Tagged: bodily autonomy

Contraception … in … SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE

No, not quite.

The good news: NuvaRing is in New Zealand! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

The bad news: $75 for a three month supply!  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

More information on the Family Planning website.

Sometimes our glorious socialised healthcare really drops the ball, and this is one of those times.  A number of the most effective, least side-effect-y contraceptive methods aren’t subsidised the way the good old Pill or Jab are, so it’s bloody prohibitively expensive, especially for long-term use – and a lot of people will spend a huge proportion of their life using contraception.

Of course there’s the cost of research and development and production and all that jazz, but I think there’s another really obvious reason for the good shit being expensive: the manufacturers know that their customers will pay for the good shit.  Because contraception is vital for a lot of people.  It could be the difference between getting through university and having a better-paid job before starting to have a family … or not.  The difference between protecting your mental health by avoiding the physical and psychological costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood … or not.  The difference between having a comfortable life raising your three kids … or struggling to feed six.  The difference between learning to live with violent mood swings, irregular or even constant bleeding, nausea and cramping because it’s worth it not to get pregnant … or not.

Access to sustainable, affordable contraception is a huge part in allowing people, especially women, to take control of their lives.  It pays back huge dividends to society.  In our current capitalist model, of course someone’s going to try to make a buck from that, and in New Zealand we do already take steps to mitigate that for some forms of contraception.  I just wish we did more.

Related: Positive Women highlights the major costs involved for users of female condoms.

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[Daily Blog reposts] Reform NZ abortion law now

This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 21 March 2013.

I’m returning to an old theme of mine, on this shiny new platform, not only because it’s an issue which I think is important, but one which needs to be discussed.

It needs to be discussed because it’s a matter of basic human rights.

It needs to be discussed because a lot of people – politically-savvy people who are interested in law and rights and progressiveness – really don’t have a good basic knowledge of it.

It needs to be discussed because treating it like an icky scary gross vagina-related issue is one of the reasons New Zealand, a country so bloody smug about its achievements in other areas (*cough*givingwomenthevote*cough*), continues to have condescending, paternalistic, backwards, health-endangering laws around abortion.

Abortion, as part of a whole big wibbly-wobbly thing called “reproductive rights”, is a human right because no one else has the power to commandeer your internal organs for their own purposes.  It’s a health issue because, no matter what restrictions have been placed on it historically, pregnant people have always found ways to end pregnancies they do not want.  Some of these ways are a lot safer than others.

It’s a public health/social welfare issue because forcing people in difficult circumstances to go through pregnancy – not, in fact, a picnic – and then raise a child they do not want, on the generous support of a Paula Bennett-run social welfare system, may just lead to bad outcomes:  hungry kids.  Abused kids.  Unemployed parents.

And abortion in New Zealand is not on demand, no matter how often people who pretend to “love life” insist that we “practically” have abortion on demand.  The hoops pregnant people have to jump through are ridiculous, even when they’re accessible (note: Southland DHB has now begun offering abortion services in Invercargill, despite the best intimidation efforts of “pro-lifers”).  It’s patronising.   It only delays the inevitable – because pregnant people who don’t want to be pregnant will find a way to end that pregnancy, and the longer they are forced to wait, the more dangerous it becomes for them.

Abortion is still a crime under the Crimes Act in New Zealand – with a big messed-up process to get around it, like a labyrinthine self-defence defence.  New Zealanders deserve better.  They deserve the right to control their own bodies and fertility, without petty obstacles.  They deserve the right to make their own medical decisions in private (and yep, that also includes pregnant people who want to remain pregnant).

Now do go on and tell me I’m a soulless baby-killer while I get a cuppa.  If the leftwing men would form a backup chorus for the “why aren’t you focusing on issues that matter” number later this evening that’d be great too.

The real war on women is making shit up

If you can find a single verifiable statement in this media release by Family Lies International, I will give you a cookie.

The absolute beauty of it, though, is that its writers act like dangerous unlawful abortions, reduced numbers of abortion providers, and people’s deaths are all part of some magical, context-free societal rejection of abortion.

Not, you know, the concerted efforts of organisations like FLI to incrementally destroy access to early, safe abortions.  Not their constant campaigns to stigmatise people who have had abortions – and aren’t sufficiently guilt-ridden.  Not the blatant, bald-faced lies they use to con pregnant people into their “centres” where they’re bullied and bombarded with emotional blackmail into continuing pregnancies they do not want, cannot afford, and which may kill them.

Not medical professionals being assassinated by those who call themselves “pro-life”.

The war on women?  Apparently, it’s abortion.  A set of medical procedures safer than pregnancy.  An act which has actually been a pretty normal part of human reproduction for centuries.

What a fucking joke, right?

The war on women – rather, on all people who can get pregnant, which in the minds of anti-choicers equals “women” – is being waged by organisations like FLI.  Organisations which want to take choice away from us, take control of our bodies away from us, make us less important than the potential contents of our wombs, kill us, and which have the gall to tell us they’re doing us a favour in the process.

Mrs Colleen Bayer, National Director of the NZ branch of FLI, is a commanding officer in the war on women.  She will lie, she will distort, she will make shit up if it means women – that is, all people who can get pregnant – are constrained, limited, controlled by her personal “morality” and forced to live in line with her personal beliefs.

She will tell you that “Many abortionists and clinic staff are leaving their jobs” because they’ve “realised they’re hurting women”, and pay no attention to the corpse of Dr Tiller behind the curtain.

She will tell you “The negative effect of abortion on women mentally and physically cannot be denied” and expect you to ignore the fact that she and all her “compassionate” friends work day in and day out to create an environment where pregnant people are shamed, guilt-tripped and bullied for exercising their right to bodily autonomy.

She will conflate the deaths of people who felt they had no other choice with “so-called safe abortion” – but don’t expect her to actually acknowledge the ZERO death rate from abortion in New Zealand, or that earlier abortions – which she and her organisation aim to delay – are even safer.

Colleen Bayer is the war on women and pregnant people.  And I personally don’t know how the fuck she sleeps at night.

What did you expect, wearing trackpants like that?

LudditeJourno has fought the good fight once more against the forces of misogyny:

Two women fought off separate attacks from an unidentified man in central Whanganui.  Police suspect the attacks were related, as both involved women being targeted from behind, while they were out running.

“It’s clear we have a predator trying to target female joggers,” said Detective Inspector Plod.  “We’d like to praise the strength and ingenuity of the two women who successfully stopped potential sexual attacks.”

If only it were so.  Our police force’s actual advice is:

“Police are warning the public, females in particular, to take particular care when walking or jogging in the broader CBD area, and encourage they do not head out alone for such activities.

“This approach should continue until positive results are achieved in locating the offender or offenders for these attacks.”

Because, you know, there’s only one or two sexual predators targeting women in the whole of Whanganui.  And once the police catch them, sexual assault will be a thing of the past!  Hurrah!

Shit like this is why, despite a lot of the issues around its ignoring of intersectionality and the different ways sexuality-policing affects different classes of women,* I’ll be going to Wellington SlutWalk 2.0.  It’s not just about the wider societal bullshit.  It’s about the fact that in 2012 we still have a police culture which tells women to stay in the kitchen if they know what’s good for them.

~

*But, I’m going to say again right from the outset, I have zero time for the critiques which are basically “lol how can u reclaim the word slut when u r dressed like sluts, slut”, which (unsurprisingly?) is the main type of criticism noted on the Wikipedia page for SlutWalk – which has one para on the issues raised by some women of colour but conflates it with the usual simplistic “but you can never reclaim bad words!!!!!” critique.

Fighting the patriarchy in lipstick vol. 2

Part 1 of this post was published yesterday.  Check it out, ’cause it’ll probably make this post make more sense.

3.  A life lived in stress is a life half-lived

Let’s assume, for this section, that one completely rejects the notion of “reclaiming” or “subverting” patriarchal norms, that all sexiness is collaboration and all nail polish is Giving Aid And Comfort To The Enemy.

It is pretty fucking difficult spending all one’s time enraged at the strictures and oppressiveness of kyriarchy.  It is pretty fucking stressful, at least for me and I have no doubt for others as well, to be constantly analysing my every thought and preference and decision against the context of social narratives.

Do I like these shoes just because patriarchy says I have to look pretty for men?  Do I enjoy Game of Thrones just because I’m presented with no other options in terms of racist, sexist medieval fantasy tropes?  (I’m going to come back to this shortly …)   And let’s not even start on my sexual preferences.

