Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Calif. Teacher Shows 8th Graders Graphic Anti-Abortion Film, "The Silent Scream"

San Jose Mercury News: Milpitas teacher screens anti-abortion clips in 8th-grade class, by Sharon Noguchi:

A Milpitas science teacher has been placed on leave after showing parts of the graphic anti-abortion film "The Silent Scream" to five eighth-grade classes.

On Jan. 23, after students at Russell Middle School finished a chemistry test on acids and bases, first-year teacher Randy Yang showed clips from the controversial film, which depicts an 11-week-old fetus being dismembered during an abortion.

Some students did not like what they saw. "They're like, 'Ewww, that's gross, why do we have to see that?' " said eighth-grader Xhynah Cabugao. "Everybody was kind of disgusted."

When some students asked why they had to watch, Xhynah said, the teacher told them to avert their eyes if they didn't want to see it.

February 13, 2008 in Anti-Choice Movement, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Italian Police Confiscate Aborted Fetus

Reuters: Police raid sparks Italy pre-election abortion row, by Silvia Aloisi:

ROME, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The confiscation of an aborted foetus by Italian police has rekindled a highly charged debate over abortion in Catholic Italy before national elections.

A 39-year-old Naples woman decided to have a termination in the 21st week of her pregnancy -- as allowed under Italian law -- after tests revealed the foetus had grave abnormalities.

When she returned to her hospital bed from the operating theatre on Monday, still dazed from the anaesthetic, police were waiting. They had been alerted by an anonymous phone caller who said the termination may have been carried out beyond the legal time limit.

February 13, 2008 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South African Parliament Votes To Ease Abortion Restrictions

 Via the National Partnership Daily Women's Health Policy Report:

The South African Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed a bill that would relax some restrictions on abortion, Reuters reports. The legal changes would provide for 24-hour abortion facilities; eliminate preapproval processes; and allow all nurses rather than just midwives to perform the procedure. The bill now goes to President Thabo Mbeki for his signature. "The amendment bill promotes quality health care," Joyce Masilo, a deputy from the country's majority African National Congress, said to the Parliament.

According to Reuters, religious groups and several political parties criticized the changes, saying the existing law already is too liberal. In South Africa, girls as young as age 12 can obtain abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 20 weeks' gestation in some cases. Opponents also said the bill should have made abortion counseling mandatory because minors can obtain the procedure without notifying their parents (Roelf, Reuters, 2/7).

February 13, 2008 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NPR on McCain's Abortion Stance

Here's an NPR segment from February 2, in which Julie Rovner addresses addresses "misperceptions about McCain's abortion stance" and the fact that "many voters appear to assume, incorrectly, that McCain is pro-choice."

February 12, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign, Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

McCain on Abortion

Republicans for Choice Claims They Do Not Endorse McCain

Here's what some interpreted as an endorsement by Republicans for Choice (from the RFC website (emphasis added)):

As moderate and conservative pro-choice Republicans are we happy with the results of the Florida primary? Yes and no. 

Our first choice, Rudy Giuliani, did not win.... But our number two choice did win...John McCain. McCain came in second in a survey of our membership. 

While he is personally "pro life" he has time and again reached out and worked with people across the spectrum.  We know we can work with him to create common ground that will allow moderates and conservatives to come together to rebuild the GOP.   

RFC joins with Rudy Giuliani in asking our supporters to consider McCain as they go to vote over the next few weeks. 

John is a true American hero with strong and consistent values.  He will provide the leadership that will rebuild America's confidence in itself and among our allies worldwide. 

And John McCain's election will be a strong message to our don't mess with John McCain, he can and will go the distance! 

But, RFC now hastens to add:

Reading our language ... apparently has generated some confusion and let's make it more clear...

Our language ... on McCain is not intended as an endorsement.  We simply stated the facts that John McCain was the second choice, after Giuliani, of our membership. 

We do support Rudy Giuliani's contention that given the folks left in the race after Rudy's withdrawal, McCain would be the best one for the Republican nomination.

So they aren't endorsing McCain, just asking supporters to "consider" him because "we know we can work with him."  And he's the "best one" for the Republican nomination -- after whom?  Mike Huckabee?  Yeah, whatever. 

Here's how reasonable McCain is on abortion.  Via the AP yesterday: Conservative Gary Bauer Endorses McCain:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative Gary Bauer is endorsing Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The prominent abortion foe says in a statement that McCain "has dedicated his life to defending human rights around the world, including the rights of the unborn."....

McCain thanked Bauer for his support. The Arizona senator says, "Gary has always been a forceful, unapologetic advocate for the sanctity of life and traditional marriage, judicial restraint and a strong American foreign policy based on our values."

From McCain's official website:

Overturning Roe v. Wade

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench....

However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.

