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S03.E02: Abortion Laws

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Segments: South Carolina Republican primary, 2016 United States Supreme Court vacancy, Hollywood whitewashing, and abortion in the United States

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Another excellent topic.  

 

I was a bit surprised that Joseph Fiennes being cast as Michael Jackson wasn't included in the Oscar Whitewashing segment.  The was one of the biggest Hollywood WTF moments of 2016. 

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I watched the abortion segment through a red mist of rage. How DARE those legislators claim they are looking out for women's health when in reality they are putting women's lives in danger?

 

And yet, in the middle of the segment I found myself roaring with laughter at the story of the 'worse way to die'.

 

And then they showed the story of the 13-year-old rape victim who was refused an abortion because of the ridiculous laws, and I was crying.

 

This show is genius.

Edited by purist
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I pray that Justice Kennedy does see these new laws as undue burdens.

 

The story about the 13-yr old is tragic. It's appalling that anyone can think that's right.

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I was a bit surprised that Joseph Fiennes being cast as Michael Jackson wasn't included in the Oscar Whitewashing segment.  The was one of the biggest Hollywood WTF moments of 2016. 

TBF, that project hasn't been filmed yet.

 

I watched the abortion segment through a red mist of rage. How DARE those legislators claim they are looking out for women's health when in reality they are putting women's lives in danger?

Putting women's lives in danger is a feature, not a bug. [/rage headache]

 

You know, to all the people that claim LWT is a Jon Stewart derivative, please point out when Jon EVER gave us on-set sloths wearing nightcaps!!!

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You know, to all the people that claim LWT is a Jon Stewart derivative, please point out when Jon EVER gave us on-set sloths wearing nightcaps!!!

 

Personally, as much as JO defers to and praises JS, I think JO is sharper as a satirist and funnier as a comedian.  But JO has definitely been given a larger budget and far looser boundaries to play with and he is going to town -- the fake commercials with A-listers, the fake ads in foreign countries, the plethora of mascot costumes (those things are not cheap!!).... JO has literally picked personal fights with foreign leaders.  I'm in the wrong thread for the NZ dildo discussion but that's got to be a record -- are there no local comedy shows he could have challenged?

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It was an excellent episode, and he handled it well. I watched with my mom, who is a born again Christian, and even she had to agree that there are times when abortion is necessary and should be permitted. She even told me she's leaning toward the pro choice side just because the other side has behaved so unreasonably. She agrees with the people who said they wouldn't have one personally but wouldn't want someone else prevented from doing so.

The show opened up a dialogue between us that I don't think would have happened had she not been there watching it with me. And I had no idea she'd become a bit more progressive on this issue.

Edited by teebax
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Bravo, Mr. Oliver. Excellent episode from beginning to end. So relieved I got to watch the sloths without covering my eyes and ears.

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I like how each "precedent" that the gop candidates brought up really amount to a lot of hot air. I still think it was a huge mistake to automatically come out and say that the senate wouldn't even consider an Obama nominee this year. I think they're going to have no choice but to confirm someone and I bet it will be by the end of summer.  

 

"We don't blah blah in an election year" just seems like an excuse not to do your job.

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I just wish there were some way to force everyone in this country to watch the segment on abortion rights. There is a real danger in this country from a powerful minority that is determined to drag us back into the dark ages, every bit as much as ISIS is. And people don't see it. 

 

Who was it - John Oliver? Jon Stewart? Larry Wilmore? Someone has already raised the point previously that the Supreme Court ruled that the right to an abortion was a constitutional right every bit as much as gun ownership. The anti-abortion movement has chipped away at those rights piece by piece to the point where it's virtually impossible to get an abortion in many states. What would happen if we made buying a gun as hard as getting an abortion? Both are supposed to be equally protected under the law.

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Great feature stories and really adorable sloth.

 

The doctor who was forced by law to say things is Dr Willie Parker. He works at Jackson Women's Health, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi and like the others, is under threat of closure from the state. He has been personally threatened numerous times. I heard him on a podcast a couple weeks ago and he is incredibly eloquent on the subject of why he does what he does. The clip on the show was from a documentary on abortion laws in the South called Trapped. It is a Sundance film expected to be released after next month's decision.

