March 21, 2013
Anti-Choice Amendments Piling Up on Senate Budget plan -- Urgent Action Needed
Now that Congress has passed a stopgap measure to fund the government for the next few months, the political theater around next year's budget planning has begun. To stake their claim on the most out-of-the-mainstream anti-choice policies, some Senate Republicans have launched a barrage of amendments to the 2014 budget plan now under consideration.
Two of the growing list of amendments we're watching that could be particularly damaging to a woman's right to choose:
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has filed an amendment that would attach to the budget resolution language to impose strict national regulations forcing parental involvement in the difficult abortion decisions of all young women. This amendment threatens any adult who may help a young woman in this difficult time -- even a caring grandparent or other family-member -- with prison time for a violation. The legislation is unworkable and was opposed in an earlier incarnation by leading medical organizations.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has filed an amendment that would attach to the budget resolution language forcing a ban on abortion after 20 weeks for women in the nation's capital. Opponents of choice have long used the District of Columbia as an anti-choice proving ground and Lee continues the anti-choice legacy of undermining D.C. home rule. Last year, Lee went so far as to try to attach the same amendment to important, yet unrelated, cyber security legislation.
These amendments are so dangerous because there are currently only 41 reliable pro-choice votes on the Senate floor. That's the bare minimum required to filibuster anti-choice legislation. For that reason, NARAL Pro-Choice America has endorsed Rep. Ed Markey in the primary race to fill Secretary of State John Kerry's seat. Learn more about our work supporting Markey.
Call your Senator and urge him or her to reject any anti-choice amendments to the budget plan now on the senate floor. Call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or visit the Senate's information page to get in touch with your Senator now.
Anti-choice politicians have filed two more amendments that threaten women's health and freedom, and may attempt to attach them to the Senate budget bill now under consideration:
- Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) filed an amendment to repeal funding for the Affordable Care Act. Cruz and his allies in Congress have tried more than 30 times in the past three years to invalidate the law, which takes important steps to providing better health care for tens of millions of Americans. Importantly, the law improves women's access to reproductive-health care and includes a critical birth-control benefit.
- Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed an amendment which uses the red herring of addressing sex selection to intrude on the relationship between women and their doctors as they make a difficult health decision. Vitter's amendment encourages the Senate to pass a law that could put doctors in jail if they fail to report some women's suspected motivation for seeking abortion care. This would create an atmosphere of intimidation and suspicion in a situation where doctors and patients should feel free to have a frank and open conversation.
Posted by blogforchoice at 9:42 PM | TrackBack
May 2, 2008
Down-ballot races, McCain on judges, and rape survivors paying for the cost of rape kits?
It's Friday! And, at least in DC, the weather is beautiful, so I'm in a good mood today. And, I'll admit it, a little of it might also have something to do with this kind 'kudos' post I read this AM. It feels good to know that all of the hard work the NARAL Pro-Choice America staff put into our blog and social networking sites is noticed and appreciated by others. Thanks Viva La Feminista!
Anyway... enough of that, and on to some Friday must-read articles:
The White House Isn't the Only House at Stake on May 6: Check out this blog post from NARAL Pro-Choice America political director, Elizabeth Shipp. In this piece, Beth examines the importance of the May 6 primary (in Indiana and North Carolina), and why voters need to remember the down-ballot races.
McCain swings outreach to right: Oh dear. This USA Today article discusses McCain's upcoming pitch to conservatives, including a Tuesday speech on judges. McCain and judges... I can't wait to hear him speak on that one, given that he has voted in favor of four anti-choice U.S. Supreme Court nominees during his 25 years in Congress. Yikes.
N.C. hospitals bill rape victims: This one really frustrates me. I mean, should rape survivors have to pay for the cost of rape kits? Some North Carolina hospitals are charging rape survivors for the cost of collecting evidence during an emergency room examination. Click here to sign a NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina petition demanding that survivors not be forced to pay for these costs.
So, Happy Friday all, and be sure to check back on Monday for the new edition of "The Liberty Lowdown!"
Posted by Molly at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)
April 29, 2008
Going on Faith: Silent Choices
Have any of you out there seen Silent Choices, by the fabulous Faith Pennick?? Fun fact: Did you know that Faith Pennick was honored as one of our "Everyday Heroes" during the Roe v. Wade 35th Anniversary Luncheon in Washington, DC. You can watch our video by clicking here.
Anyway, according to the website:
Silent Choices is a documentary film about abortion from the perspective of African Americans. The film explores the thorny intersection of race, gender, personal freedom and reproductive choice. Silent Choices won the Best Documentary award at the 2007 Roxbury Film Festival.
It really is an incredibly powerful movie that you should really go see if ever you have the opportunity. I know a couple of our affiliates have shown the film, and the response has been overwhelming. So, for those of you that don't live in a NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliate state, you can check out the next showing of Silent Choices here (according to the website):
Sunday, May 4 - 11:30 a.m.
Black Lily Film and Music Festival
3701 Chestnut Street
Tickets are $7 adults/$5 students and seniors
If you are in the Philadelphia region, definitely stop by and check it out.
(Purchase the educational DVD from New Day Films. The film is ideal for classes in African American Studies, Women's Studies, History, Sociology and Law. Women's health organizations and clinics can also use Silent Choices for outreach purposes and counseling. Go to www.newday.com for more info or call 888-367-9154.)
Posted by Molly at 5:48 PM | Comments (1)
April 14, 2008
I just wanted to check in and welcome you to the new home of our new blog, BlogForChoice! If you were directed here from our old blog, BushvChoice, please take a moment to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds so you can keep up to date with our content!
[I apologize for the excessive use of exclamation points, but I'm just so dang excited for this blog to finally launch!]
As you can see, we have a new name, new design, and new features, so feel free to surf around and check it all out. If you see anything screwy - links not working, dead pages, etc. - please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can fix it.
And please be sure to check back later this week, when we make the launch official!
Posted by Molly at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)
April 11, 2008
Hampshire College, reproductive rights, and the very hungry activist
Amber Wobschall is Assistant Director of Affiliate and National Programs for NARAL Pro-Choice America
Hey, I'm Amber and I've worked at NARAL Pro-Choice America for more than five years. You may know me from my antics on YouTube dressed up as a pro-choice voting booth.
This past weekend, I made my way to Hampshire College for the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program's annual conference on reproductive rights. On a side note, the campus is home to a museum dedicated to the author of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Awesome.
Anyway, one of the best things about my job is attending conferences and events like these and getting to see my friends from our partner organizations - folks from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Choice USA and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts are in this fine photo with me:
This is the second year in a row that I have attended this particular conference- learning from workshop presenters, meeting other great pro-choice activists, and spreading the word about NARAL Pro-Choice America's work. There were a wide variety of workshops including Art and Activism, Empowering Birth, Healthcare Politics, Careers in the Movement, and Organizing for Reproductive Justice in Immigrant Communities.
One of the most inspiring speakers I heard from I will not name. I will not name her because she is an abortion provider. She and her family are the targets of violence, intimidation, and harassment in their community. She had to ask the crowd not to take her picture, as it could be used to target her. As she pointed out in a joke that I wish she did not have to make, "It's hard to accessorize a bullet proof vest" on your way to work every day.
The story of this provider inspired me, reminded me why I need to keep doing my job and lit that fire in my belly all over again. As did Loretta Ross, Ellen Story, Byllye Avery, and other presenters I heard throughout the weekend.
If you were at the conference too, I want to know what you thought. Please share in the comments section below.
Posted by blogforchoice at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)
February 28, 2008
Virginia Senate cuts Planned Parenthood funding
Here is some massively terrible news:
The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood of Virginia because it offers abortions, an action that could endanger hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid for women's health-care programs.
The decision, a major setback for the Senate's new Democratic majority, marks the first time in more than a decade that the Senate has decided against giving state aid to the organization because of its abortion-related activities.
Can someone say slippery anti-choice slope? Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) noted that, "Once we start down this road, there will be no stopping."
Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) pointed out that Planned Parenthood does a lot more than provide abortions - it provides affordable contraception!
"The irony is, Planned Parenthood probably prevents more abortions than any other organization in the country," she said. But of course, anti-choicers aren't concerned about preventing abortion - if they were, they'd be touting birth control - their real concern is limiting women's choices and rolling back our rights.
Posted by Jessica at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)
February 25, 2008
Docs refusing to perform paps on unmarried women
Better women get cancer than doctors be forced to provide health care to sinners. At least, that's the sentiment of some Canadian doctors.
RH Reality Check reports that in Canada, some doctors are refusing to give unmarried women pap smears, citing religious objections. (You know, because we shouldn't be having sex to begin with.)
To look for answers, I turned to Patricia LaRue, Executive Director at Canadians for Choice, to see what she could tell me if doctors have the right to refuse ANY procedure that they see as going against their religion. She reminded me that doctors have a "conscience clause," allowing them to refuse prescriptions for birth control, abortion, and now pap smears. The conscious clause is put in place by the Canadian Medical Association so that physicians are not forced to act in any way that goes against their personal beliefs.
Even if that means risking women's health. Charming.
Posted by Jessica at 9:44 AM | Comments (2)
February 12, 2008
SD Legislature strikes down Birth Control Protection Act
Kate Looby, Planned Parenthood South Dakota Director called the decision "a missed opportunity to take a positive, concrete step toward reducing unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion in South Dakota."
If you're interested in hearing more about this decision, Karina (the web editor at PP Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) has a great podcast interview with Looby.
Posted by Jessica at 11:51 AM | Comments (2)
February 11, 2008
Manila women fight ban against contraception
Twenty of Manila's poorest residents have filed a legal challenge against what they say is a ban on contraception.
The group - 16 women and four of their husbands - are fighting a policy which they say denies them access to condoms, to the pill and other effective forms of family planning.
It seems a policy touting "natural" family planning (you know, none) made sure that free contraception was removed from local health centers and that access was pretty much impossible.
Clearly, this policy is effecting low-income women disproportionately. Just horrible.
Posted by Jessica at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)
February 8, 2008
Romney leaves presidential race!
But in the end, Mr. Romney didn't fit the part. Amid cries from critics of changing stances on key issues, the former governor of Massachusetts never connected with voters. He devised a message that alienated party stalwarts. And although he was the first to air negative ads against opponents in Iowa, the millionaire investor proved weak at blocking his rivals' last-minute punches.
The result: a dismal performance in the coast-to-coast primaries on Tuesday, the moment that Mr. Romney, who lost Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, needed to shine. The passion he lacked on the campaign trail instead came during his concession speech, when he suspended his candidacy. Fighting back emotion, he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference here that he was withdrawing "for our party and our country."
Posted by Jessica at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)
January 30, 2008
Yesterday I was at NARAL Pro-Choice America's luncheon celebrating the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was really great: Sarah Weddington - the lawyer who won Roe (!) - spoke, as did Nancy Keenan and Dana Delany.
But what really stuck out for me was this amazing video NARAL played at the event, Everyday Heroes (above). I think it serves as an important reminder that these issues aren't just talking points and politics - they're women's lives.
Posted by Jessica at 9:48 AM | Comments (0)
January 24, 2008
Inmates in Missouri win right to obtain abortions
A federal appeals court said this week that inmates in Missouri have the right to obtain elective abortion. Damn straight.
The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It throws out a policy by Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration and the Missouri Department of Corrections that restricted an inmate’s access to abortion.
Thomas M. Blumenthal, the St. Louis lawyer who brought the suit on behalf of an anonymous “Jane Roe” inmate, applauded the decision.
“This (abortion) is not a right that is lost at the jailhouse door,” he said.
Blunt responded, "Over the last three years, we have … enacted laws that reflect our profound respect for the inherent dignity of each and every life...I am hopeful and prayerful that we can further protect life by enhancing our laws to defend the dignity of human life.”
Unless that life is an incarcerated woman, then her dignity doesn't really mean shit to Blunt.
Posted by Jessica at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
January 21, 2008
Don't Forget: Blog for Choice tomorrow!
Tomorrow is Blog for Choice 2008, so if you haven't signed up yet--hop to it! Even if you don't have a blog, you can still participate by encouraging your favorite bloggers to take part in Blog for Choice Day or by joining our Facebooks group "I'm celebrating the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade."
This year, let's commemorate Roe by ensuring that the blogosphere is jam packed with pro-choice posts!
Posted by Jessica at 9:30 AM | Comments (1)
January 17, 2008
Tonight! Celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade at University of Texas at Austin
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, will deliver a speech on the importance of the future of the pro-choice movement tonight: Thursday, January 17 at 6:30 p.m.
I just posted a message from Sara Cleveland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, on the fabulous Burnt Orange Report, and I hope you'll take a few moments to check it out. Here's an excerpt:
So why is the anniversary so important this year, as opposed to others? Well, as this anniversary coincides with the 2008 presidential elections, we know the best way to protect a woman's right to choose for future generations is to elect pro-choice leaders who share these values.
Nancy's address will talk about the need to make sure all Americans see a place for themselves in the conversation over a women's right to choose. It makes sense for this call to action to take place in Texas, where the Roe case originated. You will see generations of pro-choice supporters and hear from Nancy about the importance of uniting behind our common goal of protecting women's freedom and privacy to ensure future celebrations of Roe v. Wade.
And certainly, if you're in the Austin are, I sincerely hope you will join us. Here's the information:
Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin
2405 Robert Dedman Drive
January 17, 2008
Posted by Molly at 3:38 PM | Comments (1)
January 16, 2008
Quick Hit: Show Me the Pattern: Missouri's Abortion Ban
Check out RH Reality Check's great post on Missouri's abortion ban and the politics behind it. Great stuff.
Posted by Jessica at 9:19 AM | Comments (0)
January 14, 2008
Christina Page: Abstinence education not working
Christine Page, author of the fabulous How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex, has a great op-ed out by abstinence only education and the pregnany of Jamie Lynn Spears. Here's a snippet:
The Spears family can't be shocked by much these days. Still, the news last month that 16-year-old Jamie Lynn is pregnant seemed to unsettle them. No matter how well-to-do (or bizarre) the family, it's always a tragedy to have one's child's adolescence taken away by pregnancy. Jamie Lynn Spears is not your average teen, but her situation -- premature parenthood -- is becoming a more common experience for many girls of her generation.
...Abstinence-only programs not only have failed to convince kids not to have sex -- they have led many not to use contraception. To scare teens away from sexual activity, abstinence-only programs focus on the dangers of sex. If contraception is ever mentioned, it is to highlight (and exaggerate) its failure rates. If a girl is told that even if her boyfriend uses a condom she'll get pregnant once every seven times -- as the popular abstinence program "Choosing the Best Way" instructs -- the incentive to use one dissipates.
Make sure to read the whole thing!
Posted by Jessica at 9:07 AM | Comments (0)
January 10, 2008
Spanish abortion clinics on strike
Health centers that provide abortions in Spain are on a week-long strike as part of an effort to change the law.
They say women and doctors should have better legal protection. The strike is expected to affect up to 2,000 women.
Police raided abortion clinics in Barcelona and Madrid late last year.
Most abortions in Spain are carried out under a law requiring a doctor's diagnosis that the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman's mental health.
Spanish doctors, who started strike action on Tuesday, want the law changed in line with many other European countries, where a woman can choose to have a termination within the first three months of pregnancy.
Okay, I'm clearly sympathetic to doctors who provide abortions and think that the law should be changed as well so that they're not harassed--but is this the best way to create change? What about the women who won't be able to access services?
Posted by Jessica at 9:24 AM | Comments (1)
January 2, 2008
Huckabee would criminalize abortion providers, condescend to women
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday, "I think if a doctor knowingly took the life of an unborn child for money, and that's why he was doing it, yeah, I think you would, you would find some way to sanction that doctor...I don't know that you'd put him in prison, but there's something to me untoward about a person who has committed himself to healing people and to making people alive who would take money to take an innocent life and to make that life dead."
Nice. (And you have to love that he assumes the doctor is a man.) But even better: "I think you don't punish the woman, first of all, because it's not about ... I consider her a victim, not a criminal." Yet another women-don't-realize-they're-getting-abortions argument. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 8:57 AM | Comments (6)
Happy New Year, Pro-Choice America!
Now that the holidays are over, we're back in full force. Consider this an open thread...how was your New Year?
Posted by Jessica at 8:54 AM | Comments (2)
December 21, 2007
Check it: www.RoeAt35.org
I'm about to head home for the holidays, but before I do, I wanted to write a quick post to let you know about NARAL Pro-Choice America's awesome new webpage: http://www.RoeAt35.org/
It was released earlier this week - 35 days away from the 35th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision - and was designed to energize pro-choice activists (like you!) and reinforce the important role elections play in protecting a woman’s right to choose.
“NARAL Pro-Choice America is proud to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and pledges to continue protecting the fundamental American values of freedom and privacy that this landmark Supreme Court decision represents,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “We launched RoeAt35.org to reinforce the importance of the 2008 elections in protecting a woman's right to choose for future generations. We are using the latest technology to develop and build the next generation of pro-choice activists.”
So please be sure to check it out, and spread the word!
Posted by Molly at 3:10 PM | Comments (0)
December 18, 2007
Bad news of the day
Unable to override a promised veto, Democrats have backed down on their insistence that the 2008 foreign aid budget reverse President Bush's ban on providing aid to family planning groups abroad that offer abortions.
Sigh. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), says, "This dogmatic adherence to an illogical position diminishes our influence around the world and prevents us from working effectively to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions." But of course, that's not really what Bush cares about. And he certainly doesn't care about women dying worldwide because of his policy.
Posted by Jessica at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
December 17, 2007
(More!) States refusing abstinence only funds
Now this is the kind of news I like to start my week with!
The number of states refusing federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs jumped sharply in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.
At least 14 states have either notified the federal government that they will no longer be requesting the funds or are not expected to apply, forgoing more than $15 million of the $50 million available, officials said. Virginia was the most recent state to opt out.
I love it. States governments are realizing that abstinence only ed is a waste of money. My favorite quote in this WaPo piece was from Ned Calonge of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, "Why would we spend tax dollars on something that doesn't work?...That doesn't make sense to me. Philosophically, I am opposed to spending government dollars on something that's ineffective. That's just irresponsible." Indeed.
Happy Monday, folks!
Posted by Jessica at 1:59 PM | Comments (0)
December 14, 2007
Anti-choice bill in Missouri moves forward
The ballot initiative in Missouri which seeking to basically outlaw abortion got the okay from Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who found that the language of the bill met state standards--so the petition can move forward. Sigh.
The proposal would require doctors to extensively review any so-called medical literature on abortion and investigate each patient’s background and lifestyle. It also would require doctors to certify that the abortion was necessary to avoid a woman's death or prevent permanent disability. Even abortions to save a women’s life would be subject to a 48-hour waiting period. The proposal would subject doctors to lawsuits from women who later regretted their decision to terminate a pregnancy, and would offer no exception whatsoever for the victims of rape or incest.
Posted by Jessica at 8:55 AM | Comments (1)
December 10, 2007
EC bill stalls in PA
A bill that would require hospitals to provide sexual assault victims with emergency contraception has stalled in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Rep. Daylin Leach, a Montgomery County Democrat, says the bill won't be brought up for a vote anytime soon.
Disappointed advocates say the only way it would have passed is if it had been watered down considerably.
Can someone tell me what's so controversial about giving rape victims health options? Seriously.
Posted by Jessica at 2:16 PM | Comments (0)
December 7, 2007
Schools picking up birth control slack?
In response to the rising costs of birth control, some schools are taking on the burden themselves. Princeton, for example, began to subsidize the cost of oral contraceptives this month.
The subsidy reduces the price of oral contraceptives on campus from $15 per pack to $6, Interim UHS Director Janet Finnie said. "There were a number of students who voiced concern about losing access to birth control, including representatives of student government," she said. "The current subsidy is a direct response to concerns about affordability as we closely monitor national efforts to reverse the federal changes."
That's great news, but not all schools are going to be able to afford to do what Princenton can.
Posted by Jessica at 9:37 AM | Comments (0)
December 4, 2007
Could Missouri ban abortion?
A new ballot initiative in Missouri is seeking to essentially outlaw abortion.
The proposal would require doctors to extensively review the medical literature on abortion and investigate each patient’s background and lifestyle. It would require doctors to certify that the abortion was better for the woman than a full-term pregnancy.
Because when deciding what's best for a woman, the idea of actually trusting the woman herself is silly-talk. That's what doctors, legislators, and men are for. I suppose we shouldn't be shocked that they're going the "women are too stupid to know that when they get abortions, they're getting abortions" route, but it's still infuriating. The proposal would also allow women to sue doctors if they later regretted their decision to terminate a pregnancy and would offer no rape or incest exception.
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri says that the proposal would mean a near-total ban on abortion and that the wording would actually mean that a dying woman seeking an abortion that would save her life would be required to wait 48 hours before obtaining the procedure. You know, so she had sufficient time to mull the decision over and all. Disgusting.
Posted by Jessica at 9:02 AM | Comments (5)
December 3, 2007
Quick Hit: Series on obstetric fistula spreads awareness
RH Reality Check has launched a great blog series on obstetric fistula, which effects two million women in the developing world. Through photo essays, information spreading and ways to get involved, the blog series shines a light on this tragic--but preventable and treatable--injury. Make sure to check it out.
Posted by Jessica at 9:27 AM | Comments (0)
November 26, 2007
Why is abortion the "A word" in flicks?
Why is it that American movies rarely, if ever take on abortion?
In America, about one in five pregnancies end in abortion, according to the latest figures from the Guttmacher Institute. In recent American movies, however, every unplanned pregnancy is carried to term.
From Knocked Up to Waitress to Juno, opening Dec. 14, abortion is The Great Unmentionable, euphemized as "shmashmortion" (Knocked Up), "we don't perform, uh, -" (Waitress), and "nipped it in the bud" (Juno), comedies in which pregnancy is the situation. Abortion is likewise obliquely referenced, if actually considered, in the drama Bella, now in theaters.
Seems kind of strange, no? What do folks think--is abortion so readily available movies don't have to address it (yeah right), or are filmmakers too afraid to show reality?
Posted by Jessica at 9:04 AM | Comments (4)
November 20, 2007
Huckabee: Abortion not for states to decide
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has come out against the idea that states should decide whether to make abortion legal or not.
"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said Sunday, comparing abortion rights to slavery. "If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong."
"For those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right," he said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Abortion is the same thing as slavery, huh? Charming.
Posted by Jessica at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)
November 15, 2007
Fertilized eggs unite?
This is just bizarre.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to allow a proposed 2008 ballot initiative to proceed that would extend certain rights to fertilized eggs. Huh? NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Kathryn Wittneben said it well:
“Proponents of this initiative have publicly stated that the goal is to make all abortion illegal -- but nothing in the language of the initiative or its title even mentions abortion. If that’s not misleading, I don’t know what is.”
It really is ridiculous. Check out more info on the decision here.
Posted by Jessica at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
November 9, 2007
Dr. Susan Wicklund: Telling women's stories
The New York Times had a great profile recently of Dr. Susan Wicklund, an abortion provider who travels by plane to bring care to women. Her decision to become a health care provider for women came in large part due to a terrible experience with her own abortion where she was treated poorly and told to "Shut up" by providers.
Determined that other women should have better reproductive care, she began work as an apprentice midwife and eventually finished college, earned a medical degree and started a practice in which she spends about 90 percent of her time on abortion services.
Dr. Wicklund describes her work in an soon-to-be released book, "This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor", which she hopes will open the door for more discussion about a controversial but common procedure.
“We don’t talk about it,” she said in a telephone interview. “People say, ‘Nobody I know has ever had an abortion,’ and that is just not true. Their sisters, their mothers have had abortions.”
Dr. Wicklund, 53, said that at current rates almost 40 percent of American women have an abortion during their child-bearing years, a figure supported by the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health policy. Abortion is one of the most common operations in the United States, she said, more common than tonsillectomy or removal of wisdom teeth. “Because it is such a secret,” she said, “we lose sight of how common it is.”
It's a really interesting article, so make sure to read the whole thing.
Posted by Jessica at 9:19 AM | Comments (0)
November 6, 2007
Is the South Dakota ban back?
An abortion ban may be back up for a vote in South Dakota, this time with exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the woman.
Last year, state voters rejected by 56 percent to 44 percent a measure that would have banned almost all abortions in South Dakota, except to save the life of the mother.
The newest measure might be similar to the broader exceptions in a proposed abortion ban the state Legislature rejected in February.
Republican State Rep. Gordon Howie says, "The majority of South Dakotans would support a measure with exceptions, and I believe the people of South Dakota are going to have that opportunity."
I don't know about all that. But I do know that the "rules" surrounding the abortion ban exceptions are fairly reprehensible. In fact, the hurdles that would be in place would make the exceptions pretty much ineffectual.
Dr. Marvin Buehner, a Rapid City obstetrician and gynecologist who opposed the 2006 ban and the 2007 bill, said the exceptions were so difficult to comply with, they were "pointless."
Last winter's bill and the draft of the proposed initiated measure include exceptions for rape or incest, but only after police reports are filed. Doctors also would be required to collect DNA samples of the aborted fetus for use by police.
"They turn doctors into policemen," Buehner said.
Doctors could perform abortions to protect a woman's health, but only if continuing the pregnancy would result in "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system."
Oh, well that's comforting. So basically, the exceptions for rape, incest and women's health are just rhetoric. This is the same old abortion ban.
Posted by Jessica at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)
November 5, 2007
Quick Hit: Thompson on abortion
While on Meet the Press, Fred Thompson said he wouldn't seek a constitutional ban against abortion. Not that this makes him a great candidate for choice or anything, but I thought it was worth noting.
Posted by Jessica at 9:04 AM | Comments (0)
November 1, 2007
This report was just released by the Guttmacher Institute and the Kaiser Foundation on Medicaid's role in family planning services. In short, Medicaid is the largest source of public funding for family planning services in the country. It helps make contraceptive services available to women who otherwise couldn't afford it, and has served as a great resource for millions of low-income women across the country.
Posted by Jessica at 1:56 PM | Comments (0)
October 31, 2007
Unneccessary bill of the day?
A bill in Wisconsin would mandate that doctors determine whether a woman seeking an abortion was doing so "voluntarily."
The plan would require doctors who think that women are being forced to have abortions to tell them about services for victims of domestic abuse.
The Assembly approved the bill on a 65 to 32 vote. But it is likely to be blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Many Democrats say the plan is unnecessary because coerced abortions are not a problem and physicians already make sure their patients are acting on their own.
Seems to me this is just another attempt to make it seem like abortion hurts women...or that women aren't capable of making their own choices. Thoughts?
Posted by Jessica at 8:46 AM | Comments (2)
October 29, 2007
Why I (heart) New York
Well, one of the many reasons of course.
At the annual meeting of Family Planning Advocates in New York, State Health Commissioner Richard Daines said that the agency will add $2.2 million to this year's grants to cover the cost of emergency contraception. Woo hoo!
Daines also said, "We should have easier methods to these methods of contraception. We shouldn't have a paper chase to get some kind of money together for let's say Plan B contraception or for treatment for an STD. They can just go right to their family planning center and get it." Nice.
Posted by Jessica at 9:04 AM | Comments (0)
October 26, 2007
FOCA reaches its 100th congressional cosponsor
Promising news for a rainy Friday... but first, a recap:
The anti-choice movement has been slowly but surely chipping away at a woman's right to choose. In fact, more than 500 anti-choice measures have been enacted in the states since 1995. The most recent and devastating of these attacks on choice was the Supreme Court's closely divided and bitter decision upholding the Federal Abortion Ban.
In response, the pro-choice community is working to guarantee the right to choose through the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) – a measure that will codify Roe v. Wade and guarantee the right to choose for future generations of women.
We're excited to announce that FOCA recently reached its 100th congressional cosponsor. To see if your member of congress is one of the cosponsors, click here.
If not, click here to urge them to become a sponsor.
Make no mistake—a woman's right to choose is being actively attacked and is very vulnerable. Now is the time to stand up for what you believe in—by getting active, speaking out, and helping to elect pro-choice candidates this year and a pro-choice president in 2008!
Posted by Molly at 3:56 PM | Comments (1)
October 25, 2007
MA Senate expands limits on anti-choice protestors
Some good news out of Massachusetts: A bill establishing a 35-foot no-protest zone around health care clinics where are abortions are provided has won the support of the state Senate.
The legislation would almost double the current 18-foot buffer zone and bar protesters from entering it. Currently, protesters may come within 6 feet of someone within the zone to provide counsel or share information, as long as the individual consents.
Supporters say the measure is a public safety initiative that would protect women from intimidation they may face from protesters and would make it easier to prosecute violators.
Naturally, anti-choicers are not too pleased and are making a stink saying the bill would violate their First Amendment right to free speech. You know, the right to intimidate women already in a vulnerable state. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 8:20 AM | Comments (0)
October 24, 2007
Quick Hit: UK Health Minister defends abortion time limit
The Guardian reports that UK Health minister Dawn Primarolo has defended the country's 24-week abortion limit, saying there was no reason to justify a reduction.
