Sure, anti-choicers still lean on the “pro-life” angle in internal messaging to supporters and while harassing women outside of clinics. But when it comes to making change happen on a legislative or judicial level, the anti-choice movement is borrowing a plan of action from climate change denialists and creationists: Create the illusion of a scientific controversy where none exists, and use that as a pretext to push a right-wing agenda. Climate change denialists have had great success claiming there’s a scientific dispute over whether global warming is real, when in fact there’s overwhelming consensus that it is happening. Creationists have also successfully confused the public about research regarding evolutionary biology, which is so ridiculous at this point it’s like saying that there’s debate over whether gravity is real.
Now, anti-choicers seem to be favoring this strategy over old-school declarations that embryos have a right to life, which supersedes a woman’s right to her own body. The idea is to create the illusion—in other words, flagrantly lie—that there is a serious medical debate over the dangers of abortion to a woman’s physical and mental well-being, and use that to argue that a bunch of laws making it harder to obtain abortions are necessary.
The New York legislature had just failed to pass an incremental reform to the state’s strict anti-abortion law, leaving the status quo in place. At that time, deaths resulting from illegal abortions accounted for 42 percent of New York City’s maternal mortality rate. While wealthy women could use their “connections” to have illegal yet safe abortions performed in hospitals, less privileged women didn’t have that option. According to a survey of low-income women who had abortions in the 1960s, eight in ten said that they had attempted a self-induced procedure, and only two percent said that a trained physician was involved in any way.
Rev. Howard Moody, the minister of the historic Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan, couldn’t stand by and watch any longer. He started gathering with a group of faith leaders to talk about how they might help women get connected with the illicit “abortionists” who could perform a safe procedure. Those pastors and rabbis formed what came to be known as the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion.
That May, they announced their new organization in a front page story in the New York Times. In consultation with the New York Civil Liberties Union, the religious leaders decided their best strategy for avoiding getting in trouble with the law — the charge for “aiding and abetting” an illegal abortion was a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison — was total transparency. They wanted to operate out in the open, sending the message that they were choosing to defy the law in order to adhere to a higher moral code. And they ultimately initiated a long, yet mostly overlooked, history of clergy-assisted work toward ensuring women’s reproductive autonomy.
In the spirit of remembrance and healing, the Sex Workers Outreach Project joins sex workers, allies and advocates from around the world in recognizing December 17, the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers. As we approach this day, we seek to come together to remember those who we have lost this year, and renew our commitment in the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.
On December 17th, We also renew our commitment to solidarity. The majority of violence against sex workers is not just violence against sex works—it’s also violence against transwomen, against women of color, against drug users, against immigrants. We cannot end the marginalization and victimization of all sex workers without also fighting transphobia, racism, stigma and criminalization of drug use, and xenophobia.
AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Larry James, at that meeting, who is now dean at Wayne State in Detroit [ sic], of the U.S. Army, chief psychologist at Guantánamo and a member of the APA governing board, said at the meeting, defending military psychologists, said they help make interrogations safe, ethical and legal, and cited instances where psychologists allegedly intervened to stop abuse. He said, “If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die.” But then Dr. Laurie Wagner got up, a Dallas psychologist and the past president of the APA Division of Psychoanalysis, “Why are people dying, if the U.S. military is in charge?” Let me put that question to Professor Al McCoy. This whole debate within the APA and the role of psychologists, as you see it?
ALFRED McCOY: Yeah, Amy, we can put this in a wider context. The psychologists are critical, but they’re critical because psychological torture is, in effect, enshrined within U.S. law. When the United States finally ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, we did so subject to certain qualifications, known in diplomatic parlance as “reservations.” And basically, the four reservations that we introduced modified our approval, our ratification of that convention, everything in it except: We redefined the U.N. definition of what torture was—extreme pain—and we called it “prolonged mental harm,” that for an act to rise to the level of torture, it had to become, in U.S. parlance, in those reservations, prolonged mental harm.
The Rev Libby Lane, a parish priest from Crewe, is the surprise choice for the Church of England’s first female bishop. She has been appointed suffragan (assistant) bishop of Stockport, which the church counts as part of Chester diocese.
