Monday, 18 April 2011

They Do It Because They Can

While I've been consumed by the Canadian federal election, I've found time to be dismayed by the idiotic -- and endless -- brouhaha over abortion going on in the Excited States.

If you've heard screeching about the Tea Baggers' crusade to defund Planned Parenthood and wondered how it turned out, Katha Pollitt writing in the Guardian has a summary.
The headlines are all about how the Democrats refused to cave to Republican demands to remove funding from Planned Parenthood and saved the day for women's reproductive health – at least until September, when the GOP and its media spokespeople will crank up their misogynistic fog machine all over again.

It's hard to see how they'd go further: Arizona's Jon Kyl claimed on the floor of the house that "90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions". It's actually about 3%, and his office later said his statement was "not intended to be factual". Rush Limbaugh claimed that "Planned Parenthood is a money-laundering operation for the Democrat party". Glenn Beck said that only "hookers" use Planned Parenthood. In fact, one out of every five women has visited a PP clinic, including this writer.

(Stephen Colbert picked up on the 'not intended' bit and tweeted outrageous statements with that hashtag. Others joined in and it went, as they say, viral. Colbert reports on it here.)

Getting back to the abortion story. . .

The Democrats did cave on one of the Tea Baggers' demands, though. The city of Washington, DC, cannot use its own money to fund abortions for poor women on Medicaid.

Why did they do this?

Because they could.
The U.S. Constitution allows for the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government.
. . .

Washington, D.C., is governed by a mayor and a 13-member city council. However, the United States Congress has supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. Residents of the District therefore have less self-governance than residents of the states. The District has a non-voting, at-large Congressional delegate, but no senators. D.C. residents could not vote in presidential elections until the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1961.

A spokesperson for D.C. Planned Parenthood clinic says the ban will not prevent abortions, just delay them while poor women find the dough -- $400 for a first trimester procedure -- so abortions will be later, more expensive, more stressful.

Pollitt says:
This point has been made so often, to so little effect, that I sometimes wonder if the anti-choice plan is not actually to prevent abortion but simply to make it as awful as possible for the woman. Many of the 370-plus anti-abortion bills now wending their way through state legislatures are simply about creating misery, anxiety and fear – forcing women to view ultrasounds, see anti-choice counsellors, listen to scripts claiming falsely that abortions cause breast cancer and infertility, and wait, wait, wait for their procedures.

'As awful as possible.'


So, why did the Democrats cave on this?

Because they had to.

The Rethuglicans have a MAJORITY in the House and can shriek and lie and stomp their little feet and, in fact, cause the entire federal government to shut down if they don't get their way.

Is this starting to sound familiar to our Canadian readers?

Stephen Harper says he will not re-open the abortion issue even if he gets a majority.

You believe that? His base doesn't. They're going to turn out in droves to ensure that he gets his majority so that abortion, equal marriage, capital punishment, etc etc etc, will all be very much open issues.

And what will the Fucking Useless Opposition® do?

Shriek. And snivel. And wave their arms around.

What can we do to prevent this?

Vote strategically.

Remember, the Contempt Party of Canada is the natural home of bullies and liars.

Stephen Harper is lying. And the next government -- if it's a majority -- will be the biggest bully this country has ever suffered. They'll do it Because They Can.


Luna said...

YES! Yes yes and more yes!

Now if I could just figure out who to vote for in my riding... I could kick Keith Martin's ass for this.

fern hill said...

Where are you, Luna? Go here see what they recommend. Or here. Your riding will be on the first list, maybe not on the second.

Beijing York said...

I will hold my nose and vote for Anita Neville precisely because of this highly likely outcome.

And I wish people would buy a clue. Voting strategically doesn't mean automatically voting Liberal. There are some excellent NDP and Bloc seats that could be under attack by the Cons. Similarly there are Contempt party seats that can easily be trumped. On Cross-Country Check-up, Dean Del Maestro stepped in to replace Bev Oda. Every time her name was mentioned, the audience booed long and loud. And they weren't exactly warm to DDM either. This was one of those Ontario rural areas where the Contempt Party thinks they have a slam dunk.

fern hill said...

I know. It makes me crazy. There are two kinds of no-fucking-way-would-I-hold-my-nose voters.

The holier than thou kind. 'I am a socialist. I would never vote for a Liberal/Green/Bloc'.

The witless 'It's-my-vote' kind. 'No one can tell me who to vote for.' These are the people who get all arch and won't tell you who they're voting for. 'It's my vote. Secret ballot.' Weird idea of what a vote is.

It's on both of them if we get a Contempt majority. And I, for one, (as letters to editor writers like to put it) will not be shy in letting them know.

Beijing York said...

I would also add that Danny Williams' ABC strategic voting campaign was extremely effective. So was the Bloc's stop the Harper majority campaign in 2008.

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