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Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

In Which Paprika Proposes Some Much-Needed Constitutional Ammendments

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Earlier today, I told one of my friends that, had I been born a rich white dude, I would probably be a complete ass. Add an unhealthy dose of privilege to my naturally uncompromising nature, and you have a born wannabe dictator. But I’m also OCD, so the type of regulations I would put in place would be…well. Basically, they would force the world to enable me in my dysfunction. And they would be largely language-based, because I have a love of words that borders on the fetishistic.

Take the word “subversive.” I propose that people who want to use this word be required to prove they can do so correctly, at which point they will receive a license allowing them to use it in every day speech. Misuse of the word will carry ramifications similar to those posed by a DUI conviction: offenders will be required to undergo corrective counseling and will have their licenses temporarily suspended, and repeated offenses will ultimately result in the permanent loss of the offender’s license. If, for example, a licensed citizen were to say “man, Howard Stern is totally subversive and stuff,” that person would have to take a class on the subject of Oh for the Fuck of Shit, Reinforcing Tired Stereotypes About Marginalized Groups is Not Fucking Subversive, So Shut the Hell Up Already.  Failure to complete this class successfully would end in the offender’s public castigation, and he would be immortalized for all eternity on the Wall of Non-Subversive Shame.

On a more serious note, I also propose a rule about What You Can Say to People In Re: Their Bodies, the answer to which is Basically Nothing. If someone asks you something body-related, fine (although you should be careful about what you say); if you have an understanding with someone about what you can and cannot say, that’s cool too. But otherwise, you need to shut the hell up. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re complimenting or criticizing—either way, it is none of your damn business, and you have no idea how the person you’re bothering with your unsolicited opinion will react. As someone who has never dealt with full-on ED, but who does have basically constant food-related anxiety, I do not want to hear what you think about my body. I don’t want to hear that it’s heavier than yours (seriously gramma, stop with the bi-yearly weigh-ins); I don’t want to hear that it’s thin; I don’t want to hear that it’s totally great and healthy. It’s not that I don’t care (trust me, I do), it’s just that I don’t want to think about it. This should be common fucking courtesy, but it’s not, so here we all are.

Furthermore, I propose that Christopher Hitchens be silenced forever, on account of the fact that he is a flaming bag of flaccid cocks. What few interesting things he has to say can be—and have been—said by other, less assholey people. Allowing Christopher Hitchens to continue pontificating from his lectern of douche does the world no favors, and in my personal kingdom, he would be barred from doing so. Hitchens would be banned from all forms of communication, including interpretive dance, and anyone found parroting his relentlessly misogynistic views would have their freedom of speech suspended, and possibly permanently revoked. Hitchens’ charming cottage in Intellectualville would be passed on to Chris Hedges, who is very smart and actually deserves it.

Per Pepper’s suggestion, my dictator-self would also institute a licensing program for the word “female,” mandating that the word be used solely as a modifier unless the speaker is explicitly referring to any and all beings considered female. Unlike the regulations regarding the use of “subversive,” however, the repercussions would entail brief imprisonment (up to six months) for the first offense, with subsequent offenses resulting in increasingly longer imprisonments. This seemingly unfair punishment carries the benefit of silencing the majority of MRAs, who love to refer to “men” and “females,” suggesting that female humans are not noticeably different from, say, a female muskrat.

In my fantastical dictatorship, bombings against abortion clinics, and all similar offenses, would be prosecuted as domestic terrorism. Protesters would lose their right to agitate outside abortion clinics, because when they shout after women entering those clinics they are not protesting the government, they’re harassing women for obtaining a legal medical procedure. Anti-choice protesters would thus be relegated to screaming themselves hoarse outside actual government offices, and women could go on exercising their freedom to rid their bodies of what amounts to non-viable parasites.

Finally, all users who get to our blog with search terms like “horse fucking lady” and “facebook sluts” would be banned from reading our blog. The person who arrived here by way of the search term “y’all let them steal your tea,” however, would be given a nice hot cup of lavender earl grey.

Welcome to South Dakota, Where Abortion Seeking Women aren’t People, Freedom of Religion Means Nothing, and Democracy is a Rule Just Begging to be Broken

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Well Hello There Stranger!

I see you’ve come to visit us in South Dakota. I’ll bet you were thinking this would be a good place to eat some hot dish, get a sweat- shirt with howling elk on it, pet a bison, feel your heart swell with anti-environmental more than a little racist patriotism, and so on.

Perhaps you were drawn in by the promise of landscapes such as these:

 

Uh. Oops. Not that one.

That's More Like It.

And This Too!

And So On.

 

My Personal Submission for Best Swimming Hole in the Universe.

Ah, South Dakota! Heart of America! Come for the Overwhelming Whiteness and Highest Rates of Rape, Stay for the Real American Values! Freedom! The Poorest County In The Nation! The Corn Palace! Cosmos Mystery Area (Multiple Entendres!)! A Great Whopping Monument to Democracy! Soybeans! A State Bird that is Actually an Invasive Chinese Species (Hackneyed Joke About How It’s All A Metaphor!)!

And yet, my friend. I must tell you something. Here, have some kuchen (it’s the state dessert!) while you listen. And some cream corn and orange jello with julianned (cause fancy!) carrots,  raisins and miracle whip in it.

You see, our esteemed Gov. Daugaard (this is the sound a bison makes through it’s nose when taking a hard poop, trufax) has recently signed into law H.B. 1217, which requires all abortion seeking women to undergo a 72 hour waiting period (but don’t despair, you can’t still buy a gun and get married much more quickly. Priorities!) AND to undergo pre-abortion counseling at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.

In order for the sole doctor who flies in once a week to perform abortions on the Eastern side of the state (it’s a big state, enjoy your 8 hour drive through the vasty nothingness!), to actually perform an abortion, that doctor must receive paperwork proving that said woman has undergone this “counseling.”

Here’s the fun and special, super-freedom, democratic, constitutional, excellent eagle with a single tear justice for all real American values catch: the CPC is under no legal obligation to provide such paperwork to either the abortion seeking woman or her doctor. In fact, neither of them has any legal recourse to make the CPC provide such proof. The woman could come to the CPC for “counseling” with three witnesses and a public notary, and this would not be sufficient for the doctor to legally perform an abortion.

Another fun fact: South Dakota has voted down a ban on abortion, twice. Now, my kuchen eating friend, enjoy this bison steak and venison sausage with frybread while I explain the gosh darned seriousness of it all.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers in South Dakota are all, without exception, arms of Christian outreach ministry programs. They are religious organizations (who also receive money from the state, because Constitutional Values!), who are not bound by HIPAA, are not required to have any licensed trained medical staff, and whose “counselors,” are not required to be trained or licensed.

That is to say, women seeking abortions in the state of South Dakota are now legally required visit a christian “counselor,” who may (probably) has no actual education or training as a counselor of anyone, is explicitly anti-choice, and has the legal ability to tell anyone and everyone that said woman was/is seeking abortion services. Including her abusive partner if she has one. Who may well have deliberately sabotaged her birth control, because that is a well documented facet of abuse.

Oh, and these people have revocation power over whether a woman who does not want to be pregnant remains pregnant. Pregnancy can end in many ways, but trust when I say that abortion is far and away the safest of all of the ways that pregnancy can end.

Of course, the burden is now on our great state (all 800,000 of us!) to prove that pregnant, abortion seeking women are not constitutionally people, with a right to privacy, freedom of religion, and freedom in making medical choices.

They should also have to prove that they aren’t fucking racketeering fascists who will gleefully subvert democracy when it suits them, but I doubt it will come up.

Now, why the Governor signed this thing into law, I cannot tell you. Planned Parenthood has already announced that they will take this to court.

And they will win, because this is a huge overstep.

We are not a wealthy or densely populated state (except in terms of Midwestern nice! We have So Much of That!), and we have a budget crisis that has been “solved” by making deep cuts to education and Medicaid, resulting the loss of somewhere between 800-1,000 jobs, and also us eating our fucking seed corn.

In short, we don’t have the fucking money to try and be all “the state has a right to legally enact our hatred of women!” and get our legal fannies kicked.

We shouldn’t be doing this because it is wrong, wrong wrongity wrong.

It is like compelling a person of color to receive “counseling” from a white supremacist. The anti-choice position is, and has always been about hating women and their autonomy and sexuality. No-one should ever be compelled to listen to someone who hates them, in order to make a private choice about their body and their life.

It is absolutely abusive and coercive in the very worst and most open way to compel anyone to submit to a religion not of their choosing in order to receive medical care that it their constitutional right. It is degrading and insulting to women to suppose that we haven’t already considered out choices, seeing as we are, you know, sentient fucking humans.

Lest you think that this on of those stupid dumb lady things, I would argue that it is an insult to everyone who voted a ban down twice. It is an insult to and a mockery of the democratic system.

