Sanity Shortage

Click to enlarge

Doonesbury strip on Texas abortion law dropped by some US newspapers

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau has defended his cartoon strip about abortion, which several US newspapers are refusing to run, saying he felt compelled to respond to the way Republicans across America are undermining women’s healthcare rights.

The strip, published on Monday and scheduled to run all week, has been rejected by several papers, while others said they were switching it from the comic section to the editorial page.


The strip deals specifically with a law introduced in Texas and other states requiring a woman who wants to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan, or sonogram, which will show an image of the foetus and other details, in an attempt to make her reconsider.

It portrays a woman who turns up at an abortion clinic in Texas and is told to take a seat in “the shaming room”. A state legislator asks if she has been at the clinic before and, when she says she had been to get contraceptives, he replies: “Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

Later, she says she does not want an intrusive vaginal examination but is told by a nurse: “The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10-inch shaming wand.” The nurse adds: “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”

A couple of months ago if anyone had asked me what the hottest political issues of the year would be I wouldn’t have guessed contraception and abortion would be pretty far down my list.

As each new day passes I am becoming more and more convinced that the Republicans truly do not want to win.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, Abortion, Sexism and Misogyny and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to Sanity Shortage

  1. Lulu says:

    Does Gary Trudeau actually think that women in Texas treat each other that way? A shaming room. Really? Self righteous prick. If he ever left New Haven or Princeton or wherever he parks his elitist Ivy League ass and ever talked to anyone here maybe he would not be so willing to assist in the diversion from the economic shambles that this president is presiding over. The Republicans are morons. And the Democrats are shits.

  2. votermom says:

    As each new day passes I am becoming more and more convinced that the Republicans truly do not want to win.

    It’s a one-party system. Obama is still the candidate they want to win.
    They don’t expect Mitt to win (and from his record of losing, who can blame them.)

    Look right now at the horrible news coming out of Afghanistan. Then look how nobody is going to tie that to it being Obama’s war (from the start, the one war he named not “dumb”). Every thing that happened in Iraq was W’s personal fault, but nothing that happens in Afghanistan will be Obama’s.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    It’s been an amazing political move by the new Chicago Dems. Remove some of the guarantees of women’s rights via Obamacare and other places, and then watch the Republican’s take the bait and move in on that suddenly removed guarantee with changes to take advantage. Then the new Dems yell, look, they’re taking away your rights. Women, you must rally around Obama to save your eroding rights.

    Obvious move. The Republican’s are suckers for taking the bait. And women are suckers for putting up with that crap.

    The ultimate jujitsu move would be for women (esp. but also men who think about human rights) to not get suckered in. Vote these asswipe Dems out for pulling such shit. And then battle the evil Repubs straight on with “real” protests enough to change things. So sad that Dems are playing this dangerous game. I hope they’re not rewarded.

    • murphy says:

      Oh how I wish women would follow your advice DT.

      Couldnt agree more with your assessment.

      • cjwk says:

        Hi Murphy! Yes. What Murphy and DT said.

        • cjwk says:

          P.S. As those of us who observed the sexism/misogyny against HRC during the ’08 D primary and against Gov. Palin during the ’08 general well know, if this weren’t an election year, none of the pols or talking heads would give a rat’s patoot about women or women’s issues. The ‘contraception’ kerfluffle and over-hyped hoopla re women’s healthcare (as per usual relegating women to nothing more than our anatomy/biology) is aimed to try to win women’s votes, which BO, in particular, will need to eke out re-election.

    • JeanLouise says:

      I don’t think that Democrats planned this. Obama simply has no core values regarding reproductive rights. He trades them away when it’s convenient and makes a half-ass defense of them when he calculates that it will gain him votes. Obama was very lucky that the zealots who are in charge of the GOP really hate women who have sex. And women need to be very active in electing people who make access to reproductive rights front and center of their campaigns.

    • Karma says:

      I was at a fluff website for a mental health break and the women were stunned that I blamed Obama for starting this newest assault on women’s rights with the health care bill.

      After they asked for proof….crickets.

      He is going to get away with it.

  4. DandyTiger says:

    Wow, despite all these moves, Obama’s approval rating is dropping like a rock. It seems to be gas prices doing it. Now that’s a bit funny actually. Of course if big oil wants Obama, they’ll just drop them again when the time is right. Perhaps big oil is flexing their muscles and using it as a threat to Obama to move even further to the right.

  5. DandyTiger says:

    As each new day passes I am becoming more and more convinced that the Republicans truly do not want to win.

    They’re either idiots or both. (Old Stephen Fry joke.)

  6. votermom says:

    This post starts off with a good pop quiz

    Here’s a quick test. Pictured below are two people who were featured in the news last week, can you name them and why they made the news?

    • DandyTiger says:

      Don’t look at the man behind the curtain who just took away all of your civil liberties, look at the circus going on with Rush.

      The biggest joke of course is that women’s rights are all gone too if all civil liberties have unraveled. So while there’s noise about contraceptive rights, the government can legally just shoot the woman for asking for contraceptives.

