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Apr 22 2008

MO State House: “Women are morons”

Let us now turn to an abortion story that ought to be a hoax but isn’t.

And so it came to pass that the Missouri state House gave a big thumbs-up to a bill that, among other things, would require abortion providers to “offer pertinent information” to women 24 hours prior to their procedures.

The actual pertinence of the information is in the eye of the beholder, of course. If this spinster aunt were the beholder, I would inform any woman who asked me that being forced to wait 24 hours for an abortion is misogynistical, condescending, and incon-fucking-venient.

I would add that being shamed into enduring a theatrical production in ultrasound starring the uterine growth’s precious angelic heartbeat is anti-choice melodrama.

I would also point out that being made to inspect anti-choice pamphlets is abuse, since slogans like “life begins at conception!” are merely arbitrary edicts frothing up from the patriarcho-godbag gash in the fabric of Truth ‘n Beauty, and are unsupported by any scientific evidence.

Not that anyone would ask me, of course. Women have been disposing of uterine growths for millennia without my advice, and frankly I like it that way.

But unfortunately the eye doing the beholding in this case is not only not me, it’s not anyone who gives a fig for women’s liberation from biological slavery; it’s the dudely Missouri State House of Representatives, proud usurpers of private uteruses, superciliously hiding behind some bogus and supremely antifeminist idea of “informed consent.”

“Informed consent” means “Hysterical moron pregnant ladies cannot be relied upon to discharge their duty properly, so the State’s gotta get all up in there.”

The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where I can’t imagine anyone will have the balls to poo-poo it.

45 comments

  1. ate

    It’s the terminology that really gets to me. If they simply admitted they were handing out propaganda from the anti-choice brigade – or even called it ‘alerting you to your options’ or something equally facile – I’d probably deal with it a lot better. If it was limited to medical hoo-ha and diagrams I’d probably be reasonable about it. Informed consent? What do they think that means? How about a brochure that points out that by having a child you are submitting yourself to a lifetime of further being controlled by the patriarchy with no chance of escape. Because who do they expect to raise that kid (at the full and total expense of say, fulfilling your own dreams)? You. Who do they expect to take responsibility for that kid? You. Who will they blame if anything goes wrong? You. Don’t think that dragging the father into the bargain will help. No, no. Because then you won’t just be serving the child, you’ll be serving and taking second place to Nigel too!

    Instead there is the shiny, glossy, crap they hand out, the compulsory counselling session and the waiting time because request and fulfillment, all put in place to cover the so called ‘moral’ or ‘emotional’ side of your choice. All geared toward the implication that because I am requesting a growth be removed (they can call it an abortion if they like, to me it’s a simple medical procedure) that I am somehow uninformed, unaware of the shining lights of truth. What, men that can’t reproduce but sure as hell can tell a lady what to do when he impregnates her are smarter than me? More informed than me? On what grounds please?

    Next up for discussion in the House of Reps: what colour should the pamphlets discussing the moral difficulties in having an appendix removed be?

  2. Jen

    I just adore Reproductive Slavery. I just wish they would advertise it properly. They can dress it up in “information” as much as they want, but the Missouri legislature is just continuing thousands of years of regarding females as reproductive slaves.

    A proper response to this nonsense would to hand out pamphlets on the emotional costs of being a single underage mother alongside those who think they are proliferating the holy message of our Cloud-Father and not just the same old misogynistic nonsense. I thought that it was common knowledge that being a mother was really hard work, and that being a single mother was even harder work. Considering all that work is unpaid, perhaps we ought to give a little more consideration to it.

    When push comes to shove, I would rather stick a crochet hook up my vagina than churn out more spawn for the patriarchal capitalist machinery against my will. The legislators are delusional if they think that women are actually going to not get an abortion because of some beeps on a heart monitor. In order for abortion-seeking women to agree that life begins at conception, they actually have to believe that the blob of cells is a proper life, which no amount of bullshitting around and pro-life nonsense will make them believe.

    Another layer of stupid to this charade is that I am fairly certain that abortion clinics do not have access to really expensive ultrasound machinery. I have an idea: instead of spending all that money on printing pamphlets, shaming women, and buying unnecessary machinery, we could pay for prenatal vitamins for women who actually want children, hand out free birth control, or properly educate people about sex outside of this ineffectual and condescending abstinence nonsense.

    In hindsight, all of my recommendations would give women agency and treat them like rational human beings. Oh the horror.

  3. Lara

    “The legislators are delusional if they think that women are actually going to not get an abortion because of some beeps on a heart monitor. In order for abortion-seeking women to agree that life begins at conception, they actually have to believe that the blob of cells is a proper life, which no amount of bullshitting around and pro-life nonsense will make them believe.”

    I see what you’re saying Jen, and I hope that is true. Unfortunately, I know of a lot of young women who go into abortion clinics already feeling scared, unsure, and even guilty already because of all the prior patriarchal brainwashing. The reason these laws requiring wait times, ultrasounds, and pamphlets are so ridiculous, misogynist, and even more, threatening is because it will make women feel guilty about making their own decisions with their bodies.
    Don’t like abortion?? Stop sticking your dicks in women, or at least get your balls cut off! Men, pfsh!

  4. Ms Kate

    These people are so ignorant of basic physiology it burns. The VAST majority of abortions are performed on … EMBRYOS! Not feti, embryos. That means they will see exactly … NOTHING. This is going to keep women from having abortions how? Other than the harassment, I mean.

    Nothing to see on an ultrasound, folks. Unless they plan to spool a tape of a 16 week fetus, that is.

    I had an ultrasound to verify a surprise pregnancy of uncertain timing. Even a high quality ultrasound center couldn’t make out important fetal structures at 12-13 weeks – they could only tell it was 12-13 weeks and that I should come back in 4 weeks so they could see what they were looking for. This was 10 years ago, but still.

  5. ate

    But Kate, like Lara said even if there is nothing to see if you go in already scared and worried and guilty it’s not going to make you feel much better. Ultrasounds are linked in films and tv and everywhere with women having babies. We mentally link ultrasound with the word and idea ‘baby’. If you’re feeling guilty or anxious about having an abortion and you are put in front of a machine that triggers the word ‘baby’ in your mind you are going to feel a whole lot worse and find it a whole lot more difficult to think ‘embryo’ instead of ‘small child’. Thus manipulating you into running as fast as you can out of the building, instead of making a real informed choice.

  6. Emily H.

    Their deliberate misuse of the word “consent” is what scorches my hide.

    Consent is the novel idea that a woman’s decisions about what happens to her body are meaningful. Consent is what we use to distinguish between sex and rape. Consent is our goddamned word!

    So of course these woman-hating fuckfaces are trying to subvert its meaning by importing it into their vile theocorporate newspeak: Freedom is slavery! War is peace! Consent is being relentlessly harrassed, second guessed, and manipulted until you do what we want you to do!

    Feh.

  7. ironmaiden

    Jen, I think you are wrong. I don’t think ALL women would change their minds, but this happened to me and I did. It was terrifying and I was extremely emotional and unstable – my boyfriend at the time (accidentally according to him) took me to a clinic that turned out to be one of “those” places and they gave me an ultrasound and bullied me into changing my mind.

    If that happened to me now (which it wouldn’t because I would know to go to Planned Parenthood and not some random place), I would be able to make a rational decision, but at that time it worked on me.

    I have a daughter who is turning 4 tomorrow to prove that it works. (I love her dearly and I wouldn’t change a thing, but it was a damn dirty trick and it pains me that it happens to other women every day.)

  8. saltyC

    Thought experiment:

    What if a society existed that actively discouraged every woman equally who was pregnant from having a baby, and then if she were that adamant about having one anyway, we treated the resulting child like a treasure from the angels– childcare, medical insurance, healthy food, yoga, the works.

    I think they would fund it with the extra money from not having to build prisons.

