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Posted on Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7 a.m.

Let's honor mothers by abandoning the war on women being waged in Lansing and Washington

By Guest Column

This Mother’s Day, people throughout the world will pause to say “thank you” to the women in their life. As we approach this day of recognition for our mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts and nieces, we should also take a moment to reflect upon the war being waged on women at both the state and federal levels of our government.


State Sen. Rebekah Warren is a Democrat from Ann Arbor.

In the past two years, our national lawmakers have attempted to both exempt employers from providing health insurance that covers birth control and de-fund family planning services. Even worse, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget that makes drastic cuts to programs that women disproportionately use. These include Medicare and Medicaid as well as child care, Head Start, job training, Pell Grants, and housing and energy assistance.

Much of this war has been waged under the cover of “fiscal responsibility.” To justify these budget cuts we have been told that we must tighten our belts or share sacrifices as we get our nation’s and state’s finances back in order. But what about the other wars we’ve been waging for over a decade now? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost over $1 trillion by the end of this fiscal year, and the toll taken on those who have fought in these wars and their families is incalculable. Sadly, this spending is rarely challenged.

This Mother’s Day, I challenge our state legislators to honor Michigan’s women by directing efforts toward initiatives that make us more secure here at home. Instead of proposing strict insurance restrictions on abortion services, let’s ensure access to affordable birth control. Instead of downplaying the importance of family planning, let’s amend our civil rights act to protect breastfeeding mothers. Instead of using religious and moral ideologies to justify the restriction of information, let’s make sure our state’s young people are taught comprehensive sexuality education. Shifting our focus to these areas enables us to honor motherhood by giving women the necessary resources to not only support their families but also themselves.

The state of Michigan needs to abandon this war on women. I have and will continue to work to move the state and federal legislative agenda to focus our resources on programs and infrastructure to support our children and families. This year as you honor your mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts and nieces, please think deeply about these issues and give those legislators and other public servants fighting for women’s rights your support.

Rebekah Warren is a Democratic Michigan state senator from Ann Arbor and state director for the Women Legislators Lobby, a program of Women's Action for New Directions.


Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, May 14, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Thank God for mothers and the 19th Amendment!


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I am glad you wrote this Rebekah. It shows what a piece of work you really are. Please keep up the writing. Maybe make it a weekly thing. Thanks.


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Lotta hate out there on Mother's day. Didn't your mom's teach y'all better?


Sun, May 13, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Rebekah, What a sad commentary for Mother's Day. Please, get out a bit and if you want to speak of a war on women's rights be an advocate for the women in China who are being forced to have abortions, or advocate for the war on women being forced to become sex slaves or to have their genitals mutilated. In my opinion you are not an advocate for women but rather an opposer of women. To speak of a "war on women's rights" by defending the right of a mother to kill her own child and then to say lets honor mothers is just beyond words for me. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who have been blessed with their child and or children. And to all the moms who have been blessed with a child , but are unable to provide for their child, please know that there are so many women waiting and hoping and waiting and hoping to become a mom. I know because for almost seventeen years I waited and hoped to become a mom and I was finally blessed by becoming the mom to our 2 daughters by adoption. Not a day goes by that I don't thank their birth mom and dad for their love and sacrifice. No Rebekah, the "war" isn't against the women but rather against all the lost children.

Jay Thomas

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

There are 3 women graduating from college for every two men. Do we really still need "take your daughter to work" days? At some point the constant criticism about being oppressed is really not about opportunity or equality. More likely it is about benefiting from something unearned.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

As usual, the best perspectives are often gained by looking at things from other points of view. Let's imagine state/federal governments that were composed mostly of women. Now, let's imagine that these women spent considerable amounts of legislative time attempting to control men's bodies; such as limiting ED pills and condoms. Would you men like that? As a man, I wouldn't. In fact, I have a serious dislike for any form of government that tries to impose moral obligations (which are usually religious vendettas) on people. All that aside, Happy Mother's Day to all of the responsible and loving mothers here!

David Cahill

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Sen. Warren is completely correct about the Republican war on women. This pandering to the right wing will probably help President Obama and many other Democratic candidates significantly this fall.

Michigan Man

Sun, May 13, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

Cahill - This article was convinced me it would be good start a war against Warren. I will serve as the CEO. Would you like to serve was my VP?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

Wow, is this for real Rebekah, are you serious here ? In a war don't people get physically injured and sometimes killed Rebekah ? Well then, that being the case, you are the one waging the war on women with all the millions of aborted females since abortion became legal. As well, what is the unemployment rate for women today, are women not suffering because of high unemployment ? How about talking about the economy Rebekah, you and your president need to start paying attention to that ! ABO


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

stun:women ( especially but not exclusively poor ones) , denied needed family planning services and the right to determine whether or not to bring problem fetuses to term ( as santorum particularly would do) most certainly can be physically at risk of death and injury. I do agree on one point though : the phrase "war on women" could better be termed the " holy war against reality ( i.e overpopulation; the inevitablity of backalley abortions whatever the law says etc) and rationality" i'd have suggested "jihad' but in this case its mostly right wing christians that are the war mongers.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

You use the term "war" in a very loose and disrespectful way Rebekah. What you describe is not war , I feel bad for the men and women that died in "war" so you can abuse the term like you have. Very obvious Obama has every loose left lip screaming and hollering about anything and everything except the economy. Good Day


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 6 p.m.

