Category Archives: abortion

Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

This is what happens when you restrict women’s access to abortion services:

As policies restricting access to abortion roll out in Texas and elsewhere, the use of miso is quickly becoming a part of this country’s story. It has already made its way into the black market here in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where abortion restrictions are tightening, and it is likely to continue its trajectory if anti-abortion legislation does not ease up and clinics continue to be closed.

The Texas law which sparked Wendy Davis’ famous filibuster has already shuttered 12 of the state’s 40 abortion clinics, and counting. It was predicted that the law would keep 23,000 Texas women — one third of those who seek them — from getting abortions. Meanwhile,

Many of these women can be found in the Rio Grande Valley, where the admitting privileges provision forced both of the county’s abortion clinics to shut down. Now, the closest clinic for the region’s one-million-plus residents is 150 miles away. For many poor, uninsured South Texas women, that distance is beyond feasible. Few have access to a set of wheels for the long haul, and others lack the right paperwork to cross immigration checkpoints on highways that run through the state.

Meanwhile, the flea market is close to most people living in the Valley, and the massive Alamo pulga looks like just the kind of place to pick up miso. According to several of my local sources, the drug is sold here and it’s not difficult to get—you just need to know who to approach and what to ask for.

God, stop me if you’ve heard this story before. Like we don’t already know that women will do anything to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Like we don’t have a gruesome history of coat hangers, knitting needles, women throwing themselves down stairs, etc. etc. etc. Jesus, but pro-lifers are stupid. Closing a Planned Parenthood clinic doesn’t stop abortion. It stops safe, legal, clean, compassionate abortion care. It makes women criminals for doing what the Supreme Court has said is legal.

Meanwhile, forcing women to seek out black market medication for a perfectly legal procedure puts vulnerable, poor women at risk:

One woman I interviewed at a Mexican restaurant in Brownsville told me her good friend nearly died after taking pills that her husband bought in Mexico. Instead of ingesting four of the 12 pills every three hours, as is recommended by the World Health Organization, she took two pills under her tongue, then four pills vaginally, then two more under her tongue, then four more vaginally. She began to bleed profusely, doubled over in pain. But because she was undocumented, she was afraid to seek medical help at a nearby hospital or clinic. Instead, she crossed the border to Mexico with her five children—all the while hemorrhaging—in search of medical assistance. She has since recovered but is still in Mexico with her children because she can’t cross the border back into the United States.

Women will always find a way. Always. It doesn’t matter what the law says, desperate people will go to any lengths to get what they need. This is something we women know deep in our bones, because pregnancy is something that affects our bodies and our lives, while for men it’s a mere abstract concept. Men don’t get it, they will never get it because it’s not the same issue for them.

The fetus-fetish crowd are true monsters.

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Filed under abortion, healthcare, women's rights

Today In Church And State

[UPDATE]:

As of Saturday, June 28, the McKnight campaign signs are gone, but the stuff on the church sign is still there.

—————————————————-

Just saw this on my way home from the grocery store this morning:

Nice Tax-Exempt Status You've Got There. Shame If Anything Happened To It

Nice Tax-Exempt Status You’ve Got There. Shame If Anything Happened To It

Amendment One is an anti-abortion measure. I had to Google this McKnight fellow, but he’s a big-time right-to-lifer.

This church isn’t too far from my house. I’ve always referred to it as the Wingnut Bible Church because their signs are always advertising some wingnutty seminar or program: “End-Times Prophecy,” “Justice Sunday” and crap like that. Every July Fourth they put about a dozen or so ginormous American flags on their property, because Jesus was an American and a Founder and Christian Nation and Shut Up. But I’ve never seen them outright politick like this before.

I’m not a lawyer, definitely not a Constitutional one, but I’m pretty sure the IRS frowns on these kinds of outright political endorsements from tax-exempt churches. Don’t they?

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Filed under abortion, church and state, Nashville, religion, religious fundamentalism, Tennessee

Fundies Silent On Israel’s Free Abortions

You know, there’s nothing more hypocritical than your modern pro-life conservative Fundiegelical American Christian. These folks have a no-compromise attitude when it comes to Planned Parenthood: every penny the taxpayers give PP for STD testing and mammograms is a penny PP can use toward aborting babies, they argue. They refused to support UN women’s health programs during the Bush years because they included abortion (as well as birth control and vital HIV/AIDs prevention). But no, millions of people in Africa could contract HIV, as long as not one penny was spent on abortion.

