Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman hates illegal immigrants, especially pregnant women.

Gov. Heineman really does not want any “anchor babies” in his state:

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman vetoed a proposal to restore Medicaid-funded prenatal care for illegal immigrants on Friday, but the initiative could still survive if the state legislature rejects his move next week.

And, what is his reasoning?

Heineman, who is anti-abortion, also said he had “grave concerns” that some funding could go to abortion provider Planned Parenthood and that Nebraska could become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants because no bordering states offered similar coverage.

Let’s go over that again: he’s vetoing Medicaid coverage for prenatal care for undocumented women, because Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care.

He doesn’t like abortion, but he also doesn’t want undocumented women having babies in his state, and he is afraid that if he does not join neighboring states in a race to the bottom, then additional money will end up with Planned Parenthood because they care about pregnant women and their eagerly awaited babies far more than Dave Heineman does.

 

Taslima Nasrin, what is that I don’t even.

I enjoyed Ms. Nasrin’s speech at the Reason Rally and was all excited to see her join FreeThoughtBlogs, and then barely out of the gate, she came out with this. (Teal Deer version: “All prostitution is sexual slavery. Because I say so.”)

Since the network is called FreeThoughtBlogs, there should have been no surprise when other members of the community expressed their disagreement with Taslima’s post.

Greta Christina responds.

Natalie Reed responds.

Crommunist joins in the fray.

So now, Taslima is all like, “Why are all you meanies attacking me by saying I’m wrong?!” No, seriously, that’s pretty much her angle:

I hope we all Free-thought bloggers believe in freedom of expression. My opinion on prostitution  is nothing new. Most feminists believe prostitution or sexual slavery  must end. I do not want to be misunderstood. But  it looks like a war started against me on  FTB because I said something politically incorrect.  I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

If you’re now smashing your face into your keyboard in horrified disbelief, then congratulations: you might be a good fit in a skeptical community.

"Help! This is animal abuse!"

Iggy demands to know: "WTF is this shit?!"

There seems to be something about my comments that her blog doesn’t like, because I’ve posted twice so far and both have been snagged in “awaiting moderation” status. Since Taslima has allowed much more negative and aggressive comments to appear, I will assume it’s a technical glitch and not actually an attempt to keep my questions from appearing, but anyway, here is the comment I have attempted to leave on her post:

Yes, they do believe in freedom of expression, and that is why they are posting their disagreements with your assertions. It’s not a war against you; other bloggers respect you too much to ignore you when you write something they find objectionable. No one is trying to stop you from posting what you have to say. But when they disagree with your ideas, they will say so.

Belonging to a group doesn’t mean disagreements won’t happen. Freethinkers, pretty much by definition, expect to have arguments amongst themselves.

Shit, I hope this doesn’t turn into a case of genuinely Bitter Rifts. She just got there.

ETA: She’s thanked me for my comment. You’re welcome, Taslima. I hope you stick around, and I hope you enjoy some lively debates in the future.

Jeff Sessions thinks the Dems FORCED him to show how much he hates women.

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times has very nicely put together a handy round-up of people who hate women, as shown by their reactions to the latest renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. You’d think that protecting women from abusive, violent partners would be something that any politician would happily get behind, but this time, the Act includes some provisions that some GOP Senators and other defenders of Family Values just can’t stomach. The offending items include but are not limited to:

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

Can you see where this is going?

Continue reading

Breaking news: Abortion STILL does not cause breast cancer.

I am still not 100% healthy and snark-ready, but since I am alert enough to troll Facebook, I will make a little addition to this post here, from way back.

Via Facebook, Defund the Komen Foundation gives us this tidbit, from a retired cancer researcher:

“Recently at a conference I spoke with the person who discovered BRCA1, and she laughed and said that it [the abortion/breast cancer link] was indeed bullshit, because he hadn’t corrected for age. In the study that the guy cited, the women who had abortions had the procedures done when they were young but then had children later in their lives. The comparison population was women who had children when they were young, and there is a degree of protection against breast cancer afforded from having children at a young age (believed due to hormonal changes that accompany lactation). When one corrects for the age of childbirth in the guys data, the difference disappears. So abortion had no effect on breast cancer at all; it was the effect of when the women had children.”

Yet that initial, incorrect story persists, because it fits the meme.”