You miss the point, Snoop. Republicans are trying to pass all sorts of social legislation right now, much of which is at the expense of the poor and women, when THEY should be focusing on the economy. But it's hard to get support for the 1% among the electorate right now.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Wow and I considered voting for you! You scare me now.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

seems like this thread has attracted all the disgruntled santorum voters in the readership area... well, get your jollies / frustrations out here because even your party's certain nominee is alot more liberal on such matters than he's pretended to be lately... so whoever wins in nov it'll be probably be fine for those who are rational on the matters at hand.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Margarent Sanger, who fought for a womans right to take birth control, was a racist who believed in eugenics, eugenics in America was a "progressive". That mentally impaired people should be bred out of society by "fixing them" like dogs. That minorities, the inferior races, should be bred out, that mixed race children were born by loose white woman by "rapist" black men. These "progessives" later rolled into the Democrats. M Sangers well publicized papers, written in many journals of the day include racist statements, her autobiography was even harder to read. Eugenics was something Hitler was interested after learning of the movement from the US. An idea later adopted by the Nazis. An idea that proponants of Planned Parenthood, birth-control and abortion don't want the masses knowing about.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

oh puhleeze bunny abbot....your side of this issue is hardly in a postion to be sanctimonious about the ' racism ' card....


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Do you prefer that contraceptives still be illegal, as they were in her time? Though exaggerated by the right, Sanger was flawed. But her work toward legalizing contraception started the real equality movement in America.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

I love how my comment was so offensive it had to be removed. everyone should look into the history of Planned Parenthood, birth control pill (like who were the first proponants of it) and of abortions.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Promoting abortion, Ms Warren, is a war on women since half of those killed are female.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

again abortion isnt mentioned but hey lets keep bickering over this non issue while your rights are trampled. go ahead and vote for your boy Romney and see what happens. good luck.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

yes, it's only disgusting when we look at other countries only aborting girls until they get a boy, to the point that they have backseat ultrasounds. But here in America it is ok to abort! as long as you aren't doing it for "gender selection" purposes.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

We're oppressing women with limited government! Oh yes, we're evil, eviiiil! Refusing to enslave taxpayers to fund Democrat priorities is the worst kind of oppression, m'kay? The real agenda here is the leftist fixation on population control. But being honest about how they don't want your children cluttering up their world would be impolitic. And please don't look into what Margaret Sanger had in mind when she started Planned Parenthood. A certain minority group that has been brainwashed into thinking that the Democratic Party is their friend might become disillusioned.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

thank you, I posted a comment regarding this but it was "removed". start speaking the truth about PP and M Sanger and fear comes over the Leftists


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Obama's Mommy government

tom swift jr.

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Doesn't matter which side of this fence you must be an election year.....


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

To everyone who has commented negatively so far, would you mind revealing if you are a woman.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

RSA221, if you're going to put your moral disagreement with factory farming on the same plane as my moral disagreement with, as I see it, the killing of innocent children there is absolutely NO way we could carry on a dialogue here. Have a great day!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

I kind of knew you'd gravitate to trying to negate my position by my "probably 95%" numbers, which is not the point. The "committed relationship" part isn't the crux of my theory either. Your question had an initial implication of questioning the support of men by funding viagra (which I do see you do support funding of) and my response was that WOMEN benefit both emotionally and physically by the primarily older, married men that use viagra. The contraceptives we're being asked to fund are not for the benefit of established couples (c'mon you KNOW they're not), they're for young singles (mostly women in their late teens and 20's whom I guess feminists want to promote looseness for) that don't WANT to pay for their own while they're out sowing their oats. I mean really, there's a public health issue in our country where women are not able to pay for their own contraception???? Come On People...when does this desire for the collected monies of the American Public to support all these nuances end??? Sheesh!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

Garbage Comment I am not a woman, I have a mother, as sister, a wife and a daughter... all of whom I love. I am teaching my daughter to be a strong, independent and moral person. Is that revealing enough?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

@JP2, I'm morally opposed to factory farming, but I have to pay for it. Taxpayers subsidize meat :( So at what point do we get to pick and choose?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Lovaduck, in this case it's valid because men don't know what it's like to be pregnant or to lose economic viability as a single mother. And men are the majority in making women's health care decisions in our legislature. JP2, even though your statement that 95% of Viagra users are in committed relationships was just pulled out of thin air, why does THAT in and of itself make it okay for taxpayers to fund? Would you then agree that people using contraceptives in a committed relationship should also have the benefit of having it provided by tax-funded health care? And, careful about making assumptions, because I think both Viagra and contraceptives should be covered as part of a comprehensive health care plan.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Ah, yes...the evil men simply passing legislation to benefit themselves. First, if it was as base as you elude, "men pass supporting viagra so they can satisfy themselves" then of course I would not support that. But...if you let go of your knee jerk biases towards men for one minute and consider that probably 95% of the viagara users are in committed relationships (I'd guess probably the majority married) and it's their PARTNERS (probably 90% WOMEN) that benefit both physically and emotionally from a "functioning" partner, maybe you'd readjust the need for that question (but probably not).


