Fight Back.

Saturday saw thousands of the War against Women folks take to the street to protest against Planned Parenthood.  They managed to get several anti-Planned Parenthood hashtags trending on Twitter as well.  While the Center for Medical Progress continues to release its deceptively edited videos to outrage the loud and proud ignorant fringe of the right, elected officials with actual power keep attempting to defund PP while wasting taxpayers money with investigations into PP that turn up no wrongdoing.

It is beyond time to fight back.

Abortion only makes up 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.  Zero federal dollars out of Planned Parenthood’s funding goes to abortion services.  The federal funds go to the other 97% of services Planned Parenthood provides, stuff like STI testing, cancer screenings, contraception prescriptions, and FUCKING prenatal care.  Sure, there are other locations women can go to get these services, but there aren’t enough of them to handle the overflow that would occur if Planned Parenthood actually  disappeared.  Sure, rich and upper middle class women would still find someone to smear their pap, prescribe their birth control, provide prenatal care, or terminate their pregnancy.  These things are never in danger for the rich and upper middle class.  It doesn’t matter how conservative the state Congress gets, or how many clinics get shut down, rich girls from Texas or Mississippi can just get on a plane and fly wherever they need to go to get whatever service they need.

These attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on the health and family planning of all women who can’t hop on the jet for a quick trip to Cali for an IUD or an abortion.

The issue isn’t abortion.  It isn’t “selling” baby parts.

The issue is poor people having sex and the right’s quest to make sure they have to face the consequences.

Donate something to PP.  Write your Congress Critter.  Send out a tweet.

And smack down an anti-PP troll on social media.  Do your part for a great organization.

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Really Rachel? Really?

I have to admit, I was so caught up shopping for a gay wedding present for the totes-legal-now-that-the-Supremes-said-that-everyone-needed-to-stop-kung-fu-fighting-long-enough-to-get-gay-married-everybody-even-puppies-goats-llamas-cable-news-shows-websites-and-straight-men-except-not-Jared-from-Subway-cause-seriously-fuck-that-guy impending nuptials joining The Wonkette and The Rachel Maddow Show in the bonds of holy matrimony, wondering what happens on the honeymoon for a website/cable news show marriage, who would get pregnant, and if they would give birth to little podcasts and oh my god this sentence ran on so long I got lost.

Okay, so I was busy doing that thing mentioned in the above sentence so I almost missed this little comment from Rachel Maddow on her show last night, and that would have been a shame because I so disagree with her for once.

There`s no reason to think that Jeb Bush is a terrible person.

I understand, Rachel.  You are always trying to get Republicans to come on your show, and those that do are always treated fairly.  Perhaps in the not too distant future (na na na), when elected Republicans can once again govern like adults without fear of being primaried for the sin of compromise, more members of the GOP will realize appearing on your show is not like a progressive on The O’Reilly Factor.  Of course, for that possibility to, well, be possible, you can’t exactly go around calling Republican candidates for President “terrible people,” now can you?

But I can.  Especially when the Republican in question actually is a terrible person.  In fact, one of the most pressing questions I hope to answer in my 17 part on-going series, Getting to Know the Trip, is if there is a non-terrible person in the field.  (Preliminary answer?  No.  They’re all pretty terrible.)  Things need to change if we have any hope of reclaiming our democracy and building it back up to something other than a world wide joke.  One thing that really needs to change is that the press needs to live up to the responsibility the Founding Fathers gave it by enshrining Freedom of the Press in the Bill of Rights.  The only bias a news anchor/reporter should have is an overwhelming bias towards reality. Stop covering politics like sports and stop being afraid of offending people if a political party takes a stance in opposition to objective fact.

While I am going to save most points for when I get to Jeb in my Goat Countdown, hearing Rachel last night compelled me to let you all know a few reasons why yes, Jeb Bush is a terrible person.  And we’ll start off with the two words that should immediately disqualify him from the Presidency:

Terry Schiavo

Raise your hand if you remember this ghoul trying to score political points by reinserting the feeding tube into a women in a persistent vegetative state, forcing her to “live,” against the wishes of her husband (and guardian) and, if you believe her husbands word, and I have no reason not to, against her own wishes as well.  Die with dignity? Not with Jeb on duty:

She had left no will. No written instructions. She was 26. To try to determine what she would have wanted, there was a trial, in the Pinellas County courtroom of circuit judge George Greer, in which Michael Schiavo relayed what she had told him in passing about what her wishes would be in this sort of scenario. Others did, too. She also had next to no chance of recovery, according to doctors’ testimony. Greer cited “overwhelming credible evidence” that Terri Schiavo was “totally unresponsive” with “severe structural brain damage” and that “to a large extent her brain has been replaced by spinal fluid.” His judgment was that she would not have wanted to live in her “persistent vegetative state” and that Michael Schiavo, her husband and her legal guardian, was allowed to remove her feeding tube.

But that was before the Jeb signal went up!

So on October 15, 2003, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube came out. Judge’s orders. She would die within two weeks. This stage of the case looks in retrospect like the start of a test. Just how much power did Jeb Bush have?

HB 35E was filed after 8 at night on October 20. Many lawmakers already were gone for the day. Gelber, the state representative from Miami, put his suit back on at his apartment in Tallahassee and hustled back to the Capitol. Fellow Democrats gathered around as the attorney and former prosecutor began to read the bill one of Bush’s staff attorneys had helped to write.“Authority for the Governor to Issue a One-time Stay …”

Gelber looked up.

“I don’t have to read anymore,” he said. “It’s clearly unconstitutional.”

“The governor can’t just change an order of the court,” Gelber explained this month. “It’s one of the most elemental concepts of democracy: The governor is not a king.”

But the governor is Jeb!  He’s better than a king.  Letters poured into his office, each attempting to suck his dick a little bit better than the previous one.  Oh, it must have been good to be Jeb in those heady days.  Unfortunately, those pesky courts, you know, the ones who had earlier ruled in favor of Terri’s right to die with dignity?  Yeah, those ones.  Well, they were about to meddle around and ruin poor Jeb’s good day.

Back in Florida, though, the courts were focused not so much on what was “morally obligatory” but more on what was legally mandatory.

A circuit judge ruled Bush’s “Terri’s Law” unconstitutional.

Well, that’s only a circuit court.  Wait til it gets to the Florida Supreme Court.  They’ll see it Jeb’s way, I just know it.

The seven state supreme court judges took less than a month to dismiss unanimously “Terri’s Law.”

Oh.  Well, that was embarrassing.  Unanimous?  Damn.  The only thing worse would be if the Chief Justice released a written smackdown that Foster could mark up with bolding and italics on his blog, in this article.

“If the Legislature with the assent of the Governor can do what was attempted here,” chief justice Barbara Pariente wrote in her ruling, “the judicial branch would be subordinated to the final directive of the other branches. Also subordinated would be the rights of individuals, including the well-established privacy right to self-determination. No court judgment could ever be considered truly final and no constitutional right truly secure, because the precedent of this case would hold to the contrary. Vested rights could be stripped away based on popular clamor. The essential core of what the Founding Fathers sought to change from their experience with English rule would be lost …

But that was like, forever ago.  Surely Jeb has learned from his attempt to destroy the system of checks and balances to score cheap pro-life points.  No matter how many letters from supporters he received over the matter, he had to hear the overwhelming outcry in opposition to his privacy and self-determination shredding power grab.  Right?

No, not really.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday he had no regrets about fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive, addressing the mid-2000s controversy on his second trip to New Hampshire this year.

“I don’t think I would have changed anything,” he told New Hampshire business leaders at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs breakfast in response to a question about whether he would have handled things differently with the benefit of hindsight.

Speaking of the past, it turns out that Jeb longs for the good old days, back when adulterous women were forced to wear large letter “A’s.”

Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, misbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character.

In a chapter called “The Restoration of Shame,” the likely 2016 presidential candidate made the case that restoring the art of public humiliation could help prevent pregnancies “out of wedlock.”

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

Bush points to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which the main character is forced to wear a large red “A” for “adulterer” on her clothes to punish her for having an extramarital affair that produced a child, as an early model for his worldview. “Infamous shotgun weddings and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter are reminders that public condemnation of irresponsible sexual behavior has strong historical roots,” Bush wrote.

Who’s a cute little misogynist?  Come on, Jeb, make that “grrr” noise.  It will go great with this quote from Alternet:

After all, we’re talking about a man who once put the life of a disabled woman who’d been raped at risk by intervening legally to force her to carry her child to term — a move a Florida court later found illegal.

We’re talking about a man who, as governor, signed a controversial abortion ban into law — and praised a similar measure passed by the House on Wednesday as “humane and compassionate.”

We’re talking about a man who likes to defend his anti-choice record by saying “the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected” — even though he’s shown he’s not above playing politics with a child’s body, once going so far as governor as appealing the decision of a court that ruled a 13-year-old girl could have an abortion when her pregnancy posed an extreme risk to her health.

We’re talking about someone who likes to talk a big game about how taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions — even though he slipped millions in taxpayer dollars to Florida “crisis pregnancy centers” notorious for lying to and misleading women about their reproductive health choices. (This, in a state where 73 percent of counties have no abortion providers and crisis centers may be the only places women have to turn for the medical care they desperately need.)

And let’s not forget that Jeb once held $1 million in family planning grants hostage until the programs receiving the money agreed not to discuss birth control at all.

And since I want to save most of the ammo for my 6k or so word introduction of Jeb that is still probably a couple months away, I will leave you with this recent little gaffe.  Wasn’t Jeb supposedly the establishment candidate who wouldn’t make stupid gaffes?  From Correct the Record, though you can find it just about anywhere:

 Jeb Bush: “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

I know you were trying to be nice, Ms. Maddow, but he is a terrible person.

Now I’m going to do a knife hit to get the taste of yet another bush out of my mouth.  Have a good weekend, I’ll try to get a few posts up during the weekend.

For those interested, here is the order for the next few parts of Getting to Know the Trip

  1. Bobby Jindal
  2. Lindsey Graham
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Jim Gilmore
  5. George Pataki

I will try to have Gov. Jindal up on Monday, although his is going to be so much fun that it may take til Wednesday.  I mean, this is a Governor who has pissed off just about every single voter in his state in his hopeless attempt to win the presidential nomination.  A legitimate answer to the question “What is wrong with the United State’s method of electing a President?” would be simply pointing at Jindal.  He is a guy who got himself elected Governor of a state solely as a stepping stone to higher office, and every single decision he makes as Governor is informed by his higher goal.  Yes, it will be fun.

After I finish out the under 2% gang I’ll make a schedule for the other candidates.  I’m thinking of going by national poll numbers, which is meaningless, but hell, Fox News thinks they mean something, so why not?  We’ll see.

If you have a few minutes, I urge you to read the whole piece on Jeb and the Terri Schiavo over at Politico, titled “Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’.”  It’s worth checking out, if only to remind you of the situation.

 

 

 

 

Wait. What’s That I Hear? No, It Can’t Be… It’s the GOP War on Women, 2015 Edition!!!!

Dear GOP.  Please hire Erick Erickson as your head of campaign strategy for 2016.  Please?

With that out of the way, let’s get to business.

As the videos continue to flow from the Center for Medical Progress (ahem, cough, great name), edited in a way that makes the editing of the film Expelled look totally honest and above board by comparison, anti-abortion extremists continue to use them as evidence in their witch hunt against Planned Parenthood.  Surprised?  Of course not, since this is a well-coordinated, multi-front attack on women’s access to reproductive health care.

“Well known” political hack and editor of the site where logic goes to die, Erick “Triple K” Erickson has laid out a challenge to the GOP on Red State, declaring the issue of funding for Planned Parenthood the hill the Republicans should win or die on. (Super big hat tip to Mock, Paper, Scissors for this one.  “Hi guys!”)

Republicans in the Congress are beginning to use the word “try.” They will try to defund Planned Parenthood. But the President has a veto and they do not have the votes to override the veto.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 47% has moved from try to “can’t.” He says Republicans cannot defund Planned Parenthood because of the President’s veto.

This is really, really simple.

If Republicans do not defund Planned Parenthood, they will see a great portion of their base vanish overnight. That is not an exaggeration.

