28 September: Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion
Like it says in the title, September 28 (TOMORROW!) will be a global day of action for abortion and reproductive rights.
And given our timezone, it’s up to Kiwi prochoicers to get things off to a ripping start.
ALRANZ has the details for events in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, and they want to know if anything else is happening in your neck of the woods.
You should also tweet and Facebook your support using #prochoicenz and #28sept, and get yourself on the virtual mural.
Abortion: it should be safe, legal, and unless you’re the one having it, none of your fucking business.
[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 “hard questions” of the antichoice movement
Another group has entered the abortion coliseum to throw down over their right to impose their personal morality on everyone with a uterus, and their motto is
It sounds fair enough: abortion’s a complex, polarising issue, after all. So I figured hey, maybe I could help them with the hard questions about abortion.
What about a situation where scans show that the baby will have a serious disability?
This is indeed a hard question, and raises a lot of concerns about how our society treats people with disabilities, and the value or lack of value we place on the lives of people with disabilities. But at the end of the day, the pregnant person involved should be allowed to make a decision which is best for them and their family, and sometimes that’s going to be abortion, because they don’t feel capable of raising that child nor of giving that child up for adoption.
Without easy access to medical abortion, won’t some women want to seek the same result by other methods?
Yes. And a lot of them will die. Far more than will die due to abortion, which has a zero fatality rate in New Zealand and is many, many times less likely to kill you than pregnancy.
How about situations where a [person’s] health might be threatened by pregnancy?
They get to choose whether to continue the pregnancy.
What if a woman has no stable income and can’t drop out of uni or work to raise a child – isn’t pregnancy unfair for child and mother?
That’s a decision the pregnant person has to make.
Should a child be brought into the world if there is an abusive situation in her home?
That’s a decision the pregnant person has to make.
What about a situation where pregnancy results from sexual assault – isn’t abortion the best solution?
That’s a decision the pregnant person has to make.
Gosh. I guess most of those questions weren’t so hard after all.
The real point is this: Pro Life New Zealand want to use over-simplified, judgemental arguments to shame pregnant people into not having abortions. Note the question about sexual assault, and “isn’t abortion the best solution” – as though prochoice activists are out there insisting that every pregnancy resulting from assault be aborted. Note the first question is about disability – as though these religious extremists give a fuck about challenging society’s ableism once you’re out of the womb.
We’re PRO. CHOICE. If a person simply cannot cope with their pregnancy, we support their choice to have an abortion, safely and legally. If a person feels they can cope with their pregnancy, we support their choice to continue the pregnancy and their right to be supported by society, especially if they or their child have special medical needs or if they’re raising a child alone.
Antichoicers do not support your choice, unless it is the choice they agree with.
Why do antichoicers have to lie about parental notification?
[Trigger warning: youth suicide]
In another of his copy-paste jobs (because he just won’t learn) Bob McCoskrie quotes the following:
Much to the dismay of ardent feminists, many states already have on the books so-called parental involvement laws, decrees which require a girl to notify a parent, guardian, or other approved adult or family member before she can obtain an abortion.
A new study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Colorado, Denver, gives further evidence in support of such laws. States that have parental notification laws, they find, also see a drop in the suicide rate of girls ages 15 through 17.
What’s wrong with this “analysis”?
If your first guess was “anyone who uses the phrase “ardent feminist” isn’t exactly unbiased”, you get a foetus-shaped cookie covered in blood-sprinkles.
Now, here’s a link to the actual article, because Bob’s penis doesn’t deserve pageviews. What jumps out at you from that? Is it this bit at the end?
This article has been republished with permission from The Family in America, a publication of The Howard Center. The Howard Center is a MercatorNet partner site.
Have another foetus-shaped cookie with a red-licorice umbilical.
But who is “The Howard Center”? If the URL of “profam.org” doesn’t give enough of a hint, here’s what they say about themselves:
Introducing The World Congress of Families
We affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society.
The “Natural” Family and Society
The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy society. The society that abandons the natural family as the norm is destined for chaos and suffering.
Oh! They’re extremist Christians! Who would have thought?
And the actual study they’re citing? Why, that’s here. It’s okay, Bob, we already knew that the concept of linking to primary sources so people can make up their own minds is alien to you.
I am no stats nerd, and I welcome any who are to provide their own commentary on the math. But here’s the thing:
Poisson estimates indicate that the adoption of a parental involvement law is associated with an 11%–21% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide. … we conclude that these estimates likely reflect a causal relationship, but note that its magnitude appears to be modest: for an average-sized state, an 11% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide translates into 0.79 fewer suicides per year, while a 21% decrease translates into 1.50 fewer suicides per year; ordinary least squares estimates confirm that only a small portion of the within-state variation in suicides among U.S. minors can be attributed to parental involvement laws.
Sure, the fundies have a good point when they say that every teen suicide prevented is a good thing (presuming it’s prevented because the teen in question chooses not to, and not because they’re locked in a basement by controlling parents). But we’re still talking about one less suicide a year. Not exactly a slam-dunk of a finding, that.
And without wanting to disparage the entire science of statistics, it still bugs me to see these kind of numbers with no context. We just don’t know why there’s a causal connection – though the study has a suggestion:
This pattern of results suggests that the adoption of a parental involvement law results in an immediate reduction in suicides, but that after the first year its impact wanes. This may be because the enactment of the laws typically comes amidst press coverage alerting minors and their parents to the new law, but dissipates as public attention to the law diminishes
Right, so for a blip in time, teenagers are more leery of sex, or feel more able to insist on contraception, because the idea of having to tell their parents they’re knocked up is front of mind. After that … yeah, nah. Doesn’t seem like much of a compelling case for the religious lobby’s assertion that
it seems reasonable to suggest that if parental notification laws do indeed act as a deterrent upon risky sexual behaviors, such laws save many more girls from severe psychological distress, even if that distress does not end ultimately in the ending of life.
Um, just a thought: maybe wait until you’ve got an actual study linking parental notification laws with “risky” sexual behaviours before you start jumping to conclusions.
Levine … found that the adoption of a parental involvement law was associated with a 15%–20% reduction in the abortion rate of 15- through 17-year-olds, and a 4%–9% reduction in their pregnancy rate.
Which means that one seemingly incontrovertible effect of parental notification laws is more teenagers having babies. Choice.
So there we go. Bob McCoskrie is still stealing other people’s content with paltry attribution and no value-add commentary, and can’t even be honest enough to present the real findings of the study or acknowledge his sources are religiously biased.
Bonus fail, from the article McCoskrie thieved:
“Under the law,” reports the Chicago Tribune, “a parent or a guardian would have to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion was performed on a minor except in cases of a medical emergency, sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse.”
Um, Chicago Tribune? If a minor’s pregnant, it’s a case of sexual abuse. That’s the point of having a legal definition of “minor”, douchebags.
In the interests of even-handedness, here’s a disclaimer: I’m prochoice as all fuck. You might have gathered.
Badass prochoice hero of the day: Wendy Davis
I was on the edge of my seat this afternoon following the #SB5 hashtag on Twitter. Good context from the Guardian here.
For thirteen hours, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered a bill which would close 30 abortion clinics in the state, leaving only 5 to provide medical care to its 26 million inhabitants.
She couldn’t sit, or lean, or take a sip of water, or pee, or stop talking. She was challenged by antichoice Republicans for daring to go “off-topic” by talking about sonograms – which you’re forced to get in Texas before an abortion – and Planned Parenthood – who, among other health services, provide abortions.
She stood and spoke and shared the stories of people who needed abortion services, who are being ignored by the kind of blinkered fundamentalists who think female bodies can just “shut down” pregnancies caused by rape or that rape kits cause abortions.
And at the end of the day the bastards tried to cheat their way through anyway, claiming the vote on the bill was taken before midnight when hundreds of thousands of people watching live knew damn well they hadn’t.
They’d raised a point of order against her because she needed help with her back brace, and then they tried to pretend that 12:03 was really 11:59 to get their way. That’s the hypocrisy of the antichoice movement in a nutshell: one rule for women, another/none for themselves.
Wendy Davis, you are one badass state senator.
And lest you think this is just a Republican-heavy US state issue? See Coley Tangerina.
Pro-choice = craaaaaaaaaaazy: film edition
[Content note: ableism, use of “crazy”]
So I saw Fatal Attraction was getting a re-run on Sky Movies this month. It’s one of those often-cited trope-forming classics I’d never seen, and I have no upper limit on how much villainous-Glenn-Close I can have in my life.
I figured, this is going to be a problematic film. The whole tension arises from the fact that Michael Douglas’ character chooses to cheat on his wife … he’s just unfortunate enough to cheat with a person who has erotomania. Shenanigans ensues. It’ll be a little uncomfortable, but it’ll be interesting.
Then comes the scene where she tries to force him to reconnect with her by saying (I suspect, falsely) that she’s pregnant. It’s got the suspense-y music, she’s already been set up as a person who will do extreme things to get his attention, so sure, she goes for a classic entrapping-woman tactic.
