Kermit Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health-care facility, write Dayle Steinberg and Eric Ferrero of Planned Parenthood.
Last month we published a package of stories marking the fortieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. It had a few moving parts but I’ll just go over some of them briefly here.
How it started
This summer you probably heard the story about the last abortion clinic in Mississippi that was threatened to close due to stricter state laws. Allison Yarrow, who sat across from me at the time, was covering the story and it got us thinking: the line “The Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi” is attention grabbing, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. That is to say, what you really want to know is how far are people away from their nearest clinic, regardless of state boundaries. One state may have five clinics but if they’re all in the southwest corner of the state and you live in the northeast corner, and your adjoining states have multiple clinics but only at their borders farthest from you, then you’ll have a hard time getting to a clinic, even if you had many in your state. To see where this might be the case and where access to services was compounded by new restrictive provisions (over 150 nationally in the past two years) we made as close to a comprehensive database as possible of every abortion clinic. Our goal was to see what parts of the country were farthest from a clinic. From start to finish, this process took about six months…
In any case, a storm more perfect than Isaac (it seems impossible to discuss Republicans in non-biblical terms) has formed to the benefit of Democrats—and not just the metaphorical kind. That hallelujah chorus you hear is coming from David Axelrod’s Chicago office, where he and other campaign strategists were seen performing grand jetés in celebration of their good fortune. What more delicious manna than the opportunity to conjoin in the public’s mind the idiocy of Akin, who weirdly serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and Romney’s sixth son, Ryan. Such a GOP twofer can only be a gift from You Know Who.
The whole business of fertilization with a woman’s body is a delicate mechanism. A lot of things contribute to it.
Kind of sounds like how they talk about the Internet.
By now, you surely know, if you didn’t already, that Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, wants to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher system. You might have read that, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, his economic plan “calls for radical policy changes that would result in a massive transfer of resources from the broad majority of Americans to the nation’s wealthiest individuals.”
Less attention has been paid, though, to Ryan’s hard-right positions on social issues. Indeed, on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann. Any Republican vice-presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.”
Indeed, Ryan exemplifies a strange sort of ideological hybrid that now dominates the GOP. On economic issues, he’s a hardcore libertarian who once said, “[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker…it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” Yet when it comes to women’s control of their bodies, he quickly turns into a statist. “In the state of nature—the ‘law of the jungle’—the determination of who ‘qualifies’ as a human being is left to private individuals or chosen groups,” he wrote in a 2010 essay titled “The Cause of Life Can’t Be Severed From the Cause of Freedom.” “In a justly organized community, however, government exists to secure the right to life and the other human rights that follow from that primary right.”
For anyone who wants to know how Ryan thinks, that essay is worth reading. It’s about 1,500 words long, but the word “woman” doesn’t appear in it once. Nor does the word “mother.” To him, a woman’s claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn’t merit even cursory consideration. Here’s his analogy: “The car which I exercised my freedom of choice to purchase…does not ‘qualify’ for protection of human rights. I can drive it, lend it, kick it, sell it, or junk it, at will. On the other hand, the widow who lives next door does ‘qualify’ as a person, and the government must secure her human rights, which cannot be abandoned to anyone’s arbitrary will.”
This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives—the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of “arbitrary will”—was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless.”
During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’”
Here is the speech that got Rep. Lisa Brown banned from speaking. Spokesman Ari Adler said she was punished because she “threw a temper tantrum on the House floor.” You be the judge.
UPDATE: Jezebel reports:
Adler said the House took offense when Brown said “no means no” because it implied she was comparing abortion legislation to rape.
If you’re regulating vaginas, I don’t know how we’re supposed to not talk about them.
It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women.
One Michigan state rep’s reaction to Rep. Lisa Brown’s (D) comment: “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’” while debating an abortion bill. Brown was blocked from speaking on the floor Thursday.
David Frum and Michael Tomasky discuss whether women prefer to vote for Democrats. Interesting insight in to the importance of abortion.
It’s time for some online activism. Who’s with us? HELP US FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!
Kansas, the home of Dr. Tiller, is trying to pass some of the most restrictive anti-choice legislation in the country with the bill, HB2598.
People have taken to FB and Twitter to let Governor Sam Brownback, a staunch no-exceptions-even-in-cases-of-rape anti-choicer, know that they are NOT happy about this. They are leaving messages asking questions about reproduction, giving statuses on their menstrual cycle, and making general inquiries about their bodies.
JOIN THIS FIGHT!
Brownback is scrubbing his FB page as quickly as he can but we can make that job nearly impossible.
Brownback’s Twitter: @GovSamBrownback. If you take the fight to Twitter, please use hashtag: #mybodyyourchoice so we can see all the responses (use that hashtag no matter which anti-choicer you are tweeting at, in fact).
You can also call Brownback’s office at 877-579-6757 or 785-296-3232.
COME ON, TUMBLR! SIGNAL BOOST!
Let’s do this!
This is great and the questions are hilarious!!!
lol - i love it.
even if you don’t do it, go and look at the comments. fantastic.
This is amazing.
I love this kind of trolling.
I’m sure most of you have seen this already but if you haven’t go check it out. It’s hilarious AND a great idea. Get on it!
As you may suspect, there are a bunch more good ones.