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"Protect Life Act" Is Lying Fraud [Oct. 13th, 2011|10:41 pm]
[Current Mood |determined]

Like the "Defense of Marriage Act", the "Protect Life Act," largely a product of the GOP's initiative, is a tissue of lies and fraud, aimed not at its title, but at the promotion of one religious viewpoint over all others, the intrusion of government into private life, and (in this latter case) the deliberate attempt to control women, and force them to risk--and some to lose--their lives.

If the GOP really wanted to "protect life"...even limiting that to human life....the GOP would be hot on the trail of elements in our society that damage human lives.  Toxic materials dumped into common water and air supplies by corporations who insist it's economically necessary...if they wanted to "protect life" they'd be supporting the EPA's mandate to assure that we have unpolluted water to drink, unpolluted air to breathe.  But they aren't.  They're trying to keep the EPA from doing anything to protect these common resources.   Preventable contamination of the food supply, ditto.   But they aren't--it's the GOP who think adding inspectors is too costly.   If the GOP gave a damn about human lives, they would be supporting universal health care.   But they aren't.  "It costs too much."   They'd be promoting healthy environments for all Americans--and that means parks and playgrounds and community gardens in the cities.   But they aren't.   "It costs too much...the land will yield a profit if developers develop it..."   They'd be doing something about the number of injuries and deaths among workers. But they aren't.   That would involved regulation and inspection of industries, especially the very dangerous construction industry...and that would be government impeding business....can't have that.   Or then there's the murders, suicides, assaults....what is the GOP doing there?  Not a damn thing but throw people in prison AFTER the crime.   Do they support educational and other programs to eliminate bullying?   To eliminate assaults on minorities of all kinds?  No and no.  Do they support  improving housing, improving
education, ensuring that there are jobs for all the jobless?  Demonstrably not: they have systematically frustrated every single initiative that would have either improved the lives or, or saved the lives of,  what I'm sure they call the "post-born."   You.  Me.  My spouse.  Our son.   My friends.  Your friends. 

The only "life" they care to protect is that of the "pre-born" as they say....and why is that?

Well, the most obvious reason is that it costs them a helluva lot less to "protect"  the life of the "pre-born" by making abortion illegal than to protect the lives of men, women, and children by any of the things mentioned above.    All they have to do is pass a law and pat themselves on the back, which I'm sure they're doing right now.   The "pre-born" are cheap.   The "post-born" have more obvious needs than just being left in someone's uterus until they emerge.   The pre-born would also benefit, of course, from the measures above.  Being born into a family with the means to support them...in an environment that is not toxic, where the water and air and food won't cause disease, where they will have a healthy home, a healthy place to play, where they won't be bullied, where they will have a good education, adequate medical care, employment providing an income sufficient for a healthy life....all that would, in the long run (something the GOP is singularly bad at noticing) benefit the "pre-born" as well as the born. 

But it would cost money.  And it would step on toes. 

The second obvious reason, though, has to do with "women's place."   If you conceive of women as walking wombs, whose best use is making more babies....and if you conceive of them as needing to be controlled for the benefit of society....then outlawing abortion (and ultimately all forms of birth control) is the first step to ensuring that women are not allowed the protection of privacy, are not allowed the freedom to make their own choices and live with them.   And there are, among the GOP, a majority who believe that women are exactly that.   Like many dictators throughout history (and many in the 20th c.),  too many believe that it's OK to control women for the benefit of others....be those others the male members of their family, or a religion, or the need of a country or a culture to increase its population and gain power thereby...or be it that "pre-born child" in her womb. 