Her appointment brings to an end 22 years of resistance to the promotion of female priests. The General Synod decided in 1992 that women might be priests, but kept a glass ceiling in place, with the help of parliamentary exemptions from equality laws, for a further 22 years. This is at least 10 years more than anyone foresaw.
This appointment was the soonest that could possibly be made after the synod finally allowed women to become bishops in July this year. It took until November for the measure to become law.
And until we have accurate data about women’s health too, we may design programs that are destined to fail or simply fail to deliver what might have been a transformational impact.
The World Bank Group, along with many of our partners, is focused more intently now on finding and filling these data gaps. We are working with Data2X, UN agencies, and others to address some of these knowledge black holes.
But it is not just data. Sometimes our definitions fall short. Take, for example, the way we view income and labor. It simply doesn’t cover enough of the work that women, and in particular poor women, are doing—especially in their own households and the vast “informal” economy in which most of the world’s poorest people work.
We are working to implement new international definitions of work and employment that recognize all productive activities, paid and unpaid, as work. They also introduce the concept of “own-use production work,” which includes goods and services women provide for a household, such as a meal.
The PDF linked in the article is for a Power Point that shows that only part of what we we consider “work” is actual paid work. The myth of the lazy unemployed is too simple. The economic value of individual work is far more complex.
Montana has never been known as a black-tie place. Governors wear cowboy boots and bolo ties, and people joke that a tuxedo is a pair of black jeans and a sport coat. But this winter, when lawmakers arrive at the State Capitol, they will have to abide by a new dress code: No more jeans. No casual Fridays. And female lawmakers “should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”
Republican leaders who approved the guidelines say they are simply trying to bring a businesslike formality to a State Legislature of ranchers, farmers and business owners that meets for only four months every other year. But the dress code has set off a torrent of online mockery, and is being pilloried by Democratic women as a sexist anachronism straight from the days of buggies and spittoons.
“The sergeant-at-arms could be standing there with a ruler, measuring hemlines and cleavage,” said Jenny Eck, a Democratic House member.
Health impacts remain a major complication of climate change. As the climate warms, diseases such as malaria, which is carried by mosquitoes, are expected to expand as regions that were once too cool (or otherwise inhabitable) for mosquitoes become warmer and more inviting. Studies have also found that, as more carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere, pollen counts will likely go up, which means a more intense allergy season. Researchers have also linked warming temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
As a society, we (mostly) acknowledge that corrosive, potentially deadly racism, as an abstract concept, exists. But of course, everyone worth mentioning abhors it! How can you call this a racist society, when we have a 50-year-old Civil Rights Act and a Black president and everything? Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, were all killed in unfortunate individual misunderstandings. Or, if you insist on finding a pattern here, the unfortunate result of the victim’s bad choices.
Same goes for rape—we believe it’s a horrible thing that definitely happens, and to be sure, no one is in favor of it. So when feminists talk about “rape culture,” they’re just being their usual, hysterical selves, exaggerating to the point that reasonable people can’t take them seriously. But as soon as someone says they were raped—whether it’s a woman in college, a male celebrity, or an 11-year-old girl, we react with disbelief, immediately trying to reframe the story as an unfortunate individual misunderstanding. Or, if you insist on finding a pattern here, the unfortunate result of the victim’s bad choices.
We live in a country full of racism, but no racists; rape, but no rapists. And the common denominator is power. To believe a rape survivor’s word over that of her male classmate, colleague, teacher, or superior officer is to upset the natural order of things, privileging the voice with less cultural authority over the one we expect to have all the answers. Likewise, believing Dorian Johnson’s testimony over Darren Wilson’s means rejecting lessons we’ve been taught from childhood, both explicitly (the police are there to help you) and implicitly (White people are more trustworthy than Black people).
We will go to truly amazing lengths to stick to this pattern of individualizing the problem and/or finding ways to blame the victim. As Katherine wrote recently, in piece that also connected these victim-blaming dots, that’s because to do otherwise would challenge our belief in the “just world hypothesis” — the fantasy that we live in a fundamentally just world in which terrible things must happen for a reason — which serves as a security blanket we wrap tightly around our eyes.