We hear about so many bad laws. We need to hear about the good ones. Like the UK law stating that a pregnant woman has the right to wee in a police officer’s helmet. (Thanks, K!)
Turkish politicians keep on coming up with the good stuff. The latest, perhaps in honour of Kate giving birth, is from health minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, who said today that women should avoid having epidurals if they don’t want to raise cowardly babies. Not sure how the mother’s pain will help the baby be more courageous: perhaps he meant these children would be less afraid of hurting women? Hypnosis is preferable, he says, just about, as it makes for a more ‘natural’ birth. The news item is here, in Turkish. If you click on the little british flag, you’ll get this computer generated translation – terrible, but you’ll get the gist.
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
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.
Shrage in NYT on ‘forced fatherhood’ June 15, 2013
With the prospect of father’s day ahead over the weekend, Laurie Shrage (left) has a piece for the New York Times confronting the issue of ‘forced fatherhood’, and whether (in limited contexts, namely, those in which women can in fact access contraception and abortion services) women’s reproductive autonomy is unfairly greater than that of men. In an instance in which a woman becomes pregnant without the consent of the male partner to the pregnancy (e.g. due to contraceptive accident), she suggests that we have an unfair case of ‘forced fatherhood’. In such cases, a man is required to undertake the significant (at least) financial responsibilities that he has not voluntarily undertaken.
‘just as court-ordered child support does not make sense when a woman goes to a sperm bank and obtains sperm from a donor who has not agreed to father the resulting child, it does not make sense when a woman is impregnated (accidentally or possibly by her choice) from sex with a partner who has not agreed to father a child with her.’
Policies that require biological fathers to take on such financial responsibilities are punitive, she argues, and can be viewed as a way of controlling sexual behaviour (in the way that inability to access abortion punishes women for being sexually active).
Moreover, rejecting this policy that requires the biological fathers to undertake financial responsibilities could open up ways of conceiving fatherhood that move beyond biological relationship (I like this point: as my two siblings and I write our father’s day cards, only one of us will be celebrating our biological father, but he’s a father no more and no less to each of us!).
This raises many interesting questions about what grounds parental responsibilities, and has -unsurprisingly – generated considerable response from the feminist blogosphere.
Here’s my take on the objections that have come up (after the break):
Watch the Makers Documentary Online! February 28, 2013
A while ago I complained about a TV series that seemed to be glorifying a bunch of rich white men as the people who made America.
And a short while ago Fem Phil posted about the PBS documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America.
In case anyone missed it on TV, you can watch the whole thing (yup all 3 hours) here or here. (The first link doesn’t contain commercials, as far as I can tell. Apologies if the video doesn’t work everywhere. I tried searching Youtube as well but couldn’t find another version.)
And if anyone ever followed Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy, she is still occasionally throwing out a blame or two, in between blogging about the various ailments her horses suffer from. She points out some irony regarding the commercials for the documentary:
“Despite the title, during the station break a voiceover described the doc’s subject as “women who ‘helped’ shape America.” Women are helpers, yo, just in case this film causes you to forget that for a moment.”
And in classic Twisy fashion, she helpfully suggests,
Here, Voiceover, let me “help” you kiss my entire ass.
(If it’s not obvious, I miss IBTP.)
I haven’t watched the documentary yet, but I’m hoping it’s good. Twisty links to a few articles on it in her post. And Chris Hayes talked about it some on his Feb 9th show–you know, the one where he devoted the WHOLE TWO HOURS to the women’s movement (both local and global, past and present.) The show, while containing a few awkward kumbaya moments, had some of the best dialogue I’ve seen about how to address the women’s movement without slipping into American-centric white middle class feminism. (If you can watch MSNBC shows, you can watch it here by hovering over “recent shows” on the left and finding Feb. 9th.)
Charlotte Witt on Baby Boxes February 11, 2013
Feminist philosopher Charlotte Witt has an excellent piece in the Boston Review.
There is a hidden political dimension to the debate over children’s right to know. The debate presupposes a bionormative view of the family, which holds that families formed via biological reproduction are the gold standard or Platonic form of the family. The implicit bionormative assumption emerges in the thought experiments above. When we ask about children placed in baby boxes (and subsequently adopted), our intuitions might favor the notion of a right to know. But when we consider families formed by biological reproduction, our intuitions do not line up to support such a right. Rather, we think that the mother who is estranged from her family of origin, or who does not know who or where the father is, has the right, and, indeed, the obligation, to determine what to tell her child about family and ancestry, and what not to tell her. It is a question of the child’s welfare, not the child’s rights. In the case of families that do not meet the bionormative standard, however, we are more likely to favor a child’s right to know. This indicates a tacit priority granted to biological or genetic ties.
Who is Notre Dame? January 30, 2013
More on the Notre Dame lawsuit regarding the federal contraceptive coverage rule from Kathryn Pogin and Bridgette Dunlap at the Huffington Post.
The claim to RFRA’s protections for “persons” would seem to rest on one of two theories: either that the term “person” should be read to include a corporation, or, that the corporation represents as-of-yet unidentified human persons, as when a church sues on behalf of parishioners. Notre Dame’s court submissions exhibit confusion on this point, referring to Notre Dame both as having a “conscience” in the singular (suggesting the former), and as having plural “consciences” (suggesting the latter). . .
Regardless of who the lawsuit envisions as the protected belief-holder(s), we believe the proposition that Notre Dame can hold one unified religious belief is antithetical to the very purpose of a university. Notre Dame’s administration appears to disagree. Should it appeal the dismissal of the lawsuit or refile once the contraceptive coverage rule is finalized, the plaintiff should plead who or what is the person that holds the beliefs alleged. Perhaps more importantly, it should inform the members of the Notre Dame community, and those considering joining it, who can rightly claim “We Are ND.”
Catholic Hospital Argues Fetuses Are Not Persons January 26, 2013
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against St. Thomas More Hospital in Colorado. Lori Stodghill, who was pregnant with twins, died from a heart-attack shortly after she had been admitted. Her husband filed a suit in which his lawyers argue that a cesarean-section could have saved the twins, and so ought to have been performed.
Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights.
You can read more here.
Scientists seem to have moved on from their Jurassic Park-esque dreams of “Raising the Mammoth” to a Jurassic Parkesque dream of raising a real live Neanderthal…inside a real live human’s womb.
If you think you have the right qualifications (a womb and, according to one of the scientists involved, an “adventurous” spirit,) you can fill out an application here.
(The application is a spoof)
What is not a spoof, however, is this quote from the same scientist dude (who might have been the inspiration for the scientist in the movie Bats–check the list of quotes for the joke):
… everyone will want to have a Neanderthal kid. Were they superstrong or supersmart? Who knows? But there’s one way to find out.”
Shout-out to my friend Nick for the tip on this one!