Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

One of the most nightmarish books I ever read was Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”.  Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing incremental steps toward that nightmare in reality occurring across this country in recent years.  Well, Michigan just took a leap toward such a dystopia by proposing to ban abortion coverage in private health insurance plans and forcing women to purchase a separate rider.  And it has a good chance of becoming law.  It has become law.

I’m so flabbergasted that I’m speechless.

  • 99% of the time I don’t believe in deities, however ironic little news stories like this make me thankful to any god or goddess that might have brought it to my attention.

    Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation. [snip] As a member of Congress, Radel has co-sponsored legislation to change the nation’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws and voted for a bill that called for states to drug test people who receive food stamps.

    PS: Drug testing people on welfare finds few positives, contributes to state deficits and does no one any good.

  • Yet another sad tale illustrative of the horrible state of affairs for Mental Health treatment in the U.S.

    State Senator R. Creigh Deeds, a leading Virginia political figure who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2009, was stabbed repeatedly on Tuesday at his home during an altercation with his son, who then apparently took his own life, the authorities said. [snip] On Monday, state mental health officials unsuccessfully sought to find a bed in a hospital psychiatric ward for Gus Deeds, who had undergone an evaluation…

    PS: All those junk insurance plans getting dropped by health insurance companies in the U.S. did not cover Mental Health services as mandated by Obamacare. Making treatment available at the same rate as physical illnesses is the right first step to fix our Mental Health system.

  • If you are Pro-Choice then you may have noticed that since the Pro-Life movement had failed to force their religious beliefs on the rest of us via Federal measures, they’ve resorted to trying to do it at the state level with some success.  Well, now they are also trying it out at the City level with a measure that would ban abortions after week 20.  Fortunately the voters of Albuquerque rejected the measure.  So the fight goes on, just a little closer to home now.
  • 37 states settled a lawsuit with Google for privacy violations and the amount to be split amongst the states is $17 million.  Arizona’s share will be $355,000.  Now let’s see how long it takes for this money to line some crony’s pocket.
  • The weather in Phoenix is FINALLY starting to cool down.  We’ve reached the mid to upper 70’s this week which is about average.  The weather has been crazy…we would hit the 90’s and then plummet into the 70’s.  On Nov. 12th we got up to 92, which is 15 degrees above average.  While everyone in cold dark places is dreaming of being in 90 degree weather, I’m exactly the opposite.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to be able to wear a sweater!
  • The City of Phoenix received a perfect score on the inclusiveness of  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in city government.  That makes Phoenix one of only 25 in the nation to receive a perfect score from The Human Rights Campaign.  It’s nice to know I’m not always correct when I say there has been no progress in Arizona–we’re doing it, just teeny-tiny step at a time.
  • Our infamous Sheriff Joe was the subject of “Roast” last weekend for Charity.  I’m sure they went pretty easy on him as good ‘ol Joe has pretty thin skin.  Here’s some jokes that liberals everywhere WISH had been used.  From what I heard via a radio interview on 97.9 KUPD the organizers asked one of the best roast hosts in the business, Jeffrey Ross, and he turned the gig down.  Can you blame him?

UPDATE:   No sooner had I posted this than I see that Rep. Steve Douchenozzle Stockman is also claiming on Twitter that female spectators were threatening to throw feces too.  Really?  Really?!?!

Just when I thought Texas couldn’t get any weirder, I see this (h/t JM Ashby at Bob Cesca’s blog)…

txcourthouse

As people file into the State Legislature to witness the fight over the latest abortion bill, the security guards are confiscating tampons and pads from the women.   Men can go in with a gun strapped to their hip but tampons are strictly verboten!  Rachel Maddow has links to similar pics too.

Baby Jeebus on a cracker this country has lost it’s ever loving mind.

So I’m driving to work this morning when I came across one of those local morning radio shows of the Howard Stern-like variety, meaning full of hyper-masculine oversexed and racist bullshit sprinkled with a dusting of misogyny.  To my delight they were up in arms about a story out of Texas that the state legislature passed a bill that would make male masturbation illegal–because every sperm is sacred, dontcha know!  Further in the story it said that men could not buy or possess sex toys that aid in masturbation and that they couldn’t receive erectile dysfunction drugs unless they sign a statement saying they would only have sex with a woman while using them and then give that statement to the government.  My first reaction was a gleeful “Welcome to my world, bitches!”

Most of the guys on the show were stunned but one of them, the lone religious man kept saying “there has to be a reason”.  He was trying to find justification for why they would do such a thing as if men had been masturbating so much that birth rates were dropping dangerously in Texas or some such nonsense. Leaving aside the whole debate as to why a religious man would be on such a show, which is a whole nother post altogether, I was fascinated by his attempt to justify the supposed law and the others reactions to the story.  The other men were just appalled and rightly so.  It obviously violates their autonomy, inserts religion into their bedrooms and violates the privacy between a patient and their doctor.

Now you may, at this point, be doubting the veracity of said article.  You are correct.  It was a satirical news story put out by the Tribune Herald.  If you go to the actual article online you will see that the lede states “Texas legislature fails on abortion, passes masturbation bill”.    Technically speaking the abortion bill hasn’t completely failed since Gov. Perry and his minions will continue to push the law until the opposition is exhausted from maintaining near constant filibustering because in TX a person who is filibustering actually has to stand for the better part of a day and actually hold the floor of the legislature (unlike Congress which allows the member to not even be present to prevent a vote or fillibuster).  The Texas GOP will force this law on the state the will and health of the women of Texas be damned.

Without getting too caught up in the abortion debate, what is most interesting to me was that even though the fake article that got our local shock jocks so upset was clearly set up within the context of the failed abortion bill not once during the whole discussion did any one of them draw a parallel between their situation and that of women.  Not once did it occur to them that women might feel the same way because we already face laws that say we’re not allowed to buy or possess sex toys in some states.  We already face laws that say we aren’t allowed to have sex without procreating.  Make no mistake about it.  Every single law that makes getting an abortion more difficult (e.g., by adding unreasonable wait times, by closing down every clinic in the state, by proscribing forced vaginal insertion of medical devices, by limiting the window in which one can get an abortion, etc) basically tells women that if they have sex and get pregnant the state will do everything in their power to force them to give birth.  And if we allow abortion to be outlawed, we might as well write the laws that way.  Women must give birth if they get pregnant.  That’s what anti-choice laws are REALLY about.  And let’s not get into the social stigma of women who actually like sex or who are openly sexual–you know the drill–men are studs and women are sluts, etc, etc.  We’ve been over all that.  NONE of that has changed.

So these radio hosts never once made the connection between the rights that they purportedly lost with the rights that women have actually lost.  They completely missed the point of the satire and here’s why.  These same radio hosts frequently have strippers and porn stars on their show doing  interviews and contests that would make your grandmother turn a shade of red never before seen in the visible spectrum (I would link to some video of their contests but they are really pretty tacky like the one of a purported MILF in a bikini who gets into a midget’s pants…..nuff said).  Suffice it to say, they have little to no respect for women.  Oh, don’t get me wrong. They love women who are “nasty” and “slutty”.  They love them like you love that hot fudge brownie sundae you can’t resist late at night.  You know it will make you fat and hate yourself tomorrow but by God you’ll scarf it down anyway.  They can’t stand women who don’t put out or who don’t tolerate men behaving badly around them.  They’re buzz killers and uptight prudes.  To them a woman can only be one extreme or the other–whore or madonna, but never both.  They’ll claim that they really do love women and they treat women respectfully in their real life.  And that may be true.  They’ll claim to be real 3-D complicated people and it’s probably true.  But they don’t realize they’re not letting women be real 3-D people.

See real 3-D women like sex in private but don’t want to be treated like a sex object in public.  Real women believe masturbation is as natural and healthy for them as it is for men, but they don’t want either gender to be told they can’t.  Real women don’t think anyone should be messing with her vagina and ovaries any more than they should be messing with a man’s testicles and sperm.  Funny how these radio hosts can’t see that real women exist and that these laws that hurt real women, hurt real men too.  If these laws against women persist you will see more and more women calling for similar restrictions on men.  Let’s see how they like it when something like this does actually become law.  Maybe that’s the only way that American men will wake up and understand the laws that seek to control and restrict female autonomy are laws against humanity in general.  At the very least I will be able to honestly say, “Welcome to our world, bitches!” and mean it.

Eighteen companies in the U.S. have gone to Court to avoid having to comply with the ACA’s (Obamacare) required birth control benefit.  They’re reasoning:  1) the benefit covers abortion-inducing drugs and 2) it violates their for-profit company’s religious freedom.  Both reasons are poppycock.

The pill, Plan B, Ella, etc are birth control–not abortifacients–meaning that they prevent an egg from being fertilized-they do NOT cause the body to reject a zygote (fertilized egg).  So their first reason is not true.  Furthermore on this point, the medical definition of pregnancy, which is the legal standard, is that the fertilized egg must implant on the wall of the womb.  Evidently these wealthy and mostly male cadre of entrepreneurs have decided that their individual religious belief that life begins at fertilization trumps the medical and legal one.  Nope, sorry fellas.

Now to the second point…..A company does not have religious freedom–because a company is not a person–no matter what the Supreme Court says.  And even if it did have “religious freedom” then whose religion?  The owner, the majority of the employees’ or the majority the shareholders?  See what a sticky wicket that “corporations are people too” is?  But I digress.

A corporation is both a  thing, an organization, and sometimes it is a group of individuals.  Clearly, the individuals who own it do have religious freedom.  Legal precedence tells us that what matters when considering a violation of religious freedom (and this is true of other “free exercise rights”) is the degree to which the individual is burdened–it has to be a “substantial burden” to constitute a violation.  Therefore, these companies have to show how it is a “substantial burden” to them to provide this benefit.  So far, they have failed to do this.

The courts have said time and time again that providing a “birth control” benefit to female employees is not a substantial burden.  Since employees pay for part or all of the costs of health insurance and therefore “earn” the benefit it isn’t a “substantial burden” on the employer.  Indeed one could argue the opposite.  To deny women birth control IS a substantial burden on female employees.  But who wants to help all those sluts out there, amiright?

One final point…most businesses, indeed even some religious organizations, have been offering the birth control benefit for a long time.  They only just recently decided that their religious freedom was being impinged and it conveniently coincided with the election of the scary Muslim usurper to the White House and passage of healthcare reform.  If a person or a group of persons making up a company feel they cannot provide birth control coverage then don’t run a business with other employees.  Just don’t.  It’s the same point I made when I was discussing the Catholic Church running ER’s and hospitals.  If they can’t provide proper care for pregnant women, which includes the ability to perform D&C’s to REALLY save the life of the mother then they either don’t need to run those hospitals or they don’t need to provide obstetrics.  In the end, the company doesn’t get to impose it’s owners religious rights on it’s employees.  It’s 2012, not 1012 and I’m pretty damn sure my “lady business” is none of their business.

Sarcasm aside….if you think these companies are wrong on this issue go to the Planned Parenthood website and sign their petition.

 

The Governor of Virginia is finally acquiescing to the need to form a healthcare exchange (instead of letting the Feds do it) to comply with the 2010 Healthcare Reform law, aka, Obamacare. Only problem is, he has decided that any insurance companies that participate, even private companies, cannot cover abortion–you know that perfectly legal medical procedure that saves the lives of women every day. I think if you don’t want to provide those services for women there should also be a restriction on any companies that provide erectile dysfunction meds like Viagra or better yet a restriction on those that provide prostrate surgery. Just sayin

http://hamptonroads.com/2013/02/health-care-exchanges-may-not-cover-abortion

I and many other people have been saying that the Republican Party is destroying itself from within and seems to need little help from their opponents in this matter. Every day I am becoming more convinced that we are seeing the GOP in it’s death throes (1) because the things they are doing are getting crazier and dumber.

Today we find out that Ted Nugent, the gun loving, draft dodging (2) and liberal hating singer, is going to be attending the State of the Union tonight as a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX).  Nugent most recently and famously had this to say about Pres. Obama and three of the most powerful and respected women in the world all while brandishing assault weapons:

Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun. Let’s hear it for him. And then I was in New York. I said, “Hey, Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch. Since I’m in California, how about Barbara Boxer, she might want to suck on my machine gun. And Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore. Any questions?

Yes, that’s the kind of man that the Republican Party wants to highlight on national television while the President has invited regular folks who REALLY represent America.  Part of me is delighted because it shows just how far off the Rails the GOP has gone and probably will alienate moderate voters.  The other part of me is pretty angry.  This guy has implied threats to the President’s life (to the point the Secret Service had to have a little talk with him), said some of the most inflammatory things about women and blacks I’ve heard spoken in public, and threatened to turn traitor.  Now yes, we have freedom of speech and no one is saying he can’t say such stupid and offensive things.  I’m just saying he doesn’t belong at the State of the Union because his views are so insulting, ugly and yes, violent.  You won’t see the left doing things like this.  You won’t see Bill Maher, who called Sarah Palin a cunt, attending the State of the Union.  You know why?  Because it’s totally inappropriate and does not help bridge the gap between the parties.  If anything, these kinds of people only make bipartisanship that much harder.  Dems know that and care who gets to represent them. The parties should show their best face forward at such events.  The American people and indeed the world, is watching.  Republicans must not give a shit about what anybody thinks.  They must want a racist, woman hating coward to represent them.  To channel Senator McCain, that’s a problem, my friends.

How about this one…..there is a right-wing radio host, Kevin Swanson, who had this to say:

[W]omen who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

Did you know this idea is called a homunculus (3) and it dates back to Ancient Greece, in particular to Aristotle?  Did you know that Aristotle and most Greek men at that time hated women?  To them the highest form of love was between two men.  Women were only there for two things:  serving as slaves to their husbands and for breeding.  The idea was adopted by the Catholic Church and stood for a couple of thousand years (may still be part of their catechism).  But in the 19th Century modern science began to understand about sperm and eggs and development of the fetus, etc so that this homunculus theory has been proven wrong.  Pushing this kind of ignorant and debunked thought is now makes no sense unless they want people to start thinking this way again.  After all it won’t be too much of stretch for many Republicans, if their politicians are any indication.   Why?  Let me show you.

  • A bill was recently introduced in New Mexico that would make any woman who aborted a baby conceived due to rape a criminal.  For what?  Tampering with evidence.  The bill was withdrawn, however the fact that they thought it was perfectly acceptable to bring it up for discussion is horrifying to me.
  • So many politicians have said stupid and offensive things about rape in the last couple of years so that the GOP held a retreat and had to have an outside consultant talk to them and convince them that they needed to stop using the word “rape”.  Not change their thoughts about it, not reconsider their position or become more empathic to their constituents positions on it, but just stop saying the word.  Nothing about the wrong and right of it, just completely stop talking about the topic.  See, if a guy thinks that “some women rape easy” or that the vagina has defensive mechanisms to repel a rapists sperm or that there are forms of legitimate rape (4), then they can think it, the ethics of it be damned, all they want but they can’t alert their female constituents to their beliefs because it will cost them votes.  Hmmm, wonder why it would cost them votes…..? Because it’s completely wrong and  horribly offensive, maybe?!?!
  • Besides an attempt to have a national amendment for Personhood, several state Republican legislators have been pushing Personhood laws and amendments as well.  In which things like abortion at any stage would be murder.  IVF (5) would be murder.  Miscarriage would be investigated because what causes a woman to miscarriage?  You don’t know until you investigate, right?  And the fetus would be a person, so did the mother do anything to cause it? Can you imagine just having had a miscarriage while you are grieving you could be investigated for murder for that very same thing?

Such willful ignorance as Swanson spewing is falling upon very fertile ground.  That ground is full of conservatives who think in similar ways, believe similar things, and who reject science if it doesn’t fit their narrative.  They home school their kids and teach their kids abstinence.  They believe what their preacher, their priest, their favorite  right-wing TV and/or radio host, and their Republican politicians tell them, even if it is just batshit crazy.

Yet another example of the nutso caucus was the decision to have not one but two Republicans give a response to the State of the Union.  See it’s tradition for one of the opposing party to speak after the President. The GOP decided they would have Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speak in English and then Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speak in Spanish.  This idea was quickly squashed by others in the Party not because it is breaking with the tradition of only one response. Not because it is a waste of time since all three of the Hispanics who really want to watch the speeches can find a million other ways to hear and read it translated.  It was squashed because Republicans didn’t want to give the impression that they supported any other language but English.  That’s right.  They turned down the opportunity to reach out to the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., a group whose vote they resoundingly lost in 2012, because they didn’t want to legitimize that group’s language.  Keep going Republicans, you’re doing great!

Another….the President receives 30 threats against his life every day.  This is 400% increase.  He is so threatened that the Secret Service is being overwhelmed.

And so many others like…..

  • the rapid growth in the gap between rich and poor and the corresponding shrinking of the middle class,
  • the extreme opposition to reasonable requests for gun control reform,
  • the rise of a propaganda arm of the conservative agenda that disguises itself as objective journalism (Fox News),
  • the gamble with the debt ceiling and putting the global economy in jeopardy,
  • the willingness to let the sequestration occur and slow down the U.S. economy’s growth just after a recession,
  • the number of threats of impeachment the President has received,
  • the entire “Birther Movement”,
  • the purposeful misconstruing of the health care law,
  • the surge in actual political power enjoyed by shock jockeys and TV grifters like Limbaugh and Beck,
  • the resurgence of secession talk, etc, etc, etc.

I know that none of these things alone are all that unusual and they have all happened before (except for the Nugent thing, I guess, but we could consider the “You lie!” yell during the 2009 State of the Union to be in this class of offensive and tasteless behavior).  But put together, I am beginning to see a pattern of hate, rage even, that is coordinated, stoked and growing.  And it is helping the Republicans destroy themselves.  Which, in all honesty, is to the good in my eyes.  Unfortunately, it’s also hurting the rest of the country too.   If we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it and I can tell you, minorities and women do not want to and WILL NOT allow us to go backwards to the dark days when we only had second-class status.

Notes:  

1.  It will take several more election cycles, but I’m thinking around 2020

2.  Just in case you didn’t know, this man who is constantly brandishing guns and bragging about how he would revolt and fight against the evil Government, wasn’t so brave when he actually had a chance to serve his country, in order to avoid going to Vietnam Nugent by his own admission smeared shit all over his body and feigned insanity.  He got a deferment 4 times and was eventually given a 4-F.   But now, now he’s a big, big man and people should fear him.  Did he grow a pair over the last 20 years or is it that his kettle of bigotry and misogyny finally boiled over?

3.  various spellings, not sure which is official

4.  there are too many examples to link to here

5.  IVF, test tube babies, usually they fertilize many eggs, implant them in the womb and then once they attach, those that aren’t attached are removed and disposed of