Repeal the Global Gag Rule Now, part Two or Why I’m Glad I Voted for Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown’s not letting me down.

 I got an email yesterday from my Senator (or likely his staff) in response to an email I sent him about my desire to support the Global Democracy Promotion Act.  Why do I love my Senator?  Because he said the following:

Dear Mr. Frame:

Thank you for expressing your support for removing the restrictive “Global Gag Rule” as a condition for family planning services funding.

The “Gag Rule” signed into law in 2001 prohibits U.S. funds from being used by international groups to pay for abortions, or to engage in advocacy activities, including making public statements about abortion law or policy.

The global gag rule denies the right of free speech to international organizations working abroad, and its expansion threatens the lives of millions of women by denying them access to vital public health services. It is unfair and unwise for the U.S. to force international family planning clinics to choose between desperately needed U.S. funding and abortion counseling services.

On September 6, 2007, the U.S. Senate voted 53-41 to pass an amendment to the FY2008 Foreign Operations Bill that would overturn the “Global Gag Rule.” I voted with the majority on this issue.

I oppose the “Gag Rule” policy, as well as any reductions in funding for international family planning and reproductive health services. The only way to reduce the number of abortions worldwide is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and the most effective way to accomplish this goal is through voluntary family planning. Thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely,
Sherrod Brown

Sphere

Repeal the Global Gag Rule Now!

Efforts to repeal George W. Bush’s Global Gag Rule, a policy that prohibits U.S. family planning groups from finacially or organizationally supporting similar international groups, are beginning to work.  The Global Gag Rule, in addition to stoping U.S. groups from spreading pro-choice ideas regarding abortion also stop U.S. groups from spreading any other pro-choice ideas like the availability of contraceptives and other methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies.  Further, one of the many affects of the Global Gag Rule is that it often hinders the ability of developing countries to treat and curb the AIDS epidemic.  But Bush, despite attempting to take a strong stand on the AIDS issue, is fine with that.

But legislation is starting to pass to repeal the Global Gag Rule.  Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Olympia Snow (R-Maine) offered the legislation and it passed 53-41.  But, once it makes it through committee, Bush has promised a veto of any bill that repeals the Global Gag Rule.  So there is another bill going through Congress called the Global Democracy Promotion Act.  It may be possible to get enough votes to make this second bill veto-proof, a necessary backup to the current bill that will not survive a Bush veto.

But the second bill will still need votes.  Stand up and let your Senators know you want the Global Gag Rule repealed.  Let them know that you, their boss, are ordering them to vote for the Global Democracy Promotion Act.  The National Organization for Women has even made it easy for you.  They have a letter already written that they will happily email or snail mail to your representatives in the Senate and the House.  You can find it here.

Sphere

What is an “Existing Human Being”?

Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a doctor has no duty to tell a woman considering an abortion that the fetus is an “existing human being.”  Read all about it, from The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Top New Jersey court scraps trial on whether doctor misled woman on abortion

The particulars of this specific case in question are difficult and I feel bad if this woman experienced emotional distress due to what happened during her abortion.  After reading her story, I can see, emotionally, why many advocates against abortion rallied to her side.  I could also see why some pro-choice advocates would be wary to criticize the original ruling.  The emotional rhetoric here is high.

But the courts made the right decision.  Ruling that a doctor must inform a woman that the fetus is an “existing human being” simply does not reflect medical or public consensus, as the judges here explained.

Now, this ruling does not forbid a doctor from telling a woman that the fetus is an “existing human being” but requiring him or her to do so, one of many requirements that those opposing abortion have tried to pass, would be a backdoor attempt to undermine reproductive rights. 

As we gear up for 2008 and the candidates get whittled down, we will start to see where the Republican Party will stand on the issue (the Democratic candidates are pretty much all on the same page here).  Many Republicans follow strict pro-life guidelines, often generated from religious beliefs, that a life is a life is a life.  Some, like Rudy Giuliani, call themselves “strict constructionists.”  This means that, following the strictest reading of the Constitution, they believe abortion laws should be decided by states. 

Guiliani is an interesting case because he has taken a lot of heat from the GOP base for his “socially liberal” views.  Many say he is pro-choice — and he may indeed be pro-choice.  But like many Christian Democrats who have said they will never let their religious views affect their governing rules, Guiliani, if he is pro-choice, would never let his liberal views affect his conservative governing rules. 

So, for those of you moderate readers who are considering Guiliani as your candidate in hopes that he will please conservatives with his foreign policies and liberals with his social policies, think again.  There is no doubt in my mind that given the chance, Guiliani will do everything he can to overturn Roe v. WadeHe is no ally of reproductive rights. 

But don’t believe me.  Read Eric Johnston’s recent Op/Ed piece:

Anti-Roe and Pro-Rudy

UPDATED 9/19/07: 8:00 AM

According to The New Jersey Record, Rosa Acuna’s attorney plans to take this case to the Supreme Court.  Here we go again.

UPDATED 9/26/07: 5:44 PM

Rosa Acuna’s attorney has officially asked New Jersey’s Supreme Court to take a look at this case.  The attorney, Harold Cassidy, says this is the last step before filing an appeal with the United States Supreme Court.  Here we go again, indeed.  Read all about it:

State Supreme Court asked to reconsider abortion ruling

Let’s do the Timewarp Again

Is it 1950 again?  Between the Supreme Court’s attacks on a woman’s right to choose and now its attack on the desegregation of American schools, it is certainly starting to feel like the 1950s again.  Read all about it:

Divided court rejects school diversity plans

Now I could spend all day talking about racism, the need for racial integration, the benefits of racial integration and the importance of strengthening the integrity of Brown v. Board of Education.  But plenty of others have already done that.

Here’s one from the LA Times called “Fracturing a landmark.”

And here’s one from the Washington Post called “Standing in the Schoolhouse Door.”

No I don’t need to talk about those things because they’ve already been talked about.  And plus, we were all prepared for this, right?  We knew it was coming.  The news prepared us by covering it and explaining the debates and letting us know who was protesting what, how and why. 

What?  You didn’t see all of that coverage.  No, you probably just saw the news about the murdered pregnant woman from Ohio, or the pro wrestler who killed himself and his family or, more likely, Paris Hilton.

Why doesn’t the news cover news anymore?  Hmm…. I wonder.  Am I saying the conservative coalition is purposely controling the news so we don’t have access to pivital information so we can’t act?  No.  Am I saying the media is covering other stories to cover up major social issues like this and the abortion case (remember, the partial birth abortion ban ruling was buried during the Virginia Tech tragedy)?  Not exactly.  Am I saying something fishy is going on and I don’t like it?  And am I saying the news media are failing at their responsibilities to keep us informed about important debates, rulings, and upcoming events?  Absolutely. 

The progressive left, liberal America, needs to organize around these issues.  We need to come together and fight these rulings that take our country backwards.  But we can’t if we are bombarded by Paris Hilton in jail, David Hasselhoff drunk and Lindsay Lohan high.  We need real news and we need it now.