Wingnut history: The anti-sex revolution

Like a high schooler blathering about Nietzsche, right-wingers who attempt to appeal to feminism will invariably get it wrong:

The Obama campaign has repeatedly appealed to women as if the feminist movement never happened – that is, as a monolith who can’t get sex and reproduction off the brain.

Yes, remember how, before feminism, women were constantly flaunting their sexuality? And how the greatest achievement of feminism was to teach them to be more modest and ladylike?

The ultimate absurdity here, of course, is that if feminism had never happened, Obama wouldn’t bother appealing to women at all, what with their not being able to vote and all that. But now they can, and if they feel compelled to vote based, in part or whole, on policies that will affect their uteruses (uteri?), that makes them responsible, not retrograde.

I’d sure as hell vote against a party that wanted to impede my ability to get healthcare for my dong, but nobody’s threatening to do that because I’m a dude.

Rush Limbaugh should be asking ME for sex tapes!

If I wanted a vasectomy right now, you know how much I would have to pay for it? $0. Seriously, I checked with my insurance provider and everything. My current healthcare package, which I receive as part of my compensation from my employer, covers 100% of the cost of a vasectomy. Why aren’t Republicans in Congress gravely concerned about this? Why should my employer be forced to pay for me to have the ability to rut like an animal without any concern for the consequences?

Could it be because I have a penis rather than a vagina?

A letter to the president

No, this is not one of those goofy “an open letter to President Obama” posts. I’m pretty sure Obama doesn’t read my blog. (If you do, though, hi! I loved your work in The American President! Wait, that was Michael Douglas.) I’m just reposting a short email that I sent to Obama. I’m not under the impression that the letter will be read by the president himself, but I do think that if the Administration receives enough indications of support over its recent reproductive healthcare coverage decision, it’ll hopefully (hopefully) be emboldened to continue doing the right thing in the future. With that in mind I encourage you to send your own letter. Mine:

I’m writing this message because I hope that if President Obama sees the outpouring of support and appreciation for his recent decision regarding women’s reproductive health coverage, he’ll be confident that he’s made the right choice and will continue to do so in the future.

The president gained a lot of my respect with his decision, and turned a reluctant supporter into an enthusiastic one. I look forward to his second term. Thanks again for doing the right thing and not caving to hypocrites who use the Bible as a cover for their own misogyny.

April was the cruelest month

Mother Jones reports:

April 2011 saw a remarkable amount of anti-choice legislation. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 33 laws in 9 states restricted abortion or made it more difficult for women to obtain them.

Some of the measures passed are almost (almost) amusing in their cluelessness and ineffectiveness. Laws requiring women to receive counseling before an abortion is performed presume that women wouldn’t get the abortion if they just stopped to think about it (the reason it’s not, in fact, amusing is that it carries the presumption that women can’t make these kinds of decisions for themselves). More importantly, they ignore the fact that pretty much every abortion clinic already counsels patients extensively before an abortion is performed, and they do this by choice and out of concern for their patients’ well-being, not because they have to. The actual purpose behind the state-mandated counseling (and yet another reason it’s not funny) is to try to get abortion clinics to call women murderers.

Another of the measures that’s becoming popular with anti-choice assholes is the requirement that a woman be shown an ultrasound of her fetus before an abortion is performed, presumably while a Baptist minister stands in the room, pointing at the screen and shouting, “Look at that! God created that and you want to murder that poor child! Harlot!” Again, anti-choicers are operating on the assumption that women who get abortions do so on a whim, without actually thinking about what’s going on inside their bodies. Surely if we just show them the baby inside them, their maternal instinct will kick in and they’ll do what Pasty White Male Jesus wants them to do!

About half of abortions occur in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Here is what the ultrasound might look like if a pregnant woman chooses to get an abortion during her eighth week:

Ultrasound of fetus at eight weeks of gestation

Let’s cut the sentiment for a second: that could be a kidney bean that accidentally got crammed into her uterus. I’m not denying what’s actually there (a clump of rapidly dividing cells with no significant brain development as yet), but the point is, forcing a pregnant woman to look at this image doesn’t seem incredibly likely to change her opinion about what’s going on inside her own body. I’m sorry, old white male legislators, but you don’t possess some secret understanding of the “miracle of life.”

Of course, an additional 38% of abortions take place between weeks 8 and 12. Let’s look at a 3D ultrasound, since the anti-choicers are going for maximum emotional impact here, rather than any kind of medical necessity. A fetus after 12 weeks of gestation:

3D ultrasound of a fetus at 12 weeks of gestation

Oh my god, it looks like a baby, right?! Of course, it also happens to be about 3 inches long. I have Star Trek action figures bigger than that. About.com informs us: “If your practitioner uses a doppler, you may be able to hear your baby’s heart beat at this prenatal visit. Some say it sounds like horses.” Okay, that’s weird.

If your practitioner uses a doppler, you may be able to hear your baby’s heart beat at this prenatal visit. Some say it sounds like horses.

Today in mainstream media failure: What is this “women’s health” you speak of?

I’ll let Amanda Marcotte take this one:

What Is and Isn’t Abortion: A Primer

Repeat after me: The recent standoff over the budget came down to funding for contraception, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screening. Make special note of what word was not in that list: abortion. That’s because abortion wasn’t on the table in the fights—there was pre-existing consensus that the government will not subsidize abortion care.

Of course, if you read the mainstream news, you would not know this.

The War on Contraception is Only Beginning

Unfortunatley, as long as the mainstream press continues to adopt the right-wing tendency to characterize safe childbirth kits, HIV medications, cancer screenings, condoms, pencillin, and birth control pills as “abortion,” the public will probably be less incensed than they should be.

In non-contraception-related media failure news, Paul Krugman points out an instance of bad financial reporting. This is worth noting because public understanding of economics is already abysmal.

Bad Financial Reporting 101

But my point isn’t so much that I’m right and others are wrong. It is that we’re seeing a mere theory, not at all the only plausible explanation of the data, reported as a fact.

But who would be so callous as to take out their resentment on others? Besides, y’know, conservatives.

Opposing sex ed is way more important than abortions. [...] I don’t care if there’s a billion abortions! I just can’t stand the thought of teenagers doing it. Those taught, firm bodies exploring one another with the kind of excitement that I’ll never experience again in my life.

Let’s play a game! Is this:
A) An accurate summation of the anti-choice psyche, or
B) A quote from Robot Chicken?

Trick question! It’s both. Honestly, in our current political climate you have to appreciate this kind of candor. Our news media is intent on playing along with anti-choicers’ lies about their motivations for opposing legal abortion, and the general public doesn’t think about it enough to cut through the bullshit. That, of course, is exactly what conservatives want. As such, it takes a genuinely thoughtful person to notice that the anti-choice platform is based on bitterness and resentment, not concern for fetuses. So again, kudos, Robot Chicken. If you want to watch the clip that the above quote comes from, here you go: