The good news is when we are in full on sisterhood, women are the most powerful, political force in America,” ~Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, Women’s March 2018.
The good news is when we are in full on sisterhood, women are the most powerful, political force in America,” ~Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, Women’s March 2018.
Dear Deplorable Trump Supporters,
If you don’t like long reads or if you want to defend the right to your short attention span, you should stop reading NOW and just admit you are deplorable. Wear those self-loathing T-shirts that boast of your deplorableness and eagerness to remain so.
During the housing discrimination lawsuit against Donald Trump, where he refused black people into his buildings, he had a mentor and lawyer named Roy Cohn.
During the “Red Scare” when the United States government placed Hollywood actors, writers, homosexuals, Jewish people, and United States citizens on trial as “suspected” communists, leading fear-monger Senator Joe McCarthy had a lawyer named Roy Cohn.
Roy Cohn was a closeted gay Jewish man who put homosexuals and Jews in jail to deflect from his own homosexuality, which he failed to stand up for due to deplorable self-hatred.
Deplorable People Here’s Your President Elect Trump:
It was the fall of 1984, Trump Tower was new, and this was unusual territory for the 38-year-old real estate developer. He was three years away from his first semi-serious dalliance with presidential politics, more than 30 years before the beginning of his current campaign—but he had gotten the idea to bring this up, he said, from his attorney, his good friend and his closest adviser, Roy Cohn.
That Roy Cohn.
Roy Cohn, the lurking legal hit man for red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose reign of televised intimidation in the 1950s has become synonymous with demagoguery, fear-mongering and character assassination. In the formative years of Donald Trump’s career, when he went from a rich kid working for his real estate-developing father to a top-line dealmaker in his own right, Cohn was one of the most powerful influences and helpful contacts in Trump’s life.
Over a 13-year-period, ending shortly before Cohn’s death in 1986, Cohn brought his say-anything, win-at-all-costs style to all of Trump’s most notable legal and business deals. Interviews with people who knew both men at the time say the relationship ran deeper than that—that Cohn’s philosophy shaped the real estate mogul’s worldview and the belligerent public persona visible in Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Something Cohn had, Donald liked,” Susan Bell, Cohn’s longtime secretary, said this week when I asked her about the relationship between her old boss and Trump.
By the 1970s, when Trump was looking to establish his reputation in Manhattan, the elder Cohn had long before remade himself as the ultimate New York power lawyer, whose clientele included politicians, financiers and mob bosses. Cohn engineered the combative response to the Department of Justice’s suit alleging racial discrimination at the Trumps’ many rental properties in Brooklyn and Queens. He brokered the gargantuan tax abatements and the mob-tied concrete work that made the Grand Hyatt hotel and Trump Tower projects. He wrote the cold-hearted prenuptial agreement before the first of his three marriages and filed the headline-generating antitrust suit against the National Football League. To all of these deals, Cohn brought his political connections, his public posturing and a simple credo: Always attack, never apologize.
“Cohn just pushed through things—if he wanted something, he got it. I think Donald had a lot of that in him, but he picked up a lot of that from Cohn,” Bell said.
“Roy was a powerful force, recognized as a person with deep and varied contacts, politically as well as legally,” Michael Rosen, who worked as an attorney in Cohn’s firm for 17 years, told me. “The movers and shakers of New York, he was very tight with these people—they admired him, they sought his advice. His persona, going back to McCarthy … and his battles with the government certainly attracted clients.” It was a long, formidable list that included the executives of media empires, the Archbishop of New York and mafia kingpin Fat Tony Salerno, and there, too, near the top, was budding, grasping Donald John Trump.
“He considered Cohn a mentor,” Mike Gentile, the lead prosecutor who got Cohn disbarred for fraud and deceit not long before he died, said in a recent interview.
People who knew Cohn and know Trump—people who have watched and studied both men—say they see in Trump today unmistakable signs of the enduring influence of Cohn. The frank belligerence. The undisguised disregard for niceties and convention. The media manipulation clotted with an abiding belief in the potent currency of celebrity.
Trump did not respond to a request from Politico to talk about Cohn. In the past, though, when he has talked about Cohn, Trump has been clear about why he collaborated with him, and admired him.
“If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” he told Newsweek in 1979.
A year later, pressed by a reporter from New York magazine to justify his association with Cohn, he was characteristically blunt: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me.”
He elaborated in an interview in 2005. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told author Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.”
Trump, in the end, turned some of that cold calculation on his teacher, severing his professional ties to Cohn when he learned his lawyer was dying of AIDS.
Cohn and Trump, according to Trump, met in 1973 at Le Club, a members-only East Side hangout for social-scene somebodies and those who weren’t but wanted to be. By then Cohn had been in the public eye for 20 years. As chief counsel to McCarthy, he led secretive investigations of people inside and outside the federal government whom he and McCarthy suspected of Communist sympathies, homosexuality or espionage. Over a period of several years, McCarthy’s crusade destroyed dozens of careers before a final 36-day, televised hearing brought his and Cohn’s often unsubstantiated allegations into the open, leading to McCarthy’s censure in the Senate. Cohn, disgraced by association, retreated to his native New York. There, through the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, Cohn embraced an unabashedly conspicuous lifestyle. He had a Rolls-Royce with his initials on a vanity plate and a yacht called Defiance. He was a singular nexus of New York power, trafficking in influence and reveling in gossip. He hung on the walls of the East 68th Street townhouse, that doubled as the office of his law firm, pictures of himself with politicians, entertainers and other bold-face names. He was a tangle of contradictions, a Jewish anti-Semite and a homosexual homophobe, vehemently closeted but insatiably promiscuous. In 1964, ’69 and ’71, he had been tried and acquitted of federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, giving him—at least in the eyes of a certain sort—an aura of battle-tested toughness, the perception of invincibility. “If you can get Machiavelli as a lawyer,” he would write in The Autobiography of Roy Cohn, “you’re certainly no fool of a client.”
