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Old 02-18-2012, 08:18 PM   #1
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Default The Assault on Womens Sexual and Reproductive Rights



In other threads, information on radical changes to the sexual and reproductive rights of women in the USA have surfaced.

According to the Guttmacher Institute :

States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in 2011
January 5, 2012

By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009. (Note: This analysis refers to reproductive health and rights-related “provisions,” rather than bills or laws, since bills introduced and eventually enacted in the states contain multiple relevant provisions.)

Fully 68% of these new provisions—92 in 24 states—-restrict access to abortion services, a striking increase from last year, when 26% of new provisions restricted abortion. The 92 new abortion restrictions enacted in 2011 shattered the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005.


Abortion Restrictions Took Many Forms

Bans. The most high-profile state-level abortion debate of 2011 took place in Mississippi, where voters rejected the ballot initiative that would have legally defined a human embryo as a person “from the moment of fertilization,” setting the stage to ban all abortions and, potentially, most hormonal contraceptive methods in the state. Meanwhile, five states (AL, ID, IN, KS and OK) enacted provisions to ban abortion at or beyond 20 weeks’ gestation, based on the spurious assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that point. These five states join Nebraska, which adopted a ban on abortions after 20 weeks in 2010 (see State Policies on Later Abortions). A similar limitation was vetoed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D).

Waiting Periods. Three states adopted waiting period requirements for a woman seeking an abortion. In the most egregious of the waiting-period provisions, a new South Dakota law would have required a woman to obtain pre-abortion counseling in person at the abortion facility at least 72 hours prior to the procedure; it would also have required her to visit a state-approved crisis pregnancy center during that 72-hour interval. The law was quickly enjoined in federal district court and is not in effect. A new provision in Texas requires that women who live less than 100 miles from an abortion provider obtain counseling in person at the facility at least 24 hours in advance. Finally, new provisions in North Carolina require counseling at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. With the addition of new requirements in Texas and North Carolina, 26 states mandate that a woman seeking an abortion must wait a prescribed period of time between the counseling and the procedure (see Counseling and Waiting Periods for Abortion).

Ultrasound. Five states adopted provisions mandating that a woman obtain an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. The two most stringent provisions were adopted in North Carolina and Texas and were immediately enjoined by federal district courts. Both of these restrictions would have required the provider to show and describe the image to the woman. The other three new provisions (in AZ, FL and KS), all of which are in effect, require the abortion provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image or listen to a verbal description of it. These new restrictions bring to six the number of states that mandate the performance of an ultrasound prior to an abortion (see Requirements for Ultrasound).

Insurance Coverage. Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah adopted provisions prohibiting all insurance policies in the state from covering abortion except in cases of life endangerment; they all permit individuals to purchase additional coverage at their own expense. These new restrictions bring to eight the number of states limiting abortion coverage in all private insurance plans (see Restricting Insurance Coverage of Abortion).

These four provisions also apply to coverage purchased through the insurance exchanges that will be established as part of the implementation of health care reform. Five additional states (FL, ID, IN, OH and VA) adopted requirements that apply only to coverage purchased on the exchange. The addition of these nine states brings to 16 the number of states restricting abortion coverage available through state insurance exchanges.

Clinic Regulations. Four states enacted provisions directing the state department of health to issue regulations governing facilities and physicians’ offices that provide abortion services. A new provision in Virginia requires a facility providing at least five abortions per month to meet the requirements for a hospital in the state. New requirements in Kansas, Pennsylvania and Utah direct the health agency to develop standards for abortion providers, including requirements for staffing, physical plant, equipment and emergency supplies; supporters of the measures made it clear that the goal was to set standards that would be difficult, if not impossible, for abortion providers to meet. Enforcement of the proposed Kansas regulations has been enjoined by a state court.

Medication Abortion. In 2011, states for the first time moved to limit provision of medication abortion by prohibiting the use of telemedicine. Seven states (AZ, KS, NE, ND, OK, SD and TN) adopted provisions requiring that the physician prescribing the medication be in the same room as the patient (see Medication Abortion).

Family Planning Under Pressure
Family planning services and providers were especially hard-pressed in 2011, facing significant cuts to funding levels, as well as attempts to disqualify some providers for funding because of their association with abortion. Considering the historic fiscal crises facing many states, it is significant that family planning escaped major reductions in nine (CO, CT, DE, IL, KS, MA, ME, NY and PA)of the 18 states where the budget has a specific line-item for family planning. The story, however, was different in the remaining nine states. In six (FL, GA, MI, MN, WA and WI), family planning programs sustained deep cuts, although generally in line with decreases adopted for other health programs. In the other three states, however, the cuts to family planning funding were disproportionate to those to other health programs: Montana eliminated the family planning line item, and New Hampshire and Texas cut funding by 57% and 66%, respectively.

Indiana, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina Texas and Wisconsin, meanwhile, moved to disqualify or otherwise bar certain types of providers from the receipt of family planning funds. New Hampshire decided not to renew its contract through which the Planned Parenthood affiliate in the state received Title X funds.

Given the difficult fiscal and political climate in states in 2011, it is especially noteworthy that Maryland, Washington and Ohio took steps to expand Medicaid eligibility for family planning. With these changes, 24 states have expanded eligibility for family planning under Medicaid based solely on income; seven have utilized the new authority under health care reform (see Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions).

Abstinence-Only Education Is Back
Unlike in recent years when states had moved to expand access to comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, the only relevant measures enacted in 2011 expanded abstinence education. Mississippi, which had long mandated abstinence education, adopted provisions that make it more difficult for a school district to include other subjects, such as contraception, in order to offer a more comprehensive curriculum. A district will now need to get specific permission to do so from the state department of education. A new requirement enacted in North Dakota mandates that the health education provided in the state include information on the benefits of abstinence “until and within marriage.” Including North Dakota, 37 states now mandate abstinence education (see Sex and HIV Education).
--------------------------

ARIZONA: In January, the state agreed not to enforce a provision that prohibits citizens from claiming a tax credit for donations to any organization that “provides, pays for, promotes, provides coverage of or provides referrals for abortions.” The state’s move is in line with a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to block the tax credit provision from going into effect on the grounds that the law violates constitutionally protected free speech rights.
-----------------

TEXAS: In January, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a U.S. District Court judge that blocked enforcement of the state’s newly enacted ultrasound requirements, which require an abortion provider or a certified technician to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion. The woman is offered the option of viewing the image and listening to the fetal heartbeat, and must listen to a detailed verbal description of the image unless she was raped, has a court order waiving parental consent or is ending the pregnancy because of a fetal abnormality. The panel held that the required provisions do not constitute forced speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment. The panel also overruled the District Court’s decision to block a provision that requires abortion counseling to be conducted by the abortion provider on the grounds that the language was unconstitutionally vague. (In early February, a U.S. District Court judge allowed the law to go into effect.)
------------------------------------

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In January, the House passed a measure that would establish a four-tiered priority system for the allocation of family planning funds that excludes family planning clinics from eligibility. Under this system, public health organizations would have the highest priority, followed by nonpublic hospitals, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and finally, private medical organizations that focus on primary health services. The bill would also prohibit allocating funds to organizations that perform elective abortions or run facilities that perform elective abortions. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate
------------------------------------

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In January, the House passed a measure that would consider a fetus at 24 weeks “of gestation” as a victim of homicide. The bill would not permit prosecution in cases of medical treatment provided with the consent of the woman or her guardian. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate
----------------------------------------------
Guttmacher provides monthly updates on new developments Here

-------------
There is so much information to wade thru. Feel free to add on as you see things. I am hoping we can find some stuff on what is being done to fight back and by whom.