First you ensure that she cannot rid herself of an unwanted pregnancy.   Then you ensure that she cannot prevent a pregnancy from occurring.   If she dies from a pregnancy she did not want and could not sustain--shrug it off.   It might have worked.  You might have forced her to bear a child and that would have been a greater good.   Her life means nothing.   Even if she has children already, even if her death means those children are left without their mother....her life means nothing.   The only life that counts is the life that hasn't yet proven itself outside the womb.  
The discounting of women's worth is nothing new, of course.   In earlier legal systems the wergeld for a woman was half or less that than for a man.   Women were just...well...women.  In the Nuremberg trials, rape wasn't even considered-- "We don't want a lot of crying women in the court."  And so rape--which occurred in WWII as in every other war--was swept under the rug.  Numerous religious groups have discounted women's worth and bent their efforts on controlling women and keeping them in "their" place.  

It's interesting to consider how this would play if, every time a woman's life is in danger during her pregnancy, the life of a GOP male were in danger.   Literal danger: a gun pointed at his head, or strapped down in an electric chair.  "Her life is in danger," the medical team might say.  "She should terminate the pregnancy."  And of course, the GOP male would say "No.  We made that illegal!"  And then he would be told.  "Fine.  And if she dies, then you die.  It's only fair.  You put her life in danger; you should share the danger; if she dies, you will have killed her...and any children she might have had later in a  healthy pregnancy."  And it need not be the man who impregnated her.  Let it be any man who would refuse her the right to decide for herself, and refuse her doctor the right to advise what is best for her...for her, the live woman.   Or...any person, male or female.   Because every member of the House who voted to make abortion illegal is directly risking the life of every woman whose health and life are threatened by a pregnancy.   They are individually responsible for every woman who--refused an abortion--dies as a result.   Every one of them has said, in effect, "Your life is worthless: all your worth is in that fetus.  You are nothing:  your actions, your past, your family, your situation, your potential, none of that means anything.  You exist to give life to that which is in you now, and if you can't do that and live---then die." And to that kind of contempt there is only one answer.  "Treat yourself as you would treat them.  Take the same risk.  Endure the same pain.  And pay the same price."   They're always blatting about "accountability."  So make them accountable.  Take them first, one by one, in alphabetical order...pair them with women whose abortions they prevent.  Right there with them (but silent--don't let the politicians start ranting) ...knowing that if the pregnant woman dies, so will they. 

Of course that would never happen, because those in power always set it up so somone else pays the price.   Just like Congresspersons haven't been unemployed, running out of money, losing their houses, their cars, everything they've worked for...even hope, when Congress doesn't do anything about creating jobs.   Just like Congresspersons have medical benefits only the rich can afford for themselves--paid for by our taxes--and want to dismantle every remaining tax-supported medical program but their own.   So when women die--as they will, and as they used to--when abortion is not available, Congresspersons will still be smug and untouchable...and they know it.   Accountability is for the other guy, the little guy.   They will still say "She got herself pregnant" just as they've blamed American workers for the loss of American jobs.  They will still say "She made the bed, let her lie in it" just as they've shrugged off the loss of American homes, the slide into poverty of middle class families and the slide into abject misery of the poor.  Accountability is for serfs, peasants, the underclass...anyone not in the right club, with the right number of zeroes to the left of the decimal point in their net worth...hold them accountable, by all means, but don't demand any accountability of those in power, those with the right connections, the right investment advisors.  .   

Like many other pro-choice people, I think abortion is a lousy method of birth control.   Better to prevent pregnancy, if you don't want it...and no, abstinence isn't a sure preventive, in a society where women are raped every day in every state.   Better to have no rapists than to deal with the aftermath of rape (and that includes, of course, date rape and marital rape.)    Better to have no pregnancies that go wrong, that endanger or end women's lives.  But the reality is that women cannot completely control getting pregnant (rape and birth control failures) and cannot control at all the problems that develop during it that threaten their lives.   And therefore, both birth control and abortion are necessary for women to have the "inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for which the American Revolution was fought.  

Don't I care about the unborn?  Yes.  But I care more about the live woman.   I care about the women who are already being hassled, even arrested, because some idiot thought they were trying to cause a miscarriage--who will be mistreated on suspicion of that, who will have their privacy invaded, their medical records scanned, who will be treated (as they have been) as criminals.  I care about the rape victims.  I care about the women whose birth control failed, whose lovers lied about having had a vasectomy.  I care about the actual live-right-now woman.   I think these women--all women--have a right to make choices, even choices I disagree with--perhaps especially choices I disagree with--about their personal lives.  Including reproduction.   I wasn't able to have biological children, and wanted them.  We were able to adopt--but not for years.  Still, I would not have wanted one woman--any woman--to bear a child she didn't want just so I had one to adopt.   My wish for children was my wish--my responsibility to deal with.   I had no "right" to a child, and certainly no right to treat another woman as a mere pawn to satisfy my desire.   Or as a symbol of anything, including piety. 

So if you are one of those who believes abortion is evil....don't have one or (if you're the other sex) don't cause any unwanted pregnancies.   Beyond that, grant all women the freedom to make their own choices--including mistakes--and leave the judgment to God.   Which, after all, is what Jesus said to do.

And to the GOP: If you want to protect life, quit interfering with those who are trying to protect the substance on which our life on this planet depends: air, water, soil, climate, food...that stuff.  Support the EPA.  Grasp the enormity of climate change and start helping, not foot-dragging.  Otherwise all those little embryos you're so tender about are going to have a far worse life, and a shorter one.


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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 04:09 am (UTC)
Thanks. Sorry, but I hadn't seen either of those.
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2011-10-14 10:07 am (UTC)
I, probably like most men, hadn't realised that about the ultrasounds, and had assumed that they were the external ones. Thanks for the correction, this should be publicised wider, because I suspect that most men think (if they think at all) that it's just like the ones they have for injuries, a "bit of goop" and a vibration. And yes, I agree, a forced ultrasound like that is rape, even if it is for 'medical' reasons (since it isn't medically necessary).
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[User Picture]From: freyaw
2011-10-16 09:58 am (UTC)
I have had an internal ultrasound, and although it wasn't forced (I had miscarried and was still bleeding a month later; my docs wanted to check it out because there are seriously bad possible reasons for that, but they gave me a choice), it was still an unyielding blunt object inserted into a sensitive region, made more painful by the sore (and probably torn, after a month of cramping and bleeding) muscles surrounding the area.

I truly hope I never have to have one of those again. It hurt. And they only come in one size.
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[User Picture]From: damedini
2011-10-14 04:18 am (UTC)
May I share this? It's very well written and i am still hoping to get through to my few friends who are still anti choice just what it means.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 04:28 am (UTC)
Yes--please also point them to the link dsmoen gave to Ellen Datlow's blog for the details of first trimester ultrasound exams.

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[User Picture]From: dr_phil_physics
2011-10-14 04:20 am (UTC)

Dr. Phil
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-14 05:08 am (UTC)

The Golden Rule

I know you don't like people posting anonymously, but this time I need to do so to protect my mother's privacy.

You see, when I was in first grade, she got pregnant with an IUD in place. She was/is a nurse. An OB nurse. She knew exactly what her pregnancy meant, and times then were much less politically dangerous for women who wanted abortions, but she decided to take the chance anyway. She went against her doctor's advice, against my Pro-Life dad's advice, and chose to continue the pregnancy.

I share this story for two reasons. For one, it went just as badly as could be expected. Secondly, when I've shared the story with many who are Pro-Life today, they ask, "What happened to the baby?"

What happened to the baby is that the cord that is medically necessary so that a doctor can monitor the safety of an IUD allowed an infection to penetrate the womb and a 5-month fetus became a very large mass of infection that came very close to killing my mother long after the disease killed the baby. The 106 degree fever that was the first sign of trouble was only the start of a month's hospitalization.

So I tell this rather graphic story as one who wants the Republicans who would have allowed my mom to die because she had the audacity to have sex with her husband while using contraception to answer one question:

When did all you "good" Christians forget about the Golden Rule?

You know, the one that says, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?" Because if your answer to this graphic grounding in what can happen to a woman who made the decision to risk her life for what you think is so incredibly precious, only to lose so badly, is to condemn her (and some have -- to my face!) -- then maybe you should just never have sex again yourself.

Because that's the only way I can see people of such a rigid ethical code as being able to both follow the Golden Rule and abide by their conscientious belief that the "rights" of the unborn trump everything else.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 05:31 am (UTC)

Re: The Golden Rule

Thank you for explaining your reasons for anonymity, and yes--that's certainly acceptable.

I wish I could find it unbelievable that someone would condemn your mother to your face...but I've had stuff said to me of, um, equal nastiness. Nonetheless, while the person who was nastiest to me is still running around happy and smug without my having smacked 'em sideways, I would gladly whop the one who condemned your mother with the largest clue-bat in my possession.

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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-14 06:36 am (UTC)

Re: The Golden Rule

Thank you. I can't say I'm not bitter -- but I'm lucky because I still have my mom to cherish.

I live with the comfort that God has a much bigger clue-bat than either of us could hope to wield, and he's not afraid to use it, because he knows the inner workings that drive people in this crazy world.

And that's part of the part I can't understand. How can people try to invoke God's name, citing the 10 Commandments (which, in #3, specifically warns against the danger of doing so in vain), and still have the audacity to speak, live, and act as they do?

Clearly, they also haven't read other parts of Scripture, which read, "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Meanwhile, the truly important part is that I still have my mom to cherish.
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[User Picture]From: wldrose
2011-10-14 07:13 am (UTC)
I very much agree with you. Sadly though abortion is legal here it is shamed so most of us who have had them never know that the very women we care about or even just see daily might have shared our choice.

And as angry as this all makes me I have no idea HOW to really effect things aside from letter writing and escorting at a clinic
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-14 07:58 am (UTC)

A quiet way to help

Because of the trauma of my mother's experience, I carefully tell her story to obvious adversaries. Sometimes I get kicked in the teeth, but sometimes I get people to really listen.

I think one of the reasons the current travesty has come about is that those of us with painful stories have realistic reasons to hide our identities.

Another reason I hide my identity is that I've taken it further. I tell young women I know that having sex/having babies isn't as safe as the happy-happy-joy-joy early ultrasounds make it sound -- before they get close to their first routine PAP smear, if I have an opportunity.

It's probably a major buzz-kill, and I try to lighten it with hopes that their dreams and wishes will all come true, but I've also been the friend who sat in the waiting room during an early D&C.

To my mind, it's part of being a friend, and part of knowing what it's like to have a uterus, which occasionally means making hard choices -- but I've always tried to make my choices lean towards supporting the person making the real life decisions.

Just my two cents. If you find other ways to help, or disagree, please note that I only have two cents to contribute. Others with more may have more to give.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 12:50 pm (UTC)

Re: A quiet way to help

I think your "quiet way to help" is louder than you think. As you'll see by a reply to someone else, I think silencing (often by shaming, sometimes by outshouting) is wrong...and yet it is the goal of those who deny women (or anyone else) freedom of individual choice.

So good for you...and you have a very compelling story to tell. I do not have such a story from my family background, so I choose other ways because I must.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-10-14 05:08 pm (UTC)

Re: A quiet way to help

Thank you, but without your books that celebrate strong women, which create readership for this forum, combined with this powerful post, and your permission to be anonymous, I would never have stepped past the one-on-one interactions I've had.

As I said, those with more than two cents may have more to offer -- and we, as women, may need to start passing the collection plate soon, or we'll all be dressed in the "Christian" version of burkas.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 12:48 pm (UTC)
Don't be silenced. That's the worst of the shaming.

