Category Archives: The Federal Womb

Seriously, Democrats really hate women or I use the skills I got in law school to analyze shit that takes away my rights

So it gets worse.

Behold the absolute draw-dropping shittiness of The Stupak Amendment. Here it is, proof positive, that Democrats really hate women. What’s also awesome is that the first female Speaker of the House presided over a Democratic majority that passed the most expansive restriction on women’s rights in recent history. Not only was the amendment passed by 62 democrats (and all voting Republicans), the bill carrying the amendment was passed through Congress 220-215, with the majority of Democrats blithely signing the biggest roll-back of reproductive rights. Super.

Some Democrats (mostly women) did not take this shit sitting down. They tried to speak in Congress, only to have male Republicans heckling them and shouting “I object, I object, I object, I object” over them. Think Progress has the video. Thrown under the bus by their own party, some of the women we voted into office were forced to speak out against their own party signing away their rights while they were viciously silenced by the very men that orchestrated this new oppression. I’m sure that while the men in Congress, some of them in their own party, thought this was just business as usual, our minority of female lawmakers got a heady sense of deja vu. Men talking over them in a meeting? Nah, that never happens. Especially when you’re talking about your own freedoms and liberty. I mean, just shut up bitch. Know your place.

Out of this process of ugliness came the unholy spawn of the Stupack Amendment. However, unlike some other places, I believe that the proof is in the pudding. I’m not doing to quote from some dude that quoted from some other dude that quoted from yet another dude. I’m including the full text of this steaming file of fail. Here’s your fucking hope and change, right here:

AMENDMENT TO H.R. 3962
OFFERED BY MR. STUPACK OF MICHIGAN
AND MR. PITTS OF PENNSYLVANIA

SEC. 265 LIMITATION OF ABORTION FUNDING

(A) IN GENERAL—
No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the women in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.

(B) OPTION TO PURCHASE SEPARATE SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE OR PLAN—
Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any nonfederal entity (including an individual or State or local government) from purchasing separate supplemental coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this section, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as—
(1) such coverage or plan is paid for entirely using only funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act; and
(2) such coverage or plan is not purchased using—
(a) individual premium payments requires for an Exchange-participating health benefits plan towards which an affordability credit is applied; or
(b) other nonfederal funds require to receive a federal payment, including a State’s or locality’s contribution of Medicaid matching funds.

(C) OPTION TO OFFER SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE OR PLAN—
Notwithstanding section 303(b), nothing in this section shall restrict any nonfederal QHBP offering entity from offering separate supplemental coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this section, or a plan that includes such abortions, so long as—
(1) premiums for such separate supplemental coverage or plan are paid for entirely with funds not authorized or appropriated by this Act;
(2) administrative costs and all services offered through such supplemental coverage or plan are paid for using only premiums collected for such coverage or plan; and
(3) any nonfederal QHBP offering entity that offers an Exchange-participating health benefits plan that includes coverage for abortions for which funding is prohibited under this section also offers an Exchange participating health benefits plan that is identical in every respect except that it does not cover abortions for which funding is prohibited under this section
.

The emphases are mine.

For those without a background in legalese, this is about as unequivocal and binding as law can get. There’s no wiggle room. No exceptions. What this creates is a health care system in which women are second class citizens, forced to choose between even private coverage of a perfectly legal procedure and all federal funding of health care. This, simply, is an outrage. As far as I’m concerned, this violates both Roe and the substantive due process of the 14th amendment, but for those without a background in law, rest assured that this shit is really, really, really, legally dubious.

So let’s digest this, line by disgusting fucking line.

Section A explicitly prohibits any federal funding governed by HR 3962 (the larger Affordable Health Care for America Act) going towards the provision of abortions. But if you thought that they really needed to put this in, that anyone was really ever in danger of seeing their tax dollars going to “kill babies”, well, you’re a fucking idiot. No, seriously. Behold the related 30-year-old shittiness of the Hyde Amendment. Passed in 1976, in the immediate backlash of Roe decision three years earlier, the amendment explicitly bars all appropriations for The Department of Heath and Human Service budget from going to the purpose of funding abortions. It does not prohibit all federal funding of abortion, just anything out of HHS. Since H.R. 3962 would be administrated by HHS, there was absolutely no way, shape, or form that its provisions would go to funding abortion. Got it straight?

Moving on, the second clause is the kicker: “or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion”. You catch that? If you have a health plan that covers abortion, you cannot receive any federal assistance. Can’t make the last $300 for a root canal? Too fucking bad. Choose between your teeth rotting out of your face or abortion coverage. Want part of your “exchange” to go towards a consultation with an allergist for your seasonal allergies that you couldn’t otherwise afford? Too fucking bad whore, you got an abortion last year on that plan.

This amendment goes beyond limiting federal funds. This explicitly bars even private insurance companies from covering abortions.

Well, so can insurance companies just offer plans with abortion coverage and ones without? Sure, if you’re cool on getting totally substandard care and no government assistance whatsoever. Given that the majority of those who see themselves in low-paying part-time positions that don’t offer health coverage are women, there’s going to be a lot of women who need federal assistance. But they won’t get it unless they accept prohibitions on their rights, and start saving for out-of-pocket abortions if they need it, instead of putting away money for retirement. That’s other thing: men won’t have to save for expensive procedures that they need. They won’t have to choose between affordable health care and their reproductive rights.

But all this begs the question: will insurance companies continue to offer abortion coverage? The answer: probably not to the extent they do now. Providing abortion coverage will undoubtedly require additional administrative costs to make sure that the company remains in compliance with the amendment. Additionally, by section C Paragraph 3, those additional administrative costs will have to be covered entirely without federal assistance that insurance companies could get if they didn’t offer abortion.

The result is obvious: some companies will just not offer abortion coverage. It’s too troublesome and expensive. If they offer it, they’re required by Section C Paragraph 3 to provide identical coverage that doesn’t cover abortions. Notice that the amendment, however, does not require that companies offer plans that do offer abortion coverage. A company would be in compliance if they did not offer coverage for abortion at all. In fact, it’s transparently obvious that this is the goal of the entire amendment: to make it so that insurance companies will have lots of incentives to never cover abortions.

If a company decided to offer coverage including abortion, the coverage would be prohibitively expensive. Not only could the insured not use federal monies for any medical procedure so long as they are covered for abortion, they also would be forced to pay higher premiums. After all, the additional administrative costs of the plan could not be paid for with federal assistance, which would transfer the additional fees directly unto women. To really sweeten the deal, you’d also be ineligible for Medicaid matching even from your state while your insurance covers abortion. Awesome.

At the end of the day, you’re left with a tiered health care system. At the very top are men. They can purchase private insurance. They can use public funds. They can do what you want with them, within reason, and not have to worry about losing coverage.

Quite a way below them are women paying for identical insurance except for abortion coverage, but paying much higher premiums. They cannot use public funds for anything.

Below them even further are women who can’t pay for the prohibitively expensive private insurance of their female peers. Among them are women that need any assistance whatsoever for anything, even something as simple as a teeth cleaning. They must pay for abortion out-of-pocket or choose between any federal or state assistance.

And at the very bottom are the women who can neither pay for prohibitively expensive private insurance or out-of-pocket abortions. They get pregnant, and they’re forced to procure risky abortions by untrained providers or have a baby against their will. At best, they succeed. At worst, they bleed to death or lose their fertility to a massive infection.

Oh, and they will suffer from those cheaper abortions. I’d bet all the money I have that someone will make it so the prohibition against paying for abortions will extend to paying for the complications from botched abortions. Or they’ll extend it to birth control, IUDs, and all those things that wackos say “kill babies”. Before long, everything that has to do with your right to exercise your entirely legal reproductive rights will damn you to fork over big bucks. No assistance. No coverage.

Lo and behold, our fucking Democratic majority has opened its collective asshole and shat out a mammoth steaming pile of shit that only allows us to avoid bankruptcy by medical bills only if we promise to be good girls and never ever kill babies.

There’s your Hope™ and Change™. You thought that Democrats were cool with just throwing gays under the bus? We’re not stopping at anything. Fuck the poor. Fuck women. Fuck the environment. Fuck the Middle East. Fuck accountability. Fuck ending tax cuts. Fuck our progressive base. Fuck federal law and Roe v. Wade and the things we could do with a Democratic majority.

If you have a Senator that would otherwise vote to pass this bill (mine are all Republicans), please, for your rights, send them a letter. Give them a call. Do something! Otherwise, I’m afraid that this is the death-knell for reproductive rights.

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Democrats (also) hate women

Lest you forget, know that the people who run America really hate women. No, really, they do. Underneath all that “hopey changey” bullshit is deliberate callousness that will not hesitate to throw women, gays, minorities, and the poor under the bus to get what they want.

Lo and behold, the steaming pile of shit that is HR3962. Just like all of the bills coming out of the House and Senate, the newly passed HR3962, known as the “Health Care Bill”, defines “basic health care” as “basic care for human beings who don’t have vaginas”. Among the services that sub-humans need and are therefore not necessary, of course, are the following: pelvic exams, domestic violence counseling and screening, counseling for STDs, birth control, and abortion. To add insult to injury, none of the above are protected from “cost sharing”, which means that women might possibility be required to pay the costs of these vital procedures out-of-pocket instead of using the affordability credits. Abortion, specifically, is barred from the application of affordability credits, meaning that it must be paid out-of-pocket.

This, of course, raises the question of how exactly women are going to afford to have abortions. Most private insurance companies do provide some sort of coverage for things as basic as birth control and abortion. However, a lot of people cannot afford private insurance, such as single mothers who don’t’ work enough hours to be eligible. Effectively, this will create a gender-tiered system of medical care, with men on the top, rich women with private insurance below them, and poor women with state insurance below them.

Additionally, will the new insurance deny coverage for abortion complications? Considering how hell-bent the leadership is on crafting a bill prohibiting any sort of reproductive care to women, I wouldn’t be surprised if women were given a red A at clinics instead of care and left to bleed out in the streets.

Of course, erectile dysfunction is on the list of things that will continued to be covered by insurance. So while you can get boners with medical assistance you can’t prevent pregnancy, end pregnancy, check if you can get pregnant, protect your ability to get pregnant, or protect yourself from abuse even if not pregnant. In short, the state thinks that funding a man’s right to have a sufficiently manly boner with the people’s taxes is totally more important than providing vital medical care to people with vaginas.

In other news, I’m looking forward to not voting in the next election if my choice comes down to a man who hates women and a man who really hates women.

Terrorism: Doctor George Tiller, one of only three doctors willing to provide late-term abortions, viciously gunned down by far-right extremist

A long target of the extreme right and a survivor of a previous murder attempt, George Tiller was tragically gunned down while serving as an usher in his local church. The late doctor Tiller ran one of only three clinics in the United States that provide abortion after the 21st week of pregnancy. Scott Roeder, the alleged killer, is a known anti-abortionist extremist who had been linked to various far-right groups and had previously been arrested with explosives allegedly destined to be detonated at an abortion clinic.

Tiller was a controversial figure in his Kansas home, where state law prohibits late-term abortion unless at least two doctors certify that continuing pregnancy would cause the woman “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”. The doctor has been targeted before for alleged violations of state law, but his sole trial led to an acquittal of all 19 misdemeanor charges.

Doctor Tiller survived constant harassment by high-profile and local extremist figures, legal persecution, and attempts and threats on his life in his dedication to providing a vital service to women’s reproductive health. In a nation beset by misinformation and lies about abortion, he will be sorely missed.

Dr. Tiller was a diamond in the rough, who has sacrificed so much for women’s reproductive freedom. In a single act of terrorism, the number of people who are willing to provide half of the nation with a life-saving procedure if tragedy strikes has decreased 33%, and is now down to two.

It’s truly sickening that anyone could politicize the heart-wrenching and personal choices of the women who have to choose late-term abortion away, while pretending that this callous and disgusting murder was anything but a political manifestation of a culture’s hatred of a woman’s reproductive freedom.

I grieve for a world who has lost a brave and selfless man. And I grieve even more because I feel like the battle is lost. When people can go on camera and defend the cold-blooded slaughter of someone who had the audacity to use their medical education to grant women the reproductive choices they require, I feel like we’ve lost.

I have studiously avoided the news today, and I will tomorrow, because of the emotions stories like the ones you posted inspire in me. I can’t help but feel anything but a hopeless crushing agony.

Are women so reviled that even our physicians must be hounded off the mortal coil? Dr. Tiller paid the ultimate price for a medical defiance of the patriarchal colonization of the female body. I feel nothing but despair at the knowledge that now there are only two brave doctors to service the needs of a nation of millions.

What a travesty. Rest in peace Doctor George Tiller. May you find peace in an afterlife more merciful than a nation that stood idly by let your commitment to women’s freedom condemn you to years of harassment and a horribly unfitting end to a beautiful and selfless life.


More information:

Democracy Now!

The Toronto Star

Patients Remember Doctor Tiller

Tiller’s account of his decades of harassment and fear

Melissa McEwan’s open letter to Obama

A Fascist Movement in Our Country

Reactions from Doctor Hern, one of two surviving American doctors willing to provide late-term abortion

Who Killed George Tiller?

