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Reproductive Rights

Huntsville Women's Clinic Closing Friday - Temporarily

by: countrycat

Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:31:30 AM CDT

The Alabama Women's Center in Huntsville will close on Friday, June 27, but hopes to reopen in its new location.  Remember, that's the one anti-choice folks are protesting because it's across the street from a school and because... racism.  Seriously.

 
This is in response to the TRAP bill passed by the legislature this session.  Clinics have new requirements to meet - requirements that do NOT apply to most other outpatient facilities, hence the name "Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers."

Clinic officials did submit blue prints for a new location to move the clinic off Sparkman Drive for approval from the state Department of Public Health.

According to Brian Hale, Deputy General Counsel with Alabama Department of Public Health, the blue prints have not been approved yet because they're waiting for response from the clinic's architect on making minor alterations to the interior.

It's not clear if that can be done by Tuesday's deadline.

"The clinic is still going through the approval process with the state," said Clinic Administrator, Dalton Johnson, "We will continue the fight to re-open at the new facility while we continue to follow every letter of the law."

"It will be a sad day for us to close our doors because it means women of North Alabama will no longer have access to the multiple health care services we provide, not just abortions," said Johnson.

The clinic has already jumped other hurdles in the law requiring its physicians to have admitting privileges to area hospitals and adhering to the 48-hour waiting period requirement for women to have the procedure. 

While this is a sad event, it's not the end of the story. Without the tireless efforts of pro-choice activists & volunteers, the original clinic might have closed well before the TRAP bill passed.  So it's a good time to give a shout out to the dedicated group of volunteer clinic escorts who have showed up no matter what the weather (literally, the last time I was there, it was sleeting and about 20 degress outside, but the experienced escorts weren't fazed a bit), no matter how many antis thronged the sidewalks (adults & kids who sang the delightful "happy birthday dead baby" song), and kept their heads no matter what the provocation. 

Here's some of our coverage of these local heroes:

And here's more in-depth coverage of of the federal lawsuit challenging the TRAP regulations.  Coverage that's only possible because of pro-choice heroines in Montgomery who attended every session:

Learn more about the issue & support choice in Alabama!  Visit the Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates (ARRA) Web page & become a Facebook fan.  Follow them on Twitter too. 

 

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Anti-Choice Activists Continue To Demonstrate Across From Middle School in Huntsville

by: countrycat

Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:11:52 AM CDT

Huntsville anti-choice protesters are worried about the "impact on children" if the city's lone women's clinic moves from its present location to a new building that complies with the state's TRAP law.  The problem, they assert, is that the new location is directly across from a middle school and so represents both a safety and moral hazard for the children.

Well, if anyone should recognize a "moral hazard," it's this group of zealots.

Oddly though, they haven't raised this particular concern about the current location, which is 2 blocks from Huntsville Middle School and two buildings away from Huntsville Hospital's child care center.  And, as clinic supporters point out, nobody could distinguish either the current or future location from any other medical facility if it weren't for the protesters out front waving signs, passing out fetus dolls, and busing in school children to sing such ditties as "Happy Birthday, Dead Baby" to women entering the building.

In their rather unusual version of logic, bringing their own small children to stand on the sidewalk in front of a busy 5-lane road and busing in children from local Christian shools is fine, but having children attending the school across the 5-lane road, who are inside the building learning most of the day, is a problem. They also weren't worried about it when they picketed this very same building last year because the doctor who occupied it was pro-choice.

It makes about as much sense as Republican Math, doesn't it?

Publicity-hungry politico, Chris Horn, joined the group in a protest yesterday outside the new clinic location and complained about the effect on neighborhood property values.  Trouble is, the current clinic location is next to the historic Twickenham District, one of the most pricey and exclusive areas of the city. If the clinic and the sign-waving "counselors" out front haven't been an issue for residents there, it's unlikely that the new location will be an issue either.

Now, the problem here is that the building is already zoned for a medical facility, the clinic's owner has completed the purchase, and it complies with the new anti-abortion TRAP laws.  That means the anti-choice people had to find a new complaint, so they went with the easy choice: racism.

Abortion advocates are targeting the black community in northwest Huntsville with plans to relocate its downtown clinic to a facility on Sparkman Drive, anti-abortion protestors said Saturday.

Yes campers, locating a reproductive health clinic that provides affordable services to women including pap smears, STD screenings, pregnancy tests, birth control, and abortion in an existing building that's zoned as a medical clinic and happens to be in a low-income, mostly African American neighborhood is now a racist act.  The clinic welcomes all women - even if they don't have health insurance, which many do not since our state declined to expand Medicaid.  Have you ever tried to call a local OB/GYN and make an appointment?  The first question is "What kind of insurance do you have?" See how much farther you get if the answer is "none." 

What are these protesters doing to help those women?  Nothing.

But don't expect to hear any of that from the Huntsville Times reporter, Paul Gattis, whose article on the protest was rightly condemned as biased.  He defended himself in the comments this way:

Paul Gattis

Yep.  All you "pro-abortion" harridans stop yer whinin'!  If y'all want to get out and wave picket signs and block the sidewalk in front of legal businesses, we'll be happy to give you the coverage you deserve.

EXCEPT.... remember the Women's Rights rally in Huntsville in April?  The one that we covered with these posts that included video and partial transcripts of the speeches:

You saw none of that from the local newspaper, although several TV stations did stop by.  So apparently, when hundreds gather to rally for women and statewide candidates for office attend, it gets a "yawn" from Mr. Gattis & his fellow reporters.  But when a couple of dozen protesters scream about reproductive choice being some sort of racist plot, they're all over the story.

 

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Remember Dr. Tiller - And The Dangers Faced By Clinic Doctors In Alabama

by: countrycat

Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 14:59:23 PM CDT

As the federal court hearing on Alabama's TRAP bill continues, there was some really chilling testimony last week from an former undercover agent who has worked on domestic terrorism cases.  It's worth recapping here as part of our coverage because this weekend marks the 5th anniversary of Dr. George Tiller's murder in Wichita, KS - as he was attending church.

Last Wednesday (5/28) Margarent Moore testified about clinic terrorism.  This woman isn't only knowledegable and experienced - she's a badass.

Some highlights from her resume:

  • Undercover narcotics cop for the NYPD.
  • Joined the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) & worked undercover for them infiltrating the IRA.
  • Worked on the first World Trade Center bombing.
  • While at the ATF, she also worked undercover in investigating abortion clinic bombings in the 1980's in NY, WA, and IA.
  • Named the first female Special Agent in Charge of the ATF. She stayed there for 23 years.
  • After retiring from the ATF, Moore joined the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) as Director of Law Enforcement Operations. 

She is now retired, but shared a wealth of information about her experiences fighting crime and domestic terrorism. 

Moore described how clinic violence stops doctors from wanting to get into the field, and how it's hard to find people to work at the clinics. Domestic terrorism means people get shot, maimed, and their right to privacy is always violated because the violent people go to any means necessary to stop abortion. (The state at this point actually had the nerve to object and state that she was not an expert on clinic violence, which Judge Thompson overruled.)

She shared a retrospective of clinic violence through the previous 4 decades:

  • The first act of arson at a clinic was in 1976, and got worse into the 1980's.
  • During one year in the 80's, bombings and arsons happened 25 times.
  • Mass protests and blockades also started in the 80's, with sometimes up to 200 people participating in these activities in places such as Atlanta.
  • Abortion opponents stepped up their game in the 1990's and began murdering doctors.  Dr. Gunn in Pensacola was killed in 1993. Dr. Britton at the same Pensacola clinic was killed by Paul Hill, who also killed the doctor's escort/bodyguard, a retired Lt Col and injured the Lt Col's wife. Several other doctors were killed then the Birmingham clinic was bombed by Eric Rudolph, who also bombed a clinic in Sandy Springs, GA and a gay nightclub, too. Canada had murders as well.
  • Then Dr. Tiller was killed in 2009, after surviving a previous attempt to kill him by the Army of God. The Army of God is a designated terrorist group by the US Gov't and DOJ.
  • Roeder (Tiller's killer) stalked the Doctor for two weeks before shooting him in his church.

Moore's job was to stay in touch with clinics nationwide and alert them about any strange activities because the Army of God had threatened almost everyone.

