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Recent Posts


Anti-choice zealots fire up for more

by Dan Burns on December 14, 2014 · 1 comment

prochoiceIt won’t be long.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Republicans plan to reignite debate over the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed in the House in 2013. Contrary to the argument put forth by proponents of the ban, the “science” underpinning the measure — that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation — has been debunked. But that’s not expected to stop Republicans from pushing a bill that might finally have a chance in the Senate.

Fanatics in Ohio already tried to get a six-week ban. It didn’t get through the state legislature. But they’ll try again, there and in a lot of other places.

An appeals court struck down an Arizona law that tried to, for all practical purposes, ban medication-induced abortion. We’ll probably find out this week, if the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up the case. (Update: SCOTUS has declined to hear the case.)

Here is a useful discussion about maybe trying to add some different emphasis to the mix.

We need to see abortion as an urgent practical decision that is just as moral as the decision to have a child—indeed, sometimes more moral. Pro-choicers often say no one is “pro-abortion,” but what is so virtuous about adding another child to the ones you’re already overwhelmed by? Why do we make young women feel guilty for wanting to feel ready for motherhood before they have a baby? Isn’t it a good thing that women think carefully about what it means to bring a child into this world—what, for example, it means to the children she already has? We tend to think of abortion as anti-child and anti-motherhood. In media iconography, it’s the fetus versus the coat hanger: that is, abortion kills an “unborn baby,” but banning it makes women injure themselves. Actually, abortion is part of being a mother and of caring for children, because part of caring for children is knowing when it’s not a good idea to bring them into the world.

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HD2B Steve Green dislikes both science and law

by Eric Ferguson on October 20, 2014 · 2 comments

State Rep. Steve Green, HD2B
State Rep. Steve Green, R-2B, has authored some interesting bills. By “authored”, I suspect I mean “stuck his name on some special interest’s bill, and who knows if he even read it”. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he really believes this stuff. Wait, that’s sort of worse. Anyway…
Let’s start with a bit of tentherism. Green is one of those who buys into that doctrine birthed in John C. Calhoun’s black-enslaving heart that states can ignore whatever federal laws they disagree with. That doctrine, originally intended for the defense of slavery, has never entirely died out on the extreme right, which extremity apparently includes Green, trying to apply it to modern issues with just as little understanding of how the law works.
Green coauthored a bill that calls for the arrest of federal officials enforcing federal gun laws. He seems to be fond of arresting federal officials for implementing laws he disagrees with. Green was one of the Republicans who said they would support arresting federal officials implementing Obamacare in Minnesota. No shock I suppose that there is considerable overlap between the Republicans who want to arrest federal officials for one and the other. Each list is like a handy guide to nutjobbery.


Willmar Tea Party Rally featuring Tim Miller

Willmar Tea Party Rally featuring Tim Miller

Maybe that’s not what GOP candidate for HD17A, Tim Miller, meant to say, but how else do you take this statement on abortion?

Our nation has lost respect for all life through the abortion industry. This is a blight on our nation and it must be ended. I do not support abortion of any kind as my oldest stepdaughter is a product of rape/incest.

Not even if the mother’s life is in danger? Why? Because women will lie about medical problems in order to qualify for an abortion? Because he doesn’t believe their medical conditions are ever really that serious?
I suppose, if he wins, we can hope he just forgot to make that exception. Should women with medical emergencies just hope he merely forgot to consider their circumstances and he won’t get in their way if he’s elected? That’s asking a bit much.
Speaking of a bit much, I hope his stepdaughter is OK with having something so personal disclosed to the world. If she didn’t consent, I bet a difficult conversation ensued at home. She has nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s her right to keep it private if that’s her choice. By the way Mr. Miller, what is the “abortion industry”? Do you know or are you repeating someone’s talking points?
I do find it generally odd when all these conservatives who try to deflect questions on global warming with the claim that they aren’t scientists suddenly turn into obstetricians when it comes to telling women and doctors what to do.
Hopefully Mr. Miller understands that I’m attacking his position, not his manhood.

When and why have we become a country of finger pointing victims? When I was a kid, if someone called me a name or questioned, say for example, my manhood, I chose to prove them wrong. Nowadays we run screaming foul.

I can’t tell if that means he proved them wrong by picking a fight or showing off his wiener, but I assure him I’m uninterested in being on the receiving end of either of those. The radical positions and repetitions of tea party nonsense are the objectionable parts.
Though I guess to give credit, unlike Republicans who courted the people demanding the Kenyan Muslim produce his real birth certificate, and now say “What tea party?” when the press comes calling (Hello Jeff Johnson!) Miller at least is up front about being a tea partier:



Jeff BackerJeff Backer, the Republican candidate challenging incumbent State Rep. Jay McNamar in HD12A, has an issues section on his web site that appears to have been written by the candidate himself, or at least not by a consultant. The statements of his positions come across as sincere but, disappointingly for someone who has already held public office, also shallow. What he says seems heartfelt — just not thought through. The recurring reaction when reading his take on issues is, “Are you sure that’s what you wanted to say?”
Let’s just dive into maybe the most egregious error. In his guns section, in just the second paragraph, Backer smacked hard into Godwin’s Law*, “For instance, Hitler enacted gun control laws that disarmed the populace before he went on his WWII rampage.” I’ll accept that Backer sincerely believes Hitler put strict gun controls in place and that this was a necessity for enforcing Nazi control. The sincerity of a belief doesn’t correspond to its factual accuracy, and Backer seems to have preferred the zombie myths** of the gun lobby over actual history. Hitler actually loosened gun laws and wanted Germans better armed than they were. Finding out wasn’t hard.

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SCOTUS enables sick, vicious harassment

by Dan Burns on June 26, 2014 · 1 comment

85823294I am so f*cking sick and tired of g*d-damned right-wingers, whose need to screw others over is as pathological as their ethics are base and their intellects feeble.

The Supreme Court, which has very large buffer zone to keep protesters away from the building, has just unanimously ruled that Massachusetts’ buffer zone of 35 feet at abortion clinics is unconstitutional…
(Daily Kos)

It was 9-0, and I don’t know why the moderate wing went along with anything so despicable. Apparently the decision itself is kind of mealy-mouthed and open-ended. I don’t concern myself with those intricacies, but rather with the probable practical effects. Also, SCOTUS loves to issue unanimous decisions, presumably especially now, when it’s held in the lowest public esteem since polling of that started.

If people have a problem with abortion law in this country, they should try rational persuasion to get it changed. Not screaming at women, as up-close and personal as can be, seeking to exercise their rights. But anti-choice “protesters” tend to be a narcissistic, gutless, and, most of all, exceedingly irrational bunch.

If you’re pro-choice, and your blood isn’t on high boil already: “12 Horror Stories Show Why…Big Supreme Court Abortion Case Matters.”

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Prison-industrial complex targets women

by Dan Burns on April 3, 2014 · 0 comments

prisonIt’s been going on for quite a while.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), females are the fastest growing group of incarcerated persons in the United States. The annual growth rate for incarcerated women is now up to 7.5%, compared to 5.7% for men The majority of these women come from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds, are undereducated and come from below the federal poverty line. Most of them are serving time for nonviolent crimes…
Back at the end of 2001, 93,031 American women were incarcerated in federal and state prisons, making up 6.6% of the total incarcerated population. In 2010, more than 200,000 women were behind bars, most of them women of color. Hispanic women are incarcerated nearly twice the rate of white women, and black women are locked up at four times the rate of white women.
(Humane Exposures)

And what is one (deeply red) state doing about all of this?


Anti-choice zealots find another bottom

by Dan Burns on March 19, 2014 · 1 comment

538554_417321918296055_196601040368145_1516637_2083533339_nAs a general, in fact pretty much universal, rule, right-wingers are not intelligent. But they can display extraordinary levels of low cunning. And I didn’t know about Minnesota; it would seem that it should be the #1 law to come off the books during this alleged “un-session.” I’ve seen no indication of any effort to do that.

Two obscure abortion proposals are currently advancing in Oklahoma and Alabama that would target women during some of the most emotionally painful moments in their lives. Both bills seek to prohibit women from having an abortion based on fatal fetal abnormalities unless their doctor provides them with “alternate options” first — essentially, information about perinatal hospice centers that can care for the infants in the first few weeks or months of their lives, before they succumb to their fatal medical conditions…
So, with that in mind, consider how the proposed legislation in Oklahoma and Alabama will factor into this equation. State lawmakers are ultimately suggesting that the women who have made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy to spare their child more pain — the women who are already grieving that loss — should hear more information about perinatal hospice care.
These women aren’t naive or careless when they show up for their abortion appointment. Like Day Danziger, they’ve surely already agonized over their choice. State-sanctioned language about carrying the pregnancy to term would simply insinuate they’re making the wrong decision, potentially putting them under even more emotional strain…
Nonetheless, this unnecessary and potentially harmful requirement is already law in at least three states. In 2006, Minnesota was the first to enact a law requiring women to receive information about perinatal hospice centers. Then Kansas followed in its footsteps in 2009. Arizona passed its own version in 2012. Those three states already had broad “informed consent” laws on the books requiring doctors to give women biased information about the risks of abortion. The provisions specifically applying to fatal fetal abnormalities were enacted separately, on top of the existing laws, just as they’re now moving through the legislatures in Oklahoma and Alabama.
(Think Progress)

Two more items about choice, below the fold.

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Changing the momentum on choice

by Dan Burns on January 21, 2014 · 2 comments

declarationIt’s certainly long past due.

But there may be a shift on the horizon.
As the new year kicks off, the pro-choice community is beginning to lay the groundwork for a new kind of strategy. On the state level, they’re beginning to push for legislation that not only rolls back anti-choice restrictions, but also expands health care opportunities for women and their families. They’re striking a delicate balance between finding common ground with social conservatives — like focusing on preventative care and maternal health outcomes — while maintaining that abortion is also an important aspect of reproductive health. And grassroots activists are committed to nudging the dial forward on issues that have long been considered too controversial for the political sphere.
“The momentum has shifted,” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told ThinkProgress in an interview. “Americans as a whole have had enough. We’re not just going to sit idly by and fight defensive fights and take these attacks on reproductive freedom sitting down. We’re starting to define what a new agenda for reproductive freedom looks like in the 21st century.”
(Think Progress)

It’s important to know that, despite the insane zealotry in state legislatures, public opinion continues to heavily favor pro-choice views:


women__s_rights_chalk_by_luckyduck2-d3jfdlvIn the spirit of end-of-year listing, I’m passing on a good one.

2013 not only saw a number of pro-choice successes but also countless hard-working activists and allies who, against tremendous odds, put in time and energy to advance reproductive rights and health and ensure the safety of women and girls of all backgrounds. We salute these heroes for all that they do each and every day to make certain that women and their families have the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. Here is a far from comprehensive list of some of those brave women and men.
(RH Reality Check)

And I’m linking a pretty disgusting one, though engrossing in a perverse way, from Media Matters. “Know Your Role And Shut Your Mouth”: How Conservative Media Treated Women In 2013.


When Pro-life is Just Sexism

by Grace Kelly on September 14, 2013 · 16 comments

How can one get to an answer of supporting the death penalty and opposing abortion as consistent? See the inconsistency question points out what women have always sensed. The abortion issue is not about sanctity of life at all, or the “pro-life” people would oppose death penalties, war, and environmental toxins while also supporting universal health care, food aid and disaster aid. Almost universally the “pro-life” people oppose any policy that supports human life. That means that “pro-life” really means putting down women. Just like the Obama birth certificate issue is just an issue of not being born white. “Pro-life” is a code word for male superiority.


The principle of law should be that everything from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet is just me. What I am advocating is the one body – one life standard or the “breath of life” standard, otherwise if we build a law principle of a life within a life then we have to equally apply the standard. I call this conveying babyhood. So instead of real babies, we have fetal babies, ovum babies and clone cell babies. Using standards like mobility, independence, and ability to live without the parent, the sperm baby truly has the best case. Sperm live and move outside of the male for up to five days. When women in legislatures have proposed applying the same law to men about sperm babies, the real bias shows.


The map above is really a map of sexism, with North Dakota and Georgia Alabama standing out as the most sexist states.