Are Anti-Abortion Groups Trying to Keep Women Away From the Polls?

14.07.2011 § Leave a comment

From Mother Jones:

Wisconsin held a special election on Tuesday, the first round of voting in the recall elections spurred by this spring’s union battle in the state. But some voters in Wisconsin received an automated “robocall” from Wisconsin Right to Life on Monday—the day before the election—informing them that they would be receiving an absentee ballot application for the upcoming recall elections in the “next few days” and urging them to use that form to vote by mail.

A source working on the special election provided Mother Jones with a recording of the voicemail, which the source believes was designed to confuse voters and keep them from the polls on Tuesday. Here’s the transcript of the message:

Hello, this is Barbara Lyons from Wisconsin Right to Life. I’m calling today to let you know that you will be receiving an absentee ballot application for the upcoming recall elections in the mail in the next few days. These recall elections are very important and voting absentee will ensure that your vote is counted and that we can maintain a pro-family, pro-life state senate. We hope that we can count on you to complete that application and send it back to us within 7 days. Thank you for your support. Wisconsin Right to Life can be reached by calling (877) 855-5007.

Lawrence Norden, the deputy director of the democracy program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, stopped short of deeming the robocall an attempt at voter suppression. But it’s clear the call’s script had the potential to confuse and mislead voters, Norden said. “To me it reads confusing enough that it could lead people to believe that they didn’t have to vote on Tuesday and that they could be getting something in the mail to vote absentee,” he argued. “It’s troubling that a confusing message like this would go out the day before an election.”

Full article here.


Patriarchy is not a dwindling vestige of pre-capitalism: another example

02.04.2011 § Leave a comment

Article showing that female feoticide/infanticide/sex selection is NOT linked to “backwardness”, to poverty, to illiteracy — that rural and “tribal” societies (dunno how that’s defined) have much less female infanticide than urban and non-tribal societies. Communities with much higher levels of technology also have much higher disparities in their “child sex ratio”.

The 2011 numbers show that the states with the worst child sex ratio (CSR) are not the most backward: the prosperous agrarian states of Haryana and Punjab bear that ignominy with the neighbouring industrial hubs ofDelhi and Chandigarh only slightly better. Uttar Pradesh has a better CSR than Maharashtra and Gujarat, while Bihar betters the national average. Since the CSR counts the number of girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six, this is one trend that cannot be explained away by high out-migration.

Within states, rural areas tend to have a better CSR than urban areas… also the top 10 districts for literacy in UP had a CSR of 887 compared to the bottom 10 for whom the number was 937, a difference of 50. The same trend prevailed in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Haryana and West Bengal.

sure don’t know what “backwardness” means here, but nonetheless:

he 150 most backward districts of India, as identified by the central government, had far better CSRs than the rest, according to the 2001 census — they had an average of 947 as against 921 for the rest.

Details here.

The Black Anti-Abortion Movement; Killability; Black Women’s Historic Pro-Abortionism

30.03.2011 § Leave a comment

Interesting article from colorlines about the black anti-abortion movement — totally fraught, but some nice historical points:

In 1941, the National Council of Negro Women became the first national women’s group to endorse birth control. Prominent female political figures in the black community came out against the rhetoric of their male counterparts when it came to reproduction. “Black women have the right and the responsibility to determine when it is in the interest of the struggle to have children or not to have them and this right must not be relinquished,” declared Frances Beal, head of the Black Women’s Liberation Committee of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil right movement…

More broadly, there is the crucial point that criminalizing abortion actually poses a greater threat to the African-American lives. Before the procedure was legalized, “Illegal abortion was the cause of 25 percent of the white women’s deaths due to pregnancy, 49 percent of the black women’s, and 65 percent of the Puerto Ricans’,” as Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress and a strong supporter of reproductive rights, wrote in her memoir. In addition, the legalization of abortion resulted in significant improvements in maternal and fetal mortality rates. “Maternal mortality in New York City dropped by more than half during the first year [abortion was legal], to an all-time recorded low. Infant mortality also dropped to a new low,”