And then he says “it’s okay” because … he’s willing to pay for the abortion. Which she hasn’t mentioned wanting to have or anything – and he isn’t meant to know, the way we do, that they’re characters in a movie where her obsessive behaviour is doomed to escalate dramatically. He just jumps to the conclusion that she’ll have an abortion. Because despite not knowing this woman, who he’s had unprotected sex with, he’s happy to assume firstly that she should have been using contraception and secondly that she won’t want to continue the pregnancy. Coincidentally, this second assumption makes his life a hell of a lot easier.
Then she says “I don’t want an abortion” – and sure, that’s probably because this is about getting power over him, not because she’s necessarily telling the truth about wanting to have a child and raise it on her own.
But then he says “Don’t I get a say in this?”
NO MICHAEL DOUGLAS. NO YOU FUCKING WELL DO NOT.
This is where I stopped watching and deleted the film from the MySky. Because it felt very much that I, as the audience, was meant to read her refusal to consider his wishes – after he’s fucked her, multiple times, without protection, assuming that she’ll carry the burden of contraception – as another symptom of the List Of Things What Show Glenn Close Is Craaaaaaaaazy. We’re meant to see Michael Douglas as the victim because the evil craaaaaazy woman has trapped him with her evil craaaaaazy vagina.
To quote the Wikipedia summary:
She then phones his home at all hours, and then confronts him saying that she is pregnant and plans to keep the baby. Although he wants nothing to do with her, she argues that he must take responsibility.
MY GOD, SHE’S SO CRAAAAAAAAAAAZY. Only a craaaaaazy person could argue that someone needs to take responsibility for his actions.* Financial and emotional support for a child he fathered? Craaaaaaaaaaaaazy talk.
Calling him at 2am? That’s scary, warning-bell-ringing behaviour. Self-harming when he says he has to go home? That’s scary, warning-bell-ringing behaviour.
Declaring that she gets to decide what to do with her uterus? NOT ACTUALLY SCARY.
Related reading: Breastfeeding = craaaaaaaazy with Lysa Arryn.
*I must note here, for obvious reasons, that no, arguing Michael Douglas’ character has to take responsibility for the consequences of having sex is not equivalent to arguing pregnant people should be denied abortion. The biological reality of pregnancy is that the sperm donor’s ability to control the process stops at the end of their penis. Don’t want Glenn Close blackmailing you with her pregnancy? Don’t have lots of casual unprotected sex with Glenn Close.
Antichoicer lies 1
A good sign that you’re reading something spun out of whole cloth by a lying misogynist jerk (anti-abortion or MRA varieties) is when you Google the quote they’re waving around and every single site that pops up is an antichoice (or MRA) site which uses identical punctuation and provides identical – inaccurate – citations.
It’s almost like antichoicers (and MRAs) have no genuine arguments to make and just copy-paste each other’s lies.
Case in point: two quotes “from Margaret Sanger” circulated most recently by Right to Control Your Uterus.
First, a disclaimer: Margaret Sanger held a number of views which are abhorrent, about people with disabilities, about people of colour, about eugenics. There is a huge body of work about why views like hers contribute to a very well-founded distrust of the medical establishment by marginalized groups.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Antichoicers do not bring up Margaret Sanger’s racism and ableism because they actually care. They bring it up because they believe (a) that everyone has the same obsequious attitude towards authority that they do and (b) that this somehow discredits all arguments in favour of reproductive freedom (and (c) that if they just scream “YOU’RE A NAZI!!!” loudly enough they don’t have to worry about the complete baselessness of their own rhetoric).
Today I’m dealing with quote 1, which is the easiest, since it appears to be 100% bullshit.
Quote 1: Total world sexy domination
[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children
Usually cited as something like:
The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.
Sources: one, two, etc etc etc
Well, unfortunately, I’ve read this scan of The Woman Rebel Volume 1, Number 1 a few times now, and wouldn’t you know it, it isn’t there. The word “gratification” doesn’t appear at all in Woman and the New Race according to the text on Project Gutenberg, and while “unlimited” and “sexual” do, they are not in any similar context.
I haven’t pored over these texts for days, of course, but that just goes to show you that lying scum like Ken Orr can’t even be bothered to take fifteen minutes to Google things before reproducing them.
Next time on QoT’s Amazing World of Fact-Checking Antichoice Lies: We ❤ Baby Murder!
Abortion is a real issue, right now
Life Enslave People With Uteri continues their unholy crusade to make whatever dents they can in people’s already-shitty access to abortion in New Zealand.
