Vampires For Sexiness, Lady Parts For Scariness

Pushing back against health care reform scare tactics. Also, North Carolina wakes up and Susie Bright talks about the cross between erotic fiction and horror.


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Links in this episode:

War Zone

Michelle Bachmann’s covenant

Dana Perino and Sean Hannity misrepresent abortion and health care

IWF tries to scare you with cancer

North Carolina gives up abstinence-only

Condom education rates going down

Michael Duvall keeps it classy


On this episode of Reality Cast, more coverage of lies and
nonsense about health care reform. 
Also, North Carolina rethinks abstinence-only, and Susie Bright talks
about her latest collection of erotic gothic fiction. 


This is kinda old, but still super cool, so I’m going to
link it.  Feministing put up a clip
from a documentary called "War Zone", where a woman got a camera and decided to
confront men who holler at her on the street, asking them to repeat what they
said to her and catching them being embarrassed. 


  • war
    zone *


It’s hilarious, actually. Men harass women on the street
precisely because they know that they’ll never be held accountable. But when
they are in fact held accountable, they don’t know what to do.



Now that opponents of health care reform have had a whole
month to whip themselves into a frenzy of anger, fear, and misunderstanding
about health care reform, I’m really expecting the worst when it comes to the
bloodbath of a fight in Congress. 
Because god forbid ordinary working Americans be able to access basic
health care, and god forbid people get sick without going bankrupt.  But I don’t have to guess at how the
right wing is going to behave. 
They’re not hiding their intentions in the slightest.  On Ed Schultz’s Psycho Talk segment, he
played Michelle Bachmann making a speech where the blood talk moved further
away from being just an expression and inched closer to  being literal. 


  • health
    care 1 *


I really don’t like how Schultz does the high pitched thing,
which is sexism and undermines the larger point, which is that Bachmann
actually said that right wingers should slit their wrists and become blood
brothers in the fight against health care.  At this point, the whole thing is overtly tribal.  For a long time now, I’ve been arguing
that most of the opposition to health care reform is organized around
race-baiting, and less than subtle messages to racists about how they should
oppose this because they shouldn’t be forced to share with black people,
immigrants, and whoever else is on their hate list.  But this blood brothers talk raises it to a new level.


And then there’s the lies.  There’s so many out now that it’s hard to keep track of them
all, but I thought I’d concentrate on ones that explicitly target women’s sexual
and reproductive health care. 
Unsurprisingly, this is a focus for conservatives for a couple of
reasons.  First of all, they just
have a lot of practice.  Second of
all, they think associating female sexuality with health care reform is a good
way to stir people’s anxiety about women’s roles and sex and use that anxiety
to turn them against health care reform. 
It’s a sleazy attempt at subconscious politicking, and so no surprise
it’s the preferred one. 


Abortion is at the top of the list.  Dana Perino was on Sean Hannity’s show,
misrepresenting the relationship between abortion and health care reform.  That was after showing Claire McCaskil
being booed at a town hall event for telling the truth about how the Hyde
Amendment prevents federal funding for abortion.  That’s where they’re at now, booing you for telling the


  • health
    care 2 *


Fact Check did not actually say they’re wrong.  Perino and Hannity are basically lying
about this.  Fact Check did
accurately explain that the proposed public option would not use federal money
to cover abortion.  It might be
covered, but since the public option would be paid for, as insurance companies
all are, by premiums paid for by consumers, then it would not be using federal
money to cover abortion.  There is
still no reason to think that taxpayers will pay for abortion.  Period.  All attempts to suggest otherwise are playing fast and loose
with the truth in order to dupe people. 
If you’re absolutely against helping pay into any system that funds
abortion, then you have a right to buy insurance from a company that
doesn’t.  In fact, health care
reform will make that easier, as you’ll have more options to buy insurance
under the exchange than you have now, so if hating women and sex is a priority
for you, you can seek out insurance just for that reason.


But it’s not just abortion that’s creating the female
sexuality panic response that’s being applied to health care. 


  • health
    care 3 *


The ad, which is all nonsense of course, is produced by the
Independent Women’s Forum. The truth is that this woman lived because she had
health insurance.  And now she’s
out there trying to make sure that other women don’t have that health
insurance, so that they die of breast cancer.  Health care reform is about making sure more people have
health insurance.  This is so
straightforward that wingnuts have resorted to saying black is white and up is
down and having health insurance means you won’t. 


Why breast cancer? 
I honestly think that they’re more attracted to health care issues
regarding women’s sex organs and secondary sex characteristics because they
know that the panic that women’s sexual bodies creates in people can be used to
up the general sense of panic.  But
it’s a long shot to suggest that women with cancer will be better off if many
of them have no health care at all.



Insert interview


From Amplify’s blog, I bring good news.  Well, sort of good news.  The good news is that North Carolina is
giving up on abstinence-only sex education.  The bad news is that they had to put a lot of kids through a
lot of misery in order to get there. 