I like a lot of things that are problematic.  I dress in a way which is very patriarchy-approved, albeit in a fat body so I can’t really win there (I’m either wrong for daring to look conventionally-sexy while fat, or I’m wrong if I stop trying to l0ok conventionally sexy despite being fat).  I enjoy medieval fantasy, the Saw films, corsetry, etc etc.  I know these things are problematic, and I know that a lot of the reason I like these things is due to being raised in a white, Western, patriarchal society.

(There’s a hell of a lot of other contributing factors, but let’s not let the complexity of human existence get in the way of judging people now.)

But, and here’s where y’all can start selectively clipping quotes to back up your stereotypes of a “choice feminist”, I still like those things.

I still like those things despite being aware they’re problematic, despite knowing that a lot of my choice is not fully of my own free will.  Because none of us are making choices of our own free will.

Put it this way:  if you’re a radical feminist who hates society’s treatment of women as a sex class and never wears high heels?  In a world where patriarchy completely desexualised women and demanded they be entirely unnoticeable, $5 says you’d be breaking out the mascara and fishnets.

Mascara is not, in of itself, patriarchal.  Our ingrained responses to it are.

Here’s my main point:  I choose to not fight against every single patriarchy-approved preference in my head.  I choose to prioritise other things to spend my mental energy on.

I understand how my conforming choices can benefit me, can make my life easier, can allow me to pass under the radar in some aspects of my life.

I acknowledge that it’s utterly shitty that our society demands such choices of us and rewards us for going along.

But my mental energy is my own to spend.  My stress is my own to decrease or increase.  And if I choose a type of activism which isn’t about standing as a personal refutation of patriarchy, if I choose to balance up the number of areas where I will challenge my programming and decide that I can’t live a full and happy life worrying about every last little thing I do … that’s how I will survive.  That’s how I will make the best fight I can of this, and achieve a hell of a lot more than if I worry myself into a death-spiral of self-criticism.

And you can fuck right off judging me for that.  You can fuck right off dictating that I put stress and pressure on myself to conform to Real Feminist Approved non-conformity.  It’s simultaneously tragic and fucking hilarious.

4.  Guess what, conforming doesn’t make life easier

Because, and this might be a slightly off-the-wall idea, we live in a patriarchy.  So as women, we’re already the lesser, the other, the object.  (Extend to kyriarchy and other oppressed identities as necessary.)

So even if we pucker up and make up and dress up, we’ll still be at the bottom.  Even if we’re given a modicum of influence/status (see every painfully poorly written article of the past year entitled something like Why I’m A Smart Enough Girl To Reject Silly Feminism And Love Men), there’s still no getting around the fact that we only hold influence/status by the grace of The Man.  And that can be taken away with the merest flick of a Leaked Nude Photos magic wand.

Conforming does grease the rails.  And for those of us who can conform (remember, the majority of women are never going to be equally considered sexy or attractive or permitted a little autonomy as the most privileged, white/cis/hetero class) things get a lot less stressful.  Bully for us.  It’s still patriarchy, it still dumps on all of us (though, yes, less so on some than others.)

The point

Sure, choices aren’t feminist just because a woman chooses them.  The act of choosing isn’t inherently feminist and isn’t distinct and exclusive of kyriarchal programming.

But.  Hate the game, not the player.  Kyriarchy/patriarchy puts us in these positions and gives us these non-choices and labels all our actions in line with its own priorities.  And it’s pretty much just massively uncool to take a superior attitude and judge individual women who for all you know are navigating life as best they can in the face of massive pressures to conform.

Even when – no, especially when these “choices” aren’t just about lipstick and heels, when we’re talking about sex-selective abortion or surname-changing or participating in sex work, how fucking cruel do you have to be to tell a person, “you have to suck it up and take whatever violence or deprivation is going to be thrown at you, it’s your job to represent our entire struggle against [insert problem here] because choosing anything else is UnFeminist”?

Fight sexism.  Fight discrimination.  Fight the norms and standards and assumptions.  Don’t fight the people who you’re presuming to defend, and try not to act too fucking smug about how much better you are than the rest of us.

Related reading: amandaw at FWD/Forward.

Fighting the patriarchy in lipstick vol. 1

This post got a little long, so tune in tomorrow for part 2, in which I reserve the right to manage my own spoons, we note that a life conforming ain’t perfect either, and I get to the point.  Kinda.

