‘Death sentence for women’: Alabama proposes law to make abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison


Bill would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest

Via:- Maya Oppenheim Women’s Correspondent @mayaoppenheim

The Independent US

Alabama is proposing a law that would make carrying out an abortion at any stage of the pregnancy punishable by 10 to 99 years in jail.

The strict abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest.

The legislation, which Alabama politicians introduced on Tuesday, would only allow abortions in instances where there is “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother”.

The bill also equates legalised abortion to some of history’s gravest atrocities – likening having your pregnancy terminated to the Nazi campaign of extermination that led to the mass murders of Jews and others during the Holocaust.

The legislation says: “More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.”

The bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors in the 105-member Alabama house of representatives, means a doctor would be hit with a Class A felony if they were to perform an abortion. It would ban all abortions, even those using prescription drugs, as soon as a woman is “known to be pregnant”. 

“It simply criminalises abortion,” Terri Collins, a Republican representative who is the bill’s sponsor. “Hopefully, it takes it all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.”

Pressed about pushing a measure that obviously conflicts with Supreme Court decisions, Ms Collins said the “whole point is to get the courts to relook at this issue”.

She said: “I think people are seeing a possibility that the Supreme Court might have a more conservative-leaning balance”.

Alarm bells have been raised that Roe v Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973 – could be overturned or radically undermined with new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. 

Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, called it a “death sentence for women across this state”.

She said: “These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it – they just don’t care. Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.”

Alabama is the latest Republican-leaning state to try to pass a strict abortion ban as conservatives take aim at Roe v Wade. Abortion opponents in other states have been emboldened to attempt to provoke new legal battles that could spark Supreme Court justices to revisit the key case.

The Alabama bill comes after Kentucky and Mississippi approved bans on abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected, which happens as soon as the sixth week of pregnancy. At six weeks, many women do not yet know they are pregnant. 

Other states, including Georgia and South Carolina, could pass similar bans.

Georgia’s governor is contemplating whether to sign a law banning abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected. More than 50 Hollywood actors, including Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer, sent a letter threatening to pull business out of Georgia, a focal point for TV and film production, if the ban is enacted.

A South Carolina House subcommittee passed a similar heartbeat bill on Tuesday.

Critics argue the Republicans are unnecessarily launching legal battles that will prove to be expensive and futile – with taxpayers potentially footing the bill.

Rights organisations have accused the Trump administration of attacking women’s reproductive rights by reinstating the global gag rule, which blocks federal funding for non-governmental organisations that provide abortion counselling or referrals.

Campaigners have also criticised the government for appointing anti-abortion rights activists to key posts in federal departments that handle women’s health, and striving to cut Title X funding to health providers that carry out abortions or make abortion referrals. 

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God is the Greatest Abortionist


NEAL - abortion _ b7NaWCn

God is the Greatest Abortionist

If there is a God, does this God choose life?

Not really. For example, God is the world’s greatest abortionist, and God evidently hates babies.

How many embryos and fetuses never make it to birth?  How many babies die in natural childbirth?  How many infants die before reaching age five?  The statistics are not good.  The most hazardous journey of life is the first few months. According to the calculations of Gregory Paul (see his published articles here), who used the best figures from embryology and neonatal doctors, as few as one-quarter of all conceptions avoid reabsorption or miscarriage, and of those fetuses that do make it to full-term, another large percentage die during natural childbirth.  It’s obvious that embryos are not well-designed for making it to infancy.

The female body was not well-designed for childbirth, either, since the ratio of fetal skull size to female hip size doesn’t make for great odds for the mother.  Every year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth.  Natural evolution, not religion, explains the tough compromises forced on the human body, and why few embryos make it to infancy and so many mothers die in the process.

Although the odds of a fertilized egg making it to a live birth are less than 1 in 5, another hazardous journey through infancy lies ahead.  Before modern medicine, around 20% of children in England and the United States died before the age of five, and that number was much higher in pre-industrial societies.  For most of the existence of our human species, over the past one hundred thousand years or so, probably only around half of all born babies reached the age of five.

All these poor odds add up to the fact that for most of human existence there had to be 10 pregnancies or more to guarantee the life of a single five year old child. But that’s because humanity came into existence through natural evolution. And for those who think that God used natural evolution to create us, they need to wake up to the way that God could not be anything like the loving person who believers want to worship.

And worship and prayer does nothing to help these terrible odds against life.  Only in modern industrialized countries using secular scientific medicine do we see infant mortality rates dramatically reduced.  However, it remains generally true that countries with higher rates of religious faith have higher rates of infant mortality.  Is that part of God’s plan too?

The Religious Right Is a Fraud — There’s Nothing Christian About Michele Bachmann’s Values


By Elizabeth Stoker  and Matt Bruenig

The Religious Right Is a Fraud — There’s Nothing Christian About Michele Bachmann’s Values

   Last week, the nation’s capital was host to Value Voters 2013 Summit, a three-day political conference for predominantly religious conservatives. Among the smattering of social and economic issues at hand, the overall tenor of the Summit focused on eliminating Obamacare, expanding the tangible presence of Christianity through the public arena and military and preventing the proliferation of easily available birth control and abortion. In speeches, lunches and breakout sessions, American’s Christian Right worked out strategies to bring the values of the federal government in line with their preferred Christian ethical dictates, using democracy as their chief tool.

It isn’t unusual for Christians living in democracies to use the vote to express their ethics, and to shape government to do the same. That the moral and ethical preferences of a given society should inform government is a foundational principle of democracy, after all. And American values voters are far from the first Christians to undertake the project of bringing their government’s policies in line with Christian ethics: European Christian parties have aimed to do the same for decades. But between American Christian voters and their European counterparts, a curious departure opens up: while European Christians generally see the anti-poverty mission of Christianity as worthy of political action, the American Christian Right inexplicably cordons off economics from the realm of Christian influence.

