Category Archives: abortion

Rep. Sherry Jones Files “Viagra Bill”

I’m sure you’ve by now heard of the Kentucky state legislator who has filed a bill requiring a note from the wife of any man seeking a Viagra prescription. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian says the legislation,

…is merely an effort to protect men’s health and ensure they are informed about a drug with potentially dangerous side effects.

“I want to protect these men from themselves,” said Marzian, a nurse.

Well of course! Marzian, who is pro-choice, is merely echoing what we ladies hear from male politicians telling us we need to get transvaginal ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion, and abortion clinics must meet higher surgical standards than many plastic surgery suites, etc. It’s all for our own good.

Also:

HB 396 also specifies that only married men may obtain the drug and requires “a man to make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse.”

“This is about family values,” Marzian said.

Hard to argue with that one, right? Aren’t Republicans concerned about the American family?

So I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Tennessee’s Rep. Sherry Jones has her own “Viagra bill” making its way through the legislature, and that it apparently passed out of the insurance and banking committee and will move on to the health subcommittee. It already has a sponsor in the Senate, by the way.

HB 1927 reads, in part:

Before issuing a prescription for a drug intended to treat symptoms of erectile dysfunction, a physician shall:

(i) Obtain from the patient a notarized affidavit in which at least one of the patient’s sexual partners affirms that the patient has experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction during the ninety (90) days preceding the affidavit’s date, if he has never been married, emancipated by a court, or otherwise freed from the care, custody, and control of his parents;

(ii) Conduct a cardiac stress test and obtain a result, described in writing, indicating that the patient’s cardiac health is compatible with sexual activity;

(iii) Notify the patient in writing of the potential risks and complications associated with taking drugs intended to treat erectile dysfunction, as well as provide alternatives to erectile dysfunction medications, counseling regarding erectile dysfunction, and possible physical and psychological risks of taking erectile dysfunction medications, and obtain the patient’s signature on a form acknowledging the patient’s receipt of the notification; […]

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. You know men never read directions or label warnings. Someone needs to help these poor dears. ED is a known “red flag” for heart disease, the number one killer of American men, after all.

There’s more. To get a refill, under this legislation, the ED patient has a few more hoops to jump through:

(A) Require the patient to be seen in-person by the physician in an office visit for prescribing each refill;

(B) Require the patient to undergo a cardiac stress test every ninety (90) days while the patient is taking the drug to ensure that the patient’s cardiac health continues to be compatible with sexual activity; and

(C) Require the patient to attend three (3) sessions of outpatient counseling within a period of not less than six (6) months after the drug initially is prescribed to ensure the patient’s understanding of the dangerous side effects of drugs intended to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and which counseling includes information on nonpharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including sexual counseling and resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice. […]

Again, all perfectly reasonable, don’t you think? According to a recent study,

If every man with erectile dysfunction were screened for heart disease, more than a million events like heart attack or stroke could be avoided over 20 years and more than $21 billion saved, according to a new estimate.

Why, this legislation is a virtual life-saver! But wait, there’s more:

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 8, Chapter 27, Part 2, is amended by adding the following as a new section to be appropriately designated:

The group insurance plan for employees under this part shall not cover drugs intended to treat erectile dysfunction as a benefit.

SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 9-4-5116, is amended by designating the existing language as subsection (a) and adding the following as a new subsection (b):
(b) No state funds shall be expended to pay for drugs prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction unless the expenditure for the drug is required by federal law. SECTION 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016, the public welfare requiring it.

Well, this all seems to make perfect sense to me. I think we should insist that the male citizens of Tennessee be protected and fully informed about these dangerous ED drugs. What could possibly be wrong with them receiving information, be required to get regular cardiac screening, and prevent the people of the State of Tennessee from paying for them?

What do you say, ladies?

