On March 15, I posted a Texas Kaos
story about Sen. Dan Patrick's attempt to bribe women in Texas who planned to have an abortion with $500, payable only when they placed their newborns for adoption. Last Thursday morning, I published an expanded version of that story at Talk to Action
and Culture Kitchen
. Its title was "The Texas Baby Purchasing Act of 2007" -- which, as of this writing, renders over 27,000 Google results
In a state, and, indeed, a nation, where the religious right dictates much of what passes for public policy, we've all become inured to a certain level of near-daily outrage. But the in-your-face contempt for women permeating every line of Dan "Water Boy for the Religious Right" Patrick's Senate Bill 1567 was too blatant to ignore.
The Houston Chronicle story that prompted KRLD's radio report was written by Janet Elliott , Austin correspondent for both that paper and the San Antonio Express-News.
Houston state Sen. Dan Patrick wants the state to pay $500 to women who give their babies up for adoption instead of aborting them, an idea some say borders on baby selling.
"We want that lady to have an incentive that makes her stop and think about having an abortion and that gives her a reason to put her baby up for adoption," said Patrick, a radio broadcaster who champions conservative causes such as abortion and tightening the border.
Critics say his bill doesn't recognize the complex issues involved in a woman's decision to place her baby for adoption and comes dangerously close to baby selling.
One anti-abortion group -- while supporting the goal of encouraging adoption over abortion -- expressed caution.
"We just need to make sure there isn't even the perception of baby buying going on," said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.
An organization that supports a woman's right to choose said Patrick's bill is terrible.
"It's the stuff nightmares are made of," said Fran Hagerty of the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas. "This is insulting to women and also insulting to all the great charitable organizations out there that do wonderful work finding adoptive parents and taking care of the birth mother."
It is a crime in Texas to offer to give a thing of value to another for acquiring a child for purposes of adoption.
In response to an email of thanks for reporting Patrick's intent, Ms. Elliott said that she had "heard that the bill was on a blog and Patrick's office was looking for it" and graciously added, "Congratulations on breaking the story."
From other sources around the country -- from the Daily Kos to Buzzflash to the human rights site NeverInOurNames comes additional assurance that we do not battle the religious right alone.
The Texas Spermatazoan-American Purchasing Act of 2007
Dear Sen. Patrick,
Kudos to you for introducing SB 1567, the Texas Baby Purchasing Act of 2007. Undoubtedly, it will save the lives of many blastocyst-Americans.
But what about their tiny spermatazoan-American brothers? Your bill does nothing to protect them. Indeed, it completely ignores the tubesock holocaust. I hope you'll consider amending SB 1567 to address this terrible oversight.
Here's how I see it working. You offer every man in the state a stipend, say $15 dollars a visit, to drop by their local legislator's office every couple of days to liberate their little spermatazoan-American citizens. To prevent cheating, we apply a UV fluorescent ink to their hands when they visit and then examine their little soldiers under a black light at their next visit. This will allow them to have normal relations with their wives while alerting us to any inappropriate touching on their part.
I'd like to go into this with you in more detail and show you my modified milking machine prototype. It's great. I call it Sheila. I haven't left the trailer since I built it.
Please have your legislative assistant give me call to set up an appointment.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
As freakishly "Brave New World" as it may sound, the new bill introduced in the Texas State legislature that would pay $500 to unmarried mothers who signed their parental rights to their babies away to the Lone Star State is not unexpected coming from from a legislative body that last hit the national radar screen when one of its top members circulated a memo alleging the theory of Evolution to be a Jewish Kabbalist conspiracy and referencing a website that declares Copernicus was wrong and that the Sun revolves around the Earth. What could really top the fact that one of the most powerful politicians of one of the largest states in the Union had promoted the notion that the fundamental scientific breakthrough - that the entire celestial world, the whole heavens and cosmos, didn't revolve around the Earth each and every 24 hours and which some would say was a key conceptual advance that helped usher in the Enlightenment - was actually a Jewish cultic plot ?
Still Texas State Senator Dan Patrick really misses a golden opportunity to set new standards for creepily Orwellian, menacing state legislation; with a few bold strokes of his legislative pen, Patrick could have both set in motion a state-run baby breeding program and, by taking up Al Mohler's advocacy for medical procedures that could "fix" gay babies, written a legislative mandate that human babies purchased by the state of Texas ( at an average per pound rate cheaper than good quality sushi-grade Tuna, a bargain ! ) who might be gay must be "fixed" with brain surgery and also liberal doses of hormones. Dan Patrick, who is no doubt a 'Bible-believing' Christian but seems only lukewarm in his devotion to his faith, might heed the Book Of Revelations :
Revelation 3:15-16. " I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot.  So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
The Huffington Post
Womb for Rent
How much is nine months of pregnancy, labor, and the birth of a child worth? Less than 10 cents an hour, according to the supposed "Culture of Life" warriors in Texas.
The "Adoption Incentive Program" -- otherwise known as the Texas Baby Purchasing Act of 2007 -- would offer women $500 for forgoing abortion, giving birth and then signing away their parental rights.
It does not apply to women who choose to keep their children or to women who choose adoption without first visiting an abortion provider, and it's being billed as an anti-abortion measure.
Talk about commodifying women's bodies.
This law would essentially pay women to rent out their uteruses. As BitchPhD points out, it's not about encouraging childbirth, it's about bribing women out of abortion and into adoption, effectively using them as cheap labor to create a child for someone else.
Baby-selling, it should be noted, is pretty illegal. But the proposed Texas law deals with that by simply saying that the anti-baby-selling statute "does not apply to the grant or acceptance of money under this section." Well ok then.
I also suspect that this is less about preventing abortion than it is about insuring that the children of "unfit" mothers -- those 1 in 3 American women who will terminate a pregnancy at some point in her life -- are re-distributed to parents who are deemed to be better suited to raise them.
Paying women 7 cents an hour if they carry a pregnancy to term and then give the child up for adoption is not "pro-life." But it's good to know that pro-life politicians love babies so much that they're willing to sell them for bargain-basement prices.
Ah, yes . . . as noted, Bitch PhD
A MODERN PROPOSAL
It's good to know that there's been progress in the last three hundred years. Back in 1729, Jonathan Swift lamented the fact that "a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity."
But now Texas state Senator Dan Patrick has shown that where there's a will, American ingenuity will always find a way.
So you're pregnant, you decide you cannot keep this pregnancy, you make an appointment with an abortion provider and you show up and there's a parental consent law (if you're under 18) and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period just to make sure you've thought about this, missy, and now they're also going to try one last ditch oh, hey, but would you reconsider if we offered you $500?
Senator Patrick, would you agree to take care of a neighbor's dog for nine months for a measly $500? Where the fuck do you get the balls to offer women $500 to rent out their uteruses and sell their children?
Texas "pro-life" lawmaker values "life" at, well, pretty damn cheap
In a move that seems on its surface to be designed to a) embarass Texas yet again and b) insult women, Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick is attempting to set the price of making a baby at $500, payable only to those women who give up their babies for adoption. I whipped out my handy calculator and figured out what Patrick is setting as the hourly wage for baby-making, and it's at $.07 an hour. So whenever you hear an anti-choicer get all misty-eyed and sentimental about the gift of life and how it's a woman's most important role, remember, they value that gift as less valuable than the gift of recycling cans. And they value a woman's "most" important role in life at 1/100th the minimum wage.
To make absolutely sure no one mistakes this bill as anything but an insult to women that Patrick deems to be big old immoral sluts, he's only offering the $.07 an hour to women trying to have abortions. From a labor standpoint, then, what's going on is that Patrick views women who have abortions as striking workers and is offering to counter his initial offer (you make babies for no money) with a pittance.
Tennessee Guerilla Women
Pregnant? Broke? Move to the State of Texas and Sell Babies for $$$$!
If you're pregnant and broke, it's time to move to Texas where if all goes as planned you can make a cool $500 just by signing your parental rights over to the State of Texas.
How does that song go? Money for babies and your kicks for free!
Furthermore, Sen. Dan Patrick's pro life offer of $500 will be made only to women who are U.S. citizens. If the mother is not a U.S. citizen, but the father is a U.S. citizen, no one cares if you abort it. The value of that potential life is zilch. Senator Dan Patrick will pay nothing for it, so he obviously wants you to just go ahead and abort it. Why Does Sen. Dan Patrick Hate American Men?
Sen. Patrick and his like-minded colleagues seem to harbor enough hate to go around -- although, as always, women who might need abortion care are singled out for their special consideration. This time, thanks to the assistance of Bruce Wilson at Talk to Action, Lorraine at Culture Kitchen, and krazypuppy at Texas Kaos -- and with 27,000 thanks for the eternal vigilance of bloggers across the country -- Dan Patrick's Texas Baby Purchasing Act of 2007 has been dragged out from under its rock and into the spotlight. Now that mainstream reporters are asking uncomfortable questions, even Patrick's anti-choice political allies are backing away from him on this one.
Congratulations to all of us, and keep on pulling that handle. There's just no telling when we're going to get lucky.
[Title image from the Art of Shelly Wilkerson]
Also posted at Culture Kitchen and Texas Kaos