Why Clinic Violence is Obama’s Problem

Women in Media & News

A Foreshadowing

George Tiller Needs More Than Candlelight Vigils

A solemn statement from NY Governor Paterson, and a sub par statement from President Obama.

Obama wouldn’t care if they confiscated my uterus

I am a lazy no-good navel-gazer. With the advent of the new semester my routine has transformed from sitting on my ass at home to paying thousands of dollars to sit on my ass on campus. Nevertheless, I have woefully neglected my blog and my loyal readership of three, maybe four, people that serve as my awesome echo-chamber of personal superiority. Or so I’ve been told.

Nevertheless, there is this nasty story about the federal government’s newest scheme to reassert dominance over the wayward uterus that I feel miserable about not covering when it was first brought to my attention. Scheduled to go into effect in late September, the proposal requires all agencies receiving aid from the Department of Health and Human Services to sign agreements stating that they understand that “discriminatory” actions taken against those who object to abortion on either moral or religious justifications will result in a loss of federal aid. Long story short, Bush and his godbag posse would like to make it illegal to “discriminate” against people that refuse to do their jobs, assuming that posing a significant barrier to someone’s full exercise of reproductive agency is protected by law, while the actual exercise of that reproductive agency itself is not.

Furthermore, the proposal seeks to redefine abortion as:

…any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.

Obviously, Washington has now decided that it knows a hell of a lot more about abortion and pregnancy than every credible gynecologist on the planet. Since 1965,  the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has defined pregnancy as the advent of “conception… the implantation of a fertilized ovum”. The horseshit proposed above (pay attention to the emphasis added by moi) would classify things like hormonal birth control and Plan B as “abortion”, whereas the ACOG–a far more credible source–has defined such measures as plain-Jane birth control. If this measure goes into affect next month without challenge, millions of women across the nation could be denied access to simple birth control by the whims of people permitted to not do their jobs and still get paid.

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Dear Conservatives, I’m Pro-Abortion! And You Know What That Makes You?

Anti-American!

I really tire of the abortion debate. Even so-called liberals that I have contact with through various political groups always claim to understand the motivations behind the Anti-American clusterfuck that is the conservative party and their holy quest to deprive women of fundamental freedoms.

I’m talking, specifically, about reproductive freedom.

You dudes: us women, well, we don’t rape people in the same numbers you do. We can also chalk our violence up to mental deficiencies, rather than the self-perpetuating prophecy of masculinity. If you weren’t content with the free pass the justice system has given men to rape women that I detailed exhaustively in my last post, your penis-buddies on Capitol Hill also would like us women to know that they value the “life” of a clump of cells, a fetus, or whatever you want to call it, more than freedom.

Because in case you haven’t gotten the message: America’s “freedoms” only apply to white men. Also, because I’m having a bad day, I tire of talking points and meaningless posturing.

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Abortion as art to protest society’s definition of the female body

All over the news is general outrage that Aliza Shvarts, a senior Yale art student, inseminated herself and then induced miscarriages with herbs to harvest the fluids for her art. Now it comes to light that the piece is an elaborate hoax:

“The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body,” said Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky.

If indeed, it is a hoax, then I am glad that the poor girl did not have to suffer to make her point. Although, she did make a brilliant and controversial point.

A woman’s body is meant to titillate or to bear life. A woman’s womb falls under the eminent domain of the state, evidenced by the outrageous controversy over abortion and prostitution. In short, a woman’s agency does not extend over her own reproductive organs, or so the popular sentiment continues to claim with insipid discussion of abortion and birth control.

However, Shvart’s project directly opposes that notion in the most shocking and contentious way possible. It takes this illogical view of a woman’s womb as scared and brilliantly defiles it with the bloody taboo of a self-induced pregnancy termination. There seems to be the general sentiment that a miscarriage is something ordained by God, and that what happens in the magical and mystical uterus is the domain of the Cloud-Father and the all-seeing state, not the woman herself. A miscarriage chosen by a woman, and not for practical purposes? Well, that’s just not done.

Furthermore, it may blur the lines. What separates menstrual fluid, an abortion, and a miscarriage? Our morally upright God-crusaders would like us to believe that life begins at conception or some other such nonsense based on superstition, misinterpretations of a really old book, and “ewww gross” reactions that they really should have grown out of at seven. If the story was true, the viewers of Shvart’s piece would be unable to tell. The hip and savvy art student could even ask the horrified viewers to pinpoint which blood clot contains the soul for maximum humor.

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