The Republicans Have It In For Women…

Have you noticed?

We talked a little about South Dakota’s now-stalled bill to add someone trying to induce an abortion to the list of “justifiable homicides” last week in the comments on LoGI. The language of the bill was:

“Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person.”

Much hay was made about the master, mistress and servant language, which is apparently very old language from English Common law, or perhaps from slavery times – we can update the law to include “unborn child” but no need to take out the “master, mistress or servant” part apparently.

The bill’s author, naturally, denies that the bill had anything to do with killing doctors. (A lot of doctors are men after all). He claimed that it was for situations like an ex-boyfriend beating a pregnant woman’s stomach to try to cause a miscarriage, offering the motive for him that he didn’t want to pay child support. He stated that under the proposed law the pregnant woman suffering this assault would be justified in killing him to protect her “unborn child.” Maybe Greg Sargent doesn’t see the woman herself as a person who is able to protect herself lawfully from harm under the law – she is only allowed to protect the product of her womb, or maybe he’s lying through his teeth and the proposed change was about killing people trying to get abortions.

Meanwhile, South Dakota is where pharmacists have a right by law to a conscientious objection to selling birth control products – a woman in a small town may find herself unable to buy Plan B birth control within reasonable distance. Because there was an doctor who performed abortions killed in South Dakota, the number has dwindled – depending who you ask and when they last checked, to either 2 or 1, and by some reports that one doctor only performs abortions for the cliched “rape, incest, and life of the mother” cases.

As one person said, South Dakota doesn’t need to make Sharia law illegal; they are creating their own sharia law.

Unfortunately that’s just the beginning. Did you see that the House voted to cut all $317 million dollars for Title X, which pays for birth control, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, breast and cervical cancer testing, prenatal care, sex education and vasectomies for men? $75 million went to the Planned Parenthood, and they didn’t just cut that, but all of it. The backer, Indiana Republican Mike Pence, claimed it was a way to keep the government from funding abortion – even though that has been made illegal every year by an amendment to the budget called the Hyde Amendment (since we currently don’t have a budget, Democratic President Obama signed an executive order preserving the status quo in order to get the health care reform through last year).

Apparently something on the order of 4-5 million Americans get the type of health care services above from Title X funds. Do we care? No. We just don’t want any money going to those icky abortion clinics. We have to cut something to look like we are working on the deficit – I know! Let’s cut from women and children and the elderly! Other spending cuts have been for things like daycare centers, school lunch programs, etc.

It gets worse. An amendment passed every year to keep the government from funding any abortions might possibly not get passed some year, right? So it would be better to have an actual law! But while we are at it, let’s tighten the rules a bit! Republican Chris Smith from New Jersey introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” which would make it illegal permanently for any federal funding to go to abortions except in cases of “forcible rape, forcible incest, or to protect the life of the mother”. Fortunately he raised a shitstorm and the bill – which Speaker Boehner calls a top priority – is going forward with the traditional Hyde Amendment language. Imagine: a 13-year-old girl is molested by a 25-year-old man who is a criminal rapist and can be sent to prison and placed on the sex offender registry for what he has done. But Medicare can’t cover an abortion for her if he didn’t physically force her (because you know, rapists never use anything but physical force) and her parents couldn’t use money from a Health Care Savings account (which would benefit from tax free status and thus in a circuitous way take a bit from “taxpayers”) to pay for an abortion with their own money.

According this article, the same law would also deny “employers a tax exemption for private health policies that include coverage of abortion services.” When you consider that 86% of employer provided health insurance policies cover abortions for therapeutic purposes (for example, a woman with a heart condition who could die if the pregnancy continues), and tax breaks on the amount they spend on the health insurance policies are nearly their entire reason for providing them (along with attracting workers, certainly), that could be a sea change in what policies are provided in the private health insurance market by private employers to private citizens. Let me be clear; the actual bill has not been defeated yet, and the part about the health insurance policies hasn’t made a splash like the forcible rape provision, although it would arguably affect more people.

Along the same lines, many state legislatures and the federal House are working on bills to make those health insurance policy exchanges they keep talking about free of any policies which cover abortions – because some people might buy policies with federal subsidies, and some of those people who buy the policies with subsidies might sometime use the abortion coverage. So it will be illegal for anyone to buy a policy from the exchange – even with their own money – that covers abortion, I suppose because the policies are supposed to be equally available to all in order to keep prices down or some such.

I have heard speculation that women if they want coverage will have to buy it separately, a separate policy for abortions. But I’ve read the majority of women who use abortion services are those who didn’t expect to get pregnant in the first place – who were not on birth control either because they didn’t think they needed it or were being irresponsible, and those for whom birth control didn’t work. Are they likely to be buy coverage for abortion? I am not likely to buy insurance for my cell phone or short term disability insurance, both of which I’ve needed. I can’t imagine I would think to buy abortion insurance.

None of these things have completely passed yet. The bills about the health insurance exchanges and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions bill are the most likely to pass – the former because at least some states will likely pass them, and there are enough anti-abortion Democrats in the Senate to possibly pass it. The second after the egregious rape language was removed is likely to pass the House and Senate just because they will see it as making permanent something that has been around since the 70s, and if no one makes noise, the president might like to throw a bone to the religious right on both of them. The anti-abortion fanatics are waging a war of attrition, so giving them ground only encourages them they will win eventually, and only loses us freedoms.

The Democrats don’t have our backs, but the Republicans are out to get us this year. And unfortunately there are a lot of women in that party egging them on.

Comments

  1. Raeka says

    I should not have read this AFTER all my happy procrastination.

    So you’re telling me it’s entirely possible that by the time I graduate in a year and finally get a job, with insurance, etc –it won’t cover abortion.

    Fuck my life.

    • M.C. says

      Wait a minute: if you’re a college student, then why don’t you have any health insurance? Aren’t you insured with a parent, or at least at your college?
      Or are you saying that you have an insurance, only one that doesn’t cover abortion?

      • Attackfish says

        um, what did she say that implies that she doesn’t currently have coverage? All I heard was that she’s looking ahead to a time when she might not? Plus, a lot of university offered coverage deals don’t apply to say, disabled students, or part time students, or the children of students, etc. Or they aren’t real insurance. At my school, the plan is basically a discount on one checkup per year and I think five trips to the school clinic, and a discount on certain prescription meds. No good if you actually get sick or injured.

        • M.C. says

          I wasn’t sure, what she meant. That’s why I asked.
          Because my country’s health care system is vastly different than that of the USA. Pretty much everyone has a public insurance, but since those don’t cover every treatment you have to pay extra for certain doctors and medications (if you can afford it).
          Some of our politicians keep saying what a great health care system we have, but actually it’s only great if you’re rich or work for the state (because then you get a special insurance that covers almost everything.)

          • says

            For anyone who’s wondering how US health insurance works:

            No one in the US automatically has health insurance ever. Except – wait for it – YES, CONGRESS and the rest of the feds. And this is PRIMO insurance they get, covering all sorts of stuff the rest of us would have to pay thousands of $$ a month to get. Honestly, they wouldn’t know how to live like their subjects.

            The Federal government provides crappy health care (Medicare) for (I believe) anyone over 65. Some states provide very cheap or free insurance for people under VERY low income levels.

            But the vast, vast majority of us must pay for our insurance every month. If you’re really lucky, your employer might pay part of your costs. Otherwise, it costs a significant part of the average person’s income to maintain health insurance for herself, let alone any dependants or family.

            So, tons of Americans have no health coverage at all, period, no matter what. If they have a bad accident, the nearest hospital is required to treat them until they’re stable enough to be moved, but as soon as that time comes, they ship them off to a public hospital, which in turn ships them home as soon as they could conceivably care for themselves IF they had a paid staff to help, which they don’t.

            And that’s pretty much how it works.

      • Raeka says

        Ahhh, I didn’t mean to be confusing. Yes, I have coverage through my mom –but I’m mostly looking forward to a time when I’ll have to pay an arm and a leg for health care coverage that DOESN’T EVEN COVER MY NEEDS.

        Seriously, if this is the way the government is heading, I think I’ll vote for them to stop subsidizing health care entirely and just give us all a break on taxes.

  2. firebird says

    Well it wouldn’t have covered it anyway unless it was necessary for “therapeutic” purposes, I believe. And as far as I know they haven’t started in on private insurance covering birth control, yet, so hopefully you won’t be in a position to need one. But yeah – it is possibly that you could need one and have it not be covered. From what I’ve read employer provided health insurance plans usually covered life of the mother type cases, like the example I gave in the post, which was the wife of someone I knew once.

  3. Katherine says

    Hmm, if it’s a justifiable homocide to kill someone who causes harm to an unborn child, that means you’re allowed to kill the people in charge of any company that dumps toxic waste into the environment, any politician that makes it legal to dump waste in low income areas, the CEOs of cigarette companies… the list goes on!

