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.

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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.

 

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.

Have you ever seen a dancing, singing, cartoon labia? Now you have. You are welcome.

Don’t get any ideas, I am still on hiatus.  But I was posting this video to Facebook and my comment got a bit long, so I moved it over here.  First, the video:  (Watch it, it is so worth it.)  From a Swedish children’s program, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds. You don’t need to understand the language to get the message.

 

 

Of course, this could never air in the United States, since by the age of three American children know that the bits under their underwear are naughty, sinful, nasty things that definitely do not sing and dance to catchy tunes, unless that is Satan’s current plan to get kids to look at or touch said bits. By six years of age, US kids should understand that those bits are only to be used by married people, and even then only for procreation, in one position, with neither participant receiving any joy or pleasure from the nasty, dirty, sinful, evil, horrific, monstrous, bad, naughty act.

Of course, they will soon become teenagers and ignore those teachings, deciding instead to imitate what bunny rabbits do when they think no one is watching their cute little floppy ears. But never fear, thanks to abstinence only education, American teens won’t know what they are doing or how to use contraceptives, so not only will it be a sub par experience, but there is a good chance they will be punished for their sin with a baby. (Silly me. I meant to say that it would be a sub par experience for the girl, and she would be punished with a baby. Because the boy doesn’t need to know what he is doing to enjoy the act, and its not like he can get pregnant.) And isn’t that preferable to the Swedish method where kids are given knowledge?

In case you were wondering for some reason, let’s compare the two nations approaches to sex ed, shall we?

Round 1:  % of women who reported giving birth before the age of 20.

You know the United States is going to kick some Swedish ass on this one.  We have abstinence only education and they have…..hell, they probably have sex parties instead of gym class.  Anyway, survey says.…..

  • United States: 22%
  • Sweden: 4%

Wait…..that can’t be right.  I know, Swedish taxes are so high that sperm can’t afford to fertilize the eggs.  That has to be it.  I’m sure we’ll get the next question.

Round 2:  % of women who reported no contraceptive use at  recent intercourse.

Dude, we got this on lock down.  We have abstinence only education in the states, our teens don’t know what contraceptives are, and if they do we’ve taught them that they don’t work, so why bother using them, am I right?  Survey says……

  • United States: 20%
  • Sweden: 7%

Booo-ya!  I told you we would destroy those socialist skiers.  Handed them their asses by 13 percentage poi..What’s that?  We want people to use contraceptives?  So the lower number is better?  Are you sure about that?  That doesn’t sound…You are sure.  Positive?  Positive.  Okay……

Alright, it seems that Sweden wiped the floor with us again.  But so what?  That’s Sweden.  They kick everyone’s ass at everything, as long as tanks aren’t involved.  We probably destroy other nations.  Like the “pregnant before 20” question.  Sweden is probably an outlier.  Let’s look at the numbers of a few other places:

  • Great Britain: 15%
  • Canada: 11%
  • France: 6%

Oh, what the flying fuck.  Ya know what?  Teenage pregnancy is a good thing, there, we fucking win. 

What about the other question?  I bet the Brits refuse to use condoms, just like us Merikkkans.

  • France: 12%
  • Great Britain: 4%

Ummm.

Look!  Obama’s trying to take your guns!

 

Those who miss my writing and want to see what I am up to while this blog is on hiatus are welcome to come to my Tumblr, With a Trebuchet, to read me writing about A Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO show, Game of Thrones.  If you do stop by, please leave the politics and social issues here.  Thanks, and I will be back once I unburn myself out.  I won’t give a time frame other than this: I will definitely be back to cover the presidential election campaigns.  So even if this turns into a long break, I will be back before the first primary vote is cast.

The Fall of Governor Ultrasound

Strange.  It seems that throwing your wife under the bus is not the key to acquittal.  I’d say that the ex-Governor should ask his lawyers for his money back, but who am I kidding?  McDonnell’s lawyer was probably another “gift.”

It seems like it was only yesterday that Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell was dominating the news cycle, insisting that Republican lawmakers such as himself knew better than medical doctors.  He was the elected Governor of the State of Virginia, a position that gave him the knowledge and the expertise to realize that what women truly needed before having an abortion was an ultrasound wand slammed inside of them as part of a medically unneeded procedure.  When the medical professionals opposed him, arguing that the ultrasound was unnecessary and invasive, he argued that forcing women to undergo a procedure that they did not want was in their best interest.  “What gives these smug medical doctors the right to disagree with me?,” I am sure he thought to himself during the controversy. “Sure, they went to medical school, and did all of that outrageous work it takes to become a doctor,” he almost certainly continued, talking to himself out loud as he walked through his house, “but I am the one who got elected Governor, and more important than that, I went to Regent!”

In spite of his M.A./J.D. from Christian Broadcasting Network University (which changed its name to Regent University for some unknown reason), doctors still claimed the invasive ultrasounds were medically unnecessary. Thanks to pundits such as Rachel Maddow nicknaming him “Governor Ultrasound” and refusing to shut up like good little media lapdogs and let the elected men run this country like God intended,  this was starting to threaten his national political aspirations.  Insisting that sluts have wands shoved inside them for no relevant reason may play in parts of Virginia and other southern states, but so would stoning white women who take part in interracial relationships, removing the right to vote from non-whites and those not in possession of a penis, and “fixing” income inequality through a complicated system of forced servitude.  On a national platform, legislating the forced entry of any object into vaginas is not a political winner.  So Governor Bob backed off a bit.  The sluts would still have to pay for a medically unnecessary ultrasound, but they would be spared the insertion of the wand into their body.  Whether or not each procedure was to be witnessed by a clinic protester, with sign, pulled into the office off the street to shout hellfire at the patient by Government order is unknown.  Yet even with this concession to the evil Satan sexting women, they would not let poor Bob alone: (When he went on national talk shows to talk about his policies.)

The host asked the governor a pretty straightforward question: “You backed an abortion bill initially that included a very invasive procedure as part of an ultrasound that the state would have required and then you backed off of that. Were you wrong to support that initially or did you simply back off because the political heat got turned up the way it did?”

What a vile smear-disguised-as-a-question  by noted left wing attack hound David Gregory!*  The way the press went after Governor McDonnell, you would think that he publicly endorsed a proposal to require women, against the wishes of physicians, to undergo an invasive, medically-unnecessary procedure, because some right-wing culture warriors wanted to shame patients, and when that became politically toxic, ended up signing an only-slightly-less outrageous measure that still requires Virginians to undergo state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, to satisfy the demands of far-right activists.  What slander.  Let’s look at the facts:

He publicly endorsed a proposal to require women, against the wishes of physicians, to undergo an invasive, medically-unnecessary procedure, because some right-wing culture warriors want to shame patients. McDonnell ended up signing an only-slightly-less outrageous measure that still requires Virginians to undergo state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, to satisfy the demands of far-right activists.

See?!?  Oh, the things poor Governor Ultrasound had to deal with.  And after all his maneuvering to be the obvious choice for Vice President, Mitt went ahead and picked equally-insane-but-much-more-attractive Paul Ryan to add “failed Vice Presidential candidate” to his CV.  While stewing over not being chosen, Governor Ultrasound almost certainly sat at his desk, stroking a black cat with white ears.  I totally believe that he then said, “You will regret this, Romney.”   “Sure, one or two homosexuals may ignore your policies and vote for you because of Paul’s sculpted abs, his bulging biceps, his stylish hair, and his hypnotic eyes,” he would have said if I was writing a script for a gay porn film with this plot, as he tried to ignore his engorged member.  “But I am a culture warrior, Mitt.  I was going to make doctors give it to those sluts, no matter what their medical opinion was,” he more than likely shouted to the empty office, before turning on the intercom and asking the secretary to send in Steven, the new intern with the deep blue eyes and lips that made you wonder.  “Tell him to lock the door behind him, Stella, and you can go home for the rest of the day as well,” he finished telling the secretary, in this fantasy version of the Governor’s Mansion as he undid his belt.  “I was a culture warrior,” he could have sighed.

It seemed like only yesterday.  I am sure the former Governor of Virginia longs for those yesterdays, no matter how disappointing it was to be passed over for an office taken so seriously that Sarah Palin was the previous candidate for his party, no matter how annoying it was to be called “Governor Ultrasound” by openly sinning homosexuals, no matter how disgusting it was to have to spend time talking about that icky pit of sin that women have between their legs, for now Governor Ultrasound is facing years spent with convicts who feel he should have to submit to forced internal ultrasounds**, if he is unfortunate enough to drop the soap.

Yes, the mighty Governor is guilty.

Jurors in the public corruption trial of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have found the couple guilty of several corruption counts. The McDonnells faced a 14-count indictment that alleged that they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to a Richmond area businessman and that, in exchange, the businessman lavished them with gifts and money.

….

the verdict — Robert McDonnell guilty of 11 charges; Maureen McDonnell guilty of nine, we will have to wait until the couple’s sentencing Jan. 6 to know what their fate will be. The couple could face decades in federal prison, though their actual sentence could fall well short of that.

The jury of seven men and five women spent nearly three days deliberating before announcing a verdict that left members of the McDonnell family in tears. The verdict, writes The Post’s Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman, sends a message that jurors, ” . . . believed the couple sold the office once occupied by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson to a free spending Richmond businessman for golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in sweetheart loans.”

Note: the jury did acquit the couple of several charges pending against them — both were acquitted of lying on loan documents — but the verdict means, jurors thought the McDonnell’s lent the prestige of the governor’s office to former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in a nefarious exchange for his largesse.

Poor Gov. Ultrasound.  He just wanted to be Vice President and to force doctors to shove things into dirty, slutty vaginas.  After all, it was the only way to make those stupid sinning seductresses realize that a pregnancy resulted in a baby being born, and abortion is the murder of babies, not a cosmetic procedure that removes body fat, firms up the breasts, tones the buttocks and thighs, and is a feel good milestone in a woman’s life, one that all women should experience as much as possible, like Planned Parenthood teaches.

I bet his wife snuck in to the jury room and cast a feminist spell on the jury, forcing them to convict the innocent McDonnell.  Before you even say it, she had to let herself get convicted as well, otherwise the conspiracy would have been exposed.  Don’t worry, Obama will pardon her.  Just you wait and see.  Planned Parenthood got to her, and told her that they wouldn’t let her have anymore abortions if she didn’t get him in trouble with the law.  Planned Parenthood is like that; the first abortion is free, and after that they got you hooked.  Next thing you know they have you accusing some poor man of rape to get your next abortion fix.

Our doomed nation.

 

*It physically hurt to write that sentence, even as satire.

**I apologize for that.  With rape culture as bad as it is, I probably shouldn’t be making a rape joke, even a prison rape joke.  But this is Gov. Ultrasound, who was trying to make women who wanted an abortion submit to having another person insert an object into their vagina for no medical reason, no matter what the woman herself or her doctor thought, which is veering quite near to state-sponsored rape, so I couldn’t resist one prison rape jab.  And he was enough of a bastard to try to get off by blaming his wife and painting her as a crazy, vindictive bitch, so fuck that guy.

The SCOTUS Has Become Theater of the Absurd

It is the decision I expected.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and deny its employees comprehensive health insurance because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Analysis of the case has so far called this a limited ruling because it only applies to closely held corporations and “only” impacts contraceptive coverage. But this framing completely ignores the fact that more than 90 percent of corporations in the United States are closely held, and that the court just effectively ruled that it’s fine for employers to discriminate against half of the labor force. There’s nothing limited about it. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her powerful dissent, far from being narrow in its ruling, the high court just “ventured into a minefield.”

Of course, that doesn’t make it any less infuriating.