  • US Marshals were brought in to watch the other doctors that worked with Dr. Tiller.
  • Death threats came in to other clinics regularly.
  • Although Roeder says he acted alone, Cheryl Sullinger's (of Operation Rescue) phone number was found in his car.
Moore also described the "wanted posters" and the websites that post people's entire information including family members & social security numbers. She said some of these groups have "manuals" just like Al Qaeda.
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AG Lawyers Offer Contradictory Reasons For TRAP Law

by: countrycat

Wed May 28, 2014 at 15:50:57 PM CDT

The federal court hearing on Planned Parenthood & the ACLU's challenge to Alabama's 2013 TRAP law continues this week, and the longer it lasts, the less coherent the state's attorneys & witnesses become.  Soon, each hearing may end with an assistant Attorney General beating his or her head on the podium.ARRA

For instance, last week, the state tried to refute the notion that the TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) regulations amount to "a tax on women".  Plaintiffs asserted this because, if several clinics in Alabama are forced to close, then women will incur extra costs when they have to travel longer distances and pay for overnight stays due to the new 48 hour waiting period.   Not to mention losing pay at work, paying for child care during that time, etc.

Majority of women in AL getting abortions are living in extreme poverty - estimates are around 70+%. Her estimates on the additional costs (travel, lost wages, childcare, ect) are as follows: Montgomery to Tuscaloosa: $415, B'ham to Tuscaloosa: $231, and Mobile to Tuscaloosa: $651 (Mobile to Tuscaloosa includes 2 night stay at hotel, average hotel rate of $93). 

One of the state's lawyers blew off those concerns as well as the $93/night hotel cost.  He asked about those hotels he sees that advertise rooms for $39 or less.  Then he tossed out this nugget:

...since 40% of women seeking an abortion have not had a child, childcare isn't an issue for everyone. "Send the kids to grandma's with food! Do it while the kids are in school! Huntsville and Tuscaloosa both have clinics on Saturday so do it when you're off work!" 

And furthermore, the state didn't understand why it's such a big deal to travel to another state:

AG representative kept asking the sociologist who is from CA if she knew where Phoenix City, AL is and if she knew if there was a pedestrian bridge that AL women could just waltz on over into GA on to get an abortion. Seriously.

Abruptly, the state changed tactics and asserted that the issue is all about safety and "continuity of care."  (Suddenly, the state is worried about women's health.) If the abortion provider doesn't have local hospital admitting privileges, then the woman's life could be at risk or health compromised.

The state's lawyers tried to drive this point home yesterday, when it put Dr. James Anderson on the stand to talk about the terrible consequences of abortion, the need for doctors with admitting privileges, and his relationship with a controversial anti-abortion activist whose chief claim to fame is a Home Ec degree.

"It would always be helpful," Anderson said during a little over two hours of testimony. "When starting off brand new with a patient, you have to be like a detective . . . if I had a call from an abortion provider giving information, I'm not at all starting in the dark."

So, if the ER doctor just needs a phone call to get up to speed on the patient, why does the clinic doctor need admitting privileges?

A courtroom observer noted this little nugget from Anderson's testimony as well:

He stated that he had had one patient die as result of abortion. She waited for a couple of days (because of worry about the expense) to go to emergency room, and was septic when she got there.

Sounds like the problem in that case was lack of access to medical care.  hmmm... maybe the poor woman had already blown her savings on travel expenses, hotels, etc. and was afraid of additional hospital costs.  

It might come as a surprise to a practicing physician and highly-paid state attorneys that some people don't have a portfolio full of stocks & a wallet full of credit cards.

It gets better.....

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Planned Parenthood Witness Eviscerates State's Attorneys During TRAP Hearing

by: countrycat

Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:36:16 AM CDT

Alabama spent a third day in federal court yesterday defending its ill-conceived TRAP anti-abortion bill passed in 2013.  The day didn't go well for the state, with  the Montgomery Advertiser's Brian Lyman reporting that State Solicitor General Andrew Brasher "visibly and loudly bang[ed] his head on a podium in the courtroom."

The plaintiffs (Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Alabama) led off with an impeccable expert witness, Dr. Paul Fine, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast.

  • He has over 30 years' experience in OB/GYN & abortion care since the 70's and remembers pre-Roe days.
  • An Air Force veteran, he settled in TX to open an OB/GYN practice in 1977.
  • He graduated from the Galveston Police Academy and is a reserve police officer.
  • He taught the Galveston Police Department how to handle rape kits and how to work with victims of sexual assault.
  • He teaches OB/GYN students and specializes in teaching abortion care at Baylor, a position he still holds today.
  • He's the Medical Director for Galveston EMS. 

Dr. Fine spent the day explaining that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with fewer complications than colonoscopies, childbirth, and other common procedures. 

  • 13-15% of pregnancies even end in spontaneous abortion/miscarriages and even those have a higher complication rate than medical or surgical abortion.
  • 6 out of ONE MILLION women will die from abortion or abortion related services compared to 8.8 deaths per 100K for live childbirth. 

The state's attorney challenged Dr. Fine about his opposition to requiring admitting privileges for clinic doctors, but Fine wiped the floor with him.

  • ER doctors are trained to deal with miscarriages, which is the same treatment as an abortion complication.
  • The ER doctor or OB/GYN on-call is the person who would admit the patient, whether it's an abortion or miscarriage.
  • The safety of abortion is one reason hospitals won't give admitting privileges to clinic cotors.  Hospitals require a certain number of admissions per year for a doctor to get privileges.  But abortions aren't that dangerous, so no clinic doctor would qualify.

In Texas, where the TRAP bill (which includes an admitting privilege requirement) has gone into effect, multiple clinics have closed.   Women in the Rio Grande Valley are crossing into Mexico and getting potentially dangerous drugs that are on the black market that may not even be what they purport to be.   Dr. Fine told Assistant Attorney General Jim Davis that Alabama's TRAP law "will only harm women by making more clinics close and putting women further away from the constitutional care they have every right to."

State lawyers pressed Dr. Fine on "continuity of care," but got nowhere.  Fine noted that colonoscopies can go wrong and gastro doctors can't fix common complications like perforations themselves. They have to call in surgeons to fix them.  The State even asked him if all doctors had cell phones, he said "I don't know, do all lawyers have cell phones?"

After that, the State called its first witness, George Smith, chairman of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.  Smith supported the state's assertion that patients can only receive adequate care if the clinic doctor is the person who admits them to the hospital.  But... oops!

Under cross-examination from Randall Marshall of ACLU Alabama, Smith said the board did not require physicians to obtain admitting privileges to provide services, and allowed doctors who lived outside the state to perform the procedures.

In fact, Alabama doesn't require any other doctor who performs in-office surgery to have hospital admitting privileges.  The requirement only targets clinic doctors, which is why this law is called "Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers."

As always, many thanks to the dedicated ARRA folks who are attending and reporting so thoroughly on these proceedings.  Find them FacebookSome of this article is directly quoted from their report & some is paraphrased; we apprectiate their hard work & willingness to share their reports. 

 

 

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Alabama's TRAP Law Is "A Tax On Women"

by: countrycat

Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:47:04 AM CDT

In keeping with GOP supermajority's jobs plan for lawyers, Alabama was in federal court yesterday defending the state's TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) law that passed during the 2013 session.  Clinic operators testified that all but two clinics in Alabama would be forced to close if the law is upheld:

June Ayers, the owner of Montgomery's Reproductive Health Services, and Staci Fox, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast and its clinics in Birmingham and Mobile, are challenging the law and were the first witnesses in a federal trial that began Monday. They said enforcement of the law would make it harder for low-income women to getabortions.

"If I close my doors, their access is dramatically, dramatically reduced," Ayers said.

Mississippi, Wisconsin and Texas have laws similar to Alabama, but Texas is the only state where it is being enforced. Testimony in the non-jury Alabama trial in Montgomery continues through June 5. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson will rule after that.

Reproductive rights advocates attended the hearing but weren't allowed to use any electronic recording equipment.  Here are some interesting tidbits, however, from the notes posted on the Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates FB page:

  • Basically the state doesn't give a damn if Mobile and Montgomery have to go out business, Mobile women can go to Pensacola and Montgomery women can go to Columbus, GA. That's all we heard all day long.

  • Our side is really pushing that this is going to put an undue burden on women by adding costs up to an estimated $651 if women from Mobile travel to Tuscaloosa (bus/taxi or private car costs + childcare + hotel stays due to 48 hour waiting period).

  • [AG lawyer] said since 40% of women seeking an abortion have not had a child, childcare isn't an issue for everyone. "Send the kids to grandma's with food! Do it while the kids are in school! Huntsville and Tuscaloosa both have clinics on Saturday so do it when you're off work!" 

    --- Because, of course nobody works on Saturday, right?  And with the 48 hour waiting period, you have to take more time off than that - too bad if you don't get paid vacation or sick leave, hon.

  • Dr. Shelia Katz, a sociologist from CA that studies gender in relation to poverty because up to 70+% of the women in AL that get abortions live below the poverty line.

  • She (Katz) did a full study and summarized that if the law goes into effect, only Tuscaloosa & Huntsville would be left. AL is the 6th poorest state in the nation, tied with KY. 19.1% overall poverty rate. Mobile has a 19.5% rate, Montgomery is at 20.6%, and B'ham is at 27%. Majority of women in AL getting abortions are living in extreme poverty - estimates are around 70+%. Her estimates on the additional costs (travel, lost wages, childcare, ect) are as follows: Montgomery to Tuscaloosa: $415, B'ham to Tuscaloosa: $231, and Mobile to Tuscaloosa: $651 (Mobile to Tuscaloosa includes 2 night stay at hotel, average hotel rate of $93).

  • The AG's office kept pushing her on that was pretty high, some cheap hotel they mentioned that I didn't write the name of was like $39 but she told them it had a terrible rating and was described online as nasty, dirty, and "I'd never stay there again".

    But that's ok because poor women can just stay in disgusting places that aren't safe, right? She flat out said "this is like a tax on women".

  • AG representative kept asking the sociologist who is from CA if she knew where Phoenix City, AL is (right on the border with Columbus, GA) and if she knew if there was a pedestrian bridge that AL women could just waltz on over into GA on to get an abortion. Seriously.

Sure, some of that sounds just like the high comedy that comes out of the legislature and is one of the reasons we can't have nice things in Alabama.   But the testimony about the harrassment of doctors and clinic staff will make your blood run cold:

 

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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.

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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.

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HB 108: It's Not About Religion

by: DrAbston

Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:05:15 AM CST

Everything you thought about our legislature and women’s health is wrong.  Not only do our legislators plan to make abortion “safer”, they want to increase demand!  They want to make it hard for women to get birth control, so they will have more unwanted pregnancies and seek abortion more often. Since the “safer” clinics under HB 57/SB 130 will be imaginary, having been shut down, these abortions may be done by unlicensed providers or DIY methods.  That’s great, because it gets them a twofer, a dead fetus AND a dead momma.  I wonder if they’ve considered another benefit—an increased arrest rate for women who are addicted to drugs, get pregnant, and don’t abort—a boon to our burgeoning prison industry.  A winner, all around, right?  Pro-choicers, rejoice!

 

Except they’ve misunderstood us a bit.  Pro-choice does NOT mean pro-unplanned pregnancy or pro-abortion.   Women don’t yearn to have abortions any more than men want to have prostate procedures or open-heart surgery.  We know the best option is prevention—safe, accessible contraception with good public education about safe sex.

 

Let’s read HB 108.  We have a new category of employers created—religiously affiliated or motivated employers.  Under the definition section, it turns out that any “entity that has 10 or less shareholders, members, or partners who have religious beliefs which oppose contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods” is included.  10 or less—that means 0 to 10, right?  So a business with 100 shareholders, all atheists, is religiously motivated but one with 100% anti-contraception shareholders is not.  Interesting twist!

 

Businesses meeting the criteria can refuse to provide insurance coverage for any form of birth control.  Let’s say they fix their typo, and it becomes 10 or more shareholders, members or partners.  A business with 1000 shareholders, 990 of whom have no religious objection to birth control, could refuse to cover contraception for its employees.  Considering where we live, how many businesses would fall into that category?

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God Was Pro-Choice in 1968

by: julie

Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 13:34:10 PM CDT

( - promoted by mooncat)

I'll say it again. God was Pro Choice in 1968, which is when

...Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:

“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: 'If a man kills any human life he will be put to death' (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.” 

---Jonathan Dudley, author of "Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics."

Even casual students of the Bible have probably read this verse from 2 Peter 3:8: "Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

But somehow Right Wing Evangelicals and their GOP leaders have persuaded themselves and their flocks that God has changed his mind in the last 40 years or so. The ways of God are hard to fathom, but I want to suggest here that this sudden sea change might have a lot more to do with Richard Nixon and Lee Atwater than any sudden dawning of spiritual light or moral conviction. One might even argue that religious doctrine supplied by two of the most corrupt political animals ever to stain the American landscape hardly meets the smell test.

