Rape is in the news again this week with another widely-publicized gang rape in India and a 31-day sentence for an American teacher who raped a 14-year-old student (she later committed suicide). In the Guardian I’m writing about how certain cultures abet rape and keep reporting rates low:
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:
This summer, I did something that I’ve been putting off for eight years: I sat down and talked to my parents about how they handled my abortion. We’ve talked about my abortion before, a sentence here or there, but usually it’s in the context of a larger conversation about something that’s going on in politics or the news. The most we’ve ever talked about it is when I’ve talked about my feelings about my abortion. I have never given my parents the space to talk about how it affected them, never gave them a platform to talk about their own feelings. I think this is because I had been carrying a load of resentment for a long time.
Abortion restrictions are being introduced, debated and mostly passed across several states in the U.S. Texas has been the most notable, but many others — Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi and North Dakota — are ramping up their anti-abortion legislation. But while the GOP claims to focus on “life,” many of the states dedicating enormous amounts of time, money and energy to limiting abortion also see incredibly poor health outcomes for mothers and children. I outline some of them over at Al Jazeera; here’s a bit:
1. We’re trashing a teenager who is doing her civic duty and whose friend was murdered. Good job, everyone, you should be proud. No, she doesn’t speak like a 50-year-old white lawyer. But Rachel Jeantel is not on trial here, and the attacks on her are awful. Also, watching George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer hammer the fact that Trayvon Martin told Jeantel that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” in a transparent attempt to stoke some racial animus among white people who are deeply offended at being called “crackers” was pretty appalling.
Last night, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis attempted a 13-hour filibuster to block the passage of SB5, which would have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks and establish stringent requirements for abortion facilities that would have shut down most of the facilities in the state. And while her filibuster was cut short after less than 11 hours, other Democratic lawmakers and supporters in the gallery carried the vote past the midnight deadline. At 3:00 a.m., Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst announced SB5 dead.
In August of 2008, I became pregnant with what I thought would be my second child. A few weeks later, I lay on a table in a darkened room in my OB-GYN’s office while a sympathetic ultrasound technician shook her head sadly and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t find a heartbeat.” A few hours after that, I was in an operating room having a D&C, having chosen, on the very good advice of my doctor, to get it over with sooner rather than later. A few months later I peed on a stick and saw two pink lines, and my miscarriage was largely forgotten.
Earlier this week, Serena Williams made some seriously victim-blamey statements about the Steubenville Jane Doe. She apologized, but the apology wasn’t exactly spot-on. I wrote about it in my Guardian column this week, arguing that Williams’ comments were beyond the pale, but they’re part of a bigger cultural problem. The full piece is here; a snippet is below the fold.
They adjust, yes, to their circumstances of raising children they did not want to bear. But they’re more likely to be poor and face other significant hardships.
I’m sure many Feministe readers have been closely following the story of Beatriz, a young Salvadoran mother with lupus who was pregnant with an anencephalic fetus. The pregnancy, which was doomed because the fetus had only a brainstem but no brain, was killing her. Her kidneys were shutting down, and the longer they were under stress, the higher the likelihood that if she didn’t die, she would need to be on dialysis for the rest of her life — a major hardship and almost definitely a life-shortener for a woman living in rural El Salvador with very limited access to health care. Doctors said Beatriz needed an abortion, but El Salvador has some of the strictest pro-life laws in the world, and their courts refused her the procedure under the logic that her life wasn’t imminently threatened (apparently since she would die in a few days or weeks, not minutes) and that it’s never ok to prioritize a woman’s life over a fetus’s life. Doctors in El Salvador got around the law by waiting until the 26th week of pregnancy and then performing a Cesarean section — a procedure everyone knew would result in the death of the fetus (which it did) but which can be construed as a “birth” instead of an abortion, even though the end result is the same. Of course, a C-section is significantly more dangerous than an abortion (and especially more dangerous than an earlier abortion, which Beatriz could have had two months ago if she didn’t live in a “pro-life” nation). C-sections are invasive surgical procedures, which are significantly more complicated than early abortions, and pose much higher risks of infection or complication, especially when performed on someone whose health is already compromised by lupus and potential organ failure. They take longer to recover from, and they’re more expensive. Beatriz, thankfully, seems to be doing fine. But she was still legally compelled to undergo a more dangerous, invasive and complicated procedure — and forced to have her body suffer through declining health — so that ideologues could feel better about the intent of a more dangerous procedure that everyone knew would have the exact same outcome as an earlier, safer one.
An important and awesome step from a major pro-choice organization: Coming out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, because it’s good for women and good for public health:
If you paid attention to the interwebs late last week, you probably some twitterings about Kermitt Gosnell, a Pennsylvania doctor accused of running a horror show out of his low-rent abortion clinic. He’s on trial in state court after being investigated and arrested two years ago — which you might remember, since feminist media (including this blog) covered the issue extensively. But now, lefty and centrist dudes are Very Concerned about Gosnell. Why? Because a handful of pro-lifers are whining that no one has covered the case, and lefty journalists are intentionally squelching any sort of media focus on Gosnell. In reality, the Grand Jury report was filed in early 2011, and included most of the facts now being presented at trial. In early 2011, dozens of outlets covered the report. When the trial commenced a few weeks ago, local media covered it. And when there’s a verdict, mainstream and feminist media will likely cover it again, since that will be something new to report. This is how media coverage of big court cases works, most of the time. So what’s all the fuss? And why are usually skeptical journalists taking known liars like Michelle Malkin and Jill Stanek at their word? I’m at Al Jazeera writing about it: