Friday, February 28, 2014

More emphatically prolife with every pro-choice rhetorical ploy

Feministe has a truly remarkable post by Molly Westerman in which she argues her pro-choice position was solidified by her pregnancies with her born children.  It’s remarkable not for it’s argument but for the lengths Westerman takes her rhetoric. 
I have been so lucky to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to have unambiguously healthy planned ones. I have felt two beloved fetuses moving inside my body.
Who would describe their own children growing inside them as fetuses?  Apparently they're so beloved they can’t be called “babies” or “children” until they’ve emerged from the womb? 

My only thought is someone who is either very creepy or someone has seen prolife people point out the absurdity of how the rhetoric of abortion advocates changes when discussing wanted pregnancies and is trying to avoid using terms she likely used while she was pregnant. 
I had no idea, before experiencing it myself, how whole-body and huge and permanently-changing pregnancy and birth are. I also had a less-direct understanding of the process of fetal development and what all that means as a physical and emotional reality for the person whose body creates and sustains that other/same body.
So were your unborn children part of your body or another body?  She’s trying to make a point about how a pregnant woman body sustains the unborn’s body and the toll that can take but then realizes that in order to make her point, she would have to honestly describe how the unborn have separate bodies and then for some reason calls attention to her troubles by writing “other/same.”
It’s just that I can’t wrap my heart around forcing anyone to stay pregnant, and I can’t wrap my head around the idea that a potential future person’s right to join the human community trumps an existing person’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.
Not content with one word to indicate the unborn aren’t really persons, Westerman feels compelled to use both potential and future to describe the personhood of the unborn. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life Links 2/27/14

Prolifers are suing  over Madison’s abortion clinic buffer zone law. 
The City Council approved the ordinance Tuesday. It creates a protective zone within 160 feet of health care facilities to allow patients and others to enter and exit without obstruction.

Under the ordinance, people on public way or sidewalks within that 160-foot radius may not approach, without consent, another person within 8 feet for the purpose of oral protest, education, counseling, passing leaflets or handbills, or displaying signs. Violations of the ordinance are punishable by fines ranging from $300 to $750.
A Kansas man has been charged with first degree murder after he allegedly crushed up an abortion pill and put it in a woman’s pancake, causing the death of an unborn child.
Scott R. Bollig, 30, is accused of intentionally killing the 8- to 10-week-old fetus by putting a crushed form of the medication on a pancake eaten by the woman, according to a criminal complaint filed in Trego County District Court and posted on the attorney general’s website.

The Daily Beast has a puff piece on Medical Students for Choice which bemoans the limited number of abortion training programs and how hard it is for medical students who want to learn how to kill unborn to get learning experiences.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Are prolife laws the problem?

In a RHRealityCheck article Tara Murtha attempts to use the case of a Pennsylvania mother who endangered her teenage daughter’s life by giving her abortion pills which were purchased online to argue that prolife laws are the problem. 
While the Gosnell grand jury report indicated that the rogue provider was able to operate undetected as a result of lawmakers treating abortion as a political issue rather than a public health one, the response of the state legislature was to further politicize abortion.
What?  No.  Murtha intentionally equivocates between how pro-choice individuals in the administrations (Departments of Health and State) of pro-choice governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell didn’t enforce rules and how prolife legislators passed laws to further regulate abortion clinics to make sure something like Gosnell doesn’t happen again.  For Murtha to act like the Grand Jury report would somehow be against these new regulations (the Grand Jury report specifically calls for abortion clinics to be treated like ambulatory surgical facilities) is intentionally deceptive. 
The Whalen case reveals we’re at a tipping point in Pennsylvania: The politicization of abortion ultimately means the criminalization of pregnancy.
Unable to defend a mother who endangered her daughter’s life by buying abortion pills online, Murtha claims pregnancy (!) is going to somehow be criminalized as opposed to illegally giving abortion pills to your daughter.  Yes, prolife laws which regulate abortion clinics are going to be used to round up all pregnant women.  That's makes sense in bizzaro land.   
Study after study shows that restricting access to safe, legal abortions by outlawing the procedure or, as is the preferred method in the United States, implementing geographic, logistical and financial barriers, doesn’t result in fewer unplanned pregnancies or abortions.
Murtha’s “study after study” actual links to one Huffington Post article and one Guttmacher Institute web page where "the studies" in question are really pro-choice researchers guessing how many abortions are performed in countries where abortion is illegal. 

