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Posts tagged "Abortion"

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

thepoliticalfreakshow:

These restrictions are part of a continuing effort by the anti-choice movement to make abortion so difficult to access that, for millions of women, it is legal in name only. Neither requiring admitting privileges or mandating medically unnecessary building requirements will make abortion care any safer. The clinics that can’t afford to undertake costly structural renovations or retrofitting close down; those that are able to meet the requirements often afford to do so by raising the fees that patients must pay.

Likewise, insisting that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals willfully ignores a number of realities. Licensed abortion providers have excellent safety records. Hospitals can also refuse to grant admitting privileges for reasons that have nothing to do with a physician’s record — not that a woman experiencing complications would be turned away from a hospital in the first place. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) observed, “Emergency room physicians, hospital-based physicians, and on-call specialists already provide prompt and effective treatment to all patients with urgent medical needs, including women with abortion-related complications.” For that reason and others, ACOG, along with the American Medical Association and other medical organizations, opposes the admitting privileges requirements and other parts of the Texas bill.

Not that the supporters of HB2 or similar measures have been swayed by the expert opinions of medical authorities. Nor have they appeared to take into account the real-world consequences of such requirements — for example, that forcing clinics to close for reasons that have nothing to do with patient safety will not make abortion safer for women. Rather, it will force women that can’t afford the higher fees or are unable to travel to another area of the state for health care to turn to risky methods to terminate their pregnancies.

Because that’s something else HB2 proponents want to ignore: that making abortion more difficult to access doesn’t automatically remove all the reasons a woman may want or need to end her pregnancy. Contraception will still fail, and women will still become pregnant as a result of rape. Women will still know best when to increase the size of their family; they, very often along with their partner or spouse, will still be the best equipped to decide if they have the economic security or social support or simple desire to be parents.

While the final verdict on HB2 has yet to be reached, other states that have attempted to restrict abortion access through similar measures have suffered significant setbacks lately. In early August, a federal judge rejected an Alabama law that would have mandated admitting privileges for abortion clinics. The law, which could have closed three of the state’s five remaining clinics, would have severely restricted access, according to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. In his decision, Judge Thompson stated that “If this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would.” Judge Thompson’s decision comes on the heels of a 2-1 ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that Mississippi’s attempt to enact its own admitting privileges law is unconstitutional.

And in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe has promised to “undo” structural building regulations that were passed by his predecessor, Robert McDonnell. The regulations are currently under review after McAuliffe asked for an expedited review process.

While the news out of these three states is encouraging, the real-world effects of HB2 remain troubling. Just days before this most recent trial began, Whole Woman’s Health was forced to close its flagship clinic in Austin, leaving women with one less place to receive safe and comprehensive health care.

h/t: Lara Huffman at HuffPost Healthy Living

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Hagee on pro-choice and LGBTQ-affirming Christians:

“You people who are running around calling yourselves Christians supporting abortion, you are not!” he thundered.

“Our greatest problem in this nation is counterfeit Christianity,” he explained later in the sermon, telling gay-affirming pastors, “Those of you who got on national television and endorsed homosexual lifestyle because the president did so, you are a counterfeit Christian, you are a moral coward, you are a hireling shepherd. Shame on you.”

Hagee on welfare and immigrants:

One of these was social safety net programs. “To those of you who are sick, to those of you who are elderly, to those of you who are disabled, we gladly support you,” he said. “To the healthy who can work but won’t work, get your nasty self off the couch and go get a job!”

“America has rewarded laziness and we’ve called it welfare,” he said, adding that “God’s position” is that “the man who does not work shall not eat.”

[…]

Hagee also linked the possible doom of America to the crisis of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America, who he claimed are being used for cover by “rapists, murderers, pedophiles, drug pushers, terrorists” who are “being treated like royalty at your expense.” 

Earth to Dave Daubenmire: it’s people like you and not people who vote for Democrats that are the phony “Christians.” 

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

ppaction:

A federal judge just blocked a medically unnecessary “Texas-style” law in Alabama that would have severely restricted access to safe, legal abortion by forcing all but 2 health centers to stop providing abortions. 

