The Republican Party Still Hates Women

This week, the House of Representatives voted for HR 3, one of the most vicious and horrendous anti-choice bills ever conceived. This bill revokes all federal tax credits for any health insurance plan that includes abortion coverage – in effect, it raises taxes on private employers who offer insurance to their employees that covers abortion, and even on individuals who purchase health insurance that covers abortion. Republicans, normally fanatic in their anti-tax stance, seem to have no problem with this tax increase. It also codifies the “conscience clause” exception which would arguably allow a doctor or a hospital to let a miscarrying woman die on the waiting room floor rather than perform a lifesaving abortion.

Like most of the other deranged bills passed by the House in this Congress, this one will be blocked in the Senate and has no realistic chance of passage. Nevertheless, it’s another chilling glimpse into how far Republicans are willing to go to strip away the rights of women – like the horrible South Dakota bill which requires women seeking abortion to reveal their identities to an evangelical Christian church and then sit through a mandatory session of proselytizing.

The Republican agenda, pursued to the point of obsession, is to load abortion down with increasingly complicated and burdensome restrictions until it’s out of the reach of nearly all women. If you ask when it will be restricted enough to satisfy them, the real answer is never, because their real goal is to outlaw abortion, and if they can’t do that, their fallback position is to pile up more and more restrictions until it’s impossible in practice even if it’s theoretically legal. For pro-choice voters, it feels like we’re fighting a constant rearguard action, always trying to prevent ground from being lost rather than making gains of our own – for instance, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, there was no serious effort to repeal the awful Hyde Amendment.

Part of the reason, I think, is that there are too many liberals who treat this as a dispassionate political question – or worse, still assume good faith on the part of the Republicans pushing these policies – and therefore, aren’t as vehement in their opposition as they should be. For example, here’s Nicholas Kristof, who I usually find very insightful but who has a persistent blind spot of treating his ideological enemies as if they want the same things as him:

“With the best of intentions, pro-life conservatives have taken some positions in reproductive health that actually hurt those whom they are trying to help… liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on steps that prevent unwanted pregnancies and thus reduce the frequency of abortion.” [Half the Sky, p.134]

He also describes New Jersey representative Chris Smith, the lead sponsor of HR 3, as “a good man who genuinely care[s]” about women (p.133).

What Kristof doesn’t get is that Republicans don’t care about reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. For them, this isn’t about outcomes. (They’re Kantians, not utilitarians, in that respect.) What matters is to them that they use the law to set forth their vision of an ideal society, and in their ideal society, there are no abortions. What would actually happen to women – forced birth, death from complications of pregnancy, inescapable poverty – is something about which they have no concern. And what’s even more disturbing is that, in their ideal society, there’s not just no abortion but no contraception.

This isn’t widely known, because anti-choice forces are well aware that it would be electoral poison to say so outright. Instead, they’ve been trying to introduce it gradually, a little at a time, gradually getting voters used to the idea. (See this excellent column by Gail Collins.) We’ve already seen the contours of their strategy. If they succeed in making abortion unavailable, the next step will be the birth control pill and other hormonal contraception, which conservatives have always wanted to ban based on the junk-science belief that it’s equivalent to abortion because it prevents implantation of a fertilized egg (there’s no evidence to support this). If they succeed at this, the next step will be IUDs, which will undoubtedly come in for the same treatment. Even I can’t guess how they’ll demonize condoms or surgical sterilization as equivalent to abortion, but if we reach that point, there’s no doubt that they would.

The essential step in stopping this is recognizing the whole sweep of the Republican strategy, which entails recognizing that their endless assaults on choice aren’t good-faith disagreements or efforts to protect their own conscience, but attempts to impose a draconian forced-birth policy on all women. If we can see this, and get other people to see this, we’ll be able to bring the same passion to the fight that conservatives bring to it.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Wow.

    That abortion war in South Dakota, documented at the MJ story you link to, is just amazing in its ferocity.

    And as a bare aside it shows why Planned Parenthood is so hated by these people.

  • Nathaniel

    This shit will stop as soon as there are as many single issue pro-choice voters as there are anti-choice single issue voters.

    Wonder how far the can take this X equals abortion tactic. Condems equal abortion. Having sex with the lights on is abortion. Going green equals abortion. Voting Democrat equals abortion.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    The house has become a padded cage in which a mass of the criminally insane bark their hatred for the human race.

    It’s just incredible how far the Republicans have become nothing but a gang of Christianist, Bircher lunatics.

    Oh, as to this, you are figuratively but not literally correct.

    “They’re Kantians, not utilitarians.”

    You would have done better to say they are deontologists rather than consequentialists.

    Almost without exception, they are motivated by the religious conviction that they are obeying and must obey divine law that proscribes abortion because, in the only sense that counts, from the moment of conception we are dealing with a person who has the same rights as anyone else, including a right to life.

    And that is because at the moment of conception God miraculously creates and infuses the embryo with an individual, human, rational soul.

    On their side, the abortion war is entirely a crusade to impose specifically Christian, and specifically recent Christian, convictions on the whole of our society by making use of the power of the state to enforce that specifically religious, specifically Christian vision.

    Nothing drives a war like religion.

  • http://fancy-plants.blogspot.com fancyplants

    And yet for most Republicans (and anyone else), when they look upon the horrible acts going on in Pakistan and the Middle East to eradicate the rights, health, freedom and happiness of women through different, but comparable dogma, are disgusted by what they see.

    It’s right so long as it’s their God that wants it.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    What matters is to them that they use the law to set forth their vision of an ideal society, and in their ideal society, there are no abortions.

    What matters is to them that they be seen to use the law to set forth their vision of an ideal society, and in their ideal society, there are no abortions.

    They really have no vision other than the next election cycle. This is pure cynical vote getting; pandering to those people that put them in office and hopefully will continue to put them in office.

    What’s really irritating is they know this bill will go nowhere, yet they still invest time and resources to pass it, (and, if I may be even more cynical, while the country is distracted by bin Laden). They don’t care if it passes. They don’t care about fetuses, they don’t care about women. What they really want to do is be able to say they voted for this bill during their next campaign, in speeches, campaign stops and in their campaign literature.

    And we taxpayers are paying their salary to legislate this shit. Their job, the one they were elected to do, is to do their part in the running of the country. What the hell this has to do with running the country is way beyond me, when we have a couple (3?) of wars going on, an economy barely struggling to keep up with the bills, one that will be surpassed by China in the next decade, a crumbling infrastructure, people losing their homes and their livelihoods, judges whose appointments are being held to political ransom, etc, etc etc.

    Their pay should be docked for the time they waste on this. It should be considered something they do in their spare time, and their paychecks should be withheld until they get back to work. Stop playing with their pet projects and do something. For crissake get back to work and earn your pay!

  • James Hafseth

    Hmm. I’m not sure I can agree with this post in its entirety. While I can concur with your analysis that the republican party wants to outlaw abortion and, eventually, all forms of contraception too, I think the crucial point here is that t’s all in the name of their religion.

    That being the case, I think they really believe that their way can reduce unwanted pregnancies because in their vision of an ideal society that they will use the law to set forth, sex will only occur between married, heterosexual couples who are actively trying to bring a child into the world (since sex for pleasure would be immoral). Therefore no unwanted pregnancies and no need for abortion or contraception (since everyone will ove Jesus and no-one will be a nasty rapist or incestuous or anything like that).

    I know: massively far-fetched, but the point I’m making is that, while what they will ACCOMPLISH is what you say they will, I’m not convinced its fair to accuse them of having that as the GOAL the whole time.

  • http://journal.nearbennett.com Rick

    The difference in level of passion on the issue can be seen as directly coming from beliefs around the moment of conception. Typical pro-choice folks consider the zygote just a couple of cells, and therefore no big deal, and therefore is a more intellectual issue about protecting women’s rights. Typical pro-life folks consider the zygote a human being, deserving of all the protections afforded the rest of us, and are therefore willing to fight to the death if needed to prevent more deaths. If I personally believed the same thing about the zygote, I would absolutely support their tactics–human deaths must be prevented at all costs, whenever possible.

    Therefore we’ve got an enormous difference in the level of passion stemming from one foundational belief–the level of humanity present in a zygote. This is also why, I think, pro-life folks tend to be single-issue voters, while pro-choice folks balance this with many other social causes.

    So, to be clear, I’m not saying I agree with them, but I do understand their passion, assuming my simplistic model is correct (and I note it is possible that for many pro-lifers there is also a ‘control’ issue that motivates their interest here too).

  • Sarah Braasch

    We have to start fighting back against these anti-abortion attacks in the courts.

    And, we have to name them for what they are.

    Establishment Clause violations.

    These are bald-faced attempts to impose Christian Sharia upon American women.

    The Republican Christianists won’t be happy until all American women are sex slaves.

    They are also violations of their oaths of office.

    And, there is a racist, anti-immigrant, ethnocentrist subtext throughout this conversation.

    Despite what they might profess, this is about trying to keep America white and Christian.

    I am dismayed by what I see as a lukewarm push back in the US by women’s rights and reproductive rights groups.

    I don’t even like the term pro-choice.