Ummm.  Yeah, actually that is an exaggeration.  In fact, it is a textbook example of an exaggeration.  When the 2016 version of the dictionary gets released, it would not shock me to see Mr. Erickson’s statement there beside the word “exaggeration” as the given example.  Republicans are not going to defund Planned Parenthood, and a great portion of the lunatic fringe “base” is going to do what they do best: “rabble, rabble, rabble,” then move on.  Why?  Because Erick’s claim,

Planned Parenthood, we now know, is killing living children who have already been born, cutting them up, and harvesting their organs.

is bullshit ripped from a context-free, heavily edited hit video that even the far right anti-abortion activists, at least those with working brains, know is, well, bullshit.  The terrifying reality, however, is that this claim will be believed, not by anti-abortion organizers and politicians who are just cynically reaping the propaganda benefit of the videos, but rather by some of those “on the front line” protesters who really believe they are fighting a war, who are already of questionable mental stability with, unfortunately, unquestioned access to firearms.  Yeah, I hate to say this, but the above claim about Planned Parenthood will more than likely cost someone their life.  (But remember, right wing terrorism isn’t a problem)

But fear not, ye Republicans who realize that defunding Planned Parenthood is an outright impossibility under the current administration, good ole E-Squared (once again, hi Mock, Paper, Scissors!) has the tactic you need to succeed! (Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please listen to him!)

If Abraham Lincoln’s Party cannot go to war against that where war is not bullets, just a government shut down until the President relents, then Abraham Lincoln’s Party needs to be put on the ash heap of history. It really is that simple.

Okay, ignore the fact that if Lincoln was alive today the current Republican party would have him labeled a communist liberal social justice warrior and Erick Erickson would be writing hit pieces about him at Red State as we speak.  Did you catch it?  Here, let me help:

just a government shut down until the President relents

You got it now, didn’t ya?

a government shut down

Here, let me give it the bolding it deserves.

a government shut down

Maybe some italics even?

a government shut down

I know it’s too much information, but I think I need to change my shorts.

OMG, can you please shut down the government over this?  Pretty please?!?  How about right before the 2016 election?  Well, not “right before,” we need it to be long enough before that our senior citizens miss a Social Security check or two.

Republicans, I totally agree with Erick here.  Shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood.  Wait, hold on…..  I mean:

OMG, Republicans, whatever you do, please DO NOT shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood!  It would be such a political home run for your party, it would crush us progressives and hand the election to the GOP nominee on a silver platter.  Please, oh please, DO NOT shut down the government over this.

Did I sound believable?  Too eager?  Not seemingly frightened enough?  I’ll work on it.

Erick!  Do not let this ball drop!  The country depends on you sir.

Hmm. A “Wait, What?!?,” a Jumped Shark, or Just Plain Disgusting?

Don’t get me wrong, fighting the war to end slavery was a moral good, its just that sometimes I wish these people were from a different country so we weren’t associated with them.

From Alabama, surprise surprise, courtesy of ThinkProgress:

Alabama officials are currently seeking to prevent a pregnant prison inmate from obtaining a legal abortion by stripping her of her parental rights, in a case where a lawyer has been appointed to represent the interests of her fetus.

Because inmates don’t have rights, and women shouldn’t, of course.  Come along and get depressed with me.

An unnamed woman, who is referred to in court documents only as Jane Doe, is asking for permission to travel to Huntsville to end her pregnancy. She says she was unable to get an abortion before she was taken into custody and is now feeling desperate. “I am very distraught, and do not want to be forced to carry this pregnancy to term,” she wrote.

Jane Doe — who has to get permission from the court to be transported to the nearest clinic because prison officials consider abortion to be a non-emergency procedure — is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” for the state of Alabama to deny her constitutional right to abortion.

Yet another reason why, as poor as I am, I still give money to the ACLU.  Forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term because she is incarcerated is, if not cruel and unusual punishment, at the least all kinds of fucked up.  So, what tactics will Alabama use to force this women to incubate a baby for the state?

Now, as Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly prepares to argue against this request, he is asking the court to strip Doe of her parental rights so that she will no longer have the right to end her pregnancy. In a hearing to determine the outcome of the case, which is expected to be decided by Friday, the state court appointed an attorney — known as a “guardian ad litem” — to serve on behalf of Doe’s fetus.

