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Novara's Journal
Novara's Journal
May 30, 2015

Americans Choose "Pro-Choice" for First Time in Seven Years

Americans Choose "Pro-Choice" for First Time in Seven Years

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Half of Americans consider themselves "pro-choice" on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as "pro-life." This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views.

For most of the past five years, Americans have been fairly evenly divided in their association with the two abortion labels. The only exception between 2010 and 2014 was in May 2012, when the pro-life position led by 50% to 41%.

Prior to 2009, the pro-choice side almost always predominated, including in the mid-1990s by a substantial margin. While support for the pro-choice position has yet to return to the 53% to 56% level seen at the time, the trend has been moving in that direction since the 2012 reading.

While Gallup does not define the pro-choice and pro-life terms for Americans, their answers to a separate question about the legality of abortion indicate that those favoring the pro-choice label generally support broad abortion rights, while pro-life adherents mostly favor limited or no abortion rights.


Bottom Line

The pro-choice view is not as prevalent among Americans as it was in the mid-1990s, but the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound. That rebound has essentially restored views to where they were in 2008; today's views are also similar to those found in 2001. Some of the variation in public views on abortion over time coincides with political and cultural events that may have helped shape public opinion on the issue, including instances of anti-abortion violence, legislative efforts to ban "partial-birth abortion" or limit abortion funding, and certain Supreme Court cases. While events like these may continue to cause public views on abortion to fluctuate, the broader liberal shift in Americans' ideology of late could mean the recent pro-choice expansion has some staying power.

Read more: http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx?utm_source=twitterbutton&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=sharing
May 29, 2015

The hate is strong

South Carolina Republicans Agree to Remove 20-Week Ban Exceptions

The South Carolina Senate passed by voice vote Wednesday a ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization after one lawmaker dropped an objection to exemptions in the bill, reaching an agreement with Republicans in the house.

Sponsored by Rep. Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville), H 3114 as introduced contained no exceptions for abortion beyond 20 weeks post-fertilization. Democratic lawmakers, however, amended the bill to allow care in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal abnormalities.

A similar bill was passed by the house during the 2014 legislative session before failing to pass the senate after similar exceptions were added to that bill.

H 3114 effectively bans abortion as early as 22 weeks’ gestation. Standard medical practice measures gestational age as the number of weeks that have passed since a woman’s last normal menstrual period.

The post-fertilization age will always be about 14 days younger than gestational age, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. However, the first trimester of pregnancy is defined by the number of weeks post-fertilization under South Carolina law.

Less than 30 abortions per year are performed after 20 weeks’ gestation in South Carolina. In 2011 there were 25 abortions performed after 20 weeks’ gestation, which represents less than 0.4 percent of the abortions performed in the state, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is a "problem" that barely exists. Read more: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/05/28/south-carolina-republicans-agree-remove-20-week-ban-exceptions/

And another example of hate: Scott Walker to Sign Ban on Abortions for Rape, Incest


The bill is expected to get a vote in the next few weeks, before the state’s biennial budget passes. But unlike a federal bill on the issue, this legislation doesn’t include an exception allowing abortions for victims of rape or incest.

The governor plans to sign the legislation, Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for Walker’s office, emailed.

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/28/scott-walker-pledges-to-sign-no-excuses-abortion-bill.html
May 29, 2015

What Was the Worst State for Women This Week?

What Was the Worst State for Women This Week?

Fundamentalist perversity: It's not just for the stars of reality shows on TLC. The legal war on women gets downright bizarre in this edition of Worst State of the Week, which features a dumb lie, a weird lie, and a call for security.

Second runner-up is Wisconsin, but the real honoree is Gov. Scott Walker. In a talk radio interview Walker gave Friday, he framed a bill he signed mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions as an awesome gift. "I think about—my sons are 19 and 20, you know, we still have their first ultrasound picture," he said. "It's just a cool thing out there."

