It seems unlikely, but anything is worth a shot.
At the beginning of September, the Supreme Court decided to allow Texas to ban all abortions after six weeks (really four weeks, since the six weeks are counted from the date of the last menstrual period) by allowing anyone to sue anyone who has anything to do with someone in Texas getting an abortion. In December, the Court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Mississippi case that is primed to give the very conservative court the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.
On Thursday, in hopes of rallying some support for the Women's Health Protection Act, which would protect reproductive rights beyond Roe, three congresswomen got up and did something they should not have had to have done. They got up and told their colleagues and the world at large the stories of why they chose to have abortions and what being able to make that choice meant for their lives.
Rep. Barbara Lee of California described her experience having an illegal abortion with a back alley doctor in Mexico when she was 16 years old, before Roe.
.@RepBarbaraLee: "I'm compelled to speak out because of the real risks of the clock being turned back to those days… https://t.co/grMSicG9hw— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1633032015.0
"How could I, at 18 years old and barely scraping by, support a child on my own?" Bush asked.
Each of them spoke of their own difficult situations, of the impact the loss of reproductive rights would have on people of color, on the poor, and each pointed out that none of them should have to be doing this.
I love these women, I love how brave they are, and it just hurts my heart that they have to be. It is not right that they feel they should have to carve out their own guts and lay them flat on a table for everyone in Congress, everyone in the country, everyone in the world to see, because they can't think of any other way to make their colleagues understand why others must be free to make their own choices about their own reproductive futures again. Because we live in a world of "wife guys" and "fathers of daughters" who for some reason can only understand how the things they want hurt people when those things affect people they know personally.
The whole point of Roe was, is, that abortion is a private decision, to be made between a pregnant person and their doctor. That should be it, end of story. At this point, we really should not have to explain to anyone the devastation it would cause if abortion were illegal. We don't have to hop in a damn time machine to pre-Roe days to know what happens when abortion is not legal and not safe. We can just look around at countries that do not have legal abortion and see just how horrifying they are, because we can literally just look at what happens in other countries where abortion is illegal now, or was up until recently. It's not pretty.
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This is an important fucking hearing.
This morning, the House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing called "Examining the Urgent Need to Protect and Expand Abortion Rights and Access in the United States," and y'all really ought to watch it if you can. Members of Congress are going to say the word "abortion" out loud, and not only that, several are going to tell their own personal abortion stories.
This is happening against the backdrop of Texas's bizarre and fucked up SB 8 Abortion Bounty Hunter law, and as the Trump fascists on the Supreme Court prepare to hear Mississippi explain why banning abortion is actually GOOD for women, because it will allow them to have God's Little Blessings waiting at home for them making Little Blessing Noises when they get home from working their nine shitty low-paying non-union Mississippi jobs.
Or whatever the goddamn dumb fucking Mississippi attorney general said, it was beyond deranged.
Members of Congress testifying today include Reps. Cori Bush, Judy Chu, Pramila Jayapal, and Barbara Lee. Other abortion rights activists and abortion providers are serving as witnesses, and oh yeah, Gloria Steinem will also be there. Rep. Kat Cammack, a Republican, will be saying anti-abortion asshole words, we guess.
Rep. Bush previewed her testimony on Twitter.
Tomorrow, I will share a story that I’ve never fully told publicly before. I am testifying at the Oversight Commit… https://t.co/q87KgGcohE— Cori Bush (@Cori Bush) 1632942714.0
Lee, Jayapal and Bush also shared parts of their stories on Joy Reid's program:
Lee said she traveled to a "back-alley clinic" in Mexico with a family friend, an experience she said "terrified" her.
"I was one of those that survived and I think it's my duty now, as hard as this is, to talk about it. Because I know it's going to happen again if we don't stop what's taking place," she told NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali. [...]
"I think that testifying makes it official," Jayapal said of the hearing. "It puts it in the record."
The Washington congresswoman shared that post-partum depression after a prior pregnancy influenced her decision to terminate.
"I even contemplated suicide at one time," she said. "And I knew that I was not ready to go through that again." [...]
[Bush] also said she was once against the procedure, but now thinks even ardent anti-abortion opponents can be swayed.
"It wasn't until later on — years later — that I started to realize ... it should not be a partisan thing. It should be about humanity. Humanity and then what is best. Because what may be good for me may not be good for the other person, but the freedom to make that decision has to be there."
Here's a video from Reid's program last night:
The hearing starts at 10 a.m. Eastern. Watch it here:
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Wow, bet not voting would really make women carefree!
The US Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on Mississippi's abortion law on December 1, in a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, unless of course the Court's refusal to block Texas's abortion law already did that. Last Friday, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in an interview with the Catholic TV network EWTN that if the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, were to overturn Roe, it would actually "empower" women. You see, every woman who wants to "have it all" can have a baby and a career, and women who only want a career can also have a baby and a career, which is clearly a bonus.
The Mississippi Free Press watched so we wouldn't have to. Fitch was positively brimming with excellent news for all women, whether they want control over their own bodies or not:
Think about this: the lives that will be touched, the babies that will be saved, the mothers that will get the chance to really redirect their lives. [...] And they have all these opportunities that they didn't have 50 years ago. Fifty years ago, professional women, they really wanted you to make a choice. Now you don't have to. Now you have the opportunity to be whatever you want to be.
Unless what you want to be is no longer pregnant, but Fitch just said you can have whatever you want, so you clearly wouldn't want that. Instead, she explained, "You have the option in life to really achieve your dream and goals, and you can have those beautiful children as well."
Guess that covers all the options: having children and a career, or just having children. What an amazing modern world Mississippi is opening up for the mothers of tomorrow!
Fitch went on to gush about what a terrific development banning abortion would be for all concerned:
Just think about the uplifting, the changing of course for women that have for these new babies, these women. And everyone knows it's all right, it's acceptable. You can have these beautiful children and you can have your careers.
What about women who didn't want children? Oddly, that somehow didn't make it into the conversation. Are there really such women, after all? You'd think Fitch would mention them if there were, so there aren't. Besides, this is about God's plan to empower women by giving them babies! Sometimes that is "more babies," because they already have some, but is there such thing as too much empowerment?
And so this really gets into, how do we empower women? How do we prepare for that next step? And we have to look at it with this whole vision and strategy. And I just think God has given us this opportunity to be here.
Reporter Ashton Pittman notes Fitch made a slightly similar claim, albeit a bit less chirpily, and minus the God stuff, in the state's formal argument to the Supreme Court in the case, asserting that the old-fashioned restrictive choices for women that informed Roe are simply not a problem that women today have to think about! For one thing, contraception is far more readily available (for now) than in 1972, and presumably it works flawlessly, doesn't it? And with Obamacare, women don't even have to pay for birth control! Lucky thing last year's Texas lawsuit against the ACA, which Fitch signed on to, didn't eliminate that, huh?
Further, Fitch argued, having a child is no longer a burden of any kind, unlike in 1973:
Roe suggested that, without abortion, unwanted children could "force upon" women "a distressful life and future." [...] But numerous laws enacted since Roe — addressing pregnancy discrimination, requiring leave time, assisting with childcare, and more — facilitate the ability of women to pursue both career success and a rich family life.
The Free Press notes that a group of economists filed an amicus (or WTF?) brief with the Court, specifically challenging Fitch's assertions, calling them "particularly bizarre, as the United States is one of only two countries without a national paid maternity leave policy," and noting that even the US's existing law providing 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave is only available to about half of working women because the law has so many exceptions.
The economists also noted that childcare is often prohibitively expensive, and not even a realistic option for many low-wage workers whose shift times frequently change, and which include nights and weekends. As for federally funded daycare, forget it because only one in six eligible parents can actually get in. Maybe Fitch should support Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda!
Fitch's claims are further belied by the demographics of women who actually seek abortions, the economists said. Roughly 75 percent
are "low income"; 59% already have children; and 55% "report a recent disruptive life event such as the death of a close friend or family member, job loss, the termination of a relationship with a partner, or overdue rent or mortgage obligations." Those women, the economists note, "overwhelmingly lack access to paid maternity leave or to affordable childcare."
The brief also cites a 2020 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that compared the outcomes of women who either got abortions "just prior to a gestational age cutoff" and those who were denied abortions because they went to clinics later than the cutoff point. Not a big surprise: The women who were able to get the abortions they sought had significantly fewer financial hardships five years later than the women who had to carry the pregnancies to term:
[Over] the subsequent five years, the average women in the turnaway group experienced a 78% increase in past-due debt and an 81% increase in public records related to bankruptcies, evictions and court judgements.
"The financial effects of being denied an abortion are thus as large or larger than those of being evicted, losing health insurance, being hospitalized, or being exposed to flooding due to a hurricane.
Then again, if Mississippi really is able to ban abortion altogether, that disparity would go away, at least among women who couldn't get themselves the fuck out of Gilead, so maybe Fitch has a point. They'll all be so happy with the babies the state will make them have, and if they aren't, well they're just not doing it right. What a blessing!
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It's your very bewildered Sunday show rundown.
Among the MANY INSANE THINGS about the anti-abortion bill Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott signed is that it doesn't even include perfunctory exceptions for rape and incest, which conservatives often add to make it look like they're not complete monsters. Abbott, when asked about this days after law went into effect, said it didn't matter because they would just stop all the future rapes by arresting all the future rapists:
This is an incredibly bizarre statement. When asked why sex assault victims who get pregnant have to carry to term… https://t.co/1GYAjrFk5e— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1631032631.0
That was then.
On "Fox News Sunday" this weekend, host Chris Wallace, after giving Abbott a platform to spew hatred against immigrants and asylum seekers, in the guise of "border protection," asked about the Texas abortion ban. He specifically asked Abbott about his stated intention to prevent all the future rapes, in what we can only assume was an attempt to give Abbott a chance to make himself look a little bit less insane.
It did not work.
WALLACE: You signed a law in May that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks. And there is no exception and that law for either rape or incest. [...] Now, in 2019, which is the last year that we have numbers for, almost 15,000 cases of rape were reported in your state of Texas, and almost everyone says that that's a severe undercount, there are a lot more cases that just aren't reported. Is it reasonable to say to somebody who is the victim of rape and might not understand that they are pregnant, you know, until six weeks, well, don't worry about it because we're going to eliminate rape as a problem in the state of Texas?
After saying some disingenuous "thoughts and prayers"-type things about victims of rape and incest, Abbott mostly ignored the question. Wallace tried again, but Abbott made clear the real intent of the law:
WALLACE: Let me just ask this question, a state representative, Republican state representative is -- says that he's going to offer a new measure that would restore the exception to the Texas abortion law for victims of rape and incest. If that came to your desk, will you sign it or not?
ABBOTT: Well, we've got to go back, Chris, to what the reason was why the law was passed in the first place. And the goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heartbeat. And so we're -- we're working to achieve that goal.
WALLACE: Including -- including a child -- including --
ABBOTT: Chris -- I -- I got to point this out, Chris, and that is what this -- this --
WALLACE: Including a child of a rape -- of a rape?
ABBOTT: This -- this goal is consistent with what the United States Supreme Court has written, and that is states have the ability to make sure that we protect the health and safety of both the mother and the child. And that's what we are seeking to do here.
So Chris Wallace gave Abbott a THIRD chance, and in response Abbott TRIPLED down.
WALLACE: But so just -- just to lock this down, are you saying, sir -- I don't mean to interrupt, but are you saying that you will not sign an exception for rape and incest?
ABBOTT: Well, first, I've got to tell you, Chris, you're -- you're making a hypothetical that is not going to happen because that bill is not going to reach my desk. But, second, again, the goal is to protect the life of every child with a heartbeat.
One thing's clear: Texas Republicans love unborn fetuses -- allegedly -- but they sure don't seem to give any sort of fucks about pregnant people or children. Texas has the eighth highest maternal mortality rate in the United States, in a country that already has the worst maternal mortality rate of any developed country.
But what about the fetuses Texas "saves"? Well, Texas has the highest raw number of children in poverty and the 12th highest child poverty rate (19.2 percent) in the nation. Its overall poverty rate (13.6 percent) is number 11, and it comes in ninth when it comes to families with annuals incomes below $10,000 (3.9 percent). Those children who survive the Texas Hunger Games are "treated" to the
best 34th in education Texas can provide. If they reach adulthood, their voting rights have a pretty good chance of being suppressed! What a "cherished" life that Texas has to offer!
Have a damn week.
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