I think that with a new republican majority, it’s expected that there will be a lot of new legislation reflecting more conservative ideas. One of the big topics I am concerned about it birth control and abortion. This article does a good job of explaining what exactly could begin happening.
I came across this article while browsing alternet.org today. These are obviously extreme examples, but these display what happens when the “personhood” mentality becomes legally enforceable. It’s not healthy to treat pregnant women as nothing more than a container. It’s certainly not lawful. Everyone has personal rights except women who have a something developing in their uterus? I don’t know how you could possibly agree with that.
Excuse me, “breasts.” I had to get your attention somehow. We’re talking breastfeeding today. Honestly though, this has been a big issue for quite a while now. Not only is it something that affects quite a few people, but everyone seems to have an opinion on it as well. Recently, a story came out about a woman in Florida, who seemingly took every precaution to avoid offending anyone while breastfeeding on an elementary school campus, but was still approached (by the principal) and asked to cover up or leave. Now, after this interaction, the story gets a bit fuzzy. She later confronted the principal regarding her rights as a breastfeeding mother, and the rest of the story is contested and hearsay. Regardless of her behavior, she was correct on her rights to breastfeed in public. Florida law states she may breastfeed in public, with any amount of breast or nipple exposed. However, there is no enforcement provision in Florida, which is where the problem occurs. It essentially means that you’re required to follow this law, but there’s not penalty if you do not. Seems a bit contradictory to me, but who am I to judge?
It’s been interesting growing up and into a society that is learning how to be sensitive. U.S. society is learning how to use language that doesn’t offend, to make laws that are inclusive of more people, and to understand those that are different than most of us. It’s happening more slowly than many people would like, but it’s coming along. There’s one area that constantly confuses me, however.
It seems that no matter how many trends emerge, or how many studies are done, people continue to make the same mistakes in asking the wrong questions, blaming the victim, and generally displaying an inability to empathize in any way. If you were dressed provocatively, you asked for it. If you were out alone after dark, you should have known better. If you’ve had sex with lots of men, what’s the big deal? If you were drinking, you probably didn’t realize the signals you sent off. If you can’t remember, how do know you didn’t want it? You should have fought harder, you should have gone to the police, you should have screamed for help.
No one asks the man why he raped the woman. No one questions what was going through his mind, or why he thought that was something he was allowed to do. I think, in a manner of speaking, we already know all of that. When we ask questions of the victim, we show everyone that we agree with those causes. Men (especially young men), see that women get raped all the time, and there are lots of reasons it happens. We, as a society, drill into people’s heads that sex is built for men. They need it, and will go to extraordinary lengths to get it. Women simply exist to accept or not accept the sexual advances of men. They’re sexy beings built for sexy adventures. They, however, don’t get to ask for sex or be excited about it. Women are built to be loved by men.
When this story began to come out and develop, I was intrigued to see what would happen. Here’s a public figure being accused by more than one woman of abuse in the bedroom. He’s beloved, admired, and followed heavily. Immediately people began asking why the women waited. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to these people that bringing forth something so private and serious against someone who is well-known and liked could be incredibly intimidating. He has money for lawyers and protection that most people couldn’t dream of. In fact, one woman was a lawyer. She still didn’t come forward. As she explained “I was aware that I, as a woman who had had a drink or two, shared a joint, had gone to his house willingly and had a sexual past, would be eviscerated. Cultural frameworks on this are powerful.”
If a successful lawyer shies away from a case like this in her own life; there’s not much more to be said. Victim-shaming and victim-blaming are immensely widespread trends. People don’t even seem to understand that they’re doing it anymore. Hopefully at some point this will become a big “trigger issue” that people want to talk about and work towards eliminating. For now, the more we bring it up, the more people it reaches.
Now that the election is [mostly] over, here’s an update on the amendment I previously covered in “Incongruous Terminology” from North Dakota: it failed. It failed by a lot. That doesn’t mean that anti-abortion measures and restrictions are done and over with though. In Tennessee an amendment of similar importance was passed. It’s a measure that has been long in the making, having originally been introduced more than 10 years ago. It, just like Colorado and North Dakota, seems to use relatively bland language to avoid offending either side of the pro-life, pro-choice debate. To me, it looks to use vague-ness and confusion to its benefit, attracting voters much like the other two amendments aimed to. Tennessee already offers many restrictions on abortion and abortion rights. This will simply make it easier to enact more of those. The reason this becomes an issue that involves more people than just those who live in Tennessee is that Tennessee is surrounded by states with heavy restrictions on abortions. In places like Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi, it’s almost impossible to find anywhere that can still offer abortions. The ridiculous restrictions being put on these places in an effort to close them has worked. So many women in these states have relied on neighboring states like Tennessee to keep their abortion clinics open. I don’t think I need to say that without these regulated, clean, responsible clinics, dangerous alternatives begin popping up. An underground medical clinic is not the place to get an abortion. When you hear about all the dangers of abortion: this is where they come from. They come from places that aren’t government approve. They show up when government-approved clinics can’t exist anymore. That is why, regardless of your beliefs regarding abortion, you should carefully rethink your opinions regarding restrictions on abortions.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and view one of the most beautiful/horrible examples of on-campus sexual assault awareness. I’ve said time and time again that universities and colleges need to do more to prevent and respond to sexual assault within their community of students. This school NAILED IT. By nailed it, I mean they did one of those things where the point of the nail goes in and then you hammer it sideways accidentally and it bends and you can’t fix it so you just pound it in so far that you can’t see it anymore.
I almost wish I hadn’t used the “personhood” cartoon in my “History Ignored” post, because it would fit perfectly here. How was I to know that it was becoming such a current issue in North Dakota?
This article is the first I’ve seen that indicates the the personhood movement may be making serious progress. Dangerous progress. They’re relying on confusion to pass a very significant legal decision in the form of an amendment qualifying an embryo at any stage as a person with inalienable rights. The article lists some of the many issues with both the ambiguous phrasing and the momentous potential behind them. It would open up pathways for fertility clinic regulation and lawsuits, birth control restrictions, and basically anything else that could be even remotely connected with the idea of “personhood.” The amendment is designed to attract people who would otherwise be unsure about the pro-life vs pro-choice arguments that are typically made. It essentially seems designed to trick people. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that amendments should be passed based on informed decision.