Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 2.23

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. I wish I had known about this when they were doing it. I work about 30 yards from the state legislature. Usually Planned Parenthood keeps us aware of these sorts of things so we can be there to oppose what they’re saying.

    It’s shit like this that annoys me most: “Nelson suggested that the organization be called “Klan Parenthood,” saying that the group’s founder, Margaret Sanger, made racist comments in the 1930s and that the organization has shown a “willingness to take donations from people who are racist.”

    That’s the new anti-abortion platform: abortion is racist and it’s about suppressing minorities (see the recent billboard campaign in Atlanta, “Black Children are an Endangered Species”). These fools will work any angle they can to paint abortion as evil. People aren’t upset enough that women who don’t feel capable of raising a child might terminate a pregnancy, so we’ll say that it’s eugenics. Because god forbid that minority women should be empowered to choose for themselves what to do with their bodies. I don’t know why suppressing women’s rights is more palatable than this invented minority suppression of the unborn they’re talking about. Dammit, now it’s going to be an angry day. Might as well swing by and see my legislator and bitch to him. These assholes just made my day a lot longer- and I had dinner plans!

    Oh yeah, and the bullshit about god punishing women who have aborted with a disabled child? Tell me it would be okay if an abortion supporter suggested that Palin had a child with Down’s syndrome because god was punishing her for restricted women’s rights, or for pushing the bible on people. It wouldn’t. It’s only okay to blame women for their disabled children if they had an abortion in the past.

    Rant over. For now.

  2. @Kimbo Jones: Hmmm… I wonder if he could be sued for defamation of character? While I don’t believe having an abortion defames ones character (and liked reading Angie the Antitheists reasoning, even though I don’t twitter), I think enough people could, both on the “He says I had an abortion” front and the “He claims I am a curse from a vengeful deity” front.

    He is not someone I would mind seeing unemployed, broke, and forced to whore himself out for pesos in Juarez.

  3. So, my question is, are women who have an abortion more likely to have a disabled child in their next pregnancy? Not saying that god did it, but I could see some causal relationship. But that’s nothing more than a guess. Has a study been done?

  4. Ok, if living with a severe disability didn’t already suck, we now have southern politicians suggesting that we are “punishments from god” (thankfully, I am a polytheist so the rest of the god’s can get together and kick his god’s face in for being a dumb motherfucker). I am highly that my mother never had an abortion so I guess I’m punishment for my parent’s high speed wisecracks and having been fans of be bop jazz and poets live in the Village, near their home in Jersey City?

    Seriously, though, the eugenics battle has never, in my 50 year lifetime, been as bad as it is today. Embryos are tested for traits that lend themselves to various disabilities and are discarded before being implanted. I know a lot of people wish this had been done to me but, alas, I was pre-genetic science when the baby you got had no designer elements.

    The ever growing neo Nazi movement wants to kill us before we can reproduce or even after as we slow down the lines at Safeway and get to bring our dogs on airplanes. While the second amendment only gives we blinks the right to arm and protect ourselves in a handful of states, the Nazis/KKK/Arian Nation/etc. ., armed to the teeth, can pretty well eliminate ourselves from the genetic donor list. Of course, closed minded crackers are the piss in the gene pool that keeps humans from overly rapid evolution.

    Blinks can fire guns accurately. They are especially good at it when facing a sightie in the dark. One flick turns a blinding halogen light attached to my pistol and, from there, I can shoot at the perp by sound while he tries to regain orientation. Of course, I might hit Grandma or some other collateral damage but such is life.

    So, people with vision impairment are often denied gun licenses, sidewalks in large parts of the nation, text books, science education materials (I’m trying to invent such as we speak), para-transit, tons of jobs (how often do you see a blink digging ditches, working at Walmart or other entry level jobs available to our sighted friends) and so many other places (nudey bars that do not permit touching – we deserve the braille treatment) and now we have politicians claiming we are a punishment from some god with a real sense of humor.

    Most people don’t know that we with disabilities already feel guilty for being a burden, slowing things down, getting so much government money and so much other stuff. It doesn’t feel good when you go to the store and cannot find the Count Chocula on your own.

    So, did Sarah Palin have an abortion to cause her to birth a child with disability?

    rant over.

  5. @infinitemonkey: I’d often been taught that uterine scarring (which both surgical abortions and other intrauterine procedures cause) leads to a small but real increased risk of ectopic pregnancies and in uterine growth restriction in future pregnancies. Studies have actually found that there is no significant increase in any of these outcomes in women with a previous abortion. There is an increased risk for placenta previa (placenta covers the cervix) but it’s about twice the risk of someone who has never had an abortion (notably a prior c-section confers a 4.5 times greater risk of a previa). That said, I wouldn’t really consider any of the things I’ve listed as “birth defects” so I have no idea where this is coming from. I was so pissed about all of this before, I forgot to point out the fallacies.

  6. So now women who waited until they were married because they thought it was the right thing to do, only slept with one man because it was the right thing to do, got pregnant after getting married because it was the right thing to do, and gave birth to a child they knew had disabilities because bringing the baby to term was the right thing to do are now being accused of being whores and liars. The proof is right there in their disabled child.

    It’s nice that their husbands now get an easy and totally justifiable divorce.

  7. *sigh* Okay, for those of you not in the know, Virginia is a state that is deeply divided.

    There’s Northern Virginia, and to a tiny-bit-lesser-extent, the Tidewater areas. NoVa, with it’s proximity to DC, and Tidewater, with the massive naval presence, are a bit more urban (or at least not as rural) than the rest of the state. (Tidewater, though, once you get away from the coasts, can quickly revert to traditional Virginia form.)

    As such, there is a concept in Virginia: NoVa vs. ROVA (aka the Rest Of VA). It is deepened by the fact that the state capitol is Richmond (deep in ROVA territory), and there is SUCH a Good Ol’ Boy network in place. ROVA screams about any money NoVa wants to get back from the voluminous taxes they send down (we generally get back about 20 cents to the dollar), while they pad their nests. Bible-thumping conservatism is usually a massive part of this, and they do a lot of “rich assholes vs. poor working folk” rhetoric.

    To a certain extent, it’s correct…but it’s an exaggeration. And they always leave out the part where the poor working folk will commute 2 hours each way for the good jobs in the urban areas, bringing home money to regional economies that are far more reasonable than NoVa or Tidewater. They also ignore that they have gorgeous, wide, less-than-filled-to-capacity roads where NoVa has some of the worst traffic in the country and an infrastructure that’s starting to show wear (because the state government blocks any efforts to let the region tax itself or to give it the funds it actually needs). Tidewater’s roads have sucked for years.

    Manassas is technically NoVa – has been for a long time. But there are still pockets of Prince William County that are somewhat rural, so you can get this there.

    So personally? I’m not seeing this so much as a blow against Planned Parenthood as it is a blow against the more urban parts of the state that the state legislature likes to perform to remind us uppity Northern folks that we aren’t up to their quality. Because 4 of the 8 PP’s in Virginia are in NoVa or Tidewater (Falls Church, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach). 3 of the 4 left are in big college towns, where many students are from NoVa – Roanoke, Blacksburg and Charlottesville. The last is in Richmond itself, which is the biggest city around for miles in any direction (and also home to many colleges).

    So please don’t think poorly of all Virginians. There are many, many, many of us who would like to tie Bob Marshall and his ilk to the center line of 95 during rush hour. He represents the worst of legislative hypocrisy because he has the geographic benefit of being close enough to DC that his constituents have good jobs, but he can play the Good Ol’ Boy game and get some benefit from that.

    There’s always talk of NoVa seceding from the rest of the state. It’s guys like this that make the concept so appealing. (Of course, then we realize that the majority of the good colleges are deep in ROVA country, and they’d only skin our hides with out of state tuition, so the hubbub dies down…)

  8. @Chasmosaur: While yes, your analysis is correct, I disagree with your idea that Manassas is rural enough to have that RMOTW elected.
    I think it has to do with the illegal immigration in the Manassas/PWC area. Republicans have a platform on being tough on it, and that makes the area ripe for these people to slip in.