    I am PRO-ABORTION and proud to be!!

    Abortion is not evil.

    Abortion could save the human race.

    Abortion is a simple medical procedure with extraordinary health benefits for the women undergoing the procedure and for our earth.

    Nothing is a greater threat than our overpopulation coupled with the devastation, which we have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, upon our environment.

    It is almost always in a woman’s best medical interests to abort.

    I love abortion.

    We should be encouraging as many women as possible to have abortions, around the world.

    I want to see free and unlimited and over the counter contraception, emergency contraception, medical abortions, and surgical abortions for everyone.

    France just implemented a similar type program in Paris — a card which is distributed in high schools by the school nurses, which give the girls receiving the cards free and anonymous access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.

    This is the way to go.

    In Europe, generally speaking, the anti-abortion crusade being perpetrated by Republican legislators is viewed as if someone was trying to re-implement Jim Crow laws.

    They don’t get it.

    They’re like — ummm, yeah, we had this debate, and human rights won.

    This is an embarrassment for the US on the world stage.

  • Sarah Braasch

    We need a bunch of really brave women to move to these anti-women states, get pregnant, seek an abortion, and sue.

    And, we need to keep fighting this in the courts until we win.

    Anti-abortion is anti-women.

    Pro-abortion is pro-women.

    We also need to get CEDAW ratified with implementing legislation.

    And, most importantly, we need the ERA — the Equal Rights Amendment.

    If we don’t get that, we will just have to keep waging this fight over and over and over again.

    I’m sick and tired of it.

    Women are human beings.

    It’s time we enshrined this fact in our Constitution.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Sarah @ 8.

    Wow. That sounded like intense, enduring anger.

    I agree with you on the issue, of course.

    You wrote, “I want to see free and unlimited and over the counter contraception, emergency contraception, medical abortions, and surgical abortions for everyone.”

    So do I.

    But I do not agree with all your arguments.

    Green anti-natalism?

    And if either side is racist surely the efforts to stop the colored folks of the Earth having so many children is a more plausible candidate for the accusation?

    And pro-lifers have actually made that accusation, accordingly!

  • Sarah Braasch
  • Sarah Braasch

    GSG,

    I am sensitive to your argument, BUT

    Guess what?

    Colored women around the world want their rights too.

    They want their humanity too.

    They want control over their own bodies, their own sexuality, and their own reproductive choices too.

    And, if the world dies, we all die, white and black and brown alike.

  • Sarah Braasch

    I am ANGRY.

    I am FURIOUS.

    I am IRATE.

    I wish I saw some more of that anger among women’s rights activists in the US.

  • Richard P.

    Yet the republicans still get voted in. I wonder how much of their success is from the female vote. I am sure that they only get voted in because they get the majority of the vote. That must include a lot of women. Seems to me that what is happening is brought on by themselves.

    Can anyone explain how after their record they can still be getting any women to vote for them.

    I propose new signs at all border crossings when entering into the US.
    Proceed with caution. Now entering the United states insane asylum.
    Where we do everything we can, that’s in the corporations best interest and fuck the rest of you.

  • Andrew T.

    You’re right on the motivations of the anti-legal-abortion fanatics that are inseparable from the right side of the political spectrum today: They have nothing to do with any sort of practical, empirical, or laudable goal; only an authoritarian desire to legislate biblical ideals of morality upon the populace and severely punish the dissenters.

    I find the intrinsic connection between anti-legal-abortion activism and religion somewhat interesting to study. There’s no explicit commandment that states “Thou shalt not abort,” and the Bible contains so many real atrocities that are A-OK by God that, objectively, a few fetal cells seem a trivial matter to get worked up over. But virtually every shred of justification for this sprouts from a misogynist foundation that’s explicitly religious in its basis.

    I occasionally read or skim over a-l-a arguments to see if their writers bothered lifting half a finger to attempt (or even pretend to attempt) any semblance of a secular case for their cause instead of hysterical appeals to emotion, an impenetrable fog of religious justification, and a barrage of inaccurate, manipulative language (“pro life,” “unborn child,” etc.)…and each and every single time, I’ve been disappointed. Not that it matters: Any secular anti-abortion arguments fall flat on their face compared to the wealth of empirical evidence that there is for reproductive freedom, and I stopped having any lick of sympathy for the “pro life” cause the instant I became an atheist years ago.

  • Rollingforest

    Rick makes a good point. Since the pro-lifers believe that actual babies are being killed, it is surprising that we don’t see MORE abortion clinic bombings than we do. You’d think that you’d see masses of Rednecks with shotguns in pickup trucks roving the streets to hunt down anyone who would harm the little darlings.

    I think the reason you don’t is because A. the pro-lifers don’t care as much as they say they do (kind of like when people join facebook groups against rape and murder in Darfur but forget the issue otherwise) and B. because they realize that if they did advocate killing abortion doctors that the moderates in America would abandon them in a heartbeat. They are very careful not to publically advocate for punishment for the women who have abortions, but if you talk with them privately, it is clear that they want that too.

    As I’ve said before, the ONLY way for the pro-choice community to win on this issue is for pro-choicers to point out more publically that a fertilized egg is not a baby. As long as the general population accepts without question that conception equals personhood, then they will never support abortion rights.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I was one of the people who “still assume good faith on the part of the Republicans pushing these policies” but I find it more and more difficult to do so. How can I assume the good faith of a group that doesn’t care about the actual real-world consequences of it’s policies on one half of the human race?
    -Ani Sharmin

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    This isn’t widely known, because anti-choice forces are well aware that it would be electoral poison to say so outright. Instead, they’ve been trying to introduce it gradually, a little at a time, gradually getting voters used to the idea.

    That’s why sometimes I think rather than constantly playing defense all the time, the abortion rights camp needs to go on offensive and introduce bills to expand abortion rights to get the other side to focus on playing defense for a change.

  • Mark C.

    I’m curious about everyone’s opinion on where the line should be drawn, if anywhere. I’m all for the absolute option to abort prior to the ability of the fetus (or whatever term is used for it throughout the whole pregnancy) to feel pain. And the option of abortion should still be there all the way until birth, though I’m not sure the option should be absolute (i.e. completely unrestricted) for said duration. What are your opinions on this latter period of time (from onset of the ability to feel pain until birth)? The only thing I can be completely confident about is that the mother’s life should take precedence unless she wishes otherwise.

    As to the content of Ebon’s post: I agree. And I fully agree with what Sarah’s said in her comments, with the possible exception of being pro-abortion instead of pro-choice. Abortion isn’t evil, no, but I wouldn’t be FOR it unless it’s the better (perhaps due to desire alone) option in a particular case. I am FOR abortion as a legal option — hence, pro-choice.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    How about pro-reproductive and equal rights?

  • Sarah Braasch

    First of all, we don’t have to convince the Republican Christianists that a zygote does not a baby make.

    Because this is a religious opinion, and they have no right to impose their Christian Sharia upon American women.

    Why do you think they are also attacking secularism from every possible angle?

    But, second, it just doesn’t matter. I don’t care if they want to say that a blastocyst is a human being with all of the attendant human rights.

    You cannot force women to carry pregnancies.

    This undermines our entire American legal system, which is based upon the idea that you cannot be forced to enter into a relationship of care for another person, unless you consent.

    You have to consent.

    And, the Republican Christianists have everything backwards, and, legally speaking, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

    They want to say that you can’t have an abortion AFTER the point of viability OR the point of fetal pain.

    But, the only legal footing they have is to argue that women have to carry pregnancies as a matter of necessity.

    But, when is it necessary for the woman to carry the fetus?

    BEFORE the point of viability. NOT AFTER.

    AFTER the point of viability, it is no longer necessary for the woman to carry the fetus, and a doctor could induce birth, and the state could take custody of the baby, if they have such a compelling interest in seeing that life come to fruition.

    And, the Republican Christianists keep wanting to say that the point of viability or fetal pain is earlier and earlier in the pregnancy.

    Well, that’s fine.

    They’re getting to the point where they are trying to say that the point of viability is around the same point as when most women discover that they are pregnant.

    So, fine. You discover you’re pregnant. The doctor induces birth. And, the state can take custody.

    But, that’s obviously not what the Republican Christianists (FORCED BIRTHERS) want.

    They want to turn American women into sex slaves and baby incubators.

    This is about enshrining into law that women’s vaginas are the reproductive property of the men in their families.

    And, punishing women who do not comply.

    Just the way God intended.

  • Sarah Braasch

    This is getting to the point where American women are going to be eligible to apply for refugee/asylee status in other countries.

  • Sarah Braasch

    All women who are religious, anti-abortion, and/or in the Republican party have self-hatred.

    And, most of them have been brainwashed into having self-hatred.

    A woman JW came to my door the other day, and I told her that she was brainwashed into having self-hatred, and that she was perpetrating religious abuse upon her children, especially her girl children.

  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    And if either side is racist surely the efforts to stop the colored folks of the Earth having so many children is a more plausible candidate for the accusation?

    And pro-lifers have actually made that accusation, accordingly!

