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The Permanent Fight For Reproductive Rights.

21 Sep

[This post is the English version of the one that has been written for “Mädchenmannschaft”  here (in german).]

Embryos are US citizens and citizens of the state in which they reside. They are entitled to the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; and no state is allowed to deprive them life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny them the equal protection of the laws.

If US Republicans had their way, this would soon be a constitutional reality in the States: the platform, on which the GOP decided a couple of weeks ago in Tampa, includes a so-called “human life” amendment that aims at defining fertilized eggs as actual “unborn children.” The GOP seeks to extend the civil rights defined in the 14th amendment for actual US citizens to blastocysts – a plan that isn’t news and has failed in Mississippi in 2011. Whereas the “personhood” amendment in the Magnolia State had been unconstitutional anyway (thanks to Roe v. Wade), the GOP is now actively trying to change the game by changing the federal constitution.

Ever since the US Supreme Court has legalised abortion when classifying it a matter or privacy and civil rights in Roe V. Wade in 1973, abortion is – in theory – legitimate up until a fetus’ viability. De facto, due to a multitude of additional regulations, abortions in the US are mostly performed until the 12th week of a pregnancy. The “human rights” amendment that has now been officially introduced, however, is just the highlight of Christian fundamentalists’ long-haul campaign to erode the Supreme Court’s verdict, and this campaign has been quite creative: conservatives (within and outside of official political structures) have sought to limit women’s* access to abortion clinics or even contraceptives like the “morning after pill,” they erected additional barriers by introducing mandatory counselling, unnecessary medical procedures (such as transvaginal ultrasounds) or waiting periods, tried (and, at times, succeeded) to cut funds to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and threatened or even murdered doctors and medical staff who performed abortions.

Given these blatant intimidation and punishment tactics towards people who seek abortions in the US, people in Europe seem to often overlook the obvious. For example: the mere fact that abortion isn’t even legal in germany.

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Feminism and (Catholic) Religion.

14 Jun

This post is probably a bad idea. It will actively offend many people. I will, in contrast to many of the posts I have read about the topic recently, also not qualify it by saying that “not all Catholics/Protestants/Christians are the same and you have to distinguish between their leadership and lay people”, because I do not think that’s true (which is the essential point of this post). And, basically, this is a post about why I think that Feminism (TM) shouldn’t touch (christian, or more specifically: Catholic) religion with a ten foot pole.

I will, however, say that I have mostly encountered the curious intertwining of Feminism and religious beliefs in non-European feminist debates, and while I think that monotheistic religions share the same set of androcentrism, the lack of knowledge and legitimacy to talk about other religions than Roman-Catholic christianity will make this a specifically focused post; and I will be happy to hear counter-examples from other monotheistic or polytheistic religions. I also understand that while I am not a religious person and find the combination of social justice and religion odd at best, people have a right to their own beliefs and ways to make their lives easier and/or find different sources of strength, so I am not judging people for being religious per se, but I am going to judge the hell (harhar) out of a certain religious institution, and out of members who claim they are feminists.

Given the different historical and sociological make-up of many European societies and the US, I have mostly come across US feminists who also defined themselves as religious, specifically christian. I found that combination striking, because it is not only the patriarchal and hierarchical structuring of christian churches that seem to counter every feminist theory and practice, but the underlying patriarchal belief system that, in my view, runs diametrically to every feminist core belief (ha!) one might have, no matter what kind of feminism you pursue.

I, as George Carlin famously said, was “Catholic until I reached the age of reason” (in my case: also, until I realized that all the sexism, essentialized gender roles, heterosexism, and racialized paternalism was propagated in my name, and that no one cared and it did not matter whether I agreed with it or not, because I was part of an association that based its whole belief system and organizational structure on it), and I think the Catholic church clarifies early on who is in real control of one’s body and soul – and that’s not yourself. God is male, Jesus was male, and the one woman* of importance in Catholicism, Mary, was a “virgin” and through immaculate conception gave birth to the most important protagonist – so we like her!

Other women*? Not so much… Eve is the reason all mankind has to suffer, Sarah is a prime example of sexual objectification, Rachel is essentially defined by her (in)ability to give birth, women* of certain power in the Bible are usually described as hot (well, to paraphrase ;)) and simultaneously manipulative (Jezebel), others are weak and dim-witted (Lot’s wife) or defiant and evil (Delilah), and, as my priest once told me, a woman* without “feminine warmth” is a close second to the devil.

