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"On Behalf Of Governor Rick Perry, May I Welome You To Your Compulsory Transvaginal Exam..."
March 13, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

“For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to relitigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.” -- Gary Trudeau
"Only once in the long history of "Doonesbury" has Garry Trudeau’s syndicate ever intensely objected to one of his story arcs. It was 1985, a documentary purporting to show the reactions of a fetus had been released, and Trudeau satirized the film "The Silent Scream" with his own “prequel" strips featuring “little Timmy,” a 12-minute-old embryo. Those strips never saw wide release in newspapers. Now, Trudeau has decided to take on the abortion wars head-on for the first time in "Doonesbury’s" four decades in a series of strips depicting mandatory vaginal ultrasounds as rape." posted by zarq (262 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's kind of astounding that a one-sided attack on well-established rights is consistently described in the media as a "war".
posted by clockzero at 1:32 PM on March 13, 2012 [78 favorites]


1) Garry Trudeau has his finger on the pulse of American society.

2) The average 16-year-old is probably laughing hysterically at the fact that "some newspapers" have decided to not run the strip. That's news? You mean, newspapers think they have some say in what people read these days?
posted by Melismata at 1:32 PM on March 13, 2012 [26 favorites]


There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation of legislation we have passed in Texas to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision.


There is also nothing comic about legislation that treats women as incapable of making their own decisions, but such legislation deserves to be mocked with all the firepower comics can throw at it.
posted by ambrosia at 1:33 PM on March 13, 2012 [111 favorites]


"to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision."

Imagine how test scores would skyrocket if we held children at dildopoint in math class.
posted by The White Hat at 1:34 PM on March 13, 2012 [25 favorites]


God Rick Perry is such a toad.
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Both of my local papers refused to run the strips, just cementing my feeling that they're pathetic, gutless dinosaurs.
posted by COBRA! at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I like Frazier's response, it so very perfectly encapsulates the attitude that women seeking abortions are so stupid they don't know that they're ending a pregnancy. That's a very curious attitude to have.

Also, can anyone confirm whether or not the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Oregonian (the two papers censoring Doonesbury this week) ran the following two cartoons? Cartoon 1. Cartoon 2.

I ask because I've seen various places claiming they did, but nothing I can find says for sure one way or the other. If they did run those two, but chose to censor Doonesbury I find that to be an... interesting choice.

As for the cartoons themselves, and without injecting my own personal politics into this, I think Trudeau hit a nerve if Rick Perry thought it was necessary to send out his press secretary to discuss flipping editorial cartoons.
posted by sotonohito at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


Rick Perry's just mad because his mom tried unsuccessfully to abort him when he turned 40.
posted by orme at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


COBRA!: "Both of my local papers refused to run the strips, just cementing my feeling that they're pathetic, gutless dinosaurs."

Out of curiosity, did they run them online? Because I can see not running them in the paper next to kid-friendly strips like "Peanuts," but online seems like a different situation.
posted by zarq at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2012


"By the authority vested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."

Holy shit. Once in a while something so despicable comes up that the only worthwhile satire can only be this on-the-nose.
posted by griphus at 1:38 PM on March 13, 2012 [66 favorites]


Regarding Political/Editorial style comic strips. I'm a big fan of Clay Bennett.

He's simple and yet sharp with his criticism.
posted by Fizz at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [29 favorites]


The Oregonian decided to drop "Doonesbury" for this week. As it turns out, this isn't a particularly popular decision with Oregonian readers.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


This would be jarring if all of a sudden Garfield tackled abortion and Republican right misogyny, but this is Doonesbury.

Garfield has tackled existential horror before.

John Green weighs in on newspapers, but mostly talks about china.

Anyhow, Doonesbury is astoundingly relevant and interesting, and it is on the comics page. That is like finding out your toaster runs on fusion, I'm still surprised by it even now.

Also, I'm wondering if the far right is really even crazier these days than when I was a kid. I remember Reagan believed in the book of revelations and thought rock and roll was devil musc, but he had nuthin' on these guys.
posted by poe at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


He's simple...

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever actually laughed at a political cartoon.
posted by griphus at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Shall I describe its hopes and dreams?"

"If it wants to be the next Rick Perry, I've made up my mind."

Yup, that's some vintage Trudeau right there.
posted by gompa at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


Also, can anyone confirm whether or not the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Oregonian (the two papers censoring Doonesbury this week) ran the following two cartoons? Cartoon 1. Cartoon 2.

Wow. Those are appalling.
posted by fshgrl at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


I like Frazier's response, it so very perfectly encapsulates the attitude that women seeking abortions are so stupid they don't know that they're ending a pregnancy. That's a very curious attitude to have.

That's what boggles me. What "facts" are women learning here? Wouldn't it be just as appropriate to quiz them on the likelihood of various horrible congenital diseases based on the age of the mother? I don't get it.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't let them get away with the "we just want to be informing them of the facts" bullshit. They are also proposing allowing doctors conceal information that may be used in consideration of a pregnancy termination. While I like to think the vast majority of doctors believe they have an ethical obligation to be honest with their patients, there are certainly those who don't.

Regardless of where you stand on abortion, it's an incredibly bad idea. The next step will be to deny addicts health care information. Or though it's a radical idea, picture this: doctors withholding information about Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, STDs, simply because they don't care for the demographics related to the disease.

Yes, that's slippery-slopey, but ten years ago would you have thought that The Right would have gone this far? They will continue to push to the right, always, no matter the outcome.
posted by Xoebe at 1:42 PM on March 13, 2012 [24 favorites]


"temporarily running it on the op-ed page"!!!! How adorable is that?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:42 PM on March 13, 2012


I just remembered something, The Oregonian was one of the papers, along with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which decided not to run a couple of "edgy" Dave Barry columns.
posted by sotonohito at 1:43 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


What in god's name constitutes an "edgy" Dave Barry column?
posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on March 13, 2012 [32 favorites]


“There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation of legislation we have passed in Texas to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision."

I love that I can't be trusted to understand that an abortion means I'm ending a pregnancy that could result in a child being born, but that there is no concern about my ability to actually parent that child after birth.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 1:45 PM on March 13, 2012 [87 favorites]


"Shall I describe its hopes and dreams?"

"If it wants to be the next Rick Perry, I've made up my mind."

Yup, that's some vintage Trudeau right there.


No, that's the ageing Trudeau overexplaining his jokes. In 1975 that panel would have been:

"Shall I describe its hopes and dreams?"

"No, thanks"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can see not running them in the paper next to kid-friendly strips like "Peanuts"

Or funky Winterbean or Crankshaft...

TBH most kids are probably not going to know WTF that is a skip it.

posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Out of curiosity, did they run them online? Because I can see not running them in the paper next to kid-friendly strips like "Peanuts," but online seems like a different situation.
posted by zarq


I know that at least one of them (the Star Tribune, the less-shitty of the two) did at least run a link to Trudeu's site. Not sure about the Pioneer Press, which is quite a bucket of shit.

And I get the argument about comics pages being kid-friendly, but I don't agree with it. For one thing, I don't think other strips get screened like this. Moreover, I honestly don't think kids would read Doonesbury even if they were looking at the comics page (I spent a lot of my youth skipping over Rex Morgan and Steve Canyon because they bored the crap out of me; I assume Doonesbury already effectively doesn't exist to anyone young enough to be of concern). Really, I can't imagine too many kids actually look at a physical comics page any more.
posted by COBRA! at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is also nothing comic about legislation that treats women as incapable of making their own decisions, but such legislation deserves to be mocked with all the firepower comics can throw at it.

Yep. Also far from hilarious is thinking that it's awesome that politicians make medical decisions for you and without any input from your doctor. That's certainly the way we want things to go.

There was that law that was passed in Oklahoma in the last year or two that said that doctors did not have to inform their pregnant patients that the fetus they were carrying had genetic or physical problems if they thought that information might encourage the woman to abort. Because what you *really* want is parents who are completely unprepared for a baby with Downs or Tay-Sachs etc.
posted by rtha at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2012 [21 favorites]


Omg! I've just read that many U.S. states make selling vibrators to women under 18 illegal. wtf?!? Is the country run by sociopaths? Is anything being done about this? A vibrator by mail campaign or something?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:47 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


What in god's name constitutes an "edgy" Dave Barry column?

One too many references to drinking beer while half-assedly parenting?
posted by gompa at 1:47 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


@griphus He joked about circumcision.

@mrgrimm I think, in this cartoon, Tom Tomorrow summed it up perfectly: "No reason! We just want to show them who's boss!"

Why perform invasive, rapeish, ultrasounds on women seeking abortion? There isn't a reason, the pro-life crowd just wants to punish some sluts. Which, when you get right down to it, seems to be the entire motivation for the pro-life crowd in general.
posted by sotonohito at 1:50 PM on March 13, 2012 [37 favorites]


The average 16-year-old is probably laughing hysterically at the fact that "some newspapers" have decided to not run the strip.

Sadly, I'd be surprised if "the average 16-year-old" pays attention to Doonesbury in the first place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The decision to end a life isn’t funny,” Frazier said. “There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation of legislation we have passed in Texas to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision."

The decision to decide that my personal health issues are a matter for legislatures to decide isn't funny. The decision that as a woman, I do not understand what "abortion" mean isn't funny. The decision to stick a ten-inch wand up a woman who understands what abortion is, what her rights are, and what her choice is: definitely not funny.

It turns out even a citizen like me with lady parts can choose what to read though, and guess what? I've decided Doonesbury is pretty funny!
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2012 [24 favorites]


While it's not a comic strip, Amanda Ching's "ILU-486" is relevant to this discussion.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


My mistake. The Oregonian and Post-Dispatch censored Dave Barry for talking about Beano and farts. He made his circumcision jokes using the word Oregonian to mean "penis", and Post-Dispatch to mean "foreskin". http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1991-12-09/lifestyle/9112070062_1_circumcision-recap-intact
posted by sotonohito at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Omg! I've just read that many U.S. states make selling vibrators to women under 18 illegal. wtf?!? Is the country run by sociopaths? Is anything being done about this? A vibrator by mail campaign or something?

They're just banned outright in the state of Alabama.

Incidentally, The Birmingham News is one of the papers not running Doonesbury this week. I was not at all surprised.
posted by ndfine at 1:52 PM on March 13, 2012


With the sentence: "This is a common medical procedure that involves - and here, in the interest of tastefulness, I am going to use code names - taking hold of a guy's Oregonian and snipping his Post-Dispatch right off. "
posted by sotonohito at 1:52 PM on March 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


It turns out even a citizen like me with lady parts can choose what to read though

Hey now, don't give them any ideas.
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What in god's name constitutes an "edgy" Dave Barry column?

Once in a much more sober than average column, he talked about his decision to euthanize his mother, who was in tremendous pain at the time. I remember seeing it in a collection and thinking, wow. As far as I know it's the only time he broke style in his humor column, but I am far from an expert on Dave Barry.
posted by JHarris at 1:53 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges:
Omg! I've just read that many U.S. states make selling vibrators to women under 18 illegal. wtf?!? Is the country run by sociopaths? Is anything being done about this? A vibrator by mail campaign or something?

I don't think there's anything particularly horrible about banning the sell of sex toys to minors, it's just futile and pointless.

On it own, of course. As a facet of the ongoing assault on female sexuality it's more of a portal into the minds of the culture warriors.
posted by polyhedron at 1:54 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


What in god's name constitutes an "edgy" Dave Barry column?

He had a couple of columns about the experimental practice of circumcised men using little weights to regrow their foreskins, which semi-famously got his column temporarily removed from a few papers. I am not making this up.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seattle Times did the cowardly moving thing.

This probably marks the only time this year I will think about the Seattle Times in any way form or manner.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Am I evil for wishing that these strips would out-meme the ridiculous Kony one? (Maybe can only happen if we make t-shirts and bracelets, eh?)
posted by Surfurrus at 1:56 PM on March 13, 2012


I wonder what the Scott Adams take on this is.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


It turns out even a citizen like me with lady parts can choose what to read though

Hey now, don't give them any ideas.
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on March 13 [+] [!]


But if we can't read, how will we know which way the Scarlet A goes??

