Posts Tagged “pro-life”

'Armageddon: Anything one doesn't like is the equivalent of a nuclear blast' / PsiCop original graphicBeneath American Christendom lurks a stream of what I refer to as “disaster theology.” It’s the idea that pretty much anything bad that happens, occurs because God is upset about some societal failure. He’s angry with humanity, so he takes out his rage on us. This tactic is a way to invoke terror among believers, inciting them to do something about the societal failure — whatever it may be — before some other (usually worse) disaster happens. Lots of Christianists use this tactic as part of their ongoing “psy-ops” campaigns, keeping the faithful all frothed up and in a tizzy. And the faithful, of course, are too ignorant, gullible, and/or stupid to realize how asinine it all is, or understand they’re being manipulated.

The frequency with which Christianists use “disaster theology” prevents me from calling attention to all of them. Otherwise I’d do nothing all day but post examples of this phenomenon. Most of the time, I remark only on the more egregious or cruel examples of it, such as when massacres are used this way. That people would use such events as weapons in their “psy-cops” warfare is horrific, and demonstrates their total lack of character.

But today one such incident happened which isn’t cruel, it’s just plain absurd — and laughably so. As such it provides a stellar example of how truly asinine the “disaster theology” tactic is. As Right Wing Watch both explains and shows, it came from the mouth of none other than Marion “Pat” Robertson (WebCite cached article):

Televangelist Pat Robertson responded to the dramatic market sell-off today by suggesting that it was only a foretaste of God’s judgment for legal abortion and federal funding of Planned Parenthood.…

“We will pay dearly as a nation for this thing going on,” he said. “And possibly if we were to stop all this slaughter the judgment of God might be lifted from us. But it’s coming, ladies and gentlemen. We just had a little taste of it in terms of the financial system, but it’s going to be shaken to its core in the next few months, years or however long it tastes and it will hurt every one of us.”

Earlier in the program, Robertson claimed that the market crash was prophesied by Jonathan Cahn, who believes that something bad will happen in late September as part of the biblical Shemittah cycle. Today’s market turmoil, according to Robertson, is a sign that conditions will only get worse next month.

“This thing is hitting with great force and if Cahn is right on that Shemittah we could be in for some really rough days in the markets,” he said, before urging his viewers to buy gold in preparation for greater market deterioration.

This is ridiculous and laughable for two reasons:

First, the stock markets tanked for a very well-known reason. It’s one that’s been widely reported in numerous media outlets: An economic seizure in China, which has ripple effects in other markets around the world (cached). One might ask why there’s so much market trouble coming out of China, but it’s been building for a couple months, due to the popping of China’s stock market bubble in June (cached). And why, one might further ask, did China’s stock market bubble burst? That’s actually a stupid question: All market bubbles burst at some point. It’s inevitable! The question isn’t whether or not they will, it’s when. The causes of today’s stock market “correction” are well known, and something of this sort has been anticipated for a while. Appeals to the supernatural aren’t necessary … and corrections, while disruptive in the short term, are actually a normal part of healthy markets.

Second, all the caterwauling about government spending on abortions, and especially all the called lately to “defund Planned Parenthood,” ignores a very salient fact: No federal money is ever spent on abortions, due to something called the Hyde Amendment, which has been in force in one way or another since 1976. That’s right, since the mid-70s not one red cent of federal money has ever been spent on abortions! Robertson, and the rest of the bellicose Religious Right, is whining about something that isn’t actually the problem he claims it is.

Note, too, Robertson’s call to action … specifically for his viewers to buy gold. For many years now, Robertson has had a personal financial interest in gold, himself. For instance, he’s had mining interests in Africa which have caused him to get caught up in the affairs of dictators there (cached), as well as any number of other unsavory characters.

(I note a lot of folks over on the Right have a fascination with selling gold; many Rightist pundits’ shows feature gold-broker advertisements, and folks like Ron Paul are heavily invested in gold, as well (cached). These people are not looking out for the interests of their viewers/readers/listeners/followers … they’re actually trying to fatten their own wallets, at their viewers/readers/listeners/followers’ expense!)

It’s funny how a guy who’s so concerned about abortions, just happens to discern a course of action (i.e. buying gold) for his viewers to follow which — conveniently for him! — also just happens to be something he stands to profit from (via his gold-industry investments). Hmm. Coincidence? I think not!

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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Christ Facepalm / Doc, via FlickrThis morning on CNN, GOP presidential candidate and former AR governor and Fox News pundit Mike Huckabee doubled down on his opposition to all abortions all the time, everywhere and under all circumstances. In an interview, he supported the Paraguayan government having forced a juvenile rape victim to give birth (WebCite cached article):

Mike Huckabee says his opposition to abortion rights in any circumstances won’t change after Paraguay refused a 10-year-old rape victim access to the procedure.

Of course, Shucksabee did offer up a rhetorical handwave in the direction of saying rape is bad, but then coupled it with a happy rationalization for abusing the rape victim a second time:

The former Arkansas governor who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination called the girl’s rape a tragedy in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” Sunday.

But he said: “Let’s not compound a tragedy by taking yet another life.”

“A 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible. But does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child? And that’s really the issue,” Huckabee said.

Here’s a little note, especially for male Republicans. Whenever you stake out a position beginning with “Rape is terrible, but,” whatever you say after that “but” automatically and completely nullifies your introductory clause about how rape is bad. Because no matter how you slice it, you are — as I said — purposefully doubling the tragedy of a rape, and knowingly victimizing someone a second time. Yes, I know you think you’re reinforcing your acknowledgement that rape is bad … but what you’re really doing is saying, “Rape is bad, but there’s something else I consider worse,” which in reality is a way of dismissing — rather than reinforcing — the tragedy of rape. Telling a rape victim, “I know you were raped, and that’s awful, but” can never justify treating her in a horrific manner. It just doesn’t.

Better yet, male Republicans … maybe it’d be best for you to not to say anything at all about rape and simply shut up about it. Several of you have found it to be a minefield you couldn’t emerge from unscathed.

To be perfectly clear: Cases like the one discussed in this interview are rare, and thankfully so (cached). Yet — also to be clear — they’re no less real. The delivery in question was by cesarean section (aka surgery), which is risky in children. And a lot of children that age aren’t even able to carry babies to term. A policy of always forcing them to do so is inhumane, intolerable, and inexcusable. Period. Yet, Shucksabee and a lot of other Christofascists like him have no problem with it. None at all! It’s what their deity demands, after all, so it’s what they think must be done … to everyone, without regard to whether or not they share those beliefs. Which is why they’ve been clamoring for decades to make their beliefs the law of the land. (And it’s why I call them “Christofascists.”)

Photo credit: Doc, via Flickr.

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Michael C Burgess 112I’ve repeatedly wondered what it is that makes Republican Congressman spew such stupid things when it comes to abortion. You’d have thought they’d realize by now that such idiocy is electorally dangerous. But it seems they just don’t give a fuck about that. Maybe they truly are just as idiotic as they sound. Or, maybe they’re suffering from a mass psychosis. I can’t say what the problem is, but I can say that I’m sure it’s a phenomenon that won’t stop.

The latest example of this insane yammering is relayed by U.S. News & World Report (WebCite cached article):

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, said Monday he is opposed to abortion because fetuses masturbate in the womb, and so can feel both pleasure and pain.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, citing his experience as an OB/GYN, during a House Rules Committee hearing on a GOP bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”

His comments were first reported by women’s health site RH Reality Check [cached].

But Burgess’s argument isn’t based in science, doctors say.

Well, there’s a big fucking surprise. A Republican in Congress said something that’s not based in science? By now you must all understand, that’s par for their course. They can’t help it. They hate science, and will lie about it whenever they wish to, because they feel entitled to do so.

USN&WR was able to isolate Burgess’s “source” for his tall tale:

Any media reports on masturbation by fetuses can almost exclusively be traced back to a single letter [cached] written by two OB/GYNs in Italy in 1996 and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The letter related an anecdote in which the two doctors had “recently observed a female fetus at 32 weeks gestation touching the vulva with the fingers of the right hand” before the female fetus experienced prolonged spasms, and “finally…relaxed and rested.”

Here’s Youtube video of Burgess’s insane blubbering:

As I said, I have no idea if this lunatic behavior is somehow strategically planned, or is the result of some kind of collective psychopathology that the GOP in Washington suffers from. I really don’t know. What I can say is, it’s time for Republicans to just shut the fuck up about women, abortion, rape, etc. Yes, I know you guys are really militant about not liking abortions. You’re angry about it, and you just can’t help yourselves. If so, just say that’s your personal belief .. and leave it at that. Just end it right there. Don’t go any further. Stop cooking up these absurd, counter-factual rationales for why you think it’s bad, and stop acting as though your insane notions have any basis in reality. They don’t.

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Trent FranksYou’d think after morons like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Joe Walsh lost elections after mouthing off like the ignorant, misogynist buffoons they are, some in the Republican ranks would have figured out how to keep their big yaps shut when it comes to rape and pregnancy. But apparently Trent Franks, R-AZ, didn’t get that memo. As Politico reports, he spewed some Akinistic lunacy during a Congressional hearing (WebCite cached article):

A House Republican pushing for a 20-week nationwide ban on abortions said Wednesday that the incidence of pregnancies resulting from rape is “very low” — then scrambled to clarify his comment after it went viral with comparisons to former GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin.

“The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) as the House Judiciary Committee debated his bill to ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks including in cases of rape and incest.

Remarkably, despite being challenged about his factually-incorrect claim, Franks wasn’t about to back down. Among other things, he had the chutzpah to claim it was the Democrats’ fault that he brought it up:

He said that Democrats are the ones who “constantly want to inject” rape into the abortion debate and have done so ever since the original Roe v Wade case.

He also claimed he said something other than he’d actually said, and maintained he was correct:

[Zoe] Lofgren [D-CA] again challenged him, repeating, “The suggestion that rape rarely leads to pregnancy has no basis in science or fact.”

Franks replied, “And I would just like to point out the fact that I never made such a suggestion.”

Actually, Congressman, that’s precisely what you said, at least as reported: “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” I suppose that media outlets — such as Politico (which I’ve based this blog post on) as well as many others which reported the same words — are all lying, and that you didn’t say that. Yes, it’s possible they all got together and decided, collectively, to lie about you in precisely the same way.

I admit, Congressman, it’s possible there’s a vicious conspiracy afoot to libel you across the mass media. But somehow … well … I just doubt it happened that way. Rather, I think you actually said what you were reported to have said, and are now trying to back away from it without having to disavow it (which would anger your supporters among the militant Religious Right).

In other words … Franks doesn’t even have the cojones to snivel out some laughable, insincere non-apology apology. What a fucking weasel! Not to mention being yet another lying liar for Jesus.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr.

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Savita Halappanavar, who was found to be miscarrying when admitted, died of septicaemia at University Hospital Galway, via the Irish TimesAs if anyone needed further proof how reprehensible the Roman Catholic Church’s dogmatic approach toward women is, here’s one more sterling example. The Irish Times reports on a woman who died because a hospital’s allegiance to the R.C. Church was stronger than its desire to keep her alive (WebCite cached article):

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Sadly, this proved to too late for Ms Halappanavar; she died of septicemia a few days later.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think University Hospital Galway is Catholic Church-owned or -operated. So this might not be a case where the Church directly and on its own orders caused Ms Halappanavar’s death. Nevertheless, even if it’s not, Catholicism taught the fiercely dogmatic medical philosophy which was applied here, so Church culpability is unavoidable.

