Kansas Weighs New Anti-Choice Laws

The South Wind Women’s Clinic in Wichita may offer a place for women to receive abortion care, but anti-choice legislators in the state are hoping to impose new restrictions on the procedure. Both the state House and Senate have passed a bill that would define life as beginning at fertilization, and anti-choice Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign it into law.

The bill does more than include language about when life begins. It would also mandate what information clinics must give women about abortion risks—including the medically inaccurate claim of a possible link between breast cancer and abortion—and fetal development; prohibit clinic employees from providing sex education in schools; ban terminations performed solely because of the sex of the fetus; and prohibit the use of tax credits, tax preferences, and public funds for abortion services, as well as prevent public health-care services provided by the state from being used in any way to carry out abortions.

[Read more...]

Antis Freak Out Over Nothing; Also Known As Monday

A recent op-ed by Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post shows off the anti-choice movement’s flair for using emotionally manipulative language and glossing over the facts. In “Planned Parenthood’s Defense of Infanticide,” Thiessen claims that a Planned Parenthood representative was “caught on camera defending infanticide.”

During a recent political hearing in Florida, Planned Parenthood’s Alisa LaPolt Snow was asked what the organization’s response would be if, in the case of a failed abortion, the fetus was born alive. Snow’s answer? “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

That seems like a perfectly reasonable response to me. After all, who else should be asked to make a decision in that moment? Isn’t that what happens with any child, whether they’re five minutes old or five years old? Let’s say that a five-year-old was gravely ill. Who would be in charge of making his medical decisions? His parents and physician. That doesn’t mean that I’m advocating killing five-year-olds. It means that in America, as in much of the world, parents are the ones that make medical decisions for their children.

[Read more...]

Emergency Contraception Restrictions Overturned!

This morning, Judge Edward Korman of the District Court of Eastern New York overturned the Obama administration’s ban on allowing women under age 17 to purchase emergency contraception without a prescription. Judge Korman has ordered the FDA to make Plan B available over the counter to all women “within thirty days.”

In late 2011, the administration overruled a decision by the FDA to allow teenage girls to purchase Plan B without a prescription. The administration’s move came as a surprise and was blasted for being politically motivated. In the decision released today, Judge Korman seemed to agree with that assessment, writing that the restriction was “a strong showing of bad faith and improper political influence … The decisions of the Secretary with respect to Plan B One-Step…were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.” (The full decision can be read here.)

Plan B has been available to women ages 17 and older without a prescription, and to younger women that have a prescription. But keeping the medication behind pharmacy counters meant that women could only buy the pill when the pharmacy was open, and many pharmacies are closed on evenings and weekends. Since Plan B is most effective if taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, such delays matter. Women have also reported encountering pharmacists that refused to sell them Plan B, because the medication violated their own personal beliefs.

Today’s decision is great news, and a great way to start the weekend!

National Women’s Law Center Launches CPC Toolkit

Crisis pregnancy clinics, or CPCs, represent one of the more insidious threats to reproductive rights. These clinics purport to be supportive resources for women and teens that are pregnant and want information about their choice, yet they disseminate scientifically inaccurate information and emotionally manipulative information about abortion and contraception.

The National Women’s Law Center recently introduced a toolkit targeting the deceptive practices at CPCs and ways consumer protection laws can help women given misleading and/or incorrect information at a CPC. The toolkit provides a wealth of material, including an eye-opening fact sheet on the ways that crisis pregnancy clinics target communities of color. The NWLC also has a new hotline (1-855-CPC-FACT) and email to answer questions or assist in filing a complaint.

Why South Wind Women’s Center Matters

An abortion clinic opening in any U.S. city would make news these days, but the imminent opening of South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas has garnered a special kind of attention. The clinic, which will provide abortions until the 14th week of pregnancy as well as a wide range of other women’s health care services, will be located in Dr. George Tiller’s former clinic.

