Tag Archive: Abortion

Oct 26 2016

Let Me Explain: Partial Birth Abortion Does NOT Exist

During the final debate, there was a discussion about abortion that took a mythical and ugly turn when Donald Trump claimed that women can abort a pregnancy in the ninth month. As a medical professional let me say this – that does not happen. Nor is there any procedure called a partial birth abortion, a …

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Jun 28 2016

The New Roe v Wade

In a 5-3 decision yesterday the United States Supreme Court affirmed the right of a woman to safe abortion. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (pdf) may well be the most significant ruling since Roe v Wade in 1973. Writing for a 5-3 majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the two Texas laws at issue in the …

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Feb 23 2016

Beware of Republicans Bearing Gifts

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio  Governor John Kasich, has been trying to present himself to the electorate as the reasonable, moderate choice in the GOP clown car. His stands on immigration and his acceptance of the Affordable Care Act for Ohioans are nearly the polar opposite of the stands taken by his fellow travelers. His soft …

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Jun 30 2015

SCOTUS Puts Hold on Closing Texas Abortion Clinics

In a late announcement Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court stayed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which imposed limits on a woman’s right to choose. In a 5 -4 decision, the court allows Texas abortion clinics to remain open.

The Supreme Court issued a brief, two paragraph order (pdf) on Monday permitting Texas abortion clinics that are endangered by state law requiring them to comply with onerous regulations or else shut down to remain open. The order stays a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which imposed broad limits on the women’s right to choose an abortion within that circuit.

The Court’s order is temporary and offers no direct insight into how the Court will decide this case on the merits. It provides that the clinics’ application for a stay of the Fifth Circuit’s decision is granted “pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition” asking the Court to review the case on the merits. The Court adds that, should this petition be denied, the stay will automatically terminate. Otherwise, the stay “shall terminate upon the issuance of the judgment of this Court.”

Justce Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal judges to grant the clinics a reprieve. The court has yet to decide if they will hear arguments in the case in the fall.

May 15 2015

The GOP’s Continued Assault on Women’s Reproductive Rights

If by further restricting access to abortion and birth control, the Republican Party thinks that they will win over women, they need to think again.

House Approves Revised Measure Banning Most Abortions After 20 Weeks

The House on Wednesday voted to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, approving a revised version of a bill that Republican leaders had abruptly pulled in January amid objections from some of their own members.

The measure passed in a 242-to-184 vote, with one member voting present. The bill dropped a provision in the original version that would have required women who became pregnant through rape to report their assault to law enforcement authorities to be eligible for an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Under the new bill, such women would have to receive counseling or medical treatment at least 48 hours before having an abortion. In cases involving minors, abortion providers would have to alert the authorities for the girls’ protection, it says. The bill, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would also make it easier to sue a noncompliant abortion provider. [..]

Representatives Diana DeGette of Colorado and Louise M. Slaughter of New York, Democrats who are the chairwomen of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, said the bill was another attempt by Republicans to erect barriers to medical care for women.

Prohibiting most abortions 20 weeks after fertilization would run counter to the Supreme Court’s standard of fetal viability, which is generally put at 22 to 24 weeks after fertilization.

House votes to strike down D.C. law banning reproductive discrimination

divided House of Representatives voted along party lines late Thursday to strike down a D.C. law on ideological grounds for the first time in almost 35 years.

Republican opponents of the measure, which bans discrimination over employees’ reproductive decisions, said it constituted a liberal attack on antiabortion groups in the nation’s capital.

The effort, begun by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the days before he launched his presidential campaign, sparked a fierce debate on the floor of the House late Thursday, with Democrats blasting the Republican move as an outrageous infringement on women’s reproductive rights and privacy. [..]

Citing the strong convictions of many House Republicans about the D.C. measure, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) brought the issue to a vote on the floor even though Senate action on a companion measure would not come in time to stop the D.C. bill from becoming law next week.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow discussed with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) the recent chair of the Pro-choice Caucus in the House, talks with Rachel Maddow about the recent spate of anti-abortion and anti-contraception legislation from both state and national Republicans, including in cases of rape and incest.

Fortunately, most of these bills coming from the House will go no where but many of the ones being passes in states whose legislatures are controlled by Republicans will.

Nov 09 2014

Ripping the Pages Out of Text Books

In October, just before the election, the Gilbert Arizona school board voted to remove pages on contraception from the honors biology test book used used in its high school.

Gilbert Public Schools will “edit” a high-school honors biology textbook after school-board members agreed that it does not align with state regulations on how abortion is to be presented to public-school students.

Board members, backed by a conservative religious group, voted 3-2 to make the change, arguing that they are complying with a 2-year-old state law that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.”

Board President Staci Burk said she believes the district is likely the first in Arizona with plans to edit a book under the law.Gilbert Public Schools will “edit” a high-school honors biology textbook after school-board members agreed that it does not align with state regulations on how abortion is to be presented to public-school students.

Board members, backed by a conservative religious group, voted 3-2 to make the change, arguing that they are complying with a 2-year-old state law that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.”

Board President Staci Burk said she believes the district is likely the first in Arizona with plans to edit a book under the law.

That plan was aborted on election day when the people of this conservative Phoenix suburb decided to ax the page ripping majority.

So here’s one more bit of Election Nice Time: turns out that even in hyper-conservative Gilbert, Arizona, a bedroom community to the Phoenix metro horrorplex, it is in fact possible for a conservative school board to go to far. And it looks like the Gilbert School Board’s decision last week to razor out a page from an Honors Biology textbook in the high school – because it mentions the abortion pill – is what counts as too far: the good people of Gilbert elected two new members and reelected an anti-censorship member, replacing the Tea Party-leaning majority on the board with a new majority that is firmly against slicing out a page from a biology textbook out of fear that high schoolers will learn that abortion exists. There were other tensions between the board and the community, too, but the textbook censorship seems to have been the last straw.

Textbook tearing crosses line for even reddest voters

Rachel Maddow reports that the school board that voted to tear out pages from the honors biology textbook to remove mentions of abortion has lost its tea party majority, leaving the censorship plan in question. ArizonaHonorsBiology.com remains, just in case.

Jul 13 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Misogyny and Capitalism

Recent Supreme Court rulings highlight the persistent presence of misogyny in the US.

Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, expressed her anger over the Supreme Court’s message that “women are second-class citizens, not capable of making our healthcare decisions without the interference of our bosses and complete strangers on the street,” and she encouraged the crowd to send a message back.

This was the most striking language in the buffer zone ruling, to me:

petitioners are not protestors; they seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to engage in personal, caring, consensual conversations with women about various alternatives.

Unbidden strangers given the rights of “counselor.” Since when is anyone who wants to talk to me considered my counselor? Why is the word “consensual” in that sentence? Patients haven’t consented to this counseling. They are hounded by it. This kind of distortion of someone’s behavior and giving it a title which then affords them rights, when they are really just harassing people would never happen if the recipients of said counseling were white males. Where is the autonomy of the woman in this interaction? This is codified misogyny.

In a country which claims to be “democratic” and to believe in “liberty”, how is it that autonomy is not fully respected for all people?

It would seem that something overrides our belief in the respect of the individual which should be inherent to a democracy and our commitment to privacy when it comes to personal liberty. Could that be capitalism?

Will you join me for an exploration of the linkages between capitalism and misogyny?