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Filed under abortion, feminism, Tennessee

Big Government, Liars & Abortion

Government is sooooo teeensy weensy teeny tiny in the State of North Carolina that doctors performing abortions must send their required-by-law ultrasounds to the state:

Per The New York Times, doctors who perform abortions at or after the 16-week mark must send North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services “the method used to determine the ‘probable gestational age’ of the fetus, the measurements used to support the assertion and, most controversially, an ultrasound showing the measurements.” The law states that this information is being collected for “statistical purposes only,” and that patients’ and doctors’ names will remain confidential.

But Melissa Reed, the director of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, argues that the law, which went into effect on January 1, is “medically unnecessary and purely politically driven. The true intent of the law is clear—to shame women and intimidate the doctors that care for them.”

Anti-abortion activist Tami L. Fitzgerald, who consulted on the bill with Republicans in the legislature, told the Times that the law should “act as a deterrent to the doctors themselves from lying about gestational age. The state has made a public policy decision that babies after 20 weeks have a right to live. So this law is about protecting the rights of those unborn babies.”

Why would doctors lie about gestational age? Just for kicks?

Several years ago I did a blog post where I recounted a conversation I had with my own ob/gyn about mandatory ultrasound regulations the state of Tennessee was proposing, as well as other healthcare issues currently being debated nationally. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why doctors were remaining quiet on an issue that affected their business.

From the 2013 archive:

[…] I asked her if she was aware that there were bills in the legislature requiring women to get an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.

“Really?!” She seemed genuinely surprised. Jesus, lady! I wanted to scream. You’re a gynecologist! This is your field! Don’t you pay attention to what legislators are doing affecting your own business?

I asked if there was any medical reason why this procedure would be necessary. “They need to do it,” she said, “to determine the age of the fetus.”

“But what if a woman is positive that it’s within the first trimester?”

“They still need to do it, to make sure.”

“To make sure?”

“To make sure she’s telling the truth.”

So, ultrasounds are needed to make sure women are telling the truth. This was my own doctor of going on 20-something years telling me this. And now, we have taken that idea to its next logical place: state government bureaucrats must review these ultrasounds becase the doctors might be lying.

Oh and also, “statistical purposes.” Right. (Statistics? Seriously? Of what?)

Where do we go from there? I have to think we’ll need some kind of federal oversight, don’t you? In case the state government bureaucrats are lying, especially if one of those ‘bortion lovin’ LIEberals gets in the governor’s office, right? Could happen! You know it could!

I mean, why not? If a universal background check is the first step towards Obama coming to confiscate everyone’s guns with his magic gun-grabbing super magnet device, how is this not the first step toward fascism?

If government has to check an ultrasound because they think a doctor might be lying about a fetus’ gestational age, and that ultrasound itself is required because the government thinks a woman might be lying about gestational age, it’s not a big leap to assume everyone is lying about everything and the government better just Big Brother-up on everything. Amiright?

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Filed under abortion, feminism, Women, women's rights

The Eternal Victimization Of The Modern Conservative

We’re finally hearing from the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates about the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs:

 

huck

 

Yes, Mike. You’re the real victim here. It’s especially tragic for pro-lifers, who have been spreading lies about “baby parts” and other monstrosities that Planned Parenthood supposedly perpetuated. Really a tragedy for you, not the patients and staff who were there for birth control and STD testing and other regular healthcare services.

Oh, you poor dears. How will you ever get over this?

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, abortion, conservatives, Current Events, Housekeeping, Mike Huckabee, Planned Parenthood

Your Modern Libertarian Hellhole

20151128_COLORADO_HP-slide-0H1U-jumbo-v2

 

Congratulations, Colorado Springs, Colorado! Two mass shootings in less than one month! That earns you some kind of 2nd Amendment Hero award for sure. With memories of the Halloween shooting spree still fresh in everyone’s mind, we have yet another armed white guy terrorizing the staff and women at a Planned Parenthood clinic near the UCCS campus — people who were no doubt there for PAP smears and STD tests, not abortions. Three people shot, nine injured, after a five-hour standoff. Slow clap, Colorado Springs.

