Monday, March 12, 2012

Abortion Laws in the States

So between twitter and the radio I've been hearing a lot about GOP, Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, abortion, contraception, trans vaginal scans and rape.  But I hadn't really paid much attention to it.  Until my Dad sent me this Doonesbury cartoon from today's Guardian newspaper.  Go click on the link, it won't allow me to post a clear picture of it here.

Pretty awful, no?

Then I read the part of the email where Dad said this cartoon had been banned in Texas.  I enquired if he was joking and he sent me this article which I shall cross post in it's entirety:

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau has defended his cartoon strip about abortion, which several US newspapers are refusing to run, saying he felt compelled to respond to the way Republicans across America are undermining women's healthcare rights.
The strip, published on Monday and scheduled to run all week, has been rejected by several papers, while others said they were switching it from the comic section to the editorial page.
In an email exchange with the Guardian, Trudeau expressed dismay over the papers' decision but was unrepentant, describing as "appalling" and "insane" Republican state moves on women's healthcare.
About 1,400 newspapers, including the Guardian, take the Doonesbury cartoon. The Guardian newspaper is running the cartoon as normal on Monday.
The strip deals specifically with a law introduced in Texas and other states requiring a woman who wants to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan, or sonogram, which will show an image of the foetus and other details, in an attempt to make her reconsider.
It portrays a woman who turns up at an abortion clinic in Texas and is told to take a seat in "the shaming room". A state legislator asks if she has been at the clinic before and, when she says she had been to get contraceptives, he replies: "Do your parents know you're a slut?"

Later, she says she does not want an intrusive vaginal examination but is told by a nurse: "The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10-inch shaming wand." The nurse adds: "By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."
The Kansas City Star is among the papers not running the cartoon in its normal slot. "We felt the content was too much for many of the readers of our family-friendly comic page," an editor told Associated Press. The Star will use a replacement strip offered by the organisation that syndicates Doonesbury, Universal Uclick, and move the abortion one to its editorial pages.
Sue Roush, managing editor of Universal Uclick, said: "I can't say how many papers will choose ultimately to run or not run the series, but we've had inquiries from 30 to 40 papers asking about the substitutes."
Abortion, contraception and other social issues have resurfaced in politics in recent weeks, partly because they have been highlighted by the Republican candidates in the presidential race. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh referred to a student giving evidence to a congressional hearing in support of contraception as "a slut".

Trudeau told the Guardian he thought the issue of reproductive freedom had been settled while he had still been at school: the supreme court 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which removed restrictions on abortion.

Trudeau wrote: "Ninety-nine percent of American women have or will use contraception during their lifetimes. To see these healthcare rights systematically undermined in state after state by the party of 'limited government' is appalling. "In Texas, the sonograms are the least of it. The legislature has also defunded women's health clinics all over the state, leaving 300,000 women without the contraceptive services that prevent abortions in the first place. Insanity."
Trudeau is dismayed by the newspaper reaction. "I write the strip to be read, not removed. And as a practical matter, many more people will see it in the comics page than on the editorial page," he wrote.
"I don't mean to be disingenuous. Obviously there's some profit to controversy, especially for a satirist. If debate is swirling around a particular strip, and if its absence creates blowback, then I'm contributing to the public conversation in a more powerful way. But I don't get up in the morning and scheme about how to antagonise editors. Some of these folks have supported me for decades."
Asked about the use of the word "rape" to describe what was happening to women seeking abortions in Texas, he said it was perfectly apt for the compulsory insertion of an object into the vulva. "That falls within the legal definition of rape. Coercion need not be physically violent to meet the threshold. Many people here are now referring to trans-vaginal sonograms as 'state rape'. That seems about right to me," he wrote.
"However, if you just mean the topic of rape generally, it's not something I would avoid simply because I work on a page where children can occasionally be found. People know what to expect in Doonesbury. Certainly children do, which is why they never read it. And editors have long known what they're getting; I first wrote about rape in the late '70s, devoting an entire week to a mock rape trial."

The Texas governor Rick Perry, who dropped out of the Republican presidential candidates race in January, signed the abortion measure into law in May 2010.

His press spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, asked about the Doonesbury strip, said: "The decision to end a life is not funny. 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."

Scary, no?  Then I read this article about a 15 year old child facing imprisonment for 'depraved heart murder' - or miscarrying at 36 weeks because she took coke.

What?  How is anyone taking this seriously?  How can you jail a child for miscarrying? How can you jail anyone for miscarrying?  What next, we jail women because they don't eat enough greens or take enough supplements during pregnancy?

I feel sick.  These are hate laws, pure and simple, directed at women.  If these people actually wanted to reduce the number of abortions they'd provide free contraception to every woman and girl of child bearing age.  They would educate children about consent, and healthy sex, and contraception.  But they don't do this because they actually just seek to slut shame and control women's bodies and pass judgement from nigh on high above, where they will never ever ever have any idea what it is like to be pregnant, bear a child or bring one up.  They have no idea about women's lives and they have absolutely nor right to try and control 51% of the population.

I am disgusted.


SallyP said...

Things are getting a little bit...weird 'round these parts lately. What with Gingrich and Santorum trying to "Out-Conservative" each other, and Romney waffling around the edges, it's been just crazy. With all of the attacks on women's rights, in particular reproductive rights, I'm rather surprised that we still have the right to vote...and I'm pretty sure that is going to come up soon.

Saranga said...

I really do feel for you guys. :(