I have to ask all of you supposedly “pro-life” Catholics out there who are proud to trumpet that “all life is sacred” and that’s why you militate against any and all kinds of abortion: Please explain how and why your Church’s policy, in this case, did anything to protect “life”? In the name of protecting a dying fetus — which you claim is a “life” than must be saved — you ended up losing both that fetus and the mother who carried it. So whose “life,” here, was protected? I want to know how that “pro-life” policy works, when by your own definitions of “life,” two lives were lost in this case, one inevitably, the other needlessly.

I dare you to explain this. Really. Honest. If you truly believe your Church’s doctrines have any veracity, and if you’re secure in your “pro-life” beliefs, then you should have no problem doing so. So go ahead. Do it. The comment box below is available for you, so get to work and explain this. If you dare.*

Note that this event puts the lie to (now lame-duck) Rep. Joe Walsh’s claim that medical advances have made it so that it’s never necessary to abort a fetus in order to save a woman’s life. We all knew he was talking out his misogynistic, religiofascist ass when he made that comment, but this example provides verifiable, incontrovertible — and horrific — evidence that he was absolutely wrong.

*Appeals to ignorance … such as the old & tired “it’s a mystery” or “God works in mysterious ways” … will not suffice, so don’t insult me by offering anything like that. Those clichés aren’t explanations of the benefits of Catholic doctrine. They’re just admissions of ignorance, and falling back on them betrays a lack of desire to provide an explanation.

Photo credit: Irish Times.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith & Friendly Atheist.

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Better to remain silent, and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth, and remove all doubt! (proverb)On a few occasions I’ve mentioned that the Religious Right tries to make their irrational, reflexive opposition to abortion appear to have a reasonable, even scientific veneer. Their problem is that it’s a lie; their real motivation is their religionistic hatred of women and a desire to control them. Rep Todd Akin, for example, revealed the disingenuity of this effort back in August, when he claimed that a woman cannot be impregnated during rape. Late last week, as the Los Angeles Times reports, Illinois Rep Joe Walsh stepped into the same trap himself (WebCite cached article):

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is facing a tough race to retain his seat in Congress, told reporters Thursday that he was opposed to abortion under any circumstances — and that thanks to medical progress, “you can’t find one instance” when it might be necessary to perform an abortion to protect a woman’s health.

“There’s no such exception as life of the mother,” Walsh said, according to this report from Bloomberg News. “And as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.”

Walsh, you see, is among the most fiercely Puritanical of the anti-abortionists, who refuse to provide any exceptions in their anti-abortion legislation. His problem — aside from the fact that he has no medical training whatsoever and hasn’t the expertise to make this claim — is that this is simply not true:

Within hours, women’s heath advocates — and physicians — attacked his remarks.

“Joe Walsh’s ignorance about women’s health is alarming,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood, in a statement.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) fired its own salvo, calling the congressman’s comments “inaccurate” in a widely distributed response.

“Abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health,” the doctors’ organization said. The group reported that more than 600 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes and that “many more would die each year if they did not have access to abortion.”

There are, in fact, any number of problems that might come along, which require an abortion to save a woman’s life. Walsh cannot simply declare they don’t exist. For him to do so, is fucking ridiculous.

I have news for Rep Walsh and others of his ilk: That you have certain metaphysics beliefs — e.g. that abortion is impermissible — does not entitle you to lie in support of that belief. You can’t just make scientific or medical claims that aren’t true, in order to make your beliefs apear valid. That he’d do this, places Rep Walsh in my “lying liars for Jesus” club, where he’s sure to enjoy the company.

Finally, that Rep Walsh thinks women must be allowed to die, merely because of a problem during their pregnancies, is a downright evil proposition. Even so, he’s not the only one who espouses this very philosophy; The Roman Catholic Church teaches it, too.

Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on proverb.