/needs a baby sloth break
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:00 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


This word "newspaper"; it doesn't mean what some of these editors think it means.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:00 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The rock you cling to until retirement?
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


COBRA!: "Both of my local papers refused to run the strips, just cementing my feeling that they're pathetic, gutless dinosaurs."

Weird, the Tulsa World is running them, or claims to be. (I don't get a dead tree copy of the paper, so I don't know for sure)

I'm not quite sure what it is that makes it inappropriate for kids, though. I guess now kids can't read the word "rape"?
posted by wierdo at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


New law requires women to name fetus and paint nursery before abortion.
posted by Rumple at 2:05 PM on March 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


The LA Times moved the Doonesbury abortion comics from the funny pages to the editorial page. That seems reasonable to me, and frankly, that's where Doonesbury belongs.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:05 PM on March 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Good thing that they're not printing these strips in newspapers and forcing you to read them on the internet. Kids will never find them there.
posted by octothorpe at 2:06 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


AAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH. I just remembered that The Birmingham News doesn't even print Doonesbury in the comics section. It's already in the editorial section and they STILL pulled this arc.
posted by ndfine at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


For many years, my hometown newspaper ran Doonesbury opposite the opinion page alongside Mallard Fillmore. And that struck me as rather odd. While Doonesbury often treated its conservative characters with a touch of sympathy, Fillmore struck me as a perpetually mean-spirited caricature.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


If your local newspaper censored the Doonesbury strips, please, please complain. Seriously. Tell the editor and publisher and ombudsman and most of the staff that you object.

Because they get so many messages from right-wing wackos they think their entire audience is to the right of Genghis Kahn. They need to be reminded otherwise.
posted by tommyD at 2:09 PM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Ugh, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is one of the coward newspapers. At least the Dallas Morning News has some guts.
posted by kmz at 2:09 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


While Doonesbury often treated its conservative characters with a touch of sympathy, Fillmore struck me as a perpetually mean-spirited caricature.

An accurate reflection of real-life Democrats and Republicans.
posted by Melismata at 2:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


"What do you mean you can still see them on the internet?" asks the GOP base as it types theinternet.com into its Yahoo search bar.
posted by griphus at 2:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [44 favorites]


There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation of legislation we have passed in Texas to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision.

And there's nothing particularly comic about an overweight cat or a larger-than-average dog. Are we actually going to judge newspaper comics based on humor now? (if so, than the Doonesbury ones actually hold up, thank you very much.)

When I was a kid the Tulsa World ran both Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore on the Op-Ed page as a matter of course. The NY Daily News would pull Doonesbury occasionally, but not nearly to the extent that they would pull Boondocks, which seemed to be off more often than on. The Daily News is pretty cowardly, though.

Oh, and fuck those Sandra Fluke cartoons. I didn't know it was possible to be less subtle than Rush, but Editorial Cartoons came to the "rescue" I guess. (BTW, the Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice, better known as the group Fluke was most specifically representing, is holding it's annual performance of The Vagina Monologues this week, for anyone who's in DC and wants to help out.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2012


There was that law that was passed in Oklahoma in the last year or two that said that doctors did not have to inform their pregnant patients that the fetus they were carrying had genetic or physical problems if they thought that information might encourage the woman to abort.

They're passing this bill right now in Kansas.

This is, of course, what makes anyone with religious beliefs understand immediately why people like Catherine Frazier and Rick Perry are going straight to hell. In one state, right-wingers are defending doctors from flat-out lying to patients, while in Texas, they are pretending that this is about "making sure women have informed decisions." Because, apparently, they want to pretend that listening to a doctor doesn't provide the informed decision that a force vaginal probe does.

It's such awful, cruel bullshit. And they know it. You can picture the smile on their face as they say things like that, just knowing how good it felt for them to have hurt some nasty, aborting slut, somewhere out there. Regardless of one's opinions on abortions, there's something so painfully awful about that. It's like this wordplay is carefully designed to show just how hurtful and vile you can be to someone you want to dominate. This isn't politics; it's sociopathy.

But, you know, those comics are impolite or whatever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:15 PM on March 13, 2012 [64 favorites]


To help Fox News and the rightwing talking points:

Trudeau is a Canadian name.
He misspells Gary.
The pointed noses he draws have always been slutty.
Notice how his cartoon characters look like they need to sleep? He overworks and underpays them.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm really not sure what to say on the actual issue because after we've exhausted the insults for the papers who won't run it, there's not much to say about the 'controversey' and as for the strips themselves, after you get to "By the authority vested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape." there's really not worth saying other than "Bravo."

But as is often the case, Metafilter triggered a memory, so I'll share it.

Even though a lot of Doonesbury went over my tween-to-14 year old head, I still thought that Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau were the coolest, most glamorous, smartest couple you could ever imagine.

Though I have enjoyed a lot of Doonesbury since then and would probably still be happy if I caught Pauley on my TV, I'm not sure I've even thought about them as having a personal life in decades, let alone thought about whether or not they were still together. The fact that they're still married fills me with so much joy. Liberal family values for the fucking win.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:23 PM on March 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Notice how his cartoon characters look like they need to sleep? He overworks and underpays them.

Actually, they approve of that one.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:25 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


JHarris: "What in god's name constitutes an "edgy" Dave Barry column?

Once in a much more sober than average column, he talked about his decision to euthanize his mother, who was in tremendous pain at the time. I remember seeing it in a collection and thinking, wow. As far as I know it's the only time he broke style in his humor column, but I am far from an expert on Dave Barry.
"

To be fair he's far from an expert on humor. So you're cool.
posted by Splunge at 2:28 PM on March 13, 2012


Even though a lot of Doonesbury went over my tween-to-14 year old head, I still thought that Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau were the coolest, most glamorous, smartest couple you could ever imagine.

I was older, but me, too. Man, I had the biggest crush on Jane Pauley. I hated it because Trudeau was a real hero and a fucking interloper.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:29 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


shakespherian:He had a couple of columns about the experimental practice of circumcised men using little weights to regrow their foreskins, which semi-famously got his column temporarily removed from a few papers. I am not making this up.

Would you say that it would be a good name for a rock band?
posted by dr_dank at 2:32 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation...

In its defense (from a former Doonesbury fan), it's a "comic" in the sense that it's a long-running sequential art strip that usually makes use of the three-panel form, but has ongoing continuity. In its history, it's covered drug use and abuse, war, parenthood, same-sex relationships, adultery, death, and wartime trauma. It has an entire story arc devoted to conservative everyman B.D.'s wartime amputation, post-traumatic therapy, and struggles with the VA system.

But what's funny is that I suspect this exact same line is spoken every time this happens with Doonesbury, which has been on the order of every few years or so.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:33 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait till they find out some of the subjects Comedy Central covers!
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Coincidently I too have a 10-inch shaming wand.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:37 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Eh, Dave Barry might not be one's cup o' tea but I think he's funny, and often trenchant in between the lines. His book on Japan back in the nineties was particularly interesting to me, because of the ways it stayed away from LOLJAPAN stuff and focused on this history and deeper cultural understanding to be found in the differences. (Like going to a Japanese stand-up club and learning how the style there is less about jokes and more about the performance of a good story, or how the concept of the geisha is now an outmoded art form mostly kept alive by elderly practitioners, and has much more to do with hostessing than anything else, etc etc.)

There's a bit about 2/3s of the way through about his teenage son finding a pizza place, and what an ecstatic relief it was, not because "japanese food is weird!" but because the family had been there for three weeks by that point and were feeling the alienation of being strangers in a strange land particularly hard. He's hokey and tame, sure, but he celebrates the weird, and I like that.

Also, I'm pretty sure he did a column about the death of his father as well, which was entirely serious (and well-written.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


It has an entire story arc devoted to conservative everyman B.D.'s wartime amputation, post-traumatic therapy, and struggles with the VA system.

As collected in The Long Road Home / The War Within / Signature Wound. You know, for kids!
posted by nicebookrack at 2:41 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The decision to stick a ten-inch wand up a woman...

In the ultrasound field, the TVG transducer (like all ultrasound transducers) is commonly called a probe.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:50 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which just so happens to be my special name for...
posted by mikelieman at 2:54 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Erin Foley comedy routine about Plan B. She thinks the conservatives would be more on board with it if it was called, "I Am a Sinner and a Whore".
posted by kamikazegopher at 2:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's interesting that WaPo says that the strip has "has about 1,400 clients," instead of trying to guess at total readership. 1,400 sounds small, until you figure that readership for each paper is at least a few thousand, up to 100,000 plus. Nit-picking aside, their interview is a great peek into Trudeau's thought process (and his thoughts on the topic):
Q: After four decades, you’re an expert at knowing the hot-button satiric words and phrases — such as, in the case [this] week, terms such as “10-inch shaming wand.” Can you speak to how you approached writing these strips?

A: Oddly, for such a sensitive topic, I found it easy to write. The story is very straightforward — it’s not high-concept like [the satiric] Little Timmy in “Silent Scream” — and the only creative problem I had to work through was the physician’s perspective. I settled on resigned outrage.

Texas’s HB-15 [bill] isn’t hard to explain: The bill says that in order for a woman to obtain a perfectly legal medical procedure, she is first compelled by law to endure a vaginal probe with a hard, plastic 10-inch wand. The World Health Organization defines rape as “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration — even if slight — of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object.” You tell me the difference.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on March 13, 2012 [32 favorites]


I don't know if my local paper relocated it or dropped it entirely (I suspect they would drop it), because it's behind a Gannett media paywall! Hooray.
posted by subbes at 2:57 PM on March 13, 2012


"The decision to end a life isn’t funny,” Frazier said.

So he doesn't laugh when he's executing prisoners or supporting drone bombing.

But he laughs at Doonesberry?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:01 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had to have one of those ultrasounds when I was having some kidney pain back in the 1990s ----> feels exactly like what Trudeau says. Horrible horrible experience made worse by the machine needing to push and prod in order to scan the bodily organs.
posted by infini at 3:09 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN PULITZER ALREADY!
posted by liza at 3:14 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the ultrasound field, the TVG transducer (like all ultrasound transducers) is commonly called a probe.

In the infertility world, where we are very familiar with it, it is known as the Dildocam.

I have to admit that I'm sort of bemused by the whole commentroversy by the right about this. You pass shitty legislation that would never have a chance of succeeding if the ladies who would be subject to the shaming rod were asked to vote on it, and this is what you get. Classic, hysterical Doonesbury.

I live in Texas and I really, really hope a the next Jane Roe comes along and challenges this thing all the way to the Supreme Court and that Texas LOSES.
posted by Leezie at 3:18 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


"The decision to end a life isn’t funny,” Frazier said.

That may be true. Fortunately, when it comes to a zygote, according to American law, that's not what's being decided.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:20 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Politicians who attempt to circumvent reproductive autonomy shall undergo compulsory colonoscopy, in order to fully comprehend the implications of having your head that far up your own ass.
posted by idiopath at 3:21 PM on March 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


My local paper, the Keene Sentinel, is censoring Doonsbury this week. I spoke with the Editor, who claimed the subject was inappropriate for the comic pages. I think this behavior by middle class, middle aged men needs to be seen for what it is by everybody, even children. Maybe they will not grow up into such pompous, privileged bastards.
posted by Hobgoblin at 3:23 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I live in Texas and I really, really hope a the next Jane Roe comes along and challenges this thing all the way to the Supreme Court and that Texas LOSES.

It's a chilling thought that if Romney becomes president (and let's be honest: it's a 50/50 game barring another morning in America), the chances of both a Justice retiring or dying and being replaced by a staunch anti-abortion judge and the relitigation of Roe by conservatives are so close to 100% as to be statistically insignificant.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:24 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really don't understand what has kept Ginsburg from retiring in the current administration, aside I guess from the work keeping her active, and a love for it (and I say this as someone with a ton of love for her and her work. My college roommate is her nephew, and Georgetown Law was enamored of her- and her late husband, who was a beloved professor there.)

But it just seems so risky for her to remain, considering what the person who replaces her could be like if a Republican wins. I don't get it.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:34 PM on March 13, 2012


Oh, and this is fun.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:36 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


You pass shitty legislation that would never have a chance of succeeding if the ladies who would be subject to the shaming rod were asked to vote on it, and this is what you get. Classic, hysterical Doonesbury.