Trump was 27. He had just moved to Manhattan but was still driving back to his father’s company offices in Brooklyn for work. He hadn’t bought anything. He hadn’t built anything. But he had badgered the owners of Le Club to let him join, precisely to get to know older, connected, power-wielding men like Cohn. He knew who he was. And now he wanted to talk.
He and his father had just been slapped with Department of Justice charges that they weren’t renting to blacks because of racial discrimination. Attorneys had urged them to settle. Trump didn’t want to do that. He quizzed Cohn at Le Club. What should they do?
He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
“Tell them to go to hell,” Cohn told Trump, according to Trump’s account in his book The Art of the Deal, “and fight the thing in court.”
That December, representing the Trumps in United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc., Cohn filed a $100-million countersuit against the federal government, deriding the charges as “irresponsible” and “baseless.”
The judge dismissed it quickly as “wasting time and paper.”
The back-and-forth launched more than a year and a half of bluster and stalling and bullying—and ultimately settling. But in affidavits, motions and hearings in court, Cohn accused the DOJ and the assisting FBI of “Gestapo-like tactics.” He labeled their investigators “undercover agents” and “storm troopers.” Cohn called the head of DOJ down in Washington and attempted to get him to censure one of the lead staffers.
The judge called all of it “totally unfounded.”
By June of 1975, the judge had had it with the Trumps’ attorney. “I must say, Mr. Cohn,” he said in a hearing, “that this case seems to be plagued with unnecessary problems, and I think the time has come when we have to bite the bullet.”
They hashed out the details of a consent decree. The Trumps were going to have to rent to more blacks and other minorities and they were going to have to put ads in newspapers—including those targeted specifically to minority communities—saying they were an “equal housing opportunity” company. Trump and his father, emboldened by Cohn, bristled at the implication of wrongdoing—even, too, at the cost of the ads.
“It is really onerous,” Trump complained.
At one point, flouting the formality of the court, Trump addressed one of the opposing attorneys by her first name: “Will you pay for the expense, Donna?”
Trump and Cohn seemed most concerned with managing the media. They squabbled with the government attorneys over the press release about the disposition. First they wanted no release. Impossible, said the government. Then they wanted “a joint release.” A what? A public agency, it was explained to them, had a public information office, on account of the public’s right to know.
Cohn didn’t want to hear it. “They will say what they want,” he told the judge, and everybody else in the courtroom, “and we will say what we want.”
The government called the consent decree “one of the most far reaching ever negotiated.”
Cohn and Trump? They called it a victory.
Case 73 C 1529 was over. The relationship between Cohn and Trump had just begun.
“Though Cohn had ostensibly been retained by Donald to handle a single piece of litigation,” Wayne Barrett, an investigative journalist for New York’s Village Voice, would write in his 1992 book about Trump, “he began in the mid-‘70s to assume a role in Donald’s life far transcending that of a lawyer. He became Donald’s mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life.”
Dear Deplorable Trump Supporters,
Are you still confused why you are deplorable? Need more reasons than being anti-semitic, anti-islam, anti-immigrant, homophobic, vicious, brutal, racist, white supremacist, tolerant of rape culture, complacent and GREEDY?
OK . . .
PUTIN can flatter and Puppet a weak, pandering United States, mafia-dealing, PIMP like Donald Trump.
Do you recall when former President George W. Bush held up the plastic turkey for a picture with the troops during a Thanksgiving “visit” where he didn’t even stay to dine with them? Laura Bush defended her husband’s shameless selfie as: but that’s what politicians do, they “present.” It’s “acting.”
Well, Donald Trump is in FACT qualified to be Putin’s “Top Dawg.” He’ll be serving Putin his red meat. At best you will be Putin’s meat packers.
So hey you bitches, stop asking why PUTIN would be interested in hacking the democratic elections of the United States.
When Rudy Guilliani says Trump is best for President, he’s just saying to vote for the NRA. He’s an arms dealer. He’s just saying vote for the gun-packing-super-pac. And you know this does not make you safer. You know the “Law and Order” president is just another word for KKK sponsored Police Brutality. Rudy likes to minimize and dismiss rape-culture because he wants to keep using rape as a form of torture. He knows rape is profitable.
What makes YOU part of the Deplorable Category you ask, fearing your own unredeemable glance into the mirror of truth?
YOU are a bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, climate-change denying, greedy, bullying, spin-doctoring, hate-speaking, white supremacist, slandering, dumbed-down and proud of it, hater.
Wait, I don’t sound warm and forgiving enough to the racists? Really? Awww… I’m not being inclusive enough to the bigots? You think deplorable people deserve a chance at redemption?
If you don’t believe you fall into this category or if you don’t want to be Deplorable ANY longer or help play a part in sending the world into worse Hell, get the fuck out of the DEPLORABLE basket and demand that the Emoluments Clause prohibit Donald Trump the tyrant from taking office.
It’s not time to make peace with YOU Deplorables. It’s time to let you know you are corrupt.
The Pussy Riot “Make America Great Again” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Oct 27, 2016
#PussyGrabsBack #NastyWoman (!) Because YOU decide elections and if we get together, we could blow this shit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights. Because fuck it.
