Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dispatches from A Handmaiden's Tale

Not that anything's really changed in the past week, but lots of news items have had me shaking my head.  Of course there was the "legitimate rape" comment.  The New York Times Lede blog reminds us that this particular pregnancy/rape myth has a long history.  Historian Estelle Freedman published an informative piece about the history of legal definitions of rape in the Washington Post.  That controversy led to the chilling reminder that in 31 states convicted rapists who father children have the right to custody and visitation with those children.  CNN covers the story here.  The blog RH Reality Check has some older, but good, analysis here.  The choice of Paul Ryan reminded some of us about that pesky "Personhood Amendment" issue.  These amendments seek to outlaw abortion for any reason (and perhaps limit fertility treatments, including pretty mainstream stuff like IVF).  Here's a peek at what life under the "Personhood Amendment" might look like.

In keeping with the politics of our time, the radio show On the Media did an interesting piece about what politicians mean when they invoke Ayn Rand.

In less dire, but still distressing, news-this case of a married lesbian couple denied medical decision making rights during serious pregnancy complications.  It appears that this denial violated state law, and as I have said before, laws only matter if the people in charge know them and believe in them.  As frustrating to me as the violation of the law is the fact that filing a medical Power of Attorney in Nevada only requires filling out a simple form, and then getting two witnesses or a notary to sign the document. In my (humble and non-legal) opinion, hospitals should be required to provide the appropriate POA paperwork to any patient who comes through the doors and states that a designated individual should be their medical decision-making surrogate.

In Maryland you can fill out an Advance Directive form found here.  You just need to have two witnesses sign the form.  You don't need a lawyer and it doesn't cost anything.  If you haven't done it already, do it now.

And also, register to vote, but I'm sure you've done that already.

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