And Obamacare? The double backbends the Obama Administration went through to make sure no religious group directly sullied its hands by touching birth control was not enough. The demands that no insurance policy offer coverage for abortion continue.

But when it comes to Israel? Well, Fundiegelicals love, love, love Israel, because Jesus and Nuke The Ragheads and the Chosen People and Zionism, etc. etc. etc. So when it was announced late last year that Israel would offer free abortions to all women age 20-33 for any reason whatsoever, one might expect cries of outrage, demands to withhold U.S. aid, etc.

Aaand you would be wrong. We got crickets. Worse than crickets. Some of them have even defended the decision:

Ari Morgenstern, spokesman for Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which boasts more than 1 million members nationwide, the abortion policy won’t change the organization’s support for the Jewish State.

“CUFI is a single-issue organization that supports the democratically elected government of Israel regardless of whether or not we agree with the decisions taken by that government,” he said.

Got that? It doesn’t matter what they do, we will support them regardless. I find that … odd.

And then there’s this:

Tom McClusky a spokesman for the March for Life said, “It seems that especially while a lot of Europe and also Russia and the former Soviet Union is having trouble keeping up with birthrates, that it’d be a pretty poor policy for a country to take right now.” When asked if he thought the new provision might alienate pro-Israel American conservatives, McClusky added, “A lot of people that I’ve partnered with here and at my former job [the Family Research Council] who were pro-Israel were also pro-life. It seems they’d just be another country where we’d be looking to overturn a law.

See? No biggie. We can still send them billions of dollars in defense aid, we’ll just work to overturn the policy. (Hey: can Planned Parenthood get that deal? No?) You could argue that every Israeli bomb and fighter jet Americans pay for is money the Israelis can now spend on abortion. You could argue that, unless of course you’re a right-wing pro-life Fundiegelical American Christian, in which case you won’t, because you’re a hypocrite.

Writes Ed Kilgore:

Most antichoicers who are also aggressive supporters of a Greater Israel form of Zionism clearly just don’t want to “go there” in examining Israel’s abortion policies. It just would not do for them to apply the sort of “abortion as Holocaust” rhetoric to Israel as they routinely do with respect to America’s less liberal laws.

The bottom line is that many of the most adamant conservative Christian supporters of Israel (or at least the Israel represented by politicians like Bibi Netanyahu and those to his right) treat that country as an instrument for their own fantasies about the Middle East, not as a society representing their own values. Jewish Zionists who welcome their support ought to keep that in mind.

I would point out that this applies to American politics, as well. To paraphrase Kilgore, the most adamant conservative Christian opponents of abortion treat that issue as an instrument for their own fantasies about a conservative America, not as a policy reflecting any real religious conviction.

Or to put it another way: the abortion issue is simply a political tool used by leaders of the organized Christian Right to raise funds, get out the vote, gather mailing lists, win elections and achieve other political ends. The leaders of the religious political movement don’t give a shit about fetuses or babies or anything else. Fundiegelicals who support them ought to keep that in mind.

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Filed under abortion, Israel

Fundie RWNJ Admits Climate Change Is Man-Made

Sorta:

“We’ve made God angry by allowing abortion! Abortion causes climate change!” claims Barton.

Barton claims that we opened the door to losing God’s protection over our environment by supporting abortion which, he says, will lead to just killing everybody anyway.

Progress?

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Filed under abortion, climate change, religious fundamentalism, religious right

Christian Healthcare Just As Obnoxious As The Regular Kind, Of Course

I swear, there must be some kind of conspiracy whereby NPR knows the 15 minutes each week I listen to Marketplace and schedules the programming most likely to give me an aneurism for that time slot.

Anyway, today I caught this bit about the “Christian alternative to Obamacare”. It’s basically a healthcare co-op for Christians, or to put it another way:

“It’s a group of people, in this case Christians, who band together and agree that they want to share one another’s burdens,” says Andrea Miller, medical director for the largest Christian health-insurance alternative, Medi-Share.

Their “case study” is a guy and his wife from Chattanooga who would have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in healthcare bills in recent years were it not for this “health sharing ministry.” And there’s some personal attention too, such as:

“The night before my surgery, the lady who’d helped me locate the right providers and everything called me back and said, ‘Would it be OK if I prayed with you for your surgery tomorrow?'”

Three days later, she called back to ask how the surgery went.

Okay, that works for me, I buy into the socialisticky- “see how they love one another” ethos at play. It’s my hippie-dippy version of Christianity at work. Rock on.

Then we get to the requirements of being part of a “Christian healthcare ministry”:

There are a few requirements to fulfill before participating, Miller says. The first is that you have to be Christian. “Second, you need to agree to living a Christian lifestyle, including no smoking, including not abusing alcohol or drugs,” she says.

Yeah, that’s kinda annoying, folks. I missed the part of the Bible where the “Christian lifestyle” is described in those terms. After all, Jesus turned the water into wine (indeed, wine is probably mentioned in the Bible more often than any other foodstuff). But beyond that, there’s a superiority implied by such a statement, as if Christians are somehow healthier/better than non-believers — as if, somehow, Christians are immune to the issues of addiction that plague everyone else.

Really, guys? If Christians did a better job of avoiding substance abuse problems and every other pitfall of the human experience, Christian rehab centers wouldn’t be a booming industry.

And that begs the question: do they not cover rehab services? Mental health services? I’d love to know.

But anyway, I was still ready to give them a pass until we got to this part:

“We do not share in every medical need that a person has,” Miller of Medi-Share says. “Some of the things we don’t share in are related to lifestyle issues, such as an abortion. But others of them are related to things that the members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves.”

Wait, wut? Abortion is a lifestyle issue? Are you serious?

Calling abortion a “lifestyle issue” is basically buying into the whole judgemental “those sluts must be punished” approach to abortion we always hear from the anti-choice folks. Judge not lest ye be judged, y’all.

Even worse, classifying abortion among the things “members have agreed that they would rather pay for themselves” is really saying, members don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to know when it comes up as an issue and they don’t want to know about it during and after, either. All of that “would it be OK if I prayed with you” stuff is fine for kidney surgery but not fine for abortion, even a necessary one.

In short, they don’t want to hear anything that challenges their pre-ordained idea that abortion only happens to “those people” who live “that way” “over there” in “those places.”

At a time when a family could most use the prayers and support of their community, you’re all agreeing to just shove all that under the rug.

“Christian” healthcare ministry? Pffft.

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Filed under abortion, Christianity, health insurance, healthcare, religion

Go Back To Your Man Cave, Asshole

Via Twitter, scenes from the anti-choice protests at the Texas state capitol today:

Mansplaining.jpg-large

AND:

BOMvY-eCYAAVqvQ.jpg-large

Dudes who regret their abortions? This is a new thing!

Here’s an idea. When you can carry that fetus 9 months and not have to worry about how you’re going to a) care for it and yourself and whatever other progeny you have while you’re pregnant and after giving birth and, b) figure out how you can care for it for 18 years amid all the challenges and life issues you may be dealing with right now? Come talk to me. Until then, STFU.

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Filed under abortion, feminism

“Pro-Lifers” Gave Us Kermit Gosnell

Republicans like Rep. Marsha Blackburn might want to be careful about invoking the name of notorious Pennsylvania butcher Dr. Kermit Gosnell as they push to restrict access to abortion.

Beside the fact that it defies logic — what Gosnell did was illegal, DUH, that’s why he was put on trial and is now in jail, dumbasses — a brief look at his practice shows his clientele was driven to him by the very anti-choice, anti-woman policies that the Marsha Blackburns of this country keep clamoring for.

I direct you to the BBC World Service, which today did an in-depth radio documentary on the Gosnell case, and which I recommend you hear, graphic details and all. I transcribed a few pertinent excerpts:

“It wasn’t the cleanest place … the rooms were small, it was dimly lit. It just didn’t seem like a kind of medical situation you would want to be in — unless you were desperate. Because the abortions weren’t expensive. He was cheap! So that brought people that couldn’t afford to go anywhere, but to him. And that’s why they would sit down in that lobby and that waiting area for hours at a time.”

A country which lacks a functioning healthcare system that serves the reproductive needs of poor women — women who are desperate — is asking for a Kermit Gosnell in every city. That is reality.

Margaret Davidson, whose cousin died after Gosnell perforated her uterus during an abortion, says he had a reputation. “He was known in the community for doing abortions, it didn’t matter what the gestation was. That you could get it done quickly, you could get it done cheaply, no questions asked.

