Rep. Jackie Speier’s Courage

It’s gone viral over the weekend so I’m a little late but this speech from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) really lays it all out on the line. She was prompted to give the impromptu remarks after listening to Republican Chris Smith of NJ describe the abortion procedure in detail. For her to go on the floor of the house and admit this personal detail of her life shows an unbelievable amount of courage. Much more courage than a male waxing poetic on how hard it is.

And really, that’s the crux of the debate. Males (generally older and white) telling women what they can do with their bodies out of concern for “unborn babies”. Now, I would have some sympathy for their position if they cared so much about these babies that they went out of their way to provide for them once women were forced to have them. But that’s obviously not the case. On the contrary, they’re on a mission to deny them care. In the absence of support for lower income mothers and children, the only thing that can be surmised is that they simply don’t care for free will. They believe so strongly in the rights of a non-thinking clump of cells that they will gladly trample all over the rights of an adult women to make her own medical decisions.

And lest you think that these christianist fascists have any shred of decency about someone who has actually undergone the procedure, there’s this anecdote from an article in last Friday’s Oakland Tribune :

In November 1978, Speier was a congressional aide to Peninsula Rep. Leo Ryan when the congressman was gunned down by members of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Speier also was wounded.

[…]

Thursday’s revelation wasn’t the first time Speier had brought up her abortion publicly.

In 1996, as a member of the [CA] Legislature, “I was talking about it on the floor,” she recalled, “and a colleague on the Republican side was responding and in a closed-door caucus afterwards said, ‘Jim Jones didn’t finish the job.’

“That’s the nature of this kind of vitriol that’s out there.”

And with all due respect, Rep. Speier, it’s not just the vitriol; that’s the nature of the ideologues who are running the House. If you’d like to help out with awareness and defense of choice, some friends are offering these cool items in their Cafe Press shop with all mark-up proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Of course, signing a petition, making a phone call, or writing a letter is also encouraged.

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