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Report: States Pass Staggering Array of Anti-Choice Laws, Policies and Ballot Measures

6:43 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Live in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, Missouri or Louisiana? The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) wants you to know that, with the implementation of health care reform in 2014, you will not have access to abortion coverage in your state’s health exchanges. These states have enacted insurance bans on abortion coverage. Five other states considered the bans and the CRR expects more to do so in 2011. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The 2010 state legislative session has seen legislation forcing women to undergo "biased counseling" (and compelling health care providers to provide said counseling) which may contain medically inaccurate and misleading information, as well as mandatory ultrasound requirements. Some states have pushed anti-provider bills which seek to bar physicians who provide abortion care from a state’s malpractice compensation fund, and bills which force women to return at least twice to a provider before being deemed acceptable to have a legal abortion. States have sought to define zygotes and fertilized eggs as people; and punish women by barring any insurance coverage for abortion – even if the woman became pregnant as a result of rape.

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) recently released its summary on the "major trends in anti-abortion legislation that emerged this year and of the onerous abortion restrictions enacted," according to a statement from the organization.  "A First Look Back at the 2010 State Legislative Session," (PDF) details alarming trends among the states to severely restrict access to legal abortion care.

Of particular consequence this past year has been the Nelson Amendment to the health care reform bill, which is responsible for the ban on abortion coverage in the health exchanges. As mentioned above, in response to the provision, five states have already passed similar state bans with more expected. CRR notes that anti-choice proponents’ argument over abortion access in federal health care reform efforts focused on outright false information about the importance of abortion access, as health care, for women in this country.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Why Does Congress Allow a Pedophilia-ridden Church to Control Women’s Rights?

7:56 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

If you are, like me, confused about the answer to this question, please raise your hand….or better yet….ask your Congressperson and Senator.  And ask the President.

Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s rights?

I am talking, of course, about the Catholic Church and specifically about the hierarchy….not the good people of the Catholic faith. 

The Church whose leadership, in case we didn’t already know this, has now been proven to have purposefully hidden an epidemic of pedophilia and–to protect priests, not born children–reassigned serial sex offenders to other parishes to offend again.  The kind of people who, if they were not priests protected by the hierarchy of the Church would not be allowed by US law to come anywhere near children or schools?

According to the newest revelations reported in the New York Times:

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit. [emphasis mine].

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

As many as 200 deaf children molested.  The Pope himself as Cardinal–and as the Church’s chief doctrinal enforcer–more worried about the possible scandal to the Church than the abuse of born children.  As a mother, I am so sickened I can barely type.

You know that doctrine that they enforce?  The one that makes women lower on the totem pole than a fertilized egg?  The one that in Nicaragua has a woman whose life is threatened with cancer, hospitalized at 8 weeks pregnant, refused either an abortion or cancer treatment because the egg, embryo, fetus is so much more important than that woman’s life (or the future of her 10-year-old daughter)?  You know the doctrine that says they will excommunicate the mother of a 9-year-old girl in Brazil because she insisted that her daughter, pregnant with twins as a result of rape by her step-father (rape of a then-8-year-old girl) be allowed an abortion?  The one that talks incessantly about the "sanctity of life" (until after you are born)?  The Church that supports organizations that threaten to remove the social services they provide to all poor people in the District of Columbia because they find offering insurance benefits to married same sex couples so offensive?

The Church that refuses to provide even preventive reproductive health care to women while using federal dollars because it "offends their morals?"

The Church of "abstinence-only" programs that have resulted in countless teens across this country obtaining sexually-transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies?

I ask again: Why is that Congress allows a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws about women’s rights?

And I am talking about deals cut over the past several years with the consent of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other leading Democrats including:

  • The 11th hour vote on the Stupak Amendment last fall in the health reform debate allowed by Speaker Pelosi after closed door meetings with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

 

  • The midnight-rewriting in 2008–the night before a vote–of the original reauthorization bill of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops–aided in this case by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN)–worked long into the night with Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and his staff–with the blessing of the Speaker–to:

 

  • deny HIV-positive women access to contraceptive supplies to avoid unwanted pregnancies (because these women knew already they would not live to raise any child born);

 

  • restrict integration of HIV prevention and family planning services, even though both unintended pregnancies and HIV infection are catastrophic public health problems in Africa and both result from unprotected sexual intercourse;

 

  • re-insert into that bill abstinence-only-until marriage policies despite the fact that the Government Accoutability Office, the Institutes of Medicine and countless other analysts had proven these programs only served to leave people vulnerable to HIV infection.

 

I am talking about an HIV epidemic in which women now make up the majority of those infected and in which women and girls face the highest rates of new infections.  I am talking about policies that consigned untold numbers of women to death and continue to do so.

I am talking about the Church that is invited into decision-making bodies on teen pregnancy, HIV prevention, comprehensive sex ed, by this Administration, in which the needs of "faith-based" organizations continue to take precedence over the health and rights of women, over pro-choice and women’s rights groups representing the majority of women in the United States, and over public health evidence and human rights in shaping public health policy.

I am talking about a Church which the male-dominated media goes out of its way to protect.

And I am offering here but a few examples of things about which I could easily write a book.

When will this stop?  When will we actually–not just rhetorically–care more about science than ideology?  About women’s rights over a misogynistic male organization that can not even keep its hands off of children.?

Only President Obama and the Democratic Leadership in both the House and Senate can provide those answers and only you can make them do so.

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