Feminist, Satirist, and Media Critic

reposted in full from The Huffington Post

This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.

I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape according to the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.

6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.

7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.

8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (ie. as birth control). As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee? Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy. My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.

9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.

10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. Religious freedom means I get to chose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance. Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me. You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control. But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I chose. That is my right.

Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality, defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago. It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills. Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise – their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.

This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.

And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it. By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse. What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.

And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.

Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas. Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century. They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.

In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”

Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?

Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemal

Editorial comment:

Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts has yet to weigh in on this recent effort by Kansas GOP leaders  to “legalize” medical malpractice by anti-choice physicians in Kansas who wish to withhold medical information from patients in order to prevent them from even the possibility of considering terminating a pregnancy. Shame, shame, shame.

A past case of malpractice in which a Kansas physician discouraged a woman from being properly treated for cervical cancer because she was pregnant at the time resulted in her death, leaving the infant motherless. In a case such as this, under the new law, the surviving family members would not be able to sue the doctor for malpractice, but would only retain the ability to seek compensation for her wrongful death. This protects the offending physician’s insurability and license, since the malpractice insurer is not involved, and mandatory reporting to the KSBHA is avoided.

Scenarios like this occur every day in medical practice, where life and death situations are decided by trained, experienced physicians in consultation with patients and their families. That ideology and lawyers are now becoming so emboldened as to literally encourage medical malpractice, and even more shockingly, that the professionals entrusted to oversee medical practice are too cowardly or stupid to speak up, is beyond belief, even here in “Brownbackistan.”

Demand The Department Of Justice Investigate Operation Rescue
Target: Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.
Sponsored by: Jessica Pieklo

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/489/596/171/demand-the-department-of-justice-investigate-operation-rescue/

Operation Rescue, a radical anti-abortion group with known ties to acts of domestic terrorism targeting abortion providers and clinics, is posting on-line private health information of women and girls who had abortions, and the State of Kansas is going right along with it. This needs to stop and those reponsible held accountable.

Operation Rescue insists it got the records lawfully and they won’t do anything with the names and other personal information of the women and girls who were patients at Central Family Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas.

But these women and girls did not consent to Operation Rescue possessing, let along publishing this information. Not only is the state of Kansas ingoring possible criminal violations by Operation Rescue but it is using that information to investigate the clinic instead.

Enough is enough. The Department of Justice must investigate not only how Operation Rescue came into possession of these documents and how they ended up published on-line. Operation Rescue has unnecessarily endangered the lives of these women and girls and this kind of criminal harassment and abuse must end.

As usual, the “ProLie” idjits get it wrong, though this time with a little help from the ADHD media. It was the fault of the KSBHA attorneys / staff that the board members did not get Dr. Neuhaus’ legal document until last night.

Her attorneys turned it over to KSBHA attorneys in January of 2012 – THREE MONTHS AGO.

It was the Board’s bumbling lawyer, Reece “PeeNut ButterCup” Hayes, who didn’t think to verify that the board members had actually received it, until the night before the hearing, thus once again wasting everyone’s time and adding to the already astronomical taxpayer cost of this unfunny but farcical exercise. This guy could NOT win a case unless it was handed to him in a VERY wet paper bag by an over-ripe smokaholic fearing a claim-check for some oversize political baggage.

GET IT STRAIGHT. There is no advantage to Dr. Neuhaus whatsoever for a further delay in this case. It merely prolongs the time until she can seek a more impartial hearing in a real court. The likelihood of this ostentatious clusterf of golf-carting Brownback appointees (who evidently are so dim as to leave unchallenged their Dear “Doctor” Brownback’s intent to “re-educate” the good physicians of Kansas as to the morality of lying to their patients and other quaint Medieval notions) rendering an appropriate decision is about as likely as winning the Kansas Lottery.

Unbelievable. Even in Brownbackistan. You seriously did not expect this from The Brownback? He’s a nut, been that way since, uh, forEVER… And he has PLANS. Someday maybe people in Kansas will get wise and QUIT VOTING LUNATICS INTO PUBLIC OFFICE. WTF.

So KUDOS, Cheryl Sullenger, Jabba the Butt, aka “Policy Advisor” (LOFL) for Operation Rescue.

You are doing a stellar job of maintaining your *100% #FAIL* average for inaccuracies, misrepresentations and falsehoods.

You’re almost as good at loony religious “policy advising” as you were at firebombing clinics.