  • north
    Carolina 1 *


And when they say that these rates went up, they went way
up.  Even I was shocked, and I’m
pretty much sold on the idea that if you tell kids not to use condoms, they
will react by having sex but not using condoms.  In fact, the percentage of students receiving education in
condom use in schools went from 50% in 2000 to 39% in 2006.  So we shouldn’t be shocked to hear


  • north
    Carolina 2 *


It’s incredibly frustrating that the anti-sex forces are
given the benefit of the doubt, and their beliefs about the evils of sex are
considered the norm up until we start to see the ugly effects that their
beliefs have on the public health. 
Even without these dreadful stats on teen pregnancy, we should have been
able, as a nation, to see the problem with abstinence-until-marriage.  The problem is that it’s so against
most American values.  95% of
Americans have sex before they’re married.  You can’t get 95% of Americans to agree there’s 26 letters
in the English alphabet. 
Vegetarians are probably a bigger group than people who are virgins on
their wedding night, and yet you don’t see us bullying schools into teaching
that eating meat is wrong and will kill you.  So why do we let the tiny virgin minority bully us on


They interviewed some youth activists who fought for
comprehensive sex education, and the interview really drives home how farcical
the whole thing is if you look at it for even a moment with your sanity cap on.


  • north
    Carolina 3 *


Let’s think about this for a moment, and really consider how
surreal this is.  Odds are very
good that the teacher telling kids that sex without the benefit of marriage
will kill them has herself had sex without being married.  It is literally impossible for every
teacher selling this message to have been a virgin on their wedding night.  Believe me, there are occasional women
who claim to be virgins, and even an occasional man, who teach abstinence-only
through religious groups, and they go on and on applauding themselves for their
virginity.  The majority, I’d say
vast majority, of teachers using these texts weren’t virgins.  And yet there they are, alive and able
to teach lies.  Their very
existence undermines the message. 
No wonder kids tune out. 


As they should. 
The ugly truth of the matter is that not only do the vast majority of
Americans have sex before they’re married, the vast majority don’t regret it,
either.  Oh, they may regret
certain partners or that it was too soon or too late, but if you said, "Don’t
you wish you’d waited until you were married?", most of us would stare at you
as if you’d asked, "Don’t you wish that you’d never learned to drive?"  It doesn’t compute at all.  Abstinence-only was only an easy sell
because most people didn’t think about what it really means to tell kids to wait
until marriage.  But as soon as
they clue in, they don’t like abstinence-only anymore.


Of course, they had to give a resident wingnut some airtime
to be full of it.


  • north
    Carolina 4 *


You know what? 
Odds are he didn’t wait and he doesn’t regret it, either.  Anyway, of course proponents will
recite the same line over and over, no matter how much evidence you give them
that their line is increasing the teenage pregnancy and STD rate.  Because this isn’t and never was about
making kids healthy.  He said it
right there—it’s about the almighty consequences.  It’s about increasing human suffering, punishing people for
sex.  I suspect that getting kids
to wait, while important to conservatives, is a secondary concern compared to
increasing the teenage pregnancy and STD rate.  Having people out there suffering is the payoff.  Look, they’re mostly the law and order
conservatives that would put you away for life for shoplifting, and the kind of
people who scream at women trying to get reproductive health care at clinics
that provide abortion.  The idea
that someone out there is getting the maximum punishment for defying their
stupid rules gets them off, end of story. 
We need to stop letting them get their hands on kids, who don’t deserve
lifelong punishment for doing something that 95% of Americans do, and most
don’t regret.



And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, conservative hypocrites
edition.  First, here’s a
description of our hypocrite California Assemblyman Michael Duvall, who
represents Orange County. 


  • duvall


Yes, he has been caught on open microphones bragging about
sex with multiple lobbyists who are not his wife, lobbyists who work for
industries he’s supposed to regulate. He’s not just a little graphic about his
sex talk.  He even gets into lavish
descriptions of the fluids involved. I guess that’s consistent with the family
values stance against condoms!



Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • progo35

    Re abortion and hc reform: Yes, people will end up paying for other people’s abortions because anyone who buys the government health insurance and pays a premium to it will then be paying for someone else’s abortion under the plan. So, it may not be tax dollars that are being used to pay for the abortions, but this is a clever way around that restriction: consumers who have to be on the federal plan will pay for other people’s abortions via the premiums they are paying. The whole point of not using tax dollars to fund abortion is to prevent tax payers from being complicit in a woman’s choice to udergo an abortion, and if the premiums people pay to the government healthcare system pay for abortions, then the people paying those premiums will be forced to be complicit in that way. So, no one lied about the general populace paying for abortions if the plan is to pay for them via the premiums people pay. 

  • mnblue

    Michele Bachmann has got to go! Dr. Maureen Reed is running against her and she is the ticket to beating Bachmann’s craziness! You can learn more about Maureen, and donate, at:

  • pilar608

    Unless you have the freedom in your insurance coverage to specifically choose a plan that does not cover abortion, chances are very good that you *already are* "paying" for women’s abortions through your insurance premiums.  The Guttmacher institute did a survey of "typical" insurance plans, and found that 87% of them covered abortion.  The Kaiser Family Foundation interviewed employer human resources offices, and found that 40% of them covered it.  (26% of those interviewed didn’t know if abortion was covered by their insurance plans.)


    Saying that the federal government, by providing subsidies for insurance premiums, is thereby "funding" abortion is like saying that by paying for contractors to do work, the federal government is "funding" abortions if an employee of a contractor uses her pay to get an abortion.