It bears repeating, now and then, that the people (politicians, activists, etc.) who tend to bray the loudest about the need to stop abortion also tend to oppose any and all measures with an actual, proven track record of reducing the number of abortions—usually because those measures require an acknowledgment that sex is a thing that happens whether they shame people for it or not. That’s something they just cannot do, I guess.
(They also tend to oppose measures that would assist new parents in raising the children they insist those new parents have, but that’s a rant for another day.)
In the face of all this evidence of what actually works, they just keep spinning their wheels. It’s almost like stopping abortion isn’t the real objective, you know?
Currently, 43 million American workers have no paid sick leave. For them, an illness or the illness of a loved one comes with the risk of losing wages, or worse, their jobs. One would think that Obama’s renewed vigor on paid family leave should be extremely attractive to anti-choice activists, with their love of large families.
Why should policies that support families be a top priority for anti-choice activists? Having a child in this country is remarkably pricey—and this is why a majority of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy do so. According to a 2004 Guttmacher Institute survey, 73 percent of women who have an abortion say they made that choice because they could not afford to raise a child. Of those women, 28 percent said that they could not afford childcare, with another 23 percent of respondents saying that they could not afford to provide a child the basic needs of life. The average cost of raising one child is now $245,000 dollars. In 31 states, daycare alone costs more than college.
Essentially, proponents for the March for Life, and others who don’t believe in the right to choose, have forced women between a rock and a hard place: demonized for having a perfectly safe and legal procedure, but given absolutely no aid if she chooses to carry to term. Implementing policies that value families—like paid family leave—would be the true pro-family thing to do. Restricting a woman’s right to abortion while opposing the ways that would allow her take care of herself and her child proves that anti-choicers don’t care about families, they care about control over women’s bodies—and women’s lives.
Fox News continues its march right past being conservative on gender issues and towards being overtly and grotesquely misogynist. As David Edwards at Raw Story reported, the show Fox & Friends did a New Year’s Day bit praising one of those sexist dating guides that promises women they’ll be able to “catch” a man while simultaneously and unintentionally arguing that men are wretched creatures that no woman should ever mess with. (To be clear, I disagree. There are plenty of men who don’t need a woman to debase herself by acting like an unpaid servant in order to “earn” love, but these kinds of dating guides always assume men are such weak monsters that this is the only way to get one to like you.) The book is called Single Man, Married Man and it purports to be a guide to how to mold yourself to be what men really want. And apparently what men really want is a doorma, though one who pretends that waiting on you hand and foot and never standing up for yourself is a form of “strength”.
Profit is usually a top priority on Wall Street, but some of the latest ventures into finance by start-ups seem to be inspired more by Karl Marx than John Pierpont Morgan.
A number of new financial start-ups are trying to reach younger and middle-class Americans by upending the customary fee structure of traditional brokerage firms and money managers. They are backed by deep-pocketed venture capital investors — and even celebrities like the rapper Snoop Dogg — who are wagering that these upstarts can challenge the Wall Street establishment.
Robinhood, a new brokerage firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., whose founders were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, introduced an app this month that lets customers trade stocks without paying commissions. (The firm plans to make money by offering margin loans and by collecting a portion of the interest earned on customer money invested in money market funds.)
Some industry experts have voiced skepticism about the viability of the new business models, including those of Aspiration and Robinhood. But venture capitalists have been happy to bet that technology-focused start-ups can offer more appealing products for buying stocks or managing savings.
The National Review‘s Kevin Williamson recently wrote that he believes women who have abortions should be executed. He specifically mentioned hanging as the means of execution. I’m not going to get into Williamson’s rhetoric, nor am I going to link to his post (you can look it up.) I’m more interested in how he responded to a few real-life examples of how his idea might play out, as described by RH Reality Check‘s Jodi Jacobson:
In an ongoing Twitter exchange, I asked Williamson if he knew women who had had abortions. He said yes. I asked him if he had told them he thought they should be hanged. No answer. I asked again. No answer. I asked if he would tell the women in his circle who’ve had abortions that he believes they committed homicide. No answer. I asked Williamson if, being consistent and applying the laws he supports to his own family, he would allow his wife to die in a circumstance in which her life were imminently threatened by a pregnancy rather than break his no exceptions rule. He would not answer. I asked if his wife opted for an abortion in a given circumstance, including to save her own life, would he report her to the authorities. Again, no answer. The only reply I got was him calling my line of questioning an “elementary-school trolley problem gambit.”
“Go look it up if you don’t understand,” he added.
In short, he gave no answer when asked to apply his legal proposal to his own family. He refused to take responsibility for the laws and policies he espouses.
Of course, I don’t believe for a second that Williamson thinks anyone he personally knows would ever be subject to his suggested punishment. Either he hasn’t thought it through that far—and refuses to do so now—or he expects anyone in his circle to be above that sort of thing.
