It’s no surprise that women (at least those in the US and Europe) have it much better now than ever before. The question is what to make out of the current backward rush toward the “good old days” when, for example, a husband could never be accused of raping his wife. Are the proponents of the hundreds of bills affecting women’s health and sexuality just crackpots? Or are they following deeply held, legitimate beliefs that the freedom of women to direct their own sexual lives destabilizes society?
There is no doubt that the beliefs of Anthony Comstock or Sen. Rick Santorum, for that matter, can be genuine. Judging by the examples above, they also can lay claim to historical precedent. But the fact that something was done before does not make it legitimate. The “good old days” never existed. In fact, it is the fear-driven desire of men to control female sexuality and reproduction that should be corralled by the law, not reproductive choices.
This is important, you should read it
10 Reasons The Rest Of The World Thinks The U.S. Is Nuts
This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.
I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.
Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:
The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.
Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.
My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.
Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.
By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.
I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.
The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:
1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.
2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.
3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.
4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape according to the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.
5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.
6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.
7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.
8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (ie. as birth control). As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee? Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy. My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.
9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.
10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.
You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.
This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.
This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. Religious freedom means I get to chose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance. Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me. You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control. But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I chose.That is my right.
Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality, defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago. It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills. Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise - their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.
This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.
And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it. By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse. What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.
And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.
Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas. Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century. They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.
In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”
Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?
There are few times in my life that I have felt genuinely terrified of being a woman. I realize that this is a luxury, this sense of safety and appreciation for what seemed to be constant strides in gender equality was something that made me happy above all else, to be in the United States. I’m not sure I feel that way anymore. I honestly don’t know how to feel anymore; I know I am outraged, I know I am scared.
I will not live in a world where I am forced to birth a still born fetusjust because animals do it.I refuse to live in a world where a zygote has more rights than me, where I am valued more as a vessel, a glorified uterus that contains a fetus, than I am as a human being. Where I will be consigned to death, lied to, manipulated, raped and humiliated all for an organism that could not EXIST without me.
These bills that systematically strip the rights of women just for the apparent folly of getting pregnant or god forbid not Wanting to get pregnant are disgusting. I get sick to my stomach thinking of any one who would think it’s okay to way the life of a human being over that of fetus, of anyone who would consign a woman to delivering a child conceived though rape not by choice but by FORCE.
The severe lack of empathy rampant and apparent in every single one of these bills is sickening. The giant steps backwards we have made in not just the rights of Women in this country, but inevitably the rights of everyone is disturbing and it cannot continue.
Bans on abortion evenlife or death circumstanceswill not strengthen or help anyone. If this is about a ‘right to life’ it has woefully de-prioritzed the living. I understand this is by individualized states but what happened toRoe v WadeandDoe v Bolton? What happened to protecting women’s health?
I dare any anti-choicer to write a response as accurate, informative, and to the point. I fucking dare you.
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.
Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.
Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”
Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”
Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.
Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.
Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.
Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.
People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.
And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.
Oh my god, this. All of this.
Nadine Dorries makes me sick
Nadine Dorries is a pro life Tory MP who believes that christian organisations should have the right to guilt trip women about abortion when they are at their most vunerable. She is at the forefront of a government initiative which aims to strip charities of the principal responsibility of giving unbiased, quality advice to those who need it and aims to give christian groups much more of an influential position when it comes to the subject of abortion. The thought of christian groups taking advantage of women at their most vulnerable with their religious bias quite frankly makes me sick.
Oh…and shes also all for teaching abstinence in schools…
This is happening right now in 21st century Britain…
Activists in Poland are already trying to outright outlaw abortion. My country has a Christian Minister of the Interior who is an anti-gay bigot and opposed to abortion.
This is not happening in only the US anymore and it’s fucking scary.
“It’s not called victim blaming, it’s called personal responsibility!”
“I’m not slut shaming! That college girl who got drunk and was raped just made some choices of her own!!1”
WHAT IS THIS LOGIC I DON’T EVEN.
A Modern Sexual-Assault Tale
- Man: Hello, I'd like to report a mugging.
- Officer: A mugging, eh? Where did it take place?
