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"Personhood" laws and reproductive rights
June 9, 2011 1:13 PM   Subscribe

45 years ago yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that birth control (for married women) was legal and that the US Constitution guaranteed privacy to women seeking reproductive services. That privacy ruling was instrumental in subsequent cases [pdf]regarding the legality of birth control and pregnancy termination. And while many states are pushing through new termination restrictions; some states are now pushing through "Personhood" laws that grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses. These laws ban abortion without exception, ban certain forms of birth control, ban in-vitro fertilization, and forbid the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The legislations are being marketed by a "Conceived by Rape" bus tour.

More links and overviews here.
posted by dejah420 (121 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Will these zygotes be allowed to marry to become fetuses?
posted by tittergrrl at 1:16 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would like my zygotes to have the constitutional right to fucking VOTE if we're going to go down this road. It would be a lot easier to vote these turds out of office.
posted by spicynuts at 1:18 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Tonight I'm going to drink until I forget that a "Conceived by Rape Bus Tour" is an actual thing that exists.
posted by theodolite at 1:18 PM on June 9, 2011 [46 favorites]


They have a point, if we steal their constitutional rights, we'd have to take the guns out of their host-warmed barely formed hands.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:19 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


What a bunch of namby-pamby liberals, advocating for zygotes like that. When will we realize that life begins not with conception but with -potential-, in gametes and primary oocytes??? There are women in our cities committing CAPITAL MURDER thousands of times over whenever they sneeze or going outside in a slight breeze, but these so-called "pro-life" activists only seem to care about cells AFTER they've been fertilized!
posted by metaman livingblog at 1:22 PM on June 9, 2011 [15 favorites]


And yet my right to life doesn't entitle me to health insurance.
posted by oddman at 1:22 PM on June 9, 2011 [107 favorites]


Can I start a Bus Tour called Abandoned by Pro Lifers in which minorities, criminals, the poor, and the sick testify to how they were abandoned, demonized and victimized by society?
posted by KingEdRa at 1:23 PM on June 9, 2011 [60 favorites]


How does this affect natural terminations of pregnancies such as miscarriages or non-viable pregnancies? Do the mothers become felons? Can the fathers charge the mothers for failing to produce a viable baby? Can mothers sue the fathers for supplying defective sperm?

This is just stupid. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY UTERUS!
posted by jillithd at 1:24 PM on June 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh, lovely. The crazies are taking over Amerikkka.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:24 PM on June 9, 2011


"This human life — no matter what stage of development, including a zygote — has constitutional rights."

If they don't word this carefully, from a biological standpoint, laws like this could very easily make other necessary medical procedures, much less haircuts, unconstitutional.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:25 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Longshot GOP presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stomped for votes in Iowa on Tuesday, trumpeting his “culture wars” message. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Santorum is selling himself as the leading social conservative in a crowded field.

"Stomped," indeed - all over sanity, reasoned debate, and women's rights.
posted by googly at 1:26 PM on June 9, 2011


MASTURBATION IS MURDER!
posted by briank at 1:26 PM on June 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


I said it before: I think "we" are slowly by inevitability winning the equal rights for people who are gay battle. But we are losing the abortion debate.
posted by edgeways at 1:27 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, after all, the tour appears to be limited to Mississippi. Perhaps they have a unique problem.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:27 PM on June 9, 2011


Incorporate My Uterus. Fewer regulations on my uterus business!
posted by giraffe at 1:27 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


How does this affect natural terminations of pregnancies such as miscarriages or non-viable pregnancies? Do the mothers become felons?

If there's a sympathetic DA, they can probably plead the charges down to "Manslaughter."

Seriously, though, we're only 12 comments in and I can already feel my blood pressure rising.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:28 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fuck you, anti-choicers.
posted by sinnesloeschen at 1:29 PM on June 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, "I think your mother should have been able to abort you."...And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life "except in cases of rape" because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts.

This is such an insane justification for banning abortion. If abortion had been legal she wouldn't have been born, and thus would never have to feel the pain she now feels. Banning abortion won't make the emotional torment of pregnant rape victims go away. This is a red herring.

I would, however, be in favor of criminalizing rape-related abortions back onto the convicted rapist. Basically "you raped this woman and she had to get an abortion so now you get to go to jail for involuntary manslaugther too."*



*Ok so that would be an abuse of the justice system but I never said I was perfect! Sometimes I want really bad things to happen to bad people.
posted by jnrussell at 1:30 PM on June 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


MASTURBATION IS MURDER!
posted by briank at 4:26 PM on June 9 [+] [!]


Well, if you want it that way, ok. But in that case, then, menstruation is also murder, which means that abstinence would also be murder, right?
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:31 PM on June 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


I would like my zygotes to have the constitutional right to fucking VOTE if we're going to go down this road. It would be a lot easier to vote these turds out of office.

Well, seeing birth control is being taken away, I declare that every undeveloped oocyte that could potentially develop into an egg and take stroll through the fallopians should have a vote. That would mean every adult female would get 300,000 votes or so.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:31 PM on June 9, 2011 [26 favorites]


So, if hormonal birth control is banned, do I get 3 (paid!) personal days per month because I can't go to work because I'm in excruciating pain?

