Morning Roundup: Michelle Duggar, CPAC Woman of the Year

Fertility can make you woman of the year, Boston public school kids ask for condoms and sex ed, a great description of Lila Rose, Montana rep wants personhood at fertilization, the evolutionary impact of the c-section, Focus on the Family and Planned Parenthood working together, and a love letter to Planned Parenthood.

  • The Conservative Political Action Committee held its annual conference over the weekend. CPAC also held a “Woman of the Year” luncheon honoring Michelle Duggar, star of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Yes, apparently being very fertile will make you woman of the year. Question – what if Mrs. Duggar and her husband were people of color? What if they had hit upon hard times and had to rely on the state for assistance? Hmm – I think conservatives have another phrase for that, and it sure as hell isn’t “Woman of the Year.”
  • A group of students enrolled in Boston Public Schools will go before the City Council tomorrow to ask for sex ed and free condoms in all high schools in the city. The superintendent is “reluctant” to expand condom availability beyond the nine schools that offer them in health centers, and the students also face pushback from at least two Catholic groups. (Hmm, isn’t this PUBLIC school, though?)
  • Joanna Wise for the Boston Globe looks into Lila Rose’s plan to bring down Planned Parenthood, and in the process, transform herself into a star. Read the piece, if only for brilliant lines such as this opener, “It’s no surprise that conservatives love Lila Rose. She has the soul of Phyllis Schlafly in the body of Miley Cyrus.”
  • A Montana state representative will present a constitutional amendment to declare that personhood begins at fertilization. In a wonderful Montana way, the headline for the description of the week in politics reads, “2011 Legislature: Bills on sex education, abortion, wolves highlight busy week ahead.”
  • Are C-sections making smarter humans? The logic – while woman and baby might have previously perished due to a large-headed infant, C-sections allow babies with big brains to be born and carry on the species. Skeptical? Read the article in the L.A. Times.
  • Focus on the Family and Planned Parenthood working together? It’s too early for April Fools, but Jim Daly of Focus on the Family says he wants to work with abortion rights groups to help make the procedure less common, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains says they want to listen.
  • And, for Valentine’s Day, here’s a great love letter to Planned Parenthood, in a Concord Monitor letter to the editor.

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  • ldan

    Are C-sections making smarter humans? The logic – while woman and baby might have previously perished due to a large-headed infant, C-sections allow babies with big brains to be born and carry on the species. Skeptical? Read the article in the L.A. Times.


    That’s a big jump. It assumes that big-brained babies are going to end up with some kind of evolutionary advantage in the industrialized world (where C-sections are common). I don’t believe IQ is currently tied to any sort of reproductive advantage, so I don’t see why an incremental change there would shift that fact.

  • arekushieru

    Well, that was the reason why humans were said to have an evolutionary advantage.  Women’s bodies allowed for a larger brain capacity at birth.

  • ldan

    But that advantage was back in a day when things with sharp teeth and claws caught and ate those less well adapted to avoid them.Wider pelvises then meant being the slow one in the group when running from predators, among other things. Female pelvis size is also an evolutionary development.


    I just don’t see moderately bigger brains providing reproductive advantage *now*. Is there any study showing that people with higher IQ’s are more likely to have kids now, or to have more of them? I would expect to have seen larger brains and wider pelvises over time if that conferred a real advantage in agricultural or industrial societies.

  • arekushieru

    This is true.  I concede the point!  :)

    I would, however, like to mention that I find your comments on women’s pelvic sizes as an evolutionary advantage, interesting.   I think women have smaller pelvic to fetal brain size ratios than many other animals, but, the evolutionary advantage, allowed women’s pelvic areas to ‘stretch’, so to speak, which is why many women experience dislocated bones during childbirth.  However, I’m not sure about this, it’s only an assumption based on what I think I’ve managed to glean, over the years.

  • ldan

    My recollection from 15+ year old classes on human evolution (it was one of the science-ier classes I could fulfil my humanities requirements with), was that the narrower pelvis is required when you look at walking and running upright. Note that the women who do well at racing tend to be narrow-hipped. The actual physics involved made sense at the time, but is well beyond casual recall.


    So the current set-up where women have wider pelvises than men and loosening of connective tissue to allow for that sort of dislocation, along with very squishable baby skulls allowed for a balance between big brains and not killing mothers either in childbirth or because they were such poor runners that they kept ending up lunch for predators.

  • arekushieru

    Well, a woman can’t run as fast as she can when not pregnant, I don’t believe!

  • saltyc

    I recommend it. First you’d have to establish a correlation between homo sapiens with large heads and IQ, the article says weakly “Studies have shown a correlation between IQ and newborn brain size.” Do these studies include babies born prematurely or abnormally underweight? If a big head made you smarter, then tall men would naturally be smarter than short women. 

  • ldan

    True enough. Basically bipedalism had to have advantages that outweighed the disadvantages of bipedal pregnancy or the shift wouldn’t have occured.


    But it’s nice to jabber about something here on occasion that doesn’t make me feel like a broken record as the same arguments get tossed out and chewed up.


    On a more RH-note with regard to the evolution claims, I *really* don’t want to see idiots claiming that C-Sections are good for us and if women want to truly contribute to the advancement of the human race, they’ll all get them. The evidence is too flimsy for professionals to go that route (I would hope!), but there are a lot of non-professionals of all stripes hanging around the pregnancy and birth industry/forums/etc.

  • arekushieru

    …or, maybe, I just love throwing out all the little bits and pieces of trivia I’ve gathered over the years…?  :P

    However, as the following shows (while it isn’t exactly ‘trivia’, it is a knowledge-based moral analogue), I have no interest in disproving the latter theory (><;):

    There is a Yahoo group with a ‘ProLife’ member that promotes the idea that women are at fault for maternal mortality rates because they aren’t willing to become ‘test subjects’ (ie: to become pregnant) in order to explore strategies that would reduce their chances of losing their lives during pregnancy and childbirth.  It’s a moral analogue, since it places all the responsibility (, blame and coercion) on the woman.  

  • ldan

    Seriously? That is so fucked up, I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Do they realize that no researcher in their right mind would even *propose* such research? It’s beyond unethical.


    “Hello, we would like you to risk your life so we can help find ways to make this risk-taking safer. While you’re at it, can we artificially clog your arteries to try out some new drugs, and perhaps give you a cancer to see if this new treatment is as bang-up awesome as we think it is?”


    And now my farfetched idea that people would actually consider C-Sections to be morally required to better the human race no longer seems so farfetched. *shakes fist* I wasn’t supposed to lose my faith in humanity until at least lunchtime today!

  • arekushieru

    Eep, sorry, L-dan!