xenologer: (vagina)
Friends, I was linked to the most amazing thing this morning. I can only hope you will be as delighted as I was. See, anti-choicers seem to be even more off the rails than I had suspected; if you know me at all you know this must be pretty impressive.

It is.

Kevin Swanson is amazing.
I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

RH Reality check explains why this is wrong but I feel like they are missing the sheer joy of it. This is nothing short of hilarious. If you have a uterus and have ever used birth control, you are the host of a teeming internal nightmare, an unconsecrated fetus graveyard!



This is beyond misogyny. Misogyny is ordinary. It's tired and boring and DONE. This is a brave new world and we are moving with the times! Misogyny is passé. Nobody cares anymore. It's 2013 and it's time for gynephobia. Wombs are scary and haunted! There could be anything in there!!! Sluts (by which we obviously mean any women on birth control) aren't just dirty and ruined, but they're probably full of disquiet fetus ghosts all up in their slutty slutslut snatches.

Kevin Swanson's account of the latest research into the eldritch terrors inside of women that we call wombs is like obstetrics and gynecology written by the authors of American Horror Story (spoilers) or Jim Balent.

xenologer: (Lisbeth)
So Elisabeth Cornwell spoke at the Reason Rally. The video is behind this link. My commentary is reproduced on that page, but I wanted it here as well to boost the signal on this, because it is not okay. It is not.

Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault.

The systematic degradation of women's control over their own bodies and lives is not just bad, it is monstrous. It is an act of war, as rape is an act of war. There are even a lot of parallels to how female slaves were treated, because they were considered always-accessible subhuman incubators for the valuable property of their masters, much as a disposable class of unsupported children is valuable for rich white dudes today who benefit from trapping other communities in generational poverty. There are a lot of parallels, and even if it was a little hyperbolic... I expect hyperbole at a rally.

There is a problem, though. I was there at the rally and I listened to Cornwell talking about how women in America are being enslaved then invoke the alleged ideals and opinions of Thomas Jefferson, to convey how appalled he would be by this kind of inroad toward theocracy. I realize that this is a thing easily forgotten by white people in this country, but Jefferson actually personally himself enslaved women. You know who made their reproductive choices? Jefferson did after he bought them. Sure, he'd potentially stand with the white women in the audience in their struggle for reproductive freedom, but if you think he'd stand with the women of color, I don't know where you got your history education. More likely you just didn't consider that what he did to black women reflects as strongly on his character as what the theocrats are trying to do to you now.

This is a problem.

How much more strongly can someone imply that black women aren't real women, their enslavement not pressing until it is shared by white women? I can think of no other reason why Jefferson's status as a famed enslaver and rapist of slave women should be overlooked so that he can be called upon as an ideological ally to modern women, except that to some people his serial rapes and violations of the reproductive autonomy of *black* women were less important as a measure of his character than his excellent insights about religion.

We did a good job on diversity of speakers and guests at the accompanying convention this year, but if you want to be mindful of not seeming like a movement run by white people for white people, please be mindful of whom you're asking your audience to idolize. We're talking about a guy whose reputation for raping slaves and forcing them to bear his children is so legendary that there are entire geneology projects dedicated to tracing just his descendants among people of color.

Jefferson's political theory was a good place to start (particularly when it comes to his views on religion), but it's a terrible place to finish and we sure as heck shouldn't retreat back to it to stop the enslavement of women. So let's keep that in mind before we canonize the man and ask the women of color in the audience to look up to the guy who raped so many of their great-great-grandmothers and forced them to carry and bear his "property" against their will. Maybe some of his nasty personal/"business" habits are overlookable by a financially secure white activist, but the fact that you can overlook it doesn't mean other people are going to be able to handwave it so easily.

I appreciated the rally and had a lovely time both there and at the convention. The sense of community was beautiful and necessary. It's just sad that it had to be undermined by something like this at a time when we are all clearly making an effort toward including the full range of atheists in all our diversity.
xenologer: (simon smile)
  1. Surveying high school students about whether they're interested in X or Y University somehow makes my employer more money than doing fundraising for those same universities. I have no idea how this works, because one of these jobs takes skill and they really ought to be charging more for our willingness to ruin our consciences and emotional equilibrium for a fat paycheck.
  2. Stroking the Shark: Not Just a Euphemism!
  3. I am enjoying this Nightwish I have on my computer more than I expected, but the last three songs all seem to have been about someone having a miscarriage and why that sucks. o_o
  4. After about a year, trust is established in friendships and truths are told. That seems to be when everything falls apart. Maybe the answer is to lie a little longer?
  5. Politics in roleplaying settings: Phase One: Riot! Phase Three: Social Reform! (Though, to be fair, the RP that spawned this little remark actually had a rather well-sparked riot with a great speech and everything.)
  6. Sharpening its beak makes a bird feel good. It's comforting, so I'm told. Maybe I've got more fowl in me than cat, after all...
  7. There is no official Emergency Contraception fatwa in Egypt.
xenologer: (end of the world)
Louisiana Republican Backs Poor Sterilization

