Left In Alabama Follow leftinbama on Twitter

AG Candidate Joe Hubbard: "Stop Letting Politics Drive Policy."

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:46:10 AM CDT

Speaking in Huntsville on Sunday, State Rep. Joe Hubbard discussed his candidacy for Attorney General & castigated the GOP legislative supermajority for "using women as a stepping stone" to political power. He also discussed his support for a bill to allow certified midwives to legally deliver babies in Alabama.

Joe HubbardRep. Hubbard voted in favor of HB489 (the 48 hour waiting period bill) this year both in committee and on the floor of the House and was one of 7 Democrats who voted in favor of the TRAP (targeted regulations against abortion providers) bill last year.  In this speech however, he castigated the GOP members who push such bills:

They pursue punitive legislation that inserts government in the bedroom and into the decisions solely between a woman and her partner and her God.  For me, that's unacceptable.

Every day, we hear Republicans and TEA party members complaining about over-intrusive government, but the reality is, on their issues, they want government to be as big as possible.  That's what we call hypocrisy.

Refreshingly - for an Alabama Attorney General anyway - Hubbard also said this about Attorneys General across the country who have refused to defend unconstitutional laws in court.

The Attorney General of a state has to stand up and defend laws.  But if a law is unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional!  We're not in the business of passing laws just to get headlines.

Somebody needs to tell that to the Alabama Legislature.

Here's the video.  In it, Hubbard looks good, is articulate, and touches on many important points.  As with any candidate, it's our job to let him know that we're listening to what he says now & expect that he will follow through when in office.

Visit Hubbard's campaign Web site and his Facebook page.


Discuss :: (3 Comments)

HB-489 - 48 Hour Waiting Period For Abortions Passes AL Senate

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 19:07:15 PM CDT

Ladies, please.... don't you KNOW that you can't be trusted to make these decisions without the help of the Alabama Legislature?  I mean, really, how many of you have had those "surging hormones" take over when your were trying on a swimsuit at the local Target and  thought: "#$%$ this baby bump!  I'm stopping at an abortion clinic on my way home!"

Yeah... it happens.... All. The. Time.

Fortunately, those kindly old white guys voted today to save you from making a decision on the "spur of the moment."  They think you need to "think it over" not once, not twice, but three times!

  1. First... when you find out that you're pregnant & it's either an unwelcome surprise or it's great, great, great - until you find out there's a problem.
  2. Second... when you have to brave the sidewalk bullies and make your first visit to the women's clinic (that may be several hours' drive from your home) to discuss your options.
  3. Third... when you brave the sidewalk bullies for the second $%$# time to actually get the medical care that you're legally entitled to.  Oh... and take yet another day off work, drive several hours, etc. etc. etc.

Because girls.... the Alabama Legislature thinks we're so flighty, so uninformed, and such intellectual lightweights that we don't realize what's inside of us when we're pregnant.  That's why Greg Reed wanted us to have those vaginal ultrasounds, but you harlots raised such a stink about it that Clay Scofield crawfished.

But rest easy now, girls.  The Alabama Legislature knows what you need.  And they're going to do their damnedest to make sure that you don't get it.

I better stop now, before I can't stop myself from cussing.


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Senate Health Committee Approves All Three Anti-Choice Bills By 7-1 Vote

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 14:36:59 PM CDT

As one attendee described today's public hearing, it was "7 white guys, 1 black woman, and 1 white female secretary" in session to pass discuss laws that affect the women of Alabama.  And the guys decided that they know better than the gals & their doctors how to handle the female reproductive system.

Committee votes for HB490, HB493, & HB494 were all 7-1.

Democratic Senator Linda Coleman was the only dissenting vote, but she's not the only Democrat on the committee.  Once again, we get screwed by the "leaders" in our own party as they happily jump on the "pass unconstitutional bills & cost the state money" gravy train for lawyers. The full roll calls should be available tomorrow. Two senators who have opposed such legislation in the past - Democrat Billy Beasley & Independent Harri Anne Smith - skipped the hearing.

Kudos to those who stood up against the bills, including Joann Cummings and Dr. Hines from Shelby County ER, who spoke from experience as a medical professional:

  • "These bills intrude into medical care of our patients."
  • "You are trying to criminalize my job to my patients."

Like that's ever bothered the Legislature before.  The Senate is in session now & could take up the 48-hour waiting period bill.  Because, of course, that's more important than passing an actual state budget.


Discuss :: (2 Comments)

AL House Passes New Abortion Restrictions After Dumbest Debate Since Last Week

by: countrycat

Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:01:18 AM CST

Almost lost amid the sound & fury of news coverage of Rep. Alvin Holmes' remark about race and abortion is the fact that our legislators wasted hours debating & passing a package of bills that will do nothing positive for the state.  In fact, they're setting up the state to incur even more legal costs as opponents challenge bills like the "fetal heartbeat" bill that outlaws any abortion after a heartbeat is detected - often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

The law would allow abortions when prenatal anomalies would end with a stillbirth, but the law makes no exception for victims of rape and incest.

"I just don't think that gives her the right to kill," McClurkin said.

