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Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

Grant

President Obama recently announced the start of a new $110 million campaign that will fund programs that teach teenagers about the risks of specific sexual activity and the benefits of contraception.  Just last month, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $75 million to 75 groups to try to reproduce some of the 28 programs deemed to have been “proven effective through rigorous evaluation.”   Then, DHHS awarded $35 million to 40 groups to test “innovative strategies” that appeared promising.

At the same time, however, in a political balancing act, the Administration also awarded twelve grants for about $9.3 million for abstinence-only programs!  What the heck?   For example, the Live the Life Ministries of

Health

Tallahassee received $891,533 for its abstinence program!   In Kansas, the “Women’s Clinic” received over $1 million and it is a crisis pregnancy center which tries to lure women in seeking abortions in the hopes of talking them out of their decision.

Of course, organizations that support abstinence only programs are disappointed that they did not receive more money.   Too bad, I say.

As for President Obama tossing some money to these groups, I say – again – “what the heck?”

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Teen Pregnancy

I am not going to take a lot of your time today, but I just need to convey this thought.

I’m normally not into statistics.  I grow bored very quickly when I start to see a lot of numbers on a piece of paper.  I also know that numbers can be manipulated to fit anyone’s agenda.    Still, I ran across some numbers lately that I can’t stop thinking about.

A recent report found that the rate at which teenagers are having babies varies significantly from state to state and from race to race.

According to the report, Arkansas led the nation in 2008 with 61.8 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19.  Why am I not surprised?    I don’t have the entire report in front of me but I would not be shocked if Mississippi and Alabama were not far behind Arkansas.

Pregnancy Rates

Meanwhile, in 2007, the birth rate among Hispanic teens was 81.6 per 1,000, which is nearly TRIPLE the rate for white teenagers.  I guess we have the good ole Catholic Church to thank for that one, huh?

When are people going to get their heads out of their butts?

Are we some kind of Third World nation?

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Today Show

I have been watching the “Today” show for a good thirty years.  I’ve been through dozens of co-hosts and countless funky weathermen.  Unfortunately, in the last few years I’ve watched “Today” morph from a true news show to a morning version of “Entertainment Tonight.”  And I’m tired of it.  So, Matt and Meredith and Al, if you are listening, I need to tell you that I’m gone.

The tipping point came yesterday morning.  Waiting for my coffee to brew, buttering my toast, I switched on the TV to Channel Four and heard that familiar opening theme.  You know the one I’m talking about, the one that starts with the three heavy notes.  I can’t convey that sound in writing, but if you take a second you’ll hear it.  Then, after this dramatic intro, you hear the somber voice of Matt Lauer.

“Soaker,” he announces.

Huh?   Did he say “soaker?”    What the frig does “soaker”  mean?

I glance at the television and see a quick shot of a street and it looks like it is raining.  I am puzzled.

He then gives us the next one word verbal “headline,” which I will get to in a minute.

After this titillating intro, Matt proceeds to give us a little more information on that FIRST story on this NATIONAL television broadcast that is being watched my MILLIONS of Americans.  I have to assume it’s something significant.  I am on the edge of my seat.

He proceeds to tell us that it is raining pretty hard in Florida.  Yep, that’s it.  The first story of the day is that it is raining heavily somewhere in the state of Florida.  People are getting – you guessed it – soaked.  What the heck?  Is that it?  Are you kidding me?

Matt and Meredith

Then, for a live, action-filled report on this breaking story, the camera cuts to some dweeb who is standing in the middle of this “soaker” wearing the obligatory heavy rain gear.  His hood is over his head but, honestly, I don’t see any rain falling on him.   Now, mind you, he is not talking about a hurricane.  No one has mentioned the word “tropical storm.”   Heck, he hasn’t even used the word “tropical depression.”   No, it was just a lot of rain.  It was a “soaker.”

