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Florida’s Abortion Follies:
When Lawmakers Are Sexual Predators

| May 16, 2010

Jurgen Klauke autoerotic projetions

Jurgen Klauke's Autoerotic Projections (1985)

Sexual predators aren’t just the monsters who assault and rape. They can also be men who control women and girls by subordinating them not just to their physical desires, but to their moral assumptions, which usually have immoral results. They’re men who, by dint of physical, spiritual, economic or political power — fathers, priests and ministers, bosses, legislators — presume to know what women want, how they should behave, to whom they should submit, what rights they may be denied. Women aren’t above doing men’s bidding. But they tend to be the exception that proves the rule in a society where women’s rights are still younger than the first computer mouse, and nowhere near a done deal.

Just 28 of America’s 1,000 largest companies are run by women. That’s less than 3 percent. Houses of worship are still mostly a man’s game. And Congress and state legislatures are overwhelmingly dominated by men, a reflection of an electorate still more sexist than not when it comes to electing women. There are just 17 women in the U.S. Senate and 78 in the House of Representatives, or 18 percent in a country where men are the largest single minority. State legislatures are barely better, at 24 percent, the ratio in Florida’s Legislature. The results aren’t necessarily better.

The Sunday Column

Which brings us to the latest example of men as predators in Florida. Their victims in this case are women and girls and their conscience. Hours before the Florida Legislature ended its 2010 session, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that forbids women to have a first-trimester abortion without first paying for an ultrasound and either hearing what their innards sound like or, worse, being forced to hear a doctor lecture them about what’s in their body. Florida law already requires ultrasounds for abortions after the three months of pregnancy, but more than 90 percent of 100,000 abortions performed every year take place during the first trimester.

Just one female senator voted for the bill in the Senate, 14 female House members did, 13 of them Republican. In other words, a piece of legislation that applies exclusively to women and girls passed with just 9 percent of votes from female lawmakers. The same lawmakers forbade women to use health care reform’s coming mechanisms to pay for abortions, even if tax dollars aren’t involved. So not only are lawmakers blind to a primary cause of abortions — financial stress — they’re also the first obstacles to more decent social services that would reduce the needs for abortions. Afghanistan’s legislature has more honorable votes than that when it comes to crushing women’s rights. The bill is sitting on Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk.

It is almost inconceivable that Crist would not veto it. He just got done vetoing infamous Senate Bill 6, which would have busted the state’s teacher unions and reduced the profession to something on par with Disney hotel maids. Crist won over a big segment of the women vote with that veto, setting up his sling-shot to viable independent status as a candidate. He’s not about to demolish that success by alienating the same voting bloc with a veto of the abortion bill. The only people who’ll use that veto against him are the mullahs of  the right who turned anti-Crist against their old darling anyway the moment he quit the tea-stained GOP.

All that is beside the point. Even if Crist doesn’t veto the bill, the courts will demolish it. But larger questions remain. Republican men who preach against government intrusion all day long have no problem getting between a woman’s legs, getting between a woman and her doctor, and worst of all, replacing a woman’s conscience with the fraud of their piety. They shroud the fraud in the emotionally appealing crusade against baby killing. But that’s bunk. No one knows when life begins — not in the first trimester or the third. Not doctors, not priests, not judges, and certainly not lawmakers. Let’s not confuse conscience with conjecture.

No one is arguing that abortions are desirable. They’re not even a “choice.” Abortions are a last, dismal resort. Women bear that burden enough, and alone because men will never know that pain. Anti-abortion laws such as Florida’s ultrasound folly aren’t about easing women’s burdens or even educating them (sex-education curriculums are failing that grade on their own). They’re about punishing women and girls after the fact and nailing dignity on the altar of false morals. And they’re about aborting something else a dwindling but powerful minority of American men revile: the growing rights of women. Men are on the losing end of that battle. But they’re going down swinging, because scorched earth retreats are the trademarks of barbarians. And barbarians are nothing if not, first and foremost, predators.

Pierre Tristam is the editor of Reach him here.

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9 Responses for Florida’s Abortion Follies:
When Lawmakers Are Sexual Predators”

  1. Ken says:

    Compromise on the abortion issue seems impossible.
    If you believe a fetus (regardless of its age) is not a human being, it follows that society should have no right to force a woman to carry a fetus to term.
    If you believe a fetus is a human being, it follows that abortion is murder.
    We may strongly disagree with someone’s views on abortion but if their view is based on whether or not they believe the fetus is a human bein, we must be tolerant of their view.

  2. Pierre Tristam says:

    No issue with tolerating anybody’s views Ken. Views are great. But this isn’t about views. This is about a law that would impose a particular view on women, forcibly and, like an assault, without their consent.

  3. elaygee says:

    Take a 2 month old fetus and remove it from the womb of any woman willing to do it. See if it lives, even with medical support. If it doesn’t, abortion permitted for 2 month old fetuses. Let me know at what term they absolutely live and then cut off abortion at that date.

    Unless if can live on its own outside the womb, it isn’t a self sustaining human and is not a person.

    People can believe anything they like but they have no right to have their religious beliefs govern my life too.

  4. Ken says:

    How could a person who believes a fetus is a human being not view abortion as murder and thus outlaw it?

  5. Tina says:

    Have any of these legislators had to endure the emotional trauma and indignity of a decision about abortion? Let’s try to remember the adage about walking in another’s mocassins.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey Tim, are you against war, also?

  7. Robin says:

    Thank you, Pierre, for telling it like it is- this bill has nothing to do with protecting “life” and everything to do with controlling and punishing women. If we were really concerned with protecting life we would not be spending billions of dollars every month to kill People in Iraq and Afghanistan. And guess what? Some of the people that we have killed in those countries were pregnant women!! Why are the anti-choice people
    not protesting these wars?
    This Draconian bill must be vetoed by the Govenor. It is unconstitutional.

  8. Ellen Stanford says:

    Women who go for an abortion are ALREADY paying for an ultrasound, as every procedure is preceded by one to determine the fetal age. Normally, an abortionist denies the woman the view of the ultrasound, because they know that would have an impact on the woman’s decision to continue with a procedure that takes her developing child’s life. Giving the woman the right to view her ultrasound and the obligation of the abortionist to show it to her seems like good medical practice to me. You wouldn’t have a potentially dangerous procedure without knowing all the facts and the abortion industry should not be exempt from this either. Christ was wrong in his decision, and I for one will not vote for any candidate who does not uphold the rights of the unborn.

  9. J.J. Graham says:

    “The tea-stained GOP.” Pierre you’re a hoot. Looks like the tea-stain may spill on the wife-beater with this one.

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