Jodi Jacobson – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:58:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png Jodi Jacobson – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com 32 32 Censoring Doonesbury on Abortion: It’s So Sad It’s Not Even Funny http://likethedew.com/2012/03/14/censoring-doonesbury-on-abortion-its-so-sad-its-not-even-funny/ http://likethedew.com/2012/03/14/censoring-doonesbury-on-abortion-its-so-sad-its-not-even-funny/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 04:42:52 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=37930 What does it say about the state of our society when so many state legislators seem to make the passage of laws de-humanizing women their main priority, but newspapers are afraid of running comic strips satirizing these laws?

Garry Trudeau, the brilliant political cartoonist, has produced a series on forced trans-vaginal sonogram laws in Texas, intended to run in all papers that syndicate his comic strip. The strip depicts a “shaming room” and counseling by ridiculous anti-choice legislators in an effort to drive home how harmful these laws are.

Except not all papers who regularly run Trudeau will run this week's strip.

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What does it say about the state of our society when so many state legislators seem to make the passage of laws de-humanizing women their main priority, but newspapers are afraid of running comic strips satirizing these laws?

Garry Trudeau, the brilliant political cartoonist, has produced a series on forced trans-vaginal sonogram laws in Texas, intended to run in all papers that syndicate his comic strip. The strip depicts a “shaming room” and counseling by ridiculous anti-choice legislators in an effort to drive home how harmful these laws are.

Except not all papers who regularly run Trudeau will run this week’s strip.

Doonesbury’s syndicate, United Features, has given papers that don’t want to run the strips a set of alternate cartoons. “Even though the real cartoons simply humanize the struggles of Texas women, many papers will call that “controversial,”” notes the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The list of papers taking smelling salts notably includes–in fact is weighted toward–outlets in states with the harshest anti-choice, anti-woman laws on the books or now being pushed by state legislatures. The Gainsville Sun and the Ocala Star-Banner in central Florida have refused to run the strip, for example, while the Florida legislature has passed restrictions on access to abortion for low-income women, young women, and just women women; mandates biased and medically inaccurate counseling for women seeking abortion; and has in place unnecessary TRAP laws (targeted regulation of providers) that have nothing to do with health and safety and everything to do with reducing access to safe abortion.

In Indiana, The Indianapolis Star has refused to run the strip as has the Pocono Record in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Writing at Colorlines about HB 1210, an anti-choice law passed in Indiana in 2011, Akiba Solomon states:

Among other heinousness, the law codifies what radical anti-choicers call ‘fetal pain,’ and requires a woman who has already decided to have an abortion to gaze at ultrasound images and listen for the flutter of a fetal heartbeat right before the emotionally charged procedure.

HB 1210 also strips existing and future Medicaid payments from “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.” (Hospitals are exempt.) For those who don’t speak Radical Republicanese, “entity” means “Planned Parenthood,” which runs 28 health centers across the state.

Legislators in Pennsylvania, a state with high unemployment, high rates of poverty and many other problems, spent an astonishing 30 percent of their time last year on anti-choice laws, and yet have been kinda quiet lately on their own version of a state-sanctioned rape/mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound law ever since Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell got in trouble for that one, though he passed an abusive mandatory ultrasound law anyway.

The Kansas City Star has decided that the topic is too hot for its comics page, but will run the series on its op-ed pages. Meanwhile, the state legislature is considering a 68-page bill of abortion restrictions that RH Reality Check’s Kari Ann Rinker calls one of the most anti-choice laws in the nation.

Creating a divide between what laws are being passed and what we are willing to portray in satire is dangerous. Some editors have said the comic “goes over the line.” But if the comic goes over the line, what does that say about the law? And if we are willing to abuse the rights of individual people but not actually look at the reality of the state-sanctioned laws that do so, even in the form of satire, what does that say about the state of this democracy?

What it says to me is that in our society, it is apparently okay for the state to force a woman to undergo an unnecessary medical procedure–to humiliate her and to charge her for the costs of that humiliation–in order for her to subjugate herself enough to get what for her is a necessary–and legal–medical procedure, but not okay in the sensibilities of many newspaper editors to make such abuse visible to the public at large.

What it confirms for me is what I have believed for a long time… that the less “visible” are the human rights, economic, or social abuses we heap on people in this country–whether these take the form of mandatory ultrasounds to the shackling of pregnant or laboring women in prison to abstinence-only programs that de-humanize LGBT youth to the effects on low-income people of cuts in public transport, unemployment insurance and other social survival programs–the more we are willing to tolerate and in fact expand those abuses.

Because we don’t see them.

Some papers are stepping up. The Washington Post is running the cartoons, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is running the strip, because: “Garry Trudeau’s metier is political satire; if we choose to carry ‘Doonesbury,’ we can’t yank the strip every time it deals with a highly charged issue.”

Especially not when the rights and well-being of women throughout this country are daily affected by this “highly charged” issue human rights abuse and will continue to be so until we make them visible.

A correction was made to the above article at 2:00 pm on Monday, March 12th to correct the percentage of time spent by the Pennsylvania legislature on anti-choice legislation.

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Your Body Under Arrest: Police in Riot Gear Remove Peaceful Women’s Rights Protestors in Virginia http://likethedew.com/2012/03/05/your-body-under-arrest-police-in-riot-gear-remove-peaceful-womens-rights-protestors-in-virginia/ http://likethedew.com/2012/03/05/your-body-under-arrest-police-in-riot-gear-remove-peaceful-womens-rights-protestors-in-virginia/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 19:43:32 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=37701 You might think that the right wing in this country was getting the message that women will no longer stand for legal, verbal, and physical abuse and harassment, especially by elected officials. You would especially think that would be the case in Virginia where former Vice Presidential aspirant Governor Bob McDonnell, who is contemplating signing into law a forced ultrasound bill after doing women a "favor" and taking out the forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds initially required, has been widely pilloried.  You would also think the right-wing would be cautious after a week in which the seemingly untouchable Rush Limbaugh has, as of this writing, lost seven corporate sponsors over his debasing remarks about Sandra Fluke.

But you would be wrong.

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See more photos from the protest at Richmond-based Style Weekly's Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/StyleWeekly
See more photos from the protest {a href="http://www.facebook.com/StyleWeekly"}at Richmond-based Style Weekly's Facebook page{/a}.

You might think that the right wing in this country was getting the message that women will no longer stand for legal, verbal, and physical abuse and harassment, especially by elected officials. You would especially think that would be the case in Virginia where former Vice Presidential aspirant Governor Bob McDonnell, who is contemplating signing into law a forced ultrasound bill after doing women a “favor” and taking out the forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds initially required, has been widely pilloried.  You would also think the right-wing would be cautious after a week in which the seemingly untouchable Rush Limbaugh has, as of this writing, lost seven corporate sponsors over his debasing remarks about Sandra Fluke.

But you would be wrong.

Because, you see, women in this country are so dangerous, their sense of entitlement as citizens so incredibly threatening to the peace of the republic that state police in riot gear were sent to remove peaceful protestors this past weekend. According to a news article in the Richmond independent news source Style Weekly:

See more photos from the protest at Richmond-based Style Weekly's Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/StyleWeekly
Photos by Scott Elmquist, Style Weekly

“About a thousand women’s rights protestors descended on the state Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest anti-abortion legislation in the General Assembly, and then things got ugly,” reports Style Weekly’s Vernal Colman.

“About 20 State Police officers, many in swat gear with face shields and body armor, were called in to assist Capitol Police in controlling the crowd. Some of the State Police officers wore green camouflage and carried rifles and canisters of tear gas (no tear gas was used, however). After being warned to vacate the south steps of the Capitol, police officers arrested 31 people — 14 men and 17 women — on charges ranging from unlawful assembly to trespassing, according to Capitol Police.”

The rally ended a raucous two weeks in the statehouse, with anti-abortion legislation generating national headlines in a Republican-controlled General Assembly. While legislation granting unborn children “personhood” status was shelved until next year and a bill requiring invasive, transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortions was watered down at the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell, women’s rights protestors descended onto Capitol Square nonetheless.

See more photos from the protest at Richmond-based Style Weekly's Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/StyleWeekly
Photos by Scott Elmquist, Style Weekly

Colman continues: Organizers for the event, Speak Loudly With Silence, say that an estimated 1,000 people participated in the rally, which also involved members of the Occupy Richmond movement.”

Claire Tuite says that the arrests were not planned. When the protestors emerged on the Capitol, some made an “autonomous decision” to “occupy” the steps of the Capitol building.”

“This was a peaceful protest on taxpayer-funded property,” Tuite says. “We have every right to be here.”

Josh Kadrich, one of the organizers, says a small group broke off from the larger crowd of protestors, determined to make it to the steps. They blew by the cops standing on the steps leading towards the capitol. Others joined in. “Eventually, there were around 400 people sitting on the steps of the capitol in silence to protect women’s rights,” Kadrich says.

Then State Police, many officers in riot gear, showed up. The protestors were asked to leave and given a countdown as to when the police would begin making arrests. Some complied peacefully. Others locked arms and resisted.

See more photos from the protest at Richmond-based Style Weekly's Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/StyleWeekly
Photos by Scott Elmquist, Style Weekly

Colman writes: “Molly Vice, press liaison for the group, says the arrests “shames lawmakers for passing regressive legislation that usurps the good judgment of women on their own health care for the state’s.

“It’s an outrage,” she says of the ultrasound bill. “We’re here … to tell truth to power that infringing on women’s health is not okay. Not this year or the next.”

For more photos from the rally, visit Style’s facebook page.

Apparently, Virginia’s state legislators and governor can occupy your body and your uterus, but you can’t occupy your state capitol.

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Va. Governor Backs Off http://likethedew.com/2012/02/23/va-governor-suddenly-finds-medical-evidence-important-backs-off-state-sanctioned-rape/ http://likethedew.com/2012/02/23/va-governor-suddenly-finds-medical-evidence-important-backs-off-state-sanctioned-rape/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2012 06:41:52 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=37185 Today, after a week of media coverage of a bill mandating that women seeking abortion undergo medically unnecessary state-sanctioned trans-vaginal ultrasounds, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is now backing down. A little.

Over the past year, Virginia has been a "leader" in passing laws to harass and intimidate abortion providers and patients.  Recently, for example, and despite widespread condemnation by the public health and medical communities, McDonnell signed into law regulations for clinics providing abortion care intended to do nothing other than shut them down. In this instance, medical evidence meant... well... nothing to him.

Now, however, angling for a role as Vice President in the 2012 election, watching the backlash against the far right's efforts to politicize women's health, and after a week of intense media scrutiny of a plan to mandate trans-vaginal ultrasounds (including by RH Reality Check) medical evidence has suddenly become very, very important to the governor.

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Today, after a week of media coverage of a bill mandating that women seeking abortion undergo medically unnecessary state-sanctioned trans-vaginal ultrasounds, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is now backing down. A little.

Over the past year, Virginia has been a “leader” in passing laws to harass and intimidate abortion providers and patients.  Recently, for example, and despite widespread condemnation by the public health and medical communities, McDonnell signed into law regulations for clinics providing abortion care intended to do nothing other than shut them down. In this instance, medical evidence meant… well… nothing to him.

Now, however, angling for a role as Vice President in the 2012 election, watching the backlash against the far right’s efforts to politicize women’s health, and after a week of intense media scrutiny of a plan to mandate trans-vaginal ultrasounds (including by RH Reality Check) medical evidence has suddenly become very, very important to the governor.

In a statement today, the governor said:

“This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending [an] informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.

Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.”

This, he continues:

“…having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”

Just read this sentence again:

I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so.

Translation? “I have ignored the evidence to such an extent and painted myself so far into a corner that I now need to rely on medical evidence I otherwise love to ignore to save my own ass.”

Yes, Governor… providers actually do adhere to “medical practices and standards of care in providing reproductive health services.”

What took you so long?

Still, while welcome news, the governor does not go nearly far enough.

He is still recommending to the General Assembly “a series of amendments to this bill.”

“I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.”

The way I read it, he’s still mandating ultrasounds, if not trans-vaginal ones. He is still using law to address a medical and public health issue long settled by experts. He is still putting up obstacles to women making decisions about their lives and their bodies, and their families.

And he still has laws on the books that contravene his new-found belief in medical standards of care and prevailing medical practices.

In short, he’s still coercing women and providers. He’s just taken the ultrasound wand “out of the picture.”

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