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Archive for the ‘abortion’ Category

You might want to sign this petition

Posted by Charles II on October 16, 2014

I hate liars. From Luke Brinker of Salon:

Debate moderater Kyle Clark to GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner] “So let’s instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgment more broadly,” Clark said. “It would seem that a charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you’re wrong and a less charitable interpretation is that you’re not telling us the truth. Which is it?”

Petition to Denver Post to retract endorsement of crackpot Cory Gardner against sane person Mark Udall.

Posted in abortion, abuse of power, hypocrites, liars, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off on You might want to sign this petition

Religion notes. Francis on atheists, Christian Right formed over taxes, rightist Frenchman bloodies the altar

Posted by Charles II on May 22, 2013

The most interesting story is by Sarah Posner in the Guardian:

For anyone who knows the history of the religious right, the possible revocation of tax-exempt status for claimed religious belief is a potent flashpoint. In his book, Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament, religion historian Randall Balmer argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, which Balmar calls the “abortion myth”, evangelical voters were not propelled to political activism by the supreme court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade.

Instead, the issue that mobilized these voters was the IRS’s 1975 revocation of the tax-exempt status of the segregationist Bob Jones University. Rightwing religious architect Paul Weyrich told Balmer that it was “the federal government’s moves against Christian schools” that actually “enraged the Christian community”.

Give us our goodies or we’ll take over the government. [More at Daily Kos]

This is relevant because the right’s latest hissy fit comes from our…eh…friendCong. Aaron Schock, who is claiming the IRS targeted antabortion groups over their prayers. Posner notes:

Questioning anti-abortion groups – even the content of their prayers – could very likely have been aimed at determining whether these groups engaged in activities outside abortion clinics that ran afoul of the law. Because of the history of abortion clinic violence by those claiming a religious imperative, the IRS could have been attempting to determine whether the groups’ activities were in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (Face), a 1994 law which prohibits the use of force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate or interfere with someone’s access to or provision of reproductive health services.

The coolest story is this one, from Reuters:

Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis has said in his latest urging that people of all religions, and none, work together.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning mass at his residence, a daily event at which he speaks without prepared comments.

He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.

I’m glad to hear this from a Pope. After all, who is doing what Jesus wants? A person who denies God but feeds the poor, or someone who spends all their time in church and never does a good deed?

Speaking of people who spend their time in church but don’t do good deeds, I have to wonder what God is thinking about this fellow (from Kim Wilsher, The Guardian):

Dominique Venner, 78, a far-right essayist and historian took his life in front of the altar at Notre Dame on Tuesday after writing a blog condemning France’s recently passed law allowing same-sex marriage and adoption.

The cathedral was evacuated after Venner walked into the building with tourists at about 4pm, placed a letter on the altar, then shot himself through the mouth. Hundreds of visitors were evacuated.

Afterwards, Le Pen, head of the far-right Front National, tweeted her “respect” for Venner and said his death was an “eminently political” gesture.

Before killing himself Venner sent a letter to friends saying he was in good health in body and in mind, was filled with love for his wife and children, and loved life.

He had written: “I expect nothing more from life except the continuation of my race and my spirit. However, at this, in the evening of that life and in the face of immense dangers for my French and European heritage, I feel the need to act, while I still have the force. I believe it is necessary to sacrifice myself to break the lethargy that oppresses us. I offer what remains of my life in an act of protest.”

Venner said he chose Notre-Dame as a “symbolic place … which recalls our immortal origins”; the reason for his suicide would be evident from his recent writings.

The historian had described France’s same-sex marriage bill, known as the “marriage for all” law, as vile. It passed into the statute books on Saturday after months of furious and often ferocious debate, protest and violence.

Venner was a former member of the Secret Army Organisation, which opposed Algerian independence in the early 1960s and waged a terror campaign against Charles de Gaulle’s government.

I can imagine an awkward conversation, beginning with “Dominique, what was it about ‘Thou shalt not kill” that was so hard to understand?”
Added: An important primer on Opus Dei in Latin America I wanted to link, which describes the interference of Opus Dei, presumably in the form of Cardinal Maradiaga, in preventing emergency contraception.

Posted in abortion, Pope Francis, religion, rightwing moral cripples, taxes | 2 Comments »

Williston, North Dakota: America’s GOP-Dominated Rape Capital?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 2, 2013

Move over, Alaska — you’ve got competition in the “Worst Place for a Woman in America” department:

For North Dakota women, the booming state is becoming a dystopian nightmare rather than a job seeker’s utopian paradise. Rapes and assaults have multiplied in frequency at an alarming rate and Williston has begun to resemble more a 19th century Wild West town than a modern twenty-first century city. With a rate of over one hundred rapes per 100,000 residents, Williston now has a rape rate that is nearly four times the national average. A woman in Williston, North Dakota is four times more likely to report being forcibly raped than a woman living in Los Angeles and over seven times more likely than a woman residing in New York City. Williston’s per capita rape rate is higher than that of any of the 214 US cities with a population of over 100,000 residents, including Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans, cities usually regarded as among the nation’s most dangerous places.

