Saturday, January 24, 2009

We're Likeable Enough

Thank you, Mr. President for striking down the Bush administration's ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information ! This step will save women's lives, help to keep our already-vastly-overpopulated planet a bit less crowded, and acknowledges the deep truth that women have a right to control their own bodies. As Secretary of State Clinton explained: [F]or seven years, Bush's policy made it more difficult for women around the world to gain access to essential information and health care services. ''Rather than limiting women's ability to receive reproductive health services, we should be supporting programs that help women and their partners make decisions to ensure their health and the health of their families,'' Clinton said.

I'll repeat what I've said before: Criminalizing abortion and denying women access to safe abortions doesn't prevent abortions. It simply sends women into back alleys and the hands of untrained abortionists. Everyone knows that the real goals of the pro-criminalization crowd have nothing to do with preventing abortion. They've been trying for 36 years to criminalize abortions and, in that time, have prevented exactly zero abortions. Meanwhile, they actively oppose many measures that do actually prevent abortions and give only lip service to others. I'm not particularly concerned with reducing the number of abortions, but, we know, empirically, what measures do, in fact, reduce the number of abortions and, if the pro-criminalization crowd actually cared about preventing abortion, they'd be doing these things instead of standing outside clinics screeching at women.

1. Education for girls reduced the rate of pregnancies, thereby reducing abortion. Spend money teaching girls to read, do math, do science, learn a marketable skill, write, whatever, and you'll reduce abortions.

2. Teach real sex education. Quit with the insulting, anti-sex "abstinence" bullshit and teach all kids real sex education, including the use of all forms of birth control. Teach it early, teach it often, teach it without including the biases of the Abrahamic religions. That's something Abrahamic parents can do in their homes and their own places of worship.

3. Make free, safe, effective birth control available.

4. Provide economic opportunities for women. There's a reason that abortions went down during Bill Clinton's administration and up under George Bush's administration. When a woman knows that she will be able to provide for her child, she's more likely to carry her pregnancy to term. When she has health insurance, family leave, access to day care, etc., she is less likely to abort.

5. Teach boys that no means no.

6. Enforce child support laws.

I'll believe the pro-criminalization crowd really cares about "babies" when they start to do the above.

Meanwhile, as grateful as I am to Mr. Obama for reversing Bush's gag rule, I'd like to offer a big, steaming cup of fuck-you-very-much to our new president for this little game: Obama issued the presidential memorandum rescinding the Bush policy without coverage by the media, late Friday afternoon. The abortion measure is a highly emotional one for many people, and the quiet signing was in contrast to the televised coverage of Obama's announcement Wednesday on ethics rules and Thursday's signing of orders on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and banning torture in the questioning of terror suspects. Look, closing Guantanamo and banning torture were highly emotional measures for many people. That was a reason to put those policy changes front and center, not to try to hide them on a late Friday afternoon. Why are women's rights different?

Obama often gives the impression that standing up for women's rights is a necessary, but distasteful, part of his job. Now, his job is to be the president. I hope that women's issues aren't going to continue to be the "Friday document dump" of the Obama administration.

And I'm sorry as all get-out that Mr. Obama is "bored" by the "stale and fruitless debate" over whether I own my body or the state owns it. Really. So sorry to bug you, Barack. No, I'm not.

Picture found here.

Update: As always, Twisty says it better.


LittleIsis said...

As much as I respect and support our new President, Women's issues have always been dumped on his back burner, and will likely continue to be dumped on his back burner.
This is a guy who's campaign was run on completely destroying the two women he ran against, Senator Clinton and Governor Palin.
Clinton was smart, hardworking, pretty, and dedicated. Therefore she was a castrating bitch.
Palin was gorgeous, eloquent, and knowledgeable, if a a little too conservative for my taste. Therefore, she was a bimbo who was unprepared for the Presidency, even though she had no less experience than our new President did.
I am glad he is starting off his administration with so many progressive steps forward, but I have low expectations for any advancement in Women's issues, and so should you, Hecate.

clymela said...

Hey!Hey! Word!Word! Hecate and Littleisis.
I for one am sick to death of this worship of the zygote/embryo while ignoring the people who are here and needing education and food and shelter and water and warmth and a welcome.
Thank you Hecate! You are definatley bubbling these days-I talk about you to those who could use the suport and tutoring you offer here for free.p