The war on women, Obama, and Hillary Clinton

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 · 52 Comments »

In the comment thread on my “War on women” post, Jill from Brilliant at Breakfast brought up Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure what prompted it, since we weren’t talking about Hillary Clinton, but here’s the question she posed:

Are you all absolutely certain that “Hillary never would have put us in this position”? 100%? I’m not convinced. Hillary Clinton has been affiliated with “The Family” — the secretive Christian group that Doug Coe founded and that runs the infamous C Street House. Read Jeff Sharlet’s book to find out more about this pack of nutballs. In 1993, Hillary said this about Doug Coe: “Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship to God.” To the best of my knowledge, she hasn’t recanted this view.

I’m not part of the rah-rah Obot camp. He’s bitterly disappointed me. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton would be any better on this just because she has a uterus. For some reason, it’s become mandatory in politics on both sides to suck up to the fairy-tale believers. This is one case where both sides DO do it.

It’s a good question, Jill. Yes, I am absolutely certain, and it’s not because Hillary Clinton has a uterus. It’s because of her career record.

Hillary Clinton has never compromised on reproductive rights. In every situation, on every vote, in every speech, she has been firm about women’s right to control their own reproductive health. Her universal healthcare plan from the early 90s (“Hillarycare”) included coverage for abortion, and her refusal to compromise on that point is one reason the plan went down in flames. And that was abortion. It is beyond belief that she would offer up a needless compromise on contraception.

As for saying a nice thing about Doug Coe, again, you have to look at Hillary’s life and career. Is there any evidence that she is a secret godbag out to impose dominionism on the country? Has anything in her life suggested that? Have any of her political stances suggested that? Did she do that as Senator? Is she doing that as Secretary of State?

No. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, a progressive, and a feminist. She’s also a Methodist, with a quiet personal liberal-Christian faith. That’s who she is.

But she’s also a politician. When Hillary was First Lady, she was the most reviled woman in the country. She did everything she could to build bridges and make nice, because that’s what politicians do when they want to get things done. (In 1993 she was trying to get Hillarycare through.) She continued that approach, with increasing sophistication and finesse, when she was elected Senator. She became Lyndon Johnson. Hillary has said nice things about a lot of people, including Republicans, who are power players in one way or another.

I don’t think Hillary Clinton is perfect by any means. What I think is that she’s smarter than Obama and has a view of the long game. I think she’s a better politician. Not better at getting elected, alas, but better at doing functional politics.

I also think she is vastly more principled. She is certainly more committed to women’s rights. Which is not to say she isn’t capable of compromising on some issues and of recognizing political realities; she is. (That’s why, for example, she gave up on single payer healthcare, concluding that it was politically impossible.) She’s not pure and she’s not a saint.

But she’s a very smart, very conscientious politician, and rock solid on women’s rights.


ETA: Following up on a comment in the thread below, here’s Secretary of State Clinton defending women’s reproductive rights to Rep. Chris Smith (Twit-NJ) in a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing in 2009:

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52 Responses to “The war on women, Obama, and Hillary Clinton”

  1. Teresainpa says:

    Well, I suppose it must not have been breakfast time.

  2. Gayle says:

    Yeah, I don’t have to “jump to any conclusions” about HRC’s pro women, pro choice record.

    It stands for itself.

    Obama’s record was always dubious.

    Oh, and she’s not a member of The Family (sigh). She went to a prayer breakfast for crying out loud. The Family has no female members!

  3. dandelion says:

    I’m guessing Jill never watched Hillary Clinton’s SoS confirmation hearing. She very unequivocally stated there that protecting and expanding reprodutive heatlh care for women around the world would be a pillar of State Dept. policy under her tenure.

    And so it has been.

  4. Violet Socks says:

    If I can find that video, I’ll add it to the post.

    One of the most bizarre oddities of the Obama team’s attack on Hillary in 2008 was the suggestion that she was in any way wingnutty when it came to women’s rights. From her speech in Beijing to the Hillarycare thing to her work as SoS, she has always been 100% on women’s rights.

  5. Violet Socks says:

    Just remembering all that reminds me of what an upside-down world it was in 2008. Here’s Hillary Clinton, a lifelong uncompromising feminist, and Barack Obama, the opportunist DINO with a penchant for voting “present” on issues affecting women. And yet somehow the young voters in 2008 were convinced that Obama was the “real” feminist and Hillary was some kind of Eagle Forum conservative.

    I remember an interview with some twit on Feministing who was gushing about how Obama was totally feminist, blah blah, but no, she didn’t consider Hillary a feminist because she was “too mainstream.”

    There has never been a better example in the history of the world of how patriarchy teaches women to revile and dismiss older women. It’s really hard to carry feminism through to the next generation when the next generation is intent on matricide.

  6. lynnerkat says:

    Is this it? I’m not good at doing this..

    http://youtu.be/C8rGPDItayI

  7. Violet Socks says:

    Yes, that’s it, thank you! I found a version that doesn’t have as much of that twit yammering at the beginning.

  8. lynnerkat says:

    Ha! I love the way she just ignores that and moves on. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone was so clear and direct. I so admire her.

  9. tinfoilhattie says:

    Know what else about Hillary Clinton? When she was a U.S. Senator, politicians on both sides of the aisle genuinely liked and respected her. She was not “affiliated with” The Family, for crying out loud. She went to dude-zone Prayer Breakfasts. Smart, if you ask me. She is religious, I suppose, so she may have gotten something spiritual out of tne experience. It’s also like the golf outings and basketball games that Obama and his dudebros have. Men talk about shit and plan shit and do things without the wimmenfolk along. Good for Clinton, finding common ground and participating.

    Additionally, she has spent nearly her entire career as SOS traveling throughout the world and shining a spotlight on WOMEN. She is steadfast in her feminism, and I suspect that is a major reason the dudebro squad put Mr. Young, Affable Guy against her in the last election. She was women’s best chance in U.S. history to unite and demand to stop being treated as the “sex class,” as Twisty Faster says. And heaven knows, Dude Nation could never have that. This backlash is partly punishment for us forgetting our rightful place unde the manly boot heel.

  10. Susan says:

    That was an excellent response to a very stupid question, Violet.

    Obots pushed that Doug Coe meme as a way to deflect from Obama’s long term, extremely close relationship with Jeremiah Wright. Clearly, it worked for some people.

  11. Violet Socks says:

    She was not “affiliated with” The Family, for crying out loud. She went to dude-zone Prayer Breakfasts.

    I remember having this conversation with people in 2008. I tried to explain that if Hillary Clinton is considered “affiliated” with The Family, then every Senator and Representative and President is also “affiliated” with them. In fact, anybody in Washington who attends a prayer breakfast or participates in any prayer group or fellowship cell is “affiliated” with them via Kevin Bacon degrees.

    But none of that mattered. It was all part of the feverish Hillary Hate.

  12. Miss Clairol says:

    That was the most idiotic smear to come out of the primary. Barbara Ehrenreich upped the ante on Jeff Sharlet and wrote a hilarious, Onion worthy piece of purple prose, exposing Clinton’s sinister involvement in a prayer group for Senate wives (O the humanity!). Remember this little gem?

    What drew Clinton into the sinister heart of the international right? Maybe it was just a phase in her tormented search for identity, marked by ever-changing hairstyles and names: Hillary Rodham, Mrs. Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and now Hillary Clinton. She reached out to many potential spiritual mentors during her White House days, including new age guru Marianne Williamson and the liberal Rabbi Michael Lerner. But it was the Family association that stuck.

    I can’t believe anyone actually fell for this disingenuous tripe (no offense, Jill).

  13. Sameol says:

    This is another excellent example when she was still in the Senate:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA56Oz-t_rQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    If that’s not clear enough, google “You can’t have maternal health without contraception” from the March 2010 G8 summit.

  14. angie says:

    The only people who say that Hillary would have been/done the same as Obama (not just on this issue, but any really) are either (1) lying to themselves so they can sleep at night or (2) completely ignorant about Hillary Clinton’s life-long record and career.

    Either way, I don’t have much use for them.

  15. cellocat says:

    Hillary has always been too hawkish for me, but I worked my butt off on her campaign because she has always been so solid in the areas of women’s and children’s rights. And she’s incredibly smart, and, as Violet pointed out, got really good at both working across the aisle (something Obama merely dreams about) and getting a lot done that’s productive. To think that she’d sell us out on the issues of either abortion or contraception is laughably ridiculous. To think that she’d give into the Catholic bishops is absurd. I think there are still really large numbers of people in the Democratic party who cannot allow themselves to admit the obvious and extremely consequential differences between Obama and Hillary, because then they would have to admit they were wrong to support, give money to, and vote for him. And wrong to vilify Hillary in the way they did, gleefully and with not a shred of integrity. And goddess knows, people hate to do that!

  16. Nessum says:

    Thank you Violet for adressing that comment – and doing it so graciously! – as reading it had me go: ‘Huh?! What!?’

    [S]he’s a very smart, very conscientious politician, and rock solid on women’s rights.

    So obvious it really shouldn’t be necessary to point it out.

  17. anna says:

    I’m sick of it all.

    I might just have to vote Jill Stein (Green Party) for president.

    Check her out: http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal

  18. tinfoil hattie says:

    I’m definitely voting Green. Read their platform. How could I vote otherwise?

  19. Miss Clairol says:

    I don’t think Obama is particularly inclined to do anything for anyone else, but also, from a cynical standpoint, there’s really nothing in it for him. If he were principled, sure, but since he’s not particularly, he thinks he’s got African-American votes locked up and doesn’t need to do anything to shore up his support. And I’m sure he probably thinks that going to bat for African-Americans would lose moderate and Independent voters.

  20. Miss Clairol says:

    Sorry, I was responding to a comment that either disappeared or is on some other website.

  21. Violet Socks says:

    I removed the comment just because it’s off-topic and I don’t really want to get into it. It’s a complex situation and honestly, Obama is damned if he does or if he doesn’t. But let’s not get into it. (ETA: No offense intended to the person who posted the comment; I just removed it because I didn’t want to get into that whole discussion.)

  22. gxm17 says:

    Ah, yes. 2008 and the fairytale we were all raised on. The handsome young prince will save us. And the mean old witch is out to get us. UFB that grown women still fall for that shit.

    2012: Do the right thing. Don’t vote uni-party. I’m voting Green but feel free to choose whatever third party speaks to you the most.

  23. Riverdaughter says:

    Did you see the absolutely bizarre post on Hillary and the safe, legal and rare thing at Digby,s hullabaloo this afternoon? I swear, there’s something about that Chris smith- Hillary Clinton battle that really has the left blogosphere rattled.
    Which means we’d better keep running it. I might just sticky it to the top of my blog for a few days.
    So strange. They’re just making shit up now to make her look bad. For what? It’s not like the guy who they’ve got running is some kind of messiah when it comers to women,

  24. Violet Socks says:

    Yes, I saw that.

    I always interpreted the “rare” thing as implying the importance of women having full control over their sexual and reproductive health, including contraception, education, empowerment, etc. Because abortions will only be rare if women can choose when and whether to have sex and can exert complete control over whether they get pregnant.

    In the past and in some places still in the present, abortion was/is the only recourse for women without control over their own lives and bodies. Most women would prefer not to have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy at all.

  25. Guest says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t post at Hullabaloo so I’m going to post this here. The criticism of the goal of making abortions “safe, legal and rare” is outrageous. When I first heard Hillary use the term, I felt that she knew my experience. I had an abortion a few years after it became legal. It was absolutely necessary for me to do but it was very hard. I made the decision quickly because there really was no other decision to be made that wouldn’t utterly destroy my life and the life of the child that I might have had. Still, no part of it was easy. It hurt physically, it was expensive and it was emotionally difficult. I wasn’t religious but I had wanted to be a mother and I wondered whether or not I would ever have a child in the future. I have not. I knew that I had made the right decision at the time but I still think about it thirty years later.

    I made the right choice but I so wish that I had never had to make that decision. We have to provide young people with excellent sex education and cheap/free birth control. Some people may have an abortion and not think twice about it. That was not my experience. I’m determined that abortion remain safe and legal (without a bunch of male-invented hoops to jump through) but I also want it to be very rare. If that gives the rightwing nutjobs some aid and comfort, too bad. It’s the truth and it needs to be told.

    The goal of making abortions safe, legal and rare respects women and should have remained a prominent part of the Democratic plank.

  26. BJK says:

    Through the looking glass again. Hasn’t Digby been all about “framing” the issues? And yet, here we are, rebutting GOP framing within liberal ranks.

    The left has always complained that support for choice is conflated with being pro-abortion. “Safe, legal, and rare” addresses that and allows (or did at the time it was coined) discussion about the fact that if abortion is safe and legal (along with appropriate education and birth control) it will become rare. Sure, some result from irresponsible behavior, but I don’t believe any woman would choose abortion as birth control. In other cases, at least in my experience, it is not really a choice, but a decision dictated by circumstance.

    By struggling against the use of the term “rare” they simply reinforce the notion that they support abortions, not education and self-determination. (Which they really don’t re: women’s self-determination, but they must maintain their denial for argument’s sake.)

    And we all know the creeps will leap on this flinch to claim precisely that…

  27. Violet Socks says:

    Sure, some result from irresponsible behavior, but I don’t believe any woman would choose abortion as birth control.

    Actually, some women would. Maybe not very many, but I know of at least one woman who has argued that the occasional abortion is better than monthly hormonal birth control pills.

    And really, the bottom line is that it is every woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body. I don’t care if a woman uses abortion as birth control — fine. It’s her body. Get the godbags and government the hell OUT.

    But I do think that the great majority of women would prefer to not have the pregnancy in the first place. In the old days abortion was the de facto birth control for a lot of women, and it was not pleasant.

  28. Violet Socks says:

    Another thing I want to say is that any trauma associated with abortion is the woman’s own. For many women it is a grievous, difficult decision, since she’s choosing not to be a mother and not to have a potential child. Some women don’t have the angst at all, but many do. It’s a very serious matter and I would never make light of it.

    But as the for the embryo itself, the godbag sentimentalization about that drives me up the fricking wall. For chrissake, it’s a tadpole. It doesn’t even have nerve connections. There is nothing that revolts me more than godbags going on and on about The BAYBEE as if that’s the locus of the trauma. It’s a tadpole and it neither knows nor feels anything.

    The trauma, if there is any, is totally the woman’s. And it’s her business and nobody else’s.

  29. BJK says:

    Violet,
    I see your (and her) point. Should have remembered that there are no absolutes.

    Your comment about the locus reminded me of Doug Stanhope’s response to the “It’s a living thing” accusation. “So is a genital wart, if it bothers me, I’m gonna burn it off. Say I start objecting to you getting treatment for a tumor/cancer – that’s a living thing, and you’re killing it!”

  30. blondie says:

    I’m with cellocat (above) — Hillary was too hawkish for me, but, still, I supported her and believe her impeccable on women’s and children’s issues. Her vilification in the primaries really opened my eyes to the misogyny just below and bubbling to the surface of too many supposed-liberal dudes.

    Make me a sandwich? Good grief. Our country has gone backward in many ways in the past 20-30 years, particularly in equal rights for women.

    As to the abortion tagline, including “rare” with “safe and legal” has always made me wince. The only justification I can see for its inclusion would be that because abortion is a medical procedure, out-patient surgery (? unsure if it qualifies as such ?), it would be preferable for women to not have to be in a position where they would have one.

    Why hasn’t the NYT stopped publishing Douthat’s drivel yet?

  31. turndownobama says:

    Around April 30, 2010, Hillary visited Canada and made another strong statement for abortion rights. The story links to a video, and other videos are at google.com/search?q=Hillary+abortion+Canada&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHMC_enUS396US397&prmd=imvns&source=univ&tbm=vid&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=8V9CT_CGM6qW2QWf0aSXCA&ved=0CEMQqwQ


    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/787841–hillary-clinton-stirs-the-pot-on-afghanistan-abortion-and-the-arctic
    [She told] a Gatineau meeting of G8 foreign ministers that any initiative to improve maternal health – Ottawa’s signature global project this year – must include abortions, an option the Conservative government has tried to avoid.w

    “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” Clinton said Tuesday.

    “I do not think governments should be involved in making these decisions. It is perfectly legitimate for people to hold their own personal views based on conscience, religion or any other basis. But I’ve always believed that the government should not intervene in decisions of such intimacy,” she said.

  32. Guest says:

    Violet, I wss past the tadpole stage before I figured out that I was pregnant. I think that I could have taken Plan B and had no negative emotional repercusions at all. That’s one reason that I was so angry that Obama made Plan B more difficult to obtain.

    I shudder when I read comments like Stanhope’s. Pro-choice people will never win the battle (if we ever do) by comparing an embryo to genital warts. Imo, this argument must be framed by the fact that it’s a human right to have control over one’s body and future.

  33. turndownobama says:

    I just put up another strong statement from Hillary on abortion rights, including video links. It’s in moderation.

  34. elliesmom says:

    You’re right, Violet, about the “rare” part. When “rare” is part of the equation, I and many other women like me are pro-choice. Take out the “rare”, and our support for abortion rights becomes more tepid. While I support a woman’s right to end a pregnancy on her own terms, I’m not as cavalier about the “tadpole” thing. I do think that an abortion results in a loss of a human life. While I would never work to end a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion, I wouldn’t work very hard to support a woman’s right to use abortion as her regular method of birth control either. Like it or not, there are a lot of women like me out here, and I would wager that if you subtracted the “rare” women from the number of women who are pro-choice, the number of pro-choice women would shrink dramatically. And arguing with us that having an abortion is like killing off a tumor doesn’t help the cause one bit. Work with us to make unplanned, unwanted, and unsafe pregnancies “rare” instead of trying to convince us that there is no downside to a fetus being flushed away. Because that’s a lost cause.

  35. elliesmom says:

    And just for the record so we don’t get the “right wing religious godbag” thing going, I’m an atheist. I only go to church for other people’s weddings and funerals. I just have to believe that the vast majority of women who choose abortion would have preferred not to get pregnant in the first place. And preventing those pregnancies is something I can get behind. Then we can leave the safe and legal abortions to women who find themselves in high-risk medical situations where abortion is their best option or to women who are not bothered by having an abortion enough to prevent the pregnancy. I think that will constitute “rare”. My “faith” in women depends on it.

  36. Violet Socks says:

    And arguing with us that having an abortion is like killing off a tumor doesn’t help the cause one bit.

    Just to be clear: I didn’t make that comparison. Doug Stanhope did. I agree that a fetus, unlike a genital wart, is a potential human life.

    My comparison is to a tadpole, which is actually too generous. No embryo under 12 weeks is anywhere as developed as a tadpole.

    A zygote, for example, is an EGG. A single CELL.

    A fetus in the first trimester is also less than a tadpole, despite the resemblance. A tadpole is a fully functioning organism that eats and swims and has a developed nervous system. A first-trimester fetus has none of that. There is no nervous system. It feels nothing. It knows nothing. It is a potential human being, but it’s not a human being yet.

    The potentiality of that human life is why abortion can be so traumatic. (Believe me, I know how traumatic abortion can be.) And the trauma, I stress again, is for the woman, the only person in the picture who is feeling and thinking anything.

    It is rather important to keep this in focus, I think. I’ve seen too many intertube threads where the first comment is some yahoo saying that “children” are being killed when they’re talking about zygotes and embryos.

  37. Violet Socks says:

    Like it or not, there are a lot of women like me out here, and I would wager that if you subtracted the “rare” women from the number of women who are pro-choice, the number of pro-choice women would shrink dramatically. And arguing with us that having an abortion is like killing off a tumor doesn’t help the cause one bit. Work with us to make unplanned, unwanted, and unsafe pregnancies “rare” instead of trying to convince us that there is no downside to a fetus being flushed away. Because that’s a lost cause.

