Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Twisty Faster Is Fucking Insane.

Okay, I think this needs to be a recurring feature. Like Cosmocking! I never could resist a good fish in a barrel.

The funny thing about Twisty is that at least a third of the time I agree with what she says, while still being completely appalled at the way she says it. Like this post. I totally agree that ultrasounds should not be a prerequisite for abortions! I think that's a medically and morally unnecessary pain-in-the-ass law that shouldn't be passed. The only place where I part ways with Twisty is the part where she's crazy.

If they are given the opportunity (i.e. forced) to endure a fetus-screening (”Here’s baby’s precious little beating heart, here’s his adorable little brain stem …”), they will see the error of their ways and comply with the godbag mandate to shut up and be punished for the sin of fornication by incubating to term, followed by a lifetime of child-rearing drudgery.
A) Uh, I don't mean to sound like a "godbag" or nothing but human development really is pretty amazing and... gosh, I hope it isn't antifeminist to say that babies and fetuses are cute and a little bit awe-inspiring.

I feel like there's something in Twisty that's utterly resistant to shades of gray: in order to be pro-choice, you must feel that fetuses--indeed all children--are totally worthless and disgusting! You can't reluctantly support early-term abortion as a lesser evil, you have to be WOOO ABORTION I'D ABORT A TWO-YEAR OLD IF I COULD! Otherwise you're exactly the same as the godbags.

B)I honestly don't believe that even the godbaggiest of godbags wants to punish women. I really don't. I think that they either want to save fetuses, or they want to gain the approval of people who want to save fetuses.

And here's the black-and-white again: people who oppose me can't possibly think differently, they must be evil and hate me! That's the only possibility! It's positively paranoid.

Of course the megatheocorporatocracy’s conspiracy against pregnant women has always sought to control them through medical procedures.
No, a wide variety of individuals and institutions have used medical procedures to make pregnant women die less. Humans got kind of a shit deal on childbirthing, with our babies' heads just too damn big compared to our hips, and it's taken a lot of knowledge and technology to minimize the dangers associated with that. Sweeping it all away in a wash of "they really just want to control me" paranoia... damn.

I guess the weird part isn't that this woman exists, the weird part is that she has followers.

Nobody knows what the fuck they’re looking at when they see an ultrasound image of a fetus, but thanks to clever marketing by Medical Nation, it is widely touted as a sentimental bonding moment and has achieved the status of a cultural institution.
Ooh, anti-intellectualism always looks good on a feminist. "Hurf durf amazing technology giving stunningly clear views inside the body if you know how to interpret it, hurf durf that don't look like no photograph so I guess it's all just squiggles, hurffff." And, um, does it really take that much marketing to make people get warmfuzzies about seeing their baby for the first time? Seems like sort of a gimme...

The state colonization of the American uterus must end.
Abortion isn't just about uteruses. Abortion, pro or con, is also about fetuses.



EDIT: Of course, Twisty Faster's commenters are fucking insaner.

another thing–ultrasounds have not yet been proven safe–especially in the early stages of pregnancy. “nothing’s happened yet…” is the medical world’s guarantee of safety. so they want to force a procedure on a woman that could–in theory–damage the child? interesting.
A) Well, considering this is happening at abortion clinics, geez, does it really matter?

B) "Nothing's happened yet" (in many, many years when millions of ultrasounded babies have now grown to adulthood) is anybody's guarantee of safety. How do you know oranges aren't deadly poisonous? Nothing's happened yet.

in conservative societies like pakistan where there is no place for ‘illegitimate’ children and ‘illicit’ sexual relations are meant to kept hidden, this social anti-abortion mandate is absent. you can get abortions easily because pregnancy is not a medicalized institution. only the family (minus the children) and closest friends know about pregnancy and it doesn’t get out into the wider social circle. there are no regular scans and no ultrasound baby-mother bonding. there is no talk of the woman being ‘with child’, because the child is what happens after your pregnancy gets the social recognition. and this shows how ‘baby’ is a socially constructed concept, which is variable across societies.
But... abortion's illegal in Pakistan! Five minutes of Google, I tell ya, it's worth two hours of pomo deconstruction.

