Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Power of the states (RvW)

 As of June 27th, these are the states where abortion is banned, along with notes about exceptions. 

Source 1 (with map of country)

This is ugly. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

More on National Politics

 The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade today (6/24/2022) (NPR).

Joining the Alito opinion were Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by the first President Bush, and the three Trump appointees — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, concurred in the judgment only, and would have limited the decision to upholding the Mississippi law at issue in the case, which banned abortions after 15 weeks.

Dissenting were Justices Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton, and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, appointed by President Obama.

"With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent," they wrote.

I'm speechless. This is not about life. This is about control. This is abusive. 

According to the CDC

In 2020, 861 women were identified as having died of maternal causes in the United States, compared with 754 in 2019.  In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women (19.1) (Figure 1 and Table). Rates for non-Hispanic Black women were significantly higher than rates for non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women. The increases from 2019 to 2020 for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women were significant. The observed increase from 2019 to 2020 for non-Hispanic White women was not significant.

Rates increased with maternal age. Rates in 2020 were 13.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for women under age 25, 22.8 for those aged 25–39, and 107.9 for those aged 40 and over (Figure 2 and Table). The rate for women aged 40 and over was 7.8 times higher than the rate for women under age 25. Differences in the rates between age groups were statistically significant. Among age groups, the increase in the rates between 2019 and 2020 for women aged 25–39 and 40 and over were statistically significant.


The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of all industrialized countries.  The US also has one of the highest percentages of c-section deliveries. 

More than one-third of women in the U.S. report skipping needed medical care because of costs, a far higher rate than the other countries included in the study. 

The infant mortality rate (infant deaths per 1000 live births) is 6.2 in the US. That is more than Cuba (5.8), the European Union (5.7), Canada (5.0), Japan (2.8), etc (see here). 

15-20% of all pregnancies in the United States end in a miscarriage or stillbirth. These are not pregnancies that were ended due to abortion. These are desired pregnancies that end in tragedy. 


There are thirteen states that will likely ban abortion within once month now that Roe v. Wade is overturned... and let's compare that with the fetal mortality rate (at 24 or more weeks gestation, not including abortions... the average for all states is 3.68) and the maternal mortality rate as well (average for all states is 17.4):

ID: 3.81 fetal mortality rate, 23.8 maternal mortality rate;
UT: 3.69 fetal mortality rate, 16.5 maternal mortality rate;
WY: 3.19 fetal mortality rate, 26.3 maternal mortality rate;
ND: 3.54 fetal mortality rate, 20.1 maternal mortality rate;
SD: 3.62 fetal mortality rate, 24.5 maternal mortality rate;
TX: 2.91 fetal mortality rate, 34.5 maternal mortality rate;
OK: 3.68 fetal mortality rate, 21.1 maternal mortality rate;
MO: 3.74 fetal mortality rate, 34.6 maternal mortality rate;
AR: 4.87 fetal mortality rate, 37.5 maternal mortality rate;
LA: 3.46 fetal mortality rate, 58.1 maternal mortality rate (highest in the country);
MS: 6.60 fetal mortality rate, 20.8 maternal mortality rate;
TN: 4.25 fetal mortality rate, 26.7 maternal mortality rate;
KY: 3.96 fetal mortality rate, 22.9 maternal mortality rate.

Note that 8 of the 13 have equal to or higher fetal death rates, and 12 of the 13 have higher maternal mortality rates than nationwide average.

and seven more that are likely to ban abortion within weeks or months: 

IA: 3.11 fetal mortality rate, 18.3 maternal mortality rate;
IN: 3.81 fetal mortality rate, 43.6 maternal mortality rate;
OH: 4.19 fetal mortality rate, 19.2 maternal mortality rate;
WV: 4.09 fetal mortality rate; 12.9 maternal mortality rate;
AL: 5.37 fetal mortality rate, 36.4 maternal mortality rate;
GA: 4.61 fetal mortality rate, 48.4 maternal mortality rate;
SC: 4.64 fetal mortality rate, 27.9 maternal mortality rate.

In fact, the states with the lowest fetal mortality are (only four below a 3.0): 

MA: 2.88 fetal mortality rate; 
CT: 2.92 fetal mortality rate;
NM: 2.39 fetal mortality rate;

TX: 2.91 fetal mortality rate.