  9. atheist woman

    SaltyC, I like the way you think! It’s like Twisty (with her blamerific powers of meme change) altering the consent values from default yes to default no. Would that include a non-naziesque gold star approach to the mothers as well?

  10. TwissB

    As the mother of five and survivor of five life-threatening “miscarriages” (just the typical range of causes from physicians failing to check small changes in thyroid level to bacterial pneumonia, etc.) I have absolutely no patience with discussing the infinite variety of ways men think of to harass pregnant women legally or otherwise. I only want to fight back in no nonsense ways that put men on the defensive instead of giving them their jollies. I also want to break the stranglehold that NARAL, Feminist Majority and other professional feminist experts have on a self-perpetuating interpretation of the issue as a Right Wing thing instead of an expression of generalized misogyny and an exercise in invasion and domination of women by men in general. Fluffing up Roe v Wade instead of telling the truth about the way it is designed to keep women endlessly occupied in “saving” it is both insulting and embarrassingly ineffectual. There is no way to avoid relating this to our constitutional non-status so, with apologies, I say go to http://www.equality4women.org and start with “Stop abortion? Fix Men!” No more empty rhetoric and driving with the brakes on.

    Not long ago, I attended a Washington DC rollout of a new promotional campaign by one of the abortion-centered lobbyist orgs that featured a madly elaborate poll result presentation by Celinda Lake with multicolored Powerpoint charts and other presentational paraphernalia all of which added up to the incredibly sophisticated theme of the new sales campaign that throws out the old masterpiece of indirection known as “Choice” and embraces the shiny new empowering term “Decision.” I do hope that readers are suitably impressed.

  11. slythwolf

    It’s the 24 hour clause that scares me the most. Because what that means is that a lot of women who have to travel to obtain their abortions won’t be able to do it–they won’t be able to get the two days off work, won’t be able to afford a hotel room, can’t sneak out during the day when Abusive Male Partner is at work so he doesn’t find out they were ever pregnant.

  12. lump

    Personally I have always thought that a default no makes far more sense. The usual responses when I mention that I don’t think I’ll ever want to have kids range from surprise to shocked horror and are likely to be accompanied by a genuinely puzzled ‘but why not?’. I have yet to hear a sensible answer to my usual response of ‘well, why?’.

    If we all started from the point of view that having kids is now just one of life’s many options, not to be undertaken unless you have thought long and hard about it and have good reasons for doing so, there would be fewer unhappy parents and far fewer messed up kids around. But of course, then we’d be messing with the ‘women are for reproduction’ tenet so I guess those surprised queries aren’t going to stop until the anti-choice patriarchal brainwashing stops, or pigs fly, or the moon turns blue.

  13. saltyC

    Heh. “Why?”

    Another great quote from Repo Man.

  14. Amberbug

    “How about a brochure that points out that by having a child you are submitting yourself to a lifetime of further being controlled by the patriarchy with no chance of escape.”

    I think it would be a great feminist project to create pamphlets delineating the legal costs and patriarchal vulnerabilities of giving birth (or marrying), not only state specific, but including interstate legal changes to women’s status as far as paternity harassment, and marriage/divorce harassment. We should have the information available to choose the state law we give birth under. What can the sperm/fetus stalker do to you legally once you are bullied into birth? Run from support payments? Repeatedly call social services? Harass you in court for custody or visitation ‘rights’? But women are too stupid to understand that, too, so why bother? Give me an empty sonogram, becuz I ‘get’ pictures and stupid rhetoric.
    I’m pretty serious about the legal repercussions brochures, at least for my friends. Anyone know where to start? For both wedding disclosure and for live births. The patriarchy doesn’t like legal disclosures at their designated emotional, irrational or romantic times. But these are by default patriarchal legal contracts, no?

  15. uh huh

    I just want to admire Twisty’s use of the only infix in our language. Nicely put that.

  16. Lauredhel

    That is absobloodylutely not the only infix in our language. There is a whole nother bunch of ‘em.

  17. Hilde Lindemann

    ” . . . slogans like ‘life begins at conception!’ are merely arbitrary edicts frothing up from the patriarcho-godbag gash in the fabric of Truth ‘n Beauty, and are unsupported by any scientific evidence.”

    The sentiment here is admirable, Twisty, but there is a more precise way to put it. Embryos are living entities, so in that sense you can in fact say life begins at conception. But that’s not what the godbags mean. They mean “persons deserving of extra-special moral consideration” are formed at conception, and, not only is that claim unsupported by any scientific evidence, it CAN’T be so supported, because it’s not a scientific claim. It’s a moral one and at the same time a political one. Can’t be resolved by science.

    And SaltyC, your proposal rawks.

  18. chingona

    I had an ultrasound at eight or nine weeks and while the fetus (is it a fetus by then? I’m too lazy to look it up) didn’t look like much, when they zoomed in, there was a heartbeat. If they hadn’t zoomed in, it would have looked about like a kidney bean, and I would have had a hard time picking it out if they hadn’t pointed it out to me. But there was that heartbeat. And because this was a pregnancy we wanted and intended to carry to term, seeing that heartbeat was an emotional moment. If you were already feeling scared/uncertain/guilty, seeing that might have an effect on you. I’ve seen statistics that some significant portion of women who have abortions think it’s wrong. They do it anyway because they feel they just can’t have a baby right now under their particular circumstances.

    That’s just more reason the ultrasound requirement is wrong. If someone has done the mental and emotional work and made their decision, it’s wrong and disrespectful to try to guilt-trip them out of it. For some women, deciding to have an abortion is a no-brainer, but others agonize over it. But just because it’s a hard decision, doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.

    And yeah, I like SaltyC’s idea.

  19. chingona

    Curiosity overcame my laziness. Eight or nine weeks is an embryo on the cusp of fetushood. The helpful Web site said most organs are formed at this point, with the important exception of (pause for dramatic effect) the brain and spinal column.

  20. Lauredhel

    Embryos are living entities, so in that sense you can in fact say life begins at conception.

    Spermatozoa and eggs are living entities, too – we got over Spontaneous Generation Theory 150 years ago.

  21. Sugared Harpy

    There are only two Missouri clinics that provide abortions as it is. One in St. Louis and one in Columbia. TWO. All this legislation for the only two operating clinics left? Their goal is nearly at met: no clinics at all.

    To top it off, women in the St. Louis area (that is, those who are able) drive to Illinois for abortion care.

  22. Hilde Lindemann

    True, Lauredhel. And those who want to say, “Well, but the new HUMAN BEING TYPE-LIFE begins at conception” have a problem as well, because embryos can split into identical twins. Figuring out where life begins ain’t so easy, as any metaphysician can tell you.

  23. Flores

    Lara wrote:

    “Don’t like abortion?? Stop sticking your dicks in women, or at least get your balls cut off! Men, pfsh!”

    That’s exactly what I would encourage. I find the whole debate on reproduction bizarre. There’s no physical reason humans couldn’t refrain from sex acts likely to cause pregnancy. This requires no contraceptive technology. It can only be considered abstinence if you buy into the traditional narratives about sexuality.

    Yet simply not having heterosexual intercourse almost never enters the debate. When it does, non-penetrative sex acts are still treated as an inferior substitute for the supposed real thing.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  24. slythwolf

    Life began about a billion years ago, as George Carlin said, and it just keeps rollin’ along.

  25. kate

    WOW – i just went over and read TwissB’s suggested commentary at:
    http://www.equality4women.org
    WOW – just WOW – thanks for that and Twisty you are my hero as well (thank GOD you are back)
    on a lighter note (and of topic)
    misia – go read her modest proposal:
    http://misia.livejournal.com/1055120.html?nc=289
    i laughed out loud, and that’s a hard thing to get me to do these days…

  26. Sascha

    What I still don’t understand is why we, who are 51% of the human population, keep electing this kind of [expletive].

  27. Octogalore

    From the article: “The bill also would require doctors to offer a woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound of the fetus and feel the fetus’ heartbeat without cost to her.”

    How ironic. That’s acknowledging some women don’t have this opportunity as a given. But instead of working to make it a given, they waste time on secondguessing other women’s decisions.

    Also, as someone with some skin in this game, fetuses don’t have visible heartbeats until seven-eight weeks or audible ones until much later.

  28. kate217

    Amberbug, I think ramifications of marriage/childbirth pamphlets are a brilliant idea.

  29. bluedancer

    “Another layer of stupid to this charade is that I am fairly certain that abortion clinics do not have access to really expensive ultrasound machinery.”

    I know this has been pointed out before, but that’s one of the reasons the anti-choicers want to make ultrasounds mandatory. PP in your city doesn’t have ultrasound equipment or the money to obtain it? Well, doesn’t that suck for them, but so sorry, they can no longer legally perform abortions. Another provider gone, another population of women who for all practical purposes cannot get an abortion; and so the P wins another round in the war on choice.

    *I’m not sure that is what will happen under this law; apparently the abortion provider must provide a geographically-indexed list of facilities where the woman could get an ultrasound, and she may choose to get an ultrasound somewhere other than the abortion facility. It is possible that providing a list of nearby facilities is all that’s required, and that clinics aren’t going to be shut down for lack of ultrasound equipment. However, there is a history of this tactic being used to shut down clinics, and I’m sure it will be used again.

  30. LeggoMyMeggo

    “It’s the 24 hour clause that scares me the most. Because what that means is that a lot of women who have to travel to obtain their abortions won’t be able to do it–they won’t be able to get the two days off work, won’t be able to afford a hotel room, can’t sneak out during the day when Abusive Male Partner is at work so he doesn’t find out they were ever pregnant.”

    Slythwolf, I totally agree… what with 87% of counties in the US without an abortion provider, this is going to seriously and unfairly impact women living in poverty, women of color, rural women, women whose autonomy has been impacted by domestic violence, living children, multiple jobs… I’m sure the legislators had no idea these policies would lead to this kind of imbalanced impact on reproductive freedom! *barf*

  31. Karley

    I just wrote a swell letter to the editor to the Joplin Globe. I’ll post it here if they publish it; since I’ll surely get death threats in the comment page and I’ll need backup.

    (Sample comment: “If you believe in abortion, your mother should have had one!”)

  32. invisible

    Dear Karley,

    Now come on. We use this one all the time, don’t we? For example, to DICK Cheney—your mother should have had one. (An abortion, that is. Time/Space continuum be DAMNED!)

    What am I trying to say?

    I have no idea, as usual.

    I beg you, please don’t inviscerate me. But, if you do, be kind.

  33. No Blood for Hubris

    B-b-but isn’t government-forced maternity a good thing?

  34. felagund

    I think that if they’re going to show the film of the precious little baybee, they should have to show a film of a fifteen-year-old having a tantrum. It’s only fair.

  35. CLD

    “We mentally link ultrasound with the word and idea ‘baby’.”

    The only thing an ultrasound is mentally linked with in my mind is the rather large number of fibroids that took residence in my uterus prior to its removal. I wasn’t going to use it [the uterus] anyway, so I gladly allowed it to leave.

    It gets harder each day to hear godbags talking about pregnant women and tsk-tsking what these women do and don’t do with their bodies; as if these godbags owned the women and their bodies and actually had a right to have an opinion on them. IBTP.

  36. kate

    Leggo:

    Just to nitpic because I think its important to pick out, your statement, “…unfairly impact women living in poverty, women of color, rural women, women whose autonomy has been impacted by domestic violence, living children, multiple jobs…”

    I’m not sure, but I don’t know how being a woman of color in and of itself, outside of other circumstances would automatically disadvantage a woman in this situation.

    I’d say that all women, of whatever “color” are necessarily disadvantaged when economics, geographic remoteness, family support system and whatever else come into play. I may be wrong, but I’d imagine an upper or middle class woman of “color” would enjoy the same advantages of her “white” counterparts.

    This is a common error of thinking that I think needs to be called out. Might I also add that economics is the main issue from which all the other factors usually spring from.

    I’d go farther and say that economics plays a huge role in the power of the fundie/pro-life movement and disempowering women by tying them to child rearing feeds the culture.

  37. Sylvanite

    Having recently had a baby myself, I gotta say it’s a decision not to be entered into lightly. Anything that is less than completely supportive of the woman involved just exposes what a lie the “family-values” rhetoric really is. Everything in the U.S. seems frankly set up to discourage childbearing. No wonder the menfolk have to resort to bully tactics!

  38. Karley

    Dangit! Someone beat me to it!

    http://www.joplinglobe.com/editorial/local_story_115213627.html

    Of course, she has the Planned Parenthood Abortionist Cooties, so they’ll be on her like a flock of crazed seagulls.

  39. Jessica

    Oklahoma just passed a law requiring ultrasounds to be performed on all women seeking abortions. Governor Brad Henry vetoed it, but the legislature voted to override the veto. There is no exception for victims of rape or incest, and women cannot opt out. Either a transabdominal or transvaginal ultrasound must be performed–whichever method gives the clearer picture of the embryo. For abortions early in the pregnancy, that means it has to be done with a probe placed in the vagina.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-dana-stone/oklahomas-anti-abortion-b_b_97672.html

  40. crowlie

    What a shame we can’t send you all a supply of Pennyroyal or RU486 for emergencies.

    Mores the shame that what happens in the good ole US of A is so often immitated in other countries. Our Govt has recently decided to emphasise that marriage is only ever a situation where a man can lord it over his woman, in Australia… so it’s no surprise that our Sydney Anglican PM hasn’t tabled any plans to bring abortion or child-rearing legislation into the 21st century.

  41. Twisty

    You go, Karley!

    (the Joplin Globe published Karley’s hilarious letter to the editor. Read it.)

  42. Meg Thornton

    A suggestion: find the names of the legislators who vote for such things, and offer them gift certificates for vasectomies. That way they can do *their* bit for the whole “preventing abortions” thing. If there’s a female name on the list, she can get her tubes tied instead (although, if there *is* a female name on the list, it’s likely she’d out of her reproductive years anyway. But the hell with it, she can have the surgery too).

    I also think the legislators in question ought to undergo a pelvic ultrasound themselves. Are they aware part of the process requires having a full bladder? This means you have to drink something like two litres of water about an hour before the ultrasound is due. Then they *push down* on the region of your bladder, so on top of having a stranger peering at your lower abdomen (which is a fairly private region for most people) you’re also having to fight not to damn well piss all over them. The full bladder bit is necessary so the ultrasound tech can tell which bit *is* your bladder, rather than guessing. Yays. (No, mine was in order to check everything was in order internally – I had a GP for a time who wanted to know everything inside and out).

    What? Pushing an uncomfortable and probably unnecessary medical procedure on someone is unethical? Well, in that case, get that bloody “compulsory ultrasounds” legislation out of the statute books.

  43. Julie

    I know this is an old topic but I’m glad I found this post. I’m going to have a chemical release of my uterus bandit via RU 486 next Saturday and PP wants $415 for the pill(s) and $100 for the counseling session. When asked if I could forgo the counseling session I was told ‘no, it’s mandated by the state’ and when I asked why it was so expensive I was informed that the state sets the price, even though the state does not pay the counselor or PP for providing the counseling. Don’t you just love that state mandated abortion tax?

  44. Kim

    This is one of the few sites where I love reading comments. No matter how raged I get at the misogynist bullshit I read, I can scroll down and see the responses from 100 other people who are also raged and I can feel a tiny bit better in the knowledge that I’m not all alone in a nation full of pushy white men and deluded jesus freaks.

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