Why Both Republicans and Democrats Are Wrong About the ‘War on Women’


Many Republicans insist that there is no “war on women.”

When asked recently about the subject, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said, “Well, you know, I think we have a lot of debates in Washington that get dumbed down and are used for political purposes. This whole sort of ‘war on women’ thing, I’m scratching my head because if there was a ‘war on women,’ I think they won. You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful.”

Republicans routinely cite the anecdotal success of the women they know as evidence that gender inequality is a relic of the past. The GOP has also tried to spin the “war on women” as a rhetorical political device that hypocritical Democrats are using to trick women into voting for democratic candidates. On this, Republicans are wrong.

What’s more, many Democrats insist that the “war on women” begins and ends with the massive wave of Republican sponsored anti-choice legislation sweeping the nation since 2010. Predictably, at the start of the 2014 legislative session, Republicans introduced more than 300 pieces of legislation to restrict access to legal abortion procedures. State after state is proposing and passing abortion restrictions, some of which clearly violate the Supreme Court precedent set in Roe v. Wade 41 years ago, but that also make certain forms of birth control illegal.

When women are unable to control their reproduction (when to have children and under what circumstances), they are left as passive bystanders in their own lives. The risk of pregnancy is forever present, despite the fact that Roe is supposed to allow women the freedom to make their own choices about a private matter such as their health.

These legislative assaults on women’s rights at the state level since 2010 have stripped away much of the feminist progress of the past generation. Yes, we may just be on the cusp of the return of the “back alley” abortion. Texas, West Virginia, and Alabama are just a couple of the states attempting to codify abortion restrictions that clearly violate the precedent in Roe v. Wade. Many of the new restrictions, most notably TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, unfairly burden low-income women who already have limited resources and access to necessary care and abortion services.

But Democrats are also wrong about the “war on women.” The war on women is not only about access to reproductive health care, it’s a multifaceted and structural perpetuation of second-class status for women in all aspects of American life. Reproductive justice is intertwined with economic justice.

Physical safety and bodily autonomy are an essential part of any human’s quest for self-determination. Women who are not safe to walk the streets because of persistent catcalling and sexual harassment are not really free citizens. Rape culture is real, and a culture that blames victims, empathizes with perpetrators while failing to hold them accountable, and forces many women into shame and silence may not be considered engaged in a “war on women,” but it certainly is an assault on their right to move about the world with their dignity intact.

More broadly, the “war on women” also includes the fight for minimum wage. Since the majority of low-wage work is performed by women (and, more specifically, women of color), increasing the minimum wage will not only help these women and their families, it will improve the economy overall.

The “war on women” also includes the ongoing fight for pay equity. While the GOP decries women for being poor negotiators, the gender pay gap remains unchanged for nearly a decade as women in all facets of life move up into leadership positions. That women on average make 77 cents for every dollar a white man earns is a stubborn statistic that is no match for the social and structural factors that have even those women doing the same job as a man earning less.

Immigration reform is rarely an issue put under the umbrella of the “war on women,” largely because there is little intersectional analysis by the mainstream media. Rarely is there a mainstream news segment about the impact of mass deportations, beyond the statistics. The media fails to go into depth regarding the details and Americans are left without the facts and not feeling the necessary urgency to get a humane immigration reform package through Congress immediately.

To listen to conservatives tell the story about the “war on women,” there is no assault on women’s bodily autonomy that deems it unsafe to walk in the street and attend a college or university. To listen to conservatives tell the story about the “war on women,” there are no threats of gender-based violence that leave nearly a quarter of American women traumatized by sexual violence. To listen to conservatives tell the story about the “war on women,” there is no gender pay gap that leaves women with $400,000 less in lifetime earnings. To listen to conservatives tell the story about the “war on women” is to pretend it doesn’t exist at all.

To listen to Democrats, though, is to limit the fight for gender equity to the issue of abortion, which, while important, is part of a larger fight for justice on all fronts.

There may not be a “war on women” in the traditional sense. There is, however, an all-out and persistent assault on women’s bodies, choices, equality, freedom, and rights.

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  • Josh Blagden

    This was definitely written by a Democrat. He tried to conceal his political affiliation by saying that Democrats are also wrong about the so-called “war on women”. Despite that dodge, his true colors show when he starts talking about abortion and women being “unable to control their reproduction”. There’s this thing called The Pill, which prevents pregnancy by tricking the woman’s body into thinking it has already released an egg. This way, there’s no egg in position to be fertilized. Abortion and the “morning after pill” are not the only ways to control reproduction, they’re just the only ways which kill the baby.

    • Lieutenant Nun

      Citation needed for

      Plan b = abortificent

      An embryo being a baby.

    • Suba gunawardana

      NO contraceptive method is 100% effective, and hormonal contraception is not suitable for everyone due to side effects.

      More importantly, ACCESS to contraception and sex education is constantly blocked by religious nuts. The results are obvious. More & more teen pregnancy; child neglect/abuse; poverty & crime in the red states.

    • Jennifer Starr

      The morning after pill doesn’t cause an abortion.

      • Josh Blagden

        How is that possible?

        • purrtriarchy

          Prevents ovulation dumbass

        • Jennifer Starr

          It prevents ovulation and therefore, fertilzation.

        • Jennifer Starr

          It prevents ovulation and therefore, fertilzation.

        • Jennifer Starr

          You do realize that fertilization can take anywhere from 24-72 hours after sex?

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          You are a precocious 13 year old nerd, right?

        • fiona64

          Because, dimwit, it is pretty much an overdose of regular BCPs. It stops ovulation.

        • Leon

          uneducated doesn’t make you stupid or a dimwit or a dumbass, however not accepting the truth makes you ignorant. I am not saying you cannot accept the truth but look for the facts first.

        • HippiChickiNiki

          There is no need for all of you above to get into name calling and condescension towards Josh for asking questions. Not everyone lives in a place that does a good job with sex education and teaching about the reproductive system. Also, in your snarky, condescending, name-calling responses, you yourselves are only one third right about how it works. If the answer was just that it prevented ovulation, how would it do anything for a woman who had already released an egg before taking it?

          Josh,

          First, in response to something else you said, not all of us can take the pill. For instance, a woman like me, who had a stroke at 23, cannot use any form of hormonal contraception. This includes the pill, IUDs, the patch, morning after,the whole kit and caboodle. And that is on top of the fact that no form of contraception is 100% perfect. Then you get into issues like the enormous expense of contraceptives which need to be taken every day, whether you have sex or not, and the legislative efforts (like personhood bills) to make them unavailable to women by a lot of anti-choice activists, and the targeting of women’s health clinics where a good chunk of women are able to get contraceptives, it is not always easy for women to get them. Women of means can get them, but it is increasingly difficult for low-income women and women of average means.

          As for how the morning after pill does not cause an abortion, what it does is prevent pregnancy. Medication abortion and the morning after pill are two completely different things. A lot of people confuse the two and that is not wholly the result of accident. Sometimes those in the anti-choice movement actively manipulate confusion about how reproduction happens in order to make people equate the two. Sometimes it is because you have the blind leading the blind. People who don’t understand the differences themselves are the ones telling other people what they are and they pass on their misinformation.

          In order to explain how the morning after pill is different, it is important to know what is going on with the reproductive system during the first 72 hours or so after sex. The pregnancy does not start immediately. There are several steps to this process, and they take a few days.

          If the sperm the guy ejaculates has to go from the the vagina to the uterus to the fallopian tubes to meet an egg (if there is an egg there, which is only a few days a month). Let’s say there is an egg, after the two join and fertilization happens, they are still just a microscopic mass of dividing cells just moving through the woman’s reproductive system for a bit, basically retracing the sperm’s route backwards to get back to the uterus. At this point it is a little mass of cells, much smaller than one little bit of skin, we all shed on a daily basis. They make it out of the fallopian tube down into the uterus and then implant in the wall to begin developing further. Implantation is a more scientifically accurate beginning to a pregnancy.

          This does not always happen in this ideal textbook way. Sometimes the fertilized egg does not travel to the right place. It can implant and start trying to develop in the wrong place. This is called an ectopic pregnancy and carries a high risk of death for the woman.

          Sometimes the fertilized egg divides and gets to the uterus, but for some reason it does not implant as it should. It is expelled naturally, and a pregnancy never starts. This can happen naturally and is sometimes what is going on with infertility.

          Hormonal birth control (including the pill, the morning after pill, IUDs, the patch) does several things to prevent pregnancy. First, they work to prevent ovulation. It prevents the ovaries from even releasing an egg. Just in case that fails for some reason and an egg is released, they also work to change the environment of the woman’s reproductive system to prevent the sperm and egg from even being able to meet and to keep the sperm from fertilizing the egg. In case those two things also fail, the third failsafe is to prevent the implantation from happening in the uterus and just having the little mass of cells expelled.

          So the morning after pill works just like the pill, the patch, an IUD, etc. in order to completely prevent pregnancy from evening happening. A medication abortion is a completely different thing that is used at a much later stage of the process.

