Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

Bush’s terrible pick to head HHS family planning dept.

November 17, 2006

Check it out – the HHS’s new family planning director will be a MAN who is AGAINST contraceptives for American women since he considers them “demeaning to women”… Like TGW, I wonder why Bush couldn’t find a WOMAN for the post???

And, I personally find it totally demeaning to prevent my access and choice to what science has made possible… I think the last elections show that Americans don’t want Republicans meddling in their personal lives or going too far to the crazy-religious-right. These people don’t want us to have access to: CONDOMS, THE PILL, THE PATCH, IVF, STEM CELL RESEARCH. Their tyranny is inexcusable and the more Bush panders to them, the more he and his party will lose. (At least I have more confidence in my fellow Americans now!) 

Write to the White House right now and oppose Eric Keroack as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs! I did it, and so can you…

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Life: photos of cells and embryos

October 12, 2006

I just saw a piece on the Today Show about this new book of incredible photographs by the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson containing pretty stunning photos of human stem cells, blood vessels, and embryos. Two quick thoughts:

1) It annoys me when TV news shows put up subtitles for brown people speaking English with accents (like Pervez Musharraf), but not for white people (like Lennart Nilsson), who can be just as tough to understand as any desi…

2) Although the photos are really amazing, it seems to me that someone on the Today Show should have raised the issue of their use for anti-abortion propoganda. When these types of fetus pictures first came out in Life years ago, they were quickly turned into pro-life emblems. In fact, when I searched on Google for the link to the Today Show website, I couldn’t even find the piece about the new book on MSNBC. Instead, all these pro-life websites came up, encouraging anti-abortion activists to use photos of fetuses as a tool in their protests, on websites, etc. to shame women considering abortions and deny them their constitutional rights.

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The War Against Birth Control

May 7, 2006

Check out this lengthy NY Times piece on contraception and the religious right’s battle against birth control.  It is a stunning article, completely laying out the right-wing’s agenda of eradicating our access to birth control and transforming our sex lives, even within our marriages.  With the right-wing’s support, the government will soon mandate how you have sex with your spouse in your bedrooms and what you feel while you do it.  It’s frightening, people…

Ultimately, I believe the birth control issue itself is a ruse:  The Christian Right wants to return all of us to some mythical golden era when women and men had separate and distinct roles in society; when men went to work and women stayed at home with their many children; when women didn’t have desires of their own – sexual or otherwise; when men only had sex with their wives to make babies; when rape or incest simply did not occur; and when men controlled women’s bodies and minds as masters.

Screeching back to reality – opposing birth control is political suicide, as hopefully Reid and Clinton will demonstrate with their bill on insurance-funded contraceptives – the Prevention First Act.  If we penalize birth control, who’s going to pay for child care and education for all these unplanned babies?  Who’s going to take the place of all those brilliant and successful professional women now entrenched in companies across America? 

There is an international element to this too – the article states that the GAO released a study last month finding that in many developing countries, administrators of U.S. foreign aid were forced to cut funds intended to fight mother-to-child HIV infection in order to finance abstinence programs.  As the article reminds us, even the Catholic Church is debating its stance on condoms within marriages in which one spouse is infected – discussed from a wide variety of perspectives here, here, here, and here.

One thing that interested me greatly was the notion that the right-wing has the advantage when talking about relationships (versus the left, which is characterized in the article as simply caring about the physical act of sex).  We on the left need to regain ground on this – we need to redefine what it means to be in a committed, loving relationship (not just a heterosexual one) built on equality and shared liberal values of charity, service, and individual freedom.  Perhaps our programs to teach teens about birth control need to talk more honestly and openly about relationships, gender equality, and the emotional aspects of sexual experience in addition to birth control and safe sex. 

I’ll leave you with perhaps the strangest anecdote of all from the article, one which illustrates the grim picture of a woman’s sexual freedom being controlled and transferred according to the will of men:

"… [At] "Purity Balls," which fathers attend with their teenage daughters…, a father gives a "purity ring" to his daughter — a symbol of the promise she makes to maintain her virginity for her future husband. Then, during her marriage ceremony, the daughter gives the ring to her new husband. Abstinence Clearinghouse's Web site advertises the purity ball as an event ‘which celebrates your 'little girl' and her gift of sexual purity.’”

Beginning of the End of Roe v. Wade

February 22, 2006

The Supreme Court decided to hear a case on partial birth abortion today.  Given Justice O’Conner’s key vote on the subject, I think it’s fair to assume that this is the beginning of the end of the era of Roe v. Wade.  The test of our generation of young men and women is beginning NOW – will we stand by and have our rights dismantled one-by-one, or will we take a stand? 

Firedoglake takes Planned Parenthood and NARAL to task for not fighting tooth-and-nail for a filibuster on Alito.  Elections do matter, and so do right-wing extremist court appointees supported by DINOs.  I feel like I have to do something, but don’t know exactly what.  For starters, let’s all take Firedoglake’s advice:

Please contact both NARAL and Planned Parenthood and tell them to support Ned Lamont and prove that they understand that people like Joe Lieberman and Lincoln Chafee are pro-choice only when it doesn’t count.

I just e-mailed them – now can you?

Hinduism and Choice

January 18, 2006

I saw this banner on Slate today about the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and clicked to find out what it was all about.  They are a great example of what we are trying to do on this blog, and what the Democratic party should be doing more of.  Let’s take back the words “religion” and “faith” and “life”, particularly in the arena of abortion.  Abortion has become a spoiler issue that has taken over confirmation hearings and elections, and distracted us from many other equally important issues like women’s rights in the workplace, and illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. 
I appreciated RCRC’s inclusion of the meaning of “choice” in different religious traditions.  Although a little inaccessible because of its length, the Hindu explanation of the importance of choice as a life principle and a cherished spiritual value was right-on.  I thought it was very instructive to contemplate this principle:  “The moment of reproductive choice is just one of countless moments in a continuous stream of existence.” 
And, the following passage about the importance of context and one’s own state when making a choice illustrates the agency ascribed to each of us as humans in the Hindu faith: 

“The rightness or wrongness of a choice is ultimately relative to the aim of a soul in its particular stage of evolution. To the soul seeking the highest dharma or moksha, the unconscious use of sex or the use of violence to limit life in any form is simply constrictive. However, to a soul who has not achieved the expansiveness of consciousness to act with great deliberation, the exercise of choice is a spiritual practice by which it cultivates experience, learns and grows. The key component for spiritual growth in this case is the manner in which decisions are made. A decision made from a balanced, non-emotional state will be less productive of difficult karma than one made in despair and desperation. The circumstances of the decision will imprint a deep memory on the soul of the mother and the soul seeking incarnation.”

We should be using more passages like these to expand our national conversation about abortion…