Thursday, May 05, 2011

Life Links 5/5/11

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The vote was 251-175. Sixteen Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the act.

Before the vote, Michael New offered these encouraging words.
Regardless of the outcome of today’s vote, pro-lifers should take heart. In the aftermath of the 1994 election, Congress never even voted on defunding Planned Parenthood. This year, there was already a concerted effort to remove Planned Parenthood funding from the remainder of the FY 2011 budget. The ban on taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia was reinstated. Now Congress is voting on a bill that would effectively make the Hyde Amendment permanent. Indeed, the increased attention that this Congress is giving to sanctity-of-life issues is evidence of the increased popularity and influence of the pro-life movement.

MSNBC has a long article on the Justice Department's increased use of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act since President Obama took office.
Since Obama's inauguration, federal lawsuits have been filed against a woman who blocked a car from entering a clinic in Florida; a Texas man who threw his body across the door of a patient waiting area in San Antonio; and a Pennsylvania man who posted on the Internet the names and addresses of abortion providers and extolled his readers to kill them.

Government records obtained by The Associated Press show that in slightly over two years, the Obama Justice Department has filed six lawsuits under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, mostly to seek injunctions and fines. That compares with just one such lawsuit during the entire eight years of George W. Bush.

D.C. councilwoman Mary Cheh was arrested for protesting the ban on tax-funded abortions in D.C.
"H.R. 3, aimed at every woman in the District and in the United States, yet specifically singles out low-income D.C. women for special abuse by preventing them from exercising their constitutional right to an abortion, if the District decides that local funds are necessary," Norton said in a release. “Today’s arrests builds on the momentum that was created by DC Vote and the arrests of ‘D.C. 41’ last month. The arrest of D.C. women, on behalf of the city’s low-income women, signals that the revolution is spreading and is being sustained by D.C. residents. Residents realize that undemocratic abuse from the Congress cannot end without direct action by citizens."

If I was an abortion advocate, I don't think I be at all impressed by this post by the Center for Reproductive Rights' Nancy Northup on why they haven't sued to stop fetal pain laws from taking effect.
Like any other movement, we make strategic decisions about when, and with what tools to fight for fairness and equality. We don’t jump just because the anti-choice zealots say jump. We won’t be baited into a lawsuit. If a state passes a law that impairs women’s access to abortion services, and that fails to meet constitutional standards, it will be challenged -- when the circumstances and timing are right. To the extent that states have unconstitutional, and unchallenged, abortion laws on their books, it is because those strategic criteria have not yet been met. That has nothing to do with giving up the fight. It has everything to do with ensuring that we devote our resources to the strategies and goals that best serve women’s health and rights in the long run.
In other words, we're scared to challenge fetal pain laws because we're scared we'd lose. Maybe they're hoping that Obama will get a chance to replace one of the 5 justices who voted to keep partial-birth abortion illegal.

CIRM gave Geron $25 million for their embryonic stem cell spinal cord clinical trial.

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