...and this law still in effect.
posted by inigo2 at 3:37 PM on March 13, 2012


Just want to point out that Navelgazer's link, if you didn't click on it, is about an AZ law allowing employers to fire you for using birth control. Even if you pay for it yourself, not through insurance. Just for using it. Because sluts, that's why.
posted by emjaybee at 3:53 PM on March 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


Wow! I had NO IDEA that women were so powerful, they can make themselves pregnant! I know this because at no time do the Republican candidates indicate that pregnancy is the result of ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH MEN.

Who are obviously using all that insurance-covered Viagra for "non-sexual reasons."
posted by kinnakeet at 3:58 PM on March 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


Holy Crap Navelgazer, that link is incredible:

"A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they're using it for non-sexual reasons."

er. what? Do they even think this stuff through?

Also, that Trudeau strip is freakin' awesome.
posted by marienbad at 3:59 PM on March 13, 2012


er. what? Do they even think this stuff through?

Yes, they probably do, at least some of them. That's the terrifying part.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2012


Thta's proposed legislation, not law.

Pretty sure employers don't have info on what medications employees are reimbursed for. The insurer would know that, but I think it is unlikely they'd provide it to the employer.

But what the hell do I know, I'm in Canada (where employers would not be provided that info due to privacy laws) and can't figure out what is up down south. Except that I am happy its reinvigorating the feminists.

[not that its perfect up here on abortion, but I hesitate to mention our troubles because they seem laughable in the face of this stuff]
posted by chapps at 4:05 PM on March 13, 2012


"Thta's" is the canadian spelling for "That's", btw.
posted by chapps at 4:06 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


at no time do the Republican candidates indicate that pregnancy is the result of ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH MEN.


And in North Carolina, the elected county commissioners in New Hanover County voted to reject a state grant designed to cover family-planning services.
Chairman Ted Davis said he thought it was a sad day when “taxpayers are asked to pay money to buy for contraceptives” for women having sex without planning responsibly.

“If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Davis said.
But men are not part of the equation at all. Nice.
posted by ambrosia at 4:08 PM on March 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "Sadly, I'd be surprised if "the average 16-year-old" pays attention to Doonesbury in the first place."

When I was ~13 I became obsessed with Doonesbury and starting collecting the books. I ended up with an almost-complete run, going back to when it was in the Yale newspaper. I give it credit for what I know about 70s and 80s politics.

(I'm willing to bet I was not average in this regard.)
posted by brundlefly at 4:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


From Navelgazer's article: “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union."

Well, I'm definitely not living in Arizona any time soon. Because you know what? Shaming women for birth control and limiting sex ed is apparently something she wants to share with the Soviet Union.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:10 PM on March 13, 2012


If nothing else, that idiotic AZ bill would almost certainly be in violation of HIPAA. Unless the proposed plan is "employer can ask employee if they are taking whore pills" in which case, I hope the employee would either lie or sue. The employer can't ask the insurance company, and the insurance company can't tell the employer.
posted by rtha at 4:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Couldn't they just make signing a HIPAA release form a condition of employment?
posted by dirigibleman at 4:18 PM on March 13, 2012


“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

...which is why the government has absolutely no right to tell a neighborhood diner that they have to serve blacks.

wait they what
posted by griphus at 4:21 PM on March 13, 2012


dances_with_sneetches: "Notice how his cartoon characters look like they need to sleep? He overworks and underpays them."

That's a positive trait in the eyes of the "don't tax the job creators" contingent.
posted by notsnot at 4:22 PM on March 13, 2012


JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN PULITZER ALREADY!

1975 has got it sorted.
posted by Zed at 4:34 PM on March 13, 2012


The GOP's new attack on reproductive rights is a clever maneuver in order to steer the debate away from OWS and economic injustice.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:41 PM on March 13, 2012 [6 favorites]




legislation that treats women as incapable of making their own decisions
...is as American as banning apple pie sales from vendors without licensed kitchens.

The coerced rape is a pretty huge twist, though.
posted by roystgnr at 4:47 PM on March 13, 2012


their entire audience is to the right of Genghis Kahn.

All right, let's be fair here. Genghis Kahn encouraged religious tolerance and adopted a form of written language for the Mongol people. He united disparate tribes and believed in a strong military. His "united not a divider" governing style, acceptance of people of different faiths, and support of education would have had him drummed out of the Republican party as a RINO despite the huge number of people of Middle Eastern descent he killed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:58 PM on March 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


Can I take a moment to yammer on about the debt I owe Doonesbury?

So when I was five years old we moved to a suburb where I didnt know anyone, there were no neighbors my age, and school wouldnt start for several more months. But we did live across the street from a library. So I spent a huge amount of time over there. Entire days.
I wasnt exactly over there reading Proust. I would spend a lot of time in periodicals and a ton of time in the aisle where the comic strip collections were.
I was (and of course still am) a huge Peanuts fan. So I naturally devoured those first.
When I ran out of Peanuts, I turned on the Garfields and the Mad Magazine collections and so on, eventually getting to the older Hi & Lois and Katzenjammer Kids compilations and stuff like that. In fact I think they even had a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers book in there but I could be misrembering that.
So eventually the well runs dry. Except for the Doonesbury books. This was 1979, so there was about a decade's worth of Doonesbury compilations there, and I had tried one before but didnt find it all that funny. But whatever, this is what was left and I'll be damned if I'm going to have to read...you know...books.
So now Im left with these Doonesburys.
I remembered seeing Zonker on one of the Reading is Cool style posters the library had up, so he was my way "in" as it were. A spaced-out hippie was something that I could understand.
I started working my way through the first book, which wasnt easy but after a while the political references started kind of reinforcing each other, and I was too precocious to give up and let this stuff beat me. It had been around for a decade. That means its "get" able and if it is then Im going to hang with it till I get it.
Eventually I start looking up the political names and events referenced. Im asking my mom who "Agnew" is over breakfast, etc. I'm not even in the first grade yet and Im already feeling like I have a bit of a grasp on the "feel" of the late 60s.
I stuck with it and went through al the books, eventually re-reading them later which both reinforced what I was getting out of them since I knew more stuff now and also realizing there were whole layers of jokes that I could tell were jokes but never really really understood on first reading.

So anyway, for teaching my 5 year old self far more about politics than I would ever have expected to learn, for giving me perspective into an era other than my own (which is an important lesson in itself - regardless of the era), and for engraining in me the lesson that I still use to this day that just because you may not find something interesting at first doesnt mean there arent other back doors into the material, for all of that I owe Doonesbury a massive debt. I would literally be a different person without that.

Anyhoo. Sorry I made everyone have to scroll back to the discussion.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:07 PM on March 13, 2012 [44 favorites]


Couldn't they just make signing a HIPAA release form a condition of employment?

I guess? But they couldn't ask only their female wannbe-employees, because that would be illegal, so they'd have to ask the men as well, and presumably they'd think it would be okay to ask any (female) dependents on the guy's coverage if she was taking whore pills, and I just can't see that flying.
posted by rtha at 5:09 PM on March 13, 2012


They're passing this bill right now in Kansas.

White House.gov petition about the Kansas and Arizona bills that allow doctors to withhold information, if anyone is interested.
posted by daisystomper at 5:09 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they're using it for non-sexual reasons."

That scribbling sound is hundreds of glaucoma jokes being rewritten as polycystic ovarian syndrome jokes.
posted by idiopath at 5:10 PM on March 13, 2012


Oh the other point of my story up there that I forgot to include is: libraries are awesome
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:13 PM on March 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seattle Times did the cowardly moving thing.

This probably marks the only time this year I will think about the Seattle Times in any way form or manner.


For what it's worth, I thought the Times always ran the strip in the Editorial section. (Admittedly, I've not read a physical copy of the Times in ages. Maybe even a decade? Jeeez....
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:15 PM on March 13, 2012


The next step will be to deny addicts health care information.

Next step? Information? Drug users in the United States are routinely denied access to medicines and things like sterile syringes they could use to protect themselves against the harms of illicit drug use. By blocking federal funding to syringe exchange programmes -- and by ignorantly prolonging the "debate" over whether or not these scientifically-proven interventions to reduce HIV transmission among injection drug users "encourage" drug use -- men like SC senator Jim De Mint are responsible for thousands of HIV cases.
posted by docgonzo at 5:19 PM on March 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I started reading Doonesbury when I was in high school in the 70's. I've never not read it, but there was a spell there during the Clinton era when it was less interesting. But he's sure back at the top of his game now.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:22 PM on March 13, 2012


I started reading Doonesbury when I was in high school in the 70's. I've never not read it, but there was a spell there during the Clinton era when it was less interesting. But he's sure back at the top of his game now.


I think it's helpful to have someone to play against, as it were.

And yes I know Clinton was no angel, but that is not this.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2012


Gary Trudeau is a goddamn hero.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:31 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does that "wand of shame" poking around inside the woman pose any risk to the fetus?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:38 PM on March 13, 2012


A doctor would probably be the best person to answer that, but since the politicians don't care about actual medical opinion, I guess we'll never know.
posted by rtha at 5:39 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity, did they run them online? Because I can see not running them in the paper next to kid-friendly strips like "Peanuts," but online seems like a different situation.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune does have them online. I'd link to it but I don't want to give page views to what is a deeply shitastic paper. I'm kind of disappointed in the St. Paul Pioneer Pres though. I've never read it because I'm a west-side kinda girl, but I'd have thought it was better than the Strib because, hey, St. Paul.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:44 PM on March 13, 2012


Couldn't they just make signing a HIPAA release form a condition of employment?

Here you're potentially getting into EEOC trouble. There are certain questions a prospective employer cannot ask without violating federal law, and some of them pertain to health. Emboldened by a state law like this, I'm sure the more horrible employers will try, but they could be sued.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:46 PM on March 13, 2012


Does anyone still read Doonesbury? I mean, I didn't know it was still running. It is one of those pieces of boomer culture best passed by, like Woodstock tributes and classic rock radio stations.
posted by Yakuman at 5:47 PM on March 13, 2012


Hey folks, just to let you know — if you are in an area that blanked Doonesbury over this, write your paper a real, physical letter. Because they'd get tons of them from old grumpy people if they'd left the strip in, so go be a good young grumpy person and let them know. They take written letters much, much more seriously than emails or web comments.
posted by klangklangston at 6:15 PM on March 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


Just thinking out loud, so to speak, if the GOP or various GOP entities, can force this stuff on women, can't we enact a law that forces law makers to undergo a psychological exam to prove that they are not sociopaths before taking office? I'd love to see the results of THAT test.
posted by snsranch at 6:31 PM on March 13, 2012


OK, so Doonesbury, if you notice in the print edition, is always a little bit larger than other comics. Now, I've been reading since the 80s and I have a distinct memory about why this is - it was, I thought, Trudeau's effort to break the frame of the comics page and insist that his cartoon run on the op-ed page, where it does definitely belong. Strangely, I'm not finding this bit of history online. But this is what I remember - that he intentionally contracts with the syndicate subscribers to only reproduce the comic at a certain scale.

It looks like now papers just segregate it with the other weird-shaped cartoons on the comics page.

In the 80s there was Doonesbury, Bloom County, and the reincarnated Pogo on the cartoon page, all of which were sufficiently political or culturally critical to make some sense together. Nowadays I'm not sure why it runs with the comics.

I can say that in my short journalism career, I learned that nothing a newspaper does - absolutely nothing - arouses more comment and response and ire and vitriol from the reading public as messing with the comics. The slightest move toward cancelling "BC" or "Hagar" or adding a "Curtis" or "Kudzu" would elicit a wave of reactionary culture-war objections to perceived changes in the paper's messaging. People are really passionate about their comics - they passionately hate the ones they hate, and ardently love the ones they love, and it says a lot about their general politics and attitude toward other views.

Glad to see that even in these days when newspapers are on the rocks, a little flap about the comics still makes people sit up and take notice.

