Thursday, October 30, 2008
No on Prop 4 has also put together a flow chart showing the steps that a teen would have to undergo to obtain an abortion if Prop 4 became law (pdf; jpg version here). Clearly, it's a ridiculously complex and terrifying process -- on with which many adults would find difficulty, let along a scared, pregnant teen girl. If it wasn't clear before, this chart shows us how important it is to put young women's health over ideology!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Dr. Slepian's murder was thankfully the last murder of an abortion provider to date, ending a long string of high-profile, violent terrorism against abortion clinics. A total of seven abortion clinic staff and abortion providers have been murdered in the United States, and many more have been been the victims of murder attempts. Dr. Slepian's murder of course hits close to home, since it happened so near to our own service region. It also serves as a reminder of the nonfatal 1997 shooting of a Rochester, NY abortion provider in his home (James Kopp is a suspect).
It bears emphasis that abortion clinics are very safe and secure, and the vast majority of anti-choice demonstrations are peaceful. However, the fact remains that violence is a not-so-distant memory, and harassment outside abortion clinics continues to this day. It's important to remember the lives of Dr. Slepian and others who dedicated their lives to women health and were horrendously killed because of their commitment -- the days of their murders are days we can never let happen again.
For more, see Planned Parenthood Federation of America's blog I Am Emily X.
Friday, October 17, 2008
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court, the Center for Reproductive Rights says that the requirement intrudes on privacy, endangers health and assaults dignity.The problem with this legislation is that, like most anti-choice legislation, it places political considerations above considerations for the woman's health and emotional state. Supporters of this law seem to be openly indicate that their sole purpose here is to lower the number of abortions, not to make women safer. In other words, there is no health reasoning whatsoever behind this rule, and yet the state government wishes to impose it anyway. When doctors have their medical practices controlled by government in ways that have nothing to do with protecting the health of patients, everyone loses. Patients are treated with disrespect, privacy is violated, and it's frankly just far too much government in our lives.
The law, set to go into effect on Nov. 1, would make Oklahoma the fourth state to require that ultrasounds be performed before a woman can have an abortion and that the ultrasounds be made available to the patient for viewing, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a health research organization based in Washington. The other states are Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Backers of the lawsuit say Oklahoma is the only state to require that the ultrasound screen be turned toward the woman during the procedure and that the doctor describe what is on the screen, including various dimensions of the fetus.
Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate with the Guttmacher Institute, said the Oklahoma law appeared unique in that its intent was that the woman seeking an abortion view the ultrasound images.
Lawmakers overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto to pass the anti-abortion legislation in April. Mr. Henry, a Democrat, said he vetoed the bill because it did not exempt victims of rape or incest from the ultrasound requirement.
State Senator Todd Lamb, a Republican, said supporters of the law hoped that it would curtail abortions in the state.
“I introduced the bill because I wanted to encourage life in society,” Mr. Lamb said. “In Oklahoma, society is on the side of life.”
If the backers of this law really want to prevent abortions, why aren't they putting their efforts towards preventing unplanned pregnancy by promoting contraception? It's a proven, far more effective solution -- and one that supports women's health rather than ideology.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Make sure to check out both of these pieces and forward them widely!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Check out this video below:
For more on Amendment 48 and to find out how you can help, go to the Protect Families Protect Choices website.
Friday, October 3, 2008
You might remember that in 2006, anti-choicers got the legislature to pass a bill that would have banned abortion, even in cases of rape/incest, and where the health of the woman would be endangered — and when pro-choicers challenged the law and got it sent to a referendum, the ban was shot down 56% to 44%. But now the proposed ban is back in force — only this time, with entirely phony exceptions in place. In a state that is rather anti-choice, this does indeed make the task somewhat harder. And in a state with only around 500,000 registered voters, every vote really does matter. So Planned Parenthood has been sending out people to help identify supporters — meaning people who are voting “no” — and there were around 40 of us this weekend.
The goal is to get voters to realize that the exceptions will not protect vulnerable women like they are being led to believe, that decisions about abortion are left to women and their families, and that Measure 11 is a dangerous and poorly crafted law that will hurt women's health and safety.
We kicked off Saturday morning with a visibility event at a busy intersection in Sioux Falls, waving signs and drumming up enthusiasm. We got an overall really positive response -- lots of honks, thumbs ups, grins, people yelling out their windows to thank us and so on. Sure, there some negative people in support of the ban, but we made sure that they didn't get us down! Even better, when we were canvassing later on the day, we had lots of people tell us that they had seen us out there earlier -- which means we definitely accomplished the goal of visibility!
Phone-banking was next. The goal of phone-banking is both to identify supporters and to persuade those voters who are still undecided. Unfortunately, there's a lot of luck in phone-banking, based on which list you get, and I wasn't having a whole lot of it. But the good news is that other people definitely were. While I kept getting answering machines and disconnected numbers, others were ringing the little bells that let everyone else know they'd found a supporter like mad. As for me, I ended up not getting a supporter until my fifth to last call out of seventy dials total. And then I got another supporter immediately after that call . . . which made me wish that I had decided to do my list from back to front. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. The real point is that overall we identified a whole lot of supporters, which is of course the goal!
Next, we all reconvened for door-to-door canvassing, which went really well and was certainly an improvement over phone-banking on my end. It was in fact my favorite part of the weekend! There was a ton of walking involved, and the houses that were still left to canvass were all spaced out pretty far apart. That means that in two hours, my partner and I only managed to knock on a shameful 35 doors. But the good news is that we got 10 supporters out of those 35, and that’s considering the fact that about half of the doors we knocked didn’t have anyone at home.
And of course, our supporters were great! For example, we went to one house where only one person was on our list, but he was very enthusiastic about signing one of our supporter cards, and said “hey, I’ve got someone else here who I bet would want to sign one of these.” He went to go get his wife, who also signed a card and even signed up with us to go canvassing herself! Even better, this happened more than once. One man said that he wished his wife was home, because she would want to sign one. At another house, they had company and one of the women's friends asked if she would be able to sign one of our supporter cards as well (and of course we said yes).
So many voters were also really eager to talk to us. Our supporters were excited to see us standing out there in our pink t-shirts, and instead of trying to usher us away as quickly as possible, they wanted to chat about why they were voting against the bill, how frustrating it was that they had to vote on basically the same legislation for a second time, and the importance of keeping abortion safe and legal. It was extremely energizing to see all of the people we had on our side, and to see how very committed they are to women's health. I definitely have to say that personally talking to voters made me feel much more confident about which way the vote is going to go on Measure 11 this November 4.
But just because I'm feeling good about it doesn't mean there's any reason to be complacent! You can help the campaign by giving here. Remember that we’re only a month away from the election, so every dollar and minute is precious.
For more on the weekend, including a whole lot of photographs of our adventures, check out the Stand UP South Dakota blog.