What is interesting to me are the ways Williamson, and others like him, choose to deflect the difficult questions. A common tactic I have seen is to dismiss uncomfortable questions by simply calling them “ignorant,” or some similar adjective, and then refusing to discuss the matter further. Here, Williamson cites the “trolley problem,” with liberal helpings of condescension, to dismiss Jacobson. In case you’re unfamiliar with the trolley problem, here’s a version of it: Continue reading →
Earlier that morning, a speaker had flattered the [Gun Rights Policy Conference] crowd by calling them “the most sophisticated gun-rights gathering in the country.” This is probably true. It’s also telling. All of the room’s combined political experience, intelligence and savvy still does not add up to the ability to grasp how America’s largely unregulated gun trade has become a public health crisis, or why background checks and other common-sense measures poll so well. The gun-rights movement continues to see background checks through the same paranoid prism it sees everything else: the threat of door-to-door gun confiscation.
I’m not here to start an argument. I am here, however, to ask how you expect a fetus to exercise its rights if a woman doesn’t allow it to happen. Your statement doesn’t make any sense. What can the child do for itself at that point?
There’s a concept called bodily autonomy. It’s generally considered a human right. Bodily autonomy means a person has control over who or what uses their body, for what, and for how long. It’s why you can’t be forced to donate blood, tissue, or organs. Even if you’re dead. Even if you’d save or improve 20 lives. It’s why someone can’t touch you, have sex with you,or use your body in any way without your continuous consent.
A fetus is using someone’s body parts. Therefore under bodily autonomy, it is there by permission, not by right. It needs a person’s continuous consent. If they deny or withdraw consent, the pregnant person has a right to remove them from that moment. A fetus is equal in this regard because if I need someone else’s body parts to live, they also can legally deny me their use.
By saying a fetus has a right to someone’s body parts until it’s born, despite the pregnant person’s wishes, you’re doing two things.
1) Granting a fetus more rights to other people’s bodies than any born person.
2) Awarding a pregnant person less right’s to their body than a corpse.
To hear the lurid descriptions of what anti-choicers imagine abortion to be, it seems that they imagine someone killing an actual baby. Upending that narrative and reminding people, through incontrovertible visual proof, that during a first-trimester abortion the embryo is so small as to barely register as a potential baby, much less an actual baby, might be the most threatening part of the Letts video. Her stomach is flat. The abortion is quite obviously a quick gynecological procedure. If she had stayed pregnant, eventually there would be a baby. But it’s clear as could be, watching the video, that only fantasists have the ability to see “baby” where realists see nothing more than the beginning of a long process known as “pregnancy.” It’s no more a baby than a seed is a tree.
While the debate over abortion is really about sexuality and women’s rights, the official line from anti-choicers is that they’re against killing “babies,” and so this probably is pretty embarrassing for them, because it reveals that their cover story is perhaps even sillier than their fears about female sexuality. So, their effort to save face involves multiple variations of “Don’t believe your lying eyes! Just because you can’t see a baby doesn’t mean there isn’t a baby there!”
Do health-care professionals have the right to refuse to provide abortions or contraception based on their “conscientious objection” to these services? Many pro-choice activists would retort, “No way! If you can’t do your job, quit and find another career!” We agree with them, and have detailed why in our new paper, “‘Dishonourable Disobedience’: Why Refusal to Treat In Reproductive Healthcare Is Not Conscientious Objection.”
Reproductive health care is the only field in medicine where freedom of conscience is accepted as an argument to limit a patient‘s right to a legal medical treatment. It is the only example where the otherwise accepted standard of evidence-based medicine is overruled by faith-based actions. We argue in our paper that the exercise of conscientious objection (CO) is a violation of medical ethics because it allows health-care professionals to abuse their position of trust and authority by imposing their personal beliefs on patients. Physicians have a monopoly on the practice of medicine, with patients completely reliant on them for essential health care. Moreover, doctors have chosen a profession that fulfills a public trust, making them duty-bound to provide care without discrimination. This makes CO an arrogant paternalism, with doctors exerting power over their dependent patients—a throwback to the obsolete era of “doctor knows best.”
Denial of care inevitably creates at least some degree of harm to patients, ranging from inconvenience, humiliation, and psychological stress to delays in care, unwanted pregnancy, increased medical risks, and death. Since reproductive health care is largely delivered to women, CO rises to the level of discrimination, undermining women’s self-determination and liberty. CO against providing abortions, in particular, is based on a denial of the overwhelming evidence and historical experience that have proven the harms of legal and other restrictions, a rejection of the human rights ethic that justifies the provision of safe and legal abortion to women, and a refusal to respect democratically decided laws. Allowing CO for abortion also ignores the global realities of poor access to services, pervasive stigma, and restrictive laws. It just restricts access even further, adding to the already serious abrogation of patients’ rights.
Speaking at the Pastor for Life Luncheon, which was sponsored by Pro-Life Mississippi, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians because “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures” who created us.
“They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship,” he continued. “Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.”
Yes, 21st-century America should totally take all of its cues from this cat.
He said something else interesting, though, that seems to have been largely overlooked:
Chief Justice Moore later defined “life” via Blackstone’s Law — a book that American lawyers have “sadly forgotten” — as beginning when “the baby kicks.” “Today,” he said, “our courts say it’s not alive ’til the head comes out.”