Yep, they are attempting to take away her parental rights before the fetus is even viable outside the womb.  And if you can manage to look past what this says Alabama thinks about women and their “rights,” it doesn’t get any better.  This clump of cells will be better represented than Jane Doe would no doubt be, if not for the probable pro bono work of the ACLU, and definitely represented more effectively than every single “innocent until proven guilty” defendant who has to rely on a public defender.  Unless, to be fair, this particular guardian ad litem happens to also be representing 300 other cell clumps each week.  That would be quite doubtful in most states, but this is Alabama.

“It appears to me that what the state is attempting to do is turn Jane Doe into a vessel, and control every aspect of her life, forcing her to give birth to a baby, which she has decided she does not want to do,” Randall Marshall, one of Doe’s attorneys, told the Huffington Post. “The case has certainly moved to this new dimension, but welcome to Alabama.”

Hey, I finally get to use a slippery slope argument!  If this tactic works, what exactly is stopping Alabama from forcibly impregnating all fertile female inmates?  I mean, if it is in the interest of the state for fetuses to be carried to term in prison, and if women are nothing but incubators, which is what a decision for the state in this case would literally mean, then isn’t that the obvious next step?  What’s that?  This case is different because she needs to face the consequences of being sexually active?  Fine then, only forcibly impregnate the sexually active female inmates.  After all, Alabama apparently has a pressing need for unwanted prison babies.

Hell, that is less of a stretch than marriage equality leading to legalized pedophilia.

Hey, as long as you’ll let all your citizens immigrate freely to another state if they so desire, I’ll help you file the succession paper work.  Think about it!  No more Obama, no more Obamacare, no more pesky separation of church and state, and as a third world nation, think of all the sweet aid you’ll get from European nations and the UN!  You can even fly that damn flag whenever you want.  Do it now and we’ll let you take Mississippi and Georgia as well.

 

How Far Will You Go to Improve Your National Poll Numbers? The “Wait, What?!? for July 22nd.

So Rick Santorum is apparently sitting down for an interview for The Rachel Maddow Show.

Any normal election cycle, this would be practically unthinkable.  While The Rachel Maddow Show has a habit of reaching out  to members of the GOP and has been quite fair to those who appear on the program (it definitely isn’t equivalent to a progressive appearing on The O’Reilly Factor just to be yelled over and cut off), she is not going to just serve up softball questions to Santorum.  Other than agreeing that Fox News is wielding to much power over the GOP field of Presidential candidates with their 10 person debate limit, Rick and Rachel have very little in common politically to put it as mildly as possible.  Rarely will I make this statement, but tonight’s interview is truly must-see-TV.  Or at least a must-hear podcast.

So why is Mr. Google Problem himself not only going on a progressive show, but on a progressive show hosted by an openly gay anchor?*  One has to assume that Fox News, and its field-narrowing 10 man (and with Carly Fiorina’s current numbers it will be only men) limit, based on national polls, for the all important first candidate debate has something to do with it.  While candidates left out of the Fox News debate will no doubt spin it as a non-fatal setback, the truth is those not on the stage are not going to be seen as serious candidates afterwards.    Barring the miraculous, being shut out of the debate will effectively end the campaigns of candidates already desperately trying to be noticed in the current sea, 16 announced as of today, of contenders.  The process of weeding out the field has been the job, in previous cycles, of the states with early caucuses and primaries.  While this process has its own issues (as a voter in Pennsylvania my primary vote is nothing but a rubber stamp or a hollow protest, the national candidate almost certainly already having been chosen by our election day), many still find it preferable to having the field whittled down on the whims of a television network.  Adding to the sense of outrage many feel is the fact that with this many candidates at this stage of the election cycle,  national polls are in large part just a name recognition competition with practically the entire field within the margin of error of each other.  In a poll with a margin of error of +/- 5%, what is the statistical significance of a separation of .2 or .4 of a percent?  Is that really what we want deciding who is allowed to run for President?

