Women are calling Indiana’s Republican governor to talk about their periods

You will obey or go to jail!

For the past week, women have been calling and emailing the office of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to tell him about their periods. In detail.

“My flow seems abnormally heavy”

“My name is Sue Magina.”

The epic trolling effort comes from members of the Facebook group Periods for Pence, launched after Pence recently signed a new anti-abortion bill into law.

Some of the calls are gross-out moves that mock the overall idea of legislators meddling with women’s health care. Pence thinks he knows better than my gynecologist, the joke goes, so maybe I should start coming to him with my reproductive health issues!…

But there’s also a very specific critique of Indiana’s new law going on here.

The bill signed by Pence (and written by state Rep. Casey Cox, who is now also getting calls) has some pretty shocking provisions. One of them basically forces women to seek funerary services for a fetus — no matter if she has had an abortion or a miscarriage, and no matter how far along the pregnancy was. All fetal tissue has to be cremated or buried, which has never been required in any state law before…

So by telling Pence about their periods, women are simply being good citizens who are being extra careful not to run afoul of the new law. It sounds absolutely absurd, and it is. But it’s also what happens when you take a law as bizarre and medically incoherent as Indiana’s to its logical conclusion…

Notably, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood to block the new law before it takes effect July 1. The ACLU says the law unconstitutionally invades a woman’s privacy and interferes with her protected decision to have an abortion.

Not that Republicans give a damn about anyone’s privacy, not that the Party of NO thinks any woman has the right to make decisions about her own reproductive system. Paternalist, patriarchal, backwards as any superstitious git’s fear of science – or democracy – today’s Republican Party has devolved into the worst possible example of fear and prejudice masquerading as a political party.

Colorado Planned Parenthood reopens after terrorist rampage

A Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic reopened on Monday, seeing patients nearly three months after a deadly shooting rampage at the facility left three people dead and nine wounded.

“Today, we opened our doors in Colorado Springs. We didn’t back down. We didn’t disappear. We returned, stronger and with more conviction than ever,” the clinic said in a statement.

The clinic was closed on Nov. 27 following a bloody five-hour siege that police said began when a gunman opened fire with a rifle outside the building and then stormed inside. He was taken into custody by law enforcement at the scene…

The facility was resuming its work providing a range of healthcare services, including abortion, to the community of Colorado Springs, Cowart said…

The gunman accused of carrying out the attack, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, faces 179 felony counts, including charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault.

In a court appearance in December, he declared himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies.” He has also told a judge he distrusts his lawyers and wants to represent himself.

Like a tiny segment of Christians, Dear apparently feels he is doing the work of the God he believes in – by murdering people. Following the semantic logic of some Republican presidential candidates, that would make him a Christian terrorist.

Yes, anti-abortion nutballs want to stop contraception, too

A rapid increase in the number of U.S. women turning to intrauterine devices to prevent pregnancy has prompted escalating attacks on the birth control method from groups that oppose abortion.

The next battle will be at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to consider a new religious challenge to contraceptives coverage under President Obama’s healthcare law. Although the case deals broadly with whether religiously affiliated groups should be exempt from providing birth control coverage to their employees, some parties in the case have focused specifically on IUDs…

Here’s the religious rationale:

“IUDs are a life-ending device,” said Mailee Smith, staff counsel for the Americans United for Life, which filed an amicus brief in support of the challenge before the high court. “The focus of these cases is that requiring any life-ending drug is in violation of the Religious Freedom Act.”

IUD use among U.S. women using contraceptives grew to 10.3 percent in 2012 from 2 percent in 2002, according to the Guttmacher Institute, making them the fastest growing birth-control method. Their popularity has grown as women recognized that newer versions of the device don’t carry the same safety risks as a 1970s-era IUD known as the Dalkon Shield.

Now more than 10 percent of U.S. women using contraceptives use IUDs. Other forms of birth control, such as daily pills, are on the decline…

Planned Parenthood, long a target from religious groups for providing access to abortions, has also become a significant source of the devices, with IUD use by its patients up 57 percent between 2009 and 2013.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration created an exemption for houses of worship and some related organizations that object to funding birth control for employees, but now other types of religiously affiliated groups want similar waivers.

The consequences of Obama’s wavering over separation of church and state:

In 2014, the Supreme Court accepted the position of Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores owned by religious Christians, ruling that private companies that are closely-controlled could opt out of contraception coverage based on the owners’ beliefs.

Hobby Lobby, among other things, objected to birth control that could prevent “an embryo from implanting in the womb,” including two types of IUDs…

The current high court case consolidates seven lawsuits filed by nonprofit groups with religious affiliations, such as colleges and retirement homes run by nuns. The ruling could be applied to more than 100 similar lawsuits, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of women, according to lawyers on both sides of the issue. Little Sisters of the Poor, one of the plaintiffs, has for example more than 2,000 employees.

We’re talking about unintended consequences. Obama included a perfectly reasonable opt-out for True Believers. But, the dog-in-the-manger politics of folks like Hobby Lobby extends to keeping employees from having any rights at all. Unless we have an executive branch that fights for separation of church and state, a Supreme Court steered by reactionaries can behave just as consistently backwards as Congress.

Having only two classes of politicians – conservatives and cowards – doesn’t help along progress for ordinary working families.

Planned Parenthood under attack, again

Planned Parenthood is under attack — again. This time, a campaign of misinformation about the retrieval of fetal tissue used in research and therapy is the excuse. When women have made the decision to terminate a pregnancy, Planned Parenthood allows them the opportunity to have the fetal tissue that would otherwise be discarded be used by qualified researchers to help answer important medical questions. The organization does so carefully, following all applicable laws and ethical guidelines.

In a Perspective article now published in the Journal, Charo presents compelling arguments defending these uses of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood, its physicians, and the researchers who do this work should be praised, not damned. The research is not easy to do, but as Charo explains, it has benefited millions of people worldwide. If the antichoice forces were allowed to rule the day, these advances would never have been made.

We strongly support Planned Parenthood not only for its efforts to channel fetal tissue into important medical research but also for its other work as one of the country’s largest providers of health care for women, especially poor women. In 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, Planned Parenthood provided services to 2.7 million women, men, and young people during 4.6 million health center visits. At least 60% of these patients benefited from public health coverage programs such as the nation’s family-planning program (Title X) and Medicaid. At least 78% of these patients lived with incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Planned Parenthood’s services included nearly 400,000 Pap tests, nearly 500,000 breast examinations, nearly 4.5 million tests for sexually transmitted illnesses (including HIV), and treatments. The contraception services that Planned Parenthood delivers may be the single greatest effort to prevent the unwanted pregnancies that result in abortions.

It is shameful that a radical antichoice group whose goal is the destruction of Planned Parenthood continues to twist the facts to achieve its ends. We thank the women who made the choice to help improve the human condition through their tissue donation; we applaud the people who make this work possible and those who use these materials to advance human health. We are outraged by those who debase these women, this work, and Planned Parenthood by distorting the facts for political ends.

I second that emotion. My contempt for the sophistry, the deceitful liars who planned and executed this latest attack on Planned Parenthood can scarcely be voiced in a civil manner.

I don’t care in the least if you wish to run your life, your family’s life by some rulebook written in the 14th Century. But, to have the gall, the smugness of a True Believer to justify egregious politics reactionary enough to impose your belief system on the rest of what is supposed to be a free and democratic nation is unconscionable.

Colorado reduces teen pregnancies and abortions, saves money — so, of course, Republicans stop the program!

republican family values

Over the past seven years, Colorado has run an experiment to see if it could lower the rate of unintended pregnancies, cut abortions – and save the state government some money, too.

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative offered low-income women and teenagers access to low or no-cost contraceptive devices, including IUDs and implants, and trained providers in insertion and counselling techniques. Last year, researchers reported significant drops in the birth rate among teens and young adult women in participating counties. The abortion rate among women between 15 and 19 years old dropped by more than a third; high-risk pregnancies by a fourth.

In July the governor’s office issued a glowing press release, crediting the program with a 40% statewide drop in teen birth rates between 2009 and 2013 – and a 35% drop in abortions.

…Last Wednesday Colorado’s Republican-controlled senate killed a bill that would sustain and expand CFPI services…

RTFA for details, other states ready to adopt the program because of its success. I’m too pissed off to waste any space on the crap reasons offered by Republicans and the bible-thumping family values dolts who oppose every aspect of women’s reproductive freedom up to and including contraception.

We sorted all this out in more reasonable times and places decades ago. Only Republican opportunists, rightwing populism and and sophistry topped off with simple-minded stupidity brings all this 19th-Century ideology back into play.

Junk Science is the latest set of lies used to justify Anti-Abortion politics

Vanessa Cullins
Vanessa Cullins, MD, is vice president for external medical affairs at Planned Parenthood

As a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist and medical administrator for more than 2 decades, I have seen or provided oversight for thousands of patients during my career, providing them with quality, safe, compassionate reproductive healthcare. I have dedicated my life to taking care of women and ensuring they have medically accurate information, support, and counseling to make personal medical decisions that are best for their health and well-being.

This dedication to patient health and safety is why I find the new junk science measure signed into law this week in Arkansas so deeply disturbing. The new law mandates that physicians inform patients seeking an abortion about medically untested and unproven claims that medication abortions can somehow be “reversed” — despite widespread opposition from medical experts across the country and a complete lack of medical evidence to back this up.

As a physician with an MD and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, it continues to amaze me that politicians — most of whom are not even doctors — believe they are qualified to make medical decisions for patients and decide what qualified medical professionals can and can’t tell their patients…

This session alone the Arkansas legislature has passed six new abortion restrictions in just 1 month on top of the numerous restrictions the state already has on the books. Arkansas is tied for last place in women’s health indicators, and there are only three health centers in Arkansas that provide safe, legal abortion. These new laws — layering restriction upon restriction upon restriction — can make it nearly impossible for some women to obtain a safe, legal abortion.

The national groups behind this measure are the same people who make false claims that rape can’t lead to pregnancy — and whose real agenda is to ban abortion outright. Data routinely show that abortion has a 99% safety record and it is largely safe because it is legal. Access to abortion makes women safer. In places where abortion is highly restricted, women will choose desperate, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening means to end an unwanted pregnancy.

This legislation is reckless, dangerous, and presents medically inaccurate information that could harm women. True patient safety is making sure women have safe, compassionate, respectful care as well as accurate information, support, and counseling.

Reactionaries who write and pass laws like this latest crap round in Arkansas really get my anger on the boil. They not only rely on superstition, paternalism, denial of individual rights to women – they drag in anti-science silliness to justify what is 14th Century ideology.

Usually, I focus on their failure to comprehend anything about scientific methods and standards. As if I was addressing an audience that concerns itself with logic and progress. But, these creeps care nothing for such values – and their anti-science, while contemptible, is not their most important characteristic. They are liars. Lying isn’t just a means to en end – it is their only answer to facts.

They don’t care whether or not a zygote goes through a dozens stages or none. They don’t care about the economics of women with no access to birth control or an education in family planning. They only care that the rules they believe immutable are obeyed. And if lies are useful to that political process – that’s OK.

Arkansas law will force doctors to tell women abortions can be reversed


As conservative lawmakers pass a record number of anti-abortion laws, it is staggering to consider how many require doctors to tell patients information that has no basis in science. Five states now require abortion providers to inform women about a bogus link between abortion and breast cancer. Several states mandate that doctors say ending a pregnancy can lead to mental health conditions like clinical depression—another falsehood, in the eyes of most mainstream medical groups.

Now there’s a new crop of legislation to add this list: laws forcing doctors to tell women planning to take abortion-inducing drugs that they may be able to change their minds mid-treatment.

