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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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."
(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!