    I might not have worded this well, but you get the idea I hope.

    • says

      Also, when men drink, smoke and do drugs, they damage their sperm, which can damage offspring and cause miscarriages as well as birth defects. So the Republicans must be in favor of that, too! I mean, gosh, they’re not big giant honkin’ HYPOCRITES, are they? Fuck, no! ;)

  4. ninjapenguin says

    Add to the list , who wants women to prove that their miscarriages are legal or go to jail. The world disgusts me sometimes.

      • Maria says

        I heard about that! Isn’t that bizarro-world? Particularly when doctors don’t always consider a miscarriage a medical emergency so will sometimes advise women to just stay home and phone in a prescription for pain killers to their local pharmacy.

        • SunlessNick says

          I guess they won’t be allowed to do that under this bill.

          A commenter on the think progress thread suggested that all women keep their used tampons and mail them to Franklin so that he can pay to have them investigated for any miscarriage that might have taken place.

          But as much as that suggestion makes me smile, what makes me seethe is that the miscarriage of a wanted pregnancy would be a painful thing, and Franklin wants to invade it with an investigation to determine whether or not the woman who suffered it is a criminal or a crime scene (but oh, no chance of her being a crime victim, she’d be a place at best).

        • SunlessNick says

          And it’s even worse than that – according to Mother Jones, a miscarriage deemed criminal could potentally carry the death penalty. This in a law where women face charges if they can’t prove that the miscarriages were not caused by “human involvement,” with no clarification of what that means.

          • says

            How far, really, is any of this from honor killings? I mean, our credibility in criticizing cultures that murder women for having sex is sliding significantly if we sanction state execution for a woman losing her baby, and a jury being convinced she somehow did it on purpose.

        • Erin says

          Fortunately, looks like Franklin is a complete wingnut and I doubt anyone is going to take him seriously. I started reading the bill (link), and he starts off by saying Georgia doesn’t have to obey Supreme Court decisions it doesn’t like – or federal laws about (almost all) crime. As I recall that secession thing didn’t work too well last time around.

          On the other hand I may call my Representative tomorrow about that bill trying to cut all abortion from private health plans : (

          • says

            …and yet, he got elected. I think that’s cause for concern, even if all he’s going to do with his term is blow hot air. It says a lot that that many human beings voted for him, even so.

            Possibly what it says is that people just don’t think and vote for parties on autopilot, but even that’s terrifying if you think about where it might lead. After all, one great politician who led his nation out of terrible unemployment was Adolf Hitler.

          • SunlessNick says

            And even best case of laws like this is that mendatious shitbags will use them to make things like the defunding of Planned Parenthood seem more reasonable by comparison.

            • says

              Actually you may be on to something here. Maybe these off-the-wall bills are being presented to make the smaller cuts to our liberty more “reasonable”…hmmmmm

  5. The Other Anne says

    AAAARRRRGGGHHH!

    That anti-choice “taxpayer money shouldn’t fund Abortion” shit is such shit. If we got to say “I don’t want my taxmoney paying for THAT” than I’d say don’t use my f-ing money to pay to murder people on the other side of the planet in THREE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES and then some! I would say send ALL my tax money to pay for NASA and health care. And the arts. And schools. But only schools with good art programs. And none of it can go to football teams, or other school sports, because I’m not interested in school sports.

    So why, whywhywhywhywhy if I can’t decide where the money I EARNED to pay taxes goes, why do the people who find a moral outrage in women having bodily autonomy, and getting healthcare, and MEN getting healthcare, at a reasonable price (that saves us money) get to not pay for things they might find icky? I find killing actual, living, breathing, thinking people to be abhorrent. But apparently that’s okay because a zygote/morula/blastocyst/embryo/fetus (depending on the week/development) is totes a more important citizen than the women of the US, especially if those women happen to be incubators at the time. (If we’re being entirely honest, it seems like the only place for this to go is for women to be Matrix-style incubators where we just pop out babies whenever they need more “citizens” [but then as soon as the girls hit puberty they get to be incubators as well]….okay, that extended dystopia made me feel very, very gross. Apologies.) I mean, seriously? The only reason these are important “citizens” to these politicians is because they can’t think (in the sense that an adult human thinks, however they do so), speak, protest, vote or make a scene and therefore are only statistical tools that the politicians get to use as moral Golems.

