Steubenville, Texas Family Planning, and Virginia Abortion Restrictions


Andrea Grimes updates us on what’s happening to Texas family planning funding. Also: review of the Steubenville rape case and a look at Virginia’s new abortion regulations.

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NPR on Virginia’s new abortion regs

Ann Coulter, being her usual awful self 

On this episode of Reality Cast, Andrea Grimes will be on to update us on what’s going on with the Texas Women’s Health Program. I’ll do a segment on the alleged rape in Steubenville, Ohio, and another on the new abortion restrictions in Virginia.

Kotex had a really cute 3 minute video referring all the crazy myths throughout history about you period, none of which are true.

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The one that I remember growing up was that you shouldn’t get your hair done when you had your period. Which is about the dumbest thing in the world, now that I think about it.

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For those of us who try to fight the good fight against rape, the work is really demoralizing. Standing up for a rape victim during the trial ordeal usually means facing down a sea of opposition, as loud-mouthed and obsessive rape apologists will look for any excuse to accuse the victim of being a lying slut just out for attention or money. Which is why the Steubenville, Ohio case feels so different, because they are generating protests that sound like this:

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For the two or three of you left out there who don’t know, the protests are in response to a very suspicious situation in Steubenville, where a number of football players for their popular high school team were present at a party where a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped, and they celebrated the rape on social networks. There appears to have been photos and videos, but only a couple of have surfaced and the suspicion is that a bunch of them were deleted to minimize the legal damage. The protesters are accusing the school and even law enforcement of either not being diligent enough to get the evidence or, in some cases, they are accusing adults of helping dispose of the evidence. Two young men have been charged. Another tried to file a defamation lawsuit against a blogger who outed his nasty tweets about the whole thing, and not only was the lawsuit dismissed, the plantiff had to apologize to the victim and her family. And now a video of yet another student has surfaced, where he appears to be in another room at the party where the alleged rape went down.  He’s arguing with a guy who appears to be upset about the whole thing, trying to argue for why it’s funny and not horrifying.

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At another point, he scolds the concerned and angry guy for trying to help the victim. The young man who is whooping it up in this video has withdrawn from Ohio State University because of the shame of all of this, and I can’t say that I feel bad. This case is finally, it seems, getting people to clue into what feminists have been saying for a long time, which is that rape is such a frequent crime because so many people don’t treat it like it even counts as a crime. Sadly, this kind of laughing and cheering on of rape is common. Even more common is the attempts to sweep it under the rug, blame the victim, or otherwise treat it like it’s a mildly unpleasant thing, but not so unpleasant that the rapist’s life deserves to be upended for it. There’s this polite social lie where everyone pretends to take rape seriously, but the few of us who actually do are treated like we’re hysterical. But this case feels different, like people are beginning to really clue into how social protection of rapists actually encourages them. The protests are huge. Mainstream media is investigating allegations brought forward by Anonymous. Instead of being treated like a victim or, god forbid, a hero as he would have in the past, the guy who made this video is a pariah.

And weirdly, even the people who are standing up for the old way of doing things are much fewer in number than they used to be. ABC News showed the counterprotest to the anti-rape protest, and it was just a handful of people, most of whom come across as complete idiots.

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The same old excuses just don’t fly in this situation. The first guy is trotting out the usual attempt to make rape sound like an isolated crime, but the extensive witnesses, the laugh-it-up video, the coach’s response, and the social networking celebration make that sound hollow. This is a clear-cut example of how communities do bear responsibility for sexual violence. The second guy is trotting out another typical rape apologist line, demanding that discourse about sexual violence be limited to the courtroom. If there was a spree of muggings in a neighborhood, would this guy be outraged if the community came together and demanded better lighting and police response? Absolutely not. People are sick and tired of rape being treated like it’s the victim’s fault or being told to shut up about it. A few idiot protesters saying the same old rape apologist things isn’t going to change that.

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insert interview

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Well, at least not all 50 states in our union are run by crazy misogynists. That’s what I keep telling myself when I do one segment after another about state officials, who were usually elected by portraying themselves as jobs-oriented moderates, get into office and use their new powers to mount a full-blown assault on women’s rights. This segment will focus on Virginia, and I don’t want to get anyone down, but the reality is this: The anti-choicers got their way by virtue of their rabid dog obsession with controlling women. Last year, the word “transvaginal” created a major uproar over Virginia’s attempt to run their abortion providers out of the state. It upset the anti-choicers briefly, but they waited until the uproar was over and did it anyway. NPR has a report.

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Ah yeah, the big anti-choice lie of late. They believe women who have abortions are filthy sluts who kill babies so they can continue their wicked fornicating ways, but they’re oh so concerned about their health. So concerned, in fact, that they’re going to eliminate all access to safe abortion so that the women can go with the healthy coathanger-in-the-bathroom option. Is there any worse misogyny than the kind that pretends not to be misogyny?

The obligatory anti-choice nut they interviewed also pushed the lie that they only want to force you to give birth because they care.

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Let’s be clear: Gosnell was already operating outside of the law, which is duh, why he got arrested. Let’s also be clear about this: This woman is not outraged about filthy clinics that hurt women. If she was, she would be fighting to make sure abortion is safe, legal, and affordable for all women. She actually wants to create a situation where a thousand Gosnells pop up, criminals who are willing to take advantage of desperate women seeking abortion on the black market. The absolute best way to keep men like Gosnell from operating is for women to have access to safe, legal providers. Olivia Gans Turner wants it so that women have to turn to criminal providers operating in shady circumstances, because as much as she feigns concern for women, she wants those dirty sluts to pay for their sexual activity by having to consort with criminals.

The reality is that the legal clinics in Virginia are already safe and wider doors and more parking spaces won’t make them safer.

  • Virginia 3 *

Of course it won’t. The Virginia state government became the center of a national outrage, but they did this anyway. They don’t care one little, tiny bit about what the public thinks about their attempts to drive abortion onto the black market. Their belief that women who have non-procreative sex are dirty sluts who need to be punished is unpopular, and they know it, and they don’t care. They’re going to find a way to punish anyway.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the continued demonizing of 1 in 3 American women edition. Ann Coulter, in part of the conservative effort to talk about anything but gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre, went after women who’ve had abortions.

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Not that this needs debunking, but remember that over 60% of women who have abortions already have children, and having to take care of the children they already have is a major reason women cite for having abortions. Not that Coulter doesn’t probably already know this; she just wants to out women who have abortions so that everyone can whisper about what a slut they are, or worse, so terrorists can terrorize them. 

Follow Amanda Marcotte on Twitter: @amandamarcotte