South Wind is owned by the Trust Women Organization, a nonprofit that was founded in 2010 by Julie Burkhart, who worked with Dr. Tiller for seven years. “We’re going to provide Pap smears, pelvic exams, well-woman care, contraceptive care, pregnancy confirmation and consultation, and STI (sexually transmitted infection) treatment” Burkhart has said. “We want to work with women who are having trouble getting pregnant and women who have been pregnant — the full range of services.” There are three physicians on staff—one local, two that will travel in from out of state—and a social worker that will offer both miscarriage and post-abortion counseling as well as lactation consultation.

[Read more...]

Update: Michigan Keeping Shaming Wands Out of Women’s Vaginas (For Now)

In a midwinter miracle, the powers that be in the Michigan legislature have decided that maybe it’s not the best idea to require that women who want abortions must undergo transvaginal ultrasounds. House Speaker Rep. Jase Bolger has said that he has “no interest in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound …This House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds.”

While it’s heartening that rational thought has prevailed in this specific matter, it’s important to note that this doesn’t indicate any great desire to stay out of women’s private health decisions. After all, the state passed an abortion “super bill” late last year that, among other things, banned telemed abortions and introduced structural requirements that could force clinics to close.

 

 

 

Bills, Bills, Bills

Congratulations, Mississippi, you’re a trendsetter. As anti-choice politicians push forward in their bid to close the last abortion clinic in the state, legislators in North Dakota are seeking to close their state’s only clinic, too. Yesterday, state lawmakers passed a bill that requires physicians providing abortions at the Red River Clinic in Fargo to have admitting privileges at area hospitals—the same tactic that is threatening Mississippi’s Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO).

The Red River clinic has often been the target of harassment and threats, and the physicians that work there don’t actually live in the state; in an arrangement similar to the one at JWHO, they travel from other states to provide abortion care. It’s too early to tell if hospitals in the Fargo area will grant these privileges, but as Amanda Marcotte pointed out in The American Prospect, “The chances of the doctors getting the privileges now are low, because hospitals don’t want to draw the same protests” as the clinic has faced.

[Read more...]

Remind Me to Choose: A Kit for Reproductive Choice!

After a very thoughtful month celebrating Roe v. Wade, here is a modest kit for helping to make important reproductive choices.

Know your body and sexuality:

Know your rights:

Share and support:

Involvement:

Information:

You definitely can choose! Spread the word!

Julie Stephens Talks Postmaternal Thinking

Feminist Conversations is a regular series here at Feminists for Choice. Today we are talking to Julie Stephens, author of Confronting Postmaternal Thinking: Feminism, Memory and CareJulie Stephens, about the book and the concept of postmaternalism.

1. What inspired you to write Confronting Postmaternal Thinking?

Initially, I was inspired by re-reading Sara Ruddick’s Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace, almost twenty years after its publication. I was struck by the contrast between the wonderful promise of Ruddick’s notion of maternal thinking as a different way of seeing, knowing, and acting in the world that fostered non-violence and peace, and the reality, twenty years later, of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the dominance of social policies that were cruel to those most vulnerable.

[Read more...]

Dispatches from Abortionland

Today’s post, the final is our Roe v. Wade series, is by guest contributor Sarah Cohen, who worked at the National Abortion Federation hotline for several years and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their cat.

Once you move to abortionland, there’s no moving back. Once you start thinking hard about abortion, it touches everything—it’s like a new lens that you see the world through. I can turn any conversation into a conversation about abortion. I see the links to it everywhere—in poverty, the social safety net (or lack thereof), education levels, unemployment, race, urban-rural divides, gender relations, religion, and just about every other dimension of modern life.

I moved to abortionland almost five years ago, when I began working on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline. I’d been pro-choice my whole life, and I’d been interested in abortion politics for a long time, but this was brand new. I did options counseling, I looked up clinics and gave out their phone numbers, I talked about money with all kinds of women. I stayed after my shift ended almost every day, thinking I could take just a few more calls and help just a few more women before going home.

[Read more...]