31 States

Thirty One. Thirty One is how many states in the USA currently allow visitation rights or child custody rights for rapists. So those estimated 32,000 children conceived in the US each year through rape? The rapists can sue for custody of the resulting children. I’m guessing that if many women knew they may be forced to deal with their rapist for the next 18 years, more of them would choose to abort those fetuses. But that’s just me projecting.

“I was struck with terror, not only with the idea of letting my child be around him, but also having to spend the next 18 years of my life tied to him,”
Shauna Prewitt

Shauna Prewitt, a lawyer and mother of a child conceived through rape, recently wrote about her story for CNN. The short version is that she was lucky and stopped the raping scumbag from asserting his ‘rights’ as father. He did try. The comments for that story are absolutely toxic. Be forewarned. There’s a lot of ‘But women lie about rape all the time’, ‘Get over yourself and move on’, ‘It wasn’t rape unless I say it was rape’. In other words, it’s the typical commentariat of Rape Culture and it’s bloody depressing.

It’s telling that those who scoffed at Todd Akin’s embarrassing biology fail still agree with his main (and not so subtly disguised) point: Real rapes don’t result in pregnancy. So women who claim they were raped and are pregnant are obviously liars. One commenter on the CNN piece asked incredulously : ‘Are we supposed to take a woman’s word at face value?’ No. Of course not. We all know women are sneaky. It’s in the bible, isn’t it? Women are inherently more deceitful then men. We should always mistrust anything any woman says. You can insert some copious eye rolling here. I know I did.

It’s also interesting to note that those (like our dear Todd Akin) who are insisting that women have no right to ever abort a pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest, fail to mention that more than half of the states have laws that may force the woman to further be victimized by a violent sexual aggressor moving into her life and demanding child custody rights. They’re fine with it and didn’t think it was worth mentioning. The important thing is that the rapist and the fetus are being taken care of. As we should know by now, Republicans always place the rights of men and fetuses first. Who gives a fuck what happens to the woman who was attacked? They certainly don’t. Not to mention how much it could mess a child up to be partially raised by a filthy criminal who has no respect for his/her mother.

Then again, it comes down to biblical law. Maybe that is exactly what these Republicans, who keep reminding us that the USA is a christian nation, really want. They didn’t mention it because it’s part of their belief system and they’re okay with it.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29, New International Version (NIV)

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels[a] of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Mythic Mondays – Legitimate Rape

You know, this is one post I never thought I’d have to write. The level of stupid involved in rape culture and the forced-birth movement is pretty bad, but this comment takes the cake.

Todd Akin, a United states congressman AND a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, stated this weekend that rape rarely causes pregnancy because:

“It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare, if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist.”

Apparently, according to Akin, a woman’s uterus knows the difference between rape and consensual sex, somehow, and magically destroys sperm that doesn’t have its paperwork in order. I want to meet the incompetent doctors that he said gave him this information.

Was it Galen of Pergamon? He taught that a woman could only conceive if she’d had an orgasm. He taught this is 150 CE, mind you. While he was ahead of his time in cutting edge anatomy…this was also almost 2,000 years ago. He also was a staunch supporter of blood letting, and of fixing ‘bad humours’, which has been thoroughly discredited by modern medicine. As has the idea that a woman needs to orgasm/consent in order to get pregnant.

Todd Akin, a man who has the power to legislate laws that limit a woman’s reproductive choice, while following advice from a 2,000 year old medical book. Not to mention the fact that this man is on the House Science and Technology Committee. Let that roll around in your head for awhile. I’m not even going to debunk this one, because if you believe that a woman’s uterus knows about consent and can decide whether it should get pregnant or not, then you are an idiot. Todd is an idiot.

The really scary thing? Todd is not an isolated case. There’s plenty of documented occurrences of Republican politicians stating this very thing. These are university educated men in positions of power. Jezebel has a recent timeline of some these incidences. Not to mention that this is one of the core beliefs of the anti-choice movement.

