Author: has written 5299 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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47 Responses

  1. Roxie
    Roxie March 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    I thought “The Handmaid’s Tale” was fiction

  2. Helen
    Helen March 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    What the actual fuck? I’m too bewildered to say anything else right now…

  3. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl March 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    Doesn’t this count as child porn?

  4. andrea
    andrea March 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    All I ask, Jill, is that when you DO show up, please please please have someone there to videotape it.

  5. gretel
    gretel March 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    (Until I show up swinging a bloody tampon. YOU THINK YOU’RE YOUNG, FETUS? MEET A FERTILIZED EGG. BAM. OWNED).

    Thank you, Jill, for continually making me laugh, because otherwise I would punch a hole in my monitor right now.

  6. Serena
    Serena March 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    Sometimes I swear that I’m living in bizarro world. Some dude should go wack off in COngress and toss his sperm on the podium so that it can testify – that will win the award for “youngest testimony.” OMG!

  7. gretel
    gretel March 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    Do we think the fetus will wear blue? I’ve heard it’s a color that elicits sympathy.

  8. Kristin
    Kristin March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm |

    Yeah, meanwhile in Tennessee, legislators have introduced the strongest “anti-Sharia” legislation introduced yet–potentially criminalizing things like, oh, praying five times a day. Which is only related inasmuch as I wanted to say: Fuck states’ rights.

  9. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl March 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Why stop at blue? A little red and white striping is always fetching on a 9-week-old. Fetus, that is.

  10. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    Some dude should go wack off in COngress

    I’m not clear what else you could call the latest legislation from the Republican party, really…

  11. Florence
    Florence March 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    An aide to committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann said a pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen.

    Think she’ll be allowed to speak?

  12. groggette
    groggette March 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Florence: Think she’ll be allowed to speak?

    Whoa there! Let’s not get carried away or anything.

  13. Marle
    Marle March 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    What gets to me here is that to work this little skit, they have to bring in a women who without the ultrasound no one would be able to tell whether or not she’s pregnant (pregnancy doesn’t show at 9 weeks). So basically they’re expecting people to see a baby when they look at a woman, and by extention, see a baby when they look at any woman.

    Of course they’re going to bring a woman who will coo over her baby and not have any problem with having an organism that you can’t even tell is there be more important than her, but can’t a pro-choice woman (who may or may not be 9 weeks pregnant) testify to show the problem with this? Stand up and say hey, you can’t tell if I’m pregnant or not, but you’re going to try to make emotional decisions about me when you don’t even know me? It would have to be worded a lot better than that, but does that sound like a good idea to anyone else?

  14. Me
    Me March 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    I wonder whether child labor laws would apply

  15. queenaeron
    queenaeron March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    Makes me ashamed to say I’m an Ohioan.

    KMTBERRY March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Oh God,l I have now OFFICIALLY HAD IT.


    Ladies, let us VOTE THEM ALL OUT !!!

  17. Tony
    Tony March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    Huh, interesting. This only outlaws abortion after the first heartbeat is detected. I thought the anti-choicers believed that life began at conception? Last I heard, there were 9 weeks between conception and heartbeat. So are the proponents of this bill admitting that life begins at heartbeat now, as opposed to conception? And if not, why make this distinction?

  18. PG
    PG March 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    I think the heartbeat has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with the tropes of the abortion Prohibitionist movement. They have long emphasized fetal heartbeat as evidence that the fetus is a person distinct from the woman it lives inside, despite the fact that if it’s a pre-viable fetus, then by definition that heartbeat depends on the woman’s own life.

    Along those lines, thanks to those who have pointed out that here, once again, abortion prohibitionists are trying to blank out women so they may more conveniently focus on fetuses.

  19. Felicity
    Felicity March 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    One hopes it doesn’t constitute any sort of legal precedent to use in fetal personhood law. *eyeroll*

  20. norbizness
    norbizness March 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    (Mr. Show “Pre-Natal Pageant” sketch)

  21. bhuesca
    bhuesca March 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Hasn’t this all been done before, and several years ago too? John Edwards, trial lawyer-turned- Dem VP Candidate 2004-turned-adulterous jerk, won several cases where he describe
    d/”channeled its thoughts”/”spoke in the persona of” the fetus (which was then born with birth defects, spurring these lawsuits). He got filthy rich and politically prominent by speaking the thoughts of a fetus…at least this time it’s just an ultrasound…

  22. Further Notes From the Conservative Murder of Parody : Lawyers, Guns & Money

    […] Perhaps after this, they can add some spermatozoa-Americans from a used condom to the witness list. […]

  23. Emeryn
    Emeryn March 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    KMTBERRY: Oh God,l I have now OFFICIALLY HAD IT. NO MORE MEN IN LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS! EVER!Ladies, let us VOTE THEM ALL OUT !!!  (Quote this comment?)

