Category Archives: Abortion

Could We Stop Punishing Rape Victims?

So, I know I’ve been talking a lot about rape lately… but has anyone else noticed that rape has been appearing a lot in national conversation? It’s weird. I understand it in the context of the slut walks and other protests, where women are attempting to shine a light on fallacious yet pervasive thoughts pertaining to sex, sexuality and consent… but it’s been appearing more and more in the political world, too. Conservatives on a federal and state level are moving more and more often to try and redefine rape or somehow contextualize¬† and categorize it instead of simply saying “Rape is wrong and illegal.”

I mean, we all should know that most social conservatives are very much anti-abortion. Speaker of the House John Boehner, for example, recently made the statement that he wanted to try to make abortion a “relic of the past.” Don’t be confused. He’s not supporting putting money into science initiatives that might research the safe and healthy removal and maturation of a fetus from a woman unwilling to continue with a pregnancy. No, he just wants to ban all abortions, except rape and incest, which anyone with any knowledge of human history, or even just American history pre-Roe v. Wade, should be able to at least guess means abortions will carry on, just more dangerously.

But now we’ve got rape entering into the abortion equation. It was thought that social conservatives were willing to swallow the “let a rape victim have an abortion” pill because, well, it’s sort of like letting someone that got stabbed go to the doctor and be healed. I know that’s a crude comparison and people will cry out about human lives being involved in abortion, but rape is a crime and pregnancy brought about through rape is an aftereffect, like bleeding out after being stabbed is an aftereffect of the crime of being stabbed. Again, not a perfect analogy, but you maybe see my point. You’d think we’d want to, as a society, not force people to suffer unwillingly with the aftereffects of criminal actions taken against them.

Except now there’s Representative Paul Ryan trying to make certain abortions in cases of rape illegal, which I’ve mentioned before. To be more accurate, he’s signed on to co-sponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would give states the right to ban all abortions. Which I feel like contradicts something that just had an anniversary… some Supreme Court case… I could be wrong, though. Anyway, the act would also allow rapists to sue women that attempt to abort the rape pregnancy if their state makes it illegal and she goes to another state where it’s okay.

But that’s not all! Ryan isn’t the only one throwing his hat into the “force women to keep pregnancies they were given in an act of crime” ring. No, now New Mexico is tossing its hat in there. New Mexico legislation has introduced a bill that would imprison any doctor and woman that go through with a rape abortion for up to three years. What’s their reasoning? It’s tampering with evidence.

At which point my head hits my desk.

I’m not certain, but I’m sure there’s a way to get DNA even from an aborted fetus that could help with that evidence thing. And with other Republicans trying to burden rape victims with the need to prove the rape was “forcible,” again trying to categorize rapes as though one were better than the other, we can see a pretty regrettable trend starting up.

Starting up… I say that as if this hasn’t been going on for years. It has. But it seems to be very frighteningly kicking into a much higher gear. And that needs to stop.

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God, Nature, Government – The Rights Of Man

So, in case you haven’t heard, there’s this thing that happened.

The Olympics!

But other than that, GOP presidential nominee (not quite technically official) Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential candidate as Paul Ryan, the young, bright hero of the Tea Party movement, the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin. He is perhaps best known for crafting a budget proposal that many of the Republican party tout as serving the ideals of truly conservative economics, and many of the Democratic party tout it as an uncaring pile of trash that throws money and the rich and abandons the poor.

Heck, what do I know. I haven’t read the budget. I mean, others have, and say not so flattering things… but not me. It could be amazing.

Doubt it, but it’s possible.

I don’t feel like talking about Ryan and what his being picked as VP nominee means, though. Instead, I want to spend a brief amount of time on something he said during his speech at the announcement.

Ryan, during the speech, said “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

It’s an interesting sentiment, to be sure. Not remotely original of course, but interesting. Particularly for someone in government, someone who has voted on things many people consider as “rights.”

I, of course, commented on the article, in that way I can’t help but do. “And, of course, Ryan will be there to tell us what nature and God said when they’re strangely quiet about certain rights.”

This slightly snide comment set off, predictably, a bit of an explosion of discussion. Which is good. I kind of meant it to. One response I got said:

“And, if our Rights don’t come from God and Nature, then where do they come from? Government? If they come from Government, then Government can take them away whenever it pleases.”

It’s an interesting discussion. In the Declaration of Independence, there is some obvious sentiment toward rights being granted by a creator. Unalienable rights, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which, of course, seems to insinuate the possibility of alienable rights.

So. If there are unalienable rights, granted by God or nature, who determines them? Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from the philosophies of John Locke when talking of unalienable rights. But is Locke, or Jefferson, the ultimate arbiter of what’s unalienable?

Eleanor Roosevelt, in the 1940s (I do believe) was one of the writers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In that declaration are many rights people have yet to see in many countries. How did they determine those things were rights?

It’s true, though, that if government is the only arbiter of the rights of man, then one necessarily can’t argue that one has rights outside those granted you by government. There would be no idea of “human rights.” But how do we determine what constitutes human rights? And who gets to say whether they are such or not?

Ryan, for example, has voted against several GLBT-related laws that many in the GLBT community consider rights. That, and his stances on women’s rights. Insofar as, he is very much against birth control and abortion. I’m pretty sure he voted to ban a lot of contraceptives or birth control forms at some point.

It will be interesting to see if any discussion on Ryan’s (and potentially Romney’s) interpretation on rights comes up. If so, they’ll both have some explaining to do.

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The Vagina Filibusters

You know, if I had to make a list of states creating terrible legislation/legislative decisions over the past few years, the top of the list would probably be Arizona, Alabama and Florida, just to name some off the top of my head. But recently, Michigan has decided it wants to put its name in for top tier contention. While today’s discussion isn’t entirely about a law (another day’s will be), it’s definitely about a legislative decision.

Michigan is considering legislation similar to one that states like Arizona have already passed where abortions would be limited to within 20 weeks of conception. So, there’s the first bit of bad news from the realms of their Congress, particularly since it passed their House 70 to 39. Where it gets really interesting (and, you know, terrible) is when Democratic Michigan State House Representative Lisa Brown decided to stand up and make a speech against the legislation. She ended her speech saying, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

I appreciate it. It’s witty, but still poignant, pointing out the similarities to rape and the ownership a woman should have over her own body. But some did not see it that way. According to the New York Daily News, House Republicans have blocked Brown from speaking on later legislation due to that comment.

Representative Mike Callton claimed the remark was offensive. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

Apparently, we’re supposed to refer to a lady’s genitals as… what, a hoohah? The Down Under? A vagoo (a term I always imagine is pronounced “vah-jew”)?

And Brown isn’t the only one that found herself vagina-blocked. Democratic Representative Barb Byrum also found herself blocked from speaking in regards to the bill. Byrum was attempting to add an amendment to the bill that would have banned men from getting vasectomies without proof of it being a medical emergency.

Now, I can’t quite tell why Byrum was blocked from speaking. To the best of my knowledge, she didn’t use a medically correct term like “vagina” or “penis.” I don’t know that she said anything. I mean, maybe she said “vasectomy.” I suppose that should be called a “kid snip”? A “ball deflation”? A “Vans different”?

I could point out the whole “freedom of speech” thing, but I guess there are rules and orders in each Congress that supersede such things. After all, apparently Brown broke “decorum” by using such a word.

…come on. Really? She broke decorum by referring to a part of the female anatomy that is actually very near and dear, not to mention relevant, to the legislation being discussed? How? How is that breaking decorum? It’s a word that’s heard by 5th graders nation wide in sex-ed classes. It’s not remotely offensive. And for Callton to claim it was too offensive to say in front of women when a woman said it? What is this, the 1850s, when the things women say are decided by the men? Do you know who might be able to say if something was offensive to women? A woman. But, apparently, in Michigan, it’s not only okay for men to legislate women’s bodies, but also women’s words.

This is beyond pigheaded and idiotic. This goes back to my post from yesterday. This is childish. The Michigan Congress needs to get its collective head out of its collective butt (Wait, am I breaking decorum by saying “butt”?) and stop being childish dickweeds. (Okay, that might break decorum.) Just because people disagree with you politically is no reason to shut them out of the political process. It’s stuff like this that make it impossible for America to move forward as a nation. It’s stuff like this that desperately makes me want to have Congressional term limits.

Here’s a lighter side note, sort of. One I didn’t know about until after I had already written this post’s title, actually. Eve Ensler, along with Brown and other female state representatives, will be performing Ensler’s famous play, “The Vagina Monologues,” on the steps of the state Capitol. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to see some intelligent, free-thinking men to start dropping the “v-bomb” during congressional meetings. It would be nice to see people take the moral stand.

