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Posts tagged "Planned Parenthood"

h/t: Irin Carmon at


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

Colorado’s attorney general will investigate Planned Parenthood clinics after anti-abortion activists posted deceptively edited undercover videos of staffers offering sex advice.

In the videos, notorious anti-abortion activist Lila Rose poses as a 15-year-old girl and tells the counselor that her boyfriend wants to try out some of the sadomasochistic scenarios described in the popular novel, “Fifty Shades of Gray.”

The counselor, whose face is obscured in the video, advises the “teen” to read the book with her boyfriend, do some Internet research, and discuss which practices they feel comfortable trying – and which they do not.

She also explains the concept of “safe words,” which submissive partners may use to unambiguously communicate they wish to stop sexual activity, and urges the undercover activist to choose another word besides “stop.”

“Usually, a lot of people will say ‘stop’ even though it feels good, so that’s usually not something that is used,” the counselor says in the video.

Live Action posted the edited videos — which appear to leave out questions posed by the undercover activist about various sexual practices, including urinating and defecating on partners, to the unwitting counselor – and claimed Planned Parenthood workers were teaching teens about “torture sex.”

The anti-abortion activists apparently targeted the Denver clinic, which has been sued after performing an abortion for a 13-year-old brought to the facility by her stepfather – who was later convicted of raping the girl.

“Here’s an abortion corporation, which gets 45 percent of its budget from the taxpayers, telling 15- and 16-year-olds not only to have sex, but also to choke each other in the process,” said Rose, Live Action’s president. “Police should be busting down its door.”

Live Action also posted videos showing similar scenarios at clinics in Indianapolis and Willamette, Oregon.

Although Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has agreed to investigate the activists’ claims about the videos, he lacks jurisdiction to prosecute any potential wrongdoing.

The activists direct fellow abortion foes to contact the Arapahoe County prosecutor.

“Parents of every political persuasion can come together and condemn an institutional ethos where sexual abuse of teens is portrayed as consensual sexual activity – where tax-funded counselors can recommend internet pornography and sex shops, and advise children on how to hide these things from their parents,” Rose said.

Rose founded Live Action at 15 and developed an association with fellow conservative activist and videographer James O’Keefe III while she was a student at UCLA.

Rose and O’Keefe have argued that, essentially, the ends justify the means in their heavily edited video “exposés” that purportedly show illegal or unethical practices by Planned Parenthood employees.

“It’s a pretty complicated ethical issue,” O’Keefe said. “But we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics and it’s justified.”

Watch the video posted online by Live Action:

[Image: Sexy woman in latex catsuit with whip in mouth, desire via Shutterstock]

This reeks of a partisan witchhunt against Planned Parenthood. 

h/t: Travis Gettys at The Raw Story

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

As the product of a 50’s Catholic education, Bill O’Reilly was taught (as was your humble correspondent) that “dirty” thoughts were a one-way ticket to Satansville and that sex was strictly for reproduction. But somehow Bill strayed off the straight and narrow and onto the road to perdition. According to a sexual harassment suit, filed by his former producer, not only did Bill have dirty thoughts about her; but he was so into sex toys that he urged her to get a vibrator and name it! But kink (not that there’s anything wrong with it) is mainstream - so much so that Lila Rose’s “Live Action” (LOL) sting video crew is using it as a pretext to sting Planned Parenthood in an effort to bring about its defunding. Not surprisingly, anti-choice zealot Bill O’Reilly loves the sweet and virginal Lila who, last night, discussed nasty kink stuff being told to clean teens. O’Reilly was all ears?

Lila Rose, a protege of James O’Keefe, hasn’t gotten any traction on her plethora of attempted stings of Planned Parenthood which is now onto Rose’s modus operandi, one of which involved an actress posing as a 15 year old girl, with a non-existent older boyfriend, who was seeking an abortion. The subsequent video attempted to prove that Planned Parenthood was ignoring cases of sex trafficking, child abuse, or parental notification laws. Despite her best efforts, Planned Parenthood still hasn’t been brought up on either state or federal criminal charges as a result of Lila’s carefully edited, not so shocking exposés.

