Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Non-existent prolife laws to blame for Steven Brigham or something"

Amanda Marcotte comments on the New Yorker piece on abortionist Steven Brigham and unsurprisingly attempts to blame his abortion empire on prolife laws and social stigma. 
So what can be done to stop dangerous abortion providers? One major thing is to stop marginalizing abortion from the rest of medical care through anti-choice legislation and social stigma.

Interestingly, she never cites any of the prolife laws in New Jersey and Maryland which might have lead to Brigham operating there.  That’s because both states receive high marks from NARAL because of their lack of prolife laws. 

Marcotte has previously blamed the existence of Kermit Gosnell and his abortion practice on Pennsylvania’s ban on tax-funded abortions.  Both New Jersey and Maryland use tax dollars to pay for abortions.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Life Links 1/27/14

The New Yorker has a lengthy article on infamous abortionist Steven Brigham.  The author is a daughter of an abortionist and her connections to the abortion industry helped her get an interview with Brigham.  Most of it will be a rehash for prolifers who’ve followed Brigham’s numerous exploits.  The exception will be the abortion providers who still defend him. 
Yet not all of his peers view him as a rogue provider. Among the expert witnesses at his trial was Gary Mucciolo, an abortion provider and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at N.Y.U.; he argued that Brigham’s conduct did not deviate from medical norms. During a break in the proceedings, Mucciolo, who received fifteen hundred dollars from the defense, told me that he considered the trial “a witch hunt.” (Later, he added, “Does Brigham have a good track record? Frankly, I don’t know.”) Another abortion provider told me, “The real story is that the government, the insurance companies, and the hospitals don’t care. They don’t want us in business, and that’s exactly why people like Brigham exist—and you know what, maybe they should exist, because, if they don’t exist, women will get abortions even more illegally. It’s better than nothing, and nothing is coming.”

The public editor of the New York Times feels the March for Life deserved more than just a photograph.   

Christopher O. Tollefsen writes in Public Discourse about Roe.
The court declined to answer this question: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” But Justice Blackmun then proceeded to suggest that the reason this question did not need settling was its unsettle-ability. Doctors, philosophers, and theologians have failed to reach consensus; ancient and medieval theorists subscribed to different theories. Thus did Blackmun imply that the answer to this question was private in the following sense: our answer is largely a matter of private opinion, of speculation.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Life Links 1/24/14

The city of Elgin, Illinois has settled a lawsuit with a prolife group with uses vans equipped with ultrasounds.       
The settlement announced Thursday allow non-profit organizations to operate out of vehicles, the Chicago Tribune reported. Elgin agreed to change a zoning ordinance adopted in 2012 and to waive permit fees.

Elgin will also pay $280,000 to Life Center. The group says the money will be used for legal expenses.
The Republican National Committee passed a resolution asking prolife politicians to stop being silent on the abortion issue.
“Staying silent fails because this strategy allows Democrats to define the Republican brand,” the resolution said, “and prevents the Republican Party from taking advantage of widely supported pro-life positions … to attract traditional and new values voters.”

Here’s a solid letter to the editor.
What is it about being “in there” that makes him not a person but being “out here” that does make him a person? I have searched the libraries and the Internet with diligence and thoroughness and, except for abortion, I cannot find a single other human endeavor or field of study which proposes, or has ever proposed, a theory by which an object’s “essence of being” is transformed by moving it a few inches from here to there.

A Swedish nurse is suing for religious discrimination when a work offer was taken after she mentioned her opposition to taking part in abortions.
The student nurse spent her internship at a hospital in Eksjö where claimed she had been promised to work extra in the summer. When she told them that her faith prevented her from taking part in abortions, the hospital retracted its offer of summer employment, Ellinor Grimmark claimed in a complaint that has submitted to the Swedish discrimination watchdog Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (DO).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

About that 3% number from Planned Parenthood

For the file on rebutting Planned Parenthood's claim that abortion is only a small part of what they do is this from the RH Reality Check: 
Between 10,000 and 15,000 people visit the Planned Parenthood St. Louis clinic each year, according to Gianino, including patients, family members, vendors, and employees. About 6,000 people per year visit the clinic to receive abortion care.
 So then between 40% and 60% of Planned Parenthood St. Louis clients are their for abortions?

Life Links 1/22/14

Gerard Bradley looks at the prolife movement 41 years after Roe v. Wade.
First, there would be—and should be—thanksgiving and even joy. It is evidence of Divine Providence and proof of human love that we are here at all. Quick quiz: which other developed democracy can claim a pro-life movement that is a fraction of the one in the United States? Answer: none......

Almost no one now speaks of the unborn as “tissue,” a “blob,” or an internal organ of the mother. Most abortion proponents no longer speak of the unborn at all, because there is nothing they could plausibly say that would serve their “pro-choice” cause.....

Yet we have not won. We are not even winning. And the pro-life movement faces challenges greater than it has ever confronted.