If you are going to make women jump through medically unnecessary hoops like transvaginal ultrasounds and radically restrict the gestational date at which abortion is permitted — some states have gone to ludicrous lengths — then you are asking for a Kermit Gosnell in every city. That is reality.

He says Gosnell didn’t just treat women from West Philadelphia. “There was always a group of white women who came to the clinic for a lot of the same reasons. Some of them were poor and they needed an abortion and Dr. Gosnell was there. Others were suburban teenagers that got pregnant and their parents wanted them to get an abortion and Gosnell once again was there. So he developed a reputation, not just in Philadelphia but pretty much along the East Coast as the abortion doctor of last resort.

If you are going to restrict women’s access to affordable reproductive healthcare, including birth control and abortion services, then you are asking for a Kermit Gosnell in every city. That is reality.

In 2009, Karnamaya Mongar traveled up the East Coast to see Gosnell. Her story reveals just how shambolic Gosnell’s clinic was. Her family’s lawyer is Bernard Smalley.

“She was a political refugee from a country called Bhutan. She came with her husband, her two children, and her grandchild here to Northern Virginia, and found herself once she got here pregnant, and made her own decision not to carry through with the pregnancy.”

(Neal Razzell): So, explain how it is that a woman who wants an abortion in Virginia ends up getting it in Philadelphia?

“What we know is, abortion is legal in the state of Virginia. She attempted to go to a facility in Virginia and then later in D.C., and was told that they could not assist her.

(Neal Razzell): And in Washington D.C. they say the same thing?

“We can’t help you. But why don’t you go to Dr. Kermit Gosnell, we believe he can help you.”

One more time: if you are going to prevent women from having legal, safe abortions, a large number of them are going to seek out an unsafe alternative. And yes, you are asking for a Kermit Gosnell in every city in America. That is reality.

I have no idea what Virginia and D.C. clinics Karnamaya Mongar went to, or why she was denied services and sent to Gosnell. I have to wonder if she’d mistakenly gone to one of those Christian “crisis pregnancy centers” which routinely lie to their clients.

Kermit Gosnell is the inevitable result of these anti-choice policies. It’s not like we don’t have history to prove this is true. Prior to 1973, the country was filled with Kermit Gosnells, preying on the desperate and poor who were denied a choice.

How utterly, completely, positively predictable that following decades of chipping away at abortion rights, Kermit Gosnell has reappeared. If this horrifies you, Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black? Look in a mirror. You’re the ones responsible.

I have no doubt there will be another Kermit Gosnell making the headlines in years to come, too. Just you wait. The more you restrict access to affordable, safe abortion care, the more you are asking for the alternative. And women’s lives will be lost.

Not that you so-called “pro lifers” care. Apparently “life” ends at birth with these clowns.

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Filed under abortion, reproductive rights

Dear GOP: Please Stop Talking About Rape

Idiots.

While the Texas House debated an anti-abortion omnibus bill for 15 hours Sunday night, Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) called for an exemption for victims of rape and incest, the Associated Press reported. Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R) objected, saying “rape kits” make that exemption unneccessary:

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” [Laubenberg] said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. “The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.”

Her apparent confusion about “rape kits” — a phrase generally used to describe the equipment used by medical personnel during forensic examinations to gather physical evidence following allegations of rape or sexual assault — sparked widespread ridicule on social media sites. Laubenberg then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate.

Jesus, the ignorance of these people, to actually think a “rape kit” is an abortion. I’m trying to wrap my head around how this idiot in Texas can support anti-abortion legislation while thinking that abortions occur regularly whenever a woman goes to the police to report a rape.

Dumber than a box of hammers. This is scary shit. This isn’t the first time an elected representative who is tasked with making laws has shown such sheer ignorance about the issues he or she is legislating.

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Filed under abortion, Texas

Junk Science: The Last Refuge Of A Losing Argument

Yet another Republican opens his yap about reproductive issues and some stupid falls out. This time it’s Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, who thinks fetuses masturbate. If they feel pleasure, surely they feel pain, his argument goes.

Um, no. And, um, no.

In fairness, when you operate in an information bubble, you’re going to see a lot of this type of pseudo science, and you’re not going to be equipped with any critical thinking skills or factual information to debunk it. So after we’ve all had a good laugh at Rep. Burgess’ expense, let’s look at what’s behind the right-wing’s use of pseudo science in the first place.