I guess if I was pregnant all the time that wouldn't be a problem. Hey, what's their stance on family leave?
posted by giraffe at 1:32 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


As Barney Frank once said of these jerks, "they believe life begins and conception and ends at birth."
posted by localroger at 1:35 PM on June 9, 2011 [33 favorites]


jillithd: "How does this affect natural terminations of pregnancies such as miscarriages or non-viable pregnancies? "

In Utah, and a few other states that are considering legislation, you will be prosecuted.


See also: Iowa uses personhood laws to make the murder of abortion providers legal. Very pro-life, these laws.
posted by dejah420 at 1:35 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


North Carolina passes “Women’s Right to Know” Act
posted by homunculus at 1:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, what's their stance on family leave?

Easy: you don't work, and you stay at home where women belong.
posted by aramaic at 1:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure if you believe life begins at conception, you must consider every potentially procreative sexual act a likely manslaughter.

Because most conceptions do not result in implantation. And therefore *most* of the time when you have sex and conceive, the embryo is going to die. A predictable and probable result of sex off of birth control is the death of a human being with full constitutional rights.

So.... nobody who believes this shit should ever fuck, except with birth control that prevents conception (not just birth control that prevents implantation, like an IUD does).
posted by edheil at 1:38 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


localroger: "As Barney Frank once said of these jerks, "they believe life begins and conception and ends at birth."

Which is why they're defunding programs that provide milk and cheese to pregnant women and newborns, why they're shutting down school programs to help pregnant teens, and why they couldn't give a rat's ass about homeless children, kids without enough to eat, and education.
posted by dejah420 at 1:39 PM on June 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Oblig NYT article on the anti-abortion paradise of el Salvador, which is what these jerks want us to become. Nothing like living in a land where "forensic vagina inspector" is actually a real job title.
posted by localroger at 1:39 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Florida Republican legislature just passed a law that requires any woman seeking an abortion for any reason (including rape, incest, medical necessity, etc.) to pay for an ultra-sound first out of her own pocket, and Governor/Owner Rick Scott is reportedly not planning to veto it. So, yeah, there's been some pretty serious backsliding on reproductive rights issues across the US.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2011


So, if hormonal birth control is banned, do I get 3 (paid!) personal days per month because I can't go to work because I'm in excruciating pain?

The pain of cramps from menstruation is the price you pay for having been born a woman.

It's really very simple...
posted by Billiken at 1:44 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Since when is a State legislature able to tinker with the Constitution to redefine the scope of who does or doesn't receive Constitutional rights?

This extension of protection to the unborn is the flip side to a hypothetical State deciding that, say, people with ginger hair don't count as people under the Constitution.

Surely, this kind of thing could only legally be enacted at the Federal level, and only according to the normal ways of amending the Constitution?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:45 PM on June 9, 2011


Griswold has been on the rightwing hit list back to when Phyllis Schlafly was on the warpath against Nelson Rockefeller and preaching the dogma that "The overriding psychological need of a woman is to love something alive." Now the environment is more right for its overturn than it's ever been.
posted by blucevalo at 1:46 PM on June 9, 2011


Well, seeing birth control is being taken away, I declare that every undeveloped oocyte that could potentially develop into an egg and take stroll through the fallopians should have a vote. That would mean every adult female would get 300,000 votes or so.

Then I demand that each of my sperm get a vote too!
posted by VTX at 1:47 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure if you believe life begins at conception, you must consider every potentially procreative sexual act a likely manslaughter.

Oh it's worse than that. Since most fertilized eggs do not result in live births, it's likely murder rather than manslaughter, specifically "depraved heart murder" (i.e. an action that demonstrates a callous disregard for human life). A classic example of depraved heart murder is Russian roulette. The analogy to sex without birth control should be obvious.

Of course, the anti-choice idiots would likely say that God only puts soul in the eggs that will eventually become people, or some such nonsense.

Since when is a State legislature able to tinker with the Constitution to redefine the scope of who does or doesn't receive Constitutional rights?

Since the composition of the Supreme Court has reached the point that it might not actually smack down such an amendment.
posted by jedicus at 1:48 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


That would mean every adult female would get 300,000 votes or so.

Actually, aren't girl babies born with all their eggs already? So we get those votes from the minute we're born...

...or maybe sooner...?

Wait, I'm confused.
posted by emjaybee at 1:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Just tell Republicans that the zygotes and fetuses have been suspected of terrorism. They'll be lined up around the block to take their rights away. Or is collateral damage only allowed when the babies and pregnant women are Muslim? It'd be nice if they could find principles and stick to them, one way or the other.

To recap:

You cannot take the 2nd Amendment. The first amendment and the rest they don't really care about, though it's why they claim we need the 2nd amendment.

The government should never be involved in healthcare, unless it concern abortions. The government should never be allowed to decide who lives and who dies, unless someone mentions the word terrorism. The government is allowed to kill adults convicted of crimes, but must protect fetuses not capable of consciousness, even if they are the result of the crime the adult is being executed for.

The government should try to protect children from sperm and egg until the moment of conception, but beyond that, they are on their own. Women should be respected, unless their children have been conceived. In which case, they'll defund public health care and education until no one can read or work because we're too dumb and malnourished.

What the fuck? Do they even know what they think anymore?
posted by notion at 1:51 PM on June 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


I am truly angry and afraid about the rolling back of reproductive rights in this country. It makes me feel so, so deeply sad and alienated and bleak about the future. It makes me furious, too, for myself and my peers and younger girls. But I don't know what to do about it. Can we compile a list of actionable things to do that can help, even in small ways?