Posted by Jessica at 9:16 AM | Comments (0)
October 22, 2007
Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks out on threats to choice
At a recent talk in Atlanta, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke out on the increasing threats to women's rights--most notably those coming from the Supreme Court.
One of those decisions allowed states to outlaw a procedure known as partial-birth abortion; Bader Ginsburg complained that the state law in question allowed no exception to protect the health of the mother.
The justice said she did not expect the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that made abortion a constitutional right. But she contended that even if the court disposed of the right, abortion would still be widely available.
The difference would be that middle-class women would be able to travel to a state that allowed the procedure, while poor women would be trapped — much as in the days before Roe v. Wade, when a woman who could afford to do so could go to New York, California or Hawaii to have an abortion.
Ginsburg said a Roe reversal "would have a devastating impact on poor women." Indeed.
Posted by Jessica at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)
October 19, 2007
Quick Hit: BC available to middle schoolers
The Portland School Committee recently voted to make birth control and the patch available in King Middle School, without parental permission.
A lot of states already allow minors to access birth control without their parents' permission, so this just seems like a good idea to me. This way, kids have a safe place to go if they're sexually active.
Posted by Jessica at 9:05 AM | Comments (0)
October 17, 2007
Doctors in UK don't back current abortion law
A new survey out of the UK shows that over half of general practitioners believe that the okay of just one doctor should be enough for a woman to get an abortion. Right now, a woman has to convince two doctors that carrying her pregnancy to term would be a health risk.
However, the Marie Stopes survey of 1,000 GPs also showed two-thirds wanted the current 24-week time limit for abortion to be reduced.
The government said there were no plans to change the law on abortion.
The survey also showed that 80% of doctors support the right to abortion.
Posted by Jessica at 9:25 AM | Comments (0)
October 15, 2007
Abortion rates the same whether procedure is legal or not
A new study by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization shows that abortion rates are similar in different countries whether the procedure is legal or not. Of course, what wasn't similar was the risk to women's health.
The study indicated that about 20 million abortions that would be considered unsafe are performed each year and that 67,000 women die as a result of complications from those abortions, most in countries where abortion is illegal.
Moral of the story? Safe, legal abortion is the best bet. Always.
Posted by Jessica at 9:28 AM | Comments (0)
October 12, 2007
Quick Hit: What Planned Parenthood really does
Check out this great post from a med student who is doing a rotation at his local Planned Parenthood. He breaks down the myth that PP is all about abortions--it's good stuff.
Thanks to RebelDad for the link!
Posted by Jessica at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)
October 5, 2007
Nicaragua abortion ban is killing women
Human Rights Watch has just released a report, Over Their Dead Bodies, documenting how the stringent abortion ban in Nicaragua is killing women. In fact, the ban has caused the deaths of at least 80 women since it was put into action 11 months ago.
The U.S.-based rights group said women with risky pregnancies whose lives might be saved by aborting the fetus were dying because of the ban on terminations in any circumstance.
"They died because of the intimidation effect of penalizing abortion," said Human Rights Watch investigator Angela Heimburger, presenting the data in Managua.
The ban includes rape victims and women who risk dying in childbirth. But women in Nicaragua are fighting back; hundreds marched in Managua last week calling for an end to the ban.
Posted by Jessica at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)
October 3, 2007
Quick Hit: NY Times on Verizon censorship
The New York Times has a great editorial today, taking apart the ridiculousness was Verizon's refusal to run NARAL text messages.
Leave aside for the moment the sorry spectacle of a major American company aiming to make campaigns even more substance-free than they already are. The Verizon policy was textbook censorship. Any government that tried it would be rightly labeled authoritarian. The First Amendment prohibits the United States government from anything approaching that sort of restriction.
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Posted by Jessica at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)
October 2, 2007
Planned Parenthood Aurora clinic will open today!
Well thank goodness this nonsense is over.
A Planned Parenthood clinic that has been shuttered while city officials reviewed how it obtained its building permits will be allowed to open, city officials said Monday. Mayor Thomas Weisner said reviews by three different attorneys found no legal basis to deny the clinic an occupancy permit.
Find out more at Planned Parenthood Aurora's blog.
Posted by Jessica at 9:15 AM | Comments (5)
October 1, 2007
SCOTUS won't hear birth control case
The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case about whether religious organizations can be forced to pay for workers' birth-control health insurance benefits.
The court let stand a New York court ruling upholding a state law that forces religious-based social service agencies to subsidize contraceptives as part of prescription drug coverage they offer employees.
New York is one of 23 states that require employers that offer prescription benefits to employees to cover birth control pills as well, the groups say. The state enacted the Women's Health and Wellness Act in 2002 to require health plans to cover contraception and other services aimed at women, including mammography, cervical cancer screenings and bone density exams.
Catholic Charities and other religious groups argued New York's law violates their First Amendment right to practice their religion because it forces them to violate religious teachings that regard contraception as sinful.
Charming. NARAL Pro-Choice New York was understandably pleased. Organization president Kelli Conlin said, “Again, the Court has shown that women have a right to access reproductive health care services under their employer health plans. This law ensures that women will be able to afford the vital care the need to make healthy decisions."
Posted by Jessica at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
September 27, 2007
YOU did it!
By Nancy Keenan, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America
On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, I want to thank those of you who jumped on The New York Times story (subscription may be required to view story) about Verizon censoring our text-message program.
Last night, after I read the story online, I went onto Technorati and saw the posts on this story mushrooming ...and the momentum kept going. We alerted our activists, and they sent more than 20,000 messages to Verizon in less than two hours!
Let’s hope Verizon has learned a lesson today: citizen participation in democracy is neither ‘unsavory’ nor ‘controversial.’ (Without a doubt, these two words Verizon used to describe actions related to our issue will haunt that company.)
This massive victory is a testament to our combined strength. It could not have happened without your work.
Please take a look at this letter from the CEO of Verizon Wireless. It is a reminder of how even a powerful corporation can be forced to do the right thing when the public speaks up.
As those of you who are actively engaged in the net neutrality debate know, Verizon’s initial rejection of our text-messaging application is yet another reminder of why we must remain vigilant in fighting against third-party interference in how citizens participate in the democratic process.
Now, please, keep taking those so-called ‘unsavory’ and ‘controversial’ actions!
P.S. It’s ironic that when we launched our text message program last week, we were rallying opposition to Bush’s Global Gag Rule. While our domestic “gag rule” may be cleared up with the Verizon corporation, there are still women and families around the world who don’t receive the family-planning assistance they need because the Bush administration censors international family-planning groups’ free speech. Please take action today.
Posted by Blog for Choice at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
Verizon rejects pro-choice text messaging
Apparently, being pro-choice is "unsavory."
Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.
The other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program, which allows people to sign up for text messages from Naral by sending a message to a five-digit number known as a short code.
And what was this oh-so-controversial message? "End Bush’s global gag rule against birth control for world’s poorest women! Call Congress. (202) 224-3121. Thnx! Naral Text4Choice.” Uh, yeah.
This isn't just a reproductive justice issue, though. Timothy Karr at The Huffington post writes:
The truth is that whenever given the choice, phone companies will opt to discriminate against content they don't like. Such efforts to stem the free flow of information should be a wake up call for anyone concerned about phone company plans to begin filtering Internet content.
Verizon and AT&T routinely rail against Net Neutrality as a "solution in search of a problem." They swarm Washington with lobbyists offering promises never to interfere with the free flow of online content. And then they lobby for new laws that will allow them to do just that.
So please, support NARAL Pro-Choice America and sign up for their text-messaging campaign.
Come back later, we'll have more ways to take action.
Posted by Jessica at 9:21 AM | Comments (1)
September 24, 2007
New York turns down abstinence-only funding
Gawd, I love my home state. NY will not be accepting federal dollars marked to go to dangerous and inaccurate abstinence-only education.
New York state Health Commissioner Richard Daines, in a statement on the department's Web site, stated that "The Bush administration's Abstinence-Only program is an example of a failed national health care policy directive, based on ideology rather than on sound scientific-based evidence that must be the cornerstone of good public health care policy."
Starting October 1, the state money will be funneled into sex education programs that provide a full range of information about preventing pregnancy and disease.
More and more states are refusing ab-only funds. I'm get cheerier and cheerier.
Posted by Jessica at 8:54 AM | Comments (0)
September 20, 2007
Everything you need to know about the Global Gag Rule in 90 seconds!
NARAL Pro-Choice America's Donna Crane drops some knowledge.
Posted by Jessica at 9:26 AM | Comments (0)
September 19, 2007
Wisconsin tramples on rape victms' rights
A Wisconsin bill making emergency contraception available to rape victims has a horrific amendment that would allow health care professionals and hospitals to refuse to dispense EC if it goes against their religious beliefs.
The amendment would allow hospitals and health care professionals to refuse to It also says such hospitals would be exempt from civil liability if they withhold care from rape victims. Further, the amendment states that this care could be withheld from rape victims even by hospitals that receive federal or state aid.
Rep. Terry Musser, R-Black River Falls, the author of the Assembly bill, said Gundrum's amendment unravels the very protections the bill is intended to provide.
"How do you exempt a hospital from treating rape victims?" Musser said. "That's basically what the amendment says."
Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of the NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, has called the the amendment "reprehensible."
Posted by Jessica at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
September 17, 2007
Help out in Illinois
As you may have heard already, there have been a bunch of anti-choice protests happening in Aurora, Illinois where Planned Parenthood is building a health center.
Four days before the scheduled opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora, an estimated 800 abortion protesters huddled around community religious leaders Saturday morning and called for closure of the new clinic and an end to abortion.
Standing in an empty field in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic building, which is scheduled to open Tuesday, clergy from across denominations called for the protesters to band together to work against the clinic and its presence in the city. The event was in response to statements earlier in the week from Chicago and suburban religious leaders who spoke out in favor of the clinic and women's reproductive rights.
Posted by Jessica at 9:28 AM | Comments (0)
September 13, 2007
I (heart) the New Jersey Supreme Court
The NJ Supreme Court ruled yesterday that doctors have "no legal duty" to tell women who obtaining abortions that the fetus is "a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being."
Justice Barry T. Albin, who wrote the 5-to-0 decision, said, "There is not even remotely a consensus among New Jersey’s medical community or citizenry that the plaintiff’s assertions are medical facts, as opposed to firmly held moral, philosophical and religious beliefs, to support the establishment of the duty she would impose on all physicians."
Ed Barocas, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief, welcomed the ruling. "Today’s victory sends a message that New Jersey will not tolerate backdoor efforts to curtail reproductive rights or free speech," he said. "We will not allow the anti-choice lobby to force its moral or theological beliefs upon others."
Excellent news. (And I think we all needed some of that!)
Posted by Jessica at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)
September 11, 2007
Abstinence only proponents put pressure on MA Governor
According to Education Week, proponents of abstinence-only education (which, I think at this point we all know as medically inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous) are pushing Governor Deval Patrick to accept a $700,000 federal grant funding the programs.
The Democrat, who vetoed language in the state budget supporting the program, has indicated he won’t apply for the money. The application deadline is Sept. 30.
That’s raising the ire of an abstinence-only education group in the state that relies on the money to teach middle school children the benefits of postponing sex instead of safer-sex methods.
Also last week, a Washington-based lobbying group, the National Abstinence Education Association, launched a $75,000 media campaign and unveiled a new Web site urging Mr. Patrick to change his mind.
You know what would change my mind? Programs that told, you know, the truth.
Posted by Jessica at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)
September 10, 2007
Campus birth control costs soar
The price of prescription contraception like birth control bills and patches have soared lately--a package of pills has gone from $7 to between $30 and $50, for example. (This is because of a change in the 2005 Medicaid rebate law.)
Not only is this completely, well, screwed--it's dangerous.
"The likelihood of there being some gaps in usage will increase," said Karen Engall, director of Mount Holyoke's health services.
Health officials also worry that some students will not use insurance to buy contraception because their parents see the pharmacy bills.
So basically, women will stop using their contraception, increasing the chance of unintended pregnancy. Bad news, bad policy.
Posted by Jessica at 9:40 AM | Comments (0)
September 6, 2007
Quick Hit: The Republican Debate
Amie at RH Reality Check has a great roundup of the anti-choice messages in last night's Republican debate.
Since declaring his candidacy for President of the United States, Romney has been forthcoming about his anti-choice platform. He has proudly sparred with Senator Brownback on who is the more "pro-life." During last night's debate, when asked about abortion and his vision for an eventual constitutional amendment to ban it, Romney firmly stated that while he would like to overturn Roe v. Wade because "we'd love to have an America that didn't have abortion", he favors a more gradual approach to criminalizing abortion.
Make sure to check out the whole thing!
Posted by Jessica at 8:59 AM | Comments (0)
September 4, 2007
UK campaign seeks to increase access to abortion
Here's some great news: Folks in Britain are launching a campaign that would allow women to get abortions without approval from a doctor.
Under the proposed modernization of abortion laws, women would be allowed to have early abortions on an “informed consent” basis, with a doctor or a nurse carrying out the procedure, Britain’s The Independent reported.
The campaign aims to increase the number of clinics offering early abortions so women would not be restricted to facilities officially licensed to perform abortions.
Women who have been pregnant for 12 weeks or more would still be required to obtain permission from a doctor, The Independent reported.
The "permission" thing is just so gross--whether it be from a doctor, a parent, a husband, whatever. The idea is that women are moral children who need an okay from someone truly able to make a decision. Ugh. So good on this campaign--we'll keep you updated and let you know how it goes.
Posted by Jessica at 8:56 AM | Comments (0)
August 31, 2007
Anti-choice groups take firmer anti-contraception stance
RH Reality Check points out that Iowa's first statewide anti-choice groups is just one among 86 around the country that are opposed to all forms of contraception:
Iowans for LIFE (Life Is For Everyone) has joined a coalition of anti-abortion groups under the umbrella of the American Life League and, by joining, has signed a document in opposition to not only abortion but all contraceptives and in vitro fertilization.
...Abortion will never end as long as society approves the use of contraception. The practice of contraception means children are unwanted and provides the rationalization for abortion. It is a violation of human dignity to promote or accept the use of contraception.
Blogger Lynda also notes that recent statements by Republican presidential hopefuls indicate that they might throw their support behind sentiments like these. Charming.
Posted by Jessica at 9:22 AM | Comments (0)
August 29, 2007
Quick Hit: Gonzales’ anti-choice legacy
In the wake of Attorney general Alberto Gonzales' resignation, let's not forget his lovely anti-choice history. Page Rockwell at Salon says...
When I heard about [the resignation], my first thought wasn't about what his overdue departure will mean for women's issues. His audacious defenses of administration policies on torture and domestic surveillance, and his role in the firing of U.S. attorneys, make it easy to forget that Gonzales is also the guy behind Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, the landmark cases in which the Supreme Court upheld the speciously named 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Which is sort of amazing, because that decision was a huge victory for the campaign to chip away at women's reproductive rights. As the Washington Post noted earlier this year, the court's opinion "marked the first time justices have agreed that a specific abortion procedure could be banned"; in a piece by Broadsheet's Lynn Harris, Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northrup observed that the opinion basically overturned three decades of settled constitutional law. But because it's Gonzales we're talking about, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act decision doesn't even make the first page of his résumé; he's flown in the face of settled law so many times that his role in restricting abortion access feels like a footnote.
Indeed, but that certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't take note of it. So Gonzales, good riddance.
Posted by Jessica at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
August 27, 2007
OH court supports abortion privacy
A state appeals court Friday ruled that Cincinnati Planned Parenthood clinic doesn't have to give other minors' abortion records to a family who is suing over a teenage girl's abortion.
The ruling overturns a lower-court judge's order in the suit, which alleges that the Planned Parenthood clinic here unlawfully failed to get consent from a parent before performing an abortion on the girl, as required by Ohio law. The lawsuit sought records of other minors' abortion records going back 10 years in an effort show that the clinic had a pattern of violating the law, and a Hamilton County judge last year agreed to the request.
But a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that others' records weren't necessary for the lawsuit, which it said was about whether Planned Parenthood violated its legal duties to the girl's parents in performing her abortion.
The court ruled that the invasion of privacy rights trumped the probative value of the records in the parents' case. Thank goodness, though I'm sure the anti-choicers won't be too pleased. What is it with them and trying to invade patient privacy?!
Posted by Jessica at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)
August 24, 2007
Americans support contraception research
An MSN-Zogby Interactive poll released last week reports that 83 percent of those surveyed "believe scientists should continue to research birth control options."
Younger people were most supportive of expanding birth control options.
Posted by Jessica at 9:03 AM | Comments (0)
August 22, 2007
Quick Hit: The quiet campaign against birth control
Cristina Page, author of the great book How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex (and Vice President of the Institute for Reproductive Health Access at NARAL Pro-Choice New York!), has a terrific article in the The Baltimore Sun.
At National Right to Life's conference this year, Mitt Romney set out to convince anti-abortion leaders he was their candidate. At the podium, he rattled off his qualifications. To a layman's ears, it sounded pretty standard for abortion politics. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. He supports teaching only abstinence to teens.
But for those trained to hear the subtleties, Mr. Romney was acknowledging something more. He implied an opposition to the birth control pill and a willingness to join in their efforts to scale back access to contraception. There are code phrases to listen for - and for those keeping score, Mr. Romney nailed each one.
Read the whole article here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)
August 20, 2007
Celebrating Plan B's anniversary!
Last year, on August 24th, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency contraception (aka Plan B) for over-the-counter sales to adults.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of this victory, NARAL Pro-Choice America is hosting some great guest bloggers this week!
Miriam Perez, Advocacy Associate with the National Latina Institute, which ensures the fundamental human right to reproductive health for Latinas, their families, and their communities through public education, policy advocacy, and community mobilization.
Priscilla Huang, Policy & Programs Director with the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), which connects and empowers Asian American women by providing them a venue to bond and share their experiences with one another.
Susan Berke Fogel with the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), which seeks to improve health care for America's working and unemployed poor, minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Rev. Irene Monroe is a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School.
So make sure to come back and check out these amazing women and their posts!
Posted by Jessica at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)
Quick Hit: Amnesty ends abortion neutrality
It's official: "The human rights group will campaign for woman to have access to abortion in cases including rape and incest."
Posted by Jessica at 8:27 AM | Comments (0)
August 16, 2007
Medical abortions are safe
A new study done in Denmark showed that abortion pills (aka medical abortion) pose no risk to a woman who decides to have a child later in life.
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine found no difference in the rates of subsequent tubal pregnancies, miscarriages, premature births or low birthweight births for women who had previously had surgical abortion, usually through vacuum aspiration, or those taking any of the three drug regimens that eliminate a fetus.
About 2.4 percent of later conceptions led to tubal pregnancy and just over 12 percent miscarried, regardless of the type of earlier abortion, the researchers found.
The likelihood of having a premature birth (5.4 percent) or a low birthweight baby (4 percent) was slightly lower among the women who had received the abortion pill but the difference was not statistically significant.
Dr. Jun Zhang of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who worked on the study, said "The short-term safety of medical abortion has been well established."
Previous studies have established the safety of surgical abortion in the first trimester.
Posted by Jessica at 9:09 AM | Comments (0)
August 14, 2007
Amnesty International stands up for choice
Despite threats from the Vatican, Amnesty International is set to take a stand on abortion access for victims of rape.
The decision, which will also cover women whose health is at risk from giving birth, follows the use of mass rape as a political weapon in the conflict in Darfur. But Amnesty has infuriated the Vatican by expanding its definition of human rights to include access to abortion, prompting leading Catholics to accuse the organisation of having "betrayed its mission". Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has threatened that unless Amnesty's policy is reversed, the Vatican will call upon Catholics worldwide to boycott the organisation.
Amnesty's deputy general secretary, Kate Gilmore, says "Amnesty International's position is not for abortion as a right but for women's human rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations."
Posted by Jessica at 9:09 AM | Comments (0)
August 13, 2007
Oh dear. It seems the judge in the case against Dr. George Tiller, who is being tried for violating laws concerning late-term abortions, was once an anti-choice activist.
The judge who will decide the case — Sedgwick County District Judge Anthony Powell — was a leading voice for anti-abortion lawmakers during his eight years as a legislator. Powell was appointed to the case this week.
Charming. By the way, Tiller is being charged not for any medical malfeasance, but because of an accusation that he had an "improper financial relationship with a physician who signed off on the late-term abortions." Hmm. Sounds like a witch-hunt to me.
Posted by Jessica at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
August 9, 2007
Romney on his past abortion stance (sigh)
Shockingly, Romney is doing just a tad of pandering.
Mitt Romney yesterday called his onetime support for abortion rights his greatest personal and political mistake, and sought to reassure voters during a Republican presidential debate that he is a reliable and determined foe of abortion, an issue important to the party's religious conservatives.
Wonder what he'll say next week. Ugh.
Posted by Jessica at 9:32 AM | Comments (0)
August 3, 2007
Almost Too Close To Call…It All Hinges On ‘08
By Nancy Keenan, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Can one vote make the difference between a pro-choice victory and an anti-choice success?
You bet it can—and that’s what happened late last night on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Pro-choice senators led the fight to defeat an anti-choice amendment to the children’s health bill by a vote of 50 – 49. That’s one, single vote. (For more information on the amendment, click here.)
The failed amendment, offered by anti-choice Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), would have codified a controversial Bush administration regulation, put in place in 2002.. This Bush regulation allows states to make an embryo or a fetus – but not a pregnant woman – eligible for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
That’s right—anti-choice senators wanted to deny health coverage to pregnant women.
This amendment showed just what anti-choice politicians will do to undermine a woman’s right to choose, even if it means derailing a bill that would provide health care for children and working families.
This close vote is a reminder for us. We made big gains in last year’s elections and restored pro-choice leadership to the Senate. But legislative attacks like the Allard amendment underscore our need to continue to elect more pro-choice senators.
Until we have the numbers, we will continue to see dangerous and divisive assaults on our right to choose. We have to spread the word…Elections Matter.
For more information on how to get involved in electing pro-choice candidates, click here.
Posted by Vanessa at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)
August 1, 2007
Ohio law would let men have a say in abortion
Oh this is rich. A group of legislators in Ohio are pushing a bill that would give men a say in whether or not a woman can have an abortion.
"This is important because there are always two parents and fathers should have a say in the birth or the destruction of that child," said [Rep. John] Adams, a Republican from Sidney. "I didn't bring it up to draw attention to myself or to be controversial. In most cases, when a child is born the father has financial responsibility for that child, so he should have a say."
As written, the bill would ban women from seeking an abortion without written consent from the father of the fetus. In cases where the identity of the father is unknown, women would be required to submit a list of possible fathers. The physician would be forced to conduct a paternity test from the provided list and then seek paternal permission to abort.
Written notes? Submitting a list of potential fathers? Sometimes I think that anti-choice folks forget that women are, you know, adults.
But seriously here's the best part of the bill:
Claiming to not know the father's identity is not a viable excuse, according to the proposed legislation. Simply put: no father means no abortion.
NARAL Pro-choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland says in the article, "This extreme bill shows just how far some of our state legislators are willing to go to rally a far-right base that is frustrated with the pro-choice gains made in the last election...It is completely out of touch with Ohio's mainstream values. This measure is a clear attack on a woman's freedom and privacy."
Posted by Jessica at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)
July 31, 2007
Quick Hit: New era of legal abortion in Portugal
The LA Times has an article about newly-legal abortion in Portugal:
For years, Portuguese women seeking an abortion crossed over the border to Spain, where Yolanda Hernandez awaited.
Now, Hernandez is coming to them.
In the abortion business for nearly three decades, Hernandez is opening Portugal's first private abortion clinic.
Read the full article here.
Posted by Jessica at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)
July 30, 2007
No comment necessary
Posted by Jessica at 4:04 PM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2007
Romeny makes sex ed accusations
The dispute began last week, when Obama said in a Planned Parenthood forum that he had been vilified by his 2004 Senate opponent, Alan Keyes, for supposedly supporting sex education for kindergartners because he backed a sex education bill as an Illinois state senator.
"But it's the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools," Obama said at last week's forum.
Yeah, how terrible. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 8:53 AM | Comments (1)
July 25, 2007
Madness in Missouri
Not even a month after Missouri governor Matt Blunt signed legislation that limits abortion providers' ability to teach sex education classes, a measure will go into effect next month that will require that any medical clinic performing more than five first-trimester abortions a month, or any abortions later in pregnancy, to be licensed as an “ambulatory surgical center.”
This means a number of regulations imposed on clinics that would result in up to $2 million in renovations. (In other words, forcing some out of practice.)
That'll help; make abortion even less accessible than it already is. Ugh.
Posted by Vanessa at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
July 24, 2007
New York ain't as safe as you think.
While many would think New York state is dandy when it comes to reproductive rights, think again.
A New York Times letter to the editor by Galen Sherwin and Corinne Carey, the director and an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Rights Project, reminds us that New York receives more abstinence-only funds than any other state, with the exception of Florida and Texas.
Let's hope New York joins the other states that have rejected the funding this year and increase real sex education in New York.
Posted by Vanessa at 1:22 PM | Comments (0)
A new sheriff's in town.
Since anti-choice district attorney Phil Kline previously invaded the personal information of ninety patients of Planned Parenthood while he was Attorney General of Kansas, the tables surely have turned. And fast.
Not only is Planned Parenthood filing a lawsuit in order to force him to return the personal records of patients, but Kline's successor, present Attorney General Paul Morrison, has decided to join the party and aid Planned Parenthood in their efforts to get these records back.
Let's Morrison's support will make this happen.
Posted by Vanessa at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
July 22, 2007
Anti-Choice Ass of the Day
Well, this is quite a gem.
Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay told a group of College Republicans last week that there's a link between abortion and immigration. No joke. His words:
"I contend [abortion] affects you in immigration. . . If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years, we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. Think about it."
Posted by Vanessa at 8:03 PM | Comments (3)
July 20, 2007
I hereby give permission...
This is just infuriating.
Sen. John Adams has introduced a bill in Ohio that would require a woman seeking an abortion to bring a - I kid you not - permission slip from the would-be father:
Under Adams’ proposal, a woman seeking an abortion must provide the name of the unborn fetus’ father, who then must give written consent for the procedure. Not knowing the father is no excuse and women who try and lie or doctors who perform abortions without permission of the father could be charged with “abortion fraud," a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
"Abortion fraud"??? This is one of the most ludicrous, paternalistic and heinous bills I've heard about in a while. It's almost more ridiculous than an actual ban, which Adams is actually also co-sponsoring.
“You put this bill in the real world and it is unworkable,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-choice Ohio. “We believe the decision should be a woman’s.”
Posted by Vanessa at 10:09 AM | Comments (4)
July 19, 2007
Democratic frontrunners talk about choice.
On Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton and John Edward's wife Elizabeth made speeches at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event about their position on choice, as well as pledges of how they will change the future of reproductive rights in the nation (if elected president in '08, that is).
You can check out videos of their speeches here.
Posted by Vanessa at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)
Update: Clinic director arrested in AL
This is just so screwed.
Just one day after the beginnings of the anti-choice protests taking place in and around Birmingham, Gloria Gray, the director of the West Alabama Women's Center, was arrested for disorderly conduct.
There hasn't been much coverage of exactly what happened, except that when the director came outside to talk to one of the protestors for trespassing onto clinic property, the police directed her to go inside and then arrested her when she refused to, you know, get off her own property. She posted bail shortly thereafter.
Posted by Vanessa at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)
July 18, 2007
An anti-choice group in Denver is pushing for a ballot in November '08 that could ban all abortions in Colorado.
Colorado Equal Rights' measure needs 76,000 signatures to be even placed on the ballot, which would say that life begins at conception.
Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman with the anti-choice Focus on the Family, said the intitiative is "a fresh and novel approach to the issue." Saying life begins at conception is certainly a new approach! They're really original, I tell ya.
But that doesn't mean that this shouldn't be something to worry about.
Posted by Vanessa at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)
Birth control is booming.
Check out this great opinion piece that talks about how "birth control is back." I don't know if I would necessarily say BC is back from the dead, but is certainly booming:
Barr Pharmaceuticals, maker of the "Plan B" morning-after contraceptive pill, estimates that sales doubled since the Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter sale of the product after a long, politically inspired delay. Opponents had argued that the pill is tantamount to abortion -- which it is not. A woman takes the medication after unprotected sex, and it works like a high dose of birth-control pills. Plan B brought in $40 million annually when it was available by prescription only, according to Barr spokeswoman Carol Cox. The company estimates that sales this year, which marked the start of marketing without a prescription to women 18 and older, will reach $80 million.
More teenagers who have sex, meanwhile, are using condoms -- 63 percent used a condom during their last sexual intercourse, according to data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics. That's up from 46 percent of sexually active high school students who reported using condoms in 1991. Progress in reducing the rate of births to teenage mothers that began in the 1990s has held steady. So fewer girls are becoming mothers before they are emotionally and financially ready -- and fewer babies are born burdened by the toxic mix of poverty and social stress related to teenaged parenting.
