They’ll pass the “Third World America” bill any day now.

Yeah, yeah, we get it, assholes, you hate women:

In a 251 to 175 vote this evening, 16 anti-choice Democrats joined every House Republican present in passing H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.

And by “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion,” they mean things like, D.C. cannot use its own Medicaid funds to pay for abortion procedures, and that women cannot use their HSAs, itemized deductions, or tax credits to pay for abortions, and that any woman who presumes to use her pre-tax income to pay for an abortion needs to explain herself to the IRS.

The bill is not likely to make it through the Senate, and even in that unlikely event it still won’t make it past Pres. Obama’s veto pen, but in a way, it has still made its point. The House GOP would rather put its energy into drafting and voting on a bill that shows how much contempt they have for women who don’t want to live and die at the mercy of sperm and egg, than address the issues of, say, the economy, the environment, the educational system, the wars we’re fighting, etc.

However, since their response to the environment is “Drill, baby, drill!”, to the wars is to keep occupying Iraq until the second coming of Christ (I’m not even exaggerating here, truth to tell), to the economy is to keep cutting taxes on the people who can most afford to pay taxes, and then they want to balance the budget by gutting education and slashing aid programs that benefit the needy children they so strenuously demand that women produce, you know, perhaps they’re so gung-ho to make women’s lives between menarche and menopause as difficult as possible because they really have nothing else to say. They can’t give us better jobs, better healthcare, better schools, safer streets, better access to nutritious food, cleaner air, or bring the troops home, but they can demand more babies. They can demand that we create more vulnerable human beings to compete for jobs and take the pressure off corporations to pay their employees a living wage. They need those babies to grow up to become cannon fodder because we’re not getting out of Iraq or Afghanistan. Education is a privilege reserved for kids born to families that can pay for schooling. As for those youngsters who can’t find jobs and can’t make it into the military; well, we have prisons for that. Keeping more prisoners means we need more guards, and that means more jobs, so win-win!

Where are the workers? Especially the white ones?

Hilary Gowins at the Northwest Herald interviews Irene Napier, aka the Godmother of McHenry County’s pro-life movement, and oh boy, she isn’t even trying to be subtle:

I guess, first of all, I’d given birth to five children. I couldn’t imagine that anybody could end a life before birth for convenience sake. They come up with all these reasons, but what it gets right down to is convenience. No child is unwanted. The world is craving children to adopt. So no conception should be unwanted. Caucasian children are exceptionally desired, and they were probably the first people to get abortions. I don’t understand how you could kill it but not give it up.

Because Irene Napier has given birth to five children, she can’t imagine why any woman would respond to a pregnancy with abortion. And she just can’t understand why any woman with an unwanted pregnancy wouldn’t want to surrender a baby for adoption because…sorry, I must have missed the part where it said Mrs. Napier knows what it’s like to relinquish a live child. Having your life derailed by completing an unwanted pregnancy is merely a matter of inconvenience. The world needs more white babies for deserving families to adopt.

My answer is, you tell other people what to do all the time. You can’t burn down your neighbor’s house, you can’t let your dogs poop on the sidewalk. Our laws tell people what to do. You can’t kill a child outside the womb, so why can you kill a child inside the womb?

Right. Being forced to give birth to a child you can’t raise is just like being required to clean up your dog’s poop from the public sidewalk. Makes me wonder how Mrs. Napier handles her pets.

Before Roe v. Wade, there were illegal abortions; they were rarely prosecuted. I remember a dear old lady who used to come visit me, and she spoke openly about her abortions. But there are so many more now because they’re legal.

It was okay for her dear old neighbor to have abortions, because she had to do it illegally. She wasn’t one of those dirty sluts who just do it so easily nowadays because there’s nothing in the way.

Probably one of the worst consequences of nearly 40 years of abortions is where are the workers? When we first came here, it used to be easy to find workers. The economy has suffered, and
somehow I believe when your morals go down, the economy goes down.

First we need the white girls to stop aborting because the world needs more white kids for adoption, and now, WE NEED MORE WORKERS. Just ask Mike Huckabee; we wouldn’t need illegal immigrants’ labor if we didn’t have legal abortion in America!

Wait a minute; the economy is suffering for a lack of workers? Really? I thought our problem was too few jobs.

Don’t hold back, Irene Napier! Tell us what’s really on your mind! Where’s the NYT with their interview for this woman? I don’t agree with her sentiments, but I really appreciate her candor. The First Amendment is a beautiful thing indeed.

Meanwhile, in Freakonomics, Dubner and Levitt ask the question: why are crime rates so low? You think we’re living with a lot of crime now; before the early 90s it was a lot worse. After tracking the data and working out a lot of confounding factors, they ultimately concluded that 40 years of legalized abortion has left us with far fewer people growing up to be violent criminals.

(h/t to Robin Marty)

There is not enough caffeine in the world.

Robin Marty at RH Reality Check shows us what “life” means to the Human Life Alliance:

The cover of a 12-page advertising supplement included in Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Iowan featured pictures of battered women and victims of rape, accompanied with the words “You can stop injustice.”

Contrary to what you’d expect, the contents of this packet were filled with extremist anti-abortion propaganda. This pamphlet, which was funded by the Human Life Alliance, made the absurd assertions, among others, that victims of rape and incest would be better off without the option of abortion and that Planned Parenthood is a eugenics organization.

*blogger sprays coffee on her monitor*

Yes. When a woman’s been raped or battered, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that attacker’s baby!” is EXACTLY what she needs to hear.

Something tells me the people behind this were raised by mothers who spent just a little bit too much time telling their kids they could have been aborted. When your greatest fear in life is the idea that the world could have existed without you in it, this is the crap that tends to result.


That message doesn’t sound any better no matter how many times I hear it.

Via Feministing:


Yes, it really does read:



Are they referring to, say, racial disparities in perinatal mortality, due to unequal access to maternity care, or health care in general?

Are they referring to the number of women who are beaten or killed during pregnancy by their husbands and boyfriends?

Why, no, of course it’s about black women going to Planned Parenthood and getting abortions.

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This is how we treat poor families

The Summit County court system shows how it feels about poor parents who want their kids to get a good education:

She is a single mother with two girls, ages 12 and 16, and is only a few credit hours short of graduating from the University of Akron with a teaching degree. She was working as a teaching assistant with special needs children at Buchtel High School. She also cared for her ailing father, who was charged with multiple felonies in the residency case.

Williams-Bolar was convicted of the two felony counts Saturday night after seven hours of jury deliberations.

On Tuesday, Cosgrove sentenced her to five years in prison but suspended all but 10 days in the county jail, saying that to not include time behind bars would ”demean the seriousness” of the offenses.

The offenses in question are that she used her father’s address to send her daughters to school in a better district.

Not that this is unheard-of as a way for parents to respond to lousy school systems; lots of people game the system like this, and they get away with it. They don’t feel bad about it, either. Why should they care that they don’t pay property taxes where their kids are going to school? This is their children’s education we’re talking about. They’d happily pay the property taxes if they could afford to live there.

But, well, Summit County needed to make an example of someone, and Kelley Williams-Bolar is going to be their example. Those nice schools in Copley-Fairlawn are for their kids; how dare some poor single black woman in Akron steal from them what they’ve worked so hard to build? She needs to be punished, and if it means the state loses its chance to have her as a schoolteacher, so be it.

It’s the Sex Ed, Stupid

William Saletan has a pair of posts on Slate about the recent abortion-debate conference at Princeton. Yesterday he admonished the pro-lifers on what they need to do differently to make some common ground with us baby-eating monsters, and today he waggled a stern index finger at us pro-choicers on how we could get the pro-quantity crowd to listen to us.

As a proudly pro-choice feminist and baby-eating heathen asshole, I will admit to harboring some bias in this area, so perhaps it should be no surprise that I find his suggestions to anti-choicers mostly sensible, though futile. It should be even less interesting when I say his suggestions to pro-choicers are largely yawn-worthy. I’ll do a quick rundown, just for the sake of completeness.

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This is what they mean by “pro-life.”

Jezebel points us toward LAHT’s story of Mexican women doing prison time for abortions. Selected highlights:

The women, all poor and with little education, have served between three and eight years of the 25- to 30-year sentences handed down by state courts.

Of these seven cases, one was a spontaneous abortion, two others were undertaken because of rape and the rest were for accidental pregnancies, Cruz said.

“All the men that got them pregnant abandoned them and accused them” of getting the abortions, said the activist.

“The government always has denied that it imprisoned people for the crime of abortion. We had to go from prison to prison to verify it,” said the Centro Las Libres director.

In recent years – during which the right-wing National Action Party has governed the country – the conditions under which women can have abortions have become more difficult.

Conservative-led Guanajuato was the only state in the country that refused to promulgate a law against gender violence, as had been federally mandated.

“It was said that violence against women in Guanajuato doesn’t exist and that (such a law) was not necessary,” Cruz said. Some years ago, she noted, the authorities tried to eliminate rape as a justifying factor for having an abortion but the opposition of activists prevented that.

Guanajuato – with Mexico’s highest rate of teen pregnancy – refuses to teach sex education in the schools.

There are several unsurprising factors at work here:

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Another murder by misogyny

Via Jezebel, we have the story of Noor Almaleki at Marie Claire, who was killed last year by her father for failing to uphold his Iraqi patriarchal honor. This is one of those “honor killings” in which “honor” means that men’s self-respect is held between women’s legs, and a man’s ability to maintain that “honor” is more important than a woman’s ability to have a life.

The author at Jezebel, Irin, as well as some commenters, are asking what the difference is between Islamic cultural honor killing and Western intimate violence which sometimes culminates in murder. At first glance it may look like the sort of mindless cultural relativism that tends to get Irshad Manji up on her badassed soapbox, but after reading the Marie Claire article, it’s not a bad question. The way Noor’s parents stalked and terrorized her after she moved out sounds a lot like the way many abusive men, coming from more liberal cultures, control their wives and girlfriends when they try to leave. But Noor wasn’t getting this abuse from her boyfriend or husband. She was getting it from her parents. I think that’s the primary difference between Western misogynist violence and Middle Eastern control of women. So-called “honor killings” by men from Islamic cultures can be attacks on their wives, but are more often directed at daughters and sisters. These are men whose culture encourages them to view their daughters and sisters as property which must be controlled, and the sight of that property refusing to accept that control makes these men feel personally attacked.

Whereas in Western cultures, even abusive men tend to expect a certain level of independence in their daughters. I’m not saying that Judeo-Christian-secular American men never kill their daughters, but when they do, they don’t have a culturally-sanctioned rationalization handy like Faleh Almaleki has for his actions. In Western misogyny, it’s the wife or girlfriend who needs to walk a tightrope to avoid violence. Then you may ask if this is a meaningful difference, and actually, I think there is an important distinction to be made here. The difference is in the culture of marriage.

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Multiculturalism as moldy tomato

Irshad Manji has an excellent new post up on the limits of multiculturalism.

“All cultures deserve respect,” I relentlessly hear from students. Anything else isn’t just racism; it’s unthinkable. Therein lies the rot.

We’ve stopped thinking. And, in the process, we’ve stopped feeling for those who tell us that they need to escape their cultural caves, or risk death.

She is referring to the case of Aqsa Parvez, the victim of an honor killing by her father and brother in 2007. If there’s an ideal example of a culturally contingent practice that creates a challenge for multiculturalism, honor killing is an excellent candidate.

I’m younger than Ms. Manji, but probably older than most of her students. I’m part of the generation that was indoctrinated with multiculturalism from a very young age. The ideas we were taught were basically things such as: People from different cultures do things differently from you and yours, and this is not a bad thing. Rather than react with hostility to something outside of your experience, seek to understand it first. “Different” does not have to mean better or worse.

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How’s the view up there on Mt. Privilege?

There’s something icky about creative-class white guys casually using HIV-positive blacks as a basis for comparison to gays.

I have enough white privilege to forgive Will Saletan, who makes the comparison and then uses it to conclude, “we shouldn’t be using group membership to exclude people from donating blood.” Exploitative, arguably, but not especially divisive.

I wonder about Sullivan quoting that particular passage from his article, however. I just…can’t LOOK at his copy-paste selection without concern-trolling.

Dude, are you trying to say that African-Americans SHOULD be pushed out of donating blood? You’re not actually saying that, are you? One might get the impression from looking at your blog entry if one does not follow the link to Saletan’s writing, that Saletan is indeed making that proposition, but actually he isn’t. Just what message ARE you trying to promote by focusing on the statistics of HIV incidence in gays vs. blacks? Given your history of commenting on the disproportionate homophobia in African-Americans (and linking it to HIV prevalence), that’s kind of creepy. The unexamined privilege is strong, here. To compare the struggles of a visible minority to the problems faced by an invisible minority (which includes some members of the aforementioned visible minority) is a dangerous road to follow. Have you ever BEEN a member of a visible minority? I don’t claim to understand the social dynamics surrounding British Catholics, but I’m American enough to know that a white Anglophone immigrant over here doesn’t quite live in the same world as those at-risk American blacks in your statistics.