– – – –
Written passionately by Ricky Reed, Nadya, Tom Peyton
– – – –
Music video is directed by Jonas Akerlund
Style: B Akerlund
Make up : Ozzy Salvatierra
Hair : Patricia Morales
Special effects make up : Jerry Constantine
– – – –
Be Pussy Riot. It’s fun.
Join Lady Parts Justice: http://www.ladypartsjustice.com/
– – – -LYRICS- – – –
What do you want your world to look like?
What do you want it to be?
Do you know that a wall has two sides?
And nobody is free?
Did your mama come from Mexico
Papa come from Palestine
Sneaking all through Syria
Crossing all the border lines
Let other people in
Listen to your women
Stop killing black children
Make America Great Again
Could you imagine a politician
calling a woman a dog?
Do you wanna stay in the kitchen?
Is that where you belong?
How do you picture the perfect leader
Who do you want him to be
Has he promoted the use of torture and killing families
Let other people in
Listen to your women
Stop killing black children
Make America Great Again
The Pussy Riot “I Can’t Breathe” (music video) is being posted here for NO COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. (Feb 18, 2015)
Pussy Riot’s first song in English is dedicated to Eric Garner and the words he repeated eleven times before his death. This song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror – killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds – for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change. We stand in solidarity.
Pussy Riot’s Masha and Nadya are being buried alive in the Russian riot police uniforms that are worn during the violent clashes of police and the protesters fighting for change in Russia. A pack of “Russian Spring” brand cigarettes is on the ground at the beginning. “Russian Spring” is a term used by those who are in love with Russia’s aggressive militant actions in Ukraine, and the cigarettes are a real thing.
“I Can’t Breathe” was recorded in New York in December 2014 during the protests against police brutality together with Pussy Riot, Richard Hell, Nick Zinner, Andrew Wyatt, Shahzad Ismaily (The Ceramic Dog) and Russian bands Jack Wood and Scofferlane.
Concept, directed and produced: Pussy Riot
Video directors – Gogol Wives
Director of Photography and editor: Mikhail Vikhrov.
Concept, produced: Pussy Riot
Vocals: Sasha Klokova (Jack Wood), Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane), Richard Hell
Lyrics: Matt Kulakov (Scofferlane)
Monologe of Eric Garner: Richard Hell
Bit: Andrew Wyatt
Piano, Bass: Nick Zinner
Drums: Shahzad Ismaily
Engineered and mixed by Philip Weinrobe at Figure Eight Studios in Brooklyn, NY
– – – – LYRICS- – – –
He’s become his death
The spark of the riots
That’s the way he’s blessed
To stay alive.
It never leads to an end
It’s never getting quiet
If it’s unfair, my friend,
Make up your mind
It’s getting dark in New York city
It’s getting dark in New York city
It’s getting tight in New York city
I need to catch my breath
You know this world of hate
You know this stubborn light
They’re in the prayers you pray
Late at night
We’re only half way down
Who dares to take a breath?
Some fairness might be found
From ashes of his death.
Eric Garner’s last words (read by Richard Hell):
Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because everytime you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33 (as of 2012). The group staged unauthorised provocative guerrilla performances in public places, which were made into music videos and posted on the Internet. The collective’s lyrical themes included feminism, LGBT rights, and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the dictator. These themes also encompassed Putin’s links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The group’s actions were eventually stopped by church security officials. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders’ support for Putin during his election campaign. On March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, and each was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation and her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld.
The trial and sentence attracted considerable criticism, particularly in the West. The case was adopted by human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, which designated the women as prisoners of conscience, and by a number of prominent entertainers. Public opinion in Russia was generally less sympathetic towards the women. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on December 23, 2013, after the State Duma approved an amnesty.
In February 2014, a statement was made anonymously on behalf of some Pussy Riot members that both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were no longer members. However, both were among the group that performed as Pussy Riot during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where group members were attacked with whips and pepper spray by Cossacks who were employed as security guards. On 6 March 2014, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were assaulted and sprayed with green paint by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod. (sourced and paraphrased from wikipedia December 2016)
“The right to abortion is part of every woman’s right to control her reproductive choices and her own life. We must reject all efforts to coerce women’s reproductive decisions. The goals of reproductive rights activists must encompass the right to have children as well as the right not to.” (From the book: Our Bodies Ourselves)
Below: Reporting by Lawrence Hurley. Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Texas.; Editing by Sue Horton) Nov 14, 2015
For original and related articles: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/14/usa-court-abortion-states-idUSL1N1382ZR20151114#AbFIj3FOxA0a7LxU.97
U.S. top court’s Texas abortion ruling to have broad impact in states:
Nov 14 The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to hear a challenge to tough abortion restrictions in Texas raises questions about the legal fate of similar laws in more than a dozen other states.
The court’s ruling, due by June, could spell out the extent to which states can impose clinic regulations likely to restrict access to abortion as an outpatient procedure. If the court upholds the Texas law, similar laws would also fall. But if the court rules in favor of the state, then more states would be able to follow suit.
“Broadly speaking, the rule the Supreme Court crafts will impact all different types of regulation,” said Steven Aden, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that supports abortion restrictions.
A number of conservative-leaning states have passed laws in recent years governing abortion providers and clinics.
The case before the Supreme Court focuses on two provisions of a 2013 Texas law. One requires clinics providing abortions to have costly hospital-grade facilities and the other requires abortion clinic physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (50 km).
Ten of the 50 U.S. states have imposed admitting-privilege requirements similar to those in Texas, while six have enacted laws requiring hospital-grade facilities that mirror the Texas law, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortion providers in the case before the Supreme Court.
