Archive for the ‘Reproductive Rights’ Category

“Conceived in Rape” Tour’s Rebecca Kiessling Is Much Like Daddy   9 comments

This November, Mississippi will be voting on an anti-abortion ballot measure to amend the state constitution by redefining the meaning of the word “person” to include fertilized eggs. Under the proposed language, personhood would begin at the moment of conception, granting full rights to zygote Mississippians. While the Personhood amendment would have amusing implications for everything from carpool lanes to redistricting, what’s not amusing at all is what would happen to reproductive rights if Ballot Measure 26 becomes law.

The Personhood amendment would outlaw all abortions in the state. Also under attack is emergency contraception. And in neither case would there be an exception for victims of rape or incest. While the amendment, if passed, is likely to be challenged in federal court and declared unconstitutional, it’s the increasing hostility toward rape victims I want to discuss.

It used to be that most forced pregnancy activists supported rape and incest exceptions. Whether it was compassion for the victims, or a desire to punish only “sluts” who willingly had sex, or wanting to protect men from the possibility of having to raise the offspring of their wife’s rapist, or perhaps a combination of those factors–until fairly recently, most anti-choicers were not advocating prolonging the torture of a 13-year-old incest victim by forcing her to give birth to her own sister. “No exceptions” was largely the battle cry of the farthest right fringe.

In the last 2-3 years, however, this fringe position was propelled into the mainstream by the likes of Sarah “No Mercy for Rape and Incest Victims” Palin, and minds began to change. For Personhood Mississippi, though, they’re not changing fast enough, and so the group pushing Mississippi’s Personhood amendment decided to launch a “Conceived in Rape” Tour. Yes, you read that right. The “Conceived in Rape” Tour’s featured speaker is professional forced pregnancy activist and family law attorney Rebecca Kiessling, who is an excellent example of why I would always abort the spawn of rapists.
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Uber-Privileged Feminists Say “F*ck You!” to Low Income Women   4 comments

And to lesbians and to immigrant women and really to anyone who isn’t wealthy, straight, white, and preferably male and Christian. Because that’s what you’re doing when you’re supporting the presidential aspirations of anti-feminist wingnut Michele “Kill the Poor” Bachmann. And yes, The New Agenda, a nonpartisan women’s activist group, is actually urging women to vote for Bachmann, or Palin, should she throw her hat in the ring.

For those not familiar with this organization’s history, The New Agenda was founded by former Wall Street executive Amy Siskind in the aftermath of the 2008 election. Siskind, a longtime Democrat, supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primary and, like many of us, was appalled by the sexist treatment of first Clinton, then Palin. And so The New Agenda was created to combat sexism and elect more women to political office. Laudable objectives to be sure, except for one thing: The politics of the women they champion appear to be irrelevant; simply being equipped with a vagina is all it takes to win the support of The New Agenda.

As a result, Siskind’s organization routinely supports conservative candidates whose policies do enormous harm to huge segments of the female population. Such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who championed the nation’s toughest photo ID law in an effort to disenfranchise low income voters (who tend to vote Democratic). Cheering on Bachmann, however, is a little surprising, even for The New Agenda.

For one, Bachmann is an outspoken anti-feminist who believes wives must obey their husbands. But no worries! Siskind explains that while Bachmann may not be a feminist, she’s definitely “pro-woman”! In fact, feminism is kinda passé; the new “pro-woman” movement is where it’s at!
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Catholic Hospital Working with Anti-Abortion Protesters to “Reverse” Abortions   Leave a comment

Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago’s largest Catholic hospital, is working with anti-abortion protesters to persuade women already in the process of undergoing a second trimester abortion to halt the procedure. Second trimester abortions are often multi-day procedures that typically begin with the insertion of laminaria “tents” (bundles of seaweed) to soften and dilate the cervix. Many women are sent home overnight to let the laminaria do their thing. When they leave the clinic, they are approached by “sidewalk counselors” affiliated with Resurrection Medical Center who attempt to change their minds about completing the abortion and whisk them away to the hospital’s ER where doctors stand ready to remove the laminaria.

Since the “program” began last October, four women have been taken to Resurrection Medical Center by anti-choice activists and three abortions were halted. Some argue that Resurrection is simply offering women another opportunity to reconsider their choice, so what’s the problem?
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Medical Paternalism & Women’s Birth Control   4 comments

Some Planned Parenthood clinics offer a program called HOPE (Hormonal Option without Pelvic Exam) that allows women to obtain a prescription for birth control pills without submitting to a pelvic exam. The idea is to reduce barriers to contraception as young women in particular are often very uncomfortable with a full gynecological exam. While I commend the program, there is no reason why hormonal birth control should be tied to pelvic exams in the first place. As long as the patient is asymptomatic, taking her blood pressure and medical history is all the information the doctor needs to determine whether she’s a candidate for hormonal birth control. Which is why many other countries don’t require pelvic exams to get birth control pills.

In the US, however, doctors frequently refuse to prescribe the pill unless the patient is willing to strip naked and spread her legs for a gyno exam and Pap smear. It’s an outrageously paternalistic practice that would never fly if the patients were men. Can you imagine doctors withholding a dude’s Viagra unless he submitted to a prostate or rectal exam? Me neither. But it makes about as much sense as requiring a pelvic exam and Pap test to get birth control pills.
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If you believe abortion is murder…   5 comments

With H.R.3 (a.k.a. the “Let Them Use Coathangers” Act), H.R.358 (a.k.a. the “Let the Bitch Die” Act), and the ACORN-style attacks on Planned Parenthood, our famously liberal media is having the abortion debate again, and as usual, they’re busy pretending that both sides hold equally valid positions, that there’s no difference between leaving reproductive choices to the individual and mandating that everyone make the same choice you would. Most of all, though, we’re still pretending that the anti-choice crowd actually gives a damn about “the unborn,” that they really believe abortion is murder. They don’t, and we will never make headway in the “abortion debate” until we acknowledge that the true motives of the anti-choice movement have nothing to do with “saving the unborn.”

If you believe that there’s no difference between an abortion and the murder of a child, you would, of course, want to prevent as many abortions as possible. But how? For starters, it would be a good idea to take a look at what’s going on in other countries. Who has the highest and who has the lowest abortion rates, and what are their policies? When we do that, it quickly becomes clear that criminalization does nothing to reduce the number of abortions. In fact, some of the countries with the most draconian abortion laws also have the highest abortion rates. In Chile, for instance, abortion is illegal even if the life of the mother is at stake, yet the estimated number of abortions performed per 1,000 women of reproductive age is twice that of the US.

Criminalization has been spectacularly unsuccessful at reducing the incidence of abortion because it does nothing to address the underlying issue: unplanned pregnancies. Women who find themselves pregnant and don’t want to be (or can’t afford to be) will always find a way to terminate their pregnancies. No law will change that. What laws can do, however, is ensure that safe abortions are available only to the affluent while low income and poor women as well as minors risk being maimed or killed as they are driven into the hands of unscrupulous providers such as Kermit Gosnell or left to self-induce an abortion by various dangerous and painful means. The lengths to which women will go to terminate an unwanted pregnancy should be a tip-off that simply making the procedure illegal won’t put an end to it.
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