But who can blame the bible? It is literature, written by men* of their times (and “their times” is a multitude of different centuries and eras, all rolled into one book). The problem, to me, is that Catholicism defines the bible as the actual word of God, and the word of God is, thus, pretty damned misogynistic.

The organizational make-up of the Catholic church is, therefore, very much consistent. Women* are not allowed to become priests or enter any real position of power, women* are not supposed to have autonomy over their own bodies (both birth control and abortion are sins, since procreation is the purpose of sex that is only to be practised in heterosexual marriage, and life begins at conception; no matter that actually 98 per cent of Catholic women* have used some form of “non-natural” birth control at least once in their lives), and the strictly hierarchical organization with its multitude of dependencies as well as the Catholic churches’ simultaneous obsession with and shaming of sexuality seems to be just one fraction in the massive cluster of sexual assault and rape of children by Catholic priests, and its subsequent deception by the Vatican.

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Show Yourselves Out.

17 Mar

What is it with “conservative” people? Not even the term does their political agenda justice, because it is not about the conservation or preservation of any “traditions” that have shown to work out well for most people, it is about pushing an agenda of discrimination against anyone and anything who/that does not comply with their world views and/or their personal preferences.  If it is about conservation and preservation, it is about the conservation and preservation of kyriarchy, of white supremacy, of sexism – paired with the goal of not only keeping discriminatory structures the way they are, but of actively furthering them.

There have been studies that tried to show that prejudices are actually linked to a lower IQ. Personally, I think those are crap. Clearly, a lack of education seems to result in ignorance many times. This does not mean, however, that people who have not had the privilege of higher education are automatically discriminatory in their behaviour (yay, classism!), and nothing could be further from actual reality than claiming that people who are well-educated or (self-proclaimedly…) smart are automatically “liberal” or anything the like in their way of thinking. Indeed, trying to put people into boxes according to simplified schemes, like this study does, seems to be exactly what conservatives do, and yet, a strategy the academics who conducted this study employ just as well.

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Too Much Incense Makes People’s Brains Go Fuzzy.

29 Jun

Joachim Cardinal Meisner, the arcbishop of Cologne, has always been known to be an asshat. Not only did he casually equate abortion to the Shoah in a sermon and revoke an openly gay priest’s license to teach in his diocese, he makes it a point to express the most reactionary filth on a monthly basis. Catholicism – always a  pleasure…

This time, Meisner continues his personal crusade against abortion (and women in general, obviously). Since the repetitive mumbling of canonised fairy tales isn’t cutting it anymore when it comes to defending the church’s disproportional influence on german politics, Meisner has picked a more recent topic, germany’s nuclear phase-out programme, to make a point about “unborn life” [sic].

He asserts that whoever may be occasionally wondering about the country’s social and ecological future should be more concerned with abortion than with, uh… well… little incidents like Fukushima or Chernobyl; abortion happens to be the ultimate “daily, secretive worst case accident” of our times, in his view. Make sense?

In his little quest to equate women to nuclear power and abortions to nuclear accidents (does that mean my uterus can actually split atoms? Awesome!), he goes on to say that nuclear power stations are completely safe – as opposed to women, I presume, who are just so darn hard to control these days and certainly cannot be trusted when it comes to decisions regarding their own lives and bodies.

Completely safe…? Tell that to the prefecture Fukushima in Japan. Or to Harrisburg in the US. Or to Prypjat, near Chernobyl, in the Ukraine. Or to Seascale, near Sellafield, in the UK. Or to Biblis in Hesse in germany (…where the atomic pile Biblis A nearly tried to kill me when I was three years old, living 2 miles away). Although I guess nuclear disasters do look rather “meh…” compared to the biblical apocalypse?

Eager to make an impression (and he does alright), Meisner moves on to spread the lie that 8 million fetuses were aborted in the last decades in germany, thus “more than ten class rooms are wiped out everyday.” Actually, the number of abortions performed in germany last year was 110,440, and it has been basically consistent since 1996 (when the infamous §218 concerning abortion in germany’s penal code was altered after the german reunification, regulating the requirements for impunity for abortions in certain circumstances). Hence, as a rough calculation, there were about 1.6 million abortions within the past 15 years. If I was mean, I would say that Meisner obviously isn’t in touch with reality much (duh!), and his math skills are not up to speed either.

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