Abortion RU486


Romney Abortion

Romney Abortion

Okay, now I am totally confused about Mitt Romney’s ever-moving position on the abortion issue.  You don’t think he is trying to cater to as many people as possible, do you?

In the past, I’ve written about how when Romney was Governor of Massachusetts he was pro-choice straight down the line.  And not only was he pro-choice in terms of legislation, he actually met regularly with staff people from the Massachusetts branch of the National Abortion Rights Action League to strategize.  They were buddies.

Romney Abortion

Romney Abortion

Then, when Mitt decided to run for President, his position on this very basic issue started to “evolve.”

Now, I can see how over a period of years someone might change their views on certain economic models or on the pros and cons of rehabilitating prisoners.  There are a lot of fuzzy areas in those issues so one could become more educated over time.  But abortion?   Gimme a break!  What is more fundamental than whether or not to allow a woman to terminate her pregnancy?  I mean, there’s something living inside the woman’s body and, if she gets an abortion, that once-living thing is no longer living, pure and simple.  How does an adult “evolve” on that basic issue?  Did Romney suddenly learn how pregnancies work?

Romney Abortion

Romney Abortion

Of course, the answer is he had to be pro-life to get the Republican nomination.  That’s because the nominating process in that party is totally dominated by right wing nut balls and you gotta pander to them if you hope to have any chance of securing the nomination.  And Romney did pander.  Oh, no, I’m sorry.   He “evolved.”

So now that he has the nomination, he’s had to shift gears again to cater to the independent voters. And to do that you have to move to the political middle.  So, the other day Mitt Romney actually declared that ““There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my legislative agenda.”

What the hell?

Is Romney telling us that when the new Congress comes to town and pro-life Congressman James McNabb from Podunk, Illinois introduces legislation banning third trimester abortions or requiring women to get the consent of their husbands, he will have absolutely nothing to say about those bills? If the Republican House of Representatives decides to pursue one of those “personhood” measures on a national level, is Mitt Romney actually going to resist the incredible amount of pressure from the pro-life lobbyists and not take a position on that issue?

Poppycock.  He just continues to pander to anyone who will listen.

I will give him some credit, however, in that he is actually being candid when it comes to Planned Parenthood.  He has said unequivocally that he will “cut off funding for Planned Parenthood”  and that is certainly an extreme position that might not go over well with independent voters.  The irony, of course, is that Planned Parenthood clinics probably prevent thousands of abortions each year but then Romney probably still has not “evolved” on the issue of birth control.  Give him 20 more years to catch up.

Hopefully, the American public, and especially those who for some unfathomable reason are still undecided, will not buy into this “it’s not on my agenda” bull crap.  Indeed, if Obama is not in another coma during the next debate, this is an issue that he should jump all over.

Abortion Martin Luther King

Abortion Martin Luther King

Since we are celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King weekend….

A short while ago, Republican Congressman Trent Franks announced that he would soon introduce legislation that would, among other things, prohibit women from having an abortion if it was because of the child’s race.  The bill is called – take a deep breath – the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011.”  Not sure why he didn’t throw in the name of Francis Scott Key, but that’s between him and his maker.

Franks Abortion

Franks Abortion

Franks noted that abortion is the greatest cause of death of African Americans and he added that this “will be the civil rights struggle that will define our generation.”  What a guy!  Then, the ever-present “Concerned Women for America” chimed in saying “it is horrific that in America today babies are being killed based on their race…”  Finally,  and here’s the real kicker, Pat Mahoney, another anti-abortion leader, added “you can walk into a clinic and get an abortion if you find out your child is African American.”  Think about that statement for a second.

Anti Abortion, Kill the Mother Politics

Anti Abortion, Kill the Mother Politics

The facts:  according to the pro-choice Alan Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women and for Hispanics.  I don’t know why that is true, but it is.  And, of course, our goal is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies amongst all races.

But, the first problem with this legislation is that it makes a big assumption (something the anti-abortion advocates do a lot because they have never been inside a clinic).  It assumes that when women are counseled before the abortion, they are asked why they are having it.  That ain’t the case folks.  Unless the woman brings the issue up herself, the doctor does not know why the woman is aborting.  Yes, if a woman volunteers that she is aborting because the fetus is black, then the doctor will be prohibited from performing the abortion.  But, sorry Mr. Franks, but you ain’t gonna “save any babies” because the woman, now aware of the law, will simply go to a different clinic and just not share the reason why she is aborting.

