Women’s Rights And The New Statesman

Over at the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan has exasperated many women by his new post, Being pro-life doesn’t make me any less of a lefty.

I am not really that interested in his points, rather the marvellous response from feminists and the quality of their arguments.

Stavvers at Another Angry Woman says:

“A few more points on your piece. I’m very disappointed in you, seeing you repeating the anti-choice porky pie that France and Germany have a 12-week limit, so the UK should too. What these countries actually have is a law which allows abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, i.e. you go up to a doctor, say “I’d like an abortion”, then you have your abortion. After the 12 weeks, the legal situation resembles that of the UK: you have to jump through hoops, provide reasons, see more than one doctor.

The rest of your argument, I’m afraid to say, is a hot mess of appeals to authority. You’ve just listed the few people who agree with you who aren’t thoroughly objectionable, many of whom died centuries ago. I’m also rather baffled by the fact that you’re not ashamed to agree with Jeremy Hunt, a man who has what I like to call the Copro-Midas Touch. Literally everything that man touches turns to shit. Are you genuinely comfortable with agreeing with a man who hides in trees to avoid being seen by journalists?

You’re also repeating the tiresome “it’s a baby” myth. Again, I’m going to refer you to one of my sisters, because pretty much everyone’s already said what I want to say, but please read this heartbreaking post from Fearlessknits about life at 25 weeks gestation. “

Kelly Hills takes another tack:

“These rights are undermined when women are denied the freedom to decide whether and when to have children, and how many of them to have. Reproductive freedom is an essential part of women’s right to liberty. It is vital to both liberty and responsible moral agency that we be free to protect our health, to plan and shape our lives. So vital is this social good that wherever safe, legal and affordable abortion is unavailable, many women risk death, permanent physical injury, social disgrace and legal prosecution to end unwanted pregnancies.

Hasan argues, at the end of his article, that the biggest problem with the abortion debate is that it is asymmetrical, “the two sides are talking at cross-purposes”. But the biggest problem with the abortion debate is not that it is asymmetric – it is that one group, the anti-choice group, is attempting to force their views on everyone else. As a pro-choice woman, I am not interested in whether or not another woman is carrying a pregnancy to term or aborting, save in the case where the woman asks for my opinion or involvement. My pro-choice position is not pushing her to abort – not even if, in my opinion, it would be the best thing for her life. As I do not believe in forced pregnancy, I do not believe in forced abortion.

I believe in choice.”

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Myths About Rape For George Galloway, Todd Akin And Assange Supporters

By sad necessity this information from the CPS needs publishing a wider audience, including George Galloway, Julian Assange, Todd Akin, Craig Murray and many of Assange’s supporters

  • What is a “Myth”?

    A “Myth” a commonly held belief, idea or explanation that is not true.  Myths arise from people’s need to make sense of acts that are senseless, violent or disturbing.  They attempt to explain events, like rape and abuse, in ways that fit with our preconceived ideas about the world – they arise from and reinforce our prejudices and stereotypes.

    It is an unfortunate fact that myths about rape and sexual violence are brought into the jury room, and form an obstacle to obtaining convictions.  It is therefore imperative that we recognise these myths and challenge them at every opportunity.

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    Myth 1: Rape Occurs Between Strangers in Dark Alleys

    Implications:

    • implies that home is safe;
    • implies that rape can be prevented by avoiding certain places and therefore blames the victim;
    • assumes a particular victim profile and therefore stigmatises him or her; and
    • entrenches racial and class prejudices.

    Facts:

    • the majority of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim;
    • date or acquaintance rape is very common; and
    • victims are often raped in their homes.

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    Myth 2: Women Provoke Rape By The Way They Dress or Act

    Implications:

    • attempts to excuse rape and “blame the victim”;
    • assumes that a woman who draws attention is looking for sex or “deserves what she gets” ; and
    • re-victimises and stigmatises the victim.

    Facts:

    • dressing attractively and flirting is an invitation for attention and/or admiration, not for rape; and
    • only the rapist is responsible for the rape!

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