Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Virginia’s Republican Leaders are continuing their multi-year crusade to stifle the hard-won rights of Virginia’s women.
In my March 19 column, I highlighted the systematic efforts by this year’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli, to drive Virginia women’s rights back to the 1950’s.
But Cuccinelli is far from alone. The current Republican Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell—who is eyeing a race for President in 2016–doesn’t want to let Cuccinelli overshadow McDonnell’s own efforts to restrict women’s rights. Last week, McDonnell exercised his gubernatorial authority to modify legislation passed by the Virginia legislature earlier this year.
McDonnell added an amendment to Virginia health care reform legislation that interferes in women’s private medical decisions by prohibiting insurance companies from offering policies that cover safe and legal abortion as a part of Virginia’s health exchange. This is part of McDonnell’s effort to curry favor with the far right wing of his party. McDonnell does not want to be outflanked by Cuccinelli in Republican right wing circles just as jockeying among the 2016 Republican Presidential contenders begins to ramp up.
From 2011’s invasive ultrasound requirements (which made Virginia a laughingstock on late night comedy shows) to burdensome and medically unnecessary health clinic regulations, Virginia’s Republican politicians continue to generate outrage with their attacks on women’s health.
Important and private medical decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor, not by politicians. Caring for pregnant women means making sure they have all the options they need for all medical possibilities during pregnancy – whether carrying a pregnancy to term or making the decision with their doctor to end a pregnancy.
The federal constitutional right to an abortion is an integral part of basic health care for women, and must be part of comprehensive insurance plans in Virginia. McDonnell’s amendment sets yet another dangerous precedent of political interference into health care decisions by eliminating coverage for care to which he is ideologically opposed—but about which he lacks the medical training to evaluate.
McDonnell and Cuccinelli need to find other ways to cozy up to the far right wing of the Republican Party.
Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants to be elected Virginia Governor this year. If he succeeds, the values on which he has built his political career ensure that he would exploit every opportunity to set Virginia’s women back 60 years to an era in which they were “stuck in the drudgery of domestic servitude.”
You think I’m exaggerating? Cuccinelli supports a “personhood amendment” to Virginia’s Constitution.
The practical effect of enacting a personhood law in Virginia would be to end or cripple a series of personal rights and private decisions that Virginia’s women have enjoyed for decades, such as:
- Birth control
- Fertility treatment
- Management of a miscarriage
- Access to safe and legal abortions
Cuccinelli is also the godfather of the effort to drive all abortion clinics in Virginia out of business. In 2011, the Virginia legislature passed a law that classified abortion clinics that perform more than 5 first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals rather than doctor’s offices. The intent of the law, candidly admitted by many of its sponsors, was to drive these clinics out of business entirely because of the expense of compliance.
This 2011 abortion clinic law was patterned after an earlier bill that Cuccinelli had sponsored when he was in the Virginia State Senate. In his current role as Attorney General, Cuccinelli has fought every step of the way to be sure that this abortion clinic law is harshly and mercilessly applied to wipe these clinics out.
Further cementing his role as a champion of setting women’s rights back decades, Cuccinelli recently welcomed a $1.5 million pledge to his campaign for Governor from the Susan B. Anthony List — “a national organization known for its extreme stance on women’s health care.”
A Virginia governed by Ken Cuccinelli would be a 21st century real-life version of Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Cuccinelli’s views on the proper role of women in our society are central to his values and the way in which he would govern our state.
This is not science fiction — this is all too real. We can’t afford to take a risk like this.
Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Arlington County will honor its 2013 Women of Vision award winners on Thursday.
Four women were selected to receive the annual award this year. Among them:
- Dr. Katharine Panfil — Former APS educator and principal of Key and Randolph Elementary schools, now retired.
- Denise Hart — Co-founder, The Leadership Foundry, which promotes the goal of more women serving on corporate boards in the Washington, D.C. area.
- Linda Denny — Former executive of for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Now a consultant and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Museum.
- Angela Guzman — Director of Fundraising and Constituent Relations at Integrated Direct Marketing. She has also chaired a women’s health organization and helped launch a scholarship program.
“Each year, the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women honors women recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to improving the lives and opportunities for Arlington residents, especially women,” the county said in a press release. “The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) works to advance initiatives and policies that empower women and serves as a community advocate and resource on the social and economic interests of all Arlington women. The CSW is an Arlington County Board advisory group and members are appointed by the County Board.”
The Women of Vision ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (4301 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston. Tickets are not required but a $25 donation to the Commission on the Status of Women.
Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Anna Maynard at email@example.com or 703-228-7096.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is applauding today’s House of Representatives passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
This original bill expired in 2011. The latest version includes specific protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, as well as Native Americans and immigrants.
The bill, which first passed the Senate, passed the house by a vote of 286-138. It not heads to President Obama’s desk.
Today’s passage of the Violence Against Women Act will ensure that our nation’s mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends continue to receive federal resources that help keep them safe from harm. I was proud to cosponsor this bill and vote for its passage today.
Violence is an all-too-common reality in the United States. Nearly one in four women are the victims of rape or abuse by a partner during adulthood. With the programs established through the Violence Against Women Act, no man or woman should be afraid to report domestic or dating violence.
VAWA works. Since it was first enacted in 1994, reporting of domestic violence has increased by as much as 51 percent, while the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased 34 percent for women and 57 percent for men.
While I applaud the passage of VAWA, its reauthorization took far too long. This bill passed in the Senate last May, but Republican House leadership refused to bring it to the floor. Instead, they wasted valuable time on an alternative version that deliberately omitted protections for certain vulnerable, underserved populations, allowing VAWA programs to expire at the end of the year. Today, their version of the bill failed on the floor while the Senate version was enacted.
The bill that now heads to the President’s desk includes important reforms to ensure LGBT, Native American, and immigrant women receive the protections they deserve.
Rep. Moran’s son, Patrick, pleaded guilty last year to assaulting his girlfriend outside a D.C. bar. Despite the plea, Patrick Moran’s girlfriend later said that the incident was “an accident that has been blown out of proportion.”
Same-Sex Couples Denied Marriage Licenses — In what has become a Valentine’s Day tradition in Arlington, three same-sex couples applied for and were denied marriage licenses at the Arlington County courthouse yesterday. Arlington Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson reluctantly turned down the applications and spoke outside the courthouse in support of same-sex marriage. A similar demonstration, organized by another gay rights group, took place outside the courthouse last month. [Sun Gazette]
‘Dooring’ Bill Fails in Va. House — Legislation that would outlaw the “dooring” of bicyclists has failed in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill had passed the state Senate but failed to pass a House committee earlier this week. The bill would have made it illegal to open a car door in the immediate path of a cyclist. Virginia is one of ten states in the country that do not have such a law on the books. [Washington Post]
Questioning the ‘Female-Friendly’ Sports Bar — Is Bracket Room, the new “female-friendly” sports bar that’s coming to Clarendon, insulting to women? One Washington City Paper writer says the answer is yes. She writes of Bracket Room partner and former reality TV star Chris Bukowski: “…his 2012 appearance on Bachelor Pad, in which former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants live in a house together and compete for $250,000, suggests he may not be the most in touch with women’s preferences. Over the course of the season, the chiseled-abs, blue-eyed Bukowski became the show’s villain, hooking up with and then ditching two of the female contestants.” [Washington City Paper]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Another Military Daycare Worker Accused of Abuse — Another Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall daycare worker has been accused of abuse, just three months after another daycare abuse scandal broke at the base. This time, a daycare worker is accused of hitting a three-year-old child with a seat cushion. [WJLA]
Crystal City Plan Wins National Award – The Crystal City Sector Plan has won the American Planning Association’s 2013 National Planning Achievement Award for Innovation in Economic Planning and Development. “This ambitious, creative plan is already beginning to make Crystal City an even better place to live, work and play, and to help Arlington meet the serious challenges posed by BRAC,” said Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, in a statement. [Arlington County]
Wine Walk This Weekend — Crystal City will host its annual “1K Wine Walk” this weekend. All but one “heat” on Saturday is sold out, but tickets are still available for most time slots on Sunday. The “1K Beer Walk” will take place two weekends from now. Disclosure: Event organizer Washington Wine Academy is an ARLnow.com advertiser. [Washington Wine Academy]
Seeking ‘Women of Vision’ Nominees – Arlington County’s Commission on the Status of Women is seeking nominations for the 2013 Women of Vision Awards. “The awards are given to individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to women’s issues, and have, over time, developed and communicated their vision for women and engaged community members and other leaders in order to realize this vision,” the county said on its website. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Airpolonia
The first occurred around 11:15 p.m. in the 3300 block of Washington Blvd, according to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A 26-year-old female walked home alone after having spent a night out with friends. After she typed in the security code to open her garage door and walked inside the garage, she noticed the suspect standing at the bottom of her driveway. She became frightened and tried to close the automated garage door, but the man allegedly rushed toward her and stuck his hand over a sensor, causing the door to re-open. She made it inside the house, locked the door and called police while the suspect fled the scene.