First and foremost, it’s the right’s attempt to sidestep Roe v Wade:

The fetal-pain bills do not directly challenge the Supreme Court’s judgment. Instead, they assert a new theory for outlawing abortion. The Nebraska bill states that “by twenty weeks after fertilization there is substantial evidence that an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.” The legislatures passing these laws say that preventing this pain is a compelling state interest that justifies prohibiting abortion.

Hence, the loophole: Although the Supreme Court has identified preserving fetal life after viability as a compelling interest, the justices have never said it is the only one.

This tells us two things: first of all, that conservatives have given up on their “repeal Roe v Wade” battle cry. And second of all, it tells us conservatives know their anti-choice argument fails on its core merits, which has always been morality.

Conservatives have always maintained that they think abortion is morally wrong. That’s fine if that’s what you think, but clearly they haven’t gotten any traction with this approach or they’d be passing laws saying as much. And no wonder! They have zero credibility on the morality front in the first place. You can’t hear Rep. Marsha Blackburn say the House’s 20-week abortion ban is “for the children” without wondering why she doesn’t give a crap about children who are already born and maybe need some food stamps and education. Seriously, watching Republicans over the past 10 years has been absolutely hilarious. They really don’t care about anyone unless they’re in utero. After that, you’re on your own.

Clearly they’ve failed to make their morality case. So instead Republicans have adopted the value set of the culture at large — science! facts! pointy-headed experts with lots of alphabet soup behind their names! The fact that their “science” is completely bogus is something they hope you don’t hear.

The TV has been full of footage of Tennessee Rep. Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn claiming “the science is on our side”. Except it’s not. And Black is registered nurse, fer crying out loud. Her husband is a doctor! They should know better.

(By the way, who supplied all the B-roll of Republican women making anti-choice speeches on the House floor? I find it curious … )

Junk science is becoming a favorite ploy of the right. We’ve seen it with the climate change debate. And in fact, as this piece points out, the pseudo science ploy goes all the way back to Big Tobacco:

Probably the most prominent example of junk science involves what Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway call the “Tobacco Strategy,” which refers to the way that tobacco companies marshaled their own research “experts” (that were both bullied and bought) for judicial trials in the 1970s and 1980s that involved plaintiffs alleging serious health complications as a result of smoking cigarettes. The tobacco companies found that as long as they could present reasonably credible scientists to testify in suits alleging long-term physical harm from cigarettes, they would win lawsuits and avoid paying damages. Tobacco experts routinely testified that cancers, emphysema, heart attacks, and strokes were not prompted by cigarette smoking based on their own studies or cherry-picked data that argued against a causal link between smoking and negative health effects.

In both the case of cigarette smoking and fetal pain, the use of junk science demonstrates how credible, peer-reviewed scholarship is too often disregarded for pseudoscience that touts conservative values at the expense of empirical data. In these examples and in many more, junk science serves to manipulate public perceptions of the scientific process.

Funny how so much of our modern politics — propaganda, astroturfing, junk science, etc. — goes back to Big Tobacco. The thing is, Big Tobacco lost! They lost. We’ve got smoking bans everywhere and the rate of smoking in adults has been dropping for decades. Heck, I remember when you could smoke on airplanes, in movie theaters and even in grocery stores! Now some landlords are banning smoking in their rental units. So for all the junk science and astroturfing, they still lost.

And the anti-choice crowd is going to lose, too. Because truth always comes out. Always. Saying you have the science on your side doesn’t work when you don’t.

And I think it’s kinda cute that the right-wing anti-choice crowd will disparage our modern “permissive” culture every chance they get while at the same time adopting that value system themselves to make their arguments. It’s kinda sad.

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Filed under abortion

Wingnut Mashup

If we needed any further proof that the Republican Party has disintegrated into little more than a pile of amygdala-tweaking meme salad with the sole purpose being to separate the rubes from their paychecks, I bring you this latest grift from Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas:

original

All you have to do to get this awesome bumper sticker is send $10 to the Stockman campaign. Such a deal! And you know you want one, wingnuts, because Stockman says liberals hate it! Punch the hippie, just $10! Cue the calliope soundtrack.

Last month I wrote that your modern Republican Party is no longer a political entity, it’s a massive money-making scheme. Rep. Stockman is just the latest con man to put his hand in the grift machine.

Idiotic.

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Filed under abortion, gun control, Republican Party