The 20-week abortion ban forced one woman to pawn her wedding ring and flee to Arkansas to terminate her pregnancy.
In late June, when state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg took to the floor of the Texas House in an electric-blue power suit and proposed a ban on abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, Sarah Guler wasn’t worried. In fact, she had no idea the fight over abortion was happening. When state Sen. Wendy Davis famously stood for 11 hours to block the bill and when the Texas statehouse became so crammed with protestors that state troopers sealed the doors, even then the news didn’t reach Sarah. As a busy mom in suburban Houston, she didn’t think much about politics. Instead she was preoccupied with child rearing, volunteer work and part-time studies. (Sarah Guler isn’t her real name. The Observer agreed not to reveal her name or certain identifying details.) In September Sarah learned she was pregnant. She and her husband called it their “miracle child.” Because of Sarah’s health problems and two complicated pregnancies, they had feared she’d never conceive again. Now they felt like the luckiest couple alive.
In October, not long into Sarah’s first trimester, Texas’ new anti-abortion bill took effect. Part of the new law required abortion physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The clause involved so much red tape, and proved so difficult to satisfy, that overnight one-third of Texas’ abortion clinics stopped taking patients. Legal challenges ricocheted around the federal courts, causing the media to focus on the distances women now had to travel to get an abortion. The ban on abortions after 20 weeks wasn’t part of the legal challenges, and neither the state health department nor doctors’ groups issued any guidance to health providers or abortion clinics about how they should comply with the new 20-week ban. So it slipped quietly and largely unremarked into law.
A few days before Christmas, the Gulers went to the obstetrician’s office for the 19-week ultrasound. They wanted to know whether to hang a pink or a blue stocking by the fireplace. But they never did find out the gender. Instead they learned that their miracle child had a brain defect so severe that the doctor described it as incompatible with life. Gasping, Sarah asked whether surgery or drugs could fix the condition, but the doctor shook his head. “If you’re looking for a baby that’s going to go to school and play soccer,” he told her, “this is not that child.” The doctor offered to do extra tests but added that the results would be the same. The baby would most likely be stillborn and if it survived birth, would suffer seizures every day of its short life. “If that were me,” Sarah thought, “I’d rather go to God.”
But she and her husband were in for another shock. When Sarah asked when the doctor could schedule an induction to abort the fetus, he shook his head. “We don’t do that here.” Instead, he gave her a list of abortion clinics and told her that she had only seven days to get an abortion. “You have to hurry because there’s a ban,” the doctor told them. “You’re already at 19 weeks. By next Friday, it will be too late.”
In the car on the way home, Sarah began calling the clinics on the list. Only two of them offered abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. What followed was an odyssey of dead ends. Most clinics told her that they only offered abortions up to 16 weeks. One in Dallas referred her to a clinic in New Mexico, but that clinic couldn’t see her until January because it was closed for the holidays. Another clinic in Houston could schedule her on Dec. 26, but after a 24-hour mandatory waiting period she would be too far along to legally abort the fetus. Each receptionist gave Sarah another number to call until eventually she realized she had called some clinics twice. Sarah began to panic. She realized that if she failed to find a clinic in the next week, she would have to spend the remainder of her pregnancy waiting for the baby to die in utero.
“Texas can’t help us,” she said to her husband. “What the hell, let’s call Arkansas.”
Thanks to harsh new abortion restrictions in place in Ohio, doctors are warning that they can’t provide the best care for their patients — and sometimes, women are being forced to carry nonviable fetuses to term against the recommendations of medical professionals.
Last year, Ohio enacted several new laws that further regulate the way that doctors are allowed to practice. Abortion doctors are now required to obtain transfer agreements with local hospitals, an unnecessary requirement that is forcing clinics out of business. And doctors are prohibited from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the fetus is nonviable; by 24 weeks, abortion is outlawed altogether.
Since the new law doesn’t adequately distinguish between elective abortions and medically necessary abortions, doctors warn that it’s forcing them to withhold critical health services from their patients. Sometimes, serious fetal abnormalities aren’t evident until women are past the legal limit for termination. Thanks to Ohio’s new law, however, doctors’ hands are tied when they encounter those situations.
Dr. Jason Melillo, an OB-GYN who does not perform elective abortions because he is religiously opposed to the procedure, told the Columbus Dispatch that he will still refer patients to abortion services if it’s medically necessary. For instance, he had a recent patient who discovered that her fetus had a fatal chromosome condition, and he recommended that she should terminate to avoid the risk of future complications. But it was too late.
“By this point she was 27 weeks. The doctors were saying they can’t do it. There wasn’t even a medical debate about it. Everyone agreed she shouldn’t deliver but were afraid they would run afoul of this law,” Melillo explained. “What if she gets a blood clot? What if she needs a cesarean section? Now you’re putting this woman through risky medical procedures for no good reason.”
“Nobody likes to end a pregnancy for a fetal problem. But it’s worse to leave a patient without medical care because doctors are afraid of violating the law,” he continued.
THOSE SLUTS LIKE SANDRA FLUKE ARE TAKING OVER AND MAKING WOMEN HAVE SEX MORNING NOON AND NIGHT WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR BIRTH CONTROL WHEN THEY CAN GET A BOX OF RUBBERS FOR $10 AT WALMART THEY SHOULD JUST PUT AN ASPRIN BETWEEN THEIR KNEES!!!!!!!!11TY
The U.S. abortion rate has fallen to a 30-year low, reports the Guttmacher Institute, which records the abortion rate by surveying the known abortion providers in the country. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of abortions fell to 1.1 million a year, a drop of 13 percent. Overall, abortion has been in a long-term decline for most of the time it’s been legal. In 1981, 29 women per 1,000 ages 15-44 had an abortion. In 2011, it was only 17 per 1,000.
Anti-choicers should avoid congratulating themselves for the decline, however. As the Guttmacher’s press release indicates, this descent happened before the most recent wave of abortion restrictions began closing clinics. Instead, it seems that women are just getting pregnant less often. Over the same period, the birth rate was also in decline, hitting a record low in 2012.
And sorry, Mike Huckabee, it’s probably not because women have decided they find sexual intercourse to be debasing. In fact, it’s pro-choice activists and groups like Planned Parenthood, with their tireless work at making contraception socially acceptable and affordable, that should take the credit. Contraception use, especially highly effective long-term forms like the IUD, is up. Indeed, contraception has become universal, with 99 percent of sexually active women having used contraception before and 62 percent of women reproductive age using contraception now. Also, it’s not that the country is being taken over by the urbane single ladies who haunt conservative nightmares—the Sandra Flukes of the world who delay getting married and love their birth control pills. Married women are more likely to use contraception than never-married women.
Anti-choice/pro-birth groups like Concerned Women for America say some credit for this drop should be given to restrictive abortion laws passed since 2011. CWFA’s Janice Shaw Crouse:
“This Guttmacher report bends over backwards in trying to deny that record-setting pro-life legislation has made tremendous strides in curbing abortions in the United States. Further, the authors try to convince the American public that suddenly couples are using contraception better and timing the spacing of their children better, all the while denying the concrete data showing that abstinence education is improving the future for the nation’s teens and common sense legislation is exposing the profit-centered motivation of the abortion industry. Our young women are benefiting as fewer are engaging in too-early sex, fewer are choosing abortion, fewer doctors are willing to do abortions, and more clinics are closing.”
The Guttmacher report, however, cites data up to 2011, before these slut shaming laws were passed.
Remember that story Charles Johnson talked about awhile back about the Israeli government funding all abortions for people who are 20 to 33 years of age?