‘Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, on Sunday called Akin’s remarks “flat-out astonishing.”

“That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims …That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women,” she told AP Radio.’
The Toronto Star

There’s also the not-so-subtle undercurrent of what he’s saying: Real rapes don’t get women pregnant. Most rapes are just made up by loose women who can’t keep their legs closed and regret it after the fact. So the estimated 32,000 women a year who get pregnant each year from rape? Lying sluts who are just trying to put an innocent man in prison. Stay classy, Todd.

There’s a petition to get Todd taken off the House Science and Technology Committee. ‘Someone who believes nonsense like this has no part overseeing science policy.’ Says the poster of the petition. Seeing as the man is still living in the dark ages, it might not be a bad idea.

Here’s some good posts on the subject of Legitimate Rape, Todd, and Rape apologists:

The myth that women can’t get pregnant from rape stems from basic assumptions anti-choicers make about women.

The Offical Guide to Legitimate Rape.

Akin’s eager apologists

What Todd Akin Said

Secrecy Is Not a Valid Counter to Fear, Lies, and Shame.

Apparently Ontario is no longer allowing the whack-job forced-birthers access to abortion statistics. I have mixed feelings about this. You see, Ontario is no longer allowing access to abortion statistics for anyone. The Ministry of Health stated that “Records relating to abortion services are highly sensitive and that is why a decision was made to exempt these records.” when interviewed by the National Post.

The decision to keep Ontario abortion statistics from the public is not without precedent. B.C. has a similar law in effect and has had it since 2001, according to an article in the CBC:

Section 22.1 of B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act makes abortions the only medical procedures taking place in hospitals that are subject to secrecy.

The law was brought in back in 2001 after staff at some abortion facilities were targeted in violent attacks by anti-abortion groups in the 1990s.

Ah, yes. Those violent pro-lifers. The ones who are willing to murder people in order to make their point about how pro-life they are. Life is sacred, let’s go bomb a clinic! Way to stay true to your message, guys.

Kelly McParland, a dude with a serious case of ‘what about teh menz‘ syndrome, poor understanding of feminism, and a bone to pick with women having choice, wrote a commentary of the Ontario situation today in the National Post. With typically inflammatory and dishonest language, McParland compares abortion to incest, rape, and honour killings. Compares the murder of doctors to the ‘violence against the unborn’. False equivalencies all. And not a new tactic for McParland. Because integrity and truth are not something that anti-choicers appear to value. Shocking. A white middle aged dude with a high sense of entitlement and not much apparent respect for women deciding he knows best how we should make decisions about our bodies. I’m sure that’s never happened before. But it’s easy to dismiss his article because, well, it’s not very well written. I mean it’s a great test piece if you’re looking for logical fallacies and hyperbole, but that’s about it.

Getting back on the topic of secrecy in health statistics, I do, as I said at the beginning of this post, have mixed feelings about this. While I can see the very real threat to the safety of health care providers, I also have to wonder how you can keep statistics about a publicly funded medical procedure away from the tax paying public. Shrouding this one legitimate medical procedure in secrecy is only adding fuel to the arguments of the very people you consider dangerous in the first place. Face it, people are much more likely to protest if they think there’s a government conspiracy at hand. By making an exception in transparency only for abortions we’re lending credence to the ‘conspiracy theory’.

“It’s not an ideological issue… It’s health care provided by OHIP, so I fail to see why highly sensitive applies so drastically and dramatically in this one regard,” says Andrea Mrozek who is a spokesperson for the anti-abortion Institute of Marriage and Family. It irks me to have to agree with someone who works for a cause that uses lies, fear, and shame to make their point. It especially irks me to know that a group working with such a cesspool of morality may actually have the moral high ground in this one small instance. In fact, it makes me feel very unclean indeed.

Personally, I’m thinking the stats should be out there for all who request them. Just like any other healthcare stat. Secrecy puts us on the same moral level as the anti-choicers and that’s not something I’m comfortable with. Those who prefer choice don’t need to use lies and fear and shame. We have science and we have truth. Let’s stick to that and not stoop, please.