  9. Well it seems legislator Bob is a real throw back medieval kind of guy. I have a few medieval ideas of my own I’d love to share with Bob, but I think I’ll do what normal rational sane people do and keep my fantasies and daydreams to myself.

  10. @infinitemonkey:

    True. Good point. I grew up in Virginia and it will always be home to me, but I’ve lived in Western Wisconsin for the last 5 years. I have a disconnect on the current nature of the area – to me, Manassas is as it was about 10 years ago, but I know it’s changed radically.

    @Displaced Northerner:

    Oh, there are some nice parts of Richmond, no doubt. But you can’t deny that you get outside of your city limits, and it’s ROVA all the way.

    (And while the City of Richmond went firmly for Obama at 80% – surrounding Henrico County not quite as strongly at 55%; all surrounding counties except Charles – on the way down to Tidewater – went McCain. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/interactives/campaign08/election/uscounties.html )

    I have lived, worked or been schooled in most parts of Virginia. I’m not speaking out of my butt – I’ve spent good chunks of time in most parts of the state, and it’s a state I deeply, deeply love, for all it’s polarity. I guess the point I was trying to make is that not all Virginians are bible-thumping, fundamentalist crazies. Many are quite sane, or at least reasonable – mostly, that’s definable by a geographic line, albeit a fuzzy one.

    I was amazed at the 2008 election, to be honest. But it wasn’t an overwhelming margin (about 235,000 votes – that’s a quarter of the population of Fairfax County to put it in perspective), and if you look at the breakdown of the state, more counties went red. It was the population centers that went firmly blue that pushed the state over. Which is good news – maybe the state can be more balanced further down the line. However, we are still home to Liberty University, so I think it’s gonna be a slow crawl.

  11. @Chasmosaur: I didn’t think you were talking out of your butt- I was just defending my current home. You’re right that there is quite a bit of backwards here and I can feel out of place having been born and raised a Massachusetts Liberal (hence the screen name). But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overall climate here- I was expecting worse from a place with a street full of monuments devoted to confederate generals. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of good ‘ol boys here who remind me that all good doctors should vote republican; it’s just to say that there are also docs wearing wire clothes hanger pins on their white coats. It’s a mixed bag. And it’s better in Richmond than in other parts (more rural) of VA I’ve lived in.

  12. God: State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas is punishment for electing idiots.

    In a meeting with Virginia skeptics today, the Lord God revealed that he has inflicted State Delegate Bob Marshall on the state of Virginia as a punishment for electing “dumbasses”. In a quick question and answer session following a prepared speech on the topic “Stop blaming Me for evolutionary quirks”, the Creator described His decision to allow the election of people who are unable to use reason and logic as a beta test of his latest release for humankind, FreeWill 2.7.015…

  13. @Displaced Northerner:

    Good god, it must be like alien country to you sometimes. My parents are displaced NYC’ers in NoVa, and when they moved down in the 70’s, blue laws were still in effect. That threw them for a loop.

    I have some friends in Richmond – it is a nice area. But it’s the good ol’ boys who still dominate the political scene, which is the problem.

    @Didac:

    You would think, but no.

    @Nicole:

    Oh god, NO. Sorry.

    Then NoVa families would think all their precious Andys and Jennys were definitely entitled to UVA slots, no matter what.

    And the whining we hear every spring about how their kids “didn’t get into a Virginia school” (which is translated as “my kid didn’t get into UVA or W&M, but they did get into VT/JMU/other good Virginia public school”) would rise to ear-bleeding proportions. ;)

  14. Bob Marshall, the same guy who said this:

    When asked about abortion in the case of incest, Marshall replied that sometimes incest is voluntary. In response to abortions in the case of rape, Marshall said, “Your origins should not be held against you [referring to the victim’s unborn child]. The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman.”

