Sharpening My Pen
When I posted Stop! Part 1, it made the rounds on the internet. (I posted it at more than one blog and site.)
It created a lot of conversation and in the course of that discussion I learned a great deal.
I was introduced to a book, When Abortion Was A Crime: Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, by Leslie J. Reagan, published in 1997.
It's a scholarly book, solidly researched and referenced. It's been used as a text book in law history courses in some law schools. But anti-abortionists hate it. Why? Because in it's cool, dry text is a stark, scathing indictment of illegal abortion and the sheer number of women lost to it over a nearly hundred year period in this country.
Many of the people I've spoken with are concerned that this new push to recriminalize abortion will be far worse.
In the past, when abortion was illegal, entire wards of hospitals were set aside to treat women that had undergone abortions and needed emergency care. They weren't exactly treated courteously (and in some cases actually had treatment withheld until they named their abortionist to the police) but by and large, women, themselves, were not criminalized; only the clinics and providers.
However, in this new era of anti-abortionism, it's already become apparent that the political climate is to also charge women with criminal wrong doing. Several high profile cases have been in the media about women charged with feticide when they have self aborted from lack of access. One was charged with it when she miscarried after a suicide attempt. Another was charged with attempted feticide when she fell down a flight of stairs and told her ER nurse that, early in her pregnancy, she had contemplated aborting.
This attempt to criminalize women is troubling on a number of levels. If abortion is totally outlawed, women will delay or even forego treatment entirely, if they run into trouble, to try and prevent being charged with a criminal act, thus placing their lives in far greater jeopardy than that in the past. Some cynics actually question the reason for this criminalization and point to private prisons and the need for their state contractors to fill them and make a profit.
In the end, there is simply no denying that, no matter what, if these laws get past Federal challenge, the impact on women and their lives is going to be horrendous.
If the state is going to outlaw abortion then they need to just outlaw it, get it over with and stop dancing around it. But if they do, they need to realize something. Roe wasn't the start of abortion, it was the end of women dying from it.
Prior to Roe, 10,000 women died every year from illegal abortions. They used things like bleach, drain cleaner, Lysol, knitting needles, button hooks and crochet hooks and herbal remedies such as black cohosh and pennyroyal. If they didn't kill themselves, frequently they were scarred for life and never able to carry a pregnancy again. It was a huge public health crisis.
Every one of those women was someone's wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin or friend.
Less than a hundred women a year now die from the procedure and in every single case it's a situation where the pregnancy, itself, was placing the woman's life at risk and the abortion failed to save her.
Legal or not, abortion will continue. The only difference will be how many women die from it.
And do not dare to pull the "murdering innocents" card. State sanctioned "murder of innocents" happens in this state on a daily basis. Until the state can and does guarantee that every "innocent" under the age of 18 has a stable home, housing, food, clothing, education and health care, then the state has no right to interfere in a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy that she feels she cannot sustain. And it goes way beyond assuring her that Medicaid will pay for her childbirth expenses. It's a lifetime commitment and if the state isn't willing to step up to the plate and guarantee at least 18 years of it than the state has no dog in the hunt.
There is also the fact that it's a huge over reach for the state to give legal recognition and rights to an embryo that are greater than and take precedence over, the rights of an adult human being, especially when the state has no intention of supporting those rights once the child is born.
These are the facts and anything else is irrelevant; religious beliefs, belief in "personal responsibility" (when having an abortion is actually taking personal responsibility), "personhood" or "when life begins", etc., are nothing more than opinions, and opinions (unless they are by the courts) have no place in government.
The state needs to stop lying and just be honest. Because the real purpose of these bills and laws aren't to "save innocents". The state has already clearly demonstrated they don't care about "innocents". The purpose of these laws are to control women and their sex lives and the pretense and hypocrisy is getting more than a little obvious and thin. Adult women will die from this egregious need for control and outlawing abortion will be nothing less than state sanctioned murder. May their blood be on your head and hands.
