Indian Rape Victim Dies

From Al Jazeera:

Doctors say a young Indian woman who was gang-raped and severely beaten on a bus in New Delhi has died at a Singapore hospital. A statement by Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital where the 23-year-old victim was being treated said she “died peacefully” early on Saturday. Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan, repoting from New Delhi, siad: “She has been in hospital since the attack happened on December 16, she has been in hospital in very serious condition… just a few days ago they said her condition had worsened so they sent her to Singapore for treatment at a hospital that specializes in organ transplants.”

New Year’s resolution #1: In 2013 I am going to be much more critical of cultures that accept or promote misogyny and while we’re at it, homophobia. This is garbage.

UPDATE: The BBC and the Associated Press have stories up now. From the latter:

The woman and a male friend, who have not been identified, were traveling in a public bus after watching a film on the evening of Dec. 16 when they were attacked by six men who took turns to rape her. They also beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into her body resulting in severe organ damage. Both of them were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police.

Horrible.

Sunday Sermon: Two Really Good Columns On Women’s Rights

Happy Sunday! I’ve read a couple of great columns in the last week about the U.S. Republican party’s ongoing eruptions of anti-women extremism but haven’t had a chance to blog about them. Well, let’s fix that!

First up is this piece by Thomas Friedman called “Why I Am Pro-Life”. It eloquently makes the point that conservative fixation with abortion is a phony baloney-slice of fake morality:

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

The whole thing’s great and you’ve gotta read it. It’s a fine antidote to prairie dog’s rhetorical excesses.

Movin’ on…

David Frum has written a similar piece that might be even better (although it lacks the satisfying fury of Friedman’s column). In “Let’s Get Real About Abortions”, Frum says pro-choicers and anti-abortion foes are locked in a tedious and point-missing  argument and draws the should-be-obvious conclusion that those who expect women to take on the enormous economic and personal costs of raising children have an obligation to help those women:

Abortion is a product of poverty and maternal distress. A woman who enjoys the most emotional and financial security and who has chosen the timing of her pregnancy will not choose abortion, even when abortion laws are liberal. A woman who is dominated, who is poor and who fears bearing the child is likely to find an abortion, even where abortion is restricted, as it was across the United States before 1965.

Or to put it another in prairie dog speak: “Hey anti-abortion freaks, guess what? Money talks, bullshit walks. If you want to cut the abortion rate it’s going to cost you cash–and if you’re not willing to pay up,  then shut the fuck up”.

It’s a great read and you must check it out.

Funny thing: I have loathed–loooaaathed–David “axis of evil” Frum for most of my adult life. He’s been a relentless apologist for ridiculous wars, tax cuts and more tax cuts and free market solutions to everything.  He’s never been a social conservative, though. Obviously, he’s come to the point where he’s realized that his one-time fellow travellers are demented and bent on taking conservative ideas to extreme and crazy places.

I can’t argue with anything Frum says here, though. It’s sure nice to see a conservative make the case for social programs. If more conservatives talked like this we’d have a more civilized society. And prairie dog wouldn’t be constantly calling Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives a gibbering mob of morlock sociopaths.

Kevin Bacon And Pals Punch Some Troglodytes

From Jezebel, which is a website you should all read:

Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a star-heavy initiative called Draw the Line, which controversially asserts that women are people who should be able to make decisions about their own bodies. It seems crazy that we’ve arrived at a place where this is a necessary thing that we have to tell our elected officials (“HEY! DID YOU KNOW I HAVE NERVE ENDINGS, MEMORIES, AND FEELINGS AT ONLY TWENTYSOMETHING YEARS OLD?!), but these are crazy times. If you’ve felt yourself overwhelmed by a blinding, temple-squeezing rage-on when reading about the neverending parade of reproductive health care fuckery, there’s a petition for that. Draw the Line encourages people as pissed off as you have been over the last couple years to finally declare “Oh, FUCK NO. Enough of this” and sign what’s being touted as the Bill of Reproductive Rights.

More here. And here’s a video.