One of the other common rhetorical tactics of the anti-abortionist godbags (right after the “medical information” racket) is giving the kid up for adoption after birth. But why do the godbags support adoption at all? Wouldn’t that give women an out for the latter half of the godbag’s punishment? They won’t adopt the kid themselves when the woman is from certain minority groups, so it’s not to get extra Jesus soldiers. Do they expect Maury Povich to corner the woman in ten years to reunite her with a resentful biological child? What’s their scheme?
Their "scheme" is actually caring about the kid, and it's weird how you almost worked that out for yourself before retreating back into your paranoia comfy zone.

In fact, why not just go a step further and make all abortion services free? Well I think I know why.
Because doctors and nurses and drugs and facilities aren't free, durrr.

And there's a whole bunch of people kerfuffling about how a vaginal wand ultrasound is basically rape, because anytime anything goes in the vagina that's rape. Hell, in three to five days I'm going to have to rape myself with some tampons. Tonight if I get to bed early I might rape myself a little before turning in.

30 comments:

  1. "Humans got kind of a shit deal on childbirthing, with our babies' heads just too damn big compared to our hips, and it's taken a lot of knowledge and technology to minimize the dangers associated with that."

    Unfortunately, this isn't really true. Yes, medical technology does save some women but, statistically, a women (and baby) are safer being delivered outside of a hospital setting. Midwife attended home births, or birth center births, for low risk pregnancies have been shown to be safer than doctor supervised hospital births.

    Doctors tend to see an event as a possible complication until a good outcome is achieved. Therefore, they tend to look for possible problems and find them. Not because there are issues that are going to become problems but because if you look hard enough, you can see disaster in anything. Doctors are more likely to offer interventions which lead to comlications which lead to more interventions which lead to...well...you get the picture. Midwives, on the other hand, don't expect birth to follow some set guideline and are more open to variations and less likely to turn to interventions (forceps, pitocin, etc).

    Doctors are exactly the person to go to when you have a medical problem. Pregnancy is not, in most cases, a medical problem. It is a normal body function that works very well if not tinkered with.

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  2. June - Sort of. You actually have a point when it comes to uncomplicated births and low-risk pregnancies. I absolutely don't believe that everyone should give birth in a hospital attended by an MD. My friend's wife had a hippie waterbirth and it was a great experience for the family.

    However... not everyone is low-risk. If your baby is sideways or limb-first, or the placenta tears off the uterus, or the bleeding just won't stop--if you don't have access to a MD with an operating room you're most likely going to die. That's the sort of thing I feel like Twisty's being paranoid about. Not everyone needs the latest in modern technology applied to their birth, but when you need it, you really really need it.

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  3. You know, I agree, This Twisty person does seem a bit off the deep end, loosing her sanity in a rant...

    But the "shut up and be punished for the sin of fornication" bit, that rings really true for me.

    I do think the pro-lifers care about fetuses being incubated to term, but I honestly feel they also care in part to punish the 'dirty sinners', the ones having the babies out of wedlock, and the ones helping the women have abortions. They just seem to take a very hateful attitude to the whole process.

    And yes, you may like or love children, and think childbirth and rearing is great, but there are those of us that look on a life forced into that as a dreary hell. I'm never ever having children, and that's why. I could never do it. I think it's great if someone else wants to, it's just not for me. (<---see, not crazy). I'm just saying, there are those of us, who really do look at having to bear a child we don't want and spend the rest of our lives taking care of them with a cold horror.

    Like you however, I don't see any reason why ones personal stance on bearing children should affect their stance on abortion.

    For me, abortion is about a woman's choice to decide what is right for her and her body. I don't think any government has a right to decide for her, nor anyone else so wholy and unrelated to her. Within reason, you can't/shouldn't abort a 6-month old fetus of course, for example.

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  4. Like you, I doubt any "godbag" is so hateful as to view pregnancy as a punishment for sinful women. (At least, when it happens to a woman close to them.) But I do think they rationalise the hardships of bearing a child as a good, normative experience for the mother. Who hasn't heard "having a baby would be good for her, it might settle her down a bit." Certainly their main concern is with the foetus, but since most anti-abortionists are also against non-procreative sex, they probably consider accidental pregnancies to be good lessons in abstinence for the parents - and subtle warnings to other fornicators of the repercussions of casual sex - as well as miracles of creating life.

    That's my bit of devil's advocacy. I agree with you on everything else, Holly.

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  5. ...this shows how ‘baby’ is a socially constructed concept, which is variable across societies.

    Is there any way in which this is not a completely fucking insane thing to say?

    Societies without access to prenatal care tend not to make a big deal about pregnancy until an actual baby results because miscarriages and stillbirths are relatively common and it doesn't make a lot of sense to bond with a baby until you're reasonably sure it's going to live.

    That doesn't make it not a baby, though.

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  6. Speaking as a personally anti-abortion person (i.e. I will not DO one)--
    1. There's a big, BIG difference between a blastocyst and a three-month old fetus and one that can live outside of mom.
    2. I don't want to punish people for fornication. I would like them to consider that actions have consequences, and that there are other folks involved--particularly when the fetus gets older.
    3. I want there to be enough contraception and information so that the procedure of abortion is not needed.
    4. I think if you are willing to take on the responsibility of having sex, you need to think about what can happen, and take precautions. If an abortion is needed, get it done EARLY. And, hey--methods that prevent implantation are much preferable to post-implantation methods.
    5. As a guy, I'm sterile per a fertility clinic, but I've never had sex without a barrier method.
    6. "Pregnancy is not, in most cases a medical problem". Until it is. When it can be catastrophic. Antibiotics and OBs have done wonders for keeping women alive (Listeria, anyone)?

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  7. So, I rambled on over to Twisty's place after reading a bit here, and you are right, that woman is insane. Just for fun, you should take a look at some of her views on being an omnivore and an equestrian and other such sundry unrelated items.
    However, I think that there is a special sort of thinking in Texas that can drive someone to plant very deep philosophical roots and defend them no matter how logical the argument. Not saying that it doesn't exist elsewhere, but as a native of the Republic, it is what I was raised with.
    As for the abortion issue; while I am pro-choice and think it would be great if we could achieve something near zero population growth; I have to sort of agree with something Dennis Miller once said, "One dick, no vote."

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  8. But why do the godbags support adoption at all? Wouldn’t that give women an out for the latter half of the godbag’s punishment? They won’t adopt the kid themselves when the woman is from certain minority groups, so it’s not to get extra Jesus soldiers. Do they expect Maury Povich to corner the woman in ten years to reunite her with a resentful biological child? What’s their scheme?

    Oh my God! I see it now! The function of adoption is to fuel bad daytime TV! Wow, how did I not figure that out?

    I see commenter has never heard of the common practices of open adoption or trans-racial adoption. Or, apparently, foster care, international adoption, or adoption by single women, or met an adoptee.

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  9. I agree with everyone, Twisty's a little insane and prone to gross over-reaction, but:

    'I have to sort of agree with something Dennis Miller once said, "One dick, no vote."'

    Really? Yeah, you need a penis, at some point, to get pregnant, but the only person who is absolutely going to have to deal with the pregnancy and its effects on one's finances and health for all nine months is the pregnant woman. So I think it's apparent why women should be the only ones who get to choose whether or not to keep their pregnancies.

    Anyway: crazy. But I think some of it's just a reaction to the people who say they think zygotes are people, and while I don't think people are necessarily lying when they talk about protecting the lives of fetuses and whatnot, I really doubt they'd take a bullet for a blastocyst or a bunch of stem cells or whatever. People say some extremely ridiculous crap to counter other people's extremely ridiculous crap. Well, I do.

