Posts Tagged reproductive rights
Anna North at Jezebel shares with us this charming quote from Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood USA:
Increasingly, the American people are being treated paternalistically by a government, media and public sector elite that stands in direct opposition to our traditional American values.
Using the courts as its instrument, this American elite has emasculated a once independent America.
The “American people” here apparently does not include women who are or may become pregnant, or pro-choicers of any description. “Traditional American values” means women must live and die at the mercy of sperm-meets-egg. The distinction between “the American people,” meaning those who oppose reproductive freedom, and the “American elite,” referring to those who trust women to plan their own families, is useful in parsing the “emasculated” bit.
If masculinity is defined as having a certain relationship to women, specifically as being in control of them, them it makes perfect sense to view reproductive rights as emasculation. The right to effective contraceptives and safe abortion gives women a degree of control over their lives that allows them to approach their relationships with men on their own terms. It helps women finish their education, travel, work as many hours as they need, advance their careers, and put money in savings. It gives women the autonomy to make plans for the future, which may or may not include any particular partner. It means a woman can date, or not, sleep around, or not, and enter a committed relationship, or not. While leaving an abusive relationship tends to be complicated no matter what, it is far more feasible for a woman who isn’t pregnant or caring for a small child. It won’t protect her from rape, but it prevents a rapist from forcing her into motherhood.
Ergo, yes, contraceptives and abortion do reduce men’s ability to keep women under control. If “manhood” means the females are at your mercy and “independence” means you can force them to bear your children, then, yes, birth control is emasculation.
What a harsh, joyless view of life that is, to say a man isn’t really a man unless he gets to push a woman around.
I’m hearing on Twitter right now that the Personhood Initiative is losing in Mississippi. I guess a whole lot of MS men are more secure in their masculinity than the dudes at Personhood USA.
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Hutchinson had been dating the woman for several months in 2006, and she had made it clear she did not want to get pregnant. The couple used condoms almost all the time.
In the summer of that year, the woman was thinking of ending the relationship.
Hutchinson thought if she got pregnant, their relationship would be saved, the court heard, so he poked a pin in all the condoms she had.
The woman, whose identity is protected by court order, did become pregnant.
But when Hutchinson confessed what he had done in a series of text messages, she called the RCMP and had him charged.
Let’s go over this again: he thought that if she became pregnant, their relationship would be saved.
I don’t need to tell you all why that’s wrong, right? I don’t need to explain why deliberately making a woman pregnant when she has clearly communicated that she is uninterested in becoming pregnant is a really shitty thing to do to her, do I?
I just can’t get over how stupid this guy is.
He not only tried to “save” their relationship by committing birth control sabotage on her, but then he told her what he’d done, which suggests that he thought that she would not call the police on him. It may even imply that he believed there would still be a relationship after she found out.
I suppose that sexism causes otherwise smart people to believe stupid things, like, that effectively forcing a woman to become pregnant isn’t such a horrible thing to do to her, because pregnancy is just like carrying someone’s keys in your purse for nine months and giving birth is something that all women are supposed to do anyway.
But…when she’s already said she didn’t want to get pregnant, do you really think she’ll be okay with it if you confess to having sabotaged her birth control? Furthermore, do you do it over text message? Those things can be saved, forwarded and used as evidence, dumbass.
The article says she terminated the pregnancy after she called the RMCP, so…did she intend to keep the baby until she realized she was gestating the progeny of an industrial-strength asshat? I’m trying to picture the scenario in which it seems like a good idea to make this confession via text message. Is she not seeing you face to face? Is she not picking up your calls? And since she won’t allow real-time communication, do you think she’ll suddenly start talking to you again if she finds out she was so important to you that you forced her into a risky, life-altering, potentially disabling condition to make her more dependent on you? Or could you see her IRL any time you want, but you just had a whim to tell her about your reproductive coercion scheme because it seemed like no big deal?
Gee, I can’t imagine why any woman wouldn’t want to have this genius’s babies.
Heather Corinna fields this gem at RHRC:
I’m in an on again-off again type relationship with my “girlfriend.” We get along and everything, but on some things we don’t see eye to eye. We’ve had sex before, and that’s kind of the problem. She keeps pressuring me into having sex! You don’t really hear it this way with guys, but it’s the truth. She knows what she wants, and she wants it now! It’s not that I don’t want to have sex with her, or that I don’t LIKE having sex with her, but sometimes I just enjoy romance. Or just hanging out. Sex isn’t everything. And another thing: she want’s a baby! She’s nineteen, and I’m eighteen. I’ve reminded her that neither of us drive or have jobs. I just graduated high school (at the time I was still IN school) but still, I can’t change her mind. So I don’t really know what to say. How can i get through to her that sex isn’t everything, and that we’re definitely not ready for a baby?
And then she takes a whole lot of words to say what can be ultimately boiled down to just a few. At the risk of using sexist language?
DUMP THAT CRAZY-ASS BITCH.
You don’t need to “get through to her” that sex isn’t everything, or that you’re not ready for a kid. You just need to get the hell away from her before she has another chance to get your cum inside her. You can use condoms, but they can be sabotaged, and if she is determined to conceive a child, she will do so. You can’t stop her from being a terrible parent to some other guy’s issue, but you can stop her from forcing YOU into premature fatherhood. Get out of there and get on with your 18-year-old life. Don’t explain, don’t apologize, don’t look back.
I am telling you, this story is just…asking for the fertility-controls-you crowd to start losing their shit. More than usual, I mean.
Caroline Parkinson at BBC reports that Japanese scientists have successfully bred mice using sperm made from embryonic stem cells:
Japanese researchers successfully implanted early sperm cells, made from the stem cells, into infertile mice.
The working sperm which they made was then used to father healthy, and crucially fertile, pups, Cell journal reports.
A UK expert said it was a significant step forward in infertility research.
If you’re now thinking, “this is just begging for jumping to conclusions,” you’d be right.
But he said the Kyoto paper was “quite a large step forward” in developing a process by which sperm could be made for infertile men, perhaps by taking as a starting point a cell from their skin or from something like bone marrow.
He added: “Clearly more work needs to be done to refine this process, but it’s hugely exciting.”
That much is fine, but somehow, the comments on the Jezebel story are all about how this means men are about to become obsolete.
Robin Marty tells us about a court order to prevent Planned Parenthood of York from performing an abortion on an unwilling 14-year-old. The story was supposedly that this girl’s parents scheduled an abortion for her, but she wanted to keep the baby, and the father’s parents also wanted her to keep the baby, so the Independence Law Center came to her defense in court.
Now she points us to Paul Carpenter at the Morning Call, who reports that the injunction probably doesn’t exist.
The release listed Dyan Cross as its contact person. Cross was unable to answer any questions, referring me to the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which then referred me to Randall Wenger, chief counsel for the Independence Law Center, also mentioned in the press release. “The Independence Law Center,” it said, “helped the girl from York, Pa., to fight the abortion in court. The mother and stepfather of the girl had scheduled an abortion for their daughter against her wishes and against the wishes of the family of the unborn child’s father.”
Also, the Law Center’s website listed various cases it was pursuing, including that of a York student fighting a school ban on an anti-abortion T-shirt. I found nothing, however, on an injunction against parental abortion atrocities in York. When I called Wenger to ask for details on that phantom injunction, he did not return my calls.
Still, there were other leads. “The court-ordered injunction,” said the press release, “was presented to the girl’s parents and Planned Parenthood of York.”
Planned Parenthood often helps families with abortions or birth-control advice, so it’s logical that it may have been helping the parents. Planned Parenthood of York referred me to Suellen Craig, head of the regional Planned Parenthood of Southcentral Pennsylvania, who knew nothing about any injunction.
Carpenter’s story goes on to explain how Wenger is perfectly happy to fight for parents’ rights to force their minor daughters to give birth against their will.
Now, the issue here isn’t that the girl’s parents have won their bid to force their 14-year-old daughter to abort. The issue here is that the injunction doesn’t exist because it wasn’t necessary. Planned Parenthood isn’t interested in performing abortions on unwilling women, including 14-year-old girls with non-supportive parents. If the girl comes in for her appointment, she can just say to any clinician that she doesn’t want the procedure, and they’ll let her go, no harm, no foul.
Also, Independence Law Center? The wishes of the fetus’s paternal grandparents are irrelevant. If the girl’s options are to abort or leave her parents’ home, then the father’s family can offer to take her in and provide for her and the baby until the girl is grown up and able to support herself, but the decision is ultimately hers. The outcome of her pregnancy is not theirs to claim.
Nick Baumann at Mother Jones tells us of the latest development in HR3:
Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?
In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions. “Were this to become law, people could end up in an audit, the subject of which could be abortion, rape, and incest,” says Christopher Bergin, the head of Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit tax policy group.
Barthold replied that the taxpayer would have to prove that she had complied with all applicable abortion laws. Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then “on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger,” Owens says. “It would be fairly intrusive for the woman.”
[insert ironic remark about "small government" here]
Since everyone is talking about this, I think I’ll point another gun at that fish in a barrel.
Mike Huckabee says stupid shit about Hollywood actresses getting pregnant outside of marriage, the latest example being Natalie Portman:
You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine.’ But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.
You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids — across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.
The attempt to draw a causal relationship from expectant mothers like Natalie Portman to the numbers of single mothers who are poor, uneducated and unable to get a job is really quite hilarious. I suppose he thinks poor, marginally employed, undereducated women are so stupid as to look at a wealthy actress in a stable relationship with her child’s father (engaged to be married, no less), and think that if she can show a pregnancy before the wedding, then they can get pregnant regardless of relationship status and it’ll be just ducky. Or perhaps what he’s trying to suggest is that there wouldn’t be so many children born out of wedlock if we didn’t have these glamorous Hollywood types showing us that it’s perfectly acceptable.
And if only everyone would just get married as soon as the stick turns blue, there would be no poverty, no hunger, no kids living without health care. Right?
But since Huckabee is clearly so concerned about so many children growing up without the proper family setting (the wedding ring has to come first!), I guess that means he’s pro-choice, right? And all in favor of better contraceptive access?
Although, as others have pointed out, having a baby outside of marriage is a decision worth defending if your name is Jamie Lynn Spears or Bristol Palin. I think that what really gets his goat about Natalie Portman is that she’s a grown, accomplished, successful woman who isn’t married yet but is in a committed relationship, and is pleased as punch to have a baby on the way. Her pregnancy is not a crisis for her family, it has not created a disaster that needs to be brought under control. Her impending motherhood is not an embarrassment for which she needs to apologize. She knows who the father is and he’s here to stay. She’s in control of her life and owns her fertility. How dare she.