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Old 02-18-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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From NARAL Pro-Choice America's web site, things you can do to stand up for access to abortion, birth control and sex education:

Take Action
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the informative link Liam!


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Old 02-18-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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Default Ballot Measures in 2012

California
In California, anti-choice forces are collecting signatures for ballot measures that would impose a dangerous parental-involvement mandate and mandatory 48-hour delay on young women who seek abortion care. These measures jeopardize the health and safety of young women who, for fear of violence or in cases of incest, cannot turn to their parents. In addition, anti-choice advocates have proposed a "personhood" measure on the ballot, which would ban abortion.

Florida
Voters in Florida will vote on an amendment that would eliminate protections in Florida's constitution that guarantee women the right to privacy. Anti-choice advocates also have initiated a campaign to place a "personhood" measure on the ballot, which would ban abortion and could even ban common forms of birth control.

Massachusetts I live here. Why have I not heard this?
In Massachusetts, anti-choice groups are pushing for a voter referendum that would ban insurance coverage of abortion care.

Montana
In 2012, Montana voters will face a parental-involvement measure. It would jeopardize the health and safety of young women who, for fear of violence or in cases of incest, cannot turn to their parents. In addition, anti-choice groups are collecting signatures to place a "personhood" measure on the ballot. This measure would outlaw abortion and could even ban common forms of birth control.

Nevada
Anti-choice advocates have initiated a campaign to place a "personhood" measure on the ballot, which could ban abortion and even common forms of birth control. The measure's backers are collecting the signatures needed to qualify it for the ballot.

Ohio
Anti-choice advocates in Ohio have initiated a campaign to place a "personhood" measure on the ballot. It would ban abortion and could even make some common forms of birth control illegal. The deadline for submitting the Ohio petition's signatures is July 6, 2012.

Oregon
Anti-choice advocates in Oregon have initiated a campaign to place a "personhood" measure on the ballot, with the intention to ban abortion.


http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/gove...e-governments/
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Default House committee OKs bill to outlaw abortions based on race, gender

By Stephanie Snyder / Cronkite News Service | Friday, February 17, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Election 2012

WASHINGTON - A House committee Thursday approved a bill to ban abortions based on the gender or race of the child, a practice that Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz, called one of the greatest threats to civil rights in the country.(Trent Franks has called Obama "an enemy of humanity". He supports Gingrich. And I'm pretty comfortable saying he doesnt give a crap about civil rights.)

"The effort of this bill here is to simply say that we cannot discriminate against unborn children subjected to abortion," said Franks, the sponsor of the bill. "Somehow it seemed like we could come together on that." But opponents questioned whether race- or sex-selection abortions are actually happening, and they said the bill would do the opposite of what its supporters claim, by making it harder for poor and minority women to get health care.

"The African American and Hispanic communities are underserved when it comes to prenatal care, maternal and child health care services," said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., at a hearing on the bill last week. "By every measure, our community is medically underserved and 3541 (the bill) is only reinforcing it."

Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee vote followed a week of jockeying on the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, with Democrats trying with little success to amend the measure. The final vote split along party lines, with 20 Republicans voting for it and 13 Democrats voting against.

The bill would make it illegal to knowingly perform sex- or race-selection abortions or to coerce a woman to undergo such a procedure. It also sets civil and criminal penalties for the action and requires that doctors and nurses report known or suspected cases of selection abortions, among other provisions.

Opponents charged that the bill would be almost impossible to enforce, and they accused Franks of using its discrimination claims merely as a vehicle for an anti-abortion agenda. Franks said the issue of race and gender discrimination in abortions is real - but he agreed with critics that he has an anti-abortion agenda and the bill is part of that.

"If Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinics continue to serve the underserved like they’ve been doing, then pretty soon there won’t be any underserved to serve," Franks said at one of the earlier hearings on the bill.

The committee met three times, with Democrats offering amendments to do everything from delaying its effective date, addressing employment discrimination against pregnant women and creating an "Office of Pregnant Women," among others.

Ultimately, the only successful amendment was one to strip the names "Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass" from the title of the bill.

"This is an insult to the memory of two giants in our history," Rep. Mel Watts, D-N.C., said last week. "To try to drag them down into some current-day debate about whether abortion or life begins at conception or viability, when that wasn’t even an issue when they were around, is just an abomination in my opinion." By Thursday, most of the debate was over and the bill was approved in less than two hours of batting back amendments.

Douglas Johnson, federal legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said he was not surprised by Democrats’ repeated amendment attempts.

"Opponents of the bill wanted to talk about everything but the actual practice of sex-selection abortions in the United States," he said.

Johnson said when similar legislation was introduced in the early 1980s, "there was a lot of pooh-poohing that this was even happening in the United States." But Pennsylvania and Illinois have since banned sex-selection abortions and Arizona outlaws both race- and sex-selection abortions, which has increased awareness.

"It’s getting pretty difficult for people to deny it’s going on," Johnson said. He claimed that is particularly true among some ethnic groups where it is culturally desirable to want a boy instead of a girl.

"I don’t think anyone, including Mr. Franks, is holding out for this to be a cure-all," Johnson said. "But (the bill would) make it less common rather than make it more prevalent."

---

THE PRENATAL NONDISCRIMINATION ACT

The House Judiciary Committee has given preliminary approval to HR 3541, an abortion-restriction measure that would:

- Make it a crime to knowingly perform abortions based on the sex or race of the fetus.

- Make it a crime to coerce a woman into undergoing such a procedure.

- Make it a crime to solicit or accept funds to perform a selection abortion.

- Make it a crime to transport a woman across national or state lines for the procedure.

- Allow a woman to sue anyone who engages in such activity.

- Allow a father to sue anyone engaged in such activity.

- Allow the maternal grandparents to sue anyone who performed the procedure on their minor daughter.

- Impose penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine.

- Require medical professionals to report known or suspected cases, or face charges.

- Exempt a mother who undergoes such a procedure from criminal or civil charges.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_...icleid=1404319
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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Default Tell Congress: Stop trying to block women's access to Birth Control

Despite overwhelming public support for birth control, anti-birth control lawmakers aren't backing down. They are determined to give employers the power to deny women coverage for contraception — and they don't want to hear from women or from anyone who disagrees with them.

These legislators included five male religious leaders in the opening panel of the House hearing on the birth control coverage requirement — and not a single woman. In fact, they turned away a young woman from Georgetown University who had been invited by Democrats on the committee to testify about the role birth control plays in women's health.

Write Congress via Planned Parenthood
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:49 PM   #7
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I need to find the article where Virginia is proposing that women wanting an abortion will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before having the abortion procedure.

So basically, the state gets to rape women with a device before they can have an abortion.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
I need to find the article where Virginia is proposing that women wanting an abortion will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before having the abortion procedure.

So basically, the state gets to rape women with a device before they can have an abortion.
It's in the breaking news thread.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:55 AM   #9
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Default Virginia Likely to Require Ultrasound for Abortion - final vote on Monday. Gov will sign if passed.

Feb 18, 2012 8:00am

Virginia is set to add itself to a list of seven states that require woman to get an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.

Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for American’s United for Life, said that the issue surrounding the Virginia bill is not “some kind of political phenomenon,” but instead “about a life-saving test.”

“Ultrasounds are the gold standard in medical care for pregnant woman,” Hamrick said. “Woman have died from abortion-inducing drugs, when there is an ectopic pregnancy, for example. It is vital to protect woman’s health, and ultrasounds are absolutely vital for protecting woman’s health, for determining how far along is the pregnancy.”

Amy Bryant, an OB/GYN at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who offers abortions as part of her practice, said, however, that, “there is no absolute medical necessity for this,” and the determination to do an abortion, “should be at the physician’s discretion.”

“Physicians that do abortions are fully medically trained and know when it’s indicated to do an ultrasound or not, and do it accordingly,” Bryant said. “And sometimes, women present for abortion having had an ultrasound elsewhere. Requiring them to have this specific kind of ultrasound prior to an abortion can be stressing, can be unnecessary… and, in my opinion, should not be mandated in such a way that it might not be medically necessary for a particular patient.”

Hamrick, however, said, “determining what is sound medical care, is absolutely of interest to states,” adding that state oversight, “happens in a number of other settings, not just this one.”

The law would require a woman, without her consent, to receive an ultrasound and give her ”an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion,” an option she can decline.

Many women receive abortion very early in their pregnancies, which would mean that, in some cases, a trans-vaginal ultrasound would be required.

Bryant described it as an invasive procedure, where a probe goes inside the vagina to see the pregnancy, adding that, “every woman who has had an abortion thinks long and hard about the decision she’s making and does not need [a] state-mandated, coercive procedure to try and help dissuade her from having an abortion.”


But proponents of the bill such as Hamrick argue, “This is important to protect women’s health.”

“Tell me the type of situation when a woman would say, ‘I want to risk my life’,” she said.

The cost for the procedure could be left to the woman, because insurance would be unlikely to cover it. It can range in price, averaging a few hundred dollars.

The bill, which passed the Virginia Senate two weeks ago, will be voted on by the state house on Monday and is expected to fully pass because an equivalent bill was introduced and passed in the house just this week.

In a prepared statement, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, told ABC News he supports “the concept that a woman should have all of the information possible before she makes a decision about terminating a pregnancy” and will, therefore, sign the bill into law.


Opponents of the measure argue that would be a mistake.

“They are taking us back generations,” Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell said. “Virginia has been known as a moderate state, a pro-business state, and now we are turning dramatically backwards. Nobody can say these are moderate views and I think it’s going to be discouraging to woman and families who want to move to Virginia for business purposes.”

Howell introduced an amendment to the bill that failed which would have required men to receive a digital rectal exam and cardiac stress test before they would be able to be prescribed erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra and Cialis.

“I was fed up with the way woman’s rights were being trampled in Virginia,” Howell said. “We didn’t have the votes to stop the bill, so I thought I’d use satire and bring a little gender equity to the situation.”


State senators Jill Vogel and Ralph K. Smith, sponsors of the bill, could not be reached for comment by ABC News.

Another bill that passed the Virginia house but not yet made its way to Senate would provide rights to “unborn children at every stage of development,” thereby effectively making certain kinds of contraception illegal, as well as abortion.

“The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs,” said Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.


Gov. McDonnell, a socially conservative Roman Catholic, has taken no position on the personhood bill, said his spokesman, J. Tucker Martin.

Del. Joseph Morrissey, the state house Democrats’ sharp-tongued point man, was twice rebuked by house Speaker Bill Howell for calling the GOP majority hypocritical in advancing the abortion bills while contending the state has no business urging young girls to be vaccinated against a virus that can later cause cervical cancer.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are currently seven states that require an ultrasound prior to an abortion – Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

In Texas, a U.S. federal judge recently upheld a part of the law that would also require providers to describe and/or show a woman images of her fetus and require her to listen to the fetal heartbeat. The same law currently exists in North Carolina and Oklahoma, but is not being enforced.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...-for-abortion/
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:04 AM   #10
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Ok I did not see this type of rationale coming.

Virginia used concerned for the health and well being of the women involved.

The US House Judiciary Committee is using protection of civil rights of women and POC.

Hm. Interesting.
--------------------------------------------
I cannot find anything on what professional health care organizations are doing yet. The AMA had an article about how Planned Parenthood has filed suit in a number of states as has the Center for Reproductive Rights. Two of the three doctors who perform abortions in Kansas have filed suit as well.

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Old 02-19-2012, 08:12 AM   #11
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Default Anti-abortion proposals await votes in Michigan

Published: 02.11.12| Updated: 02.14.12

Rallied by the approval last fall of a state law banning so-called "partial birth" abortion, Michigan abortion opponents are pushing for more in 2012 — from a "Choose Life" fundraising license plate to a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Those proposals are among a number that could gain traction in a state Legislature where nearly two-thirds of the lawmakers have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan.

"We have a strong contingent of pro-life legislators seated right now in both chambers," said Ed Rivet, legislative director for the state's Right to Life organization. "There are more bills introduced that we have an interest in than we've ever had before."


Pro-abortion rights groups say the measures are part of a national attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the federal court decision that makes abortion legal.

"We see a lot of these bills session after session after session," said Sarah Scranton of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. "This time around we are seeing them move more than we have in the past, which certainly worries us."

Scranton said lawmakers should focus on measures to help prevent unintended pregnancies instead.

The anti-abortion proposals' success will hinge on how the Republican-led Legislature and GOP Gov. Rick Snyder balance social issues with their stated top priorities — the state budget and improving the state's jobs climate.

Spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger each said there's time for lawmakers to debate some social issues while staying focused on economic issues. Snyder also is geared toward economy-related measures, but governor's spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said he will evaluate abortion-related bills as they move through the legislative process.

Snyder in October signed a state-level ban on a late-term abortion procedure opponents call "partial birth" abortion. Critics said the state-level ban was not needed because the procedure already is banned in federal law. But supporters of the state ban say it's necessary in case the federal law changes and to make it easier to prosecute potential cases in Michigan.

Now many lawmakers say they're prepared to take up more anti-abortion proposals.

"I sense a lot of interest in getting this done," said Rep. Eileen Kowall, a Republican from Oakland County's White Lake Township and sponsor of the proposal that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, with an exemption for when the mother's life is at risk. "This is one small measure to do the right thing towards human decency."

Kowall's legislation, modeled after laws approved in a handful of other states the past two years, is based on the premise that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Opponents dispute that claim and also say the proposals are a departure from Roe v. Wade, which lets states limit abortions in cases where there's a viable chance the fetus could survive outside of the womb. That's generally considered to be 22 and 24 weeks.

A measure pending in the Senate would tie into federal health reforms that call on states to set up health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses to buy health coverage. The Michigan measure would prohibit a health plan offered through the exchange from covering elective abortions. It's not yet known if Michigan will set up such an exchange, because some lawmakers — particularly in the House — are waiting to see what happens with legal challenges opposing the federal health plan.

The Senate has approved bills dealing with the handling of fetal remains that result from an abortion. The bills are pending in the House.

Other bills are aimed at screening before an abortion to make sure a pregnant woman isn't being forced or coerced to have the abortion against her will. Separate bills are aimed at requiring that a woman seeking an abortion is told she has an option to view an active ultrasound image and hear the fetus' heartbeat before having the procedure. Opponents call that a particularly intrusive proposal and an example of government trying to get involved in personal decisions.


"They are trying to find every possible avenue to frustrate women and to frustrate providers that are in a position of dealing with this difficult choice and this difficult time in their lives," said Rep. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor.

A bill that would create a "Choose Life" license plate is awaiting a vote in the Senate after winning unanimous, bipartisan approval in the Senate Transportation Committee. The plate, similar to those approved in many other states, would raise money for abortion prevention projects.

The plates have run into legal challenges in some states, notably North Carolina, where a federal judge late last year issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from distributing them. The order came after the American Civil Liberties Union sued, saying the plates violate the First Amendment because there's no specialty plate for supporters of abortion rights.


http://www.plannedparenthood.org/abo...ress-38801.htm
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kobi View Post

Ok I did not see this type of rationale coming.

Virginia used concerned for the health and well being of the women involved.

Well apparently the U.S. Supreme Court did in 1973 because they clearly stated in the Roe vs. Wade decision that the state is not allowed to promote its interests until the second trimester and even then only in regards to the health of the mother.

FOR THE STAGE PRIOR TO APPROXIMATELY THE END OF THE FIRST TRIMESTER, THE ABORTION DECISION AND ITS EFFECTUATION MUST BE LEFT TO THE MEDICAL JUDGMENT OF THE PREGNANT WOMAN'S ATTENDING PHYSICIAN. The state has no right to interfere in this at all, in any way, with the exception of making sure the physician is licensed in the particular state where the abortion is to take place. The decision of the woman's physician as to what is necessary is final. So the state can take its concern for the health and well-being of the women involved and save it for the second trimester, where they have already shown their deep concern for the health of women when they banned the IDX procedure.

Since the number of abortions performed in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters are relatively miniscule and the debate over late-term and the banned IDX procedure (politically not medically named partial-birth abortions) has to do with abortions performed for emergency medical reasons, not elective abortions, it is increasingly frustrating for anti choice people. They have banned a procedure but since the abortion itself is medically necessary the only thing they have done is to force the woman into having a more difficult procedure. It is clear to the anti choice faction that the only way to stop a woman's right to choose is to eliminate first trimester abortions. These are where the abortions of choice exist. However they are at the moment protected by the Supreme Court, albeit not by the Supreme Court in its present configuration.

So anti choice people have found a plethora of ways to make exercising one's constitutionally protected right to a first trimester abortion a very difficult thing to do.

According to the N.Y. Times in 2004 "Immediately after taking office, Bush eliminated U.S. funding to any international family planning organization that provided abortion counseling or services -- even if they did so with private funds. The lengthening string of anti-choice executive orders, regulations, legal briefs, legislative maneuvers, and key appointments emanating from his administration suggests that undermining the reproductive freedom essential to women's health, privacy and equality is a major preoccupation of his administration - second only, perhaps, to the war on terrorism."

And the anti women sentiment of his administration lives on in a very busy republican controlled House. If they should regain control of the senate it will be very bad for the reproductive rights of women. Worse case scenario, and I'm talking Armageddon here, if they should control the White House as well it will be like living in a time warp.

This may not be the time to challenge the constitutional legality of the laws being passed by various states because it is a very right leaning supreme court, however, there may not be a better time. It is possible that the republicans in the very near future will control the house, the senate, the white house and the supreme court. The only option at that point will be to emigrate.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:59 AM   #13
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I posted this on the breaking news thread yesterday, but I think it belongs here.

To My Mother
Saturday 18 February 2012
by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Dear Mom:

First of all, I want to wish you a happy birthday, and tell you how much I love you. For as long as I can remember, it has been you and me, in the world and for the world, even when that world has been against us. You taught me everything I know that is worth knowing. You are the strongest, smartest, bravest, most moral person I have ever known. You are woman, and boy howdy, have I heard you roar.

I grew up watching you pursue your career in a working world dominated by powerful men, and I remember all the times they tried to break you with their misogyny and sexism and belittling attitudes...and I remember you bulldozing them right out of the road: blade down, eyes flashing, talent ablaze and strength overpowering. That was you, is you, will always be you.

I know you pride yourself on being up on current events - it must be in the genes - but I wanted to make sure you are fully up to speed on what The Bastards have been up to lately, because they have been busy in a way I have never actually seen before in my life. Every part of what has been happening in American politics of late is entirely familiar, the stuff of old nightmares, but I have never experienced such a barrage of unrestrained hatred, filth and nonsense to compare with this. It's as if The Bastards took 100 years worth of anti-woman sentiment, condensed it into a dense nugget of hate-crack, and hit the pipe. Hard.

The only way to do this right is just to show you. The best place to start is
Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women From Testifying

This morning, Democrats tore into House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for preventing women from testifying before a hearing examining the Obama administration's new regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Republicans oppose the administration's rule and have sponsored legislation that would allow employers to limit the availability of birth control to women.

Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that "As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration's actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness."

And so Cummings, along with the Democratic women on the panel, took their request to the hearing room, demanding that Issa consider the testimony of a female college student. But the California congressman insisted that the hearing should focus on the rules' alleged infringement on "religious liberty," not contraception coverage, and denied the request. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of his decision, citing frustration over the fact that the first panel of witnesses consisted only of male religious leaders against the rule. Holmes Norton said she will not return, calling Issa's chairmanship an "autocratic regime."

A photograph of the witness table at this hearing has gone viral.


You will note the utter and complete lack of women. As for Rep. Issa's decision to bar that one female witness from testifying, her name is Sandra Fluke, and this is what she would have said, had she been allowed to speak. (Tremendously awful and controversial stuff, as you'll see)
The Testimony Chairman Issa Doesn't Want You to Hear - YouTube
The GOP's sudden deranged desire to ban contraception in all its forms would usually be enough to occupy one's attention, but there has been a hell of a lot more going on this week. For example, a republican Senator from Iowa named Chuck Grassley has blocked the reauthorization of a bill protecting women from domestic violence because he doesn't want fags, immigrants and Indians to enjoy the protections offered by the law. My apologies for the vile language I just used, but I'm channeling Chuck here, and I'd bet my wallet, watch, warrant and word that "fags, immigrants and Indians" is exactly how they talked about this within the inner sanctum of his Senate offices.

Chuck Grassley hates gay people, people from elsewhere, and people who have always been here so much that he has blocked a bill that protects women from getting beaten and stomped by their husbands, partners or boyfriends. God bless America.

Don't think this kind of idiocy is restricted to Washington DC. Virginia is all set to pass a pair of anti-abortion bills that will require women to be subjected to what is called a "trans-vaginal ultrasound," but only if the "egg-is-a-person" bill doesn't pass first.

The GOP-dominated Oklahoma state senate just passed Bill 1433

The bill would define life as beginning at conception, effectively banning all abortions and many forms of contraception. The bill would also ban women from getting an abortion if they are raped because there are no exceptions in it. The bill would also prohibit women from obtaining life saving abortions from their doctors if the pregnancy threatens their lives. The language of the bill is so broad and encompassing that a woman may be forced to die in a hospital because her doctors would be powerless to save her.

In-vitro fertilization could be defined as mass murder since the process involves placing many fertilized eggs into a woman to increase the chances of her getting pregnant, because some, or all, of the zygotes could die. This will essentially prevent doctors from performing the procedure altogether, meaning many women will lose their last hope of having a child.

But wait, there's more

(Rush) Limbaugh was indignant about the hype around the issue. "Why is contraception so important that it must be paid for by somebody else?" he demanded to know. He asked why contraceptives are "a must-have" in comparison to toothpaste, hotel rooms or a car. "Why are so many people afraid of birth?" he wondered.

Limbaugh then asked why the Democratic Party would want to limit pregnancies, arguing that it makes money from abortions. He alleged that Planned Parenthood is part of "a money-laundering operation for the Democrat party" and that the organization "is rolling in dough" from providing abortion services. "So why would the Democrat party want to make sure that there aren't any pregnancies?" he challenged.

"Could it be that Democrats fear kids?" he wondered. "I mean, they are aborting their own people. The vast majority of people having abortions are Democrat voters."

But really...really...here is the bull-moose, brass-bound, gold-medal-winner of this whole madhouse eruption. This wasn't posted on some obscure far-right whack-ass blog...*this* aired on MSNB-fa chrissake-C on Thursday afternoon:
This whole contraception debate is just so new-fangled, says billionaire investor and mega-funder to the super PAC supporting former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) for President, Foster Friess.

In a simpler time, there were other ways to deal with female sexual desire. "Back in my day, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly," he said Thursday on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, setting the host back for moment.

The general conversation was about Santorum's past statements about contraception, who once said that it was "harmful to women."

The thing is, Mom, I get the sense that a few different influences have been unleashed within the ranks of the Right as far as all this goes. See, when the allies of Planned Parenthood stomped a mudhole in the Komen Foundation for messing with cancer screening, it caused a massive reaction within the ranks of the penis-firsters. How dare those abortionists tell us what for? WHAAARGARBLE!!!

That's part of it, but I think there's some deep-seated racism involved here, too. These people want to ban contraception because they want white people to breed prolifically, so as to overcome what they see as an onslaught by the Brown Ones against All That Is Right And True In America. After all, one of those shady, shaded dudes already sits in the White House, and he doesn't even have a proper birth certificate, right? Right?

Or something.

Beyond that is some nascent Taliban-esqe hatred of women that goes back to the Old Testament, something that is rooted in a deep-seated sense of insecurity these people feel that drives them to try to subjugate half the voting population in an election year. For the record, I have seen plenty of stupidity in my time, but this latest upheaval absolutely takes the cake.

I think they might be desperate...desperate to try and steer the national discourse away from the economic issues they can't possibly win on, and towards the social warfare they have deployed with so much success over the years. Choosing birth control as the battlefield, however, strikes me as a tactical error so great as to put Hitler's decision to open a second front in deep shade.

It could also be simple ignorance. After all, a fair portion of these knuckleheads don't believe in dinosaurs because they aren't mentioned in the Bible, don't believe in science generally, and have come to believe that the best thing for America is to revert to some "Leave It To Beaver" fantasy about gender roles in society.

You and I know better, don't we, Mom? You went to work when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and carved a swath through your chosen profession by dint of your superior skills and intellect...but you left a lot of pieces of yourself on that battlefield, because too many men thought you were getting above your place, ahead of yourself, and tried to kick you back down to where they thought you belonged. You won - you always do - but it cost you dearly. I remember. I will never, ever forget.

I have to admit to being stunned, in shock with all this, because of all the things I ever expected to deal with, take on and overcome, it never occurred to me that fighting the war you already won all over again would be something I would have to contend with in this brave year of 2012...but here we are. Part of me wants to lay back and let these dunderheads crash around in a frothing fury, wants to let them destroy themselves...but no.

No.

Now is the time to rise up, point at this mess, and say in a voice too loud to ignore, "This is why these people are not to be trusted with power. This is why they must go."

You fought this war and won it, Mom. The Bastards want to try and re-take the battlefield. I will not let it happen, and I am not alone.

I love you with all of my heart, Mom.

Don't worry. We got this.

Your loving son,

William
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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Santorum: Prenatal testing is to ‘encourage abortions’

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday suggested that “Obamacare” required free prenatal testing coverage because President Barack Obama wanted to see more disabled babies aborted.

The former Pennsylvania senators had told supporters on Saturday that the Affordable Care Act just created the requirement “because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”

“You sound like you’re saying the purpose of prenatal care is to cause to have people to have abortions, to get more abortions in this country,” CBS host Bob Schieffer told Santorum on Sunday. “I think any number of people would say that’s not the purpose at all.”

“That’s simply not true,” Santorum replied. “The bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero, and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions.”

“And in fact, prenatal testing, particularly amniocentesis — I’m not talking about general prenatal care,” he added. “We’re talking about specifically prenatal testing, and specifically amniocentesis, which is a procedure that actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it, and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies in the womb. And which in many cases — in fact, most cases physicians recommend — particularly if there’s a problem — recommend abortion.”

Santorum said that he had personal experience with the issue because his daughter, Isabella, was diagnosed with a fatal chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18 shortly after her birth.

“I know you also had another child that was stillborn,” Schieffer noted. “Didn’t you want to know?”

“My child was not stillborn!” Santorum objected. “My child was born alive! He lived two hours. And by the way, prenatal testing was — we had a sonogram done there and they detected a problem. And, yes, the doctor said, ‘You should consider an abortion.’ This is typical, Bob. This is what goes on in medical rooms around the country.”

He continued: “And, yes, prenatal testing, amniocentesis does result, more often than not, in abortions. That is a fact.”

“Do you not want any kind of prenatal testing?” Schieffer wondered. “I mean, would we just turn our back on science?”

“Look, people have the right to do it,” Santorum admitted. “But to have the government force people to provide it free just has to me — is a bit loaded. … I think the president has a very bad record on the issue of abortion and children who are disabled, who are in the womb, and I think this is simply a continuation of that idea.”

Contrary to Santorum’s assertion, the Department of Human Services Office on Women’s Health says that “medical checkups and screening tests help keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy.”


He talks about 3 minutes on the environment then prenatal testing.

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Old 02-20-2012, 08:20 AM   #15
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Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control -- And Why We'll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now

What's happening in Congress this week, as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) bars any women from testifying at his so-called "religious freedom" hearings, is so familiar and expected that it hardly counts as news. The only thing surprising about it is the year: didn't we all honestly think that by 2012, contraception would be a non-issue, and Congress wouldn't make the mistake of leaving women out of conversations like this one?

Yes, we did. And the fact that we were wrong about that points to a deeper trend at work, one that needs a bit of long-term historical context put around it so we can really understand what's going on. Let me explain.

When people look back on the 20th century from the vantage point of 500 years on, they will remember the 1900s for three big things.

One was the integrated circuit, and (more importantly) the Internet and the information revolution that it made possible. When our descendants look back, they're likely to see this as an all-levels, all-sectors disruption on the scale of the printing press -- but even more all-encompassing. (Google "the Singularity" for scenarios on just how dramatic this might be.)

The second was the moon landing, a first-time-ever milestone in human history that our galaxy-trotting grandkids five centuries on may well view about the same way we see Magellan’s first daring circumnavigation of the globe.

But the third one is the silent one, the one that I've never seen come up on anybody’s list of Innovations That Changed The World, but matters perhaps more deeply than any of the more obvious things that usually come to mind. And that’s the mass availability of nearly 100% effective contraception. Far from being a mere 500-year event, we may have to go back to the invention of the wheel or the discovery of fire to find something that’s so completely disruptive to the way humans have lived for the entire duration of our remembered history.

Until the condom, the diaphragm, the Pill, the IUD, and all the subsequent variants of hormonal fertility control came along, anatomy really was destiny — and all of the world’s societies were organized around that central fact. Women were born to bear children; they had no other life options. With a few rebellious or well-born exceptions (and a few outlier cultures that somehow found their way to a more equal footing), the vast majority of women who’ve ever lived on this planet were tied to home, dependent on men, and subject to all kinds of religious and cultural restrictions designed to guarantee that they bore the right kids to the right man at the right time — even if that meant effectively jailing them at home.

Our biology reduced us to a kind of chattel, subject to strictures that owed more to property law than the more rights-based laws that applied to men. Becoming literate or mastering a trade or participating in public life wasn’t unheard-of; but unlike the men, the world’s women have always had to fit those extras in around their primary duty to their children and husband — and have usually paid a very stiff price if it was thought that those duties were being neglected.

Men, in return, thrived. The ego candy they feasted on by virtue of automatically outranking half the world’s population was only the start of it. They got full economic and social control over our bodies, our labor, our affections, and our futures. They got to make the rules, name the gods we would worship, and dictate the terms we would live under. In most cultures, they had the right to sex on demand within the marriage, and also to break their marriage vows with impunity — a luxury that would get women banished or killed. As long as pregnancy remained the defining fact of our lives, they got to run the whole show. The world was their party, and they had a fabulous time.

Thousands of generations of men and women have lived under some variant of this order — some variations more benevolent, some more brutal, but all similar enough in form and intention — in all times and places, going back to where our memory of time ends. Look at it this way, and you get a striking perspective on just how world-changing it was when, within the span of just a few short decades in the middle of the 20th century, all of that suddenly ended. For the first time in human history, new technologies made fertility a conscious choice for an ever-growing number of the planet’s females. And that, in turn, changed everything else.

With that one essential choice came the possibility, for the first time, to make a vast range of other choices for ourselves that were simply never within reach before. We could choose to delay childbearing and limit the number of children we raise; and that, in turn, freed up time and energy to explore the world beyond the home. We could refuse to marry or have babies at all, and pursue our other passions instead. Contraception was the single necessary key that opened the door to the whole new universe of activities that had always been zealously monopolized by the men — education, the trades, the arts, government, travel, spiritual and cultural leadership, and even (eventually) war making.

That one fact, that one technological shift, is now rocking the foundations of every culture on the planet — and will keep rocking it for a very long time to come. It is, over time, bringing a louder and prouder female voice into the running of the world’s affairs at every level, creating new conversations and new priorities in areas where the men long ago thought things were settled and understood. It's bending our understanding of what sex is about, and when and with whom we can have it -- a wrinkle that created new frontiers for gay folk as well. It may well prove to the be the one breakthrough most responsible for the survival of the human race, and the future viability of the planet.

But perhaps most critically for us right now: mass-produced, affordable, reliable contraception has shredded the ages-old social contracts between men and women, and is forcing us all (willing or not) into wholesale re-negotiations on a raft of new ones.

And, frankly, while some men have embraced this new order— perhaps seeing in it the potential to open up some interesting new choices for them, too — a global majority is increasingly confused, enraged, and terrified by it. They never wanted to be at this table in the first place, and they’re furious to even find themselves being forced to have this conversation at all.

It was never meant to happen. It never should have happened. And they’re doing their damndest to put a stop to it all, right now, and make it go away.

It’s this rage that’s driving the Catholic bishops into a frenzied donnybrook fight against contraception — despite the very real possibility that this fight could, in the end, damage their church even more fatally than the molestation scandal did. As the keepers of a 2000-year-old enterprise — one of the oldest continuously-operating organizations on the planet, in fact — they take the very long view. And they understand, better than most of us, just how unprecedented this development is in the grand sweep of history, and the serious threat it poses to everything their church has stood for going back to antiquity. (Including, very much, the more recent doctrine of papal infallability.)