          • purrtriarchy

            He is not innocently asking questions. He is an anti choice who believes that the pill and plan b kill innocent baybeez.

          • fiona64

            He’s not an innocent asking questions; he’s an anti-choicer who is spreading misinformation.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      Does the phrase “failure rate with perfect use” have any meaning for you? I doubt it.

      It is obvious from what you write that you have never had an intimate affectiionate relationship with a woman, sexual or otherwise. Not even your Mother.

      However, in spite of your obvious disability, you want to be IN CHARGE of my sexual/family life. When pigs fly, Stronzo.

    • fiona64

      There’s this thing called The Pill, which prevents pregnancy by tricking
      the woman’s body into thinking it has already released an egg.

      There’s also this thing called known failure rates.

      There’s also this thing called not every woman being able to take the pill.

      And finally, there’s this thing called anti-choice men are a joke. It’s easy for you to wave your hands and make pronouncements about how much medical risk a woman should be forced to assume (and believe you me, every single pregnancy carries risks) that they will never have to worry about themselves.

    • Ella Warnock

      There’s this thing called abortion, that you can get if that “thing called the Pill” — or any other birth control method — fails. It’s legal and every”thing”.

    • Arekushieru

      Abortion doesn’t ‘kill’ a ‘baby’.

      The writer who posted this is a black woman. She is a regular writer on this site. Oops?

      And? So what if there is a Pill that prevents pregnancy? You can still get medical treatment for a vehicular accident even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt. Besides, MOST women who have had an abortion were using some form of contraception prior to that.

      • Josh Blagden

        You’re mistaken, abortion kills a baby. It’s a baby as soon as the sperm combines with the egg to produce a unique genetic pattern. Life begins at conception, despite what the pro-abortion folks want you to think. That’s why there was a group of anti-abortion supporters who killed an abortion doctor with the very machine he used to suck out the brains of unborn babies.

        • purrtriarchy

          Prove that a zygote is a baby. Assertions won’t work around here.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            The DNA is HUMAN is there at the point of conception.

          • purrtriarchy

            So? You’re made of human DNA. Every cell = human DNA, dumbass

          • Jeanette Victoria

            And you are calling me dumb you just admitted that that life as a human begins at conception. Unlike yourself I value all life especially the most innocent and helpless

          • purrtriarchy

            No, you have just stated that cancer cells, skin cells, liver cells = people.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Wow talk about about being obtuse. And unborn child is a separate being…but then you knew that

          • Jennifer Starr

            Oh fine, then. If it’s separate, then it can be separated without any problem.

          • Suba gunawardana

            How come there are no forced-birthers lining up to adopt & take care of all the “separate human beings” that are expelled in abortions?

            Come to think of it, how come they are not lining up to adopt the thousands of CHILDREN waiting for homes right now? What are they chopped liver?

          • Jeanette Victoria

            I don’t know on what planet you live on but there is a shortage of newborn babies for the folks who want to adopt, the result is a adoption industry

          • Arekushieru

            Yes, newborn BABIES. But not only are there thousands of older children, who probably started OUT as babies, but slowly aged out of the system because they weren’t the perfect, little white babies that these selfish infertile couples PREFERRED to adopt, women are ALSO not breeding livestock for infertile couples. If you are the ones that want to make abortion illegal, YOU are the ones that have to put the money where your mouth is. But, unfortunately, the ones who like to claim that WE”RE the irresponsible ones, just keep proving that the OPPOSITE is true. So sad.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Those older children still have parents who were so abusive that they were removed. Older children in the foster care system suffer from a variety of SEVERE emotional problems

            Funny how you feel you have the right to decide who lives and dies and whether someone can adopt a newborn as opposed to a damaged older child.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Bullshit. For one thing, kids are removed from homes from a variety of reasons and whatever the reason they’re not ‘damaged’–sure, they might need help, but who doesn’t? I know, I used to be a nanny to several foster kids. And you putting horror stories out there while these kids are looking for permanent families is just reprehensible. Adoption is supposed to be about the kids who need homes. Not about infertile couples who want a ready-made baby to fit their specifications.

          • Arekushieru

            And women who are pregnant may suffer from a variety of SEVERE emotional AND physical problems. Funny how you feel you have the right to decide who lives but not think you can be expected to take care of any child that may suffer as a result of that.

