The War On Women Continues


The war against women continues. Jessic Arons talks about legislative efforts against women’s rights. Also, Lila Rose continues to fail, and anti-choicers move towards violence.

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Links in this episode:

Eric Boehlert on the Lila Rose dud

Rachel Maddow on anti-choice violence

Jill Filipovic on the legal issues

Justifiable homicide?

Well, this was unnerving

Lila Rose on Glenn Beck

On this episode of Reality Cast, Jessica Arons will be on to talk about the newest developments in the House bills to restrict abortion and contraception funding.  Also, anti-choicers get a little bolder in coming out in support of terrorism, and Lila Rose continues to be a dud. 

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters went on MSNBC to talk about the Planned Parenthood hoax run by Lila Rose.

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Tons and tons of credit to Media Matters for being on top of this from the beginning, and doing tremendous work in taking the knees off it.

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Last week, I reported on the massive move against abortion and contraception funding from anti-choicers on the Hill.  Now it’s time to talk about how the past month has also ushered in a surprisingly new turn towards violence with anti-choicers.  Even though it’s been less than two years since Dr. George Tiller was murdered in cold blood by an anti-choice activist, it seems that anti-choicers aren’t going to tone it down.  In fact, they seem emboldened, on many levels.  Starting right in Wichita, where Dr. Tiller was murdered.

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Terrorism works.  That’s why people do it.  Rachel interviewed the doctor who has been targeted by this harassment and violence campaign, which includes threats in the form of the wanted posters that float around before many doctors have been shot, including Dr. Tiller.  She’s incredibly brave, and doesn’t seem as flustered by these turns of event as most of us would be.

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It’s easy to blame the landlord in this situation for holding the doctor responsible for the threats that are actually coming from pro-terrorism anti-choice protesters.  But we should be looking to the law, instead.  It’s the job of the government to keep the peace, and to control terrorism, not private citizens like landlords. 

Instead, however, there are some in the government that are siding with the terrorists. In South Dakota, a group of Republican legislators managed to get a bill out of committee with a 9-3 party line vote that would make it legal for anyone with a familial relation to the potential child in a pregnancy to kill someone to stop that fetus from being hurt or destroyed.  The legislators swear it has nothing to do with abortion, but brought mostly anti-abortion groups to testify about it.  They claim it’s to give pregnant women the right to self-defense, but pregnant women already have it. 

Another interpretation, the more valid one, is that this is their love letter to Scott Roeder, the man who killed Dr. Tiller and tried to use justifiable homicide as his defense.  Of course, there was no legal reason to allow that defense, so he got the book thrown at him.  South Dakota legislators are responding by trying to write a law that says that it is justifiable homicide, you know, if you’re the man who impregnated her, which fits into the common anti-choice fantasy of a man forcibly removing his pregnant wife or girlfriend from an abortion clinic to save “his” baby. 

Jill from Feministe, who is a lawyer, went on the Alyona Show to explain the legal possibilities here.

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The context here is that justifiable homicide is something anti-choice extremists have been angling for forever when it comes to defending those who shoot abortion doctors. This is something Rachel Maddow touched on Tuesday night, when warming up the audience to their future coverage of hearings to disbar anti-choice nut Phill Kline.  She touched on the murder of Dr. Tiller and how there was an attempt to get a justifiable homicide defense accepted, which was rejected.

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And that’s something to consider.  Even if no judge would really allow this defense, even after the South Dakota bill was passed, there’s more to consider than just how anti-choice nuts handle their defense after they kill someone.  There’s also the prevention angle.  We don’t want it to get to that point, but now you have state governments kicking the term “justifiable homicide” around when they know there are legions of anti-choice extremists out there who are eager to hear their views reaffirmed.  And who could take this as a signal that killing is what’s expected and desired of them.

The good news is that the wide outcry meant the bill was pulled back. So, keep at it, folks.  Sometimes you win.

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insert interview

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The Lila Rose situation has only gotten more bizarre since I last reported on it.  The problem for Rose is that what she set out to prove was that Planned Parenthood goes along with sex trafficking.  What happened was she proved the opposite, when Planned Parenthood alerted the authorities to people in their offices claiming to be pimps working with underage girls.  A person with dignity and a shred of decency would immediately drop the whole thing when presented with such a problem, but then again, a person with dignity and decency doesn’t get into anti-choice activism.  Rose knew she could count on the conservative media to proceed as if she had proven something she hadn’t.  And frankly, that often works. The past few years have seen many right wing hoaxes work even though they were quite obviously fake, because they can count on the mainstream media to help them. 

But this time, the hoax seemed DOA. Was it because it’s so obviously a lie?  I doubt it.  There’s not many right wing lies that don’t get sympathetic play in the mainstream media. I think a lot of it has to do with the Egyptian protests drowning this story out.  But it was also that Planned Parenthood, with a big assist from Media Matters and the pro-choice community, got ahead of this story.  Leaving conservatives who thought this would work so well in an incoherent, sputtering rage.

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That was Dana Loesch, who is unfortunately allowed to offer “analysis” on CNN, ranting at CPAC.  I particularly enjoyed how she took a swipe at my last name.  Are right wing nuts back to hating anything that sounds French again?  I can never keep up.  But really, that was an elegant display of ignorant, sputtering rage.  Screaming the evils of birth control, and then screaming about the evils of social spending?  Uh, every reasonable study you can imagine demonstrates that helping women prevent unwanted childbirth saves us money, because women who can’t afford the $400 for an abortion generally are going to need assistance for the childbirth and child-rearing. And of course, lashing out at professional writers and pundits for having jobs and then lashing out at us for supposedly making the government pay for our health care. Uh, pick.  Seriously. Are we bad people for having jobs and paying our own way, or are we bad people because we’re supposedly on the dole?  It’s one or the other, can’t be both.

Anyway, the point is that this is where things are.  They’re whipping crowds into frenzies of hate aimed at young women for daring to believe we have a right to live our lives.  We’re evil for having jobs, for having sex, for believing we’re people with rights. That they’ve gotten young women who fit the model of the hate object to speak the hate is just a clever P.R. move, but let’s not be fooled into not seeing this for what it is.

Glenn Beck tried to give Lila Rose an opportunity to salvage all this stupidity. She decided to replace analysis with telling lurid stories.

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The reason to go off on that litany was, besides the usual Glenn Beck mission of convincing the audience that the world outside of their door is a war zone, to imply that Planned Parenthood somehow assists or supports this.  On the contrary.  What Rose really doesn’t want to talk about is that after her actors got their jollies pretending to be the kind of people who rape young girls, Planned Parenthood alerted the authorities. Because they oppose sex trafficking. 

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Yep, they are a mandated reporter.  And when they were informed of child abuse, they reported it to the authorities.  But I want to draw attention to the second part of this, where Rose makes her real interests clear.  She screeches about how condoms and abortion cover up the crime, but by doing so, she exposes that all her supposed concern for rape victims is a lie.  When you’re a victim, being told that you should die of AIDS or be forced to bear a rapist’s child in order to prove something is unbelievably cruel.  People who actually care about rape victims, such as Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice movement, want to make sure victims are cared for.  The callous way that Rose wishes disease, forcible childbirth, and even death on victims of rape and trafficking is stunning.  Pro-life, my ass.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, feel the hypocrisy edition. Andrew Breitbart, looking quite disheveled at CPAC, said this:

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Women who make the choice to be sexual were object of Dana Loesch whipping the crowd into a frenzy of hate.  But men making the choice to pick women up in bars?  Just adorable.  Thanks, CPAC, for the reminder that this is and always has been about misogyny and the double standard.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte