Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Guns and Abortions August 10, 2014

Filed under: abortion — annejjacobson @ 6:55 pm

The Supreme Court has held that in the US people have the right to keep guns for self-defense. A lot of us are not happy about the abundance of guns in the US. Why don’t we try to enact laws that make it very difficult to manufacture guns and bullets, that curtail the presence of gun stores and outlaw their sale at conventions?

The problem with this anti-gun strategy: if people have the right to bear arms, then legislative bodies cannot place undue burdens on exercising that right. Huh! But the Supreme Court has also recognized a women’s right to an abortion, and many states are trying hard to make it impossible – or at least very burdensome – for a woman to get one.

The analogy here has been recognized by a judge very recently and it looks as though we may have a new argument to stop states that are trying to drastically limit a women’s right to abortion.

From Linda Greenhouse at the NY Times:

In this week’s opinion [using an analogy with gun ownership], … a federal district judge in Alabama, Myron H. Thompson, … declared unconstitutional the state’s Women’s Health and Safety Act, which required doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law would have shut down three of Alabama’s five remaining abortion clinics.

Guns and abortion? That’s a pairing no previous judicial opinion has made. “At its core, each protected right is held by the individual,” the judge explained. “However, neither right can be fully exercised without the assistance of someone else. The right to abortion cannot be exercised without a medical professional, and the right to keep and bear arms means little if there is no one from whom to acquire the handgun or ammunition.”

Do I have to point out how delicious this analogy is? Of course, it’s unthinkable that Alabama would regulate firearms dealers to the point of extinction. But recall the June day 22 years ago when the Supreme Court, to the surprise of nearly everyone, reaffirmed the right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It was unthinkable then that nearly a generation later, states would flagrantly be regulating the practice of abortion (in the name of women’s health and safety, no less) out of business — a goal that Texas, enabled by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is close to achieving…

By pairing gun rights and abortion rights, Judge Thompson was not just indulging in shock value. He was making a profound point: that a right — any right — without the infrastructure and the social conditions that enable its exercise is no right at all.

 

SCOTUS does it again June 30, 2014

Filed under: abortion,bias,empowering women,human rights — annejjacobson @ 6:46 pm

I don’t understand why contraception meds can be disallowed while viagra isn’t (but see comment one).  Still, if you think businesses have no business deciding on the availability of certain contraceptives, then TAKE ACTION.

Use the link above to go to the petition.

image

 

Reader query: Presenting both sides? September 25, 2013

Filed under: abortion,teaching — jennysaul @ 10:38 am

A reader writes:

I’m going to be a TA for the first time this fall, and the class I’m TA-ing for is Intro to Ethics.  As is probably pretty common in Ethics classes, one of the topics will be abortion.

And I’m not sure it’s morally permissible to use what authority I have as a TA to argue against the permissibility of abortion.  The whole “devil’s-advocate” approach is one of the reasons I really don’t like academic ethics, but I don’t know how else to treat the subject without upsetting pro-life students and possibly getting in trouble for failing to uphold the “neutrality” that seems to be expected of teachers.

Any advice?

 

Feminism and Cookies August 4, 2013

Filed under: abortion,video games — Stacey Goguen @ 4:20 am

Two recent stories about sexism have made me think about cookies. So I’m posting about them together.

1) When North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was running for the office, he was asked, “If you’re elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?”  He responded, “none.” 

He recently signed a bill that put further restrictions on abortion.

His response to protesters who were upset with him signing a bill he promised not to sign?

He gave them cookies.  According to WaPo, “The cookies were returned, and it wasn’t because he forgot the milk. The note on the untouched plate read: “We want women’s health care, not cookies.””

2) Anita Sarkeesian just released the 3rd and final video on the videogame trope of Damsels in Distress. (Future videos will discuss other tropes in video games.) The video game development blog Gamasutra posted about it, to which many peopled commented.

Some of the comments stuck out to me because they were some of the clearest, most charitable articulations of why people see basic feminist arguments as untenable.

For instance,

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the ‘damsel in distress’ type of game. Sexism comes in from how you depict the damsel. I just don’t think that every example she gave of sexist games are necessarily as malicious as she makes them out to be.”

When another commenter points out that Sarkeesian does not accuse these games of being “malicious,” the original commenter replies,

“Maybe malicious is too strong of a word to use, but her tone is definitely condemning. Spelunky developers made it so the player could rescue a male or dog instead of a female and instead of even saying thanks for trying but its not good enough, smacks them back down and further criticized them for making the female replaceable. If you don’t want to say malicious choose a different word for publicly talking down to them because she did not approve of their attempted fix.”

If I understand this argument correctly and charitably, it is something like this:

Yes sexism exists, but if someone wasn’t explicitly trying to be sexist, they deserve a cookie and not condemnation. [suppressed premise: Because not f***ing up is hard. And public disapproval makes us feel negative. And sexism makes us feel negative. And aren't we trying to get rid of things that make us feel negative?] (Okay maybe that wasn’t so charitable. But accurate, I think.)

Takeaway ‘lesson’ from both of these stories:  Cookies and niceness–as opposed to actually doing the hard work of swallowing one’s pride and working to fix the problem–are the better ways to approach sexism.

Other takeaway lesson:  Some people think that equality for women is about making them feel warm and fuzzy; not about anything like giving them access to full agency and control over their image, their lives, and their destiny?
(Also they think women not being mad at them is more important than improving the lives of those women?)

 

How to be right for the wrong reason July 16, 2013

Filed under: abortion — theano @ 6:24 pm

Hot off the multi-media press: a veiled putative video parody posted to YouTube yesterday by a group of University of Colorado Boulder students, describing a movement they call #BroChoice. “A bro-choice is where I am pro-choice because I am a man and if women don’t have access to abortion on demand then I won’t get laid as often”:

 

Tampon-gate July 12, 2013

Filed under: abortion,discrimination,gender inequality,politics — philodaria @ 8:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

Tampons and other feminine hygiene products are not being allowed in the Texas capitol building today, for the hearing on House Bill 2 restricting abortion rights. Guns are still allowed. And no, this is not from The Onion. 

 

Vaginas of Anarchy July 10, 2013

North Carolina’s GOP tacked on abortion restrictions to State Bill 353, which was the Motorcycle Safety Act. This, just after tacking on abortion restrictions on to House Bill 695 (originally aimed at banning the recognition of Sharia law in family courts). As of this moment, I can’t access the new text of the bill via the official NC legislative site, but you can find more information from those on the front lines on twitter.

And in the meanwhile, here’s a song about what’s been going on (with some explicit language).

UPDATE: More information from HuffPo:

On Wednesday morning, state Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) wrote on Twitter, “New abortion bill being heard in the committee I am on. The public didn’t know. I didn’t even know.”

 

Rick Perry on what Wendy Davis should have learned June 27, 2013

Filed under: abortion,autonomy,politics,reproductive rights — philodaria @ 8:14 pm

You read that right. Rick Perry think he knows both what Wendy Davis has or has not learned from her own experience, and what Wendy Davis should have learned from her own experience. He must have some amazing (and, seemingly, impossible) epistemic skills.

“Who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can’t lead successful lives?” Perry asked in a speech at a convention held by the National Right to Life organization. “Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She’s the daughter of as single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, and that every life matters.”

Of course, this quote illustrates that he has fundamentally missed the point, and is trying to change the subject.

 

Filibuster won the battle, but… June 26, 2013

Filed under: abortion — KateNorlock @ 10:39 pm

Although the filibuster staged by Wendy Davis to block the omnibus abortion bill succeeded (see below ), the work isn’t done.  Gov. Perry has called the state senate back to work.

 

Congratulations Wendy Davis, Congratulations Texas

Filed under: abortion — magicalersatz @ 8:41 am

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Sometimes you win one. The state legislature of Texas voted to pass SB5 (the bill that would in effect close 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics), but the Lieutenant Governor of Texas has ruled that the vote took place at 12:03am – 3 minutes past the deadline.

You can see video of Wendy Davis addressing the crowd of supporters here:

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/34952503/highlight/375501

 

 
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