Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality
“I would have murdered my ex-husband had he left while I was in labor,” saysAndy Kopsa, a New York writer. “In fact,” she adds, “I nearly killed him for falling asleep between one of my contractions at about hour 14.”
On Feb. 15, RH Reality Check’s Andy Kopsa went there, headlining her piece, “State Sanctioned Rape,” and referring to Virginia, as well as similar measures in Texas and Iowa. Kopsa said traditional women’s organizations had been reluctant to make the comparison. “They are walking a thin line. Most of them have lobbyists working hard at defeating these kinds of bills every day in state houses around the country. The fear is they will jeopardize any forward movement they have with other bills and politicians if they use the word rape.” Moreover, feminists, who use slogans like “rape is rape” and critique the use of the word in everything from right-wing commentary to comedy bits, are understandably wary of the word in a new context, even when a literal vaginal penetration is involved.
But some of the women’s groups are happy to have others make the comparison for them, Kopsa says: ”When I spoke to one women’s group in Virginia, the representative was almost giddy that I was writing an article that had ‘rape’ in the title about her state’s horrible bill.” By the next day, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwickwrote in a widely circulated story on the Virginia bill, “I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape.” Soon, not only were progressive journalistscomparing the procedure in the bill to rape — legislators in Virginia were.
From Obama’s run for the White House by Rocky Mountain News (RIP) correspondent M.E. Sprengelmeyer:
“If you’re trying to win votes in Iowa, or if you just want to understand the place, there are certain people on the back roads that you’ve got to meet. One of them is a fast-talking newspaper editor in a slower-moving town. As first in a series, meet Andy Kopsa.”
Critics say the bill is worrisome in part because the only way to do an ultrasound early in pregnancy is by inserting a probe into a woman’s vagina. “Let’s start calling this what it really is: State-sanctioned rape,” says Andy Kopsa at RH Reality Check. Is this hyperbole by abortion-rights advocates?
“This week’s Westword cover story, by Andy Kopsa, reported that Denver-based WAIT Training managed to circumvent both Governor Ritter’s rejection of federal abstinence-only funds and Colorado law requiring comprehensive sex education and obtain federal grant money through the Colorado State Board of Education. Westword also reported that in order to comply with state requirements regarding inclusiveness of gay and lesbian students, WAIT Training claimed that its curriculum was “vetted” by the American Psychiatric Association’s Gay and Lesbian Issues Team even though the head of that team denies approving the curriculum. Moreover, WAIT Training was the only grant applicant that was also involved in the state’s process of requesting federal abstinence-only funds, and WAIT Training received funding despite scoring the lowest of all Colorado applicants on the state’s grant evaluation rubric.”
As Andy Kopsa, writing in RHReality Check, put it, “The bottom line is pro-choice legislators in state houses around the country as well as physicians and women’s rights activists must start drawing the clear line between state forced transvaginal ultrasounds and rape.”