Links in this episode:
This week on Reality Cast, we’ll have an interview with an ACLU lawyer about the abuse of women’s rights in Maricopa County, Arizona’s jail system. Also, a segment setting the record straight on Barack Obama’s late term abortion votes and why anti-choice nut Jill Stanek carries a grudge against him. And why are mainstream media outlets letting right wing anti-woman groups lie about the HPV vaccine on TV?
Sometimes you come across a story that’s just perfect in its silliness. This is one of those days.
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I keep thinking back to last week’s podcast and how Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council were so unnerved about learning that women masturbate that they were shaking. Perhaps this Scott Murray guy wasn’t a pervert out to get his kicks by violating a woman’s privacy. Perhaps he’s just a vigilante who took the anti-choice messages about the wicked female sexuality very seriously, and was trying to intervene to save this woman from her own masturbating ways.
If you don’t know who Jill Stanek is, well you’re lucky. But your luck is about to run out, because she is the focus of this segment, and especially her obsession with Barack Obama. You see, Jill Stanek is a rabid anti-choice activist, and was part of the attempt to ban abortion in Illinois through back door methods of blurring the difference between being pregnant and having given birth, claiming that current abortion laws allow people to kill newborns. Yeah, I know.
The main thing is that Jill Stanek has it out for Barack Obama, and it’s personal. Here’s a report done by Concerned Women for America, repeating some of Stanek’s weirder claims. She starts by claiming that the hospital she was working for was inducing labor and then letting babies born alive die. And this is where things get weird. (
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The idea that hospitals have the right to expose infants is a blatant lie. I looked up Illinois’ murder statutes, and unsurprisingly, it’s illegal to kill a person or cause their death through negligent behavior, full stop. There is no loophole for infants. A law protecting newborns from infanticide is redundant. So what’s going on?
Well, Stanek is lying. I’m going to quote our own Dana Goldstein extensively on this, because I think some clarity needs to be brought to the table.
Quote: "But BAIPA isn’t really about protecting infants; it is anti-abortion rights legislation crafted by the hard right. BAIPA targets the abortion procedure known as dilation and extraction, which anti-choicers have so successfully re-branded as "partial birth abortion." Dilation and extraction accounts for less than one-fifth of one percent of all American abortions, and is used most often to end wanted pregnancies in which expectant parents learn their baby will not be viable outside of the womb. During the operation, the fetus’ skull is capsized inside of the woman, after which labor is induced and she delivers the fetus. It is a wrenching process, but one that allows a woman or couple to grieve and bring closure to a pregnancy by holding the intact fetus. It also decreases scarring, bleeding, and pain inside of a woman’s uterus and vagina." End quote.
Okay, so what does this have to do with Barack Obama? Well, it just so happens that he was an Illinois senator when the right wing loonies tried to get this legislation passed.
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Stanek is a pretty much perpetual liar. Throughout her defense of this bill, she swears up and down that it’s not intended to ban abortion, just born infants. Except that Stanek is a rabid anti-choicer on every level, the sort who openly pursues any attempt to overturn not just Roe v. Wade, but Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision that protects contraception. They put all their effort into banning abortion and suddenly she’s not working to ban abortion? Uh-huh.
Stanek talks, in her usual hedge-y way, about her face to face meeting with Obama.
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Here the hospital reaches out to people who are suffering from the loss of very much wanted pregnancies and she’s exploiting their pain for an anti-choice agenda. It’s not to comfort the fetuses, lady. It’s clearly to comfort the grieving family. And this goes to why she is obsessed with attacking Barack Obama, because he called her out on the floor of the Senate and humiliated her for being an ideaologue who exploits people like this.
Did you hear how she acted all hurt at the idea that she wants to overturn Roe v. Wade? Well, according to her website, she not only wants to see Roe overturned and abortion banned at all stages, but she wants to extend that ban to birth control pills. Don’t be fooled by Jill Stanek’s self-pity parade.
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Alarmism over the HPV vaccine is really getting on my last nerve. This is not fun and games people. There’s already a lot of parents out there nervous about the vaccine because it’s about sex, and just thinking about their daughters and sex makes them nervous, so they project that onto the vaccine. If you add to it fallacious stories about the vaccine making girls sick, then they, golly gee whiz, might decide not to get their girls vaccinated. Which means that girls run a high risk of actually becoming sick with HPV and potentially developing genital warts or cervical cancer.
The stories are getting pretty standardized—lots of scary anecdotes but no hard evidence linking the vaccine to symptoms that girls exhibit. Here’s CNN:
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Two months after the shot she gets sick, and that’s what we blame this on? That’s a pretty big leap. They then repeat some scary statistics.
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They do have an official from the CDC come on and make it clear that there’s no trend and that the data is completely anecdotal. But then they immediately follow it up with this crap that made me blow steam out of my ears:
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Unbelievable. They let him just tell a bald-faced lie on national TV without indicating that it’s a lie. Look, the FDA doesn’t just let drug companies put out vaccines without testing them. The very notion that this drug wasn’t put through human trials is insane. It was a standard drug trial, many phases over many years on thousands of patients worldwide.
It gets worse. The website Medscape, while far from being the most reputable source around, is generally taken as a pretty good source for the latest news in medical circles. But they pulled a really bad stunt and ran an article about the fictional dangers of the HPV vaccine.
David Gorski wrote a rebuttal on the blog Science-Based Medicine that is well worth reading. And really, it’s unbelievable how shoddy the original scare story was. Gorski followed up by researching a doctor that’s extensively quoted named Christiane Northrup, and let’s just say that there’s a duck-like air about some of her public statements. Like Gorski says, quote, "Yes, that Christiane Northrup, Oprah Winfrey’s favorite OB/GYN and a regular guest on her show, the doctor who has discussed with Oprah how women should use qi gong to direct their qi into their vaginas in order to achieve more powerful orgasms." End quote.
It gets worse. Northrup suggests that we redirect fund from vaccination to nutrition, and, I swear to god, the 19th century debate over the reality of the germ theory of disease is mentioned. Not that Northrup comes out and questions the germ theory of disease, which I thought was settled in the 19th century. She just drops giant hints.
Read all of Gorski’s article, because I can’t do it justice. What I’ll end on is this speculation. The reported adverse effects of the vaccine are all over the map, and I suspect we have a confirmation bias situation going on. Which is to say that people get the shots for their girls and they and the girls are already anxious because this is about sex and growing up and other anxiety-producing things. And if the girls get sick in the weeks or months after the shot, no matter how unrelated, that anxiety rears its head again and the shot is blamed unfairly. Which is why it’s grossly irresponsible for mainstream news organizations to run with this story.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, in honor of the first segment of this show. I did a search on YouTube for "Gardasil" and this guy named Mike Adams’ extremely misleading and frankly misogynist rant was on the first page.
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What if fairies flew out of your butt when you farted? What if going outside made you spontaneously combust? What if crazy right wing sex phobes ranting on YouTube were only pretending to care about women, but are actually out to keep us from getting proper health care?
Oh wait. That last one is true. Never mind.