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November 09, 2003

"No Girls Allowed" gets Legs

By Byron LaMasters

Thanks to Andrew and other bloggers the "No Girls Allowed" picture of Bush signing the "partial birth" abortion ban has legs. It's all over google news. Score one for the bloggers! Also kudos to NARAL Pro-Choice America for pushing this (you can donate here). It's really important that we emphasize that the people behind banning a women's health care procedure are a bunch of old white men. How compassionate.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at November 9, 2003 03:24 PM | TrackBack


Byron, with all due respect, the position various folks take on abortion really doesn't break down reliably by the demographic categories you suggest. You can find supporters for this statute from every race, both sexes, both political parties, and every income level and career type all across America. Likewise you can find opponents from every such category. Whether you're for or against them, abortion rights are not as simple an issue as you're suggesting. (I've blogged about this at, predictably, more length on my own bandwidth.)

Posted by: Beldar at November 10, 2003 10:52 AM

I understand your point Bedlar.. I haven't read your post yet (I'm about to). My point is the symbolism. It looks bad. And if there are "supporters for this statute from every race, both sexes, both political parties, and every income level and career type all across America", then why doesn't the bill signing reflect that? I doubt that the picture will do much to change anyone's mind on choice. It will, however, energize choice activists and help NARAL and other like-minded organizations raise money. That's the only real long-term effect.

Posted by: ByronUT at November 10, 2003 12:06 PM

Does the signing mean that Bush hates women? No, it does not. What it says is that someone dropped the ball. I'm surprised that Rove didn't makes sure that at least one woman, one minority, one young person was on the stage. That negligence hurts their image and sends the wrong message to people.

Posted by: Andrew D at November 10, 2003 12:10 PM

I think that the picture illustrates an important point-- that none of the people who sponsored the bill, even those token women in the audience, are in immediate need of a D & X. Back when this legislation was first introduced, the testimony included women who had gotten them-- their pregnancies were at ends due to severe birth defects (one was a fetus who had failed to develop a brain) and whose doctors had offered them options to having to carry non-viable fetuses to term in order to go through the dangers of childbirth for the sake of an infant who would not survive being cut off from the placenta. These women will still need such options, and now the safest of them has been made illegal. Now if any of these people had to live under the slightest threat of facing such horrors, would they have signed a bill that made their best option illegal? I don't think so.

Posted by: Laura at November 10, 2003 01:54 PM

From TAPPED, which quotes from an article in "Roll Call":


How it came to be that no women appeared on stage with the president is still something of a mystery. Several female lawmakers, including Reps. Melissa Hart (R-Pa.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), attended the event but were consigned to seats in the audience.

One senior House GOP aide said administration officials suggested the outcome was the result of a clash in priorities between the White House legislative affairs shop and the White House communications operation.

According to this aide, the communications people expressed concern about the all-male lineup slated to appear with the president, but faced a numbers question.

"The legislative shop said 'Either we do 10 Members or we do 200,'" the aide said. Since there was consensus that the latter number was far too large, the issue became which of the Members asked to be on stage could be replaced.

At that point, legislative affairs officials pointed out there would be what the Congressional aide called "hierarchical mutiny" if they tried to substitute out any of the group of Members, which included Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), and key lawmakers involved in moving the legislation.


I agree with Byron - it's the symbolism, and I think the GOP realizes, a bit late, that they blew it from a PR perspective.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner at November 10, 2003 02:54 PM

"It looks bad" isn't an ethical argument, though. All that states is that, to appeal to a sexist and racist perspective, Bush would have been better off having a token female/minority on the stage. Instead, he didn't engage in such pandering, and that doesn't indict his actions in anything other than a pragmatic sense.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges at November 10, 2003 04:18 PM
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