Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canaries & Coal Mines

I don’t know if anyone noticed this but yesterday ACORN dissolved, starved of the federal funds it used for things like helping low income people access loans to buy homes and start businesses, register them to vote, get the poor access to housing, and other stuff that we simply cannot have. We live in a country where the free hand of the market always seems to bypass the poor, save to slap their hands when they get uppity and think they deserve a place at the table too. How dare they.

But here's the lesson for liberals: don’t for a minute think the anti-ACORN campaign launched by the right won’t be repeated with other perceived “lefty” organizations. Indeed, it already has.

Two years ago a movement began to defund Planned Parenthood, even though no public funds go toward abortion services. They go toward prenatal care, pap smears, STD testing, birth control and even fertility treatment. You know, gynecological and obstetric care, like what you’d get at any OB/GYN.

If you are “pro life” you should be lining up on the streets to get a Planned Parenthood clinic in your neighborhoods because they are the only access to healthcare a lot of women have, and that healthcare enables women to have healthy babies. But you can’t see the forest for the trees, can you? You’ve drunk so much Kool-Aid that you hear “Planned Parenthood” and instead of thinking, “oh, pre-natal care,” or “oh, a pap smear,” you immediately think “abortion.”

You are very silly, horrid people.

And liberals are silly too, for sitting on their hands while the anti-choice crowd organizes their plan, recruits candidates, circulates petitions (I won’t link to it but it makes the outrageous claim that “one in every two black children is aborted”), and gets on top of the message war with bogus “gotcha” videos.

Are we asleep? Look past the obvious misogyny in this news story which garnered most of the outrage today; instead, see if you can spot the money quote:
RICHMOND – Western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement last Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Yes, that’s right, Virginia wants a law just like the one Tennessee passed, which blocks state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Why? No public funds go toward abortion services.

Look people, this isn’t a culture war issue. It’s a healthcare issue. While the right is vigorously fighting any change to a crappy healthcare system which leaves 40 million people uninsured, they are also vigorously working to cut off public funds to the one organization that provides affordable healthcare to some of those people. Those vaginal-Americans who need a variety of services, including birth control, and including a lot of other stuff that any wealthy, upper class woman in a Virginia suburb can get at her local doctor’s office. This makes no sense.

Perhaps they think this is a swell idea:

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate this week and waiting for the governor's signature, will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage, and make induced abortion a crime in some instances.


The basis for the law was a recent case in which a 17-year-old girl, who was seven months pregnant, paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. Although the girl gave birth to a baby later given up for adoption, she was initially charged with attempted murder. However the charges were dropped because, at the time, under Utah state law a woman could not be prosecuted for attempting to arrange an abortion, lawful or unlawful.

Wow, you’ve got to be some kind of callous bastard completely lacking in empathy to hear that story and think the biggest problem that needs to be addressed is that arranging your own miscarriage isn’t illegal.

Clearly men need to be able to get pregnant and be faced with the consequences of that pregnancy. Men need to know what it feels like to be faced with raising a child when you are poor, single, or a teenager; men should suffer the tremendous emotional pain of surrendering your child to adoption (the dirty little secret we’re not supposed to talk about). Men need to walk a mile (or a month) in this girl’s shoes.

Or else they need to quit crafting policy that treats desperate women in desperate situations like criminals.

But neither of these things are going to happen. Men aren't going to start having babies and they aren't going to get out of politics. So women, and the liberal men who love us, need to wake up. We need to stop ignoring these attacks from the right as some kind of crackpot fringe wacked-out group that won't ever amount to anything.

In case you haven't noticed, the conservative fringe is now the Republican mainstream. So wake up, people. It's time to get active. Time to pay attention and get organized and act like this shit matters. Because it does.