 

I agree that as much as I like Jon Stewart, I think John Oliver is a stronger comedian and satirist in some ways. However, Jon is a discoverer and nurturer of comedic talent on TV so I'll always be grateful that he introduced Oliver, Colbert, Carrell, and others to the wider mainstream media.

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It amazes me that in 2016, in a developed country, that this is still an issue for debate or ruling on legality. And it frustrates me to no end, that all the time, effort, and money put towards these proceedings could be so much better directed at efforts to prevent people from needing to get abortions. Proper sexual education among youths (hmmm, seems like that was addressed), available birth control to all people, and proper sexual conduct programs for teens (i.e avoiding getting into bad situations, and strict no-means-no understanding).

 

Obviously this will still leave situations like the thirteen year old girl in Texas, or pre-identified serious defects,  but if at least 80% of the country believes that would be an acceptable situation in which she should be able to have an abortion.

 

I hate that anyone would ever need to go through the emotional burden of an abortion, it seems like reducing the instances to those that the majority of society is okay with, even if the process is saddening, surely we can all move on from this.

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They know how to stay on message and control the narrative though. "Women's health. Protect women's health. We're protecting women's health." "80 years precedent. 80 years of precedent."

 

I don't know who came up with this strategy, but it's the same as in the 2014 midterms where the senate was won by the gop and it's going to be the same in the general election regardless of the nominee. 

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What came through for me was the nobility of the three care providers featured,  Darren Johnson who used his money to re-open the clinic, the director who had to turn away the 13 year old rape victim and the doctor who would abide by the letter of the law but also refused to let it dictate the truth.    But I so fear for these people in this day and age.  To the point that while I laud their bravery and determination to do what is right and am glad their voices get heard on shows like this, I wish they were off camera in some way.    

 

Is This Still a Thing was brilliant to say the least. 

 

I also think the instant knee-jerk reaction to following the law in terms of a nomination will end up biting the Republicans in the ass.  It is hard to define yourself as the Constitutional loving party in Presidential Campaign year and then do nothing but dig in the heels over following said Constitution.  And President Obama knows how it plays by now I think.  I'm hoping they simply cannot help themselves.  And even without the gaffes, Ted Cruz seems to not be able to help himself and try and make the definitive statement.  What a fuckwit.

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"We don't blah blah in an election year" just seems like an excuse not to do your job.

Not to mention, how often does a Supreme Court judge die or retire? A President doesn't OFTEN nominee a new SC judge because a new SC judge is NOT OFTEN needed.

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Unfortunately, most of the conversation I've heard about the constitution lately has come from people who know nothing about the constitution or wilfully misrepresent it. And they're dealing with low-information voters. There's a reason the usual suspects have been gutting public education, JMO.

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Yes, this is such a scary topic. I've been reading some articles about the Zika virus and its possible impact on abortion laws around the world. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that any positive shifts in attitude towards making abortion more accessible will take place, but then, you never know. There is a country (I can't remember which one specifically, but it's probably not alone anyway) in South America where abortion is impossible to obtain, and birth control nearly as difficult. The government's response to the rising crisis of difficult and scary Zika pregnancies is to advise women not to get pregnant "until the year 2018." While providing zero birth control options and keeping abortion strictly off the table.

 

You know. To "protect women's health."

 

Personally, I think every lawmaker who votes to restrict access to abortion should be forced to adopt a percentage of all babies given up for adoption in their state. Since they believe forcing parenthood upon someone is acceptable when there is the well-being of a (potential) child to consider, it should be a no-brainer.

 

Or maybe Mary Lou Marzian's approach is best. That woman is a goddamn American hero.

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I've never been brought to tears by this show before but the abortion segment did it. Thank goodness for his breaks of levity!

I am fully 100% Pro-Choice Get the Hell Out of My Vagina Because It's Not Yours, but I did see a thoughtful column the other day (by the magnificent Leonard Pitts Jr.) and he made the point that there is a difference between Pro-Choice, and Pro-Abortion, and there most likely aren't many people who are Pro-Abortion. I do agree with that.

But for cod's sack - you can't force 13 year old girls into motherhood. You just can't!

It amuses me that while I am sure there are those people "who just want to hear what he says next" I highly doubt people in the 19% make it a habit to watch Oliver.

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It's another distinction that's not made. Pro-choice != pro-abortion. Which, again, because there's no control of this narrative. 

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They know how to stay on message and control the narrative though. "Women's health. Protect women's health. We're protecting women's health." "80 years precedent. 80 years of precedent."

 

I don't know who came up with this strategy, but it's the same as in the 2014 midterms where the senate was won by the gop and it's going to be the same in the general election regardless of the nominee. 

I think it's pretty easy to make these narrative talking points when you're not the incumbent party, because it's a lot easier to get people to think "hey, he's right. I'm not happy about that." from a populist perspective. It's the soundbites that resonate home because eventually people get tired seeing the old guy, and he's easier to attack.

 

I'm no political strategist, but I'm sure the plan is "Stick to these talking points, make them easy to remember, and don't go against the party." It's also why I think there are so many candidates on the GOP side. The idea was not to let anyone get so much screen time that by the time primary season is over the undecideds are already tired of that person. While I'm sure Hillary would like to get Bernie out from her side. The longer they're both active and drawing attention the better for the democratic vote, I think.

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I think it's pretty easy to make these narrative talking points when you're not the incumbent party, because it's a lot easier to get people to think "hey, he's right. I'm not happy about that." from a populist perspective.

 

Yes, but additionally, democrats aren't doing themselves any favors overall. You can hammer home the truth as much as you can spew out talking points too. 

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It was an excellent episode, and he handled it well. I watched with my mom, who is a born again Christian, and even she had to agree that there are times when abortion is necessary and should be permitted. She even told me she's leaning toward the pro choice side just because the other side has behaved so unreasonably. She agrees with the people who said they wouldn't have one personally but wouldn't want someone else prevented from doing so.

The show opened up a dialogue between us that I don't think would have happened and she not been there watching it with me. And I had no idea she'd become a bit more progressive on this issue.

I watched it with my daughter (who is likely about your age). We had a good rage fest going on. I've always been pro-choice. But as some have mentioned, not particularly pro-abortion. I've been fortunate not to have to consider that choice. Thanks to, you know, Planned Parenthood and the options for women's health that they provide. I've always found it odd that a vocal portion of the "keep big Government out of our lives" factions have been so invested in invading our wombs and bedrooms.

I think John Oliver is a comedian who has a hankering for investigative journalism. I learn something new each time I watch (even though sometimes I'd like to cover my eyes and ears)

Edited by clanstarling
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I watched it with my daughter (who is likely about your age). We had a good rage fest going on. I've always been pro-choice. But as some have mentioned, not particularly pro-abortion. I've been fortunate not to have to consider that choice. Thanks to, you know, Planned Parenthood and the options for women's health that they provide. I've always found it odd that a vocal portion of the "keep big Government out of our lives" factions have been so invested in invading our wombs and bedrooms.

I think John Oliver is a comedian who has a hankering for investigative journalism. I learn something new each time I watch (even though sometimes I'd like to cover my eyes and ears)

My mom is in her 70s. Over the past year, my father had a series of strokes, so I moved my parents into my house in order to help with his care. I think living with their very liberal, proudly gay daughter has changed the way they feel about a lot of things. They're not joining PFLAG anytime soon, but they're supportive, and proud, of me. In fact, every woman I date immediately falls in love with them. 

 

I finally got my dad (who used to be the chairman of our local Republican party) to switch parties last year. I think my mom is next. They're both completely disgusted with the GOP.

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I'm not entirely sure if this is appropriate here, but I thought many might be interested since he's so relevant to this week's investigative segment.  

 

A Texas health official is out of a job over a study that was favorable to Planned Parenthood.  It was a study with a fairly "duh" conclusion.  Rates of state funded contraception fell by a fairly significant amount and birth rates from women who had used Planned Parenthood for birth control rose 27 percent.  The state immediately attacked two of the researchers involved with the study, calling it biased and all that dumb stuff, because facts that don't support their narrative must be biased even though it's perfectly logical to see that limiting access to family planning means that people won't have the ability to reliably plan their families.  

Edited by Lion
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Yes, this is such a scary topic. I've been reading some articles about the Zika virus and its possible impact on abortion laws around the world. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that any positive shifts in attitude towards making abortion more accessible will take place, but then, you never know. There is a country (I can't remember which one specifically, but it's probably not alone anyway) in South America where abortion is impossible to obtain, and birth control nearly as difficult. The government's response to the rising crisis of difficult and scary Zika pregnancies is to advise women not to get pregnant "until the year 2018." While providing zero birth control options and keeping abortion strictly off the table.

You're thinking of El Salvador. The country where women are being arrested, tried and convicted for having miscarriages, because people think they did something to cause them.

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The whole episode was just chock full of win.  I love them pointing out that probably one big reason non-whites don't get nominated for more Oscar awards is that so few roles go to them, even the ones they should be getting.  This bit is a great companion to that SNL skit.

 

And the abortion story was so great in pointing out the hypocrisy of the GoP's "for women's health" bullshit.  It has nothing to do with "women's health", it is all about control of women's bodies.  I had no idea that it was more dangerous to get a colonoscopy than a legal abortion.  This issue is such a great example as to why Obama needs to replace Scalia with non-religious fanatic, and why the Democratic nominee needs to win the presidency in November.

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That story about the pregnant thirteen year old rape victim broke my heart. Yet, it shouldn't surprise anyone to think there are people out there - mostly white conservative males - who would want her to carry that child to term. They probably think she had it coming for some reason or another. And didn't asshole Todd Aikin say that the body has ways of shutting it down in the vent of rape? Again, her fault in their eyes.

 

I missed the How Is This Still A Thing? segments. The Hollywood Whitewashing segment was excellent, and I don't even give two shits about awards shows like the Oscars.

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Okay, this bugs me every time it's mentioned. Tom Cruise wasn't the last samurai! Yes, he was in a movie called The Last Samurai, but he was not the title character.  Ken Watanabe, a Japanese actor, was. If you want to complain about whitewashing, you can easily make your point without using inaccurate examples and mocking a movie that actually did use actors of the correct ethnicity.

 

I still find it unfathomable that abortion is still such a hot and controversial topic, in this day and age. And Americans try to pretend they're the most advanced, developed nation in the world? These people don't give a shit about women, they just want their own religious beliefs validated and endorsed at the expense of other people. At the expense of the women that they patently do not respect in any way. They don't understand what they're talking about, and they don't care. Again, it's all about forcing their own agenda, in spite of the facts. A common theme, with right wing and/or religious types, in my experience. Education is a threat to them. 

 

Of course, as we saw last week, these people are so lacking in respect for others that they're happy to circumvent democracy to ensure they get to keep being the ones making decisions.

 

Something else that has always baffled me is that refusing to teach kids about sex, denying them access to contraception and then also denying them access to abortions is apparently considered a sensible approach to creating responsible parents. But hey, don't worry, some of them can probably get on that tv show about teen mothers. Private enterprise at its best!

Edited by Danny Franks
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I really liked this episode, it did bring tears to my eyes at the end.  One thing that I don't think was made clear enough in this episode, although it was definitely a subtext, is that all these abortion laws primarily affect poor women.  Just as it was before Roe v Wade, wealthy women can still get abortions, they have the money to travel to where it is legal, stay overnight at a hotel, etc.   And wealthy men have the money to pay for their girlfriends/wives/daughters abortions.  

 

I read a story about a poor woman in one of the states that has very few abortion clinics who had to go through an enormous amount of trouble to get an abortion.  She had to borrow money from relatives, arrange to have time off from work without letting anyone know what she was doing, had to sleep in her car overnight because she couldn't afford a hotel room.  And this was a married woman who already had children, but knew she absolutely couldn't afford another one.  Anti-abortion groups try to make it sound like all women seeking abortions are just sluts who are too lazy to remember to take birth control pills. 