Laws like these place onerous restrictions on doctors and health centers, are politically motivated, and do nothing to advance patients’ health — instead, they put women in danger.

h/t: Caitlin MacNeal at TPM

Today’s verdict is a victory for the people of Mississippi and for the supporters of reproductive choice. 

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Health

h/t: J. Lester Feder at BuzzFeed

a person’s a person no matter how small
Dr. Seuss, a pro-choice advocate who publicly donated to Planned Parenthood and actively sued pro-life organizations for using this as a slogan. Stop using this to justify your bullshit pro-life ideals. Not even the original author of the phrase agrees with you.  (via celestialfucker)

(via pro-choice-or-no-voice)

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Hundreds of anti-choice activists are currently congregating in New Orleansto stage protests against abortion around the city, an event that’s expected to last all week long. So far, tensions have come to a head in an unexpected place: the sanctuary of a church, where abortion opponents interrupted a service to tell congregants that they don’t have a “true faith” because their denomination supports reproductive rights.

This week’s protests are being spearheaded by the national anti-abortion group Operation Save America, which used to go by the name Operation Rescue National. That far-right organization, frequently criticized for its “militant” tactics, is perhaps best known for being tied to Dr. George Tiller’s assassination. And on Sunday, as part of its week long protest in Louisiana, group members decided to take their message straight to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans.

As the Uptown Messenger reports, anti-abortion activists interrupted worship at the church — specifically, disrupting a moment of silence for a church member who recently passed away — to declare that this particular church isn’t a “true faith” and tell the service attendees to “repent.” Operation Save America’s opinion about the First Unitarian Universalist Church is made clear on its website, which refers to the “church” and its “pastor” in scare quotes and calls it a “synagogue of Satan.”

Rev. Deanna Vandiver, a guest speaker at the service, invited the protesters to either join the service respectfully or hold their protest outside of the building. As the congregation sang, church leaders led the loudest anti-abortion activists out of the sanctuary.

Vandiver told the Uptown Messenger that she wasn’t entirely sure why the church was targeted — but it’s likely because of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s progressive stance on reproductive rights. Even before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the country, UU churches officially affirmed the right to choose. Since then, the religious body has passed several resolutions related to reproductive justice and continues to be very involved in efforts to support abortion rights. The Unitarian Universalist Association’s official policy states an explicit opposition to “any attempt to enact a position on private morality into public law.”

“Beloved, we have a lot of different opinions in this country about family planning. I believe, however, that there is a moral consensus about religious terrorism. NO ONE should invade the sanctuary of another’s faith to terrorize people as they worship,” Vandiver wrote on Facebook following the incident. “I call on everyone of every faith tradition and no faith tradition to stand with on the side of love and resist the evil of the week of hate being visited upon the city of New Orleans.”

Holding protests in church is certainly not unheard of, although it often walks a fine line. In 2012, members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were infamously arrested after performing a “punk prayer” in Russia’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, criticizing corruption within the Orthodox Church and calling for Putin’s removal. And in the 1980s, thousands of LGBT activists protested at Catholic churches to call for more inclusive policies on abortion, homosexuality, and AIDS; although most of those protesters gathered outside of church buildings, several dozen were criticized forentering a sanctuary and disrupting Mass.

Local law enforcement is on alert as they anticipate more potentially disruptive protests from Operation Save America activists this week. Anti-abortion activists have already held an open-casket wake for a fetus in a public square. And outraged residents of one New Orleans neighborhood complained that their privacy was violated on Saturday when protesters picketed the private home of a doctor who lives there.

Nonetheless, over the weekend, the mayor of New Orleans issued an official proclamation of welcome to the protesters, signing a certificate thanking the anti-choice group for its “service” to the city. That prompted more than 500 New Orleans residents to sign a petition asking the mayor to reconsider. “Regardless of personal ideologies, most Americans agree that harassing women and threatening doctors is extreme behavior that should not be welcomed by the mayor’s office. The certificates signed by you gives them a legitimacy that they do not deserve,” the petition reads.

The members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans appear to feel similarly. “Whatever your faith tradition, I invite you to stand with Unitarian Universalists and other liberal religions besieged by hate-filled rhetoric that can trip so easily from violent words to violent deeds,” Rev. Deanna Vandiver wrote in a blog post about the incident.