      • WMCB says:

        Yep. I can’t get a decent job, and I can get groped by the TSA, and have my phones tapped with no warrant, and be executed without trial by unmanned drones, but the REAL danger to my rights is whether or not my birth control pills get paid for by my insurance.

  7. Jeffhas says:

    Ayup… But then again, no other candidate than Santorum would’ve weighed in (stepped in it) in such a way as to attract national attention…. He really validated this as an issue – I suspect when Romney ties this up, most of this will disappear from the headlines… But the damage may already be done… It doesn’t help when he actually wins primaries.

    I wonder if Mitt has figured out the Repub establishment doesn’t care if they win? ’cause I still think Mitt is going to have lots of Mormon money to blow through (of course that might be why Repubs don’t care if he wins).

    • Pips says:

      This “I wonder if Mitt has figured out the Repub establishment doesn’t care if they win?” made me literally laugh out loud, as he does have this air about him as if he has no idea, what’s actually going on. 😆

  8. votermom says:

    OT. From Joel Pollak on Bell->Kagan<-Ogletree

    In November 1985, the Harvard Law Review published an article by Derrick Bell that was a “classic” in the development of Critical Race Theory. The article was edited by then-student Elena Kagan, and was cited by Prof. Charles Ogletree in support of her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2010. The article makes clear that Critical Race Theory sees the U.S. Constitution as a form of “original sin”–a view later embraced by Obama as a state legislator, and reflected in his actions and appointments. The following is an excerpt from the non-fiction portion of the article; much of what follows is a fictional story that Bell intended as a parable of racial “fantasy.” (99 Harv. L. Rev. 4)

    • DeniseVB says:

      VM – thought of you, Treacher is so snarky and is enjoying Soledad’s concern about 😀

      • votermom says:

        You’re not implying I’m snarky, are you? *innocent*

        Soledad is so full of fail. I think now she’s asking people to stop tweeting her about it and just move on. “Don’t tweet me bro!”
        Love people who dish it out but can’t take it.

    • gram cracker says:

      Watched this video yesterday and am impressed with how Joel Pollak remains so calm and stays on point in the face of Soledad’s sarcasm and utter disdain. It is a long video, but is very interesting to see how Pollak isn’t intimidated by Soledad and pushes back on her using her own words. Note the insertions of pictures of Pollak’s wife and the screen shots showing Wiki edit history made to Critical Race Theory deleting “white supremacy” after the Soledad interview.

      Obama, “Open up your hearts and minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell”.

      Did Obama agree with Bell’s ideology or had he not even bothered to research Bell’s writings and lectures and decide for himself where he agreed with Bell and where he disagreed? Or was Obama supporting Derrick Bell just because he was a ‘brother’?

      As an adult Obama chose to associate with men like Rev. Wright, Father Phleger, Derrick Bell, Bill Ayers, Rezko and who knows how many others. If Obama didn’t agree with their ideology is there any evidence that he ever pushed back on them. Did he engage any of them in lively debates? Did he ever persuade any of them to modify their beliefs and public statements?

      In 2008 I was concerned about the possible negative effects of Obama’s past associations on his actions if he became President. I remain concerned. We still don’t know enough about his beliefs. What courses did Obama take, who were his professors, where are his writings… besides his two self-serving, possibly ghost written, autobiographies?

      If Romney wins the GOP nomination I hope Lulu is correct that, “Then they (Mormons) will vet Obama like they do their ancestors. No one does research better than Mormons.”

    • JeanLouise says:

      I’d say that the part of the Constitution that counts slaves as 3/5ths of a person pretty clearly makes the argument for them.

      • votermom says:

        I don’t pretend to understand Critical Race Theory, but this description makes it sound anti-liberal.

        Critical race theorists attack the very foundations of the [classical] liberal legal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism and neutral principles of constitutional law. These liberal values, they allege, have no enduring basis in principles, but are mere social constructs calculated to legitimate white supremacy. The rule of law, according to critical race theorists, is a false promise of principled government, and they have lost patience with false promises.

  9. votermom says:

  10. votermom says:

    Farakkhan is such a bigot, but it’s sad that he gets a standing ovation from UC Berkley students for this.

    • Karma says:

      There ya go. Farrakhan proves he was never really upset at Obama for Libya. And right when the election starts going he uses Obama’s talking points, that lame jobs bill, to throw the race card around Berkeley.

      The only info that made it out on our local stations was the stuff he said about Jewish people being responsible for the slave trade. As usual Farrakhan brought the whole damn deck of race cards.

      Do any of these students attending see a problem with using racial bigotry to supposedly fight against racial bigotry?

    • Pips says:

      Speaking of standing ovations, watching ‘The Oscars’ I noticed – with gratitude, heh – that they had drastically cut down on these, this year. Still, when the winner of the best supporting actress took the stage, they all jumped to their feet, cheering. I do hope that had nothing to do with the colour of her skin?

  11. WMCB says:

    The Republicans are idiots for buying into this circus, and the Dems are slimy bastards for cynically creating this circus.

    And Trudeau is a moron, as is anyone else who believes that the motivation of MOST pro-lifers is shaming, and being acutely uncomfortable with the idea of women having sex. Maybe a few nut jobs, but mostly no. That’s just not true.

