Archive for category abortion and birth control

Angie’s Abortion: An Unapologetic, Unshamed Youtube

Angie

Angie the Anti-Theist

Angie the Anti-Theist stirred up a lot of controversy by live-tweeting as she had a medical abortion last week, as a public service.  Thank you Angie!

Angie the Anti-Theist Live Tweets her Abortion

Angie says, “I found out about a week ago Saturday that I was pregnant.  For a variety of reasons, including  very high health risks for me, I’m having an abortion.  Right now.  They have abortion by pill now, RU 486.  I went to the doctor, Planned Parenthood, had blood tests and everything else done.  They did a sonogram to check the state of my pregnancy. I was at only four weeks one day when I went into the office on Thursday.

They sent me home with medicines, and I’ve taken those. It takes awhile to set in, and I ended up getting a second dose. I’m having an abortion right now. It’s not that bad, it’s not that scary.  It’s basically like a miscarriage.  I’m live tweeing my abortion on Twitter.  Not for some publicity stunt, or attention, or to justify this to myself.  I am at peace with my decision. I’m doing this to de-mystify abortion.  I’m doing this so that other women know, hey, it’s not nearly as terrifying as I had myself worked up thinking it was.  It’s just not that bad.  This is nothing compared to childbirth, compared to labor, compared to for me, and my risks, late stage pregnancy.  This is the best choice.  It’s not that bad. And I want people to know that it’s out there. If you need this, there are non-surgical oprtions available, especially in the earliest stage of pregnancy.

Obviously, everbody use protection. Sometimes that doesn’t work.  When it doesn’t, there’s the morning after pill (Plan B) and if you’re not in time for that, there’s RU-486.  So, I just want to let everybody know that you too can have an abortion if you want one.  It’s OK. It’s not shamefull, not secret, it’s not killing a child.  I have a little boy.  You guys have seen him on my video channel.  He is my world.   I want to stay alive and be his mom a lot longer, so I’m having an abortion.  I hope everyone on Youtube has a great and godless day. Peace. ”

Postscript: Kathryn Joyce posted a fascinating piece on Angie’s history today on Salon:

Jackson, whose special-needs son was born after a grueling 98-hour delivery, says her motivation is to counter the stories of regret the anti-abortion movement has cultivated in recent years. As the controversy continues, one of the most interesting—and motivating—parts of her narrative has been largely overlooked: her intimate connection with a religious movement—one she now calls a cult—that glorified fertility and childbirth and demonized medical intervention even when mothers’ labors were going very wrong.

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What Focus on the Family Sold to Super Bowl Fans

Without the build-up and the context of CBS breaking its own ban on “political” messaging, the Focus on the Family ad which ran during the Super Bowl was itself not so remarkable.  The explicit message: Pam Tebow is tough, and decided to carry a pregnancy that could have killed her and the fetus, then gave birth to a Heismann trophy winning college football star she calls “Timmy.”

But look at the Focus website to which viewers were directed.  A discussion with Tebow’s parents and Jim Daly (James Dobson’s replacement at Focus on the Family) ends with Robert Tebow intoning into the camera, “DON’T KILL YOUR BABY.”

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow, Biblical literalist, wears his beliefs on his face

Shelby Knox

Shelby Knox's Twitter profile

The back story, you learn in the film, is that the Tebows decided to have a fifth child who would become a preacher.  The parents and children named the fetus “Timothy.”  When Pam had a medical contraindication of pregnancy, she did not consider abortion, and says in the film that if she would have died, it would have been “worth it.”

So OK, that was her choice, given that she thinks god would have cared for her 4 live children, because she made such a sacrifice.  This Dark Ages approach to the role of women — as incubators of children before any other social role — is all over the Focus on the Family website.  Sunsara Taylor took it on in a video protesting the ad.

Go a few more clicks into the Focus on the Family site, under unplanned pregnancy, and you get to the “Know Your Options” link which is designed to appear as if it’s an actual source of information on options.  But no, the first paragraph of “Considering Abortion?” is

Abortion is not just a simple medical procedure. For many women, it is a life changing event with significant physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Most women who struggle with past abortions say that they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion and its risks.

Which the site, of course, proceeds to do, repeating the lies that abortion causes breast cancer and that “death” is a complication of legal abortion in the U.S.  No information on the risks of pregnancy are given, for comparison.

