The Saudi Arabia of Feminism
In addition to the Wikileaks Party’s preferencing, it is marked that none of its candidates have publicly criticised the recent endorsement by Julian Assange of US right-wing Christian politicians Ron and Rand Paul.
In an online video forum conducted earlier in August by Deakin University and OurSay.Org, Assange had this to say:
I’m a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the US Congress on a number of issues. They have been the strongest supporters of the fight against the US attack on Wikileaks and on me in the US Congress. Similarly, they have been the strongest opponents of drone warfare and extra-judicial executions. And so that’s quite an interesting phenomenon in the United States, the position of the libertarian Republican Right. Coming from a principle of non-violence, which is the American libertarian intellectual position, that produces interesting results. So non-violence – don’t go and invade a foreign country. Non-violence – don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the US Army. Non-violence – don’t extort taxes from people to the Federal Government with a policeman. Similarly, there are other aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold. I think some of these positions that are held by Rand Paul, yes I can see how they come from the same underlying libertarian principle. I think the world is often more complex and by taking a no-doubt principled but somewhat simplistic position you end up undermining the principle. But the short-term visions and the long-term visions of the principle it’s quite hard to meld these together.
There is no clear condemnation here at all of the anti-choice position, nor assurance that Assange considers an anti-abortion stance to invalidate a claim to ‘libertarianism’. We are left assuming that female bodily, reproductive and parenting autonomy do not really count to him as an issue of personal freedom.
For anyone still wondering, later in the event Assange commented that:
the Libertarian aspect to the Republican Party is presently the only useful political voice in the US Congress …. The only hope as far as electoral politics are concerned in the United States presently is the libertarian section of the Republican Party.
This representative of the USA’s “only hope”, Rand Paul, has a record of opposing the following measures which are vital to women:
Feminist writer Lauren Rankin recently assessed Assange’s claim that libertarian “opposition to abortion is grounded in a commitment to non-violence”. [Even with his vague acknowledgements that the practice of non-violence by libertarians may in some vague way undermine “the principle” of it.] As Rankin more forthrightly says, “Non-violent for whom, exactly?”
According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been 6,461 reported incidents of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including eight murders and 17 attempted murders. Abortion providers and clinics have faced numerous bombings, cases of arson, butyric acid attacks, death threats, kidnappings, and more, all from opponents of abortion rights. In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed while at church with his family. His convicted killer, Scott Roeder, is heralded as a “hero” in some anti-choice circles.
In 1965, eight years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, illegal abortion accounted for 17 percent of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth. And today, around the globe—mostly in the developing world—at least 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year (roughly 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide) and many times that number suffer serious and sometimes lifelong health consequences.
It is impossible to quantify how many people in the United States avoid accessing safe and legal abortion care because of fear of harassment and intimidation, but with 5,165 abortion clinics reporting some form of disruption or harassment in 2011 alone, it’s safe to assume that it plays at least a small role; people often avoid accessing the basic reproductive health care to which they have a constitutional right because of virulent hostility from abortion opponents.
We recommend reading the full article at RH Reality Check.