In the interests of accuracy, further research was done. In a report from the CDC in 2011 (the latest year that data was available) 362 women had died from legal abortions since Roe. Since then, only one other death has occurred, bringing the total up to 363 in the forty years since that decision. (Mortality numbers have dwindled on a nearly yearly basis because of steady improvements in reproductive health care, including the development and introduction of chemical abortion in the first trimester, which is safer than surgical abortion.)
The CDC estimated that the death rate from illegal abortion was 10,000/ year in the decade prior to Roe BUT that number was effected by the fact that a number of states had already legalized the procedure prior to the decision by SCOTUS. Before that is anybody's guess but 10,000 deaths per year seems to be accurate as a conservative estimate.
Leslie Reagan, in her book, When Abortion Was A Crime: Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, estimates that, prior to Roe, as much as 14% of all maternal deaths per year were attributable to illegal abortion.
There's a growing movement that may make any abortion regulation by any state moot.
Thanks to the internet and advancement of chemical abortion in the form of RU-486, women are coming closer and closer to the ability to do "do-it-yourself" abortions. And, depending on the outcome of a case currently wending through the Federal courts, there won't be anything states can do about it, no matter how many feticide laws they pass.
In a way, it will take abortion back to the days of pre-Roe V. Wade but with a twist. The internet will provide tele-medicine sites to those states that out law it, will provide the prescription and medication from states that allow it, even to those states where it's illegal, and there will be nothing those states can do about it and no coat hangers involved.
Is this safe? Not as safe as a physical doctor and clinic. But it's a helluva lot safer than a coat hanger and Kansas and other states have made it crystal clear they could care less about the safety of women in their draconian anti-abortion laws. Anti-abortion groups used to try and use "safety of women" as one of their "concerns" in passing TRAP laws but now they don't even bother to do that. One should thank them for their new and increasing honesty about their real agenda.
In the meantime, other groups are forming like The Women's Above Ground Railway, a group formed initially in Virginia but now growing nationally, who provide transportation for women in anti-abortion states to states where it's legal and provide them financial support. for the procedure. There is also Women on Waves, an international organization taking ships to countries where abortion is completely outlawed and taking women into international waters for the procedure. They are significant in the US because they are one of the "shadow providers" of RU-486 to women in states like Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Idaho and the Dakotas.
In the end, women WILL wrest control of their own bodies from others, no matter what someone's "God" tells them, no matter whether they like it or not and no matter how many laws states pass. They can drive the procedure underground but it won't disappear. It's always been there and always will be. At least we can make sure women don't die from it, even in states that prefer it that way.
The "Lovers of Valdaro" are a pair of Neolithic, 6,000 year old skeletons of two young people, no more than 20 years old, who were positioned in a lover's embrace at their burial. They were discovered by an archaeological team in a necropolis at Valdaro, near Mantua, Italy. (Recall that the story of Romeo and Juliet was set in Mantua.) Although cause of death cannot be determined for the pair, it has been determined that neither death was violent. http://www.archaeology.org/0801/abstracts/valdaro.html
This photo was taken at a women's clinic in Alabama. The photo shows (so called) "pro-life" protesters across the street from the clinic. They don't seem to be doing much, chatting among themselves. But notice something. See that camcorder on a tripod just to the right of the crucifixion picture? That camera is video recording every single car that enters and exits the clinic gates. Why do they do that? They are recording license plate numbers.
Do you have any idea how much personal information can be gleaned from a license plate number? Names, addresses. From there you can find out things like phone numbers, employers and all kinds of other personal information.
So why do they want this information and what do they do with it?
Call your house at 3AM, say "Baby killer!" and immediately hang up.
Go to your house and hang pictures of "fetuses" on your fence, spray it with fake blood and put "Murderer" on the sign for all of your neighbors to see.
Call your employer and inform them that you have had an abortion (whether you have or not).
Publish your personal information on the internet as a "baby killer", inviting further action.
Using these tactics they have sent people into mental, emotional and financial ruin. It's a vague form of thuggery that is rarely legally actionable. As much of it is anonymous, there is no criminal to catch. No actual physical harm is done. If by some rare chance a person is caught, they are charged, at the most, with a misdemeanor that doesn't carry jail time.
They wage psychological war. They terrorize people. And they use that potential to threaten women, whether they carry through with it or not. This is the type of war that Troy Newman speaks about when he says of the new Southwinds clinic where Dr. Tiller's clinic used to be, ""The abortion group may have bought Tiller’s old building, but that is still a far cry from resuming abortions in Wichita. If Trust Women wants to provide abortions then Operation Rescue will make sure the business is neither profitable nor sustainable." These are their tactics and ways that they use to obtain their objective.
What is most disturbing is that the state of Kansas harbors these people. Operation Rescue and Kansans for Life are very powerful lobbies in Topeka. They are so powerful that the Kansas Board of Healing Arts permitted Cheryl Sullenger (second in command to Troy Newman at Operation Rescue), a known Federal felon who was convicted of conspiring to fire bomb a clinic in California, to file the initial complaint against Dr. Kristin Neuhaus that led to her license being revoked. And there is no denying that, whether active or passive, Cheryl Sullenger was also complicit in the murder of Dr. George Tiller.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
EDIT: I'd like to give credit for the above photo to Leann Johnson. The photo was taken just yesterday at a counter protest to the 40 Days of Life campaign at a clinic in Huntsville, AL. However, it has been pointed out to me that the above person and his camera are not part of that campaign and has been stationed there for several weeks.
In a move that will surely enrage Operation Rescue, Troy Newman, Cheryl Sullenger and Kansans for Life (it's probably not going to make the guv'nor too happy either), the former clinic of Dr. George Tiller has been sold to a non-profit foundation called Trust Women. The foundation is led by Julie Burkhart, a former employee of Dr. Tiller's. Jeanne Tiller, Dr. Tiller's widow, had retained possession of the property since his murder.
Trust Women has announced that they intend to reopen the clinic as a full service women's clinic. I don't think it takes a wink and a nudge to know what that means.
One hopes this foundation has deep pockets. They will need them for a number of reasons.
1. The bully boy anti-abortion groups in Kansas will try to do what they do best; tie this place up in court over and over again for years and force them to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees.
2. They will need security equal to that of of a Colombian drug lord. In the past, the clinic has been bombed and it's former owner non fatally shot. At one point, Dr. Tiller admitted he never took the same route twice to and from his clinic and, after he was shot in the arms, he began wearing body armor. All it took was one moment of laxness, something he thought he could do in a church, and it killed him.
3. They will have to fulfill, right down to the millimeter, all of Kansas' new TRAP laws; laws that were designed with only one purpose in mind, cost the clinics money and run them out of business.
Operation Rescue has already announced they are reforming the same protest unit to harass women and litter the street in front of the clinic that they had during the former owner's residence.
This entire thing follows closely on the heels of another bit of news that silently slid by most Lawrence residents. Riding high on their successful act of getting the license of Dr. Kristin Neuhaus revoked, on September 18th, Operation Rescue filed ethics complaints against AG Derek Schmidt and Johnson County DA Steve Howe in the wake of the failed criminal charges against Planned Parenthood.
Many of the conservatives on this board are decrying this as a "nonissue". I suppose it's natural to try and make excuses but It's very much an issue and for more reasons than the "ewww" factor of envisioning Kevin Yoder nekkid.
This man runs on a "family values" platform that is anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-sex education and he's part of a contingent that wants to regulate sexuality, be it homosexual or heterosexual. Doing what he did may be small and inconsequential and in almost any other person I wouldn't care. But it points up the extreme disparity between his public face and his private one and illustrates a level of hypocrisy that comes close to breath taking.
Two, the intensity of the cover up and suppression the GOP did of this incident is also very telling. The reason it took an entire year for the story to come out was because it took the New York Times reporter that broke the story that long to prove it. You don't just accuse a member of Congress of skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee while drunk without having the documented facts to back it up.
This brings up the question; if they fought that hard to keep it quiet, what other incidents are there that actually are important that they are hiding? Do we really want to have to deal with this level of mistrust in our elected officials?
So is it an "issue"? You bet it is. It was a violation of trust and if that's what you want in an elected official; a level of "Do what I say and not what I do" that's huge in scope, then go for it and "baaaa" all the way to the slaughter house...err excuse me, the polls.
This is just hilarious! Soledad O'Brien kicks T-Paw right in the jimmy! And that's after she did the same thing to John Sununu LAST week! So tell me, Mr. Romney, who are you going to send up next to sacrifice on O'Brien's altar of facts? As the blogger put it in his closing statements, "This is getting pretty good, and she seems like she’s just getting started. It’s like a pre-game to the presidential debates!"
I already can hear the whining and moaning of the right wing posters on this board now. "It's just one more example of the left wing, liberal media." Yeah. Right. Forgive me if I lack sympathy.
AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS WARSHIP SAILS AGAIN !!
"Today, Sunday, August 19th, the world’s oldest commissioned warship will sail under its own power for just the second time in more than a century. The U.S.S. Constitution will be tugged from its berth today and out into the main deepwater pathway of Boston Harbor. This event commemorates the battle in which she won her famous nickname “Old Ironsides.” The historic naval engagement against the British frigate HMS Guerriere took place on August 19, 1812, exactly 200 years ago today.
Chief Petty Officer Frank Neely, a Constitution spokesman and crew member, said that the crew of 65, accompanied by 150 sailors selected to take part, wants to honor the ship with today’s sailing, and to celebrate the completion of a three-year restoration project. While only four of the Constitution’s 36 sails will be unfurled, that should be enough to move the vessel at a minimum of 5 mph (anything over 15 mph would put too much stress on her hull). But the wind forecast for today looks favorable."
(From Legacy Genealogy)
I knew a man who was a direct descendant of Isaac Hull, the commander of the Constitution during it's fight with the British warship, Guerriere, that led to it's nickname, "Old Ironsides". He has since, sadly, passed away. But prior to that he gave me a poem (actually, lyrics to an old song that was set to the music of an even older, Irish song).
The Constitution and the Guerriere
It oft-times has been told, that the British seamen bold Could flog the tars of France so neat and handy, Oh! But they never met their match, till the Yankees did them catch Oh, the Yankee boys for fighting are the dandy, Oh.
The Guerriere, a frigate bold, on the foaming ocean rolled Commanded by proud Dacres, the grandee, Oh! With as choice a British crew as ever a rammer drew Could flog the Frenchmen two to one so handy, Oh!
When the frigate hove in view, says proud Dacres to his crew,
"Come clear the ship for action and be handy, Oh!
To the weather-gage, boys, get her." And to make his men fight better
Gave them to drink, gunpowder mixed with brandy, Oh!
Then Dacres loudly cries, "Make this Yankee ship your prize, You can in thirty minutes, neat and handy, Oh! Twenty-five's enough, I'm sure, and if you'll do it in a score I'll treat you to a double share of brandy, Oh!"
The British shot flew hot, Which the Yankees answered not Till they got within the distrance they called handy, Oh! "Now," says Hull unto his crew, "Let us see what we can do, If we take this boasting Briton we're the dandy, Oh!"
The first broadside we poured carried her mainmast by the board Which made this lofty frigate look abandoned, Oh! Then Dacres shook his head, and to his officers said, "Lord! I didn't think those Yankees were so handy, Oh!"
Our secon told so well that their fore and mizzen fell, Which doused the royal ensign neat and handy, Oh! "By George!" says he, "We're done!" And they fired a lee gun While the Yankees struck up Yankee Doodle Dandy, Oh!
Then Dacres came on board to deliver up his sword. Tho'loth was he to part with it, it was so handy, Oh! "Oh! Keep your sword," says Hull, "For it only makes you dull, Cheer up, and let us have a little brandy, Oh!
Now, fill your glasses full, and we'll drink to captain hull And so merrily we'll push around the brandy, Oh! Johnny Bull may boast his fill, let the world say what it will, The Yankee boys for fighting are the dandy, Oh!