As for the safety of the healthcare providers, that’s a serious issue. Threats and incidents of violence against women’s clinics need to be taken much more seriously. Don’t let this shit escalate. Stricter laws and stronger enforcement against the criminals who would use terrorism and violence would go a long way to protecting those who work in clinics. Whereas secrecy is just provoking the protesters and making the terrorists feel even more righteous in their violence.

Just Because It’s a Rodeo Does Not Mean There Has To Be a Shootout At The Corral.

An off duty cop named Walt Wawra from Kalamazoo (No, I didn’t make that name up) and his wife from Michigan are vacationing in Calgary. They’re walking through a park in Calgary in the daytime and are approached by two young men who ask if they’re going to the centennial celebration of the biggest event in the city. You know, the Calgary Stampede.

Wary Walt apparently panics, assumes they’re vile thugs and tells them rudely to go away. He then laments that he didn’t have a gun on him. You know, to defend himself from these obviously aggressive lunatics who DARED to menace he and his wife. (I’m not making this up, I swear!) He wrote a letter to the Calgary Herald, complaining about it:

I recently visited Calgary from Michigan. As a police officer for 20 years, it feels strange not to carry my off-duty hand-gun. Many would say I have no need to carry one in Canada.

Yet the police cannot protect everyone all the time. A man should be al-lowed to protect himself if the need arises. The need arose in a theatre in Aurora, Colo., as well as a college campus in Canada.

Recently, while out for a walk in Nose Hill Park, in broad daylight on a paved trail, two young men approached my wife and me. The men stepped in front of us, then said in a very aggressive tone: “Been to the Stampede yet?”

Herald columnist Naomi Lakritz: Officer’s comments reflect cultural divide between Canada, U.S.

We ignored them. The two moved closer, repeating: “Hey, you been to the Stampede yet?”

I quickly moved between these two and my wife, replying, “Gentle-men, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye.” They looked bewildered, and we then walked past them.

I speculate they did not have good intentions when they approached in such an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort, but rather concluded it was in their best interest to leave us alone.

Would we not expect a uniformed officer to pull his or her weapon to intercede in a life-or-death encounter to protect self, or another? Why then should the expectation be lower for a citizen of Canada or a visitor? Wait, I know – it’s because in Canada, only the criminals and the police carry handguns.

Walt Wawra, Kalamazoo, Mich.

The original letter is here, at the Calgary Herald.

It sounds like a hoax, right? The Calgary Herald assures us it is not.

My first impression is : ‘Dafuq?!?’ followed by ‘Bloody lucky thing Wistful Walt didn’t have a gun, or two young men might have needlessly died.’ Keep in mind this man is apparently a cop. If he’d been at home, instead of being a tourist, he’d have been packing. This is a man who makes snap judgements about people all the time. One who’s allowed to carry a gun. Yikes.

And here’s the kicker: The two aggressive men who accosted Whinging Walt and his wife were handing out free passes to the Stampede. No wonder they looked ‘bewildered’ at Worrying Walt’s strange reaction and general rudeness. I’m sure they had no way of knowing that if Wonderful Walt had had it his way, they’ve have been threatened with a handgun for their presumption to offer tourists free stuff! Honestly, the nerve of those guys.

I’m not the only one who thinks Wacky Walt from Kalamazoo is a nutter. There’s a hashtag on Twitter that’s devoted to his keen perceptive skills and excellent judgement called #NoseHillGentlemen.

As for Officer Wawra, it seems he’s wisely chosen to go into hiding and wait for the media storm to blow over. Good choice. A better choice would have been to do so BEFORE becoming a laughing stock.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the best argument for gun control that I’ve seen yet. We’re quite happy knowing only cops and crooks have guns in our country, Officer Wawra, if it means over-reacting gun happy folks like yourself do not. I feel safer already.