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Arizona: The Cesspool Of Legislation

Stereotypically speaking, the Deep South is supposed to be the most bass-ackwards, Jim Crowe, stationary, anti-visionary places in America, especially when it comes to legislation. Hence my mention of Jim Crowe. We here in the South are not generally seen as legislative visionaries. It took until the 1980s for us to allow interracial marriage, and it’ll be at least the 2080s before gay marriage is even talked about in our legislation in some way other than a ban.

But, lately, Arizona has been trying to one up the South.

It was Arizona that kicked off the severe anti-immigration legislation race, making a law that was seen as hugely draconian. But apparently it was necessary for jobs. …jobs which were almost immediately harmed as people created boycotts and protests. And, of course, once the immigrants, both legal and illegal, started leaving in droves, many jobs went completely unfilled for some time.

Of course, Alabama went and tried to one-up Arizona. And our fallout may even end up being worse. There’s more examples than just that one about the play, but I found it so ridiculous that I had to put it up. Seriously, we’ve got some idiots writing laws…

But that’s not my point. While Alabama may have won the “who wants to risk their economy and stability for the sake of getting rid of illegal immigrants” race, Arizona is still far ahead in the “making stupid choices” department.

For example: A couple of years ago, there was a massive outcry against an elementary school’s mural being too ethnic, an outcry led by City Councilman Steve Blair, and the mural was apparently going to be whitened up.

And who can forget that wonderful moment earlier this year when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer apparently got all up in President Barack Obama’s face about… something silly. Disrespectful and not becoming of a state governor, that’s for sure.

Then there’s the bill passed a few weeks ago requiring every single college student, in-state or out-of-state, scholarship/free ride, poor, rich or whatever, to pay an automatic $2000 for going to school in Arizona. And Representative Michelle Ugenti supported the bill with a blunt, “Welcome to life.”

But the one that really wins it for Arizona, the one that takes the backwards idiocy out of the South and puts it firmly in their hands, is the law that would allow doctors to commit the lie of omission with their patients, particularly if the doctor feels giving the information will encourage abortion.

Bravo, Arizona. You’ve done it. You, as a state and body of legislation, have become detestable and hostile.

I mean, I can kind of see where some of this comes from. Illegal immigrants are taking jobs that could be filled by unemployed citizens looking for work. Your economy is in the crapper, so you have to get money somewhere. And you want to discourage abortion. I get it.

But, seriously. This is all massive overreacting. It’s as though you suspect people are using cork in their baseball bats, so you ban the use of any wood products in all sporting events, including toothpicks holding together that random soccer mom’s treats for her kids. That’s not constructive. That’s destructive and pointless.

Not a one of these laws has been tempered with thoughts for consequences and stink of being driven by something far more sinister than the reasons I listed in an attempt to understand what your deal is. The odor of racism and attempts to control women waft from your Congress like a stench choking the life out of your state.

With the law about omitting information from your patients, can you not see the massive amounts of abuse that could occur? The way such abuse is now legal? Can you not figure out the potential for patient death rates rising for the sake of “morality”? Or do such things not interest you?

As for the $2000 price tag for education… you do realize that many students simply can’t afford college without scholarship? Whether I’ll sink into debt like the Titanic in the ocean remains to be seen. (I’m all about these weird metaphors tonight…) But I know there are some students that simply can’t get an education without the government’s help. $2000 for some is several months of work. Maybe even years. But worse than the law is the glib, “Welcome to life” response given by Ugenti.

Ugenti. Brewer. Can you please learn to act in accordance with your office? Maybe you shouldn’t say or do things that make you look and sound like terrible people. Not to mention uninformed and uncaring.

As for the immigration laws… this goes for Alabama, too. What exactly has that law accomplished? It hasn’t created jobs. It has sent jobs away. Sent potential work away. Taken money flow away from your state. Caused a hugely bureaucratic headache. What happened to downsizing government? Or is that only for the federal government? I know that Alabama practically needs its own Department of HB 56 just to keep up with all the myriad provisions.

If you want to be a state of the union, be a state of union, not a state that chases people out until you feel comfortable.

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Herman Cain: Misunderstood, Waffler, Or Fish Out Of Water?

I don’t know how much of the current political landscape everyone is paying attention to anymore. Honestly, this entire GOP candidacy race got insanely old before Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race. At least the Chris Christie and Sarah Palin things aren’t an issue anymore.

But those of you that are still hanging in there, paying attention (And possibly even caring, though why would you anymore?), you may be aware of the current front-runner of the GOP party that isn’t Mitt Romney. That’s right, Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is sitting in front of the pack and going strong. Somehow.