    They do make that accusation, repeatedly. It’s very naive and conspiratorial, though. As though there were some kind of organized effort to selectively abort black babies. Ridiculous. Many black babies are aborted because there are still way, way too many poor black people in our country. Poor people can’t afford children. No one should begrudge the poor for that, either. It’s the child’s quality of life that suffers most. These are truths you won’t ever find them putting up on a billboard, however.

    Most people I encounter do seem to laugh off (or otherwise dismiss) the idea that there is a racial sub-component or sub-text to the abortion debate. It’s true, though, that there are elements of the anti-choice movement also worried about population demographics. In particular, they’re looking at the long term trend and seeing that within a few decades it is very unlikely this will be a “white” nation anymore. The solution to this, of course, is for white people to have more children. (How absurd. It’s as though we’re all just animals on a farm, and now there’s a crisis that we have too many cows and not even chickens. Chickens, get breeding!)

    All of that, though, is just a small tertiary goal. The main purpose is and always has been to control women’s behavior. The power of the church has, since ancient times, one of its root sources in the development of strict (and typically segregated) gender roles. If they lose the ability to establish those, it takes out one of the pillars from the foundation of theocracy.

  • http://darkenedstumbling.blogspot.com/ Leum

    Those who believe that most anti-choicers actually believe zygotes and embryos are human being are deluding themselves. Anti-choice policies are consistently motivated not by a desire to prevent abortion, but a desire to degrade, humiliate, and harm women. Take a look at this chart by Ampersand.

  • Gail

    I don’t think abortion is ideal or that anyone is thrilled about the idea of needing one, but I am definitely pro-choice. I think it would be far better for unwanted pregnancies to be prevented before they happen. Although the health risk in an abortion is minor, there is even less risk associated with most forms of birth control. However, things happen and abortion should be available without a stigma.

    I remember once, when I was about fifteen, hearing about a new state law (I think it was somewhere in New England) that prevented abortions in minors except in the case of protecting the mother’s health. Republicans wanted that clause removed, saying that it would be manipulated to include mental health problems which shouldn’t be accounted for. That really disgusted me. You shouldn’t prevent women from getting the healthcare they need because you’re afraid a clause might be used in a certain way, but moreover, mental health should be taken into consideration. Mental health is as real as any other kind of health problem and can often affect lives more than physical problems. What’s better, a pregnant minor experiencing a psychotic breakdown so severe that she is suicidal or has to be held in a psychiatric ward, or a healthy girl who had an abortion to save her health? It’s not like the former girl or her child has a great chance of living a normal life.

    When Republicans do things like this, they continually show how little they actually value life. Like in Mississippi, Gov. Barbour always talks about how MS is the safest state for the unborn, but he never mentions that it’s also the least safe state for children. If he were really concerned with human life, he’d be doing more to protect the lives of children who are already here than zygotes. This leads me to believe that the Republican agenda is more about perception and how they want to be perceived than about how much they actually care about the sanctity of human life. Like anti-abortion activists who kill family planning doctors-if they had such a great respect for human life that they can’t stand the thought of “harming” a zygote, then they should have a problem killing an adult.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I do get tired of the pro-life groups and Republicans accusing Planned Parenthood and pro-choice people of being racist. The party that continually demonstrates that it does not care about racial minorities (by its candidates saying outright racist things or just ignoring any issue that disproportionately affects a minority group) pretends to care about us when the abortion issue comes up. The same group that’s pretending to save minority children from abortion will then vote against helping those same kids when they don’t have access to an education, etc.

    It’s true that there were/are people who are for equal rights for women but who discriminate against people of different races, just as there were/are people who are in favor of equal rights regardless of race but who discriminate based on gender. The individual people should be condemned for their hypocrisy, but it’s not an argument for why voluntary abortion should be illegal. (Plus, there are plenty of other organizations which used to discriminate but which don’t anymore, e.g. universities that only allowed men.)

    I also agree with kagerato (#24) about poverty probably being a major contributing factor in the different numbers abortions in different communities.

    I’m not pro abortion, but I do realize that there are circumstances in which it may be necessary and I think the pregnant woman is the one who should make that choice, since the fetus is inside her body. How can we work together with the other side to reduce the number of abortions if, as Ebonmuse wrote, they are even against methods of contraception and don’t even care (in some cases) if the mother’s life is at risk? Their actions are ridiculous, self-contradictory, and reality denying.

    -Ani Sharmin

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    Just wanted to add that the religious right groups, while being against abortion, then also stigmatize sex before marriage so that someone who’s pregnant and in one of these churches knows they’ll face harsh criticism from others in the church. One would think that if the churches wanted to prevent abortion, they would be supportive of the person rather than accusing them of being sinful.
    -Ani Sharmin

  • Alex Weaver

    Almost without exception, they are motivated by the religious conviction that they are obeying and must obey divine law that proscribes abortion because, in the only sense that counts, from the moment of conception we are dealing with a person who has the same rights as anyone else, including a right to life.

    MYTHICAL GOD DAMN IT NO!

    The anti-choice position has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with any supposed belief that fetuses are the equivalent of born human beings. It is about punishing women for having sex. it is about hurting women. It is all about hurting women. It is only about hurting women.

    THE FIRST STEP FOR PRO-WOMAN, PRO-HUMAN ACTIVISTS IS TO STOP BEING COMPLICIT IN SPREADING THAT TROJAN HORSE LIE. WE WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER DEFEAT THEM AS LONG AS WE KEEP TELLING THEIR LIES FOR THEM.

  • Alex Weaver

    I know: massively far-fetched, but the point I’m making is that, while what they will ACCOMPLISH is what you say they will, I’m not convinced its fair to accuse them of having that as the GOAL the whole time.

    Unless they’re actually severely mentally impaired they KNOW that these will be the consequences.

    Lying to yourself about the consequences of your actions is no different from not caring about them, aside from being slightly less honest.

  • Valhar2000

    Come on Sarah! Stop sugar-coating it! Tell us what you really think!

  • karen

    For example, here’s Nicholas Kristof, who I usually find very insightful but who has a persistent blind spot of treating his ideological enemies as if they want the same things as him

    Kristof is laser-focused on raising the status and health of marginalized women around the world. As such, he wants everyone to find common ground and seems reluctant to offend anyone.

    I understand his motivation and applaud his goals, but after reading and appreciating “Half the Sky” I found him disingenuous on the role of religion in oppressing women. His chapter on “Is Islam Misogynous?” clearly states that women in Islamic countries are far worse off than anywhere else in the world. He goes on to document atrocity after atrocity perpetrated on poor Islamic women.

    But he concludes that Islam is not anti-woman! It’s almost like he can’t quite bring himself to be so politically incorrect as to criticize religion, even after he lays out the facts plain as day.

  • James Hafseth

    Sorry Alex (#30), but I think their religious belief does make them completely blind to the truth of the situation – essentially severely mentally impaired, in fact.

    I don’t think they are lying to themselves about the consequences of their actions, and I don’t think they don’t care about them. I think they sincerely believe their world vision can come to pass and will be better for everyone. Hence all the proselytising we all have to put up with. I think this makes them misguided, rather than evil per se (though I don’t exclude the possibility they’re evil for other reaosns). If they could be separated from their religion, I think they’d be able to see the logical fallacy of thier position. This ALL boils down to religion. That’s why this is a post on Daylight Atheism. The fact that it’s a feminist issue unspeakable affront to moral decency in other respects is just incidental, though no less important.

    The Republicans might well hate women and their might be ample evidence for it but neither you, nor Ebon, nor anyone else in these comments, passionate as they are, has made that case – merely asserted it. In this, you are similar to the very people we’re ALL in disagreement with. We should be leading by example and not assuming the truth of our positions is self-evident.

  • Alex

    I tend to think the idea that religion motivates Republicans is less valid than consequences. Republicans (conservative-minded people) seem to think in terms of there being consequences for bad behavior: homosexuals catch diseases and die and of course homosexuality must be a choice, lazy people live in poverty and of course lazy is just another word for not financially stable, and promiscuous women get pregnant. They have no problem with people suffering the consequences for the decisions they make, so there can be no ‘escape’ from the consequences of promiscuity through abortion. You can bet, however, that they would be driving their daughters to another state or doing whatever it took to resolve her oops pregnancy. Afterall, their daughters are not one of those filthy whores they want to ban abortion to punish, their daughters just make mistakes sometimes.

  • Alex Weaver

    The Republicans might well hate women and their might be ample evidence for it but neither you, nor Ebon, nor anyone else in these comments, passionate as they are, has made that case – merely asserted it. In this, you are similar to the very people we’re ALL in disagreement with. We should be leading by example and not assuming the truth of our positions is self-evident.

    You seem to be implicitly assuming that I’ve never had this conversation before. What’s your evidence for that?

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Sarah @ 21

    You wrote,

    But, second, it just doesn’t matter.

    I don’t care if they want to say that a blastocyst is a human being with all of the attendant human rights.

    You cannot force women to carry pregnancies.

    This undermines our entire American legal system, which is based upon the idea that you cannot be forced to enter into a relationship of care for another person, unless you consent.

    You have to consent.

    The bolded portion of the quoted text is a libertarian dogma and it is both totally contrary to the fundamental moral outlook of the left and quite untrue.

    And the legal system is actually not as radically individualist as the right (or you, apparently) would like.

    That is, it is true not only that people have positive duties to aid others but also that, though not adequately, the law regularly enforces them.

    As for the case at hand, both women and men are regularly prosecuted for neglect of their children, most especially when they die of it.

    Yes, you can opt out of parental responsibilities in a variety of ways.

    But until and unless you opt out you have enforceable obligations.

    And whether and how you can opt out is specified by the law and not by you personally at you pleasure.

    And just as parents have duties to children from the moment they are born they have duties to them the moment before they are born, and as far back before that as, roughly speaking, it is reasonable to describe the fetus as in fact an “unborn child.”

    The anti-abortionists, solely for religious reasons, insist that goes all the way back to the moment of conception.

    Apart from radical libertarians such as yourself who comprise only a minority, the bulk of pro-choice people agree that it is absurd to characterize a blastocyst as an unborn child, but it is also absurd to deny that a six month preemie is exactly that.

    Hence the idea that legal rules governing abortion ought to be different at different stages of the pregnancy ranging from a complete lack of regulation at the earliest phases (think of the morning after pill) to something approaching total prohibition close to the end (think of the fights about “partial birth abortion”).

    Off topic, for a moment.

    I may be wrong, and if I am I apologize.

    But I believe at some point you insisted – perhaps angrily! – that only individuals have rights, meaning to deny rights to collectivities identified by race, religion, gender, or any other trait.

    Or perhaps your claim was that only individuals have duties.

    Actually, I suspect you made both claims.

    But the former view is contrary to the Enlightenment convictions fundamental to democracy and integral to the views of most, if not all, on the left that, though with some caveats to protect other values, the people collectively have a right to rule themselves and that a people is free collectively only if and so far as it does rule itself.

    And the latter is contrary to the views of nearly everyone on the left that society has duties that the people who make it up do not each have.

    Pretty much everyone thinks that nations – actual sovereign nation states – individually have both duties and rights that do not inhere in or burden all the people who make them up and do not translate into rights or duties of other nations or the people who make them up.

    And even today people from time to time insist on the existence of the right of national self-determination, where this time “nation” refers to a people who may not at all live in their own sovereign, national state, that Wilson made so much of, back in the day.

    And Wilson, in making that claim, was only speaking a characteristic view of European liberalism from the late 18th Century right up to the mid-20th Century when Hitler, in the name of perverse values no liberal nationalist ever accepted, left behind a poison that has by now almost, but not quite, made “liberal nationalism” oxymoronic.

    As to consent, it is a common notion of the left that governments rule legitimately only if they rule by consent.

    But that is the consent of the people, not the consent of each person.

    It is part and parcel of that collective right of the people to self-rule that undergirds democratic theory, republicanism, and liberal nationalism.

    It is quite untrue and this time an anarchist dogma that each individual has such a right.

    Anyway, so I think.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Sarah @ 21

    Sorry, I meant to address this.

    AFTER the point of viability, it is no longer necessary for the woman to carry the fetus, and a doctor could induce birth, and the state could take custody of the baby, if they have such a compelling interest in seeing that life come to fruition.

    And, the Republican Christianists keep wanting to say that the point of viability or fetal pain is earlier and earlier in the pregnancy.

    Well, that’s fine.

    They’re getting to the point where they are trying to say that the point of viability is around the same point as when most women discover that they are pregnant.

    So, fine.

    You discover you’re pregnant.

    The doctor induces birth.

    And, the state can take custody.

    I once suggested first adoption at birth and then this idea of yours in discussion with a radical pro-choicer.

    She insisted requiring a woman to give up her child was unacceptable.

    She insisted no one had a right to force a woman to live with the awful thought that she had abandoned her child to someone else.

    She wanted the right to kill it, she said.

    At absolutely any stage of the pregnancy.

    Apparently she thought it would be easier for a woman to live with the knowledge she had killed her child than the knowledge she had abandoned it to someone else.

    And she thought that this fact ought to be the determining factor for the law, too.

    She was wholly undaunted by the evident bearing of such an argument on the question of infanticide.

  • Sarah Braasch

    First of all, sorry to everyone who has already heard (read) me explain this a million times.

    I have decided that I don’t mind though. It is an important issue. So, if I end up repeating myself in each new thread on the subject, so be it.

    I am not a libertarian. Radical or otherwise.

    Parents consent to enter into relationships of care with their children.

    Once you enter into a relationship of care, they are very difficult to get out of.

    And, you have legal obligations of reasonable, non-negligent care.

    Which is why you have to consent.

    What I said about the American legal system is absolutely true, generally speaking.

    (Whenever I say this, someone points out some singularity, some anomaly, but, yes, generally speaking, this is true.)

    You have no obligations towards anyone else, unless you consent to a relationship of care for that person.

    Legally and generally speaking, in the US, you can watch the most beautiful and sweetest child in the world be stabbed or raped or starve or drown to death right in front of you, and as long as you are not the person who did anything to place that child in that situation, then you don’t have to lift a finger to save that child’s life.

    (And, when you think about it, it must be this way. Otherwise, the state could force you to donate your money, time, effort, knowledge, resources, organs, blood, limbs, or life, etc. to someone else, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. This is why forcing women to carry pregnancies to term undermines the entire American legal system.)

    I am not saying that I think that a blastocyst is a human being with human rights.

    No international law recognizes human rights pre-birth.

    I am saying that it doesn’t matter according to the American legal system.

    Even if you do want to assert this claim.

    And, in fact, even further, this claim actually undermines our entire legal system.

    And, it undermines the concept of human rights, if you think about it, which is why no international law recognizes this either.

    As far as group rights are concerned:

    I absolutely stand by my claim.

    I am absolutely well-versed in international law, but I think it is flawed and based upon fantasy and fiction.

    Human beings are real.

    Everything else is illusory.

    There are no races, no nations, no distinct peoples, no state boundaries.

    This is all arbitrary fairy tales we invented to divide ourselves from one another.

    We are one global human family.

    And, the law must be based upon the only thing that is real: human beings.

    Any acknowledgement of imaginary group rights automatically leads to human rights violations and abuses.

    This has always occurred. This is occurring now. This will occur in the future.

    And, no one suffers more when you acknowledge group rights than women and children.

    Because the group is an entity that will seek to ensure its own survival.

    And, oppression automatically results.

    People should be able to freely form and leave groups as they wish.

    But, the moment that you say that groups have rights, oppression ensues, especially for women and children.

    This is not the way forward, perpetuating the divisive in-group, out-group claims of the ancient past.

    We need a new future, in which we recognize that we are a single human family on this tiny planet.

    This tendency towards forming divisive groups had many evolutionary benefits, I’m sure.

    Even, some argue, did religion.

    But, that ship has sailed, and, now, this tendency is killing us. All of us.

    So, I am happy that you commented.

    Because, despite the repetition (sorry to everyone who has grown weary of hearing my stance), I think it is important to spread this message to newbies and, hopefully, the message will spread beyond this thread and beyond this site.

    So, thank you.

  • Sarah Braasch

    I already know that the next objection is going to be about paying taxes and social programs administered by the state.

    But, that is what makes such a legal system possible.

    Because, you are not paying the money to another person, but to the state.

    So, then, the state is the one assuming the legal responsibilities of having entered into a relationship of care for its citizens and residents, not you.

    So, that we do not have to care for each other.

    Relieving us of the attendant legal liabilities.

    And, think about it.

    Our society would become non-functional and unstable otherwise.

    You couldn’t feel secure or have faith that when you left the house, you would make it to work or the grocery store.

    Maybe you would have to stop to pick up some persons whose car had broken down.

    And, if you then got into a car accident, you would be legally liable for their medical care and to compensate them for their injuries, etc.

    Maybe you would have a legal obligation to give them your car, depending upon their situation.

    (You CAN stop to help them, if you CHOOSE to do so. But, you are not legally required to do so. And, if you do CHOOSE to do so, then you can be held legally liable if you get into a car accident and injure them, if you were driving negligently. This is why good samaritans get sued for having acted negligently in trying to save someone’s life.)

    This is not a ridiculous extrapolation of the principle.

    This is why it is the state’s responsibility, not yours.

    So, that our society can function and be stable. So, that people understand, on a day to day basis, what their legal rights and duties are.

  • James Hafseth

    That’s really quite an immature comment (#35). I assume no such thing; every time you have that argument with someone new, you’re going to have to justify the accusations you make. If you don’t you and whoever you argue with are simply going to end up screaming into each others’ faces, which accomplishes little.

  • Sarah Braasch

    GSG #37,

    I wasn’t necessarily advocating for such a scheme.

    I was just trying to point out the idiocy of the arguments of the Republican Christianist anti-abortion advocates.

    If you take their arguments to their logical conclusion, given our legal system, in the US, that’s where it takes you.

    Which is not even what they’re after.

  • Sarah Braasch

    And, I have actually proffered the idea in one of my international law classes at law school that I think that the right to self-determination should be an individual right.

    Why do I have to say that I am an American, just because I was born inside the alleged borders of the US?

    Why can’t I align myself with France?

    I think the reliance upon territoriality is stupid.

    I don’t belong to the US.

    As an individual, I should also have the right to self-determination. I should be able to say that I am French.

    And, I shouldn’t have to move to France in order to do so.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Sarah @ 38.

    Well, you are more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

    Parenthood is by no means always intentional, but the obligations are nonetheless real and consent is not required.

    Too, though you may consent to be a parent your consent is not required to the package of obligations that go with parenthood, whether you like it or not.

    As to the rights of the unborn, before Roe, every state in the union forbade abortion and recognized duties of mothers and health care workers regarding the unborn.

    It is still true that neither parents nor health care workers are wholly without obligations regarding the unborn that do not rely on consent.

    Many countries still forbid or severely limit abortion and whether the language used asserts rights does not matter.

    As to watching someone stab a baby to death, much depends – and ought to defend – on circumstances, especially including your ability to intervene in relative safety.

    Good Samaritan laws are only one obvious case in which you can acquire legal duties of care toward others quite apart from consent.

    As for “the global human family,” it is very odd to see you even write this metaphor that is likely not worth anything at all because you deny any affirmative obligations not based in consent and you deny any obligations toward collectivities at all.

    On what occasion do you think you consented to anything from which would stemmed actual obligations to either all individuals on the planet or to the global family as a whole?

    I ask because by your own account neither you nor anyone else could ever do anything to give rise to an obligation on your side to that global human family, collectively, or any right on its side against you.

    And whether you say so or not the idea that you have no affirmative duties to others apart from consent is a foundational idea of libertarianism, and you are a libertarian willy-nilly if you believe it.

    For you to insist otherwise is like someone giving a heartfelt recitation of the Apostles’ Creed and then insisting he is no Christian.

    You write, in defense of the law letting people watch children stabbed to death if not of actually watching,

    “And, when you think about it, it must be this way.

    “Otherwise, the state could force you to donate your money, time, effort, knowledge, resources, organs, blood, limbs, or life, etc. to someone else, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

    “This is why forcing women to carry pregnancies to term undermines the entire American legal system.”

    As to “forcing women to carry pregnancies to term,” I am far from that.

    But by no means do I agree each of those things on your list is or would be a bad thing, nor generally do liberals or indeed others who are not liberals.

    To mention just a few points, think of not just the military draft but of compulsory civilian service in all its forms, or even (and especially) of “spreading the wealth around.”

    Do you oppose all taxation for redistributive purposes?

    Public education?

    Medicaid?

    Welfare?

    Food stamps?

    Children’s health insurance programs?

    What about taxation to support public enterprises such as the policing of food and drug purity and safety?

    Policing the environment?

    Policing the workplace in the interests of workers’ rights?

    National defense?

    Indeed, the public enterprise of law enforcement, a task of the “minimal state” anarchist libertarians insist cannot actually be justified?

    Every single one of these things takes the wealth of A to benefit B.

    A’s personal consent is not required.

    If you were thinking of how nightmarish it would be if the state could force individuals to directly help other individuals it does this to tens of millions across the country right now and all the time by requiring alimony and child support.

    Their consent is not required; payment is demanded and enforced.

    Nor would I object to compulsory blood banking in a crisis; I doubt I am alone in thinking that would be entirely justified.

    And many people have already suggested compulsory organ donation because in fact there is a crisis.

    You declaim against group rights and duties, again.

    You say they are fantasies and so they do not exist and assertions of them are false.

    But you do not address my points that the existence of such rights and duties is presupposed by the moral and political commitments of the Enlightenment and of the left from the most timid liberal right through the most radical democratic socialist.

    If there are no group rights the people have no right to rule themselves and the legitimacy of government does not depend on their consent, for example.

    And neither can any people, anywhere in the world, claim a right to self-determination or national statehood.

    If there are no collective duties then society has no obligations whatsoever, nor do nations or peoples or organizations or corporations or businesses.

    And you have not by any means addressed that point “millions of times.”

    You have not addressed it even once.

    You write, quite truly, “Any acknowledgement of imaginary group rights automatically leads to human rights violations and abuses.”

    I will even grant you that any acknowledgement of real group rights can lead to human rights violations and abuses.

    But that does not make them less real, and pretty much anything can be abused.

    Should we abolish food stamps because the program is open to abuse and undoubtedly has been abused?

    By the way, most talk of consent in politics is eyewash, anyway.

    In the Crito, Socrates famously argues he is morally obliged to abide by his death sentence because by not moving out of the jurisdiction of Athenian law at any earlier point in his life he has consented to be bound by it, no matter what.

    And that was only an early sample of eyewash.

    Have a nice day.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    whoops.

    the italics should have closed after the very first word, “real” on the 7th line up from the bottom.

    sorry.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Sarah @ 42.

    Wow, you are interesting.

    Make up your own world, eh?

    I have to do something else, now.

    Bye.

  • monkeymind

    Well, when I clicked on this thread I had no idea it would wind up in a discussion on nationality and self-determination.

    Must I respond in one sentences paragraphs or can I vary the cadence a bit?

    According to the Guttmacher Institute, the majority of women who seek abortions in the US already have at least one child. So for most women facing this choice, it’s no longer solely in the realm of individual autonomy, but also about the well-being of others and the impact of another birth on the mom’s ability to care for others.

    And 90% of abortions happen in the first trimester. Of the remaining 10%, there are some where the idea that choosing birth = choosing life is just a cruel mockery. There are others where the issue of viability is less clear-cut where most people would probably agree that abortion was the most ethical choice.

    The thing is though, that those who agree that abortion can clearly be the most ethical choice in X situation, would most likely not agree that all women in situation X should be legally required to have an abortion.

    Because we balance our personal morality against the personal autonomy of another human being. *

    Can you imagine any politician advocating that abortion be required in certain situatons? Yet we have politicians advocating the imposition of their personal beliefs on pregnant women to force them to give birth. Even though the mental and physical health risks of elective abortion are vanishingly low, and the physical and mental heatlh risks of childbirth are quite well established.

    Can we conclude from this that the Republican party “hates” women? Well, we can certainly say that there is good evidence that they value the personal autonomy of corporate executives as a class a good deal more than that of women as a class. On another thread, I linked to a study that showed that pesticide exposure in utero measurably inhibits brain development of children of farmworkers. Does anyone want to bet against me that the Republicans will be the ones leading the charge for regulations that would restrict the choices of employers or manufacturers of pesticides? I think “no” is a safe bet on that one. Obviously, voluntary guidelines, at most, are what is needed, because we can safely trust corporate executives to make choices that will affect fetuses – but not women.

    *Do I get extra points for using a sentence fragment as a paragraph? :-)

  • Sarah Braasch

    GSG,

    I have already addressed most of your objections to my stance in my comments above, but I will just say that I think I consider myself a global communitarian. I oppose communitarianism on any other level but global.

    (I see that you have exited the conversation, so this is of no import anyway, except for the other readers. But, I would have asked you to go back and reread my comments.)

    We are a community, but a global community of individual human beings. The earth is real. Human beings are real.

    Any effort to further divide humanity along religious or racial or ethnic or national or state lines is fiction.

    And, not only is it fiction, but it no longer serves any evolutionary purpose.

    Not only is it no longer an evolutionary benefit, it has become an evolutionary liability, and threatens the demise of our species.

    I’m not saying that it’s likely that humanity will create global governance along the lines as I have described.

    But, I am saying that, if we don’t, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for our future.

    In the meantime, I also consider myself a pragmatist, and I work with the tools that I have at my disposal at the present time to do what I can.

    So, refer to me as you like.

    But, I know who I am.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    I really enjoyed it.

    And, I hope everyone else did too.

    Later.

  • Sarah Braasch

    monkeymind,

    I was highly entertained by your comment. You’re funny.

  • Sarah Braasch

    I’m sorry. Is it highly annoying that I tend to write comments like that?

    It just seems to work out that way.

  • monkeymind

    @Sarah #49 -No, I just found it amusing that other posters seem to be picking up your style.

    I am highly susceptible to that kind of thing. If I am around people with a different regional accent, I will often start to imitate it. I really had to work hard to not imitate your style.

  • Sarah Braasch

    Last point:

    When I initially said that I had already described my stance on this issue millions of times, I meant in other threads on this site. Ebon can back me up on that point.

    That will be clear to anyone who has been reading for some time.

    I was apologizing to anyone who has heard it all before. Multiple times.

    Sorry to all of you.

  • http://darkenedstumbling.blogspot.com/ Leum

    The Republicans might well hate women and their might be ample evidence for it but neither you, nor Ebon, nor anyone else in these comments, passionate as they are, has made that case – merely asserted it. In this, you are similar to the very people we’re ALL in disagreement with. We should be leading by example and not assuming the truth of our positions is self-evident.

    Just because you haven’t been swayed by the evidence Alex, Adam, and I have presented doesn’t mean we haven’t given. We have shown that the policies supported by anti-choicers harm women far more than they prevent abortions.

    If this is not enough, we could also present centuries if not millennia, of patriarchal history, where women’s rights have been repeatedly restricted for no reason other than fear, dislike, or hatred of women. We could also show that these views are still largely in effect, demonstrated by such things as the pay gap between men’s and women’s salaries, the continued existence of rape culture, and the prevalence of sexist stereotypes about women. But, to be honest, you should already know all these. The fact that we live in a sexist, patriarchal culture and that conservatives tend to favor remaining in one is not something we should have to educate people on.

    The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the position that conservatives despise women, and the anti-choice position perfectly reflects that.

  • James Hafseth

    You know, I’m going to drop out after this comment because I agree with your conclusions and it’s proving to be a real waste of time simply trying to point out that they are subjective conclusions and not based on objective evidence. This doesn’t make them wrong, and indeed I don’t think they are wrong.

    HOWEVER, the fact remains that hou have NOT presented evidence to show the Republican Party hates women: you HAVE shown that their policies do great damage to women, and that, conceivably, they would be consistent with the policies of a party that DOES hate women. However, effect is very different from intent. What you needed to offer evidence for was intent, not effect. Let’s take your Ampersand chart as an example. After all, it’s a chart and everything – looks really professional. Only problem is, it’s all opinion. It all translates (as presented) to “I, sitting here in front of my computer, cannot, as yet, come up with an alternative explanation of intent behind these laws off the top of my head” (to paraphrase Richard Dawkins).

    As for your “centuries if not millennia of patriarchal history, where women’s rights have been repeatedly restricted for no reason other than fear, dislike, or hatred of women. We could also show that these views are still largely in effect, demonstrated by such things as the pay gap between men’s and women’s salaries, the continued existence of rape culture, and the prevalence of sexist stereotypes about women” – thanks, but it’s not germane to this discussion: there was no Republican party millennia ago, and you cannot lay the blame for them at the feet of the Republican party. Yes, it descends from those patriarchal ways of thinking, but so does pretty much every other political ideology out there today.

    Thanks also for your ‘intellectual’ snobbery: “But, to be honest, you should already know all these. The fact that we live in a sexist, patriarchal culture and that conservatives tend to favor remaining in one is not something we should have to educate people on.” I DO know all these things, very well indeed in point of fact. However, they are not relevant to this discussion. Nice comment on the “shouldn’t have to educate people” by the way. With that kind of attitude I’m sure millions will soon be flocking to your cause. Just because you don’t think anyone needs educating about a subject doesn’t necessarily make it so. Maybe Republicans cut education funding because they think kids don’t need educating – it’s all pretty obvious, right?

    What IS relevant to the conversation, which to go back to its origins, offered the anti-abortion stance as proof (together with a throw-away comment about contraception at the end), is your closing sentence: “The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the position that conservatives despise women, and the anti-choice position perfectly reflects that.”

    I agree 100%: the anti-choice movement perfectly REFLECTS the position that conservatives despise women. However, it does not in and of itself alone force us to that conclusion.

  • lpetrich

    This thread brought to mind some rather extreme sexism from some of the more extreme Orthodox Jews:

    Hasidic Paper Removes Hillary Clinton From Osama Picture – FailedMessiah.com

    Der Tzitung cuts Hillary Clinton out of the iconic picture of government leaders watching the Bin Laden hit.

    Someone edited her and another female official out of that that picture.

  • http://ggracchus.blogspot.com/ Gaius Sempronius Gracchus

    Hi, Sarah and monkeymind,

    I didn’t mean I was leaving forever.

    As for me, I have used one-sentence paragraphs in posts and comments for several years.

    I think they are more readable on the screen than the usual, multi-sentence paragraphs.

    With sentence fragments.

    Too.

    I find that everything I have written so far in this thread has been off topic.

    The post headline is “The Republican Party Still Hates Women.”

    Continuing to ignore the “still,” I agree there is a strain of misogyny on the right that may be even more widespread than the strain of racism with regard to non-whites.

    It’s an interesting question – I don’t listen to them and I wouldn’t have been counting, anyway – whether Rush Limbaugh or any of the mass mouthpieces for pop conservatism display misogyny more or less often than racism, or more or less confidently and casually.

    But I agree it’s definitely out there and has played a notable part in their attacks on Hillary and Nancy Pelosi.

    But I don’t agree that this is behind the Republicans’ Christian Crusade against abortion.

    I have it in mind that the slut-shaming jerks and locker-room Neanderthals of the world would be the last men on the planet to oppose contraception and abortion.

    Too, I think it is an evident fact that the Republican Party, partly out of that same Neanderthalism but also very clearly for religious reasons, opposes the emancipation of women from the authority of first their fathers and then their husbands.

    Women’s slow emancipation has crept along for nearly two hundred years and it is not at all clear how much of all that the Republicans would actually attempt to roll back.

    But it’s very clear that the Christian right aims to roll back at least as much as it can of that part of the emancipation of women that was accomplished by the sexual revolution that burst out in the mid-20th Century and has continued more slowly but still steadily since then, and the reasons offered are always religious.

    The sexual revolution was an extraordinary revolt against the thoroughgoing enforcement of the Christian view of sex by the law at the local, state, and federal levels and ran parallel with other aspects of revolt against Christianism such as the rejection of blue laws and the ban on prayer in public schools.

    And while the availability of relatively easy divorce may not be much less significant the greatest victory in the battle against the power of religion based in America on the power of the clergy over voters and legislatures was Roe, a triumph for liberty over religion-driven democracy in the name of privacy by the government’s least democratic branch.

    Many people have pointed out that Roe was the last straw, the final provocation that led to the emergence of the Christian right as a coherent, organized conservative movement within the Republican Party aimed at sexual counterrevolution, its biggest but by no means only goal being the re-criminalization of abortion.

    That is the history.

    The battle was and is about religious domination of the law regarding anything to do with sex in America, including abortion but extending well beyond that.

    It is and has been all along about religion.

    Not hatred of women.

  • Doug Kirk

    HOWEVER, the fact remains that hou have NOT presented evidence to show the Republican Party hates women: you HAVE shown that their policies do great damage to women, and that, conceivably, they would be consistent with the policies of a party that DOES hate women.

    I can see the point. The whole, “they did it out of love or mistaken belief” defense. And the only way for republicans to defend themselves is to explain coherently and succintly why they follow policies that are indistinguishible from hatred for women if they don’t themselves hate women?

    It seems to me that has been the point all along. Isn’t the point that if republicans didn’t hate women, they would seek out different policies?

    That’s like saying a guy who had a restaurant in the south in the 50′s that didn’t let blacks in wasn’t necessarily racist. Sure, what he was doing was racist, what he was doing was exactly what a racist man would do, but the man himself is very accepting. Or that dictators aren’t corrupted by power, they just act in a manner consistent with being corrupted by power. Republicans don’t hate women, they just act in a manner consistent with hating women.

    Eventually any sane person has to call bullshit and say yes, even if if they say they don’t really mean it that way, that even if they’re as well intentioned as a christian science parent brutally murdering xir children through neglect, they’re still responsible for the view they are promoting. Even though the christian science parent did it out of love, they are still guilty of murder. They act like they hate their children, it’s only reasonable to assume they do until evidence proves otherwise.

    Even though the republicans do what they do because they truly believe it’s in the best interest of society, they are still guilty of creating and exacerbating problems with exactly the same methods as someone who hates women and wants to punish them. They act like they hate women, it’s only reasonable to assume they do. And if they don’t, they have to come forward, explain that they don’t and explain why what they want is in any way not inconsistent with hating women. They have to explain why they’re giant hypocrityes like the aforementioned parents who hate their children and racist restaurant owners.

    After all, isn’t the official republican policy, “everyone gets what they deserve and we’re going to make damn well sure of it”?

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    tl,dr James Hafseth,
    Sure, the rethuglicans do all kinds of things that show they hate women and they routinely choose policies that display outright contempt for women, but you can’t prove that they actually hate women to my satisfaction.

    GSG,
    Yes, it’s all about religion…which is another “entity” that is truly misogynistic. That the rethuglicans are entirely composed (just about) of religious folks that hate women and are trying to enforce their religious hatred of women on everyone else through the blessings of the rethuglican party just means they are intertwined and what we say about one pretty much encompasses the other.

  • lpetrich

    Hillary Clinton, Audrey Tomason go missing in Situation Room photo in Der Tzitung newspaper – BlogPost – The Washington Post

    In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status… Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.

    ???

  • James Hafseth

    Hi Doug,

    Wasn’t going to comment on this again, but wanted to say that’s a good argument you present. I’m not (and never have been) arguing that the Republicans aren’t guilty of causing a shed-load of damage, nor that they shouldn’t be held responsible for doing so, but intent is important (murder vs. manslaughter or on grounds of diminished responsibility). Or, to take your restaurant-owner example, the man might simply have been acting the way the pressures of his local society dictated at the time. Is he still contemptible and acting in a rtacist way? Sure! But is he the same has a member of the KKK? That’s a more difficult assertion to support. The point being, I guess, that it’s not always so black and white, if you’ll forgive the expression.