- Give money to Planned Parenthood and other orgs (suggestions or suggestions on how to look for them?)
- Write your representatives (any tips on doing this effectively?)
- ?
posted by peachfuzz at 1:52 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


@emjaybee: We have to go deeper! C O N C E P T I O N!
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 1:53 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I get a Social Security number for a (hypothetical) fetus/person I'm carrying? Does it get counted in the census? Do we count for two in the HOV lane?

If I conceive twins and one absorbs the other, is that manslaughter? Does the baby go to jail on birth or maybe I have to put adorable little ankle bracelets on it. You know, surgically.
posted by muddgirl at 1:53 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, it's either humor or frothing, boiling, insane rage at how fucked up all of this is. The government has no business being inside our bodies, period.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 1:54 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seriously, the legal ramifications of this are mind-boggling. I honestly can not believe that any rational person, on any side of the spectrum, believes that one undetectable cell deserves the same rights as even a baby.
posted by muddgirl at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2011


Obligatory; Rvery Sperm is Sacred
posted by edgeways at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2011


oooh.. ^ Every
posted by edgeways at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2011


Actually, aren't girl babies born with all their eggs already? So we get those votes from the minute we're born...

Well, if you want to consider it that way, there are roughly 1-2 million viable oocytes at birth and a bunch get shed off between then and puberty.

So, by this logic (hah), every woman should get between 1-2 million votes at birth. By the time puberty hits, any given woman is dropped to 300,000 votes, but is also charged with 700K-1.7M murders.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


the sad part: middle class women in those anti-abortion states will manage to get abortion via D and C, needed for this or that reason and approved by a doctor. That is how it worked prior to abortion becoming legal. It was the poor and uneducated that went around the corner to get aborted.
posted by Postroad at 1:56 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am going back to Ireland (Republic) where abortion is illegal, thousands of women fly Ryan Air to the UK (20-50 euro) or drive to the North to have it safely performed and then return home to more compassion and support than any of these legislators could ever offer. It is with overwhelming sadness I observe the increasing meanness and vindictiveness of way to many people. No country is exempt but the US (an industrialized, secular, democracy) is setting an awful high standard for divisiveness, spite, polarization, incivility, and righteousness. I would prefer abortion be legalized in Ireland but I am a guest. And I am impressed at the compassion that sometimes moderates the judgement on the "fallen". Oh well, we have more choices in ice cream.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:58 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


What would the citizenship of a fetus/person be? The 14th amendment reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
Not conceived. Born. Is my fetus/person an undocumented immigrant? Could it be deported? Could this be done via abortion, or would I have to accompany it?

If we change the law and grant citizenship upon conception, do I need to get a passport for my fetus if I cross the border? Would a regular ultrasound count or would it have to be one of those 3D ones? Who's going to pay for the ultrasound machines to verify identity at the border? Not to mention this will give a whole new definition to "anchor babies."
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2011 [21 favorites]


Yo that shit ain't right.
posted by rocketman at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2011


Just tell Republicans that the zygotes and fetuses have been suspected of terrorism.

Brilliant. "Folks, why do these America hating Republican traitors think jackbooted new world order thugs should intrude on people's God given liberty to protect anchor fetuses?"
posted by fleetmouse at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2011


Seriously, the legal ramifications of this are mind-boggling. I honestly can not believe that any rational person, on any side of the spectrum, believes that one undetectable cell deserves the same rights as even a baby.

invisible backpack of multicellular privilege
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not to rain on anyone's outrage parade, but these "personhood" laws are still unconstitutional. Maybe that will change, but it hasn't happened yet.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uhhhh, Conceived by Rape tour stars the children and not the horribly traumatized mothers.

Empathy fail, goooooooooo!
posted by Slackermagee at 2:03 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


edgeways: Obligatory; Rvery Sperm is Sacred

Dang, for a second I was all excited that this was some sort of updated version whereby we learn about how republican sperm are more sacred.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:04 PM on June 9, 2011


One would think Rebecca Kiessling would be for legalizing abortion so others wouldn't have to deal with the fear and unsanitary conditions her mother faced--TWICE.

Sorry Rebecca, from one conceived by rape to another, you have your views, I have mine. I rather women have the safe choice. No one has to choose abortion in that circumstance.

Abort
Keep
Adopt out

If you're a product of rape, both mother and child go through a whirlwind of emotions on any of those choices/revelation (does she think I was all woo hoo finding out my circumstance and my mom wanted to abort me?).

But at least there are more than one choice and two of them are pro life. Let those who want a safe, terminal option have one. A rape is not an emotionally easy thing for a woman to go through and I'm sure neither is an abortion. So stop pounding the pavement and punishing those who want that option.

Dumbass.
posted by stormpooper at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Not conceived. Born. Is my fetus/person an undocumented immigrant?

Anchor Fetus.
posted by drezdn at 2:06 PM on June 9, 2011


Since when is a State legislature able to tinker with the Constitution to redefine the scope of who does or doesn't receive Constitutional rights?

The state Senators and Representative (at least in my state) don't seem to care at all about the Constitutionalism of the bills they pass, or whether or not they are overturned. They pass these bills so that they can get their name in the paper and take the focus away from whatever corruption scandal that is going on this week.

An abortion law? National press. Preferencial choice of one bidder over another in a local government contract? A small story in the local paper. Abortion legislation is a proven winner. Don't expect these laws to go away no matter how many times they are overturned.
posted by Quonab at 2:07 PM on June 9, 2011


This may sound like outrage, but I'd honestly like someone who supports this legislation to answer my questions.
posted by muddgirl at 2:07 PM on June 9, 2011


You know what really cuts down on abortions? Better economic circumstances. I guess then they'll be prioritizing that, right?

Right?
posted by tuesdayschild at 2:11 PM on June 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


This may sound like outrage, but I'd honestly like someone who supports this legislation to answer my questions.

I'd like to go one step further and (in some magical parallel universe) find out how many of these supporters are acting from their heart and gut, verse how many are trolling for votes/press/etc.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:12 PM on June 9, 2011


Ladies, this is your Lysistrata moment.
posted by CarlRossi at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rebecca Kiessling's a woman with all the empathy of a wooden post.

Lysistrata moment? Forget that. Let's get to the root of the problem and go Bobbitt on the damn Righties.

STAY the fuck OUT of my uterus!
posted by BlueHorse at 2:30 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Life begins with a twinkle in your grandparents' eyes. Now make that into law.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


The problem with calling this a Lysistrata moment is that the core philosophy of this movement justifies rape. Withholding sex has no meaning under that sort of sickness.

If only I could go back and get more vasectomies, to further demonstrate solidarity.
posted by straw at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


theodolite: Tonight I'm going to drink until I forget that a "Conceived by Rape Bus Tour" is an actual thing that exists.

You may not want to return to MetaFilter for a few days, because this thread will still be on the front page for a while. Just sayin'.

oddman: And yet my right to life doesn't entitle me to health insurance.

Rand Paul hears you, and he cares, he really does. He wants to give you the freedom to try and get your own healthcare! Freedom, not slavery!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2011


So this is all a build up to mandatory "let millionaires rape your daughters" laws, right?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uhhhh, Conceived by Rape tour stars the children and not the horribly traumatized mothers.

That title presumably tested better with focus groups than "Lucky For Me, Mom Got Raped Tour".
posted by cortex at 2:34 PM on June 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


And yet my right to life doesn't entitle me to health insurance.

You want protection? get back into a woman's womb. (Which is what the rapists were doing in the first place, right?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:36 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Possible Conceived by Rape Bus Tour theme song: Rocked by Rape (lyrics by Dan Rather, music by ECC).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:38 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


muddgirl: This may sound like outrage, but I'd honestly like someone who supports this legislation to answer my questions.
Yesterday HB 405 and HB 409 were filed in the [Alabama State] House by Representative John Merrill,a Personhood Statute and Personhood Amendment, respectively.
Alabama House of Reps website list all of Merrill's contact information, including home phone and address.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM on June 9, 2011


Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, "I think your mother should have been able to abort you."...And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life "except in cases of rape" because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts.
Has she ever considered how insulting it is to say to someone "I think you never should have existed?" That is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-life because I would not have been born if abortion were illegal when my mother conceived a kid out of wedlock. And I can tell you that hurts.
posted by muddgirl at 2:43 PM on June 9, 2011


dejah420, that bill is insane. For those who didn't click through, it is setting up the defence to murder of the a justifiable right to kill in defense of a fetus.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Just how insane are things going to get?
posted by jaduncan at 2:44 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ugh. I wonder if this kind of hateful, irrational, controlling attitude is a maladaptive response to a perception of generalized danger: when you're scared about the future, scared of people around you, and scared about a changing world that you don't understand, some perhaps will attempt to relieve their sense of having been wronged and being vulnerable by overreacting drastically in the direction of heavy-handed social control. It's sad.
posted by clockzero at 2:44 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joey Michaels: So this is all a build up to mandatory "let millionaires rape your daughters" laws, right?

The return of Prima Nocta?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:45 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't understand how completely disconnected from reality people can become, to the point that absolutely nothing can challenge their cartoon fairyland of right and wrong. If only the Point of View gun were real.
posted by lucidium at 2:46 PM on June 9, 2011


Here is the bill, so you can read it for yourself. It's really ugly language:
a person has no duty to retreat from any place at which the person has a right to be present, and has the right to stand the person’s ground, and meet force with force, if the person believes reasonable force, including deadly force, is necessary under the circumstances to prevent death or serious injury to oneself or a third party, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony
I think you might commit a felony, so I'm going to kill you, just to be safe. And if I'm understanding this page correctly, a felony is as little as theft of something of $1,000 of value, for which the standard limits of repercussion is a minimum $750 fine, maximum of no more than five years in prison and $7,500 fine. But now you could be killed for that. Also note that writing bad checks falls under this category, so make sure you have as much money in your bank account as you think you do, or your landlord may be able to shoot you dead.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2011


CarlRossi: "Ladies, this is your Lysistrata moment" I laugh, because after doing the research for this FPP, I could use a fucking giggle, I tell you what. But as much as I love Aristophanes; the odds of us getting Republican women to join us in refusing to point our slippers toward the sky is pretty slim.

In all seriousness, I don't know what to do to stop the juggernaut that is quickly crushing women's rights. In two years, we've lost so much ground...I don't even know how to go about taking it back, given that the teahadists/far right republicans control so many of the state legislatures.

States have passed laws that require INSERTING probes into women to do sonograms before they can get an abortion, despite the fact that OB/GYNs almost always use an "above board" sonogram for anything but seriously high risk pregnancies. They've passed laws mandating that women listen to Christians pray at them before they're allowed to WAIT for days to have an abortion. They've passed laws that have driven clinics out of towns and states. Now they're trying to pass laws that forbid contraception at the same time that they're cutting funding for welfare, WIC and well-baby programs.

I don't know how we go about fixing this, but we've got to do something, before we find ourselves back in the days when women couldn't have bank accounts or own property or sign legal documents. Our estrogenical state was enough to preclude us from full citizenship.

These laws are attacks on women, pure and simple. These people want women to get out of the work force, out of the boardrooms, and back into the 19th century, thank you very much. They don't care if women die, they don't care if babies die, they don't care if children starve to death in front of their mansions, what they care about is maintaining their financial and legal hegemony.
posted by dejah420 at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2011 [43 favorites]


muddgirl: This may sound like outrage, but I'd honestly like someone who supports this legislation to answer my questions.

My state legislator, in his drive to get elected this fall (and he did get elected, by ten votes!), was going door to door and I answered the door.

He was an economics professor at our local state university and was running for office. I was actually very interested in his ideas for creating a balanced budget for the state of MN. I figured an economics professor would have more interesting and possibly more viable solutions to our state's debt. But I went to his website and saw, at the very bottom of his Issues list:
It is important to remember that I have made only two promises in this campaign, and intend to make no more. They are:
  1. I will vote against any tax increase.
  2. I will vote 100% pro-life.
So, when he rang my doorbell, I was eager to let him know that, if it weren't for #2 on his promises list, I might have actually voted for him. I asked him why he could do that to limit the rights of so many of his constituents. His response: "My religious beliefs just do not allow me to vote any other way." He would not say any more.

And I was very disappointed in him. I guess I had expected more from a well traveled, highly educated person.

But, now that he's elected, (I did not vote for him), I follow him on twitter and he very much seems to be a man far more interested in making it big in the GOP than a man making educated decisions that are in the best interest of his constituents.
posted by jillithd at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hairy Lobster: The return of Prima Nocta?

Well played, Hairy Lobster, well played.

I've reach a point where snark is the only way I can respond rationally to this sort of idiocy. And it is idiocy. Its not just another "valid point of view." Its just idiocy.

"Ladies, this is your Lysistrata moment"

I appreciate this sentiment (and laughed out loud at the Aristophanes reference, because that is how I roll), and agree in spirit, but we men can't let this be a women-only battle. I contend that legal and safe reproductive care is in the best interest of society as a whole.

I suspect you weren't intending to say this is a "women-only" battle, but its hard to tell on the Internet sometimes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I wonder if this kind of hateful, irrational, controlling attitude is a maladaptive response to a perception of generalized danger: when you're scared about the future, scared of people around you, and scared about a changing world that you don't understand, some perhaps will attempt to relieve their sense of having been wronged and being vulnerable by overreacting drastically in the direction of heavy-handed social control. It's sad.

I think this is secretly what most liberal Democrats believe and goes a long way in explaining why they have been losing this issue.

We've created a society where millions of people are totally expendable, useless and, the only thing more economically useless than a former millworker in South Carolina is the fetus inside of her daughter.

People are scared about the future not because they don't understand but because they do.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:02 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


When all those dirty whores are prevented from spreading their legs before marriage through legislation and legal consequence, young people will have their "gay interlude" just as the good lord intended.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:07 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This kind of Draconian anti-abortion law was imposed by the late Romanian dictator Ceaucescue. It resulted in government run orphanages full of malnourished, AIDS infected children.
Not giving an abortion to a woman with an ectopic pregnancy is a potential death sentence. If the woman lives and the fetus remains inside, it literally turns to stone. See the film 'The Stone Baby', which is about a Moroccan woman who suffered most of her life from pain and was rendered infertile by this tragic affliction.
Mindless, fanatical 'pro-lifers' hate women.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is what happens when the benighted vote for "Real Genwine Murcans!" prodded by a self serving corporate media. This isn't even a race to the bottom anymore; it's an ugly fight in the mud at the bottom.


“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”


So they can use force to "save" the fetus/person? And the bearer of the baby is a moot point? Isn't that like abduction or something?
posted by Max Power at 3:41 PM on June 9, 2011


Reading all of these links literally blows my mind. I am unable to get my head around what has happened to women's rights in the US since I left. I am left with two thoughts:

1) I had serious hesitation moving to Ireland because of the ban on abortion here. I was deeply uncomfortable with that. Ironically, it turns out that Ireland is actually progressive in this regard and is moving closer to legalizing abortion, while the US is regressing toward making it illegal (and worse.) That is truly fucked up.

2) That "Conceived In Rape" bus is unbelievably fucking enraging. Should we start a bus driving in the opposite direction for people who were conceived in rape and still support abortion rights? Because not everyone who's been through one of those Right to Life "won't someone think of the children?" scenarios feels the way the seem to assume we'll all feel about it. One of my closest friends is a child of rape and supports abortion rights. My husband was adopted and supports abortion rights. I had a legal abortion with a statistically rare, catastrophic outcome and I still support abortion rights.

From this link: Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, "I think your mother should have been able to abort you."? It's like saying, "If I had my way, you'd be dead right now."

No it isn't. It's like saying "If I had my way, your mother would have had a choice, and might have aborted you instead of being forced to bear a child she didn't want to have." Having a baby should be a choice. If that means you or me or her doesn't get to be born, none of us would care because we wouldn't be here. In the case of that women, it would also mean our collective gene pool was smarter, so I'd be OK with that.