At a time when Williston North Dakota is fighting for the dubious title of “rape capital” of North America, the state’s Republican dominated legislature and Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple have teamed up to pass the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, which would ban abortions even in the case of rape or incest after just six weeks of pregnancy (a standard that is set so early that many women are not yet aware they are pregnant). Both the state house and state senate have also passed a resolution calling for a fetal personhood amendment that if approved by voters, would ban all abortions and possibly even most forms of contraception in the state altogether in 2014. Again, no exceptions are allowed for cases involving rape, incest or if the life of the woman is endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term. In a state where rape is on the rise, lawmakers have essentially decided that rape victims must be compelled to carry their pregnancy to term and to give birth to the rapist’s baby.

I think I’ll pass, thanks.

Posted in abortion | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Pro-life and Pro-Choice

Posted by Charles II on October 5, 2012

(Via ThinkProgress) JF Peipert et al., Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10/3/12

METHODS: We enrolled 9,256 adolescents and women at risk for unintended pregnancy into the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a prospective cohort study of adolescents and women desiring reversible contraceptive methods. Participants were recruited from the two abortion facilities in the St. Louis region and through provider referral, advertisements, and word of mouth. Contraceptive counseling included all reversible methods but emphasized the superior effectiveness of LARC methods (IUDs and implants). All participants received the reversible contraceptive method of their choice at no cost. We analyzed abortion rates, the percentage of abortions that were repeat abortions, and teenage births.

RESULTS: We observed a significant reduction in the percentage of abortions that were repeat abortions in the St. Louis region compared with Kansas City and nonmetropolitan Missouri (P<.001). Abortion rates in the CHOICE cohort were less than half the regional and national rates (P<.001). The rate of teenage birth within the CHOICE cohort was 6.3 per 1,000, compared with the U.S. rate of 34.3 per 1,000.

CONCLUSION: We noted a clinically and statistically significant reduction in abortion rates, repeat abortions, and teenage birth rates. Unintended pregnancies may be reduced by providing no-cost contraception and promoting the most effective contraceptive methods.
(emphasis added)

Before you file this under “Duh,” consider: one cannot be genuinely pro-life without being firmly pro-choice. Children who are chosen are desired, loved, and nurtured. Giving women the ability to choose when to have children means that the life they eventually bring into the world will be valued.

For some reason, the Catholic bishops have expended a great deal of energy in opposing the Affordable Care Act, which gives women the ability to choose, and thereby guaranteed more abortions and/or more unwanted children.

Posted in abortion | 4 Comments »

War on women? What war on women?

Posted by Charles II on August 11, 2012

Laura Bassett, HuffPo:

Despite Mitt Romney’s efforts to court women voters ahead of November, he chose a running mate who is far outside the mainstream on women’s health issues. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cosponsored a bill that would give fetuses full personhood rights from the moment of fertilization, which was even rejected by voters in the socially conservative state of Mississippi. He voted to defund federal family planning programs, authored a budget that dismantles Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, all of which disproportionately aid and employ women, and voted multiple times to prevent women in the military from using their own money to pay for abortions at military hospitals.

Ryan also supported a highly controversial bill that Democrats nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act,” which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life is on the line.

Of course, Romney also endorsed the Personhood Amendment, has attacked Planned Parenthood, etc., so he’s chosen a running mate who is pretty much in synch with him and Bizarro World. As Rachel says, the Republicans are focused like a laser on jobs!jobs!jobs!, which is to say, abortion.

And the NYTimes, as usual, had something to say about how Ryan’s vision is unkind to the poor, but nothing at all to say about how it’s on the lunatic fringe when it comes to the culture wars.

Posted in 2012, abortion, Mitt Romney | Comments Off on War on women? What war on women?

The Catholic Crackup: Network under threat/corrected and updated

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012


The Vatican has reprimanded the largest group of Catholic nuns [this isn’t quite correct; they are a group of nuns, laity, and non-Catholics the LCWR includes both nuns and sisters] in the United States, saying they have focused too heavily on issues of social justice, while failing to speak out enough on “issues of crucial importance,” such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In a report issued last week, church leaders accused the nuns of promoting “radical feminist” ideas and challenging key teachings on homosexuality and male-only priesthood. An archbishop and two bishops — all of them male — have been appointed to oversee the nuns. “To me, it’s quite puzzling that our work with the poor, which Jesus told us to do in the Gospels, would be the source of such criticism,” says Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was harshly criticized in last week’s report.

We’re joined from Washington, D.C., by Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was also heavily criticized in last week’s report.

The report highlights the point that the Church is unable to find enough priests (a factor in why they covered up the abuse scandal), yet they will not ordain women. Women, of course, would have been more likely to speak out in the face of the abuse scandal, so the scandal might have proved to be less damaging to the Church.

The group Network, which includes Catholic nuns but also laity and non-Catholics, is being chastised for doing too much of one good deed, namely serving the poor. This is a clear affront to a notion central to the Church, i.e. that conscience should rule us. If one believes that a good deed being performed by someone else is maybe not quite such a good deed as they think, one should be free to leave them to do it, while one pursues the good deeds that one thinks really are good deeds. If one is coerced to do good deeds, then they aren’t good deeds and the result cannot be good.

Campbell also points out something so blindingly obvious that the Catholic hierarchy is unable to see it: if one wants to reduce abortions (which essentially all people want), then one must not block people from using the most obvious means of accomplishing that: contraception.

My guess is that the Vatican’s pronouncement has a lot more to do with the election than with contraception. Network posts such as Ryan is Catholic, His Budget is Not, and Senator Rubio’s Not-so-just Alternative to the DREAM Act, not to mention Join Us As We Prepare For Election 2012! must drive the Vatican wild. One should note that Network, unlike ALEC, is properly registered as a lobbying group.


Update: Brother John made some important points in comments. First, the post is about Network, a lobbying group. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Network were both criticized, and apparently for similar reasons. The Vatican has direct authority over LCWR, but not over Network. I have conflated the two (there seems to be overlap in membership between the two, so I am not certain exactly how different they are. Clearly they interact.). However, the post was about Network, not LCWR.

Brother John also pointed out that Catholic leadership has come out against the Ryan budget. I have questioned the sincerity of that, pointing out that last year, the Ryan budget received support from high levels. Quoting Jonathan Cohn of TNR from May 2011:

It seems sacrilegious to suggest the leader of the America’s Catholic Bishops has made a deal with the devil. But his latest political gesture makes me wonder if he is in negotiations.

Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Wednesday to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

The letter, if it didn’t explicitly endorse the Ryan budget, did not criticize the massive cuts to the poor, elderly, and ill that the Ryan budget would have mandated. So, the Bishops are very late to this party. I, for one, believe that they are playing politics. I suspect they are trying to take some of the odor off themselves for having gotten involved in the contraception wars.

Posted in abortion, abuse of power, mistitled Benedict, religion | 15 Comments »

Virginia passes medical rape bill

Posted by Charles II on February 14, 2012

You want an abortion? You have to consent to a vaginal ultrasound first.

Heard on TRMS. Outsourced to SouthernVADem.

This is rape, using unwilling medical staff to perform the humiliation on behalf of the legislature, at the cost of the medical insurance system/taxpayer/patient.

Update/Correction: An earlier version of this post conflated two separate bills discussed by Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times, in Virginia Pilot. There are two bills, the medical rape bill and the Personhood bill. Regarding the Personhood bill,

Democratic opponents argued that the bill’s broad language could affect access to certain types of birth control and have other unintended consequences that were not contemplated when the bill was pushed through committee late last week.

Apologies for having conflated the two bills.

Unfortunately, these yahoos are probably on safe legal ground on the medical rape bill because, supposedly, other states have similar laws.

Update 2: And it turns out that this procedure fits the definition of rape arrived at the the International Tribunal on Yugoslavia in its Kunarac decision:

The Chamber must define rape, as there is no commonly accepted
definition of this term in international law. While rape has been
defined in certain national jurisdictions as non-consensual intercourse,
variations on the act of rape may include acts which involve the
insertion of objects and/or the use of bodily orifices not considered to be
intrinsically sexual. The Chamber considers that rape is a form of
aggression and that the central elements of the crime of rape cannot be
captured in a mechanical description of objects and body parts. . . . The
Chamber defines rape as a physical invasion of a sexual nature,
committed on a person under circumstances, which are coercive.
Sexual violence which includes rape, is considered to be any act of a
sexual nature which is committed on a person under circumstances
which are coercive. (Kunarac, Judgment, § V, paras. 596-98.

Posted in abortion | 6 Comments »

It’s time to shut down the taxpayer-funded, foreign-run Catholic Superpac

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2012

(and tax-funded political activity by any other churches, too)

I have always believed that it’s important to listen seriously to one’s opponents. Either (a) they’re right, in which case I ought to change my mind, or (b) it equips me with what I need to defeat their arguments, usually using their own words. Sometimes, of course, there’s a compromise to be found, but less often than one would wish.

In the matter of the Bishops’ letter to their congregations promising to fight tooth and nail over the requirement that the insurance they provide their employees include contraception, a lot of the focus has been on the insurance.

Listen to the Bishops’ argument:
1. While the church itself is exempt from the requirement, its schools, hospitals, and charities are not.
2. The institutions are morally opposed to fulfilling the requirement
3. The insurance would include voluntary sterilization and “Ella”, which prevents implantation of a fertilized egg and the Church regards as abortion
4. Most Catholics and allies among Protestants are opposed to the requirement
5. Although a number of states, including New York, California, and Oregon already require the inclusion of contraception, the Church has been able to dodge this in many states and some don’t have any requirement at all.

Now, already there are some serious holes in this. It turns out that some states already require the provision of contraceptive services. It turns out that most Catholics support the inclusion of contraception in insurance. It turns out that that there is no connection to abortion, which is already covered by the Hyde Amendment. The specific naming of Ella is notably dishonest, since a number of methods prevent implantation. It turns out that many of the people who would be affected are not Catholics. It certainly doesn’t force any Catholic to use contraception. It’s all just a matter of who pays for those who choose to use contraception.

So, already the Bishops are pretty deep into lying. (see here and here and here for a general discussion; Seehere for a statement that DePaul and other Catholic institutions provide contraception through insurance). The Church has very pragmatically decided not to, say, excommunicate Catholics who use birth control, even though they regard inhibiting implantation as murder–and unconfessed murder at that. It’s difficult to take the moral high ground when one has already lost authority over one’s troops.

But as numerous as the flaws in the Bishops’ arguments are, only radio show host Norman Goldman identified the issue which absolutely kills those arguments. The employees of the Catholic Church receive an exemption from taxes in exchange for the agreement not to intervene in political contests. This legislation was crafted by then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1954.

According to radio host Norman Goldman, in Florida, priests specifically referred to “the Obama Administration” (although the bishops are careful to avoid naming the president). But even where the president was not named, it’s very clear that this is political. The Bishops have taken no steps to reach an amicable compromise, such as offering to give employees an amount sufficient to buy a supplemental policy if they wish, and not if it goes against their conscience. Surely the Administration would accept any arrangement that does not unduly burden the employee. So the Bishops are picking a political fight, and yet they expect the taxpayers to fund their political activities through the tax exemption!

The Bishops are in rebellion against the lawfully elected government. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the letter from military chaplain, which he was directed not to read(see here) . Different dioceses read different versions of the Bishops’ letter, and his is in no way unrepresentative. But he has a special duty as the Catholic representative who speaks especially to the troops. When he says, “It [the contraception mandate] is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle,” he is standing in rebellion. When he says, “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law,” this is sedition. True, his chain of command is not to the president, but to Rome. But he has placed Catholic military chaplains, whose chain of command does run to the president in an impossible situation.

The Catholic Church has in many ways ceased to be a religious institution. The hierarchy, at least, amounts to a political institution–indeed, a foreign-runpolitical institution, while it’s the Catholics in the pews who do all the good works.

It is time to end the tax benefits this Catholic Superpac enjoys. Taxpayers should not be paying priests to act as ward heelers and lobbyists for special treatment for those secular institutions operated by the Catholic Church. There are many reasons to deride the Catholic Bishops dishonesty and hypocrisy on contraceptive insurance, but none as simple and unambiguous as our demand that taxpayer dollars not be used to subvert our government.

Posted in abortion, hypocrites, religion, women's issues | 2 Comments »

Howard Dean would not allow pro-cancer Cliff Stearns to run unopposed

Posted by Charles II on February 4, 2012

In all the celebration over the Susan G. Komen Foundation flinching in the face of public disapproval, the real perpetrator behind this is going about the attack on Planned Parenthood and breast cancer screening almost unnoticed.

His name is Cliff Stearns. He represents, to that district’s shame, Florida 6.

And he is running unopposed.

My DK diary here.

Posted in abortion | 2 Comments »

Oh, what a piece of work is Han…del

Posted by Charles II on February 2, 2012

Komen Senior Vice President of Public Policy Karen Handel re-tweet
(image from

Komen Senior Vice President of Public Policy
(image from!/karenhandel/status/8080771312)

Meet Karen Handel, Senior Vice President of Public Policy FAIL. It’s just malicious gossip that Handel promised to end funding for Planned Parenthood well before the Stearns congressional hearing began. Gossip like this:

“I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia. … I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances. …since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” [Signed, Karen Handel]

[She] “promised to eliminate funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings provided by” Planned Parenthood, according to Jezebel.

Posted in abortion, abuse of power, liars | 3 Comments »

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