    We could go down a whole other sideline on where the burden of proof lies, of course, but it seems like a waste of time amongst people who essentially agree with one another.

    And now I’m really done.

  • ildi

    I’m sorry. Is it highly annoying that I tend to write comments like that?

    Yes.

  • Sarah Braasch

    Seriously, ildi?

    Thanks for the brilliant and incisive contribution to what was a great discussion.

    What a fantastic way to close it out.

    Try making a substantive comment next time.

  • Doug Kirk

    Hi James,

    I get what you mean, and it really is splitting hairs when you get into the thick of it.

    And I do agree that intent is important, murder vs manslaughter is a good example. Of course, I think it's important to make the onus of proving that one doesn’t mean what they do be put on the person doing it in social situations, (not the court of law!) because the penalty for admitting you’re wrong isn’t anywhere near the penalty for being convicted of murder.

    In my mind, a republican hates women until xe (side note: I'm all for gender neutral pronouns, but it steel feels weird typing xe and xir. I think it’s the ‘x’) explains why they act like they hate women when they secretly don’t.

    I think if we make enough people explain the consequences of their beliefs, just like if we make enough people explain their religion, there will be less people with those harmful beliefs.

  • Sarah Braasch

    It doesn’t matter whether Republicans hate women or no.

    When they attempt to impose Christian Sharia upon American women they are in violation of their oaths of office and the US Constitution.

    They are also undermining the entire American legal system by forcing women to carry pregnancies and give birth.

  • Doug Kirk

    Gotta come back for one more. This “Do they hate women” thing reminds of all those christians who are bigoted against gays and then claim they aren’t. Perfect example from Sports illustrated of all places today.

    Sean Avery (Hockey player) said, “I’m Sean Avery and I’m a New Yorker for Marriage Equality. I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated and that applies to marriage.”

    In response an agent, Todd Reynolds said, “Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage.’ Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”

    Obvious bigotry right? We wouldn’t be remiss if we called him out for hating gay people…. or would we?

    “To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal.”

    Oh, obviously not a bigot. See? He said so himself.

    “But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone.”

    He doesn’t hate anybody. He just thinks they’re less than people. Hugs all around.

    That’s the way I look at it when republicans talk about abortion. They don’t hate them… they just see them as less than people. Massive poverty and a return to feudalism all around.

  • Dan Hutch

    Republican factory owners killed your family and friends in the current catastrophic blizzards, floods, tornadoes, massive wildfires and other climate change that has been wiping out the bible-belt. This is the Climate Change that their factories created. This is the Climate Change that the Republicans lie about not existing. This is the Climate Change that they program their constituents to deny exists. This is the Climate Change that killed people, destroyed homes, and further destroyed the economy that the Republican factories emissions caused so they could make profits by killing those people. Republicans deny Climate Change at all costs in order to keep their factories from having to pay to stop it. The Climate Change that is destroying massive sections of our country can no longer be hidden or denied. The issue of Climate Change is TOTALLY ONLY about Republican factories which cause Climate Change getting charged to put filters on their factories. In the face of a staggering volume of FACTS proving that Climate Change is here, Republicans train their sheep-like followers to deny it always and to never read any of the facts.

  • Jim Baerg

    Dan:
    You missed mentioning the other half of the problem. Opposition to the biggest source of greenhouse gas free energy: nuclear fission. That isn’t confined to the Republicans.

  • ildi

    Try making a substantive comment next time.

    Sure thing. I have no problem spelling it out for you.

    A long series of one-liners is the equivalent of having slogans yelled at you at a rally, or trying to follow the thought processes of someone with ADD. It is almost as difficult to read as a comment with no paragraph breaks at all. I get about four lines in and my brain shuts down. Finish a thought! You have good things to say; is it so difficult to follow basic writing style guidelines to communicate effectively?

  • Sarah Braasch

    Still not a substantive comment.

    Let’s make a deal:

    I’ll try to write in paragraphs online and you’ll stop making antagonistic style comments, when you haven’t even addressed the thread topic.

    My question was addressed to monkeymind, who had made a joke, which was mildly at my expense, and he had only made his comment as an aside in a larger comment, which addressed the thread topic.

    Consider that as some return style advice.

  • ildi

    Grow a little skin, my dear…

    Do whatever you like, it’s no skin off my nose. Sorry to tarnish the self-congratulatory shine of your ‘great discussion’. I’m just saying maybe more people would join in if you wrote in paragraphs rather than angry slogans.

  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    You missed mentioning the other half of the problem. Opposition to the biggest source of greenhouse gas free energy: nuclear fission. That isn’t confined to the Republicans.

    Unfortunately, it turns out magnitude 9 earthquakes plus twenty meter tsunami can destroy nuclear fission plants, even in first world countries.

    Seriously, nuclear fission is doomed because people aren’t willing to make an accurate assessment of benefit vs risk. All you have to do is mention scary words like ‘radiation’ or ‘isotope’ and they go running for the hills.

    Of course, this means ever more coal and gas-fired plants in the meantime, since no one is making the anywhere even close to the kind of massive investment it would take to run the country on solar, wind, and geothermal. Naturally, more coal and gas also means more mining. I hope we’re all preparing for increased levels of methane and coal slurry in the water.

  • Rollingforest

    My last post at #71 was a mistake where I copy and pasted wrong. Hopefully Ebon has deleted it by the time you read this. Now on to my real comment:

    @Mark C #19: Many people on this thread, including myself had this debate about two and a half months ago on the first post in this series here:

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2011/02/the-religious-right-hates-women.html

    I start arguing my position at post #78. Hopefully it will be clear why I disagree with Sarah on this matter and why I think that consciousness of the fetus/child marks the boundary between when abortion is acceptable and when it isn’t (except to save the mother’s life)

    But, politically speaking, the important thing is not what I or Sarah or any other individual believes. The important thing is what the American people believe, because they, as a whole, decide policy. Contrary to what Sarah said, it isn’t about convincing the members of the Religious Right. It’s about convincing everyone else, the moderates who hold the swing votes that determine power. And what I’m saying is that even if some of us (wrongly in my opinion) don’t think it matters when personhood begins, to the American people it matters a lot. If a person is a “I’d rather be right than be president” kind of person, then they should continue to advocate whatever they want. But if they want to beat the pro-lifers at their own game, they need to start using arguments that the majority of the citizens will respond to and the most important of those views, in my opinion, is that a fertilized egg is not a person. Regardless of how a pro-choicer ultimately feels on the issue, getting people on our side will ultimately require that we use the argument that a fertilized egg isn’t a person. If you don’t play politics intelligently, you’ll end up talking about the good old days in a bar in San Francisco while the pro-lifers control the entire country.

    @Sarah #23: Unfortunately even if you look at the election of 2008, which was a landslide election for the Democrats, a huge percentage of women voted for the Republicans. In 2008, that percentage was 43%. And when you look at white women alone, that number jumps to 53%. Think about that. Even in the best year the Democrats have had in a long time, with a Republican party that was as entrenched as ever against abortion rights and contraception availability, the majority of white women still voted for the GOP. (source: “The Year of Obama” by Larry Sabato)

    PS. I live in a rural area (the closest movie theater and the closest Walmart are each about 30 miles away. I can get high speed wireless internet through my cell phone provider, but only for 5 GB a month. After that I have to use dialup). The down side of this is that I have to put up with a larger than normal percentage of Evangelicals. The upside is that the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses mainly focus on the more suburban easy to travel areas and skip my house most of the time. They have come before, but it is always when I’m not home so I’ve never had to talk to them. I wonder, though, if I would like to debate them once or twice if they ever did come while I was there.

    @Leum #25, @Alex #29: It can be tiring sometimes being put in a situation where I have to defend my enemies, where I have to say “Yes the Republicans are bad, but not for the reasons you say.” I feel like I have to do this here again though just for the sake of promoting the truth. I disagree with a lot of what pro-lifers say, but I feel that Leum and Alex have mis-categorized them and in doing so make it harder to fight them because everyone can see that they are mis-categorizing them. The Ampersand chart was mentioned twice, so I feel obligated to point out the mistakes in its logic. Let’s go through them one by one (keep in mind I will be writing what the pro-lifers believe, not what I believe. I am just pointing out that the Ampersand article is wrong about what pro-lifers believe):

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2006/03/21/why-its-difficult-to-believe-that-anti-choicers-mean-what-they-say/

    1. Most pro-lifers DO want to legally punish women for abortions because they feel that they are partially responsible for the child’s death. However, the only reason they don’t advocate for it in congress is they know that most people would abandon them politically if they advocated that.
    2. It is true that pro-lifers often ALSO hate premarital sex and don’t want to promote it through contraception and sex ed. Pro-lifers believe that contraception and sex ed increase the number of abortions because they increase the amount of pre-marital sex. They may be wrong about this, but this is due to ideological blindness, not because they don’t actually care about the life of fetuses/unborn children.
    3. Similar to #1. The pro-lifers would ban abortion in cases of rape and incest if they could (they have indeed tried in many states) but they don’t normally try because most of the public is against them on this issue.
    4. Pro-lifers ban partial birth abortion because they feel that it is one way to limit a woman’s choice for an abortion and partial birth abortions are gruesome enough to gain public support for banning them. Maybe the doctor will just switch to another type of abortion but it limits his options. Pro-lifers would do this even if it forced doctors to use procedures that are easier on the woman’s body. The woman’s body isn’t the issue for them, only the fetus/unborn baby’s life.
    5. Conservatives don’t want to pay women not to have abortions via welfare because, to them, that would be like negotiating with a terrorist. If you pay women not to have abortions, they think, that will only make women more likely to put themselves in positions where they might need an abortion, increasing the problem.
    6. Yes, opposing the vaccination for HPV is an example of Republicans hating premarital sex. But ampersand correctly points out that this has nothing to do with abortion.
    7. Pro-lifers (mostly) oppose extremists who blow up abortion clinics for one of two reasons a) because they truly believe in stopping abortion through non-violent means or b) because they feel that killing abortion doctors would make it harder to ban abortion in congress because everyone would turn against them.
    8. See #5

    So yes, Pro-lifers hate premarital sex. But they ALSO hate abortions because they feel that it kills children. That is their main motivation for opposing abortion. That is why it is so important to point out that a fertilized egg is not a baby because, contrary to what Leum and Alex said, that is what motivates them and we might be able to convince the moderates among them to abandon the pro-life fold.

    I normally don’t bother to correct Progressives when they write titles such as the title of this article. “The Republican Party…Hates Women!” is a good catchy phrase, sort of like “Obama is a Socialist!” but both of them are technically lies. The Republican Party hates homosexuality. The Republican Party hates abortion. The Republican Party hates premarital sex. But the Republican Party does not hate women. Everything they do can be explained using the three affirmatives I mentioned above or similar reasons without resorting to accusations of gender based hate.

    @Sarah #38 and #39: There is a famous case that is in psychology textbooks (though I can’t remember its name) where a woman got raped and murdered in an ally. The attack took place over twenty minutes and dozens of people heard it. But no one called the police because everyone assumed that someone already had. The woman was killed when she might have been saved. Your system will make that these kind of cases common. I don’t think that a person has an obligation to give all of their resources to a hurt person, but they do have an obligation to do the minimum.

    And also, it isn’t the law creating groups. Society does that, like when the KKK started lynching blacks. The point of the law is to stop those kinds of racial discriminations from happening along with any other type of discriminatory behavior. Women and children are actually protected by these laws.

    @Sarah #42: But you said in an earlier post that the state can take care of the people. Well, in that case, France might not want to accept you as a citizen because it would be too much burden on the citizens that are already there (because of social welfare programs ect). But if it accepts you, you are free to live there, though the US is also free to kick you out of here if you aren’t a citizen here anymore.

    @Leum #52: Patriarchy existed not because of “fear, dislike, or hatred of women”. It existed because women were seen as inferior. It is similar to how we treat dogs. We see dogs as inferior, but we don’t “fear, dislike, or hate” them. Patriarchy is evil, but, again, not for the reasons you suggest.

    As for the other things you mention, it seems most likely that the pay gap between the genders exists because women take off of work to care for their children, thus losing promotional opportunities. This could be fixed by offering more parental leave time for fathers. Rape is actually seen as a horrid crime in our society. And there are sexist stereotypes about both genders. So while there is sexism in society and the majority of it is against women, the claim that society “hates” women is false.

    @Doug #56: You give a good example of where someone does evil when they were trying to do good (a Christian Science parent withholds treatment from their child, thinking that prayer is a better method). But then you go on to say that the Christian Science parent both did evil and was TRYING to do evil. That is the hole in your argument that doesn’t make sense. I think that the Christian Science parent example is a good comparison to the Republican Party’s position on abortion where they end up hurting people while trying to do good. They have a responsibility to know better and they should be blamed for being irresponsible, but not for being evil.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Rollingforest,
    The people you know who are your neighbors and local friends may not seem like they hate women, since they seem like normal people and all, so it’s natural to not want to attribute such things to them. But, at some point you have to call a spade a spade. The Rethugs seek to enact legislation that is harmful to women, they seek to denigrate women, they seek to punish women for being women. How many times do women have to be hit by the Rethugs before they can claim it’s abuse?

    Patriarchy existed not because of “fear, dislike, or hatred of women”. It existed because women were seen as inferior.

    Wow, the dehumanization of women apparently doesn’t count as hatred now? Comparing women to dogs isn’t hatred?

    It’s normal to not want to think badly of people, especially people we know, but enough is enough.

  • Doug Kirk

    @Rollingforest,

    I tried to make it clear later (failing probably) that what I meant was if their actions are indistinguishible from someone who hates children (or women, or whatever), it is only reasonable to assume they hate them until they personally, on a case by case basis, explain their reasoning thoroughly.

  • Doug Kirk

    I have no problem with saying, “Republicans hate women. It’s clear because of the consistent marginalization and harm their official policies cause women. I would like to be wrong. Please, Republicans, explain to my why your actions that are so consistent with hating women mean you don’t really want to hurt them.”

    At which point they will. But if you ask them, in the face of clear evidence they do harm to women, to adjust their view and they refuse; I see no problem with calling bullshit.

  • Rollingforest

    @OMGF: Perhaps the two of us have different definitions of the word “hate”. When I say that someone hates another person, I mean that they are disgusted by their presence and takes pleasure in harming them just to see them suffer. I don’t think Republicans get that feeling when they look at women. They do do things that hurt women, but it is out of some warped form of “values” that don’t match reality, not because they feel disgusted by the existence of women.

    Let’s say there was a dog that was as smart as a human (think Brian from Family Guy ) but who was still treated like a dog (kept in cages, fed on the floor, forced to go to the bathroom in the yard). That would be bigotry because the owners would be viewing the dog as inferior without evidence to back that up, but it wouldn’t be hate since the owners are doing it because they think it is for the dog’s own good.

    But this is a relatively small issue in the scheme of things. Republicans exaggerate and distort the facts in many ways and I’d call them out here too, but there doesn’t seem to be many conservatives on this blog to argue with. I need to find a blog with lots of conservatives so that I can argue with them about the bigger issues.

    @Doug: I suppose that is a reasonable position. And you can definitely find examples where it is clear by what they say that they have biases. For example, when Haley Barbour said that Mississippi in the 1960s wasn’t that bad for black people, that is an obvious example of white privilege because it is a factually incorrect position that could only be believed by someone who didn’t have to suffer racism. However, my point is that for much of the Republican platform, including abortion, what they say and what they do matches up (see my break down of the ampersand cartoon in my above post) The Republican policy is horrible and Al Qaeda’s policy is even more horrible, but both would make sense to someone with a warped view of reality. Their position doesn’t require them to lie, just have a messed up view of reality. (yes, even Bin Laden believed deep down that what he said was true).

  • Rollingforest

    @OMGF: Oh, and also, I wasn’t saying that women were seen the same as dogs in the past. I was saying that women were seen as inferior but to be cared for. Dogs were also seen as inferior but to be cared for but as lower than women since they weren’t human (and thus were created by God only to serve humans). The Patriarchal view of women was evil since they viewed women as inferior to men even if it also viewed women as above all other life.

  • Nathanael

    “What Kristof doesn’t get is that Republicans don’t care about reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. For them, this isn’t about outcomes. (They’re Kantians, not utilitarians, in that respect.)”

    You’re underestimating the worst of them. For the worst of them, they’re utilitarians, but the outcome they want is a world where women are property, and this is just another step in that direction.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    When I say that someone hates another person, I mean that they are disgusted by their presence and takes pleasure in harming them just to see them suffer.

    If someone can’t hate another person without wanting to physically assault them and beat the crap out of them, then I can see why you would say Rethugs don’t “hate” women. I don’t see why such a narrow definition should be applied, however. Holding other human beings as inferior and sub-human is hatred and should be seen as such. Again, the duhumanization of women doesn’t count as hatred? It does, actually, and it should.

  • jemand

    so I went and looked up a couple definitions: Hate http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hate

    1.
    a. To feel hostility or animosity toward.
    b. To detest.
    2. To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes.

    So then I looked up animosity.

    1. Bitter hostility or open enmity; active hatred.
    2. A hostile feeling or act.

    ANYWAY, it is pretty clearly established that hate has two meanings. The first focuses on actions. Focuses on what you are *doing* to the object of your hate, and how it affects them. A war, as it were, supporting actions to keep your “enemy” that other group, down. In it’s place. This is the hatred of women the republicans indulge in, they’re literally wallowing in it.

    The SECOND definition focuses on the *INTERNAL FEELINGS* of the person doing the hating. And due to a cognitive dissonance between viewing their actions in the harsh light of reality and refusal to be terribly introspective on feelings *ANYWAY* republicans and their supporters generally deny their hateful acts by appealing to this second definition, and assuring us, that IN THEIR HEADS, all is hunky dory, beautiful, lovely, lion lying down with lamb type of stuff.

    Problem is, this is completely unverifiable, I have no idea what is going on in their heads. But… when I fall back onto the definition which IS testable, the one based on actions, the one based on hostility and enmity, hatred is super obvious.