[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny, torture, extreme hostility to pregnant people.]
Rewire has a new piece by Amy Littlefield that details the unconscionable withholding of medical care from patients in Catholic hospitals.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas largely failed to take any significant action to address the state’s skyrocketing rate of pregnancy-related deaths just months after researchers found it to be the highest in not only the U.S., but the developed world.
Conservatives are pro-life, everyone. FYI.
[CONTENT NOTE: abortion rights.]
If I had known it was a link to the Times, I never would have clicked on it. But in my defense, I was reading a decent if lightweight article about Rep. Maxine Waters [h/t Alyssa] elsewhere, when I happened upon this passage:
Waters’ forthright condemnation of right-wing media came as a relief—and a rallying point—for Democrats sick of mainstream articles urging them to abandon abortion advocacy, or talk less about trans rights, or stop speaking out against sexism and racism. Critics have argued that these moves are necessary to broaden the party’s appeal and win back white working-class voters who swung from Barack Obama to Trump, and are credited with winning the election.
What fuckery is this? I wondered. How and why would “mainstream articles” possibly justify such demonstrably counterproductive nonsense?
So I clicked on “abortion advocacy.” And down the NYT rabbit hole I went.
[CONTENT NOTE: graphic descriptions of fetal remains and menstrual blood; no images.]
Texas Officials to Force Burial, Cremation of ‘Fetal Remains’
Texas health officials on Monday filed the final version of proposed rules requiring the remains of aborted or miscarried fetuses to be buried or cremated, despite criticism from funeral homes, abortion providers, and reproductive rights advocates.
The regulations will apply to all fetal remains, regardless of the period of gestation when the miscarriage or abortion occurred.
[CONTENT NOTE: misogyny including slurs, racism, violence against logic, incoherence, banality, Nazis, sex toys.]
I had almost forgotten about this, what with all my squirrel monitoring duties and sofa painting and suchlike. But buried in my inbox was a gift from the WordPress gods in the form of two consecutive auto-moderated comments, written in response to a post I wrote back in July about the harms of benevolent sexism, and purporting to offer “an opposing viewpoint.”
So the rancid garbage heap that is Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate the blazing dumpster fire that is Mike Pence. As if it could be any other way. The Donald desperately needed a bona fide conservative berserker on the ticket to perk up the flaccid conservative base, because his own track record is simply not terrible enough to get them excited.
Much digital ink has been and undoubtedly will be spilled about Pence’s “pro-life” position. He is the real deal, a foaming-at-the-mouth Forced Birther, who enjoys a 100% rating from the National Right to Life [sic] Committee and a 0% rating from NARAL. Like most “pro-life” conservatives, Mike Pence has a bizarre obsession with blastocysts, and with requiring people to provide continuous organ donation for nine months followed by the horrifically violent expulsion of a newly minted human, voluntarily or otherwise. Yet strangely, he has very, very few qualms about the deaths of existing people.
On gun issues alone, a lot of dead bodies can be piled up right at Pence’s feet: he wants a national (cross-state) standard for concealed carry, looser restrictions on interstate gun purchases, and in Congress he voted repeatedly to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. Naturally, he’s got an A rating from the fine folks at the NRA.
He’s also a big supporter of the Iraq war.
Pence has been an unwavering champion of the “War on Drugs,” the FAILest policy that ever FAILed, responsible for countless deaths, unfathomable miseries and untold millions of destroyed lives. SCHIP, the nation’s health insurance program for poor children, is also a favorite target: he voted multiple times to deny its expansion. And for what it’s worth, he doesn’t care much for non-human life either, having voted to deauthorize “critical habitat” zones for endangered species.
Now none of that is surprising, because people who understand how words work know that “pro-life” doesn’t mean anything of the sort. But I have to hand it to this asshole. He surprised even me with this shit: denying that cigarettes are dangerous, in exchange for large campaign contributions from Big Tobacco. In an astonishing editorial he wrote while running for congress in The Year of Our Lard 2000, he wrote:
“Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.”
WHAT. I mean, the jury’s been in on that question since at least 1964.
At a later debate, he clarified exactly what he meant by that statement: that “there was no causal link medically identifying smoking as causing lung cancer.”
As governor of Indiana, Pence has created quite the legacy for himself on behalf of his cigarette manufacturer friends.
Indiana’s public health has paid the price. In 2015, Pence signed a law making it easier to create cigar bars in the state. And his administration slashed the already small amount of the tobacco tax and settlement money available for smoking prevention and cessation in 2013, well below the CDC’s recommended levels. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “Funding for Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation was down to $8 million per year when Pence took office in January 2013. And within his first week, the Pence administration slashed the agency’s budget to $5 million.”
Indiana now has the highest adult smoking rates of any state in the industrial midwest region and the seventh highest smoking rate in the nation. With among the lowest tobacco taxes of any state, public health experts warn the state is “really in bad shape.” Indeed a 2014 article noted that 17 percent of pregnant women smoke — nearly double the national average — and this has been linked to lower birth weights and higher rates of infant mortality. As a result, it noted, “the state spends $28 million a year on health costs for infants born to mothers who smoke.”
(Part 1 is here.)
[CONTENT NOTE: While this post contains no graphic descriptions or images of violence, it does contain discussion of: child sexual assault, abuse and death; suicide; hostility to consent, bodily autonomy and agency; homophobia; sex- and gender-based discrimination.]
Just a reminder: in the intro to Part 1, I noted that while atheist Big Willie Dr. Coyne may communicate some very useful and interesting things in this lecture (and elsewhere) that readers here may find worthwhile, he is exasperatingly prone to poo flinging, and I fully respect the decision of anyone who decides to pay him no attention whatsoever on this basis alone. As I said, FWIW I do not allow Coyne’s poo flinging in the remaining portions of the transcript to go unrebutted.
Just the other day, Oklahoma officials ordered a $235 million cut to state agencies in the wake of their second epic revenue failure. Apparently, Governor Mary Fallin and her merry band of conservative shitweasels in the state legislature passed into law a bunch of exemptions and tax cuts for Oklahoma’s richest people, thereby blowing a billion dollar hole in the budget. Now, of course, it’s time to replace those funds by (a) increasing taxes on middle- and lower-income people, and (by) defunding essential services, especially poor and rural communities. Always remember people, that whenever conservative policies fail (i.e. always), that can only mean one thing: we need more of them. THAT’S HOW LOGIC WORKS.
How bad is it? Well,
“Our schoolchildren are the ones who will pay the steepest price,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. She said the cuts will force many school districts in rural areas to go to a four-day school week and consider “heartbreaking decisions” that will affect students in the classroom.
Already the Republican-controlled Legislature has diverted millions of dollars previously earmarked for new textbooks and other educational materials to school operating expenses; as a result, many schools are using tattered textbooks that are as much as 10 years old and held intact with tape. In addition, class sizes have increased dramatically because of a chronic teacher shortage in Oklahoma while enrollment has grown by 51,000 students over the past eight years, and schools have been burdened with myriad mandates, [House Minority Leader Scott] Inman related.
To make the education funding crisis even worse, the governor endorsed education vouchers, which would “siphon off” public funds from public schools and reroute it to private schools.
In addition to her voucher plan, the governor suggested closure of more than 100 of Oklahoma’s rural schools…
What about health care?
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority [OHCA], for example, has had its budget cut by $446 million in the past five years and has reduced provider rates. These cuts have a ripple effect across the state “as they impact providers, especially in areas where the majority of the population is Medicaid-eligible, and they jeopardize rural hospitals that are at risk of bankruptcy,” Inman said.
The OHCA administers health care programs for more than 800,000 Oklahomans, including more than half a million children.
Rep. Earl Sears, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee said “We’re just all going to have to weather that storm.” Some people more than others.
Meanwhile, just yesterday:
Any physician who performs an abortion would be unable to obtain a license to practice medicine in Oklahoma under a measure the state Senate approved overwhelmingly Tuesday over the objection of some Democrats who insisted the measure is unconstitutional.
The bill directs Oklahoma medical licensure officials not to renew or grant a license to any physician who performs an abortion. It also provides that any doctor who has performed an abortion can be prohibited from obtaining a medical license.
Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks said of SB 1552, “It will be defeated in the courts at a cost to Oklahoma, and it will have no impact, other than political.” Of course its impact is strictly political, Senator Sparks—that’s the entire point of the exercise. Sparks was able to amend the bill to require disclosure of the cost of defending a blatantly unconstitutional law in court. And it won’t be the first time Oklahoma lawmakers have racked up that taxpayer tab:
A New York abortion rights group has filed seven legal challenges in the last five years to various anti-abortion laws passed by the Oklahoma Legislature, and most of those laws have been overturned by the courts. Some legal challenges are still pending.
GO NEW YORK! Also: behold fiscally responsible conservatives!
Sounds like the scene at the Oklahoma Senate was quite a spectacle, too. Some Forced Birther named John Reasnor was urging the senators to make it a felony to perform an abortion, which he defended by saying “I think it’s a Christian obligation to seek out mercy for the least of us.”
He seems nice. And very concerned about women, too, whose lives surely do not merit anywhere near as much mercy as “the least of us.” A Christian and a gentleman!
The sponsor of SB 1552, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, was applauded by all the Forced Birthers packing the gallery when he said the intent of the bill was to “protect the life of the unborn,” and that “I think this is one of the core functions of government.”
But not education or healthcare, obviously. Those need to be privatized, because Jeezus. Or something.
Please welcome to the Abattoir 40 Oklahoma state senators. We have unlicensed physicians on hand to perform all of their involuntary organ extractions. Or they can opt to DIY instead, with whatever’s at hand. Allow us to suggest a coat hanger, senators.
Tired of what she considers the government inserting itself into women’s private lives, a Kentucky lawmaker has decided to return the favor.
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat, has introduced a bill that would force men who want to use erectile dysfunction drugs to jump through a series of humiliating hoops beforehand, such as visiting a doctor twice and getting notes from their wives.
“I want to protect these men from themselves,” Marzian, who is a nurse, told the Courier-Journal.
“This is about family values,” she added.
“We are very ‘family values’ in the Kentucky General Assembly — they are all awash in Christian family values, so that’s why I put that part in there that [erectile pills] can only be used in a marital relationship,” she said.
Mazian’s House Bill 396 also requires any man seeking ED drugs to “make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse.”
The bill is Marzian’s response to a new law signed last week by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) requiring abortion seekers to participate in two separate consultations with doctors, 24 hours apart, before being permitted access to the safe, legal, medical procedure they want. Hilariously dubbed the “informed consent” bill—because apparently, Kentuckians keep showing up at abortion clinics without truly understanding that they (a) are pregnant, and (b) do not wish to be—this degrading little ditty passed in January, on a vote of 92-3.
Marzian knows her bill is a non-starter, but that is precisely the point: it is just as ridiculous, wildly intrusive, condescending and patronizing (matronizing?) as its counterpart.
This is not the first time a legislator has tried a similar tactic in order to force conservatives to empathize with people who are not them; longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall our presentation of the highly coveted Major Award for Protector of Men’s Health of the Day to Ohio state senator Nina Turner in 2012; South Carolina state Rep. Mia McLeod introduced similar legislation last December, saying “I purposely tried to make it as invasive, as intrusive, as hypocritical and unnecessary as possible to make the point.”
Still, I think we need more of Marzian’s approach, not less, and I like the way she talks about it:
“I have found that men are very touchy about their sexual lives, and they think that is very personal”, Marzian said.
“I started thinking, ‘How would this body of men feel if the government was injecting [itself] into their private medical decisions,’” she added.
“My point is to illustrate how intrusive and ridiculous it is for elected officials to be inserting themselves into private and personal medical decisions,” Marzian said by telephone.
She also said she intends to put forth “a bill that would require gun buyers to get counseling from victims of gun violence,” 24 hours before purchasing a firearm. “I’m just making sure the government is taking care of your safety,” Marzian said.
WHEREFORE, the Palace is pleased to present its highly coveted Major Award for Protector of Traditional Family Values of the Day to Kentucky State.
Congratulations, Rep. Marzian. Long may you mock.
In related news, Gov. Matt Bevin plus 92 Kentucky legislators are now residing in the Palace Abattoir. Of course we will force each of them to consult with their personal organ extraction surgeon twice, 24 hours apart, to make sure they are well informed before we begin harvesting their organs.