So with the date of the first debate rapidly approaching (for real, is there any other country that’s election cycle is over a year?) and practically meaningless national polling numbers suddenly all-important, expect to see all of the GOP presidential candidates, at least those without a safe spot on the debate stage, doing anything to make news, get attention, draw eyes, and hopefully move those polls the fraction of a percent the means everything.  Rachel may ask Rick some uncomfortable questions tonight, and she may draw out answers that further infuriate moderates and progressive alike, but those groups don’t chose the GOP candidate.  When it comes to the actual primaries, Santorum knows that his extreme positions and statements hit a chord with the fringe conservatives who vote en masse in GOP primaries.  After all, it was just last cycle that he finished second to Romney, and Trump’s poll numbers seem to indicate that, if anything, the “base” has become more conservative.  As long as he’s on that stage, he knows he has a chance.  Its just cracking the top ten, getting his name out there, moving those numbers.  This interview is much more likely to nudge the polls than mentioning Brad Pitt in e-mail spam.  Well played, Rick.

In honor of tonight’s impending interview ( I seriously can not wait. I just don’t even know what to expect.  It will probably be a really civil and professional interview, but damn, imagine how his base would love it if he dropped some homosexuality-and-contraception-causes-dog-fucking bigotry in her lap? Talk about guaranteed top ten status…), here are a couple of recent Rick “What’s that on the sheets?” Santorum nuggets of “Wait, What?!?”

In response to the hidden camera video released by a shady anti-abortion group, a video so deceptively edited that it makes the movie Expelled look like a honest bit of film-making:

“When we as a society allow for the dehumanization of any of our community, then we lead to this type of genocide and it leads to even more, as you see, more horrible — and an insensitivity to the dignity of lives and respect for that life,” Santorum said. “I think Planned Parenthood is a cancer in this country, something that the federal government should not have anything to participate with.”

Rick, come on now, don’t hold back.  Tell us what you really think about Planned Parenthood.  And dammit anti-abortion activists, you can make whatever moral, ethical case you want against abortion, but it is not genocide and it makes you look batshit when you make the claim.

I will close the post with a consequence of marriage equality that no one even considered.  I hope us non-bigots are happy now, with the chaos we’ve inflicted on schools that exist only in imaginations fueled by homophobia.  Damn us.

“I know in the schools in Massachusetts, in the grade school, they teach — there are books in place that say ‘Suzy has two moms,’ it’s okay to put a book that says ‘Suzy has two moms’ but you can’t put a book in there saying that moms and dads and marriage is important and tell people how important it is to be married before you have children, then you’re moralizing,” Santorum said. “It’s okay to say, ‘Suzy has two moms’ or ‘Johnny has two dads,” but you can’t say that marriage is an important part of having a stable and healthy economy.”

* I admit, I had a bit of trouble typing that because honestly, a host’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter one way or the other, let alone even be anyone’s business, yet it seems relevant in this case due to Santorum’s, if not outright homophobia, public positions in opposition to the GLBTQ community.

Good News, Women! Apparently Forcing You to Have a Wand Shoved in Your Vagina While Lecturing You with a Medically Inaccurate, Condescending Script is Illegal!

In a decision that is sure to mystify Scott Walker, the Supreme Court decided not to review North Carolina’s Treat Women As If They Are Children Law (I fucking refuse to call it by its actual title, “A Women’s Right to Know Act,” because seriously?) on Monday,, rendering the condescending law unconstitutional in a rare bit of good news in the fight for women’s bodily autonomy.  The North Carolina law was a “forced ultrasound” law that required women seeking to terminate their pregnancy to undergo an ultrasound*, regardless of medical necessity, and, while lying on the exam table half naked, have the doctor first describe the image to her, and then read her a prepared statement designed to convince her not to have an abortion.  The little lady could close her eyes and plug up her ears if she so desired, but the doctor would have to complete his script or risk losing his license to practice.

It was a particularly draconian bit of compelled speech forced on patients in a particularly vulnerable position (half naked on an exam table, hours before a medical procedure), which is why it was blocked last year by a panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit. That court’s ruling gives some useful context for the severity of the law as it compares to other informed consent laws, so it’s worth including here:

Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” … so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina… Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.”

Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening… The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.

