It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

In 2012, some 1,100 bills targeted reproductive rights — and 135 passed in 36 states. The cost? Women’s health

By
Sunday, Oct 21, 2012

A young girl in a green tank top lies on the examination table in a stark exam room in a Houston clinic. Her pink toenails dangle belowthe sterile covering draped over her thighs. The doctor inserts a probe between her legs and the two watch a grainy blob blossom on a sonogram screen suspended below the room’s industrial fluorescent lights. He gives a state-mandated description of the fetus: almost exactly seven weeks, he says, “nice and early.” She is well within the time frame for an abortion pill, rather than surgery.

The doctor, an avuncular, silver-haired man who’s been providing abortions, in the words of one colleague, “pretty much since Roe v. Wade,” turns the screen toward her and traces the outline of her uterus and the embryo, while the girl looks on blankly. He plays the heartbeat, which rises from the machine in a loud, shrill electronic pulse. The ritual, which is repeated several times a day at this Planned Parenthood in Houston and in clinics across the state, is mandated by a new Texas law designed to intensify the experience of abortion — to impress upon a woman, with images and sounds, the sense that she’s about to terminate a living thing.

Ultrasounds are a routine procedure at Planned Parenthood and many other clinics, a tool doctors use to gauge gestational stage — which can affect which procedure to use — or to detect complications. Some abortion patients prefer to see the sonogram, others are indifferent, others are traumatized by the very idea. But the new law makes displaying the ultrasound mandatory. Under Texas law, even if a woman averts her eyes, the doctor must give a verbal description of the fetus anyway. And it’s just the latest addition to a bureaucratic juggernaut of regulations that restrict how abortion providers practice in Texas.

In recent years, lawmakers across the country have enacted a dizzying array of arcane rules dictating everything from the dimensions of their buildings to the advice they must offer to patients about “abortion alternatives.” Thirty-five states, including Texas, have enacted pre-abortion counseling laws, which in many cases force women to make extra clinic visits. Legislatures in 10 states have introduced new measures for pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2012. In addition, 18 states have introduced bills for ultrasound requirements this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research institute.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

Mitt Romney’s Heartless Advice to a Woman Whose Pregnancy Might Have Killed Her

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/mitt-romneys-heartless-advice-woman-whose-pregnancy-might-have-killed-her

Mormon women remember Romney’s advice when he was a church leader, and there wasn’t much ‘moderate’ about it.

By Geoffrey Dunn
October 17, 2012

The summer of 1983 was blistering hot in New England. A record heat wave saw temperatures soar toward the 100-degree mark from June well into September. July had been the hottest month ever recorded at Boston’s Logan Airport.

The region’s beloved Boston Red Sox, full of hope and promise early in spring and claiming first place in the American League East as late as June 1, apparently melted in the heat, losing game after game and tumbling to last place by mid-July, where they were to remain the rest of the season.

It was also during the sweltering summer of 1983 that the family of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made its celebrated escape from the oppressive New England heat for the cooler climes of Beach O’Pines, Ontario, where the Romney family owns a beachfront cottage in a gated community on the shores of Lake Huron. Prior to departure, Mitt Romney placed the family dog—an Irish setter named Seamus—into a dog carrier and lashed it to the roof of the family’s Chevy station wagon for the 12-hour drive into Canada.

The infamous dog ride (dubbed the “Seamus incident”) was to become a full-blown issue in the 2012 presidential primaries, as Romney’s chief Republican opponent, Rick Santorum, invoked the incident to attack Romney’s “character.”

Political cartoonists and late-night comedians had a field day with the story. The incident inspired aNew Yorker cover, while the punk band Devo recorded a song entitled, “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro.” ABC’s Diane Sawyer, in an interview with Romney during the primaries, dubbed it the “most wounding thing in the campaign so far.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/mitt-romneys-heartless-advice-woman-whose-pregnancy-might-have-killed-her

Christian Bookstore Stops Selling Bible Because Proceeds Support Cancer Research, Cite Link To Planned Parenthood

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/12/15/390389/christian-bookstore-stops-selling-bible-because-proceeds-support-cancer-research-cite-link-to-planned-parenthood/

By Tanya Somanader
Dec 15, 2011

LifeWay Christian Bookstoresis “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services” including church literature, music, video recordings, church supplies, and of course bibles in hopes of “providing biblical solutions for life.” But one Bible didn’t meet their “biblical” standard and was subsequently pulled from the shelves. Why? Because it helped raise money for breast cancer programs.

For every copy of this particular Bible that was sold, $1 dollar from the sale went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer charity well-known for organizing “Race for the Cure.” The foundation, in turn, donates some of its funds to breast cancer health programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Because the religious right views Planned Parenthood as the pinnacle of abortion evil, LifeWay immediately said they had “made a mistake” in selling the Bible and pulled it from the shelves:

“When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen’s affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market,” stated a release by Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay. “Though we have assurances that Komen’s funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay’s core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood.”

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/12/15/390389/christian-bookstore-stops-selling-bible-because-proceeds-support-cancer-research-cite-link-to-planned-parenthood/

Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

When we deprive women of access to abortion, shun them, and even throw them in jail, we as a society become weaker.

By Amanda Marcotte 
December 14, 2011

Jennie McCormack, a resident of Idaho and a mother of three, has spent the past few months of her life in a legal and social situation that calls to mind the trials of Hester Pyrnne, the heroine of The Scarlet LetterAs reported by Nancy Hass of Newsweek, McCormack’s ordeal started when she learned she was pregnant by a man who was doing time for robbery.

Realizing that she couldn’t afford another baby, nor the $500 fee and two trips to get an abortion (because Idaho requires women to wait 24 hours after their first visit to the doctor to “think it over”), McCormack resorted to buying RU-486 from a vendor online. The police eventually arrested McCormack and charged her with an illegal abortion, claiming that she was over Idaho’s legal limit of 20 weeks for an abortion. Since the exact gestational age can’t be determined, charges have been dropped for now, but prosecutors are retaining the right to re-charge McCormack. In the meantime, she’s become a pariah in her community, been fired from her job, and even had to face social workers who are basically denying her aid to care for her children.

Even in super-liberal New York City, a woman is being prosecuted (albeit in a less drastic way) for a self-abortion after the legal limit. The desperate woman, accused of aborting after six months, threw the fetus in a trash can, presumably because she was not aware of her other options for disposing of it.

In the United States, abortion is technically a legal right, but as these cases show, it’s not functionally a right. If abortion were actually a right, women wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting a legal abortion that they resort to drastic measures that land them in jail. These cases demonstrate why abortion needs to be more than a right for those who have the means to jump through all the hoops put in place to keep them from obtaining legal abortions. Making sure women who want abortions can get them in a timely and safe fashion helps more than the women in question. We all do better if women can get the abortions that are supposedly their right.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

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