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Feb 24 2012

No Privacy for Women

This shouldn’t be surprising. Still, I have somehow managed to watch the onslaught against the reproductive rights of women without becoming completely cynical. So, when Amadi posted the response she received after writing to her state representative, I was a bit shocked.

Today, I received an oversized manilla envelope from Rep. Readshaw. Inside was a printout of HB 1077, a printout of some database’s information about me, indicating where I live, that I’m not the head of the household (why/how it knows this I do not know) and a few other things about me, like ethnicity, that no elected official should or needs to know. I’m going to have to get to the bottom of that.

Not content to make it blatantly clear that he had violated Amadi’s privacy, he went on to violate his daughter’s in the letter.

HE JUST DISCLOSED HIS DAUGHTER’S PRIVATE MEDICAL INFORMATION IN AN EFFORT TO JUSTIFY HIS SUPPORT OF THIS BILL AND GENERAL ANTI-CHOICE POSITION.

Sorry for shouting, no, actually, I’m not. I am beyond disbelief that he believes that this woman’s personal pain, her private information, her reproductive status is fair game to be bandied around like this, to be used to score political points, as a gotcha at me. She can’t have babies and I want to KILL THEM! What kind of person am I that I could possibly support other people having autonomy over their own reproduction when she doesn’t have any?

Then he went after Amadi’s again.

One last note, remember when I said that in the envelope with the letter was a printout of some database’s information about me? Check out the last line again: 

Congratulations on your voting record it is very good!

I’m going to presume that there is some database that shows how many times I’ve voted since I registered in 1991. (The answer is “twice a year, every year, or 42 times thus far.) But why is he looking that up before sending me a letter in response to me writing to him? Why is it germane? Why is it his business? Why is it legal? Do I not get a letter if I don’t vote or vote often enough for his tastes? I’m going to be looking into this too, I assure you.

So, who would think it was okay to behave like this, to dig into and share private data when talking about legislation–in what should be a discussion about the public good? Pennsylvania State Representative Harry Readshaw, co-sponsor of Pennsylvania’s forced-penetration-before-abortion bill.

As I said, I shouldn’t be shocked.

Go read all of Amadi’s post. There’s plenty more there on the topic of the bill. If Readshaw is your representative, let him know what you think of the bill and his behavior. If you have an interest in the privacy of the general citizenry, raise a stink about this. Never forget that this isn’t about “babies”. It’s about control, and your privacy is a tiny price for someone else to pay to gain control.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    unbound

    Wow. Just wow.

    I hope she has already reached out to the ACLU.

  2. 2
    d cwilson

    Unbelievable. I hope she sues.

  3. 3
    Moggie

    This is basically a threat, isn’t it? He’s essentially saying “I have the power to find out everything about you, so watch out”. That’s how I would interpret it, anyway. I hope he’s overstepped, and suffers for this.

  4. 4
    Jadehawk

    holy fuck

  5. 5
    James

    The ACLU might be a good starting point, but I think Anonymous might be quite interested in Rep. Readshaw’s actions and might come up with a less indirect method of education on privacy than a law suit.

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Fuck. This.

    Two major malfunctions at the very least here.

  7. 7
    becca

    Thanks for helping spread the news about this. PA abortion law is draconian, and this bill is a disaster waiting to happen.

    And Readshaw. Ugh. I just can’t even begin to process anything but extreme anger toward him.

  8. 8
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    We can’t be incredulous at how low someone who supports this bill would stoop. I second the idea to contact the ACLU. This is a serious violation of privacy and a serious misconduct by an elected official. Of course, he would probably weasel out of it and just blame it on an over-enthusiastic intern.

  9. 9
    Interrobang

    A friend of mine blogged this in her LiveJournal (and linked here), and I just commented “I wouldn’t write to that guy if you paid me, and I’m a foreigner. Apparently writing to him means that your whole life gets investigated and data-mined, and in these days of CSIS cooperating totally with Homeland Security, I’d be on everybody’s No Fly lists and No Entry list at the border, and hell knows what else. My mother didn’t raise any fools, and my mother also raised enough of us non-fools to realise that there’s a huge chilling effect going on.”

    Scary, scary stuff.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Isn’t this pretty much the political equivalent of “nice house, shame if something were to happen to it”? Fucking crazy bullshit. Glad it’s getting some sunlight. Hopefully said sunlight will cauterize the creeping slime that is Readshaw.

  11. 11
    Arain

    Hello people??? You are missing the even bigger picture here: that they even have this information collected and accessible to … who? Politicians! This isn’t about one politician accessing it. We should thank this guy from the bottom of our hearts for exposing that they have access to our information in this way (and have even collected it on an innocent citizen!), which is what really matters. THAT is the problem.

  12. 12
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    What the fuck?
    Orwell wasn’t writing a “how to do” when he wrote 1984.
    And what an exceptional asshole do you have to be to use the unfortunate medical condition of your daughter to further your misogynist agenda?

  13. 13
    Stacy

    What an object lesson in conservative respect for women’s privacy.

    Seriously, this fuckwit needs to be held accountable.

  14. 14
    caravelle

    As Arain says, the main issue is that all that information was available to him in the first place, and the biggest mistake he did was in revealing this. Internet privacy issues are a huge, huge problem but I do know that in my country there are laws that at least nominally try to protect people from this kind of thing (I’m thinking of the CNIL in France).

    Does Pennsylvania not have such laws, or are they just being blatantly ignored ?

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