FRI JUL 08, 2011 AT 02:50 PM PDT

‘Pro-life’ terrorists name themselves ‘most peaceful social movement of all time’

byKaili Joy GrayFollowforDaily Kos

Share1

Nope, nothing violent about a “wanted” poster
comparing a doctor to Hitler

File this under “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me”:

Human Life International has revamped its website, prochoiceviolence.com. According to the group, the site “provides extensive research on the surprising amount of violence perpetrated by abortionists and the proponents of ‘choice,’ compared to the relatively few violent crimes committed by ‘pro-life’ advocates.”The site includes a 35-page introduction that explains things such as “the difference between ‘pro-life’ violence and ‘pro-choice’ violence” and how “the pro-life movement [is] the most peaceful social movement of all time.” The site says that “homosexual activists… environmental and animal rights activists… anti-apartheid activists… communists… and unions” are far more violent than “pro-lifers” have been.

See? The “pro-life” movement is way less violent than all those commies, tree huggers, union thugs, and of course the homosexual activists, who are always blowing up health clinics and threatening doctors—when they’re not busy trying to indoctrinate your children, that is. It says so right on their website!

And that’s why they’ve launched this counter-campaign to prove that “pro-life” terrorists are really the victims here, unfairly blamed for the violence they encourage and carry out in the name of “life.” Just ask Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, who says he’s “tired of abortion rights groups blaming Operation Rescue for violence against abortion providers.”

Gosh. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that Operation Rescue’s senior policy advisor, Cheryl Sullenger, also happens to be a convicted felon. Guess what her crime was? Conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic.

And guess where Scott Roeder, the “pro-lifer” who assassinated Dr. George Tiller, got his information about Dr. Tiller’s whereabouts? First name starts with a “C” and ends with “heryl.”

Oh, but that’s all just random coincidence. As are the thousands of other examples of “pro-life” violence against doctors and their patients.

Not like the evil, violent pro-choice movement, always engaging in evil, violent pro-choice stuff. That’s why the “pro-lifers” have launched a counter-campaign to show that actually, it’s those pro-choicers who are the violent ones. They have a website and everything! What more proof do you need?

Except for one little problem. Their “proof” is pretty much bullshit:

The site’s state-by-state reports of “pro-choice violence” are scattered accounts of criminal activity that includes unlicensed doctors performing botched abortions, violent men forcing their girlfriends to have an abortion, etc. Most of the accounts, however, have little to do with a “pro-choice movement.” Most of the accounts are random acts of crime that involve abortions.The site makes some considerable stretches in this attempt — and there are many examples of this scattered throughout the site.

In this case, “considerable stretches” means randomly naming convicted criminals and labeling them “pro-choice.” And then there’s the video being circulated by Operation Rescue:

The video is allegedly of a women who was “post-abortive” assaulting an anti-abortion rights activist outside of a clinic. Operation Rescue says the videotaping began “after the attack began, but images he captured show an angry and violent flurry of punches and kicks as the pro-lifers threw up their arms in a defensive posture.”

Do you really need to watch the video to know that it doesn’t exactly show the poor, defenseless, practically-bleeding-to-death “pro-lifers” being viciously attacked by the oh-so-violent health clinic patient? Nah.

Here’s a little unsolicited tip to the “pro-life” movement. You want people to stop accusing you of being the terrorizing, murderous scumbags you are? Stop being terrorist, murderous scumbags. That just might be a good start.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO DAILY KOS ON FRI JUL 08, 2011 AT 02:50 PM PDT.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY ABORTION.

TAGS

ROFLMAO.

background information here

Kansas Personhood Amendment Co-Sponsors

The pictures below represent the current House co-sponsors of the Kansas Personhood Amendment.

If you do not see your Representative on this list, please contact them today THANK THEM FOR NOT supporting the Kansas Personhood Amendment!!!!

Visit the website of the Kansas Legislature to find them on the House roster HERE: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/chamber/house/roster/

Find them by your home address or county HERE: http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/vote/

Or call 1-800-432-3924 and leave a message for your Representative! It’s easy, and it only takes a minute. Just leave your city and they will deliver your message.

What is the matter with Kansas, verse whatever….

Kansas legislators who believe that an egg has the same civil rights as you do. Doh.

Kansas Co-Sponsors
 
First Row: Rep. Randy Garber, Sabetha; Rep. Steve Huebert, Valley Center; Rep. Jana Goodman, Leavenworth; Rep. Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater; Rep. Jim Howell, Derby
Second Row: Rep. Joe Seiwert, Pretty Prairie; Rep. Mario Goico, Wichita; Rep. TerriLois Gregory, Baldwin City; Rep. Connie O’Brien, Tonganoxie; Rep. Vince Wetta, Wellington
Third Row: Rep. Rick Billinger, Goodland; Rep. Benny Boman, Wichita; Rep. Terry Calloway, Pittsburg; Rep. Dan Collins, Plainville; Rep. Dave Crum, Augusta
Fourth Row: Rep. James Fawcett, Junction City; Rep. Gary Hayzlett, Lakin; Rep. Dennis Hedke, Wichita; Rep. Forrest Knox, Altoona; Rep. Reynaldo Mesa, Garden City
Fifth Row: Rep. Bill Otto, LeRoy; Rep. Larry Powell, Garden City; Rep. Joseph Scapa, Wichita; Rep. Virgil Peck, Tyro; Rep. Trent LeDoux, Holton

Soraya Chemaly

Feminist, Satirist, and Media Critic

reposted in full from The Huffington Post

This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they ‘naturally’ go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.

I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such violates her right to life.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape according to the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.

6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.

7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods and empowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.

8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (ie. as birth control). As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee? Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy. My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.

9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.

10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. Religious freedom means I get to chose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance. Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me. You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control. But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I chose. That is my right.

Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality, defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago. It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills. Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise – their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable assault.

This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.

And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it. By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse. What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.

And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.

Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas. Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century. They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.

In a 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”

Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?

Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemal

Editorial comment:

Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts has yet to weigh in on this recent effort by Kansas GOP leaders  to “legalize” medical malpractice by anti-choice physicians in Kansas who wish to withhold medical information from patients in order to prevent them from even the possibility of considering terminating a pregnancy. Shame, shame, shame.

A past case of malpractice in which a Kansas physician discouraged a woman from being properly treated for cervical cancer because she was pregnant at the time resulted in her death, leaving the infant motherless. In a case such as this, under the new law, the surviving family members would not be able to sue the doctor for malpractice, but would only retain the ability to seek compensation for her wrongful death. This protects the offending physician’s insurability and license, since the malpractice insurer is not involved, and mandatory reporting to the KSBHA is avoided.

Scenarios like this occur every day in medical practice, where life and death situations are decided by trained, experienced physicians in consultation with patients and their families. That ideology and lawyers are now becoming so emboldened as to literally encourage medical malpractice, and even more shockingly, that the professionals entrusted to oversee medical practice are too cowardly or stupid to speak up, is beyond belief, even here in “Brownbackistan.”

by Kari Ann Rinker, National Organization for Women (NOW), Kansas

March 15, 2012

reprinted from http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/03/15/doctor-brownback-and-his-legislative-medical-team-pushes-through-omni-bus-mega-ab

News

Today HB 2598 was passed out of the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs committee.  As written about before here at RH, this is the most sweeping anti-choice bill in the nation.  Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute in remarks about HB 2598 stated  “That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”

Here are just a few provision of this sweeping 68 page abortion bill…

Prohibits the use of tax credits and tax exemptions for optional health insurance abortion coverage riders. 

These are abortion “riders” that were just instituted via legislation last year and were supposed to serve as a way for women to obtain optional abortion coverage in their private insurance companies, which was disallowed by the implementation of the law.  Now they cannot take this as a standard medical deduction.

Prohibits health care services provided by any state agency or any employee of a state agency from including abortion.

This one is a doozy…as it puts KU Medical School’s ob-gyn very accreditation at risk, but that’s the point according to Kansans for Life.  They want to cut off training for any “potential” abortion doctors in the state.  The insertion of a “sunset amendment”, postpones this possible accreditation loss for one year.  One pro-choice legislator stated…

“This gives the women of Kansas a year to flee the state,” said state Rep. Sean Gatewood, D-Topeka.

Prohibits school districts, their employees, volunteers and educational service providers and contractors from providing abortion services and prohibits school districts from allowing any person or entity that provides abortion services from offering, sponsoring or providing education materials about human sexuality.

This is an obvious attack on Planned Parenthood’s age appropriate and medically accurate sex ed programs.  It also provides the added bonus of preventing abortion physicians and possibly Planned Parenthood employees from volunteering at their children’s school.

Defines and prohibits civil action for a claim of “wrongful life” or “wrongful birth.”

This provision would allow physicians to lie to their patients about pregnancy complications that put the mother or the health of the fetus at risk.  It would also allow physician’s to opt out of such common medical testing as amniocentesis testing, which Kansans for Life referred to as “seek and destroy missions” during their committee testimony in favor of the bill.