Yeah, the meme is that being in control of your fertility is associated with a somewhat higher lifetime risk of certain cancers. And yet, women continue to use birth control, as if we have priorities in life aside from placating the Booby Spirits. Those fickle demons are unreliable, and their rewards are no substitute for having ownership over our lives.

This just in: Susan G. Komen Foundation does not care about women’s health.

If you follow the women’s health/reproductive rights community, you’ve probably heard about this:

But apparently those women no longer matter as Komen’s support has now been withdrawn. Last month, the national office of the Komen Foundation, which maintains tight control over its state affiliates, sent a memo barring those affiliates from using money they had raised at the local level to partner with Planned Parenthood clinics in improving access to breast exams.

[…]

It’s no secret that anti-choice legislators at the state and national level have made Planned Parenthood the central focus of their anti-woman agenda, spending well over half of entire legislative sessions in some states focused on cutting funding and limiting access to reproductive health services.  At the national level, the ongoing witch hunt aimed at PPFA has taken many forms, one of which includes a “Congressional inquiry” launched by House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).  Stearns sent a letter to PPFA in late September 2011 asking for an avalanche of documents to “investigate” whether PPFA has used federal funds to provide abortion services.

[…]

What does Stearns have to do with Komen? Anti-choice groups have long targeted Komen for its partnership with Planned Parenthood, in part by haranguing the organization and listing them as targets of various protests and boycotts, and in part by touting the medically-disproven and specious claims about non-existent links between abortion and breast cancer. A group known as Life Decisions International (LDI), the website of which is “fightpp.org,” has long had Komen on its boycott list.

These efforts hardly appear to have affected Komen’s bottom line since the foundation’s total gross revenue in 2010 was nearly $421 million, only several hundred thousand dollars of which were granted over the past five years by Komen’s state affiliates to local Planned Parenthood partners for education, screening, and referrals.  Moreover, as a large and well-known organization (albeit one criticized for its work on many levels) Komen appeared until now to stay above the ideological mud-pit of the anti-choice movement.

Last fall, however, things began to change. LDI began quietly telling other anti-choice groups that it had “won” the battle with Komen and that they should await public announcement of a policy change.

And suddenly, Cliff Stearns’ inquiry became a reason for the Komen national office to change what state affiliates could do with their funds. Komen’s board recently approved a new policy stating that affiliates can only provide grant funds to other organizations if:

• The applicant is not currently debarred from the receipt of federal or state funding.

• No key personnel of applicant or any of its affiliates has been convicted of fraud or a crime involving any other financial or administrative impropriety within the last year.

• The applicant or any of its affiliates is not currently under a local, state or federal formal investigation for financial or administrative impropriety or fraud. (“Affiliate” means any entities that control, are controlled by, or are under the same control as applicant or independent entities operating under the same name or brand as applicant.)

While the policy ostensibly affects “any” organization to which Komen affiliates might grant money, the memo sent to state affiliates specifically targets Planned Parenthood.

“Currently, however, various authorities at both the state and federal levels are conducting investigations involving [Planned Parenthood] and some of its local chapters, and the organization is barred from receiving government funding in numerous states. Under these new criteria, Planned Parenthood will be ineligible to receive new funding from Komen until these investigations are complete and these issues are resolved.”

But these are lies and innuendo: There are no “authorities” investigating Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood is not barred from receiving federal government funding in any state.  No mature organization concerned about the health and well-being of women at risk of breast cancer would have created a policy targeting another respected organization with a record of saving untold lives.

But Komen can no longer claim the mantle of a respected organization. First, Komen last year hired Karen Handel, a former Georgia anti-choice gubernatorial candidate and Sarah Palin acolyte who promised as part of her platform to defund Planned Parenthood and other vital health services.  Handel, who lost her race but is said to have future political ambitions, is now Senior Vice President for Policy at Komen. She was originally endorsed in her race by and received money from current GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, with whom some sources suggest she remains closely allied. Romney, in turn, has suddenly become more anti-choice than thou and has promised a federal personhood amendment as well as to defund Planned Parenthood.

Second, sitting on Komen’s Advocacy Alliance Board is Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the virulently anti-choice and anti-science Susan B. Anthony List and of its Political Action Committee.  Among other involvements, Abraham helps direct the Nurturing Network, a global network of crisis pregnancy centers, organizations widely  known for spreading ideology, misinformation and lies to women facing unintended pregnancy and to use both intimidation and coercion in the course of doing so.  Also on the board of Nurturing Network is Maureen Scalia, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, no hero to women’s rights and health.

 Yeah, I’m basically quoting the whole article. The forced-childbirth movement has long been antagonistic to the Komen foundation for its failure to jump on the abortion-causes-breast-cancer bandwagon, and now, the forced-childbirth movement has taken over the foundation. Komen would rather let underserved women lose access to breast cancer screening services than be seen in cooperation with an organization that holds motherhood as a decision rather than a capitulation. Given that this is the fundraising organization which has previously raised awareness via toxic perfume and pink buckets of fried chicken, perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised.

The British Journal of Psychiatry should be embarrassed.

PZ Myers shows us the fiasco of a putative meta-analysis of mental health risks of abortion, published by the British Journal of Psychiatry and torn apart by Jim Coyne at Psychology Today. The problems with the analysis are briefly summarized as follows:

1. The author has a conflict of interest on the subject, as she is an anti-abortion advocate, and failed to disclose this in her submission to the journal.

2. The analysis used 22 studies, half of which were conducted by the author herself. She did not disclose which studies were excluded and why.

3. Her own studies used in the analysis range from unreliable to meaningless.

Since when did scientific rigor ever get in the way of a good scare tactic? Coyne helpfully quotes National Right to Life News as summarizing conclusions such as:

“Women who aborted have a 55 percent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an ‘unplanned’ pregnancy who gave birth.

Yeah, I just love the scare quotes around “unplanned.”

NRtLN’s summary conflates the comparison between women who have aborted vs. not aborted, with those who have aborted vs. given birth. It confuses an outcome for a given pregnancy with lifetime experience. IOW: it is possible for a woman to have at least one abortion AND have at least one live birth. The majority of women having a first abortion are already mothers, and many others have children later.

If what they mean by “aborted vs. given birth” is the comparison of women who’ve had at least one abortion with those who’ve had at least one live birth and no abortions, then they should freaking well say so, and furthermore, they need to limit the comparison to women who became pregnant when they didn’t want to. Since this is an organization that uses scare quotes around unplanned pregnancy, such respect for confounding factors is probably too much to ask.

Continue reading

DELICIOUS religion-pushing nonsense! My fangs are getting so sharp!

Robin Marty keeps dangling shiny things in my face at RH Reality Check, and this time, she actually goaded me into clicking over to an article at the National Catholic Register so I could get the full names and quotes. According to Bishop William E. Lori of Connecticut, religious liberty doesn’t exist unless Catholic institutions get federal funding to do whatever the heck they want on anyone their net happens to cover.

“There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith through works of education, health care and charity,” Lori said in his first address to the bishops as chairman of the newly formed Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Education = Indoctrinating impressionable children with the fear of Damnation.

Health care = Denying birth control access to human trafficking victims.

Charity = Shutting down social services rather than provide contraception coverage to employees in your health care plan.

Continue reading

Personhood USA insecure about America’s manhood

Anna North at Jezebel shares with us this charming quote from Gualberto Garcia Jones, director of Personhood USA:

Increasingly, the American people are being treated paternalistically by a government, media and public sector elite that stands in direct opposition to our traditional American values.

Using the courts as its instrument, this American elite has emasculated a once independent America.

The “American people” here apparently does not include women who are or may become pregnant, or pro-choicers of any description. “Traditional American values” means women must live and die at the mercy of sperm-meets-egg. The distinction between “the American people,” meaning those who oppose reproductive freedom, and the “American elite,” referring to those who trust women to plan their own families, is useful in parsing the “emasculated” bit.

If masculinity is defined as having a certain relationship to women, specifically as being in control of them, them it makes perfect sense to view reproductive rights as emasculation. The right to effective contraceptives and safe abortion gives women a degree of control over their lives that allows them to approach their relationships with men on their own terms. It helps women finish their education, travel, work as many hours as they need, advance their careers, and put money in savings. It gives women the autonomy to make plans for the future, which may or may not include any particular partner. It means a woman can date, or not, sleep around, or not, and enter a committed relationship, or not. While leaving an abusive relationship tends to be complicated no matter what, it is far more feasible for a woman who isn’t pregnant or caring for a small child. It won’t protect her from rape, but it prevents a rapist from forcing her into motherhood.