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

That's an argument against the person,e.g. "You're a man, so you can't be objective, or you have nothing to say," rather than a refutation (if you can do one) of their argument.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

JP2, are you also appalled that Viagra is covered by health programs but not contraceptives?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

"neither rich Nor privileged" (-;


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

I am a woman (JP2) in my 40's who has NEVER lived life feeling as if a "war of women" is being waged on me (and I am neither rich or privileged). I am APPALLED that any women believes the "government" (i.e. the American Public, TAXPAYERS) should fund her contraceptive use and that if she wants an abortion, believes people that morally oppose such actions should have to pay for it, that is absolutely unbelievable to me, what gall...because truthfully, I'm sure you must acknowledge the amount of women out there that are just so poor they NEED to government to fund this stuff is minuscule!


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

how does the left know what is best for women? they don't. Not anymore than the right. Leave this faux "war on women" junk out of the conversation. The left does not speak for me, ever. I don't let the right speak for me either. Rebekahs column just shows how the LEFT USES women for political game.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Does anyone else see the horrific hypocrisy of her using Mother's Day to promote funding abortions? Bad timing, Rebekah!

Basic Bob

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

On Mothers Day, we should thank the women who want to be mothers.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Yes, it is just about enough to make me want to vomit. Behind her pretty face is a sick and twisted way of thinking - it is incomprehensible and gross; to say the least. If I were her parents I would be so ashamed.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

How about this line of thinking - if you want to have sex, but you can't afford birth control, then don't have sex! Or, buy your dozen condoms and only have sex every other day.... that way you can have sex for almost a whole month! Why does government need to be involved in "affordable birth control"?? Where is personal responsibility?? Rebekah - I shudder to think what your ideal of sex education would be for our local schools. Your opinions really alarm me. I am thankful that you put your thoughts out there for everyone to see... and with your glamour shot too so we know exactly who you are. I will definitely be on high alert at the polls the next time.

Peter Baker

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Being taught condom usage and person responsibility would come with the comprehensive sex education.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

She's right! Look how well these programs have worked in the city of Detroit. It's a gem, isn't it? Funny, the same rhetoric for the last 40 years. With every assistance program, more moral and societal decay.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

The most important word, the word she is desperately trying to avoid using, the word underlying the context of her whole column is: ABORTION. Simply substitute this word for her phrase 'war on women', and you'll be much closer to the truth.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

She didn't avoid the word. "Instead of proposing strict insurance restrictions on abortion services, let's ensure access to affordable birth control."


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

It is tough to take an argument seriously when one resorts to hyperbole about a "war on women." Really? Where are the casualties? How many dead? Wounded? Oh, that's right. The answer is zero. Doesn't sound like a "war" to me. Maybe the author should visit a veteran's hospital to see what real casualties of a real war look like. Maybe then she could recognize the difference between a real war and overblown political rhetoric. If you want to argue about budget priorities, do that. Just cut out the "war on women" crapola.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

So if it was changed to "an attack on rights previously given to women" you would be all for it?


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

excellent column... that the fanatical likes of santorum , bachmann etc could become standard bearers of the Republican party , currently dominant in Mich politics ...and that Romney is pathetically trying to recast his erstwhile moderate self in that mold.. is testimony that misogynistic ' talibanization' is not confined to backward-looking points east.


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

What a ridiculous column. Living within your means is not a "war on women" Demanding govt. accountability is not a "war on women" Stressing personal responsibility is not a " war on women" I understand the political agenda being pushed (Romney and the Republicans hate woment) and themotive of this column is transparent.


Mon, May 14, 2012 : 2 a.m.

spot on with another predictible response braggslaw. just because of you ill continue to vote against "your wallet" soley out of spite.

Hot Sam

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

We'd like to know how any of your "freedoms" have been "taken away"


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Reproductive freedom means being able to control the size of your family, which is directly connected to other freedoms we take for granted in the US.

Hot Sam

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Is "freedom" being "free" or is "freedom" having the rest us pay for it???


Sat, May 12, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I think you missed the part about reproductive freedom, which is necessary to make families economically viable.

Hot Sam

Sat, May 12, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Spot on Bragg... The only war I see is the one on my wallet...