The article ends up just caving into The Standard Non-Analysis. While really there are so many continuities to follow. excluding the young lords, almost every single nationalist poc group in the sixties held this exact same line. women of color have historically not only lacked reproductive control, but things would happen where they’d go to the hospital and come out without a uterus. to be black is to be killable. (See Wilderson)

obviously, the article frames this campaign has completely ideological, having to do with a woman (wtf is that?!)’s right to her ‘own’ fleshsack. but is there a way that we can take these histories into account and develop a more rigorous position or critique?
Important is the smothering of radical black  feminisms. Diane K Lewis wrote in a 1977 footnote:
“A 1972 Poll showed that black women were more sympathetic than white women to efforts to upgrade women’s status in society (62 % to 45 % respectively) and that black women were also more supportive than white women of the attempts by women’s liberation groups to do so (67 % and 35%, respectively)”

more on MALE SABOTAGE of birth control, the myth of the “femme fertile”

16.03.2011 § Leave a comment

Leyla W. couldn’t figure out where her birth control pills kept going. One day a few tablets would be missing; the next, the whole container. Her then-boyfriend shrugged and said he hadn’t seen them. She believed him—until she found them in his drawer. When she confronted him, he hit her…

Despite his role in getting her pregnant, when Leyla decided she did not want to have an abortion, her boyfriend did a 180, screaming at her belly that he didn’t want the baby to live, threatening to “kick the baby out” of her stomach and even, one day, pushing her down a flight of stairs…

— From a really fascinating article over at the Nation,  “When Teen Pregnancy is No Accident”. Artfully shows that this insane abusive practice of sabotaging birth control is NOT about becoming fathers even at all! but about “control”:

Their goal: not to settle down as family men but rather to exert what is perhaps the most intimate, and lasting, form of control. (“Control” may also include attempts to force both pregnancy and abortion, even in the same relationship.)

It seems like this sets in relief really one of the biggest and most difficult questions for those of us trying to systematically understand patriarchy (that is, racial, patriarchal capitalism, or what have you) — how incredible it is that a social system can produce with such consistency these kinds of individualized control practices – can so regularly create men who are compelled to exert this kind of control in the most intimate of realms on women in their lives. It is not natural, it is not biological, but nonetheless has structured our lives so, so, so meticulously.

Leyla’s story turns a modern fable on its head: that of the woman—call her the femme fertile—who conspires to get pregnant, perhaps by “forgetting” to take her birth control pills, as a way to “trap a man” and force marriage—or at least keep him in her life. In reality, experts researchers on dating violence and unintended pregnancy say, it’s Leyla’s version of that story is all too common. Two new studies have quantified what advocates for young women’s health have observed for years: the striking frequency with which it is in fact young men who try to force their partners to get pregnant.

quite convenient that there hasn’t been made the FUCKING OBVIOUS connection between the abortion/reproductive rights crap and this crap. Like its always about ‘women dont have access to contraception or sex ed” and crap like that, but what about straight up male sabotage? that doesn’t sound so Planned Parenthood quotable.

fucking crap.

finally: this article barely mentions race&class, and  implies that perhaps this practice is cross-cutting and not confined to any particular demographfuckitic group. noteworthy


Comrade Suzyx comments further here.

“Then challenge them to make cup cakes that represent how they feel about the unborn.”

28.02.2011 § Leave a comment


Cupcake Ideas

No matter what the cause is, everyone wants a cupcake!



Bake cupcakes and bring them to your homeroom…

Hand them the cupcakes and ask people if they would like to see what an abortion looks like. If they say yes show them a picture of an aborted baby. These can be downloaded and printed from the internet. Just put the word Abortion into google and hit “images” and you will see abortion in full color. Burn an image onto a C.D. and then take it to staples to be printed on photo paper. Please don’t show anyone who does not want to see it, and also don’t show anyone under 13. (Note: this type of pro-life activism is not for everyone so don’t feel like you need to do this to participate in National Pro-Life cupcake day.)


Invite some teenage girls over to bake the cupcakes then in your kitchen. Educate them about pregnancy and abstinence. Then challenge them to make cup cakes that represent how they feel about the unborn. Then have them take the cakes to their school and hand them out.


