“Saving” Babies from the Horrors of an African Childhood

Let us join Nancy French in congratulating herself for saving a baby from the horrific prospect of being raised in Africa. French wrote an article entitled I’m a White Republican Raising a Black Child: Deal With It to raise awareness about how awesome she is.

When I hear this self-congratulatory rhetoric around transracial and/or international adoption, I always pause and think. The self-congratulations typically come from middle, upper-middle, and upper-class heterosexual white families who have adopted a child who is of color and/or born in another country. There is typically lots of applause from other whites for their “good deed”. The assumption being that a middle-to-upper class white upbringing must be superior to other kinds of upbringing, and that by allowing a normally-inferior individual into the white club, a meritorious act has taken place. This is part of what is called the White Savior Complex. It is a relic from colonialism, when whites felt it was their mission to spread across the planet and “improve” the “backwards” races. The colonial mindset is still very present with us, as when this author insinuates adventurism with phrases like: “poverty stricken African tribal area” and their savior status by rescuing a “starving, abandoned girl” from such a terrible place. As I recall from grade school, Africa is actually broken up into political units known as “countries”, but French is kept very busy letting the world know about her good deeds that she can hardly be expected to know unimportant details about insignificant parts of the world.

Then I start to wonder about the big picture. French’s adopted daughter has a biological mother and father. Where are they? Why are they so poor? Why couldn’t they keep their child? Do they have rights? Isn’t there any value to the culture she was born into and taken away from? Why are so many African nations “poverty-stricken”? How are the world’s dominant countries implicated in this poverty?

I just happened upon an article about the struggles of Congolese mothers against the backdrop of political violence: A Congo Mother Survives Cannibalism to Save Her Children: Why Her Photo Matters. Interestingly, the article notes that much of the conflict was instigated by European colonists. Now mothers have to protect their children from cannibalism. If only French could adopt even more African children.

The right to raise your own children is a fundamental human right, and a pillar of the Reproductive Justice movement. Yet it is easier for white Americans to reframe themselves not as colonialists with serious responsibilities to other countries we have impoverished, but as pure, loving saviors who just want to help the children. Do we really have a right to take these children that trumps our responsibility to ensure that all mothers enjoy the right to raise the children they birthed?

Obviously, I am not the first one to have these thoughts. I would recommend further reading, starting with these articles:
The Lie We Love
Black Kids in White Houses
All Your Children Are Belong to Us

Another question that just popped into my head: If French’s daughter had instead grown up in Ethiopia and tried to immigrate to America as an adult to find a better life (the better life that French hopes to offer her by raising her), would French support her access to American residency? Or is it only by fulfilling French’s need to have another child that her daughter earns her right to live in America?

Male Senator from Wisconsin Is Expert On Women’s Natural Stupidity & Sneakiness

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn GrothmanWisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman is an unusually intelligent man. And we both know that men are usually intelligent.

How intelligent is he? Let me count the ways.

1. He authored a bill to label single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.” 31% of children in his state live in single parent homes.

2. He blames single parenthood on “the choice of the women”.

3. He identifies the government of making the “single motherhood lifestyle” desirable. (What about single fathers? Well, they’re men, so there’s no need to criticize them.)

4. He illuminates that women actually don’t have unplanned pregnancies. They just lie and say the pregnancies were unplanned. Because they’re women. Lying’s what they do.

5. He draws the fine line that women are dumb enough not to know that it’s hard to be a single parent, but smart enough to have a country-wide conspiracy to lie about their covertly-planned unplanned pregnancies for reasons that they have as of yet not revealed. No word yet on single fathers or the baby daddies of these nefarious single mothers. Which is probably because these smart-stupid single ladies have found a way to reproduce that doesn’t even involve men, meaning that we are only a short journey away from a dystopian future of feminazi fascism and male slavery.

Why do I think I hear the infamous welfare queen lurking behind his words?

Planned Parenthood is Turning YOUR Child into a Homosexual Sex Addict as We Speak

The American Life League (the same people who brought you the fetus jack-o-lantern) has produced a STUNNING video revealing troubling “facts” about Planned Parenthood. Like:

When most people think of Planned Parenthood, they think of the babies it kills through abortion.

See for yourself:

I can’t pick a favorite quote, but here are some of the golden nuggets of factual information and solid wisdom offered up by the man in lavender:

1. “Age appropriate” is a standard concocted by Planned Parenthood itself so that it can sell pornography to kids as science.

2. Just as the goal of a drug dealer is to make drug addicts, Planned Parenthood’s goal is to make sex addicts.

3. Planned Parenthood’s gateway drug is masturbation.

4. Planned Parenthood tells vulnerable teens stimulating and intimate things about sex.

5. What Planned Parenthood education booth would be complete without a fisting kit for homosexual college and teenage students?

And I simply had to catch this precious flowchart for us all to admire:
American Life League Planned Parenthood flowchart

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

Felonious Birth Control

In Texas…

A high school girls basketball coach [and math teacher] is facing a felony charge for giving a “morning-after pill” to a student who was worried that she was pregnant, according to an arrest affidavit released today.

The girl was 16, and the law is that not until you are 17 are you able to get emergency contraception over the counter. The criminal teacher’s bail was set at $15,000.

Just So’s We’re Clear

Just so that we’re clear:

Being PRO-CHOICE means that you believe individual women should be free to make their own reproductive choices, which may include birth control or abortion or having any number of children. You believe each woman should make her own choices, even if you do not personally think abortion is right, and/or you would never make that choice for yourself.

Being PRO-LIFE means you believe women should NOT have certain reproductive options (abortion, perhaps emergency contraception, sometimes even all forms of birth control). You do not believe individual women should be able to make their own choices based on their beliefs, instead you wish to outlaw abortion and/or certain other reproductive options.

If a politician says they are “pro-life”, they are clearly communicating that they wish to end abortion rights, and maybe some or all birth control rights as well.

Or, for example, a devout Catholic could be completely against abortion, but yet still be pro-choice because they do not want to prevent all women from making their own decisions based on their own beliefs.

One position is about increasing freedom, and another is about reducing it. Just so’s we’re all clear on that

Soon, Very Soon, We Can Finally Criminalize Being a Woman of Reproductive Age

The latest in anti-woman rhetoric, from Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal:

Jindal said he was proud to help make his state one that supports a “culture of life,” adding that women will soon be treated similarly to criminals who are read their rights after an arrest.

“When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights,” he said, according to a report by Louisiana paper The News-Star. “Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.”

Fittingly he signed HB 636, which mandates that clinics offering abortion post signs listing “women’s rights” when it comes to abortion, at the First Baptist Church of West Monroe. Interestingly, this list of rights doesn’t include any information about women’s right to choose abortion, such as that it is protected by federal law, that choosing abortion is a private decision between a woman and her doctor, different abortion methods available, and any funding options.

You can find a copy of the bill here.

Jindal said, “There were nearly 9,000 abortions performed in our state last year alone, and that is an awfully humbling statistic. What that tells me is much, much, much more work remains to be done so that everyone is choosing life in our state.”

He also pontificated about how women “deserve to know their legal rights and the protections already afforded to them under the law,” yet the language of the bill and the rest of his speech make it clear that he does not believe this. He has already decided what choice he wants every woman facing unwanted pregnancy to make, and he is only interested in providing information that will induce women to make the choice he wants. The only “women’s right” he is interested in is forced birth. This cynical appropriation of the language of the women’s rights movement to flimsily patch over his true interest of whittling away our rights makes me nauseous. And to do it at a church of a religion whose leadership lobbies hard for the subjugation of women… wow.

The Exciting Times V.9

More Hispanics Identifying Themselves as Indians

“Hispanic is not a race, ” said [activist and blogger Carlos A.] Quiroz, whose ancestors were the Quechua people, of the Central Andes. “Hispanic is not a culture. Hispanic is an invention by some people who wanted to erase the identity of indigenous communities in America.”

Sarah Nyakuoth William

Sarah Nyakuoth William

South Sudan war widow: ‘I will have a country at last’
On the occasion of South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan, Sarah Nyakuoth William said, “I knew we’d get here in the end, but I didn’t know if I would ever see the day. Finally the day is here. I’m happy, happy for the future for my children, and all of South Sudan.”


No “boys” and “girls” at gender-neutral preschool in Sweden

At the “Egalia” preschool [in Stockholm], staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

Kansas Sued Over Nonsensical Abortion Clinic Guidelines
…which seem oddly more intended to prevent women from accessing abortion than making abortion safer. Huh, how about that.

Under the new requirements, the three remaining clinics in the state would have to make enormous structural changes to their buildings and obtain new certifications in just two weeks or face possible closure.

Lawsuit pending!

NYPD Celebrates Gay Pride by Raiding a Gay Bar Minutes After Gay Marriage Victory
The Eagle patron Christopher J. Borras said, “I find interesting the timing. I would just like to know from the police: `Why did they do that?’ To me, it is a blatant sign of intimidation and harassment, I mean, 42 years after the Stonewall riots and we still have to live in fear of the police disturbing our quiet enjoyment of life?”

The US Forcibly Sterilized 60,000 Americans

Between 1920 and 1970, the United States government forcibly sterilized 60,000 Americans because they were poor and/or people of color. The justification was that there would be future savings for welfare programs.

Elaine Riddick was 14 years old when she was raped. When she gave birth 9 months later, the government labeled her “promiscuous” and “feeble-minded” and had her sterilized.

Elaine Riddick, sterilization victim

Elaine Riddick speaks out.

From WCTV:

When Elaine Riddick gave birth to her son 43 years ago, doctors sterilized her on orders from the State of North Carolina.

“They cut me open like I was a hog,” says Elaine Riddick, a sterilization victim.

Riddick was only 14 at the time, a victim of rape. She didn’t realize until years later, when she was married, that she would never again have children. The state had deemed her too feeble-minded to have them.

“I am not feeble minded, I have never been feeble minded,” Riddick says.

…”The people who were the focus of this movement were the dispossessed of society, the poor, common criminals and in some cases, simply people of color,” says Paul Lombardo, Georgia State University.

It seems like somebody knew what they were doing was probably wrong…

Most of the sterilization laws, including North Carolina’s, were written to give states immunity from lawsuits.

-From CBS

LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE!!!

BTW Over-Population Is a Myth

[This post has been edited to reduce ranty-ness. 9/7/10]

The popular over-population myth is still around—clearly debunking efforts have been insufficient. Over-population is blamed for such woes as famine, pollution, environmental degradation, price increases, child slavery, global warming, “too many Muslims” , war, terrorism, animal extinction, Peak Oil, disease, crime, alcoholism and more. I provided links to some of the more surprising claims so that enterprising readers can see that I am not just making this up!

But wait, an astute reader might say, haven’t most of these things (with the exception of “too many Muslims” and global warming) occurred since time untold? Aren’t famine and poverty and disease, etc. all things which have existed since long before over-population was a twinkle in Malthus’s eye? Why yes, yes they have. Are they proven to be causally linked to over-population? No, not really.

Also, there are some interesting facts to consider. Such as:
The world already produces enough food to equal 3,200 calories per person, per day.
Only certain humans lead environmentally unsustainable lifestyles.
The major role of inequality is ignored by most over-population proponents.
Almost no one mentions that the continuous growth and perpetual consumption required by capitalism has created a global economy which is unsustainable no matter what our fertility rates are.

Also, people keep sounding the “population bomb” alarm, but yet we keep growing and no bomb has gone off.

So inspite of sketchy evidence, why would over-population be the popular, mainstream, one-size-fits-all answer to this shameful list of problems? And why do we automatically think the cause of pollution, hunger or whathaveyou is “fertility rates”, i.e. women’s reproductive choices? And not just any women. When you dig deeper into this issue, you will find that we are talking about certain women, and their unacceptable reproductive choices. Did you know that worldwide fertility rates are falling precipitously? They have actually “dropped by half since 1972, from six children per woman to 2.9.” Some parts of the world have below replacement level fertility, meaning more deaths than births.

So upon a little reflection, it seems wacky at best to blame women’s fertility for the list of woes. Why do it? Well, historically, as now, it is easiest to blame the least powerful for the sins of the most powerful—and make them pay for it. The people with the highest fertility levels continue to be poor third world women of color. Yet they have a vanishingly small environmental footprint and consume a tiny fraction of resources when compared to Western people, wealthy people, and white people.

What’s easier? Blaming the poor third world women of color, or getting the wealthy and the powerful to reduce their addiction to consumerism, capitalism, and The Bottom Line?

Instead of an over-population problem, we have a politico-economic problem. Why do we have mass starvation and impoverishment as well as a small elite who are wealthy beyond imagination? Why do third world countries produce commodities for export to rich countries, instead of growing food for themselves? Why are third world countries always in debt to rich countries, despite being richer in natural resources?

The other half to this myth is that getting impoverished women to reproduce less, without actually alleviating their poverty, will require coercion: forced sterilization, forced abortion, economic penalties for non-compliance, etc. In other words, the Big Solution to over-population right now seems to be abusing the human rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Brilliant solution! Review women’s experience with the One-Child Policy if you are in any doubt.

How does a smart person reduce fertility? They start by augmenting, not violating, human rights. The most consistent indicator for low fertility is high standard of living. The more a society satisfies human rights, the fewer babies. So even if you happen to buy into the myth that poor, third-world women of color just have too many dark-skinned babies, it is still clear that destroying wealth inequities and focusing on economic policies that generate sustainable wealth inside third-world countries is the best way forward.

Why do I think discussions of “high fertility” and “over-population” are really about punishing poor, third-world women of color? Well, take a world-wide gander at who has high fertility and who has low fertility. Clue: European and American fertility is currently below replacement rate, i.e. fewer births than deaths, i.e. population decline without immigration. The sick reality is that no one is getting their panties in a knot about “too many” white babies. To the contrary.

I am providing hella links because I know whenever you challenge a popular, useful myth, there will be people who insist you are making it all up and will demand impossibly high standards of proof on your part, while feeling no commensurate responsibility to provide any proof for theirs. So my proof is right here in this rant pudding.

I can only rant for so long today, but FYI, it was instigated by a white, Western feminist pondering government-enforced restrictions on women’s fertility to stop this self-evident “over-population” problem.

PS. Don’t even start with me, because of course I am pro-contraception and pro-abortion, when the woman chooses it. Reproductive choice is reproductive choice is not government restrictions.

Freedom Rides for Fetuses

The anti-choice organization Priests for Life chose the site of the black Baptist church bombing, a historical civil rights landmark in Birmingham, AL, to start their “Freedom Bus for the Unborn” campaign.

That’s right, they chose the spot where four black children were killed by the KKK to underline how abortion is the same as racially-motivated murder, and therefore black women should not have reproductive rights. Stellar logic.

Sez the Priests for Life website:

The Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul: a longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life.

Hmmm…. puzzling. I always thought the pro-life movement was about restricting women’s reproductive choices. Could you explain a little more clearly?

The pro-life movement is all about freedom. That’s why Priests for Life, with the leadership of our Pastoral Associate Dr. Alveda King, is launching “Freedom Rides” for the unborn to galvanize pro-life activity across the country.

Also,

[The] “Pro-life Freedom Ride” [is] a peaceful, visible expression of the commitment of people around the country to work for freedom for the unborn.

I have to admit, I’m still confused. “Freedom for the unborn”? The “unborn” aren’t free because they are trapped in a womb. A womb belonging to an independent, living, breathing human being with rights. A human being who should be free to make decisions about her own life. So what does freedom for a fetus look like? Immediate release from the womb? I don’t get it. What about women’s freedom? What does this have to do with the rights of black people or the Civil Rights Movement?

From a press release by the reproductive justice org SisterSong:

Atlanta-based women of color organizations say an anti-abortion billboard campaign in Atlanta, along with so-called “Freedom Rides” scheduled this summer are no more than a ploy to turn back the clock on Black women’s right to reproductive freedom. In response to the billboard campaign, three reproductive justice groups plan a nonviolent resistance at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center on July 24, at 2:30 pm.

“We are offended by their cynicism, opportunism, and outright distortions of historical facts. Both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King firmly supported reproductive justice for women. Lies by anti-abortionists, no matter how often repeated, cannot change those historical facts,” said Loretta Ross, National Coordinator of SisterSong.

According to their own website, the Freedom for Fetuses group was “taunted” by women saying awful things, like: “civil rights are women’s rights.” How they stayed strong in the face of the terrible suggestion that women are human, only the Lord knows. They had also planned a vigil near MLK’s tomb for some bizarre, sick purpose, but were turned away for unstated reasons.

I have to admit, after visiting the Priests for Life website, I am a little queasy. The disgusting co-option of the Civil Rights Movement, and rights for blacks in general, in service of reducing rights for women, and black women seem specifically targeted here, is beyond the pale.

Genital Mutilation at Cornell University

Dan Savage reports:

Dr. Dix Poppas

A pediatric urologist at Cornell—Dix Poppas—has been operating on little girls with what he judges to be oversized clitorises, cutting away important clitoral tissues, and then stitching the glans to what remains of the shaft.
….
At annual visits after the surgery, while a parent watches, Poppas touches the daughter’s surgically shortened clitoris with a cotton-tip applicator and/or with a “vibratory device,” and the girl is asked to report to Poppas how strongly she feels him touching her clitoris. Using the vibrator, he also touches her on her inner thigh, her labia minora, and the introitus of her vagina, asking her to report, on a scale of 0 (no sensation) to 5 (maximum), how strongly she feels the touch…. Poppas has indicated in this article and elsewhere that ideally he seeks to conduct annual exams with these girls….

I believe all genital mutilation/cutting/circumcision/surgery performed on children is wrong. This is for two related reasons. The first is consent- a child or infant cannot understand the reasons for and consequences of genital surgery. Any surgery that is not medically necessary, and genital surgery is rarely medically necessary, should not be performed without the individual’s consent. Unless a major bodily function is impeded by the formation of the genitals, the surgery is cosmetic. The second is that this surgery may have long-lasting and deep-rooted effects for the infant or child, and so cannot in good conscience be performed without the individuals consent.

Intersex SymbolSome people are born with genitals that may seem “too big” or “too small” by the parents’ standards or in the opinion of the family’s physician. This is natural variation. There are plenty of genetic situations that can cause a person’s genitals to appear different than what we consider “the norm”. When a person’s genitals don’t neatly fall into what we expect a “woman’s” or a “man’s” to look like, that person is intersex. There is no way to tell by looking at an intersex baby’s genitals whether that baby will grow up to identify as a woman, man, both or neither. There is also no way to tell from genitals whether a person will grow up to be L, G, B, T or Q. The Intersex Society of North America estimates that about 1% of the population is born with “bodies [that] differ from standard male or female”.

That means that reshaping a baby’s genitals to fit a preconceived notion of what a girl or a boy “should” look like is not only likely to harm sexual/sensual function in adulthood, but also may result in the parents and physician guessing wrong and reshaping the child’s genitals into the “wrong” sex. Our sex and gender identification is not formed only by outside society… see As Nature Made Him.

In the article above, Dan Savage is correct in identifying clitoris-reduction surgery on infants as based on sexism and homophobia. Since we do not know whether all children described as having a large clitoris will identify as girls/women in adulthood, I cannot say that this is specifically “female” genital mutilation, but more broadly genital mutilation.

All non-medically-necessary genital surgery is cosmetic. And do we have any good reason to perform cosmetic, permanent surgery on a non-consenting child’s genitals? My stance is “no”. Some circumcision of boys and girls is done by religious dictate: because a holy text mandates it, or because it purportedly helps ensure virginity, etc. Other circumcision is done to fit the child into a cultural idea of what a “woman” or a “man” should look like. It is prescriptive… we see a baby as nature made hir, and we decide god or nature made a mistake that a human must correct.

But why must it be “corrected”? What is there to correct, exactly, when no major bodily function is impeded? Parents and doctors who perpetuate cosmetic genital surgery are allowing their own fears and limitations regarding sex, gender, and sexuality to play out physically upon the body of their child, a child whose very existence makes them fear for the rectitude of their dearly held social categories. Is it right to make a child suffer for life so that the parent and doctor can avoid hard questions and self-examination?

Some will always, inevitably say, “well it is too hard on the child to be raised intersex/with ambiguous genitals/ambiguous gender”. Why is it hard? Because society is sexist and homophobic, believes viscerally in a culturally-moderated gender binary, and people can be narrow-minded about these issues. Is the potential meanness of others, the potential bias against diversity, enough to perform cosmetic surgery? Why is it so hard for the parents to follow their child’s lead, to leave paths open and allow their child to pick one? I suspect that the parents are more worried about themselves, the potential explaining they may have to do, than about the highly touted danger of allowing the child to make hir own decision.

The situation that Dan Savage describes above only takes this human rights violation farther. Farther than even your average person is comfortable with, I think. To draw out the process of forcing a young body into a man-made sex mold for years, with close and constant medical intervention, is cruel and unusual torture. Parents who allow this are gravely remiss in watching out for their children’s best interests. They are also probably deeply misinformed by the “experts” into whose hands they have fallen. And the doctors—and doctor Dix Poppas particularly—are committing deep ethical breeches that I believe are egregious enough to be human rights violations.

Discuss infant genital surgery in comments, if you will. Slurs and insults not tolerated.

Kein Geschlecht Oder Viele

This sign is held by activists in Germany and says: "No Gender/Sex or Many". Source

Kansas Governor Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill

Kansas State Rep Lance Kinzer (et al)’s weird anti-abortion bill has been vetoed by governor Mark Parkinson. HALLELUJAH!

The bill would have eliminated threats to mental health as an acceptable reason to obtain a late-term abortion and forced doctors to hand over medical details about women receiving late-term abortion to politicians. Another part of “pro-life” attempts at chipping away women’s medical rights and bodily autonomy.

On a different note, how come every article about stupid anti-abortion antics has to include 1.) a quote from someone representing a wacko pro-life agency and 2.) someone from Planned Parenthood? Well, I guess Missouri is changing the standards, since the article under discussion was printed in the redoubtable bastion of unbiased journalism, the Kansas City Star, it only contains quotes from the Kansans for Life wacko and from the pro-life politician, Kinzer. Bleh.

UPDATE 5/5/10: On the second try, the Kansas Legislature overrode the veto. On to the Senate…

Mental Health Attacked as Reason for Abortion in Kansas

Sigh. Yet again, tiresome Kansas State Representative Lance Kinzer, a man, is leading the way in attempts to restrict women’s reproductive choices and her decisions regarding her own health.

His current hobby horse is finding ever-more invasive and paternalistic ways to take away women’s ability to obtain late-term abortion. He has found that outlawing late-term abortion altogether won’t fly, because then some women who need such abortions merely to survive might die, and he’d have a PR nightmare on his hands.

So he has refocused on eliminating the mental health exception to the general late-term abortion ban (late-term abortions are banned in Kansas except for “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”). Mental health has been ruled by courts as possibly meeting this exception, and Kinzer is incensed.

From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

Kinzer argued that getting rid of the mental health exception fit with the state’s “legitimate interest in protecting life.”

“What we have here is a baby, a baby if given the chance would be able to live on its own outside its mothers’ womb,” Kinzer said.

What about the state’s interest in protecting the life of the woman, you idiot!? AAAAArg.

Oh, but friend-of-women Kinzer isn’t done yet. Oh no, he and his pals have more ideas about how they can improve women’s lives by intruding into their personal business and restricting their medical options.

From the Wichita Eagle:

[A] second proposal would require doctors to provide an exact medical diagnosis justifying a late-term abortion in their reports to the state.

It also would allow a woman or her family to sue a doctor if there was evidence that her late-term abortion violated the law.

Nice guys. Real nice. Totally constitutional. I, for one, would relish the opportunity to report ALL my doctor’s visits to the state! Because my health and the medical procedures I undergo are totally the proper business of Lance Kinzer, et al. So can we work on making this bill equal? I have a feeling men are going to really pissed to so be cavalierly left out of this life-protecting measure. What’s good for the gander is good for the goose, no?

Unspeakable Rage

I am almost too upset about this to even write about it. So I’ll let Jaclyn Friedman do most of the talking via the Nation:

On Sunday, as nearly 100 million Americans gather to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, they’ll be treated to something they’re probably not expecting: an ad speaking out against abortion. The spot, produced by the extreme right-wingers at Focus on the Family, features Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, who claims she was advised by doctors to abort fetal Tim but “chose life” instead.

Let us not forget that last week CBS turned down an ad for ManCrunch, a gay dating site for men. While ManCrunch is simply a product, and CBS traditionally takes ads for whichever products are willing to pay for them, the ad was turned down. On the other hand, CBS has a history of turning down “advocacy ads”, which the FoF ad is. WHAT THE FUCK. Why is CBS using this bully pulpit to indoctrinate men further with dreams of a stronger, better patriarchy?

I hate life right now. Go read the whole Nation article by Jaclyn Friedman, but here are two more of her thoughts from the article.

[T]he Focus on the Family ad [is] thirty seconds of squeaky-clean “family values” that make the astonishing claim that women shouldn’t have abortions because they might be gestating a future male sports star. There’s a lot wrong with this argument, not the least of which is the statistical reality that it’s significantly more likely that women who choose to carry their fetuses to term will give birth to rapists or murderers than to Heisman Trophy winners.

and…

The ad becomes even more disturbing when we consider who it’s trying to reach. Assuming that Focus on the Family operates with the same mindset as most Super Bowl advertisers (and there’s really no evidence to suggest otherwise), it’s also safe to assume that men are one of the primary targets of this spot. So now what we’ve got is an ad telling men that it’s wrong for women to abort their potential children, lest those children not get the chance to grow up to be famous quarterbacks who paint Scripture references into their eyeblack.

Kansas Lawmakers Plan to Restrict Late Abortion, Despite Absence Of Late Abortion in State

Lance KinzerYou know if Kansas State Rep Lance Kinzer is involved, it’s going to be good. I get more material for this blog from my google alert out on him than from any other single source.

So it is with an air of comfortable familiarity that I relate to you his plans to chip away at women’s ability to access late term abortions in Kansas, despite the fact that a psychotic killer already murdered the only person who provided them in the state. (Just to be clear, late term abortions are already restricted to women who need them to prevent serious bodily harm or death, along with a variety of even less sensical restrictions.)

The Lawrence Journal-World:

Tiller was the face of the abortion debate in Kansas — and sometimes nationally — because his Wichita clinic was among a few in the U.S. performing abortions in the last weeks of pregnancy. Tiller’s clinic has been closed since he was shot to death in May and no doctor or clinic elsewhere in Kansas is doing the same work.

But legislators who oppose abortion still expect to pass a bill requiring doctors who perform late-term procedures to report more information to the state and making it possible for them to face lawsuits if patients or others come to believe their abortions violated state law. Abortion opponents contend such issues are still compelling, even if no doctor or clinic is performing abortions as late as Tiller did.

So saving imaginary pre-born patriots is more “compelling” than dealing with Kansas’ multitude of non-imaginary problems, like poverty, foreclosures, homelessness, drug addiction, the disappearance of small farmers as factory farming takes over, de-facto racial segregation, unemployment, lack of public transportation, massive budget shortfalls, waterway pollution, religious intolerance, and etc.

Fascinating, Lance.

Some abortion rights supporters had hoped for a break from the Legislature’s perennial debates over abortion because of lingering revulsion over Tiller’s murder, including among many abortion opponents.

Ha! How amusingly naïve.

“There’s nobody in the state of Kansas who’s doing abortions past 22 weeks of pregnancy. It’s a moot issue,” said Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

“Hijacking Abortion Rights Through the Health Care Bill”

“The hijacking of abortion rights as a bargaining chip for the provision of health care is morally reprehensible and if it stands will result in significant harms to women’s health. As women’s health advocates are working full tilt to try to stop this from happening, there is an uncomfortable sense of having been here before. How is it possible that we have to fight for the right to choose to have an abortion all over again?”

-Lucinda Marshall, writing at Counterpunch

Christmas Miracle: General Rescinds Order to Punish Pregnant Soldiers

This is the awesomest news graphic I have seen in a long time:

Hilarious pregnant soldier graphic

But, really, this is a Christmas Miracle: Top U.S. General in Iraq, Countermanding Subordinate, Rescinds Order to Punish Pregnant Soldiers

The top U.S. commander in Iraq rescinded a controversial order by a subordinate general intended to punish soldiers who became pregnant while serving in a war zone.

Gen. Raymond Odierno has drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, but which does not include a provision issued last month by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo that disciplined both soldiers who became pregnant and their military sex partners.

The “discipline” would include court-martialling and possible jail time. For being pregnant in a military rife with rape and very supportive of rape culture and rapists.

But Cucolo is unrepentant:

“Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status — or contributes to doing that to another — is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos, ‘I will always place the mission first,’ or three of our seven core values: loyalty, duty and selfless service,” he continued. “And I believe there should be negative consequences for making that personal choice. “

I don’t know about you, but personally, I love the “punish the sluts with a baby” school of thought.

Senators spoke out in a letter to Cucolo:

“We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child. This defies comprehension. As such, we urge you to immediately rescind this policy.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

Cucolo said the Army does not provide emergency contraception or abortive services and does not intend to start.

There’s “only discussion about appropriate behavior and consideration of the impact of getting pregnant, of getting someone pregnant,” he said. “That’s the only discussion that’s taken place. Nothing about pills.”

So, if his only concern is keeping troops on the ground, as he claims, why not provide EC? Oh, right, because his real concern is shaming women, not “supporting the troops.” Huh.

Asshole.