    It’s bullshit. I know lots and lots of pro-lifers, and it’s very simple. The disagreement is over whether that fetus is merely a collection of cells with zero rights, or whether it’s a human being that deserves some degree of protection under law. That’s the disagreement.
    I understand their position, and I understand why they fight so passionately for it. If one truly believes one is protecting human life, then that passion is entirely understandable. It’s not weird or bizarre – it logically follows.

    I AM PRO-CHOICE. But I part ways with many pro-choice people in that I a) understand the sincerity of the opposition, and b) I readily admit that they do have a point – somewhere along the way, that fetus becomes a thinking human being, and as such, deserves some consideration and legal protection. The problem is that so long as it remains inside the mother’s body, then you have a direct conflict between the right to life and the right to liberty. There’s the rub. How do you protect a life, when protecting it entails requiring a woman to allow another person the use of her own body without her consent? That’s the issue for me.

    We are never going to get more than an uneasy compromise that awkwardly tries to protect, to whatever degree, two rights that are in fundamental conflict. But the way things stand now, we don’t even have those conversations. We are too busy allowing the politicians and activists and media reduce it all to battle of the baby-killers vs. the woman-enslavers. That’s not what it is (at least not in its entirety), and anyone who will honestly examine it knows that.

    • votermom says:

      I agree. Pro-choice for me means that the women has complete say over her *pregnancy*, but not over the life of the child.

      If technology ever evolves where we can replace abortion with transferring the blastocyte/embryo/fetus/ to an artificial womb and have it gestate there, I would support abolishing abortion.

      Also, this November, I am voting for the idiots over the slimy bastards.

      • WMCB says:

        There’s disagreement over defining at what point in time certain things become true.

        At what point is that fetus a thinking, self-aware human being? At conception? Ok, that’s a big stretch. At heartbeat? Maybe, but not likely. Once brain waves develop that clearly show conscious thought? That’s a bit harder to ignore. That’s the standard we use at the end of life, to determine whether that collection of cells hooked up to that machine is still “alive” in the human sense rather than the mere physical. Do we use that same standard here?

        At what point has a person given their consent to potentially have and be responsible for a child? When he/she has intercourse? You may cry “Unfair!”, but isn’t that the standard we use for men? But men don’t have the burden of actual child-bearing, their physical bodies are not involved, so it hardly seems fair to not take that into account. Is consent to have a child something that’s an open question until birth itself? Or is it fair to assume that one has a window of, say 3 months – and after that the law and society can say the window is closed and you’ve made your choice?

        I don’t have all these answers in concrete. But I do know that our society does NOT have sane, ethical, exploratory conversations about these things. I wish we did. Instead we just throw accusatory bombs at each other.

        • votermom says:

          As crazy as it’s sounds, I actually think prenatal testing should not be a reason for deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy / have an abortion.

          In my view the woman’s decision should be based on the pregnancy itself, and not on the “product”. If she does not want to be pregnant regardless of whether the baby is going to be a boy, girl, genius. athlete, or disabled, then end the pregnancy. That’s what Roe v Wade is about.

          If she only wants a “perfect” son or a “perfect” daughter, then continues the pregnancy and then give the baby up for adoption if it doesn’t fit the “quality standards.” Otherwise it really is eugenics; Santorum happens to be correct on that. And I think it’s unconstitutional because the abortion decision is then based on discrimination against what the baby is going to be like after it is born.

          Think about it – a Downs fetus and a “normal” fetus are exactly the same in the demands they make on the mother during pregnancy. If the mother decides to abort because she thinks the baby has Downs syndrome, she is actually basing her decision on the baby and not the fetus.

        • myiq2xu says:

          One of the first thing you learn when you start studying constitutional law is that no rights are absolute. We have freedom of speech, with exceptions. We have freedom of religion, but we can’t practice human sacrifice.

          Roe v. Wade can be thought of as a balancing of rights – mother v. fetus. During the first trimester the mother’s rights are pretty much absolute. The third trimester favors the fetus.

        • WMCB says:

          I agree, myiq. Rights are not absolute when they conflict with other, equally important rights. You are going to have to compromise, and a legal solution found that covers MOST of the bases and concerns, but is of necessity not perfect.

          As for Roe, it was correct in its compromise of weighting in favor of the mother’s rights early on, then weighting in favor of the baby later. The problem with Roe is that they based the whole thing on a flimsy “privacy” argument, rather than dealing honestly and head-on with the conflict between Life and Liberty, and hashing out and settling the ethical issue. We need a conversation in this country about Life and Liberty, and the compromises necessary. Neither activist side wants us to have that conversation.

    • myiq2xu says:

      And Trudeau is a moron, as is anyone else who believes that the motivation of MOST pro-lifers is shaming, and being acutely uncomfortable with the idea of women having sex.

      A couple of weeks ago I would have agreed with you. But after watching Wingnuttia explode in an orgy of slut-shaming I’m not so sure.

      • DandyTiger says:

        They’ve willingly become a caricature of themselves.

      • WMCB says:

        I still believe it’s true. MOST people on both sides of this issue are reasonable folks. The problem is that once activists on either side decide that the goal is more important than anything else, all methods of achieving it become acceptable.