Some theories on the abortion conspiracy

26.02.2011 § 3 Comments

(1) Ideological Battle; (2) Control of the Labor Supply; (3) Capital-as-hierarchical-gender-divide

She’s a Marxist recently broke down some of the different positions on “why all the crackdown on reproductive rights?” (full article here: Abortion Banned in Us = Capitalism’s best Interest?). She gives us two possible positions:

(1) First position: This is an ideological fight between the right and centrist social forces within the ruling class. I think this is the most common position within the left (at least that I’ve heard). It assumes that this issue is purely ideological. It assumes that the battle over abortion is at its heart dictated by ideological interests being battled out within the ruling class.

She’sa is right fucking on the money here, critiquing this position, which we’ll call “Ideolgical Battle”, for the vapid suggestion that capital doesn’t really give a fuck one way or the other about what happens to women’s reproductive rights –

I think this position assumes Capital processes (M-C-M) are fundamentally sex/gender/race blind, and thus, Capital acting in its most truest interests is ruthlessly pragmatic and not really hemmed in by ideological interest in any one religion, race, nationality, gender, etc. It wants profit and profit don’t have no gender, race or religion.

She’sa continues to argue for an alternative position,

(2) Second possible position:… different factions of capital have more than just an ideological interest in the outcome of this fight, since the issue [of reproductive rights] critically affects the make-up of the labor force in the U.S. which has an impact on capital here and abroad.

This argument, the “Control of labor pool” argument, that capital is interested in controlling women’s reproduction centrally in order to control the reproduction of labor power, control the labor pool, the reserve army, etc, is an important one. And She’s A Marxist’s intervention, that “concerns about the family, and concerns about gender are not just ideological concerns. They are directly and critically related to the labor needs of capital,” is totally essential and should be tatt’d on the asses of whatever marxists haven’t gotten that yet, but there still seems something more we can say about this.

(3) The nothing offers a third position (in hopes of more to follow): that regardless of what kind of labor pool capital wants (and it is very uncertain whether capital actually moves to produce the kind of labor pool it ‘wants’, or if its even clear what it ‘wants’), capital will constantly be pressing more restrictions and violences on womens bodies whenever it can, because the gender distinction is a constitutive presupposition of capital, and controlling women’s reproduction and perpetrating violence on womens bodies and  is the construction of woman-as-category, is the construction of the gender division.

In other words, capital could give a whatwhat about how many people are in its reserve army (LIKE HELLO THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY RIGHT NOW, SO NOW YOU HAVE EGYPT AND WISCONSIN), it STILL will oppress women. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT CAPITAL IS. Capital (amongst other things) a new form, a most distilled and systematic form, of patriarchy, which contains as an inherent part, the subordination of women to men. Any attempt to explain attacks on women from capital is to say “capital could just be nice to women, why’s  it being so mean?” But the truth is, it won’t ever be nice to women-as-class.

The reproduction of an increasingly heirarchical gender divide, which is the central cumulative affect of making abortion illegal, is really awesome for capital NOT ONLY IN THAT IT PRODUCES BABIES, but in that THE MORE SERIOUS THE GENDER DIVIDE, THE MORE WOMEN CAN BE EXPLOITED BY CAPITAL, both in the wage-relation, and in unpaid reproductive labor. And capital is FOUNDED on and REPRODUCED BY this hyperexploitation of women, as compared to men.

Silvia Federici has thrown in some chips on the question. In an interesting way, she sets up premises which would move her toward position three, but she seems to throw down position two..

On the positive side, the discovery of reproductive work has made it possible to understand that capitalist production relies on the production of a particular type of worker, and therefore a particular type of family, sexuality, procreation, and thus to redefine the private sphere as a sphere of relations of production and a terrain of anticapitalist struggle. In this context, policies forbidding abortion could be decoded as devices for the regulation of the labor-supply, the collapse of the birth rate and increase in the number of divorces could be read as instances of resistance to the capitalist discipline of work. The personal became political and capital and the state were found to have subsumed our lives and reproduction down to the bedroom

find rest of article over at comrade caring labor

New billboard up in SOHO says that black women’s wombs are dangerous.

23.02.2011 § Leave a comment

Part of nationwide push of the argument that abortion is racist. Surreal argumentative style. This trend recently caught like WILDFIRE and became a really mainstream tactic.

The website is

Rolling phrases on the website’s top bar are:

“Life. Then, Death.”

“God giveth life. Man taketh it away.”

“Heartbeat stops. Hearbreak begins.”

and, a Nothing favorite:

“Spend your nights crying like a baby, with no baby to comfort you.”

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