Yes, wingnuts. DO tell me how I need to be afraid of Syrian refugees and Muslims. Looks to me like the biggest perpetrators of terrorism on American soil are disaffected white guys exercising their constitutional right to be armed to the teeth and terrorize everyone they disagree with.

Oh, I’m sorry. Is it too soon already? Forgive my impolite response. There’s just so damn many shootings, it’s like it’s always too soon!

After our last tragedy in this city, the mayor of Colorado Springs had this to say about the state’s liberal gun laws:

COLORADO SPRINGS — Days after a rifle-toting assailant stormed a Colorado Springs neighborhood, Mayor John Suthers said he sees no reason to restrict residents’ ability to openly carry firearms.

“What your open carry laws are don’t dictate what your violent crime rate is,” Suthers said.

His comments came as debate swirled about a state law allowing people to openly carry guns in public, and numerous publications scrutinized the Colorado Springs Police Department’s initial handling of a 911 call about the gunman on Halloween.

Hmm, really? I’m not so sure about that. Well, by all means, don’t look under that rock, Mayor! And one month later we have another armed nutball waltzing into a Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood officials, at least, are no dummies:

Security concerns at the clinic were high enough that the clinic had a “security room” with a supply of bulletproof vests, ….

So, this is your modern Libertarian right-wing conservative Christian world. Where a women’s health clinic is forced to have a “security room” with bullet-proof vests. The Taliban would be proud!

So, do you think open carry activists will now be volunteering to protect Planned Parenthood clinics around the country? Ha ha, I kid, I kid. C’mon, that’s just for military recruiters in strip malls! Women’s health clinics? Fuhgeddabout it. YOYO, y’all.

Although I do love this guy:

There was a moment this afternoon when a man walked up to the scene with a handgun strapped to his waist and ammunition vest around his chest. He appeared to be asking police if he could help. Officers told him to leave immediately because appearing at the scene while wearing firearms and that equipment was a bad idea.

Gee, ya think?!

Already we have the “tin-foil hate” brigade calling this a “false flag,” or blaming it on liberals to smear the anti-choice fetus-fetish zealots, etc. (It’s Breitbart, go over there and look, I’m not leaving any links.)

It’s Colorado Springs, you know? Home of Focus On The Family, a whole bunch of mega-churches, military bases, a real Libertarian paradise. Who is surprised that a women’s health clinic would be attacked here? Not me.

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Filed under abortion, gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Planned Parenthood

Battle Of The Sexes

What is it with Conservatives these days? They seem to have come down with a terrible case of Truth Tourettes — you know, like how Rep. Kevin McCarthy accidentally told the truth about the Benghazi Committee really being about taking down Hillary Clinton?

Now we have Dr. Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, the group organizing anti-Planned Parenthood rallies all around the country, telling the truth about the attacks on Planned Parenthood:

“Planned Parenthood from the top to the bottom is a corrupt organization,” Miller told Ave Maria Radio’s Teresa Tomeo, “corrupt in its view of the sanctity of human life and corrupt in its view of human sexuality. And I say even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion, just the mere fact that its sexual ethic is corrupted means right there, should be the reason right there, that they should not receive any federal money. The kind of sexual ethic that Planned Parenthood promotes is sex for recreation, sex for mere pleasure.

Sex for pleasure? Quelle horreur! Perhaps she’d like us to adopt female circumcision and nip that in the bud, so to speak?

So, are we clear? The attacks on Planned Parenthood aren’t about abortion. It’s about controlling women’s sexual freedom. It’s about controlling women’s sex lives.

She forgot to use her indoor voice.

Of course, we on the Left have been saying this forever. That’s why right-wingers have been attacking birth control, after all. They just don’t want women getting it on. They are trying to undo the sexual revolution which started, oh, 50-plus years ago. They rail against “consequence-free sex” and talk about babies and life and all that other stuff but really it’s about controlling women. That’s why so many of the movement’s leaders are men, after all.