By all means, the American Christian Right is willing to leverage government authority to carry out a variety of Christian ethical projects, especially within the arena of family life. Michele Bachmann would make abortion illegal, and Rick Santorum has stated on multiple occasions that he supports laws against homosexual intercourse. But Christian politicians in the United States curtail their interest in making the gospel actionable when it comes to welfare. While the government should see to the moral uprightness of marriage, sex and family, the Value Voters 2013 Summit was notably bereft of talks on living wages, labor rights or basic incomes.

The notable exclusion of poverty from the Christian agenda would doubtlessly puzzle European Christians, whose support of Christian ethical approaches to family life have always been paired with a deep and vigorous concern for the poor. And, unlike their American counterparts, European Christians haven’t been willing to leave poverty up to individual charity or the market to handle. Quite the contrary: Just as public morality is an arena fit for intervention by a Christian-informed government, so too is welfare. Consider the British Christian People’s Alliance 2010 election manifesto, a document intended to explain the imminently Christian party’s policy goals:

“The Christian Peoples Alliance believes that Britain will return to economic prosperity when government chooses instead to put human relationships in right order. This requires power, income and wealth to be redistributed and for greater equality to be achieved. These are deeply spiritual convictions and reflect a Biblical pattern of priorities…By the end of the next Parliament, the CPA will establish the reduction of inequality as a national target, so that the ratios of the incomes of the top 20 per cent are reduced to no more than five and a half times the incomes of the bottom 20 per cent.”

The CPA election manifesto goes on to explain that their aversion to inequality arises from a uniquely Christian concern for the health of human relationships, which suffer under the weight of massive social inequality. Their position on inequality is hardly an anomaly among European Christian parties. In fact, the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM), a confederation of Christian parties from different European nations operating within the European Union, states very similar goals in its own programme:

“Social justice is a fundamental Biblical teaching and Christian-democrat notion. Social justice demands an equal regard for all. That implies a special concern for the needs of the poor, refugees, those who suffer and the powerless. It requires us to oppose exploitation and deprivation. It requires also that appropriate resources and opportunities are available. In this way, we meet the basic requirements of all and each person is able to take part in the life of the community.”

Toward that end, the European Christian Political Foundation, which is the official think tank of the ECPM, recently commissioned a publication entitled ‘After Capitalism’, which is summarized thus:

“‘After Capitalism’ seeks to rethink the foundations of a market economy and argues that the Bible’s central theme of relationships is the key to rebuilding a system that promotes economic well-being, financial stability and social cohesion.”

It is notable that the multitude of parties that make up the EPCM are not necessarily leftist or wholly liberal parties. They do not generally align themselves with openly socialist parties in their home countries, though their policies toward welfare and equality would likely be branded as such by American Christians. And so the question remains: If European Christians feel the anti-poverty mission of Christianity is as worthy of political action as the ethical values relating to family life, why doesn’t the American Christian Right feel the same?

Economic policy seems a strange place to wall off consideration of Christian ethics, but when it comes to policies that would expand welfare programs or extend particular benefits to the poor, the American Christian Right recoils, and tends to fall back on the rhetoric of personal accountability and individual liberty in matters of charity. But as European Christian parties have shown, limiting economic justice to the arena of charity is a politicalchoice. If the government has a moral role — which the American Christian Right certainly believes it does — then why shouldn’t it participate in the same forms of care individual Christians are obligated to?

No principled reason can be given for the distinction the Christian Right draws between harnessing the state to pursue social objectives and harnessing it to pursue economic objectives. It is a uniquely American distinction as far as Christian politicking goes. What the distinction reveals is that so-called values voters are just a particular flavor of right-wing political culture, one that opts for Christian language and rhetoric when communicating its message. But in that case, it is their freestanding political commitments that inform their Christianity, not the other way around.

The answer to this riddle is therefore not so mysterious. Although nominally interested in harnessing the state to pursue Christian social objectives, the American Christian Right is not detached from the culture it has developed within. Their politics is not one that is Christian in origin; rather, it originates from the same place all other right-wing politics originates, but mobilizes Christian rhetoric and meanings post-hoc to justify its goals.

 

Hardline Republicans: Arrogance, Greed & Disregard for Human Life


Hardline Republicans: Arrogance, Greed & Disregard for Human Life

by

russianabortionposter

Russian Abortion Poster

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The post below: “Perish if you wish; I’m safe” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) is an antique.  However, it has not lost its relevance.  I am deeply shocked by extremist Republicans who are making pronouncements as though they were experts.

Birth control and abortions are questions for a woman to discuss with her doctor.  There are times when a responsible doctor will not think it advisable for a patient to carry a child.  Moreover, choosing whether or not to carry a child is a woman’s right.

Recently, while researching human rights, I discovered that to force a woman to carry child is a violation of human rights.  I was looking for information on a different subject and cannot remember what the subject was.  It may have been the use of chemical weapons.  At any rate, I will search again.

But, when I look at my mother’s life, I grieve.  Her first children were relatively healthy, but she lost a very large a number of children to a congenital blood disease.  Every year she bore a child who did not stand a chance of surviving.  The parish priest would not allow her to skip a year.  She would have been refused communion.

As for her doctors, every dead child was a corpse they could study in their attempts to cure my father and one sister who were victims of this disease.  We buried a child every year.  Given such circumstances, one reaches the “age of reason” prematurely and feels considerable compassion for those who suffer.

Narrow-minded Republicans should remember that too many people have died because insurance companies considered their illness a pre-existing condition.  That was greed, but it was also disregard of human life.  Americans have a right to affordable health care.

And now, extremist Republicans are concocting a possible global economic recession because they oppose Affordable Health Care.  How were these individuals elected into office?

However, there’s progress.  This is the latest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24510273

Anti-Choicers Admit They Want to Imprison Women for Abortion


Iowa Anti-Choicers Admit They Want to Imprison Women for Abortion
Amanda Marcotte

by Amanda Marcotte

Rep. Rob Bacon of IowaRep. Rob Bacon of Iowa

A little over a month into 2013, and one thing is absolutely certain: Anti-choice legislators aren’t going to let the damage that their war on women did to their fellow conservative politicians’ electoral prospects slow them down from competing with each other to show who can concoct the most vile schemes to undermine women’s rights. Now Iowa Republicans are flexing their muscles, trying to show that they hate the ladies even more than the forced-transvaginal-ultrasound folks in Michigan, Texas, and Virginia, or the women-can’t-think-on-weekends-and-holidays nuts in South Dakota.

Nine state representatives in Iowa have introduced a bill that would define killing a fertilized egg as “murder”.

707.1 Murder defined.

1. A person who kills another person with malice aforethought either express or implied commits murder.

2. “Person”, when referring to the victim of a murder, means an individual human being, without regard to age of development, from the moment of conception, when a zygote is formed, until natural death.

Murder includes killing another person through any means that terminates the life of the other person including but not limited to the use of abortion-inducing drugs. For the purposes of this section, “abortion-inducing drug” means a medicine, drug, or any other substance prescribed or dispensed with the intent of terminating the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the drug will with reasonable likelihood cause the termination of the pregnancy. “Abortion-inducing drug” includes the off-label use of drugs known to have abortion-inducing properties, which are prescribed specifically with the intent of causing an abortion, but does not include drugs that may be known to cause an abortion, but which are prescribed for other medical indications.

The point of this bill is, simply put, to throw women in jail for “murder” for deliberately ending pregnancies—and quite possibly for trying to prevent them, as many anti-choicers continue to insist, despite the evidence against them, that the pill and emergency contraception work by “killing” fertilized eggs. (They work by suppressing ovulation and preventing fertilization.) The language of this is quite expansive. They’re not only counting women who reach out to legal providers for abortion as “murderers,” but also women who go online and buy drugs for this purpose. The broadness of this suggests that they may even try to snag women for “murder” for taking common rue, a herbal medication women use to kick start their period (and potentially end an unwanted pregnancy) if they’re late.

This is a dramatic shift in the traditional anti-choice approach to discussing the issue of how to handle women who seek abortion. While I personally have no doubt that many to most anti-choicers fully intend and have always intended to get to a place where women are being jailed for abortion, the official stance of anti-choice legislators and activists is generally to deny believing that nearly a third of American women should go to jail for “murder.” Maintaining the illusion of disinterest in punishing women for abortion with jail is so important that after Rep. Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico was caught proposing jail for rape victims who get abortion, she rewrote the bill specifically to avoid the accusation.

Claiming they don’t believe that women who get abortions are murderers even while calling abortion “murder” has been a huge part of the anti-choice movement for years. (See discussions about it from 2006, 2007, and 2010, for instance. There’s also this fun video that makes the rounds periodically that demonstrates how inane this little dance really is.) This giant failure of logic stems from a couple of things, but mainly because it’s well-understood that anti-choicers don’t actually think abortion is murder, and just want to punish women for sex. And jail time for sex is just going to strike most people as inhumane in the extreme. So they’ve split the difference and said they intend to jail doctors but not women—a position, that while illogical in its rationale at least made them seem slightly less malevolent towards women.

So what’s changed that some anti-choicers, in Iowa at least, are coming out and not only admitting they want a third of women to go to jail for abortion, but are aggressively pushing for it? A huge chunk of it is the result of the overall shift rightward amongst conservatives in the past few years, a shift that is increasing extremism on many fronts, such as more overt racism and, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, an absolutist stance against gun control that resists even the most common sense measures.

But it’s probably also partially a reaction to the changing landscape of abortion. The growing popularity of medication abortion plus an abundance of illegal pharmacies selling all manner of drugs online and the increasing restrictions on legal abortion have created a situation where everyone believes—even though hard evidence is elusive—that more women are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to abortion. As Ada Calhoun of the New Republic explained:

Online, however, these drugs are readily available, often via suspicious-sounding sites that make claims like: “The Affordable Abortion Pill Will Safely, Quickly Terminate Your Undeveloped Fetus In The Privacy Of Your Home, Save You Time And Hundreds Of Dollars. It Is 100% Clinically Safe, Very Effective And The Most Affordable Abortion Pill You Will Get Your Hands On For Now!!!”

Determining how many American women have had home abortions is exceedingly difficult: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track illegal abortions. There is no blood test for drugs like Cytotec, and so such an abortion is indistinguishable from a natural miscarriage, even to a doctor. However, the proliferation of online dispensers suggests a rising demand. There are thousands of websites selling Cytotec for as little as $45 to $75 (compared with $300 to $800 for a legal medicated abortion in a clinic). Some claim to offer the harder-to-come-by Mifeprex, but may in fact be peddling Cytotec, or aspirin, or nothing at all. (Possible sources for the drugs include Mexico, where Cytotec is available over the counter, or even the United States, since it’s also prescribed here as an ulcer medication.)

The traditional anti-choice stance of blaming the provider while pretending the patient is a mindless baby machine and not a choice-making person is harder to maintain in the face of women acting as their own providers. It’s common for anti-choicers to paint an image of an abortion patient as a woman who simply hasn’t thought about it—this also helps justify waiting periods to “think” it over—and who is a victim of greedy doctors and evil feminists who are somehow tricking women (who they clearly imagine are very, very stupid) into getting abortions. But even anti-choicers with the most active imaginations have to struggle with explaining how a woman can fire up a computer, search around for black market abortion-inducing drugs, and order them without being capable of making a decision and therefore being held accountable to the laws regarding that decision.

So this is where we’re at: Iowan anti-choicers admitting they want to throw women in jail for abortion. It’s an unpopular stance precisely because it lays bare the misogyny of the anti-choice movement. Instead of dithering around with more waiting periods and humiliating mandatory ultrasounds, I sort of hope more anti-choicers start demanding jail time for a third of American women. That sort of thing can offer clarity for people who had any doubt left that the anti-choice movement is, indeed, nothing but a war on women.

Suit Reveals Ties Among Radical Abortion Opponents


Suit Reveals Ties Among Radical Abortion Opponents
PHOTO: This combination of undated file photos shows Scott Roeder, left, and Angel Dillard.
This combination of undated file photos shows Scott Roeder, left, and Angel Dillard. (AP Photo)

By ROXANA HEGEMAN Associated Press 

A lawsuit against a Kansas woman who publicly proclaimed her admiration for the man who gunned down one of the country’s few late-term abortion providers is revealing the unwavering support a small group of radical anti-abortion activists has for the imprisoned killer despite an ongoing federal investigation into the 2009 slaying.

Though no federal indictments have been handed down by a grand jury investigating whether Dr. George Tiller’s death was connected to a broader case involving extreme anti-abortion activists, the lawsuit against Angel Dillard is one indication the Justice Department is taking a more heavy handed approach to perceived threats to abortion providers. In addition to alleging Dillard, of Valley Center, sent a threatening letter in 2011 to another Wichita doctor who was training to offer abortions, the lawsuit also highlights Dillard’s relationship with Scott Roeder, the man convicted of fatally shooting Tiller at the physician’s church.

When Roeder opened fire on Tiller, he propelled himself to icon status among abortion opponent extremists — a status that hasn’t wavered since he was sentenced to life in prison. A leader in the Army of God, which supports violence against abortion doctors, notes Roeder gets more correspondence than other imprisoned anti-abortion activists.

Hailed by militant anti-abortion forces as a “prisoner of Christ,” Roeder has been spreading his radical views from a Kansas prison. Other extremists have gravitated to Roeder, visiting him in prison, sending him money and offering legal advice, court documents show.

Abortion rights supporters fear a disturbing pattern whereby imprisoned abortion opponents inspire others to commit further acts of violence against abortion providers and clinics. But radical anti-abortion activists contend the government is trying to suppress “serious opposition” to abortion by targeting Dillard.

“We are always concerned when extremists are getting together and spreading hate and encouraging others to engage in criminal activity,” said Vicki Saporta, executive director of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association representing abortion providers.

A federal grand jury began investigating in 2010 whether Tiller’s murder was connected to a larger case involving radical anti-abortion activists. Though no public charges have been filed, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Dena Iverson, said the investigation is still open.

The lawsuit against Dillard was filed in April 2011 under a federal law aimed at protecting access to reproductive services. It seeks a court order keeping her from coming within 250 feet of the doctor, along with damages of $5,000 and a civil penalty of $15,000. The case is scheduled for trial in October.

Dillard had been under government scrutiny even before she mailed the letter to the Wichita doctor, and the FBI had interviewed her several times after she first wrote Roeder in prison.

“I think they just wanted to check us out and make sure that we weren’t nuts who were planning to pick up where they think Roeder left off,” Dillard told The Associated Press in 2009, adding that she and her husband had no plans to “do anything of violence to anyone” and wanted to minister to Roeder. Dillard also said she admired Roeder and developed a friendship with him.

Dillard is now claiming “ministerial privilege” in refusing to answer the government’s questions about that relationship. Her attorney, Donald McKinney, argued his client’s religious ministry is protected by the First Amendment. But defense filings in her case made public jail records detailing more than a dozen visits and deposits totaling $373 she made to Roeder’s inmate fund between April 2010 and March 2012. Those documents showed contributions from others.

The ongoing support for Roeder also is apparent in the appeal of his murder conviction. Seven abortion opponents who asked in 2010 and 2011 to file friend-of-the-court briefs were spurned without comment by the Kansas Supreme Court. Other activists are now writing legal briefs for Roeder to file himself, arguing Tiller’s death was necessary to defend the unborn. No oral arguments are scheduled in his appeal.

The Rev. Don Spitz of Virginia, who runs the Army of God website, which supports violence against abortion providers and clinics, is helping Roeder with correspondence.

Roeder likes to “debate” with people who write and often asks Spitz to mail them a militant anti-abortion book written by Paul Hill, a Florida man who was executed for murdering an abortion provider in 1994, Spitz said. Roeder also asks him to send them the book written by the Rev. Michael Bray, an Ohio activist and author of “A Time to Kill,” which defends using lethal force to protect the unborn.

Saporta said those offering Roeder legal help doesn’t concern her, “in that I don’t think any appeal is going to be successful, but nothing good happens when these people get together and reminisce and figure out how to target other providers,” noting Roeder had visited a woman who shot and wounded Tiller in 1993 and was later convicted in a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings.

Roeder’s appeals attorney did not return a message for comment. Roeder declined comment from prison after the AP refused to guarantee everything he said would be printed verbatim.

Bray — who has spent four years in prison in connection with the destruction of abortion clinics in the Washington, D.C., area — attended Roeder’s trial. He still writes and visits Roeder in prison. One day last year, Bray and Dillard visited Roeder on the same day. Bray and another person were already ministering to Roeder when Dillard arrived, McKinney said, adding his client has not had any other contact with Bray other than meeting him at Roeder’s trial.

“Those who resisted seriously with force are shunned,” Bray said in a phone interview. “They are immediately dragged into jail or fined very weightily — fewer and fewer people are willing to stand in support because of the great oppression of those who do.”

 

Abortion More Common Where It’s Illegal: Where Are Rates Highest?


Abortion more common where it’s illegal: Where are rates highest?

 choice, abortion, sign, stock, 4x3

istockphoto

(CBS/AP) Abortion rates are highest where the procedure is illegal, according to a new study. The study also found nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority of unsafe abortions occurring in developing countries.

PICTURES – Abortion around the world: Where are rates highest?

