Monday, June 24, 2013

I Told You Being Ridiculous About Reproductive Rights is De Rigueur

French in the title!  I'm moving up in the world...

What I mean by "being ridiculous" is that it's perfectly acceptable in the politics of, say, Texas, to know nothing about women's sexuality, the way those weird breeding bits work or what the rape kit is for in hospitals.  This is de rigueur  for politicians who spend their working lives trying to ban all abortions.

I find that astonishingly arrogant.  Supremely so.  The facts are so unimportant that the politicians don't even have to pretend to study them at all.  You make your own facts to support your ideology.

The most recent example:

In the midst of all the chaos on Sunday night as the Texas legislature pushed through a series of stringent restrictions on abortion and women’s health, it was easy to miss what might have been the most inaccurate and dangerous claim of the evening: One state representative tried to argue on the State House floor that rape kits are a form of abortion.
Texas Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R) sponsored several anti-abortion measures currently making their way to the Governor’s desk. Taken together, they would shut down the vast majority of the state’s women’s health clinics and criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. But in reasoning out why she did not support an exemption for rape victims in the 20-week ban, Laubenberg betrayed a woeful lack of information on the procedures a victim of rape undergoes — namely, the “rape kit,” which is used to collect data on the assailant and in no way relates to pregnancy:
When Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Rep. Jody Laubenberg, R-Parker, explained why she felt it was unnecessary.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. “The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development.”
The remark about rape kits, which is not accurate, sparked widespread ridicule on social media sites. Laubenberg, who has difficulty debating bills, then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate.
Rape kits are used to collect DNA evidence from the bodies of rape victims; after a victim enters a hospital, staff collect bodily fluid, residue under the victim’s nails, and any blood or hair samples that could be relevant for an investigation. Rape kits are in no way equivalent to an abortion.

Texas is in the process of tightening its abortion laws even more.  It's like tightening a plastic screw.  One day the grooves are gone, and the whole thing will explode.  Perhaps that day has already arrived, given that a large number of pro-choice people are protesting in Texas.


In other news about abortion, the merger of hospitals in California means that the Catholic Church now has more say on women's access to abortions:

In a most underhanded and insidious way, women's reproductive health rights in California were dealt a significant blow last month. That was when the availability of elective abortions at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, one of Orange County's elite medical centers, was abruptly ended.
The ban on abortions was imposed by Hoag administrators effective May 1, shortly after the hospital entered a corporate partnership with St. Joseph Health System, a Roman Catholic chain with five hospitals in Orange County. The administrators acknowledge that the change was made at least in part as a response to St. Joseph's "sensitivity" about abortion.
What's worse, doctors at Newport Beach-based Hoag say the administration lied to them about the partnership deal. They were assured from the outset there would be no changes in the services they provide to their female patients. But public documents suggest that the abortion ban was planned by Hoag and St. Joseph as long ago as last fall.