This is why the whole abortion fight is a litmus test both for misogyny and for trying out unconstitutional laws on the populace. You know the drill, “first they came for the women and I said nothing….” and so on.

So, I encourage people who care about women, who are pro-choice, who are pro-democracy, who believe in the democratic model and in our constitutional rights–  protest the hell out of this nonsense, loudly. Talk about it. Expose it to the light. Come and protest with us.

Note: I will NOT tolerate any debate about abortion as such in the comments, so don’t even try it. Anti-choice trolling will earn you a perma-ban that will never, ever be lifted. This is a pro-choice blog, and the bullshit arguments of anti-choicers are not welcome here.

 

 

Hi, My Name is Paprika, and I’m a Recovering Catholic.

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I was raised Catholic, but in a casual way—we went to church, I had CCD, but my parents never made me feel like I was a heinous, sinning little shithead who didn’t deserve the love of Christ. I appreciate that. But then, when I was eleven, I went to Catholic school.

All Saints Catholic. Yes, ALL the saints. They couldn't pick just one.

I was only there for two years; we moved when I was thirteen, and I spent the remainder of my pre-college education home-schooled.

Still, it makes an impression on you. My first confession as a Catholic school student, for example, was especially traumatic.

Totally not the confessional I went to--I found this via google image search. But they all look the same.

So I was sitting there, with this apparent voyeur of a priest, who wanted to know all my sins. I had made a list of those sins beforehand, on loose-leaf paper, but I sensed that he would not be amused by my crib notes. Sins, after all, are supposed to weigh on you. You shouldn’t have to remind yourself what they are.

I was already off to a decidedly unimpressive start. It had been five years since my last confession, and since this was a face-to-face confessional, I had actually gotten to see the judging look on Father C.’s face when I told him so.

I was six when I’d had my first reconciliation. I was eleven now. Surely I had done some terrible shit. But none of that shit would come to mind, and there was a line of students outside the confessional waiting their turn, and the longer I took, the more screwed up I looked.

How many sins can she possibly have?

So I lied. I confessed to shoplifting, to physical fights, to gossip, to pro-choice views. I confessed to questioning the existence of God, and to “making fun of Jesus.” I confessed to sleeping through CCD, and I wondered aloud if President Clinton were just a nice man after all. I confessed to everything I could imagine, and then, to cover my tracks, I confessed to lying.

Father C. prescribed my soul a metric shitton of prayers, prayers I only skimmed. Hail Mary, the lord is with thee, now and at the hour of our death. Okay, one down.

While the abridged prayers played in the back of my mind, I debated the pronunciation of “amen.” There was the always-popular and supremely elegant ah-men, but it gave the impression of tramp-in-training (the only sin, incidentally, to which I had not confessed).  Ay-men was grammatically problematic—why not ay-man? I considered uh-men, but ultimately decided it was the second syllable that was wrong, and settled on uh-min, which means absolutely nothing.

Our father, who art in heaven, uh-min.

When my prayers were over, I stood and looked down at my knees. For the first time I realized that if I wanted to know how badly the other girls had sinned, I could look at their knees. If they were especially terrible, their knees would be flushed deep pink and bear the imprints of wooden kneelers, while the knees of good girls were virginal and unmarked. With boys, well, no one knew. They were exempted from wearing the ubiquitous school girl skirt, after all.

As it turned out, this was our recess for the day. Yes—I had spent my recess lying to God and cheating on atonement. I figured that I was already going to hell, so when our teacher showed us a picture of an “aborted baby,” a grotesque photo of a bloody, third-trimester fetus still in the womb, I was the one who raised my hand and pointed out that there wasn’t any blood at all—the entire picture had just been tinted red.

My teacher just stared at me. I think it was around this time that the Catholic God said, “fuck this girl, she’s a smartass.”

And Jesus was just like, "oh, for the fuck of shit."

And so I transitioned from a sporadic Catholic to a recovering Catholic. The Church is screwed up; unfortunately, it’s aesthetically gorgeous.

Pictured: Aesthetic gorgeousness.

Visually, I remain drawn to it, much like a bug bouncing around inside a lampshade because the light, it is so pretty.

Except for the stations of the cross, because that shit is just creepy.

Father C. went to jail, by the way. Embezzlement.

Arguments I’m Done Having

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Here are some arguments that I, Paprika, am done having. I know there are more, and I’ll probably write a sequel later, but right now it’s 2:33 a.m., and I have a paper to finish.

