The Week That Was: Birth Control as a Firing Offense & Hillary in 2016?

Six things you need to know right now about campaign issues and the candidates

With the arrival of Daylight Savings time this week, some of us are still recovering from that lost hour of sleep. But that hasn't slowed down the campaigns of the Republican presidential hopefuls, nor has it caused lawmakers to take a break from prying into our medicine cabinets and our bedrooms. To make sure you're up to speed on the don't-miss stories of the week, iVillage gives you The Week That Was:

1. Using birth control could become a firing offense
Arizona state legislator Debbie Lesko introduced a bill that would allow employers to fire employees who want to obtain birth control through their health insurance plans unless they can prove they're not using the pill to prevent pregnancy! Need the pill for cramps, acne or ovarian cysts? No problem! Want it to manage when and how to have children? No way, if this bill passes. Since Arizona is an "at will" employment state, employers there can fire an employee for pretty much any reason. So if this legislation is enacted, women in the Grand Canyon State could be denied coverage without disclosing their confidential medical records to their bosses explaining the non-contraceptive reason for needing oral birth control.

2. GOP and the Violence Against Women Act
In1994, bipartisan support abounded on Capitol Hill for the Violence Against Women Act that funds programs that investigate and prosecute domestic and physical abuse crimes against women. In 2000 and 2005, Republicans and Democrats alike gave the thumbs up to keep funding the program. But in 2012, most GOP lawmakers are having a major change of heart. To protest Republican efforts to block funding for the program, women Senators, all Democrats except for Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, made a series of floor speeches Thursday calling on the GOP to come to its senses. Murkowski recently told CNN that she's been warning her fellow Republican lawmakers that they are in danger of being defined as the anti-woman party, in light of the fight against contraceptives and this move against the VAWA.

3. Hillary in 2016?
Some rumors never fade. Elvis is still alive. Desserts don't have calories when you're on vacation. And Hillary Clinton will run for President. The current Secretary of State has denied it a million times, but those protestations weren't helped either by her speech at the Women in the World conference, or by the moving introduction Meryl Streep gave to Hillary, listing Clinton's accomplishments and reminding the audience that "every living American woman" of a certain age has measured her own accomplishments to those of Clinton. What sparked the White House rumors this time? Clinton's remarks pointing to the ongoing debate surrounding women's health and contraceptive rights in the Republican presidential primary race might have done it. Clinton reminded us that the fight for women sometimes needs to be fought at home as much as in other countries. Is that a 2016 stump speech I hear?

4. Are the funny pages anyplace for transvaginal probes?
Sometimes the easiest way to get your head around an issue is by highlighting it through satire and humor. That's what Garry Trudeau is doing in his comic strip Doonesbury. This week, he's focused on the proposed laws around the country that would require women to undergo government mandated transvaginal sonograms, as well as a variety of other requirements, before being allowed to get an abortion. In Friday's installment, Trudeau focuses on the Texas law that calls for a doctor to describe a sonogram in detail to the patient. In that strip, the doctor can't seem to make out the physical features of the fetus, but then asks the woman in the treatment room, "Shall I describe its hopes and dreams?" Some newspapers across the country refused to run this week's strips because of the subject matter.

5. Meghan McCain in Playboy
No, she's not the centerfold, though the GOP bad girl is known for flaunting her cleavage from time to time on Twitter. McCain has been outspoken in her belief that the Republican party isn't doing itself any favors with her generation with its stands on contraception and same-sex marriage. In the Q&A with Playboy Magazine, McCain says if the GOP really wants to win the White House in November, "The Republicans need someone to excite younger people, independents, Hispanic voters and the disenfranchised. I think if Chris Christie is the vice presidential nominee we can change the weather and have a very good chance of beating Obama."

6. Romney loves "meatloaf cakes"
Mitt Romney must be feeling a little bruised and beaten after his losses in the Alabama and Mississippi primary contests this week. So what might cheer him up? Well, according to both The New York Times and Ann Romney's Pinterest board, Mitt loves a good meatloaf cake. A what? I always thought that a ground meat mixture shaped in anything smaller than a loaf was a meatball.  Guess I was wrong, as Mitt fessed up that his favorite meal is meatloaf cake with mashed potatoes and carrots. Maybe he thought if he used the word meatloaf what would help with the Midwest vote, even though his self-confessed love of cheesy grits didn't seem to help much in the South.

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.

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