To sum it up, five male justices ruled that thousands of female employees should rightfully be subjected to the whims of their employers. That women can be denied a benefit that they already pay for and is guaranteed by federal law. That contraception is not essential healthcare. That corporations can pray. That the corporate veil can be manipulated to suit the needs of the corporation. That bosses can cynically choose à la carte what laws they want to comply with and which laws they do not. Each specific finding opens a door to a new form of discrimination and unprecedented corporate power. If you think this ruling won’t affect you, you haven’t been paying attention. If you think these corporations are going to stop at birth control, you’re kidding yourself.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may she live 1000 years.

Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. … The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.

….

Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.

….

In the Court’s view, RFRA (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ) demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith—in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ. Persuaded that Congress enacted RFRA to serve a far less radical purpose, and mindful of the havoc the Court’s judgment can introduce, I dissent.

The SCOTUS was not quite finished for the day.  Hail the conservative 5!

Although Harris v. Quinn stood in the shadows of the Hobby Lobby case this session, both decisions dealt with women’s rights, since the home healthcare workers affected by it are disproportionately low-paid women. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case Monday made life harder for unions representing some of the lowest-paid workers in one of the fastest-unionizing sectors, but left most of public sector collective bargaining law intact.

The oh-so-cleverly named National Right to Work Committee widened this case to challenge “Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which held that public employees who don’t want to join a union must still pay representation fees, as long as the fees don’t pay for political activity.”

The Court stopped short of overturning Abood, but laid the groundwork for eventually reexamining the issue.  Par for the course, for the Roberts Court.

Some court observers see the conservative majority moving toward Abood, but slowly. “The court’s opinion in Harris is very much in the mold of opinions by the conservative Roberts Court majority: Issue a relatively narrow ruling on the conservative side, but lay the groundwork for a broader conservative ruling in the future,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, told Mother Jones. ”In Harris, the court sets itself down the path of overruling Abood but does not take that step yet.”

All quoted, linked articles are from Salon.

If Plan B is Unavailable, What is Plan C?

In discussions with anti-choice activists, one thing that never fails to shock and confuse me is their views of sexual education and contraception.  While abortion is the main target of their attacks, in recent years attacks on contraception has become more acceptable as well, perhaps fueled by the coverage mandates of the Affordable Care Act.  More than anything else, attacks on contraception, and education as well, expose the lie told by those on the anti-choice side: that they are fighting against abortion.

While some groups on the right try to paint Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights supporters as gleeful fetus eradicators, hell bent on insuring multiple abortions for every woman, the reality of the situation is that no one is a fan of abortion.  Sexual health workers and women’s rights activists both want a world where abortion is safe, legal, and exceedingly rare, and they try to bring this world about by concentrating on proven methods to reduce abortion.  To reduce abortion, you must reduce unwanted pregnancy.  To reduce unwanted pregnancy, you work to insure everyone has adequate sexual education as well as access to contraception.

For many on the anti-choice side, this is not an acceptable option, because for them it isn’t about abortion at all.  Abortion is nothing more than a divisive face they can put on the larger issue, which is the sexual immorality of women.  Sure, they want to stop abortion.  But they also want to stop women from having the ability to remove pregnancy from the list of consequences of premarital sexual relations.  If it was truly just about abortion, they would be right there with us, insisting on education and access to contraception.

In a perfect world, people would wait until adulthood to become sexually active.  They would use contraception when they did decide to become sexually active, and they would use it correctly.  As I am sure everyone realizes, this is not that world.  Teens, awash in a tsunami of hormones, have always had sex.  Access to contraception is not universal.  Teens who had the misfortune to receive an “abstinence only” education program, a policy supported by many on the so-called “pro-life” side, may believe that certain forms of contraception do not even work.

The law allows teenagers access to Plan B contraception in the event of unprotected sexual contact, a law fought against by many on the anti-abortion side.  But the law does not mandate the drug be stocked in pharmacies.  And in spite of the law, pharmacists, buoyed by anti-choice activists pressing religious belief exemptions, may feel it is their right to impose their morality on those they deem sinners.

Salon has a interesting piece on access to Plan B.  Give it a read.