Sounds good to me.
Posted by Vanessa at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)
July 17, 2007
Alabama mobilizes, but not without anti-choice haters
The Alabama Reproductive Freedom Summer kicked off in Birmingham late last week, but (of course) along with the anti-choice brigade behind them.
A national anti-abortion protest in Birmingham confronted the city with large graphic signs and slogans this morning.
About 100 protesters gathered in front of the New Woman All Women Clinic. Another 30 were in front of Planned Parenthood. About 20 people held signs along U.S. 280 at the Summit during rush hour traffic.
And of course so many more would choose to gather around the previously attacked clinic. Sigh.
If you're in the area, make sure to check out the event and show your support; let’s hope it goes smoothly.
Posted by Vanessa at 10:02 AM | Comments (4)
July 16, 2007
Quick Hit: Portugal legalizes abortion
It's a good news, bad news kinda thing. Abortion is legal now, but there are still highly restrictive laws and hurdles blocking the way to acccess.
Posted by Jessica at 8:55 AM | Comments (0)
LA first state to ban late term abortion
Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed legislation Friday that penalizes doctors who perform a late-term abortion procedure, making Louisiana the first to outlaw the surgery since a similar federal ban was upheld this year.
The new law allows the procedure only when the mother's life would be endangered without it. It would be a crime in all other cases, including when the pregnancy is expected to cause health problems for the mother. (Emphasis added)
Because, really, who cares about women's health? Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 8:45 AM | Comments (0)
July 11, 2007
Government health website has anti-choice message
The Department of Health and Human Services recently revised its website, 4Parents.gov, and replaced factual data designed to help parents talk about preventing teen pregnancy with biased and misleading claims, including one that says, "Abortions can have complications. There may be emotional consequences, as well: some women say that they feel sad and some use more alcohol or drugs than before."
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan noted that he website's content is just another link in a long chain of the Bush administration manipulating science in order to spread anti-choice propaganda.
"They've done it again. President Bush and his allies are bent on misleading parents and teens...It is outrageous that the department charged with providing Americans objective information about health is disguising unproven political rhetoric as sound science."
Posted by Jessica at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)
July 9, 2007
MO abortion providers can't teach sex ed
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed into law new restrictions that would limit abortion providers ability to teach sex education classes.
The measure places more abortion clinics under government oversight by classifying them as ambulatory surgical centers. Planned Parenthood has said the law could force it to spend more than $1 million on remodeling, plus some extra staffing costs.
The law also bars people affiliated with abortion providers from teaching or supplying materials for public school sex education courses, and it allows schools to offer abstinence-only programs.
Well how convenient! Better that students get medically inaccurate, dangerous, information than comprehensive sex ed!
But truly, this part is my fave:
Missouri Right to Life, which backed the measure, argued that groups like Planned Parenthood have a conflict of interest in supplying sex education materials because they could make money if female students go to their clinics.
Um...what?! Planned Parenthood offers services on a sliding scale--they're certainly not in it for the dough! Just insane.
Posted by Jessica at 9:38 AM | Comments (0)
July 6, 2007
Rape and incest: just "buzzwords?"
"I think 'rape and incest' is a buzzword. It's a bit of a throwaway line and not everybody who says that really understands what that means. How are you going to define that?” --South Dakota state Rep. Joel Dykstra (R-Lincoln County) on why the state legislature didn't include those exceptions in its abortion ban, April 20, 2006.
I'm pretty sure that the women (and men, for that matter) in South Dakota know exactly what rape and incest mean. Maybe Dykstra needs someone to explain it to him.
Posted by Jessica at 9:51 AM | Comments (1)
July 5, 2007
File this under the "Gee, thanks" file
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday said he would support abortion in cases where a mother's life is in danger.
"If there is a circumstance where the life of the mother is at risk by virtue of proceeding with the pregnancy, then abortion in that case is acceptable," he said. "I do not believe it is immoral in that case. I know other people feel differently."
Are we supposed to be grateful or something?
Posted by Jessica at 8:12 AM | Comments (0)
July 3, 2007
Share your thoughts in this online poll!
A recent survey says that most women would rather donate to a favorite charity than to a political candidate. How about you?
Share your opinion on this poll sponsored by the Women's Campaign Forum Foundation.
Note: The poll asks for an email address, but you don't need to enter one to participate.
Posted by Jessica at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)
July 2, 2007
Headline of the day: Man apologizes for torching women's clinic
Um, yeah. 46 year-old David McMenemy was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for trying to burn down a women's health clinic in Detroit that he thought performed abortions. (They didn't.)
Posted by Jessica at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
June 28, 2007
LA abortion ban: no health exception
Oh, Louisiana. The state legislature approved a late-term abortion ban this week with no exception for women's health. Louisiana is the first state to do as much since the Supreme Court upheld the federal abortion ban.
The procedure would be a crime in all other cases [other than to save the woman's life], including situations where the pregnancy is expected to cause health problems for the mother.
The measure goes to Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who describes herself as anti-abortion but has not indicated whether she plans to sign the bill.
Come on, Blanco. Do the right thing for women.
Posted by Jessica at 8:40 AM | Comments (0)
June 27, 2007
UK doctors call for easier access to abortion
Doctors in the UK have voted in favor of giving women easier and quicker access to abortions.
Medics attending the British Medical Association (BMA) conference voted by 67% to 33% in favour of removing the need for two doctors' signatures to allow an abortion in the first trimester.
The move effectively removes the need for women to meet pre-determined criteria that continuing with the pregnancy poses a risk to their medical or physical health. It will also allow them to access abortion services in the first three months of pregnancy as easily as other treatments.
Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris asked the conference: "Why on earth should women seeking termination - often distressed and anxious - be faced with irrational barriers, perceived or real, or face potential delays leading to later abortion when first trimester abortion, and in particular early medical abortion in the first nine weeks, is known to be safer and easier?"
For more info, click here.
Posted by Jessica at 7:49 AM | Comments (1)
June 25, 2007
Quick hit: Portugal makes abortion legal
Portugal has legalized abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy; the law is set to take effect by mid-July.
Find out more here.
Posted by Jessica at 8:31 AM | Comments (0)
June 21, 2007
House to vote on U.S. policy overseas
The House is set to vote today on whether to reverse U.S. policy and provide contraceptive grants to groups internationally that also provide abortions.
The legislation states the U.S. cannot deny assistance to any group so long as it includes funding for contraceptives. President Bush has threatened to veto the measure, and Republicans say they have enough support to uphold the veto.
In the face of stiff opposition to the plan, Democrats drafted an amendment that would restrict the aid to U.S.-donated contraceptives.
Rep. Nita Lowey says that the bill would "reduce unintended and high-risk pregnancies, and abortions . . . and save the lives of mothers."
Posted by Jessica at 2:06 PM | Comments (0)
June 20, 2007
James Kopp gets life plus 10 years
52 year-old James Kopp, the anti-choice extremist who killed Dr. Barnett Slepian in his Buffalo home, was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years.
Lawyers for James Kopp, 52, had sought a sentence of 25 years to life for the shooting of Dr. Barnett Slepian in his home but U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara went further, the Buffalo News reported Wednesday.
Arcara said he didn't believe Kopp's claim in a 61-minute statement that his only intent was to injure the doctor and said "it is the court's intent that you never will be free again," the report said.
Posted by Jessica at 9:17 AM | Comments (0)
June 18, 2007
40 percent of NC pharmacies don't carry emergency contraception
The survey conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina also found that roughly a third of those pharmacies don't stock the pill sold as "Plan B" because they refuse to order it.
The group attributed the pill's unavailability to confusion and moral opposition among pharmacists, and said the numbers are a cause for concern because Plan B can help prevent unintended pregnancies for women who have been sexually assaulted.
"Availability of emergency contraception is critical to reducing unintended pregnancy," said Melissa Reed, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina also found that a lot of the pharmacists were misinformed about EC.
Additionally, the N.C. Board of Pharmacy's policy is that pharmacists "do not have a right to obstruct otherwise legitimate prescription dispensing or delivery solely on the basis of conscientious objection."
Jay Campbell, executive director of the board says, "As a practical matter, I don't know why they would not carry a product that customers need...The board views the affirmative obstruction of access to care as unprofessional." Indeed.
Posted by Jessica at 8:40 AM | Comments (4)
June 15, 2007
WI pro-choice bill stalled
A Wisconsin bill that would require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape survivors has been stalled; Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch says he's reluctant to move the bill forward.
"There's no protection for those who would not do this and who are exercising their constitutional right to not do this on religious and moral grounds," Huebsch told The Capital Times.
Huebsch, R-West Salem, said the bill, if passed, would usher in a "radical change" in state policy.
Nicole Safar of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says Huebsch's argument is a "red herring."
"All laws are mandates...The health care profession is regulated to ensure patient safety and it provides health care services under standards of care."
Safar also noted that the American Medical Association and American Association of Emergency Practitioners recognize access to emergency contraception as the accepted standard of care.
Not to mention that a poll last year showed that 82 percent of Wisconsin voters supported the bill. But I guess when it comes to supporting women's rights, what voters want just doesn't matter?
Posted by Jessica at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
June 14, 2007
I heart NJ
A pharmacy would be required to fill prescriptions for any drug it stocks such as birth-control pills regardless of a pharmacist's moral beliefs under a bill that cleared the Legislature on Monday.
The bill, approved 56-18 by the Assembly, establishes a pharmacy's duty to fill lawful prescriptions without undue delay and without consideration for a pharmacist's moral, philosophical or religious beliefs.
If a pharmacy doesn't have a prescription in stock, the pharmacy would have to either obtain it under expedited ordering or find a nearby pharmacy to fill the prescription.
NJ, I knew I loved you for a reason.
Posted by Jessica at 8:45 AM | Comments (1)
June 13, 2007
LA Senate approves abortion ban
The Associated Press reports that Louisiana may become the first state since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal ban to create a law prohibiting so-called "partial-birth" abortion.
Senators voted 38-0 to approve Sen. Ben Nevers' bill that would allow the surgery in just one situation: when failure to perform it would endanger the mother's life. The procedure would be a crime in all other cases, including situations where the pregnancy is expected to cause health problems for the mother.(Emphasis added)
Yeah, sorry ladies. No health exception for you. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 8:17 AM | Comments (1)
June 11, 2007
Brownback questions abortion for rape victims
Lovely. Compassionate conservatives, huh?
Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Roman Catholic convert, has questioned whether rape victims should get abortions.
Campaigning for president before the National Catholic Men's Conference, Brownback said, "Rape is terrible. Rape is awful." But he asked, "Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that's been raped?"
Brownback also railed against same-sex marriage. Classy all around.
Posted by Jessica at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)
June 4, 2007
Some good news out of MI!
A federal appeals court Monday rejected Michigan's attempt to ban a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion, ruling the law unconstitutional because it could also prohibit other abortion procedures.
...The appeals panel affirmed a Detroit district judge's opinion that the 2004 Legal Birth Definition Act in Michigan places an "undue burden" on a woman's right to have an abortion.
If only the Supreme Court were so smart.
Posted by Jessica at 2:45 PM | Comments (0)
June 1, 2007
Montana pharmacy refuses to dispense birth control
Well this is just lovely. A pharmacy in Montana, Snyder Drug, has come under new ownership and now has a new policy of denying women birth control. Allyson Hagen, the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, reports...
The new owners have ties to the anti-choice community and now own two pharmacies in Great Falls. My organization is in the process of working with local activists in Great Falls to do more research into their policy and what they are telling consumers about birth control, what other drugs they dispense (Viagra anyone?), see what other pharmacies in Great Falls are refusing to fill birth control or EC prescriptions, and come up with an action plan.
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana believes pharmacies have an ethical obligation to honor valid, legal prescriptions and avoid jeopardizing their patients' health. In Montana's rural communities, there may only be one pharmacy in town. What if that one pharmacy was refusing to fill birth control prescriptions? Since when does a pharmacist have the right to decide whether or not to fill your prescription and interfere in the doctor-patient relationship?
Posted by Jessica at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)
May 31, 2007
Trouble in Mexico City?
Here's some potentially bad news. Mexico's Supreme Court is going to hear a challenge to the the landmark law that legalized abortion in Mexico City.
Supreme Court Justice Sergio Salvador Aguirre said arguments that abortions violate the constitutional right to life were strong enough to warrant a full review that could lead to the law being thrown out. The court did not announce a date for opening deliberations.
The heated debate over abortion pits Mexico City's leftist government against conservative President Felipe Calderón and the influential Roman Catholic Church. The legal challenges were filed by two federal agencies, the Attorney General's Office and National Human Rights Commission.
The good news? The case won't stop doctors from providing care to women in the meantime.
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, of the Democratic Revolution Party, said, "Our position is fixed. The health department will go on working."
Posted by Jessica at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)
May 29, 2007
Film on illegal abortion takes top Cannes prize
A Romanian film has won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival ...
Four Months, Three Weeks And Two Days, a Romanian illegal abortion story set in the final days of Communism, was a favourite to beat the 21 other films to the title.
The hard-hitting Romanian film, featuring two students in the final days of Nicolae Ceausescu's reign, is part of a larger film project called Tales From The Golden Age, about the history of communism in Romania.
Directed by Cristian Mungiu, it is the first film of the series.
I'm going to see if I can get some more info on the film...or maybe a clip.
Posted by Jessica at 9:58 AM | Comments (0)
May 24, 2007
Oklahoma bans abortion in state hospitals
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry allowed an anti-abortion bill to become law on Wednesday by taking no action on the legislation.
The passage of the measure makes Oklahoma the only state this year to pass legislation that would prohibit certain abortions in state-funded medical facilities, according to a research institute.
Read more about the measure here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
May 22, 2007
2008 Presidential Candidate Choice Statements
I'm sure y'all want to know where all of the candidates stand on choice, so NARAL Pro-Choice America has done the work for you. They asked candidates from both parties to express – in 200 words or less – their beliefs about a woman's right to choose.
Check out the candidate's statements here, along with their voting record, and a selection of public statements on the issue of choice.
Posted by Jessica at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
May 16, 2007
The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act!
Nancy Keenan praised pro-choice leaders today for allowing a vote on the bipartisan Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act (H.R.2064).
The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act would guarantee that women in the military have access to emergency contraception (EC), also known as Plan B ® or the “morning-after” pill, on every military base. The Department of Defense itself approved this policy in 2002, but only weeks later President Bush’s political appointees overruled the decision without explanation.
"Americans have made it clear that they are tired of political posturing on the issue of choice. They want solutions – and this amendment is a great start,” says Keenan.
We had expected the House to vote on Rep. Mike Michaud‘s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Rep. Michaud’s amendment would have ensured that military women have universal and timely access to emergency contraception by stocking the medication on every military base.
Unfortunately, there will not be a vote on this proposal.
We cannot let up in our push to improve women’s health care, so we ask you to take one more action that will push the issue forward: ask your lawmaker to cosponsor Rep. Michaud's freestanding bill, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act (H.R.2064), which includes the same provisions as the amendment.
Posted by Jessica at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
May 15, 2007
House Dems speak out on Pope's comments
A group of House Democrats yesterday publicly repudiated the Pope’s recent suggestion that politicians who support abortion rights should be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
Eighteen House Democrats, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), are responding to Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that indicated he would support Mexican bishops if they were to excommunicate Mexican legislators who voted last month to legalize abortion in Mexico City.
The statement reads: "We are concerned with the Pope’s recent statement warning Catholic elected officials that they risk excommunication and would not receive communion for their pro-choice views...Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our church has taught us, our own life’s mission.”
Posted by Jessica at 8:07 AM | Comments (0)
May 11, 2007
Most Ohio hospitals would not give EC to women
In 2005, a survey revealed that of 151 Ohio hospitals, only two would give out the morning-after pill to women who called in looking for it -- even if they had a prescription. One in four even denied the drug for rape victims. For women, the results were surprising and appalling.
“I knew it was inevitable some hospitals would refuse to prescribe it," Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL, said at the time. But even she was “horrified” at the results.
Two years later, NARAL conducted some follow-up research to see if policies had changed. Not so much.
Today, 56 percent of hospitals that responded said they would not provide emergency contraception. Seven percent still refuse to give the pill out to rape victims.
Posted by Jessica at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)
May 9, 2007
Pope warns Catholic pro-choice politicians
Pope Benedict issued a warning today to Catholic politicians, saying that they risked excommunication from the Church and should not receive communion if they are pro-choice. Whoa.
It was the first time that the Pope, speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him on a trip to Brazil, dealt in depth with a controversial topic that has come up in many countries, including the United States, Mexico, and Italy.
Read the full article here.
Posted by Jessica at 9:58 AM | Comments (0)
May 8, 2007
Just in case you didn't know...
Here's what the presidential candidates had to say about the Supreme Court's federal abortion ban decision. Not so shocking, but there are some interesting tidbits in there. See if you can find them...
Posted by Jessica at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)
May 7, 2007
Bush says he'll veto pro-choice legislation
In a letter to Congressional leaders, President Bush said that he would veto any legislation that suported choice.
In a two-page letter sent to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Mr. Bush said his veto threat would apply to any measures that “allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life.”
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said, "George W. Bush essentially told the new Congress that he wants to continue denying millions of women access to essential medical services, including family planning and safe, legal abortion, even if it means jeopardizing their health. Just how is that 'pro-life'?"
Posted by Jessica at 9:06 AM | Comments (0)
May 3, 2007
The Associated Press reports that CT House lawmakers have "overwhelmingly approved" a bill that requires all hospitals, including Catholic facilities, to offer rape victims emergency contraception.
The legislation, which passed the Senate last week, now moves to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. The governor said she was inclined to support it, but would not make a final decision until she sees the bill.
Sounds like good news to me!
Posted by Jessica at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)
May 1, 2007
I heart New York.
And not just because it's my home state. Last week, Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act, a bill that would ensure New Yorkers’ right to choose.
[The bill] would update current law, which, for example, does not include a provision allowing for abortions late in pregnancies to protect a woman’s health. New York state laws on the books also treat abortion as a homicide, but with broad exceptions that allow the procedure in many cases.
Mr. Spitzer’s proposal would remove abortion from criminal statutes and make it a matter of professional and medical discretion. It would also repeal an old statute “that criminalizes, among other things, providing nonprescription contraception to minors,” according to the governor’s office.
“Even if the Supreme Court does not understand the law, we do,” Mr. Spitzer said, appearing briefly at a Manhattan luncheon held by Naral Pro-Choice New York. “New York State will continue to be a beacon of civil rights and protection of women’s rights.”
For more info, check out NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Posted by Jessica at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)
April 30, 2007
Arrest made in clinic bomb scare
Last week, a makeshift bomb was found outside a women's health clinic in Austin, Texas following the Supreme Court decision that upheld the federal abortion ban.
Thankfully, an arrest was made.
Paul Ross Evans, 27, was arrested and charged with the manufacturing of explosive material and violating access to clinic entrances, as well as the use of weapons of mass destruction. He was on parole for a burglary conviction.
Bomb Squad officials found the bomb contained nails. They say it could have injured people up to 100 feet away.
This is scary stuff. Feministe has an interesting article on the case...let me know what you think.
Posted by Jessica at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
April 27, 2007
Abortion legalized in Mexico City
A new measure legalizing abortions in Mexico City was published into law today, allowing doctors to almost immediately begin terminating pregnancies in their first trimester.
...The procedure will be free and available at 14 of the 28 city hospitals. Mondragon said each facility will be able to carry out seven abortions a day. Officials said it was not immediately clear whether private hospitals would have to offer the abortions.
Of course, all isn't perfect; under the new law women receiving an abortion after 12 weeks would be punished by three to six months in jail. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
April 24, 2007
ND passes abortion ban
The North Dakota Legislature voted Monday to ban abortion in the state if courts rule that such a move would be constitutional.
Under the bill, the only abortions allowed would be those to protect the life of the mother or in cases or rape and incest.
Sen. Tracy Potter called the bill "terribly embarrassing" and said, "I believe this makes it look like North Dakota doesn't respect women's rights." Yup, pretty much.
Posted by Jessica at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
April 23, 2007
The Freedom of Choice Act
Because we're not going to let women's rights be rolled back...
In response to the terrifying Supreme Court decision last week, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-CA) are promoting the The Freedom of Choice Act, which was introduced in the House and Senate on Thursday.
The legislation would codify the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and bar states from limiting abortion rights. It was introduced in 2006 and 2004 but never made it out of either the Senate or House judiciary committees.
That could change in the House this time with a clear Democratic majority, but it's uncertain if there are enough votes on the Senate side.
To support the Freedom of Choice Act, and to urge your representatives to do the same, click here.
Posted by Jessica at 9:05 AM | Comments (2)
April 20, 2007
Quick Hit: Miscarriage of Justice
Make sure to check out this article penned by Lynn Paltrow of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, "Miscarriage of Justice" at The American Prospect.
Writing about the recent (horrible) Supreme Court decision, Paltrow says "In the majority opinion, Kennedy makes clear that the most critical reason for upholding the law is to express the government's interest in the value of fetal life regardless of what that may mean for pregnant women."
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Posted by Jessica at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
April 19, 2007
Talk about disappointing. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani came out in support of yesterday's terrible Supreme Court decision.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in response:
"We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Giuliani, after years of expressing support for pro-choice policies in word and deed, has come out in favor of a Court decision that undermines Roe v. Wade and protections for women’s health. Mr. Giuliani has characterized himself as a mainstream Republican upholding the belief in limited government and personal freedom, but he has abandoned those principles just to win a primary."
Word. Read the whole statement here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)
April 18, 2007
I heart Ginsburg
Ann at Feministing points out Justice Ginsburg moving dissent, that includes this oh-so-important observation:
And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health.
Posted by Jessica at 1:57 PM | Comments (6)
April 17, 2007
One woman's story
After reading Gretchen Voss's story in Marie Claire, NARAL Pro-Choice America's president Nancy Keenan asked the woman--who shared her own experience with abortion--to write a message to pro-choice activists. At a time when so much is at stake--we're waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its decision on the Federal Abortion Ban--Gretchen's story puts it all in perspective.
Any day now, the Supreme Court will determine whether women, in consultation with their families and doctors, should make personal reproductive-health decisions - or whether politicians should make our medical and moral decisions for us.
I care a lot about what the Supreme Court has to say about President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban. The same day I decided to terminate my pregnancy, lawmakers gathered in Washington, DC to discuss the ban, which could outlaw abortion as early as 12 weeks and has no exception for a woman's health.
Read Gretchen's full story after the jump.
That's why NARAL Pro-Choice America asked me to share my story with you. It's not a story I ever thought I'd share with thousands of strangers, because frankly, it's nobody's business. But now, of course, it is.
When I was 18 weeks pregnant at my doctor's office in Lexington, Massachusetts, I remember eagerly anticipating the ultrasound that would tell my husband and me whether our baby was a boy or a girl. We were so excited, oohing and aahing like the giddy, expectant parents that we were.
The technician, however, was quiet, and I started to panic. We learned that the ultrasound indicated that the fetus had an open neural-tube defect, meaning that the spinal column had not closed properly. We had to go to Boston immediately, where a new, high-tech machine could tell us more.
In Boston, the doctor spoke using words no pregnant woman wants to hear - clinical terms like hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The spine, she said, had not closed properly, and because of the location of the opening, it was as bad as it could get.
What the doctors knew was awful: the baby would be paralyzed and incontinent, its brain smushed against the base of the skull and the cranium full of fluid. What they didn't know was devastating: would the baby live at all, and if so, with what sort of mental and developmental defects? Countless surgeries would be required if the baby did live, and none of them could repair the damage.
It sounds naive now, but I never considered pregnancy a gamble. Sitting in the doctor's windowless office, I tried to read between the lines of complicated medical jargon, searching for answers that weren't there. But I already knew what I had to do. Even if our baby had a remote chance of surviving, it was not a life we would choose for our child.
I asked over and over, "Are we doing the right thing?" Our family - even my Catholic father and Republican father-in-law, neither of whom was ever pro-choice - assured us that we were. Politics suddenly became personal - their daughter's heartbreak, their son's pain, their grandchild's suffering - and that changed everything.
If President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban had been in force on that day, my husband and I wouldn't have had this option.
It's not always easy to see how the Federal Abortion Ban will affect our lives, so I am asking you to share my story with your family, friends, and co-workers. Please let them see the human side of this story. You can also read my full story here.
As soon as the Supreme Court makes its decision, NARAL Pro-Choice America will be in touch and provide you with ways to take action in your community. In the meantime, if you have a personal story of your own to share, please submit it here. And please learn more about President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban by clicking here.
Posted by Jessica at 9:05 AM | Comments (1)
April 12, 2007
SC drops abortion ultrasound mandate
A legislative panel on Thursday dropped a measure from an abortion bill that would have made South Carolina the only state to require women to review an ultrasound images of the fetus before terminating a pregnancy.
Posted by Jessica at 4:40 PM | Comments (0)
April 11, 2007
Portugal legalizes abortion!
Yesterday, Portugal's president Anibal Cavaco Silva ratified a law allowing women to obtain abortions until the 10th week of pregnancy.
The abortion law, which the Roman Catholic church in Portugal fiercely opposed, will come into force when the government publishes it in official records, probably next month.
The old law was among the most restrictive in Europe. It allowed the procedure in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy only if a mother's health was at risk; in cases of rape, a termination was permitted up to and including the 16th week. The government hopes the new law will put an end to dangerous illegal abortions.
Women’s health organizations say that approximately 10,000 women in Portugal need to be hospitalized every year with complications from illegal abortions.
Posted by Jessica at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)
April 9, 2007
Anti-choice speaker sparks debate at Princeton
A recent anti-choice lecture by Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council at Princeton University sparked debate among students after Yoest argued that abortion has grave "consequences" for women.
Though the lecture was advertised under the title "How Abortion Harms Women," Yoest, vice president for communications for the nonprofit Christian think tank and lobbying group, said a more accurate name was "The Politics of Abortion: Moving Toward a Post-Roe America."
"I believe Roe v. Wade is on its way to extinction ... precisely because abortion harms women," she said.
Speaking to a large audience in Robertson 16, Yoest faced a crowd of students and community members anxious to argue with her during the question-and-answer session that followed the lecture.
Students to Yoest to task for her shaky comments about "Post-Abortion Syndrome," with Yoest refusing to answer questions about the American Psychiatric Association's rejection of the existence of the so-called syndrome.
Read more about the lecture here.
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)
April 4, 2007
Mexico City to vote on legalizing abortion in the coming weeks
City lawmakers are now to vote on April 24 whether to legalize abortion, at the moment allowed only if the mother's life is in danger, she has been raped or the fetus has certain defects.
Most are expecting the legislation to pass--check out this piece from The New York Times for more. And as always, Scott from Lawyers, Guns and Money brings the focus back to what really matters: "The key question of abortion policy is always not whether women will get abortions, but whether non-affluent women will have access to safe abortions."
Posted by Jessica at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)
April 2, 2007
Speaking out on SC bill
Check out this great editorial about the draconian South Carolina bill that would force women to look at ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion. The writer actually identifies as pro-life, but notes that this law would be about nothing more than punishing women.
If the woman looks away, will someone yank her head around? If she closes her eyes, will her eyelids - "Clockwork Orange"-style - be clamped open?
If the woman changes her mind and decides to have the baby, will there be counselors to offer support - social, economic, you name it - to deal with the issues that led her to seek an abortion in the first place? Or, will she be turned out, more confused than ever?
Will the state owe the children medical insurance, day care and good schools with proper sex education?
Will the father be forced to share in this legal treatment, considering his part?
...But this law is about punishment, cruel punishment. Take a woman who's going through an emotional wringer, and pummel her when she's down.
Make sure to read the whole piece...
Posted by Jessica at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
March 29, 2007
Hearings start in Mexico City about legalizing abortion
Lawmakers started hearings recently on a proposal to legalize abortion in Mexico City.
The city's Legislative Assembly is not scheduled to vote until mid-April, but passage seems likely. Mexican feminists say the legalization of abortion in this city of 8 million would be a landmark for the Latin American women's movement.
"We've been working for this day for 36 years, and it's almost here," said Marta Lamas, one of the nation's leading feminists and founder of the nonprofit Reproductive Choice Information Group.
Illegal abortion is a widespread problem in Mexico--and much of Latin America--and if this proposal passes, it would allow women to travel to the city to obtain safe, legal abortions.
Posted by Jessica at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)
March 27, 2007
ND House passes abortion ban
The North Dakota House recently passed an abortion ban that would take effect in the event Roe is overturned. The Senate has taken up the legislation, and is expected to vote on it later this week. The bill has an exception for saving the woman's life -- but not for rape or incest. (Full text of the bill is here.)
Sigh. Of course.
Posted by Jessica at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)
March 23, 2007
South Carolina forces women to see ultrasound before abortion
There’s nothing like a little woman-punishing to get legislators all hot and bothered.
A bill approved in the South Carolina House this week would force women to see a fetal ultrasound before they have abortions.
After three hours of passionate debate, the House voted 91-23 to require women to sign a statement swearing they had seen an ultrasound image of their fetus before getting an abortion.
A half-dozen other states offer ultrasound images to abortion patients, legislative staffers said. But those states do not require abortion patients view them.
You know, because it’s ridiculous.
And if you had any doubt that this law was about punishing women, and somehow making them “face” their transgression, check this out:
Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, railed against Republicans for opposing his amendment to exempt victims of rape and incest from the required ultrasound viewing.
This logic goes to show that this isn’t about making sure women are informed—it’s about punishing them. So women who were raped shouldn’t have to have their noses rubbed in their pregnancies and be punished any further--that’s just for the “bad” women who wanted to have sex. Ugh.
Posted by Jessica at 9:54 AM | Comments (4)
March 20, 2007
Bad news of the day
Georgia on my mind...and not in a good way.
The Georgia house approved a measure yesterday that would require doctors to offer to show patients requesting an abortion an ultrasound image of the fetus if an image was made.
...Critics said of the measure urged the state not to interject itself in the abortion debate.
Posted by Jessica at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)
March 19, 2007
McCain: "Stumped" on contraception
Here's a...well, weird piece of news. Senator John McCain stumbled his way through a recent interview when the subject of contraception came up. The whole clumsy mess is after the jump.
Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”
Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”
(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)
Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”
Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”
Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”
Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”
Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”
Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”
Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”
Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”
Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”
Posted by Jessica at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)
March 15, 2007
Mexico City to legalize abortion?
Legislators in Mexico City are debating a bill that would legalize abortion during the first three months of pregnancy:
The bill is supported by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, which holds the mayorship and a majority in the city's legislature, and it could be approved in the coming months, lawmakers said.
…Under current Mexico City law, abortion is only permitted if the pregnancy endangers a woman's life or if the woman has been raped.
Proponents of the bill say these restrictions force women to seek abortions outside the law. While wealthier women travel to the United States for the procedure, poorer women must remain in Mexico and have back-street operations, supporters said.
The Roman Catholic contingent is strong over there, so I’m wary of getting too excited…but still, a step in the right direction.
Posted by Jessica at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
March 13, 2007
More “protection” for pregnant teens
A new bill would require Florida doctors to call the police on pregnant teens—under the rhetoric of protecting them, of course.
Abortion providers would also be required to collect a DNA sample from girls under 16 who end a pregnancy, as well as from the aborted fetus.
The bill’s architects say it’s aimed at protecting young girls from sexual abusers, including family members. The DNA could help police identify the person who impregnated the girl, and help prosecutors convict him of sexual abuse.
“If she’s the victim of some sort of crime, then we are going to stop that and we are going to go after (the abuser),” said Sen. Ronda Storms, one of the sponsors of the bill.
Never mind that her privacy is being violated and that the bill’s intention is to scare young women away from seeking care.
“This bill will scare young girls and their parents from seeking health care at the time they need the care the most,” said Lillian Tamayo, president of the Planned Parenthood chapter in South Florida.
“If you are a 15-year-old and in love, and you get pregnant, and you know that going to the doctor may result in having your 15-year-old boyfriend thrown in jail, what is the likelihood you are going to seek care?” asked Tamayo. “It criminalizes sexual activity among minors.”
Right…which really is the point, after all.
Posted by Jessica at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)
March 9, 2007
MS abortion ban bill heading to governor
A Mississippi bill that would criminalize abortion is on it’s way to Governor Haley Barbour.
The measure would ban nearly all abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and the state bill becomes law, anyone performing an illegal abortion in Mississippi would face one to 10 years in prison.
They just can’t wait to start punishing women, huh? Unbelievable.
Posted by Jessica at 10:13 AM | Comments (34)
March 7, 2007
I heart Wisconsin
Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would use their new majority to push a bill that had stalled: a mandate forcing hospitals to supply emergency contraception to rape victims.
Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson, D-Beloit, said she would revive legislation that would require hospitals to tell rape victims that the morning-after pill is highly effective at preventing pregnancy.
Hospitals would have to dispense the medication if victims requested it.
It’s terrible that hospitals have to be forced to do their jobs and help women—but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Posted by Jessica at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
March 1, 2007
Bush Administration targets Women's Health office
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, speaks out on the budget cuts to the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
"For more than three years, political appointees at the FDA disregarded sound science and medical expertise by blocking over-the-counter access for emergency contraception...Now, after commonsense and public health finally prevailed, we learn that the Office of Women's Health is on the chopping block. Reportedly, more than one-quarter of its $4 million operating budget is slated to be cut. This development begs a question for the Bush administration, 'Why is women's health 25 percent less important this year than last?'"
Posted by Jessica at 9:22 AM | Comments (0)
February 28, 2007
SC law would require ultrasound
An anti-choice bill in South Carolina would mandate that women seeking abortions be forced to look at ultrasound images of the fetus.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced the proposal Wednesday without discussion.
Proponents hope the bill will lead to fewer abortions, with more women opting for adoption or keeping their child.
Abortion rights activists have criticized the measure. They say the ultrasound should be an option because no woman should be forced to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure.
But trying to inspire guilt and fear is totally necessary, right?
Posted by Jessica at 9:14 AM | Comments (3)
February 27, 2007
Anti-choice bill fails in Indiana
A bill requiring doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that human life begins at conception failed to clear the Senate Monday.
Bill sponsor Republican Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis did not call the bill for a second reading in the Senate. She said the bill will not move through the legislative process because senators could not agree about a portion of the bill that dealt with contraceptives.
I kind of don't even want to know what the bill was trying to do to contraception. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
February 22, 2007
South Dakota rejects abortion ban bill
Here’s some awesome news! The proposed abortion ban in South Dakota—which now had exceptions or rape, incest and women’s health—was rejected yesterday by a committee vote of 8-1.
So much for trying to “tone down” the ban in an effort to drum up support.
Posted by Jessica at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)
February 20, 2007
McCain says Roe should be overturned
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.
"I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned," the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.
I'm not exactly shocked, but it never ceases to amaze me how folks will disregard women's rights...
Posted by Jessica at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)
February 15, 2007
Tennessee wants to require post-abortion death certificates
This is just lovely. Proposed legislation in Tennessee would require death certificates for aborted fetuses—creating public records that identify women who have had abortions.
Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Republican, said his bill would provide a way to track how many abortions are performed. He predicted it would pass in the Republican-controlled Senate but would have a hard time making it through the Democratic House.
The thing is, the number of abortions performed is already reported to the state’s Office of Vital Records. So the only purpose of this bill is to identify women having abortions—it would even include their social security numbers!
House Judiciary Chairman Rob Briley called this "the most preposterous bill I've seen." No joke.
Posted by Jessica at 11:17 AM | Comments (3)
February 14, 2007
CO abortion ban fails in Senate
A Senate committee split along party lines to kill a proposal Monday that would have banned most abortions in Colorado.
…The proposal (Senate Bill 143), modeled after one passed in South Dakota last year but later rejected by voters, would have banned abortions except to save the life of the mother and in cases of incest, rape and a medical emergency.
It’s so nice when we actually get good news about repro rights.
Posted by Jessica at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)
February 12, 2007
Anti-choicers getting public funds
At least eight states are using public funds to support anti-choice “pregnancy centers” (you know, the kind that lie to women) and other sketchy organizations.
As a condition of the grants, counselors are often barred from referring women to any clinic that provides abortions; in some cases, they may not discuss contraception either.
Because why try to prevent pregnancy? That would just be silly.
Posted by Jessica at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)
February 8, 2007
Most young women consider EC safe and effective
Sweet. A new report says that more than 90 percent of women between 15 and 24 years-old think emergency contraception, or the “morning after pill,” is safe and effective.
To evaluate the acceptability of emergency contraception among young women, Dr. Corinne H. Rocca, from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed survey data from 1,950 women who participated in a study that evaluated access to emergency contraception through advance provision, pharmacies or clinics.
The results show that 92 percent of the women believed emergency contraception to be safe and 98 percent considered it effective, according to the report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The study also showed that accessibility to EC influenced whether the drug was used promptly. EC is more effective the sooner you take it, so obviously access is kind of a huge deal. (Tell that to extremist pharmacists.)
Posted by Jessica at 11:09 AM | Comments (1)
February 7, 2007
Senator says women may fake rape to get EC
Oh dear lord. During a debate on emergency contraception in Colorado, on whether to ensure EC access for rape victims, Republican state Sen. David Schultheis said the darndest thing:
...how doctors "determine that a person actually did incur that sexual assault. Are they going to take the word of that individual? You could see individuals coming in that just wanted to make sure that last night's stand didn't result in a pregnancy and basically say that they had been a sexual assault" to get the contraceptive.
Lovely, huh? Thankfully, Sen. Betty Boyd put Schultheis in his place, telling him to "have more confidence in the integrity of a woman that she's going to be truthful." Sen. Brandon Shaffer followed with, "I think the suggestion that a person is going to feign being raped in order to get emergency contraception is mildly insulting ... more than mildly."
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)
February 5, 2007
EC available to teen girls in Chile
I heart Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. She’s signed a decree—despite the opposition from religious groups—making emergency contraception available to girls as young as 14 years-old without their parents consent.
President Michelle Bachelet's government announced last year that it would allow public health centres to give the morning-after pill to girls of 14 and older, even if they did not have the consent of their parents.
However, two weeks ago, the Constitutional Court ruled that the health minister did not have the power to do so and the distribution of the pill was halted.
The decree signed on Monday includes an amendment which requires teenagers to receive counselling when they are given the pill.
Approximately 35 percent of all pregnancies in Chile result in illegal abortions—hopefully the increased access to EC will help curb unwanted pregnancies.
Posted by Jessica at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)
February 2, 2007
AZ bill would disclose personal patient info to the state
Because patient rights don’t exist if you got yourself knocked up—duh.
…in addition to a woman's age, race and marital status — which the state health department already collects — it would mandate that doctors collect and report information such as the reason for the abortion, who referred the woman to the clinic, the weight of the aborted fetus and other intimate personal information about the woman.
The bill could also mandate that a report be filed when a woman uses emergency contraception.
Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, says the bill “singles out a single medical procedure and imposes some incredibly onerous and burdensome requirements.” Of course it does—that’s the point.
Posted by Jessica at 8:43 AM | Comments (2)
January 29, 2007
Anti-choice bill unveiled in SD. Again.
The bill is expected to be similar to the measure that was passed last year by lawmakers and overturned at the ballot by voters, but it will include abortion exceptions for rape, incest and the health of women.
How generous of them.
Posted by Jessica at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)
January 26, 2007
Anti-choice extremist convicted of murder
The Associated Press reports that James Knopp—already in state prison for the shooting death of Dr. Barnett Slepian—was convicted yesterday on federal charges.
The jury deliberated about four hours over two days before deciding James Kopp violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in the 1998 slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian. Kopp, who represented himself during the two-week trial, tried to convince jurors during his closing arguments that he didn’t mean to kill Slepian when he fired from woods into the doctor’s Amherst home. Kopp said he intended only to wound him to prevent him from performing abortions the next day.
Yeah sure. As Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Mehltretter put it, “If you want to injure a person, you don’t shoot them with a high-powered rifle.”
Posted by Jessica at 9:19 AM | Comments (0)
January 24, 2007
CT hospitals keeping emergency contraception from rape victims
This is unbelievable. Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services counselors report that in the first half of 2006, 40 percent of sexual assault survivors weren’t offered emergency contraception.
Some 500 rape victims go to Connecticut hospitals for emergency treatment every year. If the rape counselors are right, that means 200 women and girls are receiving insufficient protection. Sixteen of those women are statistically at risk of becoming pregnant and could, if they don't act fast, undergo surgical abortions later.
This just infuriates me.
Posted by Jessica at 11:57 AM | Comments (5)
January 17, 2007
Quick Hit: The Little Pill that Could
In the mid-1990s, the abortion wars were at a fever pitch over the impending approval of RU-486. Time magazine called it “The Pill that Changes Everything,” The New York Times Magazine dubbed it a “little white bombshell,” and anti-abortion leaders said over and over that this drug was dangerous because it would make having an abortion “as trivial as taking aspirin.” Pro-choicers, for their part, were invigorated by the possibility of giving women another abortion option, one they hoped would let them largely bypass abortion clinics and the attendant protestors at the gates.
Posted by Jessica at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)
January 16, 2007
Anti-choice legislation in the Indiana Senate
An anti-choice bill introduced in Indiana would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions that life begins at conception and that a fetus can feel pain. Sounds like someone stole a move from the South Dakota playbook.
Republican Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis, an author of one of the bills, says she believes that if her bill makes it to the floor for a vote, it will pass both the Senate and the House. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee that she chairs. Similar legislation passed the House last year but failed in the Senate. Supporters believe the odds of passage are better this year because Republican Senator David Long of Fort Wayne is now the president pro tem. He is considered an abortion opponent.
Posted by Jessica at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)
January 12, 2007
SD anti-choice law gets a rare rehearing
A federal appeals court has agreed to rehear a challenge of a 2005 South Dakota law that would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure ends a human life.
…The appeals court grants only about one in 50 requests for a full court rehearing, state Attorney General Larry Long said Wednesday. "This is a rare and unusual event, and we're just delighted."
Delighted is one way to put it. Horrified is another.
Under the law—which was temporarily blocked because the law violated doctors’ right to free speech—docs have to give patients a written document that includes a statement that "the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Lovely. Nothing like forcing anti-choice ideology onto doctors.
Posted by Jessica at 2:06 PM | Comments (0)
January 11, 2007
Texas lawmakers proposing abortion “trigger” law
Two conservative lawmakers want a new law triggering an abortion ban in Texas should the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverse its landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion.
…The bills would ban abortion except to "prevent the death" of the mother — if Roe is overturned. They contain no exemptions for rape, incest or to protect the health of the mother.
Because, really, who gives a shit about her?
Posted by Jessica at 1:38 PM | Comments (0)
Anti-choice extremist apologizes for killing doctor
Posted by Jessica at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
January 9, 2007
Human rights activists aim to block Nicaraguan abortion ban
Nicaraguan human rights activists are (thankfully) trying to quash a law that bans abortions, even in cases or rape or when the woman’s life is in danger.
They asked the Supreme Court to block the law on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional and violates "fundamental rights and principles."
Nicaraguan lawmakers approved the bill with support from two right-wing parties and leftist legislators from the Sandinista party of Daniel Ortega, the president-elect who takes office on Wednesday.
It put Nicaragua alongside nations like Chile and El Salvador in imposing a blanket ban on abortions. Previously, abortions in Nicaragua were allowed for women who were victims of rape and incest or if their lives were in danger.
But clearly, that was way too controversial. Better that women die or be forced to have their rapists children. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
January 8, 2007
Georgia anti-choicers drumming up support for abortion ban
Anti-choice groups in Georgia are holding a “public hearing” tomorrow to try and get support for HB1, a proposed abortion ban similar to the one defeated in South Dakota.
You know, I’ll just let the bill speak for itself.
Posted by Jessica at 1:46 PM | Comments (1)
January 4, 2007
Oklahoma lawmaker preemptively proposing anti-choice law
If the Supreme Court ever overturns Roe v. Wade, Rep. Mike Reynolds, a Republican from Oklahoma City, wants to be good and ready to take away women’s reproductive rights.
Rep. Reynolds has filed a bill that would reinstate Oklahoma’s anti-choice laws banning abortion. Lovely.
Posted by Jessica at 9:25 AM | Comments (0)
January 3, 2007
Nancy Keenan speaks out
Check out this profile of NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan, which focuses on the recent elections.
In a recent interview in her modest, sunny office just a few blocks from the White House, Keenan was ebullient and relieved. Post-election surveys conducted by NARAL show that mailings and phone calls the group made in targeted House races helped motivate women to go out and vote for candidates who support abortion rights, Keenan said.
"We had some wonderful victories, " Keenan said. "It was a good electoral season for us."
Keenan said voters became fed up with the pro-life agenda when members of Congress tried to stop Terri Schiavo's husband from removing her feeding tube and when the South Dakota Legislature passed a law banning all abortions except those to save a mother's life.
"People sat back and said, 'What is the role of government and politicians in those very personal, private medical decisions that we make as families?"' Keenan said. "That's when folks saw the other side overstep."
Make sure to check out the whole interview; it’s good stuff.
Posted by Jessica at 3:16 PM | Comments (0)
New SD abortion ban?
An anti-choice legislator in South Dakota says that the next time an abortion ban is proposed, it will likely contain exceptions for rape and incest. (Oh, well that makes us feel so much better.)
Republican state Senator Brock Greenfield of Clark says failure to get South Dakota voters to ratify last year's ban, which contained no exceptions for rape or incest victims, means abortion opponents need to look at political reality.
He says exceptions likely will be included when the time is right to bring back anti-abortion legislation.
Which hopefully will be never.
Posted by Jessica at 8:59 AM | Comments (0)
December 21, 2006
New UK abortion restrictions?
Tory MP Nadine Dorries is pushing a bill that would reduce the timeframe a woman is allowed to obtain an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks and would call for a one-week “cooling off” period.
Lovely. The “cooling off” period would mean that a woman would have to wait a week after seeking an abortion before she can actually get one. You know, so she can get counseling and think about her decision. Because god knows, she hasn’t thought about it before.
Labour MP Chris McCafferty has called the cooling-off proposal "an attack on women's reproductive rights".
…Ms McCafferty has said that forcing a woman to have counselling goes against the whole principle of counselling, while the 10-day delay [proposed in an earlier version of the bill] could prompt women to travel abroad for abortions "when they are in a vulnerable state" or resort to illegal abortions.
Not to mention, this whole “cooling off” period nonsense implies that women are basically children. That we’re incapable of making our own decisions without a “time out” from the government to really think things over. Disgusting.
Posted by Jessica at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
December 18, 2006
Quick Hit: Keenan speaks out in Texas
Check out this piece in the Austin American-Statesman about NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan and her recent visit Texas.
Nancy Keenan came by during a visit to Austin last week, and she's still grinning about the outcome of the Nov. 7 election. She has reason to.
Keenan, a former state representative and state school superintendent from Montana, is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the most prominent — or notorious, depending on your view — organization campaigning to preserve for pregnant women the decision whether to get an abortion. (She's also a Catholic.)
She met here with local abortion-rights advocates before the Legislature convenes on Jan. 9 and visited with Sarah Weddington, the Austin lawyer who in 1973 won the Roe v. Wade case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which established the right of American women to abortion.
Check out the whole profile—it’s good stuff.
Posted by Jessica at 4:17 PM | Comments (0)
December 12, 2006
Contraception--not abstinence--behind decline in teen pregnancy
Shocker, I know.
A new study out of Columbia University and the Guttmacher Institute shows that the recent decline in teen pregnancy is due to contraceptive use.
Between 1995 and 2002, U.S. teen pregnancy rates declined by almost one-quarter (24%). The new study, from Columbia University and Guttmacher Institute investigators, examines data from the federal National Survey of Family Growth to determine the relative contributions of abstinence and contraceptive use to this decline. According to the analysis, most of the decline (86%) was due to more sexually active teens using contraceptives, using more effective methods (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) and using multiple methods (e.g., the pill together with condoms) in 2002 than in 1995.
Posted by Jessica at 9:49 AM | Comments (0)
December 5, 2006
Quick hit: Guess who's at the birth control wheel?
Check out this opinion piece by Christina Page, author of "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America," on recent Bush appointee Eric Keroack.
Dr. Eric Keroack, a gynecologist who started work Nov. 21, is a regular speaker at national anti-abortion events. This makes him a strange choice to lead a $283-million federal program, called Title X, whose main purpose is to "provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them."
Consider that not one anti-abortion organization in the country supports the use of contraception. Even more troubling, Keroack has served on the medical advisory board of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, a board open only to doctors who refuse to promote or prescribe contraception to teens. One in four of all patients served by Title X clinics are teenagers.
Keroack's colleagues at the Clearinghouse refer to birth control advocates as "condom pushers" and the "safe sex cartel."
And don't forget--you can take action against Keroack!
Posted by Jessica at 1:36 PM | Comments (3)
December 4, 2006
Could RU-486 prevent breast cancer?
Scientists used the abortion drug RU-486 to keep tumors at bay in mice bred with a gene destined to give them breast cancer.
No one is suggesting women use the abortion pill that way. But the provocative experiment helped illustrate how the notorious breast cancer gene BRCA1 does its dirty work, by spurring a hormone called progesterone that RU-486 happens to block.
If researchers could create a safer hormone blocker, it might offer a long-awaited alternative for women with the bad gene. They have few good options today to prevent breast cancer.
Dr. Claudine Isaacs, an oncologist at Georgetown University Hospital, says in the article that “this is an avenue worth pursuing on a research level.”
Cool shit. Especially as a little “f-you” to the anti-choicers who love to (falsely) link breast cancer with abortion.
Posted by Jessica at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
November 30, 2006
Post-election poll on choice!
A new poll shows that choice was an integral issue for voters in the recent election:
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted a series of post-election surveys among these targeted pro-choice women voters that provides strong evidence that the issue of choice made a real difference in these races. NARAL Pro-Choice America's efforts to persuade and turn out pro-choice women voters had a positive and measurable impact on the outcomes of these races. Choice is an issue that affects how these pro-choice women vote. When asked if the issue of abortion was important when deciding how to vote, more than 80 percent in each of the five districts responded that it was important.
Opposition to abortion rights ranks as one of the top reasons to vote against a candidate in each of these districts.
Pretty hot shit! Make sure to read the whole report and find out how all of you amazing pro-choicers turned out to make a difference in the election!
Posted by Jessica at 4:38 PM | Comments (0)
November 29, 2006
HHS standing by Keroack
Christina Pearson, spokesperson for HHS' Office of Population Affairs and Administration for Children and Families, said Keroack is not opposed to birth control…
Keroack "has expressed to us that he will fulfill his programmatic responsibilities in accordance with the law, and we believe him," Pearson said, adding that Keroack's work for A Women's Concern accounted for only 20% of his time and involved providing ultrasound examinations to pregnant women and not counseling to women who were not pregnant.
Yeah, somehow that doesn’t make me feel better. By the way, Kaiser has an amazing roundup of editorials and opinion pieces on Keroack. Check them out.
Posted by Jessica at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)
November 28, 2006
...Even if President Bush had named Keroack before the recent power shift in Congress, it would have been as puzzling a choice as it is ill-considered. An overwhelming majority of women in America --an estimated 98 percent -- will use contraceptives during their lives. In light of recent elections, which trended heavily in favor of candidates who support women's reproductive health rights, this appointment is the worst kind of politically motivated move: one that not only flies in the face of what the majority of Americans want, but one that can be regarded as a slap in the face by the millions it will affect.
Read the whole thing; good stuff.
Posted by Jessica at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
November 27, 2006
Nicaragua abortion ban threatens women’s lives
The Boston Globe had an article up yesterday about the ridiculous threat to women’s lives that is the sweeping abortion ban in Nicaragua.
In Nicaragua, Dr. Oscar Flores Mejía, of Nicaragua's National Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said the new law has sent fear and confusion through the medical community. He said many doctors understand the ban to mean they can do nothing "to interrupt pregnancy from the moment of conception until birth."
That rules out operations to save women with ectopic pregnancies, eclampsia, cardiac problems, or other life-threatening complications if doctors could not guarantee that the fetus would survive, Flores said.
"This law is forcing us to be delinquent in our jobs," he said .
That’s terrifying. But apparently par for the course—up to 21 percent of maternal deaths in Latin America are associated with illegal abortions.
Make sure to read the whole piece—it’s scary, but informative.
Posted by Jessica at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
November 22, 2006
Eric Keroack not a board-certified doctor
I told you that Keroack was just a ten-year old pretending to be a doctor!
Check out the last lines in this WaPo piece on the wacky non-doc:
Pearson also acknowledged yesterday that Keroack is not currently certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist. That is not a requirement for the job, but HHS officials had cited Keroack's expertise in defending his selection.
Hells yeah they did!
An HHS spokeswoman said Keroack is a skilled doctor and a nationally recognized expert on preventing teenage pregnancy. "We have confidence that he'll perform his duties effectively and in accordance with the law," HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson said by e-mail.
John O. Agwunobi, assistant secretary for health, said Keroack "is highly qualified and a well-respected physician . . . working primarily with women and girls in crisis."
Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Fortunately, folks aren't taking this quack's appointment sitting down. Letters from both the House and Senate (spearheaded by Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Barbara Boxer) were sent to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, urging him to reject Keroack's appointment.
Related: Check out this great cartoon about Keroack in The Boston Globe.
Posted by Jessica at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)
November 17, 2006
Bush appoints anti-choicer to oversee family planning
“Once again, we see what lengths this president will go to in order to pacify his anti-birth-control right-wing base,” NARAL President Nancy Keenan said. “This appointment demonstrates that after losing power in both houses of Congress, President Bush will now exploit the powers of his office to advance his far-right agenda. Right after defeats in last week’s election, Bush pledged to seek common ground on issues important to Americans. This latest move shows that he’s willing to break his pledge to the public if it means he scores points with far-right pressure groups. Bush has failed to demonstrate real leadership and is giving every indication that voters should just expect more of the same from this out-of-touch White House.”
Not only is Keroack the medical director at a pregnancy crisis clinic—whose website says the distribution of birth control is demeaning to women—he’s also a super duper proponent of abstinence-only education...and a little odd.
Posted by Jessica at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)
November 15, 2006
Good news, bad news in Ohio
Good news: A panel of the Court of Appeals in Ohio ruled to strike down the section of a state abortion law that would have given teen girls only one chance to seek a judicial bypass to obtain an abortion without parental consent. (Okay, so that’s only semi-good news since they still have to deal with parental consent laws, but I’m attempting to be optimistic today.)
Bad news: The same panel ruled to uphold the section of the state’s abortion law that requires women to receive “counseling” before obtaining an abortion. (As if a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy has actually though about anything but what her options are.)
Posted by Jessica at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
November 14, 2006
Anti-choice campaign donations under review
South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long is investigating an anonymous $750,000 donation given to the (failed!) anti-choice campaign in the state to ban all abortions.
The $750,000 donation in the abortion campaign was made to a private corporation set up by state Representative Roger Hunt of Brandon. Hunt says the donor doesn't want to be identified because of fear about possible violence.
[Secretary of State Chris] Nelson insists that state law is clear and the donor must be revealed.
Pro-choice groups in SD think the donor may be Steve Kirby, an anti-choicer who ran a (failed!) campaign for governor. Guess we'll find out soon enough...
Posted by Jessica at 9:58 AM | Comments (0)
November 13, 2006
Ob-Gyn speaks out on federal abortion ban
The Chicago Sun-Times has a great opinion piece up today from Cassing Hammond, an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine.
Hammond talks about the federal abortion ban from a standpoint that matters perhaps the most, but isn't often talked about--women's actual lives and health.
This is not a political or abstract discussion for me. The patients I treat include pregnant women with serious medical conditions that threaten their pregnancies, their health, or both. Some choose to end much-wanted pregnancies after learning that they would give birth to babies with severe anomalies.
...If the Supreme Court allows the federal abortion ban to go into effect, it will jeopardize my ability to provide the safest health care to women confronting these severely troubled pregnancies. Like all physicians, I adapt my techniques as each procedure progresses to provide the safest possible care for each individual woman. This ban would interfere with my ability to do so, taking medical judgment out of my hands and putting it in the hands of politicians in Washington.
This is why fighting for choice is so important. It's not about the politics or the rhetoric--it's about women's lives.
Everytime we get caught up in an argument about semantics, or anti-this or pro-that, let's remember that there are actual women out there--women who need to be able to make the safest, most healthy choice that they possibly can.
Posted by Jessica at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)
November 10, 2006
Listen to Planned Parenthood senior attorney, Eve Gartner, who is arguing Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (the "partial birth" nonsense) before the Supreme Court.
Gartner gives an interview on the Supreme Court steps--she talks about the history behind the case and shares her reactions and thoughts...check it out.
Click here for more information about the ban and the Supreme Court case.
Posted by Jessica at 2:27 PM | Comments (0)
November 9, 2006
SD paper polls readers on abortion ban
The Argus Leader, the largest paper in South Dakota, has a poll on their website asking readers if they think the state should push for another abortion ban--one with rape and incest exceptions.
Go check it out.
Posted by Jessica at 1:49 PM | Comments (1)
November 8, 2006
South Dakota rejects abortion ban!
South Dakotans spoke out yesterday when they voted against the insane abortion ban that made no exception for rape, incest, or women's health.
Definitely worth celebrating.
Posted by Jessica at 11:59 AM | Comments (9)
November 6, 2006
Nancy Keenan gets out the vote!
Check out NARAL President Nancy Keenan firing up the pro-choice troops!
What are you doing to elect pro-choice candidates? Make sure to check out NARAL's Pro-Choice Voting Guide and send it around to friends.
Also, sign our pro-choice pledge and get the word out...just one more day!
Posted by Jessica at 3:44 PM | Comments (0)
November 3, 2006
Some good news in SD
About 50% of likely voters in South Dakota oppose a state law (HB 1215) banning abortions except to save a woman's life, while 41% of likely voters support the ban and 9% are undecided, according to a poll conducted earlier this week for KELO-TV, the AP/Kansas City Star reports (AP/Kansas City Star, 11/2).
Want to hear something screwed up though? 36% of people polled believed the ban allowed for legal abortions in cases of rape or incest (which it doesn't) and 10% weren't sure. I guess the anti-choice misinformation campaign is working...
Posted by Jessica at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)
November 1, 2006
NY Times on South Dakota
The New York Times has an interesting piece on the fight for choice in South Dakota…this state makes me simultaneously depressed and inspired. Weird, huh?
Both sides predict that the outcome of the vote in South Dakota could send the country’s broader debate over abortion rights swerving in new directions, and will set the tone for the fate of similarly strict laws being considered in nearly a dozen other states.
“I think there’s some sense out there that — ‘By golly, if they can do it there, we’re going to do it here,’ ” said Nancy Keenan, the president of Naral Pro-Choice America, which opposes the South Dakota ban.
If you need a reminder about the state’s scary ass ban—there is no exception for rape, incest, or the health of the woman.
Posted by Jessica at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)
October 31, 2006
Take that, Napoli
Posted by Jessica at 9:51 AM | Comments (1)
October 30, 2006
Nicaragua ban all abortions
Nicaragua's Congress has voted to ban all abortions, despite the concerns of diplomats, doctors and women's rights advocates that the issue has become politicized ahead of presidential elections.
…Illegal abortions now carry a six-year prison term, and the president wants it increased to 10 to 30 years.
Posted by Jessica at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
October 26, 2006
Check out another ad from the folks at No on 85. While it's meant to focus on the proposed law in California, I think it shows the insanity of any parental notification law.
Posted by Jessica at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Abortion ban vote today in Nicaragua
Nicaragua's legislature is expected to approve a law today that outlaws all forms of abortion, including those procedures intended to save the life of a pregnant mother.
Who knew that Nicaragua and South Dakota were so alike?
Posted by Jessica at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
October 25, 2006
The politics of abortion
Posted by Jessica at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)
October 24, 2006
Great ad on Prop 85
Posted by Jessica at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)
Scalia: Abortion has nothing to do with the Constitution
"Take the abortion issue," he said. "Whichever side wins, in the courts, the other side feels cheated. I mean, you know, there's something to be said for both sides."
"The court could have said, 'No, thank you.' The court have said, you know, 'There is nothing in the Constitution on the abortion issue for either side,'" Scalia said. "It could have said the same thing about suicide, it could have said the same thing about ... you know, all the social issues the courts are now taking."
Scalia said courts didn't use to decide social issues like that.
Thoughts? Is abortion only a “social issue”?
Posted by Jessica at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)
October 23, 2006
Anti-choicer reflects on activism and “the rhetoric of abortion”
Alternet is running an excerpt from Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice—specifically a piece by Elizabeth Wardle, PhD called “The Rhetoric of Abortion: Reflections from a Former Pro-life Activist.”
It’s really interesting stuff.
Thus, I goaded my girlfriends into attending protests and meetings and starting teenage pro-life groups. No one questioned me. Where we came from, my girlfriends were wrong not to have thought of going to the meetings before I did. They admired my staunch, unquestioning sense of what was right and wrong. Looking back, it's clear I was pompous, self-righteous, and unbearably certain of myself. But I had the total peace of mind that only comes from a worldview with no shades of gray.
My certainty and peace of mind were not to last, however. College showed me that life is full of gray.
Make sure to check it out and let me know what you think; I thought the piece was really telling.
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October 11, 2006
I'm video crazy...but this one is worth it
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October 10, 2006
Local news on SD abortion ban and it's lack of rape exception
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October 9, 2006
South Dakotans gear up for abortion ban vote
The Associated Press has an in-depth article on both sides of the South Dakota abortion ban debate. The piece focuses on “five long-acquainted couples” sitting around discussing the ban. Interesting stuff.
Here’s the part that stuck out for me:
Near the end, after listening in silence, Evelyn Bradley spoke out.
"Life isn't always black and white," said Bradley, the wife of an Air Force retiree. "There are situations where it would be really difficult to have another child, and I'd resent the law saying you have to have it. Shouldn't I be allowed to make that choice?"
And some good news in the article:
Close, but I’m staying optimistic.
Posted by Jessica at 7:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 5, 2006
Ms. Magazine: We had abortions
The next issue of Ms. Magazine features a cover story "We Had Abortions," which contains the names of thousands of women across the U.S. who wan their stories told.
The magazine itself had room for only 1,016 names, she said Tuesday, but all of them will be viewable online as Ms. encourages other women to add their signatures.
Ms. says it will send the petition to Congress, the White House and state legislators.
Ms. mounted this kind of petition drive when it was first published. Its 1972 debut issue included a manifesto signed by 53 women, many of them well-known, declaring that they had undergone abortions despite state laws outlawing the procedure.
This petition and issue have been pretty controversial (gee, wonder why). What do you think?
Posted by Jessica at 9:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 3, 2006
I heart pro-choice senators
This is great news. Pro-choice senators have blocked "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" (CIANA).
"Pro-choice Americans applaud the pro-choice senators who stood up to Sen. Bill Frist's transparent attempt to pacify his far-right base," Keenan said. "Frist showed just how far he will go to bow to far-right pressure groups even if it means jeopardizing young women’s safety."
God, I love good news.
Posted by Jessica at 7:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 2, 2006
Kline makes excuses on medical records search
Our love-to-hate-him Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is trying to tap dance around his invasion of privacy now that he’s in the midst of his reelection campaign.
…"Kline is, of course, trying to justify the medical records search," said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political scientist. "He's obviously hoping that a number of voters will see that the catching-criminals aspect is worth going into medical records."
If going after criminals were actually Kline’s intention, which of course it isn’t. Keep tapping, Phill.
Posted by Jessica at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 28, 2006
House passes CIANA
Only weeks before the midterm election, the US House of Representatives
passed the controversial Teen Endangerment Act yesterday in a 264 to
153 vote. The act, officially called the Child Interstate Abortion
Notification Act, criminalizes the transportation of a minor across
state lines to obtain an abortion by anyone other than the parent or
legal guardian. If a pregnant teen has another trusted adult, such as a
grandparent or a sister, take her across state lines to have an
abortion, the adult would be subject to fines of $100,000, a year in
prison, or both. The act would also require doctors to contact the
parents of out-of-state patients 24 hours before performing an
abortion, even if the abortion provider's state does not have parental
notification or consent laws.
So yeah, not good news.
Posted by Jessica at 10:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 26, 2006
House to vote on Act that damages teens and punishes caring adults
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would make it a federal crime to bring a minor across state lines to get an abortion. So even if a grandmother, aunt, or other caring adult is in a teen girl’s life—forget it. Jail for you!
According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Act “would impose an impossibly complex patchwork of parental-involvement laws on women and doctors across the country with the goal to curb young women’s access to private, confidential health services.”
The bill proposes a variety of new mandates on women, families, and doctors. Among other things:
(1) The bill forces doctors to learn and enforce 49 other states’ laws, under the threat of fines and prison sentences.
(2) In many cases, CIANA forces young women to comply with two states’ parental-involvement mandates.
(3) In some cases CIANA requires a doctor to notify a young woman’s parents in person, in another state, before abortion services can be provided.
(4) In some cases, even if a parent travels with his or her daughter to obtain abortion care, the doctor must still give “notice” to the parent and wait 24 hours before providing the care.
Uh huh. This is about protecting teens? My ass.
Posted by Jessica at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 25, 2006
The Jen and Amber Project, Part 2
Posted by Jessica at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 22, 2006
Lawsuit dropped over anti-choice license plates
This sucks. Because the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Tennessee to sell “Choose Life” license plates, pro-choice activists dropped their similar case in Ohio.
In June, the Supreme Court agreed with a decision to allow the plates by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, where the ACLU's Ohio case was pending.
"I think it's unfortunate that the 6th Circuit didn't see it our way," NARAL Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said Thursday. "We still believe that it's viewpoint discrimination because the state legislature refused to grant us an opposing viewpoint license plate."
Hate to end the week on bad news…so I’m off to search for something optimistic!
Posted by Jessica at 9:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 20, 2006
Illinois rules on parental notification
A parental notification law has been on the books in Illinois since 1995, but never went into effect because it was blocked by the court. But on Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that parents of a teen seeking an abortion must be notified at least 48 hours before the procedure.
But we all know how well those work. Sigh. Illinois is now the 35th state to have a parental notification law.
Posted by Jessica at 9:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 19, 2006
Getting local: Fight for accurate sex ed!
NARAL has three steps you can take to make sure that accurate sex ed is taught in your schools...Plan to vote! Find out more about your local school board elections
Before you vote, find out where local candidates stand on sex education.
Let us know about your grassroots efforts!
Check out the action page for all the details.
Posted by Jessica at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 14, 2006
That didn’t last long
A Santiago appeals court today agreed to block distribution of the so-called “day-after pill” to teenagers between the age of 14 and 18, pending a ruling on suits filed against the government's measure, Alejandro Espinoza, a spokesman for Chile's Supreme Court, said by phone in Santiago.
The ruling is a setback to a government measure implemented Sept. 2 under Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who has said that the government seeks to reduce teen pregnancy and ensure that the poor have the same access to contraceptives as the wealthy.
That’s really too bad; the original rule was a great one. I’ll keep you updated in case things change. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 9:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 11, 2006
MI legislation would seek out “coerced” women
The Senate Health Policy Committee scheduled a Wednesday meeting on the legislation, which Republicans say it is an attempt to crack down on domestic violence. Some Democrats say the bills are an effort to discourage women from seeking abortions.
Nah, that couldn’t be. So I’m just wondering where the legislation is that will try to find out if women are being coerced into carrying their pregnancies to term.
Posted by Jessica at 9:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 8, 2006
UAE to legalize abortion
The United Arab Emiratesgovernment will legalize abortions for "vaild reasons." What constitutes a valid reason is somewhat uncleaer.
“Abortion will be allowed in the country but under tough conditions,” said Dr Ali bin Shukar, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Health (MoH). “Applicants must have valid reasons.”
He said his ministry has broadly reached a consensus with the Ministry of Justice and General Awqaf Authority to sanction abortion.
“We have reached an agreement in this regard with the Ministry of Justice and Awqaf Authority that observes all the values and Islamic legislations as well as clinical conditions,” said Dr Shukar.
“Invalid excuses for abortion like wanting to get rid of the baby because they think they have had enough children or not wanting to keep the baby because they feel tired will not be considered genuine and sufficient reasons to go for abortion,” said the official. The abortion rule will be stipulated in the federal law on medical liability which is being contemplated by the two ministries before being forwarded to the cabinet for endorsement.
Posted by Jessica at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 7, 2006
Free BC for women over 14 in Chile
The Chilean Health Ministry has decided that birth control—including emergency contraception—will be available to women for free.
President Michelle Bachelet says, “The obligation of the state is to provide alternatives, and the obligation of families, of each one of us, is to communicate with our children, explain things to them, and to teach them.”
Read the whole story here.
Via Feminist Daily News.
Posted by Jessica at 1:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 6, 2006
Kline opponent says he’ll stop privacy infringement
Morrison faces Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, a Republican, in the Nov. 7 general election.
You remember Kline, the oh-so-lovely AG who tried to obtain women’s medical records under the guise of caring about children. I’m glad someone is calling him out on his nonsense.
Posted by Jessica at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 5, 2006
Pro-Choice Party Girls
Best. Thing. Ever.
Posted by Jessica at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 1, 2006
Washington rule says prescriptions must be filled
More good news about emergency contraception, this time out of Washington:
Maybe so, but it’s still a win in my book. Check out NARAL Pro-Choice Washington for more.
Posted by Jessica at 1:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 31, 2006
What Comes After Plan B?
NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan has a piece up at TomPaine, What Comes After Plan B?
Keenan reminds us that while the recent FDA decision to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter is a win for women, no points should go to President Bush.
Public pressure, aided by multiple profiles in courage, played a pivotal role in making this decision a reality:
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Patty Murray—and other lawmakers who stood behind them—were stalwarts in their support for over-the-counter access for Plan B. They worked tirelessly to counter the opposition’s political intervention because they, like the American public, understand the need for science, not political ideology, to guide the FDA’s decisions.
Dr. Susan Wood, who led the Office of Women’s Health, made the courageous decision to resign her post last year in protest of the agency’s refusal to make a decision on the Plan B application.
These impressive acts of leadership inspired Americans, who believe the FDA should remain independent and objective, to take note and take action.
Keenan also looks forward to the battles ahead. Check out the full piece here to find out more.
Posted by Jessica at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 28, 2006
Not-so-shocking headline of the day
South Dakota becomes abortion focal point
The Washington Post has a piece up on the renewed focus on South Dakota’s proposed abortion ban, now that November is creeping up on us. (You may remember, pro-choice activists collected more than twice the signatures necessary to get the ban on ballot.)
South Dakota is the unlikely home of this year's most intense duel over abortion, a Nov. 7 referendum to decide the future of HB 1215, a measure that would institute a broad ban on the procedure. No exceptions would be allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest -- abortion would be permitted only when the mother's life was in jeopardy.
..."This has become the focal point in the country for the choice debate," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which is channeling cash into the campaign. "The stakes are very high, especially for us to win in November and again say America is pro-choice, America doesn't think politicians should be involved in these private decisions, and enough is enough."
A fresh poll suggests voters are inclined to oppose the law as too severe. In a late-July sounding, opponents of the ban held an eight-point lead, with 14 percent undecided.
Good stuff. Here’s an interesting part of the article though. In describing the abortion ban, the piece says “there is no exception for rape, although rape victims would be permitted to take morning-after contraceptives.”
Um, gee thanks. You know, for the permission to take a legal
contraceptive. Since when did birth control come into this picture? I’m
sure it’s not because anti-choicers are also anti-birth control. Nah,
that couldn’t be it.
Posted by Jessica at 8:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 23, 2006
Bush says he's for EC
Really? Huh. At a recent White House press conference, Bush said that he supports over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception to adult (of course) women.
President Bush: I believe that Plan B ought to be -- ought to require a prescription for minors, is what I believe. And I support Andy's decision.
This from a guy who only recently said he supports contraception at all. Interesting.
Posted by Jessica at 8:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 21, 2006
Quebec women to be reimbursed for abortion costs
In a win for women, the provincial government has been ordered to reimburse 45,000 Quebec women more than $13 million in abortion costs. Wow.
Ruling on a class-action lawsuit, Quebec Superior Court Justice Nicole Benard said the women should not have been charged extra for the procedures, as abortions are covered under the Quebec Health Insurance Act.
The award could apply to about 45,000 women who paid $200 to $300 in supplementary fees to have abortions elsewhere than in a hospital or a CLSC community health clinic.
"It's good news for women's rights," said Anabelle Caron, of the non-profit Centre de sante des femmes de Montreal.
"Now, women can choose where to go for an abortion without having to pay if they choose a women's centre or private clinic."
Ah, Canada. The government has 30 days to appeal the judgment.
Posted by Jessica at 9:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 17, 2006
NY pharmacists called out for refusing to fill prescriptions
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has filed a complaint against three pharmacists who refused to refill prescriptions for emergency contraception. Yeah--refill. Get this:
What makes this case different from many other similar cases in the U.S. is the pharmacists weren't objecting to filling the initial prescription, just the refill, said Elisabeth Benjamin, Director of the NYCLU's Reproductive Rights Project.
In most similar cases, pharmacists wouldn't fill the prescriptions at all based on religious and moral grounds, Benjamin said. "But these refusals seem to just be based solely on moralistic assumptions of women's sexuality."
Doctors will often give women advance prescriptions for EC because most of the time you need the drug--on the weekends or evenings--a pharmacy isn’t open.
According to the complaint filed, CVS pharmacist Matt Weaver not only refused to provide EC refills, but he also “altered the valid prescription so that it listed no refills.” Wow.
When Claudina Ashelman-Owen, who was trying to obtain her EC, complained to Weaver’s supervisor Andrea Barcomb she was told that women who needed EC were “irresponsible.”
Read the whole article, there's even more nonsense...
Posted by Jessica at 11:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 16, 2006
New NARAL poll: Americans oppose congressional attacks on repro rights
New research done by NARAL Pro-Choice America
reports that Americans support candidates who oppose government
interference into personal decisions and who will get behind
commonsense measures to prevent unintended pregnancies.
The poll...also shows that voters are much more likely to support candidates who emphasize practical prevention measures like birth control and honest, realistic sex education. Voters are much less likely to support incumbents or candidates who oppose these commonsense prevention measures, which include making emergency contraception, often called the “morning-after” pill, available in emergency rooms for rape and incest victims or ensuring that pharmacists fill birth-control prescriptions.
NARAL President Nancy Keenan says, “This new poll reaffirms that Americans support the values of freedom, privacy, and personal responsibility, and that means they don’t want politicians interfering in personal decisions...We’re going to do everything possible to make sure voters know that the current anti-choice Congress is out of step with their values when it comes to protecting a woman’s right to choose. Voters want solutions, not politically motivated attacks – and the best way to achieve this goal is by helping to elect more pro-choice candidates to the House and Senate this November.”
Some numbers from the poll:
77 percent of likely voters agree that the government and politicians should stay out of a woman’s personal and private decision whether or not to have an abortion.
61 percent of voters disapprove when they hear Congress has voted 145 times in the last 10 years to restrict reproductive-health services, including abortion and birth control.
Two-thirds of voters disapprove of the laws, such as the one passed in South Dakota and Louisiana that would ban abortion in nearly all circumstances, even for victims of rape and incest or women whose health is at risk.
65 percent of voters feel less favorable toward candidates who support allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions.
61 percent of voters feel more negative toward a candidate who
opposes making emergency contraception available in emergency rooms for
rape and incest victims.
For the full report, click here.
And for a great post on the poll from Nancy Keenan, click here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 9, 2006
Just because you don't support women's rights doesn't mean you can't profit from them.
According to The Washington Post, Sen. Allen says he has no plans to sell his Barr holdings, despite criticism that he's a hypocrite.
Posted by Jessica at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 7, 2006
Missouri allows women in prison abortion access
It’s nice to have some good news every once in a while!
Last month (don’t ask me why it took this long to be reported!) a court in Missouri ruled that women in prison must have access to “timely, safe and legal” abortions.
As previously reported by The NewStandard, the defendant in the original case had been denied access to an abortion, despite her requests, by a Missouri Department of Corrections policy that barred the use of tax money to fund transportation for inmates undergoing abortions.
Diana Kasdan, a lawyer with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said “We applaud the court for recognizing that women do not give up their right to abortion care when they enter prison.”
Posted by Jessica at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 2, 2006
CA’s Prop. 73 gets a makeover
Now the parental notification measure -- which would require doctors to inform a parent or guardian before performing abortions on girls under 18 -- is back on the Nov. 7 ballot, as Proposition 85. And this time, Democrats and supporters of legal abortion hope the measure -- endorsed by Schwarzenegger in 2005 -- will help boost his opponent, Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
"I think it is a real issue and it will be able to help us," said Bill Carrick, a senior strategist for the Angelides campaign. "Pro-choice women will know that they can count on Phil, but they can't count on Arnold."
Angelides said of the proposal, “There is now an effort by anti-choice extremists to roll back the clock to a much darker day...The fact is, voters of California rejected a similar measure (last year) and said it was wrong for anti-choice extremists and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to jeopardize teen safety.”
Proposition 85 differs from 73 in that the definition of abortion as causing the “death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born” has been revised.
Posted by Jessica at 2:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Laughable quote of the day
Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Bush nominee for head of the FDA, at his confirmation hearings yesterday:
Von Eschenbach said he decided to consider allowing women 18 and older to buy the pills without a doctor's prescription "not on a political ideology, but on a medical ideology."
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 1, 2006
FDA finally on track?
According to The New York Times, the FDA is considering approving emergency contraception for over-the-counter status.
Discussions between the government and Barr Laboratories, which manufactures the drug, known as Plan B, are set to begin immediately and could be completed “in a matter of weeks,” the agency said in a statement.
The move could end a standoff between the Bush administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY)--who said they would block the confirmation of Bush nominee Andrew von Eschenbach to FDA until the FDA steps up--say that this recent announcement is nothing more than a "delay tactic." (Von Eschenbach's confirmation hearings are set to start tomorrow.)
I tend to agree. After all, it's not like the FDA has a great track record on this.
Posted by Jessica at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 31, 2006
Most South Dakotans would reject abortion ban
A poll conducted by the Argus Leader and KELOLAND-TV shows that most voters in South Dakota would reject the state’s sweeping abortion ban.
Posted by Jessica at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Argentina abortion controversy
A 19 year-old mentally disabled rape victim is at the center of an abortion controversy in Argentina.
A top provincial court will decide within a few days whether to allow a mentally impaired 19 year old, four months pregnant, to have an abortion. Both Argentina's health minister and its most powerful governor back her family's plea. Argentine law bans abortions except when a woman's life is in danger or a "demented" woman is raped.
So clearly, not a bastion of reproductive rights. In fact, 40 percent of all pregnancies in Argentina end in illegal abortions and illegal abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality.
For more information on repro rights in Argentina, check out this report from Human Rights Watch. And check back in a few days for the outcome of the case--I’m staying optimistic.
Posted by Jessica at 9:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 25, 2006
Senate to vote on abortion bill affecting minors
Here's some upsetting (though not exactly shocking) news:
The Senate today is expected approve a bill that punishes anyone who helps a girl cross state lines to obtain an abortion without notifying her parents.Sound innocuous, but he bill doesn't take into account teens who simply can't tell their parents because of abuse in the home. Not to mention, do you really want to see girls' grandmothers and aunts going to jail for trying to help their family?
Posted by Jessica at 1:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
July 19, 2006
Mississippi anti-choicers lose in court
A federal judge has denied a request by anti-abortion protesters for a temporary restraining order against the Jackson Police Department for alleged First Amendment violations.
Boo hoo. It must totaly suck when the courts won’t let you harass women.
Posted by Jessica at 10:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 18, 2006
This is wild:
A third day of anti-abortion rallies and counter-demonstrations in Jackson on Monday saw nine arrests, tires slashed, a false report that a fetus had been found in a downtown bank and a lawsuit filed against the city.
Huh. A bank fetus? Thankfully pro-choice activists are out in force, despite alleged unfair treatment by police:
They linked arms to form a line in the grass and chanted "my body, my right."
Several officers told abortion-rights activists their signs were not permitted and to put them away or they would be removed from the area.
"We have provided a peaceful presence at these events," said Michelle Colon, president of the Jackson-area National Organization for Women. "And we're really disheartened at how horribly we've been treated here (by police)."
For information on how you can get involved, click here.
Posted by Jessica at 1:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 17, 2006
Rep. Waxman releases report on anti-choice clinics
A new report released by Rep. Henry Waxman
shows that federally funded "pregnancy resource centers" mislead young
women about abortion. Not exactly shocking news, but it's frigging
great to have some backup to what feminists have been talking about for a while.
This is so cool: Investigators went to 23 different anti-choice centers, pretending to be pregnant 17 year-olds. The investigators were told that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness.
The report also found that 87 percent of the centers--which have received over $30 million in federal funding--provided false or misleading information about abortion.
But as we all know, young women are so much better off with false, misleading, and dangerous information. Cause otherwise they might make informed decisions. (Shudder.)
Posted by Jessica at 4:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 13, 2006
And the work begins in South Dakota
Now that the South Dakota abortion ban will be on the November ballot, both sides are gearing up for a fight.
Vote Yes for Life had collected $62,000 through the end of June, according to a report filed with the Secretary of State's Office.
Leaders on both sides said they expect the war to win votes to be aggressive, with advertising and on-the-ground campaigning blitzing South Dakotans during the next few months.
"People can't tell other people what to do and make decisions for them," said Jan Nicolay, a former Republican state representative and co-chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.
No joke. Click here to see what you can do to help the efforts in South Dakota.
Random: Sorry about the lack of posts the last couple of days. I was got in a bit of an accident on my scooter and I’ve been laying around trying to recover!
Posted by Jessica at 11:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 10, 2006
MI anti-choicers lack support for abortion ban
Michigan Citizens for Life recently failed to gather enough signatures to put an anti-choice law on the November ballot.
They needed more than 317,000 signatures by today; no such luck.
The group wants to change the state constitution to legally define a person as existing from the moment of conception.
If successful, the initiative could have sparked a legal challenge to the US Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
But thankfully, that’s not going to happen. At least not soon.
Posted by Jessica at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 7, 2006
HPV Vaccine roundup
If you haven’t been paying attention to the craziness that’s been going on with the approval process for a new cervical cancer vaccine, now’s the time to get up to date.
Short version: the vaccine has been approved, but not without a fight from some religious conservative groups who claim the vaccine will make young girls promiscuous. (Huh?) But the fight isn’t over yet.
For the whole story, check out this piece I did for Guernica Magazine.
Posted by Jessica at 12:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 6, 2006
Quick read: The Right's War on Contraception
Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood, has a great piece about--you guessed it--the war on birth control.
The whole article is fantastic, but this is my fave part:
No joke. Check out the whole thing here.
Posted by Jessica at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 30, 2006
Here’s a new one
The anti-choice group Operation Rescue purchased a Kansas building that housed a clinic--and then they evicted them.
The anti-abortion group has evicted the clinic and plans to renovate the building for use as its headquarters and a memorial display, said Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue spokeswoman.The clinic was only one of two women’s health centers that provide abortions in Wichita. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 3:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
June 29, 2006
CDC panel votes on HPV vaccine today
The national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is set to vote today on whether a promising cervical cancer vaccine should be part of the standard shots adolescent girls receive.
Some anti-choice groups have been less than enthusiastic about the vaccine, claiming that it could make girls promiscuous (I know). Let’s hope the panel makes a judgment based on science and health, not politics.
Posted by Jessica at 11:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
June 28, 2006
Now if only we knew what ‘responsible’ meant....
This is some interesting news. Bush (finally) has come out on contraception, after being hounded by the likes of Rep. Carolyn Maloney for a while now. He’s says he supports contraception--for those he considers “responsible”:
Seems a little sketchy to me. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Maloney has sent a follow up letter to the president, asking if his policies on birth control will now reflect being for contraception.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Posted by Jessica at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 27, 2006
Supreme Court won’t hear license plate case
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that they won’t hear a case from pro-choice groups trying to block states from having “Choose Life” license plates.
About a dozen states allow drivers to pay extra for the specialty car tags to show the car owner's opposition to abortion.
Justices said they would not look at tag laws in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Abortion opponents contend they have a free-speech right to broadcast their own views on their car tags. Proposals to offer car owners an alternative "Choose Choice" plate failed in both state Legislatures.
And I’m guessing it’s not because “Choose Choice” just sounds weird. (Which it just does, I have to admit.)
Related: Rachel Joy Larris at TomPaine has a short piece up on whether pro-choicers should lose the ‘choice’.
Posted by Jessica at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 23, 2006
Ohio clinic forced to release private medical records
The documents are being sought in a lawsuit by the family of a teenage girl. The suit alleges that Planned Parenthood never got parental consent to perform an abortion on the girl, as required by Ohio law.
Clinic President Becki Brenner said the clinic will appeal Wednesday's ruling by Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.
..."We're very concerned about the exposure of private medical information," Brenner said. "Anyone that has private medical information should be fearful."
Posted by Jessica at 3:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
June 22, 2006
Anti-Choice Legislators Have Gone Too Far
Make sure to check out this great piece by NARAL President Nancy Keenan on the ridiculousness of anti-choice lawmakers.
Here’s a teaser for you...
Click here to read the whole article.
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 20, 2006
South Dakotans will decide on abortion ban
Yesterday, Secretary of State Chris Nelson said that organizers had collected enough signatures to put the sweeping abortion ban on the ballot in November.
The state's abortion law, among the strictest in the nation, bans the procedure in all cases except when necessary to save a woman's life, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Supporters hoped it would prompt a court challenge that would give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn its 1973 Roe. v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
I’m simultaneously excited and terrified. Obviously collecting all those signatures (almost twice the amount needed) is truly amazing, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before November. To see how you can help, go to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.
Posted by Jessica at 9:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
June 19, 2006
LA governor signs abortion ban
Gov. Kathleen Blanco has signed an abortion ban into law; the ban will only take effect if Roe is overturned.
Blanco signed the measure on Saturday. Planned Parenthood of Louisiana issued a statement saying the new law "endangers women's health by criminalizing abortion at a time when the state is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and scrambling to prepare for the start of the new hurricane season."
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, includes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It would allow abortion only to save the life or the health of the mother.
Posted by Jessica at 9:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
June 14, 2006
Abortion debate still raging in Ohio
Despite the fact that the abortion ban bill is likely to be shelved in Ohio, a House committee hearing went on with continued wackiness:
About 250 people, mostly supporters of abortion rights, crowded the building's largest hearing room while another 100 listened in on loudspeakers in the atrium two floors below.
