Friday, April 01, 2016

Trump, Conservative Smoke Screens, and Uppity Women

Please spare me all the conservative outrage over Donald Trump's statement that, if abortion was banned -- and he said it should be -- women should be punished for having abortions.

Oh, NO, the anti-abortion crowd shouted, we NEVER said a woman should be punished, just the providers. The woman is a VICTIM.

What total bullhockey. What Trump did was what his supporters claim to love -- he said out loud what everyone in the anti-abortion movement thinks. And that was his crime. He violated the "political correctness" smokescreen the anti-abortion movement has piled up around itself to prevent people from noticing that the inevitable end point of all their efforts is jailing women for having abortions. Hell, they are already jailing women for having miscarriages.

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times didn't miss the real reason for the anti-abortion folks' panic at what Trump said: ". . .the episode does highlight two basic problems for the anti-abortion movement.

"First, as long as the focus is on the fetus or on the claim of 'protecting women,' many in the public are sympathetic to the anti-abortion view. The moment the focus shifts to criminalizing women, sympathy shifts."

And there's a reason the anti-abortion crowd doesn't want the American people to think about criminalizing women. It's their Holy Grail, the personhood bill. Which criminalizes women.

Read more here:
These are the bills that declare a fertilized egg a human being, with all the legal protections afforded a human being after birth. These bills by default declare every woman of childbearing age a potential criminal, because women often lose pregnancies before they've even realized they are pregnant. Women's bodies shed fertilized eggs for all sorts of reasons that doctors know about. The woman may only experience a heavier than usual period, never knowing she was pregnant. Miscarriages happen early in pregnancy all the time. These laws will mean that every woman who miscarriages will be subject to arrest as a suspected murderer.

American people don't like the idea of young women being handcuffed and jailed for seeking to end a pregnancy, much less for having a miscarriage (even though that is already happening, mostly to poor women of color). And the last thing the anti-abortion folks want is graphic evidence of their very real utter and complete disdain for women as anything other than incubating vessels for fetuses. But even as they uttered their "outrage" and even as Trump retreated, that disdain for women was unmistakable.

Many anti-abortion activists claimed that what Trump said flies in the face of what the pro-life movement is about. For them,  they claim, it’s not about punishing women, but about helping them and promoting the sanctity of life. Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation tweeted:

Every woman and child has dignity and worth. Pro-life movement offers support, hope, healing to those caught in a culture that devalues life

In walking back his statement, Trump said, "If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman," Trump said. "The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed -- like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions."

Ted Cruz said, "On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother – and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life. Of course we should’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.”

Oh, please. There's enough mendacity and misogyny mixed up in these reactions to make one puke.

Point One:

The entire anti-abortion movement is all about punishing women:
  • for having sex
  • for daring to assert autonomy over our own bodies
  • for taking control of our own medical decisions
  • for taking control of our reproductive decisions
Here is just one example of how their laws to "protect" women punish them.

Here are the hoops a woman has to jump through to get a legal abortion in Texas, all of them medically unnecessary.

Here is a story about the suit about these punitive laws.

And when you make it impossible to get a safe, legal abortion, women will find other, more dangerous, options. But the anti-abortion folks do not care. These women should have thought about all this before they had sex, the lying whores.

As the story points out, these laws are being written by anti-abortion lobbyists, nearly all male, and then passed practically verbatim.

"Texas Alliance for Life is very involved in crafting the legislation that the legislature considers," said Joe Pojman, the anti-abortion group's executive director. When it comes to several of Texas's anti-abortion laws, "what passed is almost verbatim what we drafted."

"Lt. Gov. Dewhurst put the major legislative leaders and the major pro-life groups in a room and asked us what the bill should contain," Pojman said. "He took the favorite components of the major groups and the major legislators and put them together. I compare it to a sandwich of cold cuts: Each of us had a favorite slice, and each of us had incentive to support the bill."

Point Two:

When they talk about women being "victims," what they are saying is that women are too stupid and uninformed to make these decisions. We are such brainless feckless creatures -- totally at the mercy of our hormones, you know -- that we cannot be trusted with such important decisions about our own lives.

