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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

 
Texas leading the way in the crusade against women

by digby

Sarah Posner has published an informative new article about the latest tactics in the war on women. Evidently Texas is now the epicenter of the Right To Life movement and they are going after birth control:

It’s a battle fought on more than one front, these Texas activists say, a window into the machinations of the anti-choice movement nationwide. The legislature is one front, and Texas has a robust constellation of anti-choice groups that, in conjunction with an increasingly powerful Republican caucus, have chalked up a series of impressive victories. These successes have led the national anti-choice group Americans United for Life to rank Texas fourth in the country for its “aggressive legislative action over the past several years.”

Another front is in the streets, where Catholic activists have led the way, praying and proselytizing in front of clinics that provide abortions, aiming to persuade patients that not only is abortion contrary to God’s will, but that it will cause them untold harm, from mental health problems to breast cancer, infertility, and even death. While medical evidence says otherwise, such falsehoods have been codified into law in Texas. Its 2003 “right to know” law, never challenged in court, requires doctors to “inform” women seeking abortions of a supposed link between abortion and a higher risk of breast cancer and future infertility, in addition to: “serious psychological effects... including depression, grief, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, regret, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sexual dysfunction, avoidance of emotional attachment, flashbacks, and substance abuse.”

While abortion hasn’t played a central role in the presidential campaign, that, too, is a product of the shift in strategy: anti-choice activists are focused not on overturning Roe v. Wade (although that remains a crucial goal). Instead, they are now fixated on portraying abortion as harmful to women, tying it to an “industry” (i.e., Planned Parenthood) they have targeted with an unrelenting campaign in an effort to malign not just abortion, but birth control—and to restrict access to both.



Rick Perry is apparently very personally involved in all this, which is very creepy. Thank goodness the base is so put off by him otherwise that he hasn't gotten any traction. (The way that primary is going, though, it could circle back to him. Look at Newtie.)

Here's where it gets interesting:

[T]he Texas legislature slashed family planning funding by two-thirds in 2011. The Republican-led legislature allocated another $8.4 million over two years to the Alternatives to Abortion program, which not only prohibits funding for abortion or abortion counseling, but whose contractors do not offer birth control, or even counseling or referrals for contraceptives. In other words, an uninsured woman entering a crisis pregnancy center for its free services will be dissuaded from having an abortion, given blankets, booties, and Jesus, and won’t be informed about how to prevent another unintended pregnancy in the future.

The Alternatives to Abortion program is modeled on a Pennsylvania program launched at the urging of former Governor Bob Casey, a Catholic anti-choice Democrat whose son, Bob Casey Jr., since being elected to the US Senate in 2006, has pressed for federal legislation funding “alternatives” to abortion.* The Texas program uses federal funds under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which are disbursed in block grants to the states...

Among the criteria the potential providers must meet are “maintain[ing] a pro-life mission and agree[ing] not to promote, refer, or counsel in favor of abortion or abortifacients as an option to a crisis or unplanned pregnancy” and “agree[ing] not to promote the teaching or philosophy of any religion while providing services to the client.” Yet most, if not all, of the centers maintain that Christian faith is central to their mission. Many are affiliated with Care Net, which describes itself as a “Christ-centered ministry whose mission is to promote a culture of life within our society in order to serve people facing unplanned pregnancies and related sexual issues.” Others are affiliated with Heartbeat International, which says it “does not promote birth control” because its “policies and materials are consistent with biblical principles and with orthodox Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) ethical principles and teaching on the dignity of the human person and sanctity of human life.”


May I please have one of those "conscience clauses" requiring that the government not spend my tax dollars on patriarchal throwbacks? I think it's only fair.

Read Posner's whole piece. The so-called lovers of "life" have already extended their battle to birth control --- proving that they are less about their great love of blastocysts than about their great loathing for women having stress and guilt free physical pleasure. (Either that or they really need that frisson of danger that sex could result in pregnancy to enjoy themselves.)

This piece makes it clear that the battle for reproductive freedom needs to be engaged right now, openly and without all this "common ground" nonsense that the Religion Industrial Complex is selling. They have managed to demonize abortion to such an extent it's become an act of shame for most politicians to support it unequivocally as a matter of personal autonomy. And now they have launched their crusade against birth control. You don't win battles like these with compromise.


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