Will You Fucking Stop With This Silver Lining Shit?

So many people are suddenly writing pieces about how overturning Planned Parenthood v Casey (which is, in fact, the controlling precedent on abortion now), queer marriage, and anti-discrimination laws are a losing strategy for the GOP to put a shiny, happy face on the transformation of SCOTUS.

NO. If you’re tempted to go with this reaction, stop it right the fuck now. We do not sit back and let the Republicans enact hostility and hatred. It’s not even that there’s no truth in the position. Yes, inevitably conservative families will see relatives die. Yes, the 80% of people that support the right to have an abortion in at least some cases do constitute a large majority. Yes, if the 33% who believe that abortion should be legal in most cases and the 24% who believe that it should be legal in at least some cases could truly hurt the GOP if they voted to repudiate the fuckers.

But the implied argument is this: Ireland voted in abortion restrictions with Amendment 8 in 1983, sure, but after 35 years, innumerable hardships, and an uncounted number of deaths Ireland got the sympathetic victim of its anti-abortion policies that allowed them to overturn the provisions in 2018. These things don’t last, they’re saying. We’ll have our Savita Halappanavar, they’re saying. That makes everything okay, they’re saying.

Jesus Fried Chicken, NO!

The fact that we will inevitably have our Savita Halappanavars is exactly what makes this NOT OKAY.

Yes, the GOP has been sowing the seeds of its own destruction for decades now.

Yes, the GOP enjoyed the freedom to vote for abortion restrictions that would never be enforceable, and thus used abortion bills to rally its base while the democratic base remained unenthused because democrats never bothered to stand up and fight, relying on the courts to do their work instead.

Yes, that means that individual GOP members of state legislatures are going to have to make more consequential decisions than they have in the past, they’re going to have to face a higher likelihood of accountability than they have in the past.

THAT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF WOMEN THE GOP WILL END INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.

IT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF TRANS FOLK WHOM THE GOP MIGHT KILL INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.*1

NONE OF THIS IS OKAY.

THERE IS NO SILVER LINING.

 


*1: I’m well aware that people of other genders may very well die too, but given the total numbers of deaths expected, I don’t feel as comfortable saying that people of other genders are guaranteed to die, whereas demographically the deaths of women are guaranteed.

Trump is Killing to Save Morality

You could just go read Wonkette who covers this well, but if you like, you can get a taste here:

Abortion is already illegal in Kenya, but Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), the organization that had previously been providing low-cost contraception to these women, is supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has refused to comply with Trump’s demands and stands to lose $100 million in funding as a result. Shockingly, no anti-choice organizations have stepped up to help provide that funding or those services.

Long story short, because these women are now unable to access contraception, they are getting pregnant with babies they cannot afford to have and are turning to illegal and dangerous abortion methods instead.

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Ireland’s Success and Catholicism’s Failure

Amendment 8 of the Irish constitution reads:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The people of Ireland voted on its repeal yesterday. Ireland’s The Journal reports:

The Yes result was almost unanimous across the country: 39 of Ireland’s 40 constituencies voted Yes, with only Donegal voting No by a margin of 51.87% to 48.13%.

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The Threats to Free Speech are From Right Wingers, Not From Trans* Advocacy

Trans* advocates do not advocate any new type of restriction on speech. They do sometimes argue that restrictions that already exist on speech when that speech targets specific types of groups should also apply when such speech targets trans* folks. This is not in any way stretching what limitation on the rights of free expression the constitutions of Canada or the US (or any other country) will tolerate. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t serious threats to free expression in the US and Canada today.

I’ve written previously about how changing “loser pays” presumptions in defamation lawsuits can impact the related freedoms of the press and personal expression (though focussing primarily on the impacts on press freedoms). But compromises around such details as when the plaintiff has to pay a press outlet’s legal costs aren’t the only constitutionally permissible actions that the governments of the US or Canada might take that would have an impact on free speech, and there are even other, likely impermissible actions that the government might still try to take.

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Pat Davis: Fuck the NRA

A city councilor running in 3rd place in the New Mexico first congressional district has created a commercial that actually sounds like someone upset about the extravagant gun violence in the United States. The first words Pat Davis speaks in his new ad?

Fuck the NRA.

He goes on to criticize the anti-regulation/anti-legislation position of the NRA on gun ownership, possession and use as being one cause of “dead children”.

Pro-lifers have always been odd to me. On the one hand, I find it difficult to believe that they see medical abortion as anything remotely comparable to murder or even euthanasia. After all, think about what that would really mean. Wouldn’t the people who believe that shun birthdays as points for celebration in favor of conception days? Wouldn’t they have funerals after miscarriages? Why do they put off naming a child until it’s born? And yet we don’t see that – or at least we don’t see that from even 10% of the people who claim they’re pro-life.

On the other hand, if they aren’t parroting something that only vaguely represents a tribal position rather than a genuine and specific personal belief, then the consistent thing to do really is to chain oneself to the doors of clinics, to hold die-ins at the Capitol Building, and generally use every non-violent means possible to preserve life. Do they do that? No. The extremists of the “pro-life” movement bomb clinics, throw acid, and commit murder. While I can understand the rationale behind killing one to save two (or more), it’s not a rationale that holds all life to be sacred, as they claim to do.

But as hard as it is to come to grips with the behavior of the self-named “pro-life movement”, the gun control movement is equally weird. I do believe the laxity of US gun laws results in deaths that would not otherwise have occurred. So why am I not doing everything I can to stop gun sales? Part of it is explained by relevant differences between the situation: if you believe abortion is murder, then you know where and when murders are going to be carried out. That’s not the same as gun control advocates who believe that lax gun laws are legislative negligence destined to result in deaths at various unknown times in various unknown places. But it’s still a little weird that there seems to be so little urgency in the rhetoric of proponents of stricter monitoring of guns sold and stricter regulation of what guns can be sold and to whom.

That’s why I welcome this ad. Yes, it may have taken a 3rd place primary candidate to make the ad, but the ad is positively drenched in an honest embrace of what it means to say that legislative gun control negligence is causing death.

Watch it for yourself, and remember to vote, wherever you live.

 

What is Glorification Anyway? Shannon Watkins Seems Unclear on a few Concepts

Wonkette brought my attention to an essay published by the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal. It was written by Shannon Watkins and has a whole bunch of things to say about how awful, awful, awful campus feminism is. Then it adds a few things about how hopeful it is that the situation is changing and that anti-feminist groups are on the rise. Yippee! The article itself can be found here. It is intriguingly titled “Campus Feminism: The Real War On Women.”

Stunningly, it fails to grasp the basic idea behind the labeling of “The War on Women”, which was that when certain policies are adopted – policies like instituting (or maintaining) abstinence-only sex “education” – more women die. If someone is advocating for policies that cause increased deaths (or that correlate with increased deaths and have at least a plausible mechanism for causation), labeling that advocacy part of a War on Women is metaphorical but has a reasonable underlying comparison between advocating the policy and promulgating a war: deaths result. However Watkins seems impervious to such points and presents no evidence that more women die when campus women’s and/or feminist centers are permitted to flourish or that more women die in a given jurisdiction when policies favored by those centers are enacted.

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For Your Enjoyment: To Save the Life of the Slut

Sam Bee is at it again, chronicling the most recent house bill to abort scientific inquiring in the name of protecting unarmed fetuses everywhere. Although this bill ignores research on the neurological development of human fetuses in order to ban abortion after 20 weeks when the sense of pain is not developed until approximately 29 weeks*1 (according to some “doctor” who went to “medical school” or something), it is not as restrictive as some other legislation Republicans have proposed:

The bill makes a few token concessions to women. It allows exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the slut.

Have I mentioned how much I love Samantha Bee?

Nonetheless, there is at least one major bit of misinformation in Bee’s video. An interview by Melissa Harris-Perry of Dr. Willie Parker who gave us information on fetal neurological development includes a chyron featuring the statistic:

58% of women have abortions in their 20s.

Well, no. Of all abortions performed, 58% are performed upon women in their 20s. That’s a little different than saying that not only do 58% of women have abortions, but 58% of women had abortions just during their 20s.

If that MSNBC fail doesn’t turn you off of Samantha Bee for not doctoring the video before playing it, then you should truly enjoy her entire rant:

 

Happy Feminist Friday, everyone.


*1: for Republicans: 29 is actually a larger number than 20. That means it’s better. 99 is even larger. You’d be really manly if you banned abortion after 99 weeks. Why don’t you try that next time? I’m even sure you could find a scientist to say that kids can feel pain after 99 weeks of life. IF another Republican tries to out-man you, you could always propose banning abortion after 999 weeks – that will show them.

Rapists’ Lives Matter. Oh, and Fuck the Poor.

As has happened many times and in many places, a Michigan rapist has been given parental rights and joint custody over a child born from one of those rapes. Though this particular case happened in Michigan this bullshit has received media coverage before. And before that. And before that.

Should I go on? Probably not. Samantha Bee did, and that still hasn’t helped.

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Feminist Friday: Feminism’s Forgotten Name

Maxine Hong Kingston is one of many feminists engaged in what we would today call intersectional theorizing, though she was writing in that mode at least two decades before Crenshaw would give activists the term intersectionality. Her book of fables and thought, The Woman Warrior (1976), has gone on to be a university staple in many different disciplines. The Woman Warrior is taught so widely, in fact, that the Washington Post includes in a piece about the book and its prominence:

It gained a following that seems, if anything, to have increased over the years.

Thus, for example, Bill Moyers has reported that “The Woman Warrior” and Kingston’s second memoir, “China Men” (1980), are the most widely taught books by a living American author on college campuses today, which echoes a claim made by the Modern Language Association. This rather astonishing information no doubt reflects the various categories of political and cultural opinion to which Kingston’s work appeals, but it also means that “The Woman Warrior” is probably one of the most influential books now in print in this country — and certainly one of the most influential books with a valid claim to literary recognition.

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