Thursday, 22 May 2014

Trading women's rights for voting rights and economic growth


As retired history/civics teachers, we could not help but think about the lessons of the latest legislation passed by both houses of the Missouri Legislature making it more difficult for women, especially poor women, to exercise their reproductive rights.
The condescension of Republican males is stunning. Equally disturbing is the trade-off for the rights of African-Americans to exercise the right to vote. The Legislature agreed to give up the voter ID law, a blatant effort to suppress the black vote in Missouri and across the country, in exchange for more restrictive reproductive choices for Missouri women.
This is shameful trade-off and one of many reasons why Missouri is considered a second-rate state known for discriminatory laws against women, gays and African-Americans.
Count on future efforts to resist marriage equality, the reproductive rights of women, the rights of workers, and the rights of racial minorities to vote. Is this the civics lesson teachers want to pass on to their students?
As we look to future economic growth, why would talented and highly educated young people consider Missouri if they had other options?
It is frightening to think that this Legislature is debating education policy for over 900,000 Missouri students.

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