North Carolina & Facebook – Fighting the Good Fight

First, I want to salute friend and reader Alicia, who is at the North Carolina capitol today. She’s part of the protest against the last-minute attachment of anti-choice provisions to an already-insane anti-Sharia-law bill. The provisions will make it all but impossible to get a legal abortion in North Carolina.

Alicia, we’re all there with you. Thank you for raising your voice.

Now I have a bit of exclusive Vagina News for you, from my first foray into investigative journalism. 

Remember the fight to get Facebook to effectively moderate content that advocates violence against women? Remember how the thing that finally worked was showing advertisers that their ads were appearing next to this content, prompting them to pull ad money from Facebook? Well this week, Facebook announced a decision…

To pull ads from pages that advocate violence against women.

A lot of people, myself included, thought that SUCKED. But before reacting, I decided to find out if there was more to it. So I reached out via Twitter to Women, Action, & Media – the organization partnering with Facebook on this issue – to get the scoop. 

Here’s what they said.

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Let’s Play… Crazy States!

As you may already know, I try not to get wrapped up in talking about every insane state attempt to restrict reproductive rights, because I wouldn’t have time to, like, pee.

But in light of the news in recent weeks (specifically out of Texas and Ohio,) it’s important to talk about. Here are two concise ways to learn about these efforts in the big picture.

http://jezebel.com/the-annotated-guide-to-protecting-women-from-abortion-602475321

http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/major-restrictions-abortion-access-enacted-2013

 

Wendy Davis’s Texas filibuster is the best movie we’ve seen in years.

(For a play-by-play leading up to this point, visit Vagina News on Facebook.) Davis’s filibuster continued until about 10PM local time, at which point an objection was raised by Republicans on the grounds that Davis’s discussion of mandatory ultrasounds (or sonograms, I’ve seen conflicting reports) was not germane to the bill, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst sustained it. This triggered an eruption from the gallery and a flurry of procedural objections by Democrats as Davis was removed from the floor. 

Sen. Kirk Watson objected to Dewhurst’s ruling on the basis that Dewhurst had previously stated the third warning would followed be a vote of the Senate on whether to end Davis’s filibuster, but no vote occurred. Noisy debate continued, and at about 11, Sen. Robert Duncan announced that Democrats’ objections were overruled; Dems continued to raise parliamentary challenges, and the noise of the crowds within and beyond the gallery made order difficult. 

At one point,  Sen. Leticia Van de Putte  – who had been absent previously, as she was attending her father’s funeral – raised a Parliamentary Inquiry requesting information about the three warnings that ended the filibuster so she could cast an informed vote on the appeal, but Dewhurst refused to acknowledge her. This prompted her to ask, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”, prompting fifteen minutes of cheering.

With 20 minutes left in the session, the Senate voted on Watson’s appeal of Dewhurst’s ruling on the third warning, and it was rejected. Duncan (who had taken over the podium from Dewhurst) moved to trigger a vote on the bill, and chaos erupted again. Despite Duncan’s efforts to restore order, the deafening noise continued for 10 minutes. Amidst the noise, Republicans claim they held a vote and passed the by 19-10 (or 17-12, accounts vary.) But the vote was so hard to hear and took place so close to midnight that there’s still no answer as to whether it met the legislative deadline. As of this moment, Senators are in caucus, debating whether or not the bill has been passed. 

For an alternate take on these events, here’s a good first-hand time line…

The outcome remains to be seen, but a few things are clear; Republicans have broken from their post-election contrition and commitment to win female voters, women are no longer willing to be passive witnesses to this strategy, and Wendy Davis is a superstar.

 

In Texas, a new level of stupid

The fight over abortion access in Texas continues, and it is big. There is no better demonstration of Republican legislators pushing an ignorant ideology against the will of the people – and at midnight tonight, we find out who wins.

The bill in question is being promoted by a female legislator – State Representative Jodie Laubenberg – who thinks rape victims don’t need access to legal abortion because “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.”

Cleaned out. Texas women are being governed by someone who thinks rape kit = abortion. 

If you’re not up on the details of this story, WATCH THIS VIDEO

 

Vagina News Link Roundup – The Science of Sexism

– Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, has completed a study on what happens to women who are denied abortions. (Aside from a similar study in the 60s in Czechoslovakia, this is surprisingly unprecedented.) The article is long and detailed and excellent. Spoiler Falert – it doesn’t bode well for mother or child. 

– Another study (thanks Jason!) shows that 1 in 6 women who seek treatment at clinics specializing in bone fractures have been abused by intimate partners – and that’s a low estimate. “Neck and head injuries are the most common for women who have experienced domestic violence, he said. Also common are “bruising or broken jaws, teeth being knocked out, black eyes.”… By the time a woman receives broken bones, she’s at sharp risk of being killed by her partner. That’s why orthopedic surgeons need to get better at noticing the signs, he said.”

– To lighten things up a bit, 6 female scientists to tell you friends and family about. We don’t know about these women because institutional sexism prevented them from being recognized alongside their male peers. (Like, Nobel prizes being awarded to all the men around them, but not to the women… That kind of thing.) Let’s help right that wrong by learning and talking about them. 

 

I probably don’t have tell anyone here that last night was pretty great for vaginas.

Let’s get into the details.

  • For starters, the obvious. We have a pro-choice,
    pro-equality President for the next four years. We also have four Supreme Court
    justices well over the age of 70. (I predict we will see far fewer
    anti-abortion laws floated on the state level, because the pro-life movement’s
    hopes of one of those laws making it to the SC and being used to overturn
    Roe v. Wade just got turned upside-down.) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/30/opinion/la-oe-chemerinsky-scotus-future-20121030
  • A record number of women will serve in the US Senate next
    term; 20, up from 17 this term, and more than double the number that served 15
    years ago. The new senators include the first openly gay woman (Tammy Baldwin,
    Wisconsin), the first female combat veteran (Tammy Duckworth, Illinois), and
    the first Asian-American woman (Mazie Hirono, Hawaii) to serve in the Senate.
  • All six female Senators who were running for reelection won; Maria Cantwell
    (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar
    (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
  • Female Senate candidacy broke records as well; Almost half of the 33 Senate
    races this year had serious female candidates, and in two races, both final
    candidates were female.

Preach, vagina doctors, preach.

You may have heard that Illinois representative Joe Walsh said yesterday that there’s no need to allow for abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, because it never happens. “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance,” he said during his debate against Tammie Duckworth.

(This is one of those things that falls under commonplace
jackassery in my opinion, so I didn’t post about it. Feel free to Google Joe
Walsh abortion if you want more info.)

What IS news is that the American Congress of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists just issued a statement correcting Walsh, saying, “These
inaccurate comments are yet another reason why The American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out
of our exam rooms.”

(There’s also a link at the end to an excellent article in
the New England Journal of Medicine to the same effect. There may be a post
just about that one soon.)

http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2012/Response_to_Politicians_Inaccurate_