Wheee! I’m just sad that we don’t have something like the Bill Of Reproductive Rights in Canada.

Speaking of our true north strong and free — everyone knows that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives writhe with U.S. Republican-style anti-abortion trolls like a roadkill skunk with maggots, right? Just look south of the border and you’ll get a sense of where Team Harper wants to take our country — it’s transparently obvious. But while our Conservatives are a terrible government made up of truly awful people, they still have supporters. Why does anyone vote Conservative? I mean, I guess if you’re stupid, sexist, homophobic, racist or just a jerk it makes sense to vote Conservative (which explains suburban Ontario election results). But no one in Saskatchewan is any of those things and we HELLA vote  for these hosepails.

It’s baffling!

A Kansas Abortion Doctor Was Murdered Three Years Ago Today

On May 31, 2009 an anti-government, self-appointed moral crusader with a gun named Scott Roeder killed Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas. The Nation’s Jessica Valenti weighs in on the shit treatment of women in the U.S. three years later:

I wonder, if Dr. Tiller were alive today, what he would think about the unwavering attack against women’s reproductive freedom and bodily integrity—if he could ever of imagined that American women would still not just be fighting for the right to abortion but for birth control. Or that there would be a national debate on whether or not it’s appropriate to call a woman who wants contraception coverage a “prostitute.” I imagine that even for a man who had seen a lot of misogyny in his life, the current climate against women would be shocking.

Since Tiller’s murder, the legislative agenda against reproductive justice—and common-sense decency—has been staggering.

We’ve seen mandated ultrasound laws that not only put an undue financial burden on women seeking abortions but that also require patients to be penetrated against their wills in order to procure a legal medical procedure.

Last month, Arizona passed a handful of anti-choice legislation—including one that defines pregnancies as beginning two weeks before conception. In Ohio a fetus “testified” in favor of an anti-choice law. The useless piece of meat surrounding the testifying fetus—what some call “the woman”—was silent.

A bill proposed in Georgia didn’t want to just outlaw abortions—why aim so low?—but also would mandate that women who have miscarriages be investigated to make sure that there was “no human involvement whatsoever.” Women whose miscarriages were found to be suspect could face life in prison or even the death penalty.

Story here. Read to the end. It has a good closing paragraph.

Saskatchewanians should care. There are religious fanatics in this province who want the same kind of laws brought here. They have support — eight Sask Party MLAs attended their rally a couple weeks back. You can read about that in John Cameron’s cover story last issue.

(Back to vacay.)

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan: Fetus Fetishists In, Entrepreneurs Out

I’m working on a story for the upcoming prairie dog about the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association’s press conference earlier this afternoon, in which its president — or Fearless Leader, or Grand Pooh-Bah — Ron Goetz, says his organization is calling for Bill Hutchinson’s head (Hutch, the Sask. Party MLA for Regina South, is the minister responsible for tourism and culture, for which the Sask. Film industry is his domain). If you’re looking for the story, maybe CBC or CJME has something posted about the press conference, but you’ll have to wait until next week for full blanket prairie dog coverage or whatever passes for it.

Meanwhile, there was an anti-abortion rally at the Legislature, which was also held today. According to PD’s John Cameron, seven Sask. Party MLAs showed up for the rally.

I didn’t see anybody from the Sask. Party at the SMPIA thing. Then again, the pro-lifers weren’t calling for one of their friends to get canned.

What does the Sask. Party have against entrepreneurs, anyway?

Just The Fax: Pro-Life Edition

Regina Pro-Life sent us a fax today announcing their upcoming “5th Annual March For Forced Pregnancy (um) Pushing Our Deranged Superstitions On Everyone (er) Gettin’ Back At Alla Them Uppity Bitchez (I mean) Life”. The fun starts on Thursday at 1:00 at the Leg.

The purpose of this fetus festival? “The March is a protest against unborn baby killing (abortions) in the province.”

Also: “The victims will be on display.”

Ewww!

