In 1988, the Reagan administration began a moratorium on fetal tissue from elective abortions being used in scientific research. But Congress lifted that ban in 1993 when it passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act, which allowed research on human fetal tissue regardless of whether the tissue came from a voluntary abortion. McConnell voted for that bill, as did Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), all of whom have condemned Planned Parenthood in the past two weeks for its involvement in the practice.
Tara Culp-Ressler writes for ThinkProgress: ”According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.”
All observers agree that fast track will soon become law, making it easier for President Barack Obama to pass the controversial trade pacts in the works with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union. That will be a serious setback to the movements for the environment, labor rights, and affordable pharmaceuticals, among others. But after observing painful trade votes for more than 20 years, this one left me feeling that opponents should be holding their heads higher than ever before as they regroup for the next phase of the fight. Here are a few reasons why.
There is a moment in the McKinney, Texas pool party video that’s both horrifying and absurd: when Cpl. Eric Casebolt manhandles, violently restrains, then sits on top of an unarmed, 15-year-old, bikini-clad black girl as she cries for her mother. The absurdity, of course, lies in how unnecessary and over-the-top Casebolt’s behavior is (earlier in the YouTube clip, he barrel rolls across a lawn for no reason in particular). But the horror emerges from the undertones of sexual violence in that instant. Casebolt pulls the girl by her hair, forces her face against the ground and presses his knee into her back — all while she pleads for him to stop. Here’s a grown man, forcing a young girl into submission against her will. The video acts as a prime example of the inherent reality of both physical and sexual harassment against black women and girls at the hands of cops.
Hundreds gathered on Monday evening outside a McKinney, Texas, elementary school to protest the treatment of black teenagers by one of the city’s police officers. The officer, David Eric Casebolt, has been suspended pending an investigation by the McKinney Police Department. Many of the protesters, all of whom have likely seen Casebolt on video drawing his gun on children at a pool party, say he needs to lose his job.
“This carceral variant of feminism continues to be the predominant form. While its adherents would likely reject the descriptor, carceral feminism describes an approach that sees increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the primary solution to violence against women. This stance does not acknowledge that police are often purveyors of violence and that prisons are always sites of violence. Carceral feminism ignores the ways in which race, class, gender identity, and immigration status leave certain women more vulnerable to violence and that greater criminalization often places these same women at risk of state violence.”
Andrew Pollack writes for The New York Times: “About 10 percent of American women suffer from a lack of desire that causes distress, according to a survey conducted by an academic researcher but financed by Boehringer Ingelheim, the original developer of flibanserin. The drug, taken daily, would be for premenopausal women whose loss of desire was not from known causes like disease or the side effect of a drug. Dr. Goldstein said it was gender bias to categorize male sexual dysfunctionas a simple physical problem and women’s as complex, psychological and unamenable to drugs.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo counties) introduced H.J. Res. 51, a joint resolution that will remove the deadline and allow for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by three more states. Her press release includes a quote from NOW President, Terry O’Neill.
Authors Diana Zuckerman and Brandel France de Bravo write for National Center for Health Research: “Whether the most accurate statistics of campus rape are 1 in 5, 1 in 7, or 1 in 20, remember that there are about 10 million women who are attending colleges in the U.S. Even 1 in 20 would mean 500,000 women who have been or will be raped before they graduate. Campus rape and other types of sexual assault are a huge problem for colleges and an enormous tragedy. Most colleges have done a terrible job of preventing them or ensuring justice for the students involved.”
Several years ago, then-Gov. Rick Perry conducted a fabled interview with The Texas Tribune in which Perry defended the state’s stress on abstinence-only sex education while his interviewer pointed out that Texas had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. “I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” Perry retorted. Does Texas traditionally decide state policy based on politicians’ sexual history? If so, that’s terrifying.
Author Lynn M. Paltrow writes for Political Research Associates: “It is likely that most people in the U.S., whether they identify as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” don’t want to see any woman locked up for having an abortion (including the more than 60 percent of women who have abortions who are already mothers). Perhaps this is why anti-abortion organizations work so hard to deny the predictable and inevitable consequences of their efforts: women being locked up.”
Amanda Marcotte writes for Reality Check: “There’s also a deeper irony in this story. Harris felt entitled to say “no thank you” to raising two little girls, after he had asked for them, overruled people’s reported objections to adopting them, and finalized the adoption—all because he and his wife realized after the fact that they were in over their heads. But while he reserved the ability to say “no” to parenthood after making all these commitments, he wants to begrudge women who are saying “no” responsibly, by doing it before they have a baby and before someone else has come to depend on them, of the same right. This isn’t even “abortion for me and not for thee.” Harris, as a mighty patriarch, wants to put his personal comfort before the needs of actual human beings who require care, all while demanding that women sacrifice their own wellbeing for people that don’t even exist yet.”