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Argentina imprisons woman for getting an abortion, along with the friends who helped her

15 Aug

In Argentina, three women have been incarcerated. One for having an abortion, two for accompanying her to get the procedure.

Susana D, as she’s referred to in the press, went to the hospital in June because of severe abdominal pain. It turned out she had sepsis, a blood infection, and was in intensive care for weeks. Her doctor suspected that the sepsis had been caused by an abortion, which is illegal in Argentina, except for in cases of rape, incest or when the health or life of the pregnant person is at risk. The doctor reported her to the police, who arrested and incarcerated Susana along with the two women who had accompanied her to get the abortion. According to Manuela Castañeira, director of the Argentine women’s group “Las Rojas,” the three women have been in jail for two months, in a cell with no water, no electricity, and one mattress for the three of them.

Susana wasn’t charged with abortion, but rather with homicide of a blood relative. This crime applies to people who kill their spouse, sibling, parent or child. In an e-mail, Castañeira described the situation:

Susana D. is in jail in Jujuy, a province in Argentina with a disastrous record on women’s rights… [It is] the province with the highest number of rapes of women, and the lowest number of people imprisoned for rape in all of Argentina. Susana wanted to terminate a pregnancy and she had an abortion and [she and two more women] are now in prison for helping Susana.

Susana is now in jail not for having an abortion, but for aggravated homicide of a family member, which is illegal, since this crime only applies to killing a husband, a sibling or an immediate relative. This is scandalous! Nor is this a case of infanticide, since she didn’t kill a newborn baby but rather had an abortion.

This is a total violation of women’s rights, an injustice that has been committed by the state and all of its institutions from the public health system to criminal justice system.

This woman is the expression of the necessity of the legalization of abortion in Argentina. Today there is still no legal justification for incarcerating these women, it’s a totally illegal situation, since they are holding them in what is called “preventative prison” because of the possibility that they will flee and let’s remember that there isn’t a single rapist or murderer in Argentina being held in in “preventative prison,” so the real criminals are always free, but women aren’t.

In the above video, Verónica Cruz, director of the Center of Las Libres, Manuela Castañeira, director of the women’s group “Las Rojas,” and Marianne Møllmann from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission demand the release of Susana D., María G. y María C. Castañeira says, “We are launching this campaign with the release of this video which invites everyone to join and help spread the message so that the authorities in Jujuy free these three women.”

Support the campaign by using these hashtags: #SusanaLibertadYa (#FreeSusanaNow) #MaríasLibertadYa (#FreeMariaNow) #Jujuy

Also, make sure you see the movie Las Libres, about the fight to free women incarcerated for having abortions in Argentina and Mexico.

“Las Libres” film on Mexican women convicted for homicide for abortions is coming to a theater near you

New documentary: Mexican women incarcerated for “homicide” after aborting gain their freedom


Orignally posted on Feministing

3 things you might not know about the badass feminist icon Lauren Bacall

15 Aug

Actress Lauren Bacall, who died Tuesday at the age of 89, was famous for her films, memorable lines, husky voice, and marriage to Humphrey Bogart. But she also challenged gender norms on screen, and was an advocate for freedom of speech and unapologetic liberal. Here are a few things you might not know about about her.

What’s in a name? (Jewishness): Lauren Bacall was actually Betty Joan Perske, born to Jewish parents, a Polish father, William Perske, and Romanian mother, Natalie Perske, née Weinstein. Bacall lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her parents divorced and she and her mother moved to Manhattan. Her mother changed their last name to Bacal. Bacall would ultimately add another L to the last name, and in Hollywood, she exchanged Betty for Lauren. But her friends and family never stopped calling her Betty.

But her Jewish roots were kept a secret. A Warner Brothers press release claimed Bacall was the “daughter of parents who trace their American ancestry back several generations.” Bacall recalls being fired from a modeling job as a teenager after telling a colleague she was Jewish; being dumped by a boyfriend after her religion came up; and concealing her Jewish identity from director Howard Hawks because ”he was anti-Semitic and scared the hell out of me…He made me so nervous so I didn’t say anything. I was cowardly, I must say. I was not proud of myself.” Her husband and co-star Humphrey Bogart raised their children Episcopalian because “with discrimination still rampant in the world, it would give them one less hurdle to jump in life’s Olympics.”

The L-Word: Bacall was s staunch liberal. During the McCarthy era, she and Bogart joined the Committee for the First Amendment, which included Danny Kaye, John Garfield, Gene Kelly, John Huston, and Ira Gershwin, among others, and flew to Washington DC to protest the House UnAmerican Activities Committee’s attempt “to smear the motion picture industry.” Bogart stated: “I am an outraged and angry citizen who feels that my basic civil liberties are being taken away from me.” Over thirty years later, Bacall would reflect, “It helped those of us at the time who wanted to fight for what we thought was right and against what we knew was wrong. And we made a noise — in Hollywood, a community which should be courageous but which is surprisingly timid and easily intimidated.” In 1952, she campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson and convinced Bogie, who had initially supported Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, to get on board. In 2005, she told Larry King, she was “anti-Republican… A liberal. The L-word. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.”

Her own person: Bacall was a trailblazer who literally revolutionized how women were presented on the silver screen. She challenged gender norms with looks that were considered unconventional in Hollywood, a husky voice — which she practiced keeping low by reading out loud — and a no-nonsense but suggestive attitude, which had no place in the cookie cutter era of the 1950s, when her career went through a relative dry spell. She was picky with her roles, which earned her a reputation as being “difficult.” As blogger Jill Filopovic explained in an e-mail to me today, “Bacall exuded a confidence in her sexuality and herself, and her characters were self-assured and sexual without being just sexy. She was plucked out of obscurity by a man who wanted to mold her into his perfect woman; she didn’t let that happen.”

Indeed, Bacall was frustrated by being defined be her relationship to her husband, as she told Vanity Fair in 2011 “My obit will be full of Bogart, I’m sure. I’ll never know if that’s true. If that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is.” But she was also sure of her own worth: ”I think I’ve damn well earned the right to be judged on my own. It’s time I was allowed a life of my own, to be judged and thought of as my own person, as me.

There have been some Bogie references, for sure, in this post and in the other obits published since her death. But she is already going down in history as her own person. She damn well earned it.

Originally posted on Feministing

Fox doctor who called Michelle Obama Fat should read his own book, “Projection”

14 Aug

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 3.20.32 PM
Keith Ablow, the failed TV host, endocrinologist psychiatrist, infamous misdiagnostician, The New England Journal of Medicine Good Housekeeping contributor, and Glenn Beck co-author made the following medical assessment unoriginal, contrived sexist comments about the First lady at the Annual Conference on Obesity on the trashy Fox News show Outnumbered on Tuesday:

What is she eating? She needs to drop a few…. We’re taking nutritional advice from who? Let’s be honest. There’s not French fries? That’s all kale and carrots? I don’t buy it.

Out of respect for the doctor, let us follow his lead and ask the rhetorical question, “we’re taking nutritional advice from who?” (In his hurry to speak the truth, Dr. Ablow omitted the “m” at the end of “whom. But I digress.) Here is my Ablovian Assessment (an assessment made without having met, or examined a patient, based on political agenda, rather than medical training or knowledge):

Specialty: Ablow is not a nutritionist. Nor is he an endocrinologist. He is a psychiatrist with no special training in anything related to Michelle’s body weight whatsoever.

Track Record: Ablow has an impressive record for getting things wrong. He claimed, for instance, that Joe Biden’s performance in the 2012 vice-presidential debate suggested signs of dementia or drunkenness…..

And he argued that Newt Gingrich’s history of marital infidelity made him a great presidential candidate:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

Interestingly enough, Hillary Clinton’s one and only marriage made her unfit for public service. As he stated, “her entire reputation as a national figure came from living in the White House and sleeping with the president.”

Continue reading at

Why there will never be a right wing Robin Williams

14 Aug


David Weigel described the liberal politics of Robin Williams as “forgettable,” arguing that the comedian’s most politically informed routines were among his worst, not his best. Though it may be true that Williams’s most literal and directly political sets weren’t his best, his progressive, liberal point of view was part of his comedic genius. And though Rush Limbaugh was (spoiler alert!) incorrect and disrespectful to attribute the actor’s suicide to his “leftist world view,” Williams’s politics did shape his life and his comedy. There could never be a right wing Robin Williams.

You may have noticed that conservatives dominate talk radio. That’s because talk radio, in large part, works by oversimplifying, stretching, distorting and/or ignoring the truth, eschewing nuance and boiling things down into easily digestible sound bites. (If the generalizations I just made reads a little bit talk radioish, it’s because… I’m not just telling, I’m showing, of course.) The left, however, have comedy. And that’s because, though it’s not often brought up, comedy, or good comedy, at least, is based on empathy, something the right, in general, lacks (see: immigration, affirmative action, rights of any disenfranchised groups). And that is why the right will never produce their own version of Robin Williams.

All good comedy requires empathy. Because a good comedian cares enough about people to observe them and their behavior and get into their heads. And in no area of comedy is empathy more needed than in impersonations, which requires a comedian to literally become someone else. A bad comedian impersonates someone in a way that merely makes fun of them. A good comedian can do it in a way that humanizes the person. That’s also why you don’t see too many conservatives performing one-man-shows. (Thank goodness! Though a one-man-show about a right wing one-man-show could be great.) Also, right wing comedy bullies the underdogs, while progressive comedians use comedy to speak truth to, or make fun of, power.

Robin Williams was a genius mimic. And in his performance in The Birdcage, for instance, we don’t see an over the top homophobic rendering of a gay character. We see an impeccable rendering of an over the top gay man. It’s a character someone truly homophobic could never play.

Continue reading at

The next time a ‘pro-lifer’ says something bad about immigrants, show them this

24 Jul


So, maybe the conservative “pro-life” movement isn’t exactly at the forefront of the immigration reform movement… yet. But they could be! And, if they’re not totally full of it, should be.

The truth is anti-immigrant and anti-choice (pro-life) legislation and sentiment often go hand in hand. If that feels a little inconsistent and hypocritical, that’s probably because it is.

All you need to do is show a self-identifying pro-lifer this pretty clever meme created by Political Loudmouth.


Continue reading at RawStory

Morning Jew Ep 42: Circumcision Debate, Aushwitz Selfies & Auschwitz Wall Art

24 Jul

Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week we talk to Michael Wex again about the one issue Heather & Katie can’t see eye to eye on: the origins of circumcision. Plus why are people taking selfies at Concentration Camps and why were Walmart and Sears selling concentration camp decor?

Infographic of the day: why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a feminist issue

23 Jul


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t just a human rights issue. It’s a feminist one. Here’s why. Monday, I posted about the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies social media campaign. But why does a post about something involving peace in the Middle East belong on a site like Feministing? As our own Anna Sterling once wrote, after covering immigration issues,  ”Many commenters on Feministing asked why immigration is a feminist issue. Feminism is strictly gender, right? Equal pay, glass ceiling, abortion and all that? Well, no, actually.”

Those of us who like our feminism intersectional, see issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class, culture , sexuality etc as inextricably related, as are struggles against oppression based on these categories. But sometimes, the connections are more explicit. As I wrote yesterday, an Israeli academic actually said that the only way to deterr a Palestinian terrorist was by raping his sister. And as Amnesty International wrote in a report,

Palestinian women have borne the brunt of the escalation of the conflict and decades of Israeli occupation, while in Palestinian society they are subjected to a system of laws and norms that treats them as unequal members of society.