I don't care what you believe or how hard you advocate for your moral views or how screwed up your worldview is. But I fucking hate every legislator who ever proposed, supported or voted for any one of these laws. Hate them.

I'm sorry if this wasn't a very well put together addition to this conversation. I think this post has thrown me over the edge into incoherent rage.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:44 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a man put out a billboard accusing his ex-girlfriend of having had an abortion. He's being sued for harassment and invasion of privacy. The New Mexico Right to Life had been initially supportive of the billboard, but now they're backing off. The ex-girlfriend has also filed a petition accusing the man of a history of stalking and abuse.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:47 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The girlfriend later flew to Wisconsin for work and when she returned she was no longer pregnant, Holmes said. She did not explain what happened, but Fultz suspected she had an abortion, Holmes said.
I have long argued that evil does not exist in this world. I was wrong.
posted by muddgirl at 3:50 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


As she explained to me, "There does not exist any case in which the life of the mother would be in danger, because technology has advanced so far."

This is insane.
posted by limeonaire at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dude, that's pretty fucked up right there.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:23 PM on June 9, 2011


This kind of Draconian anti-abortion law was imposed by the late Romanian dictator Ceaucescue.

This sentence makes me have thoughts that I wish I didn't have.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:34 PM on June 9, 2011


When they start doing anything that actually threatens the pill and IVF, they wind up with the kind of backlash they're seeing from the Ryan "Make Medicare Into Vouchers" budget plan. In the Bible Belt, this stuff may play well and actually get into some laws in some states and that's bad.

But you're simply not going to see it going national because they know it would be political suicide. And if they don't, they'll find out.
posted by Maias at 4:35 PM on June 9, 2011


This makes me want to establish an abortion clinic right at the Canadian/US border and organize bus trips north for women who need them. Seriously.
posted by jokeefe at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll help you out jokeefe, but it sounds like we'd also need a family planning clinic too, as birth control could be problematic as well. Why do I get the feeling that the laws that would make IUDs illegal say nothing about vasectomies?
posted by Salmonberry at 5:29 PM on June 9, 2011


jokeefe: "This makes me want to establish an abortion clinic right at the Canadian/US border and organize bus trips north for women who need them. Seriously."

A large number of women who need abortion services are enormously burdered by the need to travel for services. I did a survey of the US a number of years ago, and while I can't remember the details, even then it was possible to put a pin in Somewhereville, USA and draw a circle of 1,000 miles to the nearest place a young woman could have a termination without parental consent. It will only be worse, for many more women, now.

I have long ago determined that the only circumstance under which I would move back to the US is if abortion becomes illegal again. I would devote the rest of my life to reviving and delivering the services of the Jane Collective. I'll take NYC; you take Seattle.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:33 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


jokeefe: "This makes me want to establish an abortion clinic right at the Canadian/US border and organize bus trips north for women who need them. Seriously"

I've talked to money people and planner people about something similar. The problem is locating centers where women can get to them. Keep in mind that some women have to worry about daycare and jobs and so on. Unless we can get someone who is willing to give us billions of dollars worth of equipment and planes, it's not feasible.

Part of the plan of these laws is to make abortion almost impossible to get. 87 percent of U.S. counties do not have an abortion provider. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/4000608.pdf)

It is already a hardship for most women to get to a clinic. Those clinics are under constant attack, and we're likely to lose more. Additionally, medical residents tell me that schools don't really teach abortion routinely any more, there are very few doctors that are training to replace the quickly aging provider population.

As I've mentioned in other threads, I've been a long time activist for reproductive rights. I've marched, I've walked women through crowds, I've been hit with sticks and bricks and bottles, I've been followed, I had cause to (legally, not concealed) carry a (licensed) handgun because of death threats. I've seen fetuses wearing dresses in jars of formaldehyde, being carried by men who would never be impacted by their raging. I've looked into the eyes of, and felt the spittle of the frothing madmen who lead this brigade of hate as they screamed at me and reached for my throat.

I was 13 years old when I donned my first protective vest to lock arms to protect a clinic. I'm 46 now. 33 years, I've been staring into the abyss. But the abyss isn't staring back any more, it has wrapped pseudo-piety soaked tendrils around the very foundations of our country and is pulling. Hard.

This fight is about so much more than reproduction rights. It is about freedom. It is about being an equal citizen with equal rights. It is about privacy. It is about humanity, and fairness and democracy.

And if we lose *this* fight...I weep for what comes next.
posted by dejah420 at 5:38 PM on June 9, 2011 [32 favorites]


Incidentally, the "right to privacy" that Griswold supposedly enshrined is not as solid as one might hope. It is built out of colorful language like "penumbras" that "emanate" from other rights, and its definition is not as respected as most people assume it is. In fact, had Robert Bork gotten on the Supreme Court in 87, it's possible that we would look with envy on the little privacy rights we still have.

People have argued that a "Right to Privacy" needs to be enshrined as an amendment, but I figure you may as well lobby for a right to flying ponies.
posted by Legomancer at 6:01 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If these personhood laws existed in the eighties than I would never have been born, my brother would never have been born, and my mom would be dead, because the hemorrhaging caused by her ectopic pregnancy would have just continued until she bled out. Obviously my brother and I wouldn't mind a whit if we never had a consciousness to care with, but I'm pretty sure my mom's happy she wasn't sacrificed on the altar of bullshit republican values. I can't imagine any real person would be willing to die just so a mass of cells could continue living for a few more weeks, even if Newt Gingrich tells you it's the right thing to do in his mass mailings.
posted by Dr. Christ at 6:02 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm too distressed to be very coherent, but this conversation reminds me of a horrifying Salon article I read recently: Abortion saved my life: I almost died in an emergency room because the doctor on call refused to perform a necessary procedure.

