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You Go, Hillary: Handing a Pro-Life Congressman His Ass on International Reproductive Rights September 17, 2009

Posted by FCM in health, international, PIV, politics, race, rape.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

i was looking for video of the 2000 new york senate debate between hillary clinton and douchebag extraordinaire rick lazio…because of the similarities i saw between that and kanye west’s recent douchebaggery.  both men, it seems, believe that its acceptable male behavior to invade a woman’s space and act like an aggressive, entitled asshole. anyone remember that clinton/lazio debate? i will never forget it, but it seems like that video is nowhere to be found.  and i am not the first to have noticed.

what i did find was the above:  an excellent clip of hillary handing some pro-life congressman his ass at an april, 2009 congressional hearing addressing access to abortion and international reproductive rights. listen and see how strong, well-reasoned, and respectful she is. and she doesnt back down from her position even a teeny, tiny bit. a masterful response.

now, speaking of international reproductive rights:

this is a short clip from a PBS documentary about the “fistula foundation,” a charity that provides medical services to ethiopian women who suffer birth injuries…as long as the women can get to hospital in the capital city of addis ababa, on their own. 

turns out, malnourished 12-year old girls being married off, impregnated, and bringing their fetuses to term is bad for the girls’ health. who couldve guessed? specifically, their pelvises are too small for childbirth, and they labor for up to 10 days before expelling a dead fetus (or having it pulled or cut out)…but not before suffering permanent injuries called “fistulas.”  a fistula is a tear in — or death of — vaginal tissue that creates an opening between the vaginal wall and the bladder and/or rectum, causing urinary and/or fecal incontinence. these women are then ostracised from their families and communities for the stench, and largely unable to access medical care for their injuries. its heartbreaking, and infuriating, to watch, as these things often are.

here is the full-length documentary. please, please watch the entire thing if you can make the time. i promise you, its worth seeing. 

possible trigger warning:  the video does not directly address rape, but it does address child-brides and what is pretty obviously child rape in that context.  i did not find that i was triggered, however, and i watched the whole thing when it was on NOVA.  on a related note, some of you may be aware that fistula injuries are commonly inflicted on female rape victims, for obvious reasons. the tissues of the vagina and rectum are extremely delicate, and simply cannot withstand the abuse that comes from violent rapes, and from prolonged labor and “failed” childbirth.  rape-related fistuals are not addressed in the video.

as always, comments are very welcome.


1. Max - September 18, 2009

Hillary done good.

factcheckme - September 18, 2009

indeed she did. thanks for stopping by!

2. Loretta Kemsley - September 18, 2009

These children live horrid lives because of the injuries forced on them by child rape laws pretending that this is what marriage is all about. After they are raped and impregnated, they are abandoned. They do not have the money to obtain the necessary surgery, so they are exiled. Even when a doctor volunteers to do the surgery, it is not always successful. Either way, they live in pain for the rest of their lives and they die fairly young.

Violence against women — in all its forms — needs to be eliminated. The UN recently tabled forming a women’s council, postponing it once again even though no nation has filed an offical objection. The only reason for these unforgivable delays is that women would gain greater power to change these patriarchal horrors — something no patriarchal country wants to allow.

We need to pressure our own government officials to take a tough stand against further delays. With Hillary heading the State Department, we should be able to have the full support of the president.

And yes, she does a great job, doesn’t she?

factcheckme - September 19, 2009

hi loretta

i didnt know that about the UN tabling the womens council. although your analysis of their reasoning for doing so is undoubtedly correct. we mustnt forget that these are, indeed, children we are talking about: 17 and 18 year olds that had been suffering with their injuries for years by the time they were seen by the doctors. and as you note, the surgeries are performed with varying degrees of success (or no success in some cases). surgery might be one solution after these girls are injured, but prevention would be the “cure”.

i would also note that many times these girls are married off to much older men, and the men are on their 4th or 5th child bride, the previous ones all having died in childbirth. in these cases, any rational person would rightly see these men as not only serial child rapists, but serial killers. would they not? this is unacceptable, and a very obvious way that women and girls are directly harmed by patriarchy, and poverty. serial killers are passing as husbands. this is what is passing for normal in many parts of the world, and is the reality of many girls and womens lives.

i contacted the mods at newsvine and asked that the FF be included in their list of charities, and tyler seemed agreeable. we will see if that happens. in the meantime, they do accept paypal and other online donations at their website.

3. Undercover Punk - September 19, 2009

Um, off-post topic, but…

I’m interested in hearing more about what you said over at RATM regarding feminists censoring themselves. Women AS A CLASS should be our primary concern. HOW to better the lives of women should be our focus. Everything else is a distraction. I’m not interested in negative talk about other women; I want strategies for change–philosophical and practical.