Call your editors! Better yet, write them, so they can run your letter in the letters column.
posted by Miko at 6:54 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought I remembered reading that Doonesbury had to be larger than other comics because of all the words his characters spoke. If the strip was any smaller the dialogue would be unreadable.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:04 PM on March 13, 2012


sotonohito: " Also, can anyone confirm whether or not the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Oregonian (the two papers censoring Doonesbury this week) ran the following two cartoons? Cartoon 1. Cartoon 2."

WTF? Those are disgusting.
posted by zarq at 7:06 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Miko: "The slightest move toward cancelling "BC" or "Hagar" or adding a "Curtis" or "Kudzu" would elicit a wave of reactionary culture-war objections to perceived changes in the paper's messaging."

I'm not too familiar with "Kudzu", but I'm having trouble imagining what "reactionary culture-war objections" people would have to "Curtis." It's so bland and inoffensive! Tell me it's not just that it involves black characters?
posted by brundlefly at 7:09 PM on March 13, 2012


Metafilter: where herds of sluts run wild like feral ponies, humping everything in sight.
posted by DisreputableDog at 7:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell me it's not just that it involves black characters?

That's probably it. But what it came wrapped in was a whole lot of "In my day the comics just poked fun at daily life! They were simple! They didn't try to teach moral lessons and lecture to us! I don't want to be lectured! I don't read comics to feel guilty! These modern day comics about 'the streets' and 'interspecies snorgling' leave me cold!"

That kind of thing. I wish I were making it up. Maybe some of the other inkstained wretches here can verify that you mess with the comics at your peril.
posted by Miko at 7:16 PM on March 13, 2012


Maybe they heard about the "Kwanzaa fables of hallucinatory madness".
posted by brundlefly at 7:22 PM on March 13, 2012


[In 1985] Trudeau satirized the film "The Silent Scream" with his own “prequel" strips featuring “little Timmy,” a 12-minute-old embryo. Those strips never saw wide release in newspapers.

Do those strips exist online?
posted by puddleglum at 7:42 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm comfortable with the decision to run these as editorial cartoons. They *are* editorial cartoons. Not running them is fear of controversy, and shameful.

What's with the gleeful, spiteful hatred of women? I mean, I get it, lots of people despise women, and want to deny them equal rights (well, duh, more for ME) but I've had a transvaginal ultrasound, and it's invasive. For a reason, and I'm not traumatized, but to require it is deeply fucked up.

I just imagine a woman who planned and desires the pregnancy, but has an abortion because the pregnancy is killing her, or because her family can't possibly afford this child, even though they wish they could, or because carrying an anencephalic pregnancy to term is unbearable, or because she needs radiation/chemotherapy for breast cancer. And she has to be probed? And her doctor is required to perform this unnecessary procedure?

In Saudi Arabia, the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice stopped schoolgirls from leaving a burning building because the girls were not wearing correct Islamic dress. cite

In Texas, the law requires a medical professional to rape a woman.
posted by theora55 at 7:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


I can not believe I still have to protest this shit.
posted by theora55 at 7:59 PM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes. That's Silent Scream II, The Prequel.

I looked when I was compiling the post but didn't find them. It was reported that they were supposed to run in late May 1985, but Trudeau himself pulled them before they could run after discussions with his distributor. May 1985's strips begin here. But, they apparently ran in the New Republic.

I opted not to include them with the post because... well, to be perfectly honest I was already worried that this post would be deleted for being too controversial and I didn't want to push my luck.
posted by zarq at 8:02 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's with the gleeful, spiteful hatred of women?

I still don't have an answer for that. It's the uncanniest thing. And it's so unacceptable. It's become part of the air we breathe, and yet every day we sigh and take it for granted that some powerful Americans as well as some general public just have a weird thing against women's full citizenship and autonomy, we put our hands up once again to volunteer for second-class status.
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on March 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Errr... that is, I didn't comment with them earlier to include them in this post's thread. I wound up finding them about 20 minutes after I posted this.

At this point, the post has 100+ comments and I assume linking to those strips isn't going to totally derail the thread and get it tossed into the bin.
posted by zarq at 8:05 PM on March 13, 2012


"Let's call him Timmy. While his main preoccupation at this point is cell division, in most respects he's as human as you and I."

Man, I read that Silent Scream series as a kid but I really didn't get it at all.
posted by brundlefly at 8:16 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still don't have an answer for that. It's the uncanniest thing.

I've thought a lot about it. Is it because of the baby making? Because we have the hole they want to stick it in? Are they jealous or mad about those things? Or is it just that we're smaller than they are and therefore they can beat us up and do whatever the hell they want to us whenever they like? I tend to lean towards the last one because power-mongering haters always look for the weaklings they can beat up on and look, here we are!

Except some folks go for flat out hitting and murder, and others just try to do horrible things to your legal status. I guess that's...somewhat of an improvement.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:36 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


klangklangston: "They take written letters much, much more seriously than emails or web comments"

Perhaps even more proof that newspapers are a dead industry.
posted by graventy at 9:10 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, as it turns out, I had a transvaginal sonogram last friday, as part of diagnostic series. I am a woman of certain age and was prepared and relaxed. (Well, as relaxed as one can be, wearing a paper dress, toes pointed towards the ceiling, while a stranger inserts things into you, but given those caveats.) Even with no real emotional load attached, like there would be in a termination situation; this was an uncomfortable exam. That this unpleasant and expensive exam has been mandated in order to get abortion services in my state is abhorrent.

But putting aside the horrors of the state mandated unnecessary penetration of the unwilling for just a minute; the last panel of the last cartoon is something that isn't getting much coverage at all. Women who want an abortion now have to find the funds to get the abortion, and the funds to pay for the sonogram, and the ability to take at least two consecutive days off of work. These sonograms are not cheap, an average cost, before insurance negotiates the fee down, is at or above $500.00. This puts the cost of abortion in Texas at somewhere near $1,000, more or less.

Another thing; a transvaginal sonogram is not a fast test. According to the tech who did my sono; a woman seeking termination will be in stirrups longer for the mandated unnecessary penetration than she will be in stirrups for an actual termination.

It is important to note here that this invasive procedure is mandated before you can get the RU486 pill too; not just before you may make use of surgical options.

Perry proved again this week he hates women by saying that if the Federal Government was going to include Planned Parenthood as a provider for cancer screenings and other women's health services, then Texas didn't want any filthy federal dollars to save women's lives. He'd rather that 284,000 women lose services.

These laws aren't about saving lives, they're about punishing women. I have long had a love affair with Doonesbury, as my well read shelves of ancient paperbacks will attest (I even have a framed, signed print in my office reminding me to never go to law school.) Trudeau has been a strong rational feminist voice in my life. From It's a baby woman!" to the strips he published this week; Trudeau speaks truthiness to paternalistic power.

Here's what I think. Every legislator who voted *for* this bill, must report to a medical facility for an invasive, unnecessary probing exam that lasts just as long, costs just as much, and can't be covered by insurance. If they aren't willing to step up and have a medically unnecessary, invasive probe, then by gods, they have to change their vote.
posted by dejah420 at 9:21 PM on March 13, 2012 [44 favorites]


Now, I've been reading since the 80s and I have a distinct memory about why this is - it was, I thought, Trudeau's effort to break the frame of the comics page and insist that his cartoon run on the op-ed page, where it does definitely belong.

Trudeau never insisted on (or, to my knowledge ever indicated he wanted) the op-ed page (though some papers had already been putting it there.) But you remember right that he managed to refuse Doonesbury's being shrunk at the same time as other strips some years ago. Apparently he hasn't been able to maintain this stance.
posted by Zed at 9:52 PM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a few people who are in full support of this. When asked about it, they bring up some anecdote they heard on Fox News about how 'some woman' somehow used something relating to abortion or birth control pills to try to 'game' the system. Notice how many times I said "something/somehow/some____" in the past sentence. They hear some vague ass story, remember in an even more vague sense, and spout it off believing that a vague story about someone somewhere qualifies them to believe that shit like this is fully okay. It's not. It's men wanting to 'shame sluts' or something something bible jesus god. Can't we just move on? Fuck. It's 2012 and, as a society, we're having this conversation? Really?
posted by Evernix at 9:55 PM on March 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


They take written letters much, much more seriously than emails or web comments.

I've never worked at a daily, but I've worked at a weekly paper, and at handful of monthly magazines. None have taken the reader mail all that seriously. I mean, if Neil deGrasse Tyson were to write in, I might swoon a little. Provided you're not him, it's going to be hard to make the odd complaint letter stand out from the deluge of mail from cranks, and the occasional love letter from an inmate.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:16 PM on March 13, 2012


Here's Dave Barry's column about his mother's death, though I can't find the one about his father. I know damn well it exists (I actually performed it as a monologue in high school, and remember it ending with him driving away, simply saying "I can hardly see the road.")
posted by Navelgazer at 11:25 PM on March 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


And all at once, again, I am overcome by the tragedy that Molly Ivins is no longer with us.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 PM on March 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


Those cartoons posted by Sotonohito are horrifying. I think that they point to something interesting - for a long time, a good response to anti-choice fanatics was to point out that they ought to be supporting contraception, because logically that would lead to fewer abortions. But now, the right is pushing the (false) claim that those who use contraception want to have sex on YOUR dime, paid for by YOUR tax dollars. It is a thought-stopping cliche, meant to leap to the mind whenever someone makes the point about contraception being good for preventing the need for abortions.

The right did something similar with the enormous flood of cartoons accusing Democrats of "Playing the race card" to silence critics of Obama. Ingenious - making people ashamed of pointing out racism, while flattering their audience who, of course, don't think of themselves as racist (almost noone acting racist ever does).

The right likes to push these talking points, these thought stoppers, that reinforce some other part of their agenda. It's sneaky and fundamentally bad faith (unlike the very personal satire provided by e.g. Trudeau). It reinforces the impression, too, that almost everyone on the right succeeds as part of a mass, by being a spokesman for an agenda, rather than on the basis of personal talent.

This whole situation is so horrible that it sort of encourages you to flee into analysis. But that passage from Catherine Frazier is just... hair raising. Depraved rape-apologism - I only wish I believed in hell, because surely those responsible for institutionalising rape should go there.
posted by lucien_reeve at 3:30 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Smartass women deluge Senator McDougle (R-VA-supporter of shaming wand) Facebook page with updates on their vaginal status.

Example: Hey senator! just a quick hello to let you know that I'm currently ovulating! my vaginal discharge is thick and sticky and smells acidic (probably all the garlic i've been eating!) if you want to note that in the charts you must be keeping on me and my vulva. i'll let you know how i'm doing next week!
posted by emjaybee at 4:12 AM on March 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


McDougle's staff has started deleting all the insightful and relevant posts.
posted by mikelieman at 5:08 AM on March 14, 2012


McDougle's staff has started deleting all the insightful and relevant posts.

Too late; there are screen shots. The internet never forgets.
posted by emjaybee at 5:39 AM on March 14, 2012


but that there is no concern about my ability to actually parent that child after birth.

Oh that's easy. You loose or briefly weak teenage girls will give it over to a Good Christian Family (TM) that is looking to adopt. Just like way back when, it was a marvellous system and never hurt anyone who didn't deserve it. Or you can marry the boy and live a hard scrabble life of young love. It won't be an easy path, but you will be taking responsibility. If the boy is not around, try boot-strap single motherhood, you slut. I mean... you silly girl, your hopes and dreams are no where near as important as our collective fantasy that you'll raise the kid right. Don't worry about balancing work and childcare silly woman, there's bible camp for that! Besides you're not going to do anything with your life more serious than a low level job.

I mean, come on, surely you understand the great evil in denying wholesome couples (check your nearest television for financial service ads to see what one looks like) babies. It's evil to have more moral qualms with passing human infants off to strangers, and you maybe mourning it for the rest of your life can't compare to definitely mourning a medically assisted miscarriage. You are going to MURDER that thing we want shoved through your vagina. You don't need a job (those hard scrabble young dads deserve it more, they have babies to support) so quit crying about losing time off work.

And there's no such thing as a woman with existing children getting an abortion. You couldn't possibly be the statistical average, you must be about sixteen through to twenty-one, unmarried and kinda whorish (you drink too, right? are you on the marijuana?) or painfully naive. If you wanted it, you really need a healthy dose of reality out your cunt and if you did it for love (the only reason good girls consent to sex) the act of raising a baby will teach you better next time. It'll also keep you too busy to date until a Good Christian Man comes along, so, there's that as a bonus! By the way Virtuous Women are guaranteed Good Men, because god, in his wisdom, runs a dating service for his followers. He'll be a stabilizing Masculine Influence and protect the hymen of your slutspawn, or prepare it to be a Man, respectively according to if the baby we're making you raise comes in a pink blanket or a blue one.

Above all, take responsibility. Because day surgery, rather than passively out waiting the problem, and going through the shame-a-thon that is women's reproductive health is way less responsible. Because casting an infant onto the kindness of strangers is more responsible of ensuring it doesn't ever get to that point. Because raising a child in poverty, and prioritizing making more babies over the well being of your existing children is the height of dutiful pragmatism.

Would you like to look at my pamphlet? It has stolen artwork of the stages of fetal development, as shot from dead fetuses posed to look alive by some European artist and bases a lot of arguments for why this should live on its resemblance to humans and beating heart.
posted by Phalene at 6:13 AM on March 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


...the chances of both a Justice retiring or dying and being replaced by a staunch anti-abortion judge and the relitigation of Roe by conservatives are so close to 100% as to be statistically insignificant.

The national Republican Party has for decades used its supposed steadfast opposition to abortion as a leash, keeping the anti-choice single-issue voters in the GOP tent. Notice that even when they controlled all the branches of government, they never actually tried to outlaw abortion. If they had successfully done that, those single-issue voters might have found some other issues to base their votes on, and they probably would not be as homogenous. The new issues might well be ones the Republicans could not even pretend to support, like workers' rights.

This is not to say that the current leaders of the Republican Party are too smart to allow that voting block to escape, but they sure would be foolish to do so.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:54 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I understand that strategy all too well, but still "GOP will to power and domination" doesn't go far enough to explain the woman-hatred. Why is it they can leverage woman-hatred? Why do enough people nod and agree with the idea that any woman who has sex ever requires supervision, legal boundaries, and government approval? That's the mystery and the seriously upsetting part. I mean, the seriously upsetting part after the denying women access to medical care part.
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My (rather dim) memory of it was that some newspapers had a print process that used slightly smaller columns to save paper, and Trudeau objected to resizing the comic to fit.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:12 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do enough people nod and agree with the idea that any woman who has sex ever requires supervision, legal boundaries, and government approval?

It seems insane that that idea has any currency, doesn't it? My suspicion is that it's a result of the undue influence of Organized Religion. Once you get people to accept the supposed reality of Invisible Sky Man, all sorts of possibilities open up. (Not coincidentally, OR has very successfully resisted the idea that ISM might be female, or even sexless.)
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:20 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do enough people nod and agree with the idea that any woman who has sex ever requires supervision, legal boundaries, and government approval?

First of all, a lot of them haven't thought very hard about it. I don't mean this as slur on them as people, I mean they have an inherited moral stance, like we all do. In my case the whole women being people thing was something I took for granted, not something I needed to have explained to me in depth- my mother felt no need to "teach the controversy" on this point. I've got loads of dog whistle style shiboleths from my upbringing just like this, and dollars to donuts, some of them are going to be stupid.

Plus, some people genuinely think a fetus is indistinguishable from a baby and they base their argument around the idea that having sex is inherently irresponsible (basically like driving, or drinking, they want the entirety of sexuality controlled to very select circumstances) and the baby is innocent- they make the judgment call one might make deciding to save an able bodied alcoholic with a history of petty crime, versus an infant.

Why they think the act of being a woman is less valid, or at least equal to being a small time criminal by virtue of having the audacity to exist, is a bit more complicated, but the patriarchy is generally seen as cultural shorthand for this. If you are a primitive person deciding to order an anarchic society, if it's one dominated by being the biggest sociopathic asshole around, enforcing the idea of who women, who by and large, being a trifle smaller and less violent, can fuck, can do with their time and how they can react is in the best interest of the head honchos, and a lesser benefit to the less enfranchised men who the men on top see as the primary risk vector and need to appease. I'm not saying this is evolutionary destiny and we should accept the status quo, I'm saying that our human societies, transcontinentally, have prioritized a warrior group. This is beyond organized religion, you don't need a god to tell you this (indeed angry misogynistic gods tend to come from angry misogynistic people, the god is a manifestation of whatever the culture wants at the moment and when the culture changes, the god tends to go with it, see liberal civil rights Christians versus oppressive fundie Christians) but if you are narcissistic or otherwise empathy deficient and thrive cleaving other humans from stem to stern, your surviving scholars are going to have to justify your existence (while conveniently writing themselves in as a guiding light) and it's not surprising that serious advances to women's rights seem to come from a great deal of wealth, reducing competition such that walking on me is in nobody's best interest, and a de-emphasis on the value of hurting people as a means of social control.

A major cornerstone of being a people and not a chattel is being able to comfortably say I can travel unescorted by a protective male and not end up raped or stolen like a particularly tempting draft animal. But in societies where that is the case, as with every protection racket, the protectors expect whatever price they can gouge, and as a sex object/domestic utility, it's in their best interest if I dislike sex enough I only do it with them under protest and with coercion, and don't concern myself with anything that could displace the power structure, like speaking or acting on my own behalf. When people inherit that as a background, or they are a reactionary sociopath who miss the days when being a successful man literally entitled you to one female sex slave (hell, that's pretty intoxicating as a human- do good and someone will be compelled to prioritize all my needs in exchange for my care? Sign me up!) then wanting women to be treated like it was 1812 makes a lot more sense.

tl;dr
Some people profit from enslaving women, some people really think it's an innocent baby and are endless frustrated abortion clients don't see that.
posted by Phalene at 7:46 AM on March 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well, sure. Those are some of the factors, and of course I have long been aware of all that, and patriarchy, in general, is finally the simplest explanation.

I suppose the question is rhetorical. It's nothing I haven't spent my life thinking about. But so many of our battles in recent decades have been about subtler things; the way the recent discourse has reverted a couple of centuries at a quick leap, and revealed the continuity (for some people) and re-emergence (for others) of profoundly retrogressive patriarchal thought, has caused me to feel honestly shocked at the very many modern-day, first-world people - including so many women - who are willing to espouse these views.

The question is also somewhat personal. How do you (if you are one of those people) deal with the cognitive dissonance of living in a democracy under which all men (hey, they told me it was just a semantic quibble!) are created equal and entitled to the same rights and protections and justify your persecution of an entire category of humanity? Perhaps you don't recognize your government and its ideals as very important, which is certainly a linked issue in today's discourse.

If women are indeed people, it's just unacceptable to run their lives this way, and single them out for shame and punioshment, and I'd like to see continued, and much louder, outrage.
posted by Miko at 8:23 AM on March 14, 2012


I quit reading Doonesbury a long time ago, but this series made me laugh out loud again (especially with the final indignity of the bill, which was a very black and rueful laugh), so I subscribed to its RSS feed again. I love my home state, but Trudeau nailed this one to the wall.
posted by immlass at 8:39 AM on March 14, 2012


If women are indeed people, it's just unacceptable to run their lives this way, and single them out for shame and punioshment, and I'd like to see continued, and much louder, outrage.

Isn't that sorta what the invisible backpack is all about? Men (or whites, or any dominant class) will both recognize the inherent discrimation in the system (e.g. Lily Ledbetter, etc.) and do little to fix the inherent problem, because they are the beneficiaries of said system.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Americans overwhelmingly regard the debate over President Barack Obama’s policy on employer-provided contraceptive coverage as a matter of women’s health, not religious freedom, rejecting Republicans’ rationale for opposing the rule. More than three-quarters say the topic shouldn’t even be a part of the U.S. political debate.

More than six in 10 respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll -- including almost 70 percent of women -- say the issue involves health care and access to birth control, according to the survey taken March 8-11.

posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Presidential elections and the balance of power in congress are largely dictated by swing moderates. Changing the subject away from FUD about economic recovery, financial reform, and health care to picking fights over contraception and abortion strikes me as a crazy strategy for Republicans at the national level.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:11 PM on March 14, 2012


mrgrimm: " Isn't that sorta what the invisible backpack is all about? Men (or whites, or any dominant class) will both recognize the inherent discrimation in the system (e.g. Lily Ledbetter, etc.) and do little to fix the inherent problem, because they are the beneficiaries of said system."

Except we're (men are) clearly not benefiting. Punishing and tramautizing women, or treating them badly in other ways doesn't help men. We don't benefit by taking healthcare services away from women, especially cancer screenings, access to contraception or reproductive choice. It all puts a greater strain on family economies, the healthcare system and other dynamics -- and that affects men too. It doesn't have as much of a direct effect as on women, but it certainly does affect us. We ignore that at our peril.

So basically, there are perceived, rather than actual benefits in keeping up that invisible backpack. I mean, if women are kept barefoot, uneducated and pregnant in the home, then they're not competing with men for jobs and education. Men could theoretically feel more secure because of that. And then the kids will be cared for. Assuming the working members of the family can afford to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and meet their kids' healthcare needs, of course.

I feel like this is a weird position for supporters to take, though. It ends up with a GOP version of America that looks a bit like modern day Saudi Arabia.
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on March 14, 2012


Of course Republicans want smaller government. How else are they going to fit it into your vagina?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:59 PM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I feel like this is a weird position for supporters to take, though. It ends up with a GOP version of America that looks a bit like modern day Saudi Arabia.

This is something that also puzzles me. And by puzzles I mean "what the fuck."

NPR did person-on-the-street interviews the other day in MS and AL, and more than one person they talked to said they were voting for Santorum because he was going to put religion back in government. I really wanted to reporter - maybe Colbert has done this? - to ask people who say things like this how this makes them any different from the Saudis and other countries that are theocracies.

Though I imagine they'd defend their views by arguing that the religion of *those* people over *there* is bad and horrible, and *our* religion is nice and the right one, and wouldn't everyone benefit if they all believed in Jesus?

Makes me so tired.
posted by rtha at 1:00 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Though I imagine they'd defend their views by arguing that the religion of *those* people over *there* is bad and horrible, and *our* religion is nice and the right one, and wouldn't everyone benefit if they all believed in Jesus?

That's pretty much what people in my family believe, yeah. It's hard to put a dent in that much willful stupid.
posted by emjaybee at 1:07 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


rtha: " Though I imagine they'd defend their views by arguing that the religion of *those* people over *there* is bad and horrible, and *our* religion is nice and the right one, and wouldn't everyone benefit if they all believed in Jesus?"

Yes, exactly. "Well, we are not amoral heathens like those savages, dear."

Provincialism at its worst.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its not wasteful government spending when were shaming sluts.

I dream of a bright and shining future where we can one day shame sluts on one of our bases on the moon, or maybe even Mars.


NO MORE ROBO-BORTIONS FOR THE 3-TITTED GREEN HYPERSLUTS OF RIGEL-9
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:18 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


and more than one person they talked to said they were voting for Santorum because he was going to put religion back in government.

Nice little (scary) derail: The Duggars are out stumping for Rick Santorum. The Duggars (of The Learning Channel's "19 kids and Counting") are the most famous adherents of Gothardism-- a new, frighteningly anti-woman strain of fundamental Christianity thought-up by Bill Gothard. Bill Gothard is a 76 year old single man who has never been married but nontheless has put a lot of thought into what makes the perfect (godly) wife. A godly wife gazes in adoration whenever her husband speaks. A godly wife has wavy-- not curly or straight-- hair. She also watches her weight, wears modest clothes that her husband approves of, as well as a hair style her husband approves of and keeps an immaculate house. She does not earn money outside the home, nor does she ever speak of her problems to outsiders unless her husband gives permission. Most importantly she does not use birth control but cheerfully accepts how ever many blessings God chooses to give her no matter her age, her finances, her health, or the health of her other children.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:38 PM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Bill Gothard is a 76 year old single man who has never been married but nontheless and as a result has put a lot of thought into what makes the perfect (godly) wife.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:43 PM on March 14, 2012


i figured that i would stop being insane with anger and stop feeling like the world was at war with me and my people some time after adolescence. i feel a little bit better about being queer. but i just keep getting more and more upset about the staggering amount of misogyny afoot.
posted by beefetish at 1:51 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


something something gender riots / christ what assholes
posted by beefetish at 1:51 PM on March 14, 2012


I forgot the sting in the tail: No matter how many children you have, no matter how tired you may be, you must not resist your husband's affections.

Bill Gothard, tool extraordinary.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy - Without evening searching on it, I knew that had to be part of it.
posted by Miko at 2:12 PM on March 14, 2012


I don't have to have any experience with cars to have an opinion about which one I'd like to drive but you would be an absolute moron to listen to my advice on the subject.

Gothard is a tool extraordinary but that makes his followers the sort of profound morons that I'd group with round-Earthers, climate change deniers and anti-Vaxxers. I'm through (for now) of trying to be understanding of people who base their world view on the lies of the evil and the uniformed opinions of the congenitally stupid.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:52 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joey, as a round earther, I resent that.

yeah I know what you meant
posted by idiopath at 6:37 PM on March 14, 2012


Argh, sorry. Rant mode leads me to fall into my fifth despised group (and one which I am all too much a regular member of) - people who don't proofread.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2012


Secret Life of Gravy: "... Gothardism-- a new, frighteningly anti-woman strain of fundamental Christianity thought-up by Bill Gothard. Bill Gothard is a 76 year old single man who has never been married but nontheless has put a lot of thought into what makes the perfect (godly) wife. A godly wife gazes in adoration whenever her husband speaks. A godly wife has wavy-- not curly or straight-- hair. She also watches her weight, wears modest clothes that her husband approves of, as well as a hair style her husband approves of and keeps an immaculate house. She does not earn money outside the home, nor does she ever speak of her problems to outsiders unless her husband gives permission. Most importantly she does not use birth control but cheerfully accepts how ever many blessings God chooses to give her no matter her age, her finances, her health, or the health of her other children."

o.O

"I forgot the sting in the tail: No matter how many children you have, no matter how tired you may be, you must not resist your husband's affections."

Someone should really inform him that wives aren't property. With the biggest fucking aluminum cluebat they can swing with both hands.
posted by zarq at 7:08 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wisconsin Republican and Professional Misogynist Don Pridemore thinks women should not get divorced even if they are being abused.

"If they can refind those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help," said Representative Don Pridemore.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 PM on March 14, 2012


What about men? Can men get divorced?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:33 AM on March 15, 2012


In today's news about how Republicans are determined to show how much they think women are icky, the Violence Against Women Act is up for renewal in the Senate.

Some conservatives are feeling trapped.

“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”


You asshole.

Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.

Because illegals and homos don't deserve to be protected from domestic violence.

But if Republican lawmakers are not eager to oppose a domestic violence bill, conservative activists are itching for a fight. Janice Shaw Crouse, a senior fellow at the conservative Concerned Women for America, said her group had been pressing senators hard to oppose reauthorization of legislation she called “a boondoggle” that vastly expands government and “creates an ideology that all men are guilty and all women are victims.”

Last month on the conservative Web site Townhall.com, the conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly called the Violence Against Women Act a slush fund “used to fill feminist coffers” and demanded that Republicans stand up against legislation that promotes “divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men.”


*speechless*
posted by rtha at 6:51 AM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Utterly shocking and repulsive.

Among their objections - the updated law can be used by more immigrant women and gay women. So...let me get this straight...it's okay for us to accept violence against some women: those whose existence offends our sensibilities in the first place.
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on March 15, 2012


dirigibleman: "Wisconsin Republican and Professional Misogynist Don Pridemore"

He was cosponsor of a WI bill introduced two weeks ago which would label single parenthood a factor in child abuse. More. He represents a wealthy district, and is apparently (ab)using his position to wage a war against divorce.
posted by zarq at 7:13 AM on March 15, 2012


Gov. Tom Corbett (R) of Pennsylvania "reaffirmed this week that he supports the anti-abortion measure so long as it’s not obtrusive because women could simply close their eyes during the procedure:"
QUESTION: Making them watch…does that go too far in your mind?

CORBETT: I’m not making anybody watch, OK. Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.
Video.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on March 15, 2012


As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.

*blink*

Does he....maybe not know what girl parts look like?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:03 AM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


The bill in PA has been revised in committee. Right now, a mandate has been added for doctors to perform a transvaginal instead of an external ultrasound, no matter how far along in the pregnancy the patient is. (Early pregnancies require transvaginal ultrasounds for detection of the fetus. But a (larger) fetus can be detected when a pregnancy has progressed to a certain point, so an external ultrasound could be performed.

So he's probably referring to a version of the bill that no longer exists?

Another mandate was added that says the ultrasound screen must face the patient. Sadistic.
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on March 15, 2012


Man, I just can't write today. Sorry that my last comment is a bit incoherent. Hopefully it's understandable?
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2012


Beggars belief.
posted by Miko at 11:37 AM on March 15, 2012


So under zarq's charitable interpretation, he's just utterly clueless about the invasive part of the bill that's all over the news and that pretty much everyone in America is talking about?
posted by naju at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2012




naju: "zarq's charitable interpretation,"

The PA bill was only changed very recently, I think. I'm not positive.

Want to be clear that I absolutely do NOT mean to excuse or defend what he said. His shitty comment was completely appalling, and so is his support of the bill.
posted by zarq at 11:47 AM on March 15, 2012




Check how many different kinds of quotation-mark errors are in the original post:
"Only once in the long history of "Doonesbury" has Garry Trudeau’s syndicate ever intensely objected to one of his story arcs. It was 1985, a documentary purporting to show the reactions of a fetus had been released, and Trudeau satirized the film "The Silent Scream" with his own “prequel" strips featuring “little Timmy,” a 12-minute-old embryo. Those strips never saw wide release in newspapers. Now, Trudeau has decided to take on the abortion wars head-on for the first time in "Doonesbury’s" four decades in a series of strips depicting mandatory vaginal ultrasounds as rape."
posted by joeclark at 12:22 PM on March 15, 2012


Right now, a mandate has been added for doctors to perform a transvaginal instead of an external ultrasound, no matter how far along in the pregnancy the patient is.

OK, this just sounds punitive to me-- as though an external ultrasound is not punishment enough. Why else would they change it? And it is making my skin crawl that congressmen are thinking about what they can force women to do in order to get an abortion. Next thing you know they'll be demanding a sex tape!

Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.

But it is still going to be the interior of your purse, isn't it? You can't close your eyes to that.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:44 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


joeclark: "Check how many different kinds of quotation-mark errors are in the original post:"

*snort* You missed my misspelling of "Welcome" in the title.
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


this just sounds punitive to me-- as though an external ultrasound is not punishment enough. Why else would they change it?

Yeah, it's like they don't even want to pretend it's not punitive anymore.
posted by Zed at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Once people get past all the hyperbole and drama and start dealing with facts you will discover that any reputable clinic is going to require this procedure before performing an abortion. How else is a doctor going to confirm a pregnancy? For early-term pregnancies this type of ultrasound is the only acceptable option. This is standard medical procedure. Why should the abortion industry be exempt from regulations that are enforced by the states in other outpatient facilities?
posted by republican at 2:55 PM on March 15, 2012


Are you honestly saying that mandating something that the US Department of Justice classifies as rape is something reputable clinics are and/or should be doing?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:10 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


you will discover that any reputable clinic is going to require this procedure before performing an abortion.

I would like to see a cite for this. Especially for patients who come in for a medical, not surgical, abortion.
posted by rtha at 3:19 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


How else is a doctor going to confirm a pregnancy?

Pregnancy tests are available for twelve bucks over the counter at any major drug store, and involve no more complicated a procedure than peeing on plastic.

Why is anything more complicated necessary?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:24 PM on March 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


The WI Republicans' war against women, the poor, and unions, has resulted in them not passing two major jobs bills.

The Legislature was poised to adjourn Thursday without passing its two highest priorities coming into the year: a mining bill to help create hundreds of jobs in northern Wisconsin and a measure pumping money into venture capital to help spur new business creation.

...

Once people get past all the hyperbole and drama and start dealing with facts you will discover that any reputable clinic is going to require this procedure before performing an abortion.

In that case, why the need to mandate it by law (and how is this enforceable anyway)?
posted by dirigibleman at 3:47 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, its important to put sane people back in the federal government this coming election, but let's not let that distract us from filling up the state governments with sane people. Many of our friends and neighbors don't pay enough attention to what's going on locally to make informed decisions. Let's inform them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


@rtha: Yes, even for medical abortions the ultrasound is done both before and also after the abortion.
posted by republican at 4:18 PM on March 15, 2012


Once people get past all the hyperbole and drama and start dealing with facts you will discover that any reputable clinic is going to require this procedure before performing an abortion. How else is a doctor going to confirm a pregnancy?

(seething) THEN WHY IS A FUCKING LAW REQUIRED
posted by JHarris at 4:24 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, even for medical abortions the ultrasound is done both before and also after the abortion.

No, it is not.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:43 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Huge claims such as you are making, republican, require actual facts to support them. And you will be hard pressed to find any, since you are mindbogglingly incorrect in your understanding.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:51 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the risk you take when you rely on making shit up, but how else can a troll get his jollies on a site like this one?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:15 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]




Nothing in your link (to an abstract) says anything about transvaginal ultrasounds. Please be more specific.
posted by rtha at 6:28 PM on March 15, 2012


Republican,

(a) you're incorrect.

(b) your link has nothing to do with ultrasound.
posted by Miko at 6:37 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why are these lawmakers making it a felony to not use a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion, but not, say some necessary step in a heart transplant?

Of course, even if the transvaginal ultrasound is necessary and usual for abortions, it's pretty clear that lawmakers don't know that, from their statements.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:46 PM on March 15, 2012


republican: "@rtha: Yes, even for medical abortions the ultrasound is done both before and also after the abortion."

No, it's not.

State of pregnancy (positive or negative) is usually determined through urine test.

In pregnancies where approximate gestational age is known and is believed to be under 9 weeks, (some 60-75% of abortions performed in the US,) approximate age of a fetus under 9 weeks (usually under 8, actually) is often determined through blood test, not ultrasound. Subsequent abortion is almost always conducted through abortifacients, rather than a surgical procedure. Usually, a dose of mifepristone, followed 24–48 hours later by a dose of misoprostol, orally or vaginally.

You have to remember that for the first two months, you're talking about an extremely small fetus, a tiny placenta and a very small amount of amniotic fluid inside the amniotic sac. So a vacuum procedure or a D&C isn't required. If abortifacients fail, then a doctor would resort to the surgical procedure. But that rarely happens.

Surgical abortion procedures are considered less reliable in early pregnancies, more reliable after 9 weeks. Surgical abortions are often, but not always conducted in conjunction with a sonogram, however, after 9 weeks, the ultrasound is usually performed externally because the fetus is large enough for detection through that method. Transvaginal ultrasound is used when finer details need to be discerned, and when a pregnancy is in the early stages, with a small, less developed fetus.

I worked for a physician who performed abortions for a little over 2 years in the mid-90's.
posted by zarq at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


@Miko: Really? So you read it and did not see anything about ultrasounds? That's hard to believe. Maybe you might want to take another look. Do a control-F and search for "ultrasound" and I'm sure you will find plenty to choose from.
posted by republican at 6:53 PM on March 15, 2012


I see Republican's in Alabama, where the law has been on the books for 10 years already, so I suppose some people are inured to the issue.

Not all ultrasounds are transvaginal ultrasounds, as well. And there is, in normal practice, no expectation that a woman electing to have an abortion needs to view a frankly incomprehensible image on the ultrasound scanner.

It's also quite important to recognize the difference in intent between a doctor confirming a diagnosis of pregnancy to satisfy a protocol, and legislation requiring both the woman and the doctor to enact a scripted drama designed to subvert her wishes:
Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, voted to move Senate Bill 12 out of committee last week because he said it’s a good bill that would help “a mother to understand that a live baby is inside her body.”

...The bill calls for the ultrasounds to be done either vaginally or with an abdominal scan, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly. The doctor also would be required to describe the images to the woman.

Scofield said he hopes that, if signed into law, his bill will stop some abortions. Though the bill states a woman can look away from the ultrasound image, Scofield wants her to see it.

