“Rodriguez will sidestep the abortion controversy by allowing Beatriz to undergo a C-section surgery — which her fetus will likely not survive — instead of undergoing a less-invasive abortion procedure. The Health Department hasn’t yet decided when Beatriz will have her surgery, but she is now “going through all the medical exams” in order to prepare for it.”
Same poop. Different pile.
Ireland is to legalise abortions when the mother’s life is at risk, including when she is suicidal, in an historic move expected to spark a major battle with the Roman Catholic church.
Ireland’s cabinet took the decision on Tuesday following a huge public outcry over the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman in October who died after her repeated requests for an abortion were refused while she was suffering a miscarriage.
The Irish government has decided to repeal legislation that makes abortion a criminal act and to introduce regulations setting out when doctors can perform an abortion when a woman’s life is regarded as being at risk, including by suicide.
Dr James Reilly, the Irish health minister, said that the government was aware of the controversy surrounding abortion.
“I know that most people have personal views on this matter. However, the government is committed to ensuring that the safety of pregnant women in Ireland is maintained and strengthened. We must fulfil our duty of care towards them,” he said.
“For that purpose, we will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman’s life. We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.”
Don’t Let Mitt Turn Back Time On Women (by SchlepLabs)
Cher and Kathy Griffin on Mitt’s efforts to turn back time on women in the latest video from the Actually… series. When lies go unchecked, we all lose. Actually.org spreads the truth, because the truth matters—even in politics. Our team calls ‘em like they see ‘em, and we hope you’ll support the truth by sharing Actually.org videos before Election Day.
Conservative Canadian politicians playing at being right-wing American politicians. Fortunately, their attempt at defining life as the moment of conception was stopped in its tracks — this time.
Betty Bowers Explains Abortion to Everyone Else (by MrsBettyBowers)
Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, takes a moment out of her busybody day, to settle once and for all America’s most contentious subject: abortion. This video may offend some. But, then again, the truth always does …
WASHINGTON — Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading anti-breast-cancer charity, has insisted that its since-reversed decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood arose from a routine change in criteria for grant eligibility that had nothing to do with abortion politics.
But a Komen insider told HuffPost on Sunday that Karen Handel, Komen’s staunchly anti-abortion vice president for public policy, was the main force behind the decision to defund Planned Parenthood and the attempt to make that decision look nonpolitical.
“Karen Handel was the prime instigator of this effort, and she herself personally came up with investigation criteria,” the source, who requested anonymity out of concern that speaking publicly would do irreparable harm to the source’s career, told HuffPost. “She said, ‘If we just say it’s about investigations, we can defund Planned Parenthood and no one can blame us for being political.’”
Emails between Komen leadership on the day the Planned Parenthood decision was announced, which were reviewed by HuffPost under the condition they not be published, confirm the source’s description of Handel’s sole “authority” in crafting and implementing the Planned Parenthood policy.
Handel’s strategy to cut off Planned Parenthood involved drafting new guidelines that would prevent Komen from funding any organization that was under investigation by local, state or federal authorities. Since Planned Parenthood is currently the target of a congressional inquiry prompted by House Republicans into the way it uses government funds, the family planning provider would have been immediately disqualified from receiving new Komen grants.
After the initial uproar when news of the decision broke, the story that Komen told the public was that the cut-off was unrelated to a political agenda against Planned Parenthood.
“While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a long-standing partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission,” the charity said in a statement this past Tuesday.
Americans United for Life and other pro-life groups have been pressuring Komen for years to cut ties with Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics offer abortions, even though none of Komen’s money was used toward abortion services. Handel’s internal strategy, the Komen source told HuffPost, was to exaggerate those attacks and use them to convince the leadership that funding Planned Parenthood was a political liability.
“Komen’s been dealing with the Planned Parenthood issue for years, and you know, some right-wing groups would organize a protest or send out a mailing every now and then, but it was on a low simmer,” the source said. “What Karen’s been doing for the past six months is ratcheting up the issue with leadership. Every time someone would even mention a protest, she would magnify it, pump it up, exaggerate it. She’s the one that kept driving this issue.”
Handel and Komen President Elizabeth Thompson didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The source said Handel submitted a final version of the new grant criteria to Komen leadership in November, and the board approved it in December, at which point Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, resigned “on the spot.”
“It was apparent to everyone in the organization that Karen was doing everything in her power to defund Planned Parenthood,” the source said, “and that’s why Mollie Williams quit.”
Williams has previously declined to comment on why she left, but she told National Journal that she respects the work of Planned Parenthood.
But the criteria did gain the support of Komen’s top executives and board. And in an interview with HuffPost, board member John D. Rafaelli, a Democratic lobbyist and a supporter of Planned Parenthood’s mission, took responsibility for the changes. As the only lobbyist on the board, he told HuffPost, he should have anticipated the political fallout.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it through well enough,” Rafaelli said. “We don’t want to be pro-choice or pro-life; we want to be pro-cure. We screwed up, I’m saying it. We failed to keep abortion out of this, and we owe the people in the middle who only care about breast cancer and who have raised money for us an apology.”
The backlash against Komen was intense, including threats of violence, angry letters from members of Congress and public rebukes from political figures such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The charity struggled to deal with the pressure, especially in a face-off against Planned Parenthood, an organization whose fine-tuned political team has experience in these high-pitched, high-stakes debates.
It was speculated that Komen founder Nancy Brinker hired her friend Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, to help her handle the crisis. But Fleischer told HuffPost that he had no part in guiding Komen’s strategy on this issue except to recommend an outside crisis management firm.
“It’s just sad for everybody concerned,” he said on Friday. “Komen is a great group, but politically speaking, they’re no match for Planned Parenthood.”
The Komen insider agreed with Fleischer’s assessment.
“Komen’s not equipped to spend its days fighting political battles,” the source said. “Abortion is not our issue, and I think [leadership] tried to finesse a way out of it, and this investigation criteria was the solution. And it blew up in their faces. They were just naive in the face of [the] incredibly sophisticated Planned Parenthood operation.”
Stunned by the fallout, Komen leadership decided within three days to reverse the Planned Parenthood decision and apologize. But the Komen insider said Handel was furious about the cave and fought against it up until the point that it was announced Friday morning.
“It became clear Thursday night that something had to give,” the source said. “Ambassador Brinker, Liz Thompson, the board, and leadership were saying, ‘We’re really worried about Komen’s mission if we don’t figure this out.’ But Karen was still arguing against it as of Friday morning — she was horrified that we were caving, she said. She’s politically tone-deaf.”
In light of the political damage and the abrupt reversal of the Planned Parenthood funding decision, pressure has mounted inside Komen for Handel to resign.
“Everybody in the organization wishes she would do the right thing,” the Komen insider said.
So far, Handel hasn’t indicated an intention to step down. Nor does it appear that she’s been formally asked to do so. But as a result of her efforts, Komen has been left reeling and its reputation as a top charity endangered.
“We’re under attack. We’re getting threats of violence,” the source said. “It’s devastating.”
Highly restrictive abortion laws do not lead to lower abortion rates, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. Globally, nations that have more restrictive abortion laws, like in Latin American and Africa, also see a higher number of unsafe abortions and deaths because of the unsafe procedures.
The chart below compares regional abortion rates to abortion policies and shows that women living under Western Europe’s liberal laws undergo fewer abortions than those in more restrictive countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia:
Additionally, while the worldwide abortion rate has dropped between 1995 and 2003, it stalled between 2003 and 2008. And nearly half of all abortions are unsafe. And the proportion of abortions that take place in the developing world, where 56 percent of unsafe abortions take place, increased between 1995 and 2008, from 78 percent to 86 percent because of the population growth in these countries.
Gilda Sedgh, a senior research associate that the Guttmacher Institute, said the increase was “cause for concern.” “The long-term decline in global abortion rates has stalled, at the same time that abortions are becoming concentrated in developing countries,” Sedgh said in a statement. “This plateau coincides with a slowdown in contraceptive uptake. Without greater investment in quality family planning services, we can expect the plateau to persist.” An estimated 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year, making up 13 percent of maternal deaths.
Despite these findings, the GOP presidential candidates pledged to restrict women’s access to both abortions and contraception during a pro-life presidential forum last night. Frontrunner Mitt Romney, who was not at the forum, has flirted with supporting a “personhood amendment” and has promised to adopt policies that restrict the availability of abortion coverage
Yet another state attack on women’s bodies. If men could get pregnant abortion clinics would be more common (and cheaper!) than McDonalds.
Byat 11:33 am
Yesterday afternoon, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed the state’s controversial sonogram bill into law. The bill passed the legislature earlier this month and will require doctors to perform a sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion and describe the fetus to the pregnant patient. The Senate sponsor of the bill, Dan Patrick (R) hailed it as “the beginning of the end for abortions,” and said he was so proud that “I may be inspired to wear my cowboy hat” when Perry signed the bill. House sponsor Sid Miller (R) correctly described it as “one of the strongest sonogram bills in the nation.” Facing the state’s worst budget crisis in modern history, Perry dubbed the sonogram bill an “emergency priority” that allowed the legislature to expedite its passage.
Effective Sept. 1, doctors must perform sonograms before abortions, must describe the presence of internal organs or limbs and must make the fetal heartbeat audible. […]
“Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy we all must work together to prevent, and I commend Rep. Miller and Sen. Patrick for their hard work on this significant legislation,” Perry said.
Meanwhile, the House recently voted to slash $61 million from the state’s family-planning budget, which estimates say will result in an additional 28,000 unwanted pregnancies and 13,000 births in the state every year. Two hundred teenage girls in Texas become pregnant every day.
Although the conservatives who control the House initially refused to include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and fetal abnormality in the bill, these narrow provisions were ultimately adopted in the final version. Women can choose or refuse to view images and hear the heartbeat of the fetus, but must sign a statement acknowledging the refusal before receiving the sonogram. These will likely be small comforts to the hundreds of thousands of Texas women who are now required by law to be lectured at before they can end a pregnancy.