Roundup 20 Feb 2010
Some viral items contracted from the news:
1) A Utah bill that has passed congress and the senate and is waiting to be signed into law criminalizes a woman’s “intentional, knowing or reckless act” that results in the termination of her pregnancy.
While the bill does not affect legally obtained abortions, it criminalizes any actions taken by women to induce a miscarriage or abortion outside of a doctor’s care, with penalties including up to life in prison.
So while abortion is still legal, a whole mess of grey area is opened up with regards to anything else that results in miscarriage. I wonder if this affects anyone who uses the morning-after pill? Anyone who consults a doctor to discuss abortion? If a miscarriage results in a fall down the stairs, does it become incumbent on her to prove that it wasn’t intentional? Does staying with an abusive spouse who eventually causes injury that results in miscarriage qualify as an “intentional, knowing or reckless act?”
This is unprecedented.
2) In Dallas, Texas, an employee with the transit authority DART was transitioning, and went through all the legal processes to change her name and gender marker. This done, she approached her employer to have them update their records. The employer then filed a motion to contest the gender marker change, prompting the judge who’d approved the original order to reverse it without a hearing. Dyssonance has an excellent assessment of the implications.
I would love to make an open call for the readers here to take this case on… And there’s the rub. As much as I’d like to do that, I don’t think it’ll happen….
I feel that way because one thing that I’ve learned, and that many other trans folk have learned, the hard way, in millions of small personal conversations, is that no one believes that who we are is who we are.
3) White supremacists are being encouraged to get involved with the Tea Party movement (as if they weren’t already), and “to not only attend the April 15th Tea Party nearest you … but then stay involved and help provide leadership to this movement.”
4) While it’s not that unusual for a Roman Catholic cleric to be accused of non-consensual sex crimes, the Canadian military is dusting off the charge of “buggery” to use in the case of Roger Bazin, once a brigadier-general in the Canadian Forces and overseer of military chaplains. While “buggery” is now off the books and is technically unconstitutional, it was still enforced back in 1972, when the alleged sexual assault took place.
“Certainly, you wonder why they’re using that,” says Richard Hudler, one of a clutch of seasoned gay activists working with the newly-formed Queer Ontario.
Indeed. And while the motive is speculated to be to barter a heavier sentence or to leverage during plea bargaining, one has to wonder if putting this on the books again opens a door for far-right conservatives to take advantage of.
By god, they’ve actually found something that would upset gays and the Catholic church at the same time.
5) A recent survey in Britain found that “a majority of women believe some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened.” Elizabeth Harrison of Haven service for rape victims sums it up:
“Clearly, women are in a position where they need to take responsibility for themselves – but whatever you wear and whatever you do does not give somebody else the right to rape you.”
I wonder if the theory of evolution allows for periodic societal regressions, or if our culture’s continual tendency to do so indicates that we aren’t destined to move forward as the most intelligent species?