    As long as they aren’t replaced with Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

  24. leedevious
    leedevious March 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    It’s almost like they’re satirizing themselves…

  25. xpara
    xpara March 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    How are they going to swear the fetus in?

  26. Erica
    Erica March 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    I have a vagina puppet that would like to testify, too. My vagina [puppet] has lots of things to say about this.

  27. Matt
    Matt March 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    The legislators responsible for this should own up to which one of them has a preggers fetish and stop using the legislative process to generate fap material.

  28. Kara
    Kara March 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    queenaeron: Makes me ashamed to say I’m an Ohioan.  

    Ugh. Seconded.

    If this grandstanding piece of blankety-blank bill actually passes (and why are they wasting taxpayer money on this anyway?) I wonder what they will do to women who have the audacity to leave the state to obtain an abortion.

  29. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni March 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm |


  30. Jadey
    Jadey March 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    Q Grrl: Doesn’t this count as child porn?  

    HAH. Perfect counter-move.

    The heartbeat thing baffles me. The heart does not beat because there is brain activity. It beats because that is what its cells are designed to do as reflexive motor activity. It does not make the foetus any more or less a person than does its capacity to shit.

  31. preying mantis
    preying mantis March 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    uh, don’t you need to do the ultrasound transvaginally at that gestational age?

  32. tim f
    tim f March 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    What Felicity said. Isn’t there a concern that the court are essentially recognising the fetus as a person by scheduling it as a witness in its own right?

    Unless, perhaps, the court will accept a woman’s toe, or ear, or elbow, or some other part of her body as a witness in its own right?

  33. marle
    marle March 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    preying mantis: uh, don’t you need to do the ultrasound transvaginally at that gestational age?  

    That’s interesting. Can they even do an ultrasound where the committee meets? I don’t know much about ultrasounds, but they don’t seem like portable medical procedures.

    I bet they’re just going to use a pre-recorded video. Which is rather stupid.

  34. Lance
    Lance March 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm |

    Tim, this has nothing to do with court– the fetus is “testifying” before a legislature. There’s a long tradition of calling asinine witnesses. You may recall that Congress called Colbert to testify on immigration which, much as I like the guy, was absurd. Elmo the puppet once testified before Congress. As a precedent this means nothing.

  35. Odin
    Odin March 1, 2011 at 7:26 pm |

    Can we get a biologist who works with heart cells to bring some in a dish to testify, too? Because one of the really awesome things about heart cells is that they will beat on their own, in a petri dish if that’s where you’ve got them. They don’t need to be part of a full-fledged heart or even something as sophisticated as an embryo.

    Also, we should be highly suspicious of the fetus who is testifying, on the grounds that if it’s really a fetus and 9 weeks old, it might be lying about its age. Depending on whether that’s 9 weeks gestational age, since last menstrual period, etc, it might actually not be a fetus yet.

  36. RD
    RD March 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Bagelsan: Some dude should go wack off in COngressI’m not clear what else you could call the latest legislation from the Republican party, really…  

    Hah. You win. :P

  37. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko March 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    I can almost guarantee it will have an Elmo-like voice and speak in baby tawk.

    Alternatively, it will be a 10 minute ultrasound video with a beating heart and no other sound and then saying something like fetuses can’t speak for themselves and then say in the last 10 minutes x number of fetuses were aborted and then have a picture of a swastika or something.

    It will be one of those two things.

  38. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm |

    Ladies, let us VOTE THEM ALL OUT !!! KMTBERRY

    Well, for all they know we are “voting for two”…

    (Also, can that be a thing now? Unlike most guys, who have to whip up a batch of sperm to order, the majority of us ladies have a whole ton of potential fetuses sitting around in our ovaries all the time… shouldn’t they get the right to vote? And don’t get me started on how young you start making those little buggers! A person in a person in a — It’s like Inception, but with gametes. And I’m pretty sure I never got to exercise all their tiny gametey rights… Where are my retroactive partial childhood votes that my developing eggs didn’t get? Can I use them all now?)

  39. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan March 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    If someone showed them a picture of a tiny pig fetus would they know the difference? Chick embryo? Developing mouse? I think nooot…*

    Fiddles with projector: “And here’s an ultrasound of my darling chil– no, wait, sorry that’s the rat fetus I was dissecting the other day. Whoops. Oh, here we go, it’s my lovely bab– hrm, nah, pretty sure that’s a kidney. Ah, that’s it! See, you can just make out the shape of it’s tiny wing– GAH fucking chick pictures, gettin’ mixed in with my precious baby…half a second, sorry…”

    *(Booger? Chicken nugget? Map of Greenland? I submit to you that still, no.)

  40. Caity
    Caity March 2, 2011 at 12:09 am |

    If there’s anything I learned in developmental biology it was that a heart beat isn’t really a big freaking deal. The heart forms long before the brain is finished simply because the fetus needs a circulatory system to get beyond a certain size. Brains aren’t really that important, so they get finished up and start working later.

    Despite what some might think at times, a human fetus isn’t really any different from that of other animals in early stages. The presence of a beating heart does not a person make. It’s still a non-sentient lump of tissue, only now part of it is pulsing. It’s not an independent, feeling, thinking, seperate human being yet, it’s a brainless collection of tissues that’s growing inside an actual human being and requires the use of her organs to live. I don’t see how a pre-sentient fetus should be given greater ownership of a woman’s body than she is.


  41. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick March 2, 2011 at 12:33 am |

    I wonder whether child labor laws would apple

    How are they going to swear the fetus in?

    Good points. I also wonder whether it will be in contempt when it “refuses” to answer questions.

  42. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. March 2, 2011 at 12:41 am |


    From the SO who is currently putting up some curtain rods:

    LOL. FYI, I am stealing that idea. I think I’ll open my discussion of reproductive rights with a slide show of various random objects that are indistinguishable from a 9 week old fetus ending with a map of Greenland. Far more interesting that my current historical survey.

  43. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers March 2, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    I would like to have a fetus come testify about how it isn’t getting enough nutrient from what its mother’s healthy bloodstream could normally provide to it, so it’s pumping chemicals through her placenta into her to raise her blood pressure to alarmingly high levels and suppressing the activity of her pancreas because the fetus wants more blood sugar, dammit.

    How about a fetus coming and testifying about how it’s taking all the calcium out of its mom’s teeth and bones, because it needs the calcium, dammit, she’s an old lady and she’s only got another 60 years or so of life, while it’s a fetus and it needs the calcium RIGHT NOW. Mom can just have all her teeth fall out and get osteoporosis.

    Perhaps a fetus could report how much fun it is to kick Mom in the bladder and make her pee herself. Endless lulz!

    Simply because something has a heartbeat does not imply you need to let it move into your body, steal your calcium, raise your blood pressure and sugar, and give you urinary incontinence, unless YOU choose it. Otherwise, Congressman, I want your pancreas. I have a heartbeat too! Therefore I deserve your pancreas, if you aren’t hypoglycemic or diabetic, because I am hypoglycemic and therefore I need a new pancreas! I could use your bones too while I’m at it.

  44. Florence
    Florence March 2, 2011 at 11:13 am |

    preying mantis: uh, don’t you need to do the ultrasound transvaginally at that gestational age?  

    Uh, yeah. You’re right. I had an ultrasound recently when I was about that far along, and yes, it had to be transvaginal. They could use a fetal doppler, but that wouldn’t have the awesome visual.

  45. Bushfire
    Bushfire March 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    I thought “The Handmaid’s Tale” was fiction

    No, Roxie, it never was fiction. Atwood claimed it was fiction but women who read it know the truth. That books describes exactly what radical right-wingers want.

  46. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

    The worst part about it? Some women will probably vote for this bill. At least, am always bamboozled when I hear a woman (or two) voted for some crazy bill like that to pass. Sigh…

  47. rottenart
    rottenart March 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Alexandra: The worst part about it? Some women will probably vote for this bill. At least, am always bamboozled when I hear a woman (or two) voted for some crazy bill like that to pass. Sigh…  

    Indeed. The legislator behind the law itself is a woman, I believe.

    It’s baffling to me that there are some who not only don’t see this as a cheap stunt but who also don’t see what a dangerous and absurd slippery slope when applied to reality. But this is all about emotion and ideology, not facts. Like I said, baffling. Not surprising.

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