Friday, November 17, 2017

Facebook is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News

The New York Times (Nov. 10, 2017): Facebook is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News, by Rossalyn Warren

As Facebook addresses the role of "fake news" on its platform, largely in relation to the 2016 election and Russian political propaganda, another potentially more difficult concern arises. The spread of false reproductive rights and health news is widespread and often harder for Facebook to spot (and manage).

Facebook’s current initiatives to crack down on fake news can, theoretically, be applicable to misinformation on other issues. However, there are several human and technical barriers that prevent misinformation about reproductive rights from being identified, checked and removed at the same — already slow — rate as other misleading stories.

Identifying a fake news sources is not always straightforward. The social media giant says it often targets "spoof" sites that mimic legitimate news sources. But misleading anti-abortion sites can be hazier to identify. They generally publish original pieces, but often alongside inaccurate facts or with poor sourcing, which "helps blur the line between what’s considered a news blog and 'fake news.'"

Facebook aims to limit fake news by making it more difficult for these sources to buy ads or generate spam. "Most false news is financially motivated," Facebook says. This is not often the case with anti-abortion advocates, though, who are overwhelmingly driven by strong religious or political beliefs. The goal isn't profit but persuasion. 

Many are concerned that misinformation regarding reproductive rights and abortion in particular may detrimentally affect current political movements. Ireland plans to hold a referendum next year regarding whether to lessen the country's strict abortion regulations. Pro-choice advocates are worried that the rapid spread of abortion-related misinformation on Facebook (like a purported causal link between abortion and breast cancer) may affect the vote. 

Facebook has yet, though, to directly address concerns over this type of scientific misinformation in the same way they have begun to address fake news about last year's election. 

November 17, 2017 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Culture, Current Affairs, In the Media, Politics, Pro-Choice Movement, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Planned Parenthood: Indiana Judge's Ruling a Victory for Young Women

Saint Louis Post-Dispatch (Jun. 29, 2017): Planned Parenthood: Judge's Ruling a Victory for Young Women, by Rick Callahan (AP): 

A federal judge in Indiana Thursday blocked part of a new law that would have required a judge to determine whether a pregnant minor's parents should be notified if she sought an abortion. Republican Governor Holcomb of Indiana, who signed the law in April, frames it as a "parental rights issue."

Reagan-nominated U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker who enjoined the provision also blocked two additional provisions--one requiring physicians to verify the relationship between a minor and her parents or guardians and another that would have prevented anyone assisting an un-emancipated minor seeking an abortion.

Attorney General Curtis Hill has not yet decided if he will appeal the Judge Barker's decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

July 4, 2017 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, Pro-Choice Movement, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court

Texas Observer (Jun. 20, 2017): How Texas' Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court, by Sophie Novack:

Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law, "an omnibus measure that mandates burdensome clinic regulations and outlaws a safe, common abortion procedure" known as dilation & evacuation, or D&E. SB 8 is the most sweeping set of restrictions on abortion care signed into law in Texas since House Bill 2 in 2013, culminating in last year's Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down two of the bill's major provisions. A lawsuit against SB 8 is expected later this summer.

Novack argues that while abortion-rights advocates ultimately claimed victory in the courts over HB 2, the law "forced the closure of more than half the state’s abortion clinics, and only three have reopened since." The main issue for abortion-rights advocates, Novack says is that "legislation often moves faster than the courts, and SB 8 could wreak similar havoc on the abortion provider community in Texas.

“We’re looking at again the possibility of clinic closures and other restrictions that force women to leave the state if they need abortion care,' said Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit against HB 2 and has pledged to fight SB 8. 'In terms of access on the ground, this presents a huge threat to Texas.”

The major provisions at issue in SB 8 are a requirement that fetal remains be buried or cremated, and a ban on D&E, the most common form of second-trimester procedure. Abortion-rights advocates take some comfort in knowing that both of these provisions have been successfully challenged in court, but if either provision goes into effect, clinics could face closure for failure to comply with the law.

Texas Right to Life pushed the D&E ban, while Texas Alliance for Life championed the fetal burial/cremation requirement. Each group has a different strategy: Texas Right to Life favors pushing the D&E ban to the Supreme Court, while Texas Alliance for Life favors "a more incremental approach" that chips away at access until the Supreme Court becomes less favorable to abortion rights. Said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life: "it’s very clear now that [Justice Kennedy] will not uphold any state or federal provision that makes abortion less accessible, that’s the unfortunate reality."

In January, a federal judge blocked new Texas regulations that would’ve required burials for fetal remains. Courts have blocked D&E abortion bans in four other states. While it remains to be seen how courts will decide on SB 8, the battle will be long, and if it plays out like HB 2, there could be lasting consequences.

June 22, 2017 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, In the Courts, Pro-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Marrying LGBTQ Liberation and Reproductive Justice

Advocate (Sept. 19, 2016): An LGBTQ Organization Puts Its Weight Behind Ending an Insidious, Antiwoman Law, by Candace Bond-Theriault:

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, the law that withholds coverage for abortion from women enrolled in Medicaid (with exceptions for rape, incest and physical endangerment).  The law makes true reproductive choice available only to those with the financial means to pay for their care.  This year, United for Abortion Coverage Week (Sept. 25-Oct. 1) will include the National LGBTQ Task Force, which has announced its commitment to fighting anti-choice measures like the Hyde Amendment through its All* Above All initiative.

The inspiration for All* Above All is the "intentional cross-movement collaboration" that can flourish when groups that may appear to have disparate agendas recognize that the people working against them are the same whether they  discriminate against LGBTQ people or actively work to deny access to reproductive health care.  In addition, women who have abortions face stigma in the same way LGBTQ people do.  "The reality remains that LGBTQ people’s access to health care is limited by many intertwined factors, including poverty and racism."

All* Above All is lobbying Congress to pass the Each Woman Act to end bans on abortion coverage.    

 

September 29, 2016 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Eight states now striving to repeal abortion restrictions

The Guardian (June 30, 2016): Planned Parenthood: eight states now striving to repeal abortion restrictions, by Molly Redden

The victory of the recent SCOTUS decision that slammed down Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP Laws) is already resonating within the reproductive rights community. Planned Parenthood made a statement about the next steps that their legal department plans to take now that the ruling has been handed down by the nation's highest court. In an effort to rally voters for the upcoming November election - both for the Presidency as well as more locally - Planned Parenthood, along with the Center for Reproductive Rights, has its eyes on states beyond Texas: 

Lawmakers are formulating specific plans to target similar abortion restrictions in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and  they are broadly prepared to repeal laws in Florida, Michigan and Texas. In Tennessee, Planned Parenthood is looking to  support litigation by the Center for Reproductive Rights against that state’s building requirement law. They will also target Missouri’s admitting privileges law. Earlier this week, officials with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri signaled that they were prepared, if necessary, to mount a legal challenge.

While some state laws restricting abortion have already fallen in light of the Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood and The Center for Reproductive Rights intend to move forward against more challenging laws in the above mentioned states, as well as others, in order to protect reproductive rights nationwide. 

July 3, 2016 in Abortion, In the Courts, Pro-Choice Movement, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Some women regret their abortions. But we all deserve to have the choice

The Guardian (May 26, 2016): Some women regret their abortions. But we all deserve to have the choice, by Jessica Valenti 

Jessica Valenti highlights the recent admission of a wife of a Republican legislator who explained that she deeply regrets her abortion. Valenti explains that while this feeling happens, it is statistically rare among American women, who for the most part do not regret their abortions. While showcasing women that regret their abortions is a tactic often used by the anti-choice movement, the article poignantly points out that this is still a choice, a viable access point, and decision that these women made. 

    "Even though the vast majority of women who have abortions won’t regret them, there will always be some women who wish they didn’t end a pregnancy – that’s just the reality. But it’s better to regret a decision than never having the option to make it in the first place."

June 16, 2016 in Abortion, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 27, 2016

What's Wrong With Reporting on Abortion

Rewire (May 23, 2016): Associated Press Article on 20 Week Bans Underscores What's Wrong With Reporting on Abortion, by Jodi Jacobson:

Rewire Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson criticizes the way that the media reduces discussions on medical and health issues to the level of opinion. Jacobson discusses a recent article on South Carolina's 20 week abortion ban which recites the opinion of supporters of the bill that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.  However,  Jacobson states:

“Supporters” of 20-week abortion bans (and many other such laws) include groups like Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee (both of which have drafted model legislation for these bans), as well as others such as the Susan B. Anthony List. Each of these groups uses false science and unfounded claims of “fetal pain” to pass legislation that threatens access to critical reproductive health care; the anti-choice movement’s self-important “pro-life” designation elides the fact that women’s health and lives are in grave danger wherever such care is unavailable.

The vast body of medical evidence refutes that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. Yet the opinions of the bill's supporters are given the same weight as the international medical and public health communities.  Jacobson goes on to say

No matter how strong the backlash from the small but loud contingent of people within the anti-choice movement, it is the media’s job to report fairly and responsibly. Making the claims of anti-choice “supporters” of abortion bans equivalent to the consensus of the medical and public health community not only abrogates the public trust, it puts all of us in danger.

May 27, 2016 in Abortion, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Reproaction Launches to Advance Reproductive Justice

Feministing (Jan. 25, 2016): The Feministing Five: Reproaction, by Suzanna Bobadilla: 

Erin Matson and Pamela Merritt have founded Reproaction a direct action group working "to engage people across the US to fight for reproductive justice."  Erin Matson explains, 

[W]e are proud to be a direct action organization. Direct action involves taking demands directly to power, not asking someone to take action on your behalf, like lobbying. We draw inspiration from organizations like #BlackLivesMatter, immigration groups, and LGBT organizations. We as a reproductive organization are committed to elevating these tactics and working with others who are using these tactics to ensure that every single person in this country as access to abortion, no funny business.

 As a new organization, they have already made some big waves, including calling out DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her remarks about the complacency of of young women after Roe v. Wade with their hashtag #DearDebbie. 

Find out more about Reproaction and how to engage at their website

February 6, 2016 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Roe v. Wade Rally in NYC Jan. 22

January 22, 2015, 9:15 a.m., Steps of City Hall, New York City:Roe Rally

January 20, 2015 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Some Good News on Reproductive Freedom You May Have Missed

ThinkProgress: 7 Victories For Reproductive Freedom You May Not Realize Happened This Year, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

There’s no question that 2014 has been a difficult year for the reproductive rights community. The Supreme Court ruled against pro-choice groups in the Hobby Lobby and abortion clinic buffer zone cases, and the midterm elections brought a wave of GOP victories at the state and national level that will surely result in even more anti-choice legislation next session.

It’s easy to feel like everything is hopeless. But there were also a few bright spots this year. 2014 brought several examples of progress when it comes to protecting and upholding reproductive rights, and pro-choice groups say they’ve been laying important groundwork for a new, proactive approach in this area moving forward.

Here are some pieces of good news you may have missed . . . .

December 8, 2014 in Abortion, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In Wake of Forced Clinic Closures, Activists Raise Funds to Help Low-Income Women Travel for Abortions

The New York Times: Activists Help Pay for Patients’ Travel to Shrinking Number of Abortion Clinics, by Jackie Calmes:

The young woman lived in Dallas, 650 miles from Albuquerque, but that was where she would have to go for an abortion, she was told. New state regulations had forced several of Dallas’s six abortion clinics to close, creating weekslong waiting lists. By the time the woman could get in, she would be up against the Texas ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.

But she could not afford the trip to New Mexico.

So it was that she had left a phone message with a hotline in Austin and, on a recent evening, heard back from Lenzi Sheible, the 20-year-old founder of a fund to help low-income women pay the unexpected costs of traveling for abortions in Texas — or to states beyond. . . .

November 29, 2014 in Abortion, Poverty, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reviews of Katha Pollitt's "Pro," And Interviews with Pollitt

The New York Times: Take Back the Right: Katha Pollitt's 'Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights', by Clara Jeffery:

“I never had an abortion, but my mother did. She didn’t tell me about it, but from what I pieced together after her death from a line in her F.B.I. file, which my father, the old radical, had requested along with his own, it was in 1960, so like almost all abortions back then, it was illegal.”

Thus begins “Pro,” the abortion rights manifesto by the Nation columnist, poet and red diaper baby Katha Pollitt. While parents with F.B.I. files may be exotic, her departure point is that abortion was and is not. . . .

The Chicago Tribune: Review: 'Pro' by Katha Pollitt, by Martha Bayne:

. . . Over the book's 200-odd pages, Pollitt — longtime columnist for The Nation and all-around feminist public thinker — charts with passion and intellectual rigor just how much the lives of American women have changed since 1960, and how very much they haven't. . . .

Here's an interview with Pollitt:

Democracy Now: Abortion as a Social Good: Author Katha Pollitt Pens New Vision for Pro-Choice Movement

And a roundtable on Minnesota Public Radio among Pollitt, Sarah Stoesz, President of the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, and Teresa Collett, Professor of Law at the University of St Thomas:

MPR News: The politics and policy of abortion

October 17, 2014 in Abortion, Books, Culture, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Excerpt from Katha Pollitt's New Book, "Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights"

The Huffington Post -- The Blog: The Abortion Conversation We Need To Have, by Katha Pollitt:

Abortion. We need to talk about it. I know, sometimes it seems as if we talk of little else, so perhaps I should say we need to talk about it differently. Not as something we all agree is a bad thing about which we shake our heads sadly and then debate its precise degree of badness, preening ourselves on our judiciousness and moral seriousness as we argue about this or that restriction on this or that kind of woman.

We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women -- and not just modern American women either, but women throughout history and all over the world, from ancient Egypt to medieval Catholic Europe, from today's sprawling cities to rural villages barely touched by modern ideas about women's roles and rights. . . .

October 17, 2014 in Books, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Pro-Choice" Label Loses Favor for Failing To Reflect Broader Range of Reproductive Issues

The New York Times: Advocates Shun ‘Pro-Choice’ to Expand Message, by Jackie Calmes:

For all the talk about women’s issues in this year’s midterm election campaigns, something is missing. One of the most enduring labels of modern politics — pro-choice — has fallen from favor, a victim of changed times and generational preferences.

That shift might seem surprising in this political season, when there has been a renewed focus on reproductive issues like access to abortion and birth control. Yet advocates say that the term pro-choice, which has for so long been closely identified with abortion, does not reflect the range of women’s health and economic issues now being debated. . . .

July 29, 2014 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Center for Reproductive Rights Seeks Stories for "Draw the Line" Campaign

From the Center for Reproductive Rights:

CRR Storytelling Project Guidelines:

The Center is looking for stories to launch the second phase of our Draw the Line campaign. With this shift in the campaign, we are aiming to collect a diverse set of personal stories around reproductive health care and the key role it has played in folks' lives. The stories can include everything from abortion to contraception to fertility to breast cancer treatment.

The goal is to humanize the public conversation around reproductive health care to get the attention of key stakeholders in the fight by 1) illustrating how reproductive health is essential to everyone's life; and 2) illustrating the impact of current anti-reproductive health legislation on people's lives.

We are accepting several formats — video, text, and audio. But currently, we're looking for stories in video — 1 minute in length. Here are the guidelines for sharing your story:

For your video, do what comes naturally to you in telling us your story, but consider telling us:

  1. A little bit about yourself (e.g., where you're from, what you do, what role you play in your family or community)
  2. Why reproductive health care is so important in your life, and how having access to it (or not having access to it) has impacted you (e.g., your family, your education, your career)
  3. What you'd like to say to politicians who attack the reproductive health care that's been important to you and others across the country

Again, here a few pointers on taking a good video:

• If using your smartphone/iPhone: Hold phone HORIZONTALLY to get the widest angle of footage available

• To make sure we can hear you, please shoot in a quiet environment

• Make sure light is on your face and not behind it

Any questions? Email Kristen Thompson at kthompson@reprorights.org.

Send video to Kristen Thompson at kthompson@reprorights.org or Melissa Green at mgreen@reprorights.org OR upload it to www.youtube.com (make sure to make it private!) and send Kristen the link.

July 10, 2014 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Missouri Activists Stage 72-Hour "Women's Filibuster" To Protest 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill

MSNBC: LIVE NOW: 72-hour Missouri abortion filibuster, by Irin Carmon:

Missouri progressive activists are staging a nonstop, 72-hour “women’s filibuster” on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol building today to protest an abortion bill that would force a woman to wait three days between two clinic visits before having an abortion.

The activists’ hope is to prevent Republicans in the state Senate from breaking a Democratic filibuster on the bill, which already passed the House. The legislative session ends Friday. . . .

May 12, 2014 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pro-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

As Roe Turns 41, Young Reproductive Justice Activists See Abortion Through Broader Lens

The Huffington Post - The Blog: Beyond Single-Issue Politics on the 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Young Reproductive Rights Activists Are Social Justice Activists, by Kelley Robinson:

I have the privilege of leading Planned Parenthood's national youth and campus engagement programs -- The Planned Parenthood Generation and Planned Parenthood Generation Action -- and there is one thing that I know to be true: This is not just our mama's reproductive rights movement. Today, on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we face unprecedented attacks on women's access to reproductive health care. It is more important than ever before to make sure we continue to have the right to safe and legal abortion, but the landscape has fundamentally changed and my generation is already fighting back.

We see reproductive rights from a multifaceted lens --- we understand that fighting for reproductive rights is about economic justice, about education access, about immigrant rights, and so much more. . . .

January 22, 2014 in Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)