So now, Lila is off in another direction - one that, due to its prurient subtext, has gotten attention from the sexually skewed right wing and its media mouthpiece Fox News. Her latest tactic is to have that “15 year old” go to a Planned Parenthood and engage the counselor in talk about alternative sexual practices. Last week, she appeared on Hannity to discuss, OMG, her video which purported to show the Colorado Planned Parenthood worker encouraging the teen to engage in “sadistic” practices. Hannity was chagrined and appalled. Last night, she made yet another appearance on The Factor where she and Bill discussed her latest kink based sting at an Oregon Planned Parenthood.

O’Reilly began by citing how Planned Parenthood gets tax money. He described how Live Action “staged an undercover sting operation…and the results are shocking.” O’Reilly was visibly agitated as he described how the video shows a discussion of "controversial sex practices." He issued a “strong viewer warning” because “what we are about to show you is ultra disturbing.” (Don’t want gramps to go into cardiac arrest!)

He showed video of the “15 year old” asking about role play. The counselor merely responded to the “girl’s” questions with accurate information. Included in the talk was the importance of communication and setting limits. While the counselor mentioned “pornos,” she added that the girl was under age. Nothing to see here move along - but that’s because Bill “didn’t run the explicit stuff about bondage and sadomasochistic stuff that the woman there” told the alleged patient.

Lovely Lila talked about how she has lots more videos “showing Planned Parenthood and their very destructive, dangerous sex counseling of who they think are underage girls." (Thank you Fox for showing the counselor who is probably getting "pro-life" death threats as we speak!) Father Bill opined that the conversation "was totally inappropriate." Bill prompted her to talk about how Planned Parenthood is encouraging underage girls to "access" sex shops and how the clinics are promoting "sadomasochism, bondage and discipline, destructive sexual practices, porn sites." She brayed about statutory rape and how Planned Parenthood has been investigated for years (with NO results) because they "don’t take child/adult relationship seriously" and "don’t report sexual abuse.” (they do.)

Both O’Reilly and Rose cited federal and “Obamacare” money going to Planned Parenthood” under, according to Bill, "the guise of education and this is the kind of education they’re giving 15 year old girls." Lila brayed about the taxpayer money going to "killing children in the womb" and worked in one more "destructive sexual practices” reference.  She urged parents to urge schools “to kick Planned Parenthood out.” Bill: “Absolutely.”

So, uh, if a girl has questions about sexual practices, she should be told to STFU and go see her parish priest about her sinful thoughts? Seriously, if a kid is old enough to ask these questions, shouldn’t they get respectful and factually accurate information? Lord knows that Bill O’Reilly’s viewers don’t!

Priscilla at


Timeline: 100 Years of Birth Control

Since Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger coined the term “birth control” in 1914, contraception has truly revolutionized women’s lives in the United States, and around the world. Brush up on your birth control history, and see just how far we’ve come in 100 years.



Anyone who thinks you can just walk into a convenience store and get the affordable birth control you need clearly has no understanding about the reality of women’s lives — and no business making decisions about them.

Have you been hearing this line as much as we have? Share this.

5 fact checks you need to know about the Hobby Lobby decision and how it affects us.

From Sen. Patty Murray (D)’s Official Senate Page:

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” said Senator Murray. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives. Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services,"said Senator Udall. ”My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”

“With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it,” said Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  ”As the nation’s leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn’t approve of it.” 

"Last week, we heard a collective gasp across the country as Americans everywhere tried to make sense of five male Justices on the Supreme Court deciding that our bosses could have control over our birth control in the Hobby Lobby decision,” said Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Today, we hear those gasps turn to cheers as we see champions in Congress move to right this wrong. Ninety-nine percent of American women use some form a of birth control in our lifetimes, and all medical experts agree that these remedies should be included in comprehensive healthcare. Anything less than this amounts to discrimination against women in the workplace. If there’s one thing we can agree upon more than the idea that politicians aren’t equipped to decide for us how and when and with whom we have families, it’s that our bosses are even less so. This bill is the first step in making sure those personal healthcare decision stay where they belong — in the hands of the women whose lives are affected.”

“This critical legislation will protect women’s health care services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and safeguard their rights,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center. “Women have worked for and earned the right to have their health needs covered—just as men do.  This legislation makes it unmistakably clear that businesses, in the name of religion, can neither discriminate against their female employees nor impose their religious beliefs on them.  Bosses should stick to what they know best—the board room and the bottom line—and stay out of the bedroom and exam room.”

Senators Murray and Udall were joined in introducing the legislation today by: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Harry Reid (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), John Walsh (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In January, Senator Murray led eighteen other Senate Democrats in filing an amicus brief in support of the government’s position in the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. The brief filed by Senator Murray and her colleagues provided an authoritative account of the legislative history and intent underlying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Senators urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Tenth Circuit’s expansion of RFRA’s scope and purpose as applied to secular, for-profit corporations and their shareholders seeking to evade the contraceptive-coverage requirement under the ACA.

Senator Udall decried the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to allow some employers to refuse to cover contraception as part of employees’ health insurance policies and vowed to introduce legislation to restore Americans’ freedom to make their own health care decisions without corporate intrusion. A longtime champion for Colorado women’s access to affordable health care, Senator Udall has fought to expand access to preventive health care services for women and has championed women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.

Read full bill text here

This decision shows a troubling level of disregard for American women, who should be able to make carefully considered, private medical decisions without running a gauntlet of harassing and threatening protesters. We are taking a close look at this ruling, as well as patient protection laws around the country, to ensure that women can continue to make their own health care decisions without fear of harassment or intimidation.
Cecile Richards (via ppaction)

While walking past the Planned Parenthood clinic in the Boston neighborhood of Allston Wednesday morning, an elderly woman in a white visor asked if I would like a flower — a red rose. Nearby, a small group of people prayed the rosary, red roses in hand, while a priest held a large placard proclaiming: “It’s Not Too Late To Seek Help.” They all stood behind a painted yellow line on the sidewalk — the buffer zone currently being debated in the Supreme Court that keeps anti-abortion protesters 35 feet from the clinic entrance. 

The Supreme Court will deliver its ruling on McCullen v. Coakley this June. At the center of the case are: a 2007 Massachusetts law that established a 35-foot buffer zone at every abortion clinic in the Commonwealth; and Eleanor McCullen, a 77-year-old anti-abortion protestor who regularly conducts “counseling” outside the Planned Parenthood Allston clinic. But the case extends outside of Boston. 

If the high court strikes down the law, it may mean a return to the anti-abortion violence that prompted buffer zones nationwide more than a decade ago.


Since Roe v. Wade, abortion clinics have been the targets of extreme violence, ranging from arson to bombings and bioterrorism. According to the National Abortion Federation, there were roughly 1,800 incidences of violence against abortion providers and more than 630 clinic blockades between 1977 and 1994. The violence reached its peak during the ’90s, when two doctors and a clinic escort were murdered in Pensacola, Fla., in two separate incidents. 

The anti-abortion extremism soon spread to Massachusetts. On Dec. 30, 1994, 22-year-old John Salvi entered the Planned Parenthood in Brookline, an affluent town that borders Boston, and shot and killed receptionist Shannon Lowney. He then traveled about two miles down the road to Preterm Health Services, where he killed receptionist Lee Ann Nichols and injured two others. 

Massachusetts residents were rattled by the shootings. Planned Parenthood moved its clinic from Brookline to its current spot on Commonwealth Avenue, and upgraded its facility with security cameras, metal detectors and padlocked doors. But harassment from protesters continued.  