Forced ultrasound laws are just another arrow in the anti-choicer’s quiver of laws designed to sound perfectly reasonable and in the best interest of the women in question while attempting to hide there true purpose, which of course is the piecemeal elimination of abortion services.  Based on public opinion and this ruling, it seems as if requiring an invasive medical procedure no matter the opinion of the women’s doctor is a bit of an overreach with this tactic, although what the ruling means for the 10 other states with forced ultrasound laws is a bit of an unknown until they each work their ways through the courts.  Sadly it seems like a rare overreach, with many similar “the state knows what’s best for those flighty women folk” laws filling up state law books.  Hospital admitting privileges, ambulatory surgical center requirements, and waiting periods all seem like good ideas on the surface and seem as if the health and safety of women are the priorities of the laws rather than making it more and more difficult for lower income women to access abortion services, until you scratch a bit and see a little deeper.  Admitting privileges?  Abortion very rarely has complications, and in the rare case of one the providers lack of admitting privileges is not going to lead to the woman dying in the street, refused care at the hospital.  Of course, with the large number of hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church and the simple fact that many secular hospitals don’t want to deal with the protesters and controversy that granting admitting privileges to a provider would invariably bring turns this seemingly well-intentioned regulation into a nifty way to eliminate abortion access.  Waiting periods are condescending, but what harm can be caused by insisting on a day or two waiting period to think about such an important choice?** It seems like a minor inconvenience, and I am sure it is for the upper class women seeking abortion services.  For the poorer woman who has to take multiple days off work, possibly arrange childcare on multiple days, and somehow procure transportation, quite a distance away in many cases, not once but now twice, the minor condescending inconvenience becomes a sometimes insurmountable hurdle.  The ambulatory surgical center law is quite similar.  After all, the lawmakers only want the women to receive their abortion in modern medical centers that are prepared to handle any possible emergency.  What do us pro-choice people want anyway?  A dirty table in a strip mall with a dumpster out back filled with fetuses?  Of course, requiring a surgical center for a procedure that for many women can be accurately described as “taking a pill at home” seems a bit….., over concerned for the woman’s health?  Which of course, is the point.  The anti-choice right doesn’t give two shits about the health of the woman as long as she is forced to carry her pregnancy to term.  Luckily, once you examine laws such as these their true purpose becomes clear as crystal, and the courts will definitely strike them down, right?

Right?

Not if you judge from the actions of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld nearly all of the provisions of HB 2, Texas’ extreme antiabortion law that requires abortion clinics to meet the hospital-like standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and mandates that abortion providers receive admitting privileges from nearby hospitals. The decision is expected to shutter all but a handful of abortion clinics across the state.

Sorry poor women.  You just aren’t as equal as your rich sisters.

Apologies for crushing the good news under the bad.  *shrug*  That’s just the state of reproductive health at the moment.

 

*North Carolina’s now dead law did allow women to decide what type of ultrasound they would receive, so at least it wasn’t a forced rape in addition to the medical procedure and lecture.

**  Funny how the same exact people who think women need a mandated waiting period to make up their flighty little minds about abortion, get outraged if you suggest that maybe people should have to wait a day or two to buy a handgun.

Remember, There is No “War on Women”

I give you Missouri state rep Rick Brattin (Guess what party)  proposing a bill with the following language:

“No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion.”

Cause women?  Fuck ’em.  Amirite?

There is an exception for rape, which I guess is nice.  I mean, sure, the law lets an ex-boyfriend force a woman to carry a child to term out of spite if he so desires, but at least it doesn’t give rapists the same power.  Let’s see what Rep. Brattin has to say about the exception, keeping in mind that no Republican would ever use the term “legitimate rape” again after Todd Akin.

“Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it,” Brattin tells Mother Jones. “So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”

Seriously?  How fucking stupid does a politician have to be to place the word “rape” following the word “legitimate” in any sentence that is not “Don’t worry team, I’m not stupid enough to say ‘legitimate rape.'”

I love it when people who have no chance of ever dealing with an unwanted pregnancy feel qualified to place restrictions on a woman’s right to control her own body.  It is even better when the restriction in question is obtaining the consent of another individual who has no chance of ever becoming pregnant.

I’m not saying that having a uterus should be a requirement for an individual to regulate or restrict abortion, but….

Okay, maybe I am saying that.

I’m definitely saying that I have no right to say what a woman should do with her own reproductive system, no matter what my personal thoughts on abortion happen to be.