Hi I talk & write about gender absurdities in media, politics, religion and pop culture, because I've pretty much had as much misogyny as I can take without my head flat out exploding from the idiocy. Still, whenever possible, I would really rather laugh than cry while thinking about it.

So. Can we talk about SPERM yet?



Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

New stories this week:

"Bad Eating Habits Start in the Womb." 

"Woman Sedated. Child Taken From Womb by Social Services."

Woman, Lied To, Almost Dies When Denied Care at Catholic Hospital

So. Can we talk about SPERM yet? 

"Bad Daddy" sperm hurts developing fetuses and has lifelong health impacts on offspring. (1,  2,  3)

  • Scientists are focused on epigenetics and the inheritance of sperm. Stress, trauma, toxic exposure, compromised nutrition and more all affect sperm and all can manifest themselves as INHERITABLE  TRAITS. Even emotional distress experienced by men is expressed as an inheritable characteristic in his offspring.
  • According to a multi-generational study of more than 1,000,000 people in Sweden, the children of men who are older than 50 are more than twice as likely to be autistic.After the man is 55 the likelihood of autism increases to 4.4 times.  In a 2006 Michael Gantz, of the Harvard School of Public Health and author of the book Understanding Autism: From Basic Neuroscience to Treatment (CRC Press, 2006) estimated that “$35 billion annual societal cost for caring for and treating people with autism likely underestimates the true costs.”
  • They also have a greater propensity to suffer from inherited bi-polar disorder and to be schizophrenic.  A 2002 study, The Economic Burden of Schizophrenia in the United States, estimated the costs of this debilitating illness to be “$62.7 billion, with $22.7 billion excess direct health care cost ($7.0 billion outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, $8.0 billion long-term care).”
  • It’s also not just that there is an increased risk of illnesses like bi-polar disorders, critical genetically-borne abnormalities, autism and schizophrenia. Pregnancies resulting from sperm of men older than 35 are significantly more likely to result in spontaneous termination of pregnancies. The Wall Street Journal, in a move sure to scare the lights out of its core readershipreported that the rate of miscarriage more than doubled for men over 30 and increased by 75% for men over 40. A longitudinal study of nearly14,000 women ”found that the risk of miscarriage to expectant mothers was 60 per cent higher when the father was aged 40 or over compared to when he was 25-29 years old.”

And so….we are electing people inclined to penalize women for the outcomes of their pregnancies. An entire political party has a state-by-state “personhood for fetuses” agenda. 

If a man over 35 has unprotected sex that results in a pregnancy with a much higher chance of spontaneous miscarriage, should society question his intent like Iowa did Christine Taylor’s when she slipped down her stairs and was arrested, investigated and imprisoned for attempted feticide?

Men over 35 having unprotected sex resulting in pregnancy significantly increase costs to society. Is it morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations through tax breaks and religious exceptions that provide support for men who use Viagra and procreate after 35? Or, instead, are we all supposed to pay in obscene “disabled children are punishment for sins" manner espoused in 2010 by yet another ”sorry I misspoke” Republican state legislator?

Well, what about criminalizing harmful insemination with malice of forethought? Or, forcibly stopping older men from reproducing? South Dakota’s 2011 House Bill 1171 proposed making homicide justifiable if the person committing it does so to stop any attempted harm to an unborn fetus. 

For ten years, Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican state legislator in Georgia proposed a bill that would would make all abortions, described as “prenatal murder,” illegal and would make it necessary for women to prove that their miscarriages were entirely “natural” and did not include “any human involvement whatsoever.” “Anyone,” meaning “ANYWOMAN,” convicted would face the death penalty or life behind bars by the terms of his bill.  What if that human involvement was sex with a 55-year old man? A woman in Georgia might have to think seriously hard about prison fashion before having sex with an older man. 

Miscarriage, autism, schizophrenia and more are what conservative personhood-crazy legislators call “bad pregnancy outcomes.” According to personhood logic (oxymoronic to be sure), fetuses die because  older men selfishly have sex without thinking of the consequences of their actions. The illogical, philosophically, scientifically, ethically and bioethically spurious personhood agenda leads to this conclusion: men over 35 should not be having children. So, will conservative legislators, at least 87% if whom are men, most over 35, turn on themselves to legislate against fetal harm?

Fat democracy-crushing patriarchal chance. 

People really have to stop thinking of girls and women’s bodies as public resources and treating them like production facilities. 

We don’t live in a “Catholic country,” but we do live in a country, one of six including Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Vatican City and the small island nations of Nauru, Palau, Tonga, that won’t ratify CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), where an entire political party wants to extend 14th amendment rights to fertilized eggs, and where U.S. Catholic Bishops are adamant in their refusal to comply with the law.

How ‘Personhood for Zygote’ laws endanger all women

Complete article and three critical videos here: Please share regarding the dangers to women of ‘personhood for zygote’ bills.  Lots of people are unaware of the ramifications of these bills and laws. 

Most women (and their spouses), whether personally comfortable with abortion or not, don’t automatically think about whether or not they might end up in jail, arrested while in labor or strapped to a hospital bed to undergo a forced Caesarian when they get pregnant.Laura Pemberton certainly didn’t before it happened to her. And what happened to her could just as easily happen to you or a girl or woman you know as a result of the insidious expansion of the “personhood" for zygote movement.

In December of last year, while you were working or food shopping or working out or reading to your kids, Republican presidential candidates quietly signed Personhood USA’s Personhood Pledge promising to pursue an amendment to the Constitution that would protect the full inalienable “personhood” rights of zygotes by extending the protections of the 14th Amendment to fetuses from the moment of conception and outlawing any medical technology or practices that inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg.

In addition to creating a petri dish for criminalizing pregnant women, personhood legislation, both overt or disguised, bans most forms of birth control (including pills and IUDs) and in vitro fertilization. Yes, many of these bills outlaw birth control and shut down fertility clinics. The treatment of dangerous ectopic pregnancies becomes a matter of possible imprisonment for doctors and life or death for women experiencing them.

By signing this agreement, these presidential candidates, and those who support the extreme and unprecedented personhood-for-zygotes-based bills in state legislatures, are pledging to do the following:

1. Give the government the right to seize a woman’s body to protect a fetus
2. Empower hospitals and doctors, with government support, to force a woman to bear a child and/or have a cesarean or other medical procedures against her will
3. Criminalize abortion (including all circumstances: rape, incest, life-threatening pregnancy, severe fetal deformity) and certain miscarriages
4. Criminalize stillbirths in some situations (who decides which?)
5. Treat all women of reproductive age as potentially pregnant with related consequences

And, although Mitt Romney did not sign the pledge, when specifically asked during a television interview if he supported its measures his answer was “Absolutely.” (This link, by the way, is also a useful video for illustrating the effects of his ringing endorsement.)

Most people are simply too busy with daily life to pay attention to what radical, personhood-based ideas mean if applied to either themselves or their female partners when they get pregnant. Two weeks ago, after a related post about the ongoing assault on women’s rights, I realized how many people had questions about how the “personhood for zygotes” movement could be real and growing in the United States. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, and you don’t have time to read this post — take time to watch these three videos. Put aside culture war language that deliberately and superficially pits ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ people against one another and consider the following: The women and families in these videos, many of whom oppose or opposed abortion, came, too sadly, to understand through horrific personal experience why “choice” is actually about freedom.