That same frantic panic over the loss of the ancient bargain also lies that the core of the worldwide rash of fundamentalist religions. Modern industrial economies have undermined the authority of men both in the public sphere and in the private realms; and since they're limited in how far they can challenge it in the external world, they've turned women's bodies into the symbolic battlefield on which their anxieties over this play out. Drill down to the very deepest center of any of these movements, and you'll find men who are experiencing this change as a kind of personal annihilation, a loss of masculine identity so deep that they are literally interpreting it as the end of the world. (The first rule of understanding apocalyptic movements is this: If someone tells you the world is ending, believe them. Because for them, it probably is.)

They are, above everything else, desperate to get their women back under firm control. And in their minds, things will not be right again until they’re assured that the girls are locked up even more tightly, so they will never, ever get away like that again.

If you’re a woman of childbearing age in the US, you’ve had access to effective contraception your entire fertile life; and odds are good that your mother and grandmother did, too. If you're a heterosexual man of almost any age, odds are good that you also enjoy a lifetime of opportunities for sexual openness and variety that your grandfathers probably couldn't have imagined -- also thanks entirely to good contraception. From our individual personal perspectives, it feels like we’ve had this right, and this technology, forever. We take it so completely for granted that we simply cannot imagine that it could ever go away. It leads to a sweet complacency: birth control is something that’s always been there for us, and we’re rather stunned that anybody could possibly find it controversial enough to pick a fight over.

But if we’re wise, we’ll keep our eyes on the long game, because you can bet that those angry men are, too. The hard fact is this: We’re only 50 years into a revolution that may ultimately take two or three centuries to completely work its way through the world’s many cultures and religions. (To put this in perspective: it was 300 years from Gutenberg’s printing press to the scientific and intellectual re-alignments of the Enlightenment, and to the French and American revolutions that that liberating technology ultimately made possible. These things can take a loooong time to work all the way out.) Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will, in all likelihood, still be working out the details of these new gender agreements a century from now; and it may be a century after that before their grandkids can truly start taking any of this for granted.

That sounds daunting, though I don’t mean it to be. What I do want is for those of us, male and female, whose lives have been transformed for the better in this new post-Pill order to think in longer terms. Male privilege has been with us for — how long? Ten thousand years? A hundred thousand? Contraception, in the mere blink of an eye in historical terms, toppled the core rationale that justified that entire system. And now, every aspect of human society is frantically racing to catch up with that stunning fact. Everything will have to change in response to this — families, business, religion, politics, economics…everything.

We're in this catch-up process for the long haul. In the meantime, we shouldn’t be surprised to be confronted by large groups of well-organized men (and their female flunkies, who are legion) marshaling their vast resources to get every last one of Pandora’s frolicking contraception-fueled demons back into the box. And we need to accept and prepare for the likelihood that much of the history of this century, when it’s finally written, will be the story of our children’s ongoing struggles against the organized powers that intend to seize back the means of our liberation, and turn back the clock to the way things used to be.

What we’ve learned these past few weeks is: the fight for contraception is not only not over — it hasn’t even really started yet.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:27 AM   #16
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The Abortion Wars: The Real People Behind the Restrictions
by Carole Joffe

The last ten days or so we have seen Republicans, and their religious allies, wage a war against contraception—and bungle it badly. With poll after poll showing that a majority of Americans support contraceptive coverage in health reform, and with the 98 percent figure (of American women who have ever used contraception in the context of heterosexual sex) endlessly repeated in the media, the Republicans nonetheless push ahead with this attack, providing a welcome gift to the Obama reelection campaign and much material to political artists and comics. I have lost count of the number of parodies that have been inspired by that now gone viral picture of five male clerics testifying at the Congressional hearing called by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). A picture that of course immediately brings to mind another image of a similar tone deaf moment on the part of social conservatives, the nine men surrounding President George W. Bush as he became the first president to sign a ban on a particular technique of performing abortion, in the case of so-called “partial birth abortion.” It’s no wonder that the term “patriarchy” has made a comeback in the blogs!

The well-publicized refusal of Issa to permit the testimony of a female witness put forward by the Democrats, Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student planning to speak to the health consequences of denied contraception at Catholic universities, only added to the disastrous p.r. of that event. And the “aspirin between her knees” remark of Rick Santorum’s major funder later that day didn’t help either.

But while the media is momentarily fixated on the second big story this month of a losing fight against family planning (remember the Susan G. Komen Fund fiasco?), less attention has been paid to a related war that is not going well at all. The assault on abortion that has resulted from the 2010 elections--the Republican takeover of Congress and many statehouses and governorships--has arguably produced the most serious threat to abortion access since the Roe decision in 1973. What we mainly have heard about this situation are the statistics, the unprecedented number of abortion restrictions introduced and eventually passed in state legislatures at a time when one might assume politicians’ focus would be on the economy.

But there are real people behind the numbers and details of the restrictions. And the enormous toll that the abortion wars take on individual women seeking the procedure and the providers who try to help them are insufficiently appreciated by the general public. Consider the case of Jennie McCormick, a destitute Idaho woman, a single mother of three, who, facing an unwanted pregnancy and unable to travel several hours to the nearest abortion clinic, ordered abortion medication over the Internet, and is now facing criminal charges. She has also been stigmatized in her own community to a degree to which the fictional Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter fame could relate. Here is a description of her daily life, as described in a British newspaper:

When Jennie Linn McCormack walks the streets of Pocatello, the town in southern Idaho where she was born, raised, and still lives, she attempts to disguise her face by covering it with a thick woollen scarf. It doesn't really work. In the supermarket, people stop and point. At fast-food outlets, they hiss "it's her"! In the local church, that supposed bastion of forgiveness, fire-and-brimstone preachers devote entire sermons to accusing her of mortal sin…."I feel like my life is over," Ms McCormack says. "I now stay home all the time. I have no friends. I can't work. I don't want to take my kids out in public. People can be really mean about what has happened."….

Consider as well the case of Amy Hagstrom Miller, who directs a number of abortion clinics in Texas, under the name of Whole Woman’s Health. Being an abortion provider in red-state Texas is always challenging, but especially in the past year. Hagstrom Miller has had to contend with implementing the state’s new sonogram law, which requires that women come to an abortion clinic at least 24 hours before their scheduled abortion, and receive a sonogram from the same physician who will perform their abortion. Additionally, the physician must give the patient a detailed description of her fetus’ development. The state has made it very clear to abortion facilities that it will enforce the law through inspections and will revoke the licenses of those doctors not in compliance.

It is not the fact of sonograms per se that is causing headaches for Hagstrom Miller. Rather it is the way the law is written. Patients at her facilities routinely receive sonograms. But the ultrasound used to be performed by a trained technician, the ultrasound was done abdominally and not through the more intrusive vaginal probe, and patients not have to make two separate visits.

So now Hagstrom Miller has to contend with the frustrations of many of her patients, who typically have to take additional time off work and pay for extra childcare. She also has to deal with the scheduling nightmare of making sure the same physician who performs the ultrasound is available to perform that patient’s abortion. Hagstrom Miller is convinced that this new rule achieves nothing more than putting more obstacles in the way of both provider and patient, and has not achieved its stated objective of changing women’s minds. “It’s had no effect whatsoever on our abortion census.”