The bill likely will receive just one hearing and then be shelved, but Health Committee Chairman John White, a Springfield Republican and staunch abortion foe, said he scheduled the hearing because he wanted to give the bill "a rich going-over."
The only exception to the outright abortion ban in the bill is if a doctor, in trying to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, also terminates the pregnancy without intending to do so.
Oops--sorry I saved your life! So crazy. I love that they have absolutely no shame in admitting that they could give a shit about women’s lives.
Posted by Jessica at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 13, 2006
Finally, some good news
After dozens of supporters and opponents of abortion rights spend a good six hours making their cases, House Bill 228 is expected to be placed back in a file cabinet and left to die at the end of the year.
"I don’t see it coming back," said Scott Borgemenke, chief of staff for Speaker Jon A. Husted, R-Kettering, adding that an abortion bill is not among the priorities this year for Republicans, who control both branches of the legislature.
Rep. John White, a Kettering Republican and chairman of the House Health Committee that will hear testimony starting at 10 a.m., said he expects only one hearing.
"As the bill is written, I don’t think there is support on the committee," White said, calling the bill "poorly written."
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, is still worried: “It’s shocking to me to propose legislation that says to another human being, ‘You don’t have the right to health care that could save your life.’”
Yeah but it’s a woman’s life, so who really cares?
Posted by Jessica at 9:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 12, 2006
Ohio bill would outlaw all abortion: no exception for woman’s life
Well, at least they’re being honest about not giving a shit about women’s lives:
House Bill 228, as proposed by State Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Cincinnati, would criminalize all abortion -- whether to save the life of the woman or to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
Furthermore, it would make it a felony for anyone to take a woman across the state line to obtain an abortion elsewhere. (Emphasis added)
I guess Ohio is trying one-up South Dakota.
Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio,
says “South Dakota legislators launched an attack on a woman's right to
choose...Will Ohio lawmakers now follow them down this path with an
even more extreme ban?”
Posted by Jessica at 8:38 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
June 9, 2006
A man in Maryland was arrested for planning to bomb a women’s health clinic that provides abortions. How “pro-life” of him.
No one was injured by the explosion, which started a fire that burned the top floor of the Riverdale home, officials said.
Some friends of Robert F. Weiler Jr. had tipped off police about the 25-year-old's alleged plans Wednesday night.
Weiler then called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and surrendered to state troopers at a rest stop on Interstate 68 just after midnight. Investigators found a handgun and ammunition in his car, officials said.
According to an ATF affidavit, Weiler planned to bomb an abortion clinic in Greenbelt and use a .40-caliber handgun he had stolen from a friend to "shoot doctors who provided abortions."
This is just so scary.
Posted by Jessica at 10:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
June 8, 2006
Teacher fired for being pro-choice
I guess I missed this one when it first went down.
A teacher who was fired from a Catholic school for being pro-choice lost a court case today. Sad.
Ursuline fired her Jan. 27, 2003, a week after she signed her name to a newspaper advertisement celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Curay-Cramer sued in federal court in Delaware, citing a 1978 law that forbids employers from discriminating against employees who support abortion rights.
A Court of Appeals ruled against Curay-Cramer, saying that Congress didn’t intend for the 1978 law to apply to religious schools. Cause only they can discriminate apparently.
Posted by Jessica at 4:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 6, 2006
Well not really. But in a new document issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Vatican condemns contraception, abortion, vitro fertilization and same-sex marriage. Whew.
Obviously the document isn’t saying anything that we didn’t already know, but it did leave out the recent debate on whether the Church should condone condoms in an attempt to battle the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Posted by Jessica at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 5, 2006
The Bush administration forcing women into abortions?
The Washington Post had a great piece up this weekend by a woman who--because she was denied access to emergency contraception--had to get an abortion.
The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn't want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.
I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.
Make sure to check out the whole story.
Posted by Jessica at 3:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 2, 2006
Louisiana Gov. says she’ll sign abortion ban
Of course. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has said that she will sign a sweeping ban on abortions that’s heading her way. The ban has no rape or incest exception. Naturally.
The good news? The ban would only go into effect if Roe is overturned.
The bad news? That’s not looking so unlikely these days.
Posted by Jessica at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 31, 2006
SD pro-choice group files to stop abortion ban
The petition was filed Tuesday afternoon with the secretary of state’s office. If at least 16,728 signatures are certified as valid, the scheduled July 1 implementation of the ban would be nullified and voters would be allowed to decide the issue in a November election.
“This law is just not feasible and is just very extreme,” Dr. Maria Bell, an obstetrician who helped sponsor the petition drive, said at a news conference.
Thelma Underberg, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, said “South Dakotans signed up to fight this threat to women's health. It is an attack on the fundamental values of freedom and privacy that we cherish.”
Now comes the work leading up to the vote...
By the way, send an email to the folks at The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and thank them for all of their hard work. They really are doing amazing stuff.
Posted by Jessica at 9:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 30, 2006
"Organic sex" my ass
A new website denouncing contraception has cropped up, touting
itself as part of the Contra-Contraception Movement. But unlike the
wacky folks that are “mischaracterized” in a recent NY Times mag piece , Contra-Contraception.com claims that they are a secular group simply pushing the benefits of “organic sex.”
Many women, in an effort to live healthily, who have turned to organic and unprocessed foods. They have come to also realized that artificial contraception isn't very healthy either, and that its numerous side effects should be avoided. They believe that thee [sic] negative effects of artificial contraceptives should not be minimized for sake of convenience, and the truth should not be distorted for the sake of political ideology.
Organic foods have come of age, so isn't it time that "organic sex" comes of age also? More and more couples believe so.
But what exactly is organic sex? Its sex without contraception -- natural sex of course! Pregnancy can be avoided or achieved through the use of Natural Family Planning (NFP).
It’s the Age of Aquarius, didn’t ya know? Advocating natural family planning on this site wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t completely disingenuous. Contra-Contraception isn’t some site run by organic-sex loving folks who are worried about the health implications of hormonal birth control--it’s actually a (very) thinly-veiled anti-choice site run by the same people who created No Room for Contraception. The language on Contra-Contraception is almost identical to that of No Room for Contraception, and all the “news” links lead there. Real slick.
If you don’t remember the No Room for Contraception campaign, it’s run by the extremely non-secular Mary Worthington who compared emergency contraception to assisted suicide and wrote an article, Did contraception lead to homosexuality? So yeah, no free love hippies there.
It never ceases to amaze me how easily anti-choicers--who claim to be in the moral right--will resort to lying and misrepresentation to push their agenda.
Posted by Jessica at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 23, 2006
Oklahoma abortion restrictions pass Senate
Sponsored by Sen. Don Barrington (R), the bill would require parental consent for minors seeking to obtain abortions and would give state funds to anti-choice "pregnancy crisis" centers. But that’s not all. It would also require doctors to tell women about “fetal pain” and say that anesthesia could be given, and would encourage women to view a sonogram before obtaining an abortion.
Can you say scare tactics?
The bill is on its way to Gov. Brad Henry.
Posted by Jessica at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 22, 2006
KS Gov. vetoes “abortion reporting” bill
It’s nice to start off the week with some good news.
Legislation requiring physicians to furnish the state with additional information when they perform abortions was vetoed Friday by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who said it crossed the line on privacy issues.
The bill would have required physicians to inform state health officials about each late-term abortion and whether the fetus was abnormal. It also would have expanded how much information doctors would have had to report, including how a woman would have been harmed without the procedure.
Because if she wasn’t going to be hurt that bad, than she should have been forced to continue the pregnancy obviously. Ugh.
Sebelius said that the bill would “force women to provide intimate, sensitive health information to the government.” Which of course was the point.
Posted by Jessica at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 17, 2006
Are you going to second base? The Kansas AG wants to know.
Our favorite anti-choice nut Phill Kline is appealing a judge’s decision that says health care providers don’t have to report sex between consenting teens. (He wanted them to report ANY sexual activity between anyone under 16 year-old.)
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten’s ruling places the state’s abuse reporting law in jeopardy, Kline said.
Kline contends a 1982 Kansas law requiring doctors, teachers and others to alert the state and law enforcement about potential child abuse covers consensual sex between minors. He argued that the law applies to abortion clinics and later extended that to other health professionals and teachers.
Kline is still all pissed that he lost the right to find out, as Dahlia Lithwick put it, if “Steve frenched Stacy on the band trip to Topeka.” Priceless.
Posted by Jessica at 4:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 16, 2006
Hearings on Kansas abortion records to be closed
This is annoying. A Kansas judge has ruled that Phill Kline’s court battle to obtain the private medical records of women who had abortions will remain closed to the public.
District Judge Richard Anderson denied a request to open the proceedings to the public, filed a week ago by the Associated Press and the Kansas Press Association, which represents newspapers across the state. Anderson also warned Kline's office and opposing lawyers not to publicize the case further.
"We're disappointed with Judge Anderson's decision," Randy Picht, AP's bureau chief for Kansas and Missouri, said Monday. "And we're considering our options."
Kline is attempting to glean information from records held by clinics operated in Wichita by physician George Tiller and in Overland Park by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. In 2004, at Kline's request, Anderson issued subpoenas for 90 records total, but the clinics asked the Kansas Supreme Court to intervene. It did, sending the case back to Anderson.
Kline claims he’s looking for evidence of child rape. This from the guy who wanted health care professionals to report teen make-out sessions.
Posted by Jessica at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 15, 2006
Making progress in South Dakota
The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families said the petition drive is on track with more than 10,000 signatures and it believes it would easily obtain the required number to put the law on the ballot.
"We're way over half and we have a whole batch we haven't even counted yet," said campaign spokeswoman Jan Nicolay. "We're very confident we'll get there."
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, signed the law March 6. It bans nearly all abortions, even when pregnancies result from incest or rape, and requires that if a woman's life is in jeopardy, doctors must try to save the life of the fetus as well as the woman. Doctors who perform an abortion could receive a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.
As most of you know, supporters of the ban hope that it will be challenged and set the wheels in motion for a Roe-reversal.
To find out more about the pro-choice actions in South Dakota or to help, visit the The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy
Posted by Jessica at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 12, 2006
Colombia (somewhat) legalizes abortion
A Colombian court has voted to legalize abortion in the case of rape, incest or if the woman’s life is in danger.
The ruling, by a majority of 5-3, brings Colombia into line with most of its Latin America neighbours.
"The court fulfilled its duty in recognising the right of Colombian women," lawyer and pro-choice campaigner Monica Roa was quoted by the Associated Press (AP) news agency as telling Caracol radio.
This decision comes after a women’s organization brought forward a lawsuit challenging the country’s law. El Salvador and Chile are now the only countries in Latin America that ban abortion under any circumstances. Maybe we can ship Bill Napoli off there?
For more information, check out the Guttmacher Institute’s article, An Overview of Clandestine Abortion in Latin America.
Posted by Jessica at 10:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 11, 2006
NPR on Cecilia Fire Thunder
Check out this segment from NPR's All Things Considered, which reports on the abortion ban in South Dakota and Cecilia Fire Thunder's plan to open a clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Fire Thunder comments on the ban and it's lack of a rape and incest exception:
"To me, if a woman who has been sexually assaulted finds herself pregnant and she makes the decision to terminate that pregnancy caused by violence, that's her choice. You know, I don't know what the state legislature was thinking."
Neither do we.
Listen to the full segment here.
Posted by Jessica at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 8, 2006
Today’s must read: Contra-Contraception
If you didn’t catch the NY Times’ magazine cover story yesterday, go check it out now.
Contra-Contraception takes on anti-choicers and their real agenda--to limit all reproductive rights, not just abortion.
Yeah, I know, a real shocker. Pro-choice activists have been pointing this out for a while, but it seems that a lot of folks still don’t understand that even our right to contraception is at risk.
But read the whole piece--it touches on the FDA/EC debacle, the scary new Purity Ball events and abstinence education, and how anti-choicers are trying to hide just how against contraception they really are.
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May 5, 2006
Unwanted pregnancies on the rise for poor women
This isn’t exactly shocking, but upsetting nonetheless. Poor women in the U.S. are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies, while women with more money are getting pregnant only when they want to. Women in poverty are almost four times more likely to get pregnant unintentionally.
The abortion rate also rose among poor women while declining among the more affluent.
"Clearly, something is changing, and it doesn't bode well in terms of unplanned pregnancies and abortions for poor women, in particular," said Heather Boonstra, one of the authors of the report.
This is why certain restrictions on choice are just ridiculous--they disproportionately affect poor women.
The report’s authors say that part of the reason for the increase in unwanted pregnancies are abstinence only education and cuts in state and federal repro health programs. Shocking.
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May 3, 2006
National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
One out of three young women in the U.S. becomes pregnant before they’re 20-years-old.
Today is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and instead of pushing dangerous and ineffective abstinence-only ed programs, pro-choice groups are urging lawmakers to vote on commonsense legislation that will actually work.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is asking Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to allow a vote on Sen. Robert Menendez's (D-NJ) Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act, which includes proposals to help prevent teen pregnancy and protect young women’s health and well-being:
Sen. Menendez stressed the importance of after-school programs and partnerships with community-based organizations.
"We need to provide opportunity and education for young people to help prevent teen pregnancy in the first place, and my bill will take an important step by increasing access to after-school programs as well as partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations," Sen. Menendez said.
Find out more about the bill: Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Responsibility and Opportunity Act (S.2508)
UPDATE: Looks like so many of you have been calling Frist's office that his phone line is tied up (nice!). So pleae keep trying, but in the meantime send him an email.
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May 2, 2006
Supreme Court rules on anti-choice “wanted” posters
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that anti-choicers who created “wanted” posters to identify doctors who perform abortions should pay $5 million in damages. It’s about time--this court battle has been a decade in the making.
The 12 activists and two anti-abortion groups were sued under a racketeering law and the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it illegal to incite violence and threaten abortion doctors.
A Portland, Ore., jury had first awarded several doctors and clinics $108 million in punitive damages, but that was reduced by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Anti-choice groups appealed in an attempt to reduce the amount (over and over again).
...Maria Vullo, the lawyer for Planned Parenthood, said the Supreme Court had "finally put an end to re-litigation of these issues." She said her clients did not contest the reduction of the punitive damages to $4.73 million.
"This case has never been about the money. It's about protecting doctors' lives," she said.
Anti-choicers have always contended that there is nothing threatening about the Wanted posters. Paul DeParrie, former editor-in-chief of Life Advocate magazine and one of the posters' creators: "If you read them, there is no threat--either implicit or explicit."
Tell that to Dr. Bayard Britton, who was shot and killed (along with his bodyguard) outside a Florida clinic after his name appeared on a similar poster.
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May 1, 2006
Alternet on anti-choice crisis centers
Here’s a telling snippet:
Anti-choice activists openly regard family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood as primarily feminist organizations that just so happen to provide health care. Sarah Wheat of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, who spent a considerable amount of time researching crisis pregnancy centers and has compiled a full report on them, explained that the first crisis pregnancy center was opened in 1967 by Robert Pearson as "the service arm of the anti-choice movement." Crisis pregnancy centers have a long history of providing the absolute minimum of services required to maintain the illusion that they provide care while they further their actual goal of trying to persuade women out of abortion -- sometimes using deceptive methods.
Peggy Romberg recollected that when she worked for Planned Parenthood in the '80s, crisis pregnancy centers would actually provide shelter to pregnant women right up until the eligible date for legal abortion had passed. They would then turn the women out, and it was Romberg's agency that was tasked with explaining to these desperate women that it was too late.
Yikes. Amanda goes onto note that many of these “clinics” have no medical staff whatsoever; the only “medical” treatment they offer is a pharmacy-bought pregnancy test. Make sure to read the whole article—it just gets worse.
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April 28, 2006
Male contraception on the way
That’s good news. Researchers say that the first kinds of male contraception (the hormonal kind) will come in a patch, topical gel or bimonthly injection. The only problem is—will men take it? It seems that the responsibility for birth control has rested on women’s shoulders for so long that it may take some convincing…
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April 27, 2006
Challenge to Roe a good thing?
Me thinks not, but Kartik Raghavan at The Seattle Times wants to hash it out. The argument that a challenge to Roe would get Americans more interested and politically motivated (especially on a local level) isn’t a new one. I guess I’m uncomfortable with it because it’s been used by some as a “pipe down, little ladies, don’t worry about choice” kind of thing in the past. As if we “give up” on choice for now, all will turn out well.
Over the long period since Roe, my generation has lived complacently; we knew the Supreme Court's ruling had set a boundary that the state legislatures could not cross. But with this complacency, we lost an interest in basic participation in local and state social issues — Lincoln's ideal of government by the people and for the people.
With the comfort afforded by Roe, I know many of my brightest and most talented friends often ignored participating in local and state politics (me, too), with the exception of fiscal issues...The escalating challenge to Roe v. Wade — with the spotlight potentially falling on local legislatures if the high court overturns its 1973 decision — hopefully will shake many of us out of our contentment and force us to realize we need to raise participation in grass-roots democracy — of the people, for the people, by the people — regardless of our political affiliations.
I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. Especially because the assumption is that people have been complacent on abortion. I don’t know about Raghavan’s peers, but mine are seriously committed to issues of choice. This is an issue about women’s lives--not a political guinea pig.
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April 26, 2006
AZ Gov. vetoes anti-choice bill
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano vetoed an anti-choice parental consent bill yesterday, her fourth veto of an abortion-related bill this month. Way to be on top of shit!
"Requiring a consultation with a physician, as opposed to other medically trained personnel, would impose an unduly burdensome cost," Napolitano wrote.
She is seriously pissing anti-choicers off. Maybe that’s why I like her so much...
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April 25, 2006
Quick hit: Abortion Myths
Check out this piece from The Daily Princetonian, Abortion Myths. I think that the piece over-simplifies a bit, but I'm glad to see a college paper tackle choice issues in a clear cut way.
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Fake clinics—and you’re paying for them!
Oh dear. Apparently an anti-choice group in Indiana is not only posing as a fake abortion clinic, but is also waging a war of intimidation against a teenage girl.
Wow. Alternet’s PEEK points out that there are more fake clinics than actual abortion provides in the US (what?!) and that we’re footing the bill: “They receive tens of millions in government grants.”
Great. To find out more about anti-choice "Crisis Pregnancy Centers," click here.
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April 24, 2006
Susan Paynter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a great column today on the work that the pro-choice movement is doing to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
She focuses on Cristina Page’s book, How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America, and the true agenda of so many anti-choice orgs:
"Not one pro-life organization in the U.S. supports contraception to reduce abortion," Page told me. "It's the pro-choice movement that's actually working to reduce abortion."
Even as I pondered the seemingly outrageous idea that pro-life groups overtly oppose contraception as well as abortion, the latest from the Christian Newswire popped up in my e-mail with a statement from the No Room for Contraception Campaign.
Amazing. It’s so important that columnists like Paynter write pieces like this—too many people don’t know the extremist anti-contraception views of anti-choice groups. It’s not just about abortion, they’re targeting all of our reproductive choices.
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April 21, 2006
Good news in Kansas
Finally, something promising to end the week off with. A federal judge ruled this week that doctors don’t have to report sex between consenting teens. Of course, our favorite love-to-hate-him Attorney General Phill Kline was behind the case:
Kline was pushing the law as part of his anti-choice agenda to disrupt abortion clinics and invade on patients’ privacy rights. (I guess going after medical records wasn’t enough.)
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April 20, 2006
Louisiana committee OKs sweeping abortion ban
Looks like South Dakota is the new black. A Louisiana bill that would ban almost all abortions passed a Senate committee and is on its way to the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 33 by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, cleared the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare after the provision was added. The bill would allow abortions only to save the life of the mother. But Sen. Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans, said she wanted to "make it more pro-life" by not allowing any exceptions.
So banning abortions for rape and incest victims isn’t quite enough.
She also wants to do away with the exception that would save a woman’s
life. Yeah, that’s sounds really “pro-life” to me. Lovely.
UPDATE: This ban would only go into effect if Roe is overturned. Sorry for the confusion.
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April 19, 2006
Prevention First: Clinton and Reid call for common sense
Check out this piece in the Albany Times Union by Sens. Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton on the importance of prevention. Great stuff. They specifically tout their Prevention First Act.
...This legislation would help to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy in our nation, decrease abortions and improve access to women's health care.
Our proposal includes common- ground, common-sense policies.
It makes family-planning services more accessible to low-income women. It improves awareness and understanding of emergency contraception, a poorly understood yet highly effective form of contraception.
It ensures that government-funded sex education programs provide medically accurate information about contraception.
It also ends insurance discrimination against women. Right now, many policies cover Viagra, but not prescription contraceptives. That is wrong, and our legislation will change it.
Reid and Clinton also point out that those who are the most opposed to abortion often are also against contraception. (Shocker.)
For more information check out NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Prevention First Challenge for Common Ground.
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April 18, 2006
No buffer zone for anti-choicers in FL
Ugh. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled that a law requiring anti-choice protesters to adhere to a 20-foot buffer zone violates their free-speech rights.
And the rights of the women being harassed? Apparently not so important.
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USA Today map looks at a Post-Roe world
And it’s not looking too hot. While we’re all blue states (the color at least) in the map USA Today put together on abortion access, women across the country will be seeing red.
USA Today found that twenty-two states are likely to impose significant new restrictions on abortion. Shocker.
If you’d like to scare yourself even more, check out NARAL’s maps and charts on abortion bans, emergency contraception, and restrictions on young women.
To see how your state fares on choices issues, check out the state profiles in Who Decides?
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April 14, 2006
More on Cecilia Fire Thunder
Check out this article that lets us know a bit more about Oglala Sioux Tribe president Cecilia Fire Thunder. (My hero these days.)
She didn’t just come out of the woodwork when all went to shit in South Dakota--she’s been working on women’s rights and health issues for quite a while. She’s a nurse, has worked with rape victims and AIDS patients and has worked in a California abortion clinic.
On her plans to build a women’s health clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Fire Thunder says “I keep thinking about all the times I've worked with women who never had a choice.”
''I am making it clear we are supporting the constitutional rights of all women across the country and particularly South Dakota to make their own choices.''
Fire Thunder said the attention she has received has been surprising. She received more than 600 e-mails from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.
Awesome. To find out what you can do to help with the fight in South Dakota, click here.
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April 13, 2006
Want an abortion? Get thee to a notary.
Wow. These are just getting crazier and crazier. The Arizona House just passed a measure that would require teens to get notarized written consent from a parent in order to obtain an abortion.
What’s next? Jumping through flaming hoops? Writing “I will not get myself pregnant” on the school blackboard a hundred times? Jeez.
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April 12, 2006
The Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP), in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice America, is launching their Recognize! campaign that focuses on women of color.
“Recognize your strength. Recognize your power. Recognize your potential. Take care of yourself.”
AIDS is the number one cause of death of Black women ages 25-34, and the HIV infection rate among Latinas is seven times higher than for white women. Black women have the highest rates of unintended pregnancy, and the unintended pregnancy rate for Latinas is nearly two times the rate of white women. To top it all off, more than one-third of Latinas are uninsured, and African-American women are 20 percent more likely to be uninsured than white women.
The campaign is focusing on maternal health, community, and reproductive health and well-being. Check out the campaign here and PEP’s new research report, "She Speaks: African American and Latino Young Women on Reproductive Health and Rights."
Posted by Jessica at 10:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
April 11, 2006
A terrifying glimpse of the future
I meant to point this out yesterday...Jack Hitt has an amazing (though upsetting) article in the latest NY Times Magazine about abortion in El Salvador, Pro-Life Nation.
It really is a must read--this is where we are heading. A future where women are jailed for 30 years for having abortion, where your uterus needs a forensic expert and where there is no such thing as a lifesaving abortion.
Also, if you want to hear more about the piece, check out Air America's Rachel Maddow interviewing Hitt.
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April 10, 2006
The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) states that “a woman's decision to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy is one of the most intimate decisions an individual ever faces...As such, reproductive health decisions are best made by the woman, in consultation with her medical provider or loved ones, without governmental interference.”
Sen. Boxer said, “The Freedom of Choice Act says that we will not turn back the clock on the health and rights of women. And it says that we will take steps—as a Congress and as a country—to safeguard the dignity, privacy, and health of women now and for generations to come.”
Nice. NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan noted that the timing of FOCA couldn't be better. “After years of quietly chipping away at Roe v. Wade, the South Dakota ban on abortion exposed the anti-choice movement's true agenda: to overturn Roe...Today, a woman's right to choose hangs by a very thin thread.”
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Mobilizing for South Dakota
In just two weeks, pro-choice volunteers have already collected a third of the signatures they need to get the SD abortion ban on the November ballot. Nice!
The volunteers--mobilized by several organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota--are saying that they are getting more support than they expected:
"I can't wait to sign," he said. "I was going to go out looking for this petition."
..."I have renewed faith in the people of South Dakota," said Serri Graslie, 18. "This is turning out much better than I thought."
A statewide poll commissioned by abortion rights activists last month found that 57% of voters want to overturn the ban.
I certainly hope so. To find out how you can help with the effort in South Dakota, click here.
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April 4, 2006
70 year-old doc flies to SD to provide abortions
This is pretty amazing. 70 year-old Dr. Miriam McCreary has come out of retirement--she’ll provide abortions when no one else in South Dakota will.
Several times a month, Dr. McCreary flies from Minnesota to South
Dakota--to the last clinic in the state that performs abortions.
"I want every child that's born, to be born into a family that wants a child. I don't want children to be born into a family where they are not wanted and can't be cared for carefully. That's the tragedy," McCreary said.
Now just think, this grandmother who flies in to help women could be
charged with a felony when the South Dakota abortion ban goes into
Posted by Jessica at 10:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 31, 2006
A new hope in South Dakota
And her name is Cecelia Fire Thunder. If you haven’t heard about this yet, you’re going to love it.
Cecelia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, has said that she will establish a clinic that provides abortions on the the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation:
Don’t you love her?
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March 30, 2006
Alabama introduces abortion bans
Talk about the worst trend ever.
Lawmakers in Alabama have introduced abortion ban bills like the one in South Dakota. You know--no exception for rape and incest. Lovely.
A similar bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Nick Williams, R-McIntosh. Both bills have been assigned to committees, but no further action has been taken. The bills would make it a felony crime to perform abortions in Alabama.
Don’t let this happen in more states! Help to stop the state abortion bans by taking action here.
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March 29, 2006
Montana insurance companies must cover contraceptives
Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said yesterday that insurance companies must cover contraceptives in prescription drug plans--doing otherwise is sex discrimination.
Attempts by women's advocacy groups, like NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, have failed in recent years to get lawmakers to force insurance companies to automatically offer the coverage.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana said company lawyers are still reviewing the decision and have not yet determined when the mandate will become effective in current prescription drug policies.
Why is it so hard to cover something as easy as birth control pills?
Because seriously, paying $50 a month not to get pregnant sucks.
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March 24, 2006
NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota works to repeal ban
This is great stuff. NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota has joined with other pro-choice activists to help gather signatures to place a measure on the November ballot that would allow voters to repeal the abortion ban.
Thelma Underberg, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, said, “[We are] proud to join our partners in standing up for women's freedom and privacy...Since the legislature first passed this ban, I have received messages from people across the state asking what they can do to let politicians know that the ban does not reflect our South Dakota values. We will enlist these folks in our campaign to collect the necessary number of signatures from our friends, neighbors, and family members, so we can vote to repeal this abortion ban.”
Stay tuned for more info on how you can help.
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SD abortion ban comes up in Florida governor’s race
The Associated Press reports that the controversy over the South Dakota abortion ban is far-reaching, affecting the governor’s race in Florida:
Crist's Republican primary opponent, state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, said he would sign the same bill South Dakota passed while the Democrats, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Rod Smith, said that the right to legal abortions should be protected.
You know, it’s interesting that it’s no longer enough to discuss whether you believe in choice or not. Shit is so volatile, that politicians now have to decide whether to show support for an insane abortion ban?!
At least the folks in Florida know who the anti-choice nuts are, I guess.
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March 23, 2006
A day late and a pill short
Even more importantly, Jain exposes how the anti-birth control
movement is making ridiculously scary gains and how "the mainstream
anti-choice groups are ready to make the battle against contraception
part of their agendas." Cause don't you know--sex is bad bad bad!
So make sure to check it out and try not to run screaming from your computer.
Posted by Jessica at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 21, 2006
Op-eds opt-out on women
This is some crazy shit. Garance Franke-Ruta at the American Prospect has taken an in-depth look at The New York Times’ Op-Ed page and its history covering abortion issues--it ain’t good.
Franke-Ruta found that in the last two years (in which we’ve seen some serious reproductive rights rollbacks) that “not one op-ed discussing abortion on the op-ed page of the most powerful liberal paper in the nation was written by a reproductive-rights advocate, a pro-choice service-provider, or a representative of a women’s group”
Wait, it gets worse--83 percent of the op-ed pieces discussing abortion were written by men and more op-eds on abortion were written by pro-life men than by women of either persuasion on choice. Feeling a little ill yet?
Indeed, what’s most striking about today’s op-ed page is the absence of women of any sort writing on the subject of abortion. Of the 124 mentions of abortion on the page over the two-year period, only 21 of those instances were female authored. In total, there were 67 authors who wrote about abortion for the Times -– only seven of which were female. (Many authors wrote multiple columns mentioning the topic.) That’s seven women over two years, compared with 60 men.
Read the whole piece, seriously. It’s amazingly comprehensive and pretty much kills the NY Times’ likely defense that there aren’t enough women in positions of power to warrant writing op-eds. (It’s not our fault! We couldn’t find anyone!)
Posted by Jessica at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 20, 2006
South Carolina considering abortion ban in 2007
South Carolina is set to introduce an abortion ban similar to the one passed in South Dakota, but will have to wait until next year because of a full legislative calendar.
I feel like this just keeps getting scarier and scarier. Something has really been annoying me as bans like these are discussed: some progressive folks I know have jumped on the Roe-doesn’t-matter bandwagon. Let them have the red states, they say. Abortion will still be legal in blue states and we can fight the battle state by state. What’s noticeably absent from this political argument is women--you know, the people most affected by these bans. Sigh--just a little rant for you to start Monday off right.
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March 16, 2006
Quick hit: A telling title
Check out this headline from the Associated Press: Global abortion rights rise as U.S. adds limits.
Nice, huh? While dozens of countries around the world are making progress on choice, the U.S. is going backwards.
Make sure to check out the whole piece.
Posted by Jessica at 10:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 15, 2006
Could the people of South Dakota vote out the ban?
This is interesting stuff. A pro-choice group in Wisconsin has filed paperwork that would put South Dakota’s abortion ban on the November ballot.
...Secretary of State Chris Nelson said there's nothing in South Dakota law that prevents an out-of-state group from beginning the petition drive.
"There is no restriction in state law as to who can be a sponsor for a referendum," he said.
...Assuming that the state Legislature will adjourn for the year when it reconvenes March 20, the group will have 90 days to collect signatures from South Dakotans, Nelson said.
Thoughts? Clever strategy or jumping the gun?
Posted by Jessica at 10:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
March 14, 2006
Tenn. works towards anti-choice change in state Constitution
Oh Tennessee...you’re on my shit list today.
The state Senate passed a proposal to amend the Tennessee Constitution so that it no longer guarantees a right to abortion.
"The resolution is an all-out attack on the women of Tennessee and seeks to rob women of their right to make choices about their own health, safety and personal welfare," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.
An attack against the women of Tennessee? Definitely. But unfortunately they’re not alone--the women of America are under attack. Yes, I’m optimistic today.
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March 9, 2006
Bush silent on South Dakota
Pres. Bush has said in the past that he supports a woman’s right to obtain an abortion in cases of rape, incest, or health risks.
If that’s the case, why won’t the White House say how he feels about the South Dakota abortion ban?
Think Progress has a transcript of a recent exchange between Scott McClellan and a reporter about the ban. Let’s just say he’s less than forthcoming:
QUESTION: And not rape and incest. And so, therefore, he must disagree with it, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he, Scott?
MCCLELLAN: The president has a strong record of working to build a culture of life, and that’s what he will continue to do.
QUESTION: I know, but you’re not answering my question. You’re dodging it.
MCCLELLAN: No, I’m telling you that it’s a state law.
QUESTION: Is he opposed to abortion laws that forbid it for rape and incest; isn’t that true, Scott? That’s what you said.
MCCLELLAN: Let me respond. Look at the president’s record when it comes to defending the sanctity of life. It is a very strong record.
Gee. I wonder why he won’t give a straight answer.
Posted by Jessica at 9:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
March 6, 2006
Breaking: SD governor signs abortion ban into law
Gov. Mike Rounds on Monday signed legislation banning almost all abortions in South Dakota.
The Legislature passed the ban late last month, focusing nationwide interest on the state as the governor decided what to do about the measure.
The law, designed to raise a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, is scheduled to take effect July 1.
Nancy Keenan said that "Governor Rounds' signing of this bill should spur all Americans to let their governors know that they oppose egregious actions that threaten a woman's reproductive freedom. This law is a monumental setback for women in South Dakota and across the country." Keenan also pointed out 11 other states are pushing similar bans.
Also, here’s the contact info for Gov. Rounds if you feel like giving him a piece of your mind:
Office of the Governor
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Posted by Jessica at 4:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Parental notification has little effect on abortion rate
This is pretty interesting stuff. According to analysis by The New York Times, parental notification and consent laws don’t seem to have much of an an impact on abortion rates.
The analysis, which looked at six states that introduced parental involvement laws in the last decade and is believed to be the first study to include data from years after 1999, found instead a scattering of divergent trends.
For instance, in Tennessee, the abortion rate went down when a federal court suspended a parental consent requirement, then rose when the law went back into effect. In Texas, the rate fell after a notification law went into effect, but not as fast as it did in the years before the law. In Virginia, the rate barely moved when the state introduced a notification law in 1998, but fell after the requirement was changed to parental consent in 2003.
The resulting numbers showed that these laws had no real impact on the number of minors who got pregnant or the number that had a abortions. This news probably won’t be welcomed by anti-choicers, who argue that consent and notification laws are a big part of reducing the number of abortions.
The only thing we have to watch out for is anti-choicers using this news as a way to argue that consent laws aren’t harmful to teens. (See, they don’t make a real difference anyway, so let’s make sure parents are involved rather than not!) The NY Times argues that a main reason behind these laws having little impact is that most teens tell their parents about their pregnancy.
But for teens who have abusive parents or who are victims of incest, these laws are straight up dangerous--we can’t let that be forgotten.
Posted by Jessica at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 3, 2006
SD students stand up for choice
So much of the news lately on reproductive rights has been well...insanely depressing. But we should remember that women across the country are working their butts off for choice--especially in the most anti-choice states.
Students from the University of South Dakota protested their state’s recent abortion ban:
One of the protests organizers, 23 year-old Mandy Hagseth, said “I think there is an overwhelmingly large amount of people that are getting involved more now than ever.”
Here’s my favorite (and most uplifting) part of the article:
“My body! My choice! My body! My choice! My body! My choice!”
Posted by Jessica at 12:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
March 2, 2006
Mississippi the next South Dakota?
That’s certainly the way it’s looking.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said that we would probably sign a bill banning most abortions in the state. Of course, Mississippi already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country--and only one abortion provider.
Wow. We’ll keep you updated on this one.
Posted by Jessica at 11:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 23, 2006
State senate passes South Dakota abortion ban
This is so scary. Especially considering the only thing between a total abortion ban in the state is the signature of an anti-choice governor.
...After more than an hour of fierce and emotional debate, the senators rejected pleas to add exceptions for incest or rape or for the health of the pregnant woman and instead voted, 23 to 12, to outlaw all abortions, except those to save the woman's life.
Gee thanks. But I guess if a little girl is raped by her dad, she’s just out of luck. This is just a taste of the battles to come. I hope you’re gearing up.
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (31) | TrackBack
February 22, 2006
Vote due on South Dakota abortion ban
Scary scary. Legislators in South Dakota are gearing up to vote on a bill that would pretty much outlaw all abortions in the state. It would be the most anti-choice law approved by a state in more than ten years.
But this is about a lot more than just South Dakota:
Optimistic about the recent changes on the United States Supreme Court, some abortion opponents say they have new hope that a court fight over a ban here could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal around the country.
They certainly didn’t waste anytime. State Representative Roger Hunt, who sponsored the bill, noted the recent Bush-friendly appointments on the Supreme Court and said, “I'm convinced that the timing is right for this.” He couldn’t be more right. Or more terrifying for women.
Posted by Jessica at 10:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 21, 2006
SD Senate panel rejects abstinence education measure
A South Dakota Senate committee rejected a measure that would have required schools push abstinence in sex education.
HB1217 had passed the House by a wide margin, but the Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 to kill the bill after some senators said it would take away some control by local school districts.
Other opponents also said they believe the bill is flawed because it would prevent schools from including education on contraceptives, information they said some students need to protect themselves against pregnancy and diseases.
This is especially important considering that any day now women won't be able to obtain an abortion in South Dakota.
Posted by Jessica at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 20, 2006
Quick Hit: Interview madness
Check out Alternet’s interview with Cristina Page, author of How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex.
Page, the vice president of the Institute for Reproductive Health Access at NARAL Pro-Choice New York, discusses how its not only access to abortion that’s in jeopardy, but access to contraception as well:
Their aim is not about reducing abortion -- it includes restricting people's access to contraception, it includes transforming our sex lives, it includes transforming our families. That's the goal, and [restricting abortion] is just one vehicle toward that end.
Check out the full interview here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 16, 2006
More Wal-Mart work to be done
The recent victory against Wal-Mart in Massachusetts is definitely great news--but don’t break out the champagne quite yet.
Not only do we have to ensure that women in other states have access to emergency contraception at Wal-Mart, we also have to keep in mind the company’s other policies concerning women.
Wal-Mart Watch breaks down the store’s fairly atrocious policies towards women. Not good stuff.
To take action and help women get birth control at Wal-Mart pharmacies, click here.
Posted by Jessica at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 15, 2006
U.S. cuts funding for international family planning
We all know the Bush administration’s record on international women’s rights isn’t exactly stellar, but this takes the cake.
In Bush’s new budget proposal, financing for programs that were supposed prevent abortion dropped 18 percent--from $436 million this year to $357 million.
"It's ironic that an administration outwardly committed to reducing the incidence of abortion would take away valuable tools for preventing unwanted pregnancies," said Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York.
Ironic, but not surprising.
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February 14, 2006
Indiana law would require docs to say life begins at conception
Oh dear. A proposal in Indiana would require that women seeking to obtain an abortion be told that life begins at conception. Looks like Indiana is vying to be the new South Dakota.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota challenged South Dakota's law, saying it infringed on doctors' First Amendment rights. No trial date has been set, but U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier of Rapid City granted a preliminary injunction last year blocking enforcement of the law, saying the plaintiffs have a good chance of winning.
What is particularly disturbing to me about these kind of “informed consent” laws is that they’re created under the guise of caring about women. The law’s supporters make it sound like they’re just ensuring that women have access to information, when the truth of it is that they’re attempting to mislead women and infringe on doctors’ rights.
Posted by Jessica at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 13, 2006
Parental notification upheld in Florida
A federal judge upheld Florida’s parental notification law on Friday, citing the recent Supreme Court ruling in Ayotte.
Senior U.S. District Judge William Stafford said, “Florida has carefully crafted a parental notification statute that serves a compelling state interest.”
Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida who brought forward the case argued that the law is “unconstitutionally vague, violates due process rights of doctors and minors seeking abortions and impermissibly burdens various rights of pregnant girls.”
Posted by Jessica at 10:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 10, 2006
Breaking: S.D. House approves abortion ban
This is completely terrifying. The South Dakota House passed a bill yesterday that would ban pretty much all abortions. Yeah, I know.
And with our current Supreme Court, Roe is definitely not safe. Which of course, is the the point:
I’ll keep you updated on this, but needless to say--this is terrible news.
Posted by Jessica at 8:53 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
February 9, 2006
Get reported for going to second base
This new nonsense inspired by Phill Kilne has been around for a little bit--I think I was just blocking it out. Sigh. Kline (of hand over your medical records fame) now wants any sexual activity between minors to be reported. Even consensual activity. Yikes.
And he has back up. Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston has recently said, “There is no right to privacy when a crime has been committed.” OK...but since when is some back-seat make out action a criminal offense?
Kline's office contends in the lawsuit that only "significant sexual conduct" such as vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex among willing adolescents must be reported.
Foulston takes an even stricter interpretation of the state's forced reporting statute.
She testified that the law requires reporting of all illegal sexual activities between underage adolescents. That would include a boy touching the breast of a girl, or either adolescent touching the genitals of the other.
My favorite response to this bizarre nonsense has come from Dahlia Lithwick, who says “At one level, one almost wishes Kline would prevail in this case, if only to have his offices inundated with tens of thousands of reports that Steve frenched Stacy on the band trip to Topeka.”
Posted by Jessica at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 8, 2006
A Wisconsin judge has upheld sanctions against an activist pharmacists who won’t dispense birth control pills or even refer the client elsewhere. That’s right--birth control pills.
If you don’t remember Neil Noesen, here’s a refresher. A college student actually had to call the cops to get Noesen to fill her birth control pills. Nice, huh?
Wisconsin’s Pharmacy Examining Board ruled that Noesen failed in his duty as a pharmacist and ordered him to attend ethics classes. Noesen can keep his license so long as tells all employers in writing that he won’t dispense birth control pills and outlines the steps he would take to make sure that the client had access to the prescription one way or another.
Sounds a little too easy to me, but I suppose there are plenty of pharmacies that just won’t hire him.
Posted by Jessica at 10:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 7, 2006
Is Prop. 73 back?
"The turnout was very high in the liberal areas of the state and surprisingly low in some of the more conservative areas," Rhomberg said.
Ugh. Well I say let them give it another shot. But as president of Planned Parenthood in California Kathy Kneer points out--talk about a waste of time!
Apparently not so much.
Posted by Jessica at 10:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 6, 2006
40 Kentucky lawmakers sign bill to ban abortion
Great. Lawmakers opposing the bill noted that politics were trumping women’s lives. Rep. Rep. Kathy Stein said, "It's a big election year...This is the biggest ballot we've had in years, and I think that there are many of my colleagues who are willing to jump on the bandwagon and sell out the women of Kentucky."
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner. Give her a piece of your mind.
Posted by Jessica at 9:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 30, 2006
If you haven't yet, make sure to check out NARAL's brand spanking new website design. Props to Jen for making it happen!
Posted by Jessica at 3:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 27, 2006
Good news in Kansas
Is it possible?
Our fave love-to-hate-him Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline was probably not too pleased recently when a judge ruled that he had no valid claim to sue Gov. Kathleen Sebelius over state-funded abortions for Medicaid recipients.
"To the extent that the federal government has 'occupied the field,' all of the branches of state government are required to yield to the laws and regulations of the United States of America," Bruns wrote in his 24-page opinion. "This is true even in cases in which the majority of citizens in a state may disagree with the action taken by the federal government."
Now if we could just stop him from prying into private medical records...
Posted by Jessica at 10:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 23, 2006
What good is choice if no one is there to provide it?
We talk about the legislative and political blocks to choice so often, that we tend to forget about the basic medical availability of abortion. Amelia Welsh Jones, a second-year medical student at the University of Washington, reminds us of how important this is in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer column:
The majority of Americans support a woman's legal right to choose. However, most Americans are unaware that one of the greatest obstacles is simply finding a doctor. There is a shortage of providers: 87 percent of U.S. counties and 98 percent of rural counties do not have a single abortion provider. Nearly a quarter of women wanting abortions have to travel 50 miles or more for the service. The difficulty in affording, finding or receiving abortion services delays almost half the women who have abortions beyond 15 weeks gestation.
Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures among U.S. women. More than 1 million women have abortions each year. Despite this medical need, doctors emerging from medical schools and residency programs are not being trained to meet the needs of their patients.
The shortage of abortion providers is startling. More than 50 percent of U.S. providers are over the age of 50. The number of Ob/Gyns performing abortions has been steadily declining over the past 20 years. Currently, a mere 2 percent of Ob/Gyns perform more than 50 percent of U.S. abortions.
Scary stuff. Any folks in the medical field want to put in their two cents?
For more info on doctors and choice, check out Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.
Posted by Jessica at 9:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 22, 2006
A look back on choice
Today marks the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that may not be around much longer if things keep going the the way they have.
There are plenty of ways to get involved and celebrate today, so get to it!
But before you run to your nearest pro-choice group to help out, here’s a look back at the year in U.S. reproductive rights:
Terrible (but not shocking) fact: Last year’s legislative season marked a record high in anti-choice maneuvers.
Strangest anti-choice moves (there are a bunch):
Gym erects a fetus tree in their lobby to celebrate the holiday season.
Group tries to fly pics of aborted fetuses over Hawaii beaches.
A teacher is fired for pro-choice volunteer work.
The Christian Right attempts to block HPV vaccine for fear it will make women slutty.
Anti-choice group claims Hurricane Katrina is punishment for abortion.
Racist group pays women to be sterilized.
A Virginia school fines women who have abortions. ($500 for abortion, only $250 for racial or sexual harassment)
Arizona pharmacist recommends lying to women about EC availability.
University of Wisconsin tries to ban EC and birth control from campuses.
Wackiest anti-choice legislation:
Texas docs who perform abortions could face the death penalty.
NY Governor Pataki vetoes over-the-counter EC for fear teens will obtain it. But teens can get abortions without parental consent or notification in NY.
Emergency contraception goes through hell:
Pharmacists deny women prescriptions. Everywhere.
Hospitals are encouraged to break laws requiring informing rape victims about EC.
Federal guidelines for treating sexual assault conveniently leave out any mention of EC.
Despite research that shows EC availability has nothing to do with promiscuity and that most doctors support it, legislators insist it’s a Girls Gone Wild situation.
Smack in the face to young women: Parental notification is everywhere; in Texas you need a written note from your parents.
Supreme Court: After three anti-choice nominees, we’re just plain scared.
FDA puts veterinarian in charge of Office of Women’s Health. Then they deny it.
Scary fact: American women having more babies they don’t want.
Persistence doesn’t pay off (yet): Bushie keeps trying on the “partial birth” abortion ban.
Pipe down little ladies: Boy blogs tell women to stop worrying about choice.
Cause clearly we're in great shape.
Posted by Jessica at 9:23 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
January 20, 2006
Your right to choose, state by state
Make sure to check out Who Decides?, updated for 2006. This report is the best source for info on the status of reproductive rights by state.
The good news? 11 states got As: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
The bad news? More states got Fs. Check out the report to find out who, and to see how your state stands on reproductive rights.
And don’t forget, the anniversary of Roe is on Sunday! Click here to find out ways to celebrate.
Posted by Jessica at 9:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 9, 2006
Indiana bill would make abortion illegal
A bill filed this week in the Indiana House would make abortion illegal--even for victims of rape and incest. How lovely.
House Bill 1096,
proposed by Rep. Troy A. Woodruff, would only allow for abortion if a
woman’s health or life would be “permanently impaired.” The bill would
make it a felony to perform any other abortions; doctors who did could
face up to eight years in prison.
An extra scary tidbit:
Here’s Woodruff’s contact info, if you’re so inclined.
Posted by at 3:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
January 2, 2006
How “pro-life” of them
This is terrifying. A young Louisiana couple attempted to bomb a clinic several weeks ago by throwing a Molotov cocktail at the building. Luckily it fell away from the building and the resulting fire never hit the clinic.
The couple, a 24 year-old woman and her 18 year-old boyfriend, were charged with manufacturing and possession of a delayed incendiary device.
Posted by Jessica at 9:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
December 29, 2005
MA legislators push for expanded buffer zone
The Associated Press reports that Massachusetts lawmakers are seeking an expanded buffer zone around abortion clinics to protect women and workers. The state’s existing law is said to be to vague to be effective.
They say the current law, which mandates a 6-foot "floating" buffer zone around patients within an 18-foot radius of a clinic entrance, is too confusing.
"For this right to be meaningful, it has to be enforceable," said Sen. Jarrett Barrios, D-Cambridge, the bill's chief sponsor in the Senate.
Anti-abortion activists say a fixed 35-foot zone is a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and is harmful to women because it denies them access to information about alternatives to abortion.
Ok, clearly I’m all for free speech. But if you have ever seen anti-choice protesters outside a clinic, you know that this has nothing to do with free speech. I worked as a clinic escort during college and protesters do not try to give women “access to information.” They yell, scream, intimidate women by videotaping them and taking their picture, and even get physical. (Clearly this isn't the case with all protesters, but it's true of enough of them to make the law necessary.) Women who have made a legal choice have the right to be free from harassment and intimidation.
Posted by Jessica at 12:06 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
December 28, 2005
Is South Dakota the new Mississippi?
South Dakota is now one of three states in the country that has only one clinic to obtain abortions. (Mississippi and North Dakota are the others) Sigh.
Restrictive state laws on choice aren’t exactly new, but South Dakota has taken the cake lately with an abortion task force that recently recommended some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country and stated that “the unborn child from the moment of conception is a whole separate human being.” You see where I’m going with this--the report recommends a complete ban on abortion. By the way, only two out 17 members of the task force were pro-choice. Nice.
What makes it even worse is that South Dakota has some of the poorest counties in the country, making abortion access even more difficult.
Check out the whole Washington Post piece for a heartbreaking look at the difficulties women--particularly poor women--in South Dakota are encountering.
Posted by Jessica at 7:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
December 26, 2005
Anti-choice activists try to shut down Mississippi’s last clinic
This is just unbelievable. Anti-choice activists are attempting to completely eradicate any semblance of reproductive rights in their state--they are trying to shut down the state’s last women’s health clinic that provides abortions.
"We have no intention of leaving and we intend to continue to provide the services that we're providing," said Susan Hill, president of the North Carolina-based National Women's Health Organization. "It won't be easy, but we're staying."
The clinic is waiting to heart if the Department of Health has granted them new certification; in the meantime anti-choice groups have been doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Read the article for the full (depressing) story.
Posted by Jessica at 12:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
December 21, 2005
Massachusetts to push abstinence-ed
The campaign, scheduled to last through June 2007, will only target certain schools and will be aimed especially at teens in black and Hispanic communities, who tend to have higher rates of sexual activity. The proposal by the state Department of Health, quietly posted on its website earlier this month, would add an abstinence education program for 12-to-14-year-olds in an unspecified number of schools.
The campaign would be funded by a $50 million federal abstinence-only grant program, which provides money to states for initiatives that teach abstinence but deliberately do not address condoms and other methods of contraception.
Thankfully, the program will be taught in addition to the state’s already-implemented comprehensive sex ed program that teaches contraception methods. The new program however, marks a big change in the way MA spends these federal funds:
Under the new proposal, the state would use the money to pay an outside vendor to develop a program to teach teens about abstinence in the schools.
This outside vendor thing is what makes me nervous. It’s already been shown that abstinence-only education teaches that contraception doesn’t work. So even if the comprehensive program stays in place, won’t it be rendered useless once the abstinence folks come in?
Posted by Jessica at 10:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
December 20, 2005
In case you missed the most disturbing story ever
A women-only gym in Kansas, Body Boutique, is causing quite the uproar after putting up a fetus tree in the gym lobby.
Yeah, that's right--a frigging fetus tree. The tree was put up along with informational
pamphlets from a local anti-choice organization, Birthright of Lawrence.
The tree contained a dozen blue and pink stockings, each stuffed with a plastic figure and attached card that labeled the dolls as being “between 11 and 12 weeks old.”
The tree also held coupons for Birthright videos, pamphlets and children’s clothes. Other coupons included savings on a video titled “After the Choice,” another video showing abortion procedures, a brochure on the morning-after pill and a card that offered quart-size, press-and-seal plastic bags.
Birthright of Lawrence intended that people take a figure home in exchange for a $5 donation.
Gym co-owner Lorinda Hartzler said she is unsure if she will keep the tree up; several women have already canceled their memberships in opposition. Ya think?
Posted by Jessica at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 19, 2005
Is Bush opposed to birth control?
Amazingly, the President still hasn’t answered this question.
38 members of Congress, led by Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), sent President Bush a letter asking him whether he is for or against birth control.
This is the fourth letter sent to Bush on the subject since White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan refused to answer this question earlier this year.
“I thought that in the 21st century, answering a straightforward question about birth control would be easy, but apparently it isn't for the Leader of the Free World," said Maloney. "I was hoping that the president would be able to answer whether or not he supports birth control in less than 165 days. Since we received no response, we have to ask again.”
I wouldn’t hold your breath for an answer. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 3:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 15, 2005
New report on Alito and women’s reproductive freedom
NARAL Pro-Choice America has just released a report on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and his less-than-stellar record on choice.
Nancy Keenan said, “Samuel Alito has tried to ensure that without explicitly overturning Roe, Roe is no longer understood to be a guarantee of reproductive freedom and justice. The nomination of Alito tests whether Roe will be a mantelpiece memory, or a meaningful part of our Constitution. Americans know that Alito’s legal philosophy would result in an America in which ‘the constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.’”
Check out the full report here.
Posted by Jessica at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
December 13, 2005
Young Irish women protest for choice
Wow. This story was just too bad-ass not point out.
The activists have imprisoned themselves in a cage fashioned from coat-hangers to represent the 17 Irish women they say are forced to travel to Britain for an abortion every day.
The protestors are members of a new group calling itself BODY, which is campaigning for another referendum on abortion.
Talk about attention-getting.
Posted by Jessica at 10:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
December 8, 2005
Check out this piece from Salon’s new blog Broadsheet.
What was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill confirmation of an interim police chief in Fargo, North Dakota turned into a pretty gross display of anti-choice wackiness.
Prepare to be pissed.
Posted by Jessica at 11:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
November 23, 2005
Antichoice group wants to aerial displays over Hawaii
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform wants a ban lifted so it can fly a graphic anti-abortion banner over Waikiki. Attorney Robert Muise says their message is being illegally censored.
I can only imagine what “graphic” means. All of a sudden, a Hawaii vacation doesn’t sound so hot.
Posted by Jessica at 10:12 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
November 11, 2005
A choice win in Missouri!
Nice to end the week on some good news!
Posted by Jessica at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
November 9, 2005
Prop 73 defeated!
Posted by Jessica at 2:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
No word on Proposition 73
With 99 percent of precincts counted but many absentee ballots still to be tallied, the initiative remained undecided early Wednesday. Fifty-three percent were opposed and 47 percent in favor.
If the amendment were to pass, it would make California the 35th state requiring either parental notification or consent for girls 17 and under requesting abortions.
Ugh. We’ll keep you updated.
Posted by Jessica at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
November 2, 2005
Washington Post on Prop. 73
The Washington Post has an article today on Proposition 73 outlining what all the brouhaha is about. But this is what kills me: it’s the least-known measure on the ballot!
"It has been very slow to get the attention we think it deserves," said Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California which lacks the funds for a TV blitz.
Posted by Jessica at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 26, 2005
Prop. 73 not just about parental notification
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Proposition 73 is about a lot more than just parental consent:
Whoa! You got love how they sneak that shit in there.
Posted by Jessica at 5:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Phill Kline makes GQ magazine
The nine-page article carries the headline, "This man will do anything to stop abortion."
The author of the article is GQ correspondent Andrew Corsello, who focused much of his attention on a lengthy dinner conversation he had with Kline and Kline's wife about abortion.
The second page of the piece bears an image of a fetus with a subhead that says "Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline says he wants to get people talking honestly about abortion, to make people think about abortion. So why has he become the most aggressive abortion litigator in the land, subpoenaing the medical records of abortion clinics and prying into our private sexual histories? Meet the future of the pro-life movement."
What I find bizarre: Kline’s spokesman Whitney Watson said Kline was “pleased with the article.” Pleased? Wow.
Posted by Jessica at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
October 20, 2005
Kansas governor takes on Phill Kline
Today, I’m a big fan of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Gov. Sebelius is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Phill Kline (of hand-over-your-private-medical-records fame) that looks to end state-financed abortions for Medicaid recipients.
...Matt All, the governor's legal counsel, said federal law requires states to pay for abortions of Medicaid recipients in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Medicaid provides health care for poor and disabled people.
Yeah, how terrible to protect the lives of women and help women who are rape or incest victims. Guess you can’t expect much better from Kline. Anyway, kudos to Gov. Sebelius for seeking an end to this nonsense!
Posted by Jessica at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 17, 2005
Supreme Court rules on inmate’s right to choose
The court acted without dissent or comment as it let stand a U.S. District Court judge's order requiring the state to transport the woman for her abortion on the grounds that it was denying her rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Justice Clarence Thomas had stayed the lower court order last week in response to a plea from Missouri, citing a state law banning public financing of abortions.
The thing is, the state wouldn’t be financing her abortion--just the transportation needed. Nice try, Thomas. While everything turned out okay, this just goes to show you how much power even one Justice can have.
Posted by Jessica at 1:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Teacher fired for pro-choice volunteer work
Marie Bain, 50, of Sacramento, who had taught at Loretto High School since August, was dismissed after a student's parent obtained pictures showing Bain escorting people into a Planned Parenthood clinic last spring.
Obtained pictures? Now tell me that doesn’t seem sketchy off the bat.
"There are many things I would love to say, but I don't want to jeopardize anything. I am pursuing many avenues," she said.
Bain's termination, announced Friday afternoon, was met with tears from students at the college preparatory school on El Camino Avenue. She was described as a passionate teacher with a dramatic personality who pushed her students to memorize their lines with precision.
"We lost a great teacher," said Cynthia Mitterholzer, the dance instructor who will take over for Bain.
...School officials at Loretto conduct extensive background searches before hiring teachers. The searches typically focus on employment and criminal history and do not often delve into volunteer work...
Right, cause helping people is generally thought of as a good thing.