I always end up describing the concept of “choice feminism” to other people in two ways:  if someone’s using it as a serious term they probably mean some variation on “people who pretend every choice they make is feminist because they make it.”  If it’s me arguing against that idea, it’s “let’s stop shitting on other women from orbit just so we can prove that not shaving our legs makes us Superior Patriarchy-Fighting Machines.”

Because no choice is perfect in a society which narrates and interprets our actions against an evil spirit level of power dynamics and biological essentialism.  We can never win; all our choices are, on some level, wrong because we are women making them in a patriarchal society.

Wearing high heels?  You’re just superficial and obsessed with shoes, like a woman (and sucking up to the patriarchy to boot) (and are probably stupid because omg who would ever like shoes which hurt your feet unless they were brainwashed???)  Wearing “sensible” shoes?  Prepare to be marked down as a dyke, as a square, as “not well-presented”, and all the attendant harassment and employment discrimination that comes along with it.

And that’s one of the most trivial examples (albeit one which I, as a very-privileged heel-wearer, take a little to heart).

What the anti-“choice feminist” people want to say, though, is that my wearing of high heels might be fine and dandy, oh, they might be magnanimous enough to tolerate my collaborator’s footwear, but don’t I dare claim that wearing high heels is a feminist action.

Because you know, I do that all the time.

And of course I’d better be okay with being called “stupid”, and I’d better be okay with people questioning my feminist credentials because I’m obviously too selfish/superficial to understand that High Heels Are Tools Of The Man.

To me, this is not only demeaning, and a tad misogynist, it’s also a refusal to even consider that the spectrum of our actions and choices is a bit more extensive than (a) Conforms to patriarchal standards ergo Is Bad vs (b) Doesn’t conform to mainstream patriarchal standards ergo Is Good.

So, a couple of points about why I’m frankly just fine with the label “choice feminist”.

1.  Patriarchal standards aren’t uniform.

Sure, high heels are a great go-to for Things Approved Of By Patriarchy.  If the only role women were ever forced into was that of “sex kitten”.

But there’s also “mother” or “teacher” or “nurse” – the unsexy woman held up for her Nurturing Qualities, her understanding of Her Place, her utter lack of autonomy and an identity focused entirely on being a helpmeet to others.

Betcha she wears “sensible shoes”.

This is one of the ways patriarchy gets us coming and going (well, not usually coming, boom boom!).  There isn’t a perfect choice, even if your one goal in life is to conform (a goal which, I’m going to address later, does not actually make you an evil person.)

2.  That whole “reclaiming” thing

People can, and do, do things which are surface-level conforming, yet present a challenge to kyriarchy/patriarchy.

It is a challenge to conventional beauty standards when a fat person dares to dress, and act, like a sexually-aware being.  It is a challenge to people’s assumptions when a woman changes her name after marriage – and lets them know it’s only because she has no emotional connection to her “maiden” name.  It is a challenge if a sex worker chooses to call herself a whore.

A lot of people take issue with the notion of reclaiming.  I simply submit that shaking up the assumptions of others and causing them to rethink their immediate impressions of things is a form of activism in itself.

Part 2’s up tomorrow.  Tune in then, or comment now, as you like.

Death with dignity

NRT reports that “death with dignity” / assisted suicide / voluntary euthanasia is back on the cards in Parliament.

Good.

If you’ve spent five minutes on this blog you’ll probably have picked up that I am rabidly prochoice, and that my prochoiceness rests on an unshakeable belief in the right to bodily autonomy.  Unlike your standard anti-choice but pro-war/pro-death penalty US fundy (it’d be a strawman argument if I hadn’t met so many) I have some honest-to-goodness consistency in my beliefs.  And I firmly believe that people have the right to choose when they die.  The fact that we even have to argue this in the face of the usual terminal illness/degenerative disease exemplars, when people want to go out on their own terms and as themselves and not fade away unconscious or unthinking or unable to live with any kind of meaning …

Yeah, suffice it to say I’m in favour.

And so’s this man, who’s far more intelligent and eloquent than me, so if you won’t listen to me you might like to listen to him.

Down Under Feminists’ Carnival XL: bigger, better, more punnage

Welcome to the 40th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  I am your stunning hostess, Queen of Thorns, “QoT” to my friends and “single-handed destroyer of progressive NZ politics” to my trolls.

I’m entirely enamoured of the fact that 40 in Roman numerals is XL, so I’m putting our plus-size Antipodean bloggers up first:

New study shows correlation between fatness and selling one’s soul to Satan

Definatalie writes about re-learning her love of cycling.  sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump talks about Why I Don’t Diet and Fixing the Relationship with Food.  Bri at Fat Lot of Good sees that fat-shaming is now getting aimed at four-year-olds to the extent some are developing a fear of food.

sleepydumpling is on a crusade, people.  A crusade for all super-fatties, deathfats, people who just cannot find clothes in their size for love nor money.  Warning: utter fuckwittery in the comments.  Remember, fatshion is activism.  And no, fat acceptance will not in fact kill you.

There’s been discussion lately about the role of the fatosphere on people’s perceptions and lives.  Dr Samantha Thomas has done a for-real ivory-tower-shaking academic paper on how the fatosphere proactively challenges fat stigma, and sleepydumpling covers the same topic in Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Shame.  Sonya at Lipmag was one of the interviewees for Dr Thomas’ paper.

The body plays a huge (BOOM BOOM!) role in a lot of feminist discussion, and things always get good and heated around one fact in particular: pregnancy and how you are probably Doing It Rong right this minute.

You read a book while pregnant?  You’re gonna DIE!!!

Feminethicist posts a quick note about double standards around scars – especially stretch marks.  Aussie MP Andrew Laming fights the good fight for homebirths.  Bluebec confronts the notion that any particular way of having babies is “unnatural”.

Pregnancy isn’t always wanted or continued, of course, and that’s why apparently I have to keep explaining that the “right to life” movement are a bunch of wanks with the intellectual honesty of a guppy.

And of course once Junior makes it out into the world it’s all downhill for progressive parents, who simply cannot win.  Ever.

Buy this Mozart CD or your baby will sprout wings!

Blue milk continues to post on her presentation on feminist parenting.  Part 4 covers “what is feminist parenting?” and Part 5 looks at the difficulties with being a feminist parent.  She also talks about the idea that some parents are too sexy to breastfeed – and provides a challenge with a follow-up post on glamorous images of breastfeeding.  Another post discusses pro-feminist fathers.

Breastfeeding also shows up as a really nifty shorthand for “crazy woman” in the Game of Thrones series, as discussed at Hoyden About Town.

Bee of a Certain Age talks about learning to love after having her children.

Our kids just aren’t getting a break:  Lessons to be Learned covers the Toddlers and Tiaras phenomenon and blue milk looks at high fashion’s role in sexualising girls.  Feminethicist has been having some fun challenging the heteronormativity when people play joke-matchmaker with babies.

Unsurprisingly, I did not take kindly to Family First’s insinuations that some families are just “obviously” worse than others.

For further reading, Mindy at Hoyden About Town has reviewed The 21st Century Motherhood Movement.

Where does a lot of this crap come from? Our wonderful media, of course.

This just in: reading mainstream media could be the reason you’re really angry all the time

Feminethicist is just thrilled by a camera app that makes your romantic partner look tolerable again. I have a slight issue with bra companies’ media releases being treated as scientific fact, with a sprinkling of obesity panic on top.

Rachel at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman takes on the latest theories of Bettina Arndt and the treatment of women who are famous for being pretty and throwing together a good outfit.

LudditeJourno, posting at The Hand Mirror, covers Michael bloody Lhaws’ preference for referring to poor brown people as “feral” and coleytangerina at The Lady Garden gets freaked out by news of a “cougar attack” … then a tad depressed.

Emma at Lip asks where the strong women are in literature.  Kate Barker discusses anti-feminist imagery.  Cara at Life is a feminist issue talks about our media ban on reporting suicide, and whether that’s really looking all that effective.

MJ at Kiwiana (inked) tells Stuff where they can shove their scare quotes when reporting on domestic violence.

Time for something a bit more positive:

Retrospective:  awesome women being awesome

Penguin Unearthed talks about Gudridur Thorbjarnardottir as part of her Travelling Feminist posts – here’s another on Norway.  The Hoydens share the news that Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the only woman ever granted the 10th degree black belt in judo.  Double Antandre talks about Nancy Wake.

Another big issue of the past month has been identity, especially given Google’s being douchebags about what’s considered a “real” name (all the more aggravating because it’s based on needing “real” demographics to sell to shitbox marketers).

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine

Chally talks about the kinds of history that go into building identity.  blue milk passes on information on the My Name is Me project created in response to Google+ being douches.  Giovanni talks about Google+, identity and cyberpunk.