- Man: I was walking by 21st and Dundritch Street and a man pulled out a gun and said, "Give me all your money."
- Officer: And did you?
- Man: Yes, I co-operated.
- Officer: So you willingly gave the man your money without fighting back, calling for help or trying to escape?
- Man: Well, yes, but I was terrified. I thought he was going to kill me!
- Officer: Mmm. But you did co-operate with him. And I've been informed that you're quite a philanthropist, too.
- Man: I give to charity, yes.
- Officer: So you like to give money away. You make a habit of giving money away.
- Man: What does that have to do with this situation?
- Officer: You knowingly walked down Dundritch Street in your suit when everyone knows you like to give away money, and then you didn't fight back. It sounds like you gave money to someone, but now you're having after-donation regret. Tell me, do you really want to ruin his life because of your mistake?
- Man: This is ridiculous!
- Officer: This is a rape analogy. This is what women face every single day when they try to bring their rapists to justice.
- Man: Fuck the patriarchy.
- Officer: Word.
[Trigger: Rape] The concept that a woman’s clothing is what got her raped ought to be gravely offensive to men, too.
I don’t think that the people who spout this nonsense of “her mini-skirt was asking for it” or “you could see her labia so clearly she wanted it” understand the victim-blaming mentality of such an argument or just how offensive this sentiment is to men.
What are men, then? Victims trapped in their own bodies, incapable of turning off their sex drive? Are they slaves to their genitals? A heartless, brainless oaf who sees vagina and switches on to sex mode, completely unable to switch it off?
Obviously not, but sometimes I feel this side of offense is left out when arguing a woman’s way of dress during a sexual assault. It’s just a point I’d like to throw out there.
But to advance the “her clothes were asking for it” argument you have to be dumb enough to not realise at all how dumb you are, thereby ignoring all said argument’s implications regarding yourself…
sorry, I had to say it. .__.
Abortion, say medical experts, is a pretty safe procedure when carried out in the early weeks of pregnancy. This is the official view on the Department of Health’s NHS Choices website: “No clinical procedure is entirely free from risk, but abortion poses few risks to a woman’s physical health, particularly when carried out during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. An abortion does not usually affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant and having normal pregnancies in future.”
That does not stop the controversy – fuelled, say pro-choice campaigners, by misinformation or deliberately partial interpretations of research. Among the myths circulated are that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer or can make her infertile.
Only this month, a study emerged from the European Society for Human Fertilisation and Embryology conference in Stockholm involving records for more than a million pregnancies in Scotland over 26 years. The top line was that women who have had an abortion are subsequently more likely to give birth prematurely. The reasons for this finding may be nothing to do with abortion.
First – and particularly in the past – many women would not have disclosed an abortion, which distorts the numbers. There was no difference in the rate of premature births between women who had an abortion and those who had a miscarriage. Second, this study found, as have others, that women who have had an abortion are more likely to be smokers, older and from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, all of which make them more likely candidates for premature delivery.
Not all studies take that into account. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in its guidance on reproductive outcomes after termination of pregnancy, states: “The confounding effects of socio-economic factors, which are important, are considered in very few studies examining the effects of induced abortion.”
There is a lack of consensus on a possible risk of preterm birth, it says. Some studies found an association, others not. “From the recent studies reviewed, no clear relationship between previous induced abortion and preterm birth was demonstrable,” the guidance says. Also, there “are no proven associations between induced abortion and subsequent ectopic pregnancy, placenta praevia or infertility”.
Patricia Lohr, medical director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, dismissed claims that abortion increases the risk of cancer. “Multiple large studies have now demonstrated that there is no association,” she said.
Another myth, she said, is that it causes “post-abortion syndrome” – a psychological disorder triggered by regret. “There is no such diagnosis. We know from large studies that there is no association between having one abortion and an adverse psychological outcome.”
Indeed, research showed that most women – once past the agonising stage of decision-making and having gone through the procedure – felt relief.
The more you know. Hmm, science.
“women who have had an abortion are more likely to be smokers, older and from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, all of which make them more likely candidates for premature delivery”
I can see it: ABORTION MAKES YOU POOR AND OLD AND NICOTINE DEPENDENT!!!!!!11