            See, you like to blame the victims, pregnant women and older children in care, for the problems YOU created, then whine and complain when THEY won’t clean up your messes. Wow, what was that thing about ‘taking responsibility’, again? SMDH.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Apparently you have never been pregnant nor known any one else who was. Pregnancy is NORMAL. And I’m expecting people to be RESPONSIBLE. It isn’t hard to prevent a pregnancy.

          • Jennifer Starr

            If we’re going by what’s normal, disease is normal. Eventual decline and death is normal as well. And again, all contraception has failure rates.

          • fiona64

            Plenty of things are *normal.* Pregnancy is NOT a state of wellness. My wanted pregnancy almost killed me. Every single pregnancy carries risks, many of them life-threatening … and oftentimes those risks manifest.

            For your information, terminating a pregnancy may be the most responsible thing to do under any number of circumstances. If you are not the pregnant woman, you don’t get to make that call.

          • purrtriarchy

            Normal does not mean healthy.

            And all known forms of contraception have failure rates.

          • Arekushieru

            Yep, I have never been pregnant, nor have I ever needed an abortion, although I’m one of those ‘nasty’ Pro-Choicers who obviously doesn’t know how to be ‘responsible’. Yet I can name quite a few Pro-Lifers who HAVE terminated their pregnancies because ‘my abortion is the only MORAL abortion’.

            Pregnancy is NOT normal. Women don’t spend the majority of their lives pregnant and many women are infertile and/or choose not to have kids. Also, if pregnancy were normal, men would also be able to get pregnant.

            MOST women who have had abortions used some form of contraception. Kthxbainow.

          • ldwendy

            It never fails to amaze me how often the anti-choicers like to say
            pregnancy is “normal and healthy”. When I point out that I had
            preeclampsia at 29 weeks and my first child had to be delivered
            early…and that I was put on bed rest just prior to the birth of my
            second daughter, then they say oh, but your situation was just “rare”.

            And then people like you will go on to blather about how “temporary” pregnancy is, especially for women who experience complications.

            When
            pregnancy causes women to develop severe morning sickness, gestational
            diabetes, placenta previa, preeclampsia, and other serious complications to a woman,
            that specific woman will never consider it to be “temporary” and “rare” because it happened to her.

            For your information, not all women go all starry-eyed and gaga over the idea of having a baby. Some of them have a better idea than you do about the harsh realities of giving birth and 18 years of parenting.

          • fiona64

            So, those kids in foster care for whom the plan is adoption don’t deserve loving homes? Ohnoes, they have issues? Tough titty. So do kids reared in their own homes.

            Save it, sister. No one owes the contents of their uterus to some selfish couple who can’t be bothered to adopt one of the kids already here.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Do you have a reading/comprehension disability. Because that is NOT what I posted.

          • Jennifer Starr

            No, that’s pretty much what you posted, about how ‘damaged’ and terrible these older kids were.

          • fiona64

            Really? Because you sure as hell excused every potential adopter who is too damned selfish to adopt one of the children already available by saying “those kids are damaged” and “suffer a variety of SEVERE emotional problems.”

            Perhaps you have some sort of a cognitive disability, since you can’t remember what you wrote …

          • Ella Warnock

            So, I’m guessing that “damaged” children might be . . . oh, what would you call it . . . “inconvenient” for people to adopt? Their “special needs” might be “burdensome” to regular ol’ everyday people who just want a nice, healthy, white infant and want everybody else to do all the heavy lifting so they can have one? Or, perhaps, “right now isn’t the right time” to take on a kid who needs extra attention?

            Well, now, those all sound like reasons a woman might abort, don’t they? Kind of painful when you fall off of that lofty moral high ground, isn’t it?

          • purrtriarchy

            The great thing? If you have an autistic child, you’re up shit creek: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/08/09/2445481/autism-benefits-loophole-obamacare/

            Insurance companies don’t want to pay for any autistic treatment if they can help it, which will basically leave kids permanently disabled.

            But hey, as long as they are ‘alive’ that’s all that counts, right? Just force em into the world, and force em to suffer, praise the lord, life is great!

          • Ella Warnock

            Well sure, as long as you’ve got enough lurve and the crisis pregnancy center is throwing a few diapers your way, it’s all golden sunshine fairy farts and unicorn dandruff!

          • Jennifer Starr

            Plenty of kids in foster care who are available for adoption–over 100,000 and in some states they will help with the cost. Of course they aren’t cute newborns, but they are kids who need permanent homes. That’s what adoption is supposed to be about, right? Kids needing homes?

          • Jeanette Victoria

            The Children n foster care are usually very damaged and need special care. You want to demonize couples who want to adopt newborn. Much better to KILL a child rather than let a couple adopt them right?

