Posts Tagged choice

Deserving Better

deserve abortion

Actually, women deserve better than to have their agency and right to bodily autonomy undermined.

They deserve better than to be treated like incubators for fetuses. 

They deserve better than seeing their lives valued less than the lives of the fetuses they carry.

They deserve better than having to stand by and watch when others seek to legislate control of their body without their consent.

They deserve better than having to let others make decisions about their body without their consent.

They deserve better than being constantly subjected to hostility of both their autonomy, consent and personhood. 

They deserve to have a choice and a say over what do with their bodies, and by extension, with their lives.

Women having control over their reproduction is one of the most important factors in their empowerment because not having control over ones body, reproduction and ultimately life is inherently dehumanizing as well as hostile to agency.

Women who do not have control over their bodies and reproduction are more subjugated, they are poorer and overall more disadvantaged economically; they are nothing but disempowered puppets in the societies they live in. They are breeding machines, a means to an end;  second class citizens and human beings.

Not having access to safe abortions harms women as they will then have to turn to backdoor alley procedures and abortion pills from across the border to have a procedure performed to which they have every right.

I fail to understand how undermining safe access to abortion can be considered a thing that makes one pro-life.

Having control over one’s body is a right and has nothing to do with deserving unless one considers human beings having their agency and autonomy respected and upheld as something we all deserve.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Dear Pope

On this Easter, as you address the world and the people sheep who have flocked around you to listen to your hopeful phony messages about love, peace and understanding – concepts you merely like to talk about it seems in lofty attire while releasing doves into the sky but which, given your Church’s track record even as we speak, you have no intention of actually ever backing with real, meaningful actions, let me, as an atheist whom you graciously say is not a monster after all, tell you a few things.

Now, I am not inclined at this moment to go into a whole discussion about the absurdity of religion and, in particular, of your particular brand of faith that prompts you to “pray” for peace every year  and every year we don’t get this peace you, as a especially pious man, have been lobbying for, but I will tell you that Easter is a Pagan tradition that has hardly anything to do with Jesus.

Easter eggs and bunnies and the Spring equinox have as much to do with Christ as Christmas trees, mistletoe and the fall equinox and winter solstice. In fact, there is really nothing Christian or Biblical about forty days of Lent, decorated trees in your homes, engraved images and symbols of Ba’al and Ishtar, the sun Gods, the use of Evergreen and mistletoe, the latter of which Pagan priests (Druids) used to conjure black magic in love potions, “sunrise services”, Santa Clause, decorated eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns and the Easter ham symbolizing and worshiping the Goddess Ēostre.

These things, however, have everything to do with the ancient pagan traditions of Babylon and Mesopotamia. Engaging in such activities makes professing Christians nothing but idolaters, but I guess you know that being the head of the Church. Woops.

Secondly, since you are talking about peace and its importance and how to achieve it, let this lowly atheist enlighten you on the fact that you do not achieve peace by talking about it, but by identifying what the impediments to it are and addressing the challenges that stand in the way of peace, accordingly.

In the larger sense, you achieve peace by recognizing the inherent dignity in all of us; by creating bonds of friendship and bridges of cooperation among people regardless of their identities and inherent attributes.

You achieve peace by respecting and acknowledging an individual’s personhood and inherent value as a rights-bearing, autonomous human being whose agency as a human being should be respected and upheld.

You achieve peace by inspiring those who follow you to respect and acknowledge an individual’s personhood and inherent value as a rights-bearing, autonomous human being deserving of the same rights as everyone else.

You achieve peace by empowering women – which entails recognizing them as fully equal human beings who have the right to maintain control over their bodies and reproduction; as people with their own agency and a right to self-governance because viewing and treating women as second class human beings who ought to have no control and agency over their own bodies according to the finest tradition of your oppressive , bigoted, misogynistic Church and its practices for hundreds of years, is precisely the reason why women are not empowered.

And make no mistake about it: empowerment of women has everything to do with both peace and economic stability and is, in fact, an integral part of it.  By taking a profoundly anti-choice stance, you marginalize women and disempower them, which leads to the very poverty you want to see end.

You create peace by spending some of your tax exempt riches on the under-privileged and poor in society; on educating the ignorant; on giving opportunities to those less fortunate; on giving a voice to the weak, defenseless and exploited by creating communities of support, trust and tolerance where each individual’s autonomy and agency are respected and upheld, instead of spending that money on hate campaigns to insure that gays and lesbians do not get to marry or on political campaigns aimed at controlling what women can do with their bodies.

Sadly, none of that is happening in the Catholic church which still argues that women should not have employment equality; that they should not have access to contraception and abortion; that gay/bi people should not be allowed to marry (which, in the US, denies lots of same-sex partnered people crucial access to partners’ employee-sponsored healthcare, which is a major financial issue); etc.

