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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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My So-Called First World Problems: Meet Tim Murphy

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Wednesday, November 1, 2017
My So-Called First World Problems: Meet Tim Murphy

A day before his life imploded, (former) Congressman Tim Murphy, a longtime member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, cast a vote in favor of a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.


(Former) Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA)’s was forced to announce a hasty resignation from office when his mistress’ divorce proceedings revealed that:


a) Congressman Tim Murphy was engaged in an extramarital affair with one Dr. Shannon Edwards;

b) Dr. Edwards experienced a pregnancy “scare” as a result of her relationship with Murphy; and,

c) Murphy’s response to the pregnancy “scare” was to encourage Dr. Edwards to abort.


I have long imagined that the pro-life community harbored those who, when push came to shove, would avail themselves of the safe, legal abortion they spent so much energy railing against. But I was caught off-guard when an eight-term U.S. congressman and enthusiastic House Pro-Life Caucus member was exposed for having encouraged his own sexual partner to abort.


Murphy, a sexagenarian, (was) a full-time federal employee and a practicing psychologist. His mistress, age 32, is likewise a psychologist. These are people who can afford their co-pays, who can afford travel, who would never have to sleep in their car if forced to travel to obtain a medical procedure. There was no sexual assault. No incest. These were not lusty teenagers. There was no apparent concern about maternal health or fetal abnormalities. These people are not impoverished, and (former) Congressman Murphy’s only child is grown, so it is doubtful that he is currently overwhelmed by the demands of parenting. 


This is a case of two highly educated, older adults, with the ability to self-determine, to choose whether to engage in sexual activity (extra-marital or otherwise), and finally, these are people with the freedom to choose whether to embrace the unintended consequences of their sexual activities or not.


I mention this because a recent 14-country study showed that most women report seeking abortion because of socioeconomic reasons, because they want no more children, or because they wish to space their children.


It’s not for me to dictate the circumstances under which someone else should be able to obtain an abortion, and I recognize that the circumstances of Edwards’ putative pregnancy were less than ideal. But, it is difficult to imagine a greater act of hypocrisy than encouraging your mistress to abort while devoting much energy to making abortions more difficult to obtain. The cherry on top is that a mere day before the revelations about the affair, the pregnancy, etc. broke, (former) Congressman Murphy voted to ban all abortions after 20 weeks.

When a pregnancy is inconvenient for the man, let's allow abortion with impunity. When the pregnancy impacts the woman's life plans, throw as many barriers in her way as possible. Liberal men certainly have their share of sex scandals. (Remember San Diego Mayor Bob Filner?) But, these men don't flout a philosophical adherence to puritanical sexual mores, nor do they publicly advocate putting the kibosh on a woman's ability to self-determine. Or, as Jennifer Weiner puts it, they are not, "pro-life in the streets, pro-choice in the sheets."

So, to (former) Congressman Tim Murphy: Good night, sweet prince. And may flights of angels sing thee to thy departure from public life.

 

Rebecca Zipp co-chairs the Women's Advocacy Committee, serves as Lawyers Club Board Secretary, prosecutes securities fraud at the San Diego District Attorney's Office, and recently began composting.

Tags:  abortion  abortion access  anti-abortion  Bob Filner  congress  hypocrisy  LCB  reproductive rights  Tim Murphy 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "The Seven Most Miserable Moments for Women this Election Season"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, November 8, 2016
The Seven Most Miserable Moments for Women this Election Season:

7. Trump mansplains a Muslim woman voter at a town hall-style debate, “We have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on,” after she poses a question about combating Islamophobia.

6. The vice presidential debate, during which the word “women” was uttered 20 times in connection with the following topics:

  • In reference to reproductive freedom: 13
  • Men and women in military service: 2
  • Quoting Donald Trump’s descriptions of individual women: 2
  • Men and women in law enforcement: 1
  • Quoting Hillary Clinton on women’s rights: 1
  • Women as political colleagues: 1

Based on this breakdown: Women are 66% reproductive chamber, 10% objects of male ridicule, 24% human people.

5. The selection of Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, as major party’s VP nominee. Mr. Pence is so hostile toward abortion that recent legislation in Indiana mandating funerals or cremation for miscarried fetuses and barring abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities gave rise to the “Periods for Pence” movement. This, in a state where public funding of abortion is prohibited except for cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest; state law limits private insurance coverage of abortion; parental consent is required, and women are subject to an 18-hour waiting period after receiving mandated counseling on fetal pain.


