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Ladies! Protect your right to gestate from men who want to grow babies in a box, world’s weirdest “reproductive rights” activist declares

Ladies! Protest your eggs from men who want to give birth

By David Futrelle

Most reproductive rights activists today are doing their best to deal with the increasingly likely reversal of Roe V. Wade, brought a step closer to reality by the draconian anti-abortion bill just signed into law in Alabama, likely to be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

But the exceedingly sui generis reproductive rights activist John Howard — Twitter’s @EggAndSperm — has rather different concerns. Like men trying to gestate their own fetuses in a box, women trying to fertilize the eggs of other women, and single and/or gay people having sex.

I first ran across Howard in tweets from @Chinchillazllla and @NuclearTakes several days ago, and I’ve been trying to figure him out ever since. He’s no feminist, obviously, but he’s no Men’s Rights Activist either — he doesn’t seem to want men to infringe on what he sees as women’s fundamental right to gestate. He’s kind of his own thing, mixing the assorted bigotries of a Christian fundamentalist with the paranoia of someone who’s just read Brave New World for the first time. (And he seems way too dedicated to be a troll; he’s been at this for years.)

John Howard
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@eggandsperm
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Replying to @BrendaWestcott2 @jwblanding and 2 others
To support reproductive rights, we have to prohibit making babies with genetic engineering, artificial gametes, in artificial wombs. Females have the right to gestate and give birth, males do not. Females do not have a right to fertilize. 

#SexStrike
John Howard
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@eggandsperm
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Replying to @bjconk01 @rooshv
Congress needs to protect people from exploitation by giving them full information about their reproductive rights. Males only have a right to reproduce with their own genitals, they don’t have a right to gestate a baby in a box or make eggs from stem cells.

Huh. It never occurred to me that my inability to become pregnant was a right; I just thought it was a biological limitation. I guess I also have a right to not be as smart as Einstein, as well as a right to not be able to fly by flapping my arms. Apparently I have as many rights as there are things I’m unable to do.

Oh, and as a single person, I also have the right not to have sex. When Howard talks about the reproductive rights of men and women, he makes clear he thinks these rights (including the right to have sex) only apply to straight, married couples.

John Howard
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@eggandsperm
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There is no right to have sex or procreate except marriage. Single people don’t have a right to have sexual intercourse. #SexStrike

Congress needs to end gay marriage to preserve the sexual reproductive rights of marriage.
Undo gay marriage! Same-sex couples are not equal, they don’t have the right to procreate together. Only a male has a right to procreate with a female. Doh!

Howard is so sure that (straight) marriage is the only way to go that he’s managed to convince himself that all sex between single people is therefore somehow rape.

John Howard
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@eggandsperm
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Replying to @TheLaurenChen
All unmarried sex is technically rape because it is not fully informed consensual sex. It’s mutual rape, where they both are willing victims and perpetrators.

But Howard seems less concerned with this sort of “rape” than he is with the specter of gay marriage, which he manages to blame for everything from school shootings to the opioid crisis.

Gay marriage is “what the hell is going on” causing terrorism, mental illness, school shootings, opioid crisis, transgender crisis...  Congress must ban male pregnancy and end gay marriage. Men and women have different reproductive rights, not the same!

While gay and lesbian couples are shit out of luck in Howard’s imagined utopia, he’s an eensy, teensy bit more forgiving towards trans people — but only if they accept the fundamentally transphobic belief that trans women are really men and trans men are really women.

John Howard
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@eggandsperm
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Replying to @urkgurgle @canuckfreezeray and 2 others
Right, trans people are human and have human rights, the same rights they would have if they weren’t trans.

Trans women have male rights, to provide a sperm, not a right to provide eggs or gestate or breastfeed. Trans men don’t have a right to provide a sperm.

You might wonder why Howard is so intent on banning things that aren’t actually possible in the world we live in today — obviously, neither cis men nor trans women can produce eggs; nor can cis women or trans men produce sperm. But he of course has an answer.

aliens

No, really. His answer is “aliens” — or at least their technology.

Howard — while not a TERF himself — has some awfully TERFy concerns:

Trans women don’t have women’s rights though. Trans women have a right to impregnate women not be pregnant themselves, even after surgery and hormones and legal sex changes. People with the right to impregnate shouldn’t get to force their way into women-only spaces.

But he also thinks he’s got a solution:

The way to reverse this trend and make women safe again in changing rooms is to rule out the prospect of transgender reproduction. That will force them to accept they aren’t women, most will desist.

Yeah, that’s not how that works.

Indeed, Howard might well be the poster child for Not How This Works. So I’m just going to end this with that lady from that commercial. And every other gif along those lines I could find.

And for you Star Wars fans:

As for me, I’m just going to go lie down for a while.

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Bakunin
Bakunin
3 years ago

@Talonknife
Like Brandy said, I can only speak for myself, and I am planning on it. I’m satisfied with the outcomes I’ve seen from other women, and I’m lucky to have insurance to take the hit

Amnesia Bug
Amnesia Bug
3 years ago

Did this dude watch that one scene in Life Of Brian while high or something?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

I wish the left would fight back against this firehose assault on women with some Overton window troll legislation of their own. Even if “99 year jail sentences for men who create unwanted pregnancies” doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of passing (hell, we can barely even get jail sentences for men who engage in unwanted sex), it’s critical not to allow any normalization of laws that regulate women’s bodies and medical decisions.

The GOP says “meet us halfway”, so the Democrats, wanting to be bipartisan, take a step forward. Then the GOP takes two steps backwards and says “meet us halfway” again. Repeat the same dance steps for fifty years, aaaand that’s how we got to where we are now.

As for John Howard, his argument that people have no right to do anything that falls outside of their biological abilities is absurd. Under that same reasoning, people don’t have a right to any corrective medical procedure. If prospective parents don’t have a right to accept sperm and egg donations, then it follows that no one should be allowed to get hip replacements, pacemakers, blood transfusions, organ donations, or eyeglasses. After all, a faulty body part is the result of a person’s genetic makeup and therefore unalterable. No substitutions!!

Sex outside marriage doesn’t even fall under the “it’s unnatural, so there’s no right to it” umbrella. There’s nothing about human biology that physically prevents adults from having intercourse if they don’t have a notarized piece of paper. Embryos don’t spontaneously self-arrest if they sense the womb belongs to an unmarried person.

Human rights are a human invention, granted by humans to other humans (though the Declaration of Independence says certain basic rights are “inalienable”, ie not subject to the whims of legislators, but good luck finding a Republican who believes that). Rights can’t be derived from nature or science, no matter how you jump up and down and stamp your little Archie Bunker feet and insist that goils are goils and men are men.

These people sure get angry at the idea of people having babies and sex outside traditional heteronormative marriage. It makes me think their own marriages must be miserable and punitive, and they’re furious that other people have the freedom to enjoy the good stuff without the suffering of being yoked for life to an abusive, Dominionist spouse.

Katamount
Katamount
3 years ago

*sigh* I’m calling John Howard libelz on this one. Cuz there’s a really neat John Howard buried in High Park who had a transformative hand in building Toronto.

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I realize it’s against praxis as a socialist to admire a servant of the Family Compact (the 1% of Upper Canada), but engineers and surveyors like Howard needed somebody to fund their work and the Lieutenant Governor John Colborne had plenty of money, so I don’t fault him too much on that account. Clearly they had a close relationship as Howard named his lakeside residence Colborne Lodge after his patron.

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Although even the John Howard name is suspect as he was actually born John Corby and had two stories as to why he changed his name, the first claiming he was an illegitimate son and adopted the name Corby after the man his mother married and the second that he was descended from Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.

John and his wife Jemima bequeathed the land of High Park to the city of Toronto in 1873, on the conditions that they would be permitted to live there, receive a yearly pension of $1200, that no alcohol would ever be served in the park, and that the city hold the park “for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the Citizens of Toronto for ever and to be called and designated at all times thereafter High Park”. Jemima fell ill with cancer and passed away in 1877, while John lived another 13 years and died at Colborne Lodge, both of them buried beneath a cairn just across the road.

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Not sure if I’ve related the story of the fence, but it’s recorded in Howard’s journals that it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and enclosed St. Paul’s Cathedral, Howard purchasing it when it was being replaced. Sadly, on its journey to Toronto, the ship carrying it sank into the St. Lawrence, taking the fence with it, but Howard at great personal expense hired divers to retrieve as much of it as possible and that’s what now encloses their burial cairn.

TL;DR When they’re sending John Howards, they’re not sending their best.

Amtep
Amtep
3 years ago

The silly man doesn’t realise that he doesn’t have a right to tweet.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
3 years ago

There’s 0 accountability for the judiciary. If they feel like calling a law constitutional, even if it isn’t, no one will stop them.

We’re getting to the point, or maybe past the point, in which if Democrats ever somehow get enough seats in both the House and Senate, they will need to take drastic measures. Like impeach every single federal judge that does anything unethical. Or pack the courts to overcome Trump appointees.

This seems incredibly unlikely.

Which means we’ll eventually get to the point where democracy is subverted to such a point that civil unrest occurs.

Those are the two choices.

The first one is better, but too many Democrats either don’t get it or don’t care.

Lukas Xavier
Lukas Xavier
3 years ago

I wish the left would fight back against this firehose assault on women with some Overton window troll legislation of their own. Even if “99 year jail sentences for men who create unwanted pregnancies” doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of passing (hell, we can barely even get jail sentences for men who engage in unwanted sex), it’s critical not to allow any normalization of laws that regulate women’s bodies and medical decisions.

Not sure that’s the best example, but I get what you mean. It might work if you focused on things that are broadly popular. E.g. a special tax on people who own property worth more than ten million dollars, and paying that money out directly to everyone else.

That should scare the shit out of the capitalist swine 🙂

That's a Moray
That's a Moray
3 years ago

I get the feeling this guy’s definition of right is slightly different from everyone else’s.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

@Lukas Xavier – But draconian abortion laws aren’t broadly popular either. Close to 3/4 of Americans support abortion in cases of rape or incest, and that number’s been pretty stable over time. Right wing legislators aren’t consulting polls or wringing their hands over how they appear to centrist voters when they introduce these horrible bills.

The point is to propose drastic and absurd things from the left as a counterweight to the drastic and absurd things the right is trying to ram through, so that it becomes impossible for Republicans to paint mildly leftist ideas as radical and scary. Most MAGA voters have no idea what the radical left even is. They think it’s clean water, or universal healthcare. They think CNN is Marxist. Democrats should get some genuinely far-left ideas out there instead of constantly ceding the middle ground. Call their bluff. Demand that those rich old white men make the same sacrifices and take the same risks they’re asking of young women.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

@Samantha Kaswell

I already mentioned in a previous topic that sex strikes work best when the majority of the population supports the women’s side on whatever the strike is directed against, assuming the main role of the strike is to do more than just bring attention. (Which is fine, but attention alone will not translate into effective measures to handle said issue, and it gets even more polarizing when you factor in religious beliefs as a cause of the legislation- sure, the ultimate cause is their desire to control women’s bodies, but it’s the justification that God says an embryo’s life is as important as an adult human’s life that both makes it palatable to the general public and allows them to take what they believe to be the moral high ground on the issue.)

At this point, a better idea would be to just initiate a mass exodus of women from the state before the law can take effect. They won’t support you, so why let them have your tax dollars knowing that they will be used against you?

Impractical? Perhaps. But at the minimum, it has less risk of being subject to blowback, and even the most ideologically minded of politicians (who might very well take the strike as proof that they’re right) will be forced to notice the dent in their tax revenues.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Knowing the country as it is now, even some centrists might throw a fit about those sorts of proposals because they’ve been led to think only “Communists” believe those sorts of things. Thanks for nothing, lingering effects of the Cold War and Red Scare.

That said, I favor what I believe to be a more acceptable solution: a mandatory maximum age for major political offices, under the (likely correct) rationale that after a certain age dementia and general cognitive decline will inevitably compromise a politician’s ability to make adequate judgments on policy, law, and the like. If nothing else, it will ensure that those old white men’s successors will not be so far removed from matters affecting current generations as to be incapable of dealing with them.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

@Anonymous:
And always remember, the Cold War was actually the Second Great Red Scare.

The First was mostly post WWI, as a result of the Russian Revolution, and pretty much lasted until the Depression started a decade later and everybody had more immediate things to worry about.

Of course, union-busting goes back even further than that, but unionization being treated as some sort of foreign invasion more started after WWI.

Lukas Xavier
Lukas Xavier
3 years ago

The point is to propose drastic and absurd things from the left as a counterweight to the drastic and absurd things the right is trying to ram through

I get that. I’m just not sure the “absurd” part is really necessary or constructive. I don’t think we need to do that.

There are plenty of drastic things we could propose that are actually, genuinely good ideas and which would both draw actual popular support, and scare the ever-living shit out of the right wing. This puts them in a position to either fight and lose, or compromise and give us what we want. And then we push for the next thing, just like they did.

I don’t think we really disagree on the basic point, only the manner of execution. I don’t think we ever need to propose anything “absurd”.

Dalillama
Dalillama
3 years ago

@Jenora Feuer

Of course, union-busting goes back even further than that, but unionization being treated as some sort of foreign invasion more started after WWI.

Nah, only which foreigners were responsible. In the old days it was Fenians and German anarchists, post WWI it was Bolshevism.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
3 years ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

I wish the left would fight back against this firehose assault on women with some Overton window troll legislation of their own. Even if “99 year jail sentences for men who create unwanted pregnancies” doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of passing (hell, we can barely even get jail sentences for men who engage in unwanted sex), it’s critical not to allow any normalization of laws that regulate women’s bodies and medical decisions.

Apparently a joke amendment was proposed to the Alabama bill that would have made vasectomies a felony, but it doesn’t seem to be getting much attention.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

@Rabid Rabbit – Well, it’s a start.

Sometimes bills aren’t really bills, they’re poltical theater. It’s a way of shaping public opinion about legislative priorities.

Republicans understand the messaging game much better than the Democrats. When it’s not your rights constantly on the chopping block, it’s easy to say “just wait, don’t be too radical, let’s not rock the boat or we’ll scare moderates”. That hasn’t worked in the past. It isn’t working now.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
3 years ago

I think we should propose a bill to arm uteri with AR-15s in order to protect themselves from government back booted thugs.

Also, credit to @ohnoshetwint for this one, instead of saying “mother earth” we should call it “unborn baby earth” so that conservatives will have no choice but to protect it.

Genjones
Genjones
3 years ago

It’s a common misconception that men don’t have the biological ability to breastfeed, but they are fully equipped with lactation glands and sympathetic hormone stimulation responses. In fact, there is some evidence to support that fathers even have a biological imperative to do so.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

@Dalillama:
Fair enough.

@Genjones:
Well, I know for some bats the males actually do breastfeed as well. Not sure how widespread it is across the mammalian family, but as you say, most of the chemical pathways are there. And there’s a lot more mushy biological middle ground between male and female than most like to admit.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

@Jenora Feuer
I know, but hardly anyone remembers the first one happened.

Oh, and get a load of this: Pat Robertson of all people is now denouncing the Alabama law as ‘too extreme”.

When not even the quintessential fundamentalist is willing to support this, you know it’s not going to last long.

Gijoel
Gijoel
3 years ago

Not that John Howard, or that one.

Though I could see the second one producing bonkers crap like this.

tim gueguen
3 years ago

Another John Howard was the 18th Century English philanthropist and prison reform advocate. There are various John Howard Societies in Canada dedicated to helping to improve the prison system.

bluecat
bluecat
3 years ago

@ that’s a Moray

Yes: I felt there was something unduly skewed about this, and then I spotted it: he’s not using the word “rights” right.

Genjones
Genjones
3 years ago

@Jenora Feuer

Well, I’m not sure about other mammal or primate species, but I know it’s certainly true of humans. There are entire tribal cultures where it’s the norm for fathers to share equally in breastfeeding. The practice was adopted as part of the hippie co-parenting movement in the 70’s. The concept of co-pregnancy or couvade as a part of small group evolutionary strategy has some merit. A pregnant woman’s pheromones can also increase prolactin and suppress the menstrual cycle of other cohabiting women. Men are more likely to experience corresponding breast growth and spontaneous lactation with lower income and higher cortisol, speculated to be a compensation for stressors to invest in the baby by making sure it has more stable nutritional resources. Fathers can very easily achieve lactation with intentional stimulation, as the 70’s movement proved. They are simply not encouraged to in our society.

I think its fascinating that we’ve managed to gaslight ourselves as a society to believe that body parts are just vestigial decoration, that even though an estimated 80-90% of expectant fathers experience body changes with their partner (aka, “dad-bod”), it is considered a syndrome that goes against the natural order.
It really is an excellent example of how engrained gender roles and conditioning are, that what we accept as immutable biological fact can be subjective and political.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 years ago

@WWTH

Also, credit to @ohnoshetwint for this one, instead of saying “mother earth” we should call it “unborn baby earth” so that conservatives will have no choice but to protect it.

Conversely, let’s rename AR-15s to “Unwed Welfare Mom-15s” and then conservatives will finally be forced to regulate them.

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