Dobbs v Womens Health, and trans

The US Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion, which was based on the right to privacy. This may affect the right to contraception or to gay marriage, or even gay sex. As Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor said, “Today, the proclivities [inclinations] of individuals rule. The Court departs from its obligation to faithfully and impartially apply the law. We dissent.” It is a dark day for women’s rights, and so a dark day for human rights.

But that has nothing to do with trans, surely?

The anti-trans campaigners disagree. Libby Purves in The Times said that 19th century prostitutes had “a degree of generally understood protection” because “their physical difference”- the unthinking belief that having a womb made you a woman, having testicles made you a man- had “value and vulnerability”. Prostitutes, protected? She’s delusional.

The protection those women had “has almost vanished now” except in fundamentalist Islam, which veils women but, for Purves, believes “women” have female biology. Words like “menstruators” (including trans men and AFAB nonbinary people) “can erase the idea of womanhood”. Compassion pretended for trans people or for embryos, as if Libby could not distinguish the different groups who feel such compassion, ends women’s rights, she says.

She claims trans activists say there are 130 genders. Well, gender is imprecise, varying and unclassifiable. Facebook had 58 genders but only three pronouns. Women’s Health magazine has sixteen different terms for gender identity: not different named genders, but different ways of conceptualising gender. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s not bad. Times writers just make stuff up.

Here’s the article. Now, in a desperate search for subscribers, the Times is available for £12 for the first year. Rupert knows how little his foul propaganda is worth.

Camilla Long, also in The Times, repeated a lie that is so stale it is a cliché of disinformation- even if you are left-wing, don’t vote for the relatively left-wing party because they’re not for your interests really. If you believe in the right to abortion but also “believe in biological sex”, she said, “there is no one to vote for”. As if the rights of a few trans women should make cis women angry enough not to vote to preserve their right to bodily autonomy. This is a standard vote suppression tactic. I commented. One woman, frothing at the mouth about “autogynephilia” and trans women jerking themselves in loos, said she had only once seen a trans woman in a loo and, beyond being there, she saw her do nothing objectionable. Another said she had never met a single trans woman.

The choice is between giving what Libby Purves calls a tiny minority an even break, and getting bodily autonomy for all fertile women. Long would have people surrender the right to a medical termination in order to spite trans people.

Sonia Sodha in the Guardian also wanted to connect Dobbs v Women’s Health to trans. She wrote the abortion article everyone could- poor people, the victims of violent men, indeed any woman might need an abortion, etc. Then she starts on trans: “women” is an offensive word, she says. This is probably an attack on inclusive language for trans men and nonbinary people, but Sodha is too incoherent for us to be sure.

Women are a sex class she says, who need “sex-based rights” in the words of the headline. It’s an anti-trans dogwhistle. Women need women’s rights, and every good-hearted man should support abortion rights, even if he thinks no woman he knows might ever need one, because it is the decent thing to do. But Sodha brings in sex v gender, creating the division she claims to oppose.

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