Wisconsin (via MediaGirl): Passed two bills that require physicians to tell women having abortions that the fetus feels pain SB138, and requires that abstinence only education be taught in schools (SB 339).
Florida city commissioners suggest buffer zones around abortion clinics (via OurWord). This is, let's not forget, the clinic that was set fire to this summer.
Now I don't normally post about the war, because it is rarely related to reproductive rights, but with the Karen Hughes publicity tour going on, the rights of women are really being highlighted.
Hughes got an earful in Turkey today and in Saudi Arabia yesterday. In Ankara, women stated:
"War makes the rights of women completely erased and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price," said Fatma Nevin Vargun, a Kurdish women's rights activist. Vargun denounced the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, the activist mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, in front of the White House Monday at an antiwar protest.
Hughes, looking increasingly pained, defended the decision to invade Iraq as a difficult and wrenching moment for President Bush, but necessary to protect America.
"You're concerned about war, and no one likes war," she said. But, she said, "to preserve the peace sometimes my country believes war is necessary." She also asserted that women are faring much better in Iraq than under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein.
"War is not necessary for peace," shot back Feray Salman, a human rights advocate. She said countries should not try to impose democracy through war, adding that "we can never, ever export democracy and freedom from one country to another."
Tuksal said she was "feeling myself wounded, feeling myself insulted here" by Hughes' response. "In every photograph that comes from Iraq there is that look of fear in the eyes of women and children. . . . This needs to be resolved as soon as possible."
The true symbols of the War on Terror are the Islamic veil and the two-piece woman's business suit.
The math is basic. No civilization that excludes half its population from full participation in society and the economy can compete with the United States and its key allies. Yet Middle Eastern societies, especially, have dug in their heels to resist change. Some, such as Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, have tumbled backward.
The bad news is that this is a truly global struggle involving not only Islamist thugs terrified by female sexuality, but also reactionary forces in our own society. The Global War Against Women is still being waged on the home front, too.
Without questioning the integrity of those who believe that life begins at conception, the struggle to overturn Roe v. Wade can also be viewed as an attempt to turn back the clock on women's freedom. Opposing such a reversal isn't a matter of thinking abortion admirable, but of accepting the magnificent revolutionary principle that no man has a right to tell any woman what she can or cannot do with her body.
Attempts to interfere with another citizen's liberty are worthy of Osama bin Laden, not of Americans.
Yet, the United States continues to fight against women's rights here, while proclaiming them to be of huge importance overseas, and backs down when it comes to women's rights overseas. And let's not forget about the Global Gag Rule. It's hard for Karen Hughes to argue that she, and the Bush Administration care about women, and I'm glad that at least some women are calling them on it - why aren't more Americans?
Planned Parenthood has been worried about the reproductive health of the hurricane victims - access to birth control, abortion etc (reports from people I know involved in the effort also request tampons!). PP has been accepting donations for them, and also got a grant for services to those victims.
For a school group, I send out a weekly choice email. I have been behind on blogging due to the bronchitis et al, so here's what I sent out yesterday (edited to include hyperlinks, which my school's listserv doesn't allow):
The Ohio anti-choice bills have been put on hold, the 6th circuit having issued a second stay.
US Government to Appeal 8th circuit court’s decision striking down federal “partial birth abortion ban” (already heard in Stenberg v. Carhart)
The UK court’s declared it legal to refer women to other countries for late term abortions (later than allowed in the UK). [already blogged about this]
Lester Crawford has resigned as Commissioner of the FDA. The FDA has been basically embroiled in scandal since the Bush Administration began, due to what many would call a lack of adherence to science. The new Commissioner, Dr. von Eschenbach, is not considered a worshipper of science by some.
And, stealing from PP’s website
- Illinois upheld the Governor’s emergency order that all pharmacists have to fill birth control prescriptions, including EC.
- Missouri issued a temporary restraining order against a state law that tried to hold adults responsible for helping minors decide to terminate a pregnancy.
A new study from the UK attributes the US's high abortion rates, STD rates (murder rate, suicide, etc.) to the high rates of religious beliefs held by Americans. Which is interesting, because many anti-abortion views are grounded in religious beliefs. I'm not wholly convinced by the data - I guess I'd want to read the scientific article, but it's an interesting premise nonetheless.
As faithful readers know, states have severely restricted abortion since Roe v. Wade denied states the ability to outlaw abortion in 1973. Many were concerned, during the recent Judiciary Committee hearings of John Roberts, what Roberts thinks of the Roe v. Wade decision. That's in irrelevant question - Roe can remain on the books and abortion can be all but illegal.
This is part of the religious right's plan: "After expressing his elation with the selection of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court he said, 'Roe v. Wade won't be revoked, it will die the death of a thousand cuts and qualifications and regulations until it gradually disappears.'"
Sorry I haven't posted in a while - I have been ill. It'll be another few days before I can go out in public again. In any case:
A very long & scientific (at least for me) article on the beginnings of birth control, and how it's not great for women. One of the inventors of birth control, John Rock, was a devout Catholic; the article traces how his religious views led to the 28-day cycle. Progestin, one of the hormones in the Pill, it seems, actually increases the risk of breast cancer. Read the article to find out why - it's very interesting.
In the UK, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. A woman seeking an abortion at 26 weeks called BPAS, and was referred to a Spanish clinic for the abortion. Although it seems Spain has fairly restrictive abortion laws, it looks like women can go to Spain for a late-term abortion. The referral was just declared legal.
For years China has denied that it's one child policy includes forcing women to have abortions or be sterilized. However, it now seems that some health workers have been doing that, and were subsequently fired. The national regulatory board released a statement that did not mention abortion or sterilization, mentioned the rights of people and reproductive health. This is reportedly the first time that such allegation have been made, although there were persistent rumors of such actions.