Posted by Jessica at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 14, 2005
Take Action Ohio!
Eliminating funding for Medicaid and public employee health plans for abortion care for rape victims, and women whose health is at stake.
Banning public hospitals and employees from providing abortion care—except to save the life of the woman.
This bill has no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, for women who are at risk of losing a major bodily function or organ, or in cases where there are severe fetal abnormalities that will likely result in stillbirth.
At the same time that the bill limits women's ability to exercise their legal right to choose, it doesn't provide a single penny of funding for prenatal or postnatal care that would promote healthy mothers and healthy babies. This legislation is full of rhetoric, but does nothing to prevent unintended pregnancies or to promote healthy pregnancies.
Once again, Ohio politicians and anti-choice radicals are trying to practice medicine and intrude on the private decisions of Ohio families.
So any of you out there from Ohio, contact the members of the House Health Committee and tell them how you feel!
Posted by Jessica at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 13, 2005
SF Chronicle says no to Prop. 73
In the real world, however, this proposed constitutional amendment is anything but simple or reasonable. It poses a genuine threat to a young woman's basic right to an abortion -- as articulated by the state Supreme Court eight years ago in striking down a law requiring parental consent. This measure also elevates the risk that pregnant teens fearful of their parents' reaction will delay having the surgery, raising the danger to their health.
Let us be clear, as parents and advocates of family values, we would expect physicians and staffers at family-planning clinics to implore a pregnant teen to consult with her parents whenever possible before having an abortion.
The medical professionals in the field say they not only encourage such parent-child communication -- but it occurs in the vast majority of cases. They also say there is usually a compelling reason why a young woman would not be willing to tell her parents about an unwanted pregnancy. In some instances, the girl fears she may be subject to physical abuse or tossed out of the house.
In cases when one or both parents are vehemently anti-abortion -- perhaps even to the point of regarding it as murder -- they might go to extreme lengths to coerce a young woman to carry the pregnancy to term. In such situations, notification could be tantamount to a consent requirement.
Make sure to the rest of the piece, which urges Californians to reject Proposition 73.
Posted by Jessica at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 12, 2005
Most Ohioans believe women should have access to contraception
Despite the craziness that has been going on in Ohio with reproductive rights, a recent poll shows that 89 percent of Ohioans believe it is important for women to have access to contraception.
The poll of 800 Ohio voters was conducted by American Viewpoint Inc. for DeSarno's association. A May survey found similar numbers nationwide.
So why oh why doesn’t the legislation match what the people want?!
Posted by Jessica at 5:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
150 lawmakers come out to oppose NH parental notification law
The list includes Democrats and Republicans, representatives and senators, and one legislator who initially voted for the parental notification law when it narrowly passed the Legislature in 2003. Rep. Joseph Stone, a Deerfield Republican who was among the 187 House members to endorse the law, put his name on the legal brief that will be sent to the Supreme Court today.
...The law is before the Supreme Court at the request of Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, who asked the high court to reinstate it earlier this year after two lower courts struck it down for lacking a health exception.
Why is it so hard to include an exception for health? This seems to come up over and over again with anti-choice legislation. Just goes to show you how important women’s health and lives are to some folks...Ugh.
Posted by Jessica at 9:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 11, 2005
CA legislators oppose Prop. 73
Yesterday Sen. Barbara Boxer and California Treasurer Phil Angelides came out against Proposition 73, an amendment to the state Constitution that would require parental notification for teens seeking to obtain an abortion.
"This proposition is designed to make it difficult for young women to get the medical attention they need at a very difficult time," Angelides said during a news conference at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.
Not to mention, what about girls who are being abused at home? I’m sure sending a letter home will really help that situation. Sigh. Thanks to Boxer and Angelides for speaking up!
Posted by Jessica at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 10, 2005
Washington Post: The Abortion Dodge
Check out this editorial in today’s Washington Post, The Abortion Dodge, which takes on gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore and his position on choice.
Posted by Jessica at 10:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
October 5, 2005
Kilgore absent from recent debate
Virginia gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Timothy Kaine (D) and state Sen. Russell Potts (R), discussed (among other things) their views on abortion during a live, on-air debate at George Mason University on Friday. Both said that if Roe was ever overturned, they would veto any attempt to make abortion illegal in Virginia.
Jerry Kilgore, who had some pretty terrifying thing to say on abortion in the past, declined the invitation to participate.
Posted by Jessica at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 4, 2005
OH consent and waiting period law to take effect
...The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a Cincinnati clinic's appeal of a lower court's ruling that the 1998 law setting new requirements for women and minors seeking abortions is constitutional.
Clinic attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein says he is disappointed that some provisions will take effect but hopes that the court eventually will rule the entire law unconstitutional.
The appeals court earlier this month put the law on hold while it considers the appeal.
...A provision requiring women seeking an abortion to receive counseling from a doctor at least 24 hours in advance will be allowed to take effect next Monday. The other provision going into effect requires minors to have the consent of at least one parent before an abortion can be performed.
Ugh. We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.
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September 29, 2005
Pro-choicers in CA prepare for Prop. 73
The constitutional amendment would require a doctor who is going to perform an abortion on an unmarried minor to notify in writing at least one parent or guardian 48 hours in advance of the procedure. Parents don't have to give their consent, they just have to be notified.
Ugh. Even “just” notification doesn’t protect girls who are being abused at home. Read the whole article though, it gives the whole story on Prop. 73 and the state’s choice legislation history.
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September 27, 2005
Bush administration wants to reinstate unconstitutional abortion law
The government's appeal asks the high court to overturn the decision of a U.S. appeals court in St. Louis, which struck down the law as unconstitutional.
It came on the same day the Senate took up the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. for chief justice of the United States. If, as expected, Roberts is confirmed this week, his court could put new limits on abortion during its first term, which begins Monday.
Again and again, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has been ruled unconstitutional because there is no exception for the health of the mother. But it seems like the Bushies aren’t wasting any time now that they’re getting closer to the Supreme Court they want.
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September 23, 2005
Abortion for rape victims: only if you report within a week?!
This is just insanity.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore in Virginia has a position on women, rape and abortion that boggles the mind:
"It's not only hateful and cruel, it's also impractical," said Jim McKinley-Oakes, a social worker who has counseled victims of sexual assault for more than three decades. "It's an invasion of their privacy not unlike the act of rape itself."
Joyce Allan, who said she was raped by a family member as a child, said Kilgore's insistence that victims report to authorities within a week is a "glaring sign of ignorance and arrogance."
Kilgore said Thursday that he is "not going to do anything to criminalize women or criminalize victims."
In 1997, when he lost a bid to be attorney general, he was quoted in The Washington Times as saying he opposes abortion unless the mother's life is in danger and "supports exceptions for rape and incest if the woman reports the crime to police within a week."
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September 21, 2005
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio speaks out
Check out this great call to action from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio over a bill that could potentially outlaw abortion entirely in the state. Unbelievable:
This past spring anti-choice representatives in the Ohio House introduced a bill that would completely outlaw abortion in Ohio without exception: not to save a woman's life, not for victims of rape or incest. It would even put someone in jail for 15 years for driving a woman to another state to get an abortion. When he introduced the bill, Rep. Brinkman announced that his plan was to get the bill passed and then take it to the Supreme Court and use it to overturn Roe. Initially this looked like a far-fetched dream, but now with the dual vacancy on the Court, and John Roberts as the nominee for Chief Justice this dream may quickly turn into a reality and a nightmare for women in Ohio.
Pro-choice Ohioans need to stand up now and say NO. We can't let this attack on Roe come from our home state! Please help us keep Brinkman's dreams in his imagination. Protect the right to choose in your community. Check out the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio website for ways to get involved.
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September 19, 2005
Real women, real choices
The New York Times had a really powerful piece this weekend on abortion, Under Din of Abortion Debate, an Experience Shared Quietly. The article focused on several women in an Arkansas clinic who were all there to terminate their pregnancies.
I think it’s important to always bring back choice issues to women--so often it’s just about this law or that law. It’s easy to forget how acutely this issue affects women’s actual lives.
Check out one of the stories told after the jump, but please--read the whole article.
She arrived at the clinic with a cut on her nose and bruises on her forehead and lip, which she suffered after telling her boyfriend she was pregnant. "He flipped out because he wasn't ready," she said. She had thought, upon learning of the pregnancy, that she "was about to get married," she said. She came in with two fellow sergeants, who wore their uniforms. Her boyfriend was in jail, she said.
"I've done this once and swore I wouldn't do it again," Regina said. "Every woman has second thoughts, especially because I'm Catholic." She went to confession and met with her priest, she added. "The priest didn't hound me. He said, 'People make mistakes.' "
In the operating room, a team of nurses gave her injections to relieve anxiety and pain. Dr. Edwards inserted a speculum and maneuvered a plastic suction device around her uterus. "Don't leave," she entreated Ms. Osborne. The procedure lasted about five minutes.
As she lay on the table, Regina wept and put an arm around Ms. Osborne, asking how things looked "in there."
"I'm not a baby, that's what's so sad," Regina said. "Thank you, ladies, for being here for me. I'm too old to make these mistakes."
She said the experience was emotional because she had expected more of the father.
She spoke to Dr. Edwards. "Thank you, sir," she said.
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September 16, 2005
Lawmakers override Romney’s veto
''We do hope they will work as quickly as possible. We will be giving them information and examples from other states to make sure the process moves as quickly as possible. We're gathering that already," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. ''We'll be monitoring the situation."
In addition to allowing trained Massachusetts pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill, the new law requires hospitals to offer it to rape victims.
Now let’s just hope it doesn’t take them forever and a day to implement the law.
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Missouri Gov. signs anti-choice legislation
The Associated Press reports that that Governor Matt Blunt signed legislation yesterday that would allow lawsuits against people who help teens get abortions in other states. (Missouri has a parental consent law.)
"That's a First Amendment violation, it's a violation of people's rights to information and it's bad public policy," he said.
Sigh. I hate Fridays sometimes.
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September 15, 2005
Michigan's abortion law found unconstitutional
Thought we could take a (little) break from the hearings...don't worry though, we'll get back to it this afternoon.
The Associated Press reports that a federal judge declared Michigan's so-called partial birth abortion law unconstitutional.]
Hood said the law is confusing and vague, and its exceptions for the health or life of a mother are meaningless and unconstitutional.
"The act does not describe any specific procedure to be banned," Hood wrote. "The act also does not distinguish between induced abortion and pregnancy loss."
Always nice to get some good news...
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September 9, 2005
Parental consent law passes in Ohio
What's with the written notes from parents? This is just too ridiculous. Young women in Ohio must now give their doctors a parental permission slip of sorts before obtaining an abortion. Cause that makes a lot of sense.
The law was actually passed in 1998 but was never enforced--until now.
Just great. Let's make it harder on teen girls...ugh.
Posted by Jessica at 11:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 2, 2005
Kline case nears court
This week, those on both sides of the debate ramped up their arguments for why Kline is either safeguarding women against predators or seeking to score political points by violating private medical records.
Kline is seeking the medical records of 90 women and girls who received abortions at the Comprehensive Health clinic in Overland Park and the Women’s Health Care clinic in Wichita.
As you already know, Kline claims that he is seeking the records to go after child rapists. My question is, if Kline is so concerned about statutory rape, then why isn’t he doing anything about 13 year-olds getting married in his state?
The New York Times recently covered a story about a 22 year-old man being brought up on criminal charges in Nebraska for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The kicker? After she got pregnant, the parents brought her to Kansas where she married the man being charged with her rape. Sigh.
The Nebraska Attorney General is pursuing a case against the 22 year-old man, but not a word has come out of Kline. I guess statutory rape is fine so long as you don’t have an abortion.
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August 30, 2005
Scariest thing ever
A new law in Texas could mean that docs who perform abortions without parental approval would face capital murder charges. Yeah, you heard right.
...A capital murder conviction can result in the death penalty.
While proponents of the legislation say that bringing murder charges against doctors wasn’t their intent (whatever), the law would still allow for it.
That means a doctor performing a prohibited abortion could be accused of capital murder because the capital murder law covers the death of a child under age 6, according to the prosecutors association.
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August 29, 2005
Record number of anti-choice state laws this year
Ugh. Not that this is news, but today’s Washington Post article really put in perspective:
Since January, governors have signed several dozen antiabortion measures ranging from parental consent requirements to an outright ban looming in South Dakota. Not since 1999, when a wave of laws banning late-term abortions swept the legislatures, have states imposed so many and so varied a menu of regulations on reproductive health care.
Sigh. Read the whole piece for the specifics...feel free to be depressed. But then get of your tukus and start figuring out what you’re going to do about it.
Posted by Jessica at 10:23 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
August 26, 2005
Texas parental consent law goes into effect next week
It could be as late as spring before a form gets final approval from the state medical examiners board at one of its regularly scheduled meetings, Wiggins said.
In the meantime, Wiggins said, doctors may use a consent form already in use for another reproductive medical procedure.
Great...one form, another form--does it really make a difference? Young women are still being denied their right to choose.
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August 24, 2005
Ohio clinic sues to protect women’s medical records
The Associated Press reports that an Ohio women’s health clinic has brought forward a lawsuit in attempt to block the Health Department from seizing and reviewing patients’ medical records.
The Ohio Department of Health sought access to the records of every patient who visited the center in May and June as part of an investigation of an undisclosed complaint.
The Central Ohio Women's Center said that releasing the records could violate federal medical privacy laws. The center, affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio, said it is not aware of any complaints against it.
The records include such sensitive information as type of birth control used, number of sexual partners and type of intercourse practiced, said Lisa Perks, the center's executive director. She called the Health Department's request a "fishing expedition."
Yeah, I would say so. Both Indiana and Kansas have similar probs going on. This isn’t about the law or protecting young women. This is about intimidation and violating privacy rights, and it’s disgusting.
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August 18, 2005
Kansas AG wants court order prohibiting state-funded abortions
The suit also seeks to have the court determine that life starts at fertilization when "a new, unique and genetically distinct human being is formed, distinct from its host while dependent upon her."
The state is allowed through Medicaid, a federal and state funded program that provides health care to low-income Kansans, to pay for abortions. State officials did not immediately say how many abortions were funded through Medicaid per year.
Governor Sebelius rightly criticized the lawsuit:
Um, hello?! Kline is pushing this case as if the state is funding all women’s abortions, when it’s actually only specific dire-needs cases. I guess shouldn’t expect any better, considering his track record.
Posted by Jessica at 1:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Missouri governor calls lawmakers into special session to impose abortion restrictions
Yesterday, Missouri governor Matt Blunt notified lawmakers of a September 6th special session to impose new restrictions on abortions.
(How about increased access to contraception? Guess not...) One restriction Blunt is attempting to pass is a law that would allow parents to sue people who take their minor daughters across state lines to obtain an abortion (Missouri has a parental consent law). The others aren’t much better. Sigh.
Posted by Jessica at 9:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 17, 2005
Virginia candidates for governor poor on choice
The group endorsed Democrats for lieutenant governor, attorney general and most delegate races but said Democratic Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine failed to earn its backing for governor because of his support for some abortion restrictions.
The group condemned Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore as an "extremely anti-choice" candidate, and it charged that he would sign legislation to criminalize abortion and restrict access to contraceptives if given the chance.
"Tim Kaine . . . has said he would not sign such legislation, but he embraces many of the restrictions on a woman's right to choose that are opposed by NARAL," the group's statement said. "We cannot therefore offer any endorsement in this year's race for governor."
Anyone from Virginia around want to weigh in?
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August 15, 2005
Katha Pollitt: “Feminists for (Fetal) Life”
Since the Roberts nomination, and the news that Jane Roberts used to be the Executive Director of Feminists for Life, pro-choicers have been wondering if there’s such thing as an anti-choice feminist.
Katha Pollitt’s latest column takes the controversy on after talking with Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster:
The problem is that FFL doesn't just oppose abortion. FFL wants
abortion to be illegal. All abortions, period, including those for rape, incest, health, major fetal defects and, although Foster resisted admitting this, even some abortions most doctors would say were necessary to save the woman's life. (Although FFL is not a Catholic organization, its rejection of therapeutic abortion follows Catholic doctrine.) FFL wants doctors who perform abortions to be punished, possibly with prison terms.
It was extremely difficult to get Foster to say what she thought would happen if abortion was banned. At one point she would not concede that women would continue to have abortions if it was recriminalized; at another she argued that criminalization was no big deal: Instructions on self-abortion were posted on the Internet. I had to work to get her to admit that illegal abortion was common before Roe, and that it was dangerous--numbers on abortion deaths were concocted by pre-Roe legalization advocates, she told me. Yet the FFL website prominently features gory stories of abortion mishaps and discredited claims that abortion causes breast cancer....So legal abortion is dangerous but illegal abortion would be safe?
...It is indeed feminist to say no woman should have to abort a wanted child to stay in school or have a career...Exposing the constraints on women's choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there's only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women's moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women's lives and health--for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don't want children at all..
Pollitt goes on to call the group “fetalists,” not feminists. What do you guys think? Is there such a thing as an anti-choice feminist?
Posted by Jessica at 2:25 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
Florida clinic reopens after fire
"There was never a doubt that we were not going to go forward and rebuild the center," said Mona Reis, the center's director. "Literally hours after we were able to come into the office, we had contractors and hired a cleanup company."
Reis said it was important to reopen as soon as possible. The center's staff had been referring patients to other clinics outside the county. Reis looked into establishing a temporary office to continue providing services to women, but she said the logistics proved too difficult. That made it imperative that the rebuilding effort progress quickly, she said.
..."There were a lot of volunteers that came over, and cried and hugged and brought cookies and chocolate and made financial donations," Reis said. "The outpouring of support and encouragement was certainly heartwarming and humbling."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still investigating the fire.
I’m glad to see the Center is back up and running; they serve between 4,000 and 5,000 patients annually, most of whom are uninsured women who need affordable and accessible reproductive health care the most.
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August 12, 2005
Spotlight on Wisconsin
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin has asked the three announced candidates for governor of Wisconsin to clarify whether they believe contraception is a form of abortion.
"This request is especially pressing in light of recent comments by the state's leading anti-choice, anti-birth control interest group indicating its intention to pass legislation limiting access to contraception, which, contrary to medical science, it believes is a form of abortion," the letter said.
..."Birth control is basic health care, and the men and women of Wisconsin deserve to know where the candidates stand on this issue of fundamental importance," said Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin in a separate written statement.
The three candidates for governor thus far are incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay, both Republicans.
Of the three, only Doyle has voiced his support for access to contraception, according to NARAL.
Anyone from Wisconsin want to weigh in?
Posted by Jessica at 6:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
August 11, 2005
As you probably know, for one reason or another NARAL is the hot topic these days.
If you’re feeling inundated by right-wing extremist crap, check out these folks for a nice dose of reality:
Echidne of the Snakes
Posted by Jessica at 10:21 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
August 9, 2005
Listen to choice news!
Now you can listen to the latest choice news. (Not that we don’t love you reading here!) Everyone’s favorite podcast on gender issues is back in the game. After a brief hiatus, Sex Talk has returned with a kick-ass new show.
Sex Talk creator Rebel Dad talks about the future of the show, the Roberts nomination, and some of the news you may have missed because of Roberts-fever.
Ahem, there is also an interview with me on emergency contraception woes in New York and Massachusetts, among other issues.
Make sure to check it out and show your support.
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Bush administration says NH parental notification law constitutional
Ugh. And the hits just keep on coming.
The Justice Department filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court yesterday arguing that New Hampshire’s parental notification law is not unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decided to hear the New Hampshire case after an appeals court found it unconstitutional because there was no health exception.
Hmm...why does that sound familiar? The brief filed noted that the parental notification case could have bearing on the bullshit Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which also lacks a health exception. So essentially the White House is trying to influence the court on the parental notification case because of its larger implications.
You know, you would think that if anti-choice folks wanted to make some headway with these laws, they would take women’s health and lives into consideration.
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August 8, 2005
NY Times profiles Executive Director of NARAL NY
In case you missed it Friday, go check out Choosing When to Be a Mother Hen, The New York Times’ profile on NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Executive Director Kelli Conlin.
Some of my fave quotes from her...
On choice: “It doesn't make sense to people who see us as abortion-rights activists, but to me, being pro-choice means seeing it as bigger than one issue and one position...[NARAL’s] reason for being is to make sure every woman in this country is able to chart her reproductive destiny...Without that, women are not free.”
On Pataki: “There’s no doubt in my mind that if he were running for re-election as governor of New York he would have signed this bill...This is about contraception, not abortions. It's the birth control pill, for God's sake; it's the most tested drug of our time!”
On faith: “I am pro-choice because of my faith, and not in spite of it, and I resent it that our opponents like to create the impression that theirs is the only morality that counts.”
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August 4, 2005
Washington Post: Pandering pill needed
Richard Cohen tells it like it is in his Washington Post column today, Needed: A Pill for Pandering.
With governors George Pataki and Mitt Romney going ape shit over emergency contraception because of presidential dreams, Cohen suggests a morning-after pill for pandering politicians. Love it.
Similarly, Romney, too, is finding himself in a strange mood when it comes to abortion and similar matters close to the hearts of conservative Republicans. As he mulls a presidential run, he has been mulling abortion, too. He has discovered -- maybe in Iowa, where he, too, has been -- that his position has changed...
...It has become clear that a viable Republican presidential candidate must oppose abortion, stem cell research, the morning-after pill, gay marriage and, for good measure, evolution. At the very least, you have to offer a good word for "intelligent design," as the president did just the other day in the single dopiest statement of his presidency.
These are positions that defy logic -- not each and every one of them but as a totality. Taken together, they require GOP presidential candidates to take a kind of loyalty oath to ignorance, to see virtually every issue through a religious prism.
So true. This is what kills me. No matter what your political beliefs are, you have to recognize how these recent “decisions” make no sense whatsoever. Clearly the anti-choice moves that Pataki and Romney have made piss me off for specific choice reasons--they are rolling back women’s rights and will have insanely negative effects on women’s lives. But I would imagine that even anti-choice folks would find this pandering insulting. What do you think?
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August 3, 2005
Anti-choice folks Missouri are trying to create a “Choose Life” license plate...didn’t we cover this already?
So far, the potential “Choose Life” license plate has moved quietly through the administrative process, garnering almost no public response. Yet that is not likely to last.
Similar license plates have sparked vigorous debates, even lawsuits, in other states. And Missouri remains an abortion battleground, even though its elected politicians predominantly promote themselves as “pro-life.”
Indeed, Missouri legislators have tried to do something similar for years.
In 1999, a bipartisan majority opposed to abortion rights passed two bills that would have created “Respect Life” license plates available to anyone who donated $25 to the “Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Support Fund.” But Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, an abortion-rights supporter, vetoed the bills.
Since then, lawmakers have proposed 11 bills, including several this year, to create a “Respect Life” license plate.
Why not just get a bumper sticker? Jeez...
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August 1, 2005
More on the Culture of Li(f)e(s)
By Dr. B
Since being asked to guest blog for BvC today I have actually found myself at a loss for words. I talk a lot about choice. I think about it constantly. As the daughter of a strongly pro-choice medical professional who saw the horrors of botched abortions firsthand, I grew up knowing that choice was the only thing that can truly keep women safe.
Five years ago I moved from a large urban city with a very liberal environment to small town conservative America and found myself in an extreme state of culture shock. Just when I thought that my current political climate couldn't get any better I saw that climate spread...nationally. Like most folks I know I threatened to expatriate after the 2000 election. Folks tried to placate me with cries of “there's only so much that can happen in 4 years.” Boy, were they wrong! We watched the emergence of the “Culture of Life” begin. And then in 2004 we watched the beginning of “four more years” and optimistic friends tried to reassure us that “he'll be too busy with the situation in the Middle East to worry about women's rights.” Well, this administration quickly dispelled that notion and we find ourselves in a society once again parents feel more comfortable marrying their 13 year old daughters off to 22 year old pedophiles with mental disabilities than giving them a choice and a chance at life.
We have seen what the “Culture of Life” can do firsthand on dirty kitchen tables and in back alleys and swore we'd never go back there. Countries that “we” have called backwards or third world are now finding themselves in that same situation and it seems more and more that this is where we are determined to go back to. We have seen pharmacists claim the right to refuse contraception to women based on their own beliefs. (What's next? Refusal to distribute anti-depressants or cancer meds? Of course, the same would never be true of Viagra even when folks are going blind. But who cares if you're blind as long as you have an erection, right?) This administration and all of it's cronies are trying to scare women into submission. “Have an abortion and we'll know.” Women have come up with all manner of ways to respond including knitting for choice. There is some poetic justice in taking up knitting needles in favor of health care rather than using them for health care. I do my bit when I can. Knit a womb. Post a bumper sticker. Speak up. Donate to great pro-choice organizations. Wear my NARAL button proudly.
Let's do something about the Culture of Li(f)e(s)!
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Thank god we don't have to pretend we're in this to save babies anymore
By Amanda, Pandagon
I've noticed lately a reduction in the amount of pooh-poohing feminist fears that once a genuine ban on abortion is within the grasp of the Wingnutteria, they will dispense with the fakey concern about saving babies and proceed to attack contraceptive rights. Of course, that's because with the looming appointment of an anti-choice Supreme Court justice, a lot of "pro-lifers" are abandoning the pretense that they care about babies and jumping feet first back into the more comfortable territory of punishing women for having The Sex. This week's casulties are the students that attend University of Wisconsin schools, as the legislature there just passed a bill banning all schools from dispensing any kind of birth control. (The bill is aimed at banning emergency contraception from university health centers, but critics like Alice Reilly-Myklebust in her testimony before the Assembly Committee on Family Law contend that it will effectively ban health centers from prescribing any kind of hormonal birth control to female students, due to the vague wording of the bill.)
And they didn't even come up with a pseudo-compassionate argument to justify it. Not even a maudlin speech about the poor suffering sperm who either bonk their heads on condoms or manage to get to their destination to be crushingly disappointed not to find an egg there to fertilize. Just straight-up stick it to the sluts reasoning. Actually, I'm joking about the sperm bonking their heads. As you can imagine, the only people who are banned from obtaining birth control on campus are women, not men.
Wisconsin State Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, introduced this bill based on the belief that "dispensing birth control and emergency contraceptives leads to promiscuity."
In reality, what contraception does for college age women is leads to getting that diploma without being encumbered by child-bearing. Perhaps that is what's really pissing off the legislators who passed this. After all, we have Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum cruising around the talk show circuit right now making it clear that he dislikes birth control precisely because it gives women the ability to limit their child-bearing so that they can have careers and lives outside of the home. The mask is coming off the "pro-life" movement and their real anti-woman goals are becoming easy to see.
Speaking of Santorum, I was thinking over that funny moment in his interview with George Stephanopaulos where he couldn't cough up the name of one "radical feminist" (Santorum is one of those conservatives who has almost surely never said the word "feminist" without the adjective "radical" attached to it) besides Gloria Steinam. We all laughed at how stupid Santorum is to write a book where he bitches and moans about the feminist movement when he doesn't know jack shit about it. All he knows is that women use birth control, get jobs, choose not to marry if they'd like or choose to divorce if their marriages aren't working out for them, and that pisses him off.
And then it occured to me that since Santorum was most likely thinking of the ordinary, non-activist women of this country, many of whom don't even refer to themselves as feminists, then that probably means that the beloved term "radical feminist" is one of those infamous conservative code words. I thought it meant any feminist at all, but now that I think about it, Santorum probably thinks any woman who doesn't eschew work in order to marry and pump out kid after kid is a radical feminist. Which is to say, the majority of women in this country.
Posted by at 3:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
How They Could Destroy Roe Without Overturning It
By Ampersand, Alas a Blog
There's been a lot of anxious discussion of what might happen if Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court - something that might cause a large pro-choice backlash across the country. Another possibility, however, is that the Court might destroy the right to abortion for most women - and do it without actually overturning Roe, thus remaining relatively "below the radar." Here's how that could work.
The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a case called Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The press usually reports Ayotte as a parental notification case - but that's only part of what's at stake in Ayotte, and it's probably the less important part.
So what else is at stake in Ayotte? In the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Sandra Day O'Connor created something called "the undue burden standard." Under this standard, if an abortion regulation is likely to be unconstitutional as applied to a significant number of women, then the law itself is unconstitutional.
So, for example, when Congress recently passed a partial-birth abortion ban, pro-choice groups suing to overturn such laws don't need to prove that the law would be unconstitutional as applied to every single woman under every imaginable set of circumstances. The fact that the ban made no provision to protect women's health-meaning that it would be unconstitutional if applied to women who need "partial birth" abortions for health reasons-was enough to cause the law to be blocked entirely.
It seems unlikely—indeed, virtually impossible—that the Court would use Ayotte to overrule Roe. But if the Court reaches the second question and holds that
In short, many of the rights guaranteed women by Roe and Casey could be eviscerated by Ayotte-but in a quiet, technical fashion that would protect the Republican party from voter backlash.
It's by no means inevitable that the
Pro-choicers should follow the Ayotte case closely.
More blogging about Ayotte:
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