Where does a lot of identity come from?  Our “race”, social construct that it is, and religion, and culture, and all other kinds of pretty touchy issues.

Nothing witty to put here

Mindmadeup asks if Australia is a racist nation.  Chally confronts racism at the bus stop.  stargazer discusses how the “default is male” concept extends to commentary about Muslims.  stargazer also posted about the start of Ramadan.

Chally challenges the notion that feminism and religion are mutually exclusive.  Bluebec talks about gender exclusion in the Freemasons.  Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear covers freedom from religion.

Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia asks “When am I trans?” and when trans people are “real”.

Love and Marriage

In happier news, Rachel is getting hitched!  Of course, planning a wedding doesn’t get any easier when you’re a feminist so she’s provided a handy Guide to Feminist Wedding Planning.  News With Nipples covers some tragi-comic anti-marriage-equality protests.  Hayley at Equal Love Equal Rights posts on marriage equality.

Mr Wainscotting is pleased to announce the launch of Legalise Love, a group looking to get some actual marriage equality happening in NZ.  Idiot/Savant has been taking an interest in our MPs’ views on the subject:  here he is on Hone Harawira and David Parker (and it’s not good news).

As Chally notes, though, we shouldn’t devalue single women.

Then there’s some perennial issues for feminist bloggers:

Poverty

stargazer helped produce a session on poverty at the Human Rights Commission’s diversity forum and also blogged her speech from the forum on needing an action plan on human rights.  Maia at The Hand Mirror dissects a “game” where privileged people get to pretend to be poor for a while and probably learn some Important Moral Lesson.

Deborah Russell discusses welfare in the Dominion Post.

Rape culture / violence

Blue milk on some truly grotesque rape-as-comic-device bullshit.  Deborah discusses the ridiculous “guidance” given to women around “keeping themselves safe”.

The Naked Philologist deals in two parts with the subject of teaching problematic material – Can you teach Chrétien without talking about rape? and You might be able to teach Chrétien without talking about rape, but I shan’t.

LudditeJourno posts about the Wellington Sexual Abuse Network and preventing sexual violence.  Idiot/Savant notes that domestic violence still gets excused if you’re rich and powerful enough.

Disability

A guest poster at Hoyden About Town talks about being a “border gimp”.  Joanna at The View From Down Here talks about building community.

Pay gap

Deborah talks about the gender pay gap and another Deborah’s predictable privileged attitude towards it.  Idiot/Savant covers the Greens’ and CTU’s calling of National’s bluff: if people can just ask labour inspectors to check there’s pay parity in their workplace, maybe we should just start doing that all the time.

And finally, a little collection of random items to fill out your reading.

We can’t stop here, this is bat country!

Blue milk on potentially-problematic vulva-themed art.  Geek Feminism on social media protest action.  Bluebec on trusting people to make their own decisions.  Maia at The Hand Mirror on the cost of being a woman in public.  Chally’s thoughts on being “born this way”.  A guest post on Geek Feminism about encouraging women’s participation in geekiness.  Blogger at the Cast Iron Balcony on how to help the Sylvia Creek anti-logging protesters.  Bluebec on polyamory and doing it right. Feminaust posts on listening to sex workers.

That’s all she wrote

Thanks to our lovely submitters, especially Chally and Rebecca who made my job a heck of a lot easier!

The 41st edition of the DUFC will be hosted at A Touch of The Crazy.  As we still seem to be having issues with blogcarnival, send your submissions directly to stef_thomp [at] hotmail [dot] com.  We’re four years in and going strong but we need your help to keep it awesome!

The list of DUFC contributors is woefully out of date, but feel free to peruse it in the meantime while I get some well-earned coffee.

Saying don’t make it so: Right to Foetal Control edition

You have to give this to Right to Zygote Life, they are persistent little misogynists.  And now they’re taking their case, with the sole purpose of making it harder for women to freely choose the fate of their own damn bodies, to the Supreme Court – but, thank Satan and all his little wizards, will not be allowed to argue the interminable fucking point about biologically-dependent cell clumps’ “right” to some poorly-defined notion of “life”.

In a classic madlibbed press release, Right to Fuck Over Women proclaim this a total injustice, because it takes away their ability to confuse pretty clear issues of legislation and medical authority with emotive bullshit ignores the hugest most awful abuse of human rights eveeeeeeeer!!!!

Cue the usual spiel:

The humanity of the unborn child is an inconvenient truth, for acceptance of the humanity of the unborn child would be an impediment to the killing of innocent human beings.

Nup.  I will continue to say this as long as I have breath:  no airy-fairy “humanity of the undead unborn” notion would, in fact, stand in the way of abortion.  Bear with me for the next bit because it’s part of the same bollocks:

The High Court found that “The rule according human rights only at birth is founded on convenience rather than medical or moral grounds.” “A legal right to life would be incongruous in such a law, for it would treat the unborn child as a separate legal person, possessing a status fundamentally incompatible with induced abortion, far from modifying the born alive rule. The abortion law rests on it.”

You know why it’s “convenient”, guys?  Hint:  it’s not because evil slutty women just want to be able to kill babies for the glory of the Dark Lord.  It’s because once you get your way, and get some vague notion of “life” as it pertains to individual human beings’ existences set into law … you still don’t get to ban abortion.

Because then you get to have the really inconvenient argument which will, happily for us sluts, reveal your basic anti-uterus-havers (“women” to you small-minded binary-lovers) stance.  And yes, I’m disagreeing with the High Court here:  recognising the foetus as a separate legal person would not, in fact, be “incompatible” with induced abortion.

Because no born human being’s “right to life “allows them to unilaterally seize control of someone else’s body.

No born human being gets to subpoena another’s kidneys.

No born human being gets to demand to be hooked up to another’s lungs and force the other to breathe for them.

Not even if you’re dying.  Not even if you’re dying and the person whose kidney could save you is the person who stabbed you in the kidney.  Not even if you’re in a coma unable to breathe on your own accord.

The “right to life”, as you pretend it to be, doesn’t even apply now to supposedly-endowed-with-it born people.  Why the fuck do you assume it would apply to da widdle feeeetuses?

And every single time a prochoicer raises this argument, the response (if they bother to engage) comes straight out of the “but you had sex and are therefore a filthy whore who must suffer for it”* playbook.

And that’s a bit inconvenient.

Antichoicers probably don’t actually comprehend this, though.  Because when your argument is basically entirely derived from a worldview which treats women/uterus-havers as walking incubators whose life is only really necessary to produce the next divinely-mandated generation, it’s probably pretty easy to forget that they’re human beings too, and they have a right to life too. Which, as shown above, doesn’t cover being forced to loan their organs to someone else.

And while your softly-softly societally-acceptable sex-shaming and irresponsible-teen-slut-fear-mongering and Aren’t We Reasonable approach might help get moderate types, people who never have to think about this kind of stuff, people who just “feel” that abortion is “icky” on your side … I have this feeling it’s going to be a lot harder to convince them that they also believe that other human beings have the right to take over their bodies and fuck up their health and irrevocably alter their lives for the sake of consistency.

The idea that “life begins at birth”,** at least with regards to abortion, isn’t convenient for our sakes, Right to Steal People’s Autonomy.  It’s convenient for yours.  My prochoice views remain entirely consistent whether I acknowledge conception*** as some momentous event in the course of human life.  My belief in people’s bodily autonomy is not threatened by the idea of ensoulment or a heartbeat or widdle fingers and toesies.

Your arguments, on the other hand, being entirely pulled out of your asses to justify imposing/maintaining a world in which women are lesser, in which women have no agency, in which uterus-havers must all be women because uterus = incubator = tool to propagate society aka “woman”, would find it daaaaaamn inconvenient to have an actual discussion about a world which recognises the “right to life” you pretend to give a shit about.

But please.  Take your arguments to Parliament.  Force our MPs to actually confront the reality of abortion laws in NZ and the hateful controlling world you want to bring about.  I assure you, I am the very opposite of afraid.

~

*And if you want to come and argue that being forced to gestate a pregnancy which is unwanted isn’t suffering, you are invited to sit down for an Alien marathon and come back to me when you’ve figured out why it’s relevant.

**Specifically, first breath.  References?  Oh, only the Bible.

***Insert traditional “which makes God the world’s biggest abortionist” statement here.

Letters from a New Zealand basement: opposing opposition to opposers

Bob McCoskrie needs to give fellow basement-dweller Ken Orr some lessons in media release structure.  But his latest one is such a perfect example of antichoice bullshit it’s hard to pass up (even if it gets downright offensive at the end).

Right to Life supports legislation that recognises the humanity and personhood of the unborn child as a member of the human family that is endowed with an inalienable right to life and is deserving of respect and protection.

