Days After Restrictive Abortion Law is Signed, North Carolina Clinic Has License Suspended

Remember how, when  Pat McCrory ran for governor of North Carolina last year, he promised not to pass any new abortion-related restrictions? Don’t worry, neither does he. And barely two days after McCrory signed an anti-choice bill into law, the FemCare clinic–also known as the only abortion provider in Western North Carolina–has had its licensed suspended.

Officials with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services say that the suspension is unrelated to the new law, and cited 23 violations. However, a statement released on behalf of the clinic alluded to the fact that those new regulations may have been a factor in the suspension: [Read more...]

Jane About Thisismyabortion.com

Feminist Conversations is a regular feature here at Feminists For Choice. Today we are talking to Jane, founder of the website thisismyabortion.com. On the site, Jane shares pictures of her abortion and the website has received many comments from women all over the world.

1. How did the project come about?
This project came about after I had an abortion. The day I went in for my procedure, I was bombarded by anti-choice fanatics outside the clinic displaying bloody images of dead babies. It was horrific. I was determined to know what my abortion would look like. I decided to take pictures with my phone of the abortion after the procedure was over. It took some time for me to decide to publish these photos and make a project out of it.

2.What was your main goal when deciding to show pictures of your abortion? Was it mostly personal or also political?
The main goal for me was educational. I felt vastly manipulated by the anti-choice protesters outside that clinic that day. They took advantage of my fragile state in an unscrupulous calculated manner. It was, and is, blatant propaganda to fulfill an anti-choice agenda. [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.

 

 

 

What an Ohio Dry Cleaner Has to do With Michigan Politicians

You might have missed this story if you don’t watch The Daily Show or read RH Reality Check, but a dry cleaner in Ohio has been putting “Choose Life” messaging on, of all things, wire coat hangers. This strikes me as a pretty brazen action, and not just because wire coat hangers are, to put it mildly, fairly loaded images when it comes to abortion. It’s also because this dry cleaner is, as best as I can tell, a private business whose day-to-day activities, not to mention income, have nothing to do with the abortion issue.

[Read more...]

Update: Heartbeat Bill Really, Truly Halted … For Now

Seems like just the other week that Ohio politicians were trying to place severe restrictions on when women in the state could have abortions. Oh wait, that’s right, it was: right after the election, anti-choice Republicans began trying to push through a modified version of the previously-failed “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected.

Looks like the second attempt proved no more successful, as on Tuesday the state senate president said that there were no plans to vote on the bill before the legislative session ends in December. According to an Associated Press report, both lawmakers and Ohio Right to Life were concerned that banning abortions at such an early stage (fetal heartbeat can generally be detected by the sixth week of pregnancy) would be unconstitutional and could jeopardize “other abortion limits.” Senate President Tom Niehaus also said that he wants to “continue our focus on jobs and the economy … [t]hat’s what people are concerned about.”

Well, yeah. That’s probably what they were concerned about the first time this bill was introduced, too. Yet a whole bunch of elected politicians still decided that it was more important to grandstand about a blatantly unconstitutional bill, rather than direct their time and energy into more pressing and relevant issues. I’d like to hope that they wouldn’t make that mistake a third time, but let’s be honest, common sense doesn’t seem to be the driving force here.

Ohio’s Talking Fetus Moves to Michigan, Requests Tax Credit

Just in case there was any doubt that the more accurate term for the anti-abortion movement is “pro-fetus,” lawmakers in Michigan recently held hearings on two bills that would grant tax exemptions for a fetus that is over twelve weeks’ gestation.

House Bills 5684 and 5685 were sponsored by Republican Reps. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (not making that name up!) and Jud Gilbert II, respectively. Lyons has served on the board of directors of a crisis pregnancy center; on that CPC’s website are a slew of misleading statements about the risks of abortion as well as incorrect information about fetal development.

This proposed legislation is particularly galling given that last year, the state cut tax credits for children—341,000 of whom, according to Think Progress, “live in high-poverty areas.”

So, just to recap: fetuses deserve tax breaks, but actual children—those that exist independently and require food and shelter—do not.  Pro-life?  Not if you’re actually alive.  Michigan’s state legislature is heavily Republican, but many of these Republicans represent moderate and pro-choice constituencies, so if you live in Michigan, please call or write your state Rep and tell them to vote against these pro-fetus, anti-child bills!

Guttmacher Midyear Report Looks at Reproductive Rights Trends and Threats

Earlier this week, the Guttmacher Institute released its midyear report on state legislative trends relating to reproductive rights. A detailed look at all ninety-five new provisions enacted across the country can be found here, but for now, here are some notable points:

  • Attempts to legislate abortion continue, although at a slower pace than was seen this time last year (39 new restrictions have been enacted so far in 2012, versus the 80 that were passed in the first half of 2011). However, these 39 restrictions – fourteen of which were enacted in just three states – represent a higher number than in any previous year except 2011.
  •  Over half of American women, 55%, live in a state considered hostile to abortion rights.

[Read more...]

Is Michigan the Next Arizona?

When one thinks of traditionally anti-choice states, Michigan likely doesn’t float to the top of the list. Unfortunately, that’s about to change. According to Ms. Magazine’s blog, just this week anti-choice zealots in the Michigan legislature introduced three bills designed to make abortion virtually inaccessible in the Great Lakes state.

The bills (H.B. 5711, 5712 and 5713) each represent major attacks on abortion rights, but when packaged together are an all-out blitz. They have already passed through committee and apparently, anti-choice politicos are trying to push them through the House for a full vote before the legislative session ends on June 28th.

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Anti-Choice News: The Good, the Bad, and the Ludicrous

Between a massive book deadline and an overseas trip, I feel like I’ve spent the past six weeks totally unaware of any and all current news. Which has been kind of nice, to be honest, but also means that it slipped my notice that the heinous Ohio “heartbeat bill” died a merciful death in the state senate. Turns out that while the state’s house was perfectly fine with allowing abortions to be outlawed as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected – which can be as early as six weeks – more rational heads prevailed in the senate, where the measure didn’t even come up for a vote. Interestingly, even a number of anti-choice politicians and activists were against the bill, contending (probably rightly) that it was too extreme to withstand the almost-inevitable court challenge that would follow its passage. While I would have rather seen the bill defeated on the grounds that it’s incredibly restrictive and blatantly places fetal rights above the rights of women, it’s still nice to see that women in Ohio will retain the right to make their own reproductive choices.

In other “hey, remember this crazy anti-choice idea?” news, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks is at it again. Earlier this year, the anti-choice politician decided that, despite not representing the District of Columbia, he was totally entitled to tell women in D.C. what to do with their bodies. Franks introduced the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District, and recently a House subcommittee held hearings on the bill. Franks did not allow Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who actually does represent D.C. residents, to testify at the hearing, although he did see fit to declare late-term abortions “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today.” [Read more...]

Head of NARAL Pro-Choice America Stepping Down

Yesterday Nancy Keenan, the head of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced that she is leaving her position at the end of this year. Keenan, who has been the president of NARAL since 2004, cited a concern for the future of the pro-choice movement as a factor in her decision: “If the pro-choice movement is to successfully defend abortion rights, Keenan contends, it needs more young people in leadership roles, including hers.”

It’s no secret that the abortion rights have come under increased attack over the past couple of years. A record number of anti-choice laws were enacted in 2011; earlier this year, controversial mandatory ultrasound laws passed in Virginia and Texas, and Arizona recently approved two incredibly restrictive anti-choice laws.

[Read more...]