As readers know, prairie dog has the highest opinion of pompous moralizing dipshits amateur philosophers whose big “cause” is telling women they have to carry pregnancies to term (also, no birth control, no premarital sex and NO HOMO STUFF!). But while we could ignore them (or dismiss them as tragic freaks who need help but refuse to get it), alas, it’s clear these uterus-obsessers have a smidgeon of actual political power and are eager to use it.

And sure, maybe they haven’t had much success in Canada (yet), but give ’em an inch and they’ll give you an ultrasound wand up your hoohoo (medical term). Just look at the U.S., where anti-abortion zealots have got laws passed restricting access to abortion and forcing women who want (or need) to terminate a pregnancy to have creepy counselling sessions and ultrasound equipment rammed up their yes-Virginias (another medical term).

So fuck ’em.

Now please enjoy this comedic video about women’s rights, U.S. Republicans and vaginas.

Every Rose Has Its Thorns

Alberta heads to the polls on April 23. After 40 years of Conservative rule, the province is on the cusp of doing one of its patented vote transfers and shifting over to another party to carry the ultra conservative yay-oil-screw-the-environment-and-everything-else standard for another generation.

That party would be the Wildrose Party which is headed by Danielle Smith (pictured). It currently enjoys a slim lead in the polls, and could be in line to form a majority government.

The party’s hit a bit of a bump in the road in the last few days though over a so-called “conscience rights” clause in its constitution that reads: “Wildrose members believe the Government of Alberta should implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of health-care professionals.”

Here’s the Globe & Mail’s take on the clause here. But in a nutshell, it’s being interpreted as meaning doctors and other health care professionals like nurses and pharmacists would able to refuse to perform services related to abortion or birth control if it went against their conscience based on religious or other grounds. Similarly, civil marriage commissioners would be able to refuse to marry gay couples (and presumably any other couple that failed to meet their ideal of what a married couple should be).

After that, who really knows how far the policy would extend. If certain classes of public servants have conscience rights, then why shouldn’t all public servants no matter what service they provide?  When questioned on the policy, Smith attacked party critics. Here’s a quote from a Calgary Herald report. “It’s typical of liberal politicians to demonize a conservative party using fear-mongering. I think Albertans won’t fall for it.”

Maybe they won’t.  But plenty of people sure seem to be concerned. And for good reason.

A Missouri Republican Literally Compared Women’s Health Care To Veterinary Medicine

Late to the party on this story but what the hell. I’ve been dying to use Awesome Klassen’s “old news” logo for months. And hark! Opportunity!

In a debate last Wednesday in Missouri’s House Of Representatives over legislation to allow doctors to turn down work that their faith says is icky, another dumb, conservative male politician said doctors neeeeed the right to refuse to perform any reproductive procedures that hurt their religious feelings.

And he said he knows what he’s talking about, because he has medical experience. He’s been in animal O.R.s with his veterinarian dad.

And through that experience he learned, um, something. I don’t know what. It makes no sense. I guess he thinks women are like pets or livestock?

The legislation passed, of course. Take a wild guess which U.S. political party controls the Missouri house.

My take, of course, is that if your religious beliefs conflict with your job, get a new job. But this tale comes from America, where religious rights trumpwomen’s rights, and people with bizarro superstitions must not be forced to make any compromises.

Anyway, you can read the story here.

And with that, good night.

Hey Pro-Lifers: You’re Nuts. Get Help.

Carrie-May Siggins and I got a letter in the mail this week decrying prairie dog’s adamant* pro-choice stance. As is usually the case with these things, it seems written by a crackpot with galloping cognitive, behavioural and personality disorders who clearly needs therapy and copious anti-psychotics.

Here’s the letter part of the letter (you can see the krazy klippings part in the photo, below):

Dear Stephen,

I knew it would not take you long for to demonize [Conservative MP] Stephen Woodwirth [sic]. His motion to strike a committee to look at the SCIENTIFIC + MEDICAL evidence as to when human life begins, must really threaten you. Why? Don’t you want to know the truth based on scientific fact + proof?