I got really cranky in this post. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I blame John Thune.

Argument: Sexism against women is dead, thanks to feminism! Now everyone is sexist against the menz! Oh, the menz. How sad they all are.

Reality: Sorry, but no. There is no sexism against men. Prejudice? On occasion. But not sexism. You see, were this really a magical post-feminist utopia, a lot of shit would be different. For example: reproductive freedom would be a given; Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have to fight for government funding; there would be no rape, no domestic violence, no street harassment, no subway flashers, no workplace discrimination; lady health issues would be taken seriously; they’d finally do something to make PAP smears more pleasant (I request a cashmere bathrobe); women wouldn’t be constantly slut-shamed just for like, getting laid and stuff; eating disorders would be practically non-existent because, ZOMG, women’s natural bodies are actually kinda beautiful!; women would be welcomed into all workplaces and academic fields (mechanics! physics! the ladies are infiltrating the world!); women could get angry without being dismissed as “hysterical” or “narcissistic”; all MRAs would have stupided themselves out of existence a long time ago; and blaming an eleven-year-old girl for her gang rape would be a complete fucking impossibility.

Also, there would be no patriarchy. And that wouldn’t just help women—it would help everyone. Because while the patriarchy is especially harmful to women given that, you know, they’re not allowed to join, it also forces men into specific roles they might not actually want. In fact, were the patriarchy to finally collapse on itself like the metaphorical broken futon it is, the world would be better for everyone.

And I know this is hard to believe, but despite being a cray-cray dude-hating feminist, that’s basically the world I want.

Argument: Reverse racism! It oppresses me.

Reality: Didn’t I just address this? …Oh wait, I was talking about sexism. Well, whatever—same tree, different branch.

You know, here’s the thing. As with gender, individuals can be prejudiced against whatever group they want. I, for example, am prejudiced against fish. I can’t help it—they’re so creepy, what with their oily sheens, big dumb eyes, and perpetually gasping mouths.

I can barely even stand to look at this picture.

And, sure, people of color can be prejudiced against other groups. But this is Amurrica, and there just is no institutionalized racism against white people. There can’t be, what with all the institutionalized racism against non-white people. Sorry.

White people, as a group, are fine. And you know all those “freedoms” you keep bitching about?—you know, the ones that are being stolen from you by the lazy, dirty, not-white people? They aren’t freedoms, they’re privileges. You’re not actually entitled to all the scholarships, or guaranteed admittance to the undergraduate business program of your dreams. I mean, you think you are, and that’s fine, but you’re full of shit.

Just saying.

Argument: Clinically depressed people are just weak! They need to pick up their brains by their bootstraps, or something.

Reality: I wish people would understand the massive difference between occasionally feeling down, and actually being depressed. That one time last month when you had a case of The Sads, which you got over by going for a bike ride, eating some waffles, and watching terrible Lifetime movies =/ depression. You know why? Because you got over it by going for a bike ride, eating some waffles, and watching terrible Lifetime movies.

I know—it looked like depression to you. But clinical depression isn’t cured that way, on account of it being, you know, clinical. It’s not the same. You overcame your situational Sads—congratulations. I bet that was hard.

Now if you could just remember that your particular experience is not actually representative of everyone else’s, we’ll be fine.

Argument: You need to stop ranting about the state of the world and take action!

Reality: People really love the word “rant,” don’t they? But it has such a negative connotation.

If I mention a terrible news story and then go off on a tangent about how we all need to move to the moon because the world is awful and there’s no point living on earth anymore, that’s a rant. If I mention a terrible news story and then offer a clear, logical analysis, that is not a rant. Not even if I sound angry when I give it. It’s just a firmly-worded opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Of course, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with rants, either, as long as they’re in moderation. Sometimes ranting is very soothing. Personally, just voicing my feelings can help me de-stress.

But what I really take issue with is this idea that you’re only allowed to complain if you’re also, say, camping outside the state capital surrounded by throngs of protesters. Social activism is a privilege. It requires time and money that a lot of people (myself included) simply don’t have. Even on a small scale, it at least necessitates a consistent internet connection. Not everyone has these things. That doesn’t mean they don’t get to be angry.

Besides, simply sharing information is a hugely important step in itself. And if the only people voicing their anger are those lucky enough to travel to protests (which in South Dakota is no easy task), or people able to donate money to the causes of their choice, etc., well, we have lost a lot of voices.

In Which the Ultimate Fuckweasel Mansplains

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South Dakota fucking blows, you guys.

I don’t know how else to say it. It jut does. For one thing, we have John Thune.

John Thune: Asshole Incarnate

Thune, incidentally, moonlights as this guy:

John Thune: Given the opportunity, would rip your face off

…and judging by his physical characteristics, is likely the bastard child of this guy:

Goebbels: Willed his cheekbones, dead-eyed stare, and wrinkles of evil to John Thune

Thune also sent me a mansplanation via e-mail, ’cause he’s hip like that.

See, I sent Thune an e-mail on behalf of Planned Parenthood, and a few days ago, he replied. I thought about writing back, but then I remembered that he’s evil, and therefore impervious to reason. Luckily, I also remembered that Pepper and I have this blog, and I have posting privileges. So.

Here is the e-mail, in all of its mansplaining glory, complete with my rude, profoundly unladylike interjections.

Dear Paprika:

Thank you for contacting me about the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. I appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks, John Thune! I love hearing from you too. ❤ (Seriously, it’s great feeling like my state senator and I are old buddies. John, I haven’t been able to find my copper pie tin—I was wondering if you had it, you know, from when I made you that apple pie a couple weeks ago?)

As you may know,

Well, I would know, if I were a dude. But I’m a lady, so thanks for the inevitable mansplanation!

the federal government provides funding for family planning services through as many as 27 different federal programs. Under federal law, any organization that receives this funding may not use the money for abortions;

So…you admit that this is a complete non-issue. Sweet. You so smart, John Thune.

however, the law does not prohibit organizations that do provide abortions from receiving these funds.

Well, yeah, but—

The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217), which was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 7, 2011, would prohibit federal grants designated for family planning from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions. This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health, and a companion bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

That’s why I was contacting you, but thanks for the reiteration.

Anyway, Johnny—can I call you Johnny? I can? Great!—just for the record, we only have two Planned Parenthoods in the entire state. Only one of them offers abortions, and it actually has to fly out doctors from other states to do it. Yeah, that’s right—no doctor in the state is willing, and you can’t really blame them, because people here are fucking crazy. So as far as your home state is concerned, there’s no point in limiting abortion further. You’ve done all you can. You (that is, both you in particular, and the collective “you” of SD politicians and anti-choice activists) have done way more than is constitutional.

I mean, I get it. You’re a bunch of heinous douchebags who hate women, especially low-income women, so you’re trying to punish them at every turn for shit that isn’t their fault. You want to take away their birth control, their STD testing and treatment, their cancer screenings, their pre-natal care (because you don’t actually care about the welfare of God’s in-utero angels, you just want to ensure that women are forced to push them out), and, um, a ton of other shit. So you target PP because ZOMG FETUS ANGELS.

Yeah. I get it. I just think you’re a sick piece of shit.

Additionally, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (H.R.1), which was passed in the House of Representatives on February 19, 2011, included an amendment that would prohibit the use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood. At this point it is still uncertain how the Senate will handle the Continuing Resolution for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011.

But you’re going to win, aren’t you? You and your slimy weasel magic. I’m dying inside, and I need a drink.

I strongly oppose using taxpayer dollars to fund organizations that perform abortions. As a member of Congress, I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record and have consistently supported a ban on abortion. As a nation, we have come a long way in protecting the unborn since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

We? Who the fuck we? I have done nothing to help you protect unborn life. I rip placentas to shreds with my teeth.

However, we still have a long way to go in the fight to protect life in this country.

Oh wait—life. Like the lives of women who benefit from Planned Parenthood every day and who—

I believe all persons share essential human dignity, including unborn children.

Oooorrr not.

Seriously man, no. Non-feeling, non-thinking fetuses don’t care. Ladies care, though, about their well-being and their essential human dignity–and sometimes, dudes care about that too. I mean, call me crazy, but there you are.

Please know that I will continue to fight hard in Congress to promote a culture of life in this nation.

Please know that I will continue to spread the word about what a conniving little Goebbels weasel you are. (Goebbels weasel–it’s a new species.)

If you would like additional information on my activities in the Senate, please feel free to visit my website, http://thune.senate.gov.

You know what, Johnny? I don’t think I have it in me.

Thanks again for contacting me. Please keep in touch.

No.

Kindest regards,

No.

JOHN THUNE

JOHN THUNE: Somehow eviller than regular John Thune.

United States Senator

Yeah, I feel dead inside.