Some handy infograhics that show how the conflict is relevant to feminism have been posted by  INCITE!, “a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against our communities through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing.” The first infographic was made by BCU Palestinian Society and the other two were made by INCITE:

Image via INCITE



Originally posted on Feministing

Morning Jew Ep. 41: Born to Kvetch author Michael Wex

23 Jul


Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the headlines and ask: Is it good for the Jews? This week we get Biblical on your tush and ask Yiddish, historical and religious expert Michael Wex some critical questions: What’s the difference between Judaism and Christianity? Why do so many Jews sound alike? And why are there so many Yiddish words for dick?


22 Jul

Image via ABC

Amidst the violence and bloodshed happening literally as you read this blog, some Jews and Arabs are showing that these two groups do not have to be enemies. 

Tragically, sexual violence is often used as a a tool of war. Recently, in fact, an Israeli scholar and sitting professor actually said, out loud, during an interview, that the only way to deter Palestinian terrorism was through rape:

A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught… This is the only thing that deters a suicide bomber. If he knows that when he pulls the trigger, or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s it. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, to keep the honor of his sister. This is the culture of the Middle East. I didn’t create it, but this is the situation.

Given this state of affairs, it is truly inspiring to see that some Arabs and Jews are challenging hate and violence by highlighting Arab-Jewish love and solidarity. Using the hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies, people who are in interfaith relationships, are the products of interfaith relationships or have interfaith friendships are taking to social media and posting photos.

In the photo featured above, for example, journalist Sulome Anderson, who is half Lebanese, kisses her boyfriend, who is Jewish and has dual Israeli and American citizenship. Anderson explains, ”when it comes down to it, we’re people and we love each other and that’s what matters most.” And, according to Anderson, the expression of love, is reaching people who would not be convinced by political arguments:

What really excites me is that there are people whose perspectives I don’t share, from the pro-Israeli side, who have retweeted our picture and others, and that’s what’s really important to me… Not so much that people agree with us, but that people who don’t agree with us are sharing this message.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.53.55 PM

Image via ABC

The social media campaign was started by two students at Hunter College in New York City, two weeks ago. Abraham Gutman, who is Israeli, and Dania Darwish, who is Syrian, didn’t come up with the phrase, but they helped make it international and viral.

Continue reading and see more images of #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies at Feministing

George Zimmerman’s brother stands with Israel, guess we can all go home

22 Jul

Robert Zimmerman

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, indeed, complicated, complex, charged, overwhelming, tragic, confusing and other things that, to quote C&C Music factory, make you go hmmm.

Some people see the issue with an enviable clarity and simplicity, with views ranging from (a) Ayrabs won’t rest until they’ve killed all Jews to (b) all Jews/zionists/israelis won’t rest until they have killed all Palestinians.

But I, personally, like my world-view like my men: nuanced. So I look to the opinions and writing of people like the scholars Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappé, Rashid, Khalidi, and the brother of George Zimmerman, Robert Zimmerman. Because, when it comes to restraint, non-violent conflict resolution, justice, trust-worthiness, and general decency, the Zimmerman’s are beyond reproach.

Brother George, of course, gets credit for murdering Trayvon Martin, but Robert Zimmerman’s racism and general disregard for human life deserves recognition. He once, for example, made an astute comparison  between De’Marquise Elkins and Trayvon Martin because, both had Elkins fatally shot a white baby during a robbery attempt and… Trayvon was fatally shot… and… whatever… the point is they were both Black and had been photographed giving the finger, which is a pretty “#uncanny” and remarkable similarity.


He also brilliantly justified his brother’s killing of a teenager who was, indeed armed (with a hoody AND skittles AND iced tea), by implying that Elkins and his accomplice, were ex-post facto responsible for making white people racist.


Continue reading at RawStory



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