    Actually, with all due respect, I disagree. The reason there are a lot of women like you (assuming there are) who consider abortion a categorial ill is because of one thing: propaganda. Nobody except the Catholics used to give a crap about abortion, and the only reason the Moral Majority took it on was to create a wedge issue. And now the godbags and conservatives have been pounding away at it for 30 years, drumming into people’s heads that abortion is TERRIBLE.

    The way to fight the anti-abortion movement isn’t to give in to their rhetoric, but to shift the ground back to the issue of overpopulation. In the 70s nobody was hysterical about abortion because everybody knew that overpopulation was the worst threat we were facing. The last thing we need is more babies, especially unwanted babies.

  38. Guest says:

    I don’t think Americans get the threat of overpopulation. It’s not right in front of them, they rarely travel anywhere that people are starving to death and, frankly, for too many, the idea of blacks or Asians starving to death just isn’t that big of a deal to them. And those are exactly the kind of people who are likely to oppose abortion.

  39. Violet Socks says:

    I don’t think Americans get the threat of overpopulation.

    Not anymore, but they used to. It used to be the big topic. It was the go-to subject for class discussions and debate teams and TV shows and hell, even the Mary Tyler Moore Show when Mary went on camera to give a station editorial.

    Everybody talked about overpopulation, and so everybody understood it was bad and that it needed to be dealt with.

    Since then, the world population has almost doubled. But now nobody in America talks about overpopulation, so nobody thinks about it or cares.

    What people in America do talk about nowadays is abortion and how evil it is (which they didn’t do in the 70s). So now that’s what people think about and have big important feelings about.

    People nowadays actually say things like “think of the 40 million missing babies!” when they’re railing against abortion. This would have been inconceivable in the 1970s, when the prospect of 40 million less mouths to feed would have been seen as an extremely good thing.

  40. Violet Socks says:

    My point, in case it isn’t clear, is that public opinion is almost entirely a product of what people hear and are told all their lives.

  41. BJK says:

    Violet,
    I apologize for bringing up the Stanhope comparison. I obviously don’t comment often, and it’s not like conversation where responses are immediate. Sorry for derailing and insensitivity.

    I agree wholeheartedly about attitude being a product of inculcation. When I was a teen in the 70s, I remember there being an actual discussion of options if a teen pregnancy occurred. Now, the propaganda of “abortion is murder” has been bored into their heads for so long that many young women simply will not even consider an abortion. And the “teen mom” reality shows feed into the fantasy, but I can’t imagine they feature the stress and frustration.

    Similarly, I wish overpopulation were more central to the discussion (the stories are out there, but there’s a lurid trial going on or something). I think (if there are any rational people to be reached) that it could lead to an understanding.

    I can’t say I like the term “choice” – for the same reason that the opposition attacks it – it doesn’t seem to convey the proper import. They feel the import relates to the fetus, I feel it relates to the importance of the right to make the decision whether or not to have a child.

    Once you cede rights to the government, it’s not so easy to get them back. As overpopulation becomes a bigger issue in the States, it’s certainly not beyond the pale to imagine a Zero Population Growth majority succeeding within a generation or two. The right has now seen what it’s like when a Pres. from the opposite side uses the power that one of “theirs” seized for the Executive Branch, so they may be more receptive to the empathy required to see reason.

    China is the example for reproductive restrictions, and the US has engaged in forced sterilization in the past. It is hardly beyond imagination that the US may (or must) face the same choice as China.

    The more ‘quiverfuls’ of kids they have, the closer we get to the tipping point. I doubt many will even see the irony. How are they going to tell their grandkids that they blithely threw away their right to determine the size of their own family?

  42. Unree says:

    Overpopulation’s been kind of like divorce reform. Both issues were first identified and focused on by men who weren’t thinking about women or feminist consequences. I’d say the dudes who made the most noise about them thought these policies would help to control women. Once both anti-overpopulation measures and no-fault divorce turned out to have liberatory effects, guys first lost interest and then turned hostile to what they’d espoused.

  43. Violet Socks says:

    BJK: You don’t have to apologize at all. I was just making clear that the “genital wart” argument is not one I would make in a serious abortion debate.

    I would, however, invoke yeast infections if I were trying to make a satirical point about how idiotic these godbags are…

  44. Aeryl says:

    There was a great post over at Slacktivist that details the fact that right-wing Christian opposition to abortion is younger than the Happy Meal.

    An except from a 1979 edition of Christianity Today, the magazine put out by Billy Graham:

    God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.

    Just like the terms “Under God” in the Pledge, these are things have only existed for a short time in American History, but most people are convinced that these are the way things have always been.

  45. quixote says:

    Well, about the “tadpole” thing. This is a picture of embryos at the same stage of development; about six weeks for the human one. The other three are fish, reptile, and bird. See if you can guess which is which. (I got this out of a basic bio textbook by Brooks & Cole, 2000.)

    (Preview says this will need help from Violet to display, if she wants it.)

  46. quixote says:

    Another biological point: nerves are unmyelinated until some time in the fourth month of pregnancy. That means they have the same ability to carry signal as your nerves do under local anesthetic. Both what we recognize as pain and the process we call thought are impossible using unmyelinated nerves.

  47. arran says:

    I am so damn tired of people questioning Hillary’s obvious political abilities and her trustworthiness on women’s reproductive rights. These questioning people should have put in time on vetting “present” Obama. Be assured that she would not have caved over birth control issues. People like Jill, for their own reasons, want to think there isn’t a particle of difference between Obama and Clinton. But there was, and there is. Like she said in NH during the primary, she knew what was coming. Obama helped bring it.

  48. Violet Socks says:

    quixote, no image came through in your comment. If you want to email the link I’ll be happy to try to post it.

  49. quixote says:

    (Sent. :) )

  50. Violet Socks says:

    Thank you, quixote! I turned it into a whole post so people could guess.

  51. KendallJ says:

    These people who continue to insist that Hillary wouldn’t have been any better than Obama on Women’s rights are trying to justify their mistake in backing him over her in 2008.

    Many of these so called feminists are realizing that Obama is playing football with women’s reproductive rights more than any democratic president since Griswold v. Conn., and they must be mortified if they have a single brain cell. The whole birth control issue regarding religiously affiliated institutions was completely unnecessary. If Obama told the god freaks to fuck off and that the issue was settled law, it would have gone away in a day or so. But Obama, with his sagging poll numbers, needed a campaign issue to pull women, who were drifting, into his poll column. He gave the bishops a little red meat to lure the rethugs into overreaching even further so he could capitalize on it. But the price paid for his campaign stunt is that another carved out exception has been made whereby religious zealots can openly discriminate against women with public dollars and within the public square.

    Obama has casted himself as the savior of birth control, while he actually was the first one to take a hatchet to it by way of his unnecessary “compromise”.

    I can’t fathom Hillary Clinton playing Russian roulette with our rights in this fashion. This is the difference between someone who shares your belief and someone who will fight for those shared beliefs. Obama may be pro-choice and pro-birth control, but he lacks the commitment to fights for them in a meaningful way. He’ll espouse the appropriate rhetoric, and use the issue to his advantage, but he doesn’t have nearly the commitment to protecting women’s reproductive rights that Hillary Clinton has shown. So for all those feminists who insisted that he was better, shame on you!!!!! YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

  52. KendallJ says:

    Violet,

    Thank you for making the tadpole point. I am so sick of people referring to a zygote as a baby. This notion that “it’s a human life” has been soooo manipulative. So friggen what. The real issue is that it is NOT a person. And I would argue that a good share of the emotional trauma that some women experience after having an abortion is caused by idiots telling them that they killed a baby.

    As for keeping abortion “rare”, any invasive procedure should be rare. If a medical procedure can be avoided through less invasive means, then those means should be practiced. If birth control reduces the need for abortion, then it’s a good thing, not because abortion is wrong or because it is murder, but because it’s less physically intrusive and less expensive.