The worst part of this is how powerless I feel to stop what is happening to my own country -- and my own subject position as a citizen who is female... The very fact that I have to qualify your understanding of my citizenship with a mention of my sex is, in itself, profoundly disturbing.
posted by artemisia at 6:21 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


jaduncan writes "For those who didn't click through, it is setting up the defence to murder of the a justifiable right to kill in defense of a fetus.

"“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”
"

"Just how insane are things going to get?"


If one goes to one of these clinics after the law is passed and kills a couple workers planning to use this as a defense to the charge what happens when the law is declared unconstitutional? Are you supposed to know what the supreme court will eventually decide or do you get a pass?
posted by Mitheral at 6:30 PM on June 9, 2011


Why does reading this FPP and its links and this discussion thread make me want to burst into tears and run to my room like an adolescent, slamming the door, throwing myself on my bed and crying into my pillow until I fall asleep without dinner?

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck. This country is stupid. Can I have a do-over and live someplace else, please?
posted by hippybear at 7:05 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This human life -- no matter what stage of development, including a zygote -- has constitutional rights.

According to the 14th Amendment (emphasis added) fetuses are not American citizens:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:10 PM on June 9, 2011


Much less the fucking zygotes.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:10 PM on June 9, 2011


There were a number of new abortion rules passed by the NC State House, not just the one requiring an ultrasound. There was also legislation allowing the DMV to sell "Choose Life" licence plates. The funds raised will go to non-profits that provide counseling services.

There was also legislation that limits abortion coverage by the State Health plan as well as any local government insurance plan.
LaRoque, the bill's sponsor, said he doesn't think lawmakers are overstepping their bounds by restricting county and city insurance plans as well.

"I'm a citizen, local citizen, and I pay local taxes, and I don't want my local taxes going to pay for birth control abortions," he said.
Another "tax payer" who confuses the taxes he pays with the salary (and benefits) earned by the government employee. I wonder how LaRoque would feel if I said, "I'm a tax payer and I don't want State Legislators using my tax money to buy alcohol, therefore we should have a law preventing legislators from drinking. Oh and they can't play golf either."

There is most definitely a GOP handbook out there: Ending Abortion by a thousand little Paper Cuts. Attack it through insurance coverage. Attack it through waiting periods. Make it more costly by requiring more tests. Scare off providers by making it legal to kill them. Make fetuses full citizens with rights. It is all too easy to pass legislation and very difficult to revoke it. Expect more hoops to jump through, ladies.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:17 PM on June 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy : There was also legislation allowing the DMV to sell "Choose Life" licence plates.

To clarify, that has been signed into law since the "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" Act of 1982.
posted by dr_dank at 8:08 PM on June 9, 2011


Wake me up when you're all ready to start treating these people as the existential threat they are.
posted by Fuka at 8:36 PM on June 9, 2011


rmhsinc: I am going back to Ireland (Republic) where abortion is illegal, thousands of women fly Ryan Air to the UK (20-50 euro) or drive to the North to have it safely performed
They're not driving to Northern Ireland. It's illegal there too, even though it's part of the UK and the first Abortion Act was passed in 1967.
posted by genghis at 8:49 PM on June 9, 2011


I don't want my local taxes going to pay for birth control abortions," he said.

Wait, what? Are contraception and abortion now the same thing? WTF.
posted by jokeefe at 9:05 PM on June 9, 2011


According to the 14th Amendment (emphasis added) fetuses are not American citizens:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.


Not only citizens have rights, however. People can't shoot tourists, and if a fetus is defined as a live person under the law then intentionally killing people is murder, citizenship or not.

Note: Were it not clear, I think this legal reasoning is stupid when extended to fetuses. It's just not necessarily prima facie unconstitutional in the way you imply.
posted by jaduncan at 10:41 PM on June 9, 2011


Sticherbeast: Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a man put out a billboard accusing his ex-girlfriend of having had an abortion.

Surprise surprise, his twitter feed includes such kneeslappin' "jokes" as "What do you tell a woman with 2 black eyes? Nothing. She's already been told twice." More here.

'The “pro-family” political agenda may claim to uphold “traditional” American values, but for for many young men claiming to want “normal” nuclear families, pregnancy coercion is a form of abuse and control. What kind of “family values” are those?'

"Pregnancy coercion," I hope, will pass into mainstream usage. It puts women back into abortion discussions, where we belong. "Children/baby/fetus!"-focused rhetoric erases us entirely.

Thanks for the post, dejah.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:08 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only citizens have rights, however. People can't shoot tourists, and if a fetus is defined as a live person under the law then intentionally killing people is murder, citizenship or not.

No, because there are two sets of laws here, state and federal. A state cannot strip people of rights protected by the federal constitution by simply adopting a different definition of a term used in the federal law. And there would definitely be federal rights implicated if the defense of the fetus involves preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion.

Think about it this way: Imagine if Alabama had attempted to overturn Brown v. Board by passing a law that defined "integration" as "segregation" in all state laws. It wouldn't have done anything, since the rights at issue are federal ones.