“Protesters were dressing up as police officers, blocking doors at clinics, standing in front of cars, photographing patients and very aggressively throwing literature,” Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, tells Bustle. Amundson added that at Planned Parenthood in Springfield, a protester used a fireplace prodder to pass anti-abortion literature into cars, “hurting a number of people.”


To curtail harassment, Massachusetts enacted a buffer zone law in 2000. It created a “floating buffer,” barring protesters from coming within six feet of clinic staff and patients. The law was modeled after a measure in Colorado, which applied to all health care facilities. The Supreme Court upheld the zone in Hill v. Colorado

In 2007, Massachusetts revised the law, creating a fixed 35-foot buffer zone. The only people allowed within the zone are clinic employees, agents (i.e. escorts) or patients and their companions. Since the zone has been in place, Amundson said abortion providers and their patients have felt more secure.

Currently, just four states have buffer zone laws: Massachusetts, Colorado, Montana and New Hampshire. However, a number of cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, have similar buffer zone ordinances in place. And according to the Guttmacher Institute, 14 states plus the District of Columbia have clinic safety laws that bar protesters from blocking access to clinics, harassing employees or destroying property. 

“We know that buffer zones aid law enforcement and reduce violence,” Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said in a statement. “Surveys show that buffer zones decrease criminal activity and increase safe access to clinics.”


When it comes to the courts, the buffer zone becomes entangled in a fight between free speech and patient safety. Eleanor McCullen and her fellow abortion opponents say the buffer zone violates their First Amendment rights — after all, people do have the right to stand and hand out literature on public sidewalks. 

But it’s more than free speech: The buffer zone has also made it more difficult for protesters to discourage women from having abortions. McCullen, who’s a member of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, told The New York Times that she has been much less successful at “sidewalk counseling” because she can no longer make direct contact with clinic patients. 

So far, the Massachusetts buffer zone has been backed by the lower courts. The First Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in 2013 that the state has the right to protect the safety of patients, and that the current buffer zone does this without infringing on anyone’s First Amendment rights.

But the Supreme Court may reach a different conclusion, and legal experts speculate the McCullen v. Coakley decision may be a close one. The SCOTUS blog noted that after January’s oral arguments, it may be difficult for the Supreme Court to “put together a majority to uphold a law.” 

Justice Scalia argued that the protesters outside of clinics are not protesting at all, but just “want to talk to people.” Even justices who support the buffer zone questioned if 35 feet was too much. “That’s a lot of space,” Justice Kagan said. 


The Supreme Court could not only strike down the Massachusetts law, but also overturn or limit the buffer zone set by Hill v. Colorado. If that happens, abortion clinics across the U.S. may be in jeopardy. 

While some anti-abortion protesters — like the ones I met Wednesday in Boston — are peaceful, there is still the threat of harassment, vandalism and violence. Most recently, a Montana clinic was forced to close after it was sustained significant damage to its windows, equipment and furniture by an anti-abortion activist. 

There’s also the fear that harassment from anti-abortion activists will lead women to seek unsafe alternatives, such as crisis pregnancy centers—which are notorious for spreading false information—or shady abortion providers. It’s a very real fear: A patient of rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell told The Associated Press that she went to his clinic because it was out of the eye of unruly protesters.

“[The protesters] want to limit abortion access,” Amundson said. “Having an abortion is a constitutionally protected right, and buffer zones protect that right.”

By Wednesday afternoon, just one protester remained outside Planned Parenthood Allston. Standing with his toes on the yellow line, the elderly man yelled at a woman entering the clinic: “Don’t you want to give your baby a birthday?” 

Although 35 feet away, she heard him clearly.

H/T: Lauren Babato at Bustle

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

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

More reasons why the GOP’s policies on women’s health, abortion, and other reproductive choice issues are bad for Americans everywhere.

The anti-choicers have their endgame in place: to eventually get Roe v. Wade overturned and/or ban abortions completely. 

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

Hopefully Nixon vetoes it. 

h/t: Linsday Toler at The Daily RFT