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Entries in abortion rights (31)

Thursday
Nov142013

Abortion Rights News: USSC Let's Stand Oklahoma State Court Ban On Mandatory Ultrasounds & Abortion Pills

1. After many years playing defense on abortion rights, advocates seeking to protect women’s health options launched a new offensive strategy on Capitol Hill. The first initiative is the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  and in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).

WHPA is designed “to protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.

If passed, the WHPA would pit the federal government against states rights advocates and new laws “that fail to protect women’s health and intrude upon personal decision-making,” according to its sponsors. Asserting that “a woman’s constitutional rights should not depend on her zip code,” the bill “promotes and protects a woman’s individual constitutional rights, no matter where she lives.”

2. In a second action, women’s reproductive health professionals around the country have launched All Above All, dedicated to educating members of Congress and their staff on the importance of public funding of abortion care for low-income women.

All Above All is supported by 28 organizations throughout America and intends to lift bans on public funding for abortion as blocked by the Hyde Amendment.

Organizers describe the campaign as a “bold, national, multi-year effort to bring together Millennials, people of color and groups from around the progressive universe to build the political power and will to lift these bans on coverage.”

WPHA does not address funding bans, writes RH Reality Check. The reality is that passing WHPA tomorrow would still leave the option unavailable to America’s poorest women. Removing the Hyde Amendment is a long-term goal that will take persistence and countless hours of dedicated efforts.

3. This week’s New York Magazine profiles the real life stories of 26 women — in honor of 26 Republican legislature states that have passed over 111 provisions that restrict abortion access. Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, “perhaps none seems further from being resolves, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion” writes Meaghan Winter.

The article points out what we all know: the experience of abortion in America is increasingly based on one’s zip code. Not only does it vary by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family — and by the response of a boyfriend.

Also in NYM Why the Abortion Pill Didn’t Change Everything.

In 1993, Time magazine declared mifepristone — the abortion pill that’s often called RU-486 — “The Pill that Changes Everything.” In 1999, The New York Times Magazine called it a “little white bombshell” with “enormous political consequences.”  Think again.

4. The state of Oklahoma lost another round in its battle to restrict abortion access in the state when the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in which a lower state court found HB 2789 requiring women to have an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound scan to be unconstitutional.

The new law mandated that the pregnant woman be given the chance to view the ultrasound image and be given a medical description, including “the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”

Last week, the USSC dismissed an Oklahoma appeal on the permissibility of limiting abortions based on RU-486. The Oklahoma laws are important because they are among the earliest enacted after the Tea Party came to power in 2010, launching the Republican War on Women and women’s health as its top priority. via CNN

5. A major decision due any minute from the USSC will send the clearest signal yet of the court’s view on all the challenges to women’s abortion rights. The state of Texas filed a defense of the state’s new abortion restrictions, after Planned Parenthood and others appealed directly to the Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction blocking portions of the new law that introduce doctors’ hospital admitting privileges requirements.

The emergency appeal and Texas response was filed with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who can rule on the injunction himself, or present the case to the full court.

Access to contraception is also under assault in Texas. A new report confirms that more than a quarter of the family planning clinics are shuttered in the Rio Grande Valley, leaving Texas’ poorest women without access to cancer screening and birth control — previously provided by Planned Parenthood. 9 of 32 family planning clinics in the area — most not providing abortion services — have closed.

Wednesday
Nov062013

Koch Brothers Accused Of Bankrolling Republican War On Women, Based On Politico & RH Reality Check In-Depth Investigative Reporting

“The Koch brothers would have you believe that they have little interest in rolling back reproductive rights,” said Stan.  “But the proof is in their network’s spending patterns, which shows their willingness to deliberately harm women in pursuit of their goals.

In a close 48 to 46 election in Virginia, Kenneth Cuccinelli lost women voters 54-38!!!!! What does that say about the men voters???

As I predicted on Facebook yesterday morning, tens of thousands of Republican and Independent women in Virginia voted for Terry McAuliffe, creating a massive gender divide in Virginia  The Daily Beast reports: “The strategy helped McAuliffe rack up big numbers among women voters, winning them by a 54-38 margin even while narrowly losing among men. Linda Smith, an independent voter from Spotsylvania, told The Daily Beast that she voted for McAuliffe because she was turned off by Cuccinelli’s position on social issues. Jennifer Frederick, a Spotsylvania Democrat, put it more bluntly: “Cuccinelli scares the crap out of me,” she said.”

The gender-divide analysis needs clarification, however. It depends on whether voters are married or not.

Both female and male unmarried voters preferred McAuliffe by wide margins. He beat Cuccinelli by 25 points among unmarried men and 42 points among unmarried women, writes Huff Po. Polls indicated that unmarried voters made up about a third of Tuesday’s electorate.

Clearly some Cuccinelli voters didn’t share his views on limiting women’s abortion rights and access to birth control. Preliminary exit polls confirmed across a wide range of media that 60 percent of Virginia voters think abortion should be legal in all or almost every case where a woman seeks one.

In a late breaking story, The Raw Story reports that investigations by the website RH Reality Check and Politico found “that a network of organizations headed by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch has spent tens of millions of dollars funding the anti-choice movement.”

Senior Washington correspondent Adele Stan wrote Tuesday that tax documents show Koch-directed “pro-business” groups threw their money and resources behind legislative initiatives designed to shut down women’s health clinics and deny women access to contraception, reproductive health services and abortions.

“There is little doubt that the rash of anti-choice measures that flooded the legislative dockets in state capitols in 2013 was a coordinated effort by anti-choice groups and major right-wing donors lurking anonymously behind the facades of the non-profit “social welfare” organizations unleashed to tear up the political landscape, thanks to the high court’s decision in Citizens United,” Stan wrote.

“Helping to drive the right-wing offensive in the states and in Congress is a network of deep-pocketed business titans convened by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, principals in Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States,” she continued.

While the Kochs and their satellite groups profess to be interested more in business policy and deregulation than social issues, their true agenda is an all-out “war on women,” said RH Reality Check.

Politico detailed how the Koch network uses the shell company Freedom Partners as a clearinghouse. A bloc of around 200 donors give an average of $100,000 per year to Freedom Partners.

RH Reality Check’s President and Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson weighed in, mincing no words:

Over the past ten years, so-called pro-life groups and legislators such as Congressman Paul Ryan have increasingly been involved in efforts to deny women their rights while simultaneously shredding the social safety net on which the most vulnerable in this society depend. It is a marriage of ‘church and commerce’ not previously seen in the United States. Now it is clear that the Koch brothers are pouring money into a policy agenda that recognizes both corporations and fertilized eggs as people, but not the personhood of women. Koch money is directly fueling anti-choice battles in states like Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Nebraska, and contributing significantly to a dangerous push for a national 20 week abortion ban at the federal level as well.”

Wednesday
Sep042013

Monatana Judge Calls Rape Defendant Back To Court | Katie Couric Engaged | Democratic Women & Syria

1. Montana’s District Judge G. Todd Baugh has called rapist Stacey Rambold, 54, of Billings back to court Friday, saying that his suspended sentence of 30 days in jail may have been illegal. Nevertheless, demands that Baugh resign continue unabated.

It’s not clear that the judge can redo his lenient sentence of Rambold, who was sentenced last week to 15 years with all but 31 days suspended and a one day credit for time served in the rape of 14-year-old, now dead from suicide Cherise Moralez.

In his sentencing Judge Baugh asserted that Moralez was older than her chronological age and very complicite in what happened to her, given her own control over the situation.

Prosecutors sought 20 years prison with 10 years suspended for Rambold, describeding his actions with Moralez as “the ultimate violation” of the trust she had placed in him as a teacher. An appeal may be required to change the sentence. via ABC News

2. Katie Couric is marrying her boyfriend of almost two years, financier John Molner, head of mergers and acquisitions at Brown Brothers Harriman.

“It’s actually surprising to me that it has been almost 15 years and I haven’t remarried,” she told More magazine after she and Molner had been dating for about a year. “I think life is more fun when you have someone in your life. And I always wanted to find a father figure for my daughters, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I’ve had long-term relationships, but they haven’t turned into lifelong partners.”

Molner, 50, proposed on a beach in East Hampton, NY over Labor Day weekend. Couric, 56, returns on Sept. 9 for a second season of her talk show Katie.

3. Slate Magazine digests Planned Parenthood’s new poll that says voters oppose an abortion ban at 20 weeks. It’s very difficult to read a factual, unbiased analysis of the emotional politics surrounding late term abortions. William Saletan’s analysis doesn’t challenge the medically-unproven assertion that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

The new PP poll claims that “when voters understand the real-world circumstances of these abortions”, “they overwhelmingly oppose” banning them, with 60 percent of support. 

Given the reality that only 1 percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks, the circumstances in which they occur usually involve severe abnormalities in the fetus. Slate concludes that the prochoice debate around abortion access afte 20 weeks MUST focus on this reality, and not unfettered abortion access, to carry the debate. Otherwise, the prolife assertion that the mother is being capricious and selfish in seeking an abortion will result in a negative public opinion against her.

4. Teresa Heinz Kerry took her seat behind Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin E. Dempsey on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday, in her first public appearance since suffering a seizure on July 7. Her husband, US Secretary of State John Kerry was testifying at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on US action in Syria.

In an interesting twist of political logic, it’s Democrats who must muscle through support for President Obama’s desire to take limited, humanitarian action in Syria. Politico writes that with a majority of House Republicans unlikely to support action, Pelosi is facing an unusual test of lining up Dems with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Hillary Clinton supports President Obama’s modified proposals against Syria.

5. Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, called Kentucky Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) Alison Lundergan an “empty dress”, in response to news that the candidate has pulled slightly ahead of McConnell in the polls. Her lead in two polls organized by Democrats is within the margin of error.

LA entertainment power broker Jeffrey Katzenberg has emailed an undisclosed list of asking them to turn out to support Grimes at events in Los Angeles on Seot. 26.

Katzenberg wrote: “Alison is the antidote to McConnell and all he represents. She can win, and she will win if she gets the support she needs.” The events in Los Angeles, Katzenberg says, “will be a chance to help her seize the momentum and get her campaign off to an early and strong start.”

Politico writes that Sen. McConnell began his campaign with $10 million in reserve.