For what it's worth, proponents of these laws usually say that the defense of a person scenario they have in mind is one in which someone (who may or may not be the pregnant woman) uses force to prevent another from "killing" the fetus against the pregnant woman's will, a very different thing from preventing a woman from exercising her federal right to access abortion services.

To be clear, I think it's disingenuous, and that they're really stirring up people to attack clinic workers under the false belief that they can do so with impunity, but the belief is false because of the state/federal issue.
posted by Marty Marx at 12:19 AM on June 10, 2011


She takes after her father.
posted by TheKM at 4:59 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


cybercoitus interruptus: ""Pregnancy coercion," I hope, will pass into mainstream usage."

Agreed. That's brilliant semantics. That article is frightening, just because it seems so familiar.
posted by dejah420 at 5:49 AM on June 10, 2011


To clarify, that has been signed into law since the "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" Act of 1982.
posted by dr_dank at 11:08 PM on June 9

That was in other states, but until now that legislation had not been voted on in North Carolina.

Be warned, the link I've provided is an Anti-choice site
Planned Parenthood complained that the funds from the plate will go to pregnancy centers that provide women with real choices and tangible help in an unplanned pregnancy. As the abortion business claimed, the centers “promise comprehensive medical advice and services but deliver anti-choice propaganda.” Planned Parenthood also complained it would be ineligible to receive funds because it does abortions while the plate’s goals are to promote adoption and helping women in crisis pregnancies.
Nice touch calling Planned Parenthood "the abortion business."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:32 AM on June 10, 2011


jillithd: So, when he rang my doorbell, I was eager to let him know that, if it weren't for #2 on his promises list, I might have actually voted for him. I asked him why he could do that to limit the rights of so many of his constituents. His response: "My religious beliefs just do not allow me to vote any other way." He would not say any more.

Gnnaaggh! Sorry, brainfreeze there. I started thinking about the separation of Church and State, and how someone who wishes to represent his or her state should think of the good of their constituents over their own beliefs.

And then I remembered your last sentence:

But, now that he's elected, (I did not vote for him), I follow him on twitter and he very much seems to be a man far more interested in making it big in the GOP than a man making educated decisions that are in the best interest of his constituents.

And it all makes ugly, ugly sense.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:30 AM on June 10, 2011


Nice touch calling Planned Parenthood "the abortion business."

They must have heard about the Abortionplex.
posted by homunculus at 9:29 AM on June 10, 2011


Nice touch calling Planned Parenthood "the abortion business."

They must have heard about the Abortionplex.


Them and everyone else, it seems. Apparently many among us are ready to believe it's real.
posted by limeonaire at 4:06 PM on June 10, 2011


jokeefe writes "Are contraception and abortion now the same thing? WTF."

This has been a talking point for a long time. IE: Women will have abortions to plan their families instead of using conventional birth control. See also Recreational Abortion.
posted by Mitheral at 9:01 PM on June 10, 2011


And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life "except in cases of rape" because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts.

Hmmm, how good do you think your mother felt that she was forced to have you?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:23 PM on June 10, 2011


jokeefe writes "Are contraception and abortion now the same thing? WTF."

Mitheral: This has been a talking point for a long time. IE: Women will have abortions to plan their families instead of using conventional birth control. See also Recreational Abortion.


I think the talking point is straight up "Some contraceptives cause abortions." They argue (note: link to pro-life site) that if I happen to ovulate while on hormonal birth control (which happens), and the egg meets a sperm, and reaches my uterus, the fact that I have have prevented the "unborn person" from attaching to my uterus by thinning the uterine lining is tantamount to abortion a.k.a. murder. Those campus crusaders (Justice for Life?) have told me that it's akin to starving a baby to death.

Basically, there is a movement to redefine pregnancy to start the minute a sperm is absorbed by an egg (which is, AFAIK, nearly impossible to actually pinpoint). This redefines all non-barrier contraceptives as abortifacients. The funny thing about the website I link to is that they claim that it is drug manufacturers and the pro-choice movement which has redefined pregnancy:
The reason there is so much confusion as to whether or not emergency contraception has the potential to be abortifacient is because those marketing it seem to have subtly changed the definition of pregnancy...When Duramed Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Plan B® One-Step, tells consumers in no uncertain terms that emergency contraception cannot cause an abortion or interfere with an existing pregnancy, either they are lying outright or they've redefined pregnancy as something that begins at implantation instead of fertilization.
posted by muddgirl at 6:05 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


America has a 99 problems but abortion ain't one.

Sometimes I wonder whether the goal of all of this is simply to derail any momentum the left (or, hell, even the often socially progressive members of the Catholic church) might have to tackle the real issues in America -- things like real, living people actually starving to death or dying for lack of health care.

I think everyone who believes that life begins at conception should be forced to raise at least one unwanted child. After all, the mother didn't choose to have the baby, they did.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:57 AM on June 11, 2011


It is just impossible for me, from the other side of the world, to accurately express how I find myself feeling about all this stuff. It is absolutely insane.
posted by sycophant at 3:47 AM on June 13, 2011


A longtime anti-abortion activist, Santorum is selling himself as the leading social conservative in a crowded field.

Santorum: Doctors Providing Abortions To Rape And Incest Victims Should Be Criminally Charged
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2011


Indiana Law Forces Planned Parenthood Clinics To Close And Stop Treating Thousands Of Medicaid Patients
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2011


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