• 'If God Wanted Your Opinion, He'd Have Given You A Penis.'

    I suppose this is how Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and his all-male panel on contraception and religious freedom feels. Oh, they won't openly admit it, but they're probably thinking it. From TPM:

    On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.

    *cue Scooby-Doo "huh?" noise*

    Issa bristled at the charge and said Democrats could not add their witness because she was not a member of the clergy, but a student at Georgetown. He also faulted Democrats for not submitting the name of the witness, Sandra Fluke, in time.

    Fluke would have talked about a classmate who lost an ovary because of a syndrome that causes ovarian cysts. Georgetown, which is affiliated with the Catholic Church, does not insure birth control, which is also used to treat the syndrome.

    Issa said the hearing is meant to be more broadly about religious freedom and not specifically about the contraception mandate in the Health Reform law.
    It's an issue that affects women's health, so you'd think there would be, well, women on the panel concerning a topic that affects them most. No dice. And plenty of people are calling foul, as they should.

    “This is an issue about women’s health and I believe that women’s health should be covered in all fo the insurance plans,” Pelosi insisted at her press briefing this morning, refuting the GOP’s claim that the debate should focus on “religious liberties.”

    “Where are the women? And that’s a good question for the whole debate. Where are the women?” she asked. “Imagine, having a panel on women’s health and then not having any women on the panel, duh!”

    See, Ladies? These guys are qualified to talk about your vagina.

    It's interesting how a hearing that's focused on the First Amendment ramifications of the White House's push for expanded birth control access calls not experts in constitutional law, but clergymen. That effectively reinforces a message the GOP have sided with religious figures on -- if the pastor/minister/bishop says no birth control, then tough tits for you. Funny how this issue goes away when it comes to the menfolk and those little blue pills...

    Unwanted pregnancies place an added burden on women themselves, in addition to society in general. It's hard to pursue a meaningful career or a college education when you're forced to have a kid well before you're financially or emotionally ready to have one. It's also hard on society when they have to spend countless dollars on additional social safety nets and other assorted programs. You'd think conservatives would be ecstatic about reducing that burden, as much as they talk about cutting back on everything else.

    Or maybe not. Actively denying women the right to control their bodies as they see fit goes back to the days when men were men and women were essentially property. Men are given little to no responsibility in their reproductive faculties -- bedding down as many women as possible makes you a "stud," while accidentally getting a woman pregnant is a "simple mistake" you could walk out on. Rape? That's blamed on the woman -- either she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or her skirt was too short, or she was "asking for it," "being a slut," "being a tease," "leading men on," etc, etc.

    I have a feeling that on some deep level, women having control over their own reproductive faculties takes a certain amount of power out of the hands of the menfolk and forces them to operate on women's terms, and it infringes on the ego, too. "My dick, my sperm, and they're both gonna do as they damn well please, so just (let your eggs) lie back and take it!" Well, those are her eggs, but according to a number of religious figures, they're not hers and she can't do as she damn well pleases, lest she be called a "murderer." Or a "whore."

    Which is really all this is, punishing women for being "whores" who exercise control of their own reproductive faculties. The punishment for "being a whore" is to get pregnant, carry to term and be stuck with raising the child or giving the child up for adoption. The GOP could care less about the fate of the unwanted children, just as long as the women get their comeuppance for daring to exercise control of their sexuality and reproductive faculties. Come to think of it, that brings us to the uncomfortable viewpoint of children as "punishments." That shows how much these people really care about kids.

    This incessant drive for punishment is perhaps why the Virginia legislature brought forth two bills that do their best to punish women who do just that:

    Virginia is poised to send two of the most abhorrent anti-choice bills to Governor Bob McDonnell to sign. The governor, eyes trained on a vice presidential bid, has indicated he will sign at least one if not both of the bills.

    The first is a bill requiring the use of trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to a woman obtaining an abortion, the other is an egg-as-person bill. Like other failed "personhood" bills, the Virginia provision would outlaw not only abortion but also forms of hormonal birth control.

    A "trans-vaginal ultrasound" involves inserting an ultrasound probe into the vagina. It's a highly invasive procedure that may have triggering effects for some. The fact that this particular form of ultrasound was called for in the bill is proof positive of the vindictiveness and desire for punishing "sluts."

    “the vast majority of these cases [abortion] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” And, 

“We think in matters of lifestyle convenience and in other matters that it is right and proper for a woman to be fully informed about what she is doing.”

    For the record, "lifestyle convenience" is the new dog whistle that replaces the word "whore" in polite conversation. And if this passes, the only way to go about obtaining an abortion in Virginia is to let the pro-life side "stick it to you," literally.

    Virginia Democrat Rep. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)

    Translation: "Hey, you made the decision to fuck, so you shouldn't mind getting fucked once more. You probably like that shit, you slut."

    Shameful shit this is.