There is a deeply-rooted womb-envy among certain penis-enhanced members of the human species, and it plays out on the political field as controlling women’s reproduction. This is not a new thing, after all. This has been going on for thousands of years. As I wrote back in 2011:

Look fellas, I’m sorry you lack the plumbing that would enable you to get pregnant, gestate and give birth and all that. I’ve long suspected your inability to create life in the same way we ladies do has been a source of equal amounts fascination and disgust on your parts for thousands of years. Grow the fuck up already.

You know, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have my reproductive organs flying around loose in the breeze where any predator, fungus or hunting accident could come along and snip it all off, making me evolutionarily irrelevant. That’s a hard burden to bear, a not-so-subtle reminder of how biologically dispensable you guys really are. There are always more males out there willing to spread their seed; it’s the female of the species who carries the burden of the species’ survival. We’re the ones who not only bear the young but care for them as well.

This isn’t me talking feminist claptrap, this is basic evolutionary biology: the bird that’s going to get snapped up at the feeder is the bright red highly visible male cardinal, not the drab brown female blessed with a natural protective camouflage. She’s more important in the grand scheme, which is why she’s been given this protection. God I know that chaps y’all’s ass big time.

It’s the battle of the sexes, played out over thousands of years. Men are bigger and stronger and take down a mammoth but for all your bravado it’s we women who keep the species going. And you’re just dying to control that, too.

Women usually win these battles, though. Man smart, woman smarter. Except those dumb-fucks like Monica Miller playing for the wrong team. Except Dr. Miller forgot that other people were listening when she spilled the beans on what the fundies really hate about Planned Parenthood. They hate the sex part.

You know what, Dr. Miller? If you don’t want to have sex, or non-procreative sex, please don’t. Please have a monumental migraine every fucking night of your life. But stop forcing everyone else to live your miserable life.

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Filed under abortion, religious right, women's rights

No, But His IQ Test Was Conducted During His Proctology Exam

Cheese and rice, people:

BOISE, IDAHO — An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Barbieri later said that the question was rhetorical and intended to make a point.

Dr. Julie Madsen, a physician who said she has provided various telemedicine services in Idaho, was testifying in opposition to the bill. She said some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon.

“Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.

Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

Here’s a thought. Before you idiots in the Republican Party try legislating women’s bodies, why don’t you first learn something about them? Or is that too much like work?

Okay, he now says he was trying to get the doctor to testify that colonoscopies aren’t the same as abortions or whatever. I would think that would be patently obvious, but of course you’re dealing with a Republican here. They aren’t “scientists,” as they will frequently remind you.

Idiots.

[UPDATE]:

You know, after giving this more thought, I’m going to come back and say no, I don’t know what the fuck this idiot was trying to say. I’m not sure why swallowing a pill with a tiny camera for a colonoscopy (which, near as I can tell, is by no means the standard practice for these routine exams anyway) would preclude a tiny camera being put on the tip of a tampon or whatever. I mean, we all know how transvaginal ultrasounds work. Surely Idaho already has one of those vaginal probe abortion bills on the books — we do in Tennessee. Why he thought a tiny ingestible camera would be his “ah-ha” moment, I have no clue.

You know, my advice for you Republicans is to just shut up about women’s stuff. You continually make fools of yourself.

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Filed under abortion, feminism, Republican Party, women's rights

More Follow-Up Questions, Please

This is why I watch Aljazeera America:

Ah, those pesky “follow-up questions.” Don’t see them too often from the likes of Chuck Todd or David Gregory.

The fact of the matter is, when you ask the follow-up questions it becomes apparent that Republicans are not only legislating shit they don’t understand, they’re legislating shit they never bothered to think about. “Why would a woman want to get an abortion?” “Well gee now, I’ve never thought about that …”

Maybe you should, asshole. This should be asked of every anti-choice politician. If they can’t answer it they need to get to the end of the line.

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Filed under abortion, feminism, media, Republican Party, women's rights

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