‘The Next Hobby Lobby,’ and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Contraception


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Aw, cybersex

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s interview

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Second legal challenge to Texas abortion law

Tucker Carlson being hateful again

Transcript

On this episode of Reality Cast, Irin Carmon will be on to explain the latest wrinkle in the litigation against insurance coverage for contraception. Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks some truth, and the Texas abortion law goes to court again.

Did you guys see this ’90s-era video instructing people on what cybersex is and how to do it, which went viral?

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At some point, her ridiculous ’90s sweater comes off and she is naked on top, suggesting this was somehow supposed to be arousing as well as instructional.

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Katie Couric, who now works for Yahoo! News, scored a sit-down interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in which they discussed judicial collar fashion, family life, and oh yeah, the Hobby Lobby case. Couric asked some very leading questions about whether or not the justices who ruled for Hobby Lobby, all men, are somehow blind to the fact that contraception is not only a routine part of women’s medical care but also something that just basically all women use.

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Really, no joke: Over 99 percent of women who have had sexual intercourse have used it. What I like about Ginsburg is she’s not hamstrung by people who pressure liberals and feminists to refuse to outright say things like people have sex and contraception is a necessary part of modern life. She’s happy to come right out and say just these things.

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What’s funny is I think no one has been more surprised than feminists and liberals at how so many conservative men have taken to acting like they imagine contraception to be some wild sexual fetish that only hippies and perverts engage in. I certainly was under the impression that, since nearly all women use it, nearly all men are familiar with it. But what’s become evident is a lot of conservative men are likely shielded from contraception by the women in their lives, and may not even fully realize that their wives and girlfriends and daughters and other women in their families use it. This is not something most liberals really grasped until this debate made it clear. And so Ginsburg is reacting to what the evidence points to. If you don’t want people to assume you’re ignorant about contraception, perhaps you should learn something about it before opining on it.

But the folks at Fox News refuse to accept that Ginsburg might be reacting to the strong evidence that her colleagues have no idea how important contraception is to women, and instead, well, basically accuse her of attacking men because they’re men.

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Luckily for you listeners, you just got to hear what Ginsburg actually said, so you know as well as I do that she didn’t accuse her colleagues of being unreasonable because they’re men. But here’s the thing that is true: Because they are men, they have the privilege of simply ignoring realities of female lives that they don’t want to understand, which is what Couric and Ginsburg were getting at. If you’re a woman, it’s nearly impossible to deny the importance of contraception to your daily life, and it would be completely impossible, outside of massive hypocrisy, to deny it while holding down an important job like being a judge. Does this mean that all men think this way? No, of course not. Some men have empathy for women and curiosity about women’s lives. But the justices who ruled for Hobby Lobby clearly display a complete disinterest in women’s lives and an incuriosity that often verges on being outright hostile.

Then we had the mansplaining portion of the segment.

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The problem is that while Hobby Lobby only sued over four kinds of contraception, the court sent out a clarification the day after the decision to let everyone know that this decision covers all forms of contraception. As is usual with mansplainers, Eric Bolling’s confidence that he knows better than the woman he is lecturing is inversely proportional to how much he actually knows compared to her. So you have layers upon layers of men opining about stuff they don’t understand and can’t be bothered to learn. Fascinating.

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Interview

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The battle over abortion in Texas is hardly over yet. The mega-bill that Wendy Davis tried to filibuster and Gov. Rick Perry forced through by holding multiple extra legislative sessions has another provision in it that starts taking effect on September 1. Because of this, arguments in district federal court over that part of the law took place last week.

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This is incredibly frustrating, because the first part of the law, which requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court even though similar laws in other states have been struck down. Frustrating because while the “official” reason for the law is to protect women’s health, the court basically admitted that it’s really about reducing access to safe, legal abortion and for no other purpose. That is also true of this particular provision of the law. While it might sound nice on paper to have all abortions done in ambulatory surgical centers, if you actually start to look at the facts at all, there’s no reason for it. For one thing, a lot of abortions are medication abortions, where you take a pill and you can do it at home. But even with “surgical abortions,” it’s not really what you’d call surgery, since all they do is dilate your cervix. There’s no cutting necessary. This is about exploiting people’s ignorance of how safe abortion is, and allowing right wingers to basically argue that because they wish abortion was dangerous it should be treated like it’s dangerous.

The real danger here, however, is to women’s health-care access.

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The six remaining clinics will likely start having waiting lists and may, in some cases, have to use their ambulatory surgical centers because these laws are going to cause many women to delay their abortions until later in the pregnancy, where more sophisticated and risky interventions are necessary. And, as has been pointed out many times before, a lot of women, especially in rural areas, will just try to get abortion pills on the black market. What is particularly aggravating is the state attorney, Jimmy Blacklock, just said that if women want abortions, they should just go to New Mexico. Basically, at this point they’re just admitting that the only real purpose these laws serve is to make abortion more expensive and more of a hassle, putting it out of reach for poor women and basically making you suffer to get your abortion for no other reason than they want to punish you. This has nothing to do with “life” or “health,” but is just about hassling women for the hell of it.

Naturally, there was an anti-choicer on hand to be interviewed at the protests in front of the court.

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Again, anti-choice arguments make no sense. Okay, it’s easy to say you regret your abortion when you were allowed the choice to have one and professing regret after the fact costs you nothing and gets you accolades from your fellow church-goers. Bully for you. Doesn’t change the fact that very few women regret their abortions. More to the point, how does requiring abortion to be performed in an ambulatory surgical center address your abortion regret? Is this woman suggesting that if her abortions had been in more expensive facilities, she would have no regrets? Of course not. Because this isn’t about women’s health or safety, but about making abortion harder for women to get, and the abortion regret narrative is there to imply that childbirth should be forced on a woman for her own good. But of course, the abortion regret people are saying that you are the one who should be forced to bear children against your will, you know, because of their regrets. How nice for them that someone else has to pay the price for them to feel better about past decisions.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Tucker Carlson is talking again edition. This time, the Fox News host is talking about women who have children without being married first.

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Sometimes you wonder if some men like him believe they’ll never convince women to like them, so instead they have to bully women into thinking we need them. By the way, ever notice how conservative opposition to single parenthood dries up the second a woman might consider an abortion in order not to have a baby “out of wedlock.” All of a sudden, they start swearing up and down that it’s not big thing having a baby while single. Funny how that works.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte