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                                                         A Texas First But Not Last
The picture is a photograph I took at La Piedad Cemetery in McAllen, Texas of the grave of Rosaura (Rosie) Jimenez, who died in 1977 from sepsis after several days of excruciating pain and suffering in a McAllen hospital following an illegal abortion across the Texas border in Mexico.

Bill Work Cover
Rosie was a financially disadvantaged, unmarried twenty-seven year old college student who already had a daughter. She couldn't afford private health insurance so she was on Texas Medicaid. Tragically for her, in 1976 U.S. Congressman from Illinois, Henry Hyde, a devout so-called “pro-life” Roman Catholic, had introduced a restrictive antiabortion bill, since known as the Hyde Amendment, that had gone into effect in 1977, barring Medicaid from covering an abortion. The result was that Rosie was unable to obtain a safe legal abortion in Texas. As is the case with many women and teenage girls with unwanted pregnancies, Rosie was so desperate to have an abortion that she was willing to gamble with her life to obtain a dangerous illegal abortion. She crossed over into Mexico where she obtained an illegal abortion that she could afford, but it ended up costing her her life and leaving her daughter an orphan. Hers was the first known death in the nation attributable to the Hyde Amendment. The tragic story of Rosie is one of many similar cases that have since resulted when desperate women and teenage girls were blocked by discriminatory laws from acquiring safe legal abortions.

Moral: Never underestimate a person’s feelings of desperation and hopelessness.

Rosie was the first, but not the last, to die from dangerous illegal abortion after the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade resulted in safe legal abortion being available and accessible to women and teenage girls throughout the United States. There have been more similarly unnecessary injuries and deaths from illegal abortion since hers. Tragically, our Texas Tea Party Republican dominated government under our uber-Godly Governor, Rick "Oops" Perry, has seen to it that there will be many more due to their sweeping uber-draconian anti-abortion law, HB2, a law that originated in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that has virtually wiped out safe legal abortion in Texas and is being introduced in state legislatures all over the country.
 

Do you spot the tragic irony in the photograph? (Answer at end of diary)
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REQUIEM FOR ABORTION RIGHTS IN AMERICA?  (linked)
Dear Lord, please fly me to the moon in Your oxcart.

THE SILENT SCAM: As Republican politicians and so-called “pro-lifers” speciously proclaim
their extreme “Godliness” women and teenage girls suffer and die, and that ain’t all.

by William West, M.D. (aka Beket)
General and Child Psychiatry
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Disenfranchised Abortion Care Provider

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As some of you Kossacks know I am a physician who has provided legal safe abortions in Texas for 31 years and published a number of pro-choice diaries on Daily Kos. And you have probably heard about the recent catastrophic antiabortion regulations rammed through the legislature last week that if not struck down will virtually eliminate access to abortion care in the Tea Party fundamentalist Christian right wing Republican fascist dictatorship of Texas under the guidance of the inept bigot who is our governor (revving up to stupidly run for president again), Rick Perry.

“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
- Voltaire

Physicians, it can be safely assumed, are very intelligent, conscientious, responsible, and industrious people. One simply cannot make it into and through medical education and training without such traits, and the vast majority of physicians measure up to those qualifications very well. However, there are some who don’t measure up in other such essential attributes of character as sensitivity, compassion, humility, rationality, and honesty. Two Texas physicians who have failed miserably and disastrously in those attributes are Dr. Bob Deuell, a family physician, and Dr. Donna Campbell, an ophthalmologist, both Republican Texas state senators. In the legislative wranglings over HB2 they used their credentials as M.D.’s to achieve undeserved respect and influence – to create the false impression that since they are physicians they must know and understand what they are talking about. Well, neither of them did know nor understand what they were talking about. Neither of them have had any actual experience in abortion care, and both of them are self-described so-called “pro-lifers” who reflexively judge and condemn abortion care for anyone at any time and for any reason. To anyone who does know and understand the truth about abortion care it was glaringly obvious that they were blatantly lying about supporting HB2 from a blatantly dishonest and/or inexcusably ignorant fallacy of making abortion care “safer” for women and teenage girls. They obviously knew, understood, and cared not about “safety,” unless too stupid and/or obstinately ignorant and/or dishonest to be physicians in the first place, but were on a transparent so-called ”pro-life” mission to do away with abortion care in Texas, and the effect of HB2 has been to virtually abolish abortion care in Texas, as was clearly predictable by anyone who did know, understand, and care about the immense importance of access to the already existing very high degree of safety that had been available to women and teenage girls seeking abortions in Texas for over forty years. Their “mission” was obviously to force, by ill-considered and misrepresented law, their minority religious beliefs upon all women and teenage girls and their families in Texas. Senator/Dr. Deuell made his true intentions and incompetent humanity blatantly clear by his silly theatrics in a legislative hearing when he placed two pairs of baby shoes for display on the table in front of him in a childish ploy that he must have hoped would gain sympathy for fetuses and trump any concern for the women and teenage girls who would be forced to suffer and DIE by the disastrous law he was so relentlessly advocating. By virtue of their misused respect as physicians they were thus influential in creating conditions that made abortions vastly LESS safe and brought about an enormous public health crisis in Texas that will result in anguish, suffering, and DEATH for tens of thousands of women and teenage girls for a long, long time to come. Drs. Deuell and Campbell, in their inexcusable ignorance and/or flagrant dishonesty even to themselves, must have believed that they were doing “good,” that they were doing “God’s work.” At least that was what they showboated as their motivation, seemingly blind to the tragic consequences that their false witness (isn’t there one of the “Big Ten” commandments prohibiting that?) would bestow upon Texas women and teenage girls. Well, it was their responsibility to foresee those “unforeseen consequences.” We strenuously tried to educate them. They refused to listen, and they refused to think - another example of attempting to explore space in a two millennia-old ox cart – and of the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions – assuming that their intentions, though tragically misguided, actually were good and not just political. But, after all, their reelections to office they have thus demonstrated they are not qualified to occupy in the first place would rely upon the votes of the droves of mind-abducted extreme fundamentalist, so-called “pro-life” Christians that are epidemic in the backward state of Texas. Apparently, to people like Deuell and Campbell (i.e., other mind-abducted Tea Party Republicans), the emotional suffering and the injured, sick, and DEAD bodies of thousands of women and teenage girls for years to come are no more than stepping stones to enable them to misspend a few weeks in Austin every other year feeling “important” and “famous.”

Drs. Deuell and Campbell are conscientious objectors to abortion care of the sort who strive to impose their ox cart consciences on the entire population. There is an ongoing controversy in medicine and law concerning whether physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care workers should have the right to refrain from any involvement, however slight, in abortion or any other aspect of reproductive health care, including referrals to abortion care providers, even mentioning abortion as an alternative to an unwanted pregnancy, prescribing contraceptive medications or devices, and in the case of pharmacists, filling prescriptions for contraception and the “morning after pill.” All in the name of personal conscientious objection. “Keep YOUR rosaries off of MY ovaries!”

“We're not going to have the America that we want until we elect  leaders who are going to tell the truth - not most days, but every day.” - Ann Richards, former governor of Texas

PHYSICIANS are even REQUIRED by so-called “pro-life” instigated laws in some states, including Texas, TO LIE to their patients by “informing” them with greatly exaggerated or totally false assertions of the medical risks of abortion, such as the thoroughly disproven LIE that having an abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer – such as the thoroughly disproven LIE that having an abortion results in serious emotional illness in women and teenage girls – such as the thoroughly disproven LIE that safe, legal, professionally provided abortion care is “dangerous.”

Below the fold is a letter I wrote to Dr. Bob Deuell (family practitioner), a physician-state senator who was influential in passing the sweeping draconian legislation through the legislature and onto Perry's desk. Copies were sent to two other antiabortion Christian bigots in the senate who are physicians, Dr. Donna Campbell (ophthalmologist) and Dr. Charles Schwertner (orthopedic surgeon).

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Regarding the raging Republican War on Women in Texas, it appears to be even worse than I thought! If you have been following the raging saga of the extraordinary and vehement efforts of Gov. Rick Perry and his Republican majority in the Texas legislature to effectively deprive many thousands of women and teenage girls in Texas of their rights to safe legal abortion care under the transparent guise of "making abortion safer" (the opposite would clearly be the result) you won't be any more surprised than I was to learn that it looks very suspicious that Perry's family stands to profit financially from the passage of these bills. Well, to be honest, I was surprised that it might be this bad, but not much, knowing Rick Perry and his Republican entourage.

From the website  nonsequiteuse:

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I am a longtime pro-choice physician and abortion provider who, as a psychiatrist before training in obstetrics and gynecology, strongly supported the legalization of abortion long before I even imagined that I might one day become a provider of abortion care myself. I provide abortions out of a deep sense of moral conviction and compassion that some cannot, or obstinately will not, comprehend or respect. For almost four decades abortion care providers and women seeking safe abortion care in my state of Texas and nationwide have been, and increasingly continue to be, under siege, tragically punctuated by extreme violence in the form of such illegal, inhumane, barbaric, and decidedly un-American atrocities as bombings and murder, by heavily propagandized fundamentalist Christian bullies, domestic terrorists, who know and understand little or nothing about legal professional abortion care and the pressing need for it but have swallowed whole without a pinch of open-minded critical thought the blatantly fraudulent, deceptive, and gullibly believed propaganda of the so-called "pro-life” movement and yet are convinced that they know it all and are absolutely right in all of their misinformed, belief-driven opinions and that their beliefs must be forced upon all by unconscionably cruel and coercive restrictive laws. Scarier still is the fact that people who believe like these have managed through their ideological manipulations and sanctimonious claims to religious purity to gain political influence sufficient to dominate the Republican Party, resulting in medically ridiculous and harmful regulations and restrictions on abortion providers and women seeking abortions and making unobtainable by many women and teenage girls their rights not to be forced by law to suffer through unwanted or even life and health endangering pregnancies.

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When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross
- Sinclair Lewis
Abortion care providers in my state of Texas and nationwide have been under siege for over thirty five years by heavily propagandized fundamentalist Christian bullies, domestic terrorists, who know and understand little or nothing about abortion care but have swallowed whole, with neither mastication nor cogitation, the blatantly deceptive propaganda of the so-called "pro-life movement" and are convinced they know it all. The mind-numbingly outrageous Todd Akin is merely e pluribus unum.

I am a committed, proud, defiant abortion provider, and, believe me, defiance is an asset in the sociopolitical climate in which I practice abortion care.

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Abortion care providers in my state of Texas have been under siege for over thirty years by heavily propagandized fundamentalist Christian bullies, domestic terrorists, who know and understand little or nothing about abortion care but have swallowed whole, with neither mastication nor cogitation, the blatantly deceptive propaganda of the so-called "pro-life movement" and are convinced they know it all. The latest salvo is in the form of what is called “the Texas sonogram law.” This law is making abortions much more difficult for women and teenage girls to obtain and much more difficult for us to provide – which was the clear intent of the law although it was hypocritically disguised as intended to safeguard the health and lives of women. The actual fact of this law is the opposite: it is already a terrible tragedy for many Texas women and teenage girls, with many, many more sure to follow.

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Didn't "Thou shalt not commit false witness" used to be one of the BIG 10?

Have you heard of the recent "massive and intensive undercover investigation” of abortion providers in Texas by "Operation Rescue?" A great many people have. It's been quite a buzz on "pro-life" websites in recent months. They believe they have scored a great victory over the rights of women and teenage girls to obtain abortion care in this nation. Sadly, tragically, they probably have - by means of their trademark resort to flagrant dishonesty and inflammatory language - and because of their timing of the announcement of their specious, so-called "massive and intensive undercover investigation” of abortion providers in Texas to create a surge of anti-abortion sentiment to coincide with the session of the Texas State Legislature, ongoing at the time, in which still more mindless and medically damaging restrictions were hammered down upon women seeking abortion care and abortion care providers in Texas.

For more of what I think about TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws and abortion rights generally see my previous diary.

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I am a proud, even defiant, abortion provider. And, believe me, defiance is an asset in the sociopolitical climate in which I practice abortion care. First, let me assure you that it is not that I love embryos and fetuses less, but that I love women and teenage girls more – although I must confess that I really have no love, nor any feeling at all, for insentient embryos and fetuses in the wombs of women and teenage girls who do not want them there. Like it or not, I respect and feel deep compassion for the dominion of any conscious human female over the insides of her own body and feel no compassion for as yet insentient embryos and fetuses that she doesn’t want there, whatever her own reasons.

There is perhaps no area of human behavior in which clear rational thought and understanding of factual reality is more obscured by obstinate prejudice and intransigent, willful ignorance supported only by emotionally charged irrational belief and misinformed and uninformed opinion and in which the consequences of this failure to face and accept truth, reason, and understanding are more catastrophically and mercilessly cruel than in matters concerning sexuality and reproduction, even among many physicians and other highly educated people who have had every opportunity to know better.

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I am an abortion provider (MD). Fr. Frank Pavone is the founder and CEO, or whatever he is officially called, of one of the most radical, uncompromising antiabortion organizations on earth, "Priests for Life," and the Vatican's "Vicar of Life," or some such title.)

Interspersed within Fr. Frank Pavone's article (in block quotes) condemning the election of Barack Obama below are my brief comments of disagreement and frank astonishment at the extreme degrees of unreason in the opinions to which his thought processes lead him. I have carried on an on-again-off-again email dialogue with him for almost a decade and have yet to catch him saying anything intelligent or truthful.

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Interspersed within Fr. Frank Pavone's article (in block quotes) condemning the election of Barack Obama below are a few of my brief comments of disagreement and frank astonishment at the extreme degrees of unreason in the opinions to which his thought processes lead him.

(Fr. Frank Pavone is the founder and CEO, or whatever he is officially called, of one of the most radical, uncompromising antiabortion organizations on earth, "Priests for Life," and the Vatican's "Vicar of Life," or some such title.)

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As a physician who provides abortion care I have engaged in on-again-off-again email correspondence with a number of high-profile anti-abortion figures over the years. One of these is Fr. Frank Pavone (National Director, Priests for Life; President, National Pro-life Religious Council; Pastoral Director, Rachel's Vineyard; and Founder and Moderator General, Missionaries of the Gospel of Life). The day after Bush's reelection in 2004, he sent me the following terse message: "This election is my gift to you and all other abortionists." Last Wednesday November 5, 2008) I returned the favor with: "This election is my gift to you and all the other lying, twisted freaks."

Following is my reply to the reply I received from him, his email segmented into blockquotes with interspersed replies from me:

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