Tag Archives | abortion

Elizabeth Warren, Planned Parenthood, and Me…Redux

Six years ago, I wrote a post about Dr George Tiller, who was murdered by someone who called himself “pro-life.”

I’ll leave you a minute to savor the horrific ironies in that statement.

And now, six years later, it’s not only the body of a doctor that is on the line but all of Planned Parenthood, as the wackadoodles in the US Senate attempt to defund the entire organization.

Elizabeth Warren, bless her, gave a fiery speech on the Senate floor in which she asked the Republican Senators “Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

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By this point, I have to say that those don’t seem like rhetorical questions. It seems as if yes, in fact, a large segment of this country is living–or would like to live– in some putative golden age when the only people in the United States with rights are white people who can’t get pregnant, ever.

Welcome to the age of Not Mattering. Non-white bodies don’t seem to matter that much; bodies of people who can get pregnant don’t seem to matter that much; bodies of anyone outside a very narrow demographic swath don’t seem to matter that much.

When my friends and I joined marches for reproductive rights decades ago–decades–we never imagined that now, well into middle age (dear god, how did we get to middle age?),  we would be fighting the same fight, helping our (much wanted) sons and daughters fight the same fight, wondering why on earth people are still so afraid of women controlling their own reproductive choices.

The marvelous Katha Pollitt writes “the whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary,” and she’s right.

Six years ago, watching the vigil for Dr Tiller, I thought “surely things can’t get any worse.” And while for the Tiller family, that’s probably the truth, I’m wondering how much worse things are going to get for the rest of us.




My column about Dr. Tiller was collected in a volume edited by the marvelous Joanne Bamberger, called Mothers of Intention

Continue Reading · on August 6, 2015 in Children, family, Feminism, Gender, Kids, Parenting, Politics, ranting

if government is so limited, why can it tell me what to do with my body?

In the slosh of post-State of the Union commentary, the Repugs talked a lot about the need for “limited government.” Paul Ryan, the Eddie Munster-ish Wisconsin dude who gave the initial Obama rebuttal was all about how government has to scale back and cut back and generally just stay the hell out of everybody’s business (free enterprise cures everything, dontcha know). Somehow he invoked Lincoln as an arbiter of limited government (at about 9:04 of his speech), thus revealing himself as a graduate of the Michele Bachmann School of Historical Nonfacts. Wasn’t that whole Civil War thing fought about the question of federal authority? Lincoln’s government wasn’t so much limited as it was marching all the hell over the south proclaiming its power–abolishing slavery was sort of incidental.

Ryan’s talk looked a bit like a Midwestern infomercial, right down to the I-practiced-them-in-the-mirror head nods and sympathetic smiles, and his doublespeak should be something we’re used to by now, but this drumbeat of “limited government” has gotten so loud that when it stops, the silence is deafening.

And the silence about limited government deafens me most when Congress starts talking about abortion. When it comes to abortion, conservatives from both parties think the government should be making decisions on the uterine level.

The latest effort to unlimit government comes in a new bill introduced by Chris Smith of NJ, which would rewrite the laws about government funding (including tax benefits, such as a Health Savings Account) being used for abortions.  Currently, federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or where the life of the pregnant woman may be endangered.

The new law under discussion–which has the full support of the orange crocodile himself, John Boehner–restricts funding in all cases, except those of “forcible rape” (Sect 309.1).

Okay, so maybe it’s just my English Professor hackles being raised here, but isn’t rape by definition “forced?”

Not according to the wisdom of Boehner, Smith & Co.  Statuatory rape isn’t “forced,” date rape isn’t “forced,” rape in instances where women were drugged or drunk isn’t “forced,” rape in instances where a woman isn’t mentally competent isn’t “forced.” And abortion for pregnancy that results from incest is only covered by federal funding if the pregnant body in question is under 18. Over 18? Apparently that’s not “forced.”

Would anyone like to guess who will be most profoundly hurt should this bill become law? Yeah, that’s right. Any woman (or girl) who doesn’t have private health insurance. Gosh, that would seem to suggest mostly poor people. Isn’t that astonishing? The teary-eyed congressman with the small penis giant gavel favors a law that will further screw poor women who have already been screwed against their will.

So let me conclude today’s lesson in how to speak conservative:

“Limited government” means unchecked regulation of Big Business and lots of regulation of small uteruses (uterii?); “forcible rape” implies that there is something called “unforced rape.”

Here’s the thing, Mr. Boehner. All rape is forced and my uterus is my own, thanks very much. Keep your gavel out of it.

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Continue Reading · on January 28, 2011 in Feminism, Gender, Politics

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