This, of course, means that the things he says will be viewed with more scrutiny, and his views will be more strongly questioned. See, before he became the front-runner, all I knew about Cain’s political views was that he wanted to limit laws to 2 or 3 pages, that he’s scared silly of Islam to the point of thinking it’s okay to ban mosques all over the place and that he was proposing a 9-9-9 economic plan, whatever that was. Sure, I’ll admit I wasn’t looking too terribly closely, but come on. Not too many people were.

At least now, with Cain being the front-runner, I have a much better knowledge of what he believes. For example…

…well, this is embarrassing. Apparently, I can’t think of anything else Cain actually believes. And, judging by recent events in the news, Cain doesn’t seem to be able to figure out what he actually believes either.

But, hey. Maybe I’m being unfair. In the case of the abortion debate, Cain claims he was merely clarifying his position when he went back and seemed to change his view entirely.

Some people say he’s waffling, or flip-flopping on his views. Since Cain has recently started to amend his flat tax-esque 9-9-9 to not require the poor to pay so heavily, if at all, in taxes, people have been crying foul, saying he’s shifting his beliefs from one end to the other.

Me, I’m not one of those people. I am of the opinion that Cain is simply completely out of his element. He’s a fish out of water.

In the recent SNL skit, the Marriott TV GOP Debate, the Cain character says something along the lines of “I never thought I’d be taken seriously.” (I would link the video here, but apparently NBC yanked it from Youtube… sadness. SNL Cain’s 3-3-3 health care plan was pretty awesome.) I’m starting to wonder if that’s not what has actually happened to Cain here. I’m starting to wonder if Cain entered the race simply to stir things up and get things said, never considering he’d have a legitimate shot for the title. Now that he’s there, he has to consider what his beliefs are and how to apply them to a national level. Not only that, but since he isn’t Ron Paul, he has to manipulate his beliefs into something he can put his name on that everyone else will vote for.

I mean, just look at this recent stuff. With 9-9-9, he came up with something catchy that he could claim was revenue neutral and that would appeal to many Republicans through its simplicity and (potentially) un-raised taxes. (Though Romney’s needling Cain in the last debate over the finer details of 9-9-9’s application when it comes to state taxes showed me that Cain might be confusing his plan with a Walmart produce department.) Then he was hit with the realization that it wasn’t necessarily very fair to low income families, some of whom might cast votes his way. So, he alters the plan to something more nationally palatable, something more likely to be passed by a Congress that has representatives of BOTH political parties. And he’ll likely continue to change it so long as people keep hammering it for its weaknesses.

Then, there’s the abortion thing. His initial response to Piers Morgan actually strongly echoed the libertarian stance of Ron Paul. The federal government should keep out of the decisions of the citizen. At best, let states make their own laws about these things. Cain is anti-abortion, but willing to let people make their own decisions. Which seems fair. Then, with the sudden realization that anything short of an adamant stance against abortion being legal anywhere for any reason, he decides to “clarify,” since Morgan “pigeonholed him” with hypotheticals, that he would definitely 100% ban abortion, and he was cool with letting people have the choice of whether or not they want to break the law. Which I suppose means he’s against mind control. Pro free will. So, that’s a good thing, right?

Oh, and let’s not forget the electric fence thing. Apparently, electrifying the fence on the border of Mexico was just a joke. Unless it wins him votes. Then it probably was for real.

What’s next? Saying that it isn’t actually the poor, unemployed person’s fault that they have no job despite him saying just that? Clarifying that he meant the poor lazy people? Heck, he’s practically already amended that to mean all the poor, unemployed people are poor and unemployed because it’s their fault that Obama hasn’t helped them stop being unemployed.

Herman Cain isn’t waffling. He isn’t misunderstood. He just doesn’t know what he’s supposed to say. He wants to say the things that will get him votes, but make them things he’s willing to actually support personally. And he has absolutely no idea what that is. I would love it if he could just sit down, write out his beliefs (on only two or three pages, of course), and stick with them. But then he’d be the only GOP politician other than Ron Paul to do something like that. So I’d at least settle for him sounding like he strongly believes in all the contradictory things he said. Some abject denial in the face of evidence would be fine, too. Just give people something other than this muddy, unsure stumbling through politics. If he can’t manage that, then you can watch him go the way of the dodo (which, in this case, refers to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and a certain avian creature).

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