Here’s this week’s reproductive rights news brought to you by the women of Our Word (and at least one of the guys!). If you see something you find relevant please email it to me, bayprairie at gmail dot com

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The following was first brought to Our Word’s attention by Laura. Moiv and Double Helix also contributed several links and I’ve been doing some googling around too.

I personally feel that the following, from Mediamatters, on the recently elected Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is a case of them getting it wrong. It’s my opinion that they are taking someone whom NARAL rates as “mixedchoice” and painting Kaine as a supporter of women’s choice. Couple that with the fact that NARAL declined to endorse Kaine in the race and I don’t feel that his support of a woman’s right to choose is all that solid. But you be the judge. Here’s the beginning of it.

NPR wrong again on Kaine, Democrats, and abortion

For the second day in a row, National Public Radio’s (NPR) Morning Edition misrepresented Virginia Governor-elect Timothy M. Kaine’s position on abortion. On November 10, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson falsely described Kaine — who supports legal access to abortion — as “pro-life.” On November 11, NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty drew a false dichotomy between Kaine’s position on abortion and that of the Democratic Party. Bradley labeled Kaine “an unusual candidate,” claiming that “he opposes abortion in a party that supports it.” In fact, while Kaine has expressed opposition to abortion as a matter of personal faith, he made it clear during his campaign that he supports legal access to abortion and highlighted the issue as one distinguishing him and his Republican opponent, former Virginia attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore.

MediaMatters urges everyone to “correct” NPR on their characterization of Gov. Kaine as anti-choice. Here are some articles that back up NARAL and the NPR report.

The Brilliance Of The Kaine Ads.

Kaine is playing dog-whistle politics in his rebuttals to Kilgore. While on the surface his new ad, “Tim Responds to Attack Ads,” is a defense of his Catholic faith and commitment to enacting Virginia laws meting out the death sentence, Kaine is also using it to send a covert pro-life message to Virginia cultural conservatives, and to signal support for religious believers. This is brilliant politics, and not the sort of positioning one normally sees from Democrats.

“My faith teaches life is sacred,” says Kaine in the ad. Translation: I am a Christian and opposed to abortion on religious grounds. Kaine, who in fact failed to win the endorsement of NARAL because of his support for restrictions on abortion, objects to the procedure on the same religious grounds that cause him to oppose the death penalty.

Raising Kaine

Meet Tim Kaine. His views on abortion are roughly in line with those of George W. Bush. He thinks John Kerry spent too much time on the campaign trail talking about windsurfing and not enough time talking about God.

And the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is spending an unprecedented $5 million to help him get elected governor of Virginia.

Even the pro-fetal-life organization, Concerned Women for America, has something to say about Tim Kaine

Virginia’s Gubernatorial Campaign Sets the Tone for Future Elections

Voters in Virginia have elected a new governor, Democrat Tim Kaine, who ran as a moderate. Kaine’s success came from his campaigning as a pro-life lawmaker in the conservative, rural portion of the state, yet proclaiming himself a liberal in the state’s bluer regions. Kaine walked the fence so carefully, he failed to gain the endorsement of NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League. Bob Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute, has more on how this victory will play with Democrat leaders and how it will direct coming elections. Click here to listen.

And then from Kaine’s site comes the following.

Tim Kaine on Reducing Abortions in Virginia

I have a faith-based opposition to abortion. As governor, I will work in good faith to reduce abortions by:


  1. Enforcing the current Virginia restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother;

  3. Fighting teen pregnancy through abstinence-focused education;

  5. Ensuring women’s access to health care (including legal contraception) and economic opportunity; and

  7. Promoting adoption as an alternative for women facing unwanted pregnancies.

We should reduce abortion in this manner, rather than by criminalizing women and doctors.

It is my opinion that Kaine is exactly what NARAL says he is, mixed choice. He’ll support a woman’s right to choose because it happens to be law but I would suspect he’ll do everything in his power to interfere and limit choice by supporting and signing into law bills designed to interfere with a woman’s easy access to reproductive rights services.  I would characterize his beliefs in my own words, as: 1) abortion is a bad thing;  2) we do not want women to choose it; 3) if and when abortions are needed, we would like them to be limited to medically necessary reasons or to cases of rape or incest.  My sense of Kaine is that he is very much a “Democrats for Life” type and his webpage mentions some of the same ideas pro-fetal-life groups embrace, i.e., abstinence-focused education, adoption as alternative, etc etc.

I feel MediaMatters isn’t serving the truth in this instance either, and the organization’s concern seems to be “polishing” Gov. Kaine’s credentials as opposed to correcting a grevious error in reportage. Now they’re trying to paint him as strongly pro-choice, when in fact he is not.


This week saw the Television Debut of “The Last Abortion Clinic”. If you missed it you still have some options. As of now its still viewable online, or you can purchase a DVD or VHS cassette by going to the following URL:

Watch the full program online: 60 minutes / windows media and realplayer formats

Moiv put together an excellent diary on this issue named The Last Abortion Clinic: Whistling Past the Graveyard.  The piece was also posted at DailyKos, Booman Tribune and My Left Wing. Her diary was on the recommended list at the first two sites listed and it was (I believe) front-paged at My Left Wing. If you haven’t read Moiv’s words, please do.

More reaction to the show can be found here in Salon, link courtesy Double Helix.

Welcome to no-choice America

 PBS’s “The Last Abortion Clinic” (9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8; check listings) shook me out of my stupor. As this “Frontline” special clearly and carefully explains, whether or not Roe v. Wade is repealed, the antiabortion agenda in many states has already made it nearly impossible for a poor woman to get an abortion.

Here is a pro-fetal-life review of the show. If you visit the following link be prepared for misstatements of scientific fact such as the following

Was The Last Abortion Clinic Biased?

Excuse me PBS, but don’t you know that birth control and the morning after pill both cause abortions? You probably do, but you don’t even discuss those two at all in your documentary. You just bring them up as just another “choice” that extremists don’t honor.

The pro-fetal-lifers never let the truth stand in the way of great propaganda. Neither birth control nor EC are abortificants.


Here’s an article sent to Our Word by Moiv that contains a pro-choice Republican perspective, a refreshing change from the usual Republican meme.

Whitman criticizes Republican hard-liners

Social conservatives have taken the Republican Party hostage by ostracizing advocates of abortion rights and other differing views on sensitive social issues, former Bush Cabinet member Christine Todd Whitman said Thursday.

Whitman, a Republican who supports abortion rights, critiqued her own party during a visit to Des Moines just as the GOP gubernatorial primary candidates in Iowa have begun appealing to the party’s most avid abortion opponents.

“It becomes really the easy way out not to have a real discussion about what we are talking about here: unwanted and unplanned pregnancies and what we can all do to make a difference,” Whitman told The Des Moines Register. “But nobody wants to talk about those because it’s not exciting enough, particularly in a primary.”

Whitman, a former New Jersey governor who was President Bush’s first director of environmental protection, was the featured speaker at the annual fundraiser of Planned Parenthood of Iowa, a group that supports abortion rights.

I look forward to the day that the Republican party returns to supporting women’s reproductive rights. The so called conservatives in the republican party seem to be fraying at the edges these days and the moderates in the party might be in the ascendence. More power to them, I say.


Here’s another legislative effort by the boys who like playing doctor in the United States Congress. Link via Moiv from the pro-fetal-life group, Concerned Women of America.

House Holds Hearing on Fetal Pain

The House Constitution Subcommittee held a hearing on November 1 to explore the legal, political and medical information regarding fetal pain and the constitutionality of laws that would require physicians to provide women, before they undergo an abortion, with information regarding the pain to the unborn.

Four experts from the fields of law and medicine testified at the hearing. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) presided over the proceedings.

Two key pieces of legislation, each titled the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate) (Introduced in House), specify that women who seek abortion must be notified  about the pain their unborn baby will experience.

I suppose matters such as these are much too important to be left to the judgement of trained medical professionals. We’ll be watching the evolution of these bills to see how our Democratic representatives react.


The election this past Tuesday in California was a resounding success for women’s reproductive rights, due to the Defeat of Proposition 73.

Here’s a DailyKos link that discusses some of the organizations involved:

Mouse Pads and Shoe Leathers: Why We Really Won in CA

Here’s a conservative voice, Josh Trevino, link courtesy Marisa

What We Talk About When We Talk About Loss

Here’s a Kos diary by the Alliance for a Better California.

Analysis: How Did We Win?

Here’s the League of Women Voter’s page on Prop. 73, via Marisa

Vote No On Proposition 73

Here’s a link to the Campaign for Teen Safety

Victory: Prop 73 DEFEATED!

Here’s a letter to the editor published in the Modesto Bee thanks to Marisa for passing it along.

Prop 73 is dangerous

Proposition 73 is a dangerous initiative which would amend our state constitution and insert government into people’s lives. It requires doctors to notify both parents of a teenage girl who wishes to terminate a pregnancy.

For the 60 percent-plus who believe they can go to their parents, this initiative will have little impact. It is the other teens who will be badly affected, those who can’t and won’t tell their parents about a pregnancy because of shame, fear of abuse, or fear of getting kicked out of the house. These desperate girls will take matters into their own hands and seek dangerous illegal abortions or try to self-abort. Some will die.

Proposition 73 also requires doctors to report teen abortions to the government, and requires judges to report how many judicial waivers they have granted. Why does government need to have this information? Morality and family communication can not be legislated. This misguided initiative should be defeated.

Here’s an editoral from The Record, in the central valley, thanks again to Marisa for passing this along.

Protecting Teen Privacy

Supporters of Proposition 73 like to argue it will restore the right of California parents to counsel and care for their young daughters before and after an abortion.

Which begs the question: Are parents denied that right today?

Of course not. Parents are free to bring aid and comfort to their children, no matter the circumstance, be it an unplanned pregnancy, a broken arm or any of the other traumas a child can face on the rocky road to adulthood.

What Proposition 73 attempts to do is force, by government edict, a child to listen to that advice.

I commend the voters of California for their wisdom in defeating this misguided law.


Dr Warren Hern is in the news again. Links courtesy of Moiv and thanks to Artemisia for front-paging it quickly.  Moiv reports if she can find the time in her busy schedule she’ll post a diary on this issue.  

Note: this Democratic candidate referenced in the letter is definitely pro-fetal-life to an extreme.

Here’s the story

Abortion doctor opposes Dem for governor

Local abortion doctor Warren Hern says he can’t support Democrat Bill Ritter’s candidacy for governor because of Ritter’s position on reproductive rights.

Ritter, the lone Democrat in the race, describes himself as “pro-life.”

Hern on Friday released a copy of a letter he mailed to the candidate after the two met last month.

and here is Dr Hern’s public letter. This is a must read.

Read Warren Hern’s letter to Bill Ritter


Here’s a story out of Wisconsin on another state fetal pain bill.

State assembly roils debate over abortion

MADISON — Based on research suggesting a fetus feels pain at five months, a state Assembly bill would make physicians tell a patient seeking an abortion that her unborn child would experience pain during the procedure performed at 20 weeks.

Assembly Bill 321 is aimed at helping women make informed choices about a difficult decision, but critics say it is founded on inconclusive evidence and it infringes on the doctor-patient relationship.

As members of the Assembly prepare to debate the bill Tuesday, their votes will be cast on a controversial issue that has become increasingly familiar.

The fetus-pain legislation is one of 10 abortion-related bills introduced in the Legislature this year. While the majority of them have stalled in committee (and three are duplicate bills introduced in both chambers), the Assembly last week passed a bill that would make it harder for minors to get an abortion without written, notarized consent from their parent or legal guardian.

That measure must first pass the Senate and be signed by the governor before it can become law. Gov. Jim Doyle has pledged to veto both abortion bills.


Here’s a great story, link courtesty Double Helix, on a Dr. who believes in helping women get EC.  According to the article his clinic  maintains an extensive database of friendly pharmacies.  Please note that he can only prescribe in less than half of the states at present, but to those states where he can prescribe, he’s obviously a godsend.

Dr. Pill to the rescue

…one doctor in New Mexico — having seen firsthand the vast demand for the medication as well as the roadblocks in its way — has spent the last five years quietly making sure emergency contraception gets into the hands of women who need it, when they need it.

In 2000, Dr. Matt Wise launched the Web site — which provides prescriptions for emergency contraception — as a short-term end run around the obstacles women face who are trying to get the drug. “We thought emergency contraception would be over-the-counter literally within months,” he says. He assumed, therefore, that demand for the site’s services would be short-lived. Five years later, however, Dr. Wise, 35, a practicing gynecologist by day, still may not be quitting his night job anytime soon.

:::snip::: logs 30 to 50 prescription requests or inquiries per day, most from women who have found the site via a search engine or a public health Web site; some college health services also recommend the site for use on weekends, when they’re closed. Women seeking a prescription are asked to fill out a questionnaire designed, in part, to confirm that they are at risk of pregnancy — but not already pregnant. (Plan B will not harm an existing pregnancy, says Wise, but it is a waste of time for a pregnant patient to use the drug.) “If patients get confused about when their last period was, I’ll get on the phone with them and pull out my calendar and we’ll try to do the best math we can to figure it out,” says Wise. When a patient’s need is confirmed, a prescription is called or sent in to the pharmacy of her choice. If a pharmacy or pharmacist turns out to be hostile to dispensing emergency contraception — which happens once every other day or so, Wise says — his staff goes back through their extensive database, which lists pharmacies across the country that they have used successfully, until they find a friendlier one.


Here’s another story concerning how the religious right rejects a cure for cancer because of their personal hangups concerning human sexuality.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Gets Injected With a Social Issue

A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity.

Although the vaccine will not become available until next year at the earliest, activists on both sides have begun maneuvering to influence how widely the immunizations will be employed.

Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine.


We have more on the story of the California teacher who was fired by the Catholic school she taught at. If you recall she was fired because she volunteered as an abortion clinic escort on her off days. She has filed employment discrimination complaints with the state. Thanks to Moiv for the heads-up on this one.

Fired teacher from Sacramento files complaint :::free registration required:::

SACRAMENTO – A drama teacher who was fired last month from a Catholic high school alleged Thursday that her dismissal for having volunteered at a Planned Parenthood clinic was a case of sexual and religious discrimination and violated her free-speech rights.

Marie Bain, 50, of Sacramento filed two employment complaints Thursday with the state against Loretto High School, the religious order that sponsors the school, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and Bishop William K. Weigand.

One complaint — with the state Department of Labor — calls for an investigation of the employment practices of the diocese. The other — with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing — is a first step toward a lawsuit.

“Loretto rightly prides itself as an academic institution committed to vigorous debate of ideas and beliefs,” said Bain’s attorney, John Poswall of Sacramento. “Unfortunately, the action of the bishop, cowering to noisy fundamentalists, threatens to turn Loretto into a Taliban-style institution of thought control and repression.”