“So she sees that this is not just a clump of cells as she is told,” he said. “She will see the shape of the infant. And hopefully, she will choose to keep the child.”
Alabama's "Woman's Right to Know Act," passed in 2002, already requires that an ultrasound be performed "on each unborn child before an abortion is performed." It also calls for a woman to verify by signing a form that she was offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound image.
Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) said Monday he would be pulling the bill that would have required a woman to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound in order to obtain an abortion in Alabama.

Apparently unable to use the word “vaginal” Scofield said of his decision to pull the bill, "It wasn't my intention to require any certain ultrasound."
Also, oooops:
Alabama Co-Sponsor of Forced Ultrasound Bill Denies Selling Equipment to Abortion Clinics, But Providers Tell a Different Story: Alabama State Senator Greg Reed says that his ultrasound company, Preferred Medical Systems, would in no way financially benefit if a mandatory ultrasound law passes in the state...It is the company’s policy not to do business with abortion providers, Reed said.

But, Diane Derzis, who operates abortion clinics in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, said the company was willing to do business with her later last year.

“They’re lying, they’re absolutely lying,” Derzis said.

A copy of price quotes show that the Cordova, Tenn.-based company was offering Derzis several pieces of equipment used as demonstration models for between about $12,000 to $15,000.
One classy state legislature ya got there.
posted by Miko at 6:53 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


So you read it and did not see anything about ultrasounds? That's hard to believe

I read the abstract and didn't see anything about ultrasounds. If you want us to read about the ultrasounds, perhaps you could summarize or quote the relevant section, because it's going to cost me $31.50 to read.

Also, we haven't ascertained that you're able to make a distinction between transvaginal and abdominal ultrasounds.
posted by Miko at 6:55 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I accept PayPal.
posted by Miko at 6:56 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, just for a data point, starting at 2 weeks into her pregnancy, my wife had at least one ultrasound every week (and sometimes twice a week) until she gave birth. She had twins. It was a high risk pregnancy, and she saw a perinatologist. Transvaginal ultrasounds were used throughout the first three months. Then she was switched to external ultrasounds except when the perinatologist was checking for defects. External ultrasounds were performed when he did chorionic villi and amniocentesis tests.

The doctor switched back to transvaginals at around 25 weeks, when he began to have concerns about her cervical thickness, and the threat of preterm labor. She nearly gave birth at 29 and 31 weeks gestation, and then my kids were actually born at 36 weeks.
posted by zarq at 6:57 PM on March 15, 2012


Guttmacher: Since a routine ultrasound is not considered medically necessary as a component of first-trimester abortion, the requirements appear to be a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion.
posted by Miko at 7:01 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


@Miko: Really? So you read it and did not see anything about ultrasounds? That's hard to believe. Maybe you might want to take another look. Do a control-F and search for "ultrasound" and I'm sure you will find plenty to choose from.
posted by republican at 6:53 PM on 3/15


Dude, you linked to the abstract, which all the ctrl-fing in the world will not make "transvaginal" appear. Quote your finding. When I'm at work tomorrow I can probably get someone to look it up for me.
posted by rtha at 7:03 PM on March 15, 2012


I'm a little control-f'd myself.

Is this kind of plan even a productive idea? Guttmacher again:
Unlikely to Succeed
Providing women information specifically geared to dissuading them from having an abortion is a perversion of medical ethics in general and theinformed consent process in particular.

But no matter how well-worn the tactic, it does not appear to be effective in its purported goal of materially reducing the number of procedures performed. In fact, there is no persuasive evidence that state abortion policies aimed, in one way or another, at talking women out of an abortion stop large numbers of women from having them.

...The reasons women express for deciding to have an abortion, and the way they talk about how they made their decision, make it clear that they carefully consider the realities of their own lives and their ability, at that time, to be the kind of parent they want to be to their current and future children (see chart). For many women having an abortion, the issue of caring for dependents is not an abstract one, but a reflection of their current lives. Among such women, six in 10 are already a parent.

For most women, the decision to end a pregnancy—even a very early pregnancy—is a complex and deliberative one. Moreover, all evidence indicates that women overwhelmingly make a final decision about abortion before they arrive at an abortion facility. Six in 10 women having an abortion say that they consulted with someone, most often their husband or partner, in making their decision. Women typically take 10 days between having a positive pregnancy test and trying to make an appointment for an abortion. And providers report that almost all women obtaining abortions are sure of their decision to terminate their pregnancy before they have even picked up the phone to make an appointment. This kind of carefully considered decisionmaking is unlikely to be swayed by inaccurateand emotionally laden attempts to persuade them otherwise
posted by Miko at 7:07 PM on March 15, 2012


@Miko: It's a PDF with table data. I've already quoted from the relevant sections. Scroll up. Go here if you want to contact the research group: http://www.ipas.org
posted by republican at 7:10 PM on March 15, 2012


republican, I'm just having to conclude that you didn't make the link you thought you made.

You linked to an abstract with no other productive links and a pay-per-view article. There is no PDF and no table for those of us who are not members of one of the subscribing databases. So we are not seeing what you may be seeing. You, for whatever reason, have access to the article directly. The rest of the world, barring your fellow subscribers, does not.

Any chance you are a student? That's often what happens when you access information through a university library system.

I've already quoted from the relevant sections.

I don't see where you have quoted anything. Where are these quotes?
posted by Miko at 7:15 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Miko: It's a PDF with table data. I've already quoted from the relevant sections. Scroll up. Go here if you want to contact the research group: http://www.ipas.org

You've quoted nothing.
posted by rtha at 7:35 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Republican, instead of harping on Miko for not seeing a certain word in an article you didn't link to, how about responding to the people who proved you were wrong that ultrasounds were the "only way to confirm pregnancy"?

Here, I'll link to where that happened rather than having you Ctrl-F hunt for it. Do you a favor (I'm feeling magnanimous).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


republican, assuming your claim is correct (a big assumption at this point), I fail to see how it justifies requiring the procedure for ideological reasons and taking the decision out the hands of the woman and her doctor.
posted by brundlefly at 7:51 PM on March 15, 2012


Here's another source:

Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures.

“That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards

Schreiber said there are several options at that point. If the woman is uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, which is more invasive, she can wait until the fetus is large enough to opt for a transabdominal ultrasound.

“But if she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/02/22/planned-parenthood-abortions-ultrasounds/
posted by republican at 8:20 PM on March 15, 2012


Republican: the only articles I see claiming that it is "a national requirement" on Planned Parenthood's part are articles written by anti-choice blogs and papers.

The only mention I see of this "requirement" from Planned Parenthood is in a Texas facility, where they say that it is due to Texas state law as opposed to being PLanned Parenthood national policy.

Moreover, I cannot find any account of anyone named "Adrienne Schreiber" working at any Planned Parenthood facility in Washington, DC. In fact, the only place I can find her name is....in this same quoted passage repeated across several anti-choice web sites.

Come on, at least do me the courtesy of trying to find proof for your point that ISN'T as easy to prove is propaganda.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


It seems there is someone by that name who works at Planned Parenthood and plays roller derby.
posted by brundlefly at 9:03 PM on March 15, 2012


And, yeah, that quote shows up all over the place in anti-choice articles, although I think it originates with the Commentary editorial republican links to. I wouldn't rule out quote mining. Notice that Schreiber isn't quoted as claiming that transvaginal ultrasounds are required. She mentions transvaginal ultrasounds in the second quote, which the writer vaguely associates with the first.
posted by brundlefly at 9:17 PM on March 15, 2012


You people are wasting your time. You realize that, right?
posted by inigo2 at 9:19 PM on March 15, 2012


You people are wasting your time. You realize that, right?

Do you mean in responding to republican? Effort still needs to be made. It's called arguing in good faith. We can do it, even if he won't.
posted by JHarris at 9:43 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


IF IT'S STANDARD PROCEDURE TO PERFORM TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUND (and make the pregnant woman listen to any heartbeat), WHY SHOULD IT BE A FELONY NOT TO PERFORM THIS STANDARD PROCEDURE WHEN IT'S NOT A FELONY TO PERFROM OTHER STANDARD PROCEDURES FOR OTHER MEDICAL PROCEDURES?

(And because we all know why Republican is arguing this obviously facetious, frankly mentally-insulting argument, Republican how many years should a woman who gets an abortion be sentenced to jail for killing her unborn child?)
posted by dirigibleman at 10:07 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perfrom?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:09 PM on March 15, 2012


At this point, I just assume "republican" is a sock puppet sent to troll. The arguments are always threadbare and inane in a way that I just can't believe isn't intentional.
posted by klangklangston at 10:41 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Taiwanese Animation Takes on Doonesbury Transvaginal Sonogram Strips - If you've seen one of these before you'll have some idea what insanity that entails.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on March 15, 2012


Well, what republican was trying is something I see rather a lot around here. Most of us haven't actually had abortions, so we're not technically sure if a transvaginal ultrasound is a required part of the procedure. That's what he, and many other right-wingers on the internet, try to present to sew doubt in the minds of their opponents. It's become a depressingly common tactic. They make a stupid assertion and hope people won't call them on it, for if they aren't called we're left scrambling looking for proof instead of rightfully demand that he present his first.

But it only takes a moment of thought to determine that this can't be true, otherwise why would a law even be necessary?
posted by JHarris at 12:31 AM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The laws typically demand that women be forced to watch the procedure on screen, while a doctor describes the fetus' features and characteristics. This is ostensibly done to make sure women understand the full ramifications of what they are doing, but is basically a shaming tactic.

It's cruel. It doesn't just punish women for having an unwanted pregnancy.It's an attempt to traumatize them so they will carry a baby to term against their will. The anti-choice crowd can't stop her from having an abortion, so they'll shame her instead. And this is considered an acceptable intimidation tactic, like screaming epithets and chanting "baby killer" at people who are entering clinics. When they can't legislate, they intimidate.
posted by zarq at 4:36 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Georgia State Representative, Terry England, wants to force women to carry stillborn fetuses-- just like cows and pigs do.

I guess it's good that the GOP's fascination with all things gynecological is being revealed but I am bitter and angry that so many men in power are excited by the prospect of controlling my body and feel free to tell me so. I don't like the word "Misogynist" being thrown around because often I don't think it fits. In this case, I don't see this as hatred of women so much as a gleeful grasp at power over "Others." England will never find himself in the position of carrying a dead baby inside himself, and apparently he doesn't have an empathetic bone in his body. Stony-hearted Jackass is the label that I'm going with.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:15 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Taiwanese Animation Takes on Doonesbury Transvaginal Sonogram Strips - If you've seen one of these before you'll have some idea what insanity that entails.

I love that their Trudeau is a dead ringer for Stephen Colbert.
posted by COBRA! at 5:27 AM on March 16, 2012


Pro Tip: If you do click on the link that I posted above, play the video and you will be rewarded by England's heartwarming story of The Cock Fighter Who Promises To Give Up All His Chickens If You Will Give Up Killing Babies. I'm not sure why exactly he chose to tell this story but I think I've narrowed it down to 3 possibilities:

A) Abortion is so bad that even guys who cock fight hate it.

B) Look, we got an opportunity to get this cock fighter out of the business entirely.

C) I have to speak for a while to make myself look important and I've told all the stories about babies and dead babies I can think of, but wait!....
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:57 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of us haven't actually had abortions,

I think it's pretty easy to shoot republican's argument down with confidence because abortions are more common than most people tend to think.

At this point, I just assume "republican" is a sock puppet sent to troll.

It seems to be his actual identity.

The arguments are always threadbare and inane in a way that I just can't believe isn't intentional.

I think it's the best he can do.
posted by Miko at 5:57 AM on March 16, 2012


Terry England's website protests:
The roughly one minute and forty second clip that you saw posted online were only a small part of a contentious and heart-wrenching three hour debate that took place in the Georgia House of Representatives two weeks ago. If you watch the entire debate, you will see that Rep. England was making the point that we spend a great deal of time debating the value of non-human life in the General Assembly, and less attention to human life. In recent years, this body has taken up issues involving life like dog fighting and chicken fighting to address specific issues associated with these problems in our state, often neglecting the life of the unborn child.

