Thursday, April 9, 2015

Last Call For The Facepalm-etto State

South Carolina proving once again that if there's ever an instance where it can be more ass backward than North Carolina, then South Carolina will take that bet and run with it, this time with state Attorney General Alan Wilson doing the honors on fighting the horrible scourge of same-sex marriage.

Here’s the gist of South Carolina’s fascinatingly sexist argument. The state wants to prove that the 14th Amendment—which guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to every “person”—was not intended to displace state marriage laws. And what did those laws look like at the time? One major feature: In many states, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts and had no legal existence apart from their husbands. According to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive married women of the ability to function independently from her husband. This right to deprive married women of basic liberties, South Carolina argues, is enshrined in the 10thAmendment and is not at all undercut by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equality.

The crux of South Carolina’s brief, then, is this: If the 14th Amendment permits discrimination against married women, it surely also allows discrimination against gay people who wish to wed. In fact, according to South Carolina, the 14th Amendment forbids only racial discrimination, leaving states free to disadvantage women and gays in any way they wish.

Let's take a step back.

South Carolina's official position is that the 14th Amendment only applies to race, so women and LGBTQ Americans are not subject to being treated as human beings.  The Equal Protection clause does not apply to them in any way, because at the time the 14th Amendment was written, women had fewer rights then men did (like voting).

This is the argument the state is giving to the Supreme Court in order to stop same-sex marriage.

That's astounding.  It ignores a good 100 years plus of legal precedent, not to mention makes the argument that the 10th Amendment gives states the power to discriminate legally against women and gays and lesbians and a host of other people.  It's incompatible with our society as a whole and I can't even imagine Scalia buying this argument.

But that's where South Carolina is.

Dear America

Dear America:

"Are you convinced yet that with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that there's simply no room for white men in the Democrat party anymore?"

--Josh Kraushaar, National Journal

Bonus Verbatim Stupid(tm):

It's part of why freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren inspires excitement from the party's grassroots, but former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, whose progressive record in office set liberal benchmarks, isn't even polling at 1 percent nationally. It's why Sherrod Brown, a populist white male senator from a must-win battleground state is an afterthought in the presidential sweepstakes. It's why Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a runner-up to be Obama's running mate in 2008, quickly jumped on the Clinton bandwagon instead of pursuing any national ambitions. On Bernstein's list of 16 possible challengers, 15 are white and nine are white males. That makes many of them untenable standard-bearers in the modern Democratic Party.

Got that? White men are now "untenable" as Democratic candidates, according to Republican white guy, who hopes white men will choose to vote GOP to punish everyone else.

Somehow I don't think Josh here has the best interests of the Democrats in mind.

Gray Area Anatomy

North Carolina Republicans are going after state medical schools for the crime of teaching abortion procedures now.

Tucked deep in HB 465, an anti-abortion bill that would restrict the procedure in several different ways, is an obscure provision that stipulates that “no department at the medical school at East Carolina University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall permit an employee to perform or supervise the performance of an abortion as part of the employee’s official duties.” 
According to the GOP lawmakers who proposed the bill, this particular section of HB 465 will help ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t go toward abortion services. Because East Carolina University (ECU) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) are state schools, abortion opponents don’t want any of their instruction time to be spent on the procedure. But this complicated effort to separate taxpayer money from abortion services could have huge implications for the medical field. 
“It takes several steps to get to the point of the regulation,” Elizabeth Nash, the senior states issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that closely tracks abortion-related legislation, told ThinkProgress. “It takes you a couple steps to understand that this would eliminate — or, at the very least, drastically reduce — the abortion training programs that are in place.” 
That would have particularly big consequences for UNC, which is ranked as one of the country’s top five OB-GYN residency programs. UNC’s medical school is currently home to a Ryan Program — a national initiative intended to address the growing shortage of abortion providers by providing more opportunities for doctors to be trained in pregnancy termination. Residents can also pursue a separate family planning fellowship that includes opportunities for abortion training and research. If HB 465 is enacted into law, both of those programs could be placed into jeopardy.

It raises a very serious issue: Who’s going to be training the OB-GYNs at UNC to do abortions, if faculty can’t do them?” Dr. David Grimes, a retired abortion doctor and researcher who completed his own residency at UNC, told ThinkProgress.

The answer, of course, is nobody.  If you make it impossible for women to get safe pregnancy termination, and make it impossible for doctors to learn how to perform it safely, then that leaves us in the back alleys with coat hangers.

And that's exactly what Republicans want.


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