That abortion includes “risk of premature birth in future pregnancies [and] risk of breast cancer”

This bill requires doctors to inform their patients of a non-existent increased risk of premature birth and breast cancer due to the woman’s abortion procedure.  In other words, physicians would be forced to violate their Hippocratic oath and be ordered to lie to their patients.

Creates new a new state income tax on any expense related to abortion and creates a new corporate income tax on abortion riders. 

This provision would actually allow the state of Kansas to profit from the abortions of women, even if those abortions are provided due to rape, incest or to prevent a substantial irreversible impairment to a bodily function.

The bill also excludes the threat of suicide from the definition of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” for the purposes of seeking a later term abortion procedure.

When author of the bill Representative Lance Kinzer introduced it he stated, “This is what I did over my summer vacation”.  Tell him he should have gone to Disney World with his family instead of authoring attacks on women’s health and autonomy.

Chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, Representative Steve Brunk, gave opponents of the bill

Kansas Republicans look to profit off abortion taxes

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, March 9, 2012
A doctor performing an abortion appears confused. Photo: Shutterstock, all rights reserved.
[ed. note, no attribution found for this photo but it's too good to pass up - from Raw Story article]

Lawmakers in Kansas will consider next week a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would, among other things, levy sales taxes on any and all abortion procedures, related healthcare expenses and any company that might do business with an abortion provider — a proposal that could bring millions into state coffers, or just force clinics to shut down.

“Why not slap a $100, $200, $300 tax on an abortion?” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, the largest anti-abortion advocacy group in Kansas, asked Raw Story on Friday. “I’m completely against most forms of taxation, but abortion is such an abhorrent procedure, I would like to see it wiped out with a $2,000 or $3,000 tax on every abortion that happens in Kansas.” [ed. note: this is the group that has been working with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for the past several years. Their attorney, Richard Macias, who has no medical training that we are aware of, is now a member of the Kansas medical board.]

Massive in scope, H.B. 2598 includes provisions being considered in other states as well, like offering doctors immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they do not inform expectant mothers of prenatal health problems that could lead to an abortion; a removal of important tax credits provided to most healthcare institutions; requiring doctors to lie to patients by claiming that abortions may cause breast cancer; forcing women to hear the heartbeat of their fetus before an abortion; and even prohibiting state employees from contributing to the teaching of basic sexual health facts.

The sales tax, however — an innocuous-sounding 6.5 percent — is layered, effectively making it a repeating tax on every service rendered, every product purchased and every sale made in furtherance of an abortion. It also strips certain tax credits for companies that do business with women’s health providers, making such requests a potentially costly proposition.

“This is a complete turnaround in this idea of small government,” Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told Raw Story. “Somebody spent hours, if not days, combing through the entire Kansas tax code to find every spot where you could possibly prevent abortion providers from being a non-profit healthcare provider. It’s really amazing. The bill is 68 pages long. Somebody spent days trying to figure out how to manipulate the tax code to disqualify abortion providers. That is a level above and beyond what we have ever seen.”

For individual women, it means financial penalties if a pregnancy must be terminated. The laws could also drive up the cost of abortions in the state, putting them out of reach for lower-income women. It could also make late term abortions to save the life of a mother, which can run up to $20,000, wholly cost prohibitive, even for middle class women.

Worse still, the bill’s prohibitions on teaching medical students how to perform abortions could even prevent Kansas public universities from producing licensed gynecologists – doctors who do much more than just facilitate the end of a pregnancy.

“This is the extreme nature of abortion politics in Kansas,” Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator and lobbyist for pro-choice advocacy group Kansas Now, explained to Raw Story. “The problem for [anti-abortion groups] working on this bill is that they have become so greedy and cast that net so wide that they are passing legislation that stands in direct opposition of their stated no taxpayer funding for abortion. They are now passing legislation that does, indeed, make money for the state from abortion.”

“The tax code is simply not the place for social and religious engineering,” she added. “This is a very slippery slope here. What is next? Do we start taxing blood transfusions? Birth control? Drug treatment that is in opposition to some particular group’s moral standings?”

For Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, the matter wasn’t as cut-and-dry.

“There would be, sort-of a moral question there,” he said. “You’ve got the state profiting from abortion the way I would think of gambling or tobacco, these kinds of things. Profiting off of people’s bad decisions, but that’s a bit morally problematic. But on the other hand, any measure that would tend to make abortion less profitable for the abortionists… is a good thing because we find that any time we can put some kind of brakes on the abortion industry, it tends to reduce abortion and save children.” [ed. note: Idiocy of truly Biblical proportions...]