The idea is to pay poor women $1000 dollars to go in and get spayed. Now, you know me. I love the idea of lots of people getting spayed and neutered, because if we care enough for the pet population to adopt instead of letting them breed like crazy, I feel like this should apply to humans as well. If it didn't come with serious hormonal consequences, I'd have had the surgery long ago. But here's the problem: LaBruzzo thinks he can eliminate generational poverty by simply keeping them from eventually outnumbering rich people (and passing on their defective poor-people genes into our otherwise-wholesome American gene pool). Seriously. That's what he wants.
LaBruzzo acknowledges that some prefer tackling poverty through education reforms and family planning programs, but he says he's looked into this, and found these traditional approaches to be ineffective. It's led him to think the whole pay-for-poor-women's-sterilization tack might be a good idea.

Point the first: Why are we sterilizing the women? [insert detailed explanation of women as vessels of culture to be protected or destroyed accordingly] Vasectomies are cheaper and less invasive, so you can do more of them. When you want to use tax dollars for this, shouldn't efficiency factor in?

Point the second: We should sterilize rich people instead. That way the people who're in the best position to support children have to adopt all these kids that have no parents. Because really, it kinda sucks that the people most likely to insist that women give up unwanted babies for adoption are pretty likely to be having so many kids of their own that they don't actually take in any of these kids they wanted to be available for adoption.

So yeah. Give all the rich men vasectomies. Give the ones who go along with it another tax cut to console them for the ones Obama is going to allow to expire. If wealthy folk want to sterilize one group for economic reasons, I wonder if they've ever considered putting their own organs on the metaphorical chopping block.
xenologer: (end of the world)
You can find this on Digg here. If you like it, please Digg it. Maybe more people will see it.

PART ONE: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION

Remember how the Department of Health and Human Services was arguing that a doctor's desires should trump their patient's medical needs?

The public comment period on that is not quite over. It ends in a couple of days. If you have not yet sent in a comment, you should. You can review the issue here, and the action info is as follows:

Send an email to consciencecomment@hhs.gov, with the subject line "provider conscience regulation." They are publishing these comments right now, because it is in a 30-day public comment period.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice friend of mine about this, and for those of you who aren't accustomed to seeing this from a civil rights point of view, the following might be helpful. A lot of you on my friends list are already likely pro-choice, but here's the case I'd like to make to those of you who are not.

DHHS wishes to reclassify many forms of birth control as abortion. How do they do this? By defining "life" at fertilization and not implantation. Now, these are both completely arbitrary points to pick, but I'll tell you the implications of each one.

If we rule that life begins at implantation, we can sell forms of birth control such as oral contraceptives, transdermal contraceptives (the patch), IUDs (which is actually hormonal as well), and various other non-barrier methods. This is because part of what they do is prevent a fertilized egg from sticking to the inside of the woman's uterus. Keep the fertilized egg from implanting and it flushes out with her next period just like any other egg.

If we rule that life begins at fertilization, every non-barrier method I can think of short of full sterilization becomes abortion. This is a problem because it removes control of a woman's reproduction from her own hands (a pill that she takes, a patch that she wears, an IUD that she has inserted) and gives it mostly to men (a condom that he wears). This means that women are less capable of engaging in responsible sexual activity.

PART TWO: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

"Well, they should have thought about that before they started having sex," you might say. It's a common enough argument. If women don't want to get pregnant, they should engage in risky behavior like sex. Most people will agree that a woman who is raped or molested at a young age is not "to blame" for her sexual activity, and as a result an abortion is okay in these cases.

But here's what this really says. A woman who doesn't choose to have sex deserves the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. A woman who does choose to have sex does not deserve the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. What makes this misogynist is that it takes a moral imperative ("good women don't sleep around") and uses it as a framework to give "bad" women fewer rights than "good" ones. This classification obviously operates based on the idea that women can and should be judged according to moral standards they do not share; if they shared the position that consenting women don't deserve reproductive freedom, they wouldn't be asking for abortions.

But these women have their own moral standards. A woman who chooses to have sex does not give up her conscience (despite what many particularly vicious misogynists may assert). What DHHS is saying is that if a woman seeks an abortion after having consensual sex, it doesn't matter if she thinks it's right. She isn't qualified to make that decision, and her doctor has every right to veto it by denying her access to the abortion she wants.

I don't think I'm being overdramatic when I say this: if a woman isn't qualified to make a moral choice about "appropriate" sexual conduct because she might "choose wrong," why are they allowed to make moral choices anywhere else? Why are women voting? Shouldn't every woman's vote be subject to a veto by someone who's afraid she'll "vote wrong?"

PART THREE: A MINOR INCONVENIENCE?

The next argument I hear a lot is that women don't have to raise these children. They can choose to give it up for adoption and move on with their lives without having to kill a fetus. This argument is based on the assumption that "no cost pregnancies" are not only possible, but universal.

