Wednesday Reads: Horrors of being a woman in a Pro-Life HellPosted: November 14, 2012
**Updates on Savita Halappanavar story below**
While looking for links for you this morning, I was appalled to read about this woman, Savita Halappanavar, in Ireland.
Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.
After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.
But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: “This is a Catholic country.”
Medical staff removed the dead foetus days later after the heartbeat stopped but Halappanavar died of septicaemia on 28 October.
Ireland’s health service executive, which runs the country’s public health care system, has initiated an investigation into the incident, which is also being investigated by the hospital itself.
Reports of the death sparked an outcry on Wednesday night in Ireland, where abortion is illegal unless the life of the woman is in danger.
It is disgusting that something like this has happened…and what bothers me the most is that it isn’t the first time a woman has lost her life because of an archaic religious belief…and it won’t be the last…look at these righteous faces:
Members of pro-life groups demonstrating in Dublin last year as a private member’s bill proposing legalising abortion in Irelandwas debated. The bill did not succeed. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
J.J. Lopez Minkoff (@MinkoffMinx) November 14, 2012
Apparently Republicans in the state of Ohio didn’t quite get the message from the election. Rather than back off unpopular efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care, they’ve gone all in, renewing efforts to strip family-planning dollars from Planned Parenthood and reviving the once-dead “heartbeat bill” which purports to ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected.
Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, reacted to news of the renewed attacks on women’s reproductive health care in a statement. “Just days ago, in an election where the stakes for women’s health were higher and clearer than they have ever been, Ohio voted to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians,” Kight said. “The announcement to focus on these dangerous bills now makes Ohio a ‘battleground state’ once again.”
Exit polling from the national election showed that, of those voters who thought health care was most important, the vast majority are not with politicians who want to interfere with women’s private medical decision-making. To reinforce that fact, President Obama won Ohio women by 11 percent.
Just in case you weren’t positive that the Bishops-fueled right-wing freakout about birth control has fuck-all to do with “pro-life,” Forced Birth protestors in Wisconsin are protesting in front of a Family Planning Clinic that does not provide abortion services. Via Robin Marty at RH Reality Check:
Wausau, Wisconsin, doesn’t have a clinic that provides abortion services. But that doesn’t mean anti-choice protesters in the community are willing to bypass the tradition that is the “40 Days for Life” vigil, a twice-yearly event where religious advocates try to pray to “end abortion.”
No, in Wausau, they simply took their protest to the sidewalk in front of Family Planning Services. Those services? Birth control, WIC distribution, STI screenings.
Oh, and basic health care, too.
It’s 4:00 in the afternoon, and rush hour traffic has slowed so the looky loos can snap a picture of the disturbance with their cell phone cameras. The anxious girl hides her face, painfully aware someone passing by may recognize her, but she bravely trudges past the protesters. Some merely stare at her accusingly. Others hiss words meant to shame her. She wants to run away, but she has no money, and there is nowhere else she can go for help. Hers is a torment that cannot be prayed away. Her eyes fill with tears, but she refuses to let them fall. She keeps her gaze on the entrance; five more steps, three, two. One more step and a push of the door and this nightmare will be over. Inside she will find medical help. She will find compassion without judgment. After weeks of suffering, of tossing and turning and worrying about what she was going to do, the teen is about to find someone who will help her end her unwanted……… yeast infection.
No, I did not get that diagnosis wrong. Family Planning Services in Wausau does not offer abortion services. In fact, they are forbidden by the terms of their state grants from even referring a woman to an abortion provider. (Remind me to do a column about that little piece of injustice sometime.) What FPHS does, is help pregnant women of low to moderate means to have healthy babies. They educate young people about contraception and STDs. They help women (and men) avoid pregnancies that would end in abortions. Their WIC program gets fresh vegetables and fruits from local farmers into the diets of mothers and their young children. You would think the Catholics, with their history of community charity, would be holding fundraising Bingo nights and bake sales to help them. But nope, they have opted to go the pageant route instead.
As Cienna Madrid at The Stranger aptly put it:
Their overarching goal isn’t just to make abortion illegal, it’s to shame and punish modern women for having sex lives, for caring about their health, for being anything other than subservient, walking chattels whose uteri are wallpapered with Bible passages.
The teacher and his defender have the gall to call this an “X” because they think everyone is just as ignorant as they are.
In a case that has been litigated since 2008 (and is still ongoing), John Freshwater, a teacher who previously lived and worked in Mount Vernon, Ohio, insists that his First Amendment rights and “academic freedom” were violated when he was fired by the school district for teaching Creationism in class and burning a cross into the arms of students using a Tesla coil.
From the report that lead to his firing:
Mr. Freshwater was insubordinate in failing to remove all of the religious materials from his classroom as ordered by his superior, Principal White.
- Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose
- The Ten Commandments together with other posters of a religious nature were posted in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom. Most were removed after Mr. White’s letter of April 14, 2008, but at least one poster remained which Mr. Freshwater was again instructed to remove on April 16, 2008, but did not do so.
- Several Bibles were kept in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom including his personal Bible on his desk and one he checked out of the library placed on the lab table near the desk. Other Bibles that had been maintained in the room were removed by the time the investigators viewed Mr. Freshwater’s room.
- Mr. Freshwater engaged in teaching of a religious nature, teaching creationism and related theories and calling evolution into question. He had other materials in his classroom that could be used for that purpose.
- Mr. Freshwater engaged in prayer during FCA meetings in violation of the District’s legal obligations for monitoring such organizations.
- Mr. Freshwater participated and possibly lead a prayer during an FCA meeting that concerned a guest speaker’s health. There is no conclusion as to whether such prayer was a “healing” prayer.
- Mr. Freshwater gave an extra credit assignment for students to view the movie “Expelled” which does involve intelligent design.
It’s important to note that Freshwater did not work at a religious institute but a regular public school (not that branding would be acceptable at ANY kind of school). Freshwater knows, as does every Creationist teacher, that the courts have struck down (over and over again), in the harshest possible terms, any attempt to legally teach Creationism, Intelligent Design or any other phony variation of anti-evolution claptrap in public schools. It’s a direct violation of the Separation Clause in the First Amendment. Freshwater did not care. How do we know Freshwater knew he was breaking the law? Like any common criminal, he tried to hide the evidence:
There is a significant amount of evidence that Mr. Freshwater’s teachings regarding subjects related to evolution were not consistent with the curriculum of the Mount Vernon City Schools and State standards. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement, the evidence indicates he has been teaching creationism and intelligent design and has been teaching the unreliability of carbon dating in support of opposition to evolution. He has passed out materials to students for the past several years challenging evolution and then collecting the materials back from the students. He has done so in spite of specific directives not to teach creationism or intelligent design. He has taught students to use the code word “Here” to challenge scientific process that is considered settled by the high school science teachers.
However, it is equally clear that Freshwater is hoping to be a new test case. His claim of “academic freedom” is simply a new tactic to force religion into the classroom.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco launched a Global Turnaway Study this year to explore the potential social and economic implications of denying women access to legal abortion. And after documenting the experiences of the women who seek to terminate a pregnancy but are turned away from abortion services, the UCSF researchers found that those women were three times more likelythan the women who successfully obtained abortions to fall below the poverty line within the subsequent two years.
The Gawker affiliate i09 summarizes some of the researchers’ preliminary findings, and notes that denying women access to abortion puts a strain on struggling women as well as federal assistance programs. Although the women who participated in the Turnaway Study were in comparable economic positions when they sought abortions, the woman who were unable to terminate their unwanted pregnancies were more likely to have slipped into poverty just a year later:
A year later, [the women who were denied an abortion] were far more likely to be on public assistance — 76 percent of the turnaways were on the dole, as opposed to 44 percent of those who got abortions. 67 percent of the turnaways were below the poverty line (vs. 56 percent of the women who got abortions), and only 48 percent had a full time job (vs. 58 percent of the women who got abortions).