Source: Tara Culp-Ressler for ThinkProgress

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate are already gearing up for a big fight in Tennessee this fall, preparing to pour millions of dollars into a campaign regarding an abortion-related ballot measure up for consideration in November. The issue at hand, which is related to one paragraph in Tennessee’s constitution, isn’t necessarily on most Americans’ radars. But the outcome of that fight could actually have big implications for women living in other states.

Essentially, when voters in Tennessee cast their ballots on Amendment 1, they’ll be deciding whether to give their state the power to restrict abortion more stringently than it currently does. Thanks to a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that defined abortion as a “fundamental” right, the state’s constitution actually has even broader protections for reproductive rights than the U.S. Constitution does. But Amendment 1 would strip out that proactive language and allow lawmakers to enact more hurdles to the medical procedure, like mandatory waiting periods and forced counseling requirements, that are currently considered to be unconstitutional.

The “Yes on 1” campaign is trying to raise $2.1 million to ensure the ballot initiative will pass, saying that it’s important to allow elected officials to determine state laws related to abortion. They’ve even enlisted Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who star in the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” to drum up public support for Amendment 1. Meanwhile, reproductive rights advocates are hoping to raise twice that much to defeat Amendment 1, making the argument that the campaign for the measure is based on an entirely misleading premise.

“Anti-choice members of the General Assembly claim that abortion is completely unregulated in Tennessee and argue that the amendment is necessary in order for them to place restrictions on or regulate access to abortion. However, the Assembly has been passing laws for years that do just that,” Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee notes on its site, pointing out that lawmakers have already imposed restrictions like abortion insurance bans and parental consent laws. And in general, abortion is a medical procedure that’s already highly regulated.

Ultimately, if Amendment 1 passes, it threatens to make it even more difficult to get an abortion in an area of the country where women’s reproductive rights are already under siege. Thanks to harsh restrictions on abortions that are forcing clinics out of business, a broad swath of the South is losing access to reproductive heath facilities altogether. Right now, Tennessee remains an option for women in neighboring states who are running out of other choices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four abortions performed in Tennessee are sought by a resident of a different state. The “Yes On 1″ campaign touts that statistic as evidence that the state is becoming ripe for “abortion tourism,” arguing that it points to the need for additional regulation. But reproductive rights advocates have a very different take on the issue — they say that women are crossing the border in Tennessee because it’s too hard to get an abortion in their own states, and enacting additional barriers in Tennessee will make a bad situation even worse.

“Abortion rights in the South are going away, and it’s tragic,” Jeff Teague, the president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, told the Tennessean. “We’re creating a situation where women only in certain parts of the country have access. If the abortion amendment passes, we’re likely to see similar rights disappearing here.”

Over the past several years, as states have passed a record-breaking number of restrictions on abortion, there’s been an increase in the number of women crossing state lines to have the medical procedure. Clinic closures obviously send women farther in search of a facility where they can get an abortion, but they’re not the only type of situation in which women may choose to go to a different state. The type of requirements that Amendment 1 would allow Tennessee to enact, like forced waiting periods, make it more difficult for women to get an abortion because they often have to make multiple trips to a clinic. Some women choose to circumvent that situation by going to a state where there are fewer hoops to jump through.

So if the “Yes On 1″ campaign is ultimately successful, the new policy won’t just affect the women who live in Tennessee. It will also mean that the people in Alabama and Mississippi, where abortion clinics are dwindling, may have fewer places to turn to exercise their right to choose. It will further the emerging trend in the South that’s making abortion nearly impossible to get. And it will give the anti-choice ammunition for their claim that abortion isn’t really a constitutionally protected right.

So far, the concept behind Amendment 1 doesn’t appear to be very popular with the public. According to a recent Vanderbilt University poll, an overwhelming 71 percent of Tennessee voters don’t agree that the legislature should have more authority to restrict abortions. Even the majority of Republican voters are opposed to that concept. However, Vanderbilt researchers point out that doesn’t necessarily translate to a clear defeat for the ballot measure, depending on whether voters are swayed by the “Yes On 1″ campaign materials.

Source: Tara Culp-Ressler for ThinkProgress