To argue that the female body has the means to ‘shut that whole thing down,’ or that the torture of women is somehow divinely sanctioned takes more than just an accident of biology. It takes the ability to speak about things of which you are ignorant as though you are informed. It takes unacknowledged blindness.
It takes an appetite for cruelty."
As national Republicans in Tampa consider adding a ban on abortions as an official plank in their party platform — a proposal whose draft language is so severe, it doesn’t make exceptions for cases of rape or incest — liberal commentators have grown accustomed to speaking of the right’s strict stance on reproductive issues as a war on women. But it might be more accurate to say that it’s really an attack on women of a specific stripe: those from disadvantaged minorities and the poor.
Read more. [Image: Theodore Joyce, Ruoding Tan, Yuxiu Zhang]
From Massachusetts now comes growing evidence that the quest for lower abortion rates, though, may not be at a standstill; and the key may be better insurance coverage. As the number of insured has gone up in Massachusetts, new state data show a corresponding decline in the number of abortions performed there since 2006.
Read more. [Image: Brian Fung, Data: Department of Public Health, U.S. Census Bureau]
Rep. Todd Akin appeared to be on his own in the controversy over his abortion and rape comments, but fellow Congressman Steve King has also put his foot in it after saying he’s never heard of a woman getting pregnant because of statutory rape or incest. Like Akin, Iowa’s King supported a House bill in 2011 that would have banned federal funding for abortion and would not have included an exemption for just those sorts of cases.
In an interview on Monday, he suggested such an exemption wouldn’t be necessary because he’s never heard of such a thing happening. ”Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
Read more. [Image: AP]
I have the right to objectively define pregnancy from rape as rare. I have the right to determine separate legitimate rape from all those instances when you were in need of encouragement, wearing a red dress or otherwise asking for it. I have the right to manufacture scientific theories about your body — theories which reinforce my power. If the body doesn’t ‘shut that whole thing down’ then clearly you weren’t raped, and there’s no need to talk about an abortion. And even if I am wrong on every count, I still have the right to dictate the terms of your body and the remaining days of your life.
All of my rationales range from the totally subjective to the outright mythical. But I am the sovereign of the female body. On my word rumor becomes science, and the destruction of your life is repackaged as the defense of someone else’s."
During a debate over a package of abortion regulation bills, state Rep. Lisa Brown finished her remarks against the bills with, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’” The quote doesn’t seem wildly out of line. It’s reasoning we’ve come to expect from pro-choice lawmakers and advocates, but in Michigan it shocks and offends.
On Thursday, Brown and another female member of the House were blocked from participating in a House debate over an education bill because of remarks they made during the abortion debate. Rep. Mike Callton was offened by Brown’s choice of language. ”What she said was offensive,” he said. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: YouTube]
The top map shows the geography of abortions by the states in which they occurred, based on data from the Guttmacher Institute. Thirty-seven states are below the national average of 19.1 abortions per 1,000 women. The lowest rates are in the Plains, Sun Belt, and Rocky Mountain states. Fourteen states have rates of less than 10 per 1000: Wyoming, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Dakota, Idaho, Missouri, West Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia, mainly on the East and West Coasts, have rates above the national average. […]
Access to abortion services is stunningly unequal. Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) of U.S. counties, home to more than one-third of women of reproductive age, lacked any abortion providers, according to a 2011 study. Nearly all non-metropolitan counties (97 percent), and roughly seven in 10 metropolitan counties lacked a provider. There are 26 states where 90 percent of counties lack an abortion provider. Conversely, there are only seven states where abortion providers are available in more than half of all counties. The map below depicts the percent of counties without an abortion provider.
Read more at The Atlantic Cities. [Images: Zara Matheson, Martin Prosperity Institute]
Only four days after Virginia shot down a similar measure, the Alabama State Senate is moving forward with a law that would require women to go through an invasive vaginal ultrasound procedure in order the get an abortion.
More specifically, the bill requires a doctor “to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion” that includes the situation “in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced.”
Read more. [Image: Wikicommons/Carol McKinney Highsmith]