    But again: crazy.

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  10. braaaiiins,
    I agree with you. My interpretation (and isn't that always the problem) of that quote is that the ultimate decision does rest with the mother/host/whatever. Do I think that there should be discussion? Yes. But when it comes down to it, you are absolutely right; women should be the only ones who decide.

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  11. Mongo

    It is a woman's body, and certainly they should decide to have a baby or not. If they want financial support from the man for the next two decades, I think he should have a say too.

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  12. Aebhel - Radical feminism is sort of entwined with postpodernism, in which fuckin' everything is a social construct, which works very nicely I guess until the moment you step outside, defy the social construct of a "crosswalk", and are flattened by a speeding social construct.

    Braaaiiins - Extremists on both sides are crazy. Saying a zygote is a person is about as crazy as saying a viable eight-month fetus is a "lump of cells." I'm not Divinely inspired enough to tell you where the dividing line is, but it's definitely in between, yanno?

    Also, men are very often affected by the children they father--obviously it's easier for them to skip out but plenty can't or don't want to, and while I wouldn't feel comfortable giving them abortion veto power, I've gotta acknowledge that being a father isn't nothing.

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  13. Holly and ThatMongoGuy-

    I'm not saying fatherhood is nothing or anything retarded like that, I was just (accidentally) doing that idiotic humorless thing and reacting to what he seemed to be literally saying- that a man should have one "vote" of equal weight to that of a pregnant woman. Which is obviously retarded, and obviously not something he was seriously suggesting. But I still commented on it, for some reason.

    Also, I guess it doesn't matter which side started the "saying ridiculous crap about abortion that you can't really mean unless you're kind of deluded" game.

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  14. what Twisty was commenting on is a new policy someone is trying to insist on in Nebraska that REQUIRES a woman getting an abortion to LOOK at the picture from the UltraSound under the belief that if someone SEE THE PICTURE they will decide to not get an abortion.

    also, abortions are illegal in Pakistan. they are also INCREDIBLY cheap and easy to get. it is illegal to eat ice cream in Mass. on a sunday. everyone can eat all the ice cream they want a sunday. sometimes, the legality of something has no bearing on it's reality.

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  15. About a year ago, my girlfriend came up pregnant. This caused a bit of an issue: we were in a poly relationship, and none of us was ready to be a parent. She and I discussed it (never told the wife), and decided to have the abortion.

    I remember taking her to the clinic. I remember waiting there, while she had the procedure. And I remember leaving, feeling like I had left a part of me behind for some reason.

    The procedure ultimately ended the relationship. And I ask myself "what if?" every damn day.

    Twisty is a fucking moonbat of the first order. And gods forbid she find out exactly what she's preaching about firsthand, and the emotional trauma that goes with it.

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  16. Denelian - Um, yes. Yes, I do know what Twisty's post was about. I even agree with the gist of it. I just think that her wording and arguments are crazypants.

    Sometimes, the legality of a thing has a lot of bearing on whether you can do it safely, at will, and without fearing repercussions. Right now, a staggering 23% of Pakistani women who have abortions have complications requiring hospitalization. (Also, uh, I don't think Pakistan is a great place to hold up as superior in women's rights for like a lot of reasons.)

    Also, not that it's remotely relevant, but the ice cream thing isn't even true.

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  17. Strings - Yeah, that's what gets me; not being for abortion, but talking about it like it's easy and obvious. "Oh, just a lump of cells, doesn't even look like a baby, you just want to own the uterus"--it's like she's never met a human being.

    I'm fairly sure Twisty is a lesbian. Which definitely puts her in the "easy for you to say" category for a lot of the stuff she rants about.

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  18. Yeah... I'm certainly getting that impression. After all, I'm just part of the patriarchy, right?