In total, 22 states have specific licensing standards for abortion clinics, although not all are as strict as Texas’, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports the right to an abortion, but whose research is cited by both sides in the debate.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that if the Texas law is upheld, “copy cat laws around the nation will proliferate, creating disparities in access to care.”
Courts have blocked six of the Texas-like admitting privileges laws, including measures in Wisconsin and Alabama.
A Mississippi law mandating admitting privileges, which would have led to the only abortion clinic in the state closing down, was put on hold by a lower court in 2012. That case is pending at the high court and will likely be put on hold until the justices rule in the Texas case.
Courts have been more favorable toward tightened rules for clinics providing abortions. Four of the six laws similar to Texas’, including measures in Missouri and Virginia, have been allowed, at least in part, to go into effect.
12 other states including Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas, have this year considered enacting similar laws but the bills did not pass, according the Guttmacher Institute.
Out-of-state organizations on both sides of the issue regularly intervene in advancing or trying to kill legislation in states around the country.
Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group, has draft legislation that it encourages states to adopt. The group talks to state legislators, testifies in hearings and joins in defending laws in court. On the other side, groups like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union lobby against new abortion restrictions.
Even when the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled that women had a constitutional right to have an abortion in the Roe v. Wade case, it made it clear that states could regulate clinics, said Denise Burke, American United for Life’s vice president of legal affairs.
If Texas wins in the high court, “it will give additional encouragement to states to follow Texas’ lead,” Burke said.
She cited Nebraska and Ohio as states that would be among those most likely to enact new laws.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Texas case is unlikely to directly affect other aspects of the broader abortion wars. Courts, for example, have consistently struck down stringent laws that aim to ban abortions at earlier stages of pregnancy. In January 2014, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Arizona officials seeking to reinstate such a ban.
But the justices will be asked again in coming months to take up the broader issue, with appeals coming that concern bans in Arkansas and North Dakota, both of which were struck down by lower courts.
Below: NY Times article (excerpts) Adam Liptak reported from Washington, and Manny Fernandez from Houston:
**for full article with informational links: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/s
Texas Ruling on Abortion Leads to Call for Clarity
JUNE 10, 2015
A room at the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen, the sole abortion provider in its area.Court Upholds Texas Limits on Abortions
JUNE 9, 2015
The remaining clinics, lawyers for abortion providers said, would be clustered in four metropolitan areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. “There would be no licensed abortion facilities west of San Antonio,” the providers’ brief said, “and the only abortion clinic south of San Antonio would have a highly restricted capacity.”
State officials said the law was needed to protect women’s health. Abortion providers said the regulations were expensive, unnecessary and a ruse meant to put many of them out of business.
“This case presents a very, very dramatic impact in the type of restrictions on access to abortion clinics that we’ve seen over the past few years,” said Nancy Northup, the president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose lawyers were part of the legal team representing the clinics that sued the state. “If this case is not taken by the Supreme Court, it’s going to allow a continuation of the closing of clinics by these sneaky, underhanded methods.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, one of the abortion providers that sued Texas over the law, praised the Supreme Court’s move. “We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for Texas women,” Ms. Miller said in a statement.
The bill was passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in July 2013 by Rick Perry, the governor at the time. Mr. Perry, who is running for president, said in a statement on Monday that the Supreme Court’s stay “unnecessarily puts lives in danger by allowing unsafe facilities to continue to perform abortions.”
“I am confident the court will ultimately uphold these common-sense measures to protect the health and safety of Texas women,” he added.
Texas Republican leaders, who have said that the law’s restrictions were intended to protect the safety of women seeking abortions, defended the measure, which was known as House Bill 2, or H.B. 2. They expressed confidence the Supreme Court would ultimately weigh in on their side.
“H.B. 2 was a constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality health care standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable — the unborn, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law.”
The state’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, said in a statement that the Supreme Court was “continuing their attack on states’ rights with a narrow majority of activist justices.”
On June 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, largely upheld the contested provisions. A panel of the court ruled that the law, with minor exceptions, did not place an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion.
The court said women in West Texas could obtain abortions in New Mexico, a ruling at odds with one from a different panel of the same court that said Mississippi could not rely on out-of-state abortion clinics in defending a law that would have shut down the state’s only clinic.
On June 19, the panel in the Texas case declined to grant the challengers a stay. They filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court that night.
This is the second time the Supreme Court has issued a reprieve to the clinics. In October, the court allowed more than a dozen clinics in the state to reopen.
Above Video: Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards testifies before Congress (This is a Five Hour “Hearing” 2015)
extra Thanks to Libba Bray’s article~ https://libbabray.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/why-i-stand-by-planned-parenthood/
Anti-Choice Agenda To Demonize Women:
We are always told that violent anti-choicers are a mere fringe. Obviously, few anti-choicers commit murder or arson. But, as the Matthew Shepard case reminds us, extreme vocabulary creates a climate of moral permission for extreme acts. This is a movement whose main spokespeople, many of them mantled in clerical or political authority, regularly use words like ‘baby killers’, ‘murder’, ‘holocaust’, and ‘Nazis’, thus legitimizing just about anything. After all, the conspirators who tried to assassinate Hitler are heroes. ~Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation (November 16, 1998)
Pro-Choice Agenda for Women’s Reproductive Rights:
Young women need to know that abortion rights and abortion access are not presents bestowed or retracted by powerful men (or women) — Presidents, Supreme Court justices, legislators, lobbyists — but freedoms won, as freedom always is, by people struggling on their own behalf. ~Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation (May 1, 2000)
(Full Disclosure: Girl Power Academy is Pro-Choice)
“The right to abortion is part of every woman’s right to control her reproductive choices and her own life. We must reject all efforts to coerce women’s reproductive decisions. The goals of reproductive rights activists must encompass the right to have children as well as the right not to.” ~from the book: Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century.
