Quote of the Day: Alive and Living Now

by matttbastard

But let’s get one thing clear — being “pro-life” has absolutely nothing to do with compassion or saving the lives of babies or getting people to take responsibility for their actions. Instead, being “pro-life” has everything to do with ignorance and control. Being “pro-life” has everything to do with making judgments on what they know nothing about. If being “pro-life” were actually about being pro-life, then trustworthy health care, safe procedures, and birth control would be more accessible for all women, and the murder of a doctor would never have happened.

– Theresa, Pro-Life: Not About Life At All.

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When the Deeply Personal Becomes Deeply Political.

Guest post by L. Portes*

Dr Tiller’s assassination has riled up a semi-sleeping nest of vipers in the past few days. Even though it isn’t always reported in the media, the old same rhetoric has been going on, mostly under the radar, among the Armies of “God” and the Operation Rescues of the anti-choice movement.

Old arguments and old red herrings.

In the 1990s there were a string of terrorist attacks within the US and Canada aimed at abortion clinics and physicians who provide patients with abortion services after the (mostly) acceptable 12 weeks. Doctors were shot and killed, clinics bombed, staff harassed and terrorized. Today, career protesters still stand outside clinics, screaming and shouting at women who enter; there have even been cases where members of the police have conspired and handed over personal information to the extremists from those ID’d through their license plates.

There are some who consider abortion at any stage of the game unacceptable. In fact, some would ban contraception, as it may simply interfere with the plans of their god. But, on the whole, society has “decided” that early on terminating a pregnancy is less abhorrent to them.

It has been estimated that approximately 33% of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry within the first trimester. That is just nature’s way of not completing a faulty conception or splitting of cells. But that magic number 12 when the first trimester ends is where what is deeply personal suddenly becomes deeply political; after 12 weeks of pregnancy it has been proposed that a woman must go forward for the next 28 weeks, no matter what–full steam ahead.

The most vocal abortion opponents would like you to believe that after 12 weeks the decision to terminate a pregancy is a matter of convenience, that abortions are being performed willy nilly up to the 40th week, that it’s simply a business venture for doctors like George Tiller. “Abortionists” perform “executions” for the money. They have said that Dr. Tiller would abort a fetus just hours before it would be born! This is not true, of course, but it makes for shocking material (and massive ratings) for those with no scruples (Bill O’Reilly comes to mind.)

But for what real reasons would a woman and her family require the services provided by a specialized clinic such as Dr. Tiller’s, or, here in Canada, the one run by Dr. Garson Romalis?

A primary one would be fetal anomalies.

You may know someone that this has happened to–a friend of a friend, a family member perhaps: A woman discovers she is expecting and, partway through the pregnancy, a test shows something that makes it apparent that the fetus will not survive. Or that if there is a live birth it will be a painful, short-lived thing. Or when the fetus is born it will be a life of nothingness.

Sometimes, carrying an anencephalic fetus to term can be detrimental to the woman. It may compromise future fertility, or the woman’s life due to infection. Hard to truly comprehend unless it has happened to you.

I can comprehend.

My pregnancy was a wanted one, very much so. The first weeks were uneventful, except for the happiness and the worry which intermingled. I’d had two miscarriages in my life already; never really accepted being pregnant again as a reality until the 12th week.

Hurdle one vaulted.

Entering into the second trimester, we were finally feeling confident and making plans for the new arrival. We didn’t have much at the time, but we were gathering supplies for the coming weeks: a second hand stroller, blankets. I could feel the baby moving already, at first a small quickening; that grew into more kicks and swimming sensations. I had been seeing my doctor regularly from about 12 weeks, as I had been out of the country when I discovered the pregnancy. He ordered an ultrasound, which was performed at about the 18 week mark.

Our baby had a heartbeat, which I already knew. But something alarming turned up as well. More detailed scans were ordered and the grim details were told to us by a special team who looked at them.

Broken bones, some healed already. Bowed legs and arms, etc. Ostegenesis Imperfecta Type II, they called it: Brittle Bone.

Our baby wasn’t going to live. And whatever time he spent in the womb, or out, was just going to be painful. Pain that you or I cannot imagine.

A boy.

We were given two options: Carry on with the pregnancy, knowing what was to come, ignore his pain, and ours.

Or terminate the pregnancy.

Not much else to be said, really; we made the most kind decision, one that no parent-to-be should ever have to make.

A harrowing, sad, anguished couple of weeks followed. I mostly just remember being in the recovery room, missing him so much. Alone suddenly after weeks of activity.

Alone with our broken dreams.

I had aborted at 21 weeks. My body thought it had delivered a baby who needed sustenance, so it began to lactate. Just another painful reminder of what was lost.

We talked to the doctors to ask what the odds were of this happening again and were told that it was less than 6%, as it was not recorded on either side of our families. So a few months later we tried again. We were on pins and needles until the 18 week mark, as this condition can only be seen on an ultrasound and can only be confirmed or discounted after about 17 weeks.

When we finally held our little baby girl in our arms, whole and healthy and screaming like thunder, we did not forget about our son; the love is still there. We have moved on as much as we can, knowing we did the right thing. The pain is still very real, less sharp, sometimes bittersweet.

But I also know that because of medical professionals like Dr. Tiller and Dr. Romalis (who in the past has also faced near-deadly harassment) there would not be the peace that we now feel. Indeed, if our son had died in utero (which also happens in cases like ours) there is a good chance that we wouldn’t know the joys of our two youngest children. Most distressing of all, so much suffering would have been inflicted for no real reason on someone we didn’t really know, yet loved and wanted with all our being.

And that is what the anti-choicers do not want you to know about: situations faced by families like ours.

Our stories are not often told; to do so makes many listeners uncomfortable. Some will not even look me in the eye when I tell them in person. A lot of women like me simply don’t say anything, as there is the very real possibility that we might be labeled, with much revulsion, as monsters.

We see reports of extremists screaming at women outside clinics, hear of those same extremists targeting medical professionals. These are deeply personal, deeply painful stories that have been made deeply political by those who really do not give a damn about babies, families, or people in general.  But it is time to start speaking up.

We are not monsters. We are parents who love our children, and love the children we lost. And Dr Tiller was nothing short of a hero.

Now, after so many years of personal sacrifice and personal pain he is now a fallen hero. We cannot let him have died in vain. We cannot let parents who face these sorts of tragedies such as fetal anomalies or a life-threatening pregnancy go it alone.

These anti-choice extremists must finally be dealt with, publicly denounced and called what they are.

Pro life? No. They are nothing but low life terrorists who, through fear and intimidation, want to force everyone to bend to their will.

And, because of them, families that face the same wretched news we did need help now more than ever.

*name changed for privacy and safety reasons

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McCain’s (Anti-Choice) Hail Mary

by matttbastard

Rounding up coverage of Biden reaction last week, I quoted former Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson, who thought that Obama going the old white political insider route “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.” Well, today the McCain campaign took that opening and charged through it:

(h/t Petulant for the vid)

Now, before you get all ZOMG glass ceiling shattered!!1 at the prospect of a female veep (which begs the question: why didn’t McCain vet Senator Clinton, hmm? No. Re. Spect.) keep in mind that Palin is, by and large, a Trojan hammer, as NARAL president Nancy Keenan outlines in the following press release:

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that Sen. John McCain’s selection today of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate is further evidence that a McCain presidency will be just another four years of the same old Bush-style anti-choice policies. Just like McCain, Palin opposes a woman’s right to choose. Palin has also stated her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

“John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate proves just how rigid and extreme his administration would be when it comes to a woman’s right to choose,” Keenan said. “For 25 years, McCain has opposed a woman’s right to choose, and we know that he will continue to push anti-choice policies in the White House. McCain’s pick of anti-choice Sarah Palin is further evidence that his White House will be just another four years of Bush-style policies. Any remaining doubts about McCain’s extreme anti-choice position should be put to rest when voters learn about the combined anti-choice records of Sarah Palin and John McCain.”

Palin, a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life, said during her campaign for governor that she is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. [Juneau Empire, “Abortion Draws Clear Divide in State Races,” accessed 8/29/08 and Anchorage Daily News, “Governor’s Race: Top contenders meet one last time to debate,” 11/03/06.]

“Americans are tired of the kind of divisive anti-choice policies that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have pledged to continue to support. The contrast between pro-choice Sen. Obama and anti-choice Sen. McCain is clear. Voters are looking for a leader who respects women’s freedom and privacy. Barack Obama is that leader.”

Sen. McCain’s selection of Palin as his vice-presidential running mate is especially troublesome for the unique audience of women voters NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting: Independent and Republican pro-choice women in suburban and exurban swing districts. These women play a pivotal role in the presidential election. Recent polling confirms how, once these voters know McCain’s extreme opposition to a woman’s right to choose and family planning, they will switch parties to support Sen. Barack Obama.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which tracks all choice-related votes in Congress and ranks all 50 states on the status of women’s reproductive rights, classifies Sarah Palin as anti-choice.

Information about the polling can be found here. Learn more about NARAL Pro-Choice America’s actions to educate voters on McCain’s anti-choice record at www.MeetTheRealMcCain.com.

This 2005 Nerve article by Lynn Harris gives some background on Feminists for Life:

According to its tastefully designed website, FFL — describing itself as a “nonsectarian, nonpartisan, grassroots organization … shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination, and nonviolence” — “recognizes that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women.” The goal of the group: “systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion — primarily lack of practical resources and support — through holistic, woman-centered solutions.”
Well, that’s refreshing. No railing against the ladies for making selfish choices, no little pictures of tiny feet. A commitment to non-violence, a focus on the “root causes” — they use the word ” holistic,” for God’s sake. It all sounds entirely reasonable, doesn’t it?
Try radical. The group believes abortion is an act of violence that is unacceptable under any circumstances. Unacceptable under any circumstances. Including rape, incest, major fetal defects, and danger to the mother’s life. This position — “holistic solutions” aside — puts [FFL] to the right of their sister organization, Attila the Hun for Life.

Not only that, but FFL is sketchy about birth control. “Preconception issues, including abstinence and contraception, are outside of our mission,” reads their website. “Some FFL members and supporters support the use of non-abortifacient contraception while
others oppose contraception for a variety of reasons.” So it’s not clear precisely how FFL would go about reducing unwanted pregnancies. Or, for that matter, rape and incest.

Katha Pollitt disputes FFL’s appropriation of the ‘feminist’ moniker:

It is indeed feminist to say no woman should have to abort a wanted child to stay in school or have a career–FFL’s line is thus an advance on the more typical antichoice position, which is that women have abortions to go to Europe or fit into their prom dress. You can see why their upbeat, rebellious slogans–“refuse to choose,” “question abortion,” “women deserve better”–appeal to students. (But what do those students think when they find that the postabortion resources links are all to Christian groups and that FFL’s sunny pregnancy-assistance advice includes going on food stamps or welfare?) Exposing the constraints on women’s choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there’s only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women’s moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women’s lives and health–for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don’t want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women–that’s why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman’s heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That’s because they aren’t really feminists–a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.

All of which makes me wonder if, by picking Palin as his running mate, McCain is actually making a play for pro-life Evangelicals and Catholics, rather than disaffected Clinton voters. By tapping a socially conservative abortion foe, the McCain campaign may be attempting to once again make the Christian Right vote a factor in November, after many believed religious conservatives didn’t trust McCain enough to wholeheartedly support him. David Waters of WapO’s On Faith points to a recent CBSNews.com interview with Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

CBSNews.com: Who’s on the list of people mentioned for VP that you think would most excite Southern Baptists and other members of the conservative faith community?

Richard Land: Probably Governor Palin of Alaska, because she’s a person of strong faith. She just had her fifth child, a Downs Syndrome child. And there’s a wonderful quote that she gave about her baby, and the fact that she would never, ever consider having an abortion just because her child had Downs Syndrome. She’s strongly pro-life.

She’s a virtual lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She would ring so many bells. And I just think it would help with independents because she’s a woman. She’s a reform Governor. I think that, from what I hear, that would be the choice that would probably ring the most bells… .

And, true to Land’s prediction, (church) bells are ringing in exultation, as noted by Waters:

Evangelical leaders were elated Friday.

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council:

“Sarah Palin clearly addresses the issues so many conservatives are concerned about. It balances out the ticket,” said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. “She’s also really a checkmate for the Democratic Party because folks who were looking to make history for Barack Obama can make history by voting for John McCain in seeing the first woman elected to the vice-presidency. It was a very strategic move by John McCain.”

Pro-life advocates and website were buzzing Friday about McCain’s choice.

“Sarah Palin is the whole package. There couldn’t be a better vice presidential pick,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an influential pro-life PAC. “By choosing the boldly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has taken his stand as the one true, authentic pro-life ticket.”

“[T]he one true, authentic pro-life ticket.” I have a feeling McCain’s [deliberately ambiguous] latter day pro-life branding effort has completely answered any lingering doubts conservative Christian voters may have held regarding his commitment to key socon issues. Instead of an ‘out of the box’ decision, choosing Palin as his VP nominee amounts to more of the same from John McCain: “a classic, Rovian appease-the-base choice.”

Update: Ramesh Ponnuru believes the cons outweigh the pros with regards to Palin as VP. Interesting analysis, as Ponnuru is, theoretically, representative of the market being targeted.

Update 2: More on the conservative reaction to Palin @ The Great Orange Satan (h/t Chet).

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PSA: Stop Ken Epp’s Stealth Assault On Women’s Rights

by matttbastard

fetal-homicide-bill.jpg

Unborn Victims of Crime bill?” My black baby-eating ass; try “back-door abortion ban“. There–FTFY, Kenny-boy.

(video by pale @ ACR)

Fern Hill puts out the pro-choice call to arms @ Birth Pangs; Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada provides the 411 re: Bill C-484 (additional talking points here).

Click here to send an automatic message to Stephane Dion demanding that he follow the lead of the Bloc and the NDP by whipping the Liberal caucus.

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“The best gift you can give your child is another sibling”

by sassywho

That’s the tagline of Women Influencing the Nation. One of its directors was quoted recently in the Kansas City Star:

Pat Adair, director of the anti-abortion group Women Influencing the Nation, said she’s been “very impatient” to see Kline file the charges [against Planned Parenthood].

“Let them have their day in court,” she said.

“If they haven’t done anything wrong, then they have nothing to be afraid of.”

Name sound vaguely familiar? That’s because Johnson County DA Phill Kline is her (absentee) tenant:

Adair and his wife Pat own the storage facility in Stilwell and said Phill Kline paid $400 a month to rent an upstairs apartment from them.They are also both clearly Phill Kline supporters.

“He’s one of the greatest heroes we know,” said Earnest Adair.

The Adairs say Kline lives in one of three apartments they have on site.

Pat Adair says Kline works most of the time but does in fact sleep at the Stilwell address.

“Yes, he sleeps here. Yes, absolutely sleeps here,” she said.