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Okay, this bugs me every time it's mentioned. Tom Cruise wasn't the last samurai! Yes, he was in a movie called The Last Samurai, but he was not the title character.  Ken Watanabe, a Japanese actor, was. If you want to complain about whitewashing, you can easily make your point without using inaccurate examples and mocking a movie that actually did use actors of the correct ethnicity.

 

I always took the title as using "samurai" in it's plural sense. In essence the entire group of samurai that Cruise's character falls into are the last samurai in Japan, obviously including Watanabe.

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I always took the title as using "samurai" in it's plural sense. In essence the entire group of samurai that Cruise's character falls into are the last samurai in Japan, obviously including Watanabe.

 

That's a fair interpretation as well. Especially considering the movie is about the end of samurai culture. But either way, Cruise isn't a samurai. He's an American who embraces the samurai way of life, and witnesses it die.

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I watched the abortion segment through a red mist of rage. How DARE those legislators claim they are looking out for women's health when in reality they are putting women's lives in danger?

 

And yet, in the middle of the segment I found myself roaring with laughter at the story of the 'worse way to die'.

 

And then they showed the story of the 13-year-old rape victim who was refused an abortion because of the ridiculous laws, and I was crying.

 

This show is genius.

I seem to recall a story -- which may be apocryphal* -- from the mid-90s where a young girl (13, 14 yo) was pregnant and wanted to terminate and needed parental permission, so she asked her mother, who brought it up to her dad, who then killed the young girl.  Not because she got pregnant, but because it was his.  Apparently he'd been raping her for sometime and was worried that if she went to a clinic his crimes would be found out.

 

* I've tried to find it on-line for corroboration, but come up empty.

 

Also - on the "pro-choice" = "pro-abortion" - that's crap.  Most of the people I know are pro-choice.  To say that this means they're "pro-abortion" is ridiculous: I envision a "pro-abortion" person wandering the streets looking for pregnant women and forcing the women to terminate.  Some of the funniest looks I've gotten have been at pro-choice rallies with my very pregnant sister.

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I've always had a minor quibble with the term abortion clinic. In my experience -- which is "a few states where I've lived" -- there is no such thing as a medical clinic that only does abortions. There are clinics such as Planned Parenthood that provide standard ob/gyn services as well as abortions, and doctors in private practice who perform abortions in their own offices. Or perhaps that's illegal now, too? My experience was a while ago.

 

I am heartened that Plan B remains available OTC.

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I am heartened that Plan B remains available OTC.

Someone may need to correct me as I haven't kept abreast of any changes, but as far as I know, some states still allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense based on personal ideology.  So if a woman is in a small town with few choices in pharmacy and all the pharmacists decide they want to be assholes, that woman is sort of screwed unless she has the ability to travel further afield to access Plan B.

 

Thankfully, more and more states are moving towards just putting it out on the shelves which eliminates stupid ideology determining whether or not someone performs their job.  

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“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow,” Steven H. Aden, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom....

 

Abortionists, you guys. Abortionists.

 

They really fucking are pushing the propaganda that they're fighting against people who just love abortions. Oh, Louisiana...

 

And then in the comments for that article, people are just arguing irrelevant bullshit over which political party is the best. People present rational arguments as to why these regulations don't actually help, and then other people just say something like, "I thought you liberals love regulations!" Half of them aren't even engaging in the actual discussion. They're just trying to score points against the opposing team, like it's fucking football. Jesus Christ.

 

Meanwhile, some teenage girl is reaching for a coat hanger. SMH

Edited by Liqidclark
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Jon did an excellent job, as usual, but I have a terrible memory. Will who doesn't remind me if he covered the proposed Alabama bill (link is to a PDF of the bill) that would make the doctor's disclosure take roughly an entire trimester? The language is purely inflammatory and doctors even have to disclose their previous year's income, the amount they make from abortions, and how much income they'd lose if the woman chooses not to abort. If he didn't, I hope he revisits the topic. 

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Disgusting.  As a 1950s child I saw women forced into backstreet abortions; by the 1970s my high school peers were getting free contraception and abortions on demand.  What the hell has happened to us???

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Abortionists, you guys. Abortionists.

 

They really fucking are pushing the propaganda that they're fighting against people who just love abortions. Oh, Louisiana....

 

Well, these filthy degenerates who go around and try to force abortions onto good, god-fearing pregnant women need to be stopped. They're a real danger to society. Much more of a danger than people who want to walk around with concealed weapons, or cops who are guided more by their own prejudices than the law, or uneducated bigots who feel like their opinions are all that matter.

 

Alliance Defending Freedom

 

 

Also, this name actually makes me laugh with the sheer, blind hypocrisy of it. 'Alliance Defending Freedom as Defined by Us' would be a more apt name.

 

What bugs the ever living shit out of me is that these nob-ends will be the first to complain about poor, welfare dependent women having too many kids and then not looking after them well enough.

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My solar dude in the early 90s was some born again Christian affiliated with those sparkly leotarded wrestler looking guys who broke chains & bricks for Jesus on late nite TV (and blew up hot water bottles or set themselves on fire while wearing abortion signs on stage "to attract the youth").  This poor misguided soul told me all about the conspiratorial militant lesbians who were getting pregnant on purpose just so they could abort their babies - I kid you not.

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I am heartened that Plan B remains available OTC.

 

It is, but even that will cost you $35-40 for the generic.

 

Someone may need to correct me as I haven't kept abreast of any changes, but as far as I know, some states still allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense based on personal ideology.  So if a woman is in a small town with few choices in pharmacy and all the pharmacists decide they want to be assholes, that woman is sort of screwed unless she has the ability to travel further afield to access Plan B.

 

You can buy it online.  The caveat is, you'd have to know of it's existence on time, and if all you've had is abstinence only education...

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My solar dude in the early 90s was some born again Christian affiliated with those sparkly leotarded wrestler looking guys who broke chains & bricks for Jesus on late nite TV (and blew up hot water bottles or set themselves on fire while wearing abortion signs on stage "to attract the youth").  This poor misguided soul told me all about the conspiratorial militant lesbians who were getting pregnant on purpose just so they could abort their babies - I kid you not.

 

Have you seen the Tumblr blog Literally Unbelievable? It's a collection of comment threads where people mistake The Onion as true, mostly right wing freakouts with the occasional liberal. One Onion article that generated several posts was one about Planned Parenthood opening an abortionplex where women can make a fun, luxurious day out of getting their abortion. The article is really over-the-top and there's post after post of different comment threads where people are "See! It's true! Even the liberal media is reporting on this!" It's just sad.

 

I like how each "precedent" that the gop candidates brought up really amount to a lot of hot air. I still think it was a huge mistake to automatically come out and say that the senate wouldn't even consider an Obama nominee this year. I think they're going to have no choice but to confirm someone and I bet it will be by the end of summer.  

 

"We don't blah blah in an election year" just seems like an excuse not to do your job.

 

I enjoyed it when the presidents got more and more parsed, it started to sound like ratings press releases, "Funny Comedy was Monday's #1 new comedy!" ... then you think about it and realize there's two new comedies airing on Monday and the other show airs on the same network after the one in the press release.

 

And those "presidents" were still wildly inaccurate.

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I watched with my mom, who is a born again Christian, and even she had to agree that there are times when abortion is necessary and should be permitted. She even told me she's leaning toward the pro choice side just because the other side has behaved so unreasonably. She agrees with the people who said they wouldn't have one personally but wouldn't want someone else prevented from doing so.

The show opened up a dialogue between us that I don't think would have happened had she not been there watching it with me. And I had no idea she'd become a bit more progressive on this issue.

This gives me the teeniest tiniest hope for the country. Every time I watch the show I think, man did he skewer and reveal the hypocrisy SO WELL, but what is the likelihood anyone who doesn't already agree with him is watching? And then it makes me sad. So the notion that someone who might not already agree with him: a) maybe is watching and b)respond to logic and reason warms my cold pessimist heart.
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