The debate quickly turned to race after McClurkin said that she hoped Roe v. Wade would be overturned and she compared her efforts to that of Brown v. the Board of Education, which ruled segregation of schools unconstitutional.

Several Democratic lawmakers blasted McClurkin for making the comparison, and Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, said that Republican lawmakers who oppose abortion would force their daughters to have one if they were impregnated by black men.

Columnist John Archibald put it best in a tweet:

I want to take Rep. Becky Nordgren and Rep. Alvin Holmes and put them in a room together. And just leave them. Forever. #betterplace

— John Archibald (@JohnArchibald) March 5, 2014

We haven't seen nonsense like this since last week, when the Ten Commandments debate clearly explained why Alabama can't have nice things.

Ok y'all.  We expect Nordgren to say stupid things: she's a malaprop machine and I, for one, love her for it. With every speech, every bill, she gives fodder for blog posts and socks the GOP with another black eye. But Democrats, let's NOT try to match her statement for statement!

Congratulations to Rep. Holmes for handing Republicans a great big issue to whine about - and one that takes the public's focus on the bills that sailed through the House yesterday.

For instance, Rep. Patricia Todd's amendment to HB489 was tabled:

Today I offered an amendment to HB489, which extends the waiting period for an abortion to 48 hours, to provide one million dollars to DHR to promote adoptions in Alabama and one million dollars to the Department of Public Health for comprehensive sex education. This amendment was tabled, but I will continue to work to give real options to women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

First, there's absolutely no medical reason to force a woman to travel to a clinic for an appointment on Monday, then require her to make another trip 2 days later to receive medical care that she's legally entitled to obtain.  Newsflash, legislators.... women don't decide on a whim to terminate a pregnancy.  Nobody leaves the mall disgruntled because she's gone up a skirt size and impulsively heads straight to the local clinic for an abortion. 

The idea that a woman seeking an abortion hasn't already given it serious thought infantalizes women.  And the fact that the majority wouldn't even consider an amendment that would make adoptions easier and help prevent unplanned pregnancies in the first place tell us everything we need to know about the real intent of this bill.  

It's not pro-life; it's pro-control.


Discuss :: (5 Comments)

SB-414 - Shadrack McGill Goes Out In A Splash Of Zygotes With New "Personhood" Bill

by: countrycat

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 17:20:25 PM CST

Just when you thought it was safe to look away from the uterati trainwreck that's the current Alabama Legislative session, Senator Shadrack McGill strides onto the scene with a "personhood" bill (SB414 - PDF).  Hold on to your eyes so they don't roll out of your head.  He (or someone literate enough to actually author a bill) defines a zygote as a full person from the moment of fertilization.

This bill would define the term "persons" to include all human beings resulting from the union of the male sperm with the female egg either from sexual intercourse or in the case of in vitro fertilization, the fertilized egg or eggs relied on by a physician for implantation in the uterus.

So that means, from the moment of conception, an egg with fewer than a hundred cells has the same legal and civil rights as... well.... your average male in Alabama.  Those cells better enjoy their status, because, at birth, if they have two X chromosomes, they'll find themselves subject to the whims of Alabama Legislators who can barely spell "chromosome," much less legislate effectively on medical matters.Shadrack McGill

Like your current birth control pills?  This law may outlaw them. 

Find the IUD to be a reliable, non-hormonal method of birth control?  Forget it, sister. 

Desperately want to have a child, but stymied by fertility problems of either you or your spouse?  Hope you want a litter, because all those eggs need a home, hon.

State Senator Shadrack McGill, himself a graduate of "Quack University," has a long and sordid history with "ladyparts legislation." One of his legislative goals from the 2013 session was to proscribe how infertility doctors could conduct their practice:

Among those goals, said state Sen. Shadrack McGill, is strengthening the state's definition of the beginning of life to state that life begins at conception, even if that conception occurs in a laboratory.

"We need to let physicians know: Any eggs that are fertilized need to be placed in a mother's womb," McGill said. "And another thing: People say it's a woman's body and she has a right to kill the life inside of her womb. But she can't ask the abortionist to kill her, too. Our laws protect you from your own self."

In case this bill sound all-so-dreadfully familiar... it is.  The same extremist legislation has been defeated in other states, including MISSISSIPPI! Obviously, McGill has forgotten that Alabama's unofficial state motto is "Thank God for Mississippi," and hopes to take our state where even Mississippians feared to tread.

Cmon... be honest: do you trust this man with your uterus?

This whole, dreadful session can't end soon enough, and campers.... we're only about halfway there!


Discuss :: (5 Comments)

AL House Supermajority Passes Four MORE Anti-Abortion Bills As Supporters Rally Outside

by: countrycat

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 15:41:55 PM CST

Hold on to your lady parts, because Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard & his minions think they're better qualified than you - or your doctor - to determine what happens to them.  It appears that, when the GOP protests what it calls "putting the government between you and your doctor," they're talking about the federal government.  Because they're just a-okay, Jim-dandy fine with wedging a clueless state legislature in the stirrups between you and your OB-GYN.

Four bills passed the Alabama House committee today as a motley cadre of old white guys, assorted hangers-on, & a group of Knights of Columbus men in full regalia cheered the state's latest assault on women's reproductive rights and, by extension, the state budget.

