One of the things about being poorly is that you spend a lot of time lying in bed trying to pass the hours until you feel a bit better. Mainly I have been passing that time intermittently snoozing, entertaining Baby M as best I can, and listening to the usually excellent BBC World Service.

This will explain why so many of my posts at present are observations on news stories. It’s because these are the most interesting things to have penetrated my passive consciousness in the last few days.

Anywhoo… There were a couple of good ones today.

Firstly, today saw the first Kuwaiti elections in which women were allowed to participate as full voting citizens. Twenty-eight women stood as candidates, and women voters queued up to exercise their newly won rights. Hooray for Kuwaiti feminists!

Secondly, I listened to an extended piece on the South Dakota abortion ban. Catching up with the latest news on this, I found that people in South Dakota had managed to force a referendum of the issue. Under state law, they can do this if they collect as many as 16,728 signatures calling for a referendum within a 90 day period. In fact, over 38,000 signatures were collected and the ban has been deferred until after a referendum, to be held in November. Hooray SD feminists!

Two moments in this report are really worth repeating.

The first was when the state legislator responsible for sponsoring the bill – sorry, I’ve forgotten his name – described the way in which he and his colleagues have sought to undermine the landmark case of Roe v Wade (in which the US Supreme Court decided that the constitution required that women have the right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy, free from state interference).

He said that for many years they have been “picking away” at it, with restrictions and regulations and various measures designed to limit access to abortion services. He then said:

“When you have been picking away at something, there comes a point when you have to say: this is a cripple, it’s time to terminate.”

Nice metaphor, I thought, in the circumstances. Tasteful use of the word “cripple”, too. Maybe when he next meets a woman forced to bear a severely disabled child against her will, he’ll dust it off and use it again.

The other moment was a vox pop comment from a member of the public asked for an opinion. A supporter of this bill, he was asked whether he didn’t think it was a bit strict, given the absence of any real exceptions from this near-absolute ban. He replied:

“I don’t really understand what flexibility you are supposed to have around the word No.”

Again, nice choice of words. Maybe when he next meets a woman forced to bear the child of a man who raped her, they can have a cosy little chat about the meaning of that pesky little word No.

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Finally, I get mail!

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