Anti-abortion arguments are increasingly secular, but remain unconvincing and misogynistic

Any ideology that grants embryonic or fetal “right to life” is dangerous for women and girls.

The more I think about this secular pro-life argument, the more it strikes me as not merely misogynistic, but also deeply nihilistic and life-hating. Can the Georgia legislature think of no relevant differences between an embryo and a mother that might give the latter more value? If “the full value” of a human life is imparted by mere presence of a heartbeat, Georgia is saying that a person’s relationships, thoughts, emotions, and perceptions are worth nothing in comparison.

Any ideology that grants embryonic or fetal “right to life” is dangerous for women and girls. Abortion restrictions kill women. They compel women to stay in violent and dangerous relationships.

Pro-lifers have always told us that pro-choice feminists do not respect the “sanctity of human life.” In reality, we are the ones in this debate who know what makes human lives meaningful and valuable. As we continue the fight for women’s reproductive rights, we must be clear: abortions are not merely permissible. They are not an evil act we must grudgingly tolerate. Rather, abortion is a moral and responsible act that we must defend as an essential aspect of women’s rights.

Source: Anti-abortion arguments are increasingly secular, but remain unconvincing and misogynistic

Child support: ‘When we interview women, they cry and cry and cry’

The Child Support Agency was established in 1988 in the wake of Bob Hawke’s declaration that “no child shall live in poverty”. Initially the Australian Tax Office collected and enforced payments, before the scheme was handed over to the Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Services – which complainants can find themselves bouncing between.

Kay Cook, associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Swinburne University, says: “The tax office never wanted to deal with child support. It viewed its role as collecting income, not dispersing private income. That’s sort of the problem that child support has always had, that it’s private money being transferred, rather than public money.”

Cook’s research includes analysis of child support systems in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. “In Australia we’re really cheeky in that single parents’ family tax benefits are typically calculated on how much child support they expect a parent to receive, not so much on how much they actually receive,” she says. “The government gets the savings of reducing family tax benefits so there is no incentive to the government to collect child support because if anything it costs them money.”

There’s also little or no will, she says, to solve the problem generally.

“It feels as though Australians are encouraged to look at me as somehow defective and deserving of suffering because I don’t have a male patron,” Amanda says. “And it’s at my former patron’s discretion as to whether or not me and his child are worthy of being supported.”

Source: Child support: ‘When we interview women, they cry and cry and cry’ | Australia news | The Guardian

In #MeToo, we need to call out gay men’s misogyny as well

It isn’t only straight men who engage in sexual harassment and assault, and it’s time for them to be accountable.

That gay men sexually harass or assault women like this demonstrates the result of the objectification of women in our society.

Anyone who has seen a drag performance can’t fail to see that it is, like blackface, a “womanface” parody of the femininity most women feel they have no option but to perform.

Gay public figures too often contribute to cultural misogyny in similar ways straight men have, historically. On April 10th, Dr Christian, the gay “celebrity doctor” who hosts Embarrassing Bodies, a British reality TV show, tweeted that “mothers knowing about motherhood” was “a frightening and dangerously deluded assumption.” This message is what underlies the endemic misogyny women face at the hands of the medical industry, where our understanding and experiences are routinely undermined, as women are not viewed as “experts” on our own bodies and reproductive function.

Unquestionably, gay men still suffer discrimination. To be effeminate or attracted to other boys at school is to be ridiculed and ostracized. But, for the most part, it is not women who humiliate and shame men because they are threatened by homosexuality — it is other men and boys. Yet still, too many gay men kick back against women rather than at the straight men. Women remain an easier target — one that will gain gay men power, rather than further marginalize them.

Source: In #MeToo, we need to call out gay men’s misogyny as well

The truth about giving birth in jail, and what comes next.

Nowadays, giving birth in prison is a very different experience. Every state and territory has legislation in place to accommodate babies behind bars – although there are limited spaces.

In South Australia, children are allowed to stay until they’re three, but in New South Wales they can stay until they turn six.

The children don’t stay in a cell, they live on prison grounds in a little cottage or unit-type set up with their mum. It looks domestic, not custodial – but the doors are locked.

Pregnant women behind bars still get all the prenatal care they would on the outside, and when it’s time to give birth they are taken to hospital. They are returned to prison with their baby, if the child is well enough to come with them.

As a mum who has been there, Kerry wants us on the outside to remember, it’s not women in prison saying “bring us our kids – we have a right to see them.”

She says the philosophy is more “it’s the right of our children to see their mother.”

Source: The truth about giving birth in jail, and what comes next.

It is time to shatter a few supposed truths about out-of-home care | Kirsten Gray for IndigenousX

We continue to hear that Indigenous children are being removed from their parents in astronomical numbers, much greater than at the time of the Bringing them Home report was released in 1997. During 2017-18, Indigenous children were 11 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care and eight times as likely to be receiving child protection services. This has got to stop.

Many people are able to justify the numbers of Indigenous children removed from their families because they tell themselves that children are being kept out of harm’s way. But I would argue that this is not always the case. It is easier to believe that the root cause of these issues lay with us, rather than in the ongoing impact of trauma that we have endured and that has been inflicted upon us. It is easier to think that, for many of us, entering this system of “care” guarantees us a life of safety and stability. It is time to shatter a few of these supposed truths.

Source: It is time to shatter a few supposed truths about out-of-home care | Kirsten Gray for IndigenousX | Opinion | The Guardian

Indigenous women come forward with accounts of forced sterilization, says lawyer

A Saskatchewan-based class action lawsuit filed for certification alleges coerced sterilization of Indigenous women is yielding reports from more than one hundred women across Canada who say they were sterilized without their consent.

Source: Indigenous women come forward with accounts of forced sterilization, says lawyer | CBC News

Women undertake 72% of all unpaid work in Australia

Women doing 72% of unpaid work has egregious outcomes that are totally gendered; Australian males lives ride on the exploitation of women’s work.

“Men won’t easily give up a system in which half the world’s population works for next to nothing,” New Zealand feminist economist and former politician Professor Marilyn Waring CNZM said.

“I’m not talking about repaying this time. It’s about the redistribution of government resources. It’s a productivity and choice issue. Why should women spend all their time in unpaid work on a road to poverty. The poorer I am, the longer it takes me to do the things I need to do.

“In 2017, Price Waterhouse Cooper research concluded women undertook 72 per cent of all unpaid work in Australia. The bulk of this unpaid work is childcare. It is Australia’s largest industry – three times the financial and insurance services industry, the largest industry in the formal economy. The rest of unpaid work combined is the second largest sector in the Australian economy.

“This has egregious outcomes that are totally gendered; childcare, superannuation, equal pay and pay equity, the right to leisure – Australian males lives ride on the exploitation of women’s work,” said Waring.

Source: Women undertake 72% of all unpaid work in Australia

Growing up fast: why parenting in your 20s is the new punk

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average age of mothers and fathers continues to rise: 55% of first-time mothers in 2017 were aged 30 and over, up from 43% in 1997; 69% of fathers were over 30, up from 60% in 1997. This trend is particularly pronounced among professionals, where the average age of mothers is between 31.7 and 33.5. Meanwhile, teen pregnancy rates have halved in the past decade.

Social media reinforces a sense of relentless perfectionism, with parent bloggers and Instamums driving the bar to unprecedented heights.

Having children in your 20s is a way of sticking two fingers up at this Bugaboo-pushing, #proudmama schtick. “I hate the whole ‘I was born to be a mum’ and ‘I was put on the planet to be a mum’ and ‘children are a gift’ thing,” says Cordal. “They’re not a gift, really. They’re just a product of life.” She is determined that Ari should fit into her life, not the other way around.

Becoming a parent young has its advantages, one of the most obvious being that you are literally built for it, from conception to chasing them round the park.

You could even take the view that, from a long-term perspective, having babies young might be better for your career than having them later. Presenter Kirstie Allsopp caused a stir a few years ago by telling young women to have kids first, and “do your career afterwards … If everyone started having children when they were 20, they’d be free as a bird by the time they were 45”.

Source: Growing up fast: why parenting in your 20s is the new punk | Life and style | The Guardian

Ohio Governor Signs Ban on Abortion After First Heartbeat

“The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis. “While other states embrace radical legislation to legalize abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, Ohio has drawn a line and continues to advance protections for unborn babies.”

The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

Prohibiting abortions at the first detectable heartbeat means prohibiting virtually all abortions, said Dr. Michael Cackovic, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine at Ohio State University Medical Center. He said current standard practice, which involves transvaginal ultrasound, can reliably detect a heartbeat five to six weeks into pregnancy.

Source: Ohio Governor Signs Ban on Abortion After First Heartbeat | Time