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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Issue of the Week: The Republican War on Women Escalates

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Is it a coincidence that a small bomb exploded outside of a Grand Chute, Wis., Planned Parenthood clinic the same week the Republican presidential candidates were campaigning in Wisconsin?

The 2012 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have been verbally attacking women's control over their reproductive choices in general, and Planned Parenthood in particular.

In Wisconsin, the Republican-led Legislature has passed bills to intervene in a woman's relationship with her doctor, allow schools to provide medically inaccurate information in sex ed classes, make it more difficult for a woman to sue an employer who illegally pays her less than her male peers and prohibits private insurance policies that include abortion coverage from being sold on a health insurance exchange. All of these bills are waiting for Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

Now, the Republicans' war on women has escalated to domestic terrorism.

Rick Santorum was the only Republican candidate to condemn the violence, albeit at the same time he reiterated his opposition to the critical health services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics. The other candidates? Silent.

Even Walker and Wisconsin's Republican legislators have failed to denounce the attempt to shut down Planned Parenthood through violence and intimidation. Although Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, has issued a statement condemning the violence, that statement came from him, not the governor. And while the mainstream Wisconsin Right to Life denounced the attempted bombing, the extremist Pro-Life Wisconsin, which has gained political clout during the Walker administration, said nothing.

Fortunately, the FBI is aiding the investigation, so it cannot be skewed by Walker's anti-woman political views.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only attempted act of violence against a Wisconsin abortion provider.

Just last week, federal charges were filed against Ralph Lang, a Marshfield, Wis., man who had intended to shoot abortion providers at a Madison Planned Parenthood in May 2011 because of his religious views.

Lang may be just a lone nut finding justification for his warped interpretations of the Bible. But without a strong condemnation of violence from Republican presidential candidates, Gov. Walker, his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature, and the pro-life leaders who put them in office, the extremist acts of just one lone nut will seem like they've been condoned by the candidates and elected officials who have declared a political war on women.

Heroes of the Week: St. Aemilian-Lakeside Volunteers

Since 1850, St. Aemilian-Lakeside (8901 W. Capitol Drive) has been working to help children and families in the Milwaukee area. Today, the nonprofit agency provides “innovative family-centered care and educational services that embrace diversity and empower children, families and adults to improve the quality of their lives.”

St. Aemilian-Lakeside trains prospective foster parents, for which there is a constant demand—each month, an additional 100 children require out-of-home care. The organization also provides educational and mental health services to children, adults and families throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Hundreds of volunteers offer their time and talents in support of St. Aemilian-Lakeside's many programs. Volunteer opportunities include a chance to help out with tutoring, mentoring and recreational activities. Especially needed are individuals who can help young adults through the crucial transition from the foster care system to independence.

Readers who are considering becoming foster parents or volunteering to help children and families are urged to visit www.st-al.org.

TAGS for Heroes: St. Aemilian-Lakeside, Milwaukee, volunteer, nonprofit, family, children, care, programs, foster parents, mental health, services