All about the creepy inside workings of crisis pregnancy centers. Katie Stack talks about the Crisis Project and there’s also clips from inside CPCs. Also: The sexism of this election cycle is completely out of control.
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On this episode of Reality Cast, it’s time for more coverage of the election season. As things heat up and mouths get looser, more ridiculous attacks on women’s sexuality are emanating from conservatives. Katie Stack will be on to talk about her undercover videos of crisis pregnancy centers, and I’ll do a segment with clips showing exactly what she discovered.
Samantha Bee of the Daily Show went to the RNC to ask people who support the no exceptions abortion ban of the Republican platform how to reconcile that with Mitt Romney’s claim to support exceptions for rape or the health of the mother.
- choice *
It keeps going. She had not problem finding delegate after delegate who believed that Mitt Romney had more right to decide when an abortion is right than a woman who is actually pregnant.
For some reason this campaign season, many conservatives just can’t contain themselves any longer when it comes to the subject of female sexuality and their overwhelming fear and disapproval of it. For instance, they know, intellectually speaking, that hating on women for using contraception is about as smart as calling people “fancy” for having indoor plumbing. But the mere fact that Sandra Fluke spoke at the Democratic National Convention was enough to hit some sort of override button in the right wing brain, and all of a sudden the notion that any woman who ever has sex for non-procreative purposes must be a giant slut came pouring out. Bill O’Reilly sincerely seems to believe that using contraception is some weird sexual fetish, like being into leather gear or going to swinger’s clubs.
- election 1 *
First of all, let’s get the lie part out of the way. The lie is that this is about making the taxpayers pay for contraception. Fluke testified on behalf of a policy that requires insurance that women pay for with a combination of labor and cold hard cash to actually cover their preventive care without a co-pay, including contraception. But what was especially telling was Bill O’Reilly’s claim that using contraception is a “lifestyle”. 99% of women have used contraception. Not using contraception is what makes you an outlier in our society. The only reason that O’Reilly couldn’t know this is if he’s a profoundly incurious man who so fears female sexuality that he can’t even be bothered to know something as simple as knowing that contraception use is how women can have all the sex he’s so interested in without making babies. Maybe he simply thinks most women get dozens of abortions in our lifetimes. Or maybe he’s wildly underestimated how common it is for adult women to be sexual. The leering tone he takes in this next clip suggests the latter, that he sincerely believes that most women are virgins, except for a small number of rowdy girls who have nothing else going on in their lives but screwing. Seriously, he’s so obsessed with Fluke’s sex life that he managed to turn an innocuous discussion about balloons into a leering joke about condoms.
- election 2 *
God, O’Reilly is that dirty old man who sees a young woman at a party with a date and has to corner her and make a gross, leering fuss out of how he now understands that she’s one of those girls. The ones who do it, you know. He’s heard about your type, the women who have had the sex. And he thinks that means that it’s open season on you now. Not that we had any doubt that he was this guy before. Anyone who heard those tapes of him sexually harassing an employee knows this; O’Reilly really did suggest to her that because she’s a single woman and not a virgin, then she had no right to say no to being cornered by him and forced to endure his sexual fantasies. O’Reilly seems to truly believe that a single woman having sex is such an out-there, kinky behavior that it justifies treating her like a freak. Not that it’s ever okay to treat people like they’re sex objects or freaks, but his leering is a really strange combination of rude and illogical.
Beyond just the leering weirdness, the other thing that really sticks out from conservative pundits is their condescending belief that men are sharp, rational creatures but women are weak-willed morons whose vote depends on warm fuzzies and not actually picking a candidate based on policy. Which is the belief underlying Fox News’ John Roberts analysis of the RNC.
- election 3 *
I’m completely unconvinced that the best way to get women to vote for Republicans is for pro-Republican pundits to tell women that we’re emotional, not very bright, and that we cast our votes not on policy but because we think the candidate is handsome or something. But for a lot of conservative pundits, hostility towards women is overriding common sense advice like, “Don’t insult the voters.” Indeed, Rush Limbaugh has gone a step further and has started to insult the politicians themselves. This is what he said about Nikki Haley.
