Twilight of the Patriarchy

It’s behind a subscription firewall, but there’s a lovely essay by Richard Rodriguez in the current issue of Harper’s. He nails down the real connection between heterosexual and homosexual marriage.

Divorce rates in the United States and Europe suggest that women are not happy with the relationships they have with men, and vice versa. And whatever that unhappiness is, I really don’t think gay people are the cause. On the other hand, whatever is wrong with heterosexual marriage does have some implication for homosexuals.

The majority of American women are living without spouses. My optimism regarding that tabulation is that a majority of boys in America will grow up assuming that women are strong. My worry is that as so many men absent themselves from the lives of the children they father, boys and girls will grow up without a sense of the tenderness of men.

The prospect of a generation of American children being raised by women in homes without fathers is challenging for religious institutions whose central conception of deity is father, whose central conception of church is family, whose only conception of family is heterosexual. A woman who can do without a husband can do without any patriarchal authority. The oblique remedy some religious institutions propose for the breakdown of heterosexual relationships is a legal objection to homosexual marriages by defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

IMO it’s all about the patriarchy. It’s why so many (mostly white male) politicians are obsessed with shutting down Planned Parenthood and criminalizing abortion. It’s behind Erick Erickson’s recent rant.

The War on Women Continues

As near as I can tell from vaguely worded news stories, the bill passed by the House yesterday would ban abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation, or 22 weeks from the last menstrual period. The bill has no chance of being passed in the Senate, and even if it did, the President would veto it. But the bill tells us a lot about Republicans’ inability to respect women.

For example, originally the House Judiciary Committee rejected exemptions for rape and incest. A rape exemption eventually was added, but only if the rape was reported to police within 48 hours after it happened. Otherwise, they say, women will just lie and say they were raped when they weren’t really. Those gestating women can’t be trusted.
Oh, and women hardly ever get pregnant from rape, anyway.

BTW, when the rape exemption was added, one of the bill’s sponsors took his name off the bill. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) said he was “extremely disappointed that House Republican leadership chose to include language to subject some unborn children to needless pain and suffering.”

According to one article, minors who are incest victims also are required to have reported the incest before they can get an exemption, which would pretty much mean incest victims can’t get an exemption, even if they’re 12 years old. There is a “life of the mother” exemption, but I don’t know what criteria have to be met for a dying woman to qualify.

I haven’t seen any mention of exemptions for when the fetus is severely malformed and probably won’t live anyway. Some kinds of birth defects usually are only detected around the 20th week of gestation.

(Some background the news stories all leave out: Roe v. Wade guidelines allows states to ban elective abortions after 23 weeks gestation (or 25 weeks from the last menstrual period), because that’s the generally accepted threshold of viability for a human fetus. I understand a handful of babies have been born a little earlier and survived, but medical science has no record of an infant surviving after only 20 weeks of gestation. Also, according to Alan Guttmacher, in the U.S. only 1.5 percent of abortions occur after 20 weeks gestation. Also, too, in the U.S. nobody is keeping a comprehensive record of why abortions are performed, so there is no way to know how many of that 1.5 percent are rape and incest victims.)

Elsewhere — Get this

The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto dismissed the epidemic of sexual assault in the military, claiming that efforts to address the growing problem contributed to a “war on men” and an “effort to criminalize male sexuality.”

That’s right, folks. Assaulting women is just standard male sexuality. See also “Five Easy Steps for Becoming a Rape Apologist.”

Republicans apparently think that abortions restrictions will help them in the 2016 2014 midterms. I don’t see how. See also “GOP has learned absolutely nothing from 2012.”