It was 8:49 on a beautiful 9th day of July
There was not a cloud to speak of
So the orange sun hung lonely in the sky
I lay prone in my catboat home
Thinking of fine nappy Jackie and his jazz cat’s horn
Sliding in a tape of bird on verve when suddenly rang my phone
“Hey butterfly”, the voice said
Slip on some duds comb out your fro and slide on down to my pad
The vibe here is very pleasant and I truly request your presence
A problem of great magnitude has arose and as we speak it grows
Damn, what could it be I thought
A juice I bought and rolled on down to her [Incomprehensible]
Seeing bros I know slapping fives I arrived and pressed G-5
And there was Nikki lookin’ some kind of sad
With tears fallin’ from her eyes she sat me down
And dug my frown and began to run it down
“You remember my boyfriend Sid that fly kid who I love
Well our love was often a verb and spontaneity has brought a third
But do to our youth an economic state, we wish to terminate
About this we don’t feel great, but baby that’s how it is
But the feds have dissed me, they ignore and dismiss me
The pro-lifers harass me outside the clinic
And call me a murderer, now that’s hate
So needless to say we’re in a mental state of debate”
Hey beautiful bird, I said digging her somber mood
The fascists are some heavy dudes
They don’t really give a damn about life
They just don’t want a woman to control her body
Or have the right to choose but baby that ain’t nothin’
They just want a male finger on the button
Because if you say, War, they will send them to die by the score
Aborting mission should be your volition
But if Souter and Thomas have their way
You’ll be standing in line unable to get welfare
While they’re out hunting and fishing
It has always been around, it will always have the niche
But they’ll make it a privilege not a right accessible only to the rich
Hey pro-lifers should dig themselves ’cause life doesn’t stop after birth
And for child borne to the unprepared it might even just get worse
The situation surely change if they will find themselves in it
Supporters of the h-bomb and fire bombing clinic
What type of shit is that? Orwellian in fact
If Roe V Wade was overturned would not the desire remain intact
Leaving young girls to risk their healths
Doctors to botch and watch as they kill themselves
Now I don’t want to sound macabre
But hey, isn’t it my job to lay it on the masses
And get them off their asses to fight against these fascists
So whatever you decide make that move with pride
Sid will be there and so will I
An insect ’til I die
Rhythms and sounds, spinning around
Confrontations across the nation
Your block, my block, dreadlocks what a shock
Land of the free but not me
Not me, not me, not me, not me
Not me, not me, not me, not me
~Digable Planets, La Femme Fétal.
The following is an excerpt from the “Abortion” chapter of Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century. For complete information and resources, we recommend that you consult the chapter and the book in its entirety.
HISTORY OF ABORTION
Over several centuries and in different cultures, there is a rich history of women helping each other to abort. Until the late 1800s, women healers in Western Europe and the U.S. provided abortions and trained other women to do so, without legal prohibitions.
The State didn’t prohibit abortion until the 19th century, nor did the Church lead in this new repression. In 1803, Britain first passed antiabortion laws, which then became stricter throughout the century. The U.S. followed as individual states began to outlaw abortion. By 1880, most abortions were illegal in the U.S., except those “necessary to save the life of the woman.” But the tradition of women’s right to early abortion was rooted in U.S. society by then; abortionists continued to practice openly with public support, and juries refused to convict them.
Abortion became a crime and a sin for several reasons. A trend of humanitarian reform in the mid-19th century broadened liberal support for criminalization, because at that time abortion was a dangerous procedure done with crude methods, few antiseptics, and high mortality rates. But this alone cannot explain the attack on abortion. For instance, other risky surgical techniques were considered necessary for people’s health and welfare and were not prohibited. “Protecting” women from the dangers of abortion was actually meant to control them and restrict them to their traditional child-bearing role. Antiabortion legislation was part of an antifeminist backlash to the growing movements for suffrage, voluntary motherhood, and other women’s rights in the 19th century.
*For more information, see Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1990).
At the same time, male doctors were tightening their control over the medical profession. Doctors considered midwives, who attended births and performed abortions as part of their regular practice, a threat to their own economic and social power. The medical establishment actively took up the antiabortion cause in the second half of the 19th century as part of its effort to eliminate midwives.
Finally, with the declining birth rate among whites in the late 1800s, the U.S. government and the eugenics movement warned against the danger of “race suicide” and urged white, native-born women to reproduce. Budding industrial capitalism relied on women to be unpaid household workers, low-paid menial workers, reproducers, and socializers of the next generation of workers. Without legal abortion, women found it more difficult to resist the limitations of these roles.
Then, as now, making abortion illegal neither eliminated the need for abortion nor prevented its practice. In the 1890s, doctors estimated that there were two million abortions a year in the U.S. (compared with one and a half million today). Women who are determined not to carry an unwanted pregnancy have always found some way to try to abort. All too often, they have resorted to dangerous, sometimes deadly methods, such as inserting knitting needles or coat hangers into the vagina and uterus, douching with dangerous solutions like lye, or swallowing strong drugs or chemicals. The coat hanger has become a symbol of the desperation of millions of women who have risked death to end a pregnancy. When these attempts harmed them, it was hard for women to obtain medical treatment; when these methods failed, women still had to find an abortionist.
Many of us do not know what it was like to need an abortion before legalization. Women who could afford to pay skilled doctors or go to another country had the safest and easiest abortions. Most women found it difficult if not impossible to arrange and pay for abortions in medical settings.
With one exception, the doctors whom I asked for an abortion treated me with contempt, their attitudes ranging from hostile to insulting. One said to me, “You tramps like to break the rules, but when you get caught you all come crawling for help in the same way.”
The secret world of illegal abortion was mostly frightening and expensive. Although there were skilled and dedicated laywomen and doctors who performed safe, illegal abortions, most illegal abortionists, doctors, and those who claimed to be doctors cared only about being well rewarded for their trouble. In the 1960s, abortionists often turned women away if they could not pay $1,000 or more in cash. Some male abortionists insisted on having sexual relations before the abortion.
Abortionists emphasized speed and their own protection. They often didn’t use anesthesia because it took too long for women to recover, and they wanted women out of the office as quickly as possible. Some abortionists were rough and sadistic. Almost no one took adequate precautions against hemorrhage or infection.
Typically, the abortionist would forbid the woman to contact him or her again. Often she wouldn’t know his or her real name. If a complication occurred, harassment by the law was a frightening possibility. The need for secrecy isolated women having abortions and those providing them.
In the 1950s, about a million illegal abortions a year were performed in the U.S., and over a thousand women died each year as a result. Women who were victims of botched or unsanitary abortions came in desperation to hospital emergency wards, where some died of widespread abdominal infections. Many women who recovered from such infections found themselves sterile or chronically and painfully ill. The enormous emotional stress often lasted a long time.
Poor women and women of color ran the greatest risks with illegal abortions. In 1969, 75% of the women who died from abortions (most of them illegal) were women of color. Of all legal abortions in that year, 90% were performed on white private patients.
The Push for Legal Abortion
In the 1960s, inspired by the civil rights and antiwar movements, women began to fight more actively for their rights. The fast-growing women’s movement took the taboo subject of abortion to the public. Rage, pain, and fear burst out in demonstrations and speakouts as women burdened by years of secrecy got up in front of strangers to talk about their illegal abortions. Women marched and rallied and lobbied for abortion on demand. Civil liberties groups and liberal clergy joined in these efforts to support women.
Reform came gradually. A few states liberalized abortion laws, allowing women abortions in certain circumstances (e.g., pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, being under 15 years of age) but leaving the decision up to doctors and hospitals. Costs were still high and few women actually benefited.
In 1970, New York State went further, with a law that allowed abortion on demand through the 24th week from the LMP if it was done in a medical facility by a doctor. A few other states passed similar laws. Women who could afford it flocked to the few places where abortions were legal. Feminist networks offered support, loans, and referrals and fought to keep prices down. But for every woman who managed to get to New York, many others with limited financial resources or mobility did not. Illegal abortion was still common. The fight continued; several cases before the Supreme Court urged the repeal of all restrictive state laws.
On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the famous Roe v. Wade decision, stated that the “right of privacy…founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” The Court held that through the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, only a pregnant woman and her doctor have the legal right to make the decision about an abortion. States can restrict second-trimester abortions only in the interest of the woman’s safety. Protection of a “viable fetus” (able to survive outside the womb) is allowed only during the third trimester. If a pregnant woman’s life or health is endangered, she cannot be forced to continue the pregnancy.
Abortion After Legalization
Though Roe v. Wade left a lot of power to doctors and to government, it was an important victory for women. Although the decision did not guarantee that women would be able to get abortions when they wanted to, legalization and the growing consciousness of women’s needs brought better, safer abortion services. For the women who had access to legal abortions, severe infections, fever, and hemorrhaging from illegal or self- induced abortions became a thing of the past. Women health care workers improved their abortion techniques. Some commercial clinics hired feminist abortion activists to do counseling. Local women’s groups set up public referral services, and women in some areas organized women-controlled nonprofit abortion facilities. These efforts turned out to be just the beginning of a longer struggle to preserve legal abortion and to make it accessible to all women.
Although legalization greatly lowered the cost of abortion, it still left millions of women in the U.S., especially women of color and young, rural women, and/or women with low incomes, without access to safe, affordable abortions. State regulations and funding have varied widely, and second-trimester abortions are costly. Even when federal Medicaid funds paid for abortions, fewer than 20% of all public county and city hospitals actually provided them. This meant that about 40% of U.S. women never benefited from liberalized abortion laws.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, feminist health centers around the country provided low-cost abortions that emphasized quality of care, and they maintained political involvement in the reproductive rights movement. Competition from other abortion providers, harassment by the IRS, and a profit- oriented economy made their survival difficult. By the early 1990s, only 20 to 30 of these centers remained.
Eroding Abortion Rights:
After Roe v. Wade
When the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, the antiabortion forces, led initially by the Catholic Church hierarchy, began a serious mobilization using a variety of political tactics including pastoral plans, political lobbying, campaigning, public relations, papal encyclicals, and picketing abortion clinics. The Church hierarchy does not truly represent the views of U.S. Catholics on this issue or the practice of Catholic women, who have abortions at a rate slightly higher than the national average for all women.
Other religious groups, like the Mormons and some representatives of Jewish orthodoxy, have traditionally opposed abortion. In the 1980s, rapidly growing fundamentalist Christian groups, which overlap with the New Right and “right- to-life” organizations, were among the most visible boosters of the antiabortion movement. These antiabortion groups talk as if all truly religious and moral people disapprove of abortion. This is not true now and never has been.
