It’s January — a time of credit card debt, resolutions you don’t intend to keep, and new legislation that kicked in at the turn of the calendar. What laws are going to be making your life better — or worse — in 2016? Let’s take a look.
The anti-choice narrative since Planned Parenthood’s inception has been that PP has been ghoulishly profiting off of abortions, both by dragging in huge amounts of cash for the procedure and (as is currently under discussion) selling baby parts for exorbitant prices. First of all, I have to inject some basic common sense: If you’re hearing rumors that gloriously satisfy your hate-on for an organization while simultaneously sounding like a late-season plot of Charmed, they’re probably not entirely, or even a little bit, valid. “They sell and/or eat dead babies” has been a charge, throughout history, lobbed against the Chinese, Jewish, pagan, and so many other marginalized people, and never substantiated because people don’t do that. Even the people you’d really, really like to paint as monsters.
1) You’ll be interested to know that if you get fired for breastfeeding, that is not an instance of sex discrimination, according to a ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court that the Supreme Court has decided to let stand, because,…
Hello to everybody! I know I dropped out of sight for a while, not just in terms of posting but also in terms of commenting. I wasn’t ready to talk about why, but having just received good news and passed…
In Florida, Stand Your Ground was used as the foundation of George Zimmerman’s defense after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. In South Carolina, it was used to defend a man who walked out of the house with a gun to confront “women thugs” who had threatened his daughter; he ended up shooting a teenage boy in his car instead. Also in Florida, Marissa Alexander has repeatedly been denied the chance to use the Stand Your Ground defense against charges after she fired a warning shot above the head of her abusive husband. This month, Charleston prosecutors moved to further endanger the Marissa Alexanders of South Carolina by saying that Stand Your Ground shouldn’t apply to victims of domestic violence who confront their abusers.
Most women don’t need to be told the story of a woman’s abortion (or two abortions) after forgetting to use birth control in the heat of the moment. Most of us know a woman who’s done that. About one in three women will be her. Statistically, several women reading this post at this moment have not just had an abortion, but have had a “bad” abortion. So they don’t need to read about someone else’s just to understand.
I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story.
Conscience laws. Fucking conscience laws. In this case, the fucking “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” Alabama HB31, which would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would “violate their conscience.”
It’s no secret that a woman dressing all sexy-like is all it takes to negate a rape accusation. But just how sexy is all sexy-like? I don’t know for sure, but courtesy of Virginia state Senator Dick Black, we can guess that in marital rape it goes as far south as “flannel nightie.” Meanwhile, In the House of Representatives, Virginia rep and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte defends the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” as a job creator because of all the care that will be necessary for all the kids that will be born to mothers who have no other options.
That’s the question I’m addressing at Al Jazeera this week, and I actually say yes, I would sign on to that deal. With the Texas abortion law restricting the procedure to 20 weeks and a series of other proposals in states across the U.S., there’s been all sorts of discussion as to when we should limit abortion rights. My general stance is that abortion should be entirely unrestricted up to the point of fetal viability, and then it should be permissible in cases of the pregnant person’s health (including mental health), life or fetal anomaly. But with the uptick in abortion restrictions, pro-lifers now routinely make the argument that in places like France, abortion is limited to 12 weeks, and the French have lower abortion rates and better health outcomes than Americans. Pro-choicers typically respond that France also has a bunch of other health benefits that make the comparison impossible, including good state-sponsored childcare, parental leave, free and accessible abortion before 12 weeks, affordable and accessible contraception, good sex education and on and on. But I’m curious: If there were an actual horse-trade and pro-lifers were willing to come to the table, would pro-choicers agree to limit abortion to 12 weeks if we could get all that other stuff? It’s a supreme hypothetical because in no universe would this actually happen, but if it did, I say yes.
The state of North Carolina has passed a $10 million compensation plan for victims of its eugenics program, which ran from 1929 to 1974. It’s estimated that 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under the program; 177 have since been identified.
[Strong content note for ableism and racism]
I’m not a fan, but at least Republican rape philosophers shine a light on the GOP’s radical views on abortion. As it stands, they’re passing laws that include no exceptions for rape survivors, and they’re doing it quietly: