Roundup: “Pro-Life, Pro-Obama” Radio Ad, High Rate of HIV Infection in Philadelphia

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Roundup: “Pro-Life, Pro-Obama” Radio Ad, High Rate of HIV Infection in Philadelphia

Brady Swenson

Radio ad says "Too many unborn lives are being lost while we wait for judges to get it right."; Opponents of California's Prop 4 and Prop 8 join forces on college campuses; HIV rate comparatively high in Philadelphia; Abortion laws liberalized in 16 countries since 1998; What if pro-choice Tom Ridge had been on the McCain ticket?; Birth attendants in Zambia.

"Pro-Life, Pro-Obama" Radio Ad

The Matthew 25 Network has been working hard during the general elction campaign to spread an alternative idea to "pro-life" voters, championed by Catholic legal scholar and one-time legal counsel to former President Reagan, Douglas Kmiec, that Senator Barack Obama is the real "pro-life" choice in this election. For these voters the question really boils down to which candidate’s policy approach will actually reduce abortions in the United States and around the world. Kmiec and the Matthew 25 Network argue that Obama’s plans to provide more social support services for low-income families and single mothers, to provide more comprehensive sex education to prepare teens to teach teens how to prevent unplanned pregnancy and increasing access to contraception will do more to reduce the abortion rate than eight more years of trying to reverse Roe vs. Wade, a decision that is becoming more and more solidified as judicial precedent.  There’s more about this at the Pro-Life, Pro-Obama website and Kmiec briefly sums up the position in the radio ad:

There’s more to building a culture of life than just hoping that the next Supreme Court justice deals with Roe vs. Wade.  Women need tangible help now, not condemnation. Too many unborn lives are being lost while we wait for judges to get it right. Barack Obama’s bottom-up, faith-based approach of strengthening support for pre-natal care, maternity leave and adoption will drastically reduce the number of abortions and studies prove it. 


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Opponents of Proposition 4 and Proposition 8 Join Forces on College Campuses

With California’s Proposition 4, requiring parental notification before a minor could obtain an abortion, has been defeated twice but polling shows that the measure is ahead in its third attempt at passage.  In an effort to get young voters, who tend to oppose parental notification, out to the polls the campaign against Proposition 4 is joining forces in campus outreach with the campaign against Proposition 8, which would make gay marriage illegal:

"We’re basically getting
twice the outreach for the price of one," said Lilia Tamm, a
coordinator for the "No on 4/No on 8" campaign. "It makes a lot of

The two opposition groups have joined forces on 30 university
campuses, including UC Santa Cruz, where organizers say their dual
message has greatest appeal.

"Both measures really deal with personal rights and constitutional
amendments," said Denise Heitzenroder, another coordinator. "We know
that young people tend to be supportive of our positions."


High Rate of HIV is a "Wake Up Call" for Philadelphia

The city which served as the setting of the 1993 movie that brought awareness of HIV/AIDS and the misinformation and predjudice that surrounded the disease to millions is suffering from a comparatively high rate of HIV infection, according to the Philadelphia Inquierer.  Philadelphians are being infected at a rate more than 50 percent higher
than residents of New York City and five times the national average:

"It’s a wake-up call that we’ve got to do better," said John Cella, the city’s top AIDS official.

So public-health workers are testing far more people in far more
places, trying to get past cultural barriers that contribute to
strikingly high numbers of infections among African American men and
fast-increasing rates among black and Hispanic women.

Nationwide, rates of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are highest in
black communities. Philadelphia has the second-highest percentage of
black residents of the 10 most populous cities – 43.2 percent,
according to the 2000 census.

Overall, experts said, the local picture is of a disease that is
transmitted largely by people who do not think of themselves as being
at high risk and have not until recently been primary targets for
prevention efforts.


Abortion Laws Liberalized In 16 Countries Since 1998

In the 10 years since the last global review of abortion policies, 16
countries have increased the number of grounds on which abortions may
be legally performed, while two have eliminated all such grounds,
according to a study released today. An additional 10 countries
maintained their existing grounds for abortion, but adopted changes to
increase access to abortion, including decentralizing the approval of
facilities where abortions may be obtained, expanding the types of
providers who may perform the procedures and increasing the range of
available methods to include medication abortion. According to authors
Reed Boland of the Harvard School of Public Health and Laura Katzive of
the Center for Reproductive Rights, the legislative and regulatory
changes in the countries included in both the 1998 and the 2008 review
reflect a continuing global trend toward liberalization of abortion


What is Pro-Choice Tom Ridge Were on the McCain Ticket?

Author of Newsweek’s Stumper blog, Andrew Romano, admits he "suffered this past summer from an affliction that could only be described as Ridgemania."  Romano felt strongly that choosing former Pennsylvania governor and Pro-choicer Tom Ridge would have best served McCain in the general election.  Now that we are one week away from the November 4 Election Day Romano looks back with 20/20 hindsight to argue that he was, in fact, right:

Would some right-wingers have stayed home?
Sure. But ultimately, I suspect that moderate, pro-Ridge McCainiacs
would’ve outnumbered social conservatives willing to sacrifice the
opportunity to elect a fully pro-life president (i.e., McCain) who has
pledged to appoint "strict constructionists" to the two Supreme Court
seats likely to open up over the next eight years in favor of a
Democrat (Obama) who boasts a 100 percent NARAL rating and has
essentially pledged to do the opposite–simply because McCain’s veep,
who has absolutely no bearing on abortion laws whatsoever, ONLY opposes
"partial birth" abortion, abortion as birth control, abortion in cases
other than rape or incest or to save the life of the mother, abortion
without parental consent and travel to other states to avoid
notification law. Ridge’s upside, in other words, would’ve outweighed
his downside. And McCain would’ve ended up looking more courageously
"postpartisan" than Obama–not less. 


Traditional Birth Attendants Help to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Zambia has a great story about the important role Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) play in Zambia where poverty disadvantages women making it
difficult for them to access transport and get to a health facility to give birth.  The Zambian government has recognized the success of the TBA program and has begun to invest more heavily in equipping TBAs with the provisions they need to do their work safely.