It turns out, at least one American wingnut was logically consistent after all. Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch points out that Mark Gordon, a writer for a conservative catholic website, has demanded that the US government end all aid to Israel until the country stops funding abortions. He maybe wrong, but at least you won’t be able to accuse him of hypocrisy here.
Religious Right activists often claim that they will never be silent about “Nazi” abortion rights …that is, unless those rights exist in Israel. We noted last week that Israel’s decision to expand public funding for abortion coverage was met with crickets from many American anti-choice groups that also embrace Christian Zionism and accuse President Obama of being unfriendly to Israel.
These organizations, of course, would have erupted with rage if the Obama administration had even contemplated implementing a similar policy.
In a column today, a writer at the conservative Catholic website Aleteia calls out U.S abortion rights opponents for responding to Israel’s new policy “with little comment or condemnation,” wondering if they either “missed the story” or think “abortion in Israel just doesn’t matter.”
Aleteia’s Mark Gordon writes that in order to be consistent, the same anti-choice movement that demands a ban on government funds for abortion coverage and groups like Planned Parenthood in the U.S. should also call for the end of U.S. aid to Israel: “American taxpayers should not be put in the position of underwriting the culture of death. But if that’s true of Obamacare – and it is – then shouldn’t it be true for American foreign aid?”
Yes why didn’t we all see this before!?
Oh and I Intend on using that video again!
Note : In case you’re interested, the folks over at Wonkette had a lot of fun with this
The ACLU has the moral high ground. Will the church respond well?
But are they negligent if they fail to merely inform a pregnant woman that abortion is the safest option when her health is in danger and her fetus faces certain death? And that if she wants an abortion, she should seek help elsewhere?
That’s the crux of the issue in a negligence lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Tamesha Means, a Michigan woman whose local hospital treated her with Tylenol and sent her home twice after her water broke 18 weeks into her pregnancy. The suit alleges that the hospital, the only one within 30 miles of Means’ home, did not tell her that her fetus was doomed, nor that inducing labor and terminating the pregnancy was the only way to reduce the risk of a dangerous infection.
But there is a twist in this case.
Instead of filing suit against Mercy Health Partners, the Muskegon, Mich., hospital where the incident took place, the ACLU took the unusual step of suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which sets the rules for Catholic hospitals on many aspects of care, including abortion.
After the 2012 election, right-wing activists immediately declared that Mitt Romney lost because he was not conservative enough and that Republican candidates must run to the right if they want to succeed in general elections.
Last night in the swing state of Virginia, however, two extremely conservative candidates both lost in their statewide bids, the first time since 1977 that a candidate from the party that lost the presidential election failed to win the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Not only did the Religious Right dream team in Virginia lose both races, but so did an Alabama Republican who ran even farther to the right than his conservative opponent. These defeats come at a time that the Senate is set to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with bipartisan support and two states—Illinois and Hawaii—are poised to legalize same-sex marriage.
- See more at: rightwingwatch.org
Far-right pseudo historian David Barton is, by all appearances, “seriously considering” a primary campaign against Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). And if Barton follows through, the treasure trove of quotes will be practically limitless.
For example, my friend Kyle Mantyla flagged an interview between Barton and televangelist Kenneth Copeland, which will reportedly air sometime this week, in which they argue that abortion rights can lead to supernatural punishment.
Once “you open the door to killing,” Barton added, “it’s got a lot of different manifestations” because the nation immediately falls under the judgment of God as He removes his protection and “whap, here comes storms like we’ve never seen before and here comes floods and here comes climate stuff that we can’t explain; all of the hot times and all the cold times and not enough rain and too much rain and we’re flooding over here and we’ve got droughts over here … And today we’re saying ‘oh no, it’s global warming.” No, we opened a door that lost God’s protection over our environment and that’s our choice.”
As one my colleagues joked today, the good news is David Barton kinda sorta believes global warming is the result of human activity.
Sure, he doesn’t mean human activity in the sense of carbon pollution, but by the standards of the extremist fringe, at least he’s not denying that global warming is real, right?