“The idea that the taxpayers would be benefiting from abortion, yeah, that’s rather troubling. But at the same time, it certainly would not increase abortion, and it would be taking some of those profits away from the abortion industry. So, there’s not a direct participation in the industry.”

It is not yet clear if the Senate will pass H.B. 2598, but the House appears likely to do so. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) has said he will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

only six days to review the entire 68 pages before giving it a hearing.  This is par for the course, as Chair Brunk works tightly with Kansans for Life lobby and Governor Brownback in pushing these bills through. Tell Chair Brunk and Governor Brownback that women’s healthcare deserves deliberation, consideration and respect.

The rubber-stamping of these unnecessary and harmful bills must stop! 

The Blowback Against Brownback Began Over the Weekend!

reprinted from www.fightincockflyer.blogspot.com

His “pro-life” flunkies’ witch hunt is failing, badly.

It started late last week as the news stories scattered and only partially covered by the Kansas news media of a draconian anti-abortion 69 page law was gaining traction in the legislature. The story started to go across the internet before many knew what was to happen with the law getting out of committee.
By the time most news people were burying their heads into their pillows Friday night, the story was raging, even as the governor was having his social media staff work overtime attempting to delete and censor the remarks on his Face Book page. People were swarming his FB page with a “sarcasm campaign.”
MSN covered it with a ‘to delete or not delete’ comment poll.
Yahoo News snatched a Mashable send-up by Kate Freeman who was able to snatch some of the comments before being taken off his site. This alone made the story more viral across the internet.
Then WebProNews Social Media announced that no matter how many tax dollars Brownback spent on his social media staff to censor the “sarcasm bomb” explosion couldn’t be stopped.  The article by Drew Bolling declared the work senseless and printed many more of the comments.
The story now early Monday, 19 March 2012, is still going viral and the comments at Gov. Sam Brownback’s Face Book page are still raging in debate some with hilarious bursts of sarcasm.
Many of the ones that were censored were then reprinted with screen shots at RH Reality Check, a net savvy web site for reproductive rights. The article by Head Editor Jodi Jacobson, “Ask Dr. Brownback: … Women (and Men) Ask the Governor for Reproductive Health Advice” appropriately posted many of the comments that were not sarcastic but quite accurate about the lives of women and their choices for reproduction.
Many of these were censored from the governor’s FaceBook page.
It is called blowback and Brownback is feeling it, and many say that like Secretary of State Kris Kobach who last week was outed by Kansas citizen journalists at spending most of his state office time making media appearances, giving interviews and mainly grooming a reputation as nativist anti-immigrant law maker, the governor will suffer for it.
William Allen White would call this the “rough equality” that Kansans were once famous for, a resistance that many in the political opposition in this dominant Republican state have forgotten.

Welcome to Brownbackistan!

#NoComment category

KSBHA statement of costs to Dr. Neuhaus for their “investigation”

International Women’s Day 2012 website and links

Wow, I seriously did not know that Kevlar was invented by a grrl… ;)

Happy International Women’s Day!!

Update:  Dr. Neuhaus’ Board hearing has been continued until April 13

NEW!  Ask Dr. Brownback: not-so-useful medical advice from that loveable zealot in the Governor’s Mansion!

TO SKIP THE PROPAGANDA & SATIRE AND JUST GET TO WORK, GO HERE – THANK YOU!

if you happen to enjoy this sort of thing, we could use some help with it (writing the propaganda and satire)

Public Service Announcement: The formation of a new governmental entity, the Kansas Department of Vagina

Let me know what you think Sam.  It is definitely a win-win for the state of KS.  We will look like we are pushing the boundaries of technology, creating jobs and playing God in the process.  Isn’t that really what you are after anyway?  I also want to recommend a state motto change – Kansas: where your vagina is everyone’s business.

Kansas may rank dead last as a popular tourist destination, but we are unrivaled as truly world class generators of laughing stock material. A causal link, perhaps?

Steven Colbert weighs in on the latest heresy in Brownbackistan

On the murky origins of “Brownbackistan

from the Pitch article:

The whole “Brownbackistan” thing is difficult to trace, having only been added to the Urban Dictionary back in June. The earliest reference to the “pseudo-Christian fascist state where the arts are not publicly funded” seems to be a posting to the Democratic Underground site back in April.

Y’all cum back now, hear?!

Thank you wylkatz, that pretty much says it all….

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