their life expectancy. What better time than Women’s History Month to address this vital issue.
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