Mar 07 2014

UterusWatch 2014: Texas godbangers’ brilliant campaign to jam women up

Enough about everybody’s hurt feelings; here’s an actual, ongoing crisis affecting millions of American women who don’t give a shit about feminism’s boring Twitter feuds: the medieval State of Texas has unequivocally seized ownership of all Texan uteruses.

I allude to the redoubtable HB2 of 2013, the telegenic filibustering of which bill catapulted state senator Wendy Davis to cosmic prominence last summer (this week she officially became the Democrat candidate for governor). Because you are no doubt obsessed with Texas politics, you don’t need me to remind you that while Davis’s efforts managed to block HB2, it was later passed anyway, in special session by spiteful misogynists.

The bill is very crappy. What it does, among other woman-hating things, is require either clinics to spend millions to build ambulatory surgical centers, or clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. This, the spiteful misogynists asserted, lying through their teeth, was to improve the “safety” of the already perfectly safe legal abortion.*

Well, cash-strapped reproductive health care clinics in poor communities are obviously not going to be able to build surgical centers, and local hospitals operated by conservative godbags are not going to invite abortion providers to join their misogynist rosters, so HB2 was really about obstructing women’s access to legal abortions. Which is itself really about punishing women.

You know all this already, of course. I bring it up because this week more clinics, this time in McAllen and Beaumont, were forced to close down as a result of this crappy misogynist legislation. In all, all but 6 of Texas’ 43 remaining clinics will bite the dust by September. The closings were nasty to contemplate last summer, but now that it’s actually happening, it just makes you want to pull your own head off. The anguish of the clinic directors is heart-breaking.

“We’ve been well aware that Texas has been against us and on us for many, many years,” said Marva Sadler, a regional director at Whole Woman’s. “But I did not think I would see a day where they would have put up such barriers that now that we’re actually closing clinics, and they’re essentially taking away the right to fair and safe comprehensive health care that all women, not only in the state of Texas, deserve to have. […] I’m grieving for the women. I know the day after we close our clinic, they’ll call and that line is not going to have anyone on the other end to answer their questions. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?”

Indeed. Women from those impoverished Texas communities now face evenmore absurd, burdensome, and potentially life-threatening hassles before they can exercise their legal right to an abortion. They have reproductive health experts like GOP state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg to thank. Laubenberg, one of the sponsors of HB2, really, truly believed, until just last year, that rape kits are what emergency room doctors use for abortions, “where a woman can get cleaned out.”

Laubenberg is a woman, incidentally.

Mang, sometimes you just want take your Mega-Clue1000 ray gun, set it to 11, and zap these oblivious right-wing blisters right in the lobe.


*Hey, asshole Texas teabag legislators: the risk of death from abortion is only one-tenth the risk of death from childbirth. [Guttmacher Institute]



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  1. ivyleaves

    I heard about the 2 closings on the radio yesterday, and I wanted to cry. Same sort of things happening somewhere in the Dakotas. And nobody with power even makes fake noises about it being wrong, wrong, wrong – at least that I know of, I hope someone is talking about it besides my local independent radio station.

  2. Veganrampage

    Well stated, here here, and all that jazz.

    In addition, the godbags in the Senate just defeated (filibustered) NY Senator Gillibrand’s bill to protect military sexual assault victims. So it’s rape ’em, and then leave them to wire hangers. Women just don’t matter, when will we get that?

  3. redruddyred

    I left Texas about a year before this legislation passed, and now can’t imagine going back. I watched the footage on youtube and remember being disgusted, but not particularly shocked upon seeing a security guard push a woman back into her seat upon raising her voice slightly while expressing her disagreement. puke. I’ve kept my residency tho, and while I tell myself it’s for the cheap education, it’s really so that I can vote for Wendy. suck on that GOP.

  4. Twisty

    Well, I love Texas, but definitely not because of the parade of ignorant psychopaths the GOP keep sending to the Ledge/White House. They are horrible and embarrassing, but for me Austin and the big sky and the critters and all that other heartwarming nature crap trumps politics. You will have to pry my cold, dead ass offa these dreadful acres.

  5. Adoreandu

    Hey, maybe that’s something we should work on. Rape kits must include giving victims an opportunity to take plan B from now on. Standard.

  6. Morag

    You mean that Plan B isn’t always automatically offered to rape victims?

  7. Cyberwulf

    The more I read about stuff like this, the more I think we should just murder all men. Or at least castrate them and send them to labour in the tampon mines.

  8. emilybites

    Fucking misogynist scum. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be afraid of getting pregnant when there’s nothing you can do about it. How can anyone keep pretending women have the right to an abortion when they can’t GET an abortion.

    (Oh, Cyberwulf.)

  9. IHaveACat

    I just wanted to say that I am SO grateful for this blog and Twisty’s posts and all the comments. I’ve been reading for years and have found it vital to my well-being. Thank you, deeply and sincerely,

  10. KmtBERRY

    The Remaining clinic in Austin will have to expand to become a true Abortionplex to accommodate all the other women in Texas who are going to have to drive here….seriously, how are they going to handle the explosion in demand?

  11. Owly

    I was a part of the People’s Filibuster. It was exhilarating. I felt like I was high the entire next day, and I was hoarse from screaming and chanting so loudly. But we all knew this would come, we knew our victory was short lived. Even so, it was still so bitterly disappointing when it all came crashing down around us. I went to the Capitol 12 times in like 2 weeks. The sense of futility and hopelessness, coupled with being out of work, made me fall into a bit of a depression for the rest of the summer. The smug looks on the Christian, right-wing, women hating pieces of shit who showed up to counter protest haunted my dreams, I am not even kidding.

    On the plus side, I did get to see a godbag man wearing a shirt that said “I regret my abortion” and a man holding a sign that said “No more abortons.” Yeah dude, abortons are the worst!

  12. Cyberwulf

    Let us create a society like unto bees and ants, most noble of creatures, wherein most of its members are sterile females and males serve but one purpose. Cast out the worthless drones, for it is winter and we have no stores for you.

  13. mll_69

    The same shit everywhere. Here in Spain we are fighting our conservative goverment, which wants to “reform” our somewhat progressive abortion laws and make them a lot more restrictive. Seasoned feminists thought this battle was won decades ago and now this.

  14. TwissB

    Screaming and flailing about is demonstrably ineffectual. So is raising money to bestow on “friendly” politicians who take the money and do whatever they consider necessary to hang on to their jobs.The only weapon women have against blatant sex discrimination is the vote and their ability to talk to other women about using it to make it politically unprofitable to play the misogynist in state and federal legislatures.

    At this very moment, there is a woman in a good suit, nice jewelry, and full war paint commanding the podium at a glitzy hotel on the east shore of the Potomac River assaulting the ears of the remaining CPAC attendees with a rant about how abortion causes women to get cancer and regrets and we conservatives who believe in keeping government out of people’s lives have got to step in and protect these women from their own misguided decisions. For all her annoying telling it like it is mannerisms, she is telling men and the women they control what they want to hear.

    I think that women activists who disagree with her should quit looking in vain to the state house for short cuts to ending the anti-abortion fun and games and start thinking like grown-ups about how to share honest conversations with other women about pregnancy and the fact that there are no legal restrictions on men’s reproductive role and how men use pregnancy to cut women out of the paid work force, hound women out of military careers, make up godly excuses to harass women about having or not having babies. If solidarity among women is possible, it should certainly include the ability to confront men with a long list of their failures as parents, providers, and policymakers on prenatal care, maternity and abortion treatment, child care, schools, etc. Abortion should be included within the range of pregnancy needs, but men should be held responsible for its frequency.

    In trying to understand why women seem willing to cast themselves as pleaders for help from men to lessen pregnancy harassment just a little, I think about the progressive sexual liberation lesson that survives in the minds of so many hip young women that if he says it’s sex, she can’t criticize it.
    Oddly, the more sophisticated they are, the more abjectly they accept silencing about their own sense of what is being done to women to subordinate them in the name of sexual autonomy. Enough said (for now).

  15. TwissB

    A little aside for Stingray:

    Yesterday’s NY Times account of an autistic boy who communicates via bits of script from Disney animated films on which he is fixated. Parents see that he has managed to write in his notebook “i am the proteckter of Sidekicks”. Parents later seize an appropriate moment to ask him what a sidekick is.

    “What is a sidekick?” Cornelia asks him.

    “A sidekick helps the hero fulfill his destiny,” he replies, adding very deliberately “And no sidekick gets left behind.”

  16. Twisty

    Ha! Stingray would tell you that I’m her sidekick. Nice blaming above, by the way.

  17. Lab Rat

    Dang. It’s not like this is a cluster of 43 clinics in Rhode Island. This is Texas! A lot of places don’t even have a gas station within 30 miles. I’m sure the 30 mile thing was carefully crafted so that it would be sure to fuck over the small clinics. The godbags probably ran the numbers and found out that on average it was 22 miles or something to the nearest hospital and decided 30 miles would nicely do the trick. Fucking arbitrary crap.

    Twity, are the courts in Texas just as godbaggy? Is there any chance of a judicial challenge? Or will it all be too littel too late?

  18. Lab Rat

    Twisty! not Twity! Yes, I is an English major. Why do I always think I can sit at the computer without my reading glasses?

  19. CSue

    Gee, I hear that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is fond of spending oodles of $$$ funding health care in other countries. Maybe somebody should give him a kick in his moneybags and let him know that Texas needs a few non-Catholic hospitals, toot sweet.

    Yeah, I know, but a gal can dream.

  20. blamer mom

    And of course, once you have that kid you couldn’t avoid, and probably didn’t want, you will also struggle to care for it forever, if you are low income. TX is EXTREMELY unfriendly to families, no matter the rhetoric they use, lying about family first. The only families the support are patriarchal xtian ones, with lots of money, many kids, a submissive wife, and who refuse all government assistance. Oh, and they must be white. All others are simply fodder for the minimum wage jobs, and to buy their imported crap from mega corps, and pay rent and utilities. Otherwise they could die in the streets and the state wouldn’t give a fuck.

    The state really does everything it can to ensure the poor also have no access tohealth insurane,to deliited docs that even take Medicaid, no childcare, pretty much zero safety net for all, but people w kids are hit the hardest. The schools are horrible, there are no rights for workers. Honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t found a way to block the measly ass federal programs like SNAP and TANF)i guess they are eliminating them nationwide, so they can spread the sickness and hate everywhere.

    I lived in Austin for 8yrs, and my brother and his SO, their daughter are still there. I weep for the kids future there.Most Texans I met were cool, its a shame the nuts rule the roosti could never go back now, especially now that I’m in Oregon. Even though I could get a great job in my industry, I would rather be poor here.
    I do have a solution- all hetero women must stop having sex with men. Period. Until this is fixed, they must suffer. Otherwise they won’t help, and we all know nothing changes in TX unless a white man says so. This won’t stop rape, but if all women also had a nice Bowie knife or 9mm they could at least have a chance. Then women must get together and pass rules banning men from using Viagra, and anything else that will teach them to leave us alone. We cannot win with facts.
    Get a girlfriend or a sex toy and say no thanks to men. Let THEM feel the pinch.

    (My handle is “blamer mom” because once you have kids you don’t ge to have an identity. I refused to make a pact with the devil (marriage), so I can’t be owned by a man. Thus, mom or whore are ywhat men have to choose from for my identity. I’m too old to be beauty2k compliant, and have a bad attitude towards misogynists, so mom it is. I thought it was an appropriate handle for the SAHM like me. Fuck patriarchy.

  21. redruddyred

    Ugh, clearly you did not grow up in Houston. I guess I forget sometimes that not every corner of the state is blighted by petroleum refineries, megachurches, and a complete lack of zoning laws. As you might have guessed, it’s a difficult place to escape. Damn you, suburban sprawl!

  22. Mybodyisacage

    I miss Twisty and hope everyone is doing as well as they can on Planet Misogyny. For some blameriffic fiction, I recommend Dietland by Sarai Walker.

  23. cootietwoshoes

    I’m about halfway through Dietland, and, holy moly, there’s some satisfying Savage Death Island contained within its pages. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Mybodyisacage.


  24. blue stocking

    What a good book! Thanks, Mybodyisacage. I never would have read it without your recommendation. Some great blaming in there — wish it could actually happen like that!

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