What Free Speech Does Not Mean

One of the most common arguments you’ll see from the ignorant on any number of a variety of topics is the ‘It’s free speech’ argument. Lately I’ve seen this with the Daniel Tosh Rape joke scenario, the We-Need-Moar-Guns-To-Stop-People-From-Shooting-Theatres debate, the Chik-Fil-A We-don’t-hate-gays-but-donate-to-anti-gay-groups debacle. And numerous other ridiculous situations that I have a hard time imagining anyone would want to defend.

Usually, the ‘It’s Free Speech’ argument is said completely without irony and without an understanding of what it actually means. It’s like people think it’s a ‘get out of argument free card’.

What free speech means:

That you are free to voice your opinion without government interference.

That’s it. Full stop. That’s all it means. Here’s what it does not mean:

That you are free to say something remarkably stupid without receiving criticism.

As I’ve said on a previous post : ‘No one is above critique. See that’s the flip side of the ‘Free Speech’ argument that so many seem to draw like a gun. Yes, you can say stupid things…and then I can verbally tear you a new asshole for it.’ If you try to tell me I’m not allowed to criticize something you’ve said…you’ve just committed the ultimate hypocrisy in asserting that your Free Speech somehow outweighs mine.

That I have to listen to what you have to say.

MRAs (Male Rights Activists) may rant and rave and froth and foam to their heart’s content. And they do quite frequently. I’m not interested and I’m not listening. My brain can only handle so much unreasoning hate and pure stupid. In no way have I taken away their rights by focusing my attention away from their fecal flinging. I won’t pull you off your soapbox…but I have the right to walk by without stopping.

That I have to provide you an opportunity to voice your opinion.

I believe this is part of the FreeThoughtBlogs vs Thunderf00t comedy. He was given a blog space by them…they realized he was only there to shit disturb…they promptly removed him. No Free Speech was taken. As a presenter or organizer, I don’t have to allow you the stage. As a webmaster I don’t have to give you a blog. As a blogger, I don’t have to let you write a guest post and I certainly don’t have to allow your opinions in the comment section of my personal blog. I’m not the government and I’m not censoring you. I’m just not giving up my space for your opinions. Get your own damned blog. I hear there’s this place called WordPress that gives them away for free!

That I must continue to support the person who is exercising their free speech.

For example, if I choose to boycott a business because they are vocal in their bigotry, this is not infringing on their free speech. They chose to voice their opinion. I chose not to support it. If, as another business, I choose to sever our relationship, this too is not taking away the rights of the first business. They chose to voice an opinion that may not be well received by the masses. There are consequences in that.

That the listeners must agree with the speaker.

Have your say. Try to swing me to your perspective. Don’t throw a temper tantrum and accuse people of stealing your free speech when they don’t instantly bow down to your demands or agree with you. Be an adult, for chrissakes. Or by all means, flop down in the mud and throw your temper tantrum. It gives us fledgling bloggers something interesting to blog about. And by ‘blog about’ I do mean ‘mock relentlessly’.

Speaking of Gun Control…

In the wake of the theatre shootings in Aurora, Colorado there are been a revival of the heated debated for or against gun control. Being an evil-godless-socialist-left-leaning-hippie-feminazi I’m sure you can guess where I stand on the issue. But that’s neither here nor there.

This morning the National Post had an interesting article that didn’t lean one way or the other but had this nifty graph that shows the correlation (or lack thereof) between gun ownership and shooting homicides. I myself am a very visual person so I like when things are laid out for me visually. Click the link below to see, because I’m not stealing their copyrighted graphic.

Graphic: Gun Ownership Around The World

It’s a good source of information for those of you planning to jump into internet arguments about gun control on this fine Sunday afternoon.

Interestingly, it doesn’t really show a correlation between number of guns and gun killings. Some of the highest number/per capita killings are in Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala. The countries we ignorant folk in more privileged countries tend to think of as ‘Cartel Countries’. Yet those countries have very few guns per capita. While the countries with the highest number of guns per capita were the U.S., Switzerland, and Finland in that order.