Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed legislation in 2013 that has undermined reproductive health care for women in the state.
Abortion opponents have been laboring for years to reduce the number of abortions in this country by simply reducing the facilities where they are available. Now new data out of Ohio suggests that they are succeeding, effectively choking off access to abortions state by state. Tara Culp-Ressler reports:
According to records obtained by the Associated Press, the number of abortion providers in the Buckeye State has shrunk by half over the past four years. There were 16 providers in the state in 2011; since then, seven clinics have reduced their services or closed their doors altogether. An eighth clinic — the only abortion provider left in Toledo — is fighting to stay open, but remains at the mercy of court proceedings...
In 2013, Ohio pushed through a package of stringent abortion restrictions by attaching them to an unrelated budget bill. At the time, the anti-abortion groups in the state celebrated the passage of the legislation as “historic.” Among other things, that law includes a provision requiring abortion doctors to enter into unnecessary partnerships with local hospitals — an increasingly popular legislative strategy known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP — that’s making it difficult for providers to stay in business.
That anti-abortion package, signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, who is weighing a presidential run, also included a measure forcing women to get an ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy. It prohibited rape crisis clinics from providing abortion counseling to victims. And then there was this beauty.
If a woman is able to obtain an abortion in Ohio and develops some sort of medical issue during the procedure, clinics will no longer be allowed to transfer these patients to public hospitals for additional care. In the midst of a crisis, these patients must find a private hospital to help them.
Despite protests at the Ohio Statehouse last week, the new anti-abortion measures were approved when the governor failed to veto them. Kasich did manage to veto 22 other line-item measures.
Kasich's war against providing women with a full range of healthcare options will not be forgotten at the ballot box. Should he manage to win the GOP nomination, the governor's attack on women in his home state will become a central issue in the campaign.
A Texas high school is in the middle of a chlamydia outbreak, officials say. But according to the school district's student handbook, it does not offer sexual education.
Several students in one Crane, Texas, school district contracted chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, according to a letter obtained by ABC News that went home to parents Monday. According to the letter, the surrounding counties were also in the middle of an outbreak.
Here’s what the letter that went home to parents of Crane Independent School District students said:
Crane Independent School District would like to make our paretns aware or more aware of a problem that has been identified in our teenagers and young adults of our community.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is on the rise. Several cases have been reported. It is a reportable disease that is mandatory to report to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The number of cases reported from Crane and Upton County have been significant. With this being said, we feel we need the parents to be aware of this growing problem and pass along some information regarding the sexually transmitted disease.
The letter then lists facts about chlamydia that the students would probably know already if the school taught sex education.
Chlamydia, the most common STD in the United States, is usually symptomless and can be treated with antibiotics. However, it can cause liver inflammation, pelvic inflammatory disease, and fertility problems. Not that students in Crane Independent School District would know that.
The school does not have a sexual education program, according to Crane's student handbook for the 2014-15 school year, which is posted online.
"Currently, Crane ISD does not offer a curriculum in human sexuality," the handbook says, explaining that if it ever does institute such a program, the parent can opt out. According to the handbook, state law requires more attention must be spent on abstinence than other behavior.
Last week in Texas, a Republican lawmaker proposed an amendment so outrageous, that even some of his own GOP colleagues were repulsed. Andrea Grimes, with RH Reality, reports:
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) put forward an amendment that would make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks, even if a fetus “has a severe and irreversible abnormality,” effectively forcing families with wanted, but unsustainable pregnancies to carry to term at the behest of the state and against the advice of their doctors or their own wishes.
What would cause a lawmaker to want the government to inflict more emotional pain onto an already grieving family, in addition to adding a major health risk to the mother? Does he not realize a woman can easily die of sepsis by carrying a deceased or nonviable fetus?
Schaefer said that suffering is “part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”
Oh, for fucksake! Where do these people come from? More importantly, how do they hide their vile and odious ignorance long enough to get elected?
Democratic Representative, Jessica Farrar of Houston, is quoted as saying this is the most misogynistic piece of legislation she's seen during her 21 years in office. Matt Schaefer’s amendment actually passed, but he removed it for full committee review after Trey Martinez Fischer, the House Democrat from San Antonio filed a legislative point of order.
The late author, humorist and commentator, Molly Ivins, sums up late term abortion, perfectly, in an excellent video. Here is an excerpt.
"I almost get the impression that somebody thinks women don't have no moral sense at all. No woman who is seven months pregnant, ever waddles past an abortion clinic and says, 'Darn, I knew there was something I've been meaning to get around to.'
This is ridiculous. You have those late-term abortions, because either the mother is going to die, the child is going to die, or both are going to die."
There seems to be a nonstop effort by Republican lawmakers to control women/their bodies - often in the name of God. Thankfully, there are also nonstop efforts by a much larger voice in this country - the people who refuse to let women go back to illegal, back alley, abortion butchery. This battle will most likely not end in our lifetimes, or in our children's lifetimes. But we will stay unified, and we will never give up.
Here are some of the pro-choice organizations and social media groups to visit/support:
You can share your thoughts with this GOP extremist on his Facebook page, where he is seen buddying up with other anti-choice misogynists like former Republican Governor Rick Perry and Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
Special thanks to Anne Burks.
Note: After careful thought and asking friends I respect (including kossack jplanner), I am removing the word 'deceased' from the title and using 'nonviable.' (If you share the story on Facebook, the change may not appear, given the amount of FB 'likes' the story has garnered.) I still believe, that Matt Schaefer's amendment can be construed to apply to deceased fetuses, as it does not clarify or exclude the term, and the exclusion could be used against women. I also believe a 'braindead' fetus (considered 'nonviable') is a deceased fetus,' regardless of a heartbeat. So the title change is a compromise. Insulting comments, to the point of being slanderous/libelous are uncalled in our community, and it was a shame to see them made by several folks. Thankfully, it is not common, as kindness and civility prevail here at Daily Kos. Thank you for the incredible support, and apologies for any misunderstandings.
What happened? Take a look at the chart above. Fully half of the Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment lost a subsequent election. In the typical case, where they lost to a Republican, their conservative votes in the House were insufficent to protect them in their conservative districts. A handful lost to a Democrat, in either the primary or general election. Eighteen more Democrats retired (some to run for higher office), one resigned, and one died in office.
So the major reason why there's been such a rapid reduction in the number of anti-abortion votes from House Democrats is they've been replaced by Republicans.
But even if we just look at the twelve Democrats who were there in both 2009 and 2015, 75 percent of them changed how they voted. These nine Democrats are shown in blue above, and deserve some credit for their votes last month. All of them are from districts that President Obama won with more than 55 percent of the vote in 2012.
We found only one statement on the 2015 vote among these nine Democrats, from Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, who was Bart Stupak's roommate in 2009 and helped facilitate a resolution to the whole Stupak Amendment mess. The statement makes clear he still opposes abortion, but believes this bill "would limit how Americans spend their OWN money and deny American women access to a full range of health care services."
And at least two of these Democrats have signalled a change in their views on abortion in general since 2009. There's the op-ed last week by Ohio's Tim Ryan, describing how his mind was changed on the topic of abortion. And there's also an article documenting a shift in rhetoric on the part of Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts.
No matter the reason, it's clear that the House Democratic caucus has changed significantly since 2009.
They say the road to hell is paved in good intentions. If so, I would expect it to look somewhat like the one above, lovely, inviting, draped in the most appealing images.
I would expect the words that disguise the destination to include life, health, babies, mothers, caring, protecting, and nurturing. And sure enough, those are the words being used by the anti-abortion, forced-birth lobby in the plethora of legislation designed to force women into the service of their religious worldview.
They claim that they believe life begins at conception, their Bible tells them so, and they must fight to protect the smallest of cells in a woman's womb—even at the cost of the woman's rights over her own body. Her rights are superseded by the rights of the fetus, they say, and they can probably show us biblical verses to support their claims.
And it may be that they actually believe what they peddle, in spite of the contradiction implicit in the desire to protect every single life before birth while they let the living starve, fall ill, and die.
But I have a much harder time buying into the myth that those who bankroll the forced birther movement, those who hate the thought of all government regulation, are being motivated by a desire to protect life. Or babies.
I think their motivation is a lot closer to the one that prompted Nicolae Ceausescu to implement Decree 770 within a year of taking over the government in Romania. Decree 770 banned the once available-on-demand abortions, as well as sex education.
At least the Romanian dictator, unlike our current oligarchs, was honest. He wanted to increase the population of workers in his state. How he did it was terrifying. There is no reason to believe that the Waltons and the Kochs of our world would not be happy with a huge workforce scrambling for whatever low-wage work they deign to offer.
Regardless of intention, the destination is the same. Please join me below the fold for a tour.
A few days ago, the Missouri Legislature did something that they have just become used to - hitting the road to a country club to conduct state business. These official state meetings were designed to talk about state business in an environment 'more conducive' for discussion, many had maintained.
No one had quite anticipated the free wheeling discussion that would go on Tuesday night, however, as Progress Missouri managed to go to the country club - after all this was an official state meeting - and sit in, as well as live stream and record the event.
We followed along here as legislators talked about a variety of issues with the lobbyists who attended, seemingly forgetting the fact that there event would be livestreamed, or there would be consequences of their discussion.
Progress Missouri uploaded the full, high definition video recently, and amongst the discussion Republicans took on the pending abortion legislation facing the state house, and the conclusions they reached weren't what you'd expect - especially from supposedly hardened anti-choice advocates.
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is one of a handful of Democrats in the House who has voted to restrict a woman's right to choose in the past. But in an op-ed penned yesterday, he makes it official that his position on abortion has changed.
I have sat with women from Ohio and across the nation and heard them talk about their varying experiences: abusive relationships, financial hardship, health scares, rape and incest. There are endless stories about women in troubling situations — the woman who became pregnant and has a violent spouse; the woman who lost her job and is unable to afford another child; or the underage girl worried she’ll be thrown out of her house if she reveals her pregnancy. [...]
These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.
Ryan tributes his previous pro-life stance to his Catholic upbringing, but says that after years in office and talking—and listening—to the stories of various women, "There are too many scenarios, too many variables and too much complexity for pregnancy to be anything but a personal decision."
Ryan [...] has voted for numerous abortion restrictions since he was elected to Congress in 2003, including parental notification laws; restrictions on abortion funding in health care reform; and a ban on abortions in federally funded military hospitals. In 2009, he wrote an op-ed for U.S. News and World Report underscoring the need for fellow anti-abortion lawmakers to work with abortion rights supporters on solutions to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said Ryan's switch "clearly demonstrates his opportunistic and self centered approach in seeking higher office," and said he views the "flip-flop" as a sign that Ryan plans to run against pro-life Sen. Rob Portman in 2016.
There's a new powerhouse in town called StopPatriarchy.org. The organization takes a strong proactive approach to fight the Republican War on Women and constant assault on women's reproductive rights.
Last week, StopPatriarchy.org took to the streets in Washington DC to counter protest the Anti-Choice March for Life, held every year to to mark the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. On this anniversary, the March for Life was halted for at least 30 minutes, as eight StopPatriarchy.org members were arrested.
As arrestees were put in the police paddy wagon, they could be heard chanting:
”Every generation - has an obligation - to women’s liberation!"
"That Congress has scheduled a vote on a federal ban on abortion at 20 weeks on this day only underscores the need to stand up and resist," said Sunsara Taylor, initiator of Stop Patriarchy. “Abortion rights are in a state of emergency, clinics are being forced to close and women are being forced once again to have children against their will. The fight over abortion has never been about babies, it has always been about controlling women. Forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement and we refuse to accept this.”
Activists were wearing all white with fake blood-soaked pants, representing the women who died from dangerous “back alley” abortions before Roe v. Wade. They also carried enlarged photographs of women who died from illegal abortion before Roe.
47,000 women around the world die every year from illegal, unsafe, abortions 5,000 women in the US are estimated to have died every year from illegal, unsafe abortions before Roe v.Wade legalized abortion 42 states prohibit abortion at some point in the pregnancy 87% of all counties in the U.S. have no abortion provider 6 states have only one surgical abortion clinic 8 abortion providers (doctors and staff) have been murdered by anti-abortion fanatics.
Other StopPatriarchy.org rallies against 'March For Lies' took place in Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, and San Francisco. In addition there were related actions in Oakland and Cleveland, all within the last week. While there have been yearly counter-protests on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this type of direct action has not been seen in many years.
In their Call To Action, StopPatriarchy published this greatly informative YouTube video:
To learn more about StopPatriarchy's mission, history, and upcoming events, visit:
With some stories, I'm not sure where to begin, because the news has me stunned and almost speechless. I want to turn away, block it out and find something happy to do, or something else to think about, or write about. But I can't. And so I begin.
Last week, a young woman in El Salvador who goes by the alias name of 'Guadalupe,' had very high hopes, and was all but assured she would receive a pardon from her 30-year sentence. She had already served seven years, starting in her teens. Her alleged crime? Fetal homicide. She miscarried, and was charged with murder.
Her pardon didn't come. Guadalupe's freedom was one vote short. Her fate was determined by a Right-Wing congressional majority of 43-42. I can't write about something like this and not feel like I've been punched in the stomach again and again. Guadalupe represents every woman. This is what happens when abortion is illegal. El Salvador is known to be one of the worst countries in the world for women's reproductive rights.
All forms of abortion are illegal in El Salvador. And though there was no indication that Guadalupe, a mother of one, intentionally terminated her pregnancy, the doctors snitched her out to save themselves from any criminal liability.
Guadalupe, who never saw the inside of a fifth grade classroom, was interrogated in her hospital bed without a lawyer. The Kafkaesque trial was brutal and swift. Before Guadalupe knew what was happening, she was sentenced to 30 years in jail and thrown behind bars with convicted murders.
If Guadalupe’s story sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Not only does El Salvador have one of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the world, but authorities there apply the tyrannical law with an aggressiveness that borders on obsessive. Dozens of Salvadoran women — mostly young, and all poor — are behind bars for homicide
At least 29 women are behind bars in El Salvador for abortion/miscarriage. A group of them called, #Las17, are serving between 12-40 years with the oldest being 29, reports Rogers.
Here is a short video by the Center For Reproductive Rights created to expose El Salvador's atrocious treatment of women. Most victims of reproductive injustices are from impoverished communities. No, these are not laws for the rich.
Sadly, we can't say this would never happen to us in America, because it's happening.
Currently, at least 38 states have fetal homicide laws. The states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. At least 23 states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy ("any state of gestation," "conception," "fertilization" or "post-fertilization"). Read more at NCSL.
Last fall, I wrote a Daily Kos diary entailing five horrific American injustices against pregnant women, via a study reported in the New York Times. I must warn it also contains stories, like this, that may be emotionally triggering:
The battle for reproductive freedom is an ongoing struggle that will most likely continue past our lifetimes. We continue this fight for our daughters, and granddaughters, because our mothers, grandmothers, and pro-choice supporters (male and female) did the same for us. There are many ways we can show our support. Here are 10 large/small pro-choice organizations/Facebook pages you can visit/join now. They offer ways to help and be helped.
The only way I can think to end this story, is to ask folks to share it, whether it's this diary, the video, or any article(s) about the story. By getting the information out to the public, we keep Guadalupe, and others like her, from getting lost in the shuffle. Nothing will change until more of the world becomes aware. Only then can we find solutions, create positive change and prevent it from happening again.
A women's clinic in Montgomery, Alabama, that performs abortions.
You may remember when Alabama passed this extremist law back in the spring. At the time, Alabama already required that a juvenile seeking an abortion must have permission from her parents or guardians unless there are reasons—such as sexual abuse by a parent—that such consent cannot be obtained and even asking for it can be risky for the girl involved. In such instances, in 36 states including Alabama, she can petition the court for a "bypass" hearing at which a judge rules on whether she is or is not mature enough to make her own decision in the matter.