I know that many voters see McCain as a maverick who doesn't always toe the line on conservative positions.  Let's just be clear about this:  on abortion, McCain is about as conservative as it gets.  If you're looking for a pro-choice candidate, McCain is not your man.

February 12, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Abortion Features Prominently in Italy's Elections

AP: Abortion figuring prominently in early campaign for April elections:

ROME: Abortion is playing an important early role in Italy's election campaign, with front-runner Silvio Berlusconi endorsing a universal moratorium and a prominent journalist on Tuesday announcing an anti-abortion ticket.

Berlusconi told the weekly Tempi magazine that he believed the United Nations should recognize as a human right the right to life from "conception until natural death" — using the same terminology the Vatican uses to express its opposition to abortion.

The former premier stressed, however, that his center-right allies were free to decide on the matter according to their own conscience.

Abortion in state hospitals until the end of the third month of pregnancy has been legal in Italy since 1978. Abortion after three months is allowed only when the pregnancy is deemed a "grave danger" to the woman's life.

February 12, 2008 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Era of Twins" May Be Changing

N.Y. Times: For an Era of Twins, the End May Be Near, by Susan Dominus:

Walk around the Upper West Side with a double stroller, as I do from time to time, and it’s amazing how long it can take to make it to Fairway. An older gentleman wants to know whether there were twins in the family. A middle-aged woman needs to stop and list every pair of twins she’s come to know in a five-block radius. There are many, many, many young twins in that five-block radius. The listing of them takes a long time. There are twins on 72nd Street and two sets in her building alone and girl twins on the corner and boy twins she always sees at the Starbucks ... Is it something in the water?...

If all goes as expected, however, the twins glut we’re experiencing now will not be a permanent facet of life in the city. Instead, there will most likely be a 10- or 15-year window that will be known as the twins years. A 37-year-old-man named Max will mention at some dinner party in 2039 that he’s actually a twin, and the host will say, oh yes, that makes sense, you’re the right age, aren’t you — fraternal, of course?

February 12, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Culture, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Teens Protest Abstinence-Only Education--and Get Suspended

Via CNN Video:

Sex shirts lead to suspension

Two junior high school students got in trouble for where they put some condoms. KMOV's Matt Sczesny reports.

The eighth graders' shirts read, "Safe Sex or No Sex," and had wrapped condoms pinned to them.


February 11, 2008 in Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pro-Choice Republican Group Endorses McCain

Wow.  Emily Douglas writes for RH Reality Check:

The pro-choice Republican organization Republicans for Choice has endorsed Sen. John McCain for President, saying that he was the group's "second choice" to Rudy Giuliani.

Chairman of the group Ann Stone told CyberCast News, "(McCain) is (pro-life), but it's not at the top of his agenda, not like Huckabee or the born-again Romney...He's shown his willingness to reach across the party, and we look forward to those discussions."

Though Republican Majority for Choice, a more prominent pro-choice Republican organization, has not endorsed McCain -- as RMC co-chair Jennifer Stockman said, "We only endorse pro-choice Republicans" -- Kellie Ferguson, president of the group, indicated that she trusted McCain to be more willing to work with pro-choice advocates than the other Republican presidential candidates. Ferguson stated: "For genuine candidates and genuine elected officials who disagree with us on [Roe], there are so many issue that we do agree on within the reproductive rights world - we should be focusing on sex education, we should be focusing on abstinence plus, we should be focusing on emergency contraception for rape victims...For someone like John McCain, we disagree on the issue, definitely, we as a Republican organization support a woman’s right to choose would not be endorsing him, but would he be willing to open the door to discuss how to lessen the incidence of abortion? I think he would" (emphasis mine).

Would he, really?

February 11, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign, Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scientists Discover New Human HIV Receptor

N.Y. Times: Scientists Find New Receptor for H.I.V., by Lawrence Altman:

SAN FRANCISCO — Government scientists have discovered a new way that H.I.V. attacks human cells, an advance that could provide fresh avenues for the development of additional therapies to stop AIDS, they reported on Sunday.

The discovery is the identification of a new human receptor for H.I.V. The receptor helps guide the virus to the gut after it gains entry to the body, where it begins its relentless attack on the immune system.

February 11, 2008 in Medical News, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pharmacy Boards and Religious Refusals in the Pharmacy

Womenstake: Forget State Legislatures. Work with Your Pharmacy Board to Stop Refusals, by Gretchen Borchelt:

Anti-choice state legislators just won’t give up. In states like Indiana, legislators continue to introduce legislation that would give pharmacists a right to refuse to provide women with contraception in the pharmacy. They do this even though the public is against pharmacist refusals. Yet these legislators see nothing wrong with a woman being denied her validly prescribed contraception – they keep trying to push such bills through state legislatures.

But don’t despair - there’s hope. Many people don’t realize that it is not legislators who are at the forefront of the issue. It’s pharmacists; specifically, state pharmacy boards. In case you’ve never heard of a state pharmacy board, it is an administrative agency in your state that has the power to enforce pharmacy laws and develop pharmacy regulations and policies. State pharmacy boards have a lot of power – pharmacists and pharmacies have to obey them or face discipline. In states across the country, pharmacy boards have stepped up to protect patient access to medication at the pharmacy.

February 8, 2008 in Contraception, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pres. Bush tries to revive ban on needle-exchange programs in Wash. DC

Washington Post: What's the Point? (editorial):

Tucked into President Bush's 2009 budget proposal is the resurrection of a provision, dumped by Congress last year, that prohibits the District from using its own money to fund needle-exchange programs. This is unconscionable, especially since intravenous drug use is helping to fuel the HIV-AIDS crisis gripping the city. That Mr. Bush would do this in a budget that will take effect after he's left Washington strikes us as gratuitous and shortsighted.

The restriction was attached to the District's appropriations bill by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) in 1998. Mr. Bush has supported the prohibition every year of his administration. Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, he and Mr. Tiahrt are part of the head-in-the-sand crowd that believes swapping addicts' dirty needles for clean ones encourages drug use. Never mind that there are more than 210 syringe-swapping programs in 36 states. Every attempt to excise the harmful provision failed -- until last year. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) used the new Democratic majority in the House to finally strip it from legislation.

February 8, 2008 in Politics, President/Executive Branch, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney's Suspending His Campaign GOP sources: Romney to suspend campaign, from John King:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will suspend his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, GOP sources tell CNN.

Romney had won 270 delegates in through the Super Tuesday contests, compared with front-runner John McCain's 680.

Romney had no public events Wednesday and instead met with aides to discuss strategy to stay in the race through March 4....

Suspending a campaign has a different meaning depending on the party.

On the Republican side, decisions on how to allocate delegates is left to the state parties....

Romney is expected to announce his decision Thursday afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, three Republican sources told CNN.

February 7, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Regulation Directs Maryland School District To Inform Parents If Student Is Pregnant

Washington Post, Pregnancy Notification Policy Alarms Some Health Experts, by Susan DeFord:

A revised regulation that directs Howard County school officials to notify parents when students reveal they are pregnant has drawn criticism from health experts who say it violates a young woman's right to privacy and jeopardizes health care.

The policy and accompanying procedures appear to be among the strictest in the region.

Health experts say that students' willingness to seek care will decline.

"There's no question this will have a chilling effect on kids coming forward," said County Health Officer Peter Beilenson. "It's going to slow down health care."

Howard's policy "really pushes the issue of informing the parents, when state law says minors have the right to make decisions independent of the parents," said Deborah Chilcoat, an education and training specialist for Planned Parenthood of Maryland and co-chair of a county coalition on adolescent sexuality and reproductive health. "It's not going to be in the best interests of young people in Howard County," she said.

February 6, 2008 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pres. Bush's 2009 Budget Drastically Cuts Funding For International Reproductive Health Services

Via Population Action International:

President Bush's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009, released today, would dramatically cut funding for international family planning and sexual and reproductive health programs. The proposed funding level of $327 million represents a $134 million (or 29%) cut from current levels.

This budget proposal continues a disturbing downward trend in funding for these vital health programs for women and families. Since 1995, U.S. funding for family planning programs has fallen nearly $100 million -- a 39 percent reduction when adjusted for inflation and the FY 2009 budget request would equal a nearly 60% reduction below the amount provided for these programs in FY 1995 (adjusted for inflation). These cuts have occurred despite a growing need and demand for reproductive health care in the developing world. For example, the number of women of reproductive age in the developing world alone has increased by approximately 275 million women since 1995.

The funding reduction also coincides with President Bush continuing to withhold money from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which might otherwise be able to help compensate for the funding shortfall. President Bush has withheld nearly $200 million from UNFPA since 2002, despite funding appropriated by the United States Congress.

RH Reality Check also addresses President Bush's decision to slash funding for family planning services abroad.

February 6, 2008 in International, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)



WINNER – Best Documentary, 2007 Roxbury Film Festival

Wednesday, February 20 – 7 p.m.
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York, NY
Tickets: $5
Presented by the Black Documentary Collective

Wednesday, February 27 – 6 p.m.
University of Arizona
The Center for Creative Photography
1030 North Olive Road
Tucson, AZ
Sponsored by the ASUA Women's Resource Center

Chicago-born filmmaker Faith Pennick was sent on a mission after a friend made a simple,
straightforward comment. During an argument about the future of the Roe v. Wade Supreme
Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973, her friend declared to Pennick, “Abortion is a
white woman’s issue, and black women have more important things to worry about.”
“I was floored by her comment,” said Pennick, “but I understood where that statement came
from. Anytime you see media reports about abortion, it’s the same handful of middle-class,
middle-aged white women running pro-choice organizations that are interviewed. How do you
relate to an issue if you don’t see yourself in it?”

Pennick’s response to her friend is the groundbreaking documentary, Silent Choices. The 60-
minute film examines the controversial issue of abortion and how it impacts the lives of African
American women. Depicting the juxtaposition of racial and reproductive politics, the film takes a
viewer on a journey from the early 20th century to the present day and depicts how African
Americans contributed to and were affected by abortion and family planning. From African
Americans’ cautious involvement with Margaret Sanger during the early birth control movement
to black nationalists and civil rights activists who staunchly opposed abortion and birth control--
or stayed silent on the issue--Silent Choices unmasks the complexities of this extremely
emotional issue among African Americans.

Continue reading

February 6, 2008 in Abortion, Culture, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Extreme, Anti-Choice Measures Introduced in Georgia Legislature

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Truly inconceivable: Birth control itself at risk in proposed legislation that lays very heavy hand on reproductive choice, by Maureen Downey (editorial board):

Today, young women of college age are casting votes in the Georgia presidential primary. Most are familiar with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and the other candidates and know what they represent.

However, it's unlikely they have any idea who Bobby Franklin and Martin Scott are or what they represent. That's too bad, because the two men could impact the lives of those young women for decades to come.

Both are Georgia legislators sponsoring legislation that would narrow the reproductive choices of women in the state.

February 5, 2008 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Battle of the Republican Flip-Floppers

The Fact-Checker (Wash. Post): Who is the Champion Flip-flopper?, by Michael Dobbs:

As the primary season comes to a climax in the 2008 campaign, the two leading GOP candidates are invoking the waltz and windsurfing images to gain some vital last minute traction. John McCain and Mitt Romney have both issued web ads, modeled on the George W. Bush 2004 ad, seeking to pin the "biggest flip-flopper" on their rival and exploit a perceived weakness.

Political analysts say that both Romney and McCain are vulnerable to the "flip-flop" charge for different reasons. "Flip-flopper" has become part of Romney's political identity, with the candidate changing positions on such core issues as abortion, gun control, and immigration. The Arizona senator, meanwhile, has presented himself as a "straight talker," so the perception that he is in the same league as Romney when it comes to flip-flopping could be highly damaging....

Romney supporters argue that McCain's flip-flops have largely gone under the public radar because they conflict with the "straight shooter" narrative accepted and promoted by the media. A list of McCain changes of position compiled by the Washington Post includes issues such as taxes, immigration, the religious Right, Roe vs. Wade, and ethanol. McCain has moved toward mainstream Republican positions on all these issues, embracing the Reaganite philosophy that tax cuts always lead to higher revenues.

February 5, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stop it, NOW!

What is wrong with NOW?  Instead of celebrating that we have two pro-choice democratic frontrunners with 100% approval ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, NOW is once again trying to sabotage Obama's chances by unnecessarily dividing democratic voters over choice.  Shame on them.  And to the extent Hillary Clinton is encouraging, or failing to discourage, these attacks, shame on her too.  See also this post.

Wash. Post: NOW Again Attacks Obama's Illinois Voting Record on Abortion Bills, by Matthew Mosk:

A national women's rights group supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) distributed an e-mail yesterday accusing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of being soft on abortion rights, revisiting an eleventh-hour attack that some analysts credited with swaying female voters in New Hampshire.

The e-mail from Rosemary J. Dempsey, president of the Connecticut National Organization for Women, told members that Obama's record during his time in the Illinois Senate included several instances in which he voted "present" instead of yes or no on abortion-related legislation.

The e-mail quotes Bonnie Grabenhofer, the president of Illinois NOW, as saying that "voting present on those bills was a strategy that Illinois NOW did not support," and adding: "We made it clear at the time that we disagreed with the strategy. . . . Voting present doesn't provide a platform from which to show leadership and say with conviction that we support a woman's right to choose and these bills are unacceptable."

The Clinton campaign has made the same charge repeatedly over the past year.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), an Obama supporter, sent out a reply to the NOW e-mail yesterday afternoon, defending his record on abortion and criticizing the e-mail as an effort to "to falsely attack and artificially divide us."

"The facts are clear -- in the Illinois state senate, choice advocates asked strong pro-choice legislators like Senator Obama to vote 'present' on Republican-designed bills like a ban on partial birth abortion to protect a woman's right to choose," she wrote. "Senator Obama has always had a 100 percent pro-choice rating, and he is the only candidate running for President who stood up and spoke out when South Dakota passed an incredibly restrictive ban on abortion."

February 5, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Live in a Feb 5 Primary State?


February 5, 2008 in 2008 Presidential Campaign | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)