When they talk about women and the "incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.” what they mean is that it's scary as hell that women can bleed and not die, that women might not need a man for anything except his sperm, and that any woman might dare to think her body is her own to use as she sees fit.

When they talk about every woman and child having "dignity and worth," they mean only certain women and children and only under certain conditions -- white middle class and upper class women and children who look and think like them and who are  under the control of a husband and father. Uppity women need not apply. They are just getting what they deserve.

Poor women and children who use food stamps and otherwise take government "handouts" are on their own. Women of color, no matter their income or class, are on their own, as are their children, who are probably baby criminals anyway. 

Migrant women and their children? What are you smoking? We don't even want to give them birth certificates when they do carry their babies to term.

Yes, indeed, some fetuses matter more than others to these folks.

Which brings me to

Point Three

The so-called "culture of life" the anti-abortion folks claim they want to create as part of their regard for the dignity of women (gag) is a total and complete joke.

Let's focus on Texas alone, because it's the father lode of not-giving-a-flying-fig about post-fetal human beings.

Post-fetal human beings like to breathe. Too bad for them. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says lowering ozone levels will hurt Texans, not help them.

“We’ve lowered the ozone standard close to the point that I’m convinced we’re not getting much, if any, benefit healthwise from [further] lowering the ozone standard,” TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw told a panel of legislators convened to discuss the impact federal environmental regulations might have on the Texas economy.

From the story: "Shaw’s comments run contrary to decades of scientific research, but generally reflect Texas GOP lawmakers’ position against increased regulations targeting air pollutants. After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced states would need to reduce ozone levels from 75 to 70 parts per billion last year, Texassued the agency, claiming the rule was 'arbitrary,' 'capricious' and 'an abuse of discretion.' In legal filings, the state also argued that the EPA had disregarded evidence that indicated lowering ozone levels was 'unnecessary to protect human health.'

Post-fetal human beings, especially children, in the care of the State should be safe. Too bad for them.

From the story: "Texas has violated the constitutional rights of foster children by exposing them to an unreasonable risk of harm in a system where children 'often age out of care more damaged than when they entered,' " a federal judge ruled in December, 2015.

Post-fetal children are entitled to a decent education. Too bad for them.

Texas loves having idiots on its State Board of Education. From the story: "More than 100,000 East Texas Republicans from College Station to Paris voted in March to give authority over Texas’ public school curriculum to Mary Lou Bruner, a retired teacher who has said that President Obama was once a prostitute and blamed school shootingson the teaching of evolution. Bruner has suggested that Democratic Party leaders killed JFK, that global warming is a 'hoax,' and that the United States should 'ban Islam and stop all immigration.'

"Bruner’s campaign has already returned the State Board of Education to its familiar place, up on a tee for easy jokes at Texas’ expense, and should she win her runoff election in May — which is likely — there it will stay for at least four more years."

And the state funding of education in Texas is once more a cause for litigation.

From the story:

“Our public schools will be no better off than they are today even as billions of available dollars were left untouched,' said Senate Democratic leader Kirk Watson of Austin, referring to funds that were left on the table by lawmakers.

"Texas has moved up several spots in spending per pupil in the U.S. thanks to rising property values and more state funding, but its ranking in the bottom third of states in a study earlier this year still undercuts its position in the school finance case.

"Figures compiled by the National Education Association showed that Texas ranked 38th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 2014-15 school year."

Post-fetal women who are actually carrying a fetus should be treated appropriately when in jail. Too bad for them.

From the story: "In Texas, 300 to 500 pregnant women are booked into county jails each month, and dozens gave birth while in custody last year. Women report not getting enough food. They say the notoriously uncomfortable sleeping mats cause back pain. And they feel mistreated and disrespected by guards. One woman in a Travis County lockup last year said she was shackled to her hospital bed while delivering her baby."

And I could go on and on and on with examples of how Texas' "culture of life" is a crock of cow patties for anyone who is not white, male, or a fetus.

So please. At least have the integrity to be honest about your agenda of controlling women's bodies, and when that fails, about your deep seated desire to punish uppity women.

Because the feminists of the sixties were right. This is all about controlling women. If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

The poor men! They are losing their control over everything so they have to double down on women constantly reminding us of our place. Just to make them feel like men. Whatever that means. Our boys need better fathers.