Some have also accused Rep. England of supporting the position that would require an expectant mother to carry an unborn child to term, even if she learns it will be stillborn. This is simply not true and an ugly distortion of the facts. Current law directly refutes this statement and says that:

31-9A-2.

As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) "Abortion" means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant. The term "abortion" shall not include the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device employed solely to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion. The term "abortion" also shall not include the prescription or use of contraceptives.

Life is paramount to Rep. England, especially that of the unborn child, and that is why he cares so deeply about this issue. While you may not agree with Rep. England on this particular bill or this issue, I hope you can now understand what he was saying and the importance of having an open and fair dialog on this emotional subject.
The whole thing is kind of a dodge, though, since he wasn't debating current legislation but advocating new legislation that, it seems, would have this effect.

It only explains the cockfighting quote a little bit, though. If they've been debating cockfighting legislation, at least I get why it's on their minds. On the other hand, I don't get offering it as an even trade for ending abortions. "Here's a few dozen damaged roosters who can live out their lives in piece! That's the same thing as the thousands of 'babies' I'm fantasizing about!"
posted by Miko at 6:15 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


To those of you doubting the Adrienne Schreiber quote this is for you:

(1) I called 202-347-8500

(2) Using the directory I found Adrienne Schreiber and was connected to her.

(3) I talked to her and she confirmed that she is a real person. She made it a point to tell me that she is not the media spokesperson for PP. I'm not a confrontational person so I simply asked her if it is possible that these quotes attributed to her are accurate and she did not deny that.
posted by republican at 8:00 AM on March 16, 2012


She made it a point to tell me that she is not the media spokesperson for PP. I'm not a confrontational person so I simply asked her if it is possible that these quotes attributed to her are accurate and she did not deny that.

If she is not the media spokesperson, she is not allowed to either confirm or deny anything. And if she's not the media spokesperson, then what is the media doing talking to her anyway?

And what IS her role?

Flagging the rest of your comment because I'm sure posting her number is skeevy...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:04 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And come to think of it, what proof do you have that YOU aren't making this whole story up?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on March 16, 2012


@EmpressCallipygos: That is a public number posted here:

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppmw/contact-us.htm
posted by republican at 8:08 AM on March 16, 2012


Yeah, but how do I know you really dialed it and really spoke to her?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on March 16, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: " Flagging the rest of your comment because I'm sure posting her number is skeevy..."

It's a publicly available number for the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.

Whether she confirmed or denied the quote isn't the point. It does not seem to be accurate.
What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion?

It’s common for women to be nervous about having an abortion — or any other medical procedure. But most of us feel better if we know what to expect. Your health care provider will talk with you and answer your questions. But here’s a general idea of how it works and what to expect.

Before the abortion procedure, you will need to

discuss your options
talk about your medical history
have laboratory tests
have a physical exam — which may include an ultrasound
read and sign papers
Emphasis mine. The ultrasound is not required to receive abortion services.

More from Little Green Footballs (yes, I know.):

Another Right Wing Lie: Planned Parenthood Does Not Require Ultrasounds
Notice the operative term: may include an ultrasound. Planned Parenthood’s policy is to do ultrasounds when they are freely chosen by the patient, with the advice of the medical professional doing the exam.

To equate this situation with a state-enforced law is not just misleading, it’s downright dishonest. But this entire debate over whether women need to be humiliated is just rancid with dishonesty.

posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Zarq.

....I still don't think the phone call Republican's talking about truly happened, but no way to prove either of our claims. Zarq's comment disproving the issue itself is the point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2012


I was just going to link to that, zarq.
posted by gaspode at 8:29 AM on March 16, 2012


To those of you doubting the Adrienne Schreiber quote this is for you:

You still haven't answered the question. Why should it be a felony not to perform a pre-abortion ultrasound?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: "If she is not the media spokesperson, she is not allowed to either confirm or deny anything. "

Sort of.

Assuming that republican's not a journalist, he (or she) wouldn't have called in an official capacity. So media relations doesn't exactly apply. We are a liaison between our company and the media, not the public directly. PR depts can and do handle questions like this, and would prefer to, so that we control the message and no one gets caught off guard or is misquoted. But it's difficult for us to enforce that someone not talk about an interview they've given to any member of the public who asks, ever.

Since Schrieber was already interviewed and quoted by a publication, then there's nothing stopping her from personally confirming or denying. Even though Planned Parenthood would no doubt prefer such requests go through their PR department.

Worth noting that if I worked for them, I'd sure be demanding she do so. "If anyone ever contacts you on this subject ever again the only thing you should say is, "I'm not a media relations contact. I have no comment at this time. Please do not contact me directly again, but here's our media relations dept's number. Give them a call and they will assist you.
posted by zarq at 8:36 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're welcome, Empress!
posted by zarq at 8:41 AM on March 16, 2012


Apropos of nothing... the progression of Commentary magazine -- a Jewish publication -- towards a firm no-tolerance stance on abortion has been really weird, imho. It's been happening for several decades now, and is way out of step with the feelings of most Jews on the subject.

Religiously and secular liberal Jews fought hard for a woman's right to choose way back when. Presently, large majorities of secular, reform and conservative Jews poll as pro-choice.

The Reform movement is very liberal regarding abortions. Conservative Jews officially allow abortion if there is physical or psychological danger to the mother, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if the fetus is in some way defective. But most conservative rabbis actually don't seem to have that much of a problem with abortion. At least not as far as I can tell. Obviously I can't speak for all of them. Orthodox Jews have a wide range of opinions on the matter, and for many rabbis that's also currently enmeshed in the stem cell debate. Most of the time, they seem to agree with the Conservative outlook. But even Orthodox pro-life opinions don't map cleanly onto the traditional Christian arguments.

So here you have a staunchly neocon, pro-Republican, Zionist publication that has wholeheartedly embraced the pro-life movement, even though their readers probably support the right to choose. Strange.
posted by zarq at 9:09 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


[If you flag, move on. Seriously.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:22 AM on March 16, 2012


http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-right-not-to-know

A story about a woman forced to get a transvaginal ultrasound against her will for a medically necessary abortion.
posted by sotonohito at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


But what good is the view of someone who has never had to make your terrible choice? What good is a law that adds only pain and difficulty to perhaps the most painful and difficult decision a woman can make?

Amen. That whole story is heart-breaking *before* she has to deal with the fucked-up Texas laws. The legal part of it is insane.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:51 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chuck Winder, Idaho Lawmaker, Suggests Women Use Rape As Excuse For Abortions
Just before the Idaho's Senate passed the bill, which requires woman to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion, opponents of the bill pointed out that it makes no exception for rape victims, incest victims or women in medical emergencies.

Winder, a Republican from Boise, responded to those concerns by raising the question of whether women understand when they have been raped.

“Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this," Winder said on the Senate floor. "I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.”

Women reported 84,767 "forcible rapes" in the United States in 2010, according to the FBI's most recent Uniform Crime Report; the figure does not include statutory rape, incest or any other kind of rape that falls outside the FBI's narrow definition of the crime.

If Winder's mandatory ultrasound bill becomes law, a victim of rape or incest or a woman with a medical emergency who is seeking an abortion must obtain an ultrasound first and the state will provide a list of providers. Nearly every provider of free ultrasounds in Idaho is a "crisis pregnancy center," which aims to dissuade women from having an abortion. The woman would also have to obtain from a doctor a second ultrasound, which would involve an invasive transvaginal procedure if she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. Even if she averts her eyes from the ultrasound image and refuses to listen to the fetal heartbeat, she would have to hear the doctor describe the fetus in detail.

posted by zarq at 10:36 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do they raise these people separate from the entire rest of the human race or something?
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do they raise these people separate from the entire rest of the human race or something?

Public Policy Polling: "Our national GOP poll, out tomorrow, finds Republicans like Sarah Palin more than any of their actual candidates"
posted by zombieflanders at 11:51 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders: " Public Policy Polling: "Our national GOP poll, out tomorrow, finds Republicans like Sarah Palin more than any of their actual candidates""

Oh dear lord, don't give her any ideas.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh dear lord, don't give her any ideas.

Brother, that ship sailed a long time ago.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:45 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


“It's my Olympics and I intend to win a whole bunch of silvers!"
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on March 20, 2012


zombieflanders: " Brother, that ship sailed a long time ago."

This is true, unfortunately.
posted by zarq at 12:54 PM on March 20, 2012




From the blog of mefi's own jscalzi:

Guest Post: A doctor on transvaginal ultrasounds.
Fellow physicians, once again we are being used as tools to screw people over. This time, it’s the politicians who want to use us to implement their morally reprehensible legislation. They want to use our ultrasound machines to invade women’s bodies, and they want our hands to be at the controls. Coerced and invaded women, you have a problem with that? Blame us evil doctors. We are such deliciously silent scapegoats.

It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

....

We already know how vulnerable patients can be; we invisibly protect them on a daily basis from all kinds of dangers inside and outside of the hospital. Their safety is our responsibility, and we practically kill ourselves to ensure it at all costs. But it’s also our responsibility to guard the practice of medicine from people who would hijack our tools of healing for their own political or monetary gain.

In recent years, we have been abject failures in this responsibility, and untold numbers of people have gleefully taken advantage of that. Silently allowing a politician to manipulate our medical decision-making for the purposes of an ideological goal erodes any tiny scrap of trust we might have left.

It comes down to this: When the community has failed a patient by voting an ideologue into office…When the ideologue has failed the patient by writing legislation in his own interest instead of in the patient’s…When the legislative system has failed the patient by allowing the legislation to be considered… When the government has failed the patient by allowing something like this to be signed into law… We as physicians cannot and must not fail our patients by ducking our heads and meekly doing as we’re told.

Because we are their last line of defense.

posted by zarq at 1:30 PM on March 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Bob McDonnell, Virginia Governor: 'War On Women' Is 'Political Theater'
If recent polling is any indication, Virginia voters disagree with McDonnell on this point. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows that McDonnell's approval rating dropped a net 13 points in March to its lowest level since June 2011. The dip in support occurs in the month that McDonnell helped GOP legislators write a bill that requires women to have an ultrasound procedure at least 24 hours before having an abortion, even if the doctor deems it medically unnecessary.

The approval rating for the Virginia state legislature has also dropped from 47 percent to 38 percent since it passed the mandatory ultrasound bill in February.

"Virginia had been the only state surveyed by Quinnipiac University in which the state legislature had received a net positive job approval," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The fact that the legislature's approval dropped so much, while approval ratings for other statewide elected officials are basically unchanged, indicates that voter dissatisfaction is targeted."

posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although I had never heard of a transvaginal ultrasound before, by one of those weird twists of fate I had to undergo one myself this morning.

To begin with, when I pictured the "wand" I imagined it as thin, perhaps the diameter of my little finger. Not the case. It was more like a slim, extra long dildo. The head was bulbous and had a metal plate set within-- so it was not smooth and even though it was covered with a condom and gel it did not slide in easily at all. It was quite rough and took some shoving on the part of the tech.

Once inside it vacillated between being uncomfortable and being painful-- the technician pressing quite hard against the bottom and sides of my vaginal canal.

On the humiliation scale I would put this right up there with a colonoscopy and above a normal pap smear. For one thing the technician has to spend quite a long time (15 or 20 minutes) maneuvering the wand around with her hand right at the opening, whereas a pap smear is only 2 minutes. Also the way the equipment and bed were set-up my right bent knee and leg were pushing into the side of her body-- it just felt unpleasantly personal and close. Finally, when a doctor pushes a speculum inside, it is designed to go smoothly and easily, however the ultrasound wand is not designed for easy entrance; I was wishing she would let me push it in myself.

On the whole I found the experience very unpleasant however I knew it was being done for good reasons-- as a part of a diagnostic panel ordered by my doctor. If this had been carried out for no good reason, simply as part of a hurdle I had to jump over, then I would have cried the entire time. Even now sitting in my own chair at home I am slightly uncomfortable and feeling somewhat violated.

It strikes me that none of the men who wrote or voted for this legislation will ever have this procedure carried out nor will they be in the room with their wives if their wives have to have it done. I can't help feel that this is massively unfair.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:29 AM on March 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


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