Media Matters is hilarious.  They have an article entitled, “How The Media Is Helping Conservatives Kill Roe v. Wade”

An abortion clinic escort reviews the study which produced the “1 in 3" women will have an abortion statistic and finds the study doesn’t really say that. 
It is misleading to assume that one-third of a given group of women (such as a group of female protesters standing on the sidewalk) will have an abortion, or that one-third of your friends will have an abortion. I am not implying that anyone who has used the “1 in 3” figure when discussing abortion has been intentionally trying to twist the facts or mislead people. What I am saying is that there are a lot of critical limitations to consider with research – things that don’t fit cleanly into sound bites or onto posters.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life Links 1/21/14

Abortionist Martin Haskell plans to appeal the Ohio Department of Health’s order that he close his Women’s Med Center abortion clinic. 
The clinic’s attorney, Jennifer Branch of Cincinnati, said an appeal would be filed within the required 15-day period, asking a local common pleas court judge to allow the facility to remain open until the case is resolved. She called the state’s action “unprecedented” and part of “a regulatory witch hunt on abortion providers at the bequest of Governor John Kasich.”
NFL running back Arian Foster is counter suing the mother of his unborn child for defamation. 

The New Yorker discusses the cases of Jahi McMath and Marlise Munoz. 
But, forty years after Roe v. Wade, the intensity of the abortion debate has not waned. Indeed, as these cases illustrate, the controversy grows and spreads into new areas that are logically unrelated to abortion itself. This American struggle never ends.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Life Links 1/17/14

The Washington Post has one of those columns from one of those professors who write some of those books which attempt to study prolife people or Christians like we’re exotic animals.  It has some hilarious assertions like claiming that prolife legislation on the state level “largely went unnoticed, and thus popularly unopposed, until Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis’s filibuster brought attention to the strategy.”

Joshua Wilson is writing about Massachusetts’ 35 foot buffer law and compares sidewalk counseling and clinic blockades but never mentions the FACE Act which has a much greater effect on clinic blockades than any buffer zone law. 

At National Review, Ed Whelan points out that the primary evidence Massachusetts’ lawyer cites for why the 35 foot buffer zone was needed is “pro choice advocates swearing and screaming at pro life advocates” in the smaller buffer zone. 

Local media outlets are taking notice of Planned Parenthood in Birmingham closure. 
Spencer did not comment beyond her statement.

"Planned Parenthood in Birmingham prioritizes patient care, and provides essential reproductive health care to over 1,600 women, men and teens each year," she said. "We are slowing down our services in Birmingham temporarily in order to upgrade our operations.

"Planned Parenthood Southeast is committed to excellence, and the effort we are taking is to verify that we are doing everything we can to ensure patients have a safe, positive experience while in our care. "

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life Links 1/15/14

Slate’s William Saletan describes the mindset of pro-choice people who think prolifers are misogynists who don’t really care about abortion.
The assertion that pro-lifers don’t really care about abortion—that what really motivates them is misogyny, controlling other people’s bodies, and forcing anyone who has sex to have a baby—is morally comforting to a lot of pro-choice people. It reassures us that we’re on side of compassion, justice, and progress, and that there’s no reason to feel ambivalent about this issue. We have nothing to heed or learn from our enemies. Our only challenge is to defeat them.

This is one of those echo-chamber beliefs that won’t survive a reality test.   

Julia Herrington writes about how she changed her mind on abortion and the framework of the abortion debate.
But with an awareness of the framework we’re dealing with, we have the opportunity to start a new dialogue. Actually, I think it is incumbent upon us to change the conversation, addressing the topic from new and varied points of view. The conversation need not be first and foremost political. And the friction enshrouding abortion needs to be diminished. This requires that we really examine the nuts and bolts of the issue, turn it on its head and find new angles as entry points for discussion.

At the Boston Herald, Margery Eagan shares her discomfort with how abortions are mostly performed at abortion clinics.

Abortion clinics should be closed and women seeking them should be able to get them where they get the rest of their medical care: their physician’s office. Outpatient clinics that also treat asthma, diabetes, broken bones or aching backs. Secure clinics within big hospitals.

Do you think Mass. General, Brigham and Women’s, Beth Israel — or their ?influential patients and ?patrons — would put up with screaming protesters outside their front doors? No, they wouldn’t. Not for one minute.

So why then are women, in 2014, still being farmed off like pariahs?

Because hospitals don’t want the hassle of abortion. Most doctors don’t, either. Insurance companies don’t want to pay more than they’re already paying.

And pro-choice women let everybody get away with this disgrace.

Ladies, we are fighting the wrong fight, accepting crumbs from the table, and being played for fools. When will we wake up?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Life Links 1/14/14

A 20-year-old college student is suing Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, claiming he is pressuring her to have an abortion.
Norwood said everything changed when she told Foster she was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby.

"He's like, 'You can't have this, you can't have this kid, like, we cannot bring a child into this, like, think about my kids,' " Norwood said.

She said Foster began sending text messages urging her to end the pregnancy.

