Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I can't be the only person who sees a connection between two of today's news stories. First, this:

... a report being released Tuesday by the federally financed National Domestic Violence Hotline says 1 in 4 women who agreed to answer questions after calling the hot line said a partner had pressured them to become pregnant, told them not to use contraceptives, or forced them to have unprotected sex.

... "It was very eye-opening," said Lisa James, director of health at the Family Violence Prevention Fund in San Francisco, which worked with the hot line on the report. “There were stories about men refusing to wear a condom, forcing sex without a condom, poking holes in condoms, flushing birth control pills down the toilet.

"There were lots of stories about hiding the birth control pills -- that she kept 'losing' her birth control pills, until she realized that he was hiding them," Ms. James added....

And then this:

A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus -- a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

The bill ... alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion -- even if she wanted one....

We know that right-wingers want to stop pregnancies abortions, and we know domestic abusers use violence as both a source of emotional satisfaction and a means of control, but wow, here they are, really overlapping -- the abusers compelling pregnancy and the anti-abortion crowd embracing violence so openly and nakedly that they want to codify it in the law.

It's easy to see what's going on in South Dakota as a cold-blooded strategic means of stopping abortion by targeting providers -- but I think it's also an attempt to direct fear, threats of violence, and actual violence at women, in a sadistic way, to compel them to bear children.

It's easy to make the leap and say that the domestic abusers' behavior is like the behavior of soldiers who rape and impregnate women -- but I think the South Dakota legislators are doing more or less the same thing: they're fighting a (culture) war and forcing pregnancy on the conquered.

I'd also tie what the South Dakotans are doing to the Walter Mitty fantasies of the gun-rights movement -- the belief that gun ownership is less a pleasure than a moral good, a way to prevent crime and tyranny. Here, that sense of moral righteousness is extended to the preventing of abortion -- and it's a hell of a lot like the self-righteousness of domestic abusers, who, as a rule, see their abuse as a means of correcting behavior that violates their sense of right and wrong.

It's all about dominance within the population, at the most elemental level, in a sickening way.

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