Birth Control

Birth Control

My head is spinning out of control.   There is just too much stuff going on that is beyond my comprehension.  I mean, can the Republican Party really be this dumb?

Maybe I should talk about how the GOP is now concerned about President Obama’s “WAR ON RELIGION.”   Yep, our Commander in Chief is actually against religion, they say, suggesting that he and his staff actually spend countless hours trying to figure out how to make ours a totally secular society.  Now that would be a great political strategy, wouldn’t it?  I can hear Obama now, telling his staff that he wants to alienate that 80% or so of the populace that actually subscribes to a religion.  Don’t worry, he assures the skeptics, we can ride that atheist vote back into the White House in November!  And while we’re at it, let’s go after GOD himself.  We don’t want anyone to even say HIS name in a public place.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Santorum

Santorum

Or maybe we should talk about the Republican Party’s own little war on birth control.  Oh, we all know about their constant attacks on abortion rights, how they are pursuing those silly “personhood” resolutions in a bunch of states.  And, yes, one or two of them might even slip through, but then the next day the pro-choice groups will get an injunction and the measures will slowly make their way to the Supreme Court.  At that point, when the Court suddenly has to think about how we’d be counting those little zygotes in our census, how movie theaters might have to charge for another ticket, how whether or not they should be given a tax exemption, cooler heads will prevail.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t even take the case.

Birth Control

Birth Control

But there’s the rise of Senator Rick Santorum, who opposes using federal dollars for birth control and who even once denounced birth control as “harmful” to women and society:  “I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young…”  I wonder what Newt thinks about that “sex outside of marriage” line?   But I say go for it, Rick, tell the women in this country, including all of those good little Catholic women, that they shouldn’t be taking birth control.  Yeah, that’s a clear winner!

Abortion

Abortion

Then there was the congressional hearing the other day on Obama’s attempt to provide better access to birth control through his health insurance program.  Sure, the announced title of the hearing did not have the word “birth control” in it, but that is what they were talking about, folks.  And by now everyone knows that their panel of “experts” was all men.  For good reason, the videos of the testimony went viral and I could not keep from laughing when I thought of the grief that some staff person was going to get for not anticipating what the pictures of that panel would like in the media.  Dumb move, guy.   Not to mention totally arrogant.

Abortion

Abortion

This is all just too good to be true.  The women in this country, including the millions of “pro-life” women who still get their monthly pills at the drug store, gotta be watching these yahoos, wondering what they are gonna do next.  Obama and his crew are sitting back with the champagne on ice, watching this re-run of some black and white caveman movie.

And I didn’t even touch upon that friend of Santorum who thinks “gals” should put aspirins between their knees.

Keep it coming, boys.

Abortion.com Law access to Abortion Clinics

Stop Anti Abortion Terrorism

I looked President Clinton directly in the eye and, shaking his hand, said “Thank you Mr. President for helping to protect our clinics.”

In the last week, I’ve been reading with great interest how President Obama’s Department of Justice has been aggressively using the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (“FACE”), a law passed in 1994 designed to protect abortion clinics, abortion patients and the clinic staff from certain anti-abortion activity.

As a staff person for the National Coalition of Abortion Providers , in the early 1990’s I attended a number of meetings with the Clinton Administration’s staff about the need for federal protection from anti-abortion zealots.  At that point, any prosecution of such activity was carried out generally by the state and, well, there were a number of states that did not give a crap about protecting abortion clinics.  But the Clinton folks were in a quandary because, as they told us, they had no jurisdiction in these cases because there was no federal law protecting clinics.  So, they urged us to try to pass the “FACE” Act, which had been introduced a while ago but was languishing in the Congress.  Our meetings were very frustrating because we knew – we just knew – that one day the violence would escalate.  And on March 10, 1994, it did go to a new level when Doctor David Gunn was murdered as he entered his clinic.

Abortion Clinic

Abortion Clinic

Doctor Gunn’s death and the incredible amount of publicity it generated gave pro-choicer groups more ammunition to pass the FACE Act and to give the Department of Justice jurisdiction over these crimes.  Congressional hearings were held, the pro-choice lobbyists worked hard to get support for the bill and ultimately the bill passed both houses of Congress.