"You just can't bring a life into this world under these circumstances. It's not fair to anyone. It's not just about you," read one message, according to Norwood.

The Atlantic has a piece on abortion clinics in Texas and its prolife laws which mentions this tidbit.
I discovered a similar problem when reporting on reproductive laws in Texas. Though countless abortion clinics and providers made themselves available to me, they could not put me in touch with a single woman who has so far been impacted by the new law. Even Susan, though she squeaked in just before the deadline, was ultimately able to terminate her pregnancy. When I asked roughly a dozen pro-choice groups for examples of patients who had suffered under the law, they responded either that nobody wanted to come forward out of privacy concerns, or that it’s hard to know when someone isn’t able to do something.    

Pro-choice groups in Michigan can’t get their act together.  That’s good news for the unborn. 
Reproductive rights groups opposed to Michigan's new abortion insurance law will not seek to overturn it at the ballot box in 2014.

The ACLU of Michigan, along with state chapters of Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women, had been considering a referendum to repeal the law, which prohibits insurers from covering most abortions unless a woman or her employer has purchased an additional rider in advance.

"The timing is just not right for a referendum or initiative at this point," Rana Elmir, deputy director for the ACLU of Michigan, said Tuesday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Life Links 1/13/14

The current CEO of Massachusetts Planned Parenthood is a former legislator who sponsored abortion clinic buff zone legislation.  There’s one problem with this.  It’s against Massachusetts’ law. 

Furthermore, the law has specific restrictions once people leave state employment. There is a “forever ban” on working for anyone other than the state on a matter that an individual worked on as a state employee.......

“It would appear that former State Representative Walz is covered by the definition of this statue. State Representative Walz was the leading sponsor of the Buffer Zone Law, and then was hired to a position directly related to the Buffer Zone Law that has paid $250,000 per year,” Lyons says in his joint letter with Lombardo to the attorney general.

After reading this Time story, I think the author (Eliana Dockterman) doesn’t actually believe the Pope is really prolife.                                 

Clark Forsythe discusses the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Arizona’s appeal on their 20-week abortion ban.

The Court simply declined to hear the case, and the Court (as is usual) issued no opinion explaining why. (In legal terms, the decision to decline to hear the appeal is not “precedential.” Lawyers can speculate as to the reason, and the most likely is that there was no “split” or “conflict” between different federal courts of appeal, which would require the Supreme Court’s reconciliation of the conflict.)
States outside the Ninth Circuit can and should enact 20-week limits to protect unborn life and protect women’s health. The Court has often “passed” on issues several times – six or seven times on the issue of flag salutes by school children – before addressing them.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New ultrasound study shows small percentage of women change mind about abortion

Slate has a piece on a new study which found “voluntarily viewing the ultrasound image may contribute to a small proportion of women with medium or low decision certainty deciding to continue the pregnancy.”  Pro-choice groups will likely use the study to attack ultrasound legislation as only a small percentage of women who viewed the ultrasound changed their mind but the study also disputes the idea that having/viewing an ultrasound is some burden-laden experience.  Caveats about how the abortion clinic staff showed/explained the ultrasound apply. 

Katy Waldman writes,
Yet viewing the ultrasound images did influence some of the wavering women to stick with their pregnancies. Even though the number is very small, this is important to acknowledge. It means not only that forcing or pressuring women to look at their fetus will probably prevent a sliver of abortions—which is relevant for those who oppose and want to reduce abortions—but also that some women do respond to these pictures. I don’t buy the patronizing notion that patients seeking abortion “know not what they do”—that they have some false idea about the contents of their uteruses to be toppled by an “adorable,” “precious” or “lifelike” sonogram. I also doubt all women even have the maternal instinct right-wingers hope these images will fan to life. But I do trust that unsure women who voluntarily look at ultrasounds and then decide against abortion are acting as rationally as the ones who decide to go through with it. We all make choices along a variety of axes: the financial axis; the relationship-status axis; the personal goals and dreams axis; the ethical axis; and, yes, the emotional axis. Expecting women to ignore any one scrap of data (as if they are not capable of weighing it, carefully, alongside the others) is underestimating women.

At Time, reporter Eliana Dockterman is apparently unaware the women in the study who didn’t look at the ultrasound still received one and thinks the study re-enforces the idea that “putting these women through the process of an ultrasound is an undue physical and emotional burden.”
This study lends more credence to the idea that women who are certain that an abortion is the right choice for them are not going to change their mind, and putting these women through the process of an ultrasound is an undue physical and emotional burden as The Supreme Court has indicated in its rulings so far.
Huh?  If they're not going to change their mind then why is it a undue emotional burden?  It's not a physical burden because they already receive the ultrasound because as the first line(!) of the study's abstract notes ultrasounds as a "routine part of preprocedure abortion care." 

Also, as far as I know the Supreme Court of the United States hasn't provided a ruling (much less "rulings") on ultrasound/abortion legislation.  They declined to review a ruling which struck down Oklahoma's ultrasound law but that's hardly a ruling as they decline to review most cases.