Once again, the right gets all wound up about Sandra Fluke. The last abortion clinic in Mississippi is threatened again. Also, a filmmaker asks why do young women have sex?
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On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking to a documentary film director who looked at the question of why young women have sex. Right wing media attacks Sandra Fluke, again, and Mississippi’s last abortion clinic is threatened, again.
I was on a HuffPost Live chat about the continual right wing panic over low birth rates, an issue I continue to believe is just a bunch of noise that means nothing. The ever-awesome Bryce Covert made some extremely good points about how low birth rates are here to stay.
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That’s the ultimate issue here. Right wingers bring it up constantly, but never to entertain the possibility that we should restructure our society to fit people’s needs. It’s always to imply that women’s rights have to go. But obviously, given a choice between restructuring our economy and terminating women’s rights, the former is the correct solution.
At this point, the ongoing conservative obsession with Sandra Fluke is just going to flare up every couple of months on the regular. Just as they seem to think Bill Clinton invented oral sex in the 90s, the way they carry on about Fluke, you’d think that she invented non-procreative sex. The most baffling thing is their insistence that this is a bad thing, when it seems that if someone did invent oral sex or non-procreative sex, they should get a genius grant or a Nobel Prize or something. Part of it is that demonizing is a more effective rhetorical strategy on the right than actually trying to argue their point of view, because their arguments suck. It’s easier for them to snarl and hiss at Charles Darwin, the entire country of France, and Gloria Steinem than to explain what’s wrong with evolutionary theory, pro-labor policies, and feminism. And demonizing Sandra Fluke instead of trying to make the impossible-to-argue case against treating contraception like preventive health care.
The latest angry flare-up is the result of Time Magazine putting Fluke on the nominee list for Person of the Year. Considering the rising amount of interest Americans have in preventing pregnancy during these bad economic times, she’s a reasonable choice for the award. But right wing media completely flipped out.
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That was Lars Larson of Fox News, working the same old insinuation that the cost of your birth control prescription is reflexive of how much sex you’re having, which in turn insinuates that having a lot of sex is a bad thing. You know, as opposed to the real world, where having a lot of sex often just means you’re deliriously in love, which is supposed to be a good thing. Oh, and of course he invokes the lie that she wanted “someone else” to pay for her contraception while in law school. Considering that students have to pay the full costs of their insurance in cash, this is a more strained claim even than pretending that women who get insurance as a work benefit don’t deserve to have their basic health care covered by it.
Or course, Andrea Tantaros of Fox, who has recently suggested being on food stamps is a good weight loss plan, acted like a complete imbecile about this, too.
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It’s bad enough that conservatives accuse hard-working Americans who need help making ends meet of “dependency”, but in this case, Tantaros is claiming that people who want insurance coverage in exchange for the cash and/or labor they paid for it are “dependent”. What next? Accusing people who want to get paid for their labor of being dependent? Probably, in all honesty. The only way this whining makes sense is if you don’t believe ordinary people deserve fair compensation for their labor.
But really, no right wing hysteria about Sandra Fluke round-up is complete without Rush Limbaugh weighing in. In this case, he does so with a level of narcissism that is remarkable even for him.
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It’s an attack that weirdly assumes that Fluke was out to get him, but if you’ll recall, she was absolutely not out to get Rush Limbaugh or anyone. She simply wanted to point out that women who pay for or earn insurance benefits should be able to demand that those benefits actually cover their actual health care costs. It was Limbaugh who thought this made her an out-of-control slut who should be forced to star in porn for him to jerk off to. She didn’t pick that fight.
The poor, beleagured Jackson, Mississippi abortion clinic. For a long time now, the sole clinic there has been able to bat off repeated attempts to destroy the clinic, including a series of legal wranglings this year over a regulation requiring the doctors to have admitting privileges to local hospitals. The law is framed disingenuously as a women’s health measure, but in fact was an attempt to create a situation where hospitals were afraid to give the privileges because they don’t want to get caught up in the abortion politics of Mississippi. A court stayed the regulation, but it hasn’t gone anywhere, and now the clinic is once again facing closure in January if the judge doesn’t stay it again. The regulation is basically impossible to follow.
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I noted in my column at RH Reality Check, but it bears repeating here: The legislators are basically exploiting an atmosphere of stigma, fear, and even terrorism to make this regulation work. Many of the hospitals basically said outright that their concerns are that this would mean an end to being able to run smooth, peaceable businesses. Translation: They are terrified, for good reason, that anti-choice militants will harass their patients, threaten their employees, and may even act on those threats. It’s not like anti-choice terrorism isn’t a real threat, after all, so they aren’t being unreasonable to have these fears.
These laws are supposedly about women’s health, because undermining women’s rights is technically illegal, but the legislators aren’t even pretending they give a single hoot about women. Maddow played comments from the governor and others.
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This is absolutely about one thing: the state of Mississippi simply disagreeing that they have to obey federal law and the Supreme Court’s ruling that holds that women have basic human rights. Make no mistake about it. Mississippi doesn’t want to recognize women’s basic rights, so they’re refusing to do it, no matter what they have to do in order to get that done. On the Young Turks, they compared this to the way that states—with Mississippi leading the way, by the way—flagrantly broke federal law and claimed that their unwillingness to recognize human rights was some kind of “states rights” thing back in the era of civil rights.
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Let’s be clear: Reproductive rights isn’t the only arena you see this problem. In fact, I’d argue that nearly every time the phrase “states rights” comes up, you look closely and you’ll realize that it’s human rights that are being denied. So it was in MLK’s day. So it is now, with conservative states attacking voter rights. And so it is with abortion. It’s all an elaborate con to get out of honoring human rights that are enshrined in our Constitution.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the endless right wing obsession with demographics edition, courtesy Rush Limbaugh. This woman called in and was on a rant about her belief that other women are idiots because they have small cars and like condoms.
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What’s funny is that for once, Limbaugh sounds like the sane one. He, for instance, notices the evidence isn’t favoring the “liberals are disappearing” thesis. Nor does he seem too enthused with this notion that these mythical free condoms this woman mentions three separate times somehow means liberals never have children. When your idea of how reproduction works makes Limbaugh blanch at how dumb you sound, that’s really saying something.