There are more fake clinics, i.e. “crisis pregnancy centers” in the United States now, which provide no medical care or correct information to women with unplanned pregnancy – over 4,000 – than there are clinics which provide abortion and birth control.  To understand the damage these “clinics” do, see Crisis of Deception: Fake Clinics Spread Misinformation on the Federal Dime.

This network, which receives federal “abstinence-only” funds, and gobs of private funding, has more sophisticated imaging equipment than many medical offices responsible for women’s health.  They use fetal ultrasound images to convince women to continue pregnancies, whether they came into the facility seeking abortions, or genuinely wanted information on all the options.

Rosemary Candelario, in “Focusing on Families: Behind the Tebow Super Bowl Ad” asks

Is this ad, and its supporting web videos and pages, the Trojan horse of a new, slick, public relations attack on abortion? Coupled with the murder of Dr. George Tiller less than a year ago and increased threats against always (literally) embattled abortion providers, Focus on the Family’s ad could indeed prove quite dangerous.

This whole package of indoctrination, forced motherhood, and disinformation on women’s health is what CBS and Focus on the Family served up to Super Bowl watchers.

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New Film: Abortion, Morality and the Liberation of Women!

Stand Up for Women’s Right to Abortion and Birth Control!

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE
Abortion, Morality and the Liberation of Women with Dr. Susan Wicklund, author of This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor and Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper, is now available on YouTube. This video is divided into 15 short sections: presentations followed by questions and answers. Watch this clip to get a taste, then follow the links to watch the whole film! Here’s the entire playlist.

Dr. Wicklund and Sunsara Taylor

ABORTION IS NOT MURDER. FETUSES ARE NOT BABIES. WOMEN ARE NOT INCUBATORS!
A whole generation of women and men have been kept in the dark from these basic facts, and left disarmed in the face of this anti-women movement that will not stop nor find “common ground” with women’s right to control the most basic of decisions affecting their lives.

Bring this message to your community or campus!

Abortion, Morality and the Liberation of Women is also available on DVD, specially designed for use in classrooms and by school groups. Order a copy (or several) online today! Contact us about the possibility of bringing this sort of presentation to your classroom in person. World Can’t Wait can provide speakers with scientific and moral clarity on the topic of women’s right to abortion, answering the hard questions, and motivating students to stand up at this crucial moment for women’s rights. Read a report from a Cleveland high school.

CONTACT WORLD CAN’T WAIT

Bring this message to many more people!
Call or email Lina Thorne: lina@worldcantwait.org • 718.825.9119

Find out more here.

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Why an Anti-Abortion Message at the Super Bowl?

Lots of people are outraged that CBS is allowing Focus on the Family to buy 30 seconds of airtime on the Super Bowl this Sunday to air an anti-abortion message.  It is outrageous that CBS, the mainstream network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, who would likely have been horrified to see CBS selling religion, is taking the ad.  Is CBS becoming FOX?

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow with Bible verse on his face worn during football games

From media reports, the ad tells the story of Tim Tebow’s mother, Pam, who, as a Christian missionary in the Philippines in 1987, rejected medical advice to terminate her fifth pregnancy because of a placental abruption caused by medication for a brief illness.   This could have killed her, but she “chose life” and Tim turned out to be a star college football quarterback who wears Bible verses on his face during games.  (I didn’t make this up.)

I’m not saying the Super Bowl is some hallowed institution that should never change.  It’s a quintessential American entertainment event, with all the dangers that implies, projected to the world. Jiggling cheerleaders, beer, car and National Guard commercials combined with the pervasive machismo of the NFL is part of what this country is, and the American media is skilled at promoting all that.

But CBS says “politics” doesn’t have a place at the Super Bowl.  In 2004, Moveon.org tried to buy a Super Bowl ad criticizing George Bush.  No deal then.  Lina Thorne brought together the network’s double standard:

“CBS’s former policy extended even to an ad from the United Church of Christ, which tried to buy airtime for an ad arguing gay people should be welcome in church in 2005. CBS has also turned down ads from PETA and Moveon.

Then, why suddenly is an overtly religious organization with an openly anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda buying into Super Bowl coverage?  What are they gaining with it?  That’s what we should focus on.

I agree with a letter writer to Revolution newspaper who said the “fundamental point” of opposing the ad

should not be “equality” for every view or not allowing athletes to have a political voice.  The point is that what is being put forward with this ad is wrong and is a horror for women all around the world and it’s being run in the U.S., where a woman is beaten by her partner every 15 seconds and three women are killed every day by possessive lovers and abusive husbands. Plain and simple, this ad is a continuation of the oppression and hatred of women that gets played out every minute in this country and throughout the world.  This ad is for all those who support the cold-blooded, calculated murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.  Fuck this ad and anyone who has anything to do with it!  We should drown this ad out with our demand for “Abortion on Demand Without Apology!”

Erin Matson, Vice President for Action of the National Organization for Women tied in the murderous anti-abortion activities of Focus on the Family in Scott Roeder, Focus on the Family and the Super Bowl:wrote

As far as its view on ending abortion rights is concerned, Focus on the Family is almost as extreme as it gets: going beyond legal strategies to endorse, even encourage, its followers to break the law in order to shut down women’s health clinics that offer abortion.

Sunsara Taylor on Youtube today says, “women are not lesser beings, breeders, or objects created for the pleasure of men, we are thinking beings.  The ideas on women from Focus on the Family have no place in our society.”

Sunsara Taylor on Focus on the Family ad on CBS

Dave Zirin, in the NY Daily News today goes into who Focus on the Family is

Focus on the Family’s guru is the infamous and recently retired James Dobson. Dobson is a frightening fellow, choosing the second night of Passover last year to say, “The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court” with Roe vs. Wade. Dobson’s other pet project, the Family Research Council, has connections to white supremacist organizations like the Council of Conservative Citizens. In 1996, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list.

Zirin also nailed the contradiction, quoted in Alternet Sunday

“Super Bowl ads are routinely refused because they fall under the heading of ‘advocacy ads.’ (The rules are very clear on this: only beer, cars and the U.S. armed forces — all wrapped in a ribbon of sexism — can be advocated during the Super Bowl.) And yet Focus on the Family gets the ultimate platform to bash abortion rights. The United Church of Christ was rejected for an ad showing the church welcoming a gay couple with open arms. Other ads by PETA and MoveOn were shown the door. But Focus on the Family and its Trojan Horse of right-wing evangelicalism, Tim Tebow, get a pass.”

Focus on the Family says the ad is “an inspiring story of personal courage” of a “woman who risked her life for her baby.”

Abortion was illegal in the Philippines in 1987, meaning that Pam actually had no choice than to carry the fetus to term, unless her doctor argued that the pregnancy could have killed her.  Perhaps the doctors were ready to say that.  Pam’s writings indicate that she had prayed for another child, and would not have considered an abortion.  Her choice, to the extent that she had one.

But Focus on the Family works to make sure that no woman has any choice other than being forced into motherhood in that situation.  William Saletan, The Invisible Dead; The grisly truth about the Super Bowl abortion ad writes on Slate.com about what that choice often means:

Pam’s story certainly is moving. But as a guide to making abortion decisions, it’s misleading. Doctors are right to worry about continuing pregnancies like hers. Placental abruption has killed thousands of women and fetuses. No doubt some of these women trusted in God and said no to abortion, as she did. But they didn’t end up with Heisman-winning sons. They ended up dead.

Being dead is just the first problem with dying in pregnancy. Another problem is that the fetus you were trying to save dies with you. A third problem is that your existing kids lose their mother. A fourth problem is that if you had aborted the pregnancy, you might have gotten pregnant again and brought a new baby into the world, but now you can’t. And now the Tebows have exposed a fifth problem: You can’t make a TV ad.

Touche.

The ad implies that one woman’s choice is what every woman should do.  Wrong, but even so, the ad was not purchased by Tim Tebow his mom to give their personal story.  It was purchased, produced and promoted as part of a whole package delivered from a huge organization whose mission is to shape U.S. society as a “Bible-based,” “Christ-centered” society.  Meaning a theocracy.  Their theocracy, with their interpretation of what the Bible says.

And you really won’t have that much to say about it, if they have their way. Abortion will be outlawed in all circumstances.

Read Amanda Marcotte’s humorous and real “Let’s Read 101 Reasons Not to Have an Abortion” today on RH Reality Check.

Come out and protest at CBS Television headquarters Thursday February 4.  Bring your own sign for what “C B S” stands for.

“Christian Broadcasting Syndicate?” “Cancel Sexist Broadcasting”? “Complete B– S–?” Be creative!

World Can’t Wait is holding a protest Thursday February 4
Noon at CBS Headquarters, 52nd Street & 6th Avenue NYC.
Call World Can’t Wait (866) 973-4463 for more info.

