Browsing the archives for the abortion category.


GOP: Blast From the Past

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abortion, Mittens, Obama Administration, Republican Party

Last night Rachel Maddow explained that the “real rape victims don’t get pregnant” theory for years has been pushed by people who want to criminalize abortions without exception for rape. And that’s absolutely true. That way they can claim that if a woman conceived, she wasn’t really raped, and the exception isn’t necessary.

But when men start to talk about “forcible” rape or “legitimate” rape, I think it speaks to something buried even deeper in their lizard brains. Once upon a time conventional wisdom was that rapists couldn’t be convicted unless the victim was a nun who was killed defending herself. Otherwise, if the woman was wearing a short skirt, had ever been spotted in a bar, was sexually active, or didn’t fight back, it was assumed “she wanted it” and the perpetrator was excused.

One of the successes of the second-wave feminist movement in the 1960s was to shine a light on how unfair that was and get some protections for rape victims written into law. I understand rape charges often are still dismissed by sexist judges sometimes, however.

When men talk about “forcible” or “legitimate” rape, I suspect in their minds “rape” is something that can only happen to virtuous and modestly dressed women who were on their way to church when a total stranger abducted and assaulted them, and they fought back to the point of needing either hospitalization or burial. Otherwise, it wasn’t really a rape. Perhaps such men only relate to rape as a kind of violent physical assault, like a really bad mugging. Women who are slipped a roofie at a frat party and raped while they were unconscious, for example, don’t count, and “date rape” is an oxymoron. They cannot perceive of rape as a violation of one’s personhood, of one’s humanity, as women perceive it. (See Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine…)

And I say this is only a few degrees different from the thinking that (1) a virtuous woman must stay covered by a burqua and (2) rape is always the woman’s fault, if she survives. In this view, a woman is merely a multipurpose major appliance whose value is determined by how much she has been used.

Republicans who are busily denouncing Akin today are crafting a convention platform containing a “human life amendment.” This would ban all abortions without explicitly excluding rape and incest victims. They’ve been doing this for the past several conventions, but I don’t know that the general public is aware of it. But now they’re going to hear about it loudly and clearly from the Obama campaign.

The point is that the GOP doesn’t really disagree with what Todd Akin said. They’re just pissed at him that he said it in public.

Republicans are frantically trying to get Representative Todd Akin to drop out of the United States Senate race in Missouri after his remark about abortion and rape, but not because it was offensive and ignorant. They’re afraid he might lose and cost them a chance at a Senate majority next year. He would surely be replaced by a Republican who sounds more reasonable but holds similarly extreme views on abortion, immigration, gay rights and the role of government because those are the kinds of candidates the party nominates these days in state after state.

CNN:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan sharply condemned Akin’s remarks and pledged that under a Romney administration, abortion would be allowed in the case of rape.

An exemption for rape, though, is not included in the platform set to be adopted by the party Romney will officially lead when he accepts the Republican nomination next week.

And Ryan, his vice presidential pick, has opposed exceptions for rape and voted alongside Akin in the House, though Ryan now says he defers to Romney’s position on the matter.

Debate over the abortion plank flared four years ago when John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee at the time, said he wanted to add language to the platform to recognize exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

That prompted angry finger-wagging from top social conservatives.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, chided McCain and said it would be “political suicide” for him to add language about exceptions for rape or incest in the abortion platform.

The Family Research Council has issued a statement of support for Todd Akin.

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Reproductive Rights

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abortion

The Obama campaign addresses reproductive rights:

Romney is saying now he supports allowing legal abortion in cases of rape. But at one time or another Romney has held many different opinions on reproductive rights.

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Way to Go, Fetus People

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abortion

I keep hearing about states like Mississippi and Arizona closing abortion clinics and restricting abortion, and I’ve been wondering why we haven’t heard much about back-alley abortions. And now I know why. Women who can’t get an abortion in the U.S. are going to Mexico, where a miscarriage-inducing drug is available over the counter.

The catch is that abortion is illegal in most of Mexico also, so even though the drug — mifepristone — is available over the counter, and everyone knows taking it can terminate a pregnancy, women who purchase it have to pretend its for their ulcers. And the pharmacy workers, who know good and well why all these women are buying mifepristone, cannot give them directions about the correct dosage. So the women either don’t take enough, and stay pregnant; or they take too much and have to be hospitalized for bleeding.

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Let’s Wage a War on Stupid

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abortion

Having milked “partial-birth abortion” dry, the Fetus People* are now whipping up scare stories about a tidal wage of gender-selection abortions being promoted and abetted by their arch-nemesis, Planned Parenthood. And they’ve tied this into a pushback against the “war on women” charge, claiming the real war on women are all those girl babies that are being aborted just for being girls.

Dana Milbank writes that legislation being pushed by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, to prohibit gender-selection abortion could alienate Asian Americans. That’s because as near as anyone can tell, the only gender selection going on in the U.S. is in ethnic Asian communities.

Whether Franks’s law would lose any Asian American votes I cannot say. People are guesstimating that gender selection must be going on in ethnic Asian communities because the ratio of boys versus girls being born among ethnic Asians skews more in favor of boys than nature normally allows. In the population as a whole, however, there is no data suggesting the male-female birth ratio is going out of whack.

There is no question that in some parts of the world, in particular India and China, healthy girl fetuses are often aborted just because they are girls, and I think that’s terribly sad. However, there is no statistical evidence that the practice is growing in the U.S.

That hasn’t stopped Live Action from ginning up hysteria about the “gendercide” being promoted by Planned Parenthood. They’ve got the obligatory, and heavily edited, sting video showing some newbie PP employee mishandling a gender-selection abortion question, which seems to be their entire “proof” that Planned Parenthood is promoting such abortions nationwide. The employee has since been fired. No word on how many “stings” Live Action attempted before they found someone who took the bait.

Amanda Peterson Beadle writes,

After Republicans opposed expanding contraception access and would not back the Violence Against Women Act until it had been watered down, Democrats accused the party of waging a war on women

But ahead of tomorrow’s vote on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), a bill that would ban physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’ sex, anti-choice organizations have clumsily attempted to co-opt the “war on women” meme.

This is followed by some quotes. Here are a couple:

– “This is a real war on women. And it is wrong when we turn a blind eye to women being eliminated in the womb simply for being a member of the female sex.” [Americans United for Life letter]

– “Members who recently have embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting they are resisting a ‘war on women’ must reflect on whether they wish to be recorded as being defenders of the escalating war on baby girls.” [National Right to Life Committee letter]

I wrote about gender-selection abortion awhile back:

I take it that several years ago, strategists among pro-criminalizaton activists came up with Asia’s gender selection issue as a way to make western liberals uncomfortable with abortion, or to force us into a debate over whether the right to choose includes gender selection — since girls, presumably, will be the gender targeted for termination. And then, of course, if women don’t have a right to gender-select, then the right to abortion is not absolute and can be picked apart.

However,I also noted that in the U.S., girl babies actually are preferred over boy babies.

Girl babies actually are highly prized in America. Studies from all over the place show that American couples seeking to adopt a baby prefer girls over boys.

Further, when couples attempt to manipulate conception to tilt the odds in favor of one gender over another, they are more likely to try for a girl rather than a boy.

This being so, why would anyone assume that gender selection abortions would always target girls? Hmmm? But maybe we shouldn’t tell them that. The gender selection that appears to be going on among ethnic Asian Americans is a vestige of Asian culture, obviously, and not likely to spill over to non-ethnic Asians anytime soon, if ever.

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Speaking of Domestic Terrorism . . .

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abortion, Terrorism

I mentioned a couple of days ago that obstetric-gyncological clinics in the Atlanta area were being burglarized and set on fire. Arsonists have hit abortion clinics as well as practices that don’t do abortion.

Now some of the obstetricians are saying they fear they are being targeted because they publicly opposed Georgia’s “fetal pain” bill.

“You hate to point fingers, but when you start to see a pattern I think it’s a little more worrisome,” said Dr. Richard Zane, whose Atlanta Women’s Health Group office in Sandy Springs was burglarized March 4.

Act 631, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this month, reduces the time period for when an elective abortion can occur from about 26 weeks to 20 weeks. Some doctors said restricting medical exceptions to abortions between 20 and 26 weeks would prevent them from treating mothers who are having difficult pregnancies.

The crimes began shortly after the January legislative session started. …

… The three physicians who were victims of burglaries and of Sunday’s fire in Lilburn do not perform abortions. However, they had all visited the Georgia Capitol this session to discuss the impact of the legislation on pregnant women and their unborn children, said Dr. David Byck, president of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.

The arsonists have been breaking into doctors’ offices and stealing computers before setting their fires. So far no one has been hurt. However, one fire was set during office hours while the clinic (which does do abortions) was full of staff and patients. Everyone was evacuated safely, but clearly the arsonists aren’t being careful not to kill someone.

The offices of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society were burglarized the night before a Senate committee was to discuss amending the bill to continue to keep private the names of physicians who have to report abortions to the state.

The intruders bypassed three laptops and appeared to make a beeline for two laptop computers in the executive directors office which stored the names and addresses of doctors.

Like that’s a coincidence? The ATF and FBI are investigating, and so far they are not saying for certain that the clinics are being targeted by anti-reproduction rights terrorists. If it turns out that they are, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the shriekers on the Right to condemn the arsonists, though.

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Arsonists Target Atlanta OB-GYN Clinics

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abortion, Terrorism, Women's Issues

Someone may be making the war on women literal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that there have been a series of burglaries and arsons in the Atlanta area targeting abortion clinics and OB-GYN practices that don’t do abortion. In other words, they’re going after any clinic or practice that deals exclusively with women’s reproductive health care.

