The All-Out War On Women

Download  Attacks on reproductive rights on multiple fronts, from attempts to cut off insurance coverage for abortion to attempts to stop contraception funding. Also, Kate Bornstein talks about transgendered rights.

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Rape-esque

Young Turks on HR3

GRITtv on HR3

Pence’s war on federal funding for contraception

Shocking (not): Lila Rose doctors footage

Lila Rose: epic slut-shamer

Some weeks I have to really look around for interesting stories about reproductive and sexual health.  But lately, there’s more stories than I can cram into a 25 minute podcast!  This week, I’ll be touching on the national assault on all varieties of funding of sexual and reproductive health care.  Also, Kate Bornstein will be on to talk about a variety of topics relating to being transgendered. 

The Daily Show took on one of the issues that will be covered in a segment in the podcast.  On this segment, Kristen Schaal took on the language in a major anti-choice bill that implied that the vast majority of rapes aren’t really rapes.

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It’s one of the better examples I’ve seen of dismantling rape culture through humor.  Well-played, Daily Show!

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Last week, I reported on HR3, a bill that is falsely named “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act”.  Falsely named, because the bill is actually an attempt to stop private funding of abortion services, by hiking taxes on anyone who pays for an insurance plan with abortion coverage in it.  Functionally, it will eliminate any insurance offering of abortion coverage.  The bill wasn’t getting a lot of press, mostly because it’s believed, perhaps falsely, that it won’t get past the Senate and the President.  And then, out of the blue, a reporter for Mother Jones realized the bill closed the traditional exception for rape to one for cases only of “forcible” rape.  This language was vague, but would eliminate about 70% of rapes in practice. 

That was the misogynist straw that broke the camel’s back.  An outcry expanded on Twitter, blogs, and endless online petitions, taking offense at this bill.  Some people were motivated by being sick of having most rapes not considered real rapes.  Some were more upset at the expansion of restrictions on abortion.  Most people felt both things at once.  Outrage was felt on the Young Turks.

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To be clear, this bill does even more than they’re saying.  It absolutely restricts federal funding and private funds in HSAs, but it’s also expansive enough that it would, if it became law, make sure that no private insurance either through the exchange or through an employer would cover insurance.

What’s interesting here is that after addressing the policy issues, they get right into the outrage over the attempted redefinition of rape.

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Indeed, the rape thing is what got the most attention, from players from the DCCC to MoveOn.  The rest of the bill was considered bad, but the rape thing was the catalyst for outrage.  I think in part it’s because the rest of the bill was assumed to be un-passable, but the rape redefinition, even if it doesn’t pass into law, could contribute to a culture where many to most rape victims already feel they’re being told that they don’t count. 

GRITtv had Sady Doyle and Eesha Pandit on to talk about the bill, and how the pressure campaign around it changed the language in it, but didn’t really do much at all to make it a less awful bill.

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I think the term “forcible rape” was magnetizing because it really drove home how misogynist this kind of legislation is.  But that you take a single word out of it doesn’t mean that it’s not horrible and misogynist.  Sady continued on to make this point.

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Highly recommend watching the whole thing, for its accuracy and intelligence.  And, just to make sure that we get it that anti-choicers are misogynist, one of the bills on the table has been rewritten so that doctors don’t have to do abortions even if women will die in the next few hours or even minutes without one. This battle over funding and access is only just beginning.

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insert interview

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Not only are there two bills percolating through Congress that are attempts to severely restrict women’s access to abortion care, but there’s also a third bill, introduced by Tea Party favorite Rep. Mike Pence, that would shut down federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  Pence has long had a desire to shut down the organization that is the largest single provider of reproductive health services in the country, especially for low income women.  Pence tried to defund Planned Parenthood in 2009.  He uses abortion as a scare term to shut down access to contraception, STD testing, and cancer screening.

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These facts are true, but the presentation of them contains a lie.  Pence is trying to associate the funding with abortion, when in fact 100% of the federal funding goes to health services that aren’t abortion.  In fact, if you don’t like abortion because you love fetuses, you should be a loud supporter of Title X funds, as much and probably most go to preventing abortion. Pence has also bellyached that it costs money to pay for other people’s contraception, but actually it saves money.  Every dollar spent on family planning services saves Medicaid alone $4, to a tune of $1.2 billion a year. Fiscal conservatism should, in a rational world, be pro-contraception.

But as we all know, this has never been about fetuses or money, but is and always will be about sex and punishing women for it.  In support of Pence’s war on contraception for young women and poor women, Fox News, Andrew Breitbart and Live Action, an anti-choice organization run by Lila Rose, have started to spread conspiracy theories claiming Planned Parenthood conspires to assist sex traffickers.  Yes, it’s silly, but they’re really pushing this hard. Unfortunately for them, before the videos came out, Planned Parenthood reported the alleged sex traffickers to the FBI and released a news report saying so.  Unsurprisingly, Rose doesn’t let the viewer know about this in the videos, and instead lies and suggests they heard about trafficking of minors and didn’t do anything about it.

The first video they released did show an employee skirting the rules.  That employee was fired immediately, but I want to highlight how the video demonstrates that Planned Parenthood obeys the law. 

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So that was bad and she was fired immediately, though it’s worth noting that New Jersey is one of the clinics that complained about a sex trafficking ring.  But note that she’s trying to coach them to lie, and why?  Because the rest of the staff can be counted on to do their jobs.

And that’s basically the theme of the rest of the videos.  Planned Parenthood staff doing their jobs.  There’s evidence that Rose doctored the videos, likely to inject the words “sex worker” where the people who came in didn’t say it, and Media Matters definitively caught them shifting audio around to make it seem like certain answers were to questions that weren’t asked.  They’re very careful to make sure you never see the people asking, a definite red flag for doctoring.  But even with all these deceptions in place, they still fail to catch anyone doing anything wrong. In the second video, a staffer is shown, gasp, explaining legal rights to people who ask.

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Fox News made a huge fuss over this, claiming that Planned Parenthood showed a minor how to bypass the law.  This is a lie. In fact, the Supreme Court established judicial bypass.  It is the law.  Informing someone who asks of his or her rights is part of providing responsible medical care.  In addition, Media Matters discovered that Lila Rose doctored this footage to make it seem the woman was more forthcoming with this information than she actually was.

In the third video, there is evidence that the footage was doctored to insert the words “sex worker”, and that was not what the employees were necessarily hearing. Either way, the employees stonewalled the actors and didn’t allow them past the front room.

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The text in the video makes note of this, how they want you to be shocked, just appalled, that low income young women could get subsidies to pay for contraception. They also catch Planned Parenthood, gasp, assuring patients that their HIPAA rights to confidentiality will be respected, that immigrants can get care, and that they’ll try to translate for non-English speakers.  But they make sure that no one who isn’t actually there for care gets an appointment and routinely say patients-only.

These videos are a dud.  All Lila Rose has done is given her easily titillated audience a boner thinking about fictional underage prostitutes.  She could do that without bringing Planned Parenthood into it, but then she wouldn’t have the pseudo-moral justification to excuse it. But don’t believe the hype. Anyone this dishonest, who routinely leaves out the fact that Planned Parenthood called the cops after this, is not a moral person who should be trusted.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, an oldie but a goodie edition.  Lila Rose, speaking at a Family Research Council event, said this about women who have abortions.

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Just in case you weren’t clear that she’s just longing for a world that’s half Iranian theocracy, half Puritan New England.  If she got her way on this, she’d next ask that everyone who has premarital sex does it for a crowd throwing vegetables.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on Twitter: @amandamarcotte