The centerpiece bill, Rep. Mary Sue ("a baby is the largest organ in a woman's body") Mcclurkin is an almost-identical version of a North Dakota bill that was immediately enjoined by a federal judge:

House Bill 490 by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, would require doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat before abortions and would ban abortions if a heartbeat is detected.

According to the National Institutes of Health, fetal hearbeats can be detected six to seven weeks into a pregnancy. Alabama law currently allows abortions up to 20 weeks.

The GOP says we don't have enough money to expand Medicaid or adequately fund other essential state services, but they have no problem at all passing stupid legislation that will cost the state hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in legal bills.

And they say they're opposed to "frivolous lawsuits!"

As bad as McClurkin's bill is, it isn't the most creepy bill passed today.  That award goes to Rep. Kurt Wallace with HB493 - the baby hospice bill:

HB 493 by Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville, which would require doctors to give women information about perinatal hospice services before aborting a fetus with a lethal anomaly, a defect reasonably certain to result in death within three months after birth.

Wouldn't that make for a festive baby shower?  "Have you decided what you'll do for child care?"  "Not yet, we found the most wonderful hospice, but they don't take Medicaid....

Speaker Mike Hubbard is bragging about today's votes on his FaceBook page, but got taken to task by a young, female Republican (who's personal page shows that she's also a fan of Allen West, Right Wing News, & the TEA Party United):Mike Hubbard FB Page

Sure hope she never plans to run for office as an Alabama Republican!


Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Here's The Kind Of Person HB31 Would Protect. Is This The Kind Of Nurse You Want?

by: countrycat

Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 10:55:35 AM CST

HB31, the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act, would would allow health care providers to refuse to "perform or participate in any medical health care service" that violates their "moral, religious, or ethical principles," but only if the health care service involves womens' reproductive systems.

The bill passed the Alabama House on Jan. 21 by a vote of 71-24. It's pending in the Senate.  If it passes there, the "rights" of this guy in the video (who is a nurse anesthetist at Huntsville Hospital) will be elevated above your "right" to medical care.  

This was filmed at the Women's Clinic in Huntsville yesterday.  It sure puts the lie to "sidewalk counseling," doesn't it?  Because he clearly says he wants to be heard "inside the building."

Doctors are as concerned as patients

All patients deserve to receive the highest quality of care when they seek medical treatment and a health care provider should never deny information or needed care because of his/her personal beliefs. While this bill would not allow a doctor to abandon a woman on her deathbed, it does not provide adequate protections for her health and safety. As medical professionals, we have an ethical duty to ensure that patients have accurate information and are able to make their own medical decisions. The right of a patient to access information and services should always come first.

Unless you want the guy in the video on your surgical team, you better be contacting your senator and talking to everyone you know about the dangers of HB31.

More video of this nurse is on the flip.

NOTE:  The original post credited the protestor as working at Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville as well, but our source contacted us to say that they're trying to verify that information.  Until they can, we've removed that part of the post. we've confirmed that he does NOT work at Crestwood, but is employed by Huntsville Hospital.


There's More... :: (5 Comments, 146 words in story)

HB31 - AL House Limits Protection For Health Care Workers "Moral, Religious, or Ethical Principles.

by: countrycat

Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 13:06:59 PM CST

Health care workers take note: Alabama wants you to know that your conscience doesn't matter - unless someone else's uterus is involved.  Then, legislators are totally on your side & vow to protect your delicate sensibilities.

So says HB31, sponsored by Rep. Becky Nordgren and passed out of committee yesterday.  The bill would allow health care providers to refuse to "perform or participate in any medical health care service" that violates their "moral, religious, or ethical principles," as long as the health care "service" is related to:

Any phase of patient medical care, treatment or procedure that is limited to abortion, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, and sterilization, and is related to: Patient referrals, counseling, therapy, testing, diagnosis or prognosis, research, instruction, prescribing, dispensing or administering any device, drug, or medication, surgery, or any other care or treatment rendered or provided by health care providers.

It's pretty clear that Rep. Nordgren is far more worried about ladyparts than she is anyone's conscience.  Otherwise, why limit this medical conscience clause to reproductive procedures?

The Jehovah's Witness who doesn't want to work during a blood drive or perform a transfusion will find that that Legislature doesn't care about his/her conscience.But the pharmacist who doesn't want to fill a prescription for Plan B or who thinks unmarried women shouldn't be obtaining birth control is.

So is the white supremacist doctor who can presumably refuse to perform sterilization procedures on white patients or even prescribe birth control pills to white women because he agrees with Pat Buchanan about population trends.

For some reason, the State of Alabama thinks it's fun and easy to pick on women and limit their health care choices, but the wording of this bill, cuts both ways (so to speak). What's going to happen the first time a doctor refuses to prescribe Viagra for an unmarried man or a pharmacist denies his prescription refill based on the "moral" belief that an aging single guy doesn't have any business tomcatting around?

And, for a political party that likes to tout its "business friendly" policies, can you imagine what a nightmare this law would be for hospitals, medical offices, and pharmacies?  Imagine trying to draw up a work schedule:

"Let's see, Sally won't fill birth control prescriptions without seeing a marriage license first, but Joe will, so we'll put them on shift together.  Bob won't assist with fertility treatments unless the couple is Christian, married, and heterosexual and Kelly is morally opposed to sterilization and refuses to assist with tubal ligations....."

