Okay so you might have heard about this. Ever since M.snowe started following such things, she’s noticed that South Dakota is at the forefront of reproductive right reductions. Planned Parenthood comes out with a new bulletin about their injustices towards women every day. The midwestern state has less than a million people (over 87% of them white, and most of them conservative), Mount Rushmore, and a pretty serious rural past, so, M.snowe supposes it’s not that much of a shocker that they are ridiculously discriminatory towards women and their reproductive rights. Let M.Snowe lay it down for you:
–If you’re a lady in SD considering abortion in the state, first you must submit to a “consultation” at a “pregnancy help center.” This consult will consist of some blowhard anti-choice dimwit shouting at, shaming, and otherwise man-splaining to the woman why they should not abort their pregnancy. (Okay, so maybe they won’t shout, but they will be giving women a long run down of all the “wonderful options” they would have to help themselves and their baby should they take it to term.) After the consultation, the woman must then wait at least 3 days to have an abortion if she really wants one, because that is the estimated time it takes the average woman to make an informed decision about anything.
Exceptions to this law of consultation and waiting period? Only in extreme cases of medical emergencies, approved by a doctor. There is NO exception for rape or incest.
A lot of states have the woman undergo a consultation with a doctor before an abortion procedure–most of the time, as with any medical procedure, the doctor lays out what will happen, and evaluates the patient to make sure they are in the right frame of mind to consent. Fine. But, South Dakota has gone so far as to ensure that the people who give these “required consultations” to abortion-seekers are anti-choice, anti-abortion, pretty much anti-everything except keeping your pregnancy. They give “faith-based” lectures. They tell her the tiny speck of cells in her body is already a living breathing soul of independent livelihood.
How is this acceptable? When we go to doctors, we are always free to “get a second opinion,” when it comes to medical procedures, advice, treatment, prescriptions, etc. How can a state determine that there is no second opinion in the case of a woman’s body? How can a consultant possibly feel as though they are doing a good job when they encourage a woman who has been raped by, say, her uncle, to keep that incestuous bundle of joy even if she finds the idea abhorrent? Oh, and poverty in SD is pretty common. And there is only one Planned Parenthood in the state, the only place to get an abortion. It’s a big state–someone in a rural town would have to drive hours, and then find a place to stay. Then be consulted, then wait three days, then pay for the procedure. Talk about making it hard for those with the hardest lives as it is.
The leader of the “Alpha Center,” one of the consultation hubs, says this in response to opposition:
“What are they so afraid of?” Ms. Unruh asked. “That women might change their minds?”
No, Bitch. Women should be absolutely free to change their minds. They should be presented with both sides, multiple options, and then make their own, conscious, informed decision that works best for them, that is not subject to an ultimatum, undue guilt, unnecessary hounding. There’s no problem for women to hear these folk’s side of the argument, but it is when you tip the scales and make it hard if not impossible for them to make any choice except the one you’d rather they make. What women like M.snowe are “afraid of” is the limitation of the ability to change our minds. The very thing this woman accuses the opposition of worrying about is the thing these centers are worrying about and trying to quell at their very core–freedom of choice, freedom of control. Obviously, in a perfect world all contraception would be 100% effective and there would be no rape, incest, sexual abuse, etc.–but that’s not the case. And so every woman should feel as if she has the freedom to make the best possible decision for her body.
I can’t believe we’re still debating this.
(If any state needs the wide-release of the new Jane Eyre movie to happen pronto–it’s this one!)
Batten down the hatches!
Seriously, red alert, readers!
Oprah, in her infinite wisdom, has decided that her magazine will feature “eight rising poets” in a photo shoot, so that all the readers can see them “express their dynamic personal styles—and show you how to cultivate your own,” i.e. with awesome clothes!
Dear Oprah and your magazine minions: Of course we believe that you are oh-so-pro-lady it hurts. But this is just wrong. This is something we would expect of Cosmo, or Seventeen (and we still wouldn’t like it). While it’s quite lovely that these WRITERS will get some extra publicity, and therefore extra commish, this is not cool. It’s true M.snowe may not like your book club–but at least it just sells books–usually good works of literature, so that’s all good. But, did you parade Jonathan Franzen around in Versace and make him use a hula hoop? When he apologized to you for that Corrections kerfuffle, did you literally make him eat his words? No, you didn’t, because he is a respectable, straight male who clearly is allowed to take his writing seriously.