As far as access to murder “non-human” male and female fetusus, is not 2,200 dead “non human” babies in Sask and over 100,000 dead per yr. in Canada not enough for you?

The layers of lies + secrecy + falsehoods are slowly but sure off, it is just a matter of time. And as i told you TRUTH will always come to the surface.

For LIFE,

[Name redacted]

Retired teacher of REL. and Ch. Ethics.

Okay then. That was certainly something. Here’s a photo of the whole, delightful package. My goodness. What effort and creativity.

How to respond? How about: “thanks for the insane letter, you sad, demented freak”? Is that a good start? Why are you so obsessed with embryo and fetus rights? At what point in your life did you decide this is the moral cause to make a stand on? You act like terminating an unwanted (or, presumably) dangerous pregnancy is some kind of immature, thoughtless and selfish act.  As you would know, Captain Wingnut, if you were not a freak, no one likes abortions. They’re generally a big deal to any women considering them — possibly even a bigger deal than they are to you. But being adults living in the 21st century, most of us recognize the need for the option to be safe and legal.

Because we’re reasonable. Your disturbing insistence on railing against them, on the other hand, is not making the world a better place.

Am I getting through? No? Okay weirdo, here’s the deal in plain talk: your offensively simplistic and ladyparts-obsessed characterization of this sensitive issue is loathsome. And the fact that you would, if you had the power, take away all women’s rights to make their own decisions** for their own bodies makes you a reprehensible creep — a warty, troll-like wretch filled with ugly, dimwitted ideas and fizzing with craziness.

And you were a teacher? I can only imaging how many students you traumatized in your career by passing on harebrained misinformation and a sense of shame about their bodies.***

In a nutshell, you are awful and there is no point  conversing with you. Go away and don’t come back until you stop being insane.

Now I’ll respond to your stupid comments anyway.

Continue reading “Hey Pro-Lifers: You’re Nuts. Get Help.”

Probably A Little Late For That, Jack

Former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain says his political party needs to stop obsessing over contraception:

“I think we have to fix that,” McCain said. “I think that there is a perception out there, because of the way that this whole contraception issue played out. We need to get off of that issue, in my view. I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives, and make that clear, and get back on to what the American people really care about: jobs and the economy.”

Yeah, that’s nice and yes, of course he’s right. But you know what? Once people decree that pregnant women must be forced to continue that pregnancy no matter what — poverty, unstable life situation, health problems, just plain not being ready to have a kid — you have left the path of supporting equal rights for women. Women either have authority over their bodies or they don’t. This squabbling over birth control is access is just a detail. The Republican party — like all the anti-choice moralists and religious extremists — is all messed up about women and sexuality. It needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt.

Doonesbury’s Sticking Up For Women Next Week. So Naturally, Some U.S. Newspapers Are Spiking It.

I don’t read the strip any more but it sounds like next week’s run will be the kind of Doonesbury I like. Creator Garry Trudeau’s topic: all these bullshit new bills and laws that U.S. states are drafting and passing to make abortions as inconvenient and humiliating as possible. Jim Romenesko has day-by-day descriptions of the strips:

Monday: Young woman arrives for her pre-termination sonogram, is told to take a seat in the shaming room, a middle-aged male state legislator will be right with her.

Tuesday: He asks her if this is her first visit to the center, she replies no, that she’s been using the contraceptive services for some time. He says, “I see. Do your parents know you’re a slut?”

And it continues.

I still have no idea how anyone could think that forcing a pregnant woman to give birth against her will — which is what anti-abortionists want — is an acceptable and ethical alternative to terminating an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy. Not to demonize people who have different opinions than me but, okay, I’m gonna demonize the jackasses:  you’d have to be stupider than fuck or batshit crazy to support anti-abortion laws.* Eff the anti-choicers. Eff ’em!

Maybe one of our enterprising bloggers will post links to Doonesbury every day next week.

*Caveat: being personally opposed to abortion is okay. That’s the flip side of this “choice” pro-choicers talk about so much.