Posts tagged with "election" - Faerye Net 2008-10-08T12:59:32+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Suspect bodies 2008-10-08T12:59:32+00:00 2008-10-08T13:00:15+00:00 <p>Here I go again, talking about abortion. I know, this isn&#8217;t that kind of blog, right? You came here for stories, vocab, English Major stuff, and this is what you get? This is important, though, too important not to talk about. This election is crucial for many reasons, and maybe reproductive rights aren&#8217;t at the top of most people&#8217;s lists at this point. But I recently did a bunch of reading on the Supreme Court, so it&#8217;s quite present in my mind. Also, I&#8217;m female and of reproductive age, so it behooves me to pay attention.</p> <p>The next President of the United States will likely get to make more than one appointment to an already closely split Supreme Court. Many states have &#8216;trigger laws&#8217;, abortion bans that will automatically become law if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Recently <a href="" target="links">a ban</a> was upheld by the Supreme Court that used non-medical language to vaguely define banned abortion procedures. Language in Justice Kennedy&#8217;s opinion took a paternalistic stance towards female U.S. citizens. This election holds the promise, for opponents of reproductive rights, to finally end the siege and bring the undermined ramparts down.</p> <p>But as we&#8217;ve seen recently in non-metaphorical wars, conquest does not guarantee peace or good governance. What is the roadmap for a post-Roe country? Let&#8217;s take a look at one of our potential Commanders-in-Chief on the topic.</p> <p><a href="" target="links">This is a video clip from Katie Couric&#8217;s interview with Sarah Palin</a> on <span class="caps">CBS</span> Evening News. Transcribed by me:</p> <blockquote><span class="caps">COURIC</span>: If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion. Why?<br /> <br /> <span class="caps">PALIN</span>: I am pro-life, and I&#8217;m unapologetic about my position there on pro-life, and I understand good people on both sides of the abortion debate. Now, I would counsel to choose life, I would like to see a culture of life in this country, but I would also like to see taking it one step further, not just saying &#8220;I am pro-life and I want fewer and fewer abortions in this country&#8221; but I want then those women who find themselves in circumstances that are absolutely less than ideal for them to be supported, for adoptions to be made easier.<br /> <br /> <span class="caps">COURIC</span>: But ideally, you think it should be illegal for a girl&#8212;<br /> <br /> <span class="caps">PALIN</span>: if&#8212;<br /> <br /> <span class="caps">COURIC</span>:&#8212;who was raped or the victim of incest to get an abortion.<br /> <br /> <span class="caps">PALIN</span>: I&#8217;m saying that personally I would counsel that person to choose life despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in.</blockquote> <p>I&#8217;ve been struck when Palin is asked about her views on abortion rights &#8211; which are more restrictive than many of her fellows&#8217; &#8211; by her recurring use of the word &#8216;choice&#8217;. Even when the question is clearly about overturning Roe vs. Wade or making abortion illegal, not about actions in the current, &#8220;right to choose&#8221; environment, she says &#8220;choose.&#8221; To me, this is one indication that she, like many anti-abortion-rights activists, hasn&#8217;t fully thought out her position. Perhaps she&#8217;s been coached to use these softer terms, but just so we&#8217;re clear, <a href="" target="links">she is in favor of abortion being illegal, without rape or incest exemptions</a> (video from 2006 gubernatorial race. Incidentally, it also makes clear that she considers a teenager&#8217;s parents sovereign over any pregnancy that teen has.)</p> <p>More striking is the rest of that paragraph from the interview with Couric, available in the <a href="" target="links">unedited transcript of the interview</a>.</p> <blockquote>Palin: I&#8217;m saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And, um, if you&#8217;re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not. That&#8217;s nothing I would ever support.</blockquote> <p>This question of sentencing is one that often seems to have been neglected by anti-reproductive-choice activists. In this <a href="" target="links">video</a>, demonstrators outside an Illinois clinic are asked what sentence women should receive for having an abortion. Activists who say they&#8217;ve been with the movement for two years, for five years, admit to never having considered the question at all. All of them say abortion should be illegal, that it&#8217;s killing a human being, but only one agrees that jail time should be part of the sentence. Is it murder, or not? If it&#8217;s murder, why shouldn&#8217;t women who seek or undergo abortion be imprisoned?</p> <p>These kinds of inconsistencies should give even those personally against abortion pause. The consequences have not been thought out. In a podcast I listened to the other day, a writer being interviewed (Timothy Zahn, if memory serves) said that part of a science fiction writer&#8217;s job is thinking out the consequences of things. So I&#8217;m doing my job here.</p> <p>Everything depends on where the objective line is drawn in this highly subjective arena. Roe vs. Wade uses trimesters, which are arbitrary, but laudibly objective. Palin&#8217;s position &#8211; no abortion even for rape and incest cases &#8211; draws the objective line around abortion, any abortion, ever. Which makes every young woman of fertile age a suspect. It makes it not only possible, but necessary for police to investigate every known miscarriage &#8211; even if the woman swears she wanted the baby and is devastated. It allows situations like this:<br /> <blockquote><b>(From Linda Hirshman&#8217;s excellent <a href="" target="links">article in the <em>Washington Post</em></a>:)</b> In the 1980s, when abortion was severely limited in then-West Germany, border guards sometimes required German women returning from foreign trips to undergo vaginal examinations to make sure that they hadn&#8217;t illegally terminated a pregnancy while they were abroad. According to news stories and other accounts, the guards would stop young women and ask them about drugs, then look for evidence of abortion, such as sanitary pads or nightgowns, in their cars, and eventually force them to undergo a medical examination &#8212; as West German law empowered them to do. </blockquote></p> <p>That&#8217;s <em>West</em> Germany, not the secret police-infested East Germany. The removal of this one choice, this one freedom, cascades into other freedoms. Even rape and incest exceptions are coercive: <a href="" target="links">the proposed South Dakota ban</a> would require a rape or incest victim to report the crime (regardless of her age, home situation, and the social backlash that might accompany the report) and provide <span class="caps">DNA</span> samples in order to get an abortion.</p> <p>To my trade, then, the pondering of consequences. Imagine an America where abortion is banned outright. Imagine a young woman returning from abroad. She has been to Europe, to Japan, even to Mexico City. Her mother is with her, or her friend, or her husband. Or she is alone. The guard has chosen her carry-on for further attention. &#8220;Why did you bring slippers for such a short trip to Japan?&#8221; or perhaps &#8220;You must have thought far ahead to bring these pads with you, instead of buying them in France. Heavy-duty.&#8221; Perhaps she has already been profiled and an excuse will certainly be found. The guard asks her to come along to see the doctor.</p> <p>&#8220;Is the doctor a man or a woman?&#8221; protests the mother. &#8220;It&#8217;s against our religion&#8230;&#8221; Or the husband, trying to assert an authority even he knows is tenuous, blusters, &#8220;Is this really necessary? She&#8217;s a married woman. We took a short trip.&#8221; The female friend steps forward and loops her arm around the suspect. &#8220;We&#8217;re lesbians, okay? Why the hell would she need an abortion?&#8221; The woman alone whispers, &#8220;Please, don&#8217;t make me do this. I have <span class="caps">PTSD</span>.&#8221;</p> <p>To all these, the guard says, &#8220;I&#8217;ve heard that before. Sorry, miss. We&#8217;re going to need to take a closer look.&#8221;</p> <p>Perhaps you think I&#8217;m exaggerating, or trying to scare you. I am trying to scare you. Because I myself am scared. But this is not some extreme scenario created for propaganda purposes. This is something that has happened, in a democratic nation. In an America where you may already have to choose between <a href="" target="links">having security scan through your clothing</a> and a pat-down in order to travel, how far-fetched is this? If the objective line is drawn around all abortion, if abortion is considered murder, then a sacrifice of civil liberties like this one is not a nightmare scenario, it&#8217;s a logical step.</p> <p>If no abortion is legal, the female body is suspect. It will not matter if she has been raped. It will not matter if she has never had sex. It will not matter if she is ardently opposed to abortion, if she voted for McCain/Palin, if her religious beliefs agree with theirs. Because she <em>could</em> be lying&#8230;if women will self-mutilate or drink poison to obtain an abortion, what is a little lie? Her body does not belong to her. It belongs to the state, to the law, to the good of the community.</p> <p>I think we&#8217;ve been afraid to discuss abortion for too long in this country, with our friends, within our families. It avoids hurt feelings, avoids painful confessions, avoids bringing the epithets of a violent and vituperative debate into our living rooms. But it also allows people to duck the hard questions, to vote their personal feelings rather than consider the policy consequences. I believe strongly and passionately in the right of every person to make her own decision about when life begins, and what is right, and to govern her life and body with those beliefs. If you are less certain, reader, that you trust women to make these philosophical, religious and ethical decisions, please consider whether you are prepared to turn those decisions over to the government, body and soul. That is one of the decisions on the ballot this year.