- election 4 *
And that’s him trying to praise her. Offering actual praise to a woman is so far out of Limbaugh’s world that this is the best he can do, which is reduce a woman to her looks. For what it’s worth, I mostly watched the RNC through MSNBC, and they gave a lot of airtime to minority candidates, and seemed to give more than CNN. Certainly the chatter about the presence of women and people of color on the stage at the RNC was largely positive, probably because MSNBC is more liberal than they are Democratic, and a lot of anchors value diversity instinctively.
You should definitely go to the crisis project dot org and check out some of the videos that are there, but I thought I’d do a segment highlighting some parts of the videos, so you know what the activists who bring cameras into crisis pregnancy centers are up against. This first clip is from a crisis pregnancy center in Fairmont, Minnesota, where the activist came in and told the volunteer that she is pregnant and going to have an abortion. And that she was looking for information about abortion, which the CPC advertised themselves as offering. What she got was a whole mess of alarming lies and misinformation about the dangers of abortion. She lied and told her that abortion causes breast cancer. But what was really frightening was that she told her that abortion causes psychosis.
- cpc 1 *
Not only has science disproved the claim that abortion causes depression, suicidal thoughts, or psychosis, this woman has it completely backwards about the dangers of pregnancy and a history of depression. In reality, continuing with a pregnancy runs a much higher risk of causing depression. As Jessica Grose noted in her interview on this show, prenatal depression is a common problem, and post-partum depression is no joke. For a woman who actually had a history of depression, being told that pregnancy is safe like this is not just wrong, but dangerous. Even if she wants to continue her pregnancy, this misinformation could cause her to ignore depression symptoms or not seek timely treatment from actual doctors to prevent actual depression instigated by the hormonal changes of pregnancy.
An investigator also went to a CPC in Louisville, Kentucky, and was subjected to the same bunch of lies, such as being told that she’d be rendered infertile if she had an abortion and that everyone regrets it, even though studies indicate most women express relief after abortion. But there was also vicious emotional abuse.
- cpc 2 *
Not to rehash the same tedious argument, but this is simply a matter of substituting magical thinking for actual scientific fact. You can “believe” until you’re blue in the face that an embryo is the same thing as a baby, but it’s not. And it’s an insult to babies and to all of us to say that, to claim that our feelings, minds, and even physical existence have no bearing on who we are and whether or not we’re people. Plus, we know they don’t believe this crap, or they’d be having funerals for tampons on the grounds that it “might” be a baby that just didn’t attach to the uterine wall, nor do they celebrate your birthday starting from estimated conception date instead of your actual birthday. Okay, rant over. The main takeaway here is that these so-called Christians think it’s acceptable to take someone in a vulnerable emotional state and exploit them with abusive nonsense in order to gain control over their body. That’s abuse, whether it’s someone doing it to trap a woman into an abusive relationship or whether or not it’s an attempt to trap someone into an unwanted pregnancy.
And, of course, there’s the moment when a CPC worker basically makes it clear that it was never about “life” and just about making sure women who have sex face negative consequences. Which is why this exchange happened in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when the investigator asked for birth control.
- cpc 3 *
That she takes it as a given that someone who has sex doesn’t have “self-control” just sums it all up, doesn’t it?
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, that old canard edition. It’s the final months before the election and conservatives, desperate to find attack they can on President Obama, have decided to revive the weird claim that he supports infanticide.
- Limbaugh *
The source of this claim is Obama’s rejection of a bill that would have required doctors to go through the processes they use trying to keep actual, viable babies alive, except on fetuses that are already dead because of medically necessary abortions. In other words, Obama was against torturing families that had already suffered enough. This somehow makes him a bad guy, which is something you can only believe if you literally have no sympathy for women.