4. #Repealthe19th – After realizing that Trump would win the election if the right to vote were reserved to men only, Trump supporters (male and female) took to Twitter with this hashtag, claiming that a Trump victory is more important than suffrage. Fortunately, they haven’t advocated #Repealthe13th. (At least, not as of press time.)


3, 2, and 1, in no particular order:

  • A major-party nominee boasts about his sexually assaultive behavior.
  • Political leaders describe their chagrin with the major-party nominee’s boasts in the following ways: “as the father of three daughters” (Mitch McConnell);  “as the grandfather of two precious girls” (Jeb Bush); “Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters . . . ” (Mitt Romney); “[W]e’ve got a 15-year-           old daughter” (Jason Chaffetz); and, even the nominee’s own running-mate Mike Pence chimed in, “[a]s a husband and a father, I was offended.” As shrewdly     observed by Amanda Marcotte on slate.com, these men invoking their wives and daughters, “fram[es] sexual violence as a property crime against male-controlled female bodies, rather than a crime against people with rights.”

Rebecca Zipp is a person. While she derives much joy from her husband and sons, she understands that her intrinsic value as a person does not stem from her status as a wife or mother.

Tags:  Abortion  elections 2016  mansplain  politics  sexual violence  victim-blaming  voting  voting rights  women 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "June 27, 2016"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Wednesday, August 10, 2016
 June 27, 2016.

When San Diego’s Coalition for Reproductive Justice (formerly the Coalition for Reproductive Choice), scheduled a June 27, 2016 screening of Trapped many moons ago, we were ignorant of the date’s auspices. Trapped follows the travails of abortion providers and their patients following the enactment of HB 2—the 2013 Texas law requiring that (a) doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic; and, (b) each abortion clinic meet standards for ambulatory surgical care centers. Serendipitously, we aired Trapped just hours after the Supreme Court of the United States held that HB 2 unconstitutionally placed an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

A little history: Traditionally, abortion foes prioritized the fetus, whereas advocates of abortion access have prioritized women’s lives and right to self-determination over any competing rights of the fetus.

In the last decade, the right-to-life camp has shifted gears, claiming that they are on the side of women—the more barriers to abortion, the better for women. Abortion, they began to argue, is inherently harmful to the woman physically, emotionally, and mentally. (NB: None of this is borne out by the evidence. Abortion is safer than childbirth. It is safer than a colonoscopy. Safer than liposuction. And, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), abortion does not cause mental health problems for most women.)  

A survey of available data (courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute and the APA) suggests that abortion is not harmful to women. What is harmful is the stigma our society attaches to abortion, and the strategically placed barriers to early abortion access. (Early abortions are safer and less expensive than later ones). What I love most about Whole Woman’s Health is the Court’s refusal to give credence to falsified claims that TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws do anything to help women. Why the refusal? Because the claims are not supported by evidence. We lawyers traffic in facts, and the record in Whole Woman’s Health is chock-full of facts demonstrating that barriers to abortion care are unhelpful and even dangerous.

The Court found the stated justification–keeping women safer–to be seriously lacking, and it found an unconstitutional undue burden. Among other persuasive facts, the Court considered that most abortions are not surgical, but medical (where the woman takes a pill to induce the abortion); thus, repudiating the opposition's assertion that abortions ought to occur at ambulatory surgical care centers.

 

State laws similar to HB 2 have proliferated in the past few years and are expected to face serious scrutiny in the wake of Whole Woman’s Health. As a result, the anti-abortion camp is expected to again revamp its strategy, returning their focus to the rights of the fetus, while reproductive justice advocates will continue to work toward the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls.

The atmosphere at CRJ’s screening of Trapped was celebratory yet somber. In the wake of HB 2’s enactment, Texas lost half of its abortion clinics. Rebuilding will take time, and in the three years it took the case to wind its way through the courts, real women and girls bore HB 2’s consequences. 

This blog was authored by Rebecca Zipp. Rebecca Zipp is the proud owner of a Notorious RBG t-shirt.



Tags:  Abortion  My So-Called First-World Problems  reproductive justice  SCOTUS  Supreme Court  Texas  Texas TRAP laws 

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