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

 

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Link Roundup – Get it Together, Government

I’ve got a TON of Vagina News saved up, so I’m going to put together related links with abbreviated commentary until we catch up.

To begin, GET IT TOGETHER, GOVERNMENT:

– Reset the ‘Days Without a GOP Rape Mention’ counter and tell Todd Akin to put his shiny shoes on, because Arizona House Representative Trent Franks apparently woke up from a coma today and said, “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” Deja vomit.

By way of response, let’s revisit ‘The Worst States for Pregnant Rape Victims.’ 

– Next time you see your gynecologist (or anyone else’s) give them a hug, because this week the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement castigating state governments for initiating an unprecedented number of bills aimed at restricting women’s reproductive rights. 

– And finally, the Air Force has put Major General Margaret Atwood (that’s a woman, for the record) in charge of the branch’s efforts to curb military sexual assault. Atwood is four steps higher in the chain of command than her predecessor, Lieut. Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, who was arrested last month for – say it with me – sexual assault. 

 

This ad is making Republicans Ca-RAYZEE.

A successful young woman made an ad for Obama that contains sexual double entendre.

 

Some people are very, very upset about it.

Which makes me like it even more.

They seem to fall into two basic categories:

1 – It’s inappropriate.

There are various flavors of this; Analogies between sex and politics are inappropriate, the Obama campaign should be ashamed to be associated with such an ad, it’s in poor taste, etc.

The sex & politics analogy objection is a pretty weak argument, given how much actual campaigning has been done around the various issues surrounding reproduction – and Republicans have only themselves to blame for that. You want to separate sex and politics? Stop trying to legislate reproductive issues, and for the love of all you think is holy, BACK AWAY FROM THE RAPE BABIES.

The shame and bad taste objections just boil down to people’s discomfort with a young woman talking about sex in a way that doesn’t objectify or shame her. Lena Dunham has had sex. She’s not ashamed of it, she doesn’t regret it, she’s not embarrassed if other people know it. That just squicks some people out, and to them I say TOUGH SHIT, GET USED TO IT.

2 – It panders to women.

Yes, it does. It’s a political ad. Every political ad there’s ever been has pandered to someone. So why are some people particularly bothered by an ad that panders to young women? First, it challenges what the culture tells us about young women. They might bear no resemblance to cheerleaders or sexy co-eds or uptight virgins or teen moms or the other representations of young women we usually see. They might have tattoos, they might embrace their sexuality, they might be smart at the same time, and they might have political opinions and priorities that differ from our own. There’s a generation of female voters out there who are far more progressive on “social issues” than the generation before them, they care about these issues a lot, and they don’t care whether the rest of us like it. That scares the crap out of some people. And I love it.

Bindergate

Well WHAT should we talk about today?



I haven’t yet watched
the debate; I had dinner with three fantastic female friends instead. But it
only took one post-cocktail phone-check to hear about the “binders.”

Personally,
I find his later comment about being flexible so women can go home and cook
dinner much more repugnant. I also don’t think it’s news that a) he sucks on
women’s issues, and b) he sucks at talking about it. But Bindergate puts public
attention back on these issues, which is great, and it’s led to some handy
round-ups of the facts on Romney’s record on women.

First, read today’s blog post from Rachel Maddow. (She’s a
woman, but she already has a job, so she wouldn’t be in a binder. She works
late sometimes though. But she doesn’t have a husband. Hmm. Perhaps in the next
debate, Bob Schieffer can ask Romney which came first, the demanding job or the
lesbian?)

Then go to http://bindersfullofwomen.com/.
(Gosh someone put that up fast. Probably in all that spare time after doing the
dishes and putting the kids to bed.)

I found it. The CRAZIEST state abortion law.

First, a quick fact. Only 1.4% of abortions take place after

the 20th week of gestation. At that point, the choice is often made due to
serious complications that endanger the health of the child, mother, or both.

So,
Georgia’s HB 954. In short, it bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Supporters call it the “fetal pain bill”, because the justification is that
fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. (There is no medical evidence to support
this.) Opponents call it the “women as livestock bill”, because… Well, you’ll
see.

Here comes the crazy. Be careful, it sneaks up on you.

Crazy – The original version of the bill made no exception
for rape, incest, health of the mother (you know, the usual), OR viability of
the fetus. Many serious birth defects can only be detected after 20 weeks, so
the main effect of the bill would be to force women to carry a non-viable (or
non-alive) fetus to term and delivery.

Crazier – The bill got national attention because State Rep.
Terry England expressed his compassion for women in this situation thusly;
“I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive — delivering
pigs, dead and alive. … It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.”
He’s not unsympathetic, see? He feels for us ladies, just like he felt for
those pigs.

Craziest – The version that passed – aka, is now law – made
a compromise. The idea is to keep the fetus alive as long as possible, even
when the reason for the abortion is that it has no chance of survival. Here’s
the solution; If the doctor determines the fetus is not viable (the mother gets
no say) and it’s been over 20 weeks, she can have an abortion. But first, she
has to deliver the child vaginally or have a C-section – the abortion has to
take place outside the mother’s body. And if the doctor thinks vaginal delivery
might endanger the fetus on its way to abortion, that doctor is legally
required to perform a C-section instead, regardless of the woman’s wishes, or
face jail time.

I told you.

Google ‘Georgia HB 954’ or ‘fetal pain bill’ to learn more.

“Some girls rape easy” – Wisconsin Rep. Roger Rivard (R)

I’m not going to post every time a politician says something incredibly stupid about rape, abortion, or other vagina-related issues. If I did, I’d have no time for any other posts, or… you know… life activities. It’s really a matter of what strikes me as ‘news’ vs ‘same old shit’.

So why does this strike me as ‘news’? I think it’s the
stunningly cavalier, ignorant spin on a sexist classic.

Dear friends, if there happens to be a politician near you,
please remind him (or her, but probably him) that statutory rape is illegal,
both the day of and the day after, and it’s never the tantalizing minor’s
fault.

“Lady”

So this happened today.



“She… was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.” – Todd Akin re Claire McCaskill’s debate performance

It also happened last year.



“You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” – Allen West re a speech made on the House floor by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, July 2011

And the year before that.

“I’ll treat you like a lady. Now act like one.” Arlen Specter, re Michelle Bachman interrupting him, January 2010

I’ve decided to stop looking.

Here’s an interesting exercise. Google “not a lady” and “not a gentleman” (with the quotes.) Take note of how many results, comparatively, are personal attacks.