“Hope It’s Not Too Late” came with some real talk on relationships and abortion. It was also a very intimate episode for us. Auti really put herself out there with some personal scenes this week where she took us to the fertility clinic (and into the ob-gyn exam room, yikes!) to get evaluated as she and Eric start working on a baby. And she revealed that she had an abortion in her youth, shortly after her accident.
In case you were wondering why all your friends were using the word “vagina” in their Facebook status updates over the weekend, late last week two representatives (both women) were banned from speaking in the Michigan House during a debate over a bill that bans all abortions after 20 weeks, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. The Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas hasn’t specified exactly what offended him, but one of the representatives, Democrat Lisa Brown, claims it’s because she used the word vagina. “Apparently, ‘vagina’ is another v-word that Must Not Be Named. Like Voldemort,” Brown told Jezebel.com. Here’s a (very abridged!) sampling of Vaginagate coverage:
This week’s Doonesbury comic (in five installments over the course of the week) is taking a harsh, satirical look at how Republican legislation all across America (specifically in Texas) is undermining women’s reproductive rights — and many papers are either refusing to run it at all or else moving it to their editorial pages.
Women’s reproductive rights haven’t been this threatened by a group of Republican presidential hopefuls in decades. As Rachel Maddow summarized brilliantly the other night, Rick Santorum, “libertarian” Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry have all signed pledges backing the Personhood movement that aims to make all abortions illegal (even in the case of rape and incest) by defining fertilized eggs as people, which would in turn ban most forms of birth control. Mitt Romney hasn’t signed anything yet, nor did he attend the Presidential Prolife Forum in South Caroline this past Wednesday like all the others, but he did tell Mike Huckabee last October that he “absolutely” would have supported a personhood amendment to his state’s constitution when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Rick Santorum is the only one — so far — who’s actually said out loud that birth control is “not okay” and is a dangerous problem in this country, but that kind of thinking is basically built into the personhood movement (whether these candidates, who will say anything to appease their religious base, realize it or not). So you know where these guys stand.
Before we get going, you need to know that this post contains monstrously huge plot spoilers for THE IDES OF MARCH. We’re not joking — scroll down at your peril.
The trouble is, it’s kind of hard to talk about THE IDES OF MARCH (out today on DVD, it was nominated but totally — unfairly — shut out at the Golden Globes on Sunday night) without spoiling the plot, because one of the major story lines — which is nowhere in any of the trailers, for once — is meant to be a huge crazy surprise.
With Santorum’s recent surge in the polls, it’s important to take time out to remind ourselves what a crazy sex-police zealot he is:
Writing about Santorum’s “Google problem,” a New York Times writer says Dan Savage’s prank was in response merely to the senator’s opposition to gay marriage, so Dan Savage sets him straight (try Santorum’s comparison of homosexuality to bestiality and child rape); the writer corrects his mistake.
On Funny or Die, Dan Savage comedically threatens to change the definition of the name “Rick” if Santorum doesn’t agree to stop attacking gay people during his campaign.
Wait, that title didn’t come out quite right. “Man cave” is not meant as a euphemism here, especially for Rachel Maddow’s lady parts (for several reasons). No, the “man cave” is just one of her dorky gimmicks whereby she tells her female viewers to take a break and pops a brewskie, puts up some sport paraphernalia and just talks to the dudes. (For a feminist lesbian, she sure likes to play-up gender stereotypes!) Her latest man cave episode involved explaining how egg fertilization happens within the female reproductive tract, because a lot of people, including Mitt Romney, don’t quite have it down. Nor do they understand how many forms of birth control work – birth control many of them use!…
The myth is debunked – humankind’s sperm count is a-okay! Alabama passes “fetal pain” anti-abortion bill, with no exceptions for rape and incest. Miami high school elects transgender senior as prom queen. Tracy Morgan says gay is something kids learn from the media. Wyoming grants divorce to same-sex couple despite not performing same-sex marriages. Obama suggests…
If anti-abortion activists thought that redefining the laws of gravity would help their cause, they wouldn’t let a little scientific evidence get in their way. And the latest campaign is almost as far-fetched: A group called Personhood USA is trying to redefine when life begins. It starts “exactly at creation,” according to Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA. “It’s fertilization; it’s when the sperm meets the egg.” Mason wants laws to recognize every fertilized egg as an individual and complete human being.
The Republicans talk a big game about focusing on getting people more jobs, but as far as actions go, this new Congress seems more intent on limiting people’s freedom, especially women’s. The right wing is going after reproductive rights in general and Planned Parenthood specifically — women’s health care is at greater risk now than it has been years: on February 18, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care! Just check out this funny but horrifying Daily Show summary.
Okay, so there were some bright spots in the mid-term election results from Tuesday. Like the resounding defeat of an anti-choice ballot initiative in Colorado, and the seeming triumph of Alaska’s write-in candidate Lisa how-the-hell-do-you-spell-her-last-name Murkowski, who ran against Sarah Palin’s man Joe Miller. But the rather bleak news is that the House of Representatives is now in the hands of politicians who play a little too fast and loose with reproductive rights for our liking.
Dr. Emily Godfrey is our new hero: she had the courage to be featured on the cover of the NYTimes Sunday Magazine last weekend as a doctor willing to provide abortions, not in an abortion clinic but at her practice where she sees all sorts of patients. In case you missed it last weekend, the article titled “The New Abortion Providers” took a fascinating look at the movement to bring this safe, common and legal medical procedure back into hospitals where it’s less vulnerable to attack by anti-choice zealots:
A report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which was commissioned by the UK’s Department of Health, has found that fetuses don’t feel pain before 24 weeks (and probably not after for some time) for two reasons: 1) the brain is not formed enough to perceive pain, and 2) the fetus is unconscious.
We were going to write about Robert Pattinson’s joke misfire in which he told Details magazine that he’s “allergic to vagina” (we read his “explanation” and we still don’t get it). But then our friends at Planned Parenthood sent us a link to this awesome Washington Post profile of PP’s Dr. Carol Ball, who travels 200 miles to South Dakota every month to perform abortions (since no South Dakota doctor is willing to do them). And we remembered that there are, actually, more important things going on in the world than RPattz’s alleged vajajay allergy.
For many years Ball worked anonymously, wanting to protect her privacy and also to protect herself and her family from people like Scott Roeder, who murdered abortion provider George Tiller last year by shooting him in the head — in church. But now her children are older and she wants to show them the importance of standing up for what you believe in.
Salon.com has an extended scene from forthcoming documentary “What’s the Matter With Kansas?“, based on Thomas Frank’s bestselling book of the same title about the Right Wing’s rise in the once-liberal state. It features Dr. George Tiller, the Wichita-based abortion provider who was gunned down last Sunday while attending church. The clip touches on the years of threats and abuse Tiller experienced — law suits, arson, death threats, failed assassination attempts — for his commitment to providing women with safe and legal reproductive care. When Tiller speaks, he seems exhausted yet resigned to defending women’s rights against these radicals. It’s tragic.
After the jump, a round-up of interesting articles and info on Dr. Tiller and reproductive rights in the wake of his murder…