And the states with the lowest maternal mortality rate are: 

CA: 4 maternal mortality rate;
MA: 8.4 maternal mortality rate;
NV: 8.4 maternal mortality rate;
CT: 10.5 maternal mortality rate;
CO: 11.5 maternal mortality rate. 

(states with the highest maternal mortality are LA 58.1, GA 48.4, IN 43.6, NJ 38.1, AR 37.5 [four of these five are on the lists above as likely to ban abortion]). 

MA, CT, NM, CA, NV, and CO are all mentioned in the WaPo article as states where abortion is likely to remain legally protected (along with WA, AK, HI, MN, IL, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, NH, and ME). 

So let me get this straight... 

of the TWENTY states where abortion will likely remain a legal, protected right, FIVE of them have the TOP FIVE lowest maternal mortality rates, and THREE of them have fetal mortality rates below a 3 (of four states). Note that 18.75 (ME is split 3:1) of the states voted DEM for the 2020 presidential election. 

of the THIRTEEN states that will ban abortion within one month, plus the SEVEN who likely will within a few months (20 states), every single one of them either has a higher than average fetal mortality rate or maternal mortality rate. In fact, only EIGHT of them do not have both. Furthermore, 19 of the 20 of them voted GOP for 2020 presidential election. 


Let's just compare, for the fun of it: 

Highest rates of domestic violence:

  1. Oklahoma (49.10%)
  2. Iowa (45.30%)
  3. Kentucky (45.30%)
  4. North Carolina (43.90%)
  5. Nevada (43.80%)
  6. Alaska (43.30%)
  7. Arizona (42.60%)
  8. Washington (42.60%)
  9. Idaho (42.50%)
  10. Missouri (41.70%)

  1. NM 21.9 per 1000;
  2. TX 22.4 (abstinence-only education state)
  3. WV 22.5;
  4. TN 23.3;
  5. KY 23.8;
  6. AL 24.8;
  7. OK 25;
  8. LA 25.7; (abstinence-only education state)
  9. AR 27.8; (abstinence-only education state)
  10. MS 27.9. (abstinence-only education state)
There's a lot here and I'm really at a loss for words (yes, I do data crunching when I'm speechless). I sincerely hope that this country turns itself around, but we are currently heading down a very dark and scary path.  

Friday, May 6, 2022

From the Literature_Lady

 "Justice Alito's invocation of Sir Matthew Hale in his leaked majority opinion is so, so much more fucked up than people realize. I'm a professor with a PhD, and my area of expertise happens to be women and gender in the early modern era (1500-1700). Here is what you need to know.


Matthew Hale, just like a lot of Christian extremists today, believed that women were made from Adam's rib. God did not make her as an autonomous being with rights. She was a physical extension of his body, made to be his "helpmeet," namely to exist to help him to whatever he wants.


Hale therefore wrote in his posthumously published book Historia Placitorum Coronæ (1713) that marital rape was totally legal. In fact, because a man owned a woman's body as it was an extension of his own to do with whatever he willed, he was incapable of marital rape.


The logic was that you can't rape something that isn't considered an independent human being. Your wife's body is yours and you can't rape yourself. This is the logic Alito is upholding when he invokes Matthew Hale. But it gets worse.


Let's say a woman vocalized her opinion and it ran contrary to her husband's. She didn't want sex. Hale believed that this put her in violation of her marital vows. She was literally breaking the law. Women who denied men sex needed to be punished.


There was a whole set of laws at the time specifically on the punishment of women who spoke up against the men in their lives. They didn't have the legal authority to say no to sex because they were not legally independent human beings.


Keep in mind that Hale and others also viewed a father's role in a similar way. The daughter had no bodily autonomy, & it was a father's duty to "correct" his children as long as he did so within the law. Daughters were groomed from an early age to be obedient to future husbands.


It should be no surprise that Hale was responsible for the trial and execution of women for witchcraft and that his legal opinion would be used as a base for the execution of women and children by the state both in England and the Americas.


The big witch trial Hale was known for was the 1662 trial of Rose Cullender and Amy Duny. It followed many of the trial conventions of the day with bonkers stories of toads, vomiting pins, etc. Both women were widows and found guilty.