Walker has implied that pregnant women are somehow being prevented from accessing this technology, and his law simply remedies that. This is not true. Most abortion providers do them anyway, to help determine the best way to abort the pregnancy. What Walker's law would do is make the uncomfortable process last longer, by forcing providers to describe what's onscreen to patients, turning what should be a quick diagnostic test into a lengthy guilt trip.

In second place is West Virginia, where anti-choice forces are trying to hunt down the next Kermit Gosnell. Pro-choicers in the state are demanding the removal of anti-choice activist Byron Calhoun from his job at West Virginia University’s Health Sciences Center because of the role he played in a nuisance lawsuit against the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia. The lawsuit, filed by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia on behalf of a woman named Itai Gravely, accused the Women's Health Center of leaving a fetal skull inside her body during an abortion. Dr. Calhoun did treat complications from Gravely's abortion—which was possibly exacerbated by her then-undisclosed heroin addiction—but the pathology report did not indicate that there was any fetal skull inside her uterus.

RH Reality Check investigated and found that Gravely didn't even hear about this supposed skull until a year after her abortion, when Dr. Calhoun called her out of the blue to tell her about it and refer her to another anti-choice doctor who helped her sue the clinic. The lawsuit was dismissed this month, but this mysterious fetal skull—which was not recorded and which only Dr. Calhoun has laid eyes on—may have helped create the pretext for the attorney general to step up efforts to shut down clinics in the state. Getting an abortion is hard enough, but in West Virginia you apparently have to contend with right-wingers combing through your records hoping you're an easy mark for abusive legal practices.

Moving up from last week's second-place showing to the winner's podium is Texas, where state legislators nearly came to blows over whether or not attacks on women's rights are coming hard and fast enough. Rep. Jonathan Stickland really wants women to lose insurance coverage for abortion, and claims that state house leadership promised him it would happen. But then the calendars committee decided that micromanaging America's vaginas wasn't a top priority for the moment, and the bill stalled out in committee.

Stickland, aggrieved, got into the face of Rep. Byron Cook, a fellow Republican, who Stickland blamed for the stall. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Brian Rosenthal, things nearly came to blows before the sergeants-at-arms dragged Stickland out of the room. Happily for him, though, the temper tantrum worked: Legislators pulled strings to get his ban out of committee.

This is the second time Stickland has been kicked out of the capitol building for getting aggressive with fellow legislators, and he made headlines a few months ago for trying to hang a sign reading "Former Fetus" outside his office. Under the circumstances, the phrase "Overgrown Baby" would be more fitting.

May 29, 2015

Pro-Choice Protesters to Rally in Paraguay After Child Rape Victim Is Denied Abortion

Pro-Choice Protesters to Rally in Paraguay After Child Rape Victim Is Denied Abortion

The Catholic country in which, on average, two children under the age of 16 give birth each day, is facing backlash after authorities ordered a 10-year-old victim of sexual abuse to carry out her pregnancy.

And while the right to abortion is an important concern being voiced in the South American country at this time, other important issues include “the prevalence of child abuse and underage pregnancies,” according to The Guardian. Unfortunately, until now the discussion regarding this topic has centered on “adult violence” rather than on “child health,” Guardian reporters Sarah Boseley and Jonathan Watts point out.

What’s more is that despite the fact that the World Health Organization cites mishandled abortions as the top cause of maternal deaths the world over, the Catholic Church’s strong influence in most of Latin America makes it difficult to pass reforms that could save lives.

From The Guardian:

Despite a plea from the girl’s mother, Paraguayan authorities have ruled that the 10-year-old who is now 25 weeks into the pregnancy must give birth, unless she develops complications that put her life in danger. A medical panel is monitoring her condition.

Pedro Pablo Guanes, a gynaecologist based in Asunción, said the authorities are likely to release a tentative date for the birth soon. One option is for a cesarian section to be carried out in the next few weeks to avoid the biggest risk, which is that the girl’s body may not yet be developed enough to accommodate a fetus in its final stage…Congressmen have proposed raising the maximum sentence for the rape of a minor to 30 years in prison, up from 10 years. But attempts to raise awareness over the issue of sexual abuse have been modest: the government has urged people to wear green ribbons on the National Day Against Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse on 31 May.

A day earlier, hundreds of demonstrators are expected to attend a march from the Plaza Uruguaya to El Panteón in the capital with banners declaring “My body, my territory, not for use or abuse”. Similar small rallies have been staged every year, but organisers expected double the usual number of marchers this year because of the commotion caused by the 10-year-old’s pregnancy…The situation in Paraguay reflects that across Latin America, where abortion is illegal or severely restricted in most countries. Nicaragua, Chile and El Salvador ban abortion completely, even if the pregnancy threatens the life of both the mother and the foetus.

Read more: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/pro-choice_protesters_rally_paraguay_child_rape_victim_abortion_20150528
May 24, 2015

Losing My Lege: ‘Jane Doe’ Seeks Abortion Care at the Texas State Capitol

Losing My Lege: ‘Jane Doe’ Seeks Abortion Care at the Texas State Capitol

On Friday, a young person going by the name of “Jane” donned a hospital gown, walked into Texas state Rep. Geanie Morrison’s office, and asked for an abortion.

“Jane” could only assume, from the debates held in the state legislature over the past several weeks, that since anti-choice lawmakers apparently believe they’re in the best position to tell Texans whether they can, or should, access legal abortion care, “Jane” would just go straight to the source. In this case, that source was Morrison, a Republican lawmaker from Victoria, Texas who sponsored HB 3994, a bill that would make accessing legal abortion nearly impossible for the most vulnerable Texans—pregnant minors who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents, and who therefore can’t obtain the parental consent necessary to obtain a legal abortion in Texas.

“Jane” was, perhaps unsurprisingly, ushered out quickly by Morrison’s staff, along with eight other similarly dressed reproductive justice activists posing as fellow “Janes,” who had come to the capitol on Friday to protest HB 3994. And so they trudged on to visit the office of pro-choice Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) to thank her for her opposition to HB 3994, before ending with a visit to the governor’s office itself.

In Texas, there’s a system in place to help teens, in some cases kids, who are pregnant and without parents, or who are pregnant and have been abused by their parents. It’s called judicial bypass, and it allows a pregnant minor—who, for example, might have been kicked out of their home because they are transgender, or who was raped by their father, or whose mother might be absent and struggling with drug addiction—to be able to decide whether or not to continue their pregnancy. A minor, called “Jane Doe” by the court, appears before a judge and tells their story. If a judge feels the minor is mature enough to make that decision, especially if that minor would be in danger if their parents found out about their pregnancy, the judge can stand in for the absent parent in granting consent for the procedure.

Without a bypass, and without parental consent, a minor has no choice but to carry their pregnancy to term. A bypass isn’t a guarantee that a minor will get an abortion, and it doesn’t obligate them to do so. All it does is empower that minor, legally, to seek safe abortion care if that’s what they ultimately decide to do.

Supporters of HB 3994 in the legislature have said that minors in Texas are deliberately deceitful, intentionally inserting themselves into the court system because they want to lie to their loving, caring parents. But there’s no evidence that the judicial bypass process, developed by bipartisan consensus 15 years ago, is being abused by selfish minors.

Instead, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests between 200 and 300 minors per year in Texas cannot safely tell their parents about their pregnancies. We know this, in part, because of the work of Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit organization that assists minors in getting judicial bypasses.

The “Jane” activists who visited the capitol on Friday were there to share those stories as part of a grassroots protest called #HereForJaneTX. They carried signs, spare but poignant, that read: “Jane Doe. Age 15. Incarcerated Parent.” “Jane Doe. Age 16. I don’t want to be pregnant.” “Jane Doe. Age 15. Undocumented.” “Jane Doe. Age 13. Incest.”

Read more: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/05/22/losing-lege-jane-doe-seeks-abortion-care-texas-state-capitol/
May 24, 2015

Heh: Proposed Law Would Require Mothers To Look At Pictures Of Congressmen She's Disappointing....

Proposed Law Would Require Mothers To Look At Pictures Of Congressmen She Disappointing Before Having Abortion (The Onion)

WASHINGTON—Arguing that the measure would help women fully understand the consequences of their decision, members of the House of Representatives introduced a new bill this week that would require anyone seeking an abortion to view images of the congressmen she will disappoint prior to undergoing the procedure. “Before any pregnancy can be terminated, women will have a chance to see the faces of these politicians, which will help them make an informed decision as to whether they’d really like to go through with letting down an elected public servant,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) said of the proposed law, which also mandates that women listen to audio of the lawmakers’ talking points on when life begins. “What this bill does is show women that, hey, these congressmen aren’t just faceless legislators; they’re real politicians whose agendas are being destroyed. Once they see the actual eyes and ears and other features of the lawmakers whose spirits they’re breaking, I believe they’ll rethink what they’re about to do.” In response to backlash from women’s rights groups, the bill’s sponsors said that if women don’t want to view the images, they are free to close their eyes or just look away.

Read more: http://www.theonion.com/article/proposed-law-would-require-mothers-look-pictures-c-50483
May 21, 2015

Josh Duggar Admits Molestation, Resigns from Family Research Council

Source: TMZ

Josh Duggar has resigned as Executive Director of the Family Research Council, acknowledging he sexually molested underage girls including some of his sisters, calling his conduct inexcusable.

Josh just told People, "Twelve years ago, as a young teenager. I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret." He continues, "We spoke with authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling."

The molestations occurred in 2002 and 2003, when he was 14. He fondled the genitals and breasts of the girls, some of whom were sleeping.

Josh's wife Anna says he confessed his "past teenage mistakes" to her 2 years before he asked her to marry him.

The incidents were not reported to police until 2006, and the statute of limitations has now long since passed. But Josh says he believes God has shown him mercy and given him redemption.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2015/05/21/josh-duggar-admits-molestation-statement-resigns-confessed-sex-scandal-wife/#ixzz3aohZ5Cl6

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2015/05/21/josh-duggar-admits-molestation-statement-resigns-confessed-sex-scandal-wife/

May 21, 2015

What Was the Worst State for Women This Week?

What Was the Worst State for Women This Week?

While the Internet debates the gender politics of Westeros, real-life state legislatures continue a war on women. Third place in DoubleX's latest Worst State of the Week honors goes to Pennsylvania, where Republican legislators backed a resolution to honor John Patrick Stanton for his many years of obsessively harassing women trying to enter abortion clinics. The resolution calls Stanton, who died in January, a “humanitarian, activist and founder of the pro-life movement in this Commonwealth.”

Most people who had to deal with him regularly held a different opinion. Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania, sent a letter to lawmakers detailing Stanton's “humanitarian” harassment techniques. “He would use terms like ‘faggot’ and racial slurs—towards patients, staff, partners and even Rep. Brian Sims,” she explained, adding that he would wave “graphic, medically incorrect, and often racist signs around the facility targeting patients and staff.” His decades of hounding women “resulted in lawsuits, charges of harassment and trespassing, arrests and at least one incarceration,” Philly.com noted. Sounds like a real prince, Pennsylvania!
Frequent nominee Texas gets second place, for adapting voter suppression techniques into strategies to keep abortion out of the hands of young and low-income women. The Texas House approved a bill that requires women seeking abortions to present valid government ID. The ostensible reason is to shut out underage girls from accessing abortion. (And by the way, why do conservatives treat abortion like it's an adult treat like booze or R-rated movies?) Undocumented immigrants would be most obviously affected, but as we see when it comes to voter ID laws, these restrictions shut out young adults and low-income women who move a lot or struggle to keep their driver's licenses up to date.

This week's winner is Louisiana, whose legislature gave into pressure from the National Rifle Association to water down a bill meant to keep convicted domestic abusers from getting guns. Under the NRA-approved version of the bill, you can beat up a woman you're dating and still procure firearms so long as you're not living with your victim. According to the Times-Picayune, gun-rights supporters worried that the original version of the bill could have applied "to someone who has been on a single date." God forbid that a man who attacks a woman on a first date be denied access to a gun!

Keeping a loophole that allows men to terrorize dating partners with legal guns is particularly disturbing when you consider that, according to a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, the number of domestic homicides committed by dating partners now exceeds those committed by spouses.

The bill also excluded stalking as a crime serious enough to lose you your gun rights, even though a history of stalking behavior is reported in nine out of every 10 attempted domestic murders. But for creepy dudes who resort to stalking if women reject them after one date, don't worry. Louisiana has your back.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/05/21/worst_state_of_the_week_for_women_louisiana_wants_to_make_it_easier_for.html
May 21, 2015

Notre Dame Once Again Loses Legal Battle Against Birth Control Benefit

Notre Dame Once Again Loses Legal Battle Against Birth Control Benefit

A federal appeals court on Tuesday again rejected claims by the University of Notre Dame that the federal accommodation process to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) substantially burdened the university’s religious rights.


Under the accommodation process, groups like Notre Dame that claim a religious objection to the birth control benefit must simply notify the administration of their objection. The administration then takes on the task of coordinating coverage between insurance providers and those who want contraception coverage.

Notre Dame and other religiously affiliated nonprofits objected to this requirement, arguing that simply filling out the form to notify its insurance company, or other relevant third parties, violates its religious beliefs by making it complicit in a scheme it finds morally objectionable: providing contraception to university employees and students.

So far federal appeals courts in multiple jurisdictions have rejected those claims which, under most circumstances, would be the end of the road for the legal challenges to the birth control benefit.

The litigation surrounding the birth control benefit has never been like “most circumstances.” Despite relying heavily on the existence of the accommodation process to rule for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby could opt out of the benefit, conservatives on the Roberts Court resurrected the claims of Notre Dame and other nonprofits, prompting appellate courts take a second look at their decisions in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Tuesday’s decision was the first of those opinions to come back following the Roberts Court’s order to reconsider, and it is a strong repudiation of the religiously affiliated nonprofits claims. In a 2-1 decision, a panel of judges from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Notre Dame’s claims that participating in the accommodation process substantially burdened its religious rights.

Read more: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/05/20/notre-dame-loses-legal-battle-birth-control-benefit/
May 20, 2015

The NRA wants Louisiana stalkers to be able to keep their guns — and women are going to keep dying

The NRA wants Louisiana stalkers to be able to keep their guns — and women are going to keep dying


Louisiana’s HB 488, which have provided additional protective measures for victims of domestic abuse, was gutted because the NRA thought it went too far when it included “dating partners” along with “household members.”

According to a member of the state domestic violence prevention commission, the NRA “didn’t want to increase the pool of people who will dispossessed of their firearms.”

So what got yanked out of the bill so it could pass through committee?

Well, they removed “dating partner” from the list of victims of domestic abuse and battery, which means domestic violence victims who don’t live with their abusive partner don’t receive the same protections. This is in a state where 50 percent of domestic violence victims qualify as “dating partners” who live apart from their abuser.

More importantly, a provision was removed that would have prohibited a person convicted of stalking from possessing a firearm.

According to the Center for American Progress, from 2001 through 2010 Louisiana had more deaths per capita from guns than any other state. Additionally, Louisiana has “the fourth-highest rate of women being killed by men, two-thirds of which occurred with a firearm.”

Louisiana is both gun-nut heaven and, unsurprisingly, has a gun-murder rate two-and-a-half times higher than the U.S. average.

According to a spokesperson for the NRA, instead of taking guns away from hotheads and convicted creeps, Louisiana lawmakers should toughen enforcement of restraining orders.

Feel better now, ladies?

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/the-nra-wants-louisiana-stalkers-to-be-able-to-keep-their-guns-and-women-are-going-to-keep-dying/

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