</p> <blockquote>At the heart of liberty is the right to define one&#8217;s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.<br /> <br /> <em>&mdash;<br /> Sandra Day O&#8217;Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter<br /> Majority opinion, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey</em></blockquote> I never liked this nose anyway, hand me the bone shears! 2008-06-05T08:02:57+00:00 2008-07-24T22:11:51+00:00 <p>Someone called into <a href=""><span class="caps">KQED</span></a> yesterday morning and took one of the political analysts to task for her use of &#8216;Mrs.&#8217; to describe Senator Clinton rather than &#8216;Senator&#8217;. The analyst said she makes a point of using either rather than the overfamiliar &#8220;Hillary&#8221;. Okay, the caller has a little point there&#8230;but then she went on to say that because of the sexism exhibited by the Obama campaign, she would be voting for McCain now that Clinton is out.</p> <p>Oh dear. I mean, I think I have a pretty high awareness of sexist language, and I have heard very little from the Obama campaign. The Obama &#8220;camp&#8221;? Which includes internet trolls, sign wavers, and all sorts of hangers-on? Sure. But Obama and his campaign? The only thing I ever heard was an allegation that he shouldn&#8217;t have used the word &#8216;periodic&#8217; in a sentence about Clinton&#8217;s aggressive foreign policy, and I found it pretty thin. Whereas the Clinton campaign and their &#8220;hard-working&#8221; and anti-affirmative action dogwhistles disgusted me. I have been appalled by the misogyny of anchors, of dumb idjits on the internet, of people at rallies. But I haven&#8217;t been appalled by Obama or his people.</p> <p>But that&#8217;s a bit beside the point. This is politics, right? If this primary season had gone as expected, swimmingly in Clinton&#8217;s direction, I would have held my nose and voted for her. Because McCain is a flip-flopping hotheaded sellout. Because he hugged Bush after the vicious 2000 primary and he hasn&#8217;t stopped holding him since&#8230;and because I don&#8217;t want someone who has flopped to the anti-choice side picking the Supreme Court. How pro-woman <em>are</em> you, Forum caller? So pro-woman you&#8217;ll vote in a guy who calls his wife the <a href="" target="links">c-word</a> just to show your disgust with the misogyny of a few Obama <em>voters</em> on the internet?</p> I missed Blog for Choice Day this year 2008-01-24T22:50:34+00:00 2008-05-30T14:12:07+00:00 <p>In my post-Residency haze, I have overlooked Blog for Choice day, which I <a href="">did observe</a> last year. I won&#8217;t try to emend that now, but I will observe, as I did last year, that the anti-abortion-rights crowd in America is extreme, and would garner even less support if the woman and man in the street realized the extent of their views.</p> <p>Case in point: <a href="" target="links">Mike Huckabee supports banning hormonal contraception</a> (that includes, of course, not only the Pill, but the Patch, the Shot, the Ring, et c.)</p> <p>I&#8217;ve tried writing one or two more sentences after that, and I&#8217;m afraid it can only turn into pages and pages. Look: the Culture War is not a shooting war. I know and love people who disagree with me on abortion rights. I don&#8217;t think those people want to take away the tools that allow women (and men) to start a family when they want to, when they&#8217;re ready; that stabilize hormonal imbalances and have many other health benefits, <a href="" target="links">some of which are only now becoming clear</a>. Get this information out there, including, however delicate the topic might be, to your anti-abortion-rights family and friends. This guy is an extremist. Don&#8217;t vote for him.</p> What is this strange feeling? 2007-10-31T17:11:05+00:00 2008-06-02T11:16:12+00:00 <p>I think it might be vague pride and approbation&#8230;adhering to&#8230;the Democratic Party?</P> <p>You see, I just listened to an <span class="caps">NPR</span> rundown of the Democratic presidential debate yesterday. It was, as advertised, a pile-on-the-frontrunner. They were throwing stones at Hillary Clinton so thickly they probably blotted out the sun. However, they were throwing them, you know, at her. At the fact that she&#8217;s a mealy-mouthed weasel of a politician. Not, as the subtext of every Republican attack I&#8217;ve seen recently has screeched, that she&#8217;s <em><span class="caps">ZOMG A WOMANZOR</span>!</em></p> <p>That&#8217;s my party. Infighting and backstabbing, perhaps&#8230;but at least they are calling a spade a spade, not a bitch.</p>