Mr. Franks and others like to suggest that abortion clinics are “targeting” the black community and engaging in “black genocide.”

Puleeeze.

The people who own and run abortion facilities are trying to help women.  At the same time they are running – dare I say it – a business.  They incorporate, they pay taxes, they hire people, they buy equipment, they advertise, they do everything that the local burger place or dry cleaners does.   And, if they are smart they locate their facility in a spot that has enough population to allow them to pay the bills.  And some locate their facilities in predominantly black areas.

But it’s not what Mr. Franks thinks.  In 2008, 63 percent of abortion clinics — defined as providers of 400 or more abortions annually — were located in predominantly white neighborhoods while 12 percent were located in neighborhoods where one-half or more of the residents are Hispanic. Only 9 percent were located in predominantly black neighborhoods.  So much for the “campaign” to wipe out the black population.

Sanger Abortion

Sanger Abortion

And before anyone tells me how Margarget Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was out to wipe out the black race, don’t even go there.  She may have made some very unfortunate comments at a time when racism was still very rampant in this country, but don’t tell me that today when a Planned Parenthood staff person goes to work, they are quoting Margaret Sanger and looking for pregnant black women in the hopes of convincing them to abort.  How silly.  .

No, Congressman Franks is just playing the race card with the hopes of convincing African Americans that the Republican Party cares about them.

What a bunch of horse-hockey.

Abortion Escorts

Abortion Escorts

Let’s talk about escorts.

No, not the professional ones that you can track down on Craig’s List.  Get your mind out of the gutter for Gosh Sakes.  I’m talking about the pro-choice escorts.

I can’t remember when I first heard about these folks who were accompanying women into their local abortion clinic.  But I know it was sometime in the early-1990’s, when groups like Operation Rescue, the Lambs of Christ and others were getting hundreds of their followers to block the entrances to abortion clinics.  It is hard to believe today, but I recall many demonstrations where anti-abortion folks would just plant themselves down in front of the door to the clinic and sit there.  Amazingly, they would usually do this right in front of the local police.   And, more amazingly, the police would often just let them sit there and chant and sing for hours, even though the protestors were clearly violating the trespass laws.

Somewhere around that time either the National Organization for Women or the Feminist Majority Foundation started to counter-attack.  They began recruiting pro choice activists to help women access their medical services by escorting them through the crowd and into the clinic.  Indeed, when the antis suggest that it was the doctors who were luring women into the clinics, I have to chuckle as I remember watching women desperately climbing over the protestors in an effort to get IN to the abortion facility.

So, working with the clinic administrator, the escorts would arrange to meet the patient at a certain spot and walk in with her, the woman often holding something over her head so as not to be identified.  While it was a serious and often tense situation, I always had the sense that some of the escorts were really getting into this, that it really got their juices flowing.  That was probably because, if I had to stereotype them, I would say many of them were baby boomers, perhaps waning for the days of the 60’s and political causes.  Still, whatever their motivation, they were generally most welcome.

At some point, however, things started to get a little strange.  In 1994, I visited a clinic in Colorado because I had heard that Operation Rescue was going to be there in force that Saturday.  I hadn’t seen OR in action for a while, so – with the clinic’s permission – I flew out to take a look.  That Saturday, at 5:00 a.m., I got to the clinic and there were already about 15 escorts gathered in the front.  Working with the clinic administrator, they started to put together their plan for the day.  We were told that about 20 women were scheduled for the day, beginning at about 9:00.  So, the escorts split up the list, walked outside and anxiously awaited for the antis to start pulling up to the clinic.

We waited – and waited – and waited.

At about 8:45, a car pulled into the parking lot and a young woman got out of the driver’s seat.  She was on her cell phone as she started to walk up the steps to the clinic.  The escorts were perplexed.  There were no screaming mobs of antis to climb over or through.  Not one.  Finally, the escort who was assigned to this particular woman walked up to her, introduced herself to the young lady and accompanied her up the steps, right into the waiting room.

It was totally bizarre.

Then more cars started coming in and the other escorts went through the drill with their assigned patients.  They were all well-intentioned, of course, but I found the whole scene downright silly.  Finally, when there was a lull, I got everyone together, including the clinic administrator and suggested that we just leave.  “The women clearly don’t need us today.  Why don’t we leave them alone?”

The escorts were horrified.  They said it was their duty to escort the women, no matter what.  But the administrator, who was a little more attuned to the mindset of her patients, agreed wholeheartedly with me.  She thanked the escorts and politely asked them to leave.  They got all huffy, threatened to never come out again and left.

In retrospect, I think the escorts got caught up in the anticipated and lost their focus on the women, who probably didn’t want to see anybody that morning except the doctor.

The escorts meant well.   And they still do.  It was just interesting to me when there was a mixture of activists and medical people.  Sometimes they didn’t see eye to eye.

Stop Bullying Women

For many years, anti-abortion activists have lobbied their state legislatures to pass laws that require abortion clinics to share certain information with their patients.  These so-called “Right to Know” laws take many forms:  giving the patient a brochure that shows the stages of fetal development, taking an ultrasound and showing it to the woman, reciting a script to the patient that is a litany of things that can go wrong with an abortion, etc., etc.

Although the pro-choice movement regularly opposes these laws, I have written in the past about how the affect of these laws on the woman is rather minimal.  For example, most women casually look at the brochures, if at all, then toss them into

the garbage.  I’ve been in the rooms with woman as they observed their ultrasound, asked questions about the fetus then proceeded to have the abortion.  It’s all a rather big waste of time if you ask me, but if the anti-abortion movement wants to spend their time on this kind of stuff, go for it.  And, after all, it’s all well-intentioned, isn’t it?  Sure, they would prefer to make that woman’s act totally illegal, but since they can’t do that they want to make sure that a woman is making an informed choice.  How compassionate of them, huh?

Meanwhile, up in New York City, the City Council has taken a great interest in the activities of a number of “crisis pregnancy centers” that, according to testimony provided in a hearing, are engaging in “deceptive” practices designed to convince the woman that they are actually medical facilities.  It seems that the staff in some of these cpcs a

Ultrasound Before Abortion Procedure

re doing some interesting things.  For some reason, they are collecting personal and insurance information in the waiting room, the consultations are taking place on examination tables with the woman in the stirrups and “scrub suited consultants” are giving free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.   On its face, it sounds a little deceptive to me but I’m sure these reports are not accurate because we’ve been told so many times that cpcs do not engage in this kind of behavior.

Still, this crazy ole City Council is concerned about this alleged behavior so they passed a law requiring the cpcs to post signs saying they have no doctors on site and don’t’ give advice about abortions or birth control.  Sounds kind of like the “Right to Know” laws that are being imposed on abortion clinics.

But, lo and behold, here comes the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian advocacy group, and they challenge the law, saying it would have violated the center’s right to free speech.  And, recently, a local judge agreed with them and slapped an injunction on the new law.

Putting aside all the legal mumbo-jumbo and the current status of the law, what I cannot sort out is why anti-abortion advocates want abortion clinics to inform women of everything but the kitchen sink, but when the NY City Council wants to ask them to give out just a little information about their centers, they balk at the idea?

Somebody help me here, please!

Abortion Violence is wrong

Abortion Violence is wrong

As you probably know, a group of Muslims have indicated their interest in building a mosque a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.  Understandably, folks are up in arms, screaming that it would be an insult to the memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2011.   I totally understand their reaction.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to wake up every day only to think about the loved one who was killed on that day.  But there is a bigger picture that opponents of the mosque are missing.

This country was founded on several basic freedoms, including the right to practice one’s religion.  And I would argue that that freedom extends to the desire to construct a site where your followers can congregate.  This debate over the mosque reminds me of the debate over the right of anti-abortion protestors to express their views on the abortion issue.  And, the pro-choicers may not like it, but I would generally defend the right of protestors to exercise their freedom of speech, including participating in some rather ugly activity.

Now, before you bust a gut, let me acknowledge that there is a limit to free speech and the fact is that most cities have laws that restrict certain activity.  So, for example, most cities have noise ordinances that would restrict the use of bullhorns outside of an abortion clinic.  Most cities have stalking laws that prohibit protestors from following someone and putting that person “in fear of bodily harm.”  Some cities have enacted laws creating “bubble zones” around an abortion clinic that protestors cannot enter.   Meanwhile, however, many people allege that the protestors are “harassing” abortion clinic staff and patients, but “harassment” is much harder to prove.  Generally, when the police get a call from a person claiming they were being “harassed,” the police will go to the site and try to resolve the problem without making any arrests.    Finally, on the federal level there is the FACE law (“Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances”) which basically guarantees the right of a woman to walk into a clinic unimpeded.

So, there are a crap load of laws out there that can be enforced.  And, as always, the police use them at their discretion.

But, back to the bigger picture.

I support the right of an anti-abortion protestor to stand in front of a clinic, as long as they are not trespassing.   I support their right to hold up those very ugly aborted fetus signs.  I support their right to scream at the top of their lungs as long as they don’t violate the noise ordinances.  I support their right to call the patient and/or the clinic staff “murderers.”   Indeed, in the mid-1990’s, when the Congress was considering the FACE law referenced above, I worked with the pro-choice Members of Congress and insisted that we insert language in the bill that reaffirmed the protestor’s right to free speech.

I don’t like the fact that the anti-abortion protestors are out there in front of the clinics.  I think it is mean spirited, not very Christian like.  I think all they do is upset the women who are already in a somewhat emotional state.  And the workers in the abortion clinic are understandably sensitive to the anti-abortion activity that is taking place in front of their very eyes.

But in this country, we need to think long term.  As in the case of the mosque, we need to remember that the Constitution guarantees some very basic and important freedoms that should not be restricted to accommodate some short term political agenda.

Abortion

73% of America is Pro Choice

For years, there has been a raging debate within the anti-abortion movement about whether to take an incremental approach to restricting access to abortion versus going for the whole enchilada, i.e., banning abortion outright in the Congress or through the courts.  Fortunately, they’ve taken the wrong approach.

For years after Roe v Wade was decided in 1973, the anti-abortion movement focused most of its energies on trying to pass the “Human Life Amendment” and/or the “Hatch Constitutional Amendment.”    The HLA was a non-starter from the beginning.  That legislation, introduced by the late Senator Jesse Helms, simply declared that “life begins at conception” and that the fetus was a “person” from the moment of conception.  That one was laughed out of the room.  The more serious effort was the Hatch (as in Senator Orrin Hatch) Amendment which basically overruled Roe v Wade, thus sending the issue of the legality of abortion back to the individual states.  After years and years of furious lobbying, however, that measure was handily defeated in 1981.

Badly beaten, the anti-abortion movement started coming up with ways to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion in this country.   They were successful early on in restricting the use of federal funds for abortions.  Then they started looking to the state legislatures for help.  They came up proposals imposing 24 hour waiting periods, requiring minors to get the permission of their parents to get an abortion, mandating that clinics show women pictures of fetal development and others.  Then there was the famous “partial birth abortion” campaign that took place on both the national and state level.

In many states, these efforts were successful.  Or I should say they were successfully enacted into law.  But if the goal of the anti-abortion movement is to “save babies,” well, these laws hardly had an impact.

The fact is that the desire to have an abortion can be so strong that most women will walk over burning coals to get one.  So, having to jump through some additional hoops and fires is not the deciding factor for most women.  And before you pro-choicers start jumping all over me, I will say that, yes, having to wait 24 hours when you’ve traveled across the state will mean an extra expense.  And the minor who feels she cannot talk to her parents might wind up going to an adjoining state that doesn’t have any restrictions.  These are very unfortunate situations, but while it’s impossible to prove a negative, my gut tells me that the number of abortions has not dropped dramatically because of these laws.   Babies have not been saved, folks.

Then there’s the “partial birth” abortion law.  That one is the biggest joke and biggest scam.  I can tell you for a fact that this law has had no effect whatsoever.   That’s because abortion doctors have other procedures at their disposal to do late term abortions.  Yes, the pro-choice groups argued that the “partial birth” abortion procedure as defined in the legislation was so vague that it could apply to most abortion procedures but, guess what, not one doctor has been prosecuted under this law.  Geez, were our friends hyping things a little?

The fact is that the number of abortions has been decreasing every year, but lemme tell you honey, it ain’t because of these pesky little laws.  It’s because young people are getting smarter, pure and simple.  Just sit in on an 8th grade sex education class in your local high school and you’ll see what I mean.

If I were running some anti-abortion organization, I’d be looking at the Supreme Court.  I’d be anticipating a one-term Obama presidency and I’d be trying to pass some outrageous anti-abortion legislation, just outlawing it outright, in the hopes that 10 years from now it would reach a possibly more conservative Court.  But if the anti-abortion movement wants to waste their time on 24 hour waiting periods, I say go for it…..

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