4.06.2008

state of the empire: reproductive freedom

  • Some Florida teens believe drinking Mountain Dew or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy and that swallowing a capful of bleach will prevent HIV/AIDS. Thank you, abstinence-only sex education! [sic]

  • When those pot-smoking, bleach-swilling Floridians get pregnant, they had better be prepared to become mommies and daddies. Their state legislature is trying to pass some of the most stringent anti-abortion laws in the US.

    New laws would require any woman seeking an abortion to pay for, have, and view the results of, an ultrasound test.

    The Florida state House of Representatives also passed a fetal homicide bill that would create a separate murder charge if a pregnancy is terminated by violence against a pregnant woman. The law would define a fetus from conception on as an "unborn child".

    This hasn't passed the Florida state Senate yet, and may not. If it becomes law, reproductive-rights groups will go to court, as they always do, and the law would likely be found unconstitutional.

    My point is not these laws in themselves, disgusting though they are. It's the laws in conjunction with abstinence-only sex "education".

  • The war against women is fought on many fronts. "Popline" is the world's largest database on reproductive health. It is managed by Johns Hopkins University, with money from US AID, the heavily politicized, anti-abortion, anti-woman Agency for International Development. Last week, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins said the University had programmed its computers to ignore the word "abortion" in searches.
    Librarians at the Medical Center of the University of California, San Francisco, expressed concern about the restrictions this week after they had difficulty retrieving articles from Popline.

    In an e-mail response on Tuesday, Johns Hopkins told the librarians that "abortion" was no longer a valid search term.

    "We recently made all abortion terms stop words," Debra L. Dickson, a Popline manager, wrote. "As a federally funded project, we decided this was best for now."

  • As outrageous and Orwellian as that seems, the US has been making "all abortion terms stop words" in the global sense for a long time, using what's called the Global Gag Rule. Officially known as The Mexico City Policy, the Gag Rule was instituted by (who else?) Ronald Reagan in 1984, rescinded by Bill Clinton in 1993, then reinstated by the Resident on his first day in office in 2001.*

    The Global Gag Rule states that no US funds can be provided to any foreign organization that uses funding from any other source to: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman's life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country.

    Think about it. This is not just "we won't fund abortions". It's "we won't fund you at all, for anything, if you utter the word abortion or accept money from anyone else who does".

    The Global Gag Rule increases the spread of HIV/AIDS, contributes to illegal and unsafe abortions, increases the world's population of unwanted babies, decreases the use of contraceptives (including HIV-preventing condoms), and in general increases human misery, suffering and death throughout the world.

    For more information on how the Global Gag Rule hurts women, children and families, see Access Denied. You can search by continent and country to see the mighty reach of Empire.


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    * OK, there is sometimes a difference between Republicans and Democrats.
  • 21 comments:

    allan said...

    "in cases other than a threat to the woman's life, rape or incest"

    Ah yes, that magical time when "murder" suddenly becomes "not murder" (or "okay to do").

    Fucking cowardly totalitarians don't have the guts to fully support their own beliefs.

    laura k said...

    Fucking cowardly totalitarians don't have the guts to fully support their own beliefs.

    Because they really don't have a problem with murder. They're all for murder when it suits them.

    RossK said...

    L-Girl--

    This 'sometimes there is a difference meme' is getting to me.

    I mean, even up here in the GWN some well meaning folks I know are withdrawing from the fray because they figure the Cons and the Libs are two heads of the same coin.

    I can see the commonalities, but the differences, like on this issue specifically, are so vast that we ignore them at our peril.

    _____
    (Brucian thing is up, btw, but a warning - it's a bit of a self-indulgent opus.)

    .

    laura k said...

