The Seven Most Common Lies About Abortion

Rolling Stone has got a great article out debunking the most common lies told by the anti-choice movement to mislead people about abortion.

I hope & suspect everyone here already knows these things, but you know what they say about assuming… (In my Int’l Women’s Health & Human Right class, I’ve been shocked at how many students believe some of these lies – and these are people driven to take such a class!)

Also, the article contains good data & links, and deserves to be shared.

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Death and Texas

Remember Terry Schiavo, the woman who spent 15 years in a vegetative state while her husband and parents battled over whether to keep her on life support? Her case prompted a lot of people to establish Advance Directives to make their wishes clear in the event that they could no longer make their own medical decisions. But an ongoing case in Texas is bringing new attention to how much (or how little) power Advance Directives actually have. 

In the early hours of November 26, Erick Munoz found his wife Marlise unconscious in their home in Texas. He performed CPR and called 911, but her brain had already been deprived of oxygen for over an hour. Marlise and Erick are both paramedics, and had discussed their wishes not to be kept alive by artificial  means. While it’s not clear whether Marlise had an Advance Directive, it really doesn’t matter, because she was 14 weeks pregnant – and that means the state, not Marlise or her family, gets to decide what happens to her.

Texas (and 11 other states) automatically invalidate a woman’s Advance Directive if she is pregnant. 14 states abide by the Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act (URTIA), which requires that a pregnant woman be put on life support if it is probable that the fetus could be carried to term. (Only 4 of those states make an exception if carrying to term will cause the women physical harm or untreatable pain.) Some states use a ‘fetal viability standard’ to determine whether to honor a woman’s wishes, and 14 states have no language on the subject, leaving room for ambiguity and protracted legal battles. Only 5 states allow women to specify different directives based on whether or not they’re pregnant.

It’s important to understand that these laws don’t result in a hospital visit from a government official whose job it is to determine whether a woman’s wishes should be honored. What they really do is control doctors and hospitals by threatening legal action if patients’ wishes are honored. (The consequences of that threat were made terribly evident earlier this year in the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland.)

Today, Marlise Munoz remains on life support, against her wishes and those of her husband and family. No one knows how long her fetus was without oxygen or nutrients, and it will be another 6 weeks before doctors can determine whether and when it can be delivered.

You can learn more about Advance Directives and end-of-life rights in your state here.

Virgina News

(See what I did there?)

If you paid any attention to media coverage of the Virginia Governor’s race, you know the singular talking point was ‘both of these guys are horrible.’

But Republican Ken Cuccinelli is a NIGHTMARE on reproductive rights. As Attorney General:

– He tried to outlaw abortion (with no rape exception) AND several forms of contraception, and force women to undergo vaginal probes before being allowed to get a legal abortion.

– He opposed the Violence Against Women Act.

– He masterminded the effort to pass purposeless construction regulations that would force the closure of all 20 abortion providers in the state.

– He tried to defund Planned Parenthood, supported state funding of abstinence-only sex education, supported 2 “personhood” bills that would grant full civic rights to the unborn, and supported a bill that would require doctors to save tissue from the fetus of a mother under 15 for forensic investigation.

– He funded “Choose Life” license plates, whose profits fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers where women are lured with the promise of reproductive health services and then misinformed, shamed, and guilted about wanting contraception or abortion.

And yesterday, he lost.

He lost to Terry McAuliffe, who has a long track record of unwavering support for reproductive rights, and was endorsed by Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL Pro Choice America.

So screw the media narrative. I’m ELATED.

Los Angeles Premiere of ‘After Tiller’

Here’s some important event info for Vagina News readers in Los Angeles:

The LA Premiere of ‘After Tiller,’ a documentary about the four doctors in the US who provide late-term abortions, and the mortal danger they face every day, evidenced by the 2009 murder of one of their colleagues, Dr. George Tiller.

Friday 10/4, 7:30 PM at the Landmark NuArt Theater, tickets are $20. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, and proceeds benefit the wonderful Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP).

Tickets and information at http://oscilloscope.net/shop/tickets/index.php?event_id=1

North Carolina & Facebook – Fighting the Good Fight

First, I want to salute friend and reader Alicia, who is at the North Carolina capitol today. She’s part of the protest against the last-minute attachment of anti-choice provisions to an already-insane anti-Sharia-law bill. The provisions will make it all but impossible to get a legal abortion in North Carolina.

Alicia, we’re all there with you. Thank you for raising your voice.

Now I have a bit of exclusive Vagina News for you, from my first foray into investigative journalism. 

Remember the fight to get Facebook to effectively moderate content that advocates violence against women? Remember how the thing that finally worked was showing advertisers that their ads were appearing next to this content, prompting them to pull ad money from Facebook? Well this week, Facebook announced a decision…

To pull ads from pages that advocate violence against women.

A lot of people, myself included, thought that SUCKED. But before reacting, I decided to find out if there was more to it. So I reached out via Twitter to Women, Action, & Media – the organization partnering with Facebook on this issue – to get the scoop. 

Here’s what they said.

Let’s Play… Crazy States!

As you may already know, I try not to get wrapped up in talking about every insane state attempt to restrict reproductive rights, because I wouldn’t have time to, like, pee.

But in light of the news in recent weeks (specifically out of Texas and Ohio,) it’s important to talk about. Here are two concise ways to learn about these efforts in the big picture.

http://jezebel.com/the-annotated-guide-to-protecting-women-from-abortion-602475321

http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/major-restrictions-abortion-access-enacted-2013

 

Wendy Davis’s Texas filibuster is the best movie we’ve seen in years.

(For a play-by-play leading up to this point, visit Vagina News on Facebook.) Davis’s filibuster continued until about 10PM local time, at which point an objection was raised by Republicans on the grounds that Davis’s discussion of mandatory ultrasounds (or sonograms, I’ve seen conflicting reports) was not germane to the bill, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst sustained it. This triggered an eruption from the gallery and a flurry of procedural objections by Democrats as Davis was removed from the floor. 

Sen. Kirk Watson objected to Dewhurst’s ruling on the basis that Dewhurst had previously stated the third warning would followed be a vote of the Senate on whether to end Davis’s filibuster, but no vote occurred. Noisy debate continued, and at about 11, Sen. Robert Duncan announced that Democrats’ objections were overruled; Dems continued to raise parliamentary challenges, and the noise of the crowds within and beyond the gallery made order difficult. 

At one point,  Sen. Leticia Van de Putte  – who had been absent previously, as she was attending her father’s funeral – raised a Parliamentary Inquiry requesting information about the three warnings that ended the filibuster so she could cast an informed vote on the appeal, but Dewhurst refused to acknowledge her. This prompted her to ask, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”, prompting fifteen minutes of cheering.

With 20 minutes left in the session, the Senate voted on Watson’s appeal of Dewhurst’s ruling on the third warning, and it was rejected. Duncan (who had taken over the podium from Dewhurst) moved to trigger a vote on the bill, and chaos erupted again. Despite Duncan’s efforts to restore order, the deafening noise continued for 10 minutes. Amidst the noise, Republicans claim they held a vote and passed the by 19-10 (or 17-12, accounts vary.) But the vote was so hard to hear and took place so close to midnight that there’s still no answer as to whether it met the legislative deadline. As of this moment, Senators are in caucus, debating whether or not the bill has been passed. 

For an alternate take on these events, here’s a good first-hand time line…

The outcome remains to be seen, but a few things are clear; Republicans have broken from their post-election contrition and commitment to win female voters, women are no longer willing to be passive witnesses to this strategy, and Wendy Davis is a superstar.