This is flawed. Pregnancy is a very costly experience. I don't care how many times you've seen the movie Juno; women cannot expect that their every medical and emotional need will be catered to by wealthy supportive patrons. Here's what really happens.

Carrying a bearing a child disrupts a woman's education if she still needs to finish it.

There are also incredible medical expenses involved with proper pre-natal care.

There's also the fact that if your job doesn't allow maternity leave (and unlike many European countries, America doesn't require employers to provide this), any time spent in the hospital could cost you your job. This is not just your means of supporting yourself. It's probably also your means of paying for the aforementioned expensive prenatal care.

Make no mistake. This is what an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy looks like. There are problems with someone else having the power to subject women to these circumstances, particularly since most women will be facing those circumstances alone. In a perfect world, those wouldn't be problems. But if you make laws as though we are living in a perfect world, you're not the one who'll suffer. Women will suffer. I should hope that matters enough to you to affect your decision.

Making law as though women who don't want children have it in their power to prevent conception 100% is making law in a land of fantasy (particularly with DHHS trying to restrict women's access to hormonal birth control). It's a nice fantasy. I'd like it a lot, too, if I could prevent pregnancy 100%. But if you make policy as though we are living in that perfect world when we are not, it won't be you who suffers. It will be women, and the children born to these now-disadvantaged and disenfranchised mothers. Pretending the world is better than it is will not make everything better. It will hurt people, and crowing that those nasty sluts had it coming does not erase that fact.

The only reason I can see for picturing the world this way and making law this way is to make you (and the "American Taliban" in general) feel like you've shown everyone how moral you are. If that's the needs those laws are serving, it becomes very very important to me how many people those laws will hurt.

And y'know what? When you're willing to hurt that many people just to codify your morals, I will never believe you are moral. You just want to be seen that way, by others and yourself. As a moral person, I call bullshit on that. As a woman, I call double bullshit on people who're willing to ruin my life and the lives of women like me just to feel special, like their morals are the only ones important enough to be made law.

Yes, women like me. Here's where we get to the personal anecdote section.

PART FOUR: I AM A FILTHY SLUT...

I have been in a relationship with the first person I ever had intercourse with for four years now (as of Sunday). We use two forms of protection every time we have sex. Our relationship is stable, and so is our economic footing (sorta). A pregnancy would halt Brian's education and my job search. A pregnancy would rack up medical bills neither of us can pay for (and neither can our families). A pregnancy would destroy us.

We're careful. We're responsible.

We are doing everything we can to prevent me from conceiving.

If I become pregnant, there are people who would deny me an abortion because I chose to have sex, and I deserve the worst case scenario when/if it comes around. I deserve to lose my job and not further my education. Brian deserves to have his education halted. We both deserve staggering debt from medical bills, debt we may never get out of. Above all we deserve the strain on an otherwise-healthy relationship.

And why?

Because I chose to have sex, and irresponsible people deserve to have their lives ruined. If I'd been raped, my rights would remain intact. But if one standard of morality gets codified into law, and that standard of morality judges me a bad woman who should have to bear an enforced pregnancy... what can I do?

You want to talk about prevention? I'm trying to prevent a worldview that treats adult women like minors (children, guys) or livestock who are unqualified to make "the big choices," like when they'll breed. I'm trying to prevent a worldview that could ruin my life from getting a toehold in my government.

PART FIVE: ...AND WHAT ARE YOU?

What do you want for American women? Does it have anything to do with their wellbeing? Or hadn't you really thought about it? There's more to morality than "protect babies." Sometimes you have to concede an obligation to the human beings around you who're trying to live out their lives. The real question is whether a potential human is more important to you than a living one, just because the living one happens to be a woman.

If you're comfortable with that, truly comfortable with it, leave a comment. I need to know who you are so that I can seriously reconsider your respect for me as a human being.
xenologer: (end of the world)
You can find this on Digg here. If you like it, please Digg it. Maybe more people will see it.

PART ONE: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION

Remember how the Department of Health and Human Services was arguing that a doctor's desires should trump their patient's medical needs?

The public comment period on that is not quite over. It ends in a couple of days. If you have not yet sent in a comment, you should. You can review the issue here, and the action info is as follows:

Send an email to consciencecomment@hhs.gov, with the subject line "provider conscience regulation." They are publishing these comments right now, because it is in a 30-day public comment period.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice friend of mine about this, and for those of you who aren't accustomed to seeing this from a civil rights point of view, the following might be helpful. A lot of you on my friends list are already likely pro-choice, but here's the case I'd like to make to those of you who are not.

DHHS wishes to reclassify many forms of birth control as abortion. How do they do this? By defining "life" at fertilization and not implantation. Now, these are both completely arbitrary points to pick, but I'll tell you the implications of each one.

If we rule that life begins at implantation, we can sell forms of birth control such as oral contraceptives, transdermal contraceptives (the patch), IUDs (which is actually hormonal as well), and various other non-barrier methods. This is because part of what they do is prevent a fertilized egg from sticking to the inside of the woman's uterus. Keep the fertilized egg from implanting and it flushes out with her next period just like any other egg.