The new law this year adds several provisions specifically designed to make getting an abortion more difficult. It puts the minor on trial. Judges have previously been allowed to appoint a lawyer for the fetus, but that combined with the highly intrusive—some would say grueling—nature of such a procedure makes a mockery of something meant to protect minors' rights and interests. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to block the state from putting minors on trial in this way. As noted here last Thursday:
But under Alabama’s new law, this bypass process is significantly more difficult for teens. In its suit, the ACLU contends that the new law “radically alters the judicial bypass process in a wholly unprecedented manner that goes well beyond any judicial bypass statute that has ever been upheld by a federal court.”
Now, the state is allowed to call teachers, parents, neighbors, boyfriends, or peers to testify against the teenage girl, even if that means disclosing her pregnancy to people in her life who didn’t previously know about it. Alabama may also hire someone to represent the fetus’ “best interests” in court. So the new law ultimately ensures that a minor who needs an abortion and isn’t comfortable telling her parents will be up against the whole legal system. She’ll be forced to defend herself against a district attorney who’s arguing she’s unfit to make this decision on her own.
Molly Redden at Mother Jonespoints out that a few Alabama judges have in the past appointed lawyers to represent fetuses. In fact, the first instance of this occurring was in 1987. The questioning of pregnant minors can be sickening, Redden writes:
Julianna Taylor, a Montgomery, Alabama, attorney who represented many minors pro bono, recalls that lawyers for fetuses would "give these hypotheticals: 'What if I could promise you that this child is going to have a beautiful, happy life with a loving adopted family? Would you kill a child that was already one year old?' Really? Here you are making a huge decision, a huge decision for a teenager, probably the biggest decision that they'd ever have to make, and you're going to ask them questions like that?"
Defeating these terrible laws like Alabama's—which, as with every other forced-birther law, will no doubt spread to other states—means fighting to elect more pro-choice legislators. In the war on women and girls, choosing progressive, pro-choice women will have an impact up and down the ballot.
Great news for the women in Texas, as well as women around the country. This just in from the New York Times:
A federal judge in Austin, Tex., blocked a stringent new rule on Friday that would have forced more than half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics to close, the latest in a string of court decisions that have at least temporarily kept abortion clinics across the South from being shuttered.
The Texas rule, requiring all abortion clinics to meet the building, equipment and staffing standards of hospital-style surgery centers, had been set to take effect on Monday. But in his opinion, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court in Austin said the mandate placed unjustified obstacles on women’s access to abortion without providing significant medical benefits.
The rule “is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a pre-viability abortion,” Judge Yeakel wrote.
The Austin Chronicle reports:
The Texas Hospital Association, representing more than 400 hospitals, called the restrictions unnecessary because women experiencing abortion complications can go to an emergency room and be treated, and did not need their abortion doctor to be on the hospital staff for this to happen.
Texas Women have been through this before. This case addresses the very HB2 Bill for which Wendy Davis held a 13-hour filibuster in June 2013. The bill was passed by the Texas GOP that summer, ignoring Davis's filibuster and thousands of Texas women who came out to protest. Then in September, Planned Parenthood sued the state of Texas and a part of the Texas's restrictive abortion law was struck down by Judge Yeakel. Federal Judge Yeakel's decision was then appealed and won by Texas DA Greg Abbott. The abortion restrictions were reinstated.
Many women have had to go out-of-state to seek their constitutional right to an abortion. The misogynistic, anti-choice bills that have been passed, courtesy of the GOP Congress, over the last two years have been nonstop and horrendous. There is good that has come from all of this. The War Against Women has ‘awakened’ many, and it is predicted women will show up in record numbers for the Midterm Elections this November. Most women in the country have had it, and will not forget the lawmakers who have chipped away at women’s rights. The ‘word’ is, women will not forget – and they will not ‘go back’. Ever.