Women who were executed by the state for witchcraft were overwhelmingly poor and single. Most were widows. Hale & his contemporaries found independent women to be a serious threat in society. She was not owned by father or husband, which meant that she was an unnatural presence.


Women without a man to tightly control their behaviors were viewed as extremely susceptible to immorality and becoming a Satanic force in the community. Hale believed it was in society's best interest for men of the state to step in and control these women.


A woman's primary purpose in adulthood was to be married, be obedient to a man, & to have children. Alito invoking Hale in his opinion made it clear that he also thinks this too. It's his duty as a man to put the bodily fate of women in the hands of states run by white men.


Keep in mind that Hale was only talking about white Christian women. Women who didn't fall into this category were debated as even being women. They were viewed as less than human with even less rights. The rule of thumb didn't apply; they weren't worthy of such restraint.


Are you starting to see why Alito's invocation of Hale is so deeply, deeply fucked up on so many insane levels that there isn't a way to possibly overreact to how shitty his legal standing is here? Rage, horror, disgust, etc. are not deep enough reactions to his legal opinion.


And if you think Hale being invoked by Alito was something out of left field, think again. Hale is all over our legal system. The easiest application to find was the Salem Witch Trials, but his influence on our laws is much more insidious than that. Marital rape was not completely outlawed in the United States until 1993. 


When Alito talks about going back to what the founding fathers meant, he is talking about all of this shit. Women's bodies being legally owned and controlled by men. He knows many Christian white women are groomed theologically to agree and will vote for this patriarchal control.


Alito knows that by kicking reproductive control back to the states that he is putting an incredible amount of power in the hands of the men who control these communities. He knows that white men are disproportionately in charge of these places.


Alito knows how much power and influence local churches have on local leadership. He knows most of these institutions are controlled by men. He is counting on it. He knows the biggest threat to women are the men in their homes and communities.


Justice Alito and men like him do not see women as independent human beings with their own human rights. They see us as incapable of making our own decisions. They consider men to be divinely appointed to rule over women. This is not an exaggeration.


If they think of white Christian women this way, imagine what they think about women of color, women of non-Christian groups, or trans women and men. The utter disdain towards them is deep, disturbing, incomprehensible, and violent.”


— @Literature_Lady

(Yes, you’re welcome to share it. Share like the wind, my darlings…)

Thursday, May 5, 2022

National Politics

 “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” (https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473) 

I feel sick just reading that. To some, it just means that abortion becomes a state issue. However...

"13 states have passed so-called ‘trigger laws,’ bans designed to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned" (https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/03/us/state-abortion-trigger-laws-roe-v-wade-overturned/index.html). 

Those THIRTEEN states are (medical provider legal ramifications in parenthesis): 
Idaho (felony);
Utah (second-degree felony);
Wyoming;
South Dakota (felony);
North Dakota (felony);
Texas (felony);
Oklahoma (felony);
Missouri (felony);
Arkansas (10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $100,000);
Louisiana ($1000 per incident and/or 2 years in prison, plus civil malpractice action;
Mississippi (1 - 10 years in prison);
Tennessee (felony);
Kentucky (felony).

NINE states already have pre-Roe abortion bans that they could enforce if Roe is overturned. Those states are: 
Arizona
Texas
Oklahoma
Arkansas 
Mississippi
Alabama
Wisconsin
Michigan
West Virginia. 

According to Amnesty International, abortion is a human right. It is considered basic healthcare. 1 in 4 pregnancies worldwide end in abortion every year. They go on to state the following rights: 

  • Rights to autonomy and privacy
  • Rights to liberty and security of person
  • Rights to equality and non-discrimination and equal protection of law
  • Rights to health, life, and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment
Therefore, the "Criminalization of abortion limites women’s and people’s right to decide whether and when to reproduce, a right which human rights authorities recognize as integral to physical and mental integrity and to their dignity and worth as human beings." 

------ 

Let's learn a little about Roe v. Wade, ok? 


Roe v. Wade (1973)'s decision is based in the right to privacy. That right originally came from a court case in 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut. See, Connecticut had banned the sale of birth control to married couples way back in 1879 (technically the law banned any "drug, medical device, or other instrument in furthering contraception.") A gynecologist from Yale, C. Lee Buxton, and the head of Planned Parenthood in CT, Estelle Griswold, opened a birth control clinic. They were arrested and convicted, but they decided to bring the case to the Supreme Court under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Now, as for Griswold v. CT, the Supreme Court decided (7-2) that the Constitution does protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions.  "While the Court explained that the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments create the right to privacy in marital relations." (https://www.oyez.org/cases/1964/496). 

So there we go... right to privacy. The government cannot legislate someone's body or what happens in their marriage. 

That being said, there are some other cases that bring up the Fourteenth Amendment and privacy.

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): Black and white residents had to ride in separate train cars in Louisiana. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that as long as the provisions were in fact equal, it wasn't a violation of the Constitution (i.e., Separate but Equal). 

United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898): The US Supreme Court affirmed that children born on American soil are U.S. citizens without regard to their parents' status. 

Brown v. Board of Education (1954): based on Plessy v. Ferguson, segregation of public schools based on race was allowed by states, as long as the facilities were equal. (Side note: did anyone ever really think that segregated facilities were "equal?") However, Brown overturned "Separate but Equal" and the court rules that "separate in inherently unequal." (Further side note: if you ever see a low-income urban school and a middle/high-income suburban school, you'll still see that things are not equal). 

Loving v. Virginia (1967): by 1967, interracial marriages were still illegal in 16 states. Mildred and Richard Loving traveled to DC to get married and came home to VA. They were arrested in VA under the state law that prohibited interracial marriage. The VA Supreme Court ruled that the state had an interested in preserving "racial integrity" and because the punishment applied to both/all raced, it wasn't in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The US Supreme Court overruled VA. 

Reed v. Reed (1971): The US Supreme Court decided that arbitrary rules/laws that treat men and women differently are unconstitutional. 

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015): The US Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. 


Basically, the 14th Amendment shapes civil rights in the US. 

Now, let's talk about women's health. 

Contraceptives and abortion can be found from as early as 1550 BCE (the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus). 

In the Western world, the "quickening" was when a woman was considered pregnant. That's the first fetal movements. Before that, it was a late period, which could be fairly common (menses can be late based on stress, nutrition, etc). Women might make tea from herbs such as pennyroyal to bring on their monthly time. 

Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church seemed to believe that abortion wasn't a sin unless the fetus had a human soul, which was anywhere from 40 days to 90 days after conception. In fact, from 600-1500 CE, the greater sin was sex outside of marriage. 

In my opinion, it seems that the only reason that anyone wants to control women's bodies is for the simple fact that they want to control women's bodies. In 1857, the American Medical Association started an anti-abortion campaign, basically to restrict homeopaths and midwives. 

They lobbied for the criminalization of abortion, capitalizing on fears that not enough white, native-born women were having children.

Doctors claimed there was little difference between a quick and a nonquick fetus and that earlier and later stages of pregnancy were not distinct. In doing so, they redefined the meaning of abortion to include early stages of pregnancy. (https://origins.osu.edu/article/commonplace-controversial-different-histories-abortion-europe-and-united-states?language_content_entity=en

The AMA said that the quickening was unscientific. The AMA and the Catholic Church teamed up. Pope Pius IX, in 1869, claimed that an embryo was a human being with a soul from conception.  By 1900, abortion was illegal and viewed as immoral, the same as taking a human life. 

In my opinion, what the AMA wanted was for women to stop listening to our bodies, stop listening to other women, and put our total trust in doctors. Pregnancy, birth, women's health, and midwifery was a female-dominated corner of the world that men could not control. Men therefore decided to criminalize women's health. Women had found ways to take care of our bodies but men wanted to control them. Men wanted to keep women subservient. What better way to keep women subservient than to force us into being barefoot and pregnant, caring for the house, children, and men, while the men went off to be the sole bread-winner.  We lost our connection to the village with the creation of the nuclear family, and became isolated. In fact, one of the top red flags when it comes to abusive relationships is isolation from friends and family. The old adage of "It takes a village to raise a child" is 100% true. 

I can digress further. This is exactly the mental/emotional load that women carry to this day. 

Side note: a popular urban legend in MA states that 6 or more unmarried women living together is a brothel.