If we rule that life begins at fertilization, every non-barrier method I can think of short of full sterilization becomes abortion. This is a problem because it removes control of a woman's reproduction from her own hands (a pill that she takes, a patch that she wears, an IUD that she has inserted) and gives it mostly to men (a condom that he wears). This means that women are less capable of engaging in responsible sexual activity.

PART TWO: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

"Well, they should have thought about that before they started having sex," you might say. It's a common enough argument. If women don't want to get pregnant, they should engage in risky behavior like sex. Most people will agree that a woman who is raped or molested at a young age is not "to blame" for her sexual activity, and as a result an abortion is okay in these cases.

But here's what this really says. A woman who doesn't choose to have sex deserves the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. A woman who does choose to have sex does not deserve the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. What makes this misogynist is that it takes a moral imperative ("good women don't sleep around") and uses it as a framework to give "bad" women fewer rights than "good" ones. This classification obviously operates based on the idea that women can and should be judged according to moral standards they do not share; if they shared the position that consenting women don't deserve reproductive freedom, they wouldn't be asking for abortions.

But these women have their own moral standards. A woman who chooses to have sex does not give up her conscience (despite what many particularly vicious misogynists may assert). What DHHS is saying is that if a woman seeks an abortion after having consensual sex, it doesn't matter if she thinks it's right. She isn't qualified to make that decision, and her doctor has every right to veto it by denying her access to the abortion she wants.

I don't think I'm being overdramatic when I say this: if a woman isn't qualified to make a moral choice about "appropriate" sexual conduct because she might "choose wrong," why are they allowed to make moral choices anywhere else? Why are women voting? Shouldn't every woman's vote be subject to a veto by someone who's afraid she'll "vote wrong?"

PART THREE: A MINOR INCONVENIENCE?

The next argument I hear a lot is that women don't have to raise these children. They can choose to give it up for adoption and move on with their lives without having to kill a fetus. This argument is based on the assumption that "no cost pregnancies" are not only possible, but universal.

This is flawed. Pregnancy is a very costly experience. I don't care how many times you've seen the movie Juno; women cannot expect that their every medical and emotional need will be catered to by wealthy supportive patrons. Here's what really happens.

Carrying a bearing a child disrupts a woman's education if she still needs to finish it.

There are also incredible medical expenses involved with proper pre-natal care.

There's also the fact that if your job doesn't allow maternity leave (and unlike many European countries, America doesn't require employers to provide this), any time spent in the hospital could cost you your job. This is not just your means of supporting yourself. It's probably also your means of paying for the aforementioned expensive prenatal care.

Make no mistake. This is what an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy looks like. There are problems with someone else having the power to subject women to these circumstances, particularly since most women will be facing those circumstances alone. In a perfect world, those wouldn't be problems. But if you make laws as though we are living in a perfect world, you're not the one who'll suffer. Women will suffer. I should hope that matters enough to you to affect your decision.

Making law as though women who don't want children have it in their power to prevent conception 100% is making law in a land of fantasy (particularly with DHHS trying to restrict women's access to hormonal birth control). It's a nice fantasy. I'd like it a lot, too, if I could prevent pregnancy 100%. But if you make policy as though we are living in that perfect world when we are not, it won't be you who suffers. It will be women, and the children born to these now-disadvantaged and disenfranchised mothers. Pretending the world is better than it is will not make everything better. It will hurt people, and crowing that those nasty sluts had it coming does not erase that fact.

The only reason I can see for picturing the world this way and making law this way is to make you (and the "American Taliban" in general) feel like you've shown everyone how moral you are. If that's the needs those laws are serving, it becomes very very important to me how many people those laws will hurt.

And y'know what? When you're willing to hurt that many people just to codify your morals, I will never believe you are moral. You just want to be seen that way, by others and yourself. As a moral person, I call bullshit on that. As a woman, I call double bullshit on people who're willing to ruin my life and the lives of women like me just to feel special, like their morals are the only ones important enough to be made law.

Yes, women like me. Here's where we get to the personal anecdote section.

PART FOUR: I AM A FILTHY SLUT...

I have been in a relationship with the first person I ever had intercourse with for four years now (as of Sunday). We use two forms of protection every time we have sex. Our relationship is stable, and so is our economic footing (sorta). A pregnancy would halt Brian's education and my job search. A pregnancy would rack up medical bills neither of us can pay for (and neither can our families). A pregnancy would destroy us.

We're careful. We're responsible.

We are doing everything we can to prevent me from conceiving.

If I become pregnant, there are people who would deny me an abortion because I chose to have sex, and I deserve the worst case scenario when/if it comes around. I deserve to lose my job and not further my education. Brian deserves to have his education halted. We both deserve staggering debt from medical bills, debt we may never get out of. Above all we deserve the strain on an otherwise-healthy relationship.

And why?