            It’s patently obvious who the monsters here, folks like yourself who dehumanize the unborn in order to justify murdering them

          • Jennifer Starr

            Oh,I see. These selfish couples don’t want ‘damaged goods’–they don’t want to help kids that actually need homes because they might be less than perfect. Poor them. Instead they want to force a woman to be a broodmare and birth a baby for them. Well, that’s just tough beans. Because while a woman may do that if she so chooses, she’s not obligated to carry a pregnancy because someone ‘wants a baybeeee’.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            These are not selfish people they are ordinary folks. And it isn’t hard to prevent pregnancy. They very act of sex where the consequences is a pregnancy is defacto permission for the unborn child to develop, Your argument fails

          • Jennifer Starr

            Nope. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. All contraception has failure rates, up to and including sterilzation. And again, no one is obligated to carry a pregnancy beause some infertile couple wants a baby and is too selfish to adopt an older kid.

          • Suba gunawardana

            Thousands of children die of neglect/abuse in foster care every year,
            while other similar numbers age out without ever finding a family. The
            numbers of good adoptive parents are far fewer than the numbers of
            existing children children needing homes.

            Who stands in the way of them ever getting a good home? Forced-birthers, who actively keep a steady stream of NEW infants coming in, while the existing children languish in the system.

            Who cares right? They are not fetuses anymore.

          • Arekushieru

            A fetus is not a child. If a fetus is a separate being then a fetus would NOT die upon separation from the uterus due to incompatibility with life.

          • fiona64

            If a fetus is a “separate being,” then it can move out, and get a job and a cute apartment.

            I suggest you learn how the umbilicus works, sweetie. As one of the posters here is wont to say, did you think your navel was just for collecting lint?

          • Jennifer Starr

            A pregnancy begins at implantation. If the egg doesn’t implant–and more than half of them don’t, you’re not going to be pregnant.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Human life begins at fertilization that is a FACT

          • Jennifer Starr

            Nope. If the egg doesn’t implant, you were never pregnant. It’s not even a miscarriage.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            I suggest you go back and study biology again

          • Jennifer Starr

            More than half of fertilized eggs never implant, they’re simply washed out with the menstrual flow without the woman even knowing. And none of these were pregnancies.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Moving the goals post doesn’t change the fact that at fertilization we now have a HUMAN BEING. It isn’t a puppy or a kitten

          • Jennifer Starr

            It’s not a goal post. If the egg doesn’t implant, you’re never going to be pregnant.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            That is exactly what you are doing. Whether the pregnancy is viable or not doesn’t change the fact that we have a HUMAN. murdering an innocent human is wrong and evil

          • Jennifer Starr

            If it doesn’t implant, it’s not a pregnancy. Do you hold memorial services for each tampon and menstrual pad in case a fertilized egg is present? And incidentally, if you know of anyone who is ‘murdering’ people, call the police. Call the police about Josh Blagden, since he likes to fantasize about it.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            It is hard to have a conversation with some as irrational as yourself

          • Jennifer Starr

            If an egg is fertilized and doesn’t implant, is there going to be a baby for nine months? Will any pregnancy test read as positive if the egg doesn’t implant/

          • Arekushieru

            WHO is irrational? Not Jennifer, that’s for sure.

          • fiona64

            You’re the irrational one. Pregnancy cannot be detected until implantation. The best estimates are that more than half of fertilized ova exit the woman’s body with menses, without her ever being aware of conception.

            You must have missed that day in 6th grade where the boys went out to play ball while the girls watched a film …

          • Arekushieru

            Murder is a LEGAL term. Meaning unlawful killing with malice aforethought. Abortion fits NONE of those requirements.

            Slavery of an innocent human is wrong and evil, which is what YOUR ilk wants to do to women.

            A fetus doesn’t have the capacity to be either innocent OR guilty.

          • Suba gunawardana

            If it WERE a puppy or kitten would it be perfectly ok to kill? If so why not a human?

          • Arekushieru

            Human does not equal human being/PERSON. Whether or not it is a human being is irrelevant.

          • purrtriarchy

            Biologist John M Sullivan MD PhD writes:

            You and I contain much, much more information, both genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research: the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet acquired the molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular signals (the information) that will tell them whether to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

            A blastocyst is nothing more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA, and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins were transcription factors that told other cells in the blastocyst what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

            In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the blastocyst did not have.

            The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

            The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in the fetus.

            In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out as a human being. It became a human being, with a personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating information that was not there before.

            Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no less ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

            No. They are not the same.

            Biologist Scott Gilbert writes:

            Genetics

            This view states that a genetically unique person begins at conception – a fertilized egg now hosts a complete genome, making it distinct from the sex cells that came before it. This definition has the advantage of saying that a new individual has been created that can be distinct from its parents, but is still limited by the fact that this embryo is still in an early stage of development and far from viable as an individual.

            This view also causes a funny paradox in the case of monozygotic (identical) twins: each twin does not exist as an individual when “its life begins” – that is, when it is conceived as the embryo doesn’t split into two parts until later. This paradox could possibly be resolved by considering the pre-twinning embryo as a disparate entity
            from either of the resulting embryos. This is why viewing the formation of life as a continuous process rather than a single event is beneficial.

            Instructions for Development and Heredity are NOT all in the Fertilised egg. The view that we are genetically determined by the combination of parental DNA has been shown to fall far short of the complete story. How the DNA is interpreted can vary greatly affected by things such as the maternal diet. Similarly some development requires certain bacteria to be present. Thirdly, and most surprisingly, the level of maternal care can determine which areas of DNA are ‘methylated’ which radically alters how they are interpreted. As such the view that we are ‘complete but unformed’ at conception is far from accurate.

            The Embryo is NOT Safe Within the Womb. Modern research shows that 30% or fewer fertilised eggs will go on to become foetuses. Many of these early miscarriages
            are because of abnormal numbers of chromosomes. The view that every fertilised egg is a potential human being is wrong in around 70% of cases.

            There is NOT a Moment of Fertilisation when the passive egg receives the active sperm.Again recent research has shown that the previous commonly held view that the fastest sperm races towards the egg and, bingo, we’re up and running is wrong on many levels. Fertilisation is a process taking up to four days. As such there is no magic moment, rather there is a process.

            There is NO consensus amongst scientists that life begins at conception.There isn’t even consensus amongst scientists as to whether there’s consensus. However, Scott Gilbert’s paper lists embryologists who support each of the major view points belying the common and oft repeated assertion that there is consensus amongst embryologists, let alone scientists.

            Neurology

            Just as death is usually defined by the cessation of brain activity, so the start of life can be defined as the start of a recognisable Electroencephalography[wp] (EEG) pattern from the fetus. This is usually twenty four to twenty seven weeks after conception.[1]

            The point of using neurological factors rather than other signs such as a heartbeat is that this is a much more useful indicator from the point of view of science. A heart beats using mostly involuntary muscle movements so is really little different from any other spontaneous motion or metabolic processes. A heartbeat means relatively little in real terms, although it is more dramatic from an emotive point of view.

            The entity created by fertilization is indeed a human embryo, and it has the potential to be human adult. Whether these facts are enough to accord it personhood is a question influenced by opinion, philosophy and theology, rather than by science.

            Indeed, the potential for human life can begin very early, but it is personhood that is the sticking point. The question is very much whether the two are equal and therefore happen at the same point. Leaving the answer in the hands of philosophy and opinion however makes the distinction between “life” and “non-life” purely subjective and the answer will be different for everyone. This is the most important fact to bear in mind, particularly when discussing legalities – subjective thoughts cannot and should not be forced upon everyone fairly.

          • Arekushieru

            Pregnancy is defined as implantation. That’s how some animals can be carrying a fetus yet not be pregnant. So, no, it is YOU that needs to go back and study biology, again. So sorry.

          • fiona64

            Were you homeschooled or something? You clearly have no concept of how pregnancy works.

          • Arekushieru

            Irrelevant.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            The egg and sperm are alive. Life does not begin at fertilization. Life is a continuum that began eons ago. No single woman choosing to have an abortion of a specific fetus destroys “life.”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

          • purrtriarchy

            You don’t value female life.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            Now that is bizarre since you pro-aborts are all about killing humans male or female And more women have died or have been maimed as a result of “safe and Legal abortions’ than they ever did when abortions were illegal. In fact it is folks like yourself who hate women

          • Jennifer Starr

            Actually, abortion is fourteen times safer than giving birth.

          • Arekushieru

            Nope, we are not anti-choice like YOU. We are Pro-CHOICE. We want a woman to have the same right, to determine who uses her body and when and how it is used via ongoing, explicit and informed consent, as everyone else does. (Although, the fact that you don’t want women to have this right but, instead, want
            to grant greater rights to fetuses before birth then revoke those
            rights only for females immediately UPON birth AND only grant MEN full access to this right, does prove that YOU are the only one that doesn’t value female life.) That MEANS that we want each individual woman to be able to choose whether to terminate OR MAINTAIN her own pregnancies. Just like my own mother, who is not only Pro-Choice because she CHOSE to have an abortion, but because she CHOSE to have me and my sibling, as well.