(I’m scared of the video! I know, I know, being uncomfortable isn’t a good reason…)

factcheckme - September 19, 2009

hi UP

if you want, you can post a response over there and i will comment over there as well. in fact, i just did, not sure if you saw my latest. as for the video, its not scary. its not graphic, and i wasnt triggered at all (i am big-time triggered by rape and torture and i was fine). of course its up to you what you want to expose yourself to, but i think its worth seeing, for real.

as for advancing women as a class, i think its the long-lost primary goal of feminism. advancing women as a class, and eradicating rape and domestic violence should be the goals at the very heart of our ideologies, by definition. but feminism has taken a back seat lately to other -isms. for example, race activists and trans-activists. thats not to say that race and trans activists are anti-feminist. just that they do not have their primary goal the advancement of women as a class. their primary goals are something else, and their primary allegiences lie elsewhere.

feminsts arent even allowed to discuss very important issues such as the misogyny and male privilege of minority men, for example. or examine the ways in which trans-issues reinforce the gender binary. i think this is a real problem for feminists, and for feminism. we then busy ourselves criticising other “feminists” and ducking criticism, instead of examining issues that affect women as a class. thats one reason i wanted to address birth injuries, and child brides. this is a very obvious way that women and girls are suffering, tangibly, gruesomely suffering under patriarchy, and poverty.

in other words, i think we need to get over ourselves, and get real. thats all.

4. femspotter - September 19, 2009

Hillary Clinton is a rock star! I feel like all of those years pretending to be the good political wife (when I hated her, incidentally) are paying off now in that she is able to give – hands down – the best response to abortion ignorance in the most poised and dignified way I have ever seen or heard! Go Hillary!

“Died in childbirth” is a phrase all too common in Africa these days where women pay $2 to give birth on an unclean floor without the attention of a doctor. As somebody who is looking forward to (knock wood) a healthy pregnancy, I am extremely saddened by the lack of medical attention given to these women in a patriarchal area of the globe where breastfeeding is discouraged so that women can keep their husbands happy with sex soon after giving birth – that is, if they don’t die in childbirth. Then they get pregnant and the risks begin all over again. Childbirth has become a pathology – and so it is when the mothers are malnourished and living in dirty, infectious environments without access to clean water. It should be a source of joy: the miracle of life!

Bill Maher commented last night that America is the only country where a health industry profits from sick people. Before our doctors get to work here for $500k per year, they should be required to give one year of volunteer service in a nation with fewer resources so they can witness real suffering! (Dick Cheney just checked into the hospital for elective spine surgery – alert the media!)

factcheckme - September 19, 2009

i agree that she gave the best response i have ever heard. she was much more respectful than i could ever be toward a powerful white american male professing such horrible, unforgivable ignorance, nay utter disregard, to womens issues, both domestically and world-wide. i would just as soon slap him senseless with a dead fetus and personally deliver the rectal blow that rendered him permanently incontinent, as look at him, but she somehow was able to maintain her composure absolutely. my anger is overwhelming when it comes to this issue. hers isnt, or at least it doenst show. her just personified STRENGTH and REASON. good on her.

in case anyone isnt sure what i mean by the above, the NOVA documentary interviews women who had labored for up to 10 days (yes, in active labor for a week and a half) only to give birth to dead fetuses (obviously), and the trauma of the prolonged labor rendered the women incontinent of urine and/or feces. the fistula foundation funds a hospital there to repair the internal damage and cure (or improve) the incontinence.

5. Barb - September 28, 2009

Damn. I applaud her for maintaining her cool responding to that wannabe rights-denying asshat. You could see her thinking and measuring her words. lol

factcheckme - September 28, 2009

seriously. i wouldve gone ballistic for sure. thanks for stopping by!

6. The Fifth Carnival of Feminists « Zero at the Bone - September 30, 2009

[…] presents a collection of videos related to reproductive rights. The post’s at femonade, featuring Hillary Clinton being full of […]

7. still4hill - October 1, 2009

Yes, I saw that the day she did it. It is important, however, in light of her statement there and also her remarks on 09/25/09 that she is not flat out in favor of all abortion all the time. She brought up the issue of female feticide last Friday and that IS abortion. What she says makes sense – that it should be safe but rare.

8. You go, Hillary! « Anomalistically - November 13, 2009

[…] 13, 2009 by Emily I found this here and I thought it was pretty darn awesome. This pretty much redeemed Hillary in my mind, even though […]

9. Jane - January 6, 2010

Found the blog through a link and skimming through old content. That video of Hillary was amazing. She rocks!

…she somehow was able to maintain her composure absolutely. my anger is overwhelming when it comes to this issue. hers isnt, or at least it doenst show. her just personified STRENGTH and REASON. good on her.

I think that she definitely “feels the burn” but that she has probably learned to channel her passions into productive directions. Like years and years ago she found ways to affect the world in positive ways, and then learned how to more effective each time she worked on something. I hope day that I have something like that amount of poise and command of language 🙂

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