Friday, March 16, 2012

Let the GOP into Your Birth Canal

If you stopped having sex, maybe you wouldn't be so poor.
Rick Santorum and his religiously wacked conservative cohorts seem to be hell-bent on coming up with the most ridiculously ill-advised and/or stupid public policies.


This is perhaps the one piece of proposed public policy that I find the most outrageous:
Women in Arizona trying to get reimbursed for birth control drugs through their employer-provided health plan could be required to prove that they are taking it for a medical reason such as acne, rather than to prevent pregnancy.
Why the fuck should it matter for what medical reason a drug was prescribed?  Because the employer has religious objections to the use of contraception?  Why should society blithely accept an individual's or and organizations [are we really going down the Citizens United route where corporations can have religious convictions?] religious convictions?  How is this anything other than religious people finding clever ways to enforce their own paternalistic tendencies on other individuals' private lives?

And what problem, exactly, does this bill set out to solve?  The bill's sponsor, Rep. Debbie Lesko tells us:
government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that's against their moral beliefs.
In other words:
government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to maintain employment of people that don't follow their religious doctrines in their private life if that goes against the employers moral beliefs.
This stupid, slutty, Satan bitch is starting to get it!
 More generally, why should society accede to the notion that protected religious practices include the imposition of religious values on others?

We shouldn't.  I don't.  You don't believe contraception is moral (or whatever)?  Fine, don't take contraception.  I'll tell you you're misguided and are potentially engaging in risky behavior on several levels.  But I won't tell you that you must take contraception.  Please extent that courtesy to the rest of society.


Now we move to the Doonesbury comic strip kerfuffle.

Around a dozen U.S. newspapers have raised questions about an abortion-related “Doonesbury” comic strip set for publication next week, and some will likely not run it, the syndicate behind the cartoon said on Friday.

The cartoon’s story line for Monday through Saturday focuses on a Texas law that requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on pregnant women before the procedure, said Sue Roush, managing editor for Universal Uclick, the syndicate behind “Doonesbury.”
The law, which went into effect earlier this year, is intended to give pause to pregnant women before having an abortion and possibly reconsider their decision.
A similar bill was signed into law earlier this week by Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell that also requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. . .
The Texas law “Doonesbury” is highlighting has proved controversial since lawmakers approved it last year.
It requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on pregnant women, show and describe the image to them, and play sounds of the fetal heartbeat. Women can decline to view images or hear the heartbeat, but they must listen to a description of the exam.
You would think that with the internet being several decades old, newspapers would have learned that by essentially censoring this kind of commentary, they are only creating more news: that they are censoring content.

It is called the Streisand Effect.

The consequence is that the internet takes notice and becomes more even more interested in the content that was being censored, and thus why I am writing about this myself.  Pro-tip to would-be censorers, if you find something objectionable that everyone already knows about, don't censor it to avoid controversy.  By doing so, you're creating more controversy and thus more attention to something that you didn't want to get so much attention in the first place.  Your efforts are futile.

 I'll leave you with a comment posted to the Doonesbury forum by Andrea from Bay Area, CA [emphasis added]
What plans do politicians such as Mr. Santorum or Gov. Perry have to restore the dignity of these children? They devote a great deal of campaign and legislative time ranting about the sanctity of the embryo or fetus whilst berating gay kids (whither John 13:34? 1 John 3:17?) and vetoing bills that would fund school lunches and health care for children (fun fact: lacking health insurance is a major risk factor for death in children who become very ill). If these comic strips make people angry, they should. Thank you for having the courage to show that these are real women whose lives and privacy are being invaded. Anyone who cares about the sanctity of life should be angry; politicians such as Santorum, Perry, Brownback et. al. hatefully demean women while ignoring the very real needs of children who are no longer politically important because they are out of the womb.


Let's end with Rick's declaration of war against porn:
A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences.
 Am I surprised that his post includes not one iota of evidence for this claim?  Hmm...  Why would we expect any citations for such a claim?  Certainly, this is the kind of assertion that just makes sense.  Right?  I'm sure his biases are completely independent of this claim.

And let's set aside his evidence-free claims for a moment.  Even if we grant that they are accurate for the sake of argument, there are certainly free speech implications associated with such a proposal to "vigorously enforce" obscenity laws.  Delineating between what is "obscene", art, and [yes] educational is not so easily determined.  There certainly isn't any objective standard that I'm aware of that would focus these blurry lines.

Welcome to the new stupid.

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