The "Personhood USA" people do not actually want to give voice to the fertilized egg whom they say cannot plead for itself...they want to DENY voice--a hearing--to women who do not want children or do not want this particular pregnancy. The "pro-life" crowd has lied (including in a church I used to attend, when they brought in this guy who claimed that doctors who perform abortions like killing babies.) They have refused to listen.

I refuse to be silenced.
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[User Picture]From: catsittingstill
2011-10-14 11:49 am (UTC)
If there are women who have abortions instead of using birth control* it's about like having root canals instead of brushing your teeth. It's basically its own punishment. It's certainly no reason to forbid root canals for everyone.

And the In Sorrow Shalt Thou Bring Forth Children crowd has an obvious goal: to enforce sexual purity on women using the threat of enslavement to produce an unwanted baby. They don't care about the fetus, which is why they don't care about babies; it's all about making women who have sex suffer.

* You'd think nobody would be that dumb, but there are about 50 million women of reproductive age in the US. When you're talking that many people, a handful of them will have been visited by the stupid fairy. So what? That's no excuse to enslave them all.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-14 12:45 pm (UTC)
Indeed. It's about control.
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[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2011-10-14 01:32 pm (UTC)
There are times, and this is one of them, when I am extremely thankful that I am not American and do not live in the USA.

I read somewhere that this Personhood Act means that any pregnant woman who does anything that might endanger her foetus - for example, going down a flight of stairs, drinking a cup of tea - risks prosecution....

Here, where abortion isn't an issue, I am not sure whether first-trimester ultrasounds are done internally - they certainly used not to be, but were done through the lens of an extremely full bladder. I need to check that with my daughter who has been pregnant far more recently than I - and had far more restrictions placed on her freedom than I did when carrying her. Although at least in this country she could drink coffee (assuming her body would tolerate it) when she fancied it....
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[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2011-10-14 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ah yes; I don't think ultrasounds are done here before the 12th week (I could be wrong!), and although I've certainly had one done vaginally (for reasons other than pregnancy), I'm not sure how usual they are.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2011-10-14 03:00 pm (UTC)
If the GOP really cared about any human life other than their own individual selves, then there'd be no pollution, worker exploitation, or dangerous (and frequently useless) pharmaceuticals.

Because the people who run the companies that cause the pollution, exploit their workers, and produce and distribute dangerous products are almost all either card-carrying GOP members or sympathisers.

It's their relentless pursuit of profits over everything else, that's got us in this mess.
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2011-10-17 03:37 pm (UTC)
I have this beautiful mental picture of a corporation being sued for potentially causing a miscarriage due to eomething that got into the water/soil/whatever (the risk of a miscarriage, not an actual one).

I would love to see all the people who vote for ProLife resolutions to start taking care of the unwanted children, especially the ones who are seriously special needs (often due to the complications of the pregnancy). They so obviously love children and believe in supporting the children, they can foster children, adopt children, etc. And they can set up funds (out of their own generous pockets) that are endowments to provide for pre-natal AND post-natal care, food & support.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-10-17 04:24 pm (UTC)
The Pro-Life bunch would go after the mother for living where she endangered her potential children. She should have lived somewhere else.

Pro-Lifers--or some of them at least--do some of the things you mention; some adopt (including special-needs children), run maternity homes that provide pre-natal care (albeit with far too much sermonizing), etc. They then pat themselves on the back for having saved a fetus. Their commitment to children in general is far less. They aren't generally good at providing (or voting for) supports for mothers who don't give children up for adoption. They aren't generally good at providing or voting for the kind of social settings that benefit all children (good schools, good parks, good libraries, etc.) And by opposing abortion, they continue to endanger the lives of women...the idea (as expressed by that Catholic bishop in Arizona) that the mother should die so just-in-case the fetus might survive is hideous.

I think if they really cared about "life" and those without voices they'd spend their efforts on the live-born, both children and adults, whose lives are so miserable and who have effectively no voice...the poor, the most disabled, those in prison, etc.
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