By this time, I had become good friends with David Gunn, Jr. and his sister, Wendy.  In fact, after a while David basically became the national spokesman for NCAP, going so far as to pose for a picture that was used in a full page New York Times ad to help us raise money.  We were both on “The Donahue Show” together and on various other shows as well.

Abortion

Abortion

After the Congress passed the FACE Act, I got a call a call from one of Clinton’s staff people inviting me to attend the signing of the bill in the White House.  Needless to say, I was totally thrilled, having never been to the White House except for that crappy little public tour.  Then, that night I got a call from David, Jr. and he told me that he and Wendy had been invited to the White House as well and he asked me if I could pick them up that morning and drive over with them.  They were both very nervous and what they didn’t know was I was probably just as nervous.

So, I picked them up at their hotel that morning and we drove over.  I actually found a parking space pretty close to the White House so we had just a short walk.  We entered through the North Gate and were escorted to the West Wing to a room with about 75 chairs and a podium.  I was standing next to David and Wendy, trying to soak it all in when an official came over and said to us “Excuse me, but the President would like a few words with you.”   They started to follow him and David looked back and waved me to follow him.   But I was stopped at the door and when it opened, I caught a glimpse of the President standing behind his desk in the Oval Office.  I mean, that was pretty cool…

After about 10 minutes, the three of them came out and the audience sat down.  I was in the front row, sitting next to California Senator Barbara Boxer.  The President spoke about the need for this bill, about how his administration would protect the clinics (while guaranteeing the first amendment rights of the protestors) and that was that.  He actually didn’t have the bill in front of him to sign, so I didn’t get one of those pens for a souvenir.  Then he was done, and we all started to mingle.

At one point, I took a step backwards and bumped into somebody.  When I turned around to apologize, I was face to face with the President.  Shaking, I stuck out my hand and thanked him for his help.  I will never forget how he looked at you straight in the eye, as if he was clinging to your every word, just you and him in the White House.  It was mesmerizing and I guess that is what made him such a great politician.

It took a while for the Clinton Administration to get its feet wet enforcing the new law and, of course, when the Bush crew came in not much happened.  I am now happy to see that the Obama Administration is going to aggressively enforce the law.   But it’s sad to think that after all of this time, it is a law that still needs to be enforced.

Planned Parenthood Rally

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in the last few days.  Actually, I’ve been stuck at Planned Parenthood’s national convention which was just a few miles from my stately mansion here in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Of course, the buzz at the convention was how that nasty U.S. Congress was gonna halt all federal funding for PPFA.  Everywhere you went throughout the very large hotel, there were signs with big exclamation points, videos of speeches of some woman pounding her fist on a way-too-tall podium, buttons with clever slogans, pink tee shirts.  You couldn’t escape the hysteria.  Surely, it is the apocalypse!

All right now, let’s all calm down here for a second.  The bottom line is there ain’t no way in hell this is going to happen.

The Congress of the United States does not have the votes to stop this pernicious attack on abortion.  Oops, did I use the “a” word?   I’m sorry if I slipped because using that word is verboten because, as we know, most of the pro-choice groups cannot say the nasty “a” word because it’s way too sensitive.  Instead, we have to say these attacks are about women’s health, about their mammograms, their pap smears and all of those other socially acceptable tests that women must perform.

But I digress.

Nothing is going to happen because we’ve got Barack Obama sitting in the White House, ready to veto any legislation that denies PPFA any funding.  And that’s because he is a true champion of abortion….uh….I mean reproductive rights!  All hail Obama!

The pro-choice lobbyists in Washington, D.C. know that at the end of the day, PPFA will be fine.  They will continue to get their money.  Sure, those lobbyists have to be vigilant and earn their money but they know damn well PPFA will live to see another day.  But that doesn’t stop their fundraisers down the hall from cranking out the pleas for money.  I think once a week I get a letter or a postcard screaming at me to give money TODAY to stop the RIGHT WING CONGRESS from denying women their right to BASIC HEALTH CARE!

The problem is that, if you send ten dollars, the letter you get next week is not a simple thank you  – it’s another request for a contribution.  So, you send another ten dollars but, before you know it, you’re getting a phone from some twenty year old begging for more money.   Okay, okay, I’ll send you $20 but please stop asking me!   The next morning, as I’m sipping my coffee, there’s a knock on the door.  It’s a special fed ex package from the PRESIDENT of PPFA herself begging…..