As for the overall global abortion rate, it remained virtually unchanged from 2003 to 2008, at about 28 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 4 –  a total of about 43.8 million abortions – the study found. The rate had previously been dropping since 1995.

The new global abortion study – that’s published in the Jan. 19 issue of The Lancet – is from the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization. Researchers found a link between higher abortion rates and regions with more restrictive legislation, such as in Latin America and Africa. They also found that 95 to 97 percent of abortions in those regions were unsafe.

Experts couldn’t say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures, but said good access to birth control in those countries resulted in fewer unwanted pregnancies.

About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5 million women had serious medical complications. Almost all unsafe abortions were in developing countries, where family planning and contraceptive programs have mostly levelled off.

“An abortion is actually a very simple and safe procedure,” Gilda Sedgh, study author and senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, said. “All of these deaths and complications are easily avoidable.”

The proportion of unsafe abortions rose from 44 percent in 1995 to 49 percent in 2008, researchers found. Sedgh acknowledged it was difficult to get an accurate number for unsafe abortions in particular and described their estimates as modest.

They used sources including official statistics, national surveys, and hospital records. To account for unreported abortions, they made adjustments and relied on information from other kinds of studies, expert assessments, and surveys of women.

The authors defined unsafe abortion as any procedure done by people lacking needed skills or in places that don’t meet minimal medical standards. Sedgh said some women in Africa resort to using broken soda bottles or taking strong doses of medicines or herbal drugs to induce abortions.

“It is precisely where abortion is illegal that it must become safer,” wrote Beverly Winikoff and Wendy R. Sheldon of the Gynuity Health Projects in New York, in an accompanying commentary.

Experts said increasing birth control options for women in poor countries, like providing long-acting implants, would make a big difference.

“Wherever we have made better contraception available in the countries where we work, hundreds of women will walk hours to get it,” said Dana Hovig, CEO of Marie Stopes International, a family planning organization. He was not connected to the study.

Which regions of the world have the highest abortion rates? Keep clicking to find out:

19 Photos

Abortion around the world: Where are rates highest?

Woman Refused Abortion Dies In ‘Catholic Country’ | The Republican Party Intends Far Worse For American Women


Irish Hospital Refuses to Perform Abortion, Lets Woman Die
This is what the Republican Party wants for America
Posted by:-  Charles Johnson
This horrifying story from Ireland is a grim warning of what’s in store for the United States if the Republican Party’s anti-abortion agenda is allowed to succeed: Woman ‘Denied a Termination’ Dies in Hospital.

Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Note the hospital’s reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states – to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It’s no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They’re working hard to make it happen, right now.

Right Wing Neanderthal Tod Akin | Using Government to Coerce Women


Todd Akin, right-wing hero

The Republican Senate candidate in Missouri doesn’t just spew anti-abortion rhetoric, he acts on it

BY THE AMERICAN PROSPECT

Todd Akin, right-wing hero

This article originally appeared on The American Prospect.

The American ProspectTodd Akin, the Republican challenger for Claire McCaskill’s U.S. Senate seat representing Missouri, has made himself a national figure so far this election season by declaring that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” and claiming that abortion clinics routinely perform abortions on women who aren’t actually pregnant. But what’s garnered less attention, until this week, has been Akin’s history of not just saying but also doing disturbing things. His history shows a lifelong dedication to a misogynist right-wing ideology that flirts with using force to get its way when persuasion fails.

Akin has friends in high places. He spent his time in Congress working with vice-presidential candidate and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, with whom he crafted anti-choice legislation that would—surprise—redefine rape narrowly to eliminate many rapes that don’t involve overt violence to subdue the victim. This would better reflect Akin’s belief that many to most rapes are not “legitimate.” It’s tempting to imagine that radicals like Akin are outside the mainstream but, as I’ve written before, he and his ilk have come to control the party. So, who is Todd Akin?

It’s no secret that Akin used to be part of militant abortion groups that have lulled the public into calling them “protesters,” even though their tactics—taunting abortion-clinic patients and stalking providers in a threatening manner—are better described as harassment that verges on terrorism. We’ve grown to accept these ghouls who’ve become part of abortion-clinic scenery and who clearly long for the days when sexually disobedient women could be put in the stocks.

What’s faded from memory somewhat is how much worse they used to be, before a string of vicious murders and bombings in the 1990s caused Congress to pass federal legislation in 1994, signed by President Bill Clinton, that increases the penalties for using physical force to close clinics and scare patients away from getting abortions. Todd Akin “protested” in those days of extreme anti-choice militancy, and as the liberal research group People for the American Way has reported, was arrested in 1987 as part of a Mother’s Day attack on a St. Louis clinic, when militants tried to physically block patients from entering the clinic. (Celebrating Mother’s Day by trying to physically force childbirth on the unwilling sounds an awful like celebrating Labor Day by strike-breaking.) The Huffington Post revealed Tuesday that Akin had been arrested at least three previous times for criminal trespass in 1985 during invasions of abortion clinics, events that included screaming invective at patients and trying to block access to clinics.

Akin was caught on tape last year bragging to a right-wing group about his arrest, and when People for the American Way confronted him about it, he claimed he would fill them in on the details later. His campaign broke that promise, and little wonder why. The group’s researchers dug around and found that Akin associated with the Pro-Life Direct Action League and Whole Life Ministries, groups that used aggressive action aimed directly at private citizens as the mainstay of their activism.

As reported by Salon, Akin’s aggressive activities didn’t stop with his recorded attempts to force individual women to bear children by blocking access to abortion. Akin once publicly defended a friend who assaulted another woman at an abortion clinic. It was 1989, and Akin was campaigning for Congress and serving as a Missouri state representative. Using official state letterhead, Akin wrote a letter on behalf of the friend, Teresa Frank, who was convicted of battery for shoving another woman to the ground during a July action at an abortion clinic. The language he used further reveals his ugly, outdated view of women, even those he’s defending: “Teresa is a deeply sensitive and caring person,” he wrote, “but along with this, she is also one very frightened little girl.”

At the time, Frank was 41 years old, a mother, and a friend of Akin’s wife. But Akin’s is a worldview in which women don’t ever get to be full adults but are, at best, little girls. That persists even when he’s not accusing them of inventing rape to cover up for having consensual sex, or suggesting they’re so stupid that doctors routinely trick them into thinking they’re pregnant so they can perform unnecessary abortions on them. It’s easy to see how a man with such a low opinion of women convinced himself that he has the power and the right to physically stop them from exercising their reproductive rights. To him, women fall somewhere on the creation scale between small children and wild animals, and the only appropriate response is to exert control instead of letting them make up their own minds about their lives and their bodies.

After Clinton signed the law that attempted to squelch the rising tide of violence and harassment against abortion providers—activism that Akin participated in—seven clinic workers were murdered between 1993 and 1998, before the violence receded. In the past decade, only Dr. George Tiller, a doctor in Kansas who performed late-term abortions, was killed by such violence, in 2009. Most anti-abortion militants are limited to yelling invective or trying to shame women who want abortions by passive-aggressively praying at them. Most understand that aggressive actions can result in federal prosecutions. But as Akin’s continued pride in front of anti-choice audiences shows, this doesn’t mean the movement has abandoned the ideologies that justify the use of force to mandate that all pregnant women give birth. They’ve just learned to elect their warriors to political office, where they can use the government to exert the force that militants used to employ directly.

Read more of The American Prospect at http://www.prospect.org.

“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)


“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

Russian Abortion Poster

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques RousseauThe Discourse on InequalityPart One, more than a paragraph after Note 15)

Canada’s Omnibus Bill: ‘There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’ (The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1967) CBC* Digital Archives

*CBC: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

“Perish if you wish; I am safe.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Discourse on InequalityPart One, more than a paragraph after Note 15)

These words are uttered by the philosopher or person who uses reason only.  He always sleep peacefully.  He is not endowed with the pity/compassion that moderates self-love (l’amour-propre or l’amour de soi-même) in the savage(Part One, more than two paragraphs after Note 15)

The Romney-Ryan Team

Allow me to place in the proper mouths, the mouths of extremists in theRepublican Party, Rousseau’s “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”  I may be wrong, but I suspect that the reason these Republicans can speak like choir-boys on the subject of planned parenthood is that they are sufficiently wealthy to fly to countries where birth-control is available and inexpensive as well as to countries where abortions are not criminalized.  They can also pay a doctor the “right” fee.  In other words, I suspect a substantial degree of hypocrisy.  “Perish if you wish: I am safe.” (On rape, see The Washington Post).  On the “Gag Rule,” see The Huffington Post).

In fact, hypocrisy may not be the only sin.  We are also looking atinequality and at an unjust society.  The rich and wealthy will have a freedom that will be denied the poor.  As I have indicated in earlier blogs, the rich and the wealthy do not need health-insurance.  They can pay for medical treatment and medication.  Well, let’s raise that curtain again: the wealthy, wealthy women, need not give up controlling how many children they will have and when these children will be born.  This is again something they can buy.  In fact, they can also afford several children and help galore, in which they are very fortunate (no pun intended).  They are therefore saying: “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

So it could be that the debate is not about morality

So, if Republicans are against planned parenthood and abortion, I am inclined to think it has little to do with morality.  I hope I’m wrong, but the debate about abortions seems such a convenient  front.  They will attract the votes of persons who are against abortion and who think naively that because a party does not criminalize abortion, members of that party are for abortion.  This is not the case and there are very real drawbacks to criminalizing abortion.  For instance, what are doctors to do when an abortion is an imperative?

Tying up the hands of doctors: unfit women

An abortion may indeed be an imperative.  What does a doctor do, assuming a woman can afford to see a doctor, if a woman’s life is at risk, if the fetus is abnormal, if she is taking medication that can harm the child, if she is taking drugs or is an alcoholic or if she cannot otherwise face a pregnancy, etc.  What can a doctor do if his or her patient is poor or a woman of humble means?  Under privatized health-insurance, it may again be privatized, not only will these unfit women be told that they are suffering from a pre-existing condition, but if an unfit woman consents to an abortion and a doctor intervenes, he or she, i.e. the doctor, and the unfit patient will face criminal charges.  “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

Worst-Case Scenarios

A few years ago, I met a woman who had not slept since giving birth.  Her son was three years old but she could not look after him.  Nor could she work.  Fortunately, she lived in Canada so all that could be done, medically-speaking, was done at no cost to her.  However, I doubt that a doctor would have allowed a second pregnancy.   She was sick: severe postpartum depression.  Doctors need a little leeway.

Would that matters had been as they are now when my mother was having her babies. My poor mother carried a child every year knowing that the child would probably die in infancy of a congenital blood disease.  Her first children survived.  But she buried all the others.  I will spare you the number.  To make matters worse, in those days, a good Catholic woman could not say “no” to her husband.  Sexual intercourse was a duty (un devoir).  It was called: le devoir conjugal.  I fail to see what was good in having babies that would die.  This was cruelty.  And I also fail to see what was good in our attending a funeral or two every year.

Saying “no” as the only recourse

If Mr Romney is elected to the office of President of the United States, the only recourse women who are poor and “women of humble means” will have is the word “no” both outside and inside marriage.  There are husbands, such asCharles de Gaulle (rumor has it), who will not ask their spouse to engage in sexual intercourse if she is not prepared to carry a child and give birth to this child.

That is rather noble, but it isn’t very realistic in the case of most couples.  After a fine meal and, perhaps, one or two glasses of wine, hormones tend to take over, crippling intellectual resolve, particularly in younger people.  In fact, even we, older folks,  snuggle up from time to time and just may be induced to “play doctor.”

The above poster: reality

The above poster goes a long way into describing the situation poor and raped women will face (there is no “legitimate rape”) if planned parenthood is criminalized.  Before abortion was decriminalized in Canada, women, particularly unmarried women, who could not face a pregnancy, sometimes used tools that killed (metallic coat hangers) or went to charlatans and, in many cases, they committed suicide.  In the Quebec of my childhood, to avoid bringing shame on their family, young girls who got pregnant were sent to special institutions and when the baby was born, it was taken from them.  The babies were raised in an orphanage or adopted.  It would appear that some were sold.

So allow me to say that when it comes to a woman’s right to choose when and if she will have a child and her right to undergo an abortion when an abortion is necessary, I take matters very seriously.  It would be my view that a woman

  • should not be forced into a pregnancy, especially if she has been raped (there are no “legitimate rape”), including rape within marriage;
  • that she should act responsibly when she engages in sexual intercourse, as should her husband or partner.  Pregnancies can usually be avoided.  And I would like to point out
  • that there are cases when a doctor, with the consent of his or her patient, should be allowed to end a pregnancy.

On Day One: shackling women

However, if Republicans get into office, “On Day One,” not only will Mitt Romney call the Chinese “currency manipulators” and end the health-care reforms introduced by President Obama, but he will also shackle women who are poor and women of “humble means.”  Poor women and women of “humble means” will not have access to what is available to the rich.

The Conclusion

So scratch out most of the paragraph preceding the “On Day One,” because the conclusion is that “On Day One” women who are poor and women of humble means will be denied what will be accessible to the rich.  It will again be all about money and appearing virtuous when virtue is not part of the equation, but a convenient means to an end: being elected.  People who are against abortions will be fooled into thinking that are voting for the morally superior party.

Such is not the case.  If members of that party are elected they will impose on the poor repressive measures that seem virtuous, yet they will be hiding millions and billions, if not more, and demand tax cuts thus acting criminally.  So how can these persons talk about morality?  So wake up; it’s a smokescreen.  What they are saying is “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”

Make sure everyone knows that if the President does not criminalize abortions, it does not mean that he is for abortion.  

Canadians were lucky.  In 1967, future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got the Omnibus Bill passed.  One can access the details, including videos by clicking on Omnibus Bill, or CBC* Digital Archives.

Jan Kochanowski over the dead body of his daughter, Urszulka, by Jan Matejko

Micheline Walker©
October 28, 2012
WordPress
 
composer: Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe or Marin Marais
film: Tous les matins du monde (All the World’s Mornings)
performer: Jordi Savall
Sainte-Colombe playing the viola da gamba and dreaming of his wife.
 


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Catholic Video Gives Pro-Terrorist Christian Fascist Platform To Spread Homophobia and Hate


“Reverend” Donald Spitz from the pro-terrorist anti-abortion group Army of God has been using the Catholic video-sharing site Glora.tv in order to promote his agenda of anti-abortion violence and extreme homophobia.

On Boxing Day, Spitz struck again, releasing a film onto the site repeating anti-gay sections of the bible declaring homosexuals to be “sodomites” and “worthy of death”. There is even a quotation celebrating a Jewish King who “brake down the houses of the sodomites”.

Unsurprisingly, Glora.tv has done absolutely nothing about this latest film, nor about the other (many much, much worse) films which Spitz is distributing on the site. Gloria.tv and its Catholic priest managers, Father Don Reto Nay and Father Markus Doppelbauer, are without excuse. As explained previously, I have repeatedly warned them about what is going on, and even went to the trouble of joining the site myself in order to raise awareness about how the Army of God are using the site for their own ends. The result? My account was disabled (I can no longer post messages etc.) but “Reverend” Don Spitz remains an active member.

Why are Catholics not speaking up on this? One wonders how much sympathy there is for anti-abortion terrorism within the Catholic community. I am beginning to suspect it is more significant than generally believed.

Fetus Fetish | The Christian Reich’s Phoney Abortion Politics Furthering Misogyny and Patriarchy


Fetus Love: Christian Right‘s Abortion Politics Furthers Patriarchy
Anti-Choice Politics is More About Oppressing Women than Loving Fetuses

By , About.com Guide

Conservative Christians in America can exhibit a strange obsession with fetuses. They appear to be willing to sacrifice any level of women’s personal autonomy and civil rights in the “interests” of the fetus, even though similar measures would not be taken to protect the interests of a fully-grown and conscious adult human in analogous circumstances. Perhaps this is because their agenda is less about the alleged interests of the fetus and more about promoting a patriarchal culture where women are kept subordinate.

It would be unusual, if not impossible, for people to adopt political positions in isolation, which is to say without those positions being interdependent with a variety of other political positions. Even if this might be true with a few individuals, it’s not true of entire political movements. Attempts to explain or understand the anti-choice movement in America requires us to therefore take into consideration positions on contraception, feminism, marriage equality, rape, women in the workforce, religious dogmas on the roles of women, welfare spending, education policies, and so forth.

In Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions, Daniel C. Maguire writes:

There is ample reason to say that this newborn love of fetuses is but a cover for the patriarchal fear of the free woman who is appearing in our day. Can we really believe that patriarchal Catholics, patriarchal Protestants, and patriarchal Muslims, after centuries of warring with one another, are suddenly and stunningly bonded by fetus-love? […]
What lurks beneath family value rhetoric on the right — among Protestants and Catholics — is a kind of sweet love ethic that loses sight of social justice and the needs of the common good. This makes the right the darling of the harsher modes of capitalism. The suppression of social conscience and concern for the poor that is masked by family value piety, really intends, in [Beverly] Harrison’s [former professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York] view, “to make Christianity the ‘handmaiden’ of ‘the Market God’ who brooks no rivals.”

So-called “family values” are really the faith-based “values” of rigidly defined gender roles — not just in the family, but also in the workplace, politics, culture, and society generally. These are the “values” of white, Christian men retaining public positions of privilege, power, and dominance while women are relegated to more private and hidden positions where whatever “power” or “skills” they are allowed to exercise are automatically devalued. No matter how much some may protest that the role of housewife and mother are critical for the future of society, for example, men who choose to adopt such roles are derided and their masculinity is questioned.

Glorifying the fetus is an effective tactic in promoting a patriarchal agenda because it allows people to subordinate women’s autonomy and civil rights without admitting that that’s what they are doing. They can claim altruistic motives on behalf of the fetus in a manner that is analogous to how more general civil rights are narrowed on the basis of calls to “protect the children” from some amorphous threat. So long as somewhere, somehow, some child may be threatened, it’s acceptable for the basic liberties and civil rights of everyone to be constrained.

In both cases, it is clear that concern for the children or the fetuses isn’t really motivating them because all their “concern” seems to end once we stop talking about limiting the rights of others as part of the protection efforts. If you try to turn the conversation towards increased food assistance, better education, environmental cleanups, and so forth, suddenly you’re a socialist who is trying to inappropriately infringe on the economic liberties of the wealthy.

This is also why contraception is becoming a focus of concern by the same people: contraception allows women to avoid becoming pregnant and thereby becoming subject to fetus-based restrictions on female autonomy. A woman who chooses when and if she becomes pregnant is a woman exercising personal autonomy and personal choices, precisely what theses religious conservatives oppose. No fetus even exists yet, so obviously the opposition to contraception isn’t motivated by a desire to defend one. Instead, it’s motivated by a desire to create more fetuses and thus create more situations where women can be denied the ability to exercise personal autonomy.

It’s not just female autonomy that is targeted by religious conservatives,. All autonomy is subject to attack because personal, human autonomy means having the ability to act contrary to the will of God. Autonomy is simply another label for blasphemy and apostasy as far as some Christian Nationalists are concerned. It’s not a coincidence that the most frequent targets of censorship or other restrictions on civil liberties are also often the ones which create the most consternation for devout religious believers.

It’s theoretically possible to favor criminalizing abortions while opposing the establishment of a stronger faith-based patriarchy throughout politics and culture, but working for the former in today’s political context means helping people who are working for the latter. It’s a bit like someone favoring a national fingerprint and DNA database of all citizens while opposing the establishment of a fascist or dictatorial government. Sure, it’s theoretically possible, but even in the current climate supporting the former means making the latter much more likely; in a climate where there is a large, powerful political movement trying to achieve the latter, no one pushing the former could legitimately feign ignorance or innocence.

So regardless of how strongly they protest their opposition to patriarchy and faith-based oppression of women, anyone who supports restrictions on or the criminalization of abortion is objectively aiding and abetting precisely those goals. Politically speaking, what’s the difference between them and someone who does indeed actively desire those goals?

Christian Terrorists Continue to Attack America


Christian Terrorists Continue to Attack America

By

Bobby Joe Rogers has been charged by police in Florida with firebombing a family planning clinic. If Rogers had been a Muslim who firebombed a synagogue, he’d be immediately branded a Muslim terrorist, leading to even more calls for profiling of Muslims in America.

Because Bobby Joe Rogers is a white Christian, though, no one in law enforcement will label his actions what they clearly are: violent Christian terrorism.

“Rogers admitted to intentionally setting fire to the clinic due to his strong disbelief in abortion,” the affidavit stated, and “he stated (he) was further fueled when he recently witnessed a young female entering the clinic while he was sitting amongst anti-abortion protesters.”

The two-story clinic had been attacked before.

It was bombed on Christmas Day in 1984, and in 1994 a doctor and a volunteer who escorted patients to and from the clinic were shot to death as they arrived. The gunman, Paul Hill, was executed in 2003. Pensacola was the site of other abortion-related violence in 1993 when Dr. David Gunn was shot and killed at another clinic by an abortion protester.

Source: The Washington Post

Terrorism is something that abortion providers have to contend with on a daily basis. It’s not “Islamofascists” who are responsible for that terrorism, though. It’s not strange, foreign, brown-skinned people who force abortion providers to work behind bullet-proof glass, wear bullet-proof vests, and hire bodyguards. No, it’s good, God-fearing, white Christians who are committing terrorism in America. And on a regular basis, too.

But of course the legal system in this country won’t treat them as terrorists and won’t even label their actions as terrorism. That’s how successful their terrorism has been: they have cowed the government into denying that the terrorism is even being committed in the first place.

At the same time, though, they have also cowed the government into treating similar acts from other groups as so “different” that they can’t be handled by the regular criminal justice system. American Christians are thus, in a sense, far more successful at their terrorism than Muslim militants in the Middle East have been.

Rick Perry Embraces Sadistic Anti-Choice Fanatics


Rick Perry Joins the Heartless Anti-Choice Fanatics

Via Charles Johnson

It’s horrifying to hear almost all the GOP presidential candidates proudly saying that victims of rape or incest should be forced to give birth to an attacker’s child. There’s nothing that makes the utter heartlessness of this fanatical agenda more evident, and now Rick Perry (who previously supported rape/incest exceptions) has announced that he’s a monster like the rest of them: Perry changes stance to oppose all abortions.

CNNTexas Gov. Rick Perry revealed a hardening in his stance on abortion Tuesday, telling a crowd in Iowa that he opposed abortions in all cases, including when a woman had been raped or the victim of incest.

Previously, Perry had not opposed the procedure in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was threatened.

Responding to a question about the change in position, Perry said, “You’re seeing a transformation.”

Perry told the crowd at his campaign stop that the decision came after watching a documentary on abortion produced by former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“That transformation was after watching the DVD, ‘The Gift of Life,’” Perry said. “And I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest. And some powerful, some powerful stories in that DVD.”

Perry said a woman who appeared in the movie who said she was a product of rape moved him to change his mind about abortion.

“She said, ‘My life has worth.’ It was a powerful moment for me,” Perry said.