When asked whether Texas's anti-family planning efforts were "a war on birth control," [Texas Rep. Wayne] Christian replied, "Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything."
it's been obvious for a long time that the "pro-life" agenda is about much more than just restricting abortion. Sure, that's a big part of it, which is why, this year alone, we've seen more than 1,000 bills introduced in legislatures around the country to do just that.
But it's not just about abortion. Oh no. It's also about contraception. It's also about health care for women—and their children. It's also about balancing budgets on the backs of low-income families.
Birth control and abortions and everything:
Texas’ six-year-old Alternatives to Abortion program has consistently received increases in state funding, while organizations that provide reproductive-health and family-planning services for the uninsured has steadily decreased. This year, the state Legislature did more than cut family-planning funding, however. It also cut billions of dollars from social-service programs that crisis pregnancy centers and maternity houses refer to under the directive of Alternatives to Abortion.
You know what that means? That means that when a poor woman who is considering an abortion finds herself at one of these state-funded "crisis" centers, worrying about whether she can afford to support a child, she's told not to worry because there are great social services programs that can help her.
Except that these are the very programs that "pro-lifers" like Rep. Christian and Gov. Rick Perry are all too eager to cut. In tough economic times, tough choices must be made. And people like Christian and Perry have chosen to fund bogus pregnancy centers rather than fund the services that actually help women and children. Services, by the way, that have nothing to do with abortion:
The services — nutritional supplements through the Women, Infants, Children program (WIC); free medical care through Medicaid; children’s health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Need Families (TANF) program – benefit Texans in need.
Children's health care. Food. Cash assistance to pay for such luxuries as, say, rent. These are the services that are deemed too expensive, and too unnecessary, to fund. If a mother doesn't have enough money to feed her children, well, too bad. Maybe she can stop by one of those state-funded crisis centers and get a pep talk.
Yes, this is a war. Of course this is a war. And it's not just about abortion. Or contraception. Or family planning education.
It's a war on women. A war on children. A war on health care. A war in which one side is perfectly willing to see people—even the children they claim to love—suffer. A war in which the rhetoric of valuing life is trumped by the reality of funding religious propaganda. A war that drives an ever-widening divide between the haves and the have-nots.
Rep. Christian might be a rancid, hateful individual. But he wasn't lying.
"Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything."
This week's good, bad and ugly below the fold.
- Oh, for god's sake:
In response to his recent suspension, Priests for Life leader Frank Pavone floated the possibility of starting a “religious order” for “religious and lay people who feel called to give their whole lives to the pro-life cause.”
Isn't it touching that a man of God would feel compelled to devote his entire life to something as noble and righteous as terrorizing doctors and their patients? 'Cause that's what Jesus was all about.
- One more thing about this man of God:
The recently suspended leader of the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, Frank Pavone, compared supporting abortion rights to supporting terrorism in a blog post published yesterday.
Yeah. It's the people who support women's equality and reproductive justice who are the terrorists, right? Not the the movement that engages in arson, bomb threats, bombs, butyric acid attacks, stalking, stabbing, kidnapping, death threats, and, oh yeah, murder. When you think about it, it's pretty damn clear who the terrorists are.
- This is just fucking creepy:
An anti-abortion rights campaign called “Voices From the Womb” will perform live ultrasounds on pregnant women on Capitol Hill as part of the launch of a national campaign in October.
And of course, they're doing this out of concern for the children, right?
The Federal Food and Drug Administration has warned women against undergoing unnecessary ultrasound procedures. Because the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on a fetus is not fully known, the FDA has warned that it is best to not have one unless it is medically necessary.
Ohhhhh. So really, it's all about protecting the fetus—unless the fetus makes for a convenient political prop. Then it's fuck the fetus.
- The New York Times concern trolls about why being single is a fate worse than death. Again:
Here’s a September celebration you probably didn’t know about: It’s National Single and Unmarried Americans Week.
But maybe celebration isn’t the right word. Social scientists and researchers say the plight of the American single person is cause for growing concern.
I'm convinced there's a quota at the Times. Must have at least one story a week advising single people (especially women) that they'd better hurry up and get married ... or else.
- Why is nostalgic sexism must-see TV?
What’s both depressing and powerfully nostalgic about these shows is not necessarily that sexism was so virulent -- though that’s certainly upsetting -- but that we failed to capitalize on the nascent momentum that all of these shows explore. Some of those failures, like the inability to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, are a testament to the persistence of sexism in American society. And some of them are the result of fighting with ghosts. Should women and men be represented exactly equally in all industries? Are we really going to tell women that it’s wrong to take time out of the workforce to raise their children? Shows like "Mad Men," "The Hour," "The Playboy Club" and "Pan Am" resonate with us not because we want to return to the bad old days, but because we wish we had a clearer path toward a better future.
- The World Bank reports that "women represent 40% of the world’s labor force but hold just 1% of the world’s wealth."
- Ohio is trying to be the most anti-choice state in the country:
Yesterday, hundreds of people rallied at the Columbus, Ohio, statehouse in support of the so-called "Heartbeat Bill," the pending legislation that could crown Ohio as home of the strictest abortion law in the country. The law would, except in cases of extreme medical emergency, make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, i.e., as early as six weeks after conception (i.e., probably before you've realized you're pregnant). It's so strict that even Ohio Right to Life isn't supporting it, saying there's no way it's going to hold up in court, because it's totally unconstitutional.
- But Nevada isn't far behind. Forced birthers there are still trying to ban abortion completely:
The petition would prohibit “the intentional taking of a prenatal person’s life” and defines a prenatal person as “every human being at all stages of biological development before birth.”
The petition is similar to a failed 2010 petition pushed by the Personhood USA group, which is pursuing anti-abortion laws across the country. That petition was rejected by Carson District Court Judge James Russell, who found the language too vague to be clear to voters.
And yes, in case you were wondering, Nevada is a death penalty state. But don't worry—it's not like these forced birthers are trying to outlaw the "intentional taking" of all life. Just the prenatal kind.
- Let's end on a slightly better note. The Washington Post editorial board again goes after the forced birthers in Virginia:
IT’S ALREADY HARD to get an abortion in Virginia, and it’s about to get much harder.
The reason is a new set of regulations — absurdly onerous and utterly unnecessary — pushed by conservative ideologues in Richmond and adopted by the state Board of Health, which is dominated by appointees of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). The regulations, which go into effect Jan. 1, are likely to result in the closure of many or most of Virginia’s 23 abortion clinics, which accounted for all but a few hundred of the 26,000 procedures performed in the state last year. [...]
The main victims of choking off the availability of abortions will be poor African Americans and Hispanics, who account for a majority of women who undergo abortions nationwide. In Virginia, they are concentrated in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond.
Already, it was hard for many women to find a clinic (or the rare hospital provider) to get an abortion in the commonwealth. The state has just 38 providers, down from 46 in 2005, and just eight of the state’s 135 localities have any provider.
The new regulatory regime provides antiabortion activists a shameful victory and an end run around a procedure deemed a constitutional right under the law of the land.