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Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Holiday Fundraiser Greatest Hits: the wimmins

by digby

Once again, thanks very much for your support this year. It's a thrilling affirmation of the work we do and I'm very grateful.

My advocacy for a woman's right to abortion predates this blog by decades. But blogging certainly gave me a platform that I hadn't had before and I have never shied away from using it, even when it wasn't commonly assumed that I was a woman. It's a fundamental struggle for half the population and I've very much appreciated the attention and support of my readers over these last 10 years of writing about it.

In this last election rape unexpectedly became a campaign issue.  Oddly enough the concept of "legitimate rape" was something I'd written about some years ago when South Dakota tried to pass a ban on abortion without an exception for rape or incest (pending reversal of Roe vs Wade, of course.)  This was, at the time, an unusual position. It's much more mainstream in the pro-life community today.  It remains the most linked post I've ever written:
The Sodomized Virgin Exception 
by digby 
South Dakota:

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.  
BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

Do you suppose all these elements have to be present for it to be sufficiently psychologically damaging for her to be forced to bear her rapists child, or just some of them? I wonder if it would be ok if the woman wasn't religious but she was a virgin who had been brutally, savagely raped and "sodomized as bad as you can make it?" Or if she were a virgin and religious but the brutal savage sodomy wasn't "as bad" as it could have been?  
Certainly, we know that if she wasn't a virgin, she was asking for it, so she should be punished with forced childbirth. No lazy "convenient" abortion for her, the little whore. It goes without saying that the victim who was saving it for her marriage is a good girl who didn't ask to be brutally raped and sodomized like the sluts who didn't hold out. But even that wouldn't be quite enough by itself. The woman must be sufficiently destroyed psychologically by the savage brutality that the forced childbirth would drive her to suicide (the presumed scenario in which this pregnancy could conceivably "threaten her life.")  
Someone should ask this man about this. He seems to have given it a good deal of thought. I suspect many hours have been spent luridly contemplating the brutal, savage rape and sodomy (as bad as it can be) of a religious virgin and how terrible it would be for her. It seems quite vivid in his mind. 
This one is from the last campaign, 6 years later, after a group of candidates for national office made it obvious that Bill Napoli is just another mainstream Republican.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The question of abortion is "simpler" than they think

by digby

Here's another interesting highlight from an interview for the Frontline Choice 2012 program. This one is with Lawrence Tribe, who has known Obama very well since his earliest days at Harvard Law:

Q: Let's go backward just for a second, but I think it informs everything that we've said now. When you were working on the abortion -- was it a book?

It was a book called Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes.

Q: He emerges as centrist, trying to figure it out in a way -- I don't need to put words to it. You can.

It was a book that I cared a great deal about. I believe and believed then -- still believe -- that women need to be able to control their lives and their bodies if they are to be fully equal citizens. On the other hand, I have enormous sympathy for those who think of the helpless unborn as an entity with rights of its own and who find abortion a tragic choice.

And Barack Obama and I, I think, were on the same wavelength in recognizing that there is this important clash of values. It's not simple. And indeed the reasons that people come out one way or the other on this impossible clash of absolutes, those reasons have to do with their comfort or discomfort with modernity, with what is happening to society, with the role of women, but with also the marginalized role of cultural minorities who have views that others mock and don't take seriously.

So it was a struggle, and it was a wonderful project to work with him on, because he saw all sides. He was interested in not necessarily finding a point in the middle of the spectrum, but in finding a line that was sort of perpendicular to the normal access of disagreement, ways of coming to terms. We wouldn't necessarily agree, one side and the other, and we wouldn't each of us individually see ourselves necessarily as on one side or the other of that clash.

But we could find ways of making abortion less necessary, making less people feel desperate enough to feel that they had to end a pregnancy, making contraception more available, making education more widely available, making adoption a more realistic option. And working with him on that clash and on how to resolve it, not find a midpoint but ways of getting beyond it, was a way of seeing a very interesting and all-encompassing mind at work. ...

Notice the assumptions in all that --- that abortions are only "necessary" if women feel desperate or are uneducated or simply can't find a good way to put their children up for adoption. As if the millions and millions of American women who have abortions year after year just need some "services" that will make it so they will be happy to go through pregnancy and childbirth regardless of the circumstances in their own lives at the time or the emotional difficulty of then giving up their own offspring for someone else to raise. (Do these people think that's easy to do if only you have the right phone numbers?)

I know this is Tribe talking and not Obama and I'm not attributing those thoughts to him because of that. But I assume that Tribe does have some insight into the way the President reasons and this doesn't sound all that different from the post-partisan POV he came into office with (combined with the typical technocrat's faith in problem solving by the numbers.) The fallacy, of course, is that these answers would ever fully satisfy the anti-abortion people unless one also agreed to ban the practice. Did they not understand this?

This issue will never be "solved" at least not that way. There will always be unintended pregnancies. That is a function of being human. And there will always be abortion. There always has been. Some people do not agree that women should have the right to do that and they will agitate to outlaw it. But it will not prevent it. Because women do own their own bodies and direct their own lives and some of them will go to extreme lengths to maintain that autonomy, even if it means putting their health and lives in danger. We have centuries of data supporting this.

So when a couple of elite males decide that they will find some sweet spot that will make these women happy as well as those who don't think these women should have the right to make that choice, it's an infuriating denial of women's basic human agency. It is simple. Women are going to have abortions, full stop. The only question is whether or not they are going to be forced to go through hell and possibly die to get them --- and whether society is going to admit that it cannot and should not make that decision for them. Once you accept that reality, the rest is just talk. If religious leaders want to counsel their adherents not to do it, fine. If politicians want to lecture the public that it's wrong, fine. If they want to create programs to help women get access to birth control and afford to raise kids if they want them and all the rest, terrific. If you care about your fellow humans, you should want all of that. But the right to abortion is a fundamental human right and the necessity of it being safe, legal and available is a requirement for a decent society.

The common behavior of everyday women from all walks of life proves that this is a simple question:

This one doesn't seem to be going away. One can hope that they reached peaked wingnut in 2012.  But then I've thought that before.


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