Lawsuit Filed Against Anti-Choice Organization

The image at the center of the lawsuit

I saw an interesting article in the New York Times this morning. Tricia Fraser is suing the anti-choice organization Life Always for using her young daughter’s image on a billboard that contained the text, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” Ms. Fraser’s daughter is African-American. (Life Always is the same organization that recently used the famous “Hope” image of President Obama for another astoundingly offensive billboard.)

The billboard was denounced as racist and offensive almost as soon as it went up in the Soho neighborhood in New York City. Similar billboards went up in Atlanta early last year; those ads, sponsored by Georgia Right to Life and the Radiance Foundation, used an image of a different child and different text, but their message was the same. While those billboards were also met with controversy and disapproval, the lawsuit filed by Ms. Fraser is a first.

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Apparently Women in D.C. Have Really Pricey Abortions

I don’t know about you, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief on Saturday morning. The government shutdown was averted, without sacrificing Planned Parenthood! Yay, bullet dodged!

… and then I learned that that bullet was actually headed straight for pregnant, low-income women in the District of Columbia. Because not only did House Speaker John Boehner want to limit government funding for Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits that provide abortion services, he also wanted to restrict funding on abortions in D.C. So a compromise was worked out: D.C. funding was cut, but the funds to nonprofits were safe.

Look, I get that an argument can be made for this outcome. Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits serve a huge number of men and women, and can now continue to do this very necessary work. And to take even more of a “greater good” perspective – if the government actually had shut down last weekend, hundreds of thousands of people would have been affected, and D.C. would have essentially come to a halt. As a proud resident of the District of Columbia, I’m really glad that we’ll continue to have things like trash pick-up and parking enforcement, and that the businesses in my neighborhood that depend on the income of government workers won’t suffer.

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President Obama Finally Steps Up to the Plate on the Defense of Marriage Act

The LGBTQ community has been criticizing President Obama for his position on the Defense of Marriage Act for quite some time now, and it looks like the pressure may have finally gotten to him. President Obama told the Department of Justice that the Defense of Marriage Act, as applies to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the fifth amendment, and should no longer be defended by the DOJ.

The Defense of Marriage Act is a horrifying piece of legislation that completely undermines the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples in the United States. It’s about damn time that the President stepped up to the plate and argued against the constitutionality of DOMA.

On a different but similar note, I’m sure Speaker Boehner really enjoyed opening this letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. this morning. [Read more...]

Republicans Decide Paying for Abortions is Too Darn Easy, Resolve to Correct Problem

Another day, another piece of onerous anti-choice legislation in the news. But this week we’ve got a twofer! And it’s only Wednesday …

Republican Representative Christopher Smith has sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which made news recently for its use of the term “forcible rape.” Smith’s office claims that that term will be removed from the bill, though as of earlier this week, it still remained. Regardless of what linguistic gymnastics wait in the future, there’s no getting around the fact that the bill would eliminate tax breaks for private employers who provide health coverage plans that offer abortion, as well as prevent women that use flexible spending plans to use pre-tax dollars for abortion care. Oh, and Smith’s bill would also make the odious Hyde Amendment permanent.

Meanwhile, Republican Representative Joe Pitts is sponsoring the Protect Life Act, an amendment to the health care law that would prohibit people that receive health insurance through the state exchanges from buying abortion coverage – even if they use their own money. In addition, this bill would allow hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even in emergency situations, if doing so would offend the conscience of the physicians and other health care providers.

According to a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, this legislation reflections the G.O.P.’s focus on “creating a better environment for economic growth and job creation.” Majority leader Eric Cantor considers both measures “obviously very important in terms of the priorities we set out initially in our pledge to America.”

Call me crazy, but it’s a bit of a stretch to see how forcing women and families to pay more for comprehensive health care will be good for our country’s economic growth. It’s equally asinine to claim that attempting to shoehorn punitive measures into an already-passed law is a priority for voters. [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

Pole Dancing Schools Begins Offering Classes for Elementary School Kids. The Frisky.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Second Trimester Abortions. RH Reality Check.

Abortion Around the World. ChoiceWords.

Obama gabs about his girls (again). Politico.

Abortion groups caught off guard. Politico.

President Obama Nominates Elena Kagan for SCOTUS! Should We Prepare for a Second Round of Sexism?

The sexist double standard was undeniably at play in the right wing attack on Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination. I can’t help but wonder, as we patiently wait for the GOP response to Obama’s most recent nomination of Solicitor Elena Kagan, if we should prepare ourselves for a second round of sexist attacks. Despite the fact that Elena Kagan has a pretty slim record to pick at, I doubt that will prevent conservative misogyny from rearing its ugly head again.

For now, I plan on celebrating the fact that Kagan’s confirmation would add another justice to the bench that supports women’s reproductive choices; as well as level out the gender disparity a bit. In a year where women’s health has been continuously thrown under the bus, this nomination is definitely a breath of fresh air. [Read more...]

Obama Administration Confirms Ludicrous Timeline for Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

It probably isn’t news to anyone here that President Obama is still buying himself time on the issue of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. Despite recent efforts by the President to increase equality for the LGBT community, Obama has still managed to sideline his commitment to repealing DADT in favor of political capital. This couldn’t have been made any more apparent than in the recent announcement by Press Secretary Gibbs.

Gibbs confirmed that the President is committed to a time line that gives the Pentagon until December 1 to study the issue.

A reporter pointed out that made passage of a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell impossible this year. Gibbs told reporters, “Well, again — the House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government. The President has a process and a proposal, I think, that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he’s made for many years in trying to — changing that law.”

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Peace for Women in 2010

As we look towards a new year, one usually hopes for peace and happiness. Unfortunately, peace seems to be a far off notion for the U.S. Escalated violence in Afghanistan resulted in 317 U.S. military deaths last year. So this number doesn’t include deaths of coalition soldiers or Afghani citizens.

A month ago, President Obama announced an increase of 30,000 troops to the region. The goal of this strategy is suppose to be the following: [Read more...]