According to Sternbeck, the victim described the suspect as a black man with a dark complexion and short hair, about 5’11″, 200 pounds and around 30 years of age. At the time, he had been wearing khaki pants and a red and white checkered shirt. The victim noted that she saw the suspect wearing black gloves when he put his hand over the garage sensor.
About an hour later, an individual matching the same description is believed to have attacked a woman in the 2100 block of Lee Highway. The 24-year-old female was walking home alone when the suspect allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted her. The woman struggled and managed to punch the suspect in the stomach. He then reportedly threw her in some bushes and fled.
This victim told police that the suspect had covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and was wearing black gloves.
“Based on their descriptions and the similiarities in the incidents, we believe it’s the same individual,” Sternbeck said.
Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, not to walk alone and to carry a cell phone for emergencies. Walkers are warned not to put themselves in vulnerable situations, or to have the “that can’t happen to me” mentality.
“We want people to be educated if they’re going to be out late at night,” Sternbeck said. “These are things you need to be aware of.”
Anybody with information about the suspect that may lead to his arrest is asked to call the police non-emergency number, at 703-558-2222.
Shops and restaurants will offer a variety of specials, discounts, and trunk shows. Some stores will even offer cocktails or snacks to shoppers.
Participating establishments include CakeLove, Capitol City Brewing Company, Cheestique, Dogma Bakery & Boutique, Extra Virgin Modern Italian Cuisine, Hair Cuttery, Hardwood Artisans, Johnny Rockets, Le Village Marche, Luna Grill & Diner, Periwinkle, Studio Salon & Spa and VisualEyes Optical Boutique.
A similar type of event kicked off Shirlington’s restaurant week in October. Danielle Bolger, Marketing Coordinator for BrandLinkDC, says the event last fall was so successful and there was so much positive feedback, the decision was made to turn it into a monthly happening.
The event officially runs from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m., but hours for the specials may vary slightly among the individual establishments. You can see what each store and restaurant will offer on the Village at Shirlington website.
Carolyn Cook, Angela Fox, Anita Friedman and Kathleen Sibert were chosen by the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women for their contributions to improving the lives of women and girls in Arlington. They will be honored at a ceremony and reception next Tuesday.
At the event, County Manager Barbara Donnellan will moderate a roundtable discussion on women’s education and empowerment.
The ceremony is open to the public and although reservations are not necessary, anyone interested in attending the event at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (4301 Wilson Blvd) on March 6 can RSVP to Dgates@arlingtonva.us by this Friday, March 2. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. A $25 donation is requested to support CSW.
Here’s the County’s more detailed descriptions of the winners:
- Carolyn Cook is recognized in the Business category for her work empowering girls and women through mentoring, developing the Our Whole Lives curriculum, implementing CampHers, advocating for a women’s heritage train, and volunteerism with the ERA Campaign Network.
- Angela Fox is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her work teaching and training the next generation of women leaders, mentoring girls interested in science and technology, working with young mothers in County schools, hosting networking events for women in the workplace, and working with the Women in Green Forum and the Crystal City Business Improvement District.
- Anita Friedman, chief of the Economic Independence Division of County’s Department of Human Services, is recognized in the government category for her work, together with Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
- Kathleen Sibert is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her efforts to expand the work of A-SPAN, as it ensures that the unique needs of women are addressed with a dedicated floor, nursing services, and more women in key leadership positions. She is also recognized for her collaboration on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
The course aims to address the unique needs women face with money management. Some of the topics covered include budgeting, insurance basics and investing.
“The premise of the program is that women have unique financial needs,” said Virginia Cooperative Extension Financial Counselor Jennifer Abel. “Women are more likely to leave the workforce to care for young children and the elderly. On average, they have lower life earnings and yet they live longer than men.”
Abel will teach the first session and bring in other certified financial planners for the following weeks.
The classes start on January 25 and run every Wednesday until February 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There is an optional $25 fee for attendees who would like to purchase class materials. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-228-6417.
The awards are given to people who show a consistent dedication to working in the community to advance women’s issues, and to improving the lives of local women and girls.
The three categories are business, non-profit and government. Each nominee is scored on criteria such as engaging other community members to realize her vision, and leaving a lasting impression on the community. Individuals must also live, work or volunteer in Arlington to be eligible.
The first of these awards was given in 1988. In 2010, the name was changed from “Person of Vision Award” to “Women of Vision Award.”
Nominations must be submitted by February 9. Award winners get to attend Arlington County’s Women of Vision awards ceremony on March 8.