OK, I can’t have a science blog without mentioning swine flu. Is there a gendered analysis? Well probably in the access to healthcare for women, particularly poor women but there’s no data at this time. Generally, women do worst in natural disasters – most shocking stat I’ve come across is that between 70%-80% of the people who died in Southeast Asia after the tsunami of 2004 were female.
But also on searching for swine flu and women, I can across this hilarious conspiracy theory from Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America (Unconcerned Women of America never really got off the ground). The ironically named Wright opined that Obama’s declaration of a state of emergency was a ruse for appointing Kathleen Sebelius as health secretary by stealth. Will this man stop at nothing?
Of course, the interesting thing is not Wright’s lunacy but the fact that she opposes the appointment of Sebelius because she is pro-choice. Sebelius has a great record of vetoing anti-abortion legislation in Kansas where she was Governor and she has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood which has fund-raised for her. All this and she is a Catholic too! Maybe she’s a fan of Catholics for Choice.
Wendy Wright on the other hand is staunchly anti-abortion which has included challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s licensing of emergency contraception, trying to stop the appointment of anyone who has had anything to do with any organisation that has advocated for women’s access to safe abortions, and she also went to Kosovo to lobby against specific articles in the constitution of the emerging state which provided:
- the right to make decisions in relation to reproduction in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by law.
- the right to have control over his/her body in accordance with law
(She’s also opposed hate crime legislation and marriage equality so obviously sidelines in homophobia)
What is most concerning for feminists and the rational, is the language Wright uses to oppose reproductive rights and other politically motivated positions on science such as all forms of human cloning; saying that this is about women’s safety and protections against exploitation and the harvesting of eggs. The Right are very adroit at using feminist language when it suits them (see arguments made for the invasion of Afghanistan), but this is particularly dangerous when sisterly language is used to undermine women’s access to safe and legal healthcare and drugs:
“When a drug is easily available, it is a public health hazard to women.”
Wendy Wright talking about FDA licensed emergency contraception
OK, so it wasn’t about swine flu. But you’ve gotta love that quote.