    Urgh. I think I got a wee bit ranty. This has been pissing me off a LOT the last few weeks.

    • says

      If we got to say “I don’t want my taxmoney paying for THAT” than I’d say don’t use my f-ing money to pay to murder people on the other side of the planet in THREE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES and then some!

      THIS. Why aren’t our moral objections to things like the occupation of Iraq as important as the moral objections of someone who’s attached to huge heavily-funded lobbyists that… oh, wait.

      Can I reserve the right to quote this entirely in an upcoming article?

    • SunlessNick says

      moral Golems.

      That is one of the most apt phrases I’ve ever seen. Not just for foetuses, but for way they always paint abortions restrictions as being for the protection of women – without getting any input from the women who’d be affected – treating them as abstracts instead of real people.

      • says

        YES. This. See also: defunding libraries, schools and anything else devoted to the public good. Why is it that when politicians talk about making sacrifices and slashing the budget to keep taxes low, the war is sacred? A car at my college has a bumper sticker that says “More books, fewer bombs.”

    • Firebird says

      Not that we need more citizens, considering we can’t employ, provide health care for, educate, feed, or care about all the ones we have and the planet is overpopulated…

  6. sbg says

    I wish regular, everyday people who probably think this is a wonderful idea would realize that Republicans aren’t interested in this type of law out of their own morality. The Republican party has done nothing practical for my parents, frex, but they continue to vote that way because of the Republican “moral” stance on abortion and, well, gun rights (but that’s another story).

    • says

      I don’t see how people FAIL to recognize this is not about morals or ethics. It’s about money (which lobbyists grease palms best) and it’s about hating those bitch things and wishing you had the courage to go around killing them like the Ripper but settling for trying to pass bills that the Taliban would approve of heartily.

      • sbg says

        Many people see only what they want to see. I know for my parents, which I think is actually a reasonable example, they do not research candidates or their true politics. They vote only for the party that espouses a pro-life platform, no other very important questions asked.

        • Firebird says

          I know people who use abortion as a litmus test – they feel it is immoral to vote for a person who supports abortion rights. I have watched them struggle with feeling a person would be good for the country but not able emotionally to vote for them because they wouldn’t crusade against abortion rights. They feel like it is participating in murder to vote for someone who would not try to make force all abortions to become illegal, back-alley abortions.

  7. Eme says

    I have never personally supported abortion, but this is just wrong. Women should have the choice to have medical procedures performed on them, and medical insurance should be able cover it, no matter what it is (yes, even nose jobs, etc.- you never know what possibly valid reasons they do it for). (I apologize if I seem contradictory; I do not support the killing of babies, but am also against forcing women to give birth. I really wish there was an solution, here.)

    I’d also like to comment that I like The Other Anne’s comment and agree that we should be able to choose where our taxes go. Maybe we can hold polls to decide where our taxes go, instead of them deciding? Even if it’s just for the state, I think it would help a lot.

    • The Other Anne says

      This.

      I have a deviated septum–I have a hole through the center cartilage in my nose, possibly from being punched when I was young, or running into that tree…(this hole led to me being accused, as a 13 year old, of having a coke addiction by my pediatrician–and she would not accept my negative answer D:.) This could mean that at some point in my life I will need a nose job to prevent my nose from collapsing in on itself–not a huge concern, but it’s there. But if my nose needed to have work done in order for me to still be able to use it to smell and breath, you betcha I agree with you that it should be covered! :D

      • Casey says

        Your pediatrician accused you of being a coke addict?? AND SHE DIDN’T BELIEVE YOU~!?!? WAT
        That’s horrifying…then again, I’m lucky to have not at least been fat-shamed by any of my doctors (my mom did that for them OTL).

    • Firebird says

      I don’t really feel that I support abortion. I like the idea that was thrown around during the Clinton administration, that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I had to make that decision, personally, and I hope with good planning (taking birth control/using condoms, etc) that I won’t get pregnant with an unwanted child. I support abortion rights, the right for women who feel that they need to make that decision to be able to make it legally and safely, without it being anyone’s business but theirs, their doctor, and any close friends/family they choose to involve.

      I also support education and funding around birth control so that women know how to use it. What I have seen of the abstinence campaign is that women raised believing that abstinence is the only way to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancy, when they become sexually active as many of both sexes with that background do, they don’t have the fallback of birth control and safe sex because they haven’t been taught about them or have been actively taught against the efficacy of these things, and so don’t use them.

      • SunlessNick says

        I like the idea that was thrown around during the Clinton administration, that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

        It’s all in how you think you should get to that rarity – rarely necessary has a completely different set of priorities behind it than rarely permitted.

        • says

          Also, we need to develop more MALE contraception. The onus (and cost!! they are expensive…) has been only on women far too long. Also, if PIV weren’t touted as the only kind of sex that is Official Sex, we’d see less unintended pregnancy. Not counting the abusive monsters who rape and forcibly impregnate/manipulate women into pregnancy for control issues.

          • says

            We also need more men in jail for the crime of refusing at the last minute to wear a condom, and then penetrating a no-longer-willing partner anyway. That’s rape, and too few people recognize it.

            In fact, the very best reason to suspect Assange really is guilty is that an engineered story of rape would’ve been more recognizable to the average fool as “rape.” Instead, the pattern to the claims against him centers on something many people don’t get: refusal to wear a condom. It forms a “signature”, which many rapists have, and it suggests a narcissistic personality, which virtually all rapists have.

            • Attackfish says

              word. if it were a manufactured story, he would have used a ruffie, or attacked her in an alley, or broken into her house with a ski mask, thereby fitting the classic rape narratives that most people acknowledge as evil instead of performing mundane, common rape.

          • Raeka says

            THIS. Please. I don’t really mind being the one responsible for BC because my boyfriend is awesome, but it’d be kind of nice for it to be a SHARED responsibility, y’know? Also, when people talk about birth control, I don’t want them to mean condoms. For personal reasons, condoms don’t work so well for me. And I would love, love, LOVE ‘affordable, accessible birth control’ to mean something other than ‘free condoms’.

            If you don’t go the condom route, it seems to me you’re shelling out $30 a month for anything else. I am damn lucky I have the luxury of being able to afford an alternative method –not everyone can.

            • Maria says

              You know what? One of my roommates was astonished ~astonished!~ that I listed my ex-boyfriend’s unwillingness to help me pay for Plan B as part of why I was glad to kick his ass to the curb.

              Seriously, folks: if your partner is not willing to share the cost of safer sex and contraception, DON’T PLAN ON FOREVER WITH THEM. They’re like your trifling ex-friends that want to come over and play and eat all your chips, but never bring any cupcakes or hummus or adorable tiny carrots to share with the group.

              Jerkfaces.

            • says

              I hear ya, I am allergic to latex condoms, and the other kinds break like nobodies’ business. NO CONDOMS. (for me)

              I have an IUD, which is sort of awesome, but also a pain. It hurts like hell to put in and causes a lot of between period bleeding. But, no pregnancy for like, 10 years! Woop!

              Also, IUDs are super expensive. I was privileged enough to have insurance at the time I got it (I no longer have any insurance, so if I get complications I am pretty much up shit creek).

  8. says

    When the “forcible rape” news first broke (a week ago? Two?) I immediately wrote my congressperson and asked what she was doing to defend women from this bill. Yesterday I received a form response about abortion rights. *facepalm* Fortunately that wording’s already been taken out, but way to demonstrate sensitivity to your constituents’ needs there. And it’s not like her position on abortion is any more enlightened either.

    As far as defunding Planned Parenthood – ARGH! I have PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. I inherited it from an aunt, who had to have an ovary surgically removed due to PCOS. In other words, left to its own devices, my body will destroy its own ovaries. One treatment for PCOS is a form of birth control. Counter-intuitively, birth control keeps me fertile by keeping my ovaries alive until I’m ready to reproduce. When my health insurance dropped coverage from 100% to 50%, I couldn’t afford the pills anymore and was off them for about a year – risking my health and my fertility. Last year, guess who got me back on my meds, as well as a pap smear and other medical/STD tests? Like I said – ARGH!

    I don’t support abortion either but it seems obvious to me that the way to reduce it is to stop treating the symptoms and focus on the root of the problem. More birth control, more sex education (abstinence-only doesn’t count), increased autonomy for women which means things like closing the wage gap and stopping career penalties for women who do choose to have children. The fact that so many “pro-life” politicians don’t do these things, or give a crap about what happens to the children and parents once the babies are born, shows me that they don’t actually care about the babies at all, just controlling women’s bodies.

    tl;dr version: all this hoopla about defunding PP and others to protect babies is BULL. Helping women = helping babies. Controlling women != helping babies.