ALRANZ’s blog has the details and background of what was to be heard in the Supreme Court today:
As it stands, that part of the case is essentially focused on whether or not the ASC should be reviewing (second-guessing) certifying consultants’ decisions regarding the lawfulness of abortions they approve.
But as Idiot/Savant notes, ultimately this is about whether the vast majority of pregnant people can access abortion at all. Because what it’s really about is stopping certifying consultants from approving abortions based on the “mental health” ground – under which most legal abortions in NZ are performed.
There’s a bunch of issues which warrant discussion on that – some people don’t like that pregnant people have to declare themselves mentally ill, others point out that there’s ableism in treating that declaration as a huge indignity. As far as I’m concerned, being pregnant when you don’t want to be, having your body in the thrall of another being against your will (not to mention the vast amount of crap heaped on pregnant people, even the enthusiastic ones) is quite sufficiently damaging to one’s mental health to warrant approval.
Anyone who has a problem with that better be prepared to present a dissertation on why infestation and bodily possession are such popular themes in sci fi and horror (my counter argument: the entire Alien series, and especially that scene in AvP: Requiem which we do not speak of) and how this doesn’t have anything to do with the loss of identity and autonomy involved.
I/S gets to the point: we need abortion law for the 21st century. We need an unequivocal statement that bodily autonomy is everyone’s right, and that people like Ken Orr and his ilk seriously need to be ridiculed when they imply that us offering choice is “imposing our morals on people” but them taking choice away is okay because Jesus was all about telling wimminz what to do.
It is no longer good enough to say, as many have said to me over the years, that abortion “isn’t an issue” and “the current law is working fine”. It’s obviously an issue. It’s obviously not working fine. Let’s get it done.
David Farrar and Cathy Odgers: two bigname bloggers join the prochoice cause!
Rejoice, friends! Two of the heavyweights of the Kiwi blogosphere today announced that they not only support a comprehensive overhaul of our current reproduction-related legislation, but they are going to make affordable, accessible contraception, abortion and sterilisation available to all New Zealanders their number one priority!
“It just makes economic sense, drongo,” Cactus Kate/Cathy Odgers said in a comment on The Hand Mirror. “Poor people are too stupid to just stop having sexual relationships, so there’s a killing to be made in selling RU-486 over the counter at dairies.”
“I love freedom and personal responsibility,” David Farrar added. “Anyone who tries to stop pregnant people accessing safe, early abortion is basically just like Robert Mugabe.”
A Curia study released mere hours before the joint announcement found that 68% of New Zealanders agreed that “letting people control their fertility was a basic human right which would also decrease the costs of the welfare state”, while 52% concured with the statement, “Fuck Bob McCoskrie, prochoice is where the money’s at now.”
Oh wait. No. That didn’t happen. Because it’s much more in line with the Tories of our fair country to attack people for having “too many children” and “making poor choices” and yet ignore a real, practical way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. Because that would piss off the fundies.
CK herself thinks the proper capitalist solution is to pay people not to have babies (sadly her math doesn’t include the increased costs to the taxpayer of actually training and maintaining sufficient medical professionals and facilities to have abortions … I guess they’re just expected to be abstinent?)
DPF has said “I think it would be appropriate to amend the law to reflect the practice.” but if you can find him explicitly raising this as a thing which needs to happen at the same time as he’s supporting Cactus Kate’s take on events? I’d love to see it. Instead, we get “Of course there are situations, where even the best of planning fails, but this is the exception, not the rule.”
How prochoice of him.
Instead, they just all-but-say, “if you can’t afford the kids you have, I don’t care why. You should’ve been psychic, and then your kids wouldn’t be starving now. Not my problem.”
H/T Julie Fairey, who raises several other excellent points against that bullshit; and Danyl of Dim Post, for hosting a comment thread just full of such cryptovicious class hatred.
The more things change, etc.
Family Fist have ushered in 2012 with a poll of teenagers on sex ed. It’s fairly predictable, so my response is in bullet point format:
- LOL, Curia “Market Research”.
- Apparently we should teach values, which currently aren’t being taught, but shouldn’t teach things like “it’s okay to play with a person’s privates if they consent”, which isn’t a value.
- Majority of teens felt parents “should be told”. This obviously means “doctors must violate patient confidentiality” and not, say, that the majority of teens who get pregnant would tell their parents – I mean, that’s only what we filthy prochoicers have always said usually happens anyway.
- Teenagers’ views largely reflect their parents’. TRULY THIS IS SHOCKING. I mean, it’s not like parents are in any position to influence their children’s views or anything.
But I’m sure some intern at Stuff will get paid to write this all up like it’s relevant, accurate, reliable, or news.