            Finally, if more women died from safe and legal abortions than illegal abortions, then the maternal mortality rates in countries like El Salvador would NOT be higher than in countries like Canada and the US. So sorry.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            I’m for a woman choosing to be responsible the baby has no choice

          • Jennifer Starr

            Ending a pregnancy is taking responsibility.

          • Arekushieru

            Neither does a rapist. Again, you want to grant fetuses more right than anyone born. If a woman used someone else’ body against their will, she would not have a choice, either, after all. Seriously, the concept should NOT be that difficult for you antis. But, for some reason, it always is.

          • fiona64

            I’m for not having the hubris to demand that total strangers make the same decision as me, since I don’t have the slightest way to know their circumstances.

            You might want to give that a shot.

          • fiona64

            Citation needed. From reliable, peer-reviewed sources, please.

            Why? Because studies have demonstrated that abortion is 14x safer than gestation and delivery.

          • Jeanette Victoria

            More Than 400 Women Have Died From Legal Abortions Since 1973 quoting the CDC http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/21/abortions-fall-5-percent-nationwide-biggest-drop-in-10-years/

            Study: Women More Likely to Die After Abortion, Not Childbirth http://www.medscimonit.com/index.php?/archives/article/883338

            The Study by Gissler, M., et. al., “Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecolgica Scandinavica 76:651-657 (1997), has been cited in the British Medical Journal online http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7070/1431?ijkey=o2njWBDkmGz5Q and on the Elliot Institute article Abortion Four Times Deadlier Than Childbirth. http://afterabortion.org/2000/abortion-four-times-deadlier-than-childbirth/

          • Jennifer Starr

            No surgical procedure is without risk. And percentage wise, that actually makes abortion a very safe procedure. Not that Lifenews is exactly reputable. And your second link seems to lead to an article about ‘Small longitudinal S incision and page turning style of annular ligament partial resection to treat stenosing tenosynovitis of thumb flexor tendon’? Interesting, but nothing to do with abortion.

          • Arekushieru

            Also, your link to the Finland study is amusing, since the study had to go that far before it could even find ONE country where the stats could be skewed enough to show that abortion was more risky than pregnancy. But, again, that is only ONE country out of 200 or MORE.

            Finally, the Elliot Institute is a Pro-‘Life’ organization.

          • fiona64

            LieSiteNews, and two anti-choice websites … really?

            What a joke.

            Just a little something from *this* century: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/womens-health/articles/2012/01/23/abortion-safer-for-women-than-childbirth-study-claims

            You’re welcome.

          • Suba gunawardana

            How come this “value for life” begins at conception and ENDS at birth?

            What about the lives of thousands of living breathing sentient children killed in the foster system every year?

          • Arekushieru

            No, you value fetal life more than you do women. Let’s rephrase that. You value a non-sapient, non-sentient, unthinking, non-breathing, two-celled non-organism over a thinking, sentient, sapient, breathing, multicellular organism with physical, social, emotional, mental, intellectual and familial agency and needs, hopes, wants, desires, wishes and dreams. Value is a qualitative, not a quantitative, measurement, btw. So sorry.

            A fetus is neither innocent nor guilty. It doesn’t have the capacity for either. A woman, however, IS innocent.

            Nor is a fetus helpless. It suppresses a woman’s immune system so that her body does not categorize the fetus as an invader. Making it difficult for pregnant women to take medication that can save their lives. Meaning that, although the FETUS is not helpless, the WOMAN, however, IS.

            So sorry that there always seems to be a need to show you antis just how wrong you always are.

          • Arekushieru

            Irrelevant. No one has ever said that a pregnant woman is not carrying a HUMAN fetus.

          • fiona64

            DNA =/= personhood.

            A human zygote has human DNA, sure. And so does your fingernail.

          • Jennifer Starr

            She has no proof.

        • Suba gunawardana

          OK, how about this?

          If a zygote/embryo is a baby, why don’t some forced-birthers volunteer to adopt these expelled “babies”, and care for them as you would a baby? i.e. provide milk and a warm bed.

          IF “It’s a baby as soon as the sperm combines with the egg to produce a unique genetic pattern” Do the above and everything will be fine.
          It’s a win-win. You get to save a “baby” and the woman won’t be saddled with an unwanted pregnancy.

        • Jennifer Starr

          That’s why there was a group of anti-abortion supporters who killed an abortion doctor with the very machine he used to suck out the brains of unborn babies.