    Argh!!! I would like to put this guy in a room with all the Skepchicks. It’d be like Thunderdome – “two go in, but only one comes out!”

    @durnett: COTW, seconded!

  15. @Garrison22:

    So women are supposed to be embarrassed by someone else raping them? Geez, too many victims feel this way already, but it’s the rapist who should be embarrassed and ashamed. And a pregnancy is more than just a minor inconvenience. It makes me wonder if Marshall has ever actually met a pregnant woman. I doubt he realizes what happens during childbirth either.

  16. @Nicole:

    It’s not the students or even C-Ville itself, so much as it’s the helicopter parents. The articles discussing this angst always describe how Jenny has wanted to go to UVA since she was 2 years old.

    Yes, I know when I was two, I was completely focused on my post K-12 education. Not Sesame Street ;)

    It’s the parents, not the kids. Many this year are writing to legislators trying to increase the proportion of in-state students, ignoring the fact that out-of-state students bring in much bigger tuition dollars (and, quite honestly, a nice batch of diversity – some of my best friends at JMU were from Pennsylvania; my brother’s best friend at W&M is from SC). And they always point out how their child didn’t get into a Virginia School, yet the kid is always interviewed at JMU or VT or George Mason (which is actually a damn good school). Last I checked, those were all schools in Virginia, just not the marquee ones.

    Amongst any group of undergrads, you got your cool ones and your spoiled ones. I know several people who pretty much had their UVA slots bought for them by affluent Daddies (they only applied to UVA and had no stress about it and received BMW’s for going), so I think the proportion of spoiled ones at UVA might be a wee bit higher.

    Not saying ALL UVA students are spoiled – one or two of my good friends from high school went and were/are remarkably cool people. One was even a Jefferson Scholar (he went to UVA ultimately because he couldn’t turn down the financial package – who could?).

    It’s not Charlottesville or the students (except the ones who say they go to “THE University” – those I torment with “The University of Notre Dame?” or “Mr. Jefferson’s School”, to which I reply – “Oh – William & Mary!”), it’s the parents who think being a Virginia resident and having a bright child is an Automatic-Get-Int0-UVA Card. And then are shocked to find out that UVA is *gasp* selective and has about 6 applications for every undergraduate slot, and they’ve unnecessarily built up their kids for disappointment. They are angry at the wrong people, and don’t concede it.

    Bringing Charlottesville – as lovely as the town itself is – into a seceded NoVa would just intensify that, and I’d just end up in jail for homicide ;)

    Full disclosure – I got into UVA at the top of the waitlist – my waitlist and ultimate acceptance letter came about a week apart. Neither event particularly thrilled me – I applied because many of my friends did. They actually didn’t have much of a Geology department then (don’t even have a traditional one now) compared to VT and JMU. And my other option of biology was solid at UVA, but at the time, it was mostly about pre-med, and after years of watching my Dad and candystriping, I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor. UVA was never seriously on my radar, so this is not sour grapes. And my parents were also not disappointed by this – if nothing else, JMU was (and is) significantly cheaper, and they conceded after I got into a slew of really good graduate schools (with the exception of Berkeley – where Kevin Padian personally wrote me the nicest rejection letter I’ve ever received), that my education there had been really thorough.

    So many good schools in Virginia – that original “Public Ivy” book made UVA and W&M huge targets.

  17. Ok, I know we’re all over this topic, but I am going to the general assembly about the abortions cause disabilities bit next week. As such, I finally read the whole paper that was referenced by Marshall. I want to point out something EXTREMELY important (that probably no one will read): the data they collected did not differentiate between spontaneous abortions (i.e. miscarriages) and induced abortions (electives). You have GOT to be kidding me! The number of confounding variables here is obscene! Maybe these women had miscarriages because they have uterine abnormalities or there are genetic factors at play here. These same factors could easily influence birth weight and prematurity. I cannot believe how disingenuous this study is. Oh, and the outcome? Low birth weight and prematurity. Neither of which is a disability. What a shitty study.

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