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Yez I wuz caught bean stooped. Nao leef me alone bout it! / Courtesy of LOL Builder, http://builder.cheezburger.com/builder/In various posts, I’ve tangentially mentioned the phenomenon of the non-apology apology. This is when someone who’s done something wrong, tries to take it back, but without really admitting wrongdoing, without really explaining what s/he did, and/or by cluttering the matter up with deflections. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, about whom I blogged yesterday, thoughtfully provides us with a sterling example of what a “non-apology apology” is. Talking Points Memo reports what he had to say (WebCite cached article). I will parse this “apology” out and demonstrate how, point by point, Akin actually failed to apologize:

As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.

The trouble with this sentence is, his comments had nothing whatever to do with “protecting” any “victims of sexual assault.” By talking about “legitimate rape” (as opposed to “illegitimate rape,” I guess) he was suggesting that some rapes are not actually “rapes.” I don’t see how that could “protect” any woman at all.

In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.

This is failure point two: Akin did not “misspeak.” Rather, he blathered on about something in detail, even mentioning that doctors had told him women’s reproductive systems shut down and prevent pregnancy during rape. That’s not misuse of a word or phrase. That’s a specific, purposeful invention … and it’s likely a fiction (since I doubt any doctor ever told him such a thing).

Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

Failure point three: It’s all well and good that he can say rapists “are the lowest of the low in our society,” but when he gave away the fact that he thinks not all rapes are true “rapes,” what good is it for him to say this?

I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.

This is perhaps the one honest statement Akin makes: Yes, indeed, abortion is emotionally-charged. It’s the emotionally-charged nature of the pro-life movement that Akin has latched onto and is trying to appeal to for votes. Emotion is indeed the main fuel of the pro-life movement.

But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.

Failure point four: This is a deflection. Here he diverts attention from his asinine comments, and toward his pro-life stance. Repeating that he’s pro-life … which by now everyone already knows, anyway … does nothing to convey the slightest contrition over the comments he’s supposedly trying to apologize for.

I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

Failure point five: Akin is playing the “martyr” card. Poor me, he’s saying, there are people whose votes I can never get, because <sniff> they hate me for being pro-life <sniff> and I can’t get them to <sniff> change their minds about me. All I can say to that is — Boo fucking hoo, Rep. Akin.

But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.

This is failure point six, and another deflection. Akin is saying, Stop whining about me, let’s bellyache about the economy instead. Unfortunately his original comments had nothing to do with the economy, therefore his apology cannot have anything to do with the economy.

We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.

Failure point seven, and yet another deflection. Once again, Akin brings up something that has absolutely nothing to do with the comments he’s ostensibly apologizing for.

That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.

Failure point eight, and for the exact same reason.

Note what Rep. Akin did not include in his so-called “apology”: An explanation for how and why he thought women’s reproductive systems disable themselves during a rape. He specifically mentioned that doctors (plural!) had told him about it, but in his “apology” he doesn’t mention this at all. He doesn’t tell us which doctors told him this, nor does he say where else he might have gotten this idea from. It’s a significant component of the original remarks he claims to be apologizing for, yet he glosses them over as though he’d never said them.

Oh, and the icing on the cake of Akin’s putative “apology”? He put up a Web page on his site mentioning that he’s sorry (cached) … and right below it, a solicitation for campaign donations! How much more fucking mercenary could the man get!? He can’t even manage to apologize — if one can call it that (and as I’ve shown, one can’t) — without also putting his hand out for more money.

I close this by thanking Rep. Akin for offering this lesson in non-apology apologies. Public relations folks will no doubt look to this as an exemplar they can work from in the future.

Update: Politico reports Akin is doubling-down on his playing of the “martyr card” (cached). The “liberal media,” it seems, are out to get the poor little thing. Of course, he’s forgetting that a lot of his critics — including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his VP choice Paul Ryan — can hardly be called part of “the liberal media.” There there, little Toddie, everything will be OK. Quick, someone give the little crybaby a pacifier … !

Photo credit: Courtesy of LOL Builder.

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