Friday, February 03, 2017

From the Handmaid's Tale: The Arkansas Edition

I have an unpleasant feeling that there will be many more Handmaid's Tale posts in our future, because putting women back into their proper place is a big part of Dear Leader's agenda. 

It's an even bigger part of the Vice-President's agenda.  Mike "The Taliban" Pence shares those extremist anti-woman values with the Islamic fundamentalists of the Wahhabist and Salafist sorts.  Isn't that weird?

Never mind.  The Republicans have been doing termite work for nearly fifty years to make sure that women ultimately will not have any choices about becoming pregnant and giving birth.  It's not just abortion that they oppose, but also the types of contraception that women themselves can control*.

As an example of this, Arkansas has a new abortion law aimed at greater socialization of women's bodies.  The Repubicans (sic) are very pro freedom and for privatizations, except when it comes to women's fertility.  Then they are socialists (or traditionalists who believe in the mans' right to control his wife's fertility).

This Arkansas law banning one abortion procedure has a hole big enough in it for a rapist to walk through and demand that any pregnancy caused by his raping the woman must be allowed to continue:

A new Arkansas law bans one of the safest and most common abortion procedures and allows family members to block an abortion by suing the abortion provider.
A clause in the Arkansas law allows a woman’s spouse, parent or guardian, or health care provider to sue an abortion provider for civil damages or injunctive relief that could stop the abortion. And because Act 45 does not provide any exceptions for cases of rape or incest, the clause could allow the fetus’s father to sue an abortion provider even in cases of spousal rape or incest. 
Asked whether the clause would allow a father to sue in cases of spousal rape or incest, Mayberry told The Daily Beast that the “bill wouldn’t affect a woman seeking an abortion by any other method” than dilation and evacuation, and that the bill prohibited the father from winning monetary damages in the event of rape or incest. The bill would not, however, prevent the father from seeking injunctive relief to stop an abortion under these circumstances.

I doubt the legislators behind that law want to strengthen rapists' fatherhood rights.  But they don't really care if that happens, because they don't care about women's civil and human rights, and that not-caring is visible in the way these laws are drafted.


* This description applies to the extremists within the forced-birth movement, those who call the IUD and the contraceptive pill abortifacients and thus something that should be banned. 

But given the extremists stomping all over the White House, it makes sense to be aware of the ultimate goals that motivate them, and those certainly include making sure that women cannot control their own fertility and therefore cannot space their children so that they can participate in the labor market or in politics or in any other field the traditionalists would wish to see all-male.

The latter is the real reason why gender equality crucially depends on good access to contraception and also access to abortion when contraception fails.

As a final irony, the subsidized birth control available via the ACA (Affordable Care Act) could very well have worked to drastically lower abortion rates (which are already falling).  But the Repubicans (sic) want to dismantle it so that, once again, poor women must choose between contraception and paying the rent.