    • says

      Yep, we’re back to that:

      http://thehathorlegacy.com/us-catholic-bishops-wants-women-to-die-of-cancer/

      The thing is: no amount of birth control will keep a fertile but currently celibate woman from conceiving if she is raped at just the right time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “forcible” rape, or she’s been drugged, or her father mentally coerced her into having sex with him on the basis of “honor thy father.”

      Far more important than whether the state ever funds an abortion that it wishes it hadn’t is preventing rapists from fathering children through rape. Just last week, Maria had a link about abusive husbands and boyfriends controlling access to b.c. and raping their wives or girlfriends in order to, what? Sometimes to control the w/gf through playing the child against her, sometimes to ruin her career or (in his mind) make her unattractive to the other men he thinks she might be seeing behind his back, and sometimes because a kid would be such fun to kick around or rape or whatever. These men are deranged enough to look at a law like this and think, hmm, so long as I drug her and rape her, there’s nothing she can do, and I will have the child I want!

      But then I’m seriously having trouble seeing the men behind these bills as anything put rapists themselves, or at least staunch allies of rapists. It’s easy to sympathize with a rapist when you know absolutely nothing about abnormal psychology, have conveniently let your culture convince you women are usually crazy and bad things only happen to bad people, and are rolling in privilege.

      • says

        *clicks link, read* You know, the next time my crackpot relatives tell me I left Catholicism because I’ve closed myself off to God’s love (because of course they know me better than I do), I’m going to respond, “Nope! I just closed myself off to cancer.”

        Not sure where you’re going with the rape abortion argument, probably because I agree with all of it.

        But then I’m seriously having trouble seeing the men behind these bills as anything put rapists themselves, or at least staunch allies of rapists.

        Word. It’s the same women-as-objects mentality. Instead of talking to women as human beings, let’s just assume they’re all helpless and need to be protected from making decisions about themselves.

        • says

          With the rape abortion argument, I’m saying many rapists monitor society and what messages it’s sending. If we make it illegal for women to abort any offspring conceived through rape, they’ll get the message that we’re finally realizing the rapists were right all along, and that’s what bitches are for, and bitches had better learn their place.

          And for the men in the article Maria linked to, who are controlling their partner’s BC and raping them, but not necessarily *forcibly* raping them… well, I think that sort of crime would just escalate in response to this bill passing.

          It’s probably already done a lot of damage just by being discussed as if it’s serious.

          A lot of my assessments here are based on growing up around some people I knew to be rapists and hearing their, um, thinking processes and opinions and butt-licking worship of the Repubs for many, many years.

    • Dani says

      Eme, I agree with everything you said. This news makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I read something about it.

      Someone asked me once why I don’t vote for only “pro-life” candidates even though I don’t support abortion. My response was that I could be voting in a misogynist who sees women as nothing more than breeding stock and is just pretending to be otherwise just to get votes. Unfortunately, the actions of these particular Republicans are proving my point.

      • says

        @Dani and Eme, I read somewhere once, and I agree with it: Even if you *personally* would not get an abortion, if you are in favor of having the choice be available to women, you are pro-choice.

        I honestly do not know if I would do it. I have been privileged enough to never be in that situation. I am not religious, so it isn’t that. I don’t know why I personally feel iffy about it for *myself*. But, this is key: I TRUST other women to make their own decisions and I keep my big French-Canadian nose out of their business.

        Either you believe women are fully human and can be trusted to make these medical decisions for themselves, just like men are assumed to be able to, or you don’t. (That is a general “you”, BTW, I don’t think Dani and Eme DON’T think women are fully human! :) )

        • says

          But, this is key: I TRUST other women to make their own decisions and I keep my big French-Canadian nose out of their business.

          Interestingly, a lot of anti-choicers I’ve talked to over the years express deep concern that women might “get away with” murdering babies as they see it. I point out that God is the final arbiter of justice, and they agree with that, but while there are many things they were content to leave up to God – for example, many felt the state should stay out of child abuse allegations and let The Lord handle it – they were very anxious that the state punish abortions. I could sometimes get them to see how inconsistent those positions were, but alas, they never saw anything wrong with being so inconsistent. (I think not only from a logic perspective, but also a faith perspective, it IS a bad move to be that inconsistent – something isn’t getting examined properly. But then I was raised to be a pro-choice Christian who thought abortion was awful, but didn’t think the state should ram my beliefs down the throats of people who, quite logically, considered fetuses not to be people.)

