NAF president Vicki Saporta takes on crisis pregnancy centers, ACOG takes on the ethics of reproductive rights, and some weirdo in Idaho takes on a new name. Also: Rod Parsley lies about the KKK.
This week on Reality Cast I'll be interviewing Vicki Saporta from the National Abortion Federation on crisis pregnancy centers. Also, why right wing preacher Rod Parsley is deluding himself, doctors who stand up for reproductive justice, and the worst name change quite possibly in history.
Shout out to Pam Spaulding, who blogs with me at Pandagon. She is out there doing radio interviews about the importance of having an honest national dialogue on race.
- insert pam on radio
I'd like to toss this shoutout to Pam, because she's been a real inspiration to me. A lot of the time I am worried about addressing some of the racial dimensions of the issues I address on this show or in my writing, and I think about Pam's challenges to keep the dialogue open. And often that means I need to go ahead and explore these aspects.
With all this attention being paid to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's minister for a number of years, I think I have to make things fair and pay some attention to Rod Parsley, who John McCain calls a spiritual advisor. While it's terrible that Wright, in the midst of saying a lot of things that were true about America, spread the misinformation about where HIV came from, well, I think Rod Parsley has an even stronger affection for just wrong-headed nonsense. And he's released lots of information about his views.
- insert parsley one
I'm not going to get into how ridiculous it is that anti-choicers, who are usually social conservatives against sex education, contraception access, and social benefits—basically anything that would actually slow down the abortion rate, especially for black women—pretend to care one whit about what happens to black people. Nor do I need to point out to this audience that Planned Parenthood does not use a single thin government dime to provide abortion. Instead, they use it to prevent unwanted pregnancy, so basically Parsley is making the bizarre argument that preventing abortion is somehow causing abortion. But I am just going to make the mundane observation that I used Planned Parenthood for many, many years, and never once did they say, "Hey, you can't have birth control pills! You're white!" Which is what they would do if they were motivated how Parsley says they are. They seemed to be very interested in making sure that everyone in the waiting room, regardless of race, got the care they came to get.
- insert parsley two
Interestingly, he's not incorrect that your taxes are murdering innocent children. But these are actual children, not the imaginary ones that anti-choicers focus on. Your taxes are funding the Iraq War, which Parsley supports. In fact, he's called for the elimination of Islam altogether, a frightening thing to say when your nation is waging war on a Muslim country. Pro-war, anti-Muslim—seems that Parsley is projecting here a little. He is a lot closer than any pro-choicer to the idea that we should just wipe out an entire people through violence.
- insert parsley three
You know what's interesting, if repulsive? The Ku Klux Klan actually has a website. While it sucks they're out there recruiting, it does mean that it's easy to find out how the organization feels about abortion with a quick Google search. Don't worry. I won't make you look. I did it for you.
And yes! They have the exact same opinion about abortion as Rod Parsley. Right up on their multimedia website is a banner that says "Say ‘No' To Abortion". They also appear to be big on Jesus, big on homeschooling, and down on gays. Surprise surprise, Rod Parsley agrees with them.
- insert parsley four
He should call up the KKK. They seem to have a lot more in common than not.
- insert interview
For those who think the Bush administration's posturing on reproductive justice is about political gain, and not that the administration is a bunch of true believers in the idea that women have no rights to control their own bodies, well, I have to point out that even though Bush is not up for re-election, his administration is still throwing a wrench in the common sense operations of the medical world. NPR had a recent report on Health and Human Services taking a position against the health of women and the notion that we're humans who deserve services.
- insert patient referrals
Look, I don't want anti-choice nuts who happen to have medical degrees performing abortions, either. I don't think I'd trust a doctor who thinks I'm a horrible, baby-killing slut who deserves punishment for sex to get anywhere near my uterus with any kind of tool that could cause damage to my ladyparts. But this referrals issue is ridiculous. Your job as a doctor is to put your patient's health first. And if you make yourself an obstacle between her and getting a safe abortion, delaying the date when she gets the abortion, you are putting her health in danger. The longer a pregnancy goes on, the more dangerous and difficult the abortion. Any respectable OB-GYN should know this and put his patients first.
The whole report is distressing. Apparently, you used to have to be able to answer questions about abortion to pass your medical exams to be a gynecologist, but anti-choicers have won that round. What good does it do to be ignorant, except up the chances that a woman in a medical emergency related to abortion doesn't get the care she needs? Once again, this seems to be more about control and punishment than about any airy ideas about "life".
Some things seem very straightforward to me. Don't be a biologist or a doctor if you don't believe in evolution. Find yourself another career that fits your superstitions, one where you don't need to be rooted in reality so much. And I don't trust the idea of an anti-choice OB GYN. I'd be afraid that such a person has creepy control issues and isn't at all interested in helping me be in control of myself and at my healthiest.
But it turns out the HHS isn't just interested in telling the ACOG that they need to look the other way on the abortion issue, either. Is it ever about just abortion?
- insert patient referrals two
The little thing about contraception was just slipped in there, wasn't it? If I were writing this story, that would be part of the frigging headline. I'm glad ACOG is saying outright that it's unethical to refuse to provide contraception to a patient, but I'm more than a little alarmed that this is controversial at all. A doctor is there to help you, not size you up and decide that you're too slutty to deserve the birth control pill. I never stop being surprised at doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control. Most gynecologists have a shelf full of the pills. It's a big part of the business. A gynecologist refusing to provide contraception is like owning a deli and refusing to serve meat.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts. I don't have audio on this one this week, but it's too juicy to leave out of this section. So apparently this Idaho resident, Marvin Richardson, had already changed his middle name to "Pro-Life". That's some dedication to the belief that he personally has the right to control the bodies of all the women in the U.S., most of whom he doesn't even know. He then decided to run for state senate. When he found out that they wouldn't put his fancy misogynist nickname on the ballot, he instead changed his first name to "Pro-Life", so now they have to.
One day I will figure out what breaks inside a person to make him be this way.