How about this as a solution to the so-called "conscience" problem?  If you're opposed to providing health care services that patients need, then don't enter the health care profession.  Problem solved.  No conscience violated.  No stupid law required.

Really, Alabama, let's start applying a variation of Occam's Razor to some of these state "problems."  Often, the simplest solution is the best for all concerned.


Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Anti-Choice Protests In Huntsville Move To Hospitals - & A Middle School

by: countrycat

Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 13:17:43 PM CDT

Anti-choice protestors are increasing in intensity & expanding their presence in the city.  For over a year, they've staked out the Alabama Women's Center and provided sidewalk counseling that takes the form of prayers (through a bullhorn), shouting, graphic signs, and songs (like the unforgettable "Happy Birthday, Dead Baby) incident.

anti choice men
In spite of this, the clinic has remained open, aided by a group of local heroes we profiled a few weeks ago:

Twice a week, on a sidewalk near the downtown area, a group of heroes meets in Huntsville, AL.  Rain or shine, hot or cold, they gather to support strangers who are making one of the most personal & difficult decisions of their lives.  And they do this service for free, as volunteers who work in the face of verbal and even physical harrassment from anti-choice protestors.

So naturally, the antis have moved along to what they consider to be somewhat softer targets: local hospitals and doctors' offices.

Crestwood Hospital was their destination on Saturday, and it was heavily advertised with press releases & even billboards scattered about the city:

Anti-abortion leader James Henderson will hold a "prayer vigil for the unborn" Saturday morning near the main entrance to Crestwood Medical Center.

Henderson, a Morgan County pastor and executive director of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, is inviting "concerned Christians from all church backgrounds" to join him at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Airport Road and One Hospital Drive in south Huntsville.

He said in a news release that the group will pray for Crestwood to remove from its medical staff two doctors who perform abortions at a Huntsville women's clinic.

failed attempt to gin up a crowd

Attendance was, well.... limited, as pro-choice organizer Pamela Wills Watters reported: 

"The anti-abortion protesters at Crestwood Hospital didn't have a very good turnout at all...maybe 50 or so & they stayed their hour & left. They have more than that at the clinic on Saturday mornings for an hour. We had about 25 pro-choice warriors, plus our big "Pro-choice Y'all" banners. We were much more visible.

Can't help but wonder if they'll be any more "successful" when they demonstrate in front of Ed White Middle School.  Anti-choice organizers James Henderson and John Phillip of the Knights of Columbus  obtained a permit to picket a local doctor's office.  Problem is, there's no sidewalk in front of the office, so they selected the next "best" spot: the sidewalk across the street - that just happens to be directly in front of a public school.

Pamela Watters:

She is a physician at the clinic & Henderson had already threatened to protest her private practice to "shame" her into quitting. Get this.... their permit is from 9-5 Monday - Friday for the sidewalk at Ed White Middle School!! There is no sidewalk on the side of the road that Dr. Robinson's office is on, so they obtained it for across the street. I don't think the parents and faculty are going to appreciate that. I would imagine that the superintendent's office is going to be getting a lot of calls. 

I have so much admiration for Watters and the other committed people in her group.  It's like they're constantly playing "whack-a-mole" all across the city.  But they certainly found a way to "make lemonade."  Recently the group began an "adopt-an-anti" fundraiser.  You can select your favorite protestor and donate a certain amount each week if he/she shows up.  The price goes up if they yell through a bullhorn, cry, or wear a poor copy of a WWII concentration camp outfit (not kidding!).  On Wednesday, they earned over $100 in pledged donations.

Why do they do it?  A clinic volunteer escort discusses his reasons on the flip.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 336 words in story)

On Any Given Saturday - & Wednesday - In Huntsville, AL

by: countrycat

Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 16:12:32 PM CDT

Twice a week, on a sidewalk near the downtown area, a group of heroes meets in Huntsville, AL.  Rain or shine, hot or cold, they gather to support strangers who are making one of the most personal & difficult decisions of their lives.  And they do this service for free, as volunteers who work in the face of verbal and even physical harrassment from anti-choice protestors.40 days of lies

This drama plays out twice a week on the days when Alabama Women's Center performs abortions. It's a situation that can get tense, as protestors sing, shout, and otherwise "counsel" women attempting to enter the clinic.

Longtime clinic escort volunteer Melissa Davis described one disturbing incident:

I think the most stressful interaction I've had with any particular anti-abortion person at the clinic was when one woman - who was maybe mentally unstable, or maybe a plant by the regular anti-abortion protestors - threatened to kill me. She did not have any weapons, and at the time it wasn't that scary, but we caught her actions on camera and called the police anyways. This incident was also reported to the FBI as a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act.

The woman was extremely disturbed and overwhelmingly hateful towards all the volunteers at the clinic that day, but thankfully after the police cited her and she left, we have not seen her again. 

Clinic volunteers have a good reason to be cautious and vigilant about their own personal safety as well as the safety and security of patients and the clinic staff.

At least one protestor has already been convicted of violence.  In 1984, Father Edward Markley a Catholic priest, already had a history of multiple arrests when he entered the Women's Community Health Center in Huntsville and assaulted two clinic workers.  Markley has been spotted multiple times among the protestors outside the Alabama Women's Center.

Protestors - led by soon to be ex-State Senator Shadrack McGill have also taken on local doctors and hospitals that they allege support abortion because... well... just because.   A charge that Crestwood Hospital has forcefully pushed back on.  Perhaps McGill thinks this is a good way to end what he calls "premeditated abortions."

The issue has spilled over into the Huntsville City Council as well, as the volunteer escorts and protestors vie for sidewalk space in front of the clinic.  Anti-abortion leader James Henderson framed the issue in his customary apocalyptic terms:

The executive director of the Christian Coalition of Alabama says "babies may die" if Huntsville amends its rules for sidewalk protests and other public gatherings.
Henderson said pro-life "counselors" need to be near the clinic's driveway in order to speak to women going in for abortions.

"We have to have somebody there to offer help to young women, which means standing by the driveway - one or two people on both sides -- plus space for people to pray," Henderson said Monday. "We can't yield on being there for prayer and support.

That sounds warm & fuzzy, doesn't it?

Except that their version of compassionate counseling includes stunts like this:

Pro-choice marchers recalled a particularly painful event last month when a woman whose baby had died en utero was coming to the clinic to have it removed. In an awful coincidence, that was the day, Watters said, when the pro-life demonstrators collected a children’s choir on the sidewalk to sing “Happy Birthday, Dead Baby” to anyone driving in.

That noxious event happened last October, during the anti-choice movement's self-proclaimed "40 Days for Life," an event that draws hundreds of anti-choice protestors to picket, pray, and.... sing.

This year's "40 Days" has just begun and local women and volunteers need your help and support.

Choose Lies Rally

Organizer (and nationally-known artist) Pamela Willis Watters is getting creative in the local response. Volunteers kicked the event off in style when they marched to the "Choose Life" fake clinic and exposed the lies they tell women who seek honest medical information (see the photo above).  More events and impromptu rallies are planned.  

Want to help?  Email Pamela:  pamelas.art@gmail.com

Note... we'll be following this story throughout the 40 days with photos and video.  We encourage anyone who joins the volunteer escorts to share their own photos and personal experiences.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Pro-Choice Texans Block Anti-Choice Law

by: countrycat

Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 08:44:42 AM CDT

The good gals (and guys) one a big one last night in Texas.  Led by State Senator Wendy Davis, who led a dramatic 11-hour filibuster - a real one, not the Republican kind - pro-choice Texans blocked a state TRAP bill that was even worse than the one passed in Alabama this session.

Or did they?

The GOP tried an all-too-familiar tactic to push the bill through anyway: "if you can't win under the rules, change them - retroactively, if needed.  Or just cheat...."

Initially, Republicans insisted the vote started before the midnight deadline and passed the bill that Democrats spent the day trying to kill. But after official computer records and printouts of the voting record showed the vote took place Wednesday, and then were changed to read Tuesday, senators retreated into a private meeting to reach a conclusion.

At 3 a.m., Dewhurst emerged from the meeting still insisting the 19-10 vote was in time, but said, “with all the ruckus and noise going on, I couldn’t sign the bill” and declared it dead.

He denounced the more than 400 protesters who staged what they called “a people’s filibuster” from 11:45 p.m. to well past midnight. He denied mishandling the debate.

Will Governor Rick Perry waste even more public money by calling another special session?  Lt. Gov. Dewhurst hinted that he might.  Which is amazing given Texas' budget problems.  Even after cutting $5.4 billion from public education, there still wasn't enough to hand out more contributor business tax breaks, so the state is using money from its rainy day fund.

Sound familiar?  There must be some instruction manual handed out to every incoming Republican governor that explains how to drain state budgets in order to transfer state assets and tax money to big business.

But "fiscal responsibility" (if you can call it that) goes out the window when we're talking about restricting women's rights and inserting the goverment between doctor and patient.  Then, no price tag is too high.

Congrats to pro-choice Texans!  Keep up the fight: you're an inspiration to us.


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Republicans REALLY Need To Stop Talking About Rape & Abortion

by: countrycat

Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:50:07 AM CDT

Let's all welcome the latest member of the GOP "foot in mouth club:"  Texas State Rep. Jody Laubenberg, who may have exceeded even AL State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin's level of ignorance.  McClurkin remember, thinks that an abortion removes the largest organ in a woman's body.  But Rep. Laubenberg, a member of the Texas House Health Committee and sponsor of the extreme-anti-choice bill currently in the legislature, doesn't understand what rape kits are for:GOP republican Clowns

Sunday night's debate was grueling, and the bill's sponsor stopped answering questions after she got into trouble denying Democratic amendments. When Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Rep. Jody Laubenberg, R-Parker, explained why she felt it was unnecessary.

"In the emergency room they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out," she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. "The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development."

Her apparent confusion about "rape kits" — a phrase generally used to describe the equipment used by medical personnel during forensic examinations to gather physical evidence following allegations of rape or sexual assault — sparked widespread ridicule on social media sites. Laubenberg then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate.

Now there's a solution!  When you don't understand the issue in  front of you - even though you're the sponsor of the darn bill - just refuse to answer questions.

Mary Sue McClurkin... are you paying attention?

Let's take Julie's apt framing of the issue for McClurkin from February and update it a bit:

We want to help, MarySue Jody Really. Because you are sitting down in Montgomery Austin writing law. You are sitting down in Montgomery Austin meddling in the physician-patient relationship. You are meddling in things about which you have no knowledge whatsoever, and that means you are a danger to society.

Fortunately, voters also have a way to get things "cleaned out:" elections.


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Women's Day At The Legislature Yesterday: Cheers & Jeers

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 03, 2013 at 08:30:15 AM CDT

It was a beautiful, sunny day yesterday in Montgomery as pro-choice supporters descended on the Statehouse to rally and lobby against HB57 - the TRAP bill specifically designed to close women's clinics in Alabama.

The group cheered speakers that included Alabama legislators, Planned Parenthood officials, ADP Chair Mark Kennedy, and some awesome young women who help organize pro-choice women on their college campuses.

We also had a cadre of hecklers who seemed to think that shouting epithets at speakers and passers-by is the way to "bring people to the Lord." They were ready when Staci Fox from Planned Parenthood Southeast began speaking.  As you can see from the video, she barely got out a sentence before they started up - and were quickly shut down by State Troopers who explained that anyone could stand and watch the rally, but couldn't disrupt it.  We were standing right next to them and the Troopers showed admirable restraint as the hecklers argued with them.

Senator Linda Coleman deserves a particular shout-out. She was also nearby and reminded the hecklers: "You were here a few weeks ago and everyone treated your rally with respect.  You need to be quiet now."

Remember, that was the rally that featured the guys strutting around in feathered hats and capes, looking like Ru Paul rejects.  Funny how they're so concerned with abortion, but haven't felt the need to take to the streets over Medicaid funding, education, or any other issue that affects the lives of children in this state.

Thanks as well to Hank Sanders, Rodger Smitherman, and Priscilla Dunn for their speeches and support.  And special thanks to every woman in the Senate: their opposition to this bill was strong and unanimous.  In fact, every Senate Democrat but one - Roger Bedford - voted NO. Bedford voted "pass" which means "I'm here in the chamber, but don't want to take a stand."

As you probably know already, the bill passed and is on its way to Governor Bentley.  From there, it goes to the courts and more precious, limited state money will be frittered away.

Has anyone else noticed that the GOP jobs program seems to be limited to paying attorneys to defend their bad legislation?

A highlight reel video of the rally is on the flip!


There's More... :: (4 Comments, 5 words in story)

Rally & Lobby Day For Women's Health Issues: April 2 Noon-2pm in Montgomery

by: countrycat

Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

(Hope to see you in Montgomery tomorrow!! - promoted by countrycat)

It's time to tell the Alabama Legislature that "enough is enough."  Women's health advocates will gather at the Statehouse in Montgomery on April 2 for a rally and lobby day.  Please make plans to join us!
Womeh's Lobby Day

We can only hope that Alabama legislators will have to courage to actually meet with rally attendees.  After last year's rally, our elected "leaders" ran from the Statehouse like it was on fire.  

At the time, we were thrilled that SB12 (the vaginal ultrasound bill) had been shelved, but who realized what crap the legislature would throw at women and families this session?

Now, we need your voices more than ever.  Get with the program, folks, and speak out.  See you in Montgomery on April 2nd!

Learn more about the event at the rally's Facebok page.


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Speech from Stop the War on Women Rally II

by: DrAbston

Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 17:52:33 PM CDT

It seems like only a few weeks ago we were right here, joining together and ready to fight for a better Alabama.  Same beautiful spring weather.  Last year, we were successful in preventing a great many bad bills from passing—I think we caught Montgomery by surprise.


They weren’t expecting us last year.  This year, they were.  Now it seems they believe they can just do whatever they want to do.   They might even think we will give up, when we see how much power they have.  Will we give up?  No!  Because we’ve learned a few things also.  We’ve got power they’ve never even dreamed of.


We won’t give up because we know the truth about their agenda.  We won’t give up because we know silence leads to death.  We won’t give up because we know we have a duty to stand together, and that when any one of us is threatened by injustice, all of us are called to speak.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 828 words in story)

ADP State & County Leaders Urge Ceasefire In The War On Women

by: countrycat

Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 14:15:11 PM CDT

This isn't your grandfather's Alabama Democratic Party.  Thank goodness.  Within the past few weeks, state and local ADP party leaders have taken a firm, public stance and challenged the Alabama GOP supermajority to end the War on Women.Stop the War on Women

ADP Chair Mark Kennedy spoke to the Madison County Democratic Women on March 7 and led off his speech with this statement: 

"No woman in Alabama should ever vote Republican."

It got better from there as he described legislative attempts to limit women's choices and access to health care.

Ten days later on March 17th, Madison County Democratic Party Chair Clete Welti gave a barnburner of a speech at the "Stop the War on Women" rally in Big Spring Park. He brought the cheering crowd to its feet with this:

The Democratic Party supports your right to choose, your right to get paid the same as men, your right to marry who you love, your right to equal opportunities, and the Democratic Party supports the Equal Rights Amendment.

These issues are not strictly partisan, but I will say that while our opposition has been introducing bill after bill to limit your choices, limit your pay, limit your access to healthcare and the voting booth; the Democratic Party is fighting to introduce and pass laws that will move women forward and guarantee that women have an equal voice. The Democratic Party is fighting to expand women’s rights while others are determined to silence your voice.

I know some firmly believe that there's no difference between the parties in this state.  But, for the life of me, I can't remember Alabama GOP Chair Bill Armistead or any county GOP leader ever appearing at any pro-choice, pro-health care, or embracing any  progressive legislation.

Leaders like Kennedy & Welti give me hope for the state and make me feel even more proud to be a Democrat.

Video clips of both speeches is on the flip and there's also a complete transcript of Welti's speech.


There's More... :: (0 Comments, 934 words in story)

Rally To Stop The War On Women: March 17 in Huntsville 2-4pm

by: countrycat

Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:22:45 AM CST

(Promoted from last week as a reminder: we need your voices in this discussion! - promoted by countrycat)

At a time when it seems that nobody in the legislature is listening to facts or reason, here's a chance to make your voice heard.  Come one and all to a rally on March 17 at Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville.Stop the War on Women Rally 2013

Sadly, this will be the second time we gather to protest actions by the Legislature.  At the first rally last year, the main issue was Clay Scofield's ultrasound bill.  But this year, women's health issues are under assault from all sides:

  • "Personhood" legislation that would outlaw most forms of birth control and IVF treatments.
  • Mary Sue McClukin's TRAP bill that Governor Bentley thinks God is telling him to sign.
  • Governor Bentley's stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid, which will have tremendous impact on the health of many women & children in Alabama.

Last year's speakers included ADP Chair Judge Mark Kennedy and many other articulate, passionate men and women.  Bring signs, lawn chairs, and several (dozen) friends.

For more information, contact Pamela Watters at pamelas.art@gmail.com.   Download a rally flier to print and share.


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Busy Week For The Legislature On Education, School Safety, and Women's Health

by: countrycat

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:14:26 AM CST

Let's start with the bad news.  After holding over a committee vote on HB57 (the TRAP bill), the Senate Health Committee voted 7-3 to support Mary Sue McClurkin's ill-conceived bill:GOP clowns

The committee turned back an effort by Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, to amend the bill. Coleman recommended a number of changes, including a provision to grandfather in the state’s five existing clinics.

Coleman said she was not surprised her amendment was rejected and said she might try again on the Senate floor. She said she did not think the bill was really about health and safety.

“This was an attempt to close these type facilities down because of personal religious beliefs,” Coleman said.

Thank you, Senators Linda Coleman, Billy Beasley, and Harri Anne Smith for your NO votes!

Meanwhile, outside the Statehouse, Governor Robert Bentley was busy acting as ringmaster for the anti-choice circus.  Governor ("only Christians are my brothers") Bentley went himself one better with this comment:

“We need to remember we are dealing with human life and this is what God expects us to do,” Republican Gov. Robert Bentley said at a Montgomery rally organized by abortion opponents in Montgomery. The Legislature’s Republican presiding officers, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard, also attended the rally.

This just begs some good journalist to ask the obvious question: Why does God want Bentley to shun the Medicaid expansion that will really protect human life?

The good news - public education advocates had reason to cheer:

Momentum on on the "Dump Common Core" effort has slowed.  The Senate Education committee held a public hearing yesterday, but delayed a vote until next week.  Note that's only a minor victory: look what happened with HB57!

As AL.com's Evan Belanger reports, Brewbaker carried the bill over "to give people on both sides of the issue more time to get unconfused."

Good luck with that.

Speaker Mike Hubbard hit a roadblock in the form of Montgomery Circuit Judge Charles Price, on the "Alabama Accountability Act:"

“The judge mentioned that not only did they violate their own rules, they also are in violation of the state constitution that says you can’t take a bill and introduce it as a bill and say it’s about one thing and substitute it with a different bill,” said James Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiff.

The judge’s order prevents the House Clerk, Jeff Woodard, from delivering the bill to Governor Bentley for signing.

Hubbard decried the so-called "judicial activism," which the GOP seems to define as "any decision we don't like."  He's appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court.

And finally, Governor Bentley showed a tiny piece of common sense and vetoed the first "guns in schools" bill to hit his desk:

Gov. Robert Bentley today sent a note to Franklin County lawmakers saying he is vetoing a bill approved last month by the Legislature to allow teachers and community members there to be trained as reserve police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

In the letter, Bentley said he was concerned primarily with the training because the bill does not provide adequate training requirements.

“Failure to provide for specific, applicable training would create an unacceptable high-risk situation with the possibility of dire consequences, including the injury or death of a child, teacher, or a volunteer member (of the security force),” Bentley said.

Perhaps he was persuaded by Senator Bill Holtzclaw's warnings on this very issue.

Remember though: a governor's veto is worth very little.  The Legislature can override with a simple majority vote and the bill's sponsor is hoping to do that as early as today.