        I’ve seen abuses of emotional leverage on both sides. What’s a little slut-shaming if one can save lives? And what’s a little lying and obfuscating if one can protect Choice? I’ve seen abortion clinics flat out lie and give women erroneous information. I’ve seen choice activists ignore and cover up blatant abuses of women by abortion providers, out of fear that calling attention to it or dealing with it would hurt the “cause”, and give ammunition to the “enemy”.

        Protecting Life/Choice becomes the holy of holies, the only consideration, and it doesn’t matter how you do it. It’s a fucking crusade, by both sides. Abuses of truth and sanity come in waves, with either side the most prevalent culprit at the moment. Right now, it’s the pro-lifers who are nuts. Give it a year, and the pro-choicers will be the ones saying stupid shit like “It’s not a baby until you bring it home from the hospital”, or informing a teenage girl that the procedure she’s about to undergo has no risks, or potential for future reproductive complications, and the 4 month fetus she’s carrying is a “formless blob” (a lie that she may have later grief to discover, once she sees accurate info on fetal development.)

        Slut-shaming is horrible. And yeah, there’s been way too much of it lately. But I also believe that every statement of “sex has consequences, among them a potential pregnancy” is not necessarily slut-shaming. But sometimes it IS. Most definitely so.

        My point, I guess, is that the reason this insanity happens, on both sides, is that the activists on either end do not want us to have reasonable, careful conversations about these issues and the ethics involved. So either side keeps it all inflamed and acute and reactionary. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers are being manipulated. Extremists get dragged out and shoved to the forefront, as proof of how evil the other side is. “LOOK AT THES FUCKING NUTJOBS!!” The ones who get the microphone are the creepy old men who thinks wimminz bodies are naaaasty, or the wackadoodle women who think outright infanticide should be allowed as some expression of Liberation.

        We are being manipulated. And I long ago decided that I will not participate in getting all emotional and worked up over this issue, even when the current insanity is coming from outright misogynists. To the best of my ability, I’m going to point out the real truths and the real conflicts, and the real motivations of the vast majority of the public. And either enslaving women or murdering babies is not the motivation of most, no matter how reactionary those with the microphones may be.

      • murphy says:

        same here, miq2xu. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to see how much popular support nutjobs like Santorum has attracted.

        Depressing really.

      • WMCB says:

        Murphy, if it makes you feel any better, most conservatives I know who are tentatively supporting Santorum are not doing it because they agree with him. They think he goes waaaay too far with the shit. They are supporting him for other reasons that have nothing to do with religion or abortion or women. And they sort of brush off his more extreme statements as irrelevant, something that will never happen, a weird idiosyncrasy to be overlooked. There’s a lot going on in the R party that has more to do with their own power struggle than any particular issues.

        Cold comfort, I know – but maybe they have not all become scary pod people. They have their reasons, and a lot of those reasons have little to do with Santorum’s fetus and morality obsessions.

    • gxm17 says:

      The disagreement is over whether that fetus is merely a collection of cells with zero rights, or whether it’s a human being that deserves some degree of protection under law. That’s the disagreement.

      Not quite. That’s the maintext of the anti-choice argument. But it’s not the subtext. The subtext is the androcentric idea that women should not have bodily autonomy or self determination. Until the “pro-life” movement includes anti-war and anti-death penalty activism, then the whole “when life begins” propaganda is just that: words to conceal the bias and sexism behind the “pro-life” movement. Underneath all the “Choose Life” bumperstickers is the same old rust bucket of a notion that women are not intellectually and morally developed enough to make life and death decisions.

      • votermom says:

        That’s why I think the whole “where life begins” issue is actually beside the point. The woman has complete say over her pregnancy.

        The flip side of that argument is that the birth status she’s carrying should have no impact on her decision. It should be illegal for her to decide to abort because the baby will be born female, or deformed, or whatever.

        Because if the decision is based on the outcome, and whether said outcome will be an “undue burden”, then suddenly the other parent then logically has a say.

        • JeanLouise says:

          There is no evidence in the United States that gender-based abortion is occurring. That is the mother of all strawmen arguments.

        • votermom says:

          Today’s strawman is tomorrow’s headline. Just look at the mobile euthanasia units in the Netherlands. 10 years ago nobody here would say it would ever happen.

          Anecdotal, to be sure, but the first u/s I ever had in the US, the tech refused to guess the gender, saying flatly “we don’t do that.”
          I asked the midwife why later and she explained the reasoning.

          But the fact is that in India, the *financial* burden of marrying off a daughter is why they have a high male birth rate. I have to think that the male parent is making an input into the decision to abort the daughter they can’t afford.

          Likewise the Portland couple who just got $3 million last friday for their wrongful birth suit. The hospital botched the prenatal test and they were surprised with a Downs baby. Undue burden of medical expenses. The father is a civil engr & the mom a dental tech – my guess is the father earns more so he’s the one feeling the *financial* burden. It logically follows that a father can now tell a mother to have an abortion because he can’t afford to support another kid.

          In both cases the *financial* burden of the nature of the child is one of the main reasons for aborting it. I find that discriminatory against the child.

      • murphy says:

        Gxm, I think pro death penalty anti-choicers would make the distinction between the right to life of an “innocent” fetus and the (self relinquished by choosing to commit a heinous crime) right to life of a convicted criminal. It’s logical, though immoral (IMO) to hold that position, I guess.

        Totally agree about the misogyny though. When they want to ban abortion AND birth control (at the same time that there are ZERO republican efforts to use public policy and law to regulate men’s sexual or medical behavior wrt to unwanted pregnancy) then we women know exactly what their sick fucken agenda is.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        I think that’s a gross mischaracterization of those pro-life values, and conveniently incorporates pro-choice bias into the argument. That might describe a subset of those with pro-life values, but not even close to a majority.

        I think sometimes a desire to protect is often mistaken for a desire to control. I am very protective of my daughter. We are all aware of the specialized knowledge that women must have to navigate the patriarchy with any semblance of success. We just have different ways of communicating it. For me the issue was communicating how to have a successful romantic relationship ahead of getting involved in sexual activity, and avoiding hook up culture by understanding the consequences.

        I am proud to report that at 18 my daughter is still a virgin, she has not fed herself to progressive dude nation like a piece of meat and we did that without religious values of any kind. But my desire to protect her is no different that some religious person’s desire to protect their daughter. Nobody wants their daughter to have an abortion. We all have different ways of going about communicating that message. Not everyone is sophisticated in feminism-speak to do what I did, but I’m happy however they teach their daughters to stop feeding themselves to what is a hurtful, predatory, hypersexualized culture that exploits them. And abortion is part of that equation.

        Finally, the left has a flip side of those problems you named. How bad is the optic on those who would kill little babies and protect grown, hardened criminals? Where’s the consistency in that? That’s not how I would characterize it, because I’m pro-choice and don’t view it as a little baby, nor am I opposed to the death penalty IF it were to be amended for universal standards that eliminated racial issues from the equation. But that’s how the right might be seeing it. Some thought worth pondering, I think.

        • WMCB says:

          Lola, I think it’s the same old tendency to lump people into convenient caricatures. You are pro-choice, so that automatically means that you are all in favor of mindless promiscuity, the idea that sex is a “nothing” and consequence-less activity, and women ought to all be fucking like bunnies with any and everyone as a badge of emancipation, right?

          Um, no. But there are those who would argue that if you are pro-choice, then you are guilty of that “subtext”, just as all pro-lifers are guilty of the “subtext” of wanting to control women. Neither is true.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          ITA, my evil sibling. 😀

        • gxm17 says:

          I’m pro-choice and I understand the potential life viewpoint (as it’s one I hold). And even I don’t make the leap that zygotes are “babies” deserving of the same protections as adult citizens who, for whatever reason, end up on the wrong side of the law. The very uncomfortable reality is: that person on death row is somebody’s baby

          I’ll never forget the 2004 pro-choice rally in DC. I chose to ignore the counter protesters, but one caught my eye. She stood near the front of the barrier with a sign proclaiming “My daughter would be 25 if I hadn’t had an abortion.” I stopped to tell her, “My daughter is 25 because I didn’t have an abortion.” That’s the thing I hate the most about those sanctimonious anti-choice busybody bullies, they really think they know better than the woman carrying the pregnancy. They really think they’ve walked in my shoes when they haven’t a clue.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Isn’t it possible that, in a very human way, that the woman thinks she learned something from that mistake and is now working to make up for her perceived sin? I’m not the woman I was 25 years ago, or even 5 years ago. The contempt that you display for her relies on her being the same woman then and now. I perfectly understand her grief as I perfectly understand your sanctimony. The right has a long history of arguing this topic disingenuously and bringing violence to the equation. I’ll never forget that. But I do think that we will never get out of our trenches on this issue until we try to see the other side as humans, and more importantly, fellow Americans.

        • votermom says:

          ITA, my evil sibling.

          Has anyone ever seen WMCB & Lola together at the same time?

          • Lola-at-Large says:

            Sadly, we are different people. I say sadly because she clearly has the better shoes, and I envy them so.

        • gxm17 says:

          I have no contempt for her choice to have an abortion. I have contempt for her assumption that she has a right to tell me, or any other woman, what I should do with my body and my life. That’s when the anti-choicers cross the line. One is free to believe that abortion is immoral, or that life begins at conception. As the common retort goes: Fine. Don’t have an abortion.

          It always amazes me that the anti-choice crowd doesn’t understand the simple fact that when you allow the government to take away a woman’s choice to have an abortion, you are opening the door to allow the government to take away a woman’s choice to not have an abortion. Forced pregnancy and forced abortion are the flip side of the same coin. And neither is good, or moral. Reproductive choice, IMO, is a very fundamental human right. As I told that woman almost ten years ago, just because you’re not happy with your choice doesn’t give you the right to take away mine.

          So then we come back around to the whole idea that women have to have their life choices decided for them. In the end, I just don’t see that this argument is about zygotes or babies or when life begins. It’s about the patriarchal viewpoint that women can’t think for themselves.