Unfortunately for Murtha, that has nothing to do with how prolife laws in the U.S. which restrict abortion affect unplanned pregnancies and abortions in the U.S.  I wonder why Murtha didn't provide a study showing that prolife laws in the U.S. don’t result in fewer abortions since that’s the issue she’s talking about? 
Neither strategy reduces the need for safe abortion. They both result in women seeking abortion through other, unregulated and often unsafe means. That is one of the main reasons pre-Roe pro-choice advocates argued for regulations.
I wonder why she doesn’t provide any evidence for these assertions either.  In Michigan, abortions are down by more than 50% in the last 25 years in part because of prolife legislation yet Murtha would have us believe that somehow these ten of thousands of women in Michigan are seeking illegal abortions and yet the hospitals aren’t filled with women suffering from complications for these illegal procedures.  Please.  

Abortion advocates like Murtha can't have it both ways.  If prolife laws don't do anything to reduce abortion and only lead women into taking dangerous means to end pregnancies then why aren't our hospitals filled with women who've been injured by these dangerous methods?  Either prolife laws reduce abortion and illegal abortions are quite rare or prolife laws lead to lots of illegal abortions which are quite safe. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Absurd story of the day: Prolife woman gets ticketed for parking car with prolife magnets in the buffer zone

This is absurd: 

Molly Jesse of Essex Junction, who opposes abortion, was ticketed by a Burlington police officer in June for parking near the clinic — within the 35-foot buffer zone where city law states that no one may “knowingly congregate, patrol, picket or demonstrate” — while she prayed nearby, outside of the buffer zone.

Jesse’s car had three magnetic signs, including one ribbon on the tailgate that said “choose life” and a larger sign on the door that said “your baby is forever, love you.” She contested the ticket.

In a six-page judgment issued Feb. 13, Vermont Judicial Bureau Hearing Officer Howard Kalfus wrote that the signs on Molly Jesse’s car amounted to a demonstration.

Buffer zones and the rights of women considering abortion not to be "harassed" are so sacrosanct that women considering abortion can't even be confronted with small car magnets which ask them to "choose life" if they happened to look at the back of Molly Jesse's car.  

Life Links 2/20/14

Bishop Richard Malone of the Archdiocese of Buffalo has spoken out strongly against the “evolved” position on abortion of State Senator Timothy Kennedy. 
“For anyone to say that he or she is a faithful Catholic and to be pro-abortion/pro-choice rights is totally inconsistent with Catholic teaching, which is clearly articulated in the catechism of the Catholic Church,” Malone said......

The bishop’s blast at Kennedy follows a Buffalo News report Sunday in which the senator explained that his views on abortion have “evolved” in the last few years, despite earlier views that fell into the pro-life category and even in the past earned support from the Conservative Party, which opposes the procedure.   

In the Wisconsin State Journal, Chris Rickert notices how some protestors are more equal than others. 
Speeding its way through the city’s legislative process is an ordinance that would create “buffer zones” around patients as a way to keep anti-abortion protesters from trying to accost women going into Madison’s lone abortion clinic.

Under the ordinance, you risk a $300 ticket if you get within 8 feet of a patient with a leaflet or a plea to reconsider. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on a sidewalk or other public property if the property is within 160 feet of the clinic.

By contrast, there are no buffer zones or really any other meaningful government restrictions on free speech in the Capitol rotunda.