The circus continues....



Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Speaker Mike Hubbard Speaks At An Anti-Abortion Rally With... Men In Hats & Capes?

by: countrycat

Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 20:07:36 PM CST

WTH?  I know we tend to dismiss some members of the Alabama legislative super-majority as "weasels" (with apologies to the actual weasels among us), but what the heck are these guys wearing on their heads?  Speaker Mike Hubbard is preening about his involvement in the so-called "pro-life rally" today in Montgomery - so much so that we wouldn't be surprised to see him sporting a peacock tail.

But what's UP with the hats & capes?  It's like some kind of reverse skunk outfit.  And that can't possibly be Dan Aykroyd in the middle, but maybe a cousin....Mike Hubbard

Don't you just love the token woman included in this group of men who claim to have the best interest of the ladies at heart?

Here's Mike Hubbard's FB page where he's bragging about his involvement in this event.  hint, hint....

It's kind of fun to note that he only has a few hundred more FB friends than we do here at LIA.  :-)


Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Alabama HB 360: It's Not About the Truth

by: DrAbston

Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:25:36 AM CST

Long before I entered medical school, physicians in the US were under no professional obligation to be truthful to patients.  They prescribed placebos, kept secrets from the dying, and made decisions without expecting or wanting input from patients.  The rules have changed—no more Dr. God, and thank goodness for that!


There is still a power imbalance though.  We have the almighty power of the prescription, the referral, and the scalpel.  Even more, we have the power of knowledge and experience our patients usually don’t possess.  That power carries enormous responsibility.  No matter how much my non-medical parents and patients read, they are in my exam room because they require my honest, best assessment of their health and my honest, best advice.


It is, therefore, absolutely critical that physicians attempt to avoid using knowledge manipulatively.


A legislator’s job is different.  Even the most sincere elected leader must construct convincing reasons for action, depending on what will resonate with voters.  Sometimes it’s the only way to get good policy through.  Like it or not, that’s politics!  HB 360 is an attempt to have physicians play politics, in the exam room, by giving women carefully selected information about abortion and leaving out what our legislators don’t like.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1085 words in story)
Next >>

blog advertising is good for you


Advanced Search

A community blog for progressive politics, ideas and current events in Alabama. Register now to join the conversation.

Friend and Follow Left In Alabama:

Join LIA's Facebook Page Go To LIA's Twitter Page Go To LIA's Flickr Photo Album Go To LIA's YouTube channel

- Mobile

Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

LiA Contributors
- Admin
- Admin
- Economics & Aeronautics
- National Political Issues
- Political Strategy & Messaging
- Health Care
- Education in the Black Belt
- ADP Watch
- Climate & Alternative Energy
- Labor
- Alabama Legal Issues
- From the Center
- Equal Rights & GLBT Issues
- Roving Reporter

Please take our Blog Reader Project survey.

Support Left in Alabama with a Donation!

Your Amazon purchases can help fund this blog:
Support Left in Alabama
Buy Phones & More at Amazon Wireless


T.H.E. Social Work Agency
Adoption home studies & care management services in the North Alabama area.
Licensed, certified, caring social workers.

Democracy Interactive
blog advertising is good for you

Arise Daily News
Bessemer Opinions
Birmingham Blues
Birmingham Science Examiner
Greg Varner's Blog
The Haze Filter
Hard Boiled Dreams of the World
King Cockfight
Legal Schnauzer
Loretta Nall
Peace Takes Courage
Pippa Abston's Blog
TJ Beitel
Thoughts & Rants of an Independent
Time is Spherical, Not Linear
WriteChic Press

ACLU of Alabama
Alabama Arise
Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
Alabama Conservationist
Alabama Democratic Conference
Alabama Democratic Party
Alabama Legislature
Alabama Poverty Project
Alabama Secretary of State's Office
Encyclopedia of Alabama
Equality Alabama
Greater Birmingham Ministries
League of Women Voters of Alabama
Madison County Democrats
Marshall County Democrats
Over the Mountain Democrats
Alabama Political Reporter

Blog for Democracy
Blue Oklahoma
Burnt Orange Report
Daily Kingfish
Facing South
The Old Black Church
West Virginia Blue
Juanita Jean - Texas

African American Political Pundit
An Examination of Free Will
Blog for Rural America
Balloon Juice
Blue Gal
Booman Tribune
Borowitz Report
Science Blogs
Crooks and Liars
Daily Kos
First Draft
Jack and Jill
Juan Cole
La Vida Locavore
The Left Coaster
My Left Wing
NASA Watch
Notion's Capital
Oliver Willis
Paul Krugman
Political Cortex
Scoobie Davis
Senate Guru
Spocko's Brain
Suburban Guerilla
Talk To Action
Talking Points Memo
The Field Negro
The Oil Drum
Think Progress
US Politics News

Anzalone Liszt Research
Center for American Progress
FEC Electronic Report Retrieval
Follow the Money
In Their Boots
New Organizing Institute
Pew Research Center
Progressive States Network
The Contributor


 Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to My AOL

Add Left In Alabama - Front Page to Newsburst from CNET News.com

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Powered by FeedBurner

Add to Technorati Favorites

Powered by: SoapBlox