        • WMCB says:

          gxm @ 11:53 – Nah, it does indeed make a difference whether one believes that that’s a human being that ought to be afforded legal protection.

          I have contempt for her assumption that she has a right to tell me, or any other woman, what I should do with my body and my life. That’s when the anti-choicers cross the line. One is free to believe that abortion is immoral, or that life begins at conception. As the common retort goes: Fine. Don’t have an abortion.

          But you misunderstand. From their point of view, they are not telling you what you should do with your body and your life. They are telling you what you cannot do to another separate human being’s body and life. Do you get that difference?

          “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one” is a nice pithy phrase, but it really makes no more sense than saying “If you think slavery is wrong, don’t own one.” We have already decided, as a society, that the govt has a role in protecting the civil rights of individuals. We have already decided that the govt can step in and prevent your choices – should your choices infringe on another’s life or liberty (i.e. one cannot “choose” to own a slave and have that choice protected.) The argument is over whether the fetuses in question are persons owed that protection, and whether their potential “right” to protection conflicts with the mother’s right to liberty.

          Whether or not an unborn child is a person is key to the whole debate. Which is why few want to have it. Whether or not the woman can be compelled to give up her physical body for the use of another (even if that “other” is a human being with its own rights) is the other key to the whole debate, and no one wants to address that directly and head on, either.

          There are legitimate issues of civil RIGHTS on BOTH sides of this argument. And both sides spend a lot of energy trying to obfuscate that very evident fact, and claim that not only is their side correct, but also that there is no conflict at all, no corresponding “right” on the other side that needs to be honestly addressed and allowed for. The right to Life/Choice trumps all, and to admit that we have a case here of conflicting civil rights is a betrayal of the cause of the right your side is fighting for. There seems to be a concerted effort on both sides to avoid having the honest conversation.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          I do want to say that this has been one of the best conversations about the pro-choice/pro-life debate I’ve ever had online. Everyone has kept their cool, and been supercool. Maybe no minds were changed, but I’ve seen this conversation devolve very quickly elsewhere, and it’s a privilege to hang with such openminded people here at the CH.

      • WMCB says:

        Really? I find it comprehensible that a person could believe that society has the right to take a life as either punishment for gross wrongdoing, or as a defense of that society as a whole, without simultaneously believing that any human life is valueless and can be taken for any reason whatsoever.

        Those two ideas are not the same thing. “You can’t be anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, or you’re a hypocrite” is lazy thinking.

        And the whole sub-text argument is very convenient. It’s a means by which you can hold a person accountable for positions he/she has never held, statements he/she has never made, and ideas he/she has never espoused. This is the same argument by which all opposed to Obama are racists, even if they have not done or said a damn thing that’s actually, um, racist. Because the accuser gets to decide what the “subtext” is, and what the person really means, and what their motivations really are. It’s deciding in advance that it doesn’t matter what arguments are offered in defense, or what the person in question is actually telling you about what they think and believe. You get to decide FOR them what they “really” think. Neat trick if you can get away with it, because there is no possible defense against that. Except for rolling one’s eyes and walking away – which is the reaction it deserves.

        • gxm17 says:

          Yes. It’s very convenient to hide one’s agenda in the subtext. But one has to ask, if one believes that a zygote is a person and that removing said zygote from the woman’s body it is inhabiting is murder then how can one possibly say that the “collateral damage” of war (vast numbers of dead children who were living outside their mothers’ wombs) or the execution of adult persons (18 and older) is not? The inconsistency is only comprehensible when one digs into the subtext and confronts the fallacy that the life of a zygote (conception) is more pressing than the lives of our country’s enemies’ children or criminals who could be shown mercy with LWOP instead of execution. There is a huge disconnect in the “pro-life” stance that life begins at conception and that, somehow, a zygote is more “sacred” than a 4-year old Iraqi child. And that disconnect comes directly from our androcentric culture and its patriarchal religions.

        • WMCB says:

          You are assuming that all pro-lifers think that life begins at conception. Not all do. And most do not take a blithe “who cares?” approach to innocent casualties of war, either. “Fuck every life but the poor fetuses!!” is no more an accurate portrayal of their thoughts than “Who fucking cares if we murder babies 2 minutes from birth – orgies for all!!” is an accurate portrayal of yours.

          I’m not sure where this caricature of people that happen to be pro-life and/or conservative came from, but it’s remarkably inaccurate. It’s a lot easier to “win” an argument when you are arguing with mannequin-like people who exist mostly in your own head, rather than the actual human beings who are opposing you. And BTW, I have had similar conversations with a pro-life activist who is just as convinced of your “subtext” as you are of hers. You are both wrong.

        • gxm17 says:

          Actually, WMCB, it was finally seeing the subtext that changed me from a quiet pro-lifer to a vocal pro-choicer.

          But I’m intrigued by the anti-choice argument that does not believe life begins at conception. Please share it.

    • T says:

      I would believe the “prolife” movement was sincere and even CREDIBLE if they cared more about other “lives” besides fetuses.

      They aren’t outraged about buying items manufactured by children.
      They have no issue with wars.
      They aren’t beside themselves about those starving and dying of AIDS and malaria in Africa
      They really don’t support welfare.

      Since they don’t, IMHO, their sincerity as “pro-lifers” is lacking.

      • votermom says:

        Who is this “they”? Because Africa (and Asia) is actually teeming with charitable missions run by pro-lifers.

        • WMCB says:

          GWB fought for and channeled more money to AIDS relief in Africa than any president in history. I can’t stand the man, but he did – it’s a fact.

        • T says:

          LOL. The missions of these “charities” are to preach, convert to religion. Helping tends to be secondary. Secular charities do far more good. And don’t forget the Catholic charities in Africa that preach against birth control. Condoms in a country like Africa overrun by AIDS is a sin, you know…

          And what of the rest of what I’ve said? Are “pro-lifers” against cutting Medicaid? Are they against making little kids in India manufacture clothing in deadly environments? No.

        • votermom says:

          It’s easy to rail against Catholic charities, but not so easy to find replacements for them.

        • WMCB says:

          Hmm. And the secular charities have no agenda at all? None? No political agenda? No desire to win votes or support for this or that ideology or political power base?

          Nah. They all have an agenda. Some (whether religious or secular) are overweening, grossly overinflated, and too pushy. Some (whether religious or secular) are the admitted motivating force in the background, but not overly coercive. It varies.

        • votermom says:

          There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Personally, I prefer to know what the strings are when I accept charity.

        • jjmtacoma says:

          T: it depends entirely on the charity. There are Christian charities that provide support and food without proselytizing and it is part of their mission to provide what is needed without requirements from the recipients.

          Both World Vision and Lutheran World Relief are against proselytizing.

    • JeanLouise says:

      I can’t think of a prominent pro-lifer who isn’t all about judgment and shaming. That’s why they call pro-choice people “baby killers” and constantly talk about ripping babies to pieces.

      And if it weren’t about women having sex and the male need to maintain power over women by denying them the right to control their bodies, birth control would be handed out free on every street corner. Reducing unplanned pregnancies, particularly when the girl or woman will need tax payer dollars in order to have and, then, raise a baby is bad for everyone.

  12. Lola-at-Large says:

    Are Republicans trying to lose this? Or are they actually doing what they’ve been doing, but Team Obama has a war room where they track these incidents and feed them to a friendly media? Notice none of these recent measures are national, and they’re all from people from obscure state legislatures whose names we’ve never heard. Are they any more or less powerful than they were last year?

    And quite frankly, I might hit the next guy who gives me his pro-choice opinion on abortion. Fuck Trudeau. Fuck all of ’em. The only thing inserting your opinion on this issue does is make me feel badgered once again by the opinion of someone whose opinion shouldn’t count because they a) they have a vested financial interest in keeping abortion around, and b) will never have an abortion.

    Finally, I’m not suggesting that Republicans are right in their trend toward pro-life measures, but I still see a larger trend of reform and if we can allow that trend to keep developing, maybe this won’t even be a problem in another five years. Look how fast things turned around on gay marriage.

    • votermom says:

      And quite frankly, I might hit the next guy who gives me his pro-choice opinion on abortion.

      I’ll lend you my brass knuckles.

    • ralphb says:

      They are more powerful than they were because more state houses were taken over by the Republicans in 2010 and their majorities increased in other states.

      This is a concerted effort pushed by an ultraconservative group Americans United for Life and they’re following the model of ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Counsel], which is a corporate pay-to-play body to push corporate agendas by buying legislators and getting legislation passed to move corporate friendly legislation through Congress.

      These ultrasound bills are a case in point. The Sunlight Foundation found that all these state bills overlap, right down to the specific language. They pretend that the legislation is coming out of local, grassroot efforts. Not so. All these bills are being steered by a far-right consortium, whose mission is to undo Roe vs Wade and basically take women back to a 1950s framework.

      • WMCB says:

        Meh. I’m not prone to fault groups for coordinating to try to get their agenda passed. I’ve done enough coordinating myself over the years on the left, often taking and welcoming help from various “professional” advocacy groups, to not cry foul when the other side does it too. I don’t like the goals they are shooting for, but their methods are nothing sinister, or at least no more sinister than the political advocacy process always is.

        Everyone from gay rights groups to anti-war groups to women’s groups uses similar methods to advocate their agendas and get them passed. Coordination does not negate genuine grassroots fervor and sincerity. I well remember trying to get legislation with “almost the exact same language” (likely written by some left-leaning think tank) passed in various state houses for this or that cause. We emailed it around, tried to find a state house member who would introduce it for us, etc. The process wasn’t sinister, it was just the way the system of political advocacy works.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        I’m aware of ALEC and the word clouding evidence. I’m still not buying that it’s a huge assault or that the purpose is to go back to the 1950s. ALEC is a pretty small group of people, at the end of the day, and there may be collusion between them and elected officials, or there may not. The word cloud is only evidence that they share a common language, which is also true for Emily’s List, NOW, and NARAL. I wonder what a word cloud of comparative text there would find? It would prove nothing more than that a lingo has been developed.