 Patrick Buchanan wrote a memo to Nixon advocating using the abortion issue to woo the Catholic vote. “If the president should publicly take his stand against abortion as offensive to his own moral principles … then we can force [Ed] Muskie [a failed Democratic presidential candidate in 1972] to make the choice between his tens of millions of Catholic supporters and his liberal friends.” The next week Nixon spoke of his “personal belief in the sanctity of human life – including the life of the yet unborn”.---Alan Bean, Abortion and White Evangelicals

Our current 'controversy' also owes a huge debt to Jerry Falwell and his so-called Moral Majority, who campaigned against Jimmy Carter (an actual Evangelical Christian) in favor of Ronald Reagan (who hated going to church and whose wife had a professional astrologer on retainer during the White House years). Falwell was also cozily in bed with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, receiving millions in cash from that source to bail out his failing university. The Rev. Moon convinced thousands of cult followers that he was the physical incarnation of Christ - the New Messiah - and claimed their total allegiance on that basis. Hey, let's talk some Bible here, shall we?

MT 7:15  "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

Falwell is also in large part responsible for bringing Roman Catholic dogma into Protestant thinking, and even Catholics haven't always held the belief that life begins at conception.

[Thomas] Aquinas, the father of Roman Catholic theology, believed that life began at forty days but only because he mistakenly believed that’s when the unborn fetus was capable of intellectual life.  ”Today, we know that the rudimentary organs are not developed until around ten weeks after conception,” Dudley writes, “and that the brain is not sufficiently developed to support sentient intellectual life until around six months after conception.”

For that matter, neither did St. Augustine - another bastion of the Roman Church. For Evangelicals, who lean heavily on the Old Testament for Biblical support, it's also problematic that Jewish tradition holds that life begins at birth.  My opinion is that it has to do with the breath of life. Unlike the anti-choice quotes, which mostly boil down to one sentence ( Jeremiah 1:5), the equation of Life=Breath is repeated endlessly in Scripture, starting at Genesis where God "breathed life into Adam". The act of breathing, whether God's or ours, seems to be a fairly universal definition of life in Scripture. But don't take my word for it. How about an unimpeachable Evangelical source like the 700 Club?

 We almost get a little spooky talking about the Holy Ghost, but the Hebrew word behind spirit is ruach, and it means "air in motion." It is the same word for "breath." It also means "life."--Gordon Robertson, The 700 Club

I apologize in advance to LiA's non-Christian and Progressive Christian readers for what may seem to be a religious diatribe, but facts are facts and one big fact is standing out there right now: white evangelicals are going for Mitt Romney ( a huge, proven liar) in a big way. I attribute a lot of this lukewarm support to the Pro Birth Agenda which has convinced God-fearing evangelicals, and in particular evangelical women, that a vote for Obama and the Democrats is a vote for Satan. It isn't. It's a vote against Nixon, Falwell, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Paul Weyrich and a host of other corrupt, non-believing political manipulators who want to use YOUR faith to promote THEIR agenda.

Their agenda isn't yours, and it isn't Christian. In fact, the Republican agenda is as far from the 'red words' as you can get.

If you are wavering towards Romney solely on this issue, please reconsider the history and the men behind it, and vote for what you know in your heart to be the best interests of 95% of the living Americans around you. Leave these personal moral choices where they belong - with those affected. It's moral, it's principled, and it's by Golly American. 

One of the photos in this article is human. One is an eleven week old elephant fetus. Can you spot the difference? If you can't, should you be deciding these matters for everyone in the country? Think about it. Take all the time you need. 

 

 

 

 

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Alabama Legislature: War On Women Continues Into the Special Session

by: mooncat

Mon May 21, 2012 at 10:11:42 AM CDT

The GOP War on Women is nothing if not tenacious.  Even though the Governor's Proclamation calling the Legislature into "extraordinary session" does not mention abortion, a Republican State Senator is still prosecuting the War on Women, even into the special session.  GOPers didn't pass all the reproductive restrictions they wanted in the regular session, so they're back in the special session -- which the citizens of Alabama are paying for by the day.

Sen. Scott Beason, taking time out from his war on immigrants and his war on aborigines and his war on fellow legislators, has filed SB27 to be taken up in the special session.  To refresh, the Governor called this special session to deal with 5 items of business the Legislature didn't finish in their regular session:

  • Reapportionment
  • Refinancing of bonds
  • Disposition of use tax funds
  • Changes to the immigration law
  • Tobacco settlement funds

Notice, abortion is not on this list.  Because of that absence, by law, Beason's bill to impose new regulations on abortion clinics and reproductive health centers in Alabama would have to pass with a 2/3rds majority.  SB27 is a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers or "TRAP" bill:

"TRAP" laws single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions, and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices. For example, such regulations may require that abortions be performed in far more sophisticated and expensive facilities than are necessary to ensure the provision of safe procedures. Compliance with these physical plant requirements may require extensive renovations or be physically impossible in existing facilities. TRAP laws may also allow unannounced state inspections, even when patients are present. These excessive and unnecessary government regulations increase the cost and scarcity of abortion services, harming women's health and inhibiting their reproductive choices.  

Beason's SB27 is a close copy of Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin's (also R) HB223 TRAP bill which passed the State House in the regular session but died in the Senate.  Let's hope this one dies in the special session as well.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

On the Legislation of Conscience

by: DrAbston

Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 14:31:22 PM CDT

Among the several bills pending Alabama legislative action this spring, I am sorry to say our state has decided to extend its long arm into the realm of conscience.  There are two bills pending, SB 105 and HB 375, titled Health Care Rights of Conscience.  If you live here, you need to know about them in detail—please read for yourself. 

Conscience is no small matter—without conscience, we become sociopaths.  We’ve learned the hard way in history how blind allegiance to any authority can lead to tragedy.  The exercise of individual conscience through civil disobedience is a vital protection in democracy against a majority gone wrong.  Without bravery like that of Rosa Parks, evil laws can be hard to change by ordinary channels. 

The problem is that consciences differ between persons, sometimes wildly.  If that were not the case, we would have no need of law at all, nor police nor courts.  These are all required to protect us, by mutual consent, from the failure of individual conscience.  If Rosa Parks had done something different—if she had used her personal conscience to rob someone of money she thought they didn’t deserve to have—she would have been rightly arrested and would not have inspired social change.  That is why people who choose to perform civil disobedience must expect arrest—their acts are not meant to ignore the law but to expose it for examination.

 SB 105 and HB 375 seek to override critical citizen protections by allowing individual conscience to run amok, without the restraint of social or professional ethics.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1074 words in story)

State Rep. Ed Henry (R) Says He's A Murderer

by: mooncat

Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM CDT

             "I murdered my first child."

I wonder how many of the self-righteous pricks who are trying to make abortion unsafe and illegal in this country availed themselves of safe, legal abortions when it suited their own needs, courtesy of Roe v. Wade.

Henry is sponsoring a bill to outlaw insurance coverage for elective abortions for policies obtained through Alabama's health insurance exchange.  No word on when he'll also outlaw insurance coverage for Viagra and elective vasectomies as well.  Look for that along about the 12th of Never because, like the rest of these self-righteous pricks, he's only concerned about denying coverage for female procedures.  

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Spring in Alabama-- and the War on Women must end NOW!

by: DrAbston

Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 22:18:19 PM CDT

We had a great rally today!  Hope you got to come.  Here is the text of my speech, and here it is on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5gp9j7kFo8&feature=share    This is what Spring in Alabama looks like!Huntsville rally

 

This winter, some of our state legislators came down with a bad virus—let’s call it chicken farmer flu. The symptoms are breaking out in a rash of bad bills and having delusions that we won’t notice. Guess what? We noticed!

 

We know the truth about these bills.

 

We know that personhood has nothing to do with making fetuses persons—it is about trying to take away the personhood of women.

 

We know that putting women in jail for testing positive for drugs during pregnancy has nothing to do with stopping chemical endangerment of children- - it is about criminalizing addiction and controlling women. If they wanted to stop chemical endangerment, they would spend more money on treatment centers and less on prisons.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1153 words in story)

SB 12: Against the Rights of Women and Physicians

by: DrAbston

Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 07:38:26 AM CST

Have Alabama Legislators finally stepped on a hornet’s nest? SB 12, the bill that would force physicians to verbally assault women during their required but medically unnecessary ultrasound before legal abortion, has triggered quite a flurry of citizen opposition. Clay Scofield, the bill sponsor, says he will revise the bill so that it no longer requires intravaginal ultrasounds—the woman can “choose” which probe to have “used on her.” He also maintains that the section requiring the narration of body parts even for women with ectopic pregnancies or whose babies have died in utero was only poorly worded and will be “clarified.”