          • Firebird says

            This might be slightly off topic, but I remember when my sister was in 6th grade and was accused by a Christian school teacher (at the church-school I went to, to tell you what kind of Christian we are talking about) of writing an off-color note, showing it to a classmate, and throwing it in the trash. Actually, the classmate wrote it, showed it to her, and threw it away; in any case the teacher was so het up about it she had to go through the trash to see what was written. It had the word “cum” in it as a pun on the fact it was written in white-out; my sister in 6th grade had been homeschooled till that year and honestly didn’t know the word or what it meant and shrugged when shown the note (Mom explained the meaning to her, which is how I know she didn’t write it).

            They called a meeting with the principal, two teachers, my mother, myself, and a minister of our choosing (6 adults!) to figure what to do about this situation because my sister and my mother would not accept a punishment for something she said she didn’t do. The upshot of it was they would not let her come back to school unless she either did the punishment (apology to the teacher and I think detention or possibly suspension) or had a lie detector test to see if she was lying about it.

            I will never forget the principal who was a minister I had known all my life making the comment that they couldn’t risk missing the opportunity to punish her in case she was guilty.

            That’s the kind of mind that thinks that women shouldn’t “get away with” doing stuff with their own bodies.

      • says

        OTOH, there’s nothing inconsistent with being against abortion yourself, yet “pro-choice” in your politics because you simply don’t see the need to ram your beliefs down the throats of people with different beliefs. That’s the sort of Christian I was raised to be.

    • The Other Anne says

      I would say another great way to decrease the number of abortions has less to do with educating women and everything to do with educating MEN. Because wut about teh menz? Well, without them women would not get pregnant. Well, aside from cloning, but that’s besides the point.

      The issue I have with all of the “educate women on all this stuff” rhetoric is that is sounds reminiscent of the rape myths that if we are smart and know our shit we won’t get raped, which is of course an outright lie. And, yes, women need to be educated on all of these things, I fully agree with you on that! I would never argue against more education for everyone. My sex ed was fairly decent, all things considered, but I still wish it had covered more topics beyond the biology of it.

      What I mean with educating men is, well, I hear all the time by anti-choice folks that if a woman didn’t want to get pregnant she shouldn’t have had sex. Which, of course, is an argument that horrifically disappears all women who did not consent. And it also disappears the men in the equation, both the rapists and those who aren’t. The education for men needs to have the same ferocity as the women’s does. If a man doesn’t want the women he had sex with to potentially get an abortion, he shouldn’t partake in sexual intercourse with women. To lower the amount of rape-caused abortions it is the men who rape who need to change, and the social paradigm that practically (and by practically i mean actually) condones it while punishing women.

      • says

        YES.

        I wrote an article YEARS ago about how, if men have an issue with abortion, they should be celibate unless they’re with a partner who fully intends to have a baby with them. Because condoms break, pills fail, etc. You would not believe the shit I got for that – this was before we learned to ban subtle trolls as well as overt ones. Apparently, it is just un-Christian to suggest maybe men should follow Christianity’s rules on fucking. Or shut the fuck up if they refuse to do so.

        The entitlement of men to have sex with women may be, I sometimes think, the strongest force of society. It seems to be what civilization is organized around. Women have no such entitlement to using and casting aside men’s bodies however we see fit, and THAT is what’s really being reflected in a lot of the “don’t get yourself raped” and “don’t put yourself in a position to need an abortion” rhetoric. What it’s really saying is: “Ladies, shame on you for thinking you were entitled to get pleasure from men’s bodies. Of course, for that you deserve to be raped or be punished by the lifelong drudgery of unwanted motherhood in a society that doesn’t have your back, then blames you for anything that goes wrong in the child’s upbringing.”

        • SunlessNick says

          Ladies, shame on you for thinking you were entitled to get pleasure from men’s bodies.

          Or from your own; there’s not a lot of love for women masturbating either.

      • says

        The issue I have with all of the “educate women on all this stuff” rhetoric is that is sounds reminiscent of the rape myths that if we are smart and know our shit we won’t get raped, which is of course an outright lie.

        That is definitely not the point I was trying to make. 0.o

        Let me try again. If politicians really wanted to help babies, then they would spend less time hand-wringing over abortion and more time, y’know, actually helping families. Empowering women through financial or other means. Stopping the penalties women face for having children (one study said taking maternity leave delays your promotions for five years). Enabling women to report rape and/or domestic abuse, have it taken seriously, have the attacker convicted and have him serve time for the attack.