Jan 20 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Struggle Continues … 41 years after Roe and Doe by NY Brit Expat

We are coming up to the 41st anniversary of Roe vs Wade and Doe vs Bolton.  A couple of days ago, I received an email from the Center for Reproductive Rights entitled “Victory in North Carolina” saying that a federal judge (Catherine Eagles) struck down the North Carolina law forcing physicians to give an intravaginal ultrasound and discuss it with patients seeking an abortion (see for further discussion: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2014/0118/North-Carolina-forced-ultrasound-law-struck-down-on-First-Amendment-grounds). This was seen as a victory. In the most obvious and narrow definition of the word, i.e., the defeat of the bill, it was a victory. However, the fact that we are facing increasing attacks on the ability of accessing a constitutional right 41 years after its being granted cannot be seen as a victory, it is demonstrable proof that patriarchy is still extremely powerful and has no intention of giving up the fight to control women’s bodies. Essentially, we are fighting a defensive struggle against an ideological perspective of divide and rule called patriarchy which can bring religion, power, and money to maintain male hegemony in the societies in which we live. That does not mean that all men are our enemies, we have many male allies in this struggle; but we need to recognise that this ideological perspective still exists and is not going to go quietly into the night. It also means that in order to address women’s liberation truly, we cannot concentrate on issues, but rather the general issue that is at stake.

Abortion rights must be addressed in the context of the general struggle for women’s liberation containing both the oppression of race and gender and class exploitation. That is the struggle that affects the majority of women worldwide. This is not to say that everyone must address every issue, but we must always keep the general picture in mind when we struggle on separate issues. Struggling to maintain Roe v Wade is necessary, but it is insufficient given the Hyde Amendment. Struggling for reproductive rights without recognising the general oppression of women means that that the issues that affect the majority of women remain in place. Non-recognition of the different histories of women of colour due to colonialism and racism means again that the voices of all women will be ignored.

Thanks to Elise Hendrick for comments on an earlier draft!

Aug 27 2012

Marxist Economic Analysis of the War on Women by GeminiJen

Today is the anniversary of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote in the United States in 1920.  While revolutionary socialist feminists see the suffrage movement as a “reform” within the capitalist structure, even we can’t help feeling the surge of sisterhood as we hit the streets today to celebrate this essential “reform.”  The continued and growing gender gap in voting shows that women realize and continue to use this reform to our political advantage.  And the outpouring of women in the streets in the past two years brings a renewed visibility and welcome energy to the grassroots fight for the complete liberation of women.  And yet…

Why didn’t we fight back sooner? We have to question why this new swell in the women’s movement has occurred only after the attacks against established women’s rights have been so successful.  We have to question why we allowed these attacks on our rights and did not challenge the increasing invisibility of women since the height of the women’s movement in the mid 1970s.  

The underlying systemic cause of women’s exploitation:

I will argue that there are underlying objective biological conditions (of which we are all aware) that led to the oppression and exploitation of women: and, further,  that we have too frequently ignored these underlying systemic and objective causes because they appear to be too overwhelming to address.

First and foremost, women, are still the biological producers of the next generation of the workers who produce society’s wealth. Ever since men first discovered that their sperm had something to do with procreation, men in all societies  have been trying to dominate and  control the reproductive functions of women in an effort to control society’s wealth.

Second, in the current capitalist society in which we live, there is a need for the capitalist to keep the cost of reproducing the next generation of labor out of the market system because it makes it impossible to get the profits necessary to keep the capitalist owners in riches and the capitalist system going.

These systemic economic conditions of women as exploited, unpaid reproductive labor are never discussed in the current feminist and progressive responses to specific assaults on women’s rights such as the  debates over   “legitimate” rape or whether the rights of the zygote supercede the rights of full grown human women in the fight over abortion.

Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. In The Origin of the  Family, Private Property and the State (1884), Engels analyzes the origin of the family as the institution in which males systemically dominate and control the reproduction of the next generation of workers. Women are the “property,” owned by men, through which this reproduction could occur.

Apr 20 2012

The Faux Wars According to Fox

When is a war not war? According to Fox News, it’s when it involves women. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart did a pithy take down of the Fox Faux pout-rage that has attracted the ire of Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who has his rosary in a knot, declaring a war on Jon Stewart. If it’s as successful as The National Organization for Marriage’s boycott of Starbuck’s for its support of marriage equality, it will probably result in a ratings spike for The Daily Show.

Warning: Video contains Adult Material that some may fond offensive.  

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