Pro-abortion groups are continuing their push against the Michael Boggs nomination. This is why the abortion positions of prolife Democrats often “evolve.”  If you want to move up, you’ll be opposed tooth and nail by pro-abortion groups.  

Someone upset with a Iowa church’s prolife sign has vandalized it twice.
But sometime Saturday night, a pro-life sign outside the church was spray-painted. The word “abortion” was crossed out and the “s” in kills covered, leaving “Kill God’s Children.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life Links 2/18/14

The Planned Parenthood in Flagstaff, Arizona has resumed providing RU-486 abortions.  They found a physician would prescribe the pills but is apparently only available one day a week which might eventually force them to stop again. 
Howard said it has taken this long to find a physician who could provide the service at the Flagstaff location. The physician will be available once a week on Tuesdays, and unlike before, an appointment is now necessary.

The law now requires that women seeking a medical abortion first undergo a face-to-face meeting with the physician. After a 24-hour waiting period, the woman may then be given the abortion pills. But, in Flagstaff, because the physician comes only one day a week, the next possible visit for a woman would be a week later.

And, in April, when a new law is scheduled to take effect, it is possible that a physician also will be required to dispense the second round of the abortion medication, which is taken 24 hours after the first round. Currently, a patient can self-administer the second pill or a nurse practitioner can dispense it.

If that happens, it is possible the Flagstaff center will again have to end abortions, Howard said, unless a physician can provide that follow-up day of service as well.

The government of North Korea is apparently worse than I’d imagined. 
North Korea forces women to undergo abortions and young mothers to drown their newborn babies, and has starved and executed hundreds of thousands of detainees at secret prison camps — atrocities that the chairman of a U.N. panel that documented the abuses compares to those of Nazi Germany.

“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the U.N. Commission on Inquiry said in a 372-page report released Monday on North Korea’s atrocities. These crimes are ongoing because “the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”

The Students for Life group at the University of Alabama received an apology after their display was taken down. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guttmacher Institute can't stop making stuff up about IUD use

The Guttmacher Institute is really pushing this idea that health insurance needs to provide free contraceptives so poor women will get IUDs.  Here's Eyal Press in the New Yorker:
Thanks to publicly funded family-planning services provided to poor women under Title X—a federal program that House Republicans have repeatedly tried to eliminate—there is evidence that more low-income women have been using I.U.D.s in the past decade. But the total number of users is still small, and the cost, which can exceed a thousand dollars before insertion, remains prohibitive for many low-income women who don’t qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford private insurance. “We know that cost is a major factor in a woman’s ability to choose and access a method of contraception that works best for her, and behind the cost is access to health-insurance coverage,” Kinsey Hasstedt, a public-policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told me.
I wonder why they don’t provide any evidence.  Is it because the percentage of women who used IUDs in 2006-2008 (table 11) hardly varied between income levels?  Also, noteworthy is that the increase in IUD use from 2002 to 2006-2008 is much higher in the 300+% of poverty level group than in the lower income groups.  IUD use went up from 1.5% in 2002 to 5.9% in 2006-2008 among women making 300+% of the poverty level while only went from 4.1% to 4.8% for women in the 0-99% of poverty level. 

Or why don't they mention that poor women are much more likely to use female sterilization (which is typically more expensive than an IUD) as their contraceptive method than their richer peers? 

It would be nice if reporters actually examined studies on contraceptive use as opposed to just parroting the Guttmacher Institute’s talking points. 

Wendy Davis is now okay with 20-week abortion ban.....well, not really but kind of, sorta

Texas gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis is trying real hard to have it both ways on legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks.  Try to sort through this:
“The Supreme Court sets that viability and it probably will be revisited,” Davis said. “It’s one that deserves that kind of reflection to determine whether that kind of constitutional protection should exist at a time period less than what it is right now.”