        Covering the medical bills of pregnancy and childhood (five kids in my family have been to the ER 20x. Unexpected & mandatory expenses can drop you into a hole you never recover from). Housing for low income families, food stamps and school lunches for low income children. The list goes on.

        The fact that politicians don’t do anything of this proves to me that they don’t care about abortion one way or another. They are using it to cynically manipulate their voters.

        I have a lot of issues with the way men are treated in our society. Frex, all this pearl-clutching over teenage mothers (which has wrongly become synonymous with unwed mothers). Where’s the outcry over the teenage (or older) fathers? I have this urge to call up the media and say, “Why haven’t you called in some scientists to research all these Virgin Mothers?”

        The issue of frat culture on college campuses, where young men are encouraged to date rape drunken women and drink themselves until they get alcohol poisoning. (One study found a strong correlation between the cleanliness of the women’s bathrooms in a frat house and the respect with which they treated women. Makes perfect sense to me: if I think of you as a person, I will expend effort to make you feel comfortable.) The list goes on; men are taught that rape and pregnancy are Somebody Else’s Problems and that’s not true.

        But in the end I still think abortion in particular is primarily a women’s issues, because it is our bodies being controlled and our autonomy being infringed upon.

        • The Other Anne says

          Oh, no, I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to argue against you–I definitely agree with you on the need for better and more education for women. I was just trying to comment on the typical focus solely on women while ignoring the men in the equation when it comes to the abortion issue–except to use them as Straw Fathers Who Are Totally Victimized By Women Who Abort Their Children. It’s not like babies spontaneously appear in eeeeviiil women’s uteri just for them to go “murder,” but that seems to be what a lot of the rhetoric implies as it demonizes women–which would, of course, go away with what you are talking about, more education. But the education can’t focus only on women. The root of this problem, to me, seems to be a patriarchal need to control what women do with their own bodies. More education can only help. I’m sorry it sounded like I was totally dismissing your point and arguing against it! That wasn’t my intention.

          • says

            Gotcha, gotcha.

            And that’s an interesting point to consider: we can’t focus solely on teaching women how to fight back (metaphorically speaking), we also have to teach men not to attack in the first place. Complicated and knotty, one feeds into the other.

            I don’t understand why it’s so hard for those Straw Fathers to understand that what they do with their bodies is their choice, what their partner does with her body is her choice. (Well, I do understand: patriarchy.) You don’t have the right to control your sperm once it enters someone else’s body. Think ahead.

            The root of this problem, to me, seems to be a patriarchal need to control what women do with their own bodies.

            Quoted for truth.

            • Dani says

              Sylvia Sybil and The Other Anne, what you say is pretty much how I think about this issue. If politicians had actual compassion about this issue, they would be working towards actually helping families and empowering women. That’s one of the many, many reasons this bill is so enraging; the government wants to take away some of the very things that would do this!

              And, I agree, educating men is so important. I remember the article I read on here about MenCanStopRape.org and how happy I was that *someone* was working to teach young men and boys about how *they* can stop violence against women and how *they* needed to take responsibility for their actions. It was also refreshing to see someone positively talk about masculinity without putting down women and without making me, as a woman, feel somehow less than valuable.

              Jennifer: The article you wrote about men who were against abortion not having sex with their partner unless she fully intended to have a baby with him, is it on Hathor? I would love to read it! The fact that you got so much slack about it just reinforces society’s view that it’s perfectly okay to minutely control a woman’s sexuality, but completely unacceptable to even mention that a man should be a little bit responsible. *sigh*

  9. KLee says

    Gosh, its so wonderful that Congress with its all-inclusive, super shiney automatic health insurance feel such a need to protect us helpless little people who have no access to or can’t afford health insurance. These people have no *clue* about reality, all they care about is their politics, and their lobbyists.

    I have no job currently, no health insurance and its thanks to that Title X funding they’re trying to get rid of that in the past 9 months I’ve been able to get free mammogram & ultrasound twice for a suspicious spot in my breast, and low cost ultrasound for gynecological issues (alas that was after the ER visit that I’ll be paying for until after I’m dead) not to mention paying for my annual exam at the rural health initiative women’s clinic in town. This is about life-saving and quality of life care and the political morons just do not get it. I’ve spent a few hours doing mailings and stuff for my local Planned Parenthood since its the only thing I can think of doing — of course given I live in mississippi it still surprises me there’s even a PP here.

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