Posts tagged Abortion
If even a small fraction of what is being said about Dr. Kermit Gosnell is true, he’s a despicable human being.
Gosnell is on trial in Philadelphia, charged with the death of seven babies and one woman.
The woman, 41 year old Karnamaya Mongar, died from an overdose of Demerol administered by his untrained staff during an abortion procedure. She was a native of Bhutan who lived in Virginia and sought a late-term abortion from Gosnell.
The Gosnell murder trial has become a cause celebré, however, not because of the grisly details revealed at his trial. Rather, it has exploded into a media firestorm because the polarized right wing accuses the polarized left wing of ignoring the trial because of an indifference to the depravities that went on in Gosnell’s so-called medical clinic.
In previous articles, I’ve discussed how the so-called Republican War on Women got started, how the meme caught fire, and how the Republican reaction to the fight of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng criticizes some of the same behaviors that Republican-controlled state legislators have exhibited over the past year.
In particular, one legislative approach that has gained increasing popularity in the last year are laws that mandate an ultrasound of pregnant women seeking an abortion. Before five weeks gestation (i.e., about three weeks after the first missed period), abdominal ultrasounds are not feasible. These laws mandate ultrasounds as early as three weeks gestation purportedly to show a woman her child’s “beating heart” (actually a collection of rhythmically-contracting muscle cells that will become a heart in time). Since the only such ultrasound that can be performed at three weeks gestation is a transvaginal ultrasound, these laws essentially require a woman to undergo a medically unnecessary invasive procedure in order to get an abortion. North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma have the most stringent requirements.
Last week, Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escaped brutal house arrest and beatings and fled to United States protection in the American Embassy in Beijing. News sources within China report that Chen has now left the embassy with a guarantee of safe passage and will remain in China. Chen’s escape from house arrest coincides with a visit to China by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
With the state visit, Republicans have amped up their pressure on President Obama to force China to stop beating and harrassing Chen, his family, and his supporters. Presumed Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney Sunday called on President Obama to “take every measure” to protect Chen. Representative Chris Smith (R-Trenton, NJ) said, in a press release,
Over the next few hours/days, whatever it takes, everything discussed in China between Secretary Clinton and Premier Wen, as well as their staffs, must be through the prism of the struggles, torture, escape and justice overdue Chen Guangcheng, his family and other human rights activists in China.
Chen and his family are being persecuted by local officials (with the apparent collusion of the Chinese Government) for the “crime” of speaking out in defense of women who are being forced to suffer unwanted medical procedures, forced abortion and forced sterilization. For example, Chinese women have had an intrauterine device inserted without their consent, and those trying to stop local officials from doing so have been beaten.
The left and right of the American political spectrum are united in calling for Chinese officials to leave women’s bodies alone, and give women the choice to refuse invasive procedures. But according to Rep. Smith and other Republicans, it’s perfectly fine to insert vaginal probes into women against their will, simply for having the temerity to seek a legal medical procedure. (more…)
Last week, the Mississippi Supreme Court cleared the way for a November 8, 2011, popular vote on Amendment 26, which would redefine “person” in the Mississippi State Constitution as a cell, or cloned cells, at the moment of conception or cloning.
The proponents of this measure, Personhood Mississippi (also called “Yes on 26″), clearly expect that passage will result in a ban on all abortions in the state. In particular, they seem to be forcing a challenge in the United States Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the measure, apparently since Chief Justice Burger and Justices White and Stewart used this logic as a potential route to ban abortion in an exchange regarding hypothetical scenarios during the 1973 Roe v. Wade deliberations. (Proponents of “personhood” are conveniently ignoring the part of the response where Roe’s attorney says, “it would have to be adjudicated”.)
The text of the proposed amendment, in full, is:
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi: SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hereby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ: Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.” This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.
The proponents of this legislation believe it will ban all abortions and human cloning within the borders of Mississippi. I think this is true, at least until it can be adjudicated by the courts, but I would be wary of the Law of Unintended Consequences in this case. (more…)
Social conservatives tend to be fond of end-time scenarios from an eschatological perspective, but not too many of them know (or will admit) that a different sort of doomsday is threatening the Republican party…and this one is based on demographics.
A couple of months ago I wrote “El Problemo de los Republicanos,” examining one half of this sociological wrecking ball that is hurtling toward the GOP. That is the growing population of minorities in the United States, all groups who have historically not been well-treated by conservative lawmakers and have no particular reason to feel voter loyalty toward them. Now let’s take a look at the other half of that demographic doomsday…the increasingly liberal social views of a whole generation of younger voters.
Smart conservatives are not entirely unaware of the danger…but at this point they are still fooling themselves (and each other) with articles like this one by Michael J. New, entitled “Should Social Conservatives Worry About the Next Generation?” The answer is always the same as the one reached in New’s article. “No,” they say. “Everything’s fine.” They reach this conclusion by citing studies that show younger people are more opposed to abortion than they used to be, and same-sex marriage is still not widely accepted.
But are they just whistling past the graveyard, and running a grave political risk by refusing to moderate their rigid attitudes on social issues? It appears that answer may be yes. (more…)
Today marks the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion on demand in the United States.
The Wikipedia entry summarizes the facts of the case leading to the Supreme Court’s decision: Norma McCorvey (known as “Jane Roe”) discovered she was pregnant in June 1969. In an attempt to circumvent Texas law, which then allowed abortion in the case of rape, she first falsely claimed she was raped. That false claim failed because there was no police report.
In 1970, attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington filed suit in a U.S. District Court in Texas. … The defendant in the case was Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, representing the State of Texas. …
The district court ruled in McCorvey’s favor on the merits, and declined to grant an injunction against the enforcement of the laws barring abortion [Note: McCorvey has since become an anti-abortion advocate]. The district court’s decision was based upon the Ninth Amendment, and the court relied upon a concurring opinion by Justice Arthur Goldberg in the 1965 Supreme Court case of Griswold v. Connecticut, regarding a right to use contraceptives. Few state laws proscribed contraceptives in 1965 when the Griswold case was decided, whereas abortion was widely proscribed by state laws in the early 1970s.
Roe v. Wade ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal.
…The court issued its decision on January 22, 1973, with a 7-to-2 majority vote in favor of Roe. [White and Rehnquist dissenting.]
I’m always ready to channel my inner Boehner, so here’s the text of the Ninth Amendment. (I’m reading it out loud, I swear, but I refuse to include an audio file link so you’ll just have to imagine it.)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (more…)