Conservative Texas Civil Justice League Thinks Breastfeeding Is A Joke

Yesterday, apparently unauthorized members of a conservative “lawsuit reform” PAC called the Texas Civil Justice League distributed this flyer to members of the legislature in response to Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s (D-Houston) bill requiring more openness in insurance coverage from contractors:

Both Democrat and Republican women were incensed by the flyer, which TCJL representatives quickly apologized for, saying it it was a draft that was never meant to see the light of day (whoops!). But lady legislators (of course! because why would dude legislators take time to give a rat’s ass about silly lady things like the mockery and shaming of women’s bodies!) were fucking pissed. According to the Dallas Morning News:

“And no, the House women aren’t offended by the breast feeding, and they don’t find it disgusting. They’re offended because it’s a graphic picture, that both the woman’s breasts are bared and that it makes light of a naturally occurring thing in order to fight an insurance bill.”

Which doesn’t really capture the brilliant, righteous and baller indignation of Rep. Thompson, who TORE IT UP in a moment of personal privilege, railing on the ridiculousness of using women’s bodies, and natural processes thereof, as negative metaphors in attacks on public legislation:

Says Thompson in part, if you can’t watch all 7:24 seconds of baller: “I am appalled today that this Texas Civil Justice League would go so low that they would put out this kind of hate, resentful, bitter, despicable, despisable, violent flyers toward women just to get a piece of legislation. They could have come and talked to me.”

Thompson expresses surprise, both sarcastic and genuine, that the extremely anti-woman politics of this legislative session would give rise to this kind of frat boy assbaggery (my terminology). But can we please talk about how the flyer itself is just stupid, ineffective and poorly designed?

I’m still trying to figure out what whoever made the flyers was really trying to say by using a picture of a breastfeeding mother and child. I think obviously the first intention would be to shock by including a breast of any kind on a legislative campaign document. The second intention, I suppose, is for people to understand that Texas companies/people don’t need to be some kind of wussy baby relying on their mommies for sustenance.

But the visual metaphor, or whatever they think it’s supposed to be, doesn’t hold up. The pejorative term “nanny state” is about regulation, not about government forcing businesses to rely on it for their well-being. Nannies, at least nannies today, rarely breastfeed the children they supervise. Also, babies actually need to be fed by someone to survive. It’s not like the baby is doing something crazy weird or gross by drinking its mother’s milk–I mean, up until a few decades ago, this was basically the only way babies ate and survived in the entire history of the world and it still is for most of the world that isn’t populated by Westernized bottle-feeders. So the flyer becomes: don’t be like these people doing this totally normal thing, because something mutter grumble something mutter grumble government.

It’s a perfect example of the ignorant privilege of male-dominated conservative politics, and it’s yet more proof that conservatives are simply full on misogynists, end of story. What the flyer’s existence says more than anything else is that conservatives believe women and their bodies are undesirable, and can be used by men at will to make any negative point they want. So when you hear conservative men talking about “informed consent” and the sacred state of motherhood, remember that they think breastfeeding is disgusting.

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
This entry was posted in abortion, feminism, legal issues, media, parenting, politics, reproductive health. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Conservative Texas Civil Justice League Thinks Breastfeeding Is A Joke

  1. Melissa Puntenney says:

    I was around at the birth of the Teas Civil Justice League. At first, they seemed pro-business but not scary pro-business, but as the days, weeks, months, went on, it became readily apparent they wanted to BUY every State Office, including all 9 Supreme Court places. They have succeeded. In 1986, every state office was held by a Democrat. By 1994, there was not a single one left.

    They started off with a massive campaign that Texas was encumbered by “frivolous law suits,” that were destroying our economy. So, they started focusing on jury verdicts for slip and fall cases, medical malpractice, negligence, products liability, etc. Frivolous litigation covered just about everything — (hey, if you go into surgery and the doctor accidentally cuts off your only good leg, it’s not his/her fault — you should have stayed awake during surgery or painted a big sign on your bad leg to make sure your doctor knew which one to amputate. Better yet, go to medical school, get a degree and cut off your own leg. What’s wrong with you people? Gradually, they convinced the majority of Texans that frivolous lawsuits were the cause of high insurance premiums and high costs for medical care, and products on the shelves in the stores, blah blah blah.

    Well, they were successful! A business can poison all the workers, it’s no big deal, or an impaired doctor can kill as many patients as he/she wants and not worry about pesky litigation. Most people aren’t directly affected by this, unless one of THEIR family members is killed or injured by negligent practices or products.

    Unfortunately, AFTER Texas passed tort reform, what we figured out is that our insurance rates did NOT go down, but our ability to recover damages for just about anything, is completely gone.

    The ONLY good news is that law firms defending oil companies, hospitals, doctors, corporations, manufacturers, hit the dirt. They didn’t THINK about this part. Now, most insurance companies don’t need to hire outside counsel for their litigation, they just have a small in-house team. So, that part was fun.

    Now, they are still hammering away at your right to sue anyone for anything, no matter how egregious or damaging the behavior, action or product may be. This isn’t about stopping “frivolous litigation,” this is about taking away your right to sue at all.

  2. Susan says:

    Thank you for this coverage and thank you, Ms. Puntenney, for your input. As a native Texas now living elsewhere, I try to keep abreast (pun intended) of the goings-on in Texas politics and frequently I am stunned into silence by the unprincipled tactics I see being utilized. Fortunately others are not silent. This one hits a new low, all right, and I am delighted to see that the women of the Texas house are not allowing this to pass unnoticed.

    Who’s the old white guy at the bench? It would be difficult to be less attentive unless one were sleeping.

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