Feminist Judges, Oral Sex Bans, and Why TRAP Laws Are Increasing in Frequency


Related Links

Jerome Corsi worries about pedophilia and paganism

NPR covers new anti-choice strategy

Texas expected to create abortion boom in Mexico

Ken Cuccinelli advocates banning oral and anal sex

Jay Leno takes a crack at Ken Cuccinelli

The women of “The View” react

Transcript

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking to Ian Millhiser about a potential new circuit judge and the anti-choicers trying to derail her confirmation. A segment on how seriously dishonest anti-choice claims to be all about health care are, and Ken Cuccinelli really wants to ban oral sex.

Clear Channel is banning a series of ads in Kansas for being indecent. Are they sexually explicit? No. Violent? No. Judge for yourself.

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The clinic offers abortion, that’s it. But it’s part of a larger push to marginalize abortion, even though one out of three women will get one in her lifetime, making it routine medical care.

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There’s been a lot of coverage lately dedicated to the new trend in abortion restrictions, focusing on creating all these unnecessary regulations and pretending it’s about women’s health. But it really, really is not. I was happy to see NPR run a story on it, but really wish they had exhibited a little more skepticism, highlighting how the very people who claim to want these regulations for “safety” reasons also think that women who get abortions are murderers. Which is, if you think about it for a mere second, a major contradiction. NPR interviewed an anti-choicer who was bellyaching that she knows better than the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists what kind of facilities are necessary for safe abortions.

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Of course, she completely conceals the fact that these requirements are also being extended to the abortion pill. Wonder why! Journalists who are interviewing anti-choicers who are making the claim that these regulations are about “safety”, I beg of you: Please ask the necessary follow-up question. Say, “But your organization teaches that abortion is murder. Why should the state make sure murder is safe?” Anti-choicers have been claiming forever that abortion isn’t real medical care, and now they’re accepting that it is, only to eliminate it.

Even though NPR’s reporter did not ask the necessary follow-up question, she did include the relevant facts: Abortion is safe and these regulations are unnecessary. She also asked an actual women’s health expert to explain what the hell is going on.

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You definitely get a cervical biopsy in a doctor’s office setting, the same kind that abortions are performed in. And it takes much longer than a vacuum aspiration abortion, and has the same kinds of very minor risks of infection. And yet there’s not a lot of concern about that! Thank god, too, because TMI, I had one and I was in and out of the office in an hour, whereas having to go to the hospital to meet surgical center standards is an all day affair.

The fact of the matter is that they don’t care about women’s health. This is about shutting down clinics, and that much is obvious. What’s a little less obvious is why this is the big trend in anti-choice legislating, and the reason is simple: They’ve spent forty years mostly focusing on direct attacks on the woman trying to get an abortion. They attack her ability to pay for it by cutting Medicaid or insurance funding. They make rules like she has to wait 24 hours or she has, if she’s a minor, to notify her parents. And none of this has worked at all, because women aren’t that easily deterred—contrary to anti-choice myths, when women seek abortion, they know exactly what they’re doing and aren’t going to be easily spooked off. So now they’re putting all their focus on the supply side, hoping that they can just regulate legal abortion out of existence.

But make no mistake, this is not about improving women’s health. On the contrary, this is about forcing women to put themselves in very real danger by seeking black market abortion medications. Joy Diaz of KUT News went down to Laredo and crossed the border to report.

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Cytotec is available over the counter in Mexico, because it’s also used as an ulcer medication and they’re pretty lenient about selling drugs over the counter there as long as they’re relatively safe to use without a doctor’s supervision. Diaz popped into a couple of pharmacies and spoke with the people there.

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It is relatively safe to simply take the drug. The problem is that if you take it while you’re pregnant, you may not be taking the right dose. And I worry that the ones they’re selling at flea markets on the American side of the border may be dummy pills or be tampered with somehow. Probably not in most cases, but it’s still a concern. If you don’t take enough, you may end up with an incomplete abortion. It’s just a bad idea having women swallowing pill after pill, hoping this is the one that finally works, instead of prescribing the correct dose up front. But that’s what women will have to do if these regulations go into action. Anyone who supports sending so many women to flea markets to look for pills to terminate pregnancies is not, I assure you, worried about women’s health.

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insert interview

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I have all sorts of theories that are ever-changing about why the religious right seems to be turning up the volume on the attacks on reproductive rights, and particularly seem less and less interested in hiding how misogynist and sex-phobic they are. They used to know more to keep that stuff behind closed doors, but the seams are just showing more and move every day. My current theory is that it’s probably because the rise in right wing media has created a true echo chamber, and they stop understanding that their anti-sex weirdness is just off-putting to the real world. Or, at least that must be the case with Ken Cuccinelli. That, or he is so obsessed with hating sex that he doesn’t even care if he destroys his gubernatorial campaign because of it. He’s actually making his attempts to ban consensual oral and anal sex between adults a major part of his campaign. No, really.

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Cuccinelli is trying to portray his efforts to reinstate this law, which was basically ended by Lawrence v Texas in 2003, as part of a fight against child molesters. The problem with that is that separate laws ban both child molestation and statutory rape. This law that Cuccinelli loves so much, however, bans pretty much all sex that is not penis-in-vagina sex, though it doesn’t address vaginal rape of a minor at all.

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The Virginia legislature tried, a few years ago, to rewrite the law so that it specifically excluded consensual sex between adults, but Cuccinelli, who was in the legislature at the time, voted against that bill. He clearly likes it exactly how it is. Loves it, in fact, and has spent an unreal amount of time and energy trying to reinstate this law, even though Lawrence v Texas, the Supreme Court decision that struck it down, is absolutely clear that you can’t ban consensual sex between adults.

The good news is basically no one seems to be falling for Cuccinelli’s line, and now he’s becoming a laughingstock in the mainstream media sources. Not what you want if you’re running for statewide office! Jay Leno, who is probably the late night host most afraid of controversy, took a crack at Cuccinelli.

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The women on “The View” also decided to take on Cuccinelli’s bizarre campaign against consensual oral sex. They were even more shocked that someone was trying this in the year 2013.

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The whole thing kicked off an epic Whoopi Goldberg rant.

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What I don’t understand is that Cuccinelli had to have known this was coming. Oral sex is a near-universal behavior amongst Americans. If you turn on the TV at all, you have to know that it’s a completely normalized behavior. But I suppose he may very well live in a bubble, and because of that, he believes that oral sex is a rare behavior most people find repulsive, or, as Barbara Walters suggests, he thinks it’s a gay-only behavior. Which tells us more about his interior life and what he spends his time thinking about. Obviously, even if only gay people had oral sex, this ban would still be a terrible idea, but even the conservative voters he’s trying to appeal to have oral sex! It’s hard to imagine what kind of votes he thinks he’s going to scare up with this.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, man conservatives really don’t understand the meaning of consent edition. Jerome Corsi recently gave a speech to the Eagle Forum warning that gay marriage means, you guessed it, pedophilia and the ever-dreaded return of Zeus worship.

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If the only thing that keeps you from raping kids is not allowing gays to marry, you are not to be trusted around children. And why accepting gay people supposedly leads to worshipping the polytheistic gods of old, I have never understood.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • JuliaD

    I think that in the last section about Jerome Corsi the audio extract is the same of the beginning, the clinic ads in Kansas. Otherwise, excellent podcast, as usual!

    • John H

      It is, as of 2:30pm CDT. Also, I agree with the “excellent podcast, as usual!” bit.