Firstly, dude, employ some fucking commas.  Is the unborn babby the thing which is endowed (phwoar) or the “human family”, whatever the fuck that means?

Second, foetus =/= person.*  And even if it were, no person has the right to occupy another’s body and live off their organs.**  No actual “right to life” codified in any law I know of actually permits enslaving other people via biological hookup.

Right to Life believes that the majority of New Zealanders support protecting the right to life of unborn children.

I believe in fairies.

The killing of unborn children the weakest and most defenceless members of the human family in the womb, is a violation of the human rights of unborn children.

That would be those rights we’ve established no human, born or undead unborn, have, right?  But let’s never let the facts get in the way of trying to play people’s emotions with a string of irrelevant adjectives – after all, if you have to remind people that ickle babby feeetusses are Vulnerable and Weak and Helpless, you may have just acknowledged you’re on the losing side of this battle.

It is also a violation of the human rights of women who deserve respect and protection for their child in the womb.

Let’s take this to its logical conclusion, folks:  women deserve respect so much that we have to take away their ability to choose to undergo a medical procedure.  And Right to Life Ken Orr and his boner respect women so much they think stubby-limbed fish-beings pweshus babbies take precedence over those women’s lives and desires and bodies.

The” right to choose” is a cruel lie,there is no human right that permits us to choose to kill another human being.

Except … that pregnancy can and does kill women.  Pregnancy is in fact nine times more likely to kill a woman in New Zealand than an abortion.  But because Ken respects incubators women so much he thinks they should die in order that stubby fish-beings might live.

So … Ken thinks “unborn children” do have a right to life which necessitates killing living, breathing, thinking human people.  I mean, ambulatory uteri.

You might think that’s a bit extreme, surely the antichoice movement understands that sometimes pregnancy can be really dangerous to women’s health, even fatal.   Surely they’re reasonable enough to allow that some abortions are necessary to save women’s lives.

Oops, no.  Mind you, that was a Catholic case, they’re a totes minor voice in the antichoice movement.

ALRANZ, the spokesman for a culture of death, with a national membership of less than 200, does not represent the views of women and ordinary New Zealanders, its proposal to decriminalise abortion is a threat to the wellbeing of women.

Lessons learnt:

  1. ALRANZ is a person (specifically, a man)*** with a really cool single name, like Cher or Prince
  2. Ken Orr can’t convince anyone to come down to his basement to proofread his press releases
  3. “Women” and “ordinary New Zealanders” are distinct, separate groups in Right to Life’s world.

ALRANZ knows that before we can decriminalise abortion we must first deny the humanity of unborn children.

Wait for it …

The decriminalising of abortion would be a denial of the humanity and personhood of the unborn child.

Wait for it ….

The denial of the humanity of Negroes gave us slavery.

That’s just the appetizer …

The denial of the humanity of Jews gave us the Holocaust.

BOOM!  Godwinned it!

Yep, the all-time classic Abortion Is Just Like The Holocaust argument.  Which for a start ignores some pretty complex political and social considerations around the situation in 1930s Germany/Western Europe (hint: Hitler was not the only person who wasn’t too keen on Semitic folk) but also just reveals the basic weakness of the antichoice side:  they have to resort to absurd emotive “arguments” designed to make people flinch and say “oh no that’s terrible!” instead of actually relying on fact, or logic, or, well, anything.

It’s also kind of hilariously ironic that Judaism is pretty down with the abortion rights, given that whole “first breath” test for personhood.  Hilarious that is if Right to Bonerlife weren’t exploiting genocide to shock people into not thinking.

See, when you have to actually rely on the horrors of the Holocaust to win people over, because the actual reality of abortion isn’t good enough … you and your boner are pretty screwed, right?

Let’s not forget the slippery slope argument for good measure:

If today we allow the denial of the human rights of unborn children by the decriminalisation of abortion, which vulnerable section of our community will be next?

I’m thinking hipsters, or maybe people who still subscribe to the Sunday Star-Times.  Oh, wait, except they’re all born, autonomous beings who aren’t using a woman’s breath, blood and organs to survive.  Damn.

~

*It’s a guppy!

*Any antichoicers who want to prove this is all about controlling women by commenting about how “women bring it on themselves when they have sex” should feel absolutely welcome to do so.

**And doesn’t that just tell you plenty about Right to Bodysnatch’s worldview?