But coping with the sonogram law is not the only thing that preoccupies Hagstrom Miller. For the past year, her clinics have been subject to an unrelenting campaign of harassment by the notorious anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue. To give just one example, her facilities have been subject to no less than 13 surprise investigations by various state agencies, including the state health department, the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality, the state Pharmacy Board, and seven of the physicians associated with Whole Woman’s Health were formally investigated. All these investigations were triggered by “citizen complaints” made to various bureaucracies. Among the “citizens” making such complaints is Cheryl Sullinger, the OR operative whose name was found in the car of Scott Roeder, who assassinated Dr. George Tiller in May 2009, and who herself has spent time in jail for her anti-abortion activity.

To give a flavor of what Whole Woman’s Health has had to put up with as a result of Operation Rescue’s campaign, one of the complaints alleged that aborted fetuses were discarded in clinic dumpsters. So clinics’ staff and visitors were subjected to the bizarre sight of public health nurses in Hazmat suits pawing through dumpsters, routinely opening and photographing the content of every bag, on order of the state health department--and finding nothing incriminating.

When I asked Hagstrom Miller to reflect on her dual difficulties with both the new state sonogram law and the actions of Operation Rescue, she responded:

“This past year has been one of the most difficult of my career in abortion care. It is almost surreal to be constantly challenged for the very thing we have been recognized for doing well…The very state agencies that have licensed us have to take the word of people who have a stated goal of closing abortion facilities by any means necessary. Even when, time and time again, we are cleared of the accusations, they (opponents) are successful in that they have tied up our time, spirits, money and energy and distracted us from the good work we could be doing with women and families in our communities.”

Unlike Jennie McCormick, the young Idaho women mentioned above, Hagstrom Miller is not isolated and without resources. Indeed, she is a cherished member of the closeknit national community of abortion providers, and operates daily in a world of loving family and friends. But the situation of both of them reveal one of the greatest challenges facing the reproductive freedom movement: how to connect for the public the two reproductive wars currently being waged—the contraceptive one that that thus far seems a slam dunk victory, and the abortion one that we are losing, and about which the public is no doubt weary.

In the real world, these two issues of contraception and abortion exist on the same continuum. The use of both are affirmations of the belief in nonprocreative sex. At Whole Women’s Health, and at most other abortion providing facilities, patients are provided with birth control information and services. It is reasonable to assume that Ms. McCormack, only marginally employed, did not have access to reliable contraception. This connectedness of birth control and abortion is of course a major reason that social conservatives oppose the former. And it is a key reason why the 98 percent-ers should more vigorously support the latter.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:59 AM   #17
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Tick, thank for posting both of these very pertinent articles. Both show how we need to look at how to define the problem so we have a clear understanding of the bigger picture and how it is manifesting itself i.e. keeping an eye on the forest while looking at individual trees.

They also helped to clarify a few things. In Texas, where one of the more offensive new laws was enacted, the new hoops have not interfered in women accessing and getting services. It has created hardship but hasnt affected the overall numbers.

It is also clear, the doctor doing the abortion is required to do the transvaginal ultrasound, not a tech. And, the only issues from one clinics perspective is a scheduling one.

There also doesnt seem to be a consent issue rearing its head yet either.

It is also a relief to see something, in print, from someone else, that brings us back to the bigger picture....revisiting the patriarchy.

It's not always comfortable, it is controversial, it is divisive but it is imperative.

Sometimes I think we, as women, feel we won the war, and all that was left was to work out the finer points of a new way of coexisting. We became complacent i.e "marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies."

In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, "In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."1 John Adams replied, "I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems."2

We have been fighting ever since. 1848, Seneca Falls, the push for the ERA started. It is 2012 and there is still reluctance in this country to pass a law that says simply - Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Simple concept. Multitude of implications. See history of ERA.

Funny how history keeps repeating itself.


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Old 02-20-2012, 04:30 PM   #18
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Default Silent protest outside, Virginia House puts off ultrasound vote

Feb 20, 2012

Several hundred people this morning descended on the state Capitol for a women's rights rally to protest what they consider encroachments on abortion rights.

The House of Delegates was to vote today on a measure that would require ultrasounds of women about to undergo an abortion, but the bill went by for the day at the request of the patron, Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell.

Del. L. Kaye Kory has just delivered a scathing floor speech criticizing the legislation.

After last week approving its own version of the legislation, the House is expected approve the measure, sending it to Gov. Bob McDonnell's desk.

Opponents vehemently object to what they see as an invasive mandate, noting that early in a pregnancy, a trans-vaginal ultrasound may be the only method available to doctors.

The hundreds of protesters locked arms and silently lined the sidewalks and streets of Capitol Square. A state police helicopter circled and troopers joined Capitol police in monitoring the event. It will conclude at a 2 p.m. rally, which organizers say is expected to bring more than 1,000 people to the Bell Tower.

The protest also targets a contentious "personhood" bill passed by the House last week that would define life as beginning at conception.

---------------------------
Update

With hundreds protesting outside the Capitol, the House of Delegates delayed multiple contentious bills that appeared poised for final passage today.

The chamber pushed back votes on a measure that would require an ultrasound of all women considering an abortion as well as adoption- and gun-related legislation.


All three were Senate bills, meaning House passage would ensure that they go to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk. The House has already passed similar versions of each.

Senate Bill 484, sponsored by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, would require an ultrasound of every female seeking an abortion and the opportunity to view the image of her fetus prior to the procedure.

Opponents have decried the legislation as wildly invasive, noting that early in a woman’s pregnancy, the only method of ultrasound available to doctors would be trans-vaginal.

In a floor speech, Del. L. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax, said it would require women to “submit to involuntary vaginal penetration.”

Added Kory: “This body is mounting an assault on the freedom and liberty of women in the commonwealth of Virginia.”


Senate Bill 349, sponsored by Sen. Jeff McWaters, R-Virginia Beach, would allow private adoption agencies to deny placement services to children and prospective parents who don't share their beliefs.

Opponents claim the bill targets same-sex couples.

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Richard H. Stuart, R-Stafford, would codify a version of the state’s “castle doctrine,” allowing homeowners to use any degree of force, even lethal, against intruders without threat of criminal charges.

Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said the bills being carried over for the day had nothing to do with the crowds amassing outside.

Gilbert said the ultrasound vote was delayed because members were “trying to coordinate some things,” but added that he was not aware of any proposed changes to the legislation.


http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/n...ly-ar-1702583/
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobi View Post
Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said the bills being carried over for the day had nothing to do with the crowds amassing outside.
Well of course it didn't. What people want is of no interest to the house of representatives. It's not like they are there to represent the people or anything.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:07 PM   #20
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