Not to be confused with the horror flicks of the same name, Hush is a 2016 documentary about the health risks of abortion—primarily the disputed connection between abortion and breast cancer. The filmmaker, Punam Kumar Gill, is a Canadian woman of Indian descent whose own story infiltrates the narrative in some unexpected ways. Though she describes herself as a "pro-choice" feminist, Hush is unlikely to find many fans within that particular subset—which is too bad. I've watched it twice now and find it extremely compelling.
Despite billing itself as unbiased, Hush has been roundly criticized for its perceived partisanship. Leading the charge is David A. Grimes, the prominent North Carolina abortionist who did a lengthy on-camera interview for the film. After seeing the finished product, he penned an op-ed for The Huffington Post,…
David Livingstone Smith is a philosophy professor who has written the book on dehumanization. It's called, Less Than Human, and is billed as the "first book to illuminate precisely how and why we sometimes think of others as subhuman creatures."
"To talk meaningfully about dehumanization," Smith says, "we need to pin it down." To that end, he defines dehumanization as "conceiving of people as subhuman creatures rather than as human beings." This "psychological lubricant," as he describes it, "dissolv[es] our inhibitions and inflam[es] our destructive passions ... empower[ing] us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable."
Simply put, dehumanization "paves the way for atrocity." Though Smith focuses primarily on the dehumanization of Jews, sub-Saharan Africans, and Native Americans, he also looks at more subtle examples of dehumanization in popular culture and the press. In his view,…
My first exposure to last month's Women's March came via Facebook of course. The Rockford Art Deli, a custom T-shirt shop in the town I formerly called home, had produced a special shirt to commemorate the event. According to the caption, "anyone into supporting women's rights with respect, honesty & positive vibes (is) welcome." I am into supporting women's rights with respect and honesty (and positive vibes), but I am also anti-abortion. That complicates things, since "women's rights" is so often used as a mere euphemism for "abortion rights." Would the Women's March be different? That remained to be seen.
Looking at the event page for the march in Rockford, I found the following statements:
- Join your local women and supporters of women on Saturday, January 21st to promote women's rights, equality, and empowerment.
- Anyone is welcome, this event is not just for women!
- We are non-partisan, and will NOT use the Women's March to criticize politicians or political parties.
Tomorrow is the 44-year anniversary of Roe vs Wade. That's the 1973 Supreme Court verdict that struck down all state prohibitions against abortion and made it a constitutionally protected act. In 1973—that tragic year from which Abort73 takes its name—there were 615,831 abortions performed in the United States. By 1979, the annual abortion total had more than doubled, peaking in 1990 at somewhere around 1.5 million. For the next decade, the annual abortion total fell by around 2% each year. The annual decrease slowed to roughly 1% for the next eight years. Then in 2009, the annual abortion total started falling by an average of more than 4% per year—at least through 2014.
In what has become an annual exercise for me each January, I have been gathering state-by-state abortion numbers so as to project a nationwide total for 2015. I do this for two reasons. First, most states release their abortion data far in advance of the federal government. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) didn't publish their 2013 abortion numbers until the end of last November. By that time, most…
Why do women have abortions? As important a question as that is, it's hard to find a reliable answer. For more than a decade, the Guttmacher Institute has listed the same three reasons on their abortion fact sheet. Based on a 2004 survey of 1,209 post-abortive women at nine different facilities, they report the following:
- Three-fourths of aborting women have an abortion because they can't afford a child.
- Three-fourths of aborting women have an abortion because a child would interfere with their life (work, school, etc).
- Half of aborting women have an abortion because they don't want to be a single parent.
You don't have to be a statistician to notice that these percentages don't seem to add up. How can you have more than 100% of something? This apparent discrepancy owes to the fact that each respondent was allowed to give more than one reason for having an abortion. Most…