    I'm sorry it's getting to you, my friend, but I'm conceding more than I really mean even by saying that. The rhetoric is very different, but the actions are not so very different. I see the Dems and the Reps as two sides of the same coin - good cop, bad cop, if you will.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Bruce post! I'll be there later...

    sanity and reason said...

    sorry about that no-text post. i dont want to stir yall up but i really dont get the whole pro-abortion thing. granted i'm a man and i've been raised in the south and although i am not religious and consider myself good leftie i'm sure some of the rightwing rhetoric on abortion has been absorbed into my being. please dont attack me too much Igirl but i really dont get the almost religion-like devotion to a procedure that is in its very nature wiping out a potential human life. i guess i have a problem getting beyond yuck factor of just what abortion entails.

    i certainly an not anti-choice but down deep i'm not sure i could ever understand or relate to a woman who would choose to abort a fetus. i really would like to understand yalls fascination with the subject. Igirl i think if anyone can help me understand and get past my reservations about the subject it would be you. thanks in advance and please dont kick me out of the "leftie league" just yet. ha.

    laura k said...

    Tommy, I'm not pro-abortion. I'm pro controlling my own body, my own life and my own rights. You can control your own reproduction and I demand the same for myself, and for all people.

    Reproductive freedom is the *sine qua non* of women's equality. Without reproductive freedom - access to contraception, access to abortion, access to proper prenatal care, etc. - women are slaves to their reproductive capacities.

    Whether you know it or not, you know women who have chosen to terminate pregnancies. You see them and deal with them every day of your life.

    "We all" are not "fascinated" with the subject, any more than you are fascinated by oxygen if someone is choking you or fascinated by water if you are dying of thirst.

    Please make sure you read the wmtc comment policy thoroughly before you post again. This blog is not a forum for debate on abortion. Do not post anti-choice views here.

    laura k said...

    but i really dont get the almost religion-like devotion to a procedure that is in its very nature wiping out a potential human life

    Tommy, did your sperm ever go anywhere besides implanting an egg? If so, you were wiping out a potential human life.

    Every time a woman menstruates and doesn't conceive, another potential human life is wiped out.

    Surely you don't mourn the loss of every egg and sperm? Or every naturally occurring abortion (also called miscarriages)?

    There are plenty of human lives in the world to worry about without being concerned with little blobs of cells.

    impudent strumpet said...

    Tommy, you MUST start a blog! I've never before met anyone to whom it has never occurred that sometimes it would be better not to have ever been born, and I want to know all about how exactly one arrives at such a thoroughly contented place in life!

    sanity and reason said...

    i apologize if i offended you. it was not my purpose. i am a work in progress. there have never been feminist women in my life. i truely am trying to learn and was serious about wanting to pick your brain so that i can better understand the importance of this subject. perhaps your journey into who you are and what you believe was an easy one but my evolution into who i am, what i believe and what values i wish my life to reflect has been a long one and i have spent countless years of study trying to undo the damage done by being raised in the rural south, arguably the most conservative, repressive place in the western world. thank you for in advance for your understanding.

    allan said...

    Tommy, did your sperm ever go anywhere besides implanting an egg? If so, you were wiping out a potential human life.

    Bill Hicks:
    "Did you know that every time a guy comes, he comes 200 million sperm? ... Do you know what that means? I have wiped entire civilizations off of my chest, with a grey gym sock. ... Entire nations have flaked and crusted in the hair around my navel. ... I have tossed universes, in my underpants, while napping."

    laura k said...

    Tommy, you did not offend me. I was merely warning you that we will not debate the morality or ethics of abortion on this blog.

    I don't think anyone's journey is easy. But it seems to me that there are myriad ways to learn where you stand on the issue of reproductive freedom. You can ask yourself:

    - whether you believe the government should have control over people's bodies

    - whether one person's morality and ethics should be imposed on another's

    - whether women should be equal to men under the law

    - whether low-income women should have the same rights as women from comfortable backgrounds, since women of means can usually get a safe abortion if they need one, and

    - whether a blob of cells (not magnified to appear to be a baby, but the actual worm-sized blob of cells that is a fetus at 8-week gestation) can properly be said to have rights, more important than the rights of a fully grown girl or woman.

    And whether or not you were raised around feminist women or are from the deep South, you were not raised on Mars. Presumably you have access to books, magazines, and, of course, the internet.

    So read up, continue along your journey, and if you are truly a "good lefty" as you say you are, you'll know where you stand on this.

    If you are really who you say you are, you would know that there is no "almost religion-like devotion to a procedure".

    There is only a devotion to personal freedom, to justice, to self-determination, and to equality.

    And there is the question of why I am wasting my time writing all this... I am in a weird mood tonight.

    Also... the yuck factor??? WTF is that? Don't answer that, I don't want to know.

    allan said...

    You are a man. 23 years old. Married to a woman, who is 22. You are both working low-paying jobs. Scraping by, but happy enough.

    When you and your wife have sex, you are super careful. You wear a condom every time. However, no birth control is 100% effective. And sure enough, you find out one day that your wife is pregnant.

    Now, you're both pretty sure you want kid(s) some day, but you both agree that there is no way you could afford it now. Neither of you have any health insurance and it would a financial diaster, for you, your wife and your baby.

    Does the government have the right to order your wife to have that baby? Do you believe the government in a democracy should have the power to force your wife to carry that baby to term?

    sanity and reason said...

    thanks for you response and you are right in that i have managed to read ions of stuff on social justice and civil rights and socialism and chomsky BUT for some reason i have avoided feminist and reproduction freedom writings and books. i guess i should work to understand why i've avoided such subjects and to begin to study those areas.

    as for the yuck, let me just say that we were shown films ( IN PUBLIC SCHOOL ) in louisiana that were from "pro life" groups. i will not use the crutch of the south ever again on here but lets make clear growing up in toronto or new york is quite different.

    laura k said...

    Redsock: nice. That's a good nutshell.

    ImpStrump as well.

    She always has an interesting take.

    * * * *

    I note that someone found this blog tonight through a search for "C-484 oppose written petition". The Googler is from BC. There's no way to know if that's "tommy", but it's the only abortion-related came from in my Statcounter tonight.

    laura k said...

    Ever see films of a baby being born? Most people in the room will squirm and get squicked.

    For that matter, super-close-up porn can have the same effect.

    Not really relevant.

    laura k said...

    i guess i should work to understand why i've avoided such subjects and to begin to study those areas.

    That's a healthy attitude.

    How did you find this blog tonight? What brought you here?

    sanity and reason said...

    i have never posted on another blog. i have only posted on yours twice and i was initially drawn here because i'm working on immigrating to canada and not because i was looking for a liberal blog, although the very nature of the subject is for liberals. how many conservatives want to move to canada?

    i really am an open book, i will tell anything you want to know about myself. i am not a serial-poster or someone trying to stir up mess. sometimes people just really are what they say they are and want to learn. i'm sure you have reasons to be suspicious of people but sometimes things are what they are. i dont know alot about women ( i am gay although i dont really think that should matter ) and have never really known or at least been in discussion with women about abortion. sheltered, perhaps although i am well traveled and well-educated. i love your blog and read it every single day and learn alot. please dont throw me away just because i'm honest enough to admit my shortcomings and my prejudices. change cannot come without awareness.

    laura k said...

    Tommy, thanks for sharing the background on how and why you're here. I hope you can understand why I'm wary and defensive. This blog has been attacked so many times, and I'm not into the battle - I'd rather just kick out the combatants. *Especially* when people are not here to learn, just to attack. Who needs it.

    You seem to be sincere. Good luck on your continued journey. The fact that you want to learn, and not just live in your own coccoon, says a lot.

    Good luck on the move, if you go through with it. Feel free to email me with immigration-related questions.

    Re conservatives moving to Canada, if only the Canadian conversatives would move to the US, we'd be all set...

    Unknown said...

    god, florida is the WORST state. so thankful i don't live there anymore.

    Scott M. said...

    BTW... out of curiosity ('cause I just don't know)... can I safely assume that there is no justifiable medical reason for the woman to have an ultrasound and this is simply to make a tough decision even harder with state-enforced guilt? Or is there a safety issue for the woman that an ultrasound might address?

    laura k said...

    god, florida is the WORST state. so thankful i don't live there anymore.

    It is! I'm glad you got out. :)

    can I safely assume that there is no justifiable medical reason for the woman to have an ultrasound and this is simply to make a tough decision even harder with state-enforced guilt?

    Yep! Safe to assume and correct. No one needs an ultrasound before a routine abortion. (Routine meaning no complicating medical factors.) Waste of time, waste of money, another hoop for women to jump through.

    Remember these things are expensive, too. It throws another financial obstacle in the way.