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An Anti-Choice Wishlist for the New Congress

10:39 am in Government, Health care, Legislature by RH Reality Check

Written by Robin Marty for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

The anti-choice movement spent a great deal of time and money in campaigning for Republican candidates that would flip the leadership of the House from Democrat to Republican control in 2011.  Focusing primarily on the weakest candidates, anti-abortion Democrats running in conservative districts, groups like National Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony list managed to create a new army of Republicans who owe their seats to the funding and backing of anti-choice activists.

Now those activists want their payback.

Via Lifenews, the anti-choice Republican groups have created a wishlist of the “top priorities” for congress once the new members are sworn in.  For the most part, the list is unsurprising — it is legislation that they have been pushing for nationally for years, and advocating for and often passing on a state by state basis.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Moving To The Right: Not An Effective Strategy

6:43 am in Government, Health care, Legislature by RH Reality Check

Written by Amanda Marcotte for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

One of the occasional great joys of political prognosticating is the chance to go back over what you wrote and see how right or wrong you were, though it’s obviously more fun if you were right.  And on October 24th, I published a column where I argued that Republican candidates might find that being hard right on reproductive rights helps them win primaries, but can be devastating in the general election.

I’m happy to say that I was right.  Not every time–some of the most extreme anti-choice candidates did win–but many of the candidates who lost races that they were earlier predicted to win in a walk were candidates whose extreme views on abortion rights were well-publicized.  It wasn’t just Christine O’Donnell, either, though she was probably doomed from the moment it was exposed that her hostility to sexual freedom went beyond opposing rights that make women’s lives better right on to opposing masturbation, a popular activity among men, the ones who generally police and are not subject to the anti-sex police’s policing.  Anti-choice extremism wasn’t what you wanted on your side to beat the Democrats this election.

Sharron Angle, who was assumed over the summer to have an easy win against the unpopular Harry Reid in a state with nearly 15 percent unemployment, was beaten for a number of reasons involving her inability to stay quiet about extreme right wing views on everything from Medicare to gun control.  But her hostility to women who need abortions—even minors who are raped by family members—haunted her, particularly her quote about said victims trying to turn the “lemons” of rape into the supposed lemonade of bearing a child to give it away.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Anti-Choice ‘C-Streeter’ Opposing Pelosi for Minority Leader

7:04 am in Government, Health care, Legislature by RH Reality Check

Written by Jodi Jacobson for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Remember the words, “Stupak Amendment?” Keep those in mind as you read further.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced that she would place herself in the running to become House minority leader when Congress reconvenes.

Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, was in large part responsible for ensuring the success of virtually every piece of legislation passed during the Obama Administration, including health care reform. Some bills that succeeded in the House failed in the Senate due to lack of effective action to pass them. Pelosi did not allow this to happen in the House while she held the gavel in her hand.

While clearly elements of some of these laws leave something to be desired–such as the ban on coverage for abortion care in private insurance policies–Pelosi’s ability to navigate and garner majority votes from an often fractious Democratic majority has won accolades even from opponents.

Pelosi also endured–seemingly without batting an eyelash–a flood of mean-spirited and sexist campaigns against her by both Republican and Tea Party actors seeking to vilify her through the use of imagery and strategies devised by people with the maturity level of sixth graders, and in what could only be described as a bid to distract from their own lack of ideas, lack of experience, lack of true leadership ability, or all of the above.

Pelosi, however, is being challenged by none other than Congressman Heath Shuler, a good ol’ boy conservative southern Blue Dog Democrat. Read more

PersonhoodUSA’s Radical, Fetal-Separatist Agenda

6:57 am in Government, Health care, Legislature, State Government by RH Reality Check

Written by Lynn Paltrow for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Next week, people in Colorado will be voting on Amendment 62, a ballot measure sponsored by PersonhoodUSA. This organization seeks to establish the “pre-born,” including eggs, embryos and fetuses as separate “legal persons with protection under the law.”

This organization claims that its goal is to end the “injustice of abortion.” In fact they are promoting a Fetal Separatist movement, one that is trying to legally separate pregnant women and the fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses inside of them. Their efforts are dangerous to all pregnant women including those who go to term, those who expect confidential medical care, and those who want to preserve their right to life and liberty.

The argument that eggs and fetuses may be treated as if they are legally independent of the women who carry them has been used to deprive pregnant women of their status as full constitutional persons.  Angela Carder was forced to have cesarean surgery to advance the rights of the fetus inside of her. Shortly after the surgery both the baby and Ms. Carder died. Ms. Carder was deprived of her right to life. Recently, a pregnant woman was kept prisoner in a Florida hospital because doctors believed that doing so would advance the rights and health of the fetus. She nevertheless suffered a stillbirth. Ms. Burton was deprived of her right to liberty. Although courts in both cases eventually held that these deprivations of life and liberty were wrong, adopting fetal separatist measures would allow outsiders to take similar actions whenever they disagreed with the pregnant woman.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Sen. Franken: Rape Victims Should Not Have To Pay for Their Own Rape Kits

8:17 am in Government, Legislature by RH Reality Check

Written by Robin Marty for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has spent his time in office as a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive health.  In the fall of 2009, Sen. Franken sponsored an amendment to a defense bill that would have de-funded military contractors who prevent rape victims from seeking justice, based on the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was sexually attacked while working for KBR – a subsidiary of Halliburton.

Now, the Minnesota Democrat is once more taking up the cause for women who have been victims of sexual assault.  Last week, Sen. Franken spoke in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs about the backlog of rape kits going unaddressed in police storage, and the practice of making victims pay for their own forensic evidence.

The problem is that some jurisdictions are still billing victims for the rape kits, leaving it to the victims to get reimbursed by insurers or victims’ funds. And with that objection, Mr. Chairman, I would like to add to the record four articles…that document this."

To me, the real problem is that this practice is actually legal under federal law.  It is legal to bill a victim for her rape kit….Can you elaborate on this?  Is it a good idea to allow victims to be billed for their rape kits, even if they get fully reimbursed later?

Sen. Franken brings up an additional issue as to the billing of rape kits to victims, even if they are reimbursed by insurance: that an insurance claim being sent to someone’s home could violate her privacy by informing the family, spouse or other residents about the rape, something about which the victim may not have wanted them to be made aware.

Susan Carbon, the Director of the Office of Violence Against Women, responds to that problem as well as others rape kit issues in her own testimony.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →