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Hang this on your door for missionaries

Hang this on your door for missionaries

The changing face of choice
Tennessee Conservative Backed Bill Could Criminalize Natural Miscarriages

The Republican controlled Tennessee House has passed a bill that would criminalize harming an embryo, which is a group of cells that eventually forms into a fetus. Republicans say House Bill 3517 is meant to clarify an existing law that allows the prosecution of those who harm any fetus. But opponents of the bill claim that it could criminalize women who lose a pregnancy via natural miscarriage.

The Tennessean reports that Democratic Rep. Jeanne Richardson predicted that thebill could lead to the criminal prosecution of women who naturally miscarry, which according to the National Institutes of Health, around 50% of all fertilized eggs terminate naturally before reaching full term, and during the embryonic stage the rate of natural termination is higher.

‘Fetus’ is a term most often used after eight weeks of pregnancy. Before that, the term ‘embryo’ is used. By passing this bill, Republicans are trying to mandate that embryos can be victims of crime, which would basically define embryos as persons from the moment of conception. It’s a sneaky way to pass a personhood law. And since abortion is the unnatural termination of an embryo or fetus, the legislation could be used to prosecute women and doctors for murder. This bill IS an anti-abortion law that could scare women from getting an abortion and scare doctors from performing an abortion, even if an abortion is medically necessary. Women who are raped could also face prosecution for getting an abortion. But ultimately, this bill could give any law enforcement official the power to pursue criminal charges against women who naturally miscarry. And considering that many Republicans think miscarriage is murder, it’s not that far-fetched. Last February, Georgia Republican Bobby Franklin introduced a bill that would require investigations of natural miscarriages. If a miscarriage was found to be unnatural, a women could get the death penalty. That’s the direction Tennessee may be heading. So, if you are a woman who has a miscarriage and your nosy anti-abortion neighbor finds out and tells authorities, a conservative prosecutor who wants to score political points could invade your privacy and put you through a rigorous investigation to see if the miscarriage was indeed natural or not and could even have you arrested on the charge of murder because of the ambiguous nature of the bill’s language.

Tennessee Republicans have already tried to mandate that the names and information of doctors who provide abortions be publicized. That law would have outed not only the doctors, but the women they serve as well. Clearly, Tennessee Republicans are seeking to be the most anti-abortion conservative state in the nation. This is yet another shot fired by Republicans in their war against women.

From: Addicting Info

Original Article

Due to new Regulations, Wisconsin Planned Parenthood will stop offering Medical Abortions Immediately

Due to new regulations on medical and webcam abortions,Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin will stop offering medical abortions.  According to Planned Parenthood, the new legal regulations make administrating RU-486 so troublesome that they no longer feel comfortable providing the service.

The Coercive and Webcam Abortion Prevention Act (Act 217) is said to address the concerns of women by providing a doctor’s presence during the procedure and making frequent checks on her during the process to insure no one coerced her into the abortion.

The new regulation also bans telemed abortions.  With a telemed abortion, the woman sees a doctor via webcam, instead of in person.  Telemed services are generally provided for women who visit clinics in rural areas, but no clinic in the state uses the service.

The bill also requires the doctor to see the patient within 12 to 18 days after the abortion.  ru-486The woman can chose not to accept the after care visit, but if the doctor does not see her, s/he could face a Class 1 felony charge, with a fine of $10,000 and/or 3 ½ years in prison.  The patient, who refuses, faces no penalty.

Huyck called the law “vague” and “problematic.” She said the agency will be suspending medication abortions “until we can get more clarity.”

"It’s very difficult for a physician to know when he or she is compliance with the law," Huyck said.

Medical Society President Dr. Tosha Wetterneck said the law is an “unprecedented intrusion into the patient-doctor relationship” and requires doctors to follow procedures that are not considered to be the best medical practices.

The new law also requires that no one, but the doctor, patient, and staff, be in the room while discussing whether or not someone is coercing her into the abortion, despite some women needing someone with them to understand the procedure.

"We are asking doctors to reduce their quality of care to avoid felony charges," [Wetterneck] said.

The Republican sponsored bill passed with a 60-33 vote, with mostly Republicans voting in favour of it and 17-15 voting in favour of it in the Senate.

It is among a series of measures passed in the last legislative session targeting abortion, sexual education and Planned Parenthood.

The state has eliminated all state funding to Planned Parenthood to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraception and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Wisconsin also has banned privately paid insurance plans offered under government-arranged health insurance exchanges from covering the cost of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or if a mother’s life is at stake. Currently no state or federal funding can be used for abortions.

Original Article

Oklahoma “personhood” bill fails in Legislature

(Reuters) - A proposed ‘personhood’ law in Oklahoma that would grant embryos full rights as people from the moment of conception failed in the state’s Legislature without coming to a vote in the House of Representatives, lawmakers said on Thursday.

[caption id=”attachment_560” align=”alignleft” width=”460” caption=”One woman expresses her distaste for the bill”]One woman expresses her distaste for the bill[/caption]

The bill, which backers hoped would provide a path to roll back the constitutional right to an abortion, had sailed through the Oklahoma Senate in February by a 34-8 vote. Many thought the Republican-dominated House would rubber-stamp the bill.

But Republican lawmaker Sally Kern said the measure failed before reaching the floor of the House.

Republicans have a majority in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, and Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who opposes abortion, had been expected to sign the bill into law.

Missouri is the only state so far with such a “personhood” law on its books establishing legal rights for embryos, although similar initiatives have been proposed in a handful of states.

They include last autumn’s failed attempt in Mississippi to enact a personhood amendment to the state constitution and a similar proposal in Virginia that was put on hold by the Legislature until next year.

While the Oklahoma personhood bill did not expressly bar abortion, abortion-rights advocates have said there was nothing to stop hospital administrators or local law enforcement agencies from restricting or criminalizing abortions under such a law.

If an embryo has full legal rights, abortion would represent murder. The bill, which had been amended nearly two dozen times in committee, did not carve out exceptions for rape or incest.

"Personhood proposals are dangerous," said Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice.

She said she was gratified the personhood bill was killed, saying the legislation would threaten commonly used contraceptives, fertility treatments and other medical procedures.

The bill did say that nothing in the law would bar the use of in-vitro fertilization or interfere with the disposal of unused embryos or their use in stem cell research. Nor would the bill have barred contraception measures such as the “morning-after” pill or treatment for ectopic pregnancies, in which the pregnancy occurs outside the womb.

The bill, like personhood measures in other states, has been controversial within the anti-abortion camp, with some fearing the strategy could backfire by provoking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down.

Read more: Reuters

Original Article

reconsider birth control

reconsider birth control

Why reproductive health is a civil rights issue

The Guardian reports:

The recently declared “war on women” or “war on religious freedom” – depending on which side of the political aisle you find yourself – is the most recent issue du jour, but the challenge with focusing on the politics of women’s health is that it tends to mask what’s really going on in America, right now. There is, in fact, a war on women – and it’s not a political question; it’s a civil rights issue.

[caption id=”attachment_358” align=”aligncenter” width=”460” caption=”Planned Parenthood supporters at a rally in Indiana. Photograph: Alan Petersime/AP”]Planned Parenthood supporters at a rally in Indiana. Photograph: Alan Petersime/AP[/caption]

This is something more than an esoteric issue for me, personally. I am the very lucky father of a baby daughter; but this summer, when my wife and I were expecting, we were hit with a troubling, potentially devastating piece of news: genetic, pre-natal testing had discovered an elevated risk that our child had a genetic disorder – one that in our moral universe would have given us little choice but to consider terminating the pregnancy.

Luckily, everything worked out fine and our daughter is a healthy and happy three-month-old. But what if the news had not been so good; what if, as parents desperate for a child, we had been forced to end the pregnancy. It would have been a horrible and traumatic decision.

In the state of Texas, however, under a law passed last year, it would have been even worse. As the reporter Carolyn Jones wrote about recently in the Texas Observer, we would have been subjected to something akin to emotional torture. Under the provisions of the new law, all women who want to have an abortion are forced to wait 24 hours before they undergo the procedure. No exceptions.

Jones, whose fetus was diagnosed with a genetic disorder and who was terminating her pregnancy, was obliged, under Texas law, to undergo a sonogram, to listen to a doctor describe her afflicted fetus, and to have explained the health dangers of having an abortion. While a woman with an “irreversible abnormality” would be subjected to all the law’s provisions, only in rare circumstances (such as rape and incest, or involving minors) are a doctor’s legal obligations waived. Thus, the vast majority of Texas women, including those without a partner or a support network, and regardless of their reason for seeking an abortion, are to be subjected to these onerous requirements – in order to have a medical procedure that is legal in the United States.

To be sure, since the landmark US supreme court decision in 1973 that legalised abortion, there have been unceasing efforts to restrict the full expression of abortion rights. Abortion providers have been harassed, threatened ands in some cases, murdered. State legislatures have nibbled away at abortion rights – waiting periods here, partial birth bansthere – but nothing like what we’ve seen over the past year. The Texas law is very much at pace with these developments.

According to Elizabeth Nash, who tracks reproductive health issues at the Guttmacher Institute, it has been a record-setting year with highest number of abortion restrictions proposed and enacted in recent memory. In a usual year, says Nash, 900-1,000 bills on reproductive health are introduced in state legislatures relating to reproductive health. Half of these deal with abortion restrictions. Last year, 1,100 pieces of legislation were proposed, and more than 600 would seek to further restrict abortion rights.

As a result, last year alone, 92 anti-choice proposals became law; the next highest total was 35 in 2005. It is said Nash, “a free-for-all on abortion”. Moreover, the types of law that are being proposed are more intrusive and demeaning to women then anything seen in recent years.

"Ten years ago, you would never have seen a bill mandating ultrasounds," said Nash. "Now, it is seen as a typical abortion bill. Same in provisions around medicated abortions."

In Virginia and Idaho, bills that would have required invasive, transvaginal ultrasounds for all pregnant women were stopped; but in Pennsylvania, this legislation is still pending.

While these abortion provisions are concerning, what’s important to understand is that this is only one part of the assault on women’s rights. The more insidious shift is the growing attack on birth control. Since the 1965 supreme court decision, Griswold v Connecticut, which fully legalised birth control, the use of contraception has been widely-settled law. Today, approximately 99% of American women use some form of birth control.

But this year, ten states have sought to place restrictions on birth control usage. The most onerous is perhaps the (recently defeated) legislation in Arizona that would force women to explain to their employers or insurers why they sought to have their insurance plans pay for contraception services.

Michelle Goldberg, author of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World, drew parallels for me with what she called the “unprecedented attacks” on Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides healthcare services to millions of women. Because PP performs a small percentage of abortions, however, it has recently become a favorite target of conservative and anti-choice politicians. Mitt Romney has spoken of ending federal support for the group. In Texas, conservative Republicans were so desperate to end support for the organization that they passed a law forbidding the group’s participation in Texas’ Medicaid women’s health program.

Since federal law prohibits states from discriminating among family-planning providers, the move had the effect of ending federal funding for the program, which supplied 90% of its financial support. This is happening at a time when Texas, like most American states, finds itself increasingly cash-strapped. The pernicious outcome of this decision is that 130,000 low-income women will find it much harder to receive access to the cancer screenings, contraceptive services and basic healthcare that Planned Parenthood has long provided.

In general, however, the attacks on birth control have shown an uglier side to the debate over women’s health in America. It’s one thing to voice moral qualms over abortion; it’s quite another to seek legislative means to punish women for the use of birth control, or to use attacks on abortion to curtail women’s access to basic health services. It’s small wonder that recent public opinion suggests President Obama has reaped significant political benefit from this latest political imbroglio, with new numbers that suggests he is now trouncing his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, by 18 points among female voters

Read more: The Guardian

Original Article

Huffington Post reports:

A small bomb exploded outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wis., on Sunday night, and police are investigating to learn who planted the device.

Planned Parenthood Logo

Planned Parenthood Logo

According to WGBA-TV, police fire crews found the homemade explosive outside a window sill that they believe had set off a small fire, which burned out before fire crews arrived. The building sustained a small amount of damage.

The FBI has joined with the local police department to investigate the bombing. Leonard Peace, a spokesman for the FBI’s Milwaukee Division, told The Huffington Post that the agency was notified of the incident on Sunday evening and initiated an investigation on Monday.

“The information that I have is that an unknown suspect placed a device at that location last evening, approximately 7:30 p.m.,” Peace said. “The device caused minimal fire damage to the facility. At this point in time, we’re reviewing the evidence to determine exactly what type of device it was.”

Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson told the Appleton Post Crescent that the bomb was made out of a plastic bottle and chemicals and “included agents of an incendiary quality.” He added that he had not heard of any threats to the clinic prior to Sunday’s incident.

Planned Parenthood has 27 health centers in Wisconsin, and three of them, including the clinic that was bombed, offer abortion services. The fire from the bomb caused minimal damage to one of the exam rooms in the clinic, which is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, said Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.


According to the most recent statistics from the National Abortion Federation, there were 114 violent attacks against abortion providers in 2011, including three physical assaults, one bombing, one incident of arson, 27 counts of vandalism and eight burglaries.


Read More: Huffington Post

double standard?

double standard?

One woman takes a stand

One woman takes a stand