They cut to a street where you can see some water backing up.  I also see cars flying back and forth, zipping right through the puddles.   Meanwhile, this brave reporter, who wants us to think he is risking his life for us, is using the obligatory buzzwords to keep our attention.  “I will add, Matt, that there have been no DEATHS or no SERIOUS INJURIES due to this STORM. “

This was the first story of the day.  This was the hard news that the producers of “Today” thought I just had to know.   Then there was the second most important story of the day.

It seems that there was some beauty contest in Australia or New Zealand or one of those semi-English speaking countries.  After hours of inane interviews and silly talent displays, the field was pared down to two young girls.  The emcee, a woman, took out the card with the winner’s name on it and, in true Ryan Seacrest form, milked the announcement for several minutes.  The tension was palpable.  Finally, she declares the winner and the place goes nuts.  The new Miss Marsupial is screaming her lungs out, jumping all over the place.  The runner-up gives her the obligatory hug while no doubt cursing her under her breath.

But, wait a minute!   The emcee is yelling something over the din.  She is screaming “I made a mistake, I made a mistake!”   Well, it seems that she screwed it up and named the wrong person.  So, she had to suck it up, stop the premature celebration and announce, practically in tears, that the original winner was really the runner up.

A funny story, if you ask me.  Maybe a little sad as well.

But my point is was this really the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT

Anne and Al

NATIONAL story of the day?  I mean, c’mon folks, do I really need to know about this screw up?  Didn’t anything happen somewhere in the rest of the entire world that qualified as real news?   We’re in a war for God’s sakes, didn’t we win some skirmish somewhere or capture some terrorist?   Didn’t some city or state pass some controversial new law?   Believe me, Matt, I can take the hard news if you got it.

But the more I think about it, maybe the “Today” show and other “news” shows are just giving the public want they want.  Maybe most folks don’t want to hear about some boring debate in the U.S. Congress, even if it is about a bill that would reduce carbon emissions and possibly stave off the DESTRUCTION OF OUR PLANET.  Maybe people just don’t want to be too serious and they’re just looking for fluff.  In some ways I guess can’t blame them.  But, for me, I must say adios Matt.

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World Contraception Day

World Contraception Day

Did you know that today has been declared “World Contraception Day?”

I frankly do not know who declared it as such but I don’t care.  It’s a great opportunity to think and opine a little about the important of contraception and how it affects the basic human rights of women all over the world.

It is no secret that contraception is an important tool in helping women make one of the most important decisions of her life – whether or not to bear children.  Now I know there are a bunch of men out there who think bearing a child is no big deal, that it is just a “natural” thing for a woman to want to do.  Well, guys, it really is not that simple.

The fact is that almost 215 million women in this world do not have access to modern birth control.  Obviously, most of them are in the underdeveloped nations of the world.  So, in these often male-dominated societies, where having more children is a sign of the man’s “masculinity”, women are practically being forced to bear more children.  That, of course, then perpetuates the cycle of poverty that has been going on for generations. And it’s not just individual males who are perpetuating this situation.  For example, courts in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru have all recently restricted or banned emergency contraception based on the ridiculous claim that it is the same as performing an abortion.  In places like the Philippines, public clinics and hospitals have been prohibited for years from distributing any kind of contraception.

Emergency Conraception

Emergency Conraception

Here in the United States, while contraception is more readily available than in underdeveloped countries, there are still battles that are being fought on a daily basis.  One of the more aggressive groups trying to make access to contraception easier is the Center for Reproductive Rights.  For example, just last year they won a ruling in federal court which compelled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revisit the restrictions it put on the availability of emergency contraception, otherwise known as the morning after pill.  Unfortunately, despite the presence of a pro-choice administration, they still have to press the FDA to comply with the judge’s order.  In addition, the Center is working on the world wide problem.  For example, they recently asked the Human Rights Council on Human Rights to focus on the high rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among low-income women.  They are also working with their local partners in Slovakia to examine how government subsidies can expand access to contraception to low-income Slovak women.

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Kudos to the Center for Reproductive Rights!

Then, of course, in this country there are the persistent legislative efforts to allow healthcare professionals to refuse to provide emergency contraception to women if they personally object to the product.   Don’t even get me started on that one…

And while all this is going on, the anti-abortion movement sits back and refusesd to support providing better access to birth control.  To me, this is the height of hypocrisy.  Here they have the chance to prevent millions of abortions which I thought was their goal.  But, no, they’ve got their head in the sand and refuse to support the only real proven way to prevent abortions.  Indeed, I really believe that they would just rather stand outside of the clinics and scream at women as they enter abortion clinics.  The irony is that they may be yelling at a woman who is going in to get Norplant inserted or to start a new regimen of birth control pills….

And while I’m at it – where the heck is that male birth control pill?

Abortion

Abortion

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Gout

Abortion not associated with Gout

My doctor just told me that I have gout – and I am disgusted with myself.

Let me first say that I have never experienced more pain in my entire life.  The pain is focused on my left toe and there is no escaping it.  All I keep thinking about is how Ben Franklin, who had gout for years, could have accomplished all that he did because, aside from writing this post, I cannot focus on anything other than the pain.  Fortunately, at night I overdose on Nyquil so I’m sleeping okay.  But the fact that the gout will probably go away in a week or so is no consolation.

There are many causes of gout.  If you eat a lot of rich foods, like shellfish, if you don’t drink enough water, if you don’t exercise, etc.   You can also get gout if you drink “heavily.”   Let’s talk about that one for a second.

My mother was an alcoholic, a mean, nasty one.  I didn’t drink until I got to college, then I went nuts.    To this day, I do not know how I am alive because there were many times when I drove home from a bar totally inebriated.  I don’t remember the rides home.  I’m also lucky I never killed anyone.

Over the years, I continued to drink.  I became what my father used to call his father – a “weekend drunk.”   I would play or work all Friday and Saturday but then around 5 o’clock I’d open up the bottle of Vodka or Rum and start making some sweet drinks.   Every Saturday and Sunday morning was a nightmare, as my head was one giant hangover.

I am now 60 years old and about two years ago – after a gout attack – I vowed to get off the hard stuff.  Since then, I haven’t had any more serious alcohol, the only exception being when I visit my good friend Scott in Del Ray Beach and we share a bottle of Southern Comfort as we sit on the shore, talking about life.  These days, I “only” drink Amaretto, which is not as alcoholic as the hard stuff.   On Friday night at about the same time, I pour a small glass and quietly watch TV.   I have about three glasses, which gives me a nice buzz.  I wake up the next day with no hangover, I’m ready to go.  Then, that Saturday night I do the same.  I just sit there quietly and don’t disturb anybody.  My two older boys know I drink and at times they have found the hidden bottles and they just throw them out.  I don’t say a word to them, but I certainly appreciate their sentiment.

I don’t believe I am an alcoholic.  I don’t crave alcohol in the mornings and it doesn’t affect my work.  It’s just that once I get through the week, I’m ready for my weekend buzz.  Maybe I’m in denial.  Perhaps if I went to a counselor, he would determine I am technically an alcoholic.  I continue to insist that I am not, that I am stronger than those folks who desperately crave a drink.    I really don’t know and I don’t care to find out if I am an alcoholic.

But this gout has really got me to thinking.  I am totally paralyzed and cannot imagine going through this again.

For the sake of my kids, my spouse and myself, I gotta stop.

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Abortion Doctor

Abortion Doctor

On Wednesday, New Jersey officials filed legal documents seeking to suspend the medical license of an abortion provider involved in a procedure that critically injured an 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The physician, Steven Brigham, owns American Women’s Services, which operates clinics in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The filing is the first step in revoking a medical license.