Well, you get the picture.

Yes, the organizations need to raise money for fixed expenses but this “battle” is a sham and, honestly, I think some people really get into it.  It’s almost as if they enjoy being on the defensive.  But we’re gonna win this one, folks.  And I’m gonna miss my daily talks with those PPFA folks!

Law

Okay boys and girls, let’s talk about fetal homicide.

In April of 2004, President Bush signed into law the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”  That law made it a crime to harm an embryo or fetus at ANY stage of pregnancy during an assault on a pregnant woman.  At this moment, about 36 states had similar laws on their books.

The first thing I gotta say is kudos to the pro-lifer movement.  I mean, they come up with some great names for legislation, don’t they?

Second, I’m confused about this law.

So, if I understand it correctly:  if a woman is carrying something in her belly that she wants to carry and that something dies because of someone else, then that other person can be prosecuted for the death of that something?  But if that something is not wanted if that other person is an abortion doctor then that doctor can go in and terminate/kill/abort that same something and that would be perfectly legal?  In other words, the determinative factor here is whether or not that something was wanted or not?    One last time:  if a pregnant woman was driving to the abortion clinic to get rid of her pregnancy and someone hit her car and caused the death of the unborn child, then that other driver can be convicted of manslaughter?   And if there was no accident, minutes later the abortion doctor could do the same and suffer no consequences?

I can remember vividly when this legislation was introduced in the Congress.  The immediate, joint (and private) reaction of the pro-choice community was “Holy Shit, what do we do now?”   Were they ready to argue that if an 8 month old fetus died because of a third party, then the prosecutors should ignore that “baby?”   You can imagine the discussions about how they should argue against that one.

Ultimately, however, they got language put in the bill that made it clear that the doctors could not be prosecuted if they were performing an abortion.  That was pretty clever.  Of course, the other side had to accept that language because if the effect of the law was to outlaw abortion outright, then the law would have been ruled unconstitutional.

Still, the pro-choice groups cringed when the bill came up for a vote but they did not really push their allies on Capitol Hill on this one because they knew it was a very, very tough vote.  So, the bill passed by wide margins in the House and the Senate.

But there is one problem that still exists.  There is now a law on the books that says that the person who committed this new crime could be punished for intentionally killing “a human being.”   In other words, the U.S. Congress has now recognized that the fetus/baby in utero – no matter at what stage – is a “human being.”

In the grand scheme of things it might seem like a small thing.  But at some point in the future, some clever pro-life lawyer will be arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and they will be able to say that the Congress has recognized that even a 5 week fetus is a “human being.”

The pro-choice groups did get language protecting abortion doctors, which was the short term victory.  But in the long run, they may second guess the fact that they let the Congress go out and personalize the fetus.  That might come around and bite them in the ass one day.  And the reason why they let it go is because the pro-choice movement can talk about “choice” all they want but they still cannot talk (without stuttering) about ABORTION.

Protestors Praying

There are all kinds of anti-abortion protestors.  There are the ones who stand out in front of the clinics holding graphic signs while screaming all kinds of invectives at the women.  It doesn’t matter to them that those women might also be going in for their annual pap smear or to pick up some birth control.  They still remain the target of their vile, un-Christian behavior.

Then there are the protestors who just stand in front of the facility quietly praying.  Sure, at times they might break out into song or into a group prayer led by some local religious figure but, for the most part, they just stand out there praying to God.  At least I assume that’s who they are praying to.

I vehemently support the right of anti-abortion protestors to stand outside of a clinic and protest, even if they insist on shrieking “Don’t Kill Your Baby!” to the women as they are enter the facility.  The First Amendment also extends to those who quietly pray on the sidewalk and who seem not as “angry” as the other whack jobs.  Still, I would suggest that those who quietly pray on the sidewalk do almost as much harm as their more vociferous colleagues.

Let’s do something that the anti-abortion folks don’t do very often – let’s think about the woman who has just learned she is pregnant.  But first, spare me the “well if she didn’t spread her legs in the first place” lecture.  I get it.  I know how you get pregnant.  So, let ‘s move on.

The woman is pregnant and, unless she was actually planning on having a child, there is a good chance she is not happy with this development.  Contrary to anti-abortion dogma, she just doesn’t run to the phone and make an appointment at the local abortion clinic.  Normally, she will struggle with the decision.  After all, she knows she is carrying a living organism in her body that will ultimately grow into her baby, so the notion that she might have to abort is not a pleasant one.  To help make up her mind, she might consult with the man who was involved, her friends, her family or any religious figures in her life.  Ultimately, she may decide that she cannot have the baby.  It is a difficult decision making process and her decision to abort is a sad one.

So, she makes the appointment and normally has to wait a few days.  That’s a few more days for her to keep thinking about her decision.  The day finally arrives and she goes to the clinic.  She has heard about the anti-abortion zealots who demonstrate at the clinics and tries to prepare herself, although she really doesn’t know what to expect.  As she approaches the facility, she notices about twenty people congregating out front and her blood pressure immediately rises.   She prepares to be verbally attacked.

She gets out of the car and walks up the pathway to the front door, trying not to look at the group of protestors.   She is somewhat surprised that they are not yelling at her, notices that they are holding Bibles and praying quietly.  But she is still embarrassed.  She knows they are there because of HER and they are there because they do not approve of what she did (have unprotected sex) and what she is about to do (abort the child).  They are clearly not there to provide her comfort in her time of need.  They are there because they do not want her to have the abortion.

On this blog, I’ve had a running commentary with a respectable pro-lifer who prays in front of a clinic.  But, unless I missed it, I have yet to get a clear answer as to why he has to be AT THE CLINIC.  If you are praying to God, what does it matter where you pray?  I thought you could be anywhere and still communicate with Him.

No, I suspect there is something else going on here although I just can’t put my finger on it.  Is there some voyeuristic pleasure out of seeing a woman who clearly has had (dirty) sex going in for a (dirty) abortion?  And please don’t tell me they are there to share their stories with the woman and to tell her she has other options.  They know damn well that they cannot help her if she decides to have the baby.  Sure, they might give her some diapers and clothes, but gimme a break.  Chances are they’ll never see that woman again and, if they did succeed in talking her out of the abortion, they just exchange high fives and congratulate each other on their “save.”

So, instead of doing something else for humanity for those few hours or praying quietly at your home for an end to abortion, you are out there at the clinic disturbing the women.

Why are you out there, my friend?

Abortion.com Banned!

People who work in abortion clinics know what it’s like to be discriminated against.  Oh, I’m not talking about discrimination in the legal sense.  I’m just talking general “discrimination.”

For example, it is not unusual for a local business to refuse to serve the local abortion clinic.  It may be a cleaning service that does not want to clean the clinic at night.  It might take a long time for the director of the abortion clinic to find someone who would be willing to construct a website for them.  In some more extreme cases, the local police might not react as quickly as they normally do when called to control an unwieldy group of protestors.  It’s just all part of being in the abortion business.

Now, I am hearing of another form of possible “discrimination” against abortion providers – by Facebook.

Let me explain.

This blog is associated with the website, www.abortion.com.  That site is a directory of abortion clinics across the country.  The clinics pay a fee to be placed on the site, much like they pay the Yellow Pages to be listed in their books.  A while ago, the manager of the website decided to create a Facebook page.  As of two weeks ago, that Facebook page had over 100,000 “friends,” an incredible amount of people.

On a regular basis, the manager of the site (or one of the “friends”) would post a comment in an effort to generate a conversation.  For example, he might post something like “how do you feel about late term abortions?”   In response, dozens upon dozens of people would comment.  Many of them were anti-abortion, which was perfectly okay because it engendered some very lively debates.

Indeed, at times it would get downright hot and heavy.  Unfortunately, some people used foul language but if they did, they were immediately warned by the manager and removed if they ignored the warnings.   Then, a number of anti-abortion nut balls would flood the site with inane comments, repeating them over and over again.  I think the word is “trolling.”   The manager spent an inordinate amount of time deleting the troll’s comments.  In addition to all of this activity, the Facebook page was used to advertise for www.abortion.com in the hopes of directing women to reputable abortion clinics.

Then, suddenly, about a week ago the Facebook page disappeared.

Gone.

Just like that.

The manager and his staff immediately tried contacting Facebook to find out why the site was taken down.  It was puzzling.  After all, there are a number of other abortion related Facebook pages out there.  Indeed, some of the anti-abortion pages are incredibly gross.  So, it was very hard to figure out why they were shut down without notice.

Compounding the problem is that it is virtually impossible to talk to anyone at Facebook because they are so insulated.  There may be some bullshit “contact us” button but you know that your message will wind up on the computer of some teenager in some Third World country who is getting paid $5 an hour.  Go ahead, try it yourself.  Try contacting Facebook.

So, where does that leave us?

I cannot imagine why Facebook took down this page.  But, no matter what the reason, it is incredibly arrogant to close down a page with that many fans without even notifying the manager.  Who are these anonymous people who make these decisions willy-nilly?   Or sure, I understand it’s their company but, c’mon folks, where are your manners?

I can only conclude that Facebook was getting somewhat uncomfortable with the page for some reason.  The cynic in me would say that the powers that be are anti-abortion and were concerned that an abortion rights page was getting so much visibility.  And, if I can prove that is the case, then I am ready to lead a pro-choice revolt against this company whose owner recently named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine.

My antennae is up – is it possible that, once again, abortion providers are being discriminated against?

Election Results for the House of Representatives

Okay, now that I’ve recovered from my Election night (and, by the way, birthday night) hangover, let’s try to figure out where the hell we are.

By now, everyone knows that the House of Representatives went to the Dark Side by a wide margin.  And while The Force still controls the U.S. Senate, it is by a razor thin margin.  But the one thing you must remember is that there are a number of Senate Democrats who vote pro-life.  I have yet to see an analysis by the pro-choice groups, but although the Democrats still run the Senate, the pro-life forces are in pretty decent shape over there as well.  In the House, they are firmly in control.

So, what this means is that the House of Representatives will pass any pro-life piece of legislation that is offered.  They will no doubt come up with all sorts of ways to make abortion less accessible.  We will probably see some kind of national 24 hour waiting period, so-called “informed consent” measures requiring women to view photos of the fetus, etc.  Anything that is proposed will pass.  However, the Republican Party is not dumb enough to go all the way and try to pass a bill or constitutional amendment banning abortion.  That ain’t gonna happen folks.  That’s because there’s no guarantee that they have the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses.  And the Republicans are thinking that if they’re gonna lose, why ask their folks to stick their neck out on this controversial issue and piss off a bunch of possible pro-choice independents when the measure is unlikely to become law?

So, the House will pass some things and then send it to the Senate.  Pro-life forces basically need 60 votes to pass something in the Senate and those votes over there will be close.  But, let’s say they do pass a 24 hour waiting period.  Fortunately, sitting down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue (at least for now) is pro-choice President Barack Obama.  If any pro-life bill comes to his desk he’ll veto it and that will be the end of it.

So, as far as attacks on the accessibility of abortion, there will be a lot of talk.  You will get a lot of fundraisingletters from both sides asking you to contribute money to help their lobbyists fight the good fight but, at the end of the day, ain’t nothing terrible gonna happen.

House of Representatives

There is one real problem, however, in the U.S. Senate.  And that has to do with the situation when/if Obama gets to nominate another justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.   That’s where it will get very interesting.  Without having seen the exact numbers, I can virtually guarantee you that the pro-choice forces do not have the necessary sixty votes to confirm an obviously pro-choice justice.  And while great deference is often given to the President’s nominee, if Obama nominates a clear pro-choice justice, there will be a major battle.  That’s because the Court right now favors Roe v Wade by a 6-3 margin.  If they can pick up another pro-life vote, then it becomes a 5-4 margin in favor of abortion rights.  So, come nomination time the pro-lifers will be smelling blood.

So, the bottom line is that Obama will have to nominate some “stealth” candidate who has no clear position on abortion.  It will be a crapshoot.  And as history shows, other presidents have found themselves in a similar situation where they nominated someone hoping they would follow the President’s ideology only to find them on the other side of the fence.  This could happen to Obama.

Stay tuned folks.