 

So far, the bill appears to still contain a specific requirement to do the narrated ultrasounds even if the doctor determines that the woman might kill or maim herself afterwards, or if she has a “psychological” diagnosis. This leaves the physician to make a Hobson’s Choice between risking a patient’s death by suicide or death by coat-hanger.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1568 words in story)

Abortion Package: "It will absolutely pass"

by: mooncat

Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 08:37:36 AM CST

There was a great crowd last night at the Countdown to Victory 2010 fundraiser in Madison County and a good chunk of the local legislative delegation was there.  In a quiet moment I asked one legislator what would likely happen to gubernatorial candidate Robert Bentley's anti-abortion proposals next session.  "It will absolutely pass.  If it makes it to the floor in an election year it will be voted in" was the response. 

Me, dismayed: But, but, some of that is in conflict with federal law ... court challenge ... money we don't have ....

Legislator: Makes no difference.  If it comes up in an election year they'll pass it (without this person's vote, sounds like) and the only way it might be stopped is if there is a huge outcry from women.

This legislator then referenced a man and his daughter, baby Rose, who successfully lobbied the Legislature a while back.  His wife had died because she lacked some medical test or procedure and he walked the halls of the Leg. every day with baby Rose on his hip, lobbying for passage of a bill to make sure that what happened to his wife wouldn't happen to some other woman. Apparently, they couldn't look him in the eye and vote against it and he and Baby Rose were in the gallery watching as they  voted, overwhelmingly, in favor of the bill.

If the women, and progressive men, of Alabama want to keep Bentley's awful package of legislation from passing this year, we need to be organizing and lobbying and we need a presence in the Legislature every single day they're in session.  One or two rallies won't cut it.  Of course, most people can't afford to be in Montgomery every day, so what about a round robin?  Women's groups around the state could coordinate and schedule one or two members each day -- if enough groups participated that would be a pretty large band of women there every day.  And all wearing a distinctive color, such as pink, to let them know we have strength of numbers.

The same legislator also opined that constitutional reform bills will come to nothing without the same kind of day-in, day-out presence in the Legislature.  "The people have to demand it." 

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Jeff Sessions: Plenty of Cats, Not enough Tuna

by: julie

Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 11:41:15 AM CDT

(Because the cats need more tuna? - promoted by herding old cats)

A Day in the Life of a Woman Jeff Legislates for...

You can't get teen pregnancy prevention help, cause he voted against the Clinton-sponsored S AMDT 244 to S Con Res 18.
So let's say you get pregnant. You're 17, and your family is poor. Tough Cookies, sister.
Senator Sessions supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 0 percent in 2006.

Senator Sessions supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 100 percent in 2005-2006. He's consistent here, too--across ALL species. Heck, he doesn't even believe the [apologies to mooncat here] cat should be spayed! ^o^
Senator Sessions supported the interests of the The Humane Society of the United States 0 percent in 2005-2006.

[This is such a juicy little dichotomy I had to include it: he supports the Right To Life, BUT Senator Sessions also supported the interests of the Gun Owners of America 100 percent in 2005..oh- AND a War that is projected to kill a million people by the time the shootin' dies down..] you gotta love the South..

Now that you're barefoot and pregnant, don't plan on getting a high paying job to support your baby..Senator Sessions supported the interests of the American Association of University Women 10 percent in 2005-2006.

Oh, and if your baby is black, well, tough cookies again!
Senator Sessions supported the interests of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 5 percent in 2005.

Just forget education for your baby; whether early or late:
Senator Sessions supported the interests of the Children's Defense Fund 0 percent in 2005.
Senator Sessions supported the interests of the National Education Association 0 percent in 2005.
2003-2004 Senator Sessions supported the interests of the National Parent Teacher Association 0 percent in 2003-2004.

Take care, all my sisters. May God be with you, 'cause Jeff Sessions sure ain't!

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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