Ergo, yes, contraceptives and abortion do reduce men’s ability to keep women under control. If “manhood” means the females are at your mercy and “independence” means you can force them to bear your children, then, yes, birth control is emasculation.

What a harsh, joyless view of life that is, to say a man isn’t really a man unless he gets to push a woman around.

I’m hearing on Twitter right now that the Personhood Initiative is losing in Mississippi. I guess a whole lot of MS men are more secure in their masculinity than the dudes at Personhood USA.

 

Mr. Hutchinson, this court finds you guilty of being a fucking moron.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Hutchinson had been dating the woman for several months in 2006, and she had made it clear she did not want to get pregnant. The couple used condoms almost all the time.

In the summer of that year, the woman was thinking of ending the relationship.

Hutchinson thought if she got pregnant, their relationship would be saved, the court heard, so he poked a pin in all the condoms she had.

The woman, whose identity is protected by court order, did become pregnant.

But when Hutchinson confessed what he had done in a series of text messages, she called the RCMP and had him charged.

Let’s go over this again: he thought that if she became pregnant, their relationship would be saved.

I don’t need to tell you all why that’s wrong, right? I don’t need to explain why deliberately making a woman pregnant when she has clearly communicated that she is uninterested in becoming pregnant is a really shitty thing to do to her, do I?

I just can’t get over how stupid this guy is.

He not only tried to “save” their relationship by committing birth control sabotage on her, but then he told her what he’d done, which suggests that he thought that she would not call the police on him. It may even imply that he believed there would still be a relationship after she found out.

I suppose that sexism causes otherwise smart people to believe stupid things, like, that effectively forcing a woman to become pregnant isn’t such a horrible thing to do to her, because pregnancy is just like carrying someone’s keys in your purse for nine months and giving birth is something that all women are supposed to do anyway.

But…when she’s already said she didn’t want to get pregnant, do you really think she’ll be okay with it if you confess to having sabotaged her birth control? Furthermore, do you do it over text message? Those things can be saved, forwarded and used as evidence, dumbass.

The article says she terminated the pregnancy after she called the RMCP, so…did she intend to keep the baby until she realized she was gestating the progeny of an industrial-strength asshat? I’m trying to picture the scenario in which it seems like a good idea to make this confession via text message. Is she not seeing you face to face? Is she not picking up your calls? And since she won’t allow real-time communication, do you think she’ll suddenly start talking to you again if she finds out she was so important to you that you forced her into a risky, life-altering, potentially disabling condition to make her more dependent on you? Or could you see her IRL any time you want, but you just had a whim to tell her about your reproductive coercion scheme because it seemed like no big deal?

Gee, I can’t imagine why any woman wouldn’t want to have this genius’s babies.

How Not to Act Like a Pro-Choicer: Innocent Babies

When you’re involved in a debate—or better yet, just a conversation about a particular woman who’s had an abortion—we on the pro-choice side of the spectrum will much more easily accept your good faith if you do not comment, “But the baby is innocent.”

Yeah, about that? It’s not that we dispute that the fetus hasn’t done anything wrong. The fetus didn’t have a say in where, when, by whom and in what manner it was conceived. We know that. By arguing towards the “innocence” of the “baby,” (note: fetus and baby are not interchangeable) you imply that the abortion is about punishing the fetus for being conceived in the wrong person at the wrong time.

Of course the fetus is a helpless bystander in the circumstances of the unwanted pregnancy, and of course the fetus could grow into a darling, lovable infant if its mother decided to maintain the pregnancy to birth, but for now, in the first trimester, we’re talking about a non-sentient, obliviously developing little critter without the slightest inkling of its own existence. The idea of “punishment” is perfectly unrelated to anything a fetus could experience. It makes about as much sense as punishing someone’s gall bladder. No, there is no dispute over the innocence of the fetus. It’s not about punishing the baby that could have been born. It’s about letting the woman get on with her life.

Furthermore, nobody cares what you, personally, would have done in that woman’s place. It’s all nice and fine if you cannot imagine ever terminating your own pregnancy if you were to find yourself in that situation, but when we’re looking at a woman who has faced a (multiple!) pregnancy conceived by rape when she already had two children who needed her, your declaration that you would never respond to the situation (which you have so far never experienced) the way she did, provides no useful information. One might get the impression that you merely want to show her that you’re a better person. Particularly when we’ve seen what such what-if statements actually yield.