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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.

 

 

The GOP hates babies and mothers with the fiery hatred of a thousand thousand suns

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No. Seriously.

They do.

Check it out, courtesy of Shakesville and TigerBeatdown

Notice something. Because it’s important.

First you're gonna be like this...

There are several anti-abortion bills in the house right now, and LOTS of anti-abortion mumblety-peg being played at the state level, because shitting on women, especially poor women, especially poor women of color, creates jobs (it’s true, for jesus told them so!) or something.

But the list of proposed budget cuts courtesy of Shakesville. Well.  It strikes me that pushing anti-abortion legislation and cutting funding for WIC, Job Creation and Training, and Reproductive health services (which provides pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women) is wanting to have it both ways.

Not to mention all of the other scary, scary proposed budget cuts which will do nothing but harm the environment, make food and drugs less safe, muzzle scientific research, and uh…not create jobs. Most likely, these cuts would actually cause a net job loss as these agencies are forced to pare down. Because the GOP hates public workers, even though paradoxically, they are public workers.  They’re bananas basically. Don’t bother digging for logic, you’ll just get burned on the earth’s molten core.

And then you're all... ha ha ha! Surely they jest! Lollerskates!

 

And by wanting to have it both ways, I mean wanting to ensure maximum suffering and hopelessness, especially for children. Especially for poor children. Especially for poor children of color. And disabled kids, because fuck you, that’s why, apparently.

 

And then you're just like...wait, what?

You’ve got to fucking kidding me with this GOP. You’re going to create jobs by…. cutting funding for jobs creation and also shitting on half the population? Have you ever even LOOKED at a history book that didn’t come from Texas?

They aren’t even trying to disguise how much they loathe women and children. I can only conclude that the GOP hates babies and mothers with the fiery hatred of a thousand  thousand burning suns.

And it sinks in, they aren't kidding. They aren't even bothered by the searing cognitive dissonance. Oh god.

So please. Please protest. Sign petitions, talk to your friends, be an annoying asshole who insists that people have to think about things.

If we have to take to twitter,  let’s take to twitter. If we have to send e-mails and make phone calls, let’s send e-mails and make phone calls. If we have to march on D.C., let’s fucking march on D.C.

Oh Hi! It's Us. All of Us. And it turns out that we have teeth. Big teeth.

Individualism is fine and dandy until it stops working. It’s not going to work now. Apathy is not going to help women get the safe, legal medical care they deserve and need. Apathy will not provide nutrition to babies and children. Individual action will not help create jobs and foster progress.

We have each other. That’s my clarion call. That’s all I have. This shit is bananas.  And sometimes, my reaction to it is this:

THIS SHIT IS FUCKING BANANAS!

But right now, I’m thinking that progressive USian feminists need to get loud, get attention and get the GOP to back the fuck down off the nanner tree.

Because we’ve only got each other, in the end.

Pictured: Non-bananas.

 

None of us can wash our hands of this

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So. This isn’t going to be an incohate rant, or a fun quirky post.

No.

Let’s start with this.

This is objectively awful. It is almost too awful to process. It would be awful if there were one. 1,250 in the last 7 years is… I don’t know. I don’t even know what that is.

But I do know some other things. Not the least of which is that none of us can wash our hands of this. None of us.

Without knowing the details of the individual cases, I already guess that a high percentage of these children will be children of color. Because I also know that people of color are likely to live and work in areas with high rates of poverty and crime, which, in it’s hideous turn leads to a dearth of law enforcement involvement when a child initially goes missing. This is our disposable underclass. We show these people, these families and their children how little we value them in every way. This is just one of the ugliest facets of the ugliness that we have institutionalized. This is the consequence of institutionalized racism, and the increasing gap between the rich and poor. As that gap grows, the narrative that poor people are lazy, are stupid, are inferior, simply refuse to pull themselves up out of poverty, are spending our tax dollars willy nilly and ruining society gives people a reason not to care. Devaluing these people makes them vulnerable to every kind of abuse. Fullstop. No excuse.

I also know that this is a symptom of rape culture. Which, in it’s hideous turn, is a symptom of the patriarchy. I know this because rape culture frames sex as “real” when it is something done by the powerful to weak. Because this is not an illness which rises in isolation, or a genetic abberation– that there is a market for this means that we have embedded this idea of what sex is, what power is, so deeply into our culture that far too many adults, far too many of them men, are willing to enact that narrative.

There is no way for me to say that I am disconnected from what happened to these children. Because I live in society, because I am engaged in as well as immersed in the structures which perpetuate the environment that allows this to occur. This is not about blame, or fault, but it is about responsibility.

Feminists say “the personal is political.” It sure is. The structural is personal too.

I want to say something wise. I want to say, to refuse one’s culpability in the structures of one’s society is to create opression. It is to oppress, with the best intentions in the wide world. Good intention without action isn’t enough. Turning inward, becoming insular, closing the ranks and refusing to reach out, to watch out, to fucking see– is to build a foundation for a perpetual motion machine of abuse, and exploitation, slavery, rape and torture.

I want to say that “I got mine, fuck y’all” should be the most shameful, unacceptable philosophy in the world.

But in the end, all that I can say is that I don’t have clean hands. That nothing is disconnected, that we are all linked to each other, across the wide world, that when we disavow our responsibilities to each other, we cheapen ourselves in the bargain.

And then I want to say– I’m so sorry. I am so, so sorry. Someone should have been watching, and watching out for you. And someone should have made sure that that someone was watching, and on and on in a chain straight back to me, and everyone I know.

I’m glad that they were rescued. I am profoundly, terribly sad that they had to be rescued. I am profoundly sad that so many of these kids have no homes to go back to.

So, now, a few years late and a lot of dollars short, please, if you can, lobby for more and better resources for struggling families, for state programs to help and protect children, for better law enforcement, for people to give a damn.

Donate to Children of the Night.

Donate to The Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

And don’t forget. If you have privilege, exercise it.