Tag Archives: contraception

The Religious Right’s ‘blitz’ on American democracy

Last week Ireland, long a Roman Catholic country, held a vote to repeal a constitutional provision criminalizing abortion.  Ex-pat Irish citizens from around the world flew home to cast their votes. It wasn’t even close. Ireland votes overwhelmingly to overturn abortion ban:

The Irish have swept aside one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the developed world in a landslide vote that reflects Ireland’s emergence as a socially liberal country no longer obedient to Catholic dictates.

With all ballots counted and turnout at a near-historic high, election officials reported Saturday that 66.4 percent voted to overturn Ireland’s abortion prohibition and 33.6 percent opposed the measure.

The outcome of the referendum Friday was a decisive win for the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The 1983 amendment enshrined an “equal right to life” for mothers and “the unborn” and outlawed almost all abortions — even in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or non-life-threatening risk to maternal health.

“What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

The United States, however, is now moving in the exact opposite direction. Religious Right extremists have taken Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale not as a dystopian vision of a totalitarian Christian theonomy that has overthrown the United States government, but as a handbook on how to actually make it a reality.

In March, GOP-run Mississippi enacted the strictest abortion law in the nation, for the intended purpose of a legal challenge that may get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to directly challenge Roe v. Wade (which permits abortions in the first 24 weeks). Mississippi gov signs nation’s toughest abortion restrictions:

Mississippi’s governor signed a law Monday banning most abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, the tightest restrictions in the nation.

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The bill was drafted with the assistance of conservative groups including the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom [based in Scottsdale, Arizona].

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This week in the GOP’s war on the civil rights of women and LGBTQ

The House on Tuesday approved a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, advancing a key GOP priority for the third time in the past four years — this time, with a supportive Republican president in the White House. The purpose of the bill is to create a direct legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, which provides for access to abortion in the first 24 weeks.  With Trump’s backing, House approves ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy:

The bill, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is not expected to emerge from the Senate, where most Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans can block its consideration. But antiabortion activists are calling President Trump’s endorsement of the bill a significant advance for their movement.

The White House said in a statement released Monday that the administration “strongly supports” the legislation “and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections.”

The bill provides for abortions after 20 weeks gestation only when they are necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. Under the bill, abortions performed during that period could be carried out “only in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive” — note, not the life of the mother — and would require a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation to be present.

How Arizona’s congressional delegation voted:

Stricter Abortion Ban: The House on Oct. 3 voted, 237-189, to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization on the belief that the fetus can feel pain by then. This repudiates Roe v. Wade’s ruling that abortion is legal up to viability that occurs at about 24 weeks or later. A yes vote was to pass HR 36

Voting yes: Martha McSally, R-2, Paul Gosar, R-4, Andy Biggs, R-5, David Schweikert, R-6, Trent Franks, R-8

Voting no: Tom O’Halleran, D-1, Raul Grijalva, D-3, Ruben Gallego, D-7, Kyrsten Sinema, D-9

Women’s Health Exemption: The House on Oct. 3 defeated, 181-246, a bid by Democrats to add an overall woman’s health exemption to HR 36 to go with exemptions already in the bill in cases of incest or rape or to save the mother’s life. A yes vote was to permit abortions after 20 weeks if necessary to protect the mother’s health.

Voting Yes: O’Halleran, Grijalva, Gallego, Sinema

Voting No: McSally, Gosar, Biggs, Schweikert, Franks

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LD 2 Senate Race: Dalessandro v. Kais

dalessandro-kaisThe Legislative District 2 Senate seat is currently held by Democrat Andrea Dalessandro, who previously served in the Arizona House.

(Dalessandro is the one in glasses).

Her Tea-Publican opponent, Shelley Kais, is a business woman who served as a campaign volunteer for Martha McSally during her 2012 run for Congress. Kais challenged McSally for the GOP nomination in 2014, finishing in a distant third place with less than eight percent of the vote, behind McSally and Chuck Wooten. You may recall that the local Tea Party raised a stink about McSally and Kais pulling out of a scheduled debate with Chuck Wooten in 2014.

Kais is now running for the LD 2 Senate seat as a Clean Elections candidate against Senator Dalessandro, also a Clean Elections candidate. LD 2 is a Democratic voter registration district.

Kais is backed by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which lists her in its “16 in ’16: Races to Watch,” Comprised of the RSLC’s Future Majority Project (FMP) and Right Women, Right Now (RWRN) candidates running for state-level office.

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SCOTUS remands birth control cases to lower courts

SupremeCourtIn the birth control cases challenging the Affordable Care Act mandate for contraceptives collectively known as  Zubik v. Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a per curiam decision remanding the cases back to the appellate courts for further consideration based upon the positions taken by the parties at the U.S. Supreme Court. You may recall that the Justices asked for extraordinary additional briefing from the parties after oral argument to urge them to find a consensus on which they could settle the case.

Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSblog has the opinion Opinion analysis: A compromise, with real impact, on birth control:

Without settling any legal issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate, the Supreme Court on Monday nevertheless cleared the way for the government to promptly provide no-cost access to contraceptives for employees and students of non-profit religious hospitals, charities, and colleges, while barring any penalties on those institutions for failing to provide that access themselves.  Thirteen separate cases were sent back to federal appeals courts for them to issue new rulings on the questions the Justices left undecided.  One immediate issue is how soon the government can work out the technical arrangements to provide actual access to the contraceptive benefits.

The Court largely shifted to six federal appeals courts the task of ruling on the mandate’s legality — the task that the Court had agreed last November to take on itself in seven of the cases.  Five appeals courts had ruled in favor of the mandate, and one had ruled against.  All were ordered to re-think those outcomes in the wake of new positions that the two sides in the controversy had made in recent filings in the pending Supreme Court cases.

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Planned Parenthood vindicated – forced birthers charged with a crime

What’s the old trope about “be careful what you wish for?”

I Love Planned ParenthoodThe forced birthers from the Center for Medical Progress — the anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded and highly edited videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to “illegally” profit from the sale of fetal tissue — have themselves been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs. 2 Abortion Foes Behind Planned Parenthood Videos Are Indicted:

A grand jury here that was investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood has instead indicted two abortion opponents who made undercover videos of the organization.

Awesome!

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(Update) SCOTUS: the defining issue in the 2016 election

Last year I posted SCOTUS: the defining issue in the 2016 election, a quick glance at attorney Rick Hasen’s  longread for TPM, which is well worth your time to read.  It begins:

The future composition of the Supreme Court is the most important civil rights cause of our time. It is more important than racial justice, marriage equality, voting rights, money in politics, abortion rights, gun rights, or managing climate change. It matters more because the ability to move forward in these other civil rights struggles depends first and foremost upon control of the Court. And control for the next generation is about to be up for grabs, likely in the next presidential election, a point many on the right but few on the left seem to have recognized.

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Today Hillary Clinton  has a new op-ed in the Boston Globe emphasizing the importance of the high court in this year’s election:

There’s a lot at stake in this election. Nowhere is this clearer than in the US Supreme Court.

The court’s decisions have a profound impact on American families. In the past two decades alone, it effectively declared George W. Bush president, significantly weakened the Voting Rights Act, and opened the door to a flood of unaccountable money in our politics. It also made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, preserved the Affordable Care Act not once but twice, and ensured equal access to education for women.

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