For Shame. As someone who is constantly hounded by the rag mags, which obsess over your body and its fluctuations (a topic that has nothing to do with your craft and is therefore irrelevant), you should know better. M.snowe is sick to her stomach. Thank you for sending us back to the 1950s. Thanks for reminding us that in order for a woman to have anything substantive to say, she must look good while saying it, because then at least you have something pretty to look at while you’re nodding and not really paying any attention.
p.s. At least the commenters on the O website seem to be chiming in with dismay.
Wisconsin, Charlie Sheen, and Cleveland, Texas.
You might think these three things are quite dissonant, aside from the fact that all three have been a part of new coverage of late. But actually, they all have something else in common: Someone is being fucked over, dismissed, or totally obliterated due to a financially or culturally accepted mindset.
So, here are the three stories:
While m.snowe could go article by article and break it down for you, she thinks that sites like Feministing have already done the heavy lifting in that way, so why sound like a broken record? What m.snowe wants to talk about is the idea of victim-hood, especially as exhibited in these three stories.
In one way or another, all the victims of these articles are stigmatized, or at the very worst, made out to not be victims at all. The Wisconsin public sector workers are by and large over-educated people who took crappy wages to do some of the most essential (and unpraised) jobs in their state–teachers, cops, nurses, firefighters. One of their only real benefits is pensions and decent health coverage. But, because of certain largely untrue stereotypes about state workers in general, including that they are overpaid and under-worked, the Republicans in Wisconsin can claim that every other citizen is actually the “victim,” and destroy a simple framework of rights for an already heavily dismissed sector. According to the Republicans, the public workers are the ones bleeding the government dry with undue cause. And therefore, it’s easier for some citizens to stomach it/legitimize it. I’d like to see the state representatives vote for requiring a state-wide referendum when they want their own pay raises above a certain level. Also, let’s not forget–unions were first formed in the United States to protect sweat shop and mill workers. Think of where we might be had those unions never been formed.
Charlie Sheen smacks around a bunch of women (repeatedly, at different points in his life), and it gets a blip on the gossip reels, and perhaps he’s given a slap on the wrist. But, he abuses himself and the reputation of CBS to a point of no-return, and he’s pulled off the air. Who’s the victim here? It’s certainly not Charlie. As Anna Holmes of the NYTimes puts it:
“But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)”
Basically, these women were asking for it. This is an example of what m.snowe likes to call, “The Dateline Effect.” M.snowe watched a lot of Dateline NBC as a kid–and almost unilaterally, all the murder-mystery stories were about pretty (usually blond) white women in their teens or twenties from a good quiet American town who were abducted or otherwise murdered by their husbands for no seemingly apparently reason. For a large bit of my childhood, m.snowe thought she was out of danger, seeing as she didn’t live in a quiet cul-de-sac, wasn’t named Stephanie or Mandy, nor had a cute dog and an adoring boyfriend who might turn violent. These are the victims we want to champion–the normal, the ones like us, or the ones that are the least offensive to the greater population. This of course was unsaid by news organizations, but absolutely implied. People of color, or differing orientations, etc.–anything outside the perceived norms of greater America. No one wants to say it, but this effect proves: some people stand by the idea that some people are “worth more” than others–and so when those with higher price tags are victimized, it defines the very top of victim-hood–young, innocent, beautiful, white, straight, etc.
But what happens when you are not at the top? Apparently, you’re disregarded when a celebrity shoots or hits you. Apparently, you are accused of asking to be raped at 11 YEARS OLD. First, m.snowe should say that there is a long history of all women (young, old, scandalous, virtuous) being somehow blamed for rape, as if rape would’ve been prevented by them, had they done something differently. The notion that a young victim should’ve dressed differently, or posted things on her Facebook page differently is complete crap. We created laws so that they can be enforced for all citizens. And no matter what, eleven years old is way, way underage for any kind of consent. This girl has only been alive for a decade. It doesn’t matter how she dressed, talked, etc.–she was taken into a house and battered and raped by 18 different, utterly disgusting creatures who like to pretend they are men. And the town? The ones that are commenting are more worried about the basketball prospects since two of the alleged rapists were on the team. Or they’re worried how the town will deal with 18 boys and men in jail. M.snowe is furious. You should be too. Who would defend a murderer by saying “well, that guy he murdered shouldn’t have worn that obnoxious shirt today.” The theory that men get some leeway because they are sexual animals who can’t keep it in their pants is an insult to awesome men everywhere.