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  19. I've mentioned before that I think you and Twisty are two of the more interesting bloggers I regularly read. It's clear neither of you see eye to eye on certain issues, but as you say you're more different in terms of, um, tone than substance. Except for heterosexuality which, whatever her orientation, she pretty clearly thinks has boy germs.

    Also, since she started it by smearing rude shit all over you I hardly think it's your responsibility to call a truce.

    But enough about Twisty.

    ---

    I'd like to push back a little on the idea that concern for the fetus is what the core anti-choice crowd is all about. But first I want to be clear that yes, there are a lot of the people you identify who really do just care about prospective children.

    I'd like to point out, though, that a significant number (significant in the sense that they're often the committed core of activist groups) are as bitterly opposed to even barrier forms of contraception, let alone hormonal and/or mechanical ones.

    Similarly, many of the hardest-core anti-choicers are *magnificently* hostile to public funding of maternal-health education, funding for prenatal care, adequate care during labor and delivery, and adequate care *after* the child is born. One could make the claim that no, they're merely opposed to "wasteful government spending," which would be fine except that they're often absolutely cheerful about government spending on abortion-blocking activities. This suggests it's not about spending, then, which leaves them merely anti-abortion but not at all pro-fetuses or babies.

    Continuing the anti-abortion not-equals pro-life theme, I've yet to meet, ever, anywhere an anti-choice activist who paid even lip service to the very real problems of miscarriage and stillbirth -- which (given that three in four pregnancies are wanted pregnancies) means they're indifferent to the stopping of a *wanted* beating heart.

    There's also the persistent opposition to legal exceptions to save the life of the mother, even when the fetus is doomed or already dead.

    The point being that while I'm prepared to believe most anti-choice people really are trying to balance the welfare of what they perceive to be two independent individuals during a pregnancy, the... let's call it malevolent indifference of anti-contraceptive types, of the types who are indifferent or antagonistic to proactive initiatives to protect fetal or post-delivery life, and of the types that seem downright enthusiastic about injury and death of women if their pregnancies are going badly... suggest why folks like Twisty get so apoplectic.

    The irony, of course, is that her brand of hard-core absolutism is only a mirror image of the absolutism of the anti-choice hard core. If both sides joined a millennialist cult that required vows of silence the rest of us could probably work something out we could all live with. Instead it's like they're pitching in to make the whole world like Pakistan, where abortion is neither legal, rare, nor safe.

    figleaf

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  20. Figleaf

    Yeah, it' like that whole "Partial birth" crap. Ever SEE a XIX century obstetrical kit? Forceps are the only thing used to get a living infant out of a uterus. The other instruments are to dismember and take out a dead, decomposing body before the mother dies.

    I'm not smart enough to draw the line, but I know that over 50% of first trimester pregancies miscarry. That failure to implant is VERY common, and fer crying out loud, barrier methods that prevent pregnancy are simplest, cheapest, and have the fewest side effects.

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  21. Figleaf - Aw, you're all mature and nice and stuff and you saw me being childishly snippy, I am shamed. :( On the other hand I can't be that guilty because whenever I start to think "shouldn't be too hard on the poor girl, she's a real person who could read this," I read the condescending, dismissive stuff she has to say about "fun feminists" and I don't feel so bad.

    I wasn't calling Twisty lesbian as a guess or presumption, I thought I'd seen her say as much at some point.

    As for the rest, there's stuff there I really don't understand. I've never had a conversation or been able to get inside the head of someone who believes contraception is wrong. I have no doubt there are some absolute fucknuts and woman-haters inside the movement, but I have difficulty believing that they're really the driving force behind it. I think (hope?) that the majority of abortion opponents, the people who give it political weight, are more moderate.

    I also think that failure to work on preventing miscarriages and the like is more often an oversight of a less glamorous issue than a conscious "we care about this but not that" decision.

    (Incidentally, even though I think I've been using them myself, the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" always kinda bugged me--everyone likes life and everyone like choice, it's abortion they're for or against.)

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  22. Hey, like I said, Twisty jumped shitty with you first and you're as real a person as anybody else. So it's hard to feel too ashamed if you jump back.

