Secular Right | Reality & Reason

TAG | abortion

Feb/13

23

Making Friends and Influencing People

Travis HoldmanThe Indianapolis Star reports:

Women obtaining an abortion-inducing drug would be required to undergo an ultrasound before and after taking the drug under a bill approved Wednesday by an Indiana Senate committee.

Though the bill doesn’t specify that it be a transvaginal ultrasound, in which a several-inch-long probe is inserted in the woman, that’s exactly what Indiana would be requiring, said Dr. John Stuts­man, an Indiana University School of Medicine professor and obstetrician-gynecologist.

The provision is included in Senate Bill 371, which also would require any clinic that dispenses the drug — known as RU-486 — to meet the same requirements as a clinic that performs surgical abortions, though physicians’ offices would be exempt.

Those requirements, opponents say, potentially would force the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette to close. That clinic offers the abortion pill but does not perform surgical abortions. If the bill passes, the clinic would have to widen hallways and doorways to meet state specifications for surgery and install anesthesia, surgical and sterilization equipment.

Sen. Travis Holdman, the Markle Republican who authored the bill, said the measure is intended to ensure women’s safety. Pushing back against senators who questioned why the heightened standards applied only to RU-486 and not to other prescription medicines dispensed in clinics, Holdman said abortion is different…

And yes, that’s a non-sequitur.

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Nov/12

8

Heckuva Job, Akin

Medieval obstetrics expert Congressman Todd Akin crashed to humiliating defeat in his attempt to unseat Missouri’s Senataor Claire McCaskill.

The Washington Post reports:

McCaskill had 54.7 percent of the vote, Akin 39.2 percent and the Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine 6.1 percent…

By staying in the race this grotesquely selfish man threw away what should have been a GOP senate gain and, while he was at it, further tarnished a Republican national campaign already scarred by the earlier success of Rick Santorum.

What a disgrace.

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Aug/12

29

A Question of Timing

Via Opposing Views:

The ‘Woman’s Health and Safety Act’ signed into law by Arizona Governor Jen Brewer in April goes into effect this month.

The law calculates a woman’s pregnancy as starting the very first day of the last menstrual period, reports the Daily Beast, which could be two weeks before the actual conception.

Women usually ovulate [and conceive] two weeks after the start of their last period. By saying that pregnancy starts two weeks before conception, Arizona’s new law narrows the window in which a woman can get an abortion…

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Aug/12

24

The Science of Akin

From the Guardian, one possible theory for the source of Akin’s idiot ‘science’:

The idea that rape victims cannot get pregnant has long roots. The legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape appears to have been instituted in the UK sometime in the 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, has a clause in the first book of the second volume stating that:

“If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

This was a long-lived legal argument. Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence contained the same idea as late as 1814:

“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant.”

This “absolute rape” is not quite the same as Akin’s “legitimate rape”. Akin seems to be suggesting that the body suppresses conception or causes a miscarriage, while the earlier idea of Farr relates specifically to the importance of orgasm. Through the medieval and early modern period it was widely thought, by lay people as well as doctors, that women could only conceive if they had an orgasm.

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Aug/12

20

Biter Bit

Anthony Davies and Kristina Antolin, writing in the WSJ:

The bishops dance with the devil when they invite government to use its coercive power on their behalf, and there’s no clearer example than the Affordable Care Act. They happily joined their moral authority to the government’s legal authority by supporting mandatory health insurance. They should not have been surprised when the government used its reinforced power to require Catholic institutions to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions and birth control.

No they should not.

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Aug/12

20

Junk Science Watch

Todd Akin lends an assist to the Democrats (the New York Times reports):

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.

In a senate already filled with clowns, Akin would fit right in. But I doubt that he’ll get the chance.

Obama must be laughing.

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Jun/12

16

“Offensive”

Via Detroit News:

Lansing – House Republicans prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech Wednesday against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.

Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs and that abortions be allowed in cases where it is required to save the life of the mother.

“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’” Brown said Wednesday.

Brown’s comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn’t allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.

“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

It rarely fails does it? The moment that some public figure starts jabbering on about something that he or she finds “offensive”, an attack on free speech is never far behind.

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Feb/12

19

Tests

Via CBS:

[Santorum] lambasted the president’s health care law requiring insurance policies to include free prenatal testing, “because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”

On the other hand Santorum probably does approve of the prenatal testing discussed by David Frum here:

…It is the Obama administration that is winning the communications war. Republicans blame the media. OK, maybe. But then Republicans do things like this in the state of Virginia:

HB 462 Abortion; informed consent, shall undergo ultrasound imaging.

“Abortion; informed consent. Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestation age, every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion. The medical professional performing the ultrasound must obtain written certification from the woman that the opportunity was offered and whether the woman availed herself of the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat. A copy of the ultrasound and the written certification shall be maintained in the woman’s medical records at the facility where the abortion is to be performed. This bill incorporates HB 261.”

The ABC news report on the Virginia bill explains:

“The ultrasound legislation would constitute an unprecedented government mandate to insert vaginal ultrasonic probes into women as part of a state-ordered effort to dissuade them from terminating pregnancies, legislative opponents noted.”

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Jan/12

28

“A Gift in a Very Broken Way”

Via Think Progress (I know, I know), here’s Rick Santorum explaining why a woman left pregnant should be compelled to give birth:

Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

We”?

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In a mildly encouraging development (and one that follows a somewhat similar case concerning politicians playing doctor, but in New York) a federal judge has blocked at least part of the new Texas sonogram law. Over at the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen has the details:

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key provisions of Texas’ new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.

The law is an example of Big Government Conservatism at its most offensive. To hear Republicans tell it, the GOP’s line on health care is straightforward: the party wants government to steer clear of the doctor-patient relationship, and certainly has no use for bureaucrats making medical decisions and imposing care instructions based on some kind of ideological agenda. For that matter, it’s important, Republicans say, for politicians to appreciate growing health care costs, and not mandate unnecessary medical procedures.

The Republicans’ sonogram measure in Texas ignores all of those principles, forcing government into the examination room and empowering state officials to make a medical decision, while imposing care instructions based on an ideological agenda.

Indeed, under this Texas law, women would not only have to receive a sonogram whether it’s medically necessary or not, but medical professionals would be forced to tell their patients, against their will, what Republican policymakers want the patients to hear. Doctors who refused could face criminal penalties and the revocation of their medical license.

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