Because I chose to have sex, and irresponsible people deserve to have their lives ruined. If I'd been raped, my rights would remain intact. But if one standard of morality gets codified into law, and that standard of morality judges me a bad woman who should have to bear an enforced pregnancy... what can I do?

You want to talk about prevention? I'm trying to prevent a worldview that treats adult women like minors (children, guys) or livestock who are unqualified to make "the big choices," like when they'll breed. I'm trying to prevent a worldview that could ruin my life from getting a toehold in my government.

PART FIVE: ...AND WHAT ARE YOU?

What do you want for American women? Does it have anything to do with their wellbeing? Or hadn't you really thought about it? There's more to morality than "protect babies." Sometimes you have to concede an obligation to the human beings around you who're trying to live out their lives. The real question is whether a potential human is more important to you than a living one, just because the living one happens to be a woman.

If you're comfortable with that, truly comfortable with it, leave a comment. I need to know who you are so that I can seriously reconsider your respect for me as a human being.
xenologer: (end of the world)
You can find this on Digg here. If you like it, please Digg it. Maybe more people will see it.

PART ONE: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION

Remember how the Department of Health and Human Services was arguing that a doctor's desires should trump their patient's medical needs?

The public comment period on that is not quite over. It ends in a couple of days. If you have not yet sent in a comment, you should. You can review the issue here, and the action info is as follows:

Send an email to consciencecomment@hhs.gov, with the subject line "provider conscience regulation." They are publishing these comments right now, because it is in a 30-day public comment period.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice friend of mine about this, and for those of you who aren't accustomed to seeing this from a civil rights point of view, the following might be helpful. A lot of you on my friends list are already likely pro-choice, but here's the case I'd like to make to those of you who are not.

DHHS wishes to reclassify many forms of birth control as abortion. How do they do this? By defining "life" at fertilization and not implantation. Now, these are both completely arbitrary points to pick, but I'll tell you the implications of each one.

If we rule that life begins at implantation, we can sell forms of birth control such as oral contraceptives, transdermal contraceptives (the patch), IUDs (which is actually hormonal as well), and various other non-barrier methods. This is because part of what they do is prevent a fertilized egg from sticking to the inside of the woman's uterus. Keep the fertilized egg from implanting and it flushes out with her next period just like any other egg.

If we rule that life begins at fertilization, every non-barrier method I can think of short of full sterilization becomes abortion. This is a problem because it removes control of a woman's reproduction from her own hands (a pill that she takes, a patch that she wears, an IUD that she has inserted) and gives it mostly to men (a condom that he wears). This means that women are less capable of engaging in responsible sexual activity.

PART TWO: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

"Well, they should have thought about that before they started having sex," you might say. It's a common enough argument. If women don't want to get pregnant, they should engage in risky behavior like sex. Most people will agree that a woman who is raped or molested at a young age is not "to blame" for her sexual activity, and as a result an abortion is okay in these cases.

But here's what this really says. A woman who doesn't choose to have sex deserves the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. A woman who does choose to have sex does not deserve the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. What makes this misogynist is that it takes a moral imperative ("good women don't sleep around") and uses it as a framework to give "bad" women fewer rights than "good" ones. This classification obviously operates based on the idea that women can and should be judged according to moral standards they do not share; if they shared the position that consenting women don't deserve reproductive freedom, they wouldn't be asking for abortions.

But these women have their own moral standards. A woman who chooses to have sex does not give up her conscience (despite what many particularly vicious misogynists may assert). What DHHS is saying is that if a woman seeks an abortion after having consensual sex, it doesn't matter if she thinks it's right. She isn't qualified to make that decision, and her doctor has every right to veto it by denying her access to the abortion she wants.

I don't think I'm being overdramatic when I say this: if a woman isn't qualified to make a moral choice about "appropriate" sexual conduct because she might "choose wrong," why are they allowed to make moral choices anywhere else? Why are women voting? Shouldn't every woman's vote be subject to a veto by someone who's afraid she'll "vote wrong?"

PART THREE: A MINOR INCONVENIENCE?

The next argument I hear a lot is that women don't have to raise these children. They can choose to give it up for adoption and move on with their lives without having to kill a fetus. This argument is based on the assumption that "no cost pregnancies" are not only possible, but universal.

This is flawed. Pregnancy is a very costly experience. I don't care how many times you've seen the movie Juno; women cannot expect that their every medical and emotional need will be catered to by wealthy supportive patrons. Here's what really happens.

Carrying a bearing a child disrupts a woman's education if she still needs to finish it.

There are also incredible medical expenses involved with proper pre-natal care.

There's also the fact that if your job doesn't allow maternity leave (and unlike many European countries, America doesn't require employers to provide this), any time spent in the hospital could cost you your job. This is not just your means of supporting yourself. It's probably also your means of paying for the aforementioned expensive prenatal care.

Make no mistake. This is what an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy looks like. There are problems with someone else having the power to subject women to these circumstances, particularly since most women will be facing those circumstances alone. In a perfect world, those wouldn't be problems. But if you make laws as though we are living in a perfect world, you're not the one who'll suffer. Women will suffer. I should hope that matters enough to you to affect your decision.

Making law as though women who don't want children have it in their power to prevent conception 100% is making law in a land of fantasy (particularly with DHHS trying to restrict women's access to hormonal birth control). It's a nice fantasy. I'd like it a lot, too, if I could prevent pregnancy 100%. But if you make policy as though we are living in that perfect world when we are not, it won't be you who suffers. It will be women, and the children born to these now-disadvantaged and disenfranchised mothers. Pretending the world is better than it is will not make everything better. It will hurt people, and crowing that those nasty sluts had it coming does not erase that fact.

The only reason I can see for picturing the world this way and making law this way is to make you (and the "American Taliban" in general) feel like you've shown everyone how moral you are. If that's the needs those laws are serving, it becomes very very important to me how many people those laws will hurt.

And y'know what? When you're willing to hurt that many people just to codify your morals, I will never believe you are moral. You just want to be seen that way, by others and yourself. As a moral person, I call bullshit on that. As a woman, I call double bullshit on people who're willing to ruin my life and the lives of women like me just to feel special, like their morals are the only ones important enough to be made law.

Yes, women like me. Here's where we get to the personal anecdote section.

PART FOUR: I AM A FILTHY SLUT...

I have been in a relationship with the first person I ever had intercourse with for four years now (as of Sunday). We use two forms of protection every time we have sex. Our relationship is stable, and so is our economic footing (sorta). A pregnancy would halt Brian's education and my job search. A pregnancy would rack up medical bills neither of us can pay for (and neither can our families). A pregnancy would destroy us.

We're careful. We're responsible.

We are doing everything we can to prevent me from conceiving.

If I become pregnant, there are people who would deny me an abortion because I chose to have sex, and I deserve the worst case scenario when/if it comes around. I deserve to lose my job and not further my education. Brian deserves to have his education halted. We both deserve staggering debt from medical bills, debt we may never get out of. Above all we deserve the strain on an otherwise-healthy relationship.

And why?

Because I chose to have sex, and irresponsible people deserve to have their lives ruined. If I'd been raped, my rights would remain intact. But if one standard of morality gets codified into law, and that standard of morality judges me a bad woman who should have to bear an enforced pregnancy... what can I do?

You want to talk about prevention? I'm trying to prevent a worldview that treats adult women like minors (children, guys) or livestock who are unqualified to make "the big choices," like when they'll breed. I'm trying to prevent a worldview that could ruin my life from getting a toehold in my government.

PART FIVE: ...AND WHAT ARE YOU?

What do you want for American women? Does it have anything to do with their wellbeing? Or hadn't you really thought about it? There's more to morality than "protect babies." Sometimes you have to concede an obligation to the human beings around you who're trying to live out their lives. The real question is whether a potential human is more important to you than a living one, just because the living one happens to be a woman.

If you're comfortable with that, truly comfortable with it, leave a comment. I need to know who you are so that I can seriously reconsider your respect for me as a human being.
xenologer: (hope)
I'm going to be charitable and assume that the pro-life stance is not just primarily about protecting children, but is solely about protecting children. Let's take away all those debates about economic and social parity between men and women. Let's take away all the questioning of heteronormative gender roles and Christonormative social norms, and the adoption system that reinforces them.

Let's talk about protecting children.

Currently in America there are 500,000 children in foster care, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

On any given night in America, over a million children are homeless. Being homeless doesn't just mean no shelter, compromised hygeine, and no guarantee of safety. It also means a staggering rate of mental illness and compromised educational opportunity, according to the National Mental Health Association.

Every day, worldwide, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes according to The Lancet.

About 20 million children are homeless and over 2 million are dead because of armed conflicts worldwide in the last decade, this according to UNICEF.

This is why, if I ever raise children, I feel a strong moral imperative to adopt. This is why, if I ever call a young person my son or daughter I do not plan for them to be of my own blood.

This is why, if I become pregnant, I will do my damndest to have an abortion. Y'know why? Because if I'm going to pour resources into a child, I can think of children who need it a lot more than the one I'd be producing.

Stop telling me I hate children. That I'm a babykiller. That I'm a destroyer of families, a reaver of responsible moral values. I intend to have an abortion to stop the introduction of more children into a world that's got enough needy children already. You want to turn every single abortion discussion into an appeal to emotion? You really want to go that low?

I can play that game, too.

I think every single person who deliberately conceives children of their own instead of taking in a child in need (and they're all around us, guys) is being self-serving and short-sighted. I do. I think these people are allowing themselves to be complicit in a system where the only children that are recognized as needing safety, food, and love are one's own, where the children we value most are still aspirin-sized parasites, while real living, breathing, thinking, feeling, suffering children are left to their plights because millions of parents who could be doing something for them are creating more and more children instead.

Every time I'm slurred as a babyhating militant women's libber out to destroy families I have bitten my tongue when it comes to this particular argument because I didn't want to come out and say it. But now I will.

You say I'm devaluing the lives of children by planning to have an abortion should I become pregnant. I say that pro-lifers are devaluing the lives of children by sanctifying a fetus above a needy child who quite simply to them matters less.

I use two forms of protection and am still considering more permanent sterilization options (that, let's face it, are expensive and invasive for women). But you can bet that if I become pregnant despite that, I will have an abortion. Without hesitation. Without guilt. Without permission.

And I'll be thinking of you. I'll remind myself how glad I am that "pro-lifers" and their lust for forced birthing don't get to force me to make the wrong choice, to make a choice that I believe will be exacerbating a global child welfare disaster that could easily be fixed if more people cared for existing children as much as they cared for a smear of cells less distinct from my own body than the normal flora in my gut.

I'll be wondering why the hell more women aren't right here with me, putting live children first.

So don't rail at me about protecting children like it's never occurred to me that they need it. I am a thinking, discerning, moral human being, and thinking, discerning, moral human beings are able and obligated to decide for themselves how best to serve the world in their time here. We are able and obligated to choose. I choose contraception and abortion, as many times as I want them. I choose adoption, every time I want a child.

That's my choice. Why should you get a veto? Why should the moral choice of this woman be worth so little, and dismissed so easily? I'm pro-choice, and we believe in morality, too.

If given a choice (and I will demand one), there is a direct moral conflict for me between bearing a child of my own blood and caring for suffering children who are already here. When in conflict (and I've stated that it always will be), my obligation will be to these living children first. Why are all these living children less important to "pro-lifers" than the children I may abort? Why do they want women like me to be forced to bear children, when I know in my heart that children worldwide are better served if I avoid breeding at all costs?

Call it the Bob Barker school of child welfare. Spay and neuter yourselves. Adopt a child in need.
xenologer: (Speak)
I'm curious about McCain's VP choice. The obvious comment is "Ah, look. McCain respects women after all! He's willing to run alongside Republican Mom number six thousand seventy-five."

On the one hand, she's the only person in this election (as either a Presidential or VP candidate) with executive experience, McCain included(though unfortunately only about two years of it, which is less stellar). On the other hand, she's got no legislative experience, which makes it much harder for voters like me to figure out what the hell she believes and whether it represents us. Voting records are good quick and dirty ways to get a ballpark idea of who believes what.

ontheissues.org is generally a pretty good site for this, so I guess I'll go through here first. Lots of areas on here are unknowns, which means we either have no idea what she wants or plans... or she doesn't actually have any plans yet.

She's pro-life, which is to be expected. My opinions of pro-life women notwithstanding, at least this'll make it clearer to women who (somehow) still believe that McCain is pro-choice. Her main stance on civil rights is that marriage should be between one man and one woman. Pretty standard. Death penalty is also A+ by Palin. I guess her state's administration is so efficient by now that they don't wrongly convict people anymore like the rest of us. Good for her! [/sarcasm]

Pretty sure she also wants to open up the Alaskan wildlife refuge for drilling, and that's all we know about her stance on energy and oil. Judging from this she'll probably be on board with McCain's discredited offshore drilling plan.

What our health care system needs is competition. Evidently the free market will fix it. Again, pretty standard. She does, however, disapprove of taxes which discourage small businesses, which I can agree with her on. Favoring corporations at the expense of the smaller businesses has proven... unwise. So as far as her faith in the free market, she's being consistent here. She thinks competition is good, so she isn't simultaneously discouraging it by fellating big corporations. Good for her on this one.

Overall, she's clearly made her constituency happy. She's got a high approval rating, and that's something. Better than Bush (whom McCain believed was right more than 90% of the time) and that means that at the very least Palin has more sense than McCain. She certainly pisses off oil companies more, something McCain has been too scared to do. We'll see if she and McCain end up clashing here.

So! I think she'll make conservatives happy. I think she'll give them something to point to besides their abysmal record to claim they respect women, and that's gotta make them feel good. She also seems to actually be doing many of the things McCain abandoned years ago: mainly disagreeing with her party now and again.

My main issues with her are her social policies, since we don't have too much information on anything else. I mean, hell. They called Obama an unknown but at least he had a voting record. I'm having to cobble together a profile of her in my head from scattered statements she's made about issues that matter to me.

So I'll look at Alaska, and assume that if she's governor she agrees with things that're going on there in cases where she hasn't expressed disapproval.

Alaska ranks well as far as access to contraception and public funding for reproductive health services. Their laws and policies rank 14th in their ability to facilitate access to those services (which isn't fantastic, but it's better than my state which is 42nd). Their teen pregnancy rates are pretty good, since 29 states out of 50 have them beat. Contrast this with McCain's state, which is number two. Despite being pro-life, Palin was in charge of a state that's actually doing sensible things to decrease unwanted pregnancies (particularly among young women).

Their stand on gay rights... not so good. Palin supports their 1998 amendment barring gays from receiving equal marriage benefits, because she believes that married gays threaten "the family structure." However, it's not all sour notes here. She did veto a bill that she thought was too discriminatory against gays, suggesting that while she doesn't want gays and straights to be equal there are at least limits to how unequal she wants them to be.

