What explains the 160 million plus total girls and women gone missing from the world, largely because of sex-selective abortion? Why, explains New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, it isn't misogyny, not even misogyny internalized and perpetuated by women. It's the spread of "female empowerment." This dynamic is also operative in the Dominque Strauss-Kahn case, where an immigrant hotel room cleaner to the US from Guinea has accused the now former International Monetary Fund head of rape. The defense has rushed to the oldest trick in the book for discrediting rape victims: painting them as women of bad character. As if rape weren't a crime no matter who the victim is. Don't institutionalized structures of male privilege have anything and everything to do with sex-selective abortion, which has imbalanced gender ratios in the world's two most populous countries, and rape, suffered by one in three women globally?
Jen isn't the only one at All Our Lives who is asking "What's next?" of those who seek to oppose abortion in such self-defeating ways.
I recently sent the following message to an organization that just brought controversial billboards on race and abortion rather close to home. Apparently the root causes of abortion are not eugenic and genocidal enough to claim their attention, even though attention to these and not simply to the end result, the incidence of abortion, would make a lot of unintended pregnancies and abortions go away.
Dear Life Always,
I hear that you plan to bring billboards into the African American majority areas of my city, saying that "every 21 seconds our leader is aborted."
Now I am pro every life, before, during, and ever after birth. And for this reason, I need to ask: why have I not heard of you coming before into the place where my family and I live, alleviating the very reasons why Black women and babies so frequently are involved in situations of unintended pregnancy, abortion, inhumanely unsupported parenthood?
Many Black women say they feel blamed and scapegoated by your billboards. Might this outcry not be a sign to you that your tactics are misdirected? Why not listen and learn in a spirit of humility?
I wish you'd take the money you are sinking into these billboards and spend it and fundraise instead on fostering everything and anything necessary to challenge the realities of institutionalized racism that account for the higher abortion rate among African American women, including the denial of health services such as family planning (prevention) and prenatal and postnatal care; institutionalized poverty; subsubstandard housing conditions; family and community violence; the enforced lack of educational and job opportunities; the criminalization of Black men; the ruthless stereotyping of Black women as sexually and reproductively feckless, irresponsible, destructive…
If every 21 seconds our leader is aborted, then prolife must mean getting on the case like this. It cannot mean anything one whit less. It cannot mean running away from or denying this full and inescapable set of responsibilities. And it must mean dealing with the fact that pregnancy and motherhood are twisted around by social conditions into forms of oppression that abort women's own leadership capacities!
And you know what? I'm sure Life Always is swamped with responses to these Obama-portraying billboards, but…I haven't heard back from them. And I wonder if I ever will.
You've probably heard that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an interviewer for California Lawyer that the Constitution doesn't guarantee women equal protection under the law.
In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.
What you might not know is that the man considered one of the most stalwart pro-life votes on the Supreme Court also thinks it's wrong to consider human beings persons before they are born.
They say that the Equal Protection Clause requires that you treat a helpless human being that's still in the womb the way you treat other human beings. I think that's wrong. I think when the Constitution says that persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws, I think it clearly means walking-around persons.
Remember, pro-lifers are supposed to elect Republicans so they will appoint more judges like Antonin Scalia — who believes only born men and boys qualify as persons deserving of equal protection under the Constitution. Forget it. We are women who believe that we and our children are human beings worthy of respect and protection, so we're sure as hell not going to accept any so-called pro-life strategy that requires us to sell out our personhood and theirs.