Colluding with the police to cover up the sex crimes of your priests and blaming allegedly gay priests for the massive cases of pedophilia in your church  – thus equating homosexuality with pedophilia – does not constitute  having done the most you can for victims of childhood abuse as you claim, nor does it constitute “transparency and responsibility” on your part as you also like to claim.

When you condescend to touch a man disfigured by facial tumors as a result of his neurofibromatosis, the church crafts your image as the benevolent leader and compassionate man who does not shy away from touching a man afflicted with a disfiguring  disease, even though not treating someone with a disease or disfigurement like a monster is the most basic sort of human decency, not particularly warranting special accolades, especially not for a man of the cloth who claims to be all about love, acceptance and divine compassion.

Calling transgendered people demonic – is cruel, harmful, dangerous and indecent, not to mention explicitly dehumanizing. It is, per the Church’s own position on demons, eliminationist. It is not a recipe for peace.

As long as you marginalize members of the queer community, as long as you uphold discrimination against women, as long as you value fetuses more than the people carrying them by ordering Catholic hospitals to refuse to give life-saving abortions, or refuse to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims; as long as you refuse to allow unmarried same-sex partners to visit one another in the hospital, and as long as you spend millions of your organization’s tax exempt money on hate, then you are, frankly, nothing but a dirtbag – no matter how many speeches you hold fellating the idea of peace in velvet tones neatly wrapped in false humility and empathy.

When you manifestly refuse to advance a complex deconstruction of the reasons for poverty, such as empowering women, it is mendacious to argue that you are saying bold and challenging things and are a purveyor of peace.

Peace is not achieved by treating some people in society – such as women, gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals  – as less than, ultimately dehumanizing them in the process and depriving them of their rights and privileges – as if they were yours to give in the first place. Helping these individuals to be given the same kind of access, rights and opportunities as everyone else, however, are the things that will empower people and promote peace.

Peace is not achieved through heart-warming speeches, lofty metaphors and, most of all, prayer.  Peace requires a lot of hard work and hard decisions, including the elimination of bigotry and “othering” and all the other myriad of things the Chruch does that are diametrically opposed to the concept of peace and are right-out harmful.

Peace requires humility and thus examining and then eliminating the very things that stand in its way.

That Progressives remain fascinated with you is mystifying as it is  beyond the soft bigotry of low expectations. It is an epic failure on their part to truly recognize the evil behind your organization’s seemingly loving, all-inclusive facade.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

The United States Is Bringing Back Metal Coat Hangers and Back-Door Alley Abortions

r-COAT-HANGER-huge

This week, Republican Mississippi State Senator Angela Burks Hill said that Mississippi State Legislature’s passage of a 20-week abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest was “not about a woman’s body. This is about the life of an unborn 20-week-old baby.”

Earlier this year, Republican Virginia State Senator Steve Martin defended his anti-abortion views in a Facebook rant by stating that he does not “expect to be in the room or will do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.” 

This is not about a woman’s body. 

The child’s host. (As if a woman who is carrying this fetus was harboring a parasite)

This pretty much sums up the Republican/Conservative’s view on not only the whole issue of abortion but on women in general. It is not about our bodies and we are just incubators to grow babies in.

originalI cannot imagine anyone viewing the demeaning, dehumanizing  and disgusting manner in which women are referred to and treated like as anything but hatred for women. Hatred and misogyny masked under the auspices of right-to-life.

Republicans don’t even try to hide their bigotry anymore,. On the contrary, they are carrying it like a badge of honor.

And as much as some of them insist that it is about preserving life and sanctity of life blah blah blah, it is painfully obvious that it is actually about control and subjugation of women by reducing them to nothing but incubators, vessels in which fetuses are to be grown while the body of the woman host is state property.

The tragic irony here is that the same person that refers to women as mere hosts could not give an infinitesimal fuck what happens to that parasite child the “host” harbors after it is born as evidenced by callous Republican policies that assume that most human beings are irrelevant and such things as not being entitled to food.

You cannot even make this shit up. If i had not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed that a lawmaker in this country would actually, seriously refer to women as nothing but hosts to incubate a baby.

And then they call the Taliban fundamentalist and backwards.

This is the shit we are served in the 21st century and four decades after the Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to choose, namely a man referring to a woman as nothing but a vessel to hold a fetus. That is why pregnant women once again find themselves crossing the border to Mexico and haunting back-alleys in search of medical care.

More abortion restrictions have been enacted from 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade

abortion restrictionForty-five percent of the abortion restrictions enacted over the last three years fall into four categories: targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP), limitations on insurance coverage of abortionbans on abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization (the equivalent of 22 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period) and limitations on medication abortion. States enacted 93 measures in these four categories from 2011 through 2013, compared with 22 during the previous decade.

Texass is a particularly big offender. In 2011, the state had 44 abortion clinics, but more than half of them have since shut down due to new anti-abortion laws. In September, when a state law requiring all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers goes into effect, reproductive rights advocates expect 14 more clinics will have to close, leaving only six facilities to serve the nearly 75,000 women who seek abortions in Texas each year.

The poorest area of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border, has no remaining abortion clinics. Women who live there have to drive roughly 240 miles to San Antonio for the nearest clinic, but many of them are Mexican immigrants with restrictions on their work visas that prevent them from traveling that far.

In addition, the state has slashed funding for family planning, forcing 76 clinics that offer birth control and other reproductive health services, but do not perform abortions, to shut down.

Every time I perform an abortion, I have to offer the woman the ability to see or hear the heartbeat of her ‘unborn human individual,’ which is what the law states it must be called,” Dr. Kate Davis, whose work in Ohio forces her to navigate several incredibly restrictive anti-abortion laws, told ThinkProgress. “I need to tell her the probability of this pregnancy going to term if she chooses to continue the pregnancy and doesn’t have the abortion. I need to do this both verbally and in writing. From my medical point of view, this is totally unnecessary. But I’m doing it so I don’t get fined, or charged with a misdemeanor or, heaven forbid, a felony.”

abortion restriction 2

Dan Grossman, vice president of research for Ibis Reproductive Health, an international nonprofit, who is part of a research team that is currently studying the effects of the new abortion laws and family planning cuts in Texas, said he is already witnessing the consequences of the new restrictions.

It seems like [women] are becoming more desperate to find an option,” he said. “We’ve heard reports of women taking herbs or other substances, or intentionally getting punched in the stomach or beaten up — the same kinds of things they did before abortion was legal.”

Anti Abortion Harassment

Over the past few years, abortion opponents have been working around the clock to make it too difficult for doctors to provide abortion care by enacting dozens of complicated state-level restrictions that dictate how these services may be performed. Once state legislatures pass tighter restrictions, anti-choice activists can start filing complaints alleging clinics are breaking the new law and endangering their patients. Sometimes they’ll conduct undercover “stings” — posing as a minor trying to get an abortion without telling her parents, or pretending to be a woman forced to have an abortion against her will — in an attempt to catch the clinic staff making a wrong move.

Ultimately, they’re hoping to trigger the state’s agencies to step in and conduct surprise inspections, which, in turn, are expensive and time-consuming for clinic staff who have to spend a substantial amount of their time and efforts refuting these false claims.

In Texass, new state law is forcing dozens of abortion providers out of work because they can’t comply with a regulation that requires them to obtain admitting privileges, which is essentially a superfluous partnership with a local hospital. It’s hard enough to get these admitting privileges as it is, and many doctors are unsuccessful. But becoming a target of local anti-choice groups can make it even worse. That can lead certain hospitals to refuse to work with you.

In Ohio, another state with some of the harshest abortion laws on the books, Dr. Kate Davis is similarly wary to elevate her profile. She decided not to publicly identify herself because Ohio Right To Life, the most prominent anti-abortion group in her state, already knows who she is. Her name is on their website; they send letters to her home. “They’re praying for me. I get Christmas cards. Stuff like that,” she said.

Dr. Davis is well aware of the vast ripple effects of being targeted by the country’s network of anti-choice groups. Protesters will often try to get abortion doctors evicted from their clinics, either by pressuring their landlords or by lobbying to rezone the local area. They’ll implore other medical professionals to refuse to work with the doctors who provide abortion care. And they’ll direct their attention to the hospitals where abortion doctors work, flooding the institutions with phone calls and letters. Davis doesn’t want to invite those type of “shenanigans,” as she calls them.

They can do whatever they want to do to me. But I don’t want other people who didn’t choose to do this work to have to deal with this,” Davis said.

Over the last 30 or 40 years since Roe, the different ways that abortion opponents attack safe abortion care have really changed over time,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO of Texas’ largest independent abortion provider, Whole Woman’s Health, told ThinkProgress. “In the 1980s and 1990s, there were a lot of clinic blockades and bombings. Then they started specifically targeting physicians — there were a lot of murders. Now, you’ve seen a change in the approach. We have this new front of anti-abortion harassment through the legislature and through the court system.”

Anti-abortion activism, which really is a war on agency, has become a truly systemic endeavor. It is no longer just a few outliers picketing abortion clinics. The new movement has been working hard to systematically eradicate access to safe abortions for women in this country.

Legislation enacting abortion bans, restrictions on abortion providers, limitations on the provisions of medication and restrictions on coverage for abortion in private health plans accounted for 56% of all restrictions enacted in 2013 alone.

States also adopted a wide range of other major abortion restrictions in 2013, including those on parental involvementpublic funding for abortionwaiting periods and counseling, and ultrasound

Targeting state legislators to pass ever more stringent laws curbing access to safe abortions is just the beginning. To further complicate matters, there is also a growing lack of available doctors.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has warned that “the availability of abortion services is in jeopardy” because only about 14 percent of doctors actually know how to perform one.

Many doctors don’t learn enough about abortion care while they’re in medical school — a 2009 study found that athird of medical schools don’t talk about elective abortion at all during the first two pre-clinical years. And as an increasing number of abortion clinics are being forced to close, and as hospitals have eliminated abortion from the services they provide, students in residency are losing out on opportunities to train. For instance, the doctors training in one of the 600 Catholic-affiliated hospitals across the country are barred from doing abortions. Even if new doctors do enter the field with the knowledge and the desire to practice abortion care, it’s often difficult for them to find a jobthat allows them to do that work.

It is important to realize that abortion restrictions that gnaw away at a woman’s access to safe abortions will not result in less unwanted pregnancies. In fact, unwanted pregnancies will still be ended. However, now that legal venues have been, and continue to be slashed away, many women just have to, literally, go seek backdoor-alley abortions that are not safe and which will result in illness or death. In other words, all this so-called pro-life movement does is grossly endanger the lives of women and they do so because hey, after all, she is merely the host.

That the anti-abortion movement calls itself pro-life would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic and just right-out callously untrue.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Pro-Life

People who are against abortion usually label themselves as pro-lifers or “pro-life”. Pro-lifers, in turn, are almost always Conservatives who vote for politicians and policies that favor and help wealthy entities so they can enrich themselves at the backs of the poor and middle class wage earners, while having manipulated their voter base, that mostly consists of poor and middle class wage earners, to subscribe to bullshit bootstraps narratives and other associated Gordon Gecko prosperity dribble.

The real problem arises because Conservatives categorically vote against social safety net programs that lend a helping hand to people who cannot afford to properly provide for, oh, I don’t know, the children they were just forced to have.

A social safety net program may include anything from minimum wage laws, union representation to welfare checks. Pro-lifers are categorically opposed to a host of social safety net programs aimed at keeping the middle class strong and prosperous, instead of weakened and exploited.

 The pro-life advocates are the same people who vote against unions – which are in place to protect workers against exploitative employers; they are the same people who vote for giving the wealthy and corporations tax breaks they do not need at the expense of the middle class, which then will have to pick up their slack; these are the same people who vote against proper safety standards on the job and unemployment/disability benefits; they are the people who vote against increasing the minimum wage and providing everyone with affordable, proper access to health care regardless of their employment status. These are the people who think people aren’t entitled to food!!

The thing is, when you, for example, vote against unions, fair wages and benefits and thus take away a person’s ability to protect themselves against their employer, or when you subscribe to the notion that people aren’t entitled to food, then not only are you not “pro-life”, but you render people vulnerable to a host of exploits and abuses by their employers, thus ultimately leaving them unable to properly provide for themselves and their families, including the baby you just forced them to have.

When you do not have protection on the job and become subject to a host of exploitative tactics by your employer. without any avenues of recourse available to you to protect against such exploitation, you slide down and eventually end up needing assistance too.

Note how these things are interconnected: when you vote against unions, fair wages, overtime laws and so forth, you help create more poverty, which then results in people having to rely on welfare programs that you voted against as well.

Despite these realities, one will, however, be hard pressed to find a so-called pro-lifer who would vote for social safety-net programs such as unions.

What they do want to do is be able to shame and coerce a woman into giving birth to a child she does not want to have, under the guise of love, god and reverence for life. After having shamed and coerced said woman to give birth to a child she does not want to have/cannot afford, they then refuse to vote for policies that would allow that woman to properly provide for said child.

That anti-abortionists would call themselves pro-life is both ironic and deeply hypocritical because their position is anything but pro-life as they merely want a child to be born, but not fed, or educated, or clothed, or housed, because doing so would require prioritizing and funding social-safety net programs instead of defunding and de-prioritizing them to subsidize corporations, the wealthy, banks and oil companies – thus effectively siphoning and redistributing wealth from the bottom to the top under the guise of The American Dream, hard work and other such prosperity gospels.

To be clear, wanting a child to be born but then not giving a damn what happens to it once it is out of the womb is unequivocally not pro-life but, it is, in fact, hostile to life. Theirs is a position that is pro-birth and there is a chasm of a difference.

We need to really think about, and ask ourselves, what the morality of the pro-life position is and who  in this debate really has the welfare of people in mind; who the entity is that respects agency  –  which is related to acknowledging  a person’s (in this case a woman’s) consent, boundaries, and autonomy – and which entity does not,  thus resulting  in women being dehumanized by being repeatedly robbed off their ability to consent and set boundaries and maintain autonomy over their own bodies, including their reproduction and family planning.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment