Repro Rights Roundup: Afternoon-Style


A Lame Duck Congress lives up to its name when it comes to fair pay, William Saletan tells women we should compromise our bodily autonomy because two guys have decided it’s a good idea, contraception should be covered for women in the U.S. and more…

  • William Saletan has today’s lessons (for pro-choicers this time) from the recent Princeton University conference which brought together pro-lifers and anti-choice advocates in an effort to uncover common ground (loaded phrase, I know). Please go read it for yourself but I’m having a hard time getting past his suggestion that all women on the face of the earth should offer up control over our bodily autonomy in order to entertain an idea created by two men – what he’s titled the “Garrow-Gushee” compromise – in regards to 2nd trimester abortion legality (or illegality).
  • Fair pay for ourselves and our daughters? The GOP says no – every single one of them. They blocked a vote today to debate the Paycheck Fairness Act even though the House had already passed a version of the bill. Womens’s groups vow to press on but, as Speaker Pelosi tweeted earlier today, women deserve better. 
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the all male organization which decided to hold hostage access to health care for millions of men, women and children so that women and girls around the country – of all faiths – don’t have access to legal abortion has elected its new president. Surprise – it’s the arch-conservative New York Archbishops Timothy J. Dolan. Dolan has vowed to continue the USCCB’s march against health reform if any access to abortion is permitted.
  • The Center for Reproductive Rights delivered a statement yesterday to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women calling for contraception to be covered under all insurance plans as part of the new health reform law. Calling access to contraception a “fundamental human right” the Center’s counsel, Aram Schvey, said that alarmingly high rates of unintended pregnancy as a result of inadequate access to contraception, as well as racial disparities in contraception access and use are public health failures and human rights concerns. Read the full remarks. 
  • The March of Dimes released its newest report on the rates of premature births around the country. Though rates in most states have declined, the United States’ overall score remains at a dismal “D” since rates did not decline nearly enough to meet the Healthy People 2010 goal. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin says much more needs to be done to improve the situation for newborns in the U.S. but the March of Dimes report finds that, for the first time in three decades, the overall rate has declined.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

  • crowepps

    all women on the face of the earth should offer up control over our bodily autonomy in order to entertain an idea created by two men

    I agree.  I was particularly struck by this statement:

    Both concessions would hurt, but that’s what makes the deal fair.

    Find it difficult to see how “the deal” can be “fair” when the deal is being struck by a bunch of men, none of whom would actually be physically impacted or have their persons directly affected by the concessions they believe would “hurt”.  William just can’t seem to grasp that what he and the other two men are deciding is exactly what penalty they, as male moral arbiters of women’s behavior, feel appropriate to impose on women for carelessly getting pregnant.

     

    Also, had to say that the thought that kept running through my head reading his approving croon about the joy of bringing back stigma was the anti-Catholic riots during the 1860’s and the persistent thread of aggressive prejudice against those ‘enslaved by the AntiChrist at the Vatican’.

     

    The problem with bringing back stigma because it might be useful against ‘sluts’ is that it’s always hard to restrict the use of stigma just to yourself and your allies, or keep it directed just at those you personally despise.  Next thing you know people you approve of are dangling from the lamp posts as well, and perhaps yourself as well.

  • colleen

    Please go read it for yourself but I’m having a hard time getting past his suggestion that all women on the face of the earth should offer up control over our bodily autonomy in order to entertain an idea created by two men – what he’s titled the “Garrow-Gushee” compromise – in regards to 2nd trimester abortion legality (or illegality).

    I did read it just this morning. I got stuck in the ‘reclaim stigma’ and the ‘target repeat offenders’ sections because men aren’t even mentioned by Mr Saletan as the subjects of his proposed stigmatization or the repeat offenders who should be targeted. It’s as if he’s unable to imagine the possibility of holding men responsible.

    We really need to stress that the problem is unwanted pregnancies, not abortion. As long as guys like Saletan can indulge in demeaning ‘common ground’ fantasies and concentrate entirely on what ‘we’ should do to naughty women, they are able to entirely ignore the fact that men are always at least 50% responsible for each and every unwanted pregnancy and never have to consider male responsibility or suggest ways that men could alter their behavior in any way to accommodate this fact.It’s outrageous.

    There is something very wrong with a movement that consistently votes for policies and politicians ideologically opposed to any sort of decent treatment for the poor while simultaneously pursuing policies which guarantee a rapidly growing segment of desperately poor women and children.

  • squirrely-girl

    I just can’t take seriously any individual that would promote stigma for any person for any reason. All major areas of social science research have routinely found that stigma only serves as a negative and actually inhibits positive response from individuals. Put in layman’s terms – STIGMA DOESN’T HELP!

     

    Grrrrr at the blatant ignorance of “intellectuals.” :(

    • colleen

      STIGMA DOESN’T HELP!

      I would say that, with the exception of effective, affordable contraception (naturally he does not mention that men can and should also be responsible for contraception) most of what Saletan suggests would not help. ‘Helping’ is not the goal of ‘Third Way’ Democrats, the GOP in it’s endlessly pathetic entirety or the ‘common ground’ or ‘pro-life’ movements.

       

  • crowepps

    There is something very wrong with a movement that consistently votes for policies and politicians ideologically opposed to any sort of decent treatment for the poor while simultaneously pursuing policies which guarantee a rapidly growing segment of desperately poor women and children.

    You’re not keeping in mind that they are Traditional — which means blaming the entire problem and all of its consequences on women.

     

    The ‘compromises’ as he details them sum up as ‘what female misery rate should we men agree to as acceptable in our efforts to punish women for ‘tempting us’ to have sex with them’.

    • colleen

      The ‘compromises’ as he details them sum up as ‘what female misery rate should we men agree to as acceptable in our efforts to punish women for ‘tempting us’ to have sex with them’.

      Bingo (as usual)

      My point is that ‘traditional’ arguments against factoring in male responsibility for unwanted pregnancy were predicated on plausible deniability and that is no longer an option now that we have extremely effective DNA testing and can determine precisely where that sperm came from and who fathered that child.

      The religious right is not going to stigmatize men who are responsible for unwanted pregnancies; they don’t even manage to do anything effective to end rapist or deal with men who are unwilling and unable to contribute to the support of their children. If the religious right started speaking as if men were responsible in any way for unwanted pregnancies the funding and volunteer force for the ‘pro-life’ movement would dry up within a year. The opportunity to publically express one’s loathing of and contempt towards women under the guise of righteousness and piety is the primary attraction.

       

  • saltyc

    OMG that slate article is hideous. How about valuing women’s lives? No mention of that. And of course stigma is the #1 reason for many inintended pregnancies: women don’t talk about their abortions, therefore their sisters, daughters, friends don’t know how it can happen to them.

    How can anyone not see ulterior motives there, that this guy really just wants more women to have babies, whether or not we want them or are ready for them? His language is couched, the blaming and shaming is rife, this is what passes for serious discourse here? He also likes the disconnect in young people’s minds who are pro-sex but anti-choice. Why because this disconnect produces more babies. Pure crap. yes I’m upset.

  • princess-rot

    The ‘compromises’ as he details them sum up as ‘what female misery rate should we men agree to as acceptable in our efforts to punish women for ‘tempting us’ to have sex with them’.

    I think that is what annoys me most about the people who cry about women who use abortions as birth control. It shows lazy thinking. Abortion is birth control, it prevents birth. I’m sure we can all agree that having surgery is not done for fun, but the moral hand-wringing is just irritating, especially when it’s coupled with angsting about the availability of contraception. We gave the slut the tools and she failed to use them! Moral panic!

     

    Oh, the humanity.

     

    Once again, it’s all about female failure and What Women Aren’t Doing For Us. Once again, all the onus is on the female party to either a) prevent pregnancy and be judged for it or b) accept the “consequences*” and be judged for it. Nary a word is said about male entitlement to sexually access women and girls, the male-centric definition of sex, the cultural emphasis on PIV as inherently valuable and healthy for women (within arbitrary and ever-changing boundaries of acceptability, of course), of the societal structure that supports this (Rape Culture) and the fact we place all the burden for the sexual behavior of men, preventing pregnancy, and anything child-related on women.

     

    It’s like the age-old daft question of how many sexual partners does it take to make one a slut? How many abortions before one is officially a bad person?

     

    *The appropriate punishment for female sexual or reproductive misconduct will be decided by totally objective third parties who are not in any way blinded by their preconceived bias.**

    **But they are, or they wouldn’t be sitting on jury duty, they’d be wondering why there is a jury.

  • colleen

    How many abortions before one is officially a bad person?

    According to this particular little suck-ass, one or at least that’s the impression I get when Mr Saletan scolds his (female) readers, “One unintended pregnancy should be enough to warn you—and the doctor who vacuums out your uterus—not to risk another.”

    He needs to understand that the risks to women are in pregnancy, not safe, legal  abortion.

  • crowepps

    I mean, using the ‘technical’ term “the doctor who vacuums out your uterus” isn’t any kind of an indicator that he has a pre-existing BIAS or anything, right?

     

    Too bad he didn’t continue the thought with the logical suggestion that ‘the guy who knocked you up again should have a vasectomy’.  Although actually ‘the guy’ was totally absent from his entire screed.

  • saltyc

    Well it is sad that common ground really is a ruse to take away reproductive rights.

    It was a nice thought, that both “sides” want more access to contraception and material support to children and their parents, as a way to reduce abortions.

    Turns out, according to thus dude, that that wasn’t common ground at all, the “pro-life” side is against contraception and social services, so in order to get that we have to trade in our rights.

    So according to him, there is no common ground, it’s all battle ground. And he’s asking for a Chamberlain-type concession and then what, will the wackos leave the clinics alone? Will there be a return to insurance coverage for abortion? No, we just get pro-life “support” for contraception, though not from the Church of course. Hey Mr. Slaten, you can shove that compromise where the sun don’t shine.

  • colleen

    It was a nice thought, that both “sides” want more access to contraception and material support to children and their parents, as a way to reduce abortions.

    At the end he says that he hates that concession. The fact of the matter is that contraceptive use is  popular with an overwhelming majority of the American people,  Mr Saletan and his equally pathetic buddies should LISTEN to those people and stop pretending this is some sort of barganing chip. The religious right/Catholic church has  a snowballs chance in hell of making effective contraception illegal and their attempts to limit contraception are extremely unpopular and politically impossible. It does not matter what the ‘pro-life’ movement thinks about contraception.They lost that fight a couple of generations ago.

  • squirrely-girl

    …women don’t talk about their abortions, therefore their sisters, daughters, friends don’t know how it can happen to them.

    This is such a great point. Sometime over the summer while I was visiting family I ended up having a discussion with some younger cousins (late teens) about contraception and none of them knew about emergency contraception. Thankfully I was able to have an informed discussion and hopefully it’s information they can share with others. Eeek! 

     

     

  • squirrely-girl

    Well it is sad that common ground really is a ruse to take away reproductive rights.

    I don’t think “common ground” is possible with domestic terrorists. And since when do we negotiate with terrorists?

  • saltyc

    Thank you, I’m glad your cousins know someone they can talk to. That Saleton guy or whatever his name talks like stigma is something taht went away and that’s the problem and the solution is to bring it back. HAH! The problem is the stigma. I guess every priviledged dude remembers the one woman who very nonchalantly talks about not using contraception because she’ll just have an abortion, no biggie, but they don’t remember all the women who are silent and shamed about their experiences. These guys conceptually understand the high number of women who had abortions, but they don’t know who had them and don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t see the stigma maybe because no one would want to confide in them.

  • wholesalenflstore