I have a friend who vehemently disagrees with the notion of abortions and she abhors the thought. It is THE reason she identifies as a Republican and accepts a lot of the other more questionable rhetoric spewed from the Right. I have thought, on many occasions, why even we could not agree, substantively, on ways to reduce abortions and why her religious belief on one issue should be forced on others in a country where abortion is legal and based on a women’s right to choose OR not choose (hopefully in consultation with the child’s father and if she is a person of faith, with her God). This Maddow Blog post actually made me think and re-evaluate why the chasm may be so big between my friend and I, and thus, between the two competing sides of the abortion debate.
A larger theme in the Republican war on abortion rights didn’t occur to me until I read it in a comment by GrrrlRomeo on Wednesday’s links post. Since then I’ve seen it echoed a few more times, including on the show last night in the interview with N.O.W. president Terry O’Neill.
The idea, in short, is that if your goal is to restore old-fashioned gender roles and family structure to the American way of life, taking away a woman’s ability to have sex without getting pregnant is a fast way to reach that goal.
From GrrrlRomeo’s comment:
Yes, there is a faction of anti-abortion activists that only want to save the fetuses at any and all costs. But the broader mainstream conservative strategy is the same as it ever was. They don’t think the government should fund services for people they deem to be leading an immoral lifestyle (people who have sex).
While there have been a lot of mentions of Pap tests, no one is really saying what it’s for. It’s a cancer screening for a cancer that’s caused by HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that affects 50% of men and women at some point in their lives.
Here’s Gail Collins in yesterday’s New York Times:
For eons now, people have been wondering why the two sides can’t just join hands and agree to work together to reduce the number of abortions by expanding the availability of family-planning services and contraception.
The answer is that a large part of the anti-abortion community is also anti-contraception.
Beyond the science, there’s the fact that many social conservatives are simply opposed to giving women the ability to have sex without the possibility of procreation.
What we have here is a wide-ranging attack on women’s right to control their reproductive lives…
And N.O.W.’s Terry O’Neill last night:
And here`s the thing — this hostility to women`s abortion rights doesn`t stop with abortion. What we`re seeing across the board really is hostility to women`s reproductive health care rights. We just had a fight in which the extremists in the House of Representatives and in Congress tried to cut off funding, all funding, for family planning clinics that serve more than 5 million women and men every year, right? These are family planning clinics that don`t provide abortions, that provide contraception, pap tests, mammograms, STD testing and treatment, HIV/AIDS testing.
What`s happening is that as abortion — as anti-abortion laws gain more and more traction, we`re also seeing attacks on all of the other aspects of women`s reproductive health. And frankly, defunding the family planning clinics is a public health nightmare in the making. But we`re seeing these attacks across the reproductive health rights.
I also went back and re-watched Wednesday night’s interview with Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and I believe she was also alluding to this larger theme:
But I think what is important, too, Rachel, that folks understand that literally what the House of Representatives and what Speaker Boehner are trying to do is not end abortion services. They are trying to eliminate birth control and cancer screenings for women. – Will Femia
Notice how Harris-Perry weaves in the racial / minority dynamic purported by the GOP for the last 30 years and how they have demonised particular minority communities and attached the negative feelings of those minority groups to issues around abortion or planned parenthood (or welfare or unions). This type of propaganda has been successful and has been accepted as truth despite the inherent untruth of the political propaganda surrounding these issues. Harris-Perry does a good job of putting in place an effective counter-narrative against the GOP based on the data and the economic truths surrounding this issue. It should be done more often.
- Mike Pence backs more abortions (salon.com)
- GOP Should Stop Bashing Planned Parenthood (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- Mike Pence Says He’d Shut Down the Government to Defund Planned Parenthood (crooksandliars.com)
- Democrats pledge to filibuster anti-Planned Parenthood amendment (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- 41 Senate Dems oppose GOP Planned Parenthood cuts (thehill.com)
If you are a woman, and especially if you are a man… THIS IS MUST READ MATERIAL!!!
The white male paternalistic instinct is so pervasive in our society that it is almost invisible. This has to stop and we must pay attention to ourselves and our media… Check yourself.
Our inertia is not for lack of evidence. In 1990, he accidentally shot his fiancée at the time, the actress Kelly Preston, in the arm. (The engagement ended soon after.) In 1994 he was sued by a college student who alleged that he struck her in the head after she declined to have sex with him. (The case was settled out of court.) Two years later, a sex film actress, Brittany Ashland, said she had been thrown to the floor of Mr. Sheen’s Los Angeles house during a fight. (He pleaded no contest and paid a fine.)
In 2006, his wife at the time, the actress Denise Richards, filed a restraining order against him, saying Mr. Sheen had shoved and threatened to kill her. In December 2009, Mr. Sheen’s third wife, Brooke Mueller, a real-estate executive, called 911 after Mr. Sheen held a knife to her throat. (He pleaded guilty and was placed on probation.) Last October, another actress in sex films, Capri Anderson, locked herself in a Plaza Hotel bathroom after Mr. Sheen went on a rampage. (Ms. Anderson filed a criminal complaint but no arrest was made.) And on Tuesday, Ms. Mueller requested a temporary restraining order against her former husband, alleging that he had threatened to cut her head off, “put it in a box and send it to your mom.” (The order was granted, and the couple’s twin sons were quickly removed from his home.) “Lies,” Mr. Sheen told People magazine.
The privilege afforded wealthy white men like Charlie Sheen may not be a particularly new point, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are endlessly derided for their extracurricular meltdowns and lack of professionalism on set; the R&B star Chris Brown was made a veritable pariah after beating up his equally, if not more, famous girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. Their careers have all suffered, and understandably so.
This hasn’t been the case with Mr. Sheen, whose behavior has been repeatedly and affectionately dismissed as the antics of a “bad boy” (see: any news article in the past 20 years), a “rock star” (see: Piers Morgan, again) and a “rebel” (see: Andrea Canning’s “20/20” interview on Tuesday). He has in essence, achieved a sort of folk-hero status; on Wednesday, his just-created Twitter account hit a million followers, setting a Guinness World Record. – Anna Holmes