In case you’ve been deep-sea diving in the Marianas Trench, yet another Republican Congressman unwittingly revealed his party’s contempt for and distrust of women. And he did it by once again illustrating how the ‘war on women’ is really part of a larger issue. What Todd Akin said and believes doesn’t just play into a media-catchy, election year ‘war on women’ narrative. It’s part of a reactionary, fundamentalist backlash to modernity. It’s a war on science. It’s a war on facts. It’s a war on critical thinking. But, really, consider it a war on democracy.
Statements like Akin’s reflect the degree to which some men, steeped in all sorts of dangerous denialism, will go to protect their power and how they undermine equality and democracy to do it. Mitt Romney’s smart, he gets how Akin made this obvious, which is why he’s distancing himself so fast and furiously from this incident. But, Romney deep down inside agrees with the ideas that reside under the surface of such an obvious mistake. That’s why he will not renounce his rights-stripping-for-women-personhood-for-fetuses happy running mate Paul Ryan, who shares the ideas expressed by Akin, even if he expresses himself less offensively.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new Tennessee law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is being blamed for the closure of a longtime Tennessee abortion provider.An executive director of the Abortion Care Network confirmed to The Tennessean that the Volunteer Women’s Medical Center in Knoxville recently closed its doors.The clinic had been operating for 38 years.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Sunday that will allow the only abortion clinic operating in Mississippi to stay open — for now. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization filed for the action in response to a new state law that would require a clinic’s abortion providers to be certified OB/GYN practitioners, and for those physicians to all have privileges at an area hospital. The law, which took effect Sunday, puts the clinic at risk, as all its doctors do not have such privileges. The judge’s order blocks enforcement of the law at least until the next hearing on the matter, which is scheduled for July 11.

Tennessee has long had a law that allowed prosecutors to charge someone for harming a “viable fetus” — defined as about the 32nd week after conception — when someone kills or assaults a pregnant woman. Last year, lawmakers expanded that definition to apply to any fetus. Now, they’re looking to criminalize harm to embryos, the cells that are formed before a fetus develops eight weeks after conception. Proponents of the bill say it would clarify last year’s expanded fetal harm bill, but critics say it will be difficult to prosecute because some pregnancies end naturally at that stage. They argue this is simply a fight over abortion.

Mississippi’s already strict abortion laws have become even tighter after Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that will place new regulations on the state’s only abortion clinic.Effective July 1, the new law says anyone performing abortions in an abortion clinic must be an obstetrician-gynecologist who has admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Republican governor signed the bill Monday.Such privileges aren’t easy for doctors to obtain, particularly for those who live out of state or because some religious-affiliated hospitals may refuse to provide the privileges to physicians who perform elective abortions.

With the new law in place, any abortion performed after 20 weeks must be “be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive.” In other words, an abortion would likely be performed by inducing labor in order to attempt to have a live birth of a fetus, despite the fetus having physical anomalies that render it non-viable after birth, and even when the abortion is being performed prior to viability (usually about 24 weeks due to lung development).

The Alabama legislature is considering a mandated vaginal ultrasound bill in an attempt to restrict safe abortion care, or as State Senator Linda Coleman (D – Jefferson) says “a state-sanctioned rape bill.” The bill explicitly includes mandated trans-vaginal ultrasound.


Women seeking an abortion would be forced to undergo a procedure described by critics as “state-sponsored rape”, under a controversial new law set to be passed by an American state this week.

Republicans who want less government and “government out of our lives” sure have funny ways of showing it, don’t they?

Jessica Pieklo writes:

There’s something about a public hanging that strikes me as very oh, I don’t know, “cruel and unusual” and offensive to every last bit of human decency. Not so for North Carolina Republican Larry Pittman. In fact, Pittman things bringing back public hangings would be a great deterrent for “abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers.” Pittman expressed this view in an email to every member of the North Carolina General Assembly. From Pittman’s email: “We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”


Tim Padgett writes:

Now that voters in Mississippi have rejected the so-called personhood agenda — the radical anti-abortion effort to make the moment of conception the legal beginning of human life — the movement says it plans to take its referendum to a number of other states in 2012, including mine, Florida. But as a Roman Catholic, part of a church whose hierarchy insists its members are anti-abortion rights by default, what I’d really like to know is why the Colorado-based Personhood USA isn’t going to Rhode Island. Small though it may be, Rhode Island’s population is 63% Catholic, the highest share of any state. A pro-life plebiscite victory there should be a slam dunk, right?

Wrong. A 2005 poll showed that Rhode Island is also, coincidentally, 63% pro-choice — a near impossibility if its Catholic residents are as doctrinally opposed to abortion rights as the bishops assure us every Catholic must be. And lest you dismiss Rhode Island Catholics as a liberal fringe, a Pew Research Center survey this year found that a majority of all U.S. Catholics, 52%, think abortion should be kept legal. That just about squares with the general U.S. population, 54% of whom support abortion rights, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll over the summer.