In Shawnee, Kansas, they recently passed a law that states

The ordinance bans renting to four or more people who are all unrelated. For example, four former college friends unrelated by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship could not rent together. Two or three unrelated roommates would still be allowed.

Homeowners can still rent a property, but only to three or fewer unrelated individuals. 

This puts an end to roommates/co-living. This directly impacts people who cannot afford to (or don't want to) buy a house. This further punishes people who don't want to get married (or who can't get married, such as same-sex couples or people with disabilities [who will lose their disability benefits if they get married!]). 


So, let's see: 

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can possibly lose not only a fundamental healthcare right, but we can lose: 

  • contraception (Griswold)
  • same-sex marriage (Obergefell)
  • inter-racial marriage (Loving)
  • consensual sex (Lawrence v Texas)
  • equal rights (Brown)
  • citizen rights of children born in the U.S. (Wong Kim Ark)
There is a lot to unpack in this discussion and it basically all comes down to control.



More links to read: 


Thursday, April 7, 2022

CTRF (public FB post)

 This is an awful tale. This also shows that even when authorities are contacted and involved, it doesn't always work out. (published with permission)


CW: Rape, Child Abuse
TLDR: We won’t be returning to CTRF, and the Judge Declined to sign the warrant to arrest Shiloh’s rapist.
We have been silent regarding this issue for the last two years, putting our faith in the “System”, but well aware that the system would more than likely let us down. What we did not expect was for the people we trusted, such as the owners of the The Connecticut Renaissance Faire, to also let us down.
In the fall of 2019, at 14 years old, Shiloh worked as an unpaid volunteer for the for-profit institution of CTRF. He had been working there since he was nine, and like most rennie families, felt comfortable and safe there. I often switched off with his father, Eric Fair, or a few trusted friends to chaperone him on these weekends of volunteer work.
On the grounds of the faire that year, Shiloh was sexually assaulted, multiple times, feet from his father, by an 18 year old man known as Anthony “TaterTot” Hoffman.
In April of 2020, amid the pandemic, and years of therapy, Shiloh came forward. Anthony was in the middle of a *different* sexual assault of a minor case, and that gave him the strength to come forward and tell us what happened. We immediately called the state police in Connecticut and opened a case. We notified the owners of Hitting and Stabbing Emporium, where Shiloh volunteered, as well as the owners of CTRF, who were ‘mortified’ that it happened on faire grounds and promised us he would be banned immediately.
In the fall of 2021, as the pandemic restrictions were easing, things were changing in the faire scene. While The Hitting & Stabbing Emporium would not be returning to the faire for the season, many of Shiloh’s friends were, and he wanted to return. We were faced with the problem: do we allow our now 16 year old to not be punished for being a victim, or do we protect him. We discussed it as a family, and decided to put our faith in “Our faire family”.
We were betrayed. The second to last weekend of the faire, Shiloh calls me in hysterical tears. Not only was Anthony on the grounds of the faire he was working, but he had been invited back to work security. We immediately removed Shiloh from the situation and got him to safety. When the Faire management was questioned, we were told that *they* were told by Anthony ‘the case was closed’.
It was not. The *first* assault case against him had been closed. Ours was still open. We had not been consulted, asked, or warned.
In fact, on 1/18/2022 we received the best news in two years: the Detective on the case had submitted a warrant to be signed for Anthony’s arrest. For those of you who don’t know how this works: A case is opened. It’s worked on for as long, and with however much resources are allocated to it, a warrant is submitted to the court with evidence for arrest, a judge signs the warrant (Or not), then the perpetrator is arrested, then prosecution begins.
Unfortunately, two months later (yes that’s how long it sat on the judge’s desk) we were told that the judge declined to sign it. Case… closed.
But it isn’t closed. My son was sexually abused by an adult who will be working *Security* at the Connecticut renaissance festival this year. Who was working security the year he raped my child. And CTRF’s response was not what we expect from a ‘faire family’. Shiloh has all of the support and love from his real friends and family, has been in therapy and will continue to have those supports. My fear: our fear, is that this man will hurt another child.
This is our truth. Shiloh will be posting his own statement on his page.
If you have anything to say that isn’t support, please PM it to me.