Davis said she could have supported a bill that contained only a 20-week ban, but the law’s restrictions on clinics and doctors have greatly curtailed access to the procedure in parts of Texas.

“It was the least objectionable,” she said. “I would have and could have voted to allow that to go through, if I felt like we had tightly defined the ability for a woman and a doctor to be making this decision together and not have the Legislature get too deep in the weeds of how we would describe when that was appropriate.”

So she could have support a 20-week abortion ban if it allowed women and their abortionists to make the decision (which wouldn’t be a ban at all)? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Criminal abortionist caught in Germany and extradited to U.S.

Local Georgia media outlets are reporting that abortionist Charles Rossman was caught in Germany and extradited back to Georgia after a decade on the run.
VPD says that Rossmann was arrested last year in Germany and has now been extradited to Valdosta, to face multiple counts of criminal abortion, drug charges and a FBI warrant for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution.

Rossmann fled the area shortly after being investigated for performing illegal abortions at his medical practice in Valdosta.   

Here a LifeNews article on the 2003 case which involved a 31-week abortion.
The woman was 31-weeks pregnant at the time, Heaton said, and investigators
believe the woman may have requested the abortion because she feared the child
had Down syndrome.

After starting a procedure — presumably to induce labor — Rossmann allegedly
provided the woman with contact information and left her alone in his office,
Heaton said. The doors to the building were locked, though Heaton said the
woman could have left the building if she wanted and was able. There is no
indication that she was held against her will, he said.

The woman unsuccessfully attempted to contact Rossman, couldn’t reach him, and was forced to call 911.

Rossmann was subsequently charged with two more counts of criminal
abortion after two more alleged victims came forward. He is also charged with four counts of having prescription medications out of their original container. Rossmann’s office is also not licensed by the state for child births.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Eclectablog’s Obamacare Posterboy Ed Mulak was convicted in 2006 for having child porn

Eddie Mulak via Eclectablog
In an attempt to shine a positive light on Obamacare, Eclectablog published a story by Amy Lynn Smith featuring 31-year-old “young invincible” Eddie Mulak and his experience with Obamacare. 
Unlike many of his fellow young Americans, who are expected to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) right before the 2014 enrollment deadline on March 31, Mulak signed up in December. He knew the initial glitches at would be worked out — and they were. By the time he used the site to enroll he says it was “easy breezy.”
As a college student working multiple jobs, Mulak appreciates the tax subsidies that kept his premiums down to just $20 per month. The maximum he’ll have to pay out-of-pocket in a year is $750 and he has a $0 deductible. That’s right: zero. He also pays nothing for generic prescription drugs and just $10 to see his primary care physician. Mulak also got to choose his doctor, which was important to him.

I googled Ed Mulak as I wondered where someone would be working to get insurance for $20 a month.  I found a little more than I was expecting. 

This CBS News story from 2006 came up about a 23-year-old Edward Mulak being arrested for having child pornography on his computer.  At the time he was roommates with Ken Gourlay whose work setting up child porn web sites made the New York Times. 

I placed a comment at Electablog asking if it was the same Ed Mulak because they have the same name, live in the same area and the ages seem to line up.  My comment was deleted. 

When I tweeted the author and the web host (Chris Savage) about why my comment was deleted, Savage responded that he deleted the comment because it was not true and called me a "dumbass."   
My first thought was, “If it’s not the same guy then why would you delete the comment instead of merely saying, ‘That’s not him.’” So then I did some more web searching and found this story about an Ed Mulak who talks about his former addiction to crystal meth and his use of pornography.            

"Most times if there was ever the inclination to use again, ... it was immediately dashed away by thinking, 'Well, do you really want to go back to that?'" Mulak said. "'Do you really want to go back to being stuck in someone's basement, ... having sex ... watching porn and being down there and not realizing that three days have gone by?'
Edward Mulak 2009 via Otis

I then went to OTIS and found this rap sheet on Edward Mulak (the picture looks eerily similar to the one on Eclectablog) which notes a conviction for possession of child sexually abusive material, use of a computer to commit a crime, and possession of meth.

Among other current jobs, Eddie Mulak’s LinkdIN page lists that he is the Communications Director for Rudy Serra, a candidate for Michigan’s 27th House.  It also shows a lack of work history during the time Edward Mulak was in jail.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Life Links 2/6/14

This is a great paragraph in the Washington Post’s GovBeat blog regarding which states have the highest and lowest abortion rates. 
The highest abortion rates recorded were in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware and New Jersey, with 27 to 34 abortions per thousand women ages 15 to 44. Wyoming, Mississippi, South Dakota, Kentucky and Missouri had the lowest, at one to five per thousand.

Michelle Goldberg writes about the New Yorker piece on abortionist Steven Brigham.
The important question, though, is what makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Without a doubt, Brigham’s ability to operate represents a legal and regulatory failure, one aided by official indifference to poor women’s health care. But, like Gosnell, his business depended on the stigma around abortion and the difficulty many women have in accessing safe procedures.
She should have stopped after the second sentence.  Brigham has centered his operations in New Jersey and Maryland, both of which use state tax dollars to fund abortions and where access to abortion is not difficult. 

A local Arkansas TV station has a story on a prolife billboard and a woman who choose life for her unborn child.

In Pennsylvania, a woman has been charged with “ a felony count of medical consultation and judgment“ after getting abortion drugs online and giving them to her teen daughter.     
On Feb. 6, 2012, her daughter was transported to the Geisinger Medical Center emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Medical records obtained by police stated she was "treated for an incomplete abortion and a urinary tract infection."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Is the falling abortion rate due solely to fewer women becoming pregnant?

I’m somewhat skeptical of the Guttmacher Institute’s latest estimates for annual abortion numbers because of the large number of abortion providers which didn’t respond to them.  Regardless, some abortion advocates have attempted to argue that a decline in pregnancies is close to the only cause of the decline in abortion rate.

For example, Libby Anne argues: 
It’s particularly interesting to note that the abortion rate fell during this period, even as the birth rate fell. In other words, the falling abortion rate wasn’t the result of more women choosing parenthood and the falling birth rate isn’t a result of more women having abortions. Instead, both are the result of a third external factor—fewer pregnancies.

The problem is she does no number crunching.  The birth rate is falling alongside the abortion rate.  Okay.  But are they falling in tandem?  

According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion rates fell 13% from 2008 (1.21 million and a rate of 19.4) to 2011 (1.06 million and a rate of 16.9) with there being 150,000 fewer abortions a year. 

According to the CDC, fertility rates (which are based number of births by 1,000 women aged 15-44) fell 7.2% from 68.1 in 2008 to 63.2 in 2011.  There were 294,104 fewer births in 2011 (3,953,590) than in 2008 (4,247,694).

That would mean there were approximately 450,000 fewer pregnancies which were ended either by birth or abortion in 2011 than in 2008. 

In 2008, the abortion ratio (abortions per 1000 births in the same age group) was 285.  In 2011, it’s 268.   That’s a 6% decline. 

Now maybe that decline is solely caused by a subset of women who would have had abortions if they became pregnant doing things to prevent pregnancy.  But then that argument has to be made.

The problem with making it is the abortion ratio for the non-existent pregnancies in 2011 vs. 2008 (150K abortions/294,104 births) is 510.  That’s a higher number than the CDC has for the 2010 abortion ratio of sub-groups of women who have very high abortion ratios.  For example, according to the CDC, the abortion ratio of 16-year-olds in 2010 was 394.

The CDC’s abortion ratio only goes above 510 for 15-year-olds (541) and girls younger than 15 (837). 

So while it’s true that a good percentage of the abortion decrease is based on fewer pregnancies (based on abortion ratio numbers, I would estimate at least half), that’s not the whole story for the abortion decrease.