On Monday, Arkansas became the second state to pass such a law, just over a week after Arizona’s Republican governor signed a similar measure…

Critics have slammed these bills as propagating a lie based on “junk science.” According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Claims of medication abortion reversal are not supported by the body of scientific evidence.”

While this blog and our readers often contemplate whether American voters are stupid or ignorant or both – there is little question over an appropriate definition for today’s version of the Republican Party. It is populated with and led by some of the most corrupt liars ever to hold political office.

Republican says pregnant women are “hosts,” even if some people “refer to them as mothers”

A pregnant woman is just a “host” for a fetus, according to Virginia state Sen. Steve Martin.

The Republican legislator representing Virginia’s 11th district made the comment in response to a Valentine’s Day card from a reproductive rights group calling on him to protect reproductive health options in the state.

“I don’t expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive,” Martin wrote on Facebook. “However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.”

Martin went on to call reproductive rights advocates “sick people.”

Martin’s claim that he does not “expect to be in the room” or “do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive” is, of course, entirely disingenuous. He is a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion, which would ensure affordable access to healthcare and contraception for people across Virginia.

It should probably go without saying, too, that Martin does not support abortion rights.

The creep has edited his post since everything blew up and he realized that average folks aren’t as willing to join the Republican war on Women as are his acolytes in the anti-abortion movement. Fortunately, plenty of folks on the Left have screengrabs and are using them to reference what he originally said.

SCOTUS won’t review Arizona’s unconstitutional abortion law – DOA

The Supreme Court declined Monday to revive an Arizona law that prohibited most abortions after a pregnancy had reached 20 weeks.

The court, as is its custom, gave no reason for declining to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that the law was unconstitutional because it violated standards established by the justices 40 years ago in Roe v. Wade.

About a dozen other states have passed laws similar to Arizona’s, hoping they would provide a way to challenge the court’s ruling that abortion must be generally available to women before a fetus reaches viability, which is generally considered to be around 24 weeks. Pregnancies last about 40 weeks.

It is the third time this term that the court has decided not to review a lower court decision that struck down a restrictive state abortion law. The other two came from Oklahoma, where new rules would have practically eliminated drug-induced abortions and required what opponents said would be unnecessary ultrasound tests…

About the only critter dumber than a fundamentalist politician committed to the War on Women – is the equally committed voter who doesn’t mind wasting taxpayer dollars on defending patently unconstitutional laws restricting women’s reproductive rights. Guess they’d rather spend money on 18th Century bible beliefs instead of education for their kids.

Come to think of it – the last thing they want is educated children.

“The Supreme Court soundly declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s sound decision that Arizona’s abortion ban is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing precedent,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “. . . But women should not be forced to run to court, year after year, in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights and access to critical health care…”

Not all of the state laws imposing the 20-week limit have been challenged, because the procedure is so uncommon, she said. But laws in Georgia and Idaho have been blocked.

It was women voting that defeated Albuquerque abortion ban

Earlier this week, voters in Albuquerque voted down a city-wide measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, by a ten-point margin. According to voter data analyzed by ProgressNowNM, the pro-choice side has women to thank for it.

“Eleven thousand more women–almost three times more women than men, in terms of additional turnout–came out in the municipal abortion election than did in the general six weeks earlier,” said Patrick Davis, the group’s executive director…

The result also showed that Latino voters, including Latina women, weren’t swayed by the anti-abortion arguments. They make up nearly half of the city’s population, and ban supporters had pinned their hopes on Catholic and evangelical Latinos. Opponents of the ban have pointed out that their coalition included two groups led by Latinas, Young Women United and Strong Families New Mexico.

Although not all public polling shows a gender gap on abortion, the team behind Virginia governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has said the issue helped account for a 9-point gender gap in his favor earlier this month. He won 59% of voters who said abortion was their top issue.

The anti-abortiion rights crowd is still working hard trying to snatch victory from their defeat. Democracy can be a tough solution for losers who think God is on their side and that’s all they need. Perish the thought that voters pay attention to science, constitutional law and civil liberties in an election.