Surely Pat would expect her county’s District Attorney (and her lease holder) to comply with the law, since in the past she has demonstrated her very high expectations regarding how tax-payers’ dollars are spent:

For Immediate Release Women Influencing the Nation
November 7, 2007 Pat Adair, Kansas State Director
Media contact: 913-484-7749Olathe, KS-“Women Influencing the Nation applauds Kansas Senator Sam Brownback for standing with 12 other U.S Senators in a call for Federal Funding suspension for Abortion until it is determined if Planned Parenthood is complying with state laws. While many folks can vary in their opinions on abortion,” said Pat Adair, Kansas State Director for Women Influencing the Nation, ” we all can agree that everyone should be bound to obey the same laws. Therefore, it is very significant when 13 United States Senators step forward and do something like this as a direct result of a District Attorney’s 107 criminal charges after probable cause has been determined by a judge. It shows that these Senators not only see the merits of this case but also believe that no person or organization is above the law. Furthermore, it shows the taxpayers that these Senators understand that we do not want one dime of our taxes to go to an organization that could be breaking the law “.

This show of support from this many U.S. Senators (2 from Kansas and many from across other states) is another indication of the strength and momentum behind Kline’s criminal charges.

Strong words coming from a woman renting a crummy $400 apartment. Been a while since I lived in good ole JOCO but $400 hardly seems market rate, even for a shithole in Stillwell. Way to go Kline, I’m sure there are a lot of struggling families in the area that would appreciate such a deal for a place.

In fact, I’d bet that you would have to be a super-special guy willing to go the extra mile to swing that kind of deal. Maybe, oh I don’t know, file charges against Planned Parenthood? Nope, already did that. Wait! Wait! You could do it again? Nah, that’ll never work.

Everything Kline does is smarmy. Shame he hopped on the (D)A-train. He could have made a killing defending drug companies.

But I digress.

One final note: even though the aforementioned tagline was giggle-worthy, it was the WIN manifesto that provoked outright fits of laughter:

Yet we truly believe that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’. Women Influencing the Nation sees the devastation that the radical feminist movement has brought down upon the family in the last 40 years and it is our challenge to uncover the lies, reverse the damage, and reclaim the respect for women that has been lost in America today. We hope to once again instill a love for children and to re-ignite a desire in young women, especially, to have large famlies [sic] again. Truly, we must spread the word that “the greatest gift you can give your child is another sibling”. We are losing this concept today. In America we have subconsciously adopted the China mentality. Sadly, most young people believe they should only have one or two children. One way to un-do this attitude is to expose the misconceptions out there of who Planned Parenthood really is and to show the extensive damage they have done to women over the years. Our challege is to create a positive love of all children again. God does not create any mistakes. Women Influencing the Nation believes in the right to Life from natural conception to natural death, and that God has supreme rights over all of us.

This is probably the most honest site I’ve seen with regards to the “pro-life” agenda. It’s refreshing in a sense: no pretense of “women have the right to control their fertility, blah blah blah,” all that stuff that you know, uh, feminists and Planned Parenthood believe in. No, according to Adair and Co., women are Holy baby factories, divinely employed to produce at the mercy of management their husbands.

Better pray for impotence or infertility; otherwise you’ll be spending a good part of your life manufacturing boxes.

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The Tampon Police

Ok, this is taking the fetish to absurd, Onion-esque extremes:

The Colorado Supreme Court cleared the way Tuesday for an anti-abortion group to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg as a person.

[…]

“It doesn’t outlaw abortion, it doesn’t regulate birth control,” said Kristi Burton, 20, of Colorado for Equal Rights. “It’s just a constitutional principle. We’re laying a foundation that every life deserves protection.

Burton said the initiative would simply define a human.

“It’s very clearly a single subject,” Burton said. “If it’s a human being, it’s a person, and hey, they deserve equal rights under our law.”

It’s a fucking egg, you dumb ass. As Katha Pollitt said, “[a] potential person is not a person, any more than an acorn is an oak tree.” Yeesh, how long before the Kleenex Kops begin investigating the wastebaskets of wank-happy teenage boys? (MASS SPERMICIDE BY JERK OFF JANJAWEEDS!!!11 CONVENE TEH UN SECURITY COUNCIL!!!1)

h/t Stormy Days Of March

Update: fern-with-one-eff-hill is full of WIN.

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