          So you’re a supporter of terrorism. Is that what you’re telling us? Because I’ve never heard of this story (and I kind of doubt its veracity–would like to see links, please?) but I would consider anyone who did something like that to be a murderer and terrorist.

        • Jennifer Starr

          Actually, even without you providing links–which by the way I can’t find–I’m going to go ahead and call you a fucking liar, and theorize that this ‘murder of an abortion doctor’ is one of your fantasies that you fap yourself to sleep to each night.

        • Arekushieru

          Nope. A fetus is not a baby, abortion doesn’t kill, and I never said that a fetus was not life. Human =/= a human/human being/person/baby. Killing = cause of death. A fetus dies due to incompatibility with life upon separation from the uterus. Just as someone dies as a result of a lack of brain function upon impact due to a fall from a great height even when another person caused the fall. That is how cause of death is legally/medically ascribed. And, since abortion is also a legal/medical practice, that is the only way cause of death should be ascribed in this situation, as well. And, finally, whether or not it is life is irrelevant.

          I am not Pro-Abortion since I am not anti-choice like YOU.

          Citation needed for the abortion procedure you described. Those are typically needed for late-term abortions, after all, y’know, in circumstances where the health and life of the WOMAN is put at risk. And killing the abortion provider that saved the woman’s life, and possibly prevented her EXISTING children from being orphaned (since most women who have abortions already have children), is hypocrisy at its finest, for that very reason. Because, not only are you saying that a fetus, alone, has the right to exist at all costs but you are ALSO saying that a woman has fewer rights than any other BORN human, as well, especially when it is highly likely that you are aware to what types of abortion procedures you are referring and will not be hesitant to provide the citation requested as a result of your lack of caring and callousness, that has just been recently exhibited, towards ALL women. To people like you a woman is just a container. She is not a person, and is only important because she can incubate fetuses.

        • fiona64

          Citation needed. Really, really needed.

          But, thanks anyway for proving how “pro-life” your position really is …

    • BJ Survivor

      The “morning after pill” is contraception. It has no effect if a woman is already pregnant. Stop the lying.

  • Kathryn Ranieri

    I like your list but I’d offer some points from my list: The U.S. is #50 in the world for maternal health. Women of color are often seduced into sterilization while in prison. Further, pregnant prisoners are treated with incredibly immoral and illegal actions such as shackling while in labor. Women in prison are raped (as are men) by authorities in order to get special treatment. Unwanted sexual attention/assault and rape are rampant on college campuses. Women who choose not to parent are stigmatized. Women who choose to have a child and have the audacity to breast feed that child in public are shamed, stigmatized, and, in some cases, asked to leave. Street harassment of women remains an epidemic. These are just a few that I have on my list about the war on women.

    • Jennifer Starr

      Excellent list and very well-said. Thank you :)

      • Kathryn Ranieri

        Thank you. It’s part of a list I used when speaking on a panel at our college about critical social justice issues. When you consider we hold up half the sky, it’s simply baffling that these issues exist. Perhaps, it is because we are too busy trying to earn pay equity, to ensure care for our children and our parents, and to take care of ourselves.

    • Rainbow Walker

      I agree with one exception. Restraining prisoners in labor may seem cruel but it is for protection. I have seen girls who, while giving birth, shattered a nurse’s jaw with one blow. Individuals with rage and pathology can create a dangerous environment. Unfortunately the individuals who are not violent are treated in the same manner.

      Another thing I could add to the list. Traditionally psychology treated the sexes differently. When lobotomies were performed most patients were young, attractive women. After that they were more ‘pliable’. The doctors and staff would take advantage of the situation.

  • HippiChickiNiki

    My one issue with what you said, Zerlina, is that it assumes that what you are saying is not the same thing Democrats are saying. Democrats have not been saying or implying that the “war on women” is solely composed of attacks on reproductive rights. It has often been articulated that it includes the pay gaps (gender and race), the minimum wage primarily affecting women, a lot of the attacks on safety net programs that more heavily affect women, access to healthcare that is not just reproductive, attacks on simple motherhood and poor mothers particularly, and a lot of other issues.

    It is not the Democrats who failed to see this as a multi-issue attack on women, which is made up of several financial and economic issues. You seem to have accepted the Republican redefinition of the “war on women” and their dismissal of all of those economic issues as if it is an accurate reflection of the Democratic position. It isn’t.

    You don’t have to agree with either of them, but at least do not set up a straw man argument by misrepresenting their position in order to say that they are both wrong.