    The "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels have an interesting history. Before and right after Roe was handed down people were pretty proud to call themselves, correctly, "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion." You wouldn't know it to hear people talk today but when it came down it was actually a pretty popular decision... with the result that anti-abortion activists tended to get about the same attention and respect as anti-vivisectionists or advocates for returning to the gold standard. Some time in the late 1970s or early 80s they made a calculated marketing move and rebranded themselves, inaccurately I think, "pro-life" because that focus-grouped extremely well. And once they did it really did work, bringing in all kinds of people who, as you say, feel comfortable identifying as "pro-life." A few years later, and mostly due to the considerable extra pressure, the pro-abortion side rebranded themselves as pro-choice.

    The difference, I think, is that whereas "pro-life" is a bit inaccurate since both their origins and intent is single issue, the term "pro-choice" is actually more accurate: pro-choice activists tend to deplore forced abortions in, say, China, as thoroughly as they defend chosen abortion rights here. Because whereas not everybody who's anti-abortion is actually pro-life, there really aren't very many people at all who are "pro-abortion." (Except maybe a handful of Twisty's commenters who, really, are sometimes just straight up out of control.)

    About the miscarriage/stillbirth thing, when I bring that up with activists who say they're "pro-life" they generally say stuff like "well, if you saw someone was about to be murdered in the street wouldn't you do something to prevent it?" As if I'd stroll on my merry way if they were merely choking on a piece of food, collapsing while clutching their chest.

    And finally, my experience with face-to-face contact is that no, for a lot of those guys it's *not* about abortion, it's about fornication. And racism/classism (you wouldn't believe how many people believe only "ghetto" women have abortions or say shit like "well of course *I'm* here because *I* was just unlucky, not irresponsible like *those* people.")

    figleaf

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  23. "Twisty Faster Is Fucking Insane"

    Classy!

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    1. You are the definition of classy, Twisty.

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  24. Twisty - Aren't we both? I'm speaking here as a "toilet," of course.

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  25. Ha!

    If only you lived in Rattlesnake. I'd like to buy you a beer.

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  26. Hey! You called me crazy!

    I'm talking about the comment which mentioned Pakistan. I live here darling, and I know that abortion is illegal. What Google didnt tell you was that there is no law enforcement in Pakistan of matters which are seen to be in the domain of 'the family', which as an institution is much stronger here in Pakistan. In Twisty's idiom (which I understand why you detest), it could be said that the uterus is family-owned rather than State-owned. NGOs in Pakistan have reported on the large number of abortions that occur here, and they also claim that much of it goes unrecorded.

    So basically, if a family decides to go for an abortion to say protect the family's honour, nothing else matters, not the law, not the mother's safety, and certainly not any notions of 'the baby wanting to be born'. Actually, I've lived through a rather horrifying family drama around just such an abortion.

    You completely missed my point - I was talking about the social mandate, and the way people think about babies and abortions. And seriously - social constructivism is not pomo-ism. It's an established method of analysis in Sociology, and in Gender Studies.

    You're right about Twisty not allowing for shades of gray. She seems to think all penetrative sex is rape, and makes fun of anal. As a gay bottom, I am seriously offended by that. But I do think polemicists like her are important - she fights the patriarchy with a patriarchal vigor, not compromising the force of her arguments by attention to shades of gray.

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  27. @braaaiiins,
    Please stop using the word 'retarded'. There is no need for ableism on this thread, or anywhere else.

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  28. No, the right wing wants to punish women for fucking, not save babies. Note that the largest anti-abortion organizations are also anti-contraception. Even the ones that aren't Catholic.

    Ergo, what they want is negative consequences for sex. QED.

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  29. "And there's a whole bunch of people kerfuffling about how a vaginal wand ultrasound is basically rape, because anytime anything goes in the vagina that's rape."

    Anytime anything *unwanted* goes in the vagina, that's rape!

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