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NE Abortion Opponents Trying to Stop Dr. Carhart: “Abortion Pain Prevention Act”

One thing we can be absolutely clear about: abortion opponents do not care about the pain of women.  Proof of that is the fact that they orchestrate a parade of women to take the stage, sometimes literally, and tell wrenching stories of how sad, guilty, or devastated they are because they had an abortion years ago.

Dr. Carhart is a Hero

The great majority of those women would have dealt with their feelings about abortion and done fine if they hadn’t run into the “abortion is murder” cabal.  They would have felt the main emotion most women feel after ending an unplanned pregnancy: relief, sometimes accompanied by regret that they couldn’t bear a child at that time.  But now they’ve become symbols of how women, allegedly, are not responsible enough to run our own lives, and make our own decisions.

The main mission of the anti-abortion movement is to cause women pain, keep us subservient and unable to control the one most basic aspect of our lives: when and if we will bear children, and under what terms.

Now that Scott Roeder has admitted he fantasized and planned for almost 20 years to kill George Tiller before he actually did it on May 31, and he’s become a martyr to their movement, it looks like he will do some long prison time.  But the anti-abortion movement is quickly moving on to another target, Dr. Leroy Carhart, who announced last month that he’s doing later term abortions in his Nebraska office.

Dr. Carhart’s clinic is picketed daily by up to several dozen protesters.  Troy Newman, who succeeded in creating a climate in Wichita in which Dr. Tiller was killed, then complained to the Nebraska Attorney General over non-existent violations in Dr. Carhart’s office.  World Can’t Wait and other pro-choice groups sent thousands of messages of protest to Jon Bruning, the Attorney General, telling him to protect Dr. Carhart, not harass him. Omaha.com reports that 5,000 participated in this year’s Walk for “Life” in Omaha.

Now comes the Abortion Pain Prevention Act introduced by Nebraska Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood on Jan. 21.

Jill Stanek, writing on WorldNetDaily.com — where life is great as long as you’re not actually born, or don’t live in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine — or you don’t have the view that American life is more important than other lives:

“The Abortion Pain Prevention Act takes us into a whole new world of abortion law, banning all abortions after 20 gestational weeks on the basis of a preborn baby’s capacity to feel the pain of it all. At this age a baby anatomically “has the physical structures necessary to experience pain,” states the bill, based on scientific evidence.

The only exception would be if a mother “has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” states the bill.”

Stanek presents some photos of tiny babies, possibly alive, but with no indication of what they illustrate, with the comment that “if born, particularly at 23 weeks or older, wanted babies often live and thrive.”  True.  The operative word here is wanted and the woman in whom they reside will be the judge of that, not Stanek, Flood, Roeder, Newman or Randall Terry.

At least Flood is honest.  “I feel strongly that what Dr. Carhart wants to do is unacceptable,” Flood said. “I am introducing this to stop Dr. Carhart from performing late-term abortions.”

Dr. Carhart, for his part, said on KETV News in Omaha that he’s ready for the battle.  I have no doubt that he is, in that he’s weathered two Supreme Court cases, the total destruction of his home and barn in 1991, along with his horses, the loss of his best friend in Dr. Tiller, and he’s continuing to push forward even more strongly to care for women when they need abortion.

So, let’s back him up!

Many of you stood on the streets of Bellevue, NE this past summer with us, standing between “Operation Rescue” and his clinic, or signed a petition last month against the complaints filed by OR and their associates.

Dr. Carhart’s office has issued a request to all supporters, for a “flood” of messages against this harmful abortion ban to be sent to the legislator who introduced it. If you send a message, please cc Dr. Carhart’s office at info@abortionclinics.org so that he at least can keep track of the support, even if the Nebraska Legislature doesn’t.

Sen. Mike Flood
Speaker of the Legislature
Room #2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2929
Email: mflood@leg.ne.gov

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Roeder Trial in Wichita Gets Stranger by the Day

I tried to follow the logic of the anti-abortionists supporting Scott Roeder as his defense argues that he was compelled to kill George Tiller to “save the babies.”   Donna Holman rode the TruthVan to Wichita, joined by Michael Bray (late of Virginia, having served time for bombing a clinic in the 80′s), but is very critical of the rest of the anti-abortion groups for not being as visible as their van is.

Supporters of Abortion Doctor Killer Roeder

I didn’t make the following up, but quote it from an email from Holman, who complains that the local anti-abortionists aren’t supporting Roeder publicly:

“Mr. Roeder acted as if the children Tiller killed were worth defending, a big “NO-NO” in pro-life circles. Pro-lifers cannot come up with a logical argument as to why the double standard? Why is it OK to use force, even deadly force, to protect a classroom of kindergarten children, but it is forbidden to use force to protect pre-born children slated for abortion? Are pre-born children worth less than post-born children? If so, we have tacitly admitted that a mother DOES have a right to kill her unborn child! Her unborn child is somehow sub-human and NOT entitled to an inalienable Right of Life.

The past 3 days Truthvan has been prominently parked at the entrance of the Sedgwick County Courthouse. The despised children pictured on the van are junior prosecutors; their tortured bodies are an indictment to the authorities sanctioning their demise. Tiller should have been judiciously hung like “Chemical Ali.” George Tiller might be alive today if these authorities did not protect his baby-killing operation.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this, but let’s go for the last point that the “authorities” protecting George Tiller were responsible for his murder.   George was shot at close range twice, the second time fatally by Scott Roeder on May 31.  His clinic, home, staff, and patients were constantly harassed for decades, with an all-out assault starting in 2001 by Operation Rescue, whose leader, Troy Newman, moved to Wichita with the sole purpose of “taking out” Dr. Tiller.

The authorities did not protect George.  The whole “pro-life” cabal played their separate parts in leading to his murder; the thousands who gathered to surround his clinic in 1991 and 2001, threatening him and the patients; those who came more regularly to surround the clinic, and picket the homes and businesses of his staff and their families.

How about the former Attorney General of Kansas, Phil Kline, who took George to court, twice, unsuccessfully, on completely bogus charges, but in the meantime tried to get the records of thousands of his patients?

Check this out: that same Phil Kline, no longer in office, and living out of state, will be in court testifying for Roeder’s defense Thursday.

The “authorities” may not be directly pulling the trigger to kill abortion doctors as Ms. Donna Holman wants, but they’ve played their own role in making abortion dangerous for women and doctors.

Elective pregnancy termination remains the most widespread, and safest, of all minor surgical procedures in the U.S. and in fact early abortions aren’t surgical at all.

The danger comes from the raving anti-abortion lunatics on the streets outside doctor’s offices, in the halls of Congress, and spread around the U.S. in “authority.”

The anti-abortion movement is not about saving babies.  It’s purpose is to keep women locked into forced motherhood.

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Youth for “Life” Argue “Women ARE Incubators!”

In front of the Supreme Court on January 22, 2010, I waded into the crowds of anti-abortion kids (followed by photographers and video, including the clip below featured in the Washington Post coverage) on a mission. I wanted to know what and how they think; how they are being told to think, and challenge them.   In every group, there was that one or two who listened, and looked me in the eye, and communicated that they had never heard anyone say what I said, and were intrigued and thinking.

I’ve met enough people who were once Christian fundamentalists, and even people who participated in these fascist social movements, to know some can be peeled away if we struggle with them over what reality is, and don’t give up on them and their capacity to understand the world and transform themselves and change, even dramatically.

Washington Post Video of the March for Life

Gagged by "Life"

Gagged for "Life"

Across the country, the symbolic protest of youth wearing red tape over their mouths with the word LIFE is said to unify the message, and show silent protest.  A pro-choice friend watching this in Houston outside Planned Parenthood earlier in the week, seeing them for the first time, wrote

We are a hell of a lot more interesting than they are.  We have facts and we can speak.   They have no facts and they are gagged. If they do this again, I’m making a sign that says, WOMEN WILL NOT BE GAGGED!

Until I was in this huge crowd of people, all with tape over their mouths, I did not realize how goofy that was.  It was hard to imagine.  Once we were in this crowd, watching them act like a bunch of people who were hypnotized, it reminded me of Jim Jones.  Several times I got a really creepy feeling.  I wish I had taken a picture of that horrible guy with the doll impaled on the pitchfork.

I took my own sign into the anti’s gathering around us.  “Abortion is NOT Murder…Fetuses are NOT Children…Women are NOT Incubators!”  I asked what they thought.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Women ARE incubators, they argues.  No irony there.

Here are some of the claims I heard repeatedly in the crowd, some from dozens of youth:

“Thousands (or millions) of women die each year in the U.S. from abortions.

Ah no, the death rate from abortion is less than one per million abortions in the U.S.  The serious complication rate is .03 percent.

“You don’t know, because you don’t do your research.  Ambulances leave abortion clinics every day with dead women, and it’s all covered up because you all have the money and control the media.”

Where did you learn that?

“It’s true.  Just look on the internet.”

Oops.  I did.  Look for comprehensive research on the incident of abortion and its safety at the Guttmacher Institute. Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States.

Of course, you can read the claims of the anti-abortion movement all over the internet on sites such as Circle of Prayer, which gives no numbers, but claims that women receiving abortions are “raped, sexually assaulted, mutilated and killed.”  That would scare you if you thought the stories were true.  They are not.

“Women regret their abortions.” Thousands of kids carried signs saying that.

Most women feel relief over ending an unwanted pregnancy.  They might be sad or joyful, or wish their lives were different.  The ones who feel regret have had to live through decades of propaganda from the anti-abortion movement calling abortion murder, telling women what to feel.

“You are killing babies.” These kids are told they are “survivors of the abortion holocaust” which has “killed 50,000,000 babies since 1973.”

A fetus is not a baby.  It has no capacity to live independently of a woman’s body.  When it’s born, it becomes a baby, with a separate respiratory, nervous, circulatory and digestive system.”  A fetus is “living” only because it’s inside a woman, and has no independent social existence until it’s born.  Women — who are alive — must have control over their own bodies, and be able to determine whether they will carry each pregnancy.

See  “The Facts of the Matter: Fetuses Are NOT Babies, Abortion Is NOT Murder, and There Is No Such Thing as “Partial-Birth Abortion”

If you didn’t want to get pregnant, you shouldn’t have had sex.” and the variant:

“If you get pregnant, it’s your fault.”

Outside the abstinence-only classes a lot of these kids are forced to take, and probably right after those classes for a lot of kids, this idiocy flies in the face of reality.  People have sex the world over for many reasons other than conception; admittedly, in a male-dominated world, women don’t always of even often get to set the terms for sexual relations. Birth control fails, often, especially when you’re young and you’ve been lied to about how bodies work, and many young women are bullied into not using it to keep the affection of boyfriends.

Why does this have anything to do with “fault?”  Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended.  But pregnancy only happens to the woman, even if she does have a supportive partner, and it becomes her responsibility, primarily to raise children.   This is why the woman must have the ability to decide, for each pregnancy, whether or not to bear a child.

There is a lot more here to mine, and much work to be done on answering the enforced idiocy these kids are being fed.  The future of humanity, including more than half of it, depends on this.

What do you think?  Let’s have a conversation about how to answer these students.

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San Francisco: Standing for Women’s Lives & Abortion Rights

"Anti-Choice Bigots Unwelcome in San Francisco"

Saturday, January 23, a west coast “March for Life” brought thousands of people against abortion into San Francisco.  A few dozen pro-choice supporters infiltrated the beginning of their march, and staged an action that briefly halted the march. People from 20 to 81 years old held a banner reading “Anti Choice Bigots Not Welcome in San Francisco” crosswise, until police roughly yanked them off the street.

On Friday, in Oakland, pro-choice activists surrounded the area’s largest abortion clinic, as anti-abortion activists protested there.

See the East Bay Express coverage.

Bea Johnson spoke for World Can’t Wait at the rally of about 100 pro-choice people.

Every year the ominous drumbeats grow louder and closer: we are up against a dangerous, highly organized movement backed from top levels of government and society, that’s out to overturn Roe and to destroy women’s humanity – by destroying our right to make for ourselves the most fundamental decisions that affect our lives and the lives of all around us.

Whether it’s the Catholic Church misleading its flock – or the Christian Fascists who believe women’s bodies and lives are the property of men or of the white male dominated bi-partisan congress attaching anti-abortion amendments to phony health care reform bills….  we must defeat this danger.

We live in the most powerful country on earth, which is unleashing the most violent military advance in history on impoverished people in 3 different countries as we speak, and torturing people in prisons in Afghanistan as well as Guantanamo. One war is now escalating, partly in the name of defending women’s rights – while in Afghanistan; the pro-US President Karzai oversees massive electoral fraud – and new laws that legalize marital rape

All this devastation began with Bush, and is continuing under the leadership of the first Black president, who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, after a campaign that mobilized women, people of color, queers, people against the war, and progressive people who believed that electing this president would move the country in a new direction.

The U.S. is wracked with division over the crimes initiated by the previous Bush regime and over the continuing strain on its military and economy and the culture wars now boiling… over the social position of women, people of color, immigrants, queer people, and the role of traditional marriage in cementing a stable imperialist society. The rightwing teabag types who enthusiastically embraced the Bush presidency and everything it represented, now howl and rage against Obama, who they call “fascist-socialist” (sic) — “the anti-Christ” – and the “N” word.

Meanwhile democrats, led by Obama, preach that “we must seek common ground” with these rightwing lunatics. The most prominent abortion doctor is shot while in church, and in response, violence and threats against clinics around the country increase. Armed racists gather outside Democrat organized public meetings without police intervention, while students in Pittsburgh are gassed and beaten during the G20 meetings for the world’s elites.

The “progressive president” says he’s against gay marriage on the basis of his religion, and who in power calls him out for it?  Obama promises that the health insurance reform he wants will not become an “abortion bill” or provide coverage to undocumented immigrants. He violates the constitutional separation of church and state by appointing an anti-abortion, anti-birth control Catholic activist to direct the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and yet…we are told to have faith that this system will work. That we must be willing to compromise. That we must have the stamina to suck it up and work on the next congressional race, and “push” the Democrats into fulfilling  one of the basic planks of their own party platform: abortion and birth control rights for women.

I say for World Can’t Wait: NO, NO, and NO!

What’s really at stake here? Your government wants to make abortion a crime, for which women must suffer, repent, and sometimes die.  Jane Fonda long time radical activist said in response to Stupak:

“People are often surprised that we are still fighting this battle for freedom of choice after so long. I’m not. I’ve come to understand that anti-choice and opposition to contraception has nothing to do with pro-life or pro-fetus; it has everything to do with power and who has it. It represents a mindset that values women mainly for their services as wives and sexual partners to men and as producers and rearers of children.

“Reproduction and sexuality are keys to women’s empowerment. If a woman is able to determine the reproductive and sexual aspects of her life, it means she can also control and determine other aspects of her life. When women are robbed of reproductive health and contraceptive decision-making, they lose an essential element of what it means to be a full human being.”

There is energy out there right now crying to be marshaled. What are we going to do?

There can be no common ground with maniacs.  Stop tying our dreams to what is politically expedient, start speaking the truth, and start acting like human beings with some passion and principles!

We want Abortion on demand and without apology…

Without this basic right, women can never be free.

Dr. Tiller, we will never forget you and we will never go back!

Right to Life – your name’s a lie!  When abortion is illegal, women die!

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Standing up for Women’s Lives in a Hostile Anti-Abortion Crowd

On Friday January 22, about 100 people, mostly women, had a pro-choice event in front of the Supreme Court in Washington.  There were also tens of thousands — perhaps 75,000 – people in the annual “March for Life” protesting that abortion was made legal 37 years ago.

Our side in the great debate got quickly surrounded by the other side, for about 6 hours.  They wanted to “save” us, tell us “god loves you,” scream in our faces, menace and threaten (that would be the old guys), pray over us, and/or kill us.  I heard that Randall Terry (founder of Operation Rescue in 1987) and Pat Mahoney, both of whom justified the May 2009 murder of George Tiller were in the crowd.

One of the points the mainstream media made on the March for “Life” is absolutely true: there were thousands of kids there.  Yes, the Catholic dioceses all up and down the East Coast and deep into the Midwest close school that day and herd them onto buses annually.  Many were compelled to come by friends, rules, tradition and authority.  But many also wanted to be there, and were completely convinced that they could “save babies” by marching.  I wanted to know why they think this, and hear their arguments.

High School Activists for Women's Choice

High School Activists for Women's Choice

But first, let me introduce you to the pro-choice supporters who were there mainly to counter the woman-hating message of the anti-abortionists.  They were mainly young also.  Student leaders of pro-choice organizations from Georgetown, George Washington, Catholic, and American Universities, and from two Maryland high schools brought other students.  The DC chapter of the National Organization for Women brought others, and their national leadership with out there all afternoon.  The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Fund for the Feminist Majority sent staff members.  The predominant sign was “Keep Abortion Legal.”  But lots of people brought their own signs.  World Can’t Wait had a simple bright orange banner with the message “Abortion & Birth Control for Women Everywhere!”

Women Are Not Incubators!

Outside the Supreme Court Jan 22 2010

I interviewed and met as many as I could.  Priscilla came because she remembers when abortion was illegal, and brought her friend in a sharp looking suit.  A nanny brought her two toddler charges, with the support of their parents.  A Chilean student dropped her research in the Library of Congress to join us, because “in Chile abortion is illegal”.  A man from El Salvador talked about the women who die everyday there because abortion is illegal, and a crime with which women are charged.  A energetic Brazilian student said “this is a problem all over Latin America that women have no control over our bodies.”   Hayley, a high school student, tried to get friends from her club to come, but they all flaked out, so she came alone with a beautiful “Trust Women” sign which reversed to “Women Are Not Incubators.”

Many of them had never been to an anti-abortion protest; others said they were sick of all the anti-abortion kids at their schools.  Some were determined to come even if no one had organized the pro-choice side. (Thanks to Robby from Peace of the Action/World Can’t Wait and to DC NOW for doing so!) while others came from a sense of responsibility to keep fighting, even as they see the Congress about to pass a sweeping ban on women getting abortion in the Stupak health care “reform” package.

See Rachel Larris’ blog on what choice means to people who were there.

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When Does Murder Become Manslaughter?

When does a charge of murder get reduced to a charge of manslaughter?  Possibly, when the murder victim is a doctor who does abortions.

Scott Roeder is on trial in Wichita KS for the murder of Dr. George Tiller on May 31, 2009.  Roeder, an anti-abortion activist for many years well known around Kansas, admitted to authorities that he killed Dr. Tiller by barging into the church where George was ushering, and shooting him.  George died immediately; Roeder fled, and was caught within a day.

The drama playing out in Wichita is not whether Roeder will be found guilty, but what he will be found guilty of.  He’s charged with murder by the state of Kansas.  However, his defense team has argued to the judge that they should be allowed to present evidence that Roeder was motivated by his anti-abortion convictions, and therefore should not be convicted of murder.

Jeff Schweitzer in Cold Blooded-Murder: An Angel Made Me Do it on Huffington Post:

Roeder claims that he gunned down Tiller at Sunday church services on May 31, 2009, in order to “save the lives of preborn children.” Based on this claim, Roeder intends to invoke the “necessity defense” predicated on the idea of “justifiable homicide.” If presiding judge Warren Wilbert accepts this defense strategy, and he appears to be leaning that way, he will give jurors the option of convicting Roeder not of premeditated murder but instead of voluntary manslaughter. That lesser crime is defined as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force” under Kansas statute. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter Roeder could be out of prison in five years.

We are investigating the report that Judge Wilbert was endorsed for his judgeship by anti-abortion groups in Kansas.  If he allows Roeder’s team to present testimony from an array of anti-abortion politicians and activists, it would be an extraordinary departure.

That would not necessarily convince a jury that Roeder was justified in killing Dr. Tiller.  But consider this: yesterday the judge shut out the media from jury selection, saying that abortion is such a controversial topic that jurors would fear to state their thinking on it publicly.

I think it is very relevant why Roeder killed George Tiller.  We’ve made the point repeatedly that he was influenced directly by Operation Rescue who relentlessly targeted George for over a decade, and by the Kansas politicians who harassed George with lawsuits and even criminal charges, unsuccessfully. (George always prevailed in court).  So what if Roeder does actually believe he’s saving fetal life by having killed George Tiller?  He killed a living human being, and that’s murder.

I, along with 5 other anti-war activists, will be going on trial this spring on misdemeanor charges of “disorderly conduct” for protesting in Philadelphia at the entrance to the Army Experience Center.  If we had been outside the doors cheering the Army’s recruitment efforts, we would have been welcomed, as the Army welcomed the pro-war bikers they allowed to jeer us. But because our message was opposition to the war and the recruitment of kids with video games, we were arrested.  It’s relevant to our defense that we were arrested for the content of our non-violent protest message.

We will argue that we should be allowed to mention why we were protesting.  Anti-war protesters Emma Kaplan and Patty Imani may be allowed to speak of their reasons for protesting at their trial on January 25 in Tacoma WA, where anti-war protesters were spied on by the military.

But what happens to the Roeder prosecution should be followed by everyone who cares about the safety of abortion doctors, and the humanity of women seeking abortion and birth control.

The National Organization for Women in Wichita will hold a vigil on Friday night, January 22, for abortion rights.  For the 36 previous anniversaries, of the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal, George was in Wichita, providing abortions.

Will the anti-abortion lunatics already be celebrating by the end of next week because in Kansas, you might be able to carry out a political assassination, and get made into a hero?

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I cannot resist urging you to view The Onion’s insightful piece this week on the new abortion laws, designed only to help women through difficult times…

New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion

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