        And, so what if there is collusion? Don’t you realize that’s what lobbying is all about? No different than gay groups working with state legislatures to develop bills on gay marriage, or feminist groups working to fund women’s shelters, or, for that matter, with Montsanto or any number of corporations. Those are the rules. Everyone gets to play by them.

        I’m not saying people aren’t free to speak out. We can still do at least that much. I’m saying the argument matters, and somewhere between 1999 and 2012, the rationality slipped right across the lines, and now it’s the pro-choice people who sound ridiculously hysterical when it used to be the other side. The pro-choice argument is missing three of the four fundamental principles of persuasion: credibility, accuracy, reasonableness.

  13. Lola-at-Large says:

    Oh good grief, Robin Morgan is going on and on about “The New Sexual Revolution” on her Facebook page. Just what we need, 2nd wave dinosaurs coming to try to resurrect their youth. With friends like these, who needs pimps?

    • cjwk says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how women continue to acquiesce to being reduced/relegated to nothing more than their anatomy/biology. This is the same ploy the state and TPTB have used for centuries to objectify women and avoid the true empowerment of women as full, self-determining individual persons in all aspects of life. It allows the state and TPTB to continue to ‘ghettoize’ women and never have to address the central issue that women still do not have full equality as persons under the law. As one who marched in and survived the first ‘sexual revolution’ and subsequent ‘women’s movement,’ I see little or empowerment in a second such ‘revolution’ under which women continue to allow and even encourage their own objectification by the state and TPTB as virtually nothing more than vaginas and uteri.

  14. yttik says:

    Republican slut shaming? To tell you the truth, I feel more dirty and used by the Democrats. They don’t give a damn about women, this is a manufactured political crisis to try and secure women’s vote. The fact that Republicans are stupid and stepping right in it, doesn’t make the D’s better by default. They could care less about women, as evidenced by the 2008 election. They’ll happily throw women under the bus if it’s politically expedient to do. Now that Obama’s performance has been so poor, suddenly they need us again. Vote for us or we’ll take away your contraception! Hey assholes, I’m still laying under this bus, so piss off.

    • T says:

      Yep, that’s what I think too. To really do service to this issue, you have to apply some of the blame to Democrats….although, arguably, they aren’t the instigators of the Texas law.

    • Karma says:

      My ire is still aimed at the Dems too. Birth control isn’t going sway me to vote for Bush III.

    • I cannot take this crap seriously anymore. We need more women elected to the House and Senate. I’m still voting for ABO. The Democrats lost me forever when they picked Obama over Hillary. Hillary as SOS deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama deserves to be a one-term wonder in his own mind.

    • angienc says:


  15. Three Wickets says:

    I don’t think women’s reproductive health care would be the main campaign issue this year if Hillary were Potus. I’ve been ABO for almost four years, but after listening to bloviating Republican men on this issue for the past month (not just Rush), I’m rethinking. They are dinosaurs, serious dinosaurs.

    In other news, OFA is floating this fact sheet that says pregnancy is treated as a pre-existing condition today that ACA will correct. Not sure how accurate that is, but it does play into the meme about selfish Republicans who only want to pay for themselves (unless it’s medicare or social security).

    • murphy says:

      It sickens me to say I feel the same way TW.

      I’ll happily vote for Romney (I live in Mass and don’t shoot me but he was a fine governor. No misogyny masquerading as “family values” during his term. Heck we got universal health care and gay marriage on his watch).

      If Santorum is the nominee I’ll vote green party unless Santorum looks to have an actual shot at winning. At that point I’ll vote for the asshole.

      Unless I’m brave enough to force the country to live under bronze age freak regime to wake women up.


      • myiq2xu says:

        Unless I’m brave enough to force the country to live under bronze age freak regime to wake women up.

        Why vote for the lesser evil?

        Cthulhu 2012

        • murphy says:

          Crap miq, I think santorum IS the greater evil.

          I guess it could be fun to pull the lever for the weirdo and see what happens when he wins.

          But I only say that knowing I can buy my daughters’ bc out of pocket if they need it and will fly them to europe for an abortion if they ever needed one. Which makes me feel guilty because what about other daughters??


        • yttik says:

          Murphy, cheer up, there is the law of unintended consequences. I don’t think Santorum has a chance, but even if he was elected there would be a backlash, a bronze age to wake people up like you said. I remember when Reagan was President, my town had two (two!) women’s health clinics, a Planned Parenthood office, and people marching everyday. When Obama, our women’s rights messiah, took office, everything shut down. We now have no clinics and it’s over a hundred miles to the nearest abortion provider. Why did this happen? Well, because Obama was going to make everything wonderful so people just quit bothering themselves.

          Just like Obama was the best thing to happen to Republicans in a long time, Santorum could turn out to be the best thing for liberal social beliefs, too. But I still doubt he’s going to be the nominee.

  16. Three Wickets says:

    OT, you may have seen this story about using homeless people as wifi hotspots at SXSW which is taking place in Austin right now. Thought it was interesting that the genius ad agency who came up with this pathetic idea are the same people behind, the site dedicated to Michelle Obama fashion. This is crack-cocaine creative class Obotitude at work. The agency is not even American, they are British.

Comments are closed.