When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line. Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers’ increased reliance on public assistance programs.
The UCSF researchers also told i09 that their study did not find any statistical correlation between abortion and drug use, or abortion and clinical depression — in other words, women who successfully obtained abortions did not experience any negative emotional consequences stemming from their decision to end a pregnancy, including an uptick in drug abuse. In fact, the researchers explained, “One week after seeking abortion, 97 percent of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65 percent of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion.”
In fact, women often seek abortions for the very same reasons they seek access to affordable contraception: because they cannot currently afford to have another child. Women typically want to avoid unintended pregnancies in cases when having a baby would compromise their economic autonomy and prevent them from finishing school, keeping a job, or supporting their current families.
After nearly 10 years of follow-up of study participants who experienced migraines and who had brain lesions identified via magnetic resonance imaging, women with migraines had a higher prevalence and greater increase of deep white matter hyperintensities (brain lesions) than women without migraines, although the number, frequency, and severity of migraines were not associated with lesion progression, according to a study appearing in the November 14 issue of JAMA.
The Archduke Joseph diamond, sold at Christie’s in Geneva. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/AP
A huge, internally flawless diamond from India’s fabled Golconda mines was sold at auction in Geneva on Tuesday night for a record 20.35m Swiss francs (£13.5m), Christie’s said.
The rare, colourless stone – weighing 76 carats and roughly the size of a large strawberry – once belonged to Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962), a prince of the Hungarian line of the Habsburgs.
It fetched more than double the price paid for it at auction almost two decades ago.
“It is a world record price per carat for a colourless diamond,” François Curiel, director of the international jewellery department at Christie’s, said.
(Chuck Todd: Republicans will give Democrats all the revenue they want, if they just agree to raise the retirement age. Trust them.)
I don’t know about anyone else, but as someone who has actually worked at one of those jobs where you take a shower at the end of the work day and not before you go in, I’m sick to death of watching these overpaid television pundits and their counterparts in the Congress, nonchalantly discussing raising the retirement age. It may not matter much to them, but there are real economic hardships involved when you force the average wage earner out there to continue to work until they drop dead if the retirement age is raised any higher than it already is now.
If our beltway Villagers and politicians really believe that it’s no big deal to raise the retirement age for the rest of America, how about we ask them to walk a mile in our shoes? I wonder if any of them would decide that maybe it’s not such a great idea to be doing physical labor well into your late sixties if they were the ones actually having to do those jobs?
I wonder if Chuck Todd would be a little more worried about when he might be able to retire if he were say, some migrant worker picking berries and in need of daily visits to the chiropractor he can’t afford because his back is screaming all day from being bent over?
A popular New Year’s celebration that draws thousands of tourists to the tiny North Carolina town of Brasstown for a party that ends in a “possum drop” may no longer be held there, a judge ruled.The 18-year tradition in the town of 240 consisted of lowering the animal to the ground at midnight in a see-through cage decked out in Christmas garlands, like the ball that is dropped in New York’s Times Square — except the possum is alive.
Believe me, these critters are not in danger, this is a big artist community…there is no way these pacifist, Birkenstock wearing, liberal artist will hurt the possums. Let them have their fun!
So, that is all…have a wonderful day!
**Updates to the #Savita story:
|Telegraph.co.uk - 6 minutes ago||
|The Guardian - 2 hours ago||
|Huffington Post UK (blog) - 35 minutes ago||
|Irish Independent - 1 hour ago||
|The Guardian - 4 hours ago||
|Irish Times - 2 hours ago||
|Irish Times (blog) - 3 hours ago||
|Newstalk 106-108 fm - 51 minutes ago||
|Irish Times - 3 hours ago||
|The Nationalist - 2 hours ago||