According to the filing by Attorney General Paula Dow’s (D) office, Brigham “has committed serious violations” of the rules of medical practice and “would represent a clear and imminent danger to the public health, safety and welfare.” The filing stems from a case involving a woman who “suffered a uterine perforation and small bowel injury” during an abortion at one of Brigham’s Maryland clinics. Brigham allegedly initiated the abortion process at his New Jersey clinic and told the woman to travel to his Maryland clinic for the completion of the procedure.

Brigham has never been licensed to perform abortions in Maryland, and he is not authorized to perform the procedure after 18 weeks’ gestation in New Jersey, the complaint says. However, Brigham performed about 50 abortions from January through August 2010 at his Elkton, Md., office, using a “two-step process” initiated in New Jersey and completed in Maryland, the complaint alleges. The complaint also alleges that Brigham created false records or asked others to create them stating that two physicians working for him — George Shepard and Kimberly Walker — performed the procedures in Maryland. Shepard and Walker deny that that they performed any procedures (McCullough/Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9).

Md. Case ‘Not Representative’ of Abortion Care, Letter to the Editor Says

As the Maryland Board of Physicians investigates the allegations against Brigham, “it is important to note that cases like this are not representative of the state of abortion care in Maryland or throughout the country,”

National Abortion Federation President and CEO Vicki Saporta writes in a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun. The case in Maryland is “just the latest problem for [Brigham], who has come under fire from state licensing boards and health departments throughout his career,” Saporta continues, noting that Brigham “has had his medical license temporarily suspended, relinquished or revoked in five states.”

Abortion is “one of the safest medical procedures” in the U.S., Saporta writes, adding that the “repeated disciplinary actions” against Brigham indicate that he “operates outside recognized standards for quality abortion care” (Saporta, Baltimore Sun, 9/8).

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Abortion US Supreme Court building

Abortion & The Supreme Court

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States held that women had a right to terminate their pregnancies.  The case was Roe v Wade and no other Supreme Court case has had such a dramatic impact on the lives of women in this country.

Prior to that case, most states banned abortion.  Of course, those states could not ban the desire of a woman to obtain an abortion.  For hundreds, if not thousands of years, women faced with an unwanted pregnancy have always at least considered abortion and some obtained them.  That meant that many women each year were procuring illegal abortions.

The world of illegal abortion was always a world of whispers.  A woman would “get in trouble” and, if she felt there was absolutely no way that she could have the baby, she would quietly start talking to anyone she could trust.  In every major city, there always seemed to be a least one doctor who would be willing to do the abortion, but these “abortionists” usually performed these illegal procedures in the shadows, in dirty “back alleys” with unsterilized instruments, no counseling, no sophisticated anesthesia, and no follow up exams.  The result was hundreds and hundreds of women each year died on the operating tables or wound up in the emergency room of the local hospital with their “miscarriage.”

Incredibly, some women who could not find the abortionist wound up performing an abortion on themselves.   The bloody coat hanger became a (harsh but real) symbol of the pro-choice movement because so many women used them to self-abort.  Others concocted medical potions that they hoped would kill the fetus in utero.

There have been many books and movies about the world of illegal abortion.  John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules” is a good one and the movie “If These Walls Could Talk” contained an excellent segment on a woman seeking an illegal abortion.

Ultimately, some more enlightened states like Colorado, California and New York passed laws legalizing abortion.  Clinics were quickly opened and they were barraged with patients.  Women from all over the world, yes, the world flew into those states to procure a legal (and safer) abortion.  Clinic owners talk about sending out buses or limousines to the airport to transport the dozens of women who had flown in to get an abortion.

Then, everything changed on January 22nd.  The Court said abortion was legal in all of the states with some caveats – and the floodgates opened up.  Suddenly, all across the country doctors, feminists and others started opening up clinics.  The rest is a long story, but the story is a celebration to women’s health.  Today, abortion is one of the safest and most common surgical procedures performed on women.

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