Roundup: Palin Returns to Debunked Abortion Attack, Keeping up on Ballot Initiatives

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Roundup: Palin Returns to Debunked Abortion Attack, Keeping up on Ballot Initiatives

Brady Swenson

Palin continues desperate attacks repeating debunked abortion claim; The latest on ballot initiatives in South Dakota, Colorado and California; Victoria, Australia decriminalizes abortion; Pro-Obama Catholic lawyer resigns from board of Catholic school; HPV vaccine used by 25% of girls aged 13 to 17.

Palin Returns to Debunked Abortion Attack

In the midst of increasingly desperate economic times, Senator McCain and Governor Palin continue to recycle extremely desperate attacks. Attacks that are simply not born out by facts. First a week of echoing the empty William Ayers attack, now Rev. Wright again, then, and once again, old and debunked charges that Obama supports infanticide.  On the Laura Ingraham radio show yesterday Palin said:

It’s appalling enough I think even for those who are pro-abortion to
understand that Barack Obama opposes banning partial-birth abortion
because that’s quite extreme. But for him to have had an opportunity to
vote to allow a child born as a result of a botched abortion to receive
the medical care that he or she deserves, born with that inalienable
right to life. And yet he has sided on the wrong side three times,
voting against legislation that would provide that medical care to the
baby, is the extreme position on abortion, Americans need to know that.

First, Obama has repeatedly stated that he, like many other pro-choice legislators, would support restrictions on late term abortions as long as a strict exception for the health of the mother was in place.  Second, the implication that Obama is not in favor of protecting an infant born alive during a late term abortion is, of course, false.  Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act because provisions already existed in Illinois to protect a born alive infant:

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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But existing law in Illinois
clearly required doctors to provide medical care in the unlikely event that a
viable fetus was born as a result of an abortion procedure. "Nothing in BAIPA
addressed this situation in some way that wasn’t already covered," explains
Mary Dixon, legislative director at the ACLU of Illinois. In any such instance,
Illinois law
stipulates that the child receive medical care by pediatric specialist to
maximize chances of survival. 

And also because of concern that the bill would adversely affect a woman’s right to choose in Illinois:

But, points
out the non-partisan, independent
, since state, not federal law, governs the actual practice
of abortion care, even with the stipulation that the bill does not provide
protections to "any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to
being born alive as defined in this Section," the bill could still have been
used to interfere with abortion provisions.

When this concern was addressed in 2005, after Obama had left the Illinois General assembly, the bill passed unanimously and Obama says he, too, would have voted for that version of the bill:

When a 2005 version of the bill with the explicit protection for state
abortion law Obama had held out for was considered, it passed the state
Senate unanimously.  Obama had left the State Senate for Washington by
the bill came to a vote. But Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor has
that Obama would have voted for that bill if he had been a state
when it was considered, much as he says he would have supported the
bill, which wouldn’t have impacted non-existent federal law. 

Keeping Up on Ballot Initiatives

South Dakota’s measure 11 would ban all abortion except in cases of
rape and incest and those in which the health of the mother is in
danger.  The Argus Leader reports that the South Dakota Medical Association has stated their opposition to the ban saying that it "would restrict doctor-patient communication and let government interfere in medical practice." 

ABC Channel 7 from Los Angeles took a look recently at California’s proposition 4.  The measure would require teens to notify a parent or other related adult before they could receive abortion care.  Two very similar measures were defeated in California in 2005 and 2006 but this year’s version is finding more support in the polls, leading by at least 9 points in several recent polls.  

VIDEO: Does Life Begin at Fertilization?VIDEO: Does Life Begin at Fertilization?

Colorado’s proposed Amendment 48 would redefine the word "person" in Colorado law to include "any human being from the moment of fertilization."  Rocky Mountain News reports on a debate between the initiator of the amendment, Kristi Burton, and lawyer Pat Steadman, who opposes the amendment. Steadman argued that the word "person" appears over 20,000 times in Colorado law and changing the definition of such a foundational legal term,

would affect contracts, wills, criminal prosecutions and the ability
for medical providers to get insurance because insurers wouldn’t want
to operate in a state where there is so much uncertainty about a
fertilized egg having constitutional rights.

Burton replied, "A definition doesn’t have that power. A definition lays
down the foundation… but it doesn’t guarantee any particular


Australian State of Victoria Decriminalizes Abortion

A bill decriminalizing abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy was approved by the Legislative Council, Victoria’s upper house, just yesterday.  Premier John Brumby supports the legislation and will sign it into law.  The passage of the legislation brings Victoria’s abortion law into line with Australian federal precedent without the old Victorian law having to be overturned by the Australian High Court:

Mr Brumby told reporters he supported the bill because it would modernise Victoria’s laws.

"The fact is our laws are no longer legal," he said.

"They breach federal laws in relation to equal opportunity and sex discrimination so we needed to modernise our laws.

also took the view, as did the majority of the members of parliament,
that we shouldn’t be making judgments about types of family, that what
is most important is the interest and the welfare of the children and
what is most important is parents offering unconditional love and
support to the children they are raising."


Pro-Obama Catholic Lawyer Resigns from Board of Catholic University

Scott blogged recently about "establishment Catholic figure" Nicholas Cafardi’s stated support for Barack Obama’s comprehensive approach to reducing abortionIn Cafardi’s article in the Boston Globe he wrote:

There’s another distinction that is often lost in the culture-war
rhetoric on abortion: There is a difference between being pro-choice
and being pro-abortion. Obama supports government action that would
reduce the number of abortions, and has consistently said that "we
should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that
might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion." He favors a
"comprehensive approach where … we are teaching the sacredness of
sexuality to our children." And he wants to ensure that adoption is an
option for women who might otherwise choose abortion.

Obama worked all of that into his party’s platform this year. By
contrast, Republicans actually removed abortion-reduction language from
their platform.

What’s more, as recent data show, abortion rates drop when the
social safety net is strengthened. If Obama’s economic program will do
more to reduce poverty than McCain’s, then is it wrong to conclude that
an Obama presidency will also reduce abortions? Not at all.

Today the Associated Press reports that Cafardi has decided to resign as a member of the board of trustees at Franciscan University of Steubenville:

In an e-mail Thursday, Cafardi said: "When it became apparent to me
that some Catholics, who disagreed with my position on how to end the
horror of abortion in America, were using my association with
Steubenville to try to harm that great university, I thought that the
best thing for me was to resign so as to prevent that harm."


Cancer Vaccine Used by 25% of Girls 13 to 17

The first substantial study of the vaccination rates for the HPV vaccine Gardasil, which is effective in preventing cervical cancer, found that 1 in 4 girls aged 13 to 17 has had the vaccination:

Proponents of the vaccine had been hoping for much higher
vaccination rates, saying the shots could significantly reduce the
nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United

Patti E. Gravitt, a Johns Hopkins University associate professor of epidemiology, said many families were cautious about the safety of new vaccines.

aspects of the vaccine may also give some families pause. It is
expensive, selling for about $375, although many health insurers now
cover it. And there are questions about whether it confers lifetime immunity or if a booster shot will be needed.