The latest arson was the most brazen one, occurring during business hours Wednesday morning at Alpha Group GYN, which provides abortion services and counseling, on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.

Another suspicious fire on Sunday occurred at the Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics Gwinnett office in Lilburn, which also was the site of a burglary on Jan. 26. The thieves stole a desktop computer.

Two other burglaries at obstetrics and gynecology offices occurred in March in Sandy Springs and unincorporated Suwanee. Most of the clinics do not perform abortions.

The FBI has begun an investigation.

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Women Fighting Back Through Social Media

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abortion, Women's Issues

An Oklahoma judge overturned an ultrasound law today. Score one for us.

The more interesting story is that women around the country are organizing through social media to push back against what is going on in their states. A record number of abortion restrictions were passed in 2011, but so far in 2012 a lot of similar bills are hitting a wall of resistance. Some of them are getting passed, but many others have been blocked by a lot of pissed-off women.

Here’s a great article at Salon explaining how women are using social media to get the word out and organize protests. Many of these women have never been active before, but they’ve been shaken up by attacks on Planned Parenthood as well as by things said by some really, really stupid state politicians –

In Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that hundreds of people attended hearings on the state’s proposed ban on abortion after 20 weeks – a law based on scientifically spurious claims of “fetal pain” that six other states have passed since 2010. It failed partly because legislators couldn’t agree on an exception for “medically futile” pregnancies. In Pennsylvania, a forced-ultrasound bill “has been shelved indefinitely by House leaders, in part because of outcries by more moderate GOP lawmakers who don’t want to deal with it in their election year,” according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News. (But not without Gov. Tom Corbett, who weighed in cluelessly in another widely circulated comment: “I don’t know how you make anybody watch, OK? Because you just have to close your eyes.”) In Tennessee, a legislator felt compelled to back off posting abortion records online, citing a fierce backlash and, he claimed, death threats.

“Every time a politician says something terrible, people respond emotionally to that,” says Luther. “It makes people in Florida care about what’s happening in Idaho.” It was harder, she adds, to get people fired up about Utah’s mandatory waiting period, maybe because there was no single tweetable moment.

Some pro-choice organizations have talked about an “enthusiasm gap” among the younger generation, which doesn’t remember back-alley abortions and which they say isn’t fired up the way young anti-abortion activists are. But social media has made it possible for women and men to keep up with the laws that emerge seemingly by the minute — and then sign a petition or, if they’re up for it, flood legislators’ Facebook pages with graphic updates about the vulvas the politicians are so interested in regulating. For progressives in conservative states, who often feel alone in their views, all this can be particularly galvanizing.

People are organizing on their own initiative. NARAL hasn’t been part of it, which doesn’t surprise me. More than 30 years ago I stopped paying dues to NARAL because I felt they were completely out of touch with anything going on outside of Washington, and sending them dues was a bit like throwing money into a black hole — you never saw any results from it. And the Democratic Party hasn’t been any better, especially at state level in right-wing states.

So this is a good thing. Maybe there’s hope.

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War on Women Updates

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abortion, Women's Issues

Please see two new posts by the Angry Black Lady: War on Women: Alabama State-Sanctioned Rape Bill and War on Women: Pennsylvania State-Sanctioned Rape Law is Most Cruel Yet.

Unreal.

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Sex and God

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abortion, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Is it just me, or does it seem the Right is on the edge of a catastrophic meltdown?

They’re starting to remind me of Hal, the Computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the end, as Dave takes Hal apart, his knowledge base degrades back to his first programming. Similarly, as Republicans lose ownership of what had been their strongest issues — national security and business — all the ugly muck at the depths of their ids is rising to the surface. Finally, there is nothing left but the primordial concern gnawing at their bones all these years — sex.

I started to say “sex and God,” but if you think about it, mostly God exists for them as a bulwark against sexual chaos. So it really is just about sex.

You don’t need a Ph.D. in psychiatry to recognize that James Poulos (“What Are Women For?“), for example, is massively bleeped up about sex and frantic to find something to protect him from women and their frightening, alien bodies. And what is the Virginia ultrasound law but a means to keep women in their place through state-sanctioned rape?

And the answer to the question “What are Republicans thinking?” is, what thinking?

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Stuff to Read

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abortion, Obama Administration, Women's Issues

I’m still out of it with the motherbleeping cold. Entertain yourselves –

Matt Taibbi, Wall Street Should Stop Whining

Inside the New Hate

Ed Kilgore, Poor Handel-ing

The Bishops Overreach — see also USA Today

The White House is “all talk, no action” on moving toward compromise, said Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,” Picarello said. “We’re not going to do anything until this is fixed.”

That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”

“If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.

From what I’ve heard, the White House is not caving. Fingers crossed.

Andrew Rosenthal, “It’s Not About Religious Freedom

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