The long-range goal of the antiabortion movement is to outlaw abortion. Their short-range strategy has been to attack access to abortion, and they have had successes. The most vulnerable women–young women; women with low incomes, of whom a disproportionate number are women of color; all women who depend on the government for their health care–have borne the brunt of these attacks on abortion rights.
The antiabortion movement’s first victory, a major setback to abortion rights, came in July 1976, when Congress passed the Hyde Amendment banning Medicaid funding for abortion unless a woman’s life was in danger. Following the federal government, many states stopped funding “medically unnecessary” abortions. The result was immediate in terms of harm and discrimination against women living in poverty. In October 1977, Rosie Jimeaanez, a Texas woman, died from an illegal abortion in Mexico, after Texas stopped funding Medicaid abortions.
It is impossible to count the number of women who have been harmed by the Hyde Amendment, but before Hyde, one-third of all abortions were Medicaid funded: 294,000 women per year. (Another 133,000 Medicaid-eligible women who needed abortions were unable to gain access to public funding for the procedure.) Without state funding, many women with unwanted pregnancies are forced to have babies, be sterilized, or have abortions using money needed for food, rent, clothing, and other necessities.
Although a broad spectrum of groups fought against the Hyde Amendment, countering this attack on women who lack financial resources was not a priority of the pro-choice movement. There was no mass mobilization or public outcry. In the long run, this hurt the pro-choice movement, as the attack on Medicaid funding was the first victory in the antiabortion movement’s campaign to deny access to abortion for all women.
Young women’s rights have been a particular target of the antiabortion movement. About 40% of the one million teens who become pregnant annually choose abortion. Parental involvement laws, requiring that minors seeking abortions either notify their parents or receive parental consent, affect millions of young women. As of early 1997, 35 states have these laws; 23 states enforce them. In some states, a physician is required to notify at least one parent either in person, by phone, or in writing. Health care providers face loss of license and sometimes criminal penalties for failure to comply.
Antiabortion forces have also used illegal and increasingly violent tactics, including harassment, terrorism, violence, and murder. Since the early 1980s, clinics and providers have been targets of violence. Over 80% of all abortion providers have been picketed or seriously harassed. Doctors and other workers have been the object of death threats, and clinics have been subject to chemical attacks (for example, butyric acid), arson, bomb threats, invasions, and blockades. In the late 1980s, a group called Operation Rescue initiated a strategy of civil disobedience by blockading clinic entrances and getting arrested. There were thousands of arrests nationwide as clinics increasingly became political battlefields.
In the 1990s, antiabortionists increasingly turned to harassment of individual doctors and their families, picketing their homes, following them, and circulating “Wanted” posters. Over 200 clinics have been bombed. After 1992, the violence became deadly. The murder of two doctors and an escort at a clinic in Pensacola, Florida, was followed by the murder of two women receptionists at clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts. A health care provider spoke about the impact of the violence:
The fear of violence has become part of the lives of every abortion provider in the country. As doctors, we are being warned not to open big envelopes with no return addresses in case a mail bomb is enclosed. I know colleagues who have had their homes picketed and their children threatened. Some wear bullet-proof vests and have remote starters for their cars. Even going to work and facing the disapproving looks from co-workers–isolation and marginalization from colleagues is part of it.
The antiabortion movement continues to mount new campaigns on many fronts. Most recently, it has aggressively put out the idea that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. In January 1997, the results of a Danish study, the largest to date (involving one and a half million women), showed that there is no connection. Unlike previous studies, this one did not rely on interviews and women’s reports but instead used data obtained from population registries about both abortion and breast cancer. Despite the lack of medical evidence and the fact that the scientific community does not recognize any link, the antiabortion movement continues to stir up fears about abortion and breast cancer.
Legal but Out of Reach for Many Women
We have learned that legalization is not enough to ensure that abortions will be available to all women who want and need them. In addition to a lack of facilities and trained providers, burdensome legal restrictions, including parental consent or notification laws for minors and mandatory waiting periods, create significant obstacles. A minor who has been refused consent by a parent may have to go through an intimidating and time-consuming judicial hearing. Mandatory waiting periods may require a woman to miss extra days of work because she must go to the clinic not once, but twice, to obtain an abortion. If travel is required, this can make the whole procedure unaffordable. In other words, for millions of women, youth, race, and economic circumstances together with the lack of accessible services–especially for later abortions–translate into daunting barriers, forcing some women to resort to unsafe and illegal abortions and self-abortions.
WEAKENING THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION FOR ABORTION
When in 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment, it began eroding the constitutional protection for abortion rights. Since then, there have been other severe blows. In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), the Court opened the door to new state restrictions on abortion. In Hodgson v. Minnesota (1990), the Court upheld one of the strictest parental notification laws in the country.
These trends were further codified in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision upholding a highly restrictive Pennsylvania law that included mandatory waiting periods and mandatory biased counseling. Two frightening themes emerged in the Casey decision. First, the Court sanctioned the view that government may regulate the health care of pregnant women to protect fetal life from the moment of conception so long as it does not “unduly burden” access to an abortion. Second, the Court showed little concern for the severe impact of state restrictions on women with few financial resources.
In the aftermath of Casey, many states have passed similar restrictions, which have the effect of limiting access to abortion, especially for women with low incomes, teenage women, and women of color.
These infringements on abortion access have curtailed the abortion rights of millions of women. In the face of the unrelenting efforts of the antiabortion movement, those of us who believe that women should make their own reproductive decisions will have to become involved in the ongoing struggle to preserve and expand abortion rights.
REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM VS. POPULATION CONTROL
While most women’s health groups see the fight for abortion rights in the context of defending the rights of all women to make their own decisions about reproduction, not all advocates of abortion rights share this understanding. Some view legal abortion and contraception as tools of population control.
Advocates of population control blame overpopulation for a range of problems, from global poverty to ethnic conflict and environmental degradation. Historically, this type of thinking has led to a range of coercive fertility control policies that target Third World women. These include sterilization without a woman’s knowledge or consent; the use of economic incentives to “encourage” sterilization, a practice that undermines the very notion of reproductive choice; the distribution and sometimes coercive or unsafe use of contraceptive methods, often without appropriate information; the denial of abortion services; and sometimes coercive abortion. For example, HIV-positive women in the U.S. (who are overwhelmingly women of color) are often pressured to have abortions, though only 20 to 25% of their children will be HIV-positive and new treatments during pregnancy have reduced the likelihood even further.
Women with few economic resources, especially women of color in the U.S. and throughout the world, have been the primary targets of population control policies. For example, although abortion has become increasingly less accessible in the U.S., sterilization remains all too available for women of color. The federal government stopped funding abortions in 1977, but it continues to pay for sterilizations. During the 1970s, women’s health activists exposed various forms of sterilization abuse (see section on sterilization in chapter 13, Birth Control). Since the 1980s, advocates have fought against new policies that coerce women with low incomes into using Norplant, a long-term hormonal contraceptive.
In the Third World, in addition to the widespread unavailability of desired contraceptives, there is a long history of coercive fertility control, primarily funded and inspired by developed countries, especially the U.S. (see chapter 26, The Global Politics of Women and Health, for the international dimensions of population control).
The right to abortion is part of every woman’s right to control her reproductive choices and her own life. We must reject all efforts to coerce women’s reproductive decisions. The goals of reproductive rights activists must encompass the right to have children as well as the right not to.
ABORTION ACCESS IN THE U.S.
It is conservatively estimated that one in five Medicaid-eligible women who want an abortion cannot obtain one.
In the U.S., 84% of all counties have no abortion services; of rural counties, 95% have no services.
Nine in ten abortion providers are located in metropolitan areas.
Only 17 states fund abortions.
Only 12% of OB/GYN residency programs train in first-trimester abortions; only 7% in second-trimester abortions.
Abortion is the most common OB/GYN surgical procedure; yet, almost half of graduating OB/GYN residents have never performed a first-trimester abortion.
Thirty-nine states have parental involvement laws requiring minors to notify and/or obtain the consent of their parents in order to obtain an abortion.
Twenty-one states require state-directed counseling before a woman may obtain an abortion. (This is often called “informed consent”; some critics call it a “biased information requirement.”)
Many states require women seeking abortions to receive scripted lectures on fetal development, prenatal care, and adoption.
Twelve states currently enforce mandatory waiting periods following state- directed counseling; this can result in long delays and higher costs.
(Seven more states have delay laws which are enjoined–i.e., not enforced due to court action at the federal or state level.)
Note: for sources on these statistics, please consult the book’s notes at the end of this chapter.
Unsafe abortion is a major cause of death and health complications for women of child-bearing age. Whether or not an abortion is safe is determined in part by the legal status and restrictions, but also by medical practice, administrative requirements, the availability of trained practitioners, and facilities, funding, and public attitudes.
While it is difficult to get reliable data on illegal and unsafe abortion, several well-known organizations and researchers, including the World Health Organization, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and Family Health International, make the following estimates:
Worldwide, 20 million unsafe abortions are performed annually. This equals one unsafe abortion for every ten pregnancies and one unsafe abortion for every seven births.
Ninety percent of unsafe abortions are in developing countries.
One-third of all abortions worldwide are illegal. More than two-thirds of countries in the Southern Hemisphere have no access to safe, legal abortion.
Estimates of the number of women who die worldwide from unsafe abortions each year range from 70,000 to 200,000. This means that between 13 and 20% of all maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion–in some areas of the world, half of all maternal deaths. Of these deaths, 99% are in the developing world, and most are preventable.
Half of all abortions take place outside the health care system.
One-third of women seeking care for abortion complications are under the age of 20.
About 40% of the world’s population has access to legal abortion (almost all in Europe, the former Soviet Union, and North America), although laws often require the consent of parents, state committees, or physicians.
Worldwide, 21% of women may obtain legal abortions for social or economic reasons.
Sixteen percent of women have access only when a woman’s health is at risk or in cases of rape, incest, or fetal defects.
Five percent have access only in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
Eighteen percent have access only for life endangerment.
Copyright © 1984, 1992, 1998 by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. All rights reserved. Published by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of RAPE by the State. ~Edward Abbey, One Life at a Time, Please (1988).
The preservation of life seems to be rather a slogan than a genuine goal of the anti-abortion forces: what they want is control. Control over behavior: power over women. Women in the anti-choice movement want to share in male power over women, and do so by denying their own womanhood, their own rights and responsibilities. ~Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places (1997).
We are always told that violent anti-choicers are a mere fringe. Obviously, few anti-choicers commit murder or arson. But, as the Matthew Shepard case reminds us, extreme vocabulary creates a climate of moral permission for extreme acts. This is a movement whose main spokespeople, many of them mantled in clerical or political authority, regularly use words like ‘baby killers’, ‘murder’, ‘holocaust’, and ‘Nazis’, thus legitimizing just about anything. After all, the conspirators who tried to assassinate Hitler are heroes.
~Katha Pollitt, “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation (November 16, 1998), reprinted in 2001.
And since a man can’t make one / He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one. ~ Tupac Shakur, from: “Keep ya Head Up”