Tag Archives: abortion

A Revolution, Televised

26 Jun

Yesterday, Texas’ state senate was poised to pass anti-abortion legislation so restrictive that it would leave the state with only five remaining clinics. It would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, would have required that the procedures be done in surgical clinics, and the doctors performing the procedures would have to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. It would have closed 37 of Texas’ 42 clinics

One Democratic female senator – Wendy Davis – stood on the floor of the Texas Senate for over 13 consecutive hours to filibuster this bill. The rules are more stringent than in the US Senate – she could not so much as lean on a desk, and the topic of her marathon talk had to be related to the bill at hand. 

Among the things she read from the podium were stories she solicited from Texas women, telling the story of their own abortions. The debate over this bill included one female sponsor of the filibustered anti-abortion legislation to declare that exemptions weren’t needed for victims of rape or incest because rape kits can prevent unwanted pregnancy. Republican state representative Jodie Laubenberg said that in “the emergency rooms they have what’s called rape kits, that the woman can get cleaned out, basically like a D and C” — dilation and curettage surgery, often performed after miscarriages. Ms. Laubenberg is wrong – rape kits do not ‘clean women out’

There was drama as midnight approached and the Lieutenant Governor tried to shut down the filibuster, but the Democrats began to filibuster that. In the end, the bill failed thanks in great part to the efforts of one brave woman

The abortion “debate” isn’t one anymore. Most Texans didn’t support the added restrictions on abortion that failed yesterday. A 75/25 majority of Americans agree that abortions should be legal in some circumstances. Nobody has to like abortion, but that doesn’t mean you get to restrict a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy in the 1st trimester. 

And here I thought Texas Republicans hated regulations on business. 

The war on women and reproductive rights is in full swing throughout the country – not just in the South. The American right wing works diligently to roll back liberties won over the last century – health care, equality, reproductive rights, civil rights, human rights – all of them are under siege in a country whose highest court declares that racism is over and a key portion of the Civil Rights Act is, therefore, applied unconstitutionally and invalid until Congress changes it. Next up, they’ll look to roll back Social Security. The America they envision is one that is of the rich elite, by the rich elite, and for the rich elite. An America that protects the Paris Hiltons and Kardashians of the world at your expense and the expense of your family from cradle to grave.

That revolution wasn’t televised. It just wasn’t the revolution Mr. Scott-Heron envisioned.  Now America needs to recapture what it’s lost. 

Abortion: Politicking versus Real Life

15 Nov

Many people don’t realize that the 2012 Republican platform demands a ban on all abortions, with no exception made for rape, incest, or even to save the life of the mother. While some individual Republicans go along with those provisos, the party as a collective does not. This, in part, explains the rape eruptions from idiots suggesting that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape”, or that a pregnancy from rape is “part of God’s plan”, differentiating “emergency rape“, or that some women “rape easy” and what – deserve it?  

2012 Republican Platform: “Renewing American Values” : Repealing Obamacare 

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

2012 Republican Platform: A Restoration of Constitutional Government: The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Woman ‘denied a termination’ dies in hospital: Irish Times November 14, 2012

The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should be over in a few hours. There followed three days, he says, of the foetal heartbeat being checked several times a day.

“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.

“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.

“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.

“The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn’t.”

Ms. Halappanavar developed sepsis and died. Had the abortion been performed when it became clear that she was miscarrying, Ms. Halappanavar, a 31 year-old non-Irish, Hindu dentist, might still be alive today. I realize that the example is from Ireland, but Ireland’s prohibition on abortion is what the Republican Party in the United States wants to implement. Nowhere in the party platform is an exception made for the life of the mother, rape, or incest. 

Republicans v. Women, Immigrants, Middle Class, et al.

21 Feb

Over the past two years, the Democratic Party attempted, often fecklessly, to implement changes that would largely help strengthen and rebuild the middle class, while simultaneously inheriting an epic recession that came within a hair of becoming a full-fledged depression.  Even now, the economic recovery is limp; (i.e., we haven’t yet discovered which bubble comes next).

Over the last month or so, the Republican Party has instituted an all-out assault on abortion rights, contraception, health care, health insurance coverage, and is intent on rolling back even the modest achievements of the 111th Congress to ensure that their superrich benefactors are protected from any attempt to make the lives of the middle and lower classes better. The assault on reproductive rights is just the vicious icing on the malicious cake.

In Wisconsin, the Republican governor has decided that “teachers” and “nurses” are replaceable commodities, and that they ought not have the right to collectively fight for their rights as employees of the state. (No such attempt has been made to dilute the collective bargaining rules for police or fire employees).

Add some xenophobia to the mixture, and it’s almost intolerably toxic.


I think the country has lost its mind, and it’s for this reason that even small victories – like winning NY-26 – are critically important to ensure that America works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but also for average working people.

A century ago, the world’s left was influenced by a long-winded, dull, wrongheaded, hypocritical Russian philosopher.  Now, it’s the American right.

(You may have noticed that comments are off. Feel free to email me your thoughts.)

The Power of Ignorance

6 May

A new Gallup poll says 51% of Americans support the new misguided yet brilliantly executed Arizona immigration law. By providing Arizona cops the same power as those of dictatorial France (which we should not fear, universal healthcare supporters have told us), and powers to check what was already mandated by the feds in 1952, this law creatively turns the Left’s “undocumented worker” reframing on its head by asking for those very papers that don’t exist. Its ironic, ingenious, and has already had its intended effect: putting Immigration Reform back on the national agenda. Its also flat wrong, and the product of our vigorous and stridently ignorant culture.

That 51% of Americans support that law is as useless of a statistic as the poll that indicates 49% of Americans like the new healthcare law. The number of Americans that have read either law could fit in the Congressional staff lunch room . . .  and probably includes few lawmakers. I haven’t read either law and neither have you. We are all entitled to our opinions but not our own facts. And we argue about and disagree on those facts, as a society, because we are so ignorant of them.

When it comes to knowledge of this subject, politicians themselves are the smartest around. Much derision was heaped on the Republican Party for having the page length of the healthcare bill as a key criticism. While this was obviously a play to the simplemindedness of its base, the small nugget of truth contained in that criticism is that those Republican lawmakers had no idea what they were voting for . . . and neither did their Democratic counterparts. It was only after the bill became law that we learned national healthcare costs will rise by $300 billion over 10 years, not drop as supposed.

By itself, this ignorance is of little consequence, and a matter of debate for centuries by insulated ivory tower types and The-Revolution-Is-Here anarchists. But in the 21st Century, this ignorance has become downright dangerous: to ourselves, to society, and to our planet. Why? Because now our ignorance has been paired with unprecedented Choice.

My great-grandfather’s generation had ignorance of the global world but plenty of knowledge about their own neighborhood and lives. This has been supplanted by greater knowledge of global triviality, but significant ignorance of matters of import locally and in the wider world. Where do my $1.99/pound Tops chicken breasts come from? What were those chickens fed? What kind of waste stream has to exist to create chicken for $1.99 a pound? When my great-grandfather bought chickens at the Broadway Market (from another great-grandfather who owned Albrecht’s Chicken Stand), this wasn’t a question that needed asking.

Rapid technological advancement and globalization has sped this process. I drive my car wholly ignorant of the cost (economic, labor, environmental) to put fuel in it. That a new Gulf oil spill would reignite this discussion, decades after the Exxon Valdez, is sad. I can affect freshwater quality in Thailand by buying cheap frozen shrimp at the grocery store. I can put my neighbor out of business by choosing one brand over another. The list of examples is endless.

As our republic insists on being morphed into a democracy, this ignorance cum choice problem grows. Time was, government policy was insulated from the ignorance of the masses by the appointed Senate and Electoral College. It was less than 100 years ago that US Senators were unelected, and a check on the House’s ignorant populism. As George Will pointed out, the Electoral College used to be a similar check, until democratization made it an anachronistic hiccup on the road to an Al Gore presidency. Politicians’ career-savyy choice to adhere to the ignorant masses produce Arizona immigration laws and NY State budget catastrophes. The people of Arizona want the illegals out . . . without considering why they have low construction costs, or asking where their freshly picked strawberries come from. New Yorkers want to spend $20K per pupil in schools, keep every park open, lay off zero workers, have arts and cultural funding, and have a property tax rebate . . . without asking where the money comes from. The most extreme example is the referendum culture in California, which directly produces policy from the “wisdom” of crowds.

As our choices – political, economic, and social – have increased, no requirement to become more knowledgeable has followed. We are two year old children throwing temper tantrums in the china shop of our world, and there is no parent to intervene. I can buy 82 different kinds of diapers at Walmart so I can damn well decide what sort of health insurance exchange is best suited to drive down costs for middle income American workers.

Both parties and both sides of the political spectrum gain by playing to the country’s ignorance, and use the shredding of that ignorance as a campaign tool. PETA shows images of calves with their legs cut off in the hopes you won’t want to eat veal anymore. Abortion opponents are getting state laws on the books to require ultrasounds before abortions – the idea, of course, is that women are willing to kill a blob of cells but not a picture of a baby with a beating heart. Pro-choice advocates, predictably, hate this idea. Nearly 50 million abortions have occurred in the last 37 years, 20 million since Bill Clinton said he wanted to make it “rare.” Should not women facing this choice, the direst and worst of choices, have the full knowledge ahead of time? That Pro-Choice groups would generally oppose such laws, or providing women information before making a choice, is perhaps the purest example of  the problem that exists on all levels.

Thomas Friedman called a spade a spade this week. He said we:

have to stop messing around with idiotic “drill, baby, drill” nostrums, feel-good Earth Day concerts and the paralyzing notion that the American people are not prepared to do anything serious to change our energy mix.

One side wants to drill ignorant of the costs. The other is trying to convince the public that a couple new lightbulbs and a little composting will save the planet. The massive ignorance of the actual effort it will take to reshape our society is only matched by the new power of the individual American to keep making the problem worse.

The Murderer

1 Jun

Via Andrew Sullivan, I am led to the conservative blog “Little Green Footballs“, which has posted information concerning the suspect who is alleged to have shot abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

A couple of times I’ve predicted that we’ll see a return to the militia movement we had to put up with during the Clinton Administration. They’ll be even more energized now because we have a brown-skinned President. Scott Roeder, the suspect, posted to several Operation Rescue-related sites. But this is more disturbing:

July 7, Kansas: Scott Roeder is sentenced to sixteen months in state prison for parole violations following a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk. Roeder, a sovereign citizen and tax protester, violated his parole by not filing tax returns or providing his social security number to his employer…

…The sovereign citizen movement is a network of American litigants who claim to be “sovereign citizens”; that is, people who claim to have certain rights under English common law and to be unaccountable to the federal government. The litigants advance this concept in opposition to “federal citizens” who, they believe, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law.

This “sovereign citizen” concept originated in the Posse Comitatus movement as a teaching of Christian Identity minister William P. Gale. It has gone on to influence the tax protester movement, the Christian Patriot movement and the Redemption movement. Gale identified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as the act that converted sovereign citizens into federal citizens, but other commentators have identified other acts, including the Uniform Commercial Code,[2] the Emergency Banking Act,[2] the Zone Improvement Plan and the supposed suppression of the Titles of Nobility Amendment.

99.9% of what I’ve read on the right about this murder opposes it, but also gets in a shot about how bad Tiller was to perform procedures that his patients asked him to perform. The concern, however, is mostly about how poorly this will reflect on the entire anti-abortion movement in particular, and conservatives in general. The lunatic fringe at the Free Republic, (sorry, not linking), for the most part, cheered the murder of Dr. Tiller, and this is what Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry had to say:

“George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri couldn’t have said it better. Perhaps Dick Cheney will come on the news and explain in graphic detail how we need to waterboard Mr. Roeder to find out his connection to some radical anti-abortion group. Isn’t that how it works nowadays when we’re dealing with terrorism?

Killing is Pro-Life

31 May

An abortion doctor was murdered in Wichita, KS today while on his way in to church.

This isn’t just murder, and most likely a hypocritical one, at that. This is terrorism. The cops have a plate and are searching for the suspect.

The New Republican Party

12 Mar

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has some radical views!

Homosexuality isn’t a choice?

Gay marriage is a states’ rights issue?

Abortion is an individual choice and a states’ rights issue?

The thing about it is, without all the gay-baiting and abortion talk, the Republican Party could actually attract a whole lot more people.


24 Oct

We know that Bill Ayers, while a member of the Weather Underground, was technically a “domestic terrorist”, and I’ll let that go even though the Weathermen always called in their bomb threats so as to cause mainly structural damage, rather than physical harm.

Anyone who uses his brain even temporarily on any given day can tell you that terrorism doesn’t always come wrapped in 60s radicalism or around an Arabic-sounding name.

Naturally, if one takes it as read that the Weathermen were domestic terrorists, then it is also clear that people who bomb abortion clinics are also domestic terrorists. This is very simple logic – any 5th grader could tell you that bombing for a political (Vietnam-war-related) purpose is equal to bombing for a political (abortion-related) purpose.


Sarah Palin, however, is such a good and loyal culture warrior that she refuses to acknowledge the fact that there really is no difference between what Bill Ayers did and what the radical anti-abortion terrorists have done. I happen to be fascinated by the decline in violence and nonsense by the insane wing of the anti-abortion movement during the Bush years, even though abortions are still taking place every day and according to some, have gone up. But during the Clinton years, the clinically insane were out in full force, bombing clinics, shooting doctors, and murdering even the clerical staff.

If Obama wins, I fully expect a rapid return to those heady conspiracy-laden days we enjoyed from the radical right in the early Clinton years. Militias, anyone?

Domestic Terrorist Problem

7 Oct