So she's not as bad as McCain. He arguably picked a woman with more sense than he has, with a better ability to make consistent moral decisions. This is lukewarm praise from me, though, since McCain set the bar pretty low to begin with.

Edit:

She's also a creationist, who thinks we should "teach the [nonexistent] controversy." People everywhere who believe in science... start cringing.

Edit: She does not believe that humans can cause climate change, but acknowledges that her own state would be hard hit by such changes.
xenologer: (end of the world)
The Bush administration has officially proposed a rule to the Dept. of Health and Human Services that doctors can refuse to treat patients if their consciences protest for any reason. Basically if they dunwanna, you don't get medical care.

Send an email to consciencecomment@hhs.gov, with the subject line "provider conscience regulation." They are publishing these comments right now, because it is in a 30-day public comment period. This is an absolute emergency. Don't let the misogynist religious whackos be the only voices DHHS hears. Say something. Just send an email. Otherwise, after thirty days, this rule goes into effect.

Really. It does. This is going to happen. Please tell them you are NOT falling for this bullshit, and that you are NOT going to let fundamentalists speak for you.

Here's what I'm saying.

Doctors do and always have had the freedom of conscience to choose not to provide certain kinds of medical care. This is the choice they make in medical school when they're investing tens of thousands of dollars to become educated and licensed. If they are not ready to fulfill the obligations of their chosen profession, then just like anyone else who doesn't want to do their job? They shouldn't be doing it. Doctors need to provide patients with medical care. End of line.

Here's the problem. Doctors should not be the ones to decide which patients "deserve" the standard of care they are coming to receive. Those who say that this ruling is not about denying women access to birth control are either gullible or lying. Here's how I know it's about denying women health care.

One: This is clearly about allowing doctors to refuse to perform abortions for patients who request them. Considering that 87% of counties in America don't have an abortion provider, this puts rural women at a serious disadvantage when they need medical care. Why does this statistic matter? Because if the one doctor within reasonable range of a woman in need refuses to treat her, she may not be able to find another, particularly considering that this proposed rule does not include provisions for women who have been refused. Not only can her doctor say no, but he is not obligated to refer her to a physician willing to provide her with an abortion.

Two: This becomes truly scary when you think about the fact that DHHS wants to change the definition of "life" to "at fertilization" rather than "at implantation." These are both pretty damned arbitrary classifications considering that a fertilized egg is less of an independent organism than the gut flora living in my large intestine (and which I am allowed to slaughter at will with every antibiotic treatment I undergo). Why is this scary? See point three.

Three: Non-barrier methods (basically anything but a diaphragm or condom) works at least partly by preventing implantation. It prevents the fertilized egg from sticking to the inside of your uterus so that it never has a chance to start getting nourishment from your body. It's flushed out like any unfertilized egg, and your body does this on its own. What this means is that any non-barrier method that interferes with implantation will be classified as an abortion, giving doctors a perfect airtight legal excuse to deny women these prescriptions because a moral imperative the patient obviously does not share (or she wouldn't be asking for contraceptives) dictates that she doesn't need contraceptives after all.

If you are not ready to provide the services of a physician, don't become one. If it's against my religion to dance in public, I should not dream of Broadway. If I believe that rum is the devil's poison and that Prohibition should be re-established, I should not aspire to become a bartender. If it's against my conscience to provide medical advice or procedures to certain people or for certain reasons, I should not dream of a medical career.

Medicine is about service. You are doing a disservice to half the population of this country by codifying an appalling belief: that women's LIVES are not as important as the FEELINGS of doctors who should never have gone into that practice in the first place.

And yes, this is about a woman's life versus the feelings of her doctor. If a woman cannot control her reproduction, she cannot control any aspect of her life. If a woman cannot delay pregnancy she is at a serious disadvantage compared to a man when it comes to getting an education, maintaining a career, and supporting herself. If at any time she could be railroaded into halting her life to bear a child at someone else's will, then her life as she know it can end at any time.

Anyone reading this, I'm begging you to think about this. Think about what effect having a child really has on women. In third world countries early pregnancy and single motherhood are one of the chief reasons that women and their children are economically and socially the biggest victims of poverty, disease, and hunger. Do you want that here? Are you ready for those consequences? Because that's where we're going.

If you love even a single woman in your life--mother, sister, daughter, friend, lover, anything--please protect her. Say no to this. Treat them like human beings, with wills and lives of their own. Let the women you love control their reproduction, instead of breeding on someone else's timeline and by someone else's rules. You owe them that much.
xenologer: (BEEP)


Got this one from The Curvature.

It's just a fun little video making fun of birth control marketing. Thought I'd share.
xenologer: (BEEP)


Got this one from The Curvature.

It's just a fun little video making fun of birth control marketing. Thought I'd share.
xenologer: (BEEP)


Got this one from The Curvature.

It's just a fun little video making fun of birth control marketing. Thought I'd share.

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