Abortion Access Threatened in Tennessee, and Lila Rose’s New Anti-Sex Videos


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Transcript

On this episode of Reality Cast, Jeff Teague of Planned Parenthood will explain what’s going on in Tennessee with Amendment 1. I’ll review some of the recent anti-choice Senate testimony, and Lila Rose is arguing for, uh, “life” by suggesting it’s shameful to be curious about sex.

Rachel Maddow highlighted the way that abortion clinics often end up dealing with the ridiculous state laws regarding abortion.

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It was part of a larger segment about abortion in Kansas you can watch at RH Reality Check, but I wanted to pull that because it really shows how ridiculous it is to have laws forcing clinics to expose patients to information they know for a fact is untrue or misleading.

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The Women’s Health Protection Act, which is a bill that would simply require that states regulate abortion the same way that they do all other medical care and not subject it to extra regulations, was the subject of a Senate hearing in the middle of July. I covered this bill itself here on Reality Cast, but I’d like to circle around back to it to discuss the actual Senate hearing and a rather troubling thing that kept happening over and over again from anti-choice politicians testifying against the bill: They basically refused to argue about it on its merits and instead told a bunch of, and there’s no nice way to soft pedal this, lies about abortion and what it does. Rep. Diane Black [R-TN] kicked off her testimony with a statement that shows exactly how morally bankrupt the entire anti-choice argument is on this.

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Okay, so the argument here is that abortion is a terrible evil and really should be considered murder, and also that the “murderer’s” health and safety is so paramount that we need a whole bunch of regulations that don’t apply to medical care that is not murder? How does that even make sense? If you are actually “pro-life,” then waxing on and on about how much you love the so-called murderers and you want their experience of murder to be as safe as possible makes no sense at all. That is because they are lying. These regulations aren’t about health and safety at all. If it is, then anti-choicers are saying the health and safety concerns of people they believe are murderers matters more than the health and safety concerns of people who aren’t committing murder. Which is a transparent lie.

Black went on to tell more lies.

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Some of this is lying by implication, insinuating that the health risks of continuing a pregnancy are less than the health risks of having an abortion, which is patently and demonstrably false. 1 to 5 percent of abortions have minor cervical lacerations? Well, 33 percent of all births end in c-section, which is major surgery compared to a laceration. Less than half a percent of abortions require hospitalization, as a point of comparison to childbirth, nearly all of which is performed in a hospital. As for the higher chance of preterm birth, there was a study that showed that but later studies debunked it. The breast cancer line is cherry-picking. The most reliable studies have found no such link. The psychology stuff was also just pure B.S. The American Psychological Association states that, after reviewing the literature, they conclude there is “no evidence that a single abortion harms a woman’s mental health.”

But all this is in service of the ur-lie underlying this, which is that the proposed regulations have anything to do with any of this. Abortion doesn’t cause higher rates of depression, but even if it did, why would requiring a doctor to have hospital admitting privileges change that? Abortion doesn’t cause breast cancer, but even if it did, why would requiring someone to have an ambulatory surgical center to give a woman a pill at home change things. Abortions do have a small complication rate, but that’s why pro-choicers think it should be regulated like every other medical procedure. You can get a laceration during a colonoscopy, but that doesn’t mean you should be read a script guilt-tripping you about it and made to wait 24 hours before you get one.

Then there was Sen. Marsha Blackburn [R-TN].

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Yes, the law would require that abortion is treated like comparable medical procedures. Blackburn’s argument relies on the demonstrably false assumption that women are weaker and stupider than men and therefore need to be subject to more state interference when it comes to our medical decisions. Men are not forced to wait and think about it an extra 24 hours before they get minor surgery. Men are not assumed to be so stupid that they can’t take a pill without a physician watching them to make sure they swallow it properly. To say that abortion and only abortion requires a doctor to watch you to make sure you swallow a pill right is to assume women are too stupid to remember to swallow. Look, the fact of the matter is that these unnecessary regulations exist for one reason and one reason only: to make safe, legal abortion harder to get in order to punish women for having sex. Everything else that conservatives say on this issue is just hand-waving or outright lying.

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Interview

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Lila Rose is getting some attention in right-wing media again with her deceptively edited videos that are supposedly “stings” against Planned Parenthood. Rose claims to be motivated by her supposed concern for fetal life, but what is interesting about this latest so-called sting is, like with her previous ones, “life” doesn’t come up at all. Instead the entire thing is about how terrible it is that people have non-vanilla sexual interests. Basically, watching these videos teaches you little to nothing about the abortion debate or Planned Parenthood, but one thing you definitely walk away realizing is that Lila Rose could not care less about “life” but is strictly interested in pushing the idea that sexual pleasure is deeply shameful and that people who enjoy sex should be shamed and punished for it.

There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about the latest videos, as Rose is well known for deceptively editing her videos. But honestly, watching them, the only reason to be deeply offended is if you think sex is naughty and you are dumb enough to think that lying to teenagers about sex will kill all their curiosity about it. Basically, Rose’s investigator, posing as a 15-year-old, asked pointed questions about bondage and the Planned Parenthood worker answered honestly. Here’s a clip from the Colorado one.

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While Rose would like you to believe that Fifty Shades of Grey is some kind of underground deviant porn, it was actually a massive bestseller and is being made into a major Hollywood movie. That book is actually well-known for being fairly tame, about as mainstream and ordinary as you could get. It’s literally the least surprising thing in the world that people who are young and first having sex might have questions about it. Being tied up and spanked is a little silly, yes, but sex is kind of a silly activity. For most people, experimenting with bondage is just goofy play time. Dan Savage calls it cops and robbers with your pants off. Getting offended about it makes about as much sense as getting offended that kids have games like cops and robbers or people enjoy watching shows where there is conflict. Sex is, you know, supposed to be fun. God forbid.

Also worth noting is that when the investigator asked about this, the worker immediately went to the topic of safety and consent, immediately offering advice about how to explore this whole thing safely. Because her job is to make sex safe, and bondage is a common sexual practice that has some basic safety advice to go with it.

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So, here we have the so-called investigator asking a sex educator a direct question about a sexual interest. The educator offers her a sincere and honest answer. She says that while she is not interested in this particular activity, many people are, which is true. She recommends going slow and making sure you don’t do stuff you don’t want to do. She doesn’t judge or scold, because she is a sex educator, and not some kind of prude put here to shame you for your sexual desires. She is doing a good job here. This is what sex educators are supposed to do. It’s important to remember this is a confidential appointment. If the people who hold themselves out as trustworthy people who will give you advice without scolding or judgment clutch their pearls and pretend to be shocked, shocked I tell you, that someone might get ideas from a bestselling erotic novel, where exactly are kids supposed to go for help? If sex educators refuse to educate, young people will try this stuff out anyway, but they won’t be as safe about it. You’d think that Rose wants young people to get themselves hurt, mentally or physically, for daring to try a little bondage.

In fact, it was hard not to draw the conclusion that she wants kids to hurt themselves because they’re bumbling around without guidance after watching the video from Indiana.

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Someone tells a worker about her plans to explore S&M and the worker offers caution while making sure that she knows that she’s not a bad person for having these desires, and letting her know how to explore safely. In other words, exactly what a sex educator is supposed to do, because shaming someone doesn’t make them stop feeling desire. It just means that they’ll be afraid to ask you for advice.

As a reminder, Live Action claims to be a “pro-life” organization. And yet this entire thing is about pushing the notion that a health-care worker should respond to sincere sex questions by shaming girls and telling them they’re dirty. How does that prevent abortion, exactly? All I know is that shaming people and telling them they’re dirty is itself a sadistic action. Except Lila Rose isn’t just playing at sadism in bed, but she’s being a full blown sadist who is trying to actually get people hurt.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, a five-times-married man has relationship advice for the ladies edition. I swear, that Fox News show Outnumbered is just trying to get itself featured on the Wisdom of Wingnuts. This time Geraldo Rivera, who is on his fifth wife, has advice for women on marriage.

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Marrying a woman for her youth is like buying a car hoping it will appreciate in value. If your boyfriend is that dumb, ladies, dump him already and find someone who understands that a lifetime commitment necessarily means watching someone get older. P.S.: It’s actually not true that most women are dependent on men. On the contrary, only around 20 percent of mothers stay at home while their husband works.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte