I dislike using the “rape metaphor,” because I agree with most feminists who believe that when it is overused, or used inappropriately, it trivializes the seriousness of rape.
In this case, however, I will rely on Webster’s dictionary, which defines these two relevant words thusly:
Rape — any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
Intercourse — sexual relations or a sexual coupling
I am hardly the first person to point out that the rape assignation is not a metaphorical one. And if any issue deserved to use language, as George Bernard Shaw said, “to the utmost possible degree,” it is this one.
This (still forming) primer will try to give you some key facts, sites, and stories you need to know about to stay current on this important issue.
Note: this is a work in progress, and there are some fuzzy facts about all of this I am still trying to clarify. If you have something to add, please it to tweet me, or post it as a comment below.
So What is this about?
If House Bill 462, The Virginia House of Delegates has decided that forcible rape is a perfectfully appropriate humiliation to impose on any women seeking an abortion for any reason. This bill is now being reconciled with the Senate Bill 484.
And in a separate but somewhat related bill, they have also declared that they are now learned scientists, qualifed to determine what a “person” is by asserting that a person’s life “begins at conception.” This is a cynical ploy has been unfolding for years, driven by vicious anti-choice conservatives across the nation. They want to make this pseudo-fact a law in most states as a precedent for more laws to come. Laws that will make any form of pregnancy termination a “crime against a person.”
You can read about both of these atrocities from better writers than me. What’s important right now is this:
Before these appalling violations of women, conceived by a staunch conservative enemy of women’s rights can become Virginia laws…
The ultrasound bill must first be approved by the Virginia Senate.
- Where the best chance to KILL THE BILL is in the Republican controlled Health Committee.
- Failing that, on the Senate floor, where some conservative Democrats have already said they will sign it.
If it is approved, the only remaining option is:
Pressure Governor Bob McDonnell
- He’s known to cave to public pressure
- Petitions are taking aim at him.
Note: he current status of the two bills, and efforts to block them, are very confusing:
This Virgina-Pilot article explains away some of the confusion, but creates more. Remember, there are two separate bills. Once concerns Personhood, and the other, Ultrasound testing.
I am going to look for more clarifications, and then post it, but regardless of the actual status of these bills, both of them should be voted down, abandoned, or vetoed. So proceed to the actionable stuff below with that in mind.
To Learn More, Follow Those Following The Story
- @briandevine and his @progressVA (Facebook) for action news and information.
- @MSNBC’s @krystalBall1, who ran for Congress in VA, and knows the landscape.
- The Republican War on Women: Invading the Vagina in Virginia
- Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination (by Dahlia Lithwicke
- Democratic Sen. Phil Puckett says he will vote for “Personhood Bill”
- Alternet’s Joshua Holland Talks to Digby About Rape-By-State and the Right’s Escalating War on Women
Similar Actions Across America
- GOP Pushing Mandatory Invasive Ultrasound Legislation in Pennsylvania Too — Virginia isn’t the only state in which Republicans are trying to pass vicious slut-shaming mandatory ultrasound laws, of course; the GOP is also pushing this misogynistic legislation in Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, and now Pennsylvania.
Petitions And Other Actions You Can Sign or Join
The Komen for the cure backlash was largely driven by online petitions, many of which are delivered in person. Petitions DO work, and you should sign as many as you can.
- Stop the War on Women (Moveon)
- Change.org petitions, which can be easily signed with one click if you are registered with the site.
- Not Having My State Vaginally Probe Me (by @MSNBC analyst, Krystal Ball)
- Google News